Grace and the Preacher

Grace and the Preacher

by Kim Vogel Sawyer


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Mistaken identity leads to romance, laughter, and second chances in this inspirational historical romance.

At the age of twenty-three, postmistress Grace Cristler has all but given up hope of finding a husband among the narrowing group of eligible men in her town of Fairland, Kansas. But when her uncle decides to retire from the pulpit, Grace is responsible for corresponding with the new preacher set to take his place. She can’t deny the affection growing in her heart for Reverend Rufus Dille—a man she deeply admires but has only met through his letters.
Theophil Garrison is on the run from his past. Ten years ago his outlaw cousins convinced him to take part in a train robbery, but Theo fled the scene, leaving his cousins to face imprisonment. Now they’ve finished their sentences, but the plan for vengeance has just begun. Branded a coward and running for his life, Theo has aa chance encounter that could provide him with the escape he needs. 
But the young man’s desperate con might come at an enormous price for the tenderhearted Grace—and the entire town. Will Grace’s undeserved affection and God’s mercy make something beautiful from the ashes of Theo’s past?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307731418
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/21/2017
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 627,301
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

KIM VOGEL SAWYER is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in several different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades, including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren.

Read an Excerpt

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
— 2 Corinthians 5:17
Cooperville, Missouri March 1882  

Theophil Garrison
Hey, Theo, didja hear the news?”

Theophil Garrison paused with the pitchfork tines buried in the mound of hay and sent a sideways look at the barber’s son. The skinny youth nick-named Red nearly danced in place on the packed-dirt floor of the livery stable, and an eager grin split his pimply face. The news must be powerful exciting to get Red so wound up. Theo could use a little excitement.

Angling himself to face the boy, he held the pitchfork handle like a walking stick. “Don’t reckon I did. What is it?”

“They’re comin’ home.”

But not that much excitement. Chills attacked Theo from the inside out. Cotton filled his mouth. His muscles went quivery, and he lost his grip on the pitchfork. It fell against the stall wall, bounced, then slid onto the pile of straw. He unstuck his tongue from the roof of his mouth and barked a nervous laugh. “You’re makin’ up stories. My cousins got a twelve-year sentence for that attempted robbery. They’ve only been gone ten.” He knew, because he’d served the same number of years laboring as hard as four men to atone for robbing his aunt and uncle of their  sons.

“State shortened things up ’cause of their good behavior.” The boy sniggered. “I guess it is kinda hard to believe.”
Knowing Claight, Earl, and Wilton the way he did, it was impossible to believe.

“But it’s true. I swear it on my mama’s grave.”

Red’s mother wasn’t even dead. Theo scowled at the boy. “You’re foolin’ with me.”

“Am not! I was standin’ right next to my pa when Sappington came runnin’ across the street from the telegraph office an’ read the wire message to your uncle.”

“Mr. Sappington knows telegrams’re supposed to be private.”

Red shrugged. “He only read it ’cause your uncle told him to. You know ol’ man Boyd can’t read a word hisself.”

His neck felt stiff, his head heavy, but Theo managed a jerky nod. “Yeah. Yeah, I know.” Nobody in Theo’s family could read except him. He wouldn’t be able to, either, if Granny Iva hadn’t sent him off to school when he was young. Uncle Smithers called Theo a sissy if he even cracked the cover of a book. Of course, Uncle Smithers called Theo a sissy—and worse—for other reasons, too.

“So your uncle told Sappington to read the telegram out loud right there in the barber shop. Every fella in the place heard it.”

Which meant by evening every living soul in Cooperville would know that the Boyd brothers were on their way home from the state penitentiary. Theo gnawed his lip. Had the officials already let his cousins out? Jefferson City was a hundred miles away, but if the prison warden gave them train tickets to Springfield, they could cover that distance in half a day. Then an hour stage ride from Springfield, and—

“Think they’ve forgot how you let the law catch ’em, Theo?”

The last thing Claight said before the deputies took him, Earl, and Wilton away roared through Theo’s memory. “Just wait ’til we get out, boy. You’ ll pay for this. You’ ll pay.”

