THE CHAPEL CAR BRIDE
After a sheltered life in Pittsburgh, Hope Irvine is ready for a new adventure. When her father takes a position as a preacher in a railroad car converted into a traveling church, she's thrilled at the chance to accompany him. while accommodation in their new chapel car home are tight, Hope couldn't be happier putting her musical skills to good use and ministering to the people of West Virginia alongside her father. But when their chapel car arrives in Finch, West Virginia, they find a coal mining community that has his hard times and is suspicious of outsiders.
Luke Hughes works for the coal mine when he can, but the struggling company doesn't always offer steady work. When Reverend Irvine and Hope arrive in town, Luke is intrigued by what the reverend can teach him -- and by the lovely and kind Hope.
When Hope's desire to bring supplies and Sunday school classes to neighboring counties leads to her traveling with a flirtatious young mine manager. Luke is hard-pressed to suppress his jealousy. But when he begins to suspect the manager's motives are less than charitable, can he prove it without hurting Hope, or worse, putting her in danger?
I love discovering unknown-to-me bits of history in the pages of a novel. I mean, seriously, a chapel car ministry? How cool is that? Imagine a train car set up as a chapel with a small section at the back blocked off for living quarters. It's the original tiny house! And the chapel car can be disconnected and left behind to minister to the people in small communities along the railroad line. How did I not hear about this before? Such an awesome backdrop for a historical romance.
And then there's the discontent and wariness of close-knit coal mining towns in West Virginia. Poor wages, dangerous work, unfair treatment by mine managers. It all adds a sense of danger and even some intrigue to the plot.
Hope is eager to prove herself as she accompanies her father on his ministry tour for the first time. She"s not prepared for the abject poverty she encounters, the rough-and-tumble existence in the remote mining towns. But the girl has grit and determination and a love for the Lord that fuels her desire to serve through her music and children's ministry.
Luke is the family breadwinner, providing for his mother and siblings on his limited mining income. He"s as intrigued by the chapel car as I am. :-) A man of faith, it isn"t long before he becomes enmeshed in the Irvine's lives and ministry...with a certain fascination for the preacher's daughter.
A sweet inspirational romance rich in historical details and filled with captivating characters. A joy of a read.
Book provided courtesy of Bethany House and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.
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