Stealing the Preacher has been one of my favorite reads this year. It has it all...adventure, romance, struggle, coming to faith, humor, and did I mention romance?? Oh yes, Karen Witemeyer can write great romance.
Here's the back cover copy:
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.
For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?
Now how can you not love a premise like that?
Usually it is the heroine of a story that gets kidnapped, but Karen's twist here works marvelously. The spark between Crockett and Joanna was tangible and their budding relationship fun to watch. Not only did I love the main characters, I loved all the minor characters as well. Joanna's ex-outlaw Silas was a crotchety man, whose love for his daughter made him likable. Of course, you have the young man who has a crush on Joanna. You have Silas's gang-now-turned-cow-hands, who are now like "uncles" to Joanna. And let's not forget Holly...the determined young woman who is out to capture the preacher's eye. Whew! She is a rascal!
I loved Karen's first story, Short-Straw Bride, which featured another Archer brother, so when this one came out, I jumped at the chance to read it. It is another winner!
I received this book from Netgalley and Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.