They hadn’t forgotten. Theo snatched up the pitchfork and jammed it into the straw. “Thanks for tellin’ me about my cousins, but I got work to do, Red. You get on outta here now.”
The boy smirked. “You might wanna get outta here, too.”

Theo ignored the taunt and continued forking clean hay into the stall. When all the stalls were fresh and ready, he headed to the attached corral to collect the horses. As he grabbed the cheek strap for a tall, speckled gelding, another memory attacked.

“You got the easy part, Theophil.” Earl never shortened up Theo’s name, and he had a way of making Theophil sound like a curse word. “All you gotta do is sneak the horses from the livery an’ make sure they’re waitin’ under the trestle.”

Theo might’ve been only fifteen, but he understood that “sneak” really meant “steal,” something Granny Iva had taught him was wrong. He said so, and Earl gave him a clop on the side of the head that made his ears ring. “We gotta have horses to make our getaway after robbin’ that train, so you just bring ’em, you hear me, Theophil?”

Theo had heard, had even nodded in agreement, but he hadn’t done it. And his cousins paid for his deceit with ten years of their lives.

He released the gelding into the first stall with a pat on its neck and hurried back to the corral for another horse. Red’s parting comment—“You might wanna get outta here, too” —nipped in the back of Theo’s mind. Red was young, prone to talking without thinking, but this time his words had   merit.

When the stagecoach rolled into town and Claight, Earl, and Wilton set foot on Cooperville’s Main Street, Theo intended to be far, far away.

Fairland, Kansas
Grace Cristler  
Even before the murky cloud stirred by the stagecoach’s wheels and horses’ hooves on the dirt road had begun to settle, Grace Cristler stepped from the little stone-block post office and onto the boardwalk. With a lace handker- chief pressed over her nose and mouth, she blinked rapidly and made her way through the billowing swirl of dust particles to the battered conveyance’s side.

“Afternoon, Miss Cristler.” The driver grinned down at her, his teeth a slash of yellowish-white against his overgrown beard and grime-smeared face. “Watchin’ for me, were ya?”

She lowered the handkerchief. “Why, of course. Everyone in town anticipates your once-a-week delivery of the mail, Mr. Lunger.” Every Friday at one o’clock, as dependable as Uncle Philemon’s key-wound mantel clock, the man pulled the stagecoach to a stop outside the post office. She often wondered how he managed to keep such a precise schedule given the poor road conditions and ever-changing Kansas weather. But not once during the three years she’d served as the town’s postmistress had he disappointed her with a late arrival.

Lunger chuckled. He reached beneath the bench seat and pulled out a worn leather pouch stamped with the name Fairland, Kansas, USA. “I don’t reckon you come runnin’, though, ’cause you’re all excited about other folks’ mail.” The man had the audacity to wink. “You’re hopin’ for another letter.”

Oh, such a brash thing to say! She frowned.

“When’s your preacher due, Miss Cristler?”

preacher? She pursed her lips tight and gave him her sternest look.

He laughed. “Sometime next month, ain’t it?”

Grace hoped the dust was still thick enough to hide the flush surely staining her face at the man’s impudent comments. She loved the close-knit community that had been her home since she was very young, but did everyone— including the United States mail carrier! — have to be privy to her personal affairs?

My uncle expects Reverend Dille by the end of April.” She waved the handkerchief, pretending to swish dust but actually fanning her warm cheeks. “The entire congregation is very eager to make his acquaintance.”

Mr. Lunger laughed, his thick beard bobbing against his bandanna. He yanked off his shabby hat and used it to slap his thigh twice, raising another small cloud of dust. “All right, all right, I can take a hint. You ain’t already smitten with the new preacher.” He settled the hat back in place and winked again. “Least not more’n anyone else in town is. That make you feel better?”

“Let me empty this bag and replace the contents with our outgoing mail.
Please wait.”

His laughter chased her back into the post office. Her fingers trembled as she made the transfer, and it took all of her self-control not to search through the stack of envelopes for one addressed to her from Reverend Rufus Dille of Bowling Green, Missouri.

