- File Size: 2437 KB
- Print Length: 378 pages
- Publisher: Write Integrity Press (August 5, 2015)
- Publication Date: August 5, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B013J045EE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,555 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Misstep (The Road's End Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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In her novel, Hugh Foster is a newly retired Air Force chaplain. He and his wife, Melanie, begin to open an inn in the small town of Road's End, Virginia. The town is populated by a number of colorful characters, mainly senior citizens. The outspoken Sadie Simms operates a coffee house and bakery, but spends much of her time chasing down escaped chickens. Emma River is the independent-minded town recluse. The pipe-smoking Leo Walling speaks rarely, and then in monosyllables. Also included are Dewey Wyandotte and his hypochondriac wife, Winnie. ("Dewey's a former Marine and Winnie looks like one.") Others equally striking complete the dramatis personae.
A blizzard of record-setting severity causes Hugh and Melanie to shelter the town's elderly people in their inn. Hugh even convinces the reluctant Emma River to join them. And a mean-looking stranger with a sour disposition wanders in from the storm. At this point Hugh finds that the church has been vandalized, with the word "killer" painted on one wall. And in the midst of the storm, four armed strangers in white snow suits lay a life-threatening siege to the town. So to Hugh falls the impossible task of organizing the town's senior citizens to cope with this threat as well as the continuing blizzard. Tension mounts with each successive discovery or development of the threat. And how can a chaplain accomplish this without compromising his faith?
As author, Deborah Harper manages the increasing suspense to perfection while keeping her varied fictional persons in character and interacting appropriately. Her surprising turns of phrase are one of the high points of the novel. This book is a delight to read, and I look forward to its successors in the Road's End Series.
Humor is a great gift from God and not everyone has the gift of executing good humor. There’s timing and tone along with how the words and/or visuals of a joke is structured. The humor in Missstep was great, very witty and fun, kept me giggling throughout the story. The character development was excellent, I felt like I was getting to know these people and feel for them. If I knew them in real life, I think I would love them all, even the cranky ones.
Also, I was completely knocked off balance by the ending. I didn’t see the conclusion to the story coming at all. I often see what may happen, and often am right about how the story will end, but the ending came COMPLETELY out of left field!! Excellent Job, Deborah!!
Here’s just a small taste of what you will find in Road’s End … chickens who escape and take on a life of their own, a camel named Sophie, a lonely recluse, crooks out for revenge, senior citizens who are in no way intimidated by these threatening guys, an exploding Hummer, and the granddaddy of all blizzards. On the night that all these ingredients converge, Pastor Hugh realizes that he had an army of nineteen men, “fifteen of them above the age of seventy-five – and an eighty-three-year-old, half-frozen woman who hadn’t spoken a civil word to anyone in town since the FDR administration.”
I’m excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for Hugh Foster, a former military chaplain, who retires to Road’s Inn and suddenly finds himself pastoring the small congregation that faces challenges when it comes to numerical growth … What had happened to the cozy little world I’d envisioned not so long ago – the one where I retire in comfort to a charming Virginia village, buy an inn with my beautiful wife, and live a carefree existence devoid of detonations, exotic animals, general pandemonium? This story resonates with me because I live in the south and have family ties to communities with similar characteristics.
Cleverly wrapped up in all this quirky characterization and humor are spiritual insights that speak to the daily-lived Christian life – family, redemption, and forgiveness, both of others and of self, through God’s grace. Emma is a pivotal character that touched me so very deeply … Who was she? The rich old woman who doesn’t need anybody – or the little girl who needs anybody who’ll have her? Her backstory and journey of transformation speaks to all of us.
Humor is obviously a strength of this story, but equally impressive is the author’s descriptive narrative talent. I’ll end with this example, one of Emma’s reflective moments …
Emma had little respect for the accomplishments of man, but nature’s endeavors never failed to surprise and impress her. The sun that healed, comforted, nurtured every living thing; the wind that scattered seeds, ushered the clouds across the sky, soothed her during the day and lulled her to sleep at night; even the dark clouds that drizzled rain and shrouded the mountains in mist – all were elements of something far greater than man could dream up on his own.
Misstep was a fascinating and engrossing read for me, a novel that should have universal appeal. It also goes on my 2018 favorites list. Highly recommended.
I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.