Monday, March 17, 2014

Fisher of Men by Pam Rhodes

Neil Fisher’s first trip to Dunbridge was not a success. Having inadvertently locked himself in St Stephen’s Church for hours (and succumbing to the communion wine and wafers for dinner) it seemed miraculous they gave him the curate’s job! On arrival in the small town of Dunbridge it quickly becomes clear that life is not going to be tranquil for the eligible new bachelor, as four formidable women are determined to make their presence felt. There is his mother, Iris, still questioning his choice of career; his rector, the no-nonsense Margaret, who is not one for taking prisoners; Claire, his new neighbour, whom he’s already managed to offend. And then there is Wendy, the beautiful leading light of the church music group, who has her own plans for Neil… It can only end in trouble.

My review:
  Unfortunately, the Christian fiction market seems to be a women's world. The books that are geared for men are few and far in between. That isn't saying there aren't any, but compared to the amount geared for women, the ones for men are but a drop in a bucket. So I always like to see books come out that are more for men.

 This series is written by a woman, but the main character is a young man, and the book focuses on him. Granted, it may still be a book more geared for women, but its nice to find books where men are the main character, and the main focus.

 I actually got a review offer for the second book in this series, and thought it sounded good, so I emailed my contact at Kregel Publishing to see if I could the first book, and he gladly sent it to me. And I am glad I decided to review it, and the one that follows.

 I loved the book. It is humorous, quirky, and has all of the ups and downs of a young man training to be a vicar in a church. It is set in England, and it took a while for this teetotaler to get used to all of the alcoholic drinking going on in the book, and the hanging out at taverns by even clergy, but I decided to not let that hinder my enjoyment of the book.

 I started reading the popular series by Jan Karon a few years ago that centered around an elderly priest, and didn't care for the series. This book surpasses that series, in my opinion. It is very entertaining, and I found it interesting to see how they do things in a different country and church than I am used to.

 There really isn't much of a spiritual lesson in the book, other than following God's will, but it is a great book, and a most enjoyable read. I am looking forward to reading more in the series.

About the author:

Pam Rhodes cut her teeth in news journalism, firstly as Programme Organiser on Thames Television's network documentary series, THIS WEEK, then as the anchor for Anglia Television live daily evening news programme for seven years.  She's featured on a very wide range of television and radio programmes ever since, but since 1987, has been best known as the familiar face of BBC Television's SONGS OF PRAISE.  In that time she has interviewed people ranging from The Pope to Dolly Parton, earning herself a reputation as a highly professional and empathetic interviewer, especially when people are speaking about sensitive, perhaps traumatic experiences. Also, SONGS OF PRAISE is the perfect programme for a presenter who truly loves hymns, old and new.  If you mention almost any hymn you can think of to Pam, she's likely to come back with the full story of who wrote it and why, as well as giving you renditions of a couple of tunes to which it can be sung - as you'd know if you've ever dipped into any of her weekly radio programmes WITH HEARTS AND HYMNS which have featured on Premier Christian Radio for a decade!

She has presented televised recordings in venues from the Sydney Opera House to London's Royal Albert hall, and is often asked to compere large orchestral or musical events at theatres and churches around the country - including, throughout Summer 2011, the famous BATTLE PROMS concerts which attract thousands to visitors to the gardens of glorious stately homes for an evening of picnic, patriotic music, Napoloeonic re-enactment, orchestral music, Spitfire fly-pasts and the largest collection of cannons and artillery you're likely to see in action anywhere!  Pam is also well known as an entertaining after-dinner speaker, and as a mainstream author with five novels and six factual books under her belt.   She regularly contributes articles and short stories to national newspapers like The Daily Mail, and publications such as CHOICE, MY WEEKLY, PEOPLE'S FRIEND, WOMAN'S WEEKLY and other specialist publications.

She is married to Richard Crow and lives with the family at a two-acre small holding in Bedfordshire.  It is there that they run BIGGLESWADE CAT LODGE which not only takes in cats while their owners are on holiday, but has also become known for boarding RSPCA animals who need loving care whilst new homes are found for them.  So Pam is likely to be cleaning out cat pens most days, or escaping for a potter in the garden when she's not happily tied to the computer by her first love of writing!  She also enjoys dancing so is often out ballroom, line or tap dancing - or at modern jive evenings similar to the one at which she met her husband Richard some years ago!

More about Pam and her books on her website.

Fisher of Men is available from Lion Hudson Publishing, an imprint of Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Adam at Kregel for the review copy.