With the bag in hand, she hurried out to the stagecoach. “Here you are, Mr. Lunger. Drive safely now. I’ll see you next week.”

Humor still twinkled in his eyes, but he kept his smirking lips closed and gave her a nod in reply. He brought the reins down on the horses’ rumps, and the beasts strained forward.

Grace hurried inside the building and snapped the door closed to avoid a second coating of dust for the day. She rounded the counter, her skirts swirling with her rapid strides, and reached for the pile of letters. Was there one from Reverend Dille? From . . . Rufus? Her heart pat-pattered just thinking of his given name. Of course there should be a letter. For the past twelve weeks, his missives had been as dependable as Mr. Lunger’s deliveries. She skimmed through the stack, seeking his bold, masculine  script.

Mr. Lunger’s taunt about her running to retrieve her own personal mail raised a wave of guilt. Wasn’t she the town’s postmistress, voted to the position by ballot? If she put her own wants above theirs, she would disappoint and betray the people who’d appointed her. By three o’clock folks would start arriving, asking her to check their boxes. She had a beholden duty to put their mail where it could be found.

She stamped her foot against the floorboard. “I must do my job.” She picked up the entire stack, balanced it against her rib cage, and marched to the wood cubbies built behind the counter along the north wall. Midday sunshine streamed through the uncovered window and highlighted the face of   each envelope as she sorted through the stack. She flicked the envelopes into their boxes, so familiar with the routine she didn’t even need to look at the numbers stamped on the little brass plates to ascertain the envelopes found their rightful locations.
She’d nearly reached the end of the stack when familiar handwriting leaped from the front of an envelope and sent her heart spinning in wild somersaults. Her hands stilled, and a smile pulled at her mouth. She drew several shallow breaths, a giggle of delight building in her throat. With slow, measured steps she moved to the counter and placed the envelope, faceup, in the middle of the darkly stained surface.

Keeping her gaze fixed on her name—Miss Grace Cristler—written in black ink on creamy paper, she forced her feet back to the cubbies, where she finished sorting the remainder of the postcards and letters, this time more slowly and with shaking hands.

Finally she slid the last envelope into its place, and she skipped to the counter and scooped the letter from Rufus against her thudding heart. The scent of spicy cloves, an aroma she’d come to associate with the man, rose from the crisp rectangle. She pulled in a slow, deep breath, savoring the essence, before she lowered the envelope, this time facedown, to the work surface once more and reached for the silver-plated opener stored in a little basket beneath the counter.

As she slipped the tip of the opener beneath the edge of the envelope flap, the post office door swung open and the town’s milliner, Opal Perry, breezed into the building. Grace tossed the opener and envelope into the basket and aimed a smile at the older woman.

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Perry. Have you come for your mail?”

Mrs. Perry’s gray eyebrows rose. “Can you think of some other reason for me to visit the post office?”

Women often visited the dressmaker’s shop, the mercantile, and even the millinery shop to collect pieces of town gossip, but Grace never indulged in such activity. She released a nervous laugh. “I suppose not. Let me check your box.”
“I’m actually more interested in a package. From Chicago. I ordered several spools of silk ribbon, all in pastel hues.”

“Then I’m sorry to disappoint you.” Grace removed a picture postcard and two envelopes from the Perrys’ cubby and gave them to the milliner. “Mr. Lunger didn’t bring any packages at all this week.”

Mrs. Perry made a sour face and tapped the mail against the wood countertop. “I was so hoping to place my Easter bonnets on the sale shelf this week.”

Grace offered the woman a sympathetic look. “Maybe you can buy some ribbon here in town. Mr. Benton carries ribbon in the general merchandise store.”

“He sells ribbon for men’s ties.”

“Isn’t the ribbon silk, though?” Her uncle’s ties were silk, and he’d purchased most of them from the merchant next door to the post  office.

