Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick

From Goodreads
From debut author Sally Kilpatrick comes a hopeful tale of love and redemption in a quiet Southern town where a lost soul finds her way with the help of an unlikely circle of friends…

Life has dealt Beulah Land a tough hand to play, least of all being named after a hymn. A teenage pregnancy estranged her from her family, and a tragedy caused her to lose what little faith remained. The wayward daughter of a Baptist deacon, she spends her nights playing the piano at The Fountain, a honky-tonk located just across the road from County Line Methodist. But when she learns that a dear friend’s dying wish is for her to take over as the church’s piano player, she realizes it may be time to face the music…

Beulah butts heads with Luke Daniels, the new pastor at County Line, who is determined to cling to tradition even though he needs to attract more congregants to the aging church. But the choir also isn’t enthusiastic about Beulah’s contemporary take on the old songs and refuse to perform. Undaunted, Beulah assembles a ragtag group of patrons from The Fountain to form the Happy Hour Choir. And as the unexpected gig helps her let go of her painful past—and accept the love she didn’t think she deserved—she just may be able to prove to Luke that she can toe the line between sinner and saint…

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.  I gave this an 8/10.

This is a debut novel by Sally Kilpatrick and I found it well written and very readable. I will look forward to reading more stories by this Author. It has religious themes but is not over preachy at all.

Beulah Land is a preacher's daughter, set adrift from her family following a teenage pregnancy. Beulah moves in with her piano teacher Ginger. Ginger isn't a well lady and asks Beulah to take over as the local Church pianist. Beulah is reluctant to do so due to having lost her faith earlier in her life.

Beulah plays the piano at a local bar known as The Fountain, as she is persuaded to take over as pianist at the local Church she clashes not only with the resident choir, but also with Luke Daniels the new pastor. As Beulah takes matters into her own hands and forms a new choir made up of regular drinkers from The Fountain, the Happy Hour Choir is formed.

The motley group of regulars are not naturally religious at all, but it's not long before they begin to take to religion and Luke the new pastor, holding regular bible meetings in The Fountain, which to me was a pretty unconventional place to hold them. Beulah is happy to play the piano and lead the choir, but is very reluctant to take part in the bible meetings. She has reasons why she has no faith anymore and is reluctant to divulge them to others.

It's not long before Beulah and Luke begin to become attracted to one another but both Beulah and Luke are reluctant to act on the attraction. He due to being a pastor and her because of things that have happened to her in the past. Can the path of true love overcome all the obstacles in its way or is their relationship doomed from the start?

This is a feel good story that centres around religion, love, loss, friendship, families and overcoming obstacles.

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