5 March 2012

Review: Like Sweet Potato Pie by Jennifer Rogers Spinola

Shiloh P Jacobs is back in this sequel to Southern Fried Sushi, with her debts, her cravings for Japanese food, and a brand new Christian faith. As a well-paid journalist, Shiloh had expensive tastes, a sharp contrast from a difficult childhood with a mother for whom details like feeding and clothing her daughter were secondary. Now Shiloh is struggling financially in a minimum-wage job with a mountain of debts, a house that won’t sell, a half-sister who is angling for a share of the house proceeds, and a real confusion over what life as a Christian is all about. Also back are Shiloh’s slightly crazy friends, who alternate between being interfering and encouraging, including Becky, who is a bit of an airhead, but has a heart of gold, and who is a great Christian witness and encourager to Shiloh as she navigates her new faith.

When her friend Kyoko visits from Tokyo, Shiloh begins to realise that despite all her problems, she is at peace in Virginia in a way she never was in Japan. Japan had helped her forget her past, but in doing so perhaps she has also lost some of herself. As the story progresses, Shiloh blossoms as she starts to find her real self, the self she hid with expensive clothes during her time in Japan.

I really enjoyed Southern Fried Sushi, the first book in this series, and I was almost hesitant to read Like Sweet Potato Pie, in case it didn’t measure up. Well, it did. It is light and deep at the same time, with some brilliant one-liners. Parts of it were so moving that they almost brought tears to my eyes, and I’m not a teary person. Some Christian chick-lit focuses too much on the humour, some focuses too much on pushing an ‘issue’... this is different, better. Shiloh is a real heroine, not because she does anything spectacular, but almost because she doesn’t. It’s easy to be good and strong when everything is going well, but so much harder in the real world where there are money troubles and boyfriend troubles and job troubles, and Jesus seems far away from your heart even though your head tells you he is right there. That’s what Shiloh is going through, and what makes this book so good. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Iola - I just wanted to stop by and say a big (and belated) THANKS for this incredible review! This is without a doubt one of the best reviews I've ever received. Thanks so much not only for the positive comments but for "getting" the book. Don't know how else to say it. Thank you! :)