Multnomah, Nov 2007, $12.99
As the daughter of a minister in Franklin, Tennessee, Harriet Bisset was expected to behave with utmost decorum. Instead as a teen she was the poster child for open rebellion.
Now twenty-seven years old, the former running wild as a child displays prim and proper behavior even working part-time as the women's ministry director at her father’s church First Grace. She also earns money as a waitress at Gloria's Morning Café, which she hopes to one day own. Her church hires reformed bad boy Maddox McCray to help bring new members to the congregation. As he brings in innovative ideas like music and computers, Harriet worries about the impact his changes will make on her. Worse he pushes her buttons as he wants more of the bad girl persona that he senses underneath her “image”. He is attracted to the woman who is addicted to jelly belly and detests the minister’s daughter running from a jelly belly.
This interestring chick lit inspirational romance argues that the way to bring young people into the Church is through modern technology like computer access and music; this is not a new assertion, but makes a strong case that contemporary marketing is needed before more of the next generation seeks a different Word in the electronics. Harriet is terrific as she feels split between her rebellious youth that Maddox encourages and her prime and proper adult behavior that her dad supports. SPLITTING HARRIET between the men in her life leads to a humorous with a serious metaphoric geometric leap in her addiction to jelly beans. With a deep look at this young woman caught between traditionalism and modernization, Tamara Leigh provides an enjoyable tale; of course her first name doesn’t hurt her rating.