Book Review: Grace and the Preacher

30659096“The Kansas community of Fairland anticipates the arrival of their new minister and in recent months, late in 1882, postmistress Grace Cristler has communicated with Reverend Dille via letters, answering his questions about the little town, and developing affection for the man who pens thoughtful missives.
 
Theophil Garrison grew up under the loving influence of his saintly grandmother but was roped into his cousins’ train-robbing plan. When they fail and are apprehended, Theo fled the scene, evading jail time. Now an angry cousin is out to avenge Theo’s duplicity, and he’s on the run. He encounters a fatally ill traveler–a minister. Seeing a way to keep hidden, Theo trades identities with the man, dons his fine black suit, carries a Bible, and prays that he’ll be accepted as Rufus Dille.
 
Once in Fairland, if Theo’s true identity is uncovered, what will be left of the world he has built for himself, Grace, and those in the town who have come to love and accept him?” (from Goodreads)

I picked this book up at the used bookstore because I had credit there and wanted to try a book by this author. It ended up being one of the best books I’ve ever taken a chance on. ❤

The book is FULL of great characters. It’s a slow story, slow as in rich, not boring. It has a total of two sweet, God-honoring romances in it. But those aren’t the main reasons why I love it.

God brought this book to me on the heels of two others that dealt with the idea of romance not being the end-all-be-all. I sometimes found her silly, but I identified with Grace’s hopes and fears and illusions so much! My dear Theo was wrong, but I still felt compassion for him. (And I loved who he became.) They both had to learn to put God first. To let Him fill them up and to let go of what they wanted and do the right thing. I needed that message. 😉 Eventually, the book’s title took on a double meaning that just blew me away. 😀

All the side characters were super. (Except, of course, the essential grumpy church member.) I want to be Aunt Bess when I grow up, and I ended up loving her Sam just from her memories of him. Seriously sweet man. Grace’s uncle was great too. I loved how much he strove to help Theo along, and his zeal for the Lord even at his age was inspiring. It was dearly darling when my sweet people talked through the door during the quarantine. I also fell even harder in love (if possible) when SPOILER ALERT! Theo returned Uncle’s Bible to Grace. END OF SPOILER! And don’t get me started on the ending. ❤

Just a note, there were a few hints at the “impropriety” of a single woman staying at a sick man’s house to take care of him, but someone else was there too and nothing happened.

Best quote: He could tell she didn’t want him to leave. He didn’t want to, either, but a distant clap of thunder told he’d be wise to get inside before the next rainstorm swept in. “I’ll come back tomorrow, an’ the day after that, an’ the next day, too, if you’re all still closed up in there. I’ll come to the back door an’ knock, an’ we’ll talk as long as you want.” “As long as it isn’t raining?” He grinned. This time he knew she was teasing. That was good. “I’ll wear a slicker.”

Altogether, this was a very cute book that blessed me with its deep message.

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