Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A Place Called Hope by Philip Gulley

It's been seven years since the last book in Philip Gulley's charming Harmony series featuring Quaker minister Sam Gardner. Now, Gulley launches a spin-off series, catching up with Sam and his family, in A Place Called Hope.

It's a time of change for the Gardner family. Levi is off to college. Addison is a high school senior, looking at his own future. And, Sam and Barbara have to decide what their lives will be as empty-nesters. Barbara is tired of Harmony and the pettiness of some of the people in the Harmony Friends Meeting. Sam is in his fourteenth year as minister there, and he's just tired. Some of the Friends just can't tolerate the changes in Harmony, such as the new Unitarian Church. When Sam agrees, in a moment of fellowship, to step in and handle a wedding in the church when the minister is sick, it creates an uproar in his own church.

Although it is illegal for a gay couple to marry in Indiana, Sam looks up to discover he's presiding at a ceremony for two women in the Unitarian Church. After a discussion with them, he agrees to say a prayer. And, a simple prayer leads to disharmony in Harmony. Sam faces unemployment or a job in the hardware store. Barbara puts in more hours at the local public library. And, then a woman calls from Hope, Indiana, where they need a minister. It's a small meeting, with only twelve members, but they do have a pie committee.

Philip Gulley highlights change in his new book, A Place Called Hope. Whether it's kids leaving home, new jobs, new communities, or a change in beliefs and practices, time doesn't stand still for anyone, even the Gardners. As much as Sam loves his hometown, and Barbara hates to see her boys grow up, the world moves on. And, sometimes, it just takes a little hope, a little humor, and a welcoming heart, to find new ideas and a new home of the heart.

Philip Gulley's website is

Personal note: We're hosting Philip Gulley at our North Park Branch Library on Sept. 22. If you're in the Evansville area, we'd love to have you come!

A Place Called Hope by Philip Gulley. Center Street. 2014. ISBN 9781455519804 (hardcover), 256p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I picked the ARC up at a conference.


Anonymous said...

I've never read all of the Harmony Series, but read (and LOVED) Front Porch Tales, Hometown Tales and Porch Talk. Then, bought them for my mother and an aunt...great stories!

Hope his new book does well!

Lesa said...

I hope so, too, Patricia! It's been a while.

Rosemary said...

Hi Lesa, this sounds like a great book - another one I'd never heard of before too, so thank you.

At the Edinburgh Book Festival I attended a most interesting session with two authors, James Runcie and Gillian Galbraith, who each write detective stories in which the main character is a priest - one is a Catholic priest (Galbraith) and the other a vicar (ie Church of England.) I haven't read any of their works yet but I have one of each on my TBR stack. Galbraith and Runcie talked about how useful it is to have a priest as a 'detective', as people tell them things and they see a lot. They both also use their books to look at the moral issues involved - Runcie said his books are more 'why done it?' than 'Who?'

Best wishes as always - when are you coming to Edinburgh? :-) Rosemary x

Lesa said...

And, I'd never heard of the two series you mentioned either, Rosemary. So, we introduced each other to different books about the clergy. Thank you! Gulley's aren't mysteries, though, but they still have some moral overtones.

Ah, Edinburgh. Someday - hopefully in the next 3-4 years, but I don't know when Rosemary. I'll look forward to meeting you, though, whenever I get there, and maybe even staying with you if your offer still stands.

Carol N Wong said...

I haven't read the original series but have that book headed for me so that I can review it.

It was the cover that made me pick it. I was hoping that the inside would be as good as the outside.

Thank you for the review.

Lesa said...

I hope you enjoy it, Carol!

Rosemary said...

Lesa - of course my offer still stands! Looking forward to it!

Rosemary x

Lesa said...

Rosemary, So what a morning to give me itchy feet. I heard from you and from another friend who is in Ireland right now. Ah, I wish! I'll get both places someday!