“Yes, the ribbon is silk, but it’s meant for men’s ties. It’s black.” She flipped her wrist in a dismissive gesture. “What woman wants black ribbon on an Easter bonnet? Or any spring bonnet, for that matter?” The milliner sniffed. “How am I to decorate my spring hats without pastel silk ribbons?”

Grace gave Mrs. Perry’s wrinkled hand a pat. “Surely the ribbons will arrive next week. You’ll have them in plenty of time to finish the bonnets for Easter.”

“Well, you be certain to come in and pick out a pretty bonnet, dear.” She flicked a look across the unadorned bodice of Grace’s brown dress. “I also sell lovely collars, hand-tatted by my nieces from Boston. If you buy a bonnet, I’ll let you choose a tatted collar free of charge. You’ll want to wear something feminine and eye catching when your preacher takes the pulpit for the first time, won’t you?”

Grace yanked her hand back. “Mrs. Perry . . .”

A sly smile curved the woman’s lips. “Oh, come now, Miss Cristler. Don’t be coy with me. Your uncle told the congregation that the new preacher is young and single. He’ll need a helpmate. Everyone knows you’d make the perfect preacher’s wife, having been raised by a clergyman and serving as his assistant since his wife’s passing during that dreadful flu epidemic. Is it three or four years now?”
“Five.” Grace didn’t rue a single year of assisting in her uncle’s ministry, either. Her aunt and uncle had been so good, taking her in when her parents died. She owed them a debt of gratitude and service.

“Yes, five. And a true blessing you’ve been to your dear uncle. But to appeal to a younger man, you need a softer hairstyle.” Mrs. Perry shook her head, clicking her tongue on her teeth. “Must you comb your lovely locks down so snugly?”

Grace smoothed her fingertips from her temple to the tightly wound bun   at the nape of her neck. It took a great deal of effort to tame her thick, wavy hair into a bun, and she’d always been proud of her ability to fashion the style without the help of a mother or an aunt or a sister. Until  now.

“The color of your hair, as rich red-brown as a maple leaf in fall, is so eye catching. With a softer hairstyle and a little rouge coloring your cheeks, you’d come close to being pretty.”

Close? Grace’s face heated.

“Not that pretty is necessary for a preacher’s wife. Your dear aunt, rest her soul, was a plain woman. But to my way of thinking, ministers are men first and servants of the Lord second.”

To Grace’s way of thinking, Mrs. Perry had it backward, and she started to say so.

“So donning a less, er, austere frock and setting off your face with a ruffled bonnet all covered with flowers and lace would appeal to the man. Then, when you’ve captured his attention, you can let him see all the wonderful qualities that would make you a fine wife for a preacher.”

Surely he already knew her qualities. By now he knew everything of importance about her, thanks to the weekly letters she’d  written to him.    If Rufus’s responses were any indication, he approved of her. But would he find her appearance displeasing when he set eyes on her for the first time?
  The woman reached across the counter and delivered a pat on Grace’s cheek. “You be sure to come see me next week after my shipment of ribbons has arrived. We’ll find the perfect bonnet to help you capture your preacher’s heart.” She scooped up her letters and departed.

Grace sagged against the counter. Finally! Now maybe she could read her letter. She needed the assurance of  his interest after listening to—

The door banged open again, and two youngsters raced in, clamoring for their pa’s mail. For the next hour Grace assisted one townsperson after another until more than a third of the cubbies were empty. The regulator clock on the wall chimed five, and Grace locked the door behind young Mrs. Morehead. The rest of the mail could wait until tomorrow when folks did their Saturday shopping. For now, she had her own mail to read.

