A Gathering in Hope by Philip Gulley

A Gathering of Hope is the Third book in the Hope series by Philip Gulley. I am a big fan of his Harmony series and have read them all. I enjoy his stories and humor focused on small town life in America.

Sam Gardner, pastor of the Quaker Church in Hope, is encouraged by the unexpected windfall inheritance left to his congregation by member Olive Charles who recently passed away. Several in the congregation want to use the money to expand their meetinghouse by building a new addition. However, before they can begin, the County Environmental Board and the Department of Natural Resources stops the plan due to a colony of endangered Indiana bats living in the attic and the trees on the property. Mayhem results as some of the members take matters into their own hands to further the Quakers' agenda. I will stop there as to not reveal too much of the plot.

I enjoyed book 2 in this series, A Lesson in Hope, very much. It often had me laughing in my reading chair as I turned page after page. However, this third book in the series wasn't my favorite one. The story seemed a bit farfetched to me. I also felt like Gulley was pushing a political agenda of promoting gay marriage in this book, poking fun of his conservative Christian readers, and portraying animal activists as deranged and militant.  I didn't see that in his humor in previous books and was disappointed in that aspect of the book. I also wish Gulley had shared more about Sam's brother, Roger, and his future wife in this book since Roger had just proposed to her near the end of book 2. Maybe that will be the main story-line in the next book? I have to admit I somehow missed reading book 1, but if the Hope series continues like this book, I personally don't think it shows Gulley's usual small town humor.

I received this book from Center Street/Hachette Book Group. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.


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