Comment: In 2016 I gifted this book to a friend and she really liked it. I had planned on getting one for myself but time went by and only now I managed to add it to my monthly list, but I was quite eager, considering my friend's opinion.
This is the first book in the series featuring the odd partners reverend Clare Ferguson and the chief of police Russ Van Alstyne, in a small town where it all seems to be one way, until a murder starts unveiling secrets. Reverend Clare is new at St Albans and she knows some people might frown at a female priest but Clare knows she has been Called and she believes her military background can help her assert her position. Her mission starts right away, for the night before she starts, she finds an abandoned baby and in the hospital she meets the chief of police, also a military man, who helps her with some technicalities. However, the baby had been left with a note and that starts up a whole new problem, especially since the day after, the baby's young mother is found dead. As the investigation goes further, Clare is eager to help everyone, even if that means spending time with a man she grows to respect and like, and the feeling seems reciprocal, but he is married....
I have not read anything about the future installments, not even the blurbs, meaning I don't know how things will develop but my first impressions on this title make me think this was thought to be a suspense series first, and the inspirational content and the romance hints a secondary element. It seems this might happen throughout the other books too, perhaps with more intensity on this or that, depending on the plot.
I liked this story enough, it was certainly fascinating to read and even more so because of the female protagonist. It's not that common that we have female priests as main characters and this was a good story to learn a little on the subject, although I assume Clare was pretty unconventional anyway. I think the inspirational/religious aspect was a bit detailed in one or two situations, mostly related to expectations those who hired Clare had at first, but it was both good and less good the information on the Church and the "rules" so to speak weren't too obvious. I mean, I liked we aren't always forced to see this as a "better" option, religion wise, but for such a novelty, I kind of wanted more on Clare's journey to become a reverend.
In fact, the religious parts were interesting to me, because they are so different from those I'm familiar with, being Catholic. But religious details aside, what made me more interested was the fact Clare was hired. How interesting, it's very different from Catholic priests, who are, if I got that right, nominated, chosen by the bishops or something similar. Meaning, it doesn't feel like reverends like Clare should be that much more conscious about people/attendants of the church, who might have a word on their "job". Clearly, though, the author has included some political hints here, I think. Some characters say this or that which can be pertinent to how a real person in a certain position might say/think but I must confess I would have preferred this part to not be that obvious and in one or two scenes what was expressed left me a little annoyed.