rating: 4 of 5 stars
This Catholic woman of German heritage was definitely reading about another culture in this book. The Bishop's Daughter is about the daughter of the pastor of an African-American mega-church and her relationship not only with her family but also with a freelance reporter/blogger who is trying to break a big story. The big story he is trying to break is about her father. The reporter, a young, handsome "brother" from a wealthy family, learns about the church when his latest squeeze gets up on Sunday morning to watch it on TV. He is sure there is something wrong, some dirt than can be dug, so he moves from Cleveland, where his family lives to Atlanta, where the church is. At his first service at the church he is so moved by the pastor's words that he answers the altar call and is baptized. He is still looking for dirt, but he has already found the bishop's (pastor's) daugher and through her learns more about the bishop. During the course of the investigation, Darrin keeps readers informed through a blog, written by the Mad Black Blogger--but he doesn't tell them where the church is.
In some ways the story is universal. The woman doesn't believe she is beautiful and able to attract men, so the only one, until the reporter comes along, who is attracted to her is one she doesn't love. The reporter is following a career path with which his father disapproves, but he is doing it with Dad's money. It isn't until he decides to accept being cut off the dole that he is able to make the decisions on how to run his life. It is a story of sin and redeption and love conquering sin.
In other ways, like I said earlier, this German Catholic was clearly not reading about herself. As a kid I used to watch Sanford and Son and Goodtimes, and while they made me laugh, I found it hard to believe there were really people like that. This book was saturated with sex. No, it didn't have steamy descriptive sex scenes, but Darrin, before his baptism was far more interested in sex than in love. When he first notices the bishop's daughter, it is her body he notices. When another woman with whom he is keeping company comes over, they kiss briefly, then he reaches for her crotch. Darrin is the absolute characture of the hypersexual Black man.
A certain familiarity with the African American church is assumed. One male character is the bishop's "armor bearer"; a female character is his wife's armor bearer. Another female character is the church's "nurse" but while the job was never defined, for some reason I don't think the reference was to medical nursing. The pastor was called the bishop and his wife, the First Lady.
The book was an easy read and interesting. It wasn't just a predictable formula romance, though it had romantic elements. There was a lot of religious content but it was well integrated into the story, and fankly pretty essential to it.
This is a First Wildcard book, so check back January 12 to read the first chapter and learn about the author.
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