Count your blessings and pass the butterbeans.
Young attorney Marley Shepherd is going places. Didn’t she just get engaged to the perfect man? Gerrard swears he loves her, and that’s enough for Marley. Pam, her mama, and Marley’s grandmother, Ma Grand, are happy for her but soon begin an I-told-you-so quarrel about the man Pam married. No use talking about a slickster like Silas, says Ma Grand, who points out that she saw right through him from the first. Pam is outraged, but Marley makes peace . . . and later, quizzes her grandmother about several generations of family. Ma Grand says that she was a hard-working mother who cooked, cleaned, and did everything she could for her children and her husband, like her mother before her; but Marley knows that Pam was never sure she was loved. While she ponders the implication of this revelation, she finds out that Pam has breast cancer and is facing a mastectomy. There’s more bad news when Marley catches Gerrard with another woman and calls off the engagement. Gerrard protests, but there’s no way that she’ll allow that cheating, low-down, triflin’ dog back in her life. Her friend Sheila, who kept the faith throughout an often difficult marriage, reminds her that “without God we are absolutely nothing, and the only way to lead a peaceful and enjoyable life with an imperfect person is to keep God in the center of it.” Disillusioned and deeply hurt, Marley isn’t so sure about that or anything else. Then Sheila’s husband introduces her to his brother Lazarus, who coaches disadvantaged children. They date and share home cooking and good times (but not sex) and soon fall in love. Marley knows Lazarus is the right man for her when he explains how his family’s unshakable belief in the goodness of God kept them going despite humiliating poverty and painful setbacks.
Heartfelt first novel, originally self-published: about as subtle as a brick, but with gospel-tinged enthusiasm that’s contagious.