From My Bookshelf – Walking Shoes by Lynne Gentry

Leona Harper is a pastor’s wife in a small-town church. As is often the case for women like her, every choice Leona makes is up for scrutiny among at least a few members of the church. Her efforts to put forth the kind of image that will keep the church people happy has strained her relationships with her two adult children and left her exhausted.

Then one Sunday morning, her husband, J.D. Harper, drops dead in the pulpit from a heart attack. She doesn’t have a job and she is living in the parsonage, the home that the church owns and provides as housing to their pastor. What is going to happen to her now that her husband is gone? Not only does she have to process her grief at losing the man she loved, but Leona also has to face her son David and daughter Madison, neither of whom are big fans of their mother. And then there’s her mother who was NEVER happy that J.D. decided to be a pastor.

With the help of her outspoken friend Roxie, Leona re-enters the workforce, learns to stand up to the busybodies in the church, and is able to communicate with her kids like never before. She learns that the “negative nellies” in the church are far outnumbered by those who are genuinely fond of her and are looking out for her.

I am a pastor’s wife and I have to say that Leona’s story is so true it is almost painful! The author describes a lifestyle that is so unique that only another pastor’s family can truly understand the scrutiny that you live with when hubby is in the pulpit every week. The toll that such a life can take on family relationships was depicted in a real and honest way without lumping all people of faith into the same negative box. Leona discovers some real friends among the church members and her kids even start to find the good in a situation that had long been a source of frustration for them both. The first in a series, this is a very realistic peek into life in the parsonage and I will definitely be continuing the series!

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