cover image Splitting Harriet

Splitting Harriet

Tamara Leigh, Author . Multnomah $12.99 (388p) ISBN 978-1-59052-928-7

Romance author Leigh (Stealing Adda ) mixes chick lit with a treatise on the need for change in traditional churches in her latest. Former wild child Harriet Bisset, 27, tries to keep to the straight and narrow. Between living in a senior citizens’ trailer park, her part-time job as a women’s ministry director at First Grace in Franklin, Tenn., and waitressing at Gloria’s Morning Cafe (which she’s saving to buy), she doesn’t have time to get into trouble. But when the church hires hunky 30-something Maddox McCray, a former bad boy, as a consultant to help attract new members (translation: bring in the guitars, drum sets and programming), Harriet grapples with her own fears about risk and change. Some readers will disagree with Maddox’s breezy assertion that “today’s Christians have different needs from past generations” and that programming and contemporary music are the answer, especially when interest from young people in more liturgical traditions is on the upswing. Church marketing themes aside, Leigh crafts the expected romance, with all the tensions and tingles, adding splashes of fun with Harriet’s Jelly Belly addiction and cat-sitting dramas. The novel’s elderly characters sparkle, and readers will hoot when one “old biddy” takes out a no-good amorous lecher with a stun gun. (Nov.)