It is 1885 and Crockett Archer is following the call of God to on his way to Burleson County, Texas, to gain what he hopes will be his first official job as preacher. But his train journey is cut short when a group of outlaws hold up the train and kidnap him … as a birthday gift.
Joanna Robbins has always known her father used to be an outlaw and train robber, but his love for her now-dead mother led to Silas and his gang giving up crime fifteen years ago and settling down to work the Robbins ranch. Her mother was a strong Christian, and when she died, she passed on to Jo the burden of praying for Silas and his salvation. Jo has long wanted a preacher for their abandoned church, but never dreamed her father would kidnap one (well, who would?).
It’s an amusing set-up, and one that works well. Jo is a mature and beautiful young woman who is soon attracted to the young preacher, and Crockett soon finds that his plans might be different to God’s plans—and God’s plans just might include Jo and her small church. But he also has to earn the respect of Silas, who has a long-standing hatred for ‘men of God’.
One of the things I enjoy about Karen Witemeyer’s books is the humour, and Stealing the Preacher is no exception. The concept alone is pretty funny, and she manages to mix humour with likeable characters, a solid plot and sound Christian themes without the humour coming off as forced, and without the characters coming off as stupid.
Crockett Archer first appeared in Short-Straw Bride, the first novel about the Archer brothers, and although Stealing the Preacher is part of a series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone novel (although you might just want to go back and read the earlier stories once you’ve finished this one). Recommended for fans of romantic American westerns by authors such as Mary Connealy, Cara Lynn James and Jen Turano.
Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Karen Witemeyer at her website.