Reviewed by Rel Mollet
Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh
"...a wonderfully entertaining read with a message of deep spiritual importance."
Preacher’s kid and prodigal Harriet Bisset returned to her church and her family in Franklin, Tennessee, seven years ago. Once the proud owner of two tattoos and a nose ring, Harri is now addicted to Jelly Bellys in lieu of hangovers and Bible verses in lieu of foul language.
The good news is that she has everything under control: a part-time position as director of women’s ministry, a church family that adores her, a rent-free home in a senior mobile home park, and the possibility of owning the café where she waitresses. Nothing could tempt Harri to return to her old ways. Nothing but a 1298 cc, liquid-cooled, sixteen-valve, in-line four-cylinder motorcycle—and the church consultant riding it.
Reformed rebel Maddox McCray’s arrival at First Grace spells C-H-A-N-G-E for the dying church. And it just might mean change for Harri when Maddox sets out to convince her that even Christians are allowed to have fun.
–Back cover copy
A book only needs Tamara Leigh's name on it for me to be captivated but couple that with fabulous cover art and a great synopsis and I was hooked on Splitting Harriet before even cracking open a page! I knew I would be entertained, but little did I know that Tamara's characters would remind me so poignantly of the freedom God desperately wants us to discover in Him.
Harriet Bisset is trapped by the guilt of her past, forever trying to make amends for the grief her rebellion caused her family and church community. Terrified of falling from grace once again, Harriet has immersed herself in doing good, socializing only with the elderly community in which she lives, addicted to Jelly Bellys rather than cigarettes and staying well clear of the opposite sex, at any cost.
Maddox McCray is a church consultant hired to bring Harri's declining church into the 21st century. A former bad boy himself, Maddox has experienced God's grace in his life and hopes to share that forgiveness and freedom with others. As Maddox gently makes changes to First Grace, Harri and her older friends are soon in uproar over the discarding of the creaking organ, allowing scrapbookers to come alongside quilters and the horrific suggestion of dual services!
Splitting Harriet is a wonderfully entertaining read with a message of deep spiritual importance. Tamara's characterization is exquisite from Harriet to Maddox, the uncompromising Bea and the floundering pastor's kid, Anna. I was invested in each of their stories as the tension arising from the changing of traditions and incorporation of new ideas inspires some at First Grace and terrifies others. The attraction between Maddox and Harri is captivating as Harri's fears of returning to her past poor choices torment her and impact on her relationship with Maddox and her long suffering brother Tyler. The dialogue is so authentic, I ached for Harri, cheered for Maddox and felt deeply for Bea. While peppered with humor and wonderful characters, it is the lasting message of God's grace and forgiveness that has stayed with me. You don't want to miss all that Splitting Harriet has to offer!
Rel Mollet is a lawyer, wife and mother of three young daughters and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Reading has been her passion since childhood. She is a Book Club Co-ordinator and has her own website ~ relzreviewz ~ dedicated to reviews and author interviews with the sole aim to support authors writing from a Christian worldview. She believes Sir Francis Bacon's (1561 - 1626) creed, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body".