A Place Called Hope: A Novel

A Place Called Hope: A Novel

by Philip Gulley


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When Quaker Pastor Sam Gardner is asked by the ill Unitarian minister to oversee a wedding in his place, Sam naturally agrees. It's not until the couple stands before him that he realizes they're two women. In the tempest of strong opinions and misunderstandings that follows the incident, Sam faces potential unemployment. Deeply discouraged, he wonders if his pastoral usefulness has come to an end. Perhaps it's time for a change. After all, his wife has found a new job at the library, his elder son is off to college, and the younger has decided to join the military once he graduates high school. Sam is contemplating a future selling used cars when he receives a call from a woman in the suburban town of Hope, Indiana. It seems Hope Friends Meeting is in desperate need of a pastor. Though they only have twelve members, they also have a beautiful meetinghouse and a pie committee (Sam is fond of pie). But can he really leave his beloved hometown of Harmony?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455586882
Publisher: Center Street
Publication date: 05/19/2015
Series: Hope Series , #1
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 265,044
Product dimensions: 5.35(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

PHILIP GULLEY, a Quaker pastor, has become the voice of small-town American life. Along with writing Front Porch Tales, Hometown Tales, and For Everything a Season, he is the author of the Harmony series of novels. Gulley lives in Indiana with his wife, Joan, and their sons.

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A Place Called Hope: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fabulous amazing book just as wonderful as the original series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fun and whimsical book that helped me put our church issues in a different perspective
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
After reading A Place Called Hope I found myself longing for the simplicity of the original Harmony series. I fell in love with the quirky characters that felt very familiar to me. I'm pretty sure every congregation has a member like Dale Hinshaw who always comes up with wacko ideas like Scripture eggs. Thankfully there is usually a Miriam Hodge to balance out the craziness. Dale, Miriam, Fern, and the rest of the gang return in this series. And in fact it starts out pretty funny but quickly takes a turn that it didn't come out of until the very end. I'm pretty sure that Mr. Gulley expected the reader to sympathize with the dilemma that Sam found himself in the midst of but I just didn't. In fact it was Sam that I was the most disappointed in. So, am I ready to write off the rest of the series? No, for two reasons. The first is because I already have a copy of the second book. The second reason is I'm hopeful about the new community that Sam and Barbara have moved to. We've already been introduced to some very interesting characters and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better. It's also my hope that we'll still get to check in with the people at Harmony Friends Meeting now and again. My recommendation would be to read at your own discretion knowing that it is going to be a bit preachy about being accepting of gay marriage. If you can look past that and just enjoy catching up with some beloved characters then you should be able to at least partly enjoy the book. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
This is my first experience with author Philip Gulley and his novel involving a Quaker pastor known as Sam Gardner. Based on the cover of the book I was drawn to read it based on dealing with life in a small town of Harmony, Indiana. Sam has been the pastor of Harmony Friends Meeting, the name of his church, for the past fourteen years and he has seen a lot of change in that time. He wanted to move back to Harmony because he wanted a place that he was familiar with and one he knew quite well, but even in a town you grew up in, people change. Even Sam's family is making forward changes with his oldest moving away to college and his last remaining son, wanting to join the Army when he finishes with school. Something his wife Barbara is struggling with as a first time empty nester. She too is looking for new adventure and is tired of all the complaining Sam does when he gets home from work. She's tired of hearing all the people in his church are tired of the way Sam is running things and they want him out. The sooner the better. They don't like how he has managed things and have tried three other times to get him fired. Now that Sam has grown tired of all the efforts of the church elders, he's finally fed up. He dreams of running a hardware store where no one cares what you do as long as you sell them what they need. You don't have to worry who you offend or if people agree with how you're doing your job. In fact the church has just about had it with everything especially since the Unitarian church bought the vacated church building and insists on converting members of their church to join them. When Sam is called to fill in for their sick pastor at a wedding, Sam agrees to fill in. But what he doesn't realize is that it is a gay wedding and it goes against everything in his church. He knows if he does this it will simply make firing him a no brainer but since gay marriage is outlawed in the state and Sam isn't marrying them just witnessing it and offering a prayer he doesn't think there would be an issue. But that is exactly the match to light the fire for the elders to get rid of him. It doesn't help that Sam resigns before they fire him. Now what will he do if he can't pastor a church any longer? You'll have to pick this one up and find out. I received A Place Called Hope by Philip Gulley compliments of Center Street Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions are strictly my own. I struggled to find something in this novel I liked, a character I could relate to or even care about, but it just felt like a book of complaints directed to the town's church pastor. Every chapter dealt with another issue someone had with the pastor and his constant complaining to his wife that he hated his job. It felt redundant and I had a hard time attempting to stick it out to the end. For me to engage the reader, you have to create a character your reader will care about and even 50 pages into this one, I could care a less if Sam quit or stayed. The writing style seems choppy and the storyline just never connects enough to make me want to read any further novels in this series. It feels like a start and stop with each chapter, simply picking up another problem before it ends once again. For me, this book just didn't engage me like I would have wanted. I was hoping for so much more than what I got and there was a disconnect I could seem to fix by the end of this one. For me, this one was a 3 out of 5 stars in my opinion but others may enjoy it.