Review by Andrea Grigg
I love novels about small towns because I don’t come from one. The fact this (fictional) small town is situated in Texas, USA and not in my home country of Australia made it even more interesting.
Ruthie Turner intrigued me from the first page. It was clear Ruthie has a chip on her shoulder the size of … well, the size of Texas. And I couldn’t wait to find out why.
A hard-working and resourceful girl, she has a lot to contend with due to circumstances beyond her control. Her mother has a ‘past’ and because of this, she and Ruthie are shunned from joining the local worship service. If they ever wanted to, that is. Ruthie has a dim view of church-goers in the light of what went on.
Interestingly enough, Ruthie’s opinion of God isn’t completely negative, and her attitude toward Him is challenged when she meets the eye-catching new preacher, Dodd Cunningham. Despite Ruthie’s best efforts to avoid Dodd, their paths keep crossing and her barriers go up – barriers that Dodd does his best to break down.
This book had everything in it that I love. Complicated family dynamics, quirky characters, a mystery about the past, and best of all, romance. The chemistry between Ruthie and Dodd is fabulous.
But that’s not all. Varina Denman has written a story that shows all too well the dangers of becoming religious, and yet the themes of God’s love and grace come shining through. I will be recommending this fabulous debut novel for a long time to come.
Andrea Grigg lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and is a writer of contemporary Christian romance. Her first book, ‘A Simple Mistake’ was a finalist in the 2012 CALEB awards. Her second novel, ‘Too Pretty’ was released in August 2014.
Twitter: @andreagrigg https://twitter.com/andreagrigg