Monday, November 10, 2014

If You Follow Me by Pam Rhodes

In the parish of Dunbridge, hard choices face not only Neil, but also Claire and Wendy. Ben, Claire's former lover and Sam's father, arrives back from Australia keen to pick up where they left off. Neil finds Wendy very supportive - but is she biding her time? Meanwhile, Neil has little chance to ponder his future as the whole weight of running the church and parish descends upon his inexperienced shoulders. His mother, Iris, has just moved to be near him which means she's all too ready give her opinion on every aspect of his life. Meanwhile, Neil's time as a curate in Dunbridge is coming swiftly to an end. Where should he go next, and who will go with him?

My review:
  I have really enjoyed this series, and although I was looking forward to this book coming out, I was also sad to see the series end. The books on the Christian fiction market that have a male protagonist as the main character, are rare, especially when written by a woman, and that is one reason I enjoyed this series so much.

 In this book, Neil, the priest in training, is still on his own, trying to do his job, make everyone happy, and plan a wedding. This was the most interesting of the three books, and a lot happened in it. It  is not a suspense novel, but I couldn't put it down and read far later than I should have last night to finish it, and I loved it.

 These books do have a very liberal theology, so after reading two books already, I was used to overlooking a preacher at the bar drinking ale and a few other things, but this book had a few things that bothered me:

1) The preacher married a non-Christian, something the Bible teaches against.

2) There was a use of the bad word used for women that aren't so nice
3) The book gave approval of homosexuality as a lifestyle.

 This book, and the other two, are well written and entertaining, if one can overlook a few things like I mentioned above.

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

If You Follow Me is available from Lion Fiction, distributed by Kregel Publishing

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.