The Church Ladies  -     By: Lisa E. Samson
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The Church Ladies

Multnomah Books / 2001 / Paperback

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Product Description

If you enjoyed Steel Magnolias, you'll love this heartwarming tale of friendship, set in the charming southern town of Mount Oak! The community's churches are competing for members---until tragedy strikes one of their hometown sons. United in prayer, the women of Mount Oak discover the power of love and compassion---and witness a miracle. 264 pages, softcover from Multnomah.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 264
Vendor: Multnomah Books
Publication Date: 2001
Dimensions: 6.25 X 4.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1576737489
ISBN-13: 9781576737484

Publisher's Description

Competition for church members in Mount Oak has reached a furious peak. When tragedy strikes one of their hometown sons, the church women are drawn together through compassion. The Church Ladies is a contemporary tale illustrating how women can have a major impact on the church. Through friendships that reach beneath surface level -- and trials more severe than simple -- they unite with common purpose: to pray, share, and comfort. Slowly, the community of believers learns that the church grows when it is rooted in love. Characters you'll laugh and cry with, in situations every woman will instantly relate to, light up this page-turner about a miracle that could happen anywhere.

Library Journal

The ministry makes no concessions for ministers' wives, Poppy Fraser thinks, when her husband of 20 years decides to chuck his fast-paced, high-paying career and answer the call from God. Poppy is unprepared for the demands the church makes on her time and, since she doesn't get paid as her husband does, isn't sure this is the life she wants. Add the fact that the town of Mount Oak is a tourist stop, with each church attempting to outdo the others, and Poppy is ready to pull her hair out. Gradually, she begins to meet with Mildred LaRue, the wife of a former pastor from another church, to gain advice. Their meetings expand to include most of the other ministers' wives in the area in a support group that crosses denominational lines. With their help, Poppy finally faces the failings in her marriage and her devotion to the Lord and becomes strong enough to help others when an unexpected death occurs. Samson (Fields of Gold) departs from historical romance to focus light on an aspect of ministry usually kept in the dark. Recommended for fans of Lynn Hinton's Friendship Cake (LJ 6/1/00). Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Publisher's Weekly

A Thousand Acres meets Friendship Cake in this engaging novel by Christian romance writer Samson. Readers in search of a fast-paced plot will want to look elsewhere, but those interested in a complex, compelling protagonist will enjoy this book. Narrator Poppy Fraser leads readers through the novel's two plot lines. The central story concerns Poppy's best friend, Chris, whose son tragically dies in a college hazing stunt. Poppy, a pastor's wife, begins to meet regularly with other local "church ladies" to pray for Chris and her family. The second story line concerns Poppy's own family: although she is a devout Christian, Poppy struggles with her role as a pastor's wife, and with her eldest daughter, who has rejected Jesus and Mom in favor of multiple body-piercings and premarital sex. Furthermore, in a startling plot twist for evangelical fiction, Poppy also wrestles with the guilt of an affair she had several years before. She works to hold her own strained family together, even as she tries to help her best friend's family heal. Samson's fans will love the feisty, honest Poppy; she's down to earth, occasionally sarcastic and always tempted by sweets and expensive coffee. She loves her kids, but doesn't romanticize parenthood. The book is distinguished by Samson's polished prose, especially her striking metaphors and similes ("the darkened sky still hovers over me like a Reformer's cloak"). Samson combines finely grained family drama with quirky Christian women's domestic fiction. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Author/Artist Review

Author: Lisa E. Samson
Located in: Baltimore, MD
Submitted: April 01, 2001

    Tell us a little about yourself.  Married for 13 years, I have three children, ages 11, 6 and 4. I take care of my mother who is chronically ill. We have a very busy home here!
But we're a crazy bunch!

    What was your motivation behind this project?  I wanted to step up the quality of my writing, but I wanted to do it in such a way that would make people think. There's a lot of competition between denominations that flows under the surfaces of our towns. Would a Baptist consider stepping into an Episcopal church? Would an Episcopalian worship at the hip contemporary church down at the VFW hall? If we were honest, probably not. I think that's a shame. Can you imagine the redemptive power we would have through unity, through celebrating the things we have in common, namely the shed blood of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Wow!

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I hope they will reach out and grab the hand of believers that don't go to their church and in turn two hands become four. And what can those four hands do when they grab four more hands? We could change the world. Give the hungry food for the belly, food for the soul. Ease loneliness. Network the needs in our community.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  Good old Phil Yancy! There was one portion of What's So Amazing About Grace that changed me for good. Am I dealing with life, people and problems by utilizing "grace" or "ungrace?" Franky Schaeffer's Addicted to Mediocrity changed me years ago. Every Christian artist should read it and learn that they never "arrive." They need to keep striving, growing, improving and utilizing the gifts God gave them to the fullest for the very best of reasons.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  I appreciate my readers. This new book is quite a departure from the historical romances I've previously written. I encourage them to come along for a ride in a new car. New car, but same driver. I'm still committed to providing as great a read as I can. God is good.

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