Friday, February 12, 2010

Entertaining Angels by Judy Duarte

book cover

Entertaining Angels
by Judy Duarte

Trade Paperback: 294 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books
First Released: 2009

Author Website

Source: Bought from

Back Cover Description:
From the author of the heartwarming Mulberry Park comes an uplifting, unforgettable new novel that proves that though our path through life sometimes takes us in unforeseen directions, it may also lead us to the places and the people we need most...

As a teen, Kristy Smith spent her nights dreaming of a college scholarship--dreams that ended abruptly when she became pregnant. Now Kristy works hard to support her young son, Jason, and her ailing grandmother, staving off regrets about the chances that slipped away.

When Craig Houston became a pastor, he envisioned making a difference in some distant, poverty-stricken country, not dealing with youth groups and shut-ins in a tidy suburb like Fairbrook. But things aren't always what they seem. Soon, Craig finds locals who need guidance even if they'll never admit it--like Kristy's best friend, Shana, who's always strived to be the perfect daughter; Renee, a pregnant teen trying to make it on her own; and Kristy herself, a vibrant and loving young woman unaware of just how much she has to offer. One by one, the residents of Fairbrook are about to learn that the future can surprise and redeem us, especially when there is courage and true friendship in abundance, and a little help from an unexpected source...

Entertaining Angels is religious general fiction about people who feel inadequate, unloved, or regretful and beaten down by past mistakes and sorrows but who discover God is at work in their lives. It's an uplifting and inspirational novel that reminded me of the TV show Touched by an Angel, but from the human's viewpoint and no big "I am an angel" reveal at the end.

I really bonded with the characters and wanted to know what happened to them. They were smart, but imperfect, and had realistic struggles and regrets. The world-building was good, and the pacing was very good.

Many of the characters were Christians, but they only referred to God, not Jesus. There was no preaching or "Jesus is the only way" comments. Non-Christian readers would probably enjoy this novel unless they're strongly anti-God.

There was no sex. The minor amount of bad language was in the "he cussed" style. Overall, I'd recommend this novel as well-written and enjoyable clean reading.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Renee Delaney trudged along the sidewalk on her way to the bus depot, her leather soles scraping against a layer of city grit on concrete.

It was too bad she hadn't put on her wannabe Sketchers when she'd left the house, but she'd been in a hurry and had slipped into the only other shoes she owned--a pair of worn-out brown sandals that had been resting near the cot in the back room where she'd slept. Now her toes were cold, and she had a sore spot just below the inside of her ankle, where the frayed strap had rubbed the skin raw.

The chill in the air caused her to shiver, and she drew her fists into the sleeves of her sweat shirt, which she'd chosen to wear because the extra-large garment hid the growing bump of her stomach. She'd never been fat in her life, but she wouldn't stress about that now, or she might freak out at the thought of how big she was going to get.

Up ahead, a man wearing a tattered gray trench coat with a dirty, red-plaid lining pushed off the wall he'd been slumped against. As he approached, he grinned. "Hey there, little girl."

Her stomach clenched, and her heart rate spiked. She knew better than to look away from him, so she eyed him warily and continued walking at the same pace.

As he approached, his smile broadened, revealing discolored teeth, the front one chipped. "Where you goin', girl?"

Yeah, right. Like she really wanted him to know. She narrowed her eyes in a don't-mess-with-me glare, which worked--sort of. He did walk past her, but his arm bumped her shoulder in the process.

He reeked of stale cigarette smoke and sweat on top of sweat. Cheap booze, too. And the horrible smell lingered, even after he passed her by.

She suspected he was homeless, just like she was.

Oh, God, she thought. Don't let me end up smelling like that guy.

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