The Maverick Preacher
Grade : B

The Maverick Preacher, first in a new series by Victoria Bylin, is an often touching historical inspirational romance set in Denver in 1875. I can’t say that there’s anything new in it, but it is sweet, heart warming, and features a hero who is good down to his boots.

Joshua Blue was one of the most charismatic ministers in Boston. He had the gift of preaching and his small church soon grew into a very large one. Joshua grew proud of himself, and that became his besetting sin. When his sister Emily found herself pregnant, he berated her and threw her out of the house. Then he went back to preaching, but his pride and guilt ate at him. Joshua developed an ulcer and began to treat himself with laudanum. Soon he was addicted. Finally, he admitted his sin of pride, and set out west hoping to find Emily to make amends.

Adeline Clark lives in a large house in Denver where she runs a boarding home for women. Adie has had a very hard life. She lost her parents when she was young, and the local minister Rev. Honeycutt was not much help to her. He got her a job as a maid for the Long family and was almost raped by Timothy Long. Fleeing, she met a woman named Maggie Butler who took her in. Maggie was pregnant and died giving birth to her son Stephen. She left Adie a pouch full of jewels, and asked her to take care of Stephen. Adie used the proceeds from selling some of the jewels to put a down payment on her home. The banker who owns the mortgage, Franklin Dean wants the house and Adie is terrified that he might find a way to take it from her. In addition, Franklin was engaged to Pearl Oliver, one of Adie’s boarders, but raped her while they were taking a carriage ride. Pearl wants nothing to do with him, and so far Adie has been able to keep her safe, but for how long?

Adie meets Joshua when he shows up on her doorstep, weak and sick from a flare-up of his ulcer. Despite her vow not to take in male boarders, Adie can’t leave him there, as ill as he is, and her heart softens when she sees how kind he is to Stephen. However when she discovers he is a minister, she hardens again. Adie and God right now are not on speaking terms.

Joshua is a good man. Back in Boston, he was filled with pride, not bothering to stop and realize that his gifts were from God and should be used in His service. Joshua thought that his church’s growth and his success were all because of him, and he threw Emily out because her plight would have embarrassed him. When we meet him, he has gone through both a physical and mental dark night and humbly confessed his sins. He realizes what he has done and is determined to stay humble. During the course of the book, Joshua is offered a position as pastor of one of the churches in Denver, but he takes another course.

Adie is angry, and she has reason to be. Everyone in her life who should have taken care of her, didn’t. Her anger is especially focused on ministers and religious people since all the ones she has known have been ineffectual or hypocritical. Joshua’s kindness and goodness have her perplexed. He is not like any religious man she’s ever known, but Adie so filled with hate....it’s only when she begins to let it go and forgive those who hurt her than she finds peace.

The Maverick Preacher is heartfelt and very religious. Joshua quotes from the Bible often and looks to it to guide him. Because he knows he is a sinner, Joshua has a rapport with society’s outcasts and feels an empathy with cowboys, prostitutes and others who might not feel welcome in a regular church. This book is not inspiration lite, but I didn’t find it heavy handed either. I liked it very much and was touched by Joshua's faith and Adie's struggles.

Reviewed by Ellen Micheletti
Grade : B
Book Type: Series Romance

Sensuality: Kisses

Review Date : March 4, 2009

Publication Date: 2009

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Ellen Micheletti

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