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Grace and the Preacher: A Novel 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Domus Ardet 13 days ago
(4 stars) – a sweet story of God’s grace I’m so glad to have found Kim Vogel Sawyer’s books. They really are a gentle balm to my soul. This story focuses on how easily we get caught up in what we want to the point that we neglect to check with God if it’s what He wants. Then we wonder why we’re still discontented or unhappy. While I admit that I didn’t find the town’s acceptance of Theo as a preacher to be very credible, I still enjoyed the story & loved the message. There may be some room to argue that the story drags in places, but I find Sawyer’s writing to be “savory”, & so I generally find the build up to be part of my contemplation of its framework. Clean romance level: sweet kisses Religion: generic Christianity with Scripture quotes, but fits the characters & the story, not preachy
RGNHALL More than 1 year ago
Set in 1882, this book provides accurate details of the time period, and fulfills my desire for a captivating, clean historical fiction/romance novel. Kim Vogel Sawyer is one of my favorite authors and this book reaffirmed my love of her writing. The main characters, Theo, and Grace, are young and searching for their purpose, love, safety, and acceptance. Deceit gets in their way and creates a number of dilemmas for them. Theo impersonates the dead minister and his lack of finesse, Biblical knowledge, and duties of a minister leave the community questioning his abilities and training. This book was a captivating, sweet novel. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. This book would be appropriate for teenage readers as well as adults as it is clean romance. My rating for this book is 5 ***** stars. I received digital copy of this book from netgalley and Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
RGNHALL More than 1 year ago
Set in 1882, this book provides accurate details of the time period, and fulfills my desire for a captivating, clean historical fiction/romance novel. Kim Vogel Sawyer is one of my favorite authors and this book reaffirmed my love of her writing. The main characters, Theo, and Grace, are young and searching for their purpose, love, safety, and acceptance. Deceit gets in their way and creates a number of dilemmas for them. Theo impersonates the dead minister and his lack of finesse, Biblical knowledge, and duties of a minister leave the community questioning his abilities and training. This book was a captivating, sweet novel. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. This book would be appropriate for teenage readers as well as adults as it is clean romance. My rating for this book is 5 ***** stars. I received digital copy of this book from netgalley and Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This author never disappoints me. I love how Grace and Theo get together. It was great getting to know Theo and Grace. Many of these characters learn to trust in God again or for the first time. I laughed and cried throughout this book. This was such a fun read. I received a copy of this book from blogging for books for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
SeasonsofGrace More than 1 year ago
I really took delight in reading this book. It was an interesting read and a new plot for me. Theophil, a livery man, has lived with an uncle for years, since his parents and grandmother passed away. But he has never felt loved. Being mistreated and not really wanted as a child has caused him some deep emotional issues. His cousins picked on him and tried to force him into participating in a crime they were committing. When Theo didn't show with the escape horses, and they were caught, they vowed revenge. Now, they are getting out early on good behavior, but have they changed or forgotten what he did? Odds are - NOT! So, Theo decides to leave town before they arrive, just in case. On his journey, fate has it that he comes upon a minister who is on his way to his new church, but instead has become ill. Not necessarily with that intention in mind, Theo trades places with the minister and assumes a new identity. Grace, who has been corresponding with the minister on behalf of her uncle who is resigning the ministry, has her doubts about who Theo really is. Alarms are going off, but desperately in want of a husband, she chooses to let them slide without confrontation and just leave well enough alone. As time passes the deception grows deeper, but all things come to light eventually. As Theo and Grace's relationship blossoms, what will happen when his true identity is revealed? I enjoyed Kim's portrayal of faith, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and so much more in this book. She does a wonderful job bringing out the fact that we easily substitute the love and acceptance of people over God's. We point out the sins of others, before we acknowledge our own sins. Extending grace is not an easy process, but if God is willing to forgive us, we also must be willing to forgive others. I enjoyed watching Theo grow in his faith, and learn new lessons. I appreciated the simplicity of the town, the preacher, and the characters, although they also had depth. This is definitely a beautifully told story! Worth the read! I received this book free from Blogging for Books to read. I was not required to review it positively and all opinions are my own.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
