Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Reluctant Prophet

The Reluctant Prophet: A Novel (The Reluctant Prophet Series)The Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue is an inspiring story of learning to listen to God. Allison Chamberlain is settled into her life at forty-two as a horse-drawn carriage driver in St. Augustine, Florida. She attends church regularly, enjoys a good relationship with the members of her Bible study, and living alone, until she gets a very distinct message from God to buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. This begins a rapid change in her life as she continues to listen to "Nudges" from the Lord. She buys the bike, takes lessons to ride it, becomes involved in the local owners group, HOG, and then feels drawn toward King Street, the red-light district in town. Chief, one of the HOG leaders, introduces her to a man dying in a nursing home whose only request is to see his crack-addicted prostitute daughter Geneveve before he dies. Allison answers that request, so when he gives another, to take care of Geneveve and her son Desmond, she can't say no to the dying man. Soon Allison has two more prostitutes living in her home, along with Geneveve and charming yet troubled Desmond, and she is ministering to them however God calls her to, which turns her Bible study friends and pastor against her. But Allison has been given a mission from God, and life has just gotten very interesting. I'm a big fan of Rue's Sullivan Crisp series with Stephen Arterburn. Her fiction has an unexpected depth and some of the most three-dimensional characters I've ever encountered. Reluctant Prophet is even better than my expectations. Allison has a very complex history, and she is a bit off-putting at first, but once readers fall in love with her, the pages begin to really fly. Rue brings up some difficult issues about American Christianity: salvation is for only the right people, if a person isn't living the life we approve of they aren't saved, and what does Jesus' life tell us to do about those in need? Allison's disillusionment with her church and pastor is, I think, very symptomatic of what is going on in with Gens X and Y in their relationship with the church. Rue somehow manages to do it all with both a sense of humor and a unshakable sense of righteousness. I don't think that Allison's story is over yet, there are some storylines open with Troy and her family history. I hope that Rue writes another book using this amazing cast of characters again soon!

Thank you to Wynn Media for providing me with a copy of this book for review!