Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Endless Chain

As my regular readers have no doubt figured out, much of my recent reading material has been Christian fiction. I decided to change genres briefly and picked up Emilie Richards' Endless Chain If you go back a few weeks you'll see where I read the first book in her Shenandoah Valley series; this is the second. Like Wedding Ring, this one is set in a small town not too far from Washington DC, in rural Virginia. Like Wedding Ring, it involves a quilt. The main characters in Wedding Ring play an important part in this book. Endless Chain is the story of Sam Kincaide, the new minister at Community Church. We learn that he was hired after getting out of prison, where he served a sentence for an act of civil disobedience involving the School of the America, which is a Georgia school run by the US government which trains Central and South American military leaders. Prior to his run-in with the law he was an assistant pastor at a society church in Atlanta, where he met his fiancee. Endless Chain is also the story of Elisa, a secretive Latino woman he hires as sexton (which from what I can tell seems to be a fancy word for custodian). It is the story of their relationship with each other and the people in the community.
Its funny that when looking for a change from religious topics I pick up a book that really has a lot of religion in it, though it isn't marketed as such. It would never make the cut as Christian fiction--Sam's requirement for having sex with a woman is that they be engaged with a date set. One of the characters is a Catholic who, while she is engaged, and having sex with her fiancee, doesn't want to get married until they can agree about kids--she already has two young ones and wants a break before having more. He wants kids right away and lots of them. Even though they are having pre-marital sex, she doesn't want to use birth control because of Church rules. Elisa gives her some Cycle Beads, which are used in a calendar method of NFP. Sam's religion is much more in the liberal social justice sphere than the conservative social values one. Things he says make it clear he is not a fundamentalist--but he is a man of faith whose faith causes hardship in his life and, at the end, leads him to a vocation he never planned on. I liked the book and I hope I can find the third book in the series.

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