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Piper Huguley’s The Preacher’s Promise

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.”—Daniel 3:17

1866 – Oberlin, Ohio
Devastated by her father’s death days after her triumphant graduation from Oberlin College, Amanda Stewart is all alone in the world. Her father’s unscrupulous business partner offers her an indecent proposal to earn a living. Instead, to fulfill a promise she made to her father, she resolves to start a school to educate and uplift their race. Sorting through her father’s papers, she discovers he had carried on a mysterious correspondence with a plantation in Milford, Georgia. She determines to start her teaching work with the formerly enslaved. However, when she arrives, the mayor tells her to leave. There’s no where for her to go.

Virgil Smithson, Milford’s mayor, blacksmith and sometimes preacher man with a gift for fiery oratory, doesn’t want anything to do with a snobby schoolteacher from up North. On top of everything else, the schoolteacher lady has a will hard enough to match the iron he forges. He must organize his fellow formerly enslaved citizens into a new town and raise his young daughter alone. Still, his troubled past haunts him. He cannot forget the promise he made to his daughter’s mother as she died—that their child would learn to read and write. If only he didn’t have secrets that the new schoolteacher seems determined to uncover.

To keep THE PREACHER’S PROMISE, Amanda and Virgil must put aside their enmity, unite for the sake of a newly-created community in a troubling age, and do things they never imagined. In the aftermath of the flood that was the Civil War, God set his bow upon the earth to show love and understanding for humankind. To reflect God’s promise, these combatants must put aside their differences and come together–somehow.


I stumbled across this book due to the wonders of Twitter. And since I love, love, love to read diverse books, so glad I did. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The time period. The novel takes place in 1866 which is strange time in America for black Americans. Not all black Americans were ex-slaves at that time as Amanda embodies. Amanda represents the lives of blacks who had been free for generations and went to college and generally speaking, lived like the majority. And then’s there’s Virgil, who was a slave for most of his life. I loved the way the author was able to show the difference in their lifestyles and their way of thinking when they came across various challenges.

Virgil. He was my favorite character in the book. I loved everything about him. I loved that he bought himself out of slavery and rose above his situation. And yet still had to deal with the fact that there was slavery. He’s a mayor of his community and looked up to even though he is still very much learning what freedom for ex slaves means now.

Romance. The romance surprised me a bit but in a good way. Amanda and Virgil have nothing in common except that they have the same color of skin. Watching them being forced to interact was very entertaining.

Spiritually, the novel has a beautiful theme of forgiveness and how if you don’t forgive, you create a prison of your own.

What I didn’t like:

Amanda makes a decision about 80% into the novel that I didn’t care for, but it only last for about a chapter.

Romantic Scale: 8

Overall, I am so glad I stumbled across this novel. It’s so different than what is usually out there and I look forward to reading more books by Piper Huguley.

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Steven James’ Fury

The disturbing visions that helped Daniel Byers solve a deadly mystery have finally quieted, and the sixteen-year-old basketball star is looking forward to things settling back to normal. But when his father mysteriously disappears, Daniel realizes that the key to finding his dad rests in deciphering his chilling hallucinations.

Soon, long-buried secrets begin to surface, revealing clues that could help him locate his father. But as the past collides with the present and reality begins to blur around him, Daniel faces a race against time to save his dad before it’s too late.

Filled with pulse-pounding suspense, Fury continues the thrilling young adult Blur Trilogy from bestselling author Steven James.


Once upon a time, I devoured mysteries (I’m looking at you Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys). Then I got tired of mysteries. But there is one author I buy for his mysteries no matter what: Steven James. So naturally I picked up Fury (which is YA). But I would almost argue that this book is more or less Christian horror (yes, that’s right, you heard me). My thoughts:

What I liked

The horror part. Oh my goodness did this book have me jumpy. My sister opened my bedroom door and I almost threw something at her. This book ranks high on the creepy factor. And I loved every moment of it. Dead people? yes. Hallucinations? Yes. Unreliable narrator? Yes.

Daniel. Poor Daniel. He is simultaneously smart and crazy. He is completely unreliable as a narrator because he’s never sure what is real and what is not real. While this was introduced in the first novel, it was really taken to the extreme in this novel. I completely admired his friends for staying with him…even though they came across as often not trusting a word he said. I know what you’re thinking, how does this work for a main character? It just does. And it plays with your mind too.

The mystery. I love mysteries that pull on the past and reference the future. Thinking about the book a day later, though, I’m still not entirely sure what the old mystery had to do with the new mystery. But. That in no way detracts from the fun. Dead girl from 80 years ago, creepy lighthouses where people committed suicide, homicidal sleep-walking. Yes.

Spiritually, Daniel begins asking questions about demons and their influence on people. His girlfriend, who is a believer (why is she dating an unbeliever???), assures him that God’s power is stronger than any demonic influence.

What I didn’t like

The only thing that had me shaking my head was just how smart Daniel’s friends were. I can deal with Daniel being smart. Anomalies are one thing. But I have a teenage sister and I know her teenage friends….and while I won’t say that they’re not smart, I will say that they are interested in “teenage” things and not research and…stuff….

Romantic scale: 5 (Dan has a gf)

Overall, I had so much fun with this book! It’s not often I read books that give me the creeps, but I so enjoyed the suspense of this one and I had to know what had happened!