Grace and the Preacher was a sweet story. Grace was naive about so many things. It added to her sweetness and made sense based on her upbringing. It was hard to watch her anticipate the way things “should” work out as she waited for the preacher to arrive. This made the emotional journey she eventually had to work through a bit harder, but more satisfying. I felt for Theo and the fear that he carried about his cousins’ retributions. I could understand his reasoning in the deception he carried out. Part of me was frustrated with him and the other part of me empathized with him. It was a bit hard for me to connect with the characters. I was interested to see how everything played out, yet not overly invested in the outcome. The pacing of the story was slow for me, yet that pacing also worked well to illustrate the way things moved during that time period. Information was not quickly transmitted, journeys took time, and letters through the postal service were highly anticipated. I thought that this was a sweet story, with a twist. The reader must in one part feel compassion for the deceiver and compassion for the deceived, as well. Overall, I thought it was well done, just a little slower moving than I usually enjoy. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Lane_Hill_House More than 1 year ago
Saturday, March 25, 2017 Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer, © 2017 The townspeople are certain the young preacher's call to Fairland will fulfill postmistress Grace Cristler's longing of a home and hearth. Grace's Uncle Philemon is retiring as the long-time minister of Fairland Gospel Church in this small Kansas prairie town in 1882. Grace and Reverend Rufus Dille have been corresponding and become endearing to each other across the miles. The young preacher's arrival is looked toward with anticipation. Mrs. Kirby has opened her home as a boardinghouse with shelter and warmth of heart. Her Sammy-Cat has become a good inspector of character. He welcomes the new preacher, assuring his placement with confidence. I loved the background story of each character, seeing their importance in their interaction with each other. Full of surprises, events in life can build or deteriorate the direction of a life. Theo Garrison and his cousin, Earl Boyd, find obstacles in their lives overcome with good when they are welcomely received by others. How we treat others does matter. A Sunday afternoon picnic refreshes and brings thought and delightful certainty of care and direction. Mrs. Kirby, lovingly referred to as Aunt Bess, sets an example of hospitality and care for others that Grace is watchful of and hopes to become at ease with too. She begins to invite those at the boardinghouse home for meals she prepares. Her Uncle Philemon finds he enjoys the back and forth meal sharing as much as Grace. A new addition to their lives. I liked the strength of the story and how reading the Bible changed the outlook of the people without external prompting. Putting God first cleared their decision-making for right living, knowing what they were to do. Offenses failed when not responded to in-kind. This is an excellent story. Happenings caused heart reflection to be sorted out. This is a story for all times. God's grace and redemption; acceptance and love. ***Thank you, Blogging for Books, for having a print copy sent from the publisher. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Grace and the Preacher is set in Fairland, Kansas, during late 1882. The town awaits the arrival of the new preacher, Reverend Dille, Grace Cristler's pen pal. The two had been writing letters to one another for months. Theophil Garrison find himself on the run from his cousin. The cousin that talked Theo into a train robbery that failed. The cousin was arrested and Theo was able to flee before capture. While Theo was on the run, he finds fatally ill Reverend Dille and traded identities with him. Will Theo be able to pass himself off as Fairland's new preacher? Like all of the other books written by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Grace and the Preacher is full of faith and inspiration. There are scenes that just give me the giggles and others that warms my heart. There is, also, some action and adventure. I really like Theo and Grace and enjoy them together, making me root for them until the end. I highly recommend this sweet, inspiring and  fun story. This is a definite must read. 5 plus stars I received this book from the author, but was not required to write a review. This review of my own opinion.
Laundry_Whispers More than 1 year ago
