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The Pilot Newspaper - Book Section
Updated:
Aug 29, 2004

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FAYE M. DASEN: ‘Bet Your Bottom Dollar’ Is a Good Read

All of these books offered very entertaining stories. There was something special about each one.

Karin Gillespie’s “Bet Your Bottom Dollar” (Simon and Schuster, 2004, $19.95) introduces us to the “Bottom Dollar Girls” who live in Cayboo Creek, S.C.

The Bottom Dollar Emporium is a dollar store where Mavis, Elizabeth and Attalee work happily together — until they hear that the Super Saver is coming to town.

Mavis, who actually owns the Bottom Dollar, knows her store is probably not going to be able to compete, but Elizabeth isn’t ready to give up without a fight.

Elizabeth is also dealing with the loss of her boyfriend, who has left her a “Dear Jane” letter — under the windshield of her Geo Metro.

She accepts a blind date with a young man named Timothy who has recently returned to take over his family’s business. Timothy has been living in a California monastery for several years, so he’s having trouble getting used to the world again.

These are such lovable characters that I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, which is called “A Dollar Short.” The author says this one will focus on two new characters, sisters, Chiffon and Chenille, but the “Bottom Dollar Girls” will appear as well.

Gillespie is originally from Rochester, Minn., but now lives in Augusta, Ga. It’s obvious that she’s picked up on the Southern way of life.

Another book I particularly enjoyed is “To Forgive, Divine” by Melissa Lea Leedom (iUniverse, 2004, $16.95). It’s refreshing to read a romance that focuses on the formation of a relationship rather than immediate lust and gratification.

Some might want to label this as “Christian romance,” but even though much of the setting is at a church, I don’t get that feeling.

It’s just an enjoyable and well-written story about two people — Jeff, the widowed pastor of a church and Bonnie, a church member whose husband died two years earlier — and what they go through to form a relationship. And that’s not easy when the church busybody is doing everything she can to sabotage it.

Leedom is a native of New Orleans, La. who now lives in Texas.

“Nazareth’s Song” by Patricia Hickman (Warner Faith, 2004, $12.95) is the second of the Millwood Hollow series. The first was “Fallen Angels,” in which the Huntersville author introduced readers to Jeb Nubey, the three children he has promised to help and Fern Coulter, the woman with whom Jeb falls in love.

Times are tough in these Depression years, and as the story continues, Jeb is trying to make ends meet as the pastor of a little church. He is drawn into taking a side job offered him by the local banker, not realizing the impact this will have on his church, its families and himself.

The novel is by turns funny and heartbreaking as Jeb tries to rebuild his relationship with Fern, who is still angry because he lied to her about being a preacher in the first place.

Hickman has received member awards and is a frequent speaker on radio shows, talking about everything from women’s issues to the subject of writing.

She and her husband, Randy, a pastor, have helped begin two North Carolina churches.

Faye M. Dasen may be reached at fdasen@thepilot.com.

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