This week’s book review is one that I don’t know if I’m qualified to write for the general public. How does a pastor’s wife write a review of a novel written by a pastor’s wife about a pastor’s wife without getting overly caught up in things only a pastor’s wife would care about?
But, I’m going to try.
Reinventing Leona by Lynne Gentry tells the story of a woman who is living the life she is perfectly happy to live, serving alongside the love of her life. Despite the aggravations of a dilapidated parsonage, frustrating church members, and a husband who desperately needs to slow down but doesn’t want to, life as a pastor’s wife is exactly what Leona Harper believes it should be. In the blink of an eye, though, that “just right” life is turned upside down when her beloved husband dies of a heart attack just as he is beginning his Sunday sermon. For the first time in thirty years, Leona Harper is no longer a pastor’s wife. Not only has she lost the love of her life, she has also lost her identity and is staring in the face of losing her home.
As contradictory as it may sound, Lynne Gentry’s tale of Leona’s journey through her tragic loss is absolutely delightful. The book is dripping with small-town church and preacher’s family stereotypes – everything from the fish-bowl parsonage to the precious but nosey little old ladies. From the “everything falls on me” pastor’s wife to the rebellious preacher’s kids. There are the impossible church members and the well-meaning ones. And there is the beauty of a church family joining together to stand by their own. But, the stereotypes almost felt like a comforting blanket to me as I could chuckle and recall my own experiences with so many of them.
If I were to have any complaint about this book, it would be that there wasn’t enough. A few tidbits seemed to be left hanging…can there possibly be a sequel? This pastor’s wife definitely hopes so!
This book was sent to me for review by Tyndale.