cover image LIFE GOES ON: A Harmony Novel

LIFE GOES ON: A Harmony Novel

Philip Gulley, Author . Harper San Francisco $17.95 (243p) ISB

Like Signs and Wonders , the previous book in the popular series featuring Pastor Sam Gardner and the colorful parishioners of the Harmony Friends Meeting in Harmony, Ind., Gulley's fourth installment unfolds through a series of warm, lightly comic anecdotes. Readers will know they're in cozily familiar territory from the get-go, when Dale Hinshaw—the vigilant, long-winded, self-appointed guardian of doctrinal purity—seizes an opportunity to take the pulpit on Easter Sunday (Pastor Sam has laryngitis) and rant for 45 minutes without a single mention of the Resurrection. As the book strolls along, Sam presides over a funeral for a fellow who—oops!—isn't dead, experiences a couple of home-repair mishaps, gets validated for another year of preaching, contracts head lice and bemusedly recounts the antics of his fellow citizens. Tiffany Nagel, the "Sausage Queen," is unmasked as a vegetarian; the town's 29-year-old spinster, Deena Morrison, finally meets her Prince Charming thanks to ringworm; and Dale Hinshaw keeps causing trouble, even for his own wife. By the time December rolls around, Pastor Sam is fed up with every "narrow-minded kook" in town, and it's time for some soul-searching and a re-evaluation of his job as pastor—if those kooks don't get him fired first. This is sweet, homespun storytelling, as comfy and reassuring as warm socks in a wet spring. Gulley's growing number of fans will relish this funny and occasionally hokey novel. 8-city author tour . (Apr.)