Church Folk by Michele Andrea Bowen

I am sure many First Ladies can attest, their job is not an easy one. They have nothing on Essie Lee Lane, a plain girl from a small town who knows her way around a kitchen (that means she can cook really well). Essie does not know what she is getting into when she marries the Reverend Theophilus Simmons. Reverend Simmons is an up and coming theological star in the 1960’s South. Not only is he easy on the eyes (that means he is handsome), but a respected Southern preacher is a position of power in the South especially as the Civil Rights Movement is taking hold. Reverend Simmons is everything you would ever want in a husband—let me re-phrase that, Reverend Simmons is everything every woman in the community wants as a husband. When Reverend Simmons chooses Essie as his wife, the townfolk do not silently sit with their hands folded on their lap, instead they put Essie and their marriage to the test.  Lots of drama ensues in this sometimes funny, sometimes serious but always lively book.

If you found my parenthetical definitions tedious and too obvious then I really think you will like this book. The loose vernacular style is a delight. The colloquial language is not just for show, it comes from the heart and captures precisely the emotions felt. This book is a real treat. And if you like it, be sure to read its sequel, More Church Folk.

Michele Andrea Bowen is one of several North Carolina authors visiting our regional libraries in November. You can meet her and learn about her work at Southeast Regional Library on Saturday, November 8, at 2:30 p.m.  Click here to register.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.


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