Before we even talk about the story I have to ask..where the gravy is Cooperville, Missouri!?! The book gives me enough to go on that it is right in my neck of the woods. An hour stage ride from Springfield and somewhere south of Stockton. (Straight from the book in a round about way.) Not on Google nor on any map I can find. The Mother person, who is so deep into genealogy that I feel like I grew up in the Sheppard Room at the Springfield Greene County Library and/or cemeteries, would know if it had ever been a town right? Wrong! I'm totally OK with a fictitious town but it did send me on a slight goose chase for a bit. And since I'm wound up in the geography of Cooperville I need to delve into another roundabout the book brought me. Theo is traveling on horseback from Cooperville to his birthplace in Birds Nest, Iowa (I didn't go hunting for that one, I'm only partly somewhat familiar with a small area of Iowa that I used to visit friends in) to escape his cousin. He stopped in Stockton (I used to drive there like 3 days a week) and had passed Warrensburg (yup, know that one too...don't drink the water!). He is trying to decide where to go and what to do for supplies on the road at this point. And he talks about going 'westerly' to Marshall. I had to stop, second guess myself by grabbing a map, and prove myself right. Unless he was on the St. Louis side of the state (and based on dropped locations he isn't) Marshall would be east for him, not west. OK, I've digressed enough for one little slip up in geography. Let's move on shall we? While I honestly and truly enjoyed this book I do have to nitpick for a moment. And explain why it's only a 4 star review on Goodreads and Amazon. And no, it's not over geography! The pace was a little slow. I found myself wanting to tell Theo and Grace just to spit it out already. Stop wallowing in your mess and find a way. Stop hiding from what is really going on and deal with it. Stop but for the love of gravy hurry up. I know, a bit of a multi sided conundrum. We all knew what 'needed' to happen. We didn't know where it would eventually lead but we knew it had to happen. But both of them stayed mired in their own thoughts, their own fears, their own bubble and not reaching out with the details. Both characters were beyond blessed with the influence of Mrs. Kirby. Aunt Bess was an amazing resource of faith, hope, love, and guidance for Grace and Theo. But even with her, they stumbled over truly sharing their turmoil. The truth is, like most people, I ruminate over my own insecurities and fears before actually dealing with them. I recognize that in these characters and I want to tell them to buck up when I won't tell myself that. My only other real issue was over describing. That is a huge pet peeve of mine in books and in life. Probably, something I do myself if I was more self aware. Telling me you ate amazing stew is perfect, please don't go back and describe the meat and potatoes and carrots floating in a flavorful broth. Too much. Moving on. I loved this book. I loved the characters and how very well developed they were as people. I loved how faith was so interwoven into the story and didn't feel 'forced' like I find in other Christian books. I loved watching each character shine in their own truth from Aunt Bess who was solid in her faith and understanding of herself, even when it hurt. Uncle Philemon who knew what he thought was right and then really put
SouthernGalLovestoRead More than 1 year ago
"Thank you, God, for givin' me Grace!" I know I sound like a broken record, but I just can't help it! Whenever I see the name Kim Vogel Sawyer on a book, I know it's going to be great. And I was certainly not disappointed with Grace and the Preacher. As always, Kim has given us characters that literally leap off the page with life. I felt the heart and soul of Grace, Theo, Uncle Philemon, and others as I walked through their stories with them. Innocent mistakes and deliberate deceit led to adventures filled with joys and pains that kept me totally engaged and eager to see how all the jumble could be unraveled and put back together. Kim crafted a beautiful tale of love and grace that was a delight to read and provided splendid nuggets for thought like the following: "If Jesus said it, we oughtta do it." "He has to be first. Because if He's not first, then we can't be whole." Fans of great inspirational fiction should thoroughly enjoy this captivating historical story. Thanks to the author and her publisher for sharing a copy of Grace and the Preacher. I am delighted to share my thoughts in this review.
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful story of Grace the woman and GRACE that our Heavenly Father bestows. This is such a touching novel that will stay with me for awhile. The characters are believable and you want to meet them and be a part of their lives. I can't decide who I loved more Grace and the Preacher or Bess and Philemon. The transformation of Earl and the growth of Grace and Theo are wonderful examples of Christ's love for us. This book is lyrical like a beautiful sonata and you can't get enough. I highly recommend this to your 2017 must read list. I received a complimentary copy from the author. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
DeboraL More than 1 year ago
Kim Vogel Sawyer's new book Grace and the Preacher is a touching must read if you enjoy inspirational books. The reader follows the main characters Grace and Theo through deception, revelation, pain and finally forgiveness through God's grace. There are a couple side stories that the reader will enjoy as well. One of a man who God works on and changes his heart and the other a sweet love story. You will not want to miss reading this book. It is one of my new favorites and Kim writes many books that are favorites. You will not want to miss reading this book. I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write positive reviews; the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.