New York City girl goes to small-town Texas. Comedy and romance ensue.
When Jordan’s crazy uncle Jacob is arrested in China for smuggling Bibles, her divinity-professor father decides to fill in at his church for the summer, dragging Jordan and her corporate-lawyer mother along with him. The town of Ashworth has the usual collection of quirky eccentrics: supertalented Latino youth-group leader and chef; little-old-lady bookkeeper and gambler; perky, blonde, hedgehog-toting wannabe superstar; hot, brooding boy librarian and bottle-washer; redneck bad boy; etc. While her father inflicts his university-level theology lectures (complete with PowerPoint) on his brother’s flock every week and her mother goes Stepford after losing her biggest client, Jordan slowly succumbs to the charms of Ashworth, particularly those of Knox, the brooding boy with tragedy in his past. While Osteen’s debut breaks no new ground in the plot department and at times struggles with characterization and language, it nevertheless has its fair share of good one-liners. As Jordan’s father lectures her about the proper use of “y’all,” she reflects that “now, rather than hanging out in Greenwich Village, I had to concern myself with incorrect country bumpkin grammar.”
These comic turns of phrase and the novel’s palpable warmth should win it some fans, particularly among readers who like their romance on the sweet, not steamy side. (Fiction. 12-16)