It Happens Every Spring

Gary D. Chapman, Author, Catherine Palmer, Author . Tyndale $12.99 (286p) ISBN 978-1-4143-1165-4

Relational expert Chapman rewrites his core message in fiction, teaming with prolific Christian novelist Palmer in this first in a projected tetralogy highlighting the concepts taught in Chapman's The Four Seasons of a Marriage . The plot and characters evince Chapman's thesis that marriage is a journey back and forth through different "seasons," while the neighborhood of Deep Water Cove and little town of Tranquility, Mo., provide the settings. Five local women start a club ("TLC") to help one another through problems in their relationships and their community. In a squeaky-clean nod to Desperate Housewives , a charming handyman is steaming things up with Brenda Hansen. Meanwhile, romance is brewing for Patsy Pringle, who runs Just As I Am, a "faith-based beauty experience." Palmer's descriptions can go over the top; the obligatory "autumn" character "was a windblown shock of wheat, a ripe apple hanging heavy on the tree, a mourning dove that gathered her little ones close about her and cooed in the wind." A homeless, mentally handicapped man gives Palmer some engaging opportunities to flesh out the other characters as they respond to his plight. However, the novel's scenes too often conspire to illustrate a counseling point, and the included study guide reinforces the idea that this is self-help disguised as fiction. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
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