About the Book: On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape--which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.
For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. 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. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, 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 he ended up right where he was supposed to be?
With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart.
When I discovered that there was to be a sequel to Short-Straw Bride, I was interested, but I wasn’t so sure. I really enjoyed two of Karen Witemeyer’s other novels – A Tailor-Made Bride and To Win Her Heart – but Short-Straw Bride actually was one that I didn’t like as much.
Fortunately, Stealing the Preacher seemed to get back to what I love about Ms. Witemeyer’s writing. It actually really reminded me more of To Win Her Heart, which is my favorite of her novels so far.
After what I thought was a pretty ridiculous, albeit exciting, set-up to the plot in the beginning of the novel, this book settled down and really got to what I like about Christian historical fiction. The characters were relatable, and the Christians in the novel turned to the Bible for comfort and peace and for direction in their lives. Other characters experienced significant spiritual growth, and there was an overall feeling of hope even in dark times.
I was also moved by the compassion with which Joanna and Crockett approached others in their lives. They were so passionate about reaching others for Christ, and I loved how they lived out their testimonies with actions as well as words.
The romance between Crockett and Joanna was bordering on love-at-first sight, which I sometimes find a bit unbelievable. I will say that even though I was initially hesitant about this tactic, Joanna and Crockett did seem to be made for each other! I loved how Crockett thought Joanna was beautiful even if she didn’t think so herself.
This story definitely had the potential to be one-dimensional, since most of it takes place on the ranch or at the church, but there were enough subplots in the story to keep it interesting. The main plot was somewhat predictable, but I was so invested in the characters that I wanted to see how they would get to the ending that I knew was coming. This is actually the kind of book that I like the best. I like happy endings, and this one totally blew me away. The forgiveness and redemption that took place in the lives of the characters was phenomenal. It perfectly portrayed how a person can be completely changed through the salvation that comes from Christ alone.
As in To Win Her Heart, I was a little bit sad to leave these characters. I was so overjoyed at the ending that I just wanted to keep reading about them! I would love to revisit the Archer brothers in future books (maybe a book for Neill?)!
I will give Stealing the Preacher … 4 BookWorms.
Stealing the Preacher
by Karen Witemeyer
Follow-up to Short-Straw Bride (but can be read as a standalone novel)
Bethany House Publishers
Publication date: June 1, 2013
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."