Parting River Jordan describes itself as "kind of like a 1930s' screwball comedy." Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with 1930s' screwball comedies, but this was certainly an enjoyably zany read.
There's a fascinating combination of church politics, social regulations (and the judicious or otherwise breaking thereof), and real faith, fun and feeling in the tale. The elderly deacon's suggestion that we just "split this old church down the middle" when factions can't agree is just the beginning--well, maybe building the wall and glassing in the baptismal pool so it can be shared... "The battle was over, but the war was just beginning!" the author writes.
The novel is the result of Mari Barnes' first National Novel Writing Month effort, clearly well-edited and polished since the writing and delightfully presented. It's filled with fascinating characters, wonderfully delineated so I was never confused as to who was who. The dialog kept me trying to hide my laughs as I read on the plane. The crazy situations just added to each other as if they were bound to be that way. And a quiet little love story lurked in the background, awaiting its day.
I guess the young pastor did prove a little more easily tempted than I'd thought, but quite genuinely conflicted. The ladies were truly more concerned than "nosy" though the difference is hard to define. And the power struggle between two pastors, young and old, striking startling sparks, and women weaving delightfully zany threads across the generations, was truly fun to follow.
I really enjoyed this introduction to the author's writing and can't wait to learn what she produces from her next NaNoWriMo.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth (SheilaDeeth)
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Deanna "Dee" Ramsey is NOT nosy; she's just concerned. And the happenings at church are giving her lots of reason to keep her eyes and ears open. Then the retirement of Rev. Amanda Alden, founder of River Jordan Full Gospel Church, initiates a power struggle between the smooth-talking Rev. Albert Beem and the formidable Mother Marva Jessup, long-time president of the Mothers Board. Things go from bad to worse when the feuding factions separate into TWO churches and try to share the building they've literally split down the middle. After the separation, the Mothers Board quickly hires a handsome young single minister for their church. Pastor Darnell Davis's energy and attitude bring out the worst in Rev. Beem. Despite his best intentions, Pastor Darnell finds that Rev. Beem has the same effect on him. While the two ministers battle for the hearts and minds of the members, Pastor Darnell finds himself doing Romeo and Juliet with Rev. Beem's only daughter! After an electrical fire disrupts the "Stupid Bowl Service," Deanna overhears part of a conversation and learns that the fire was no accident. Someone is plotting to destroy River Jordan. Can Dee uncover the plan and save the church or will Parting River Jordan be the end of everything?