After a sheltered life in Pittsburgh, Hope Irvine is ready for a new adventure. When her father takes a position as a preacher in a railroad car converted into a traveling church, she’s thrilled at the chance to accompany him. While accommodations in their new chapel car home are tight, Hope couldn’t be happier putting her musical skills to good use and ministering to the people of West Virginia alongside her father. But when their chapel car arrives in Finch, West Virginia, they find a coal mining community that has hit hard times and is suspicious of outsiders
(excerpt from back of book)
One thing I know I can count on from Miller is at least one character who will grab my attention. The Chapel Car Bride is no exception. The character of Luke is so refreshing as Miller chooses to have him visibly wrestling with how to live out his faith in real life scenarios. Luke's imperfections are so relatable (jealousy, family concerns, love) that his character leaps off the page to the point of overshadowing the rest of the cast.
I also appreciated the details Miller put into the town of Finch to help it find it's foundation. While I am unfamiliar with the realities of coal mining and the towns that sprang up from the workers, Miller walked a careful line to bring her characters realities to life without exiting the narrative. While I appreciate a good world-builders it is so much sweeter when you don't have to exit your immersion in the story to get the details and Miller captures this wonderfully.
The character of Nellie fascinated me. Although a secondary character, Miller easily allowed Nellie the most character growth and a sequel featuring Nellie would certainly not be outside the realm of possibility.
While I found the plot interesting with the mining safety, the love triangle, and the illegal activity threatening the main characters. I found Hope and her father became overshadowed by Luke and their own story line. This made them forgettable at times and left feeling more like plot devices at others rather than the central characters they should have been.
Overall I enjoyed this read. There was ample plot line and world building for an enjoyable afternoon read, however, thanks to the main character getting overwhelmed by her own plot line, this is probably a one time read for me.
3 out of 5 stars
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."