A couple of weeks ago, when the Romance Writers of America RITA® nominations were announced, I was about halfway through reading The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek, by Jane Myers Perrine, and I was delighted to see it listed as a nominee in the category Novel with Strong Romantic Elements. I looked for it first in the Inspirational category, because it was published by Faith Words, the Inspirational Divison of the Hachette Group. But I think the book is right where it belongs.
I had picked Welcome Committee up one night when I wanted something warm and comfortable to read, and it just filled the bill. It tells the story of a very young, newly-minted minister who arrives in a small town in Texas to take over a church, not knowing what to expect from the congregation or his new life. Oh, he’s taken classes in church management at the seminary, but that’s not the same as real experience. And he’s in for some new experiences, particularly at the hands of the Widows, a couple of ladies of the congregation who believe, among other things, that a minister should be married.
The Widows don’t give up on their new minister, but they set meddling in his life aside to concentrate on a damaged war vet and his physical therapist, two characters who have the reader pulling for them from their first appearance.
Jane Perrine, who is an ordained minister herself, never preaches. She writes about life in a small town church, and about people who try to do the right thing and care about one another. The next book in the series, The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek, is at the top of my Books To Buy list, and The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek will be out in the fall.
Earlier this year I read another of Jane Perrine’s books, Miss Prim, a Regency romance written several years ago and published by Avalon, recently resissued on paper and for the Kindle by Amazon. Miss Prim is the story of Lady Louisa Walker, whose staid and well-regulated spinsterhood is turned completely upside down by an old flame who pulls her into wild adventures involving French spies, a race across the countryside, and a mysterious baby.
I haven’t managed a lot of reading time since the first of the year. Busy at work and with RWA activities, and far less writing than I’d like to claim. I’ve read three good mysteries, Janet Evanovich’s Notorious Nineteen (who really cares about the mystery when the characters are so much fun?), Marcia Muller’s Looking for Yesterday (I’ve been following Sharon McCone’s cases–and life–since she first appeared in Edwin of the Iron Shoes in 1977), and Margaret Maron’s The Buzzard Table (Judge Deborah Knott is another series character I have followed from the beginning).
Currently I’m enjoying Colleen Thompson’s Passion to Protect, an edge-of-the-seat romantic suspense novel. The Steampunk book is on my coffee table, with a book mark very near the beginning. The book on The Searchers is there, too, without one. On my Kindle I’m following a serial, Falling for Frederick by Cheryl Bolen.
Yesterday I stopped at the local Barnes & Noble to look for a copy of my Starcatcher sister Amy Raby’s first release, Assassin’s Gambit. I found it on the New In Paperback kiosk in the middle of the store and stopped to take a picture of the book “in the wild” to send to Amy. There I was, on one knee with my camera, when I realized a man was watching me. “My friend’s first book,” I explained. “Wouldn’t it be more help to buy it and read it?” he asked. “I will,” I promised, “but I also want to send her a picture.” Apparently satisfied, he nodded and walked away. Without reporting me to store security.