A Moment's Rest (Ellis Springs Series) by C.P. Stringham

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C.P. Stringham
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Book review

Even the strongest person needs time to heal; A MOMENT’S REST.

Ask any resident from the small Pennsylvania town of Ellis Springs to describe the happy-go-lucky rector of St. Regis’ Episcopal Church and you may be surprised by some of the answers you would receive. They would range from shameless chocoholic, motorcycle momma, compassionate soul, avid runner, faithful Christian, to devoted wife. Stephanie Talbot was all of those and so much more. Reverend, wife, mother, and friend.

Days before the New Year arrives, her world is tragically changed. Stephanie finds herself widowed at the age of thirty-six when her husband, David, is killed in an automobile accident. His death leaves her alone to raise their three year-old son—all while she’s expecting their second child. David’s death shakes her to her very foundation and makes her doubt her faith by questioning God’s plan. In a role-reversal, she is on the receiving end of good intentions and help from her congregation, family, and friends. Rebuilding her wavering faith comes easy to her. However, the day to day challenges of single parenthood prove much harder to deal with while she tries to find the right balance between her priest duties and motherhood. Life adjustments need to be made. At one point, Stephanie’s mother even suggests she relocate to her hometown and closer to family so that they can help her through those adjustments.

Stephanie clears her first hurdle when she chooses to stay in Ellis Springs. Her friend, Natalie Andrews, reminds the priest that she has plenty of “family” in their tight-knit community to see her through the transition. Returning to work at St. Regis’ proves to be all the therapy she needs. She immediately slips back into the routine of spiritual leader, counselor, and mom. In her counseling role, an old acquaintance turns up like a bad penny. Stephanie still has her doubts where Jeremy Brewster is concerned; however, she agrees to play mediator when Clark wants to mend fences with his oldest friend. But does Jeremy Brewster have redeeming qualities worthy of such efforts?

Months pass, and Stephanie finds herself rushing to a prenatal appointment, when the elevator she boards quits between floors and she’s forced to spend time with the polished and arrogant Dr. