Queen’s Surrender: To A Higher Calling
Queen’s Surrender: To A Higher Calling is the latest release in Pat Simmons’s ten-book series The Jamieson Legacy, and as I had not read the previous books, I knew I was coming in late to this long-running story. Nonetheless, with a little attention I was able to get a handle on the large Jamieson clan and to place Queen, our heroine, and Philip, the man who’s been waiting in the wings, within the web of relationships. Because in this entertaining book, it’s all about family and how they live, love and connect with God.
Queen Jamieson has a sweet life. She’s a good-looking woman, the senior editor of a mechanical engineering journal in Tulsa, OK, and after her twin sister died eight years earlier, the Jamiesons living in St. Louis, Missouri, welcomed her into the fold with open arms. Her extended family is complex with ‘halves’ and ‘steps’, all related to Samuel Jamieson, Queen’s father, whose two marriages and one known affair created a boisterous family who carry some resentments over Samuel’s choices, yet can be fiercely protective. Queen flies to St. Louis for any celebration – whether invited or not – and is a great favorite with her younger cousins and nieces. Queen loves her life and remains single, commenting that most men she dates are “sexually thirsty but emotionally empty.” She is also one of two Jamiesons who have not surrendered her life to God.
But on the maternal side of the family and unrelated by blood to Queen, are three brothers, and Philip has Queen’s attention. He is a trial pastor at a St. Louis congregation, serving a probationary period and hoping the deacon board will give him the nod for the lead pastor position. He lives God’s Will always, whereas Queen prefers her own free-will lifestyle. Queen considers Philip a fascinating, handsome specimen of a man but not husband material for her. Philip is noticeably unaffected by Queen’s charms and worries that she has not yet given her whole being to God. When he gets the chance, Philip puts in a good word for God’s saving grace.
During one St. Louis celebration, Queen can tell immediately that something is bothering Philip. He confesses that he finds pastoring difficult, and the board seems less than pleased with his performance in couples counseling. With his probationary period almost over, he’s anxious about the board’s decision and considering a return to his former work as an evangelist. Queen determines to visit his church more, find out what’s behind the board’s dissatisfaction, and figure out if she can help in some way. At the very least, she’ll let Philip know that she has his back.
What follows is a friends-to-lovers story, building from Queen’s concern, to her more frequent trips to St. Louis in aid of her friend, and finally, to the obstacles Philp and Queen face – very full lives in two cities several hundred miles apart and the differences between their relationships with God.
I loved the characters. Strong-willed, generous, and loyal, Queen and Philip display – in their own ways – how to follow God and how to live God’s command to love one another. Queen is sassy and smart, and Philip matches her with his own intellect and humor. Both are clearly portrayed and give the book its mood – a mixture of warmth, fun, and heartfelt discussion of serious topics. The novel presents a steady case that God’s grace and the unconditional support of family can clear the path for anyone’s healing and their return to the potential future God envisions. I enjoyed watching the extended Jamieson family argue then make up, support each other, and use tough love when needed. The writing style is conversational with everyday language used for everyday people. I was impressed when the author faced a common question in marriage – with two successful professionals in a relationship, when a new opportunity including a relocation arises, how do these strong people arrive at a decision?
At times, the pacing does flag. The chemistry and interactions between Queen and Philip are so vibrant that other scenes about the family do not shine as brightly, and at those times, I found it easy to lay the book aside. If you’ve read the other books in the series, this might not be a problem for you however. There were also several instances of vague transitions from scene to scene where I could not figure out who was talking and places where I realized the author meant to name one character, but named another. One final, quick edit would have solved these small bumps.
Nonetheless, with the ever-entertaining Jamieson family, the sparkling chemistry between the hero and heroine, the open discussion of God’s personal call, and the friends-to-lovers trope, Queen’s Surrender: To A Higher Power offers a light reading experience with an engaging romance and problems to which readers can relate. When you need a break, this is a story that will give you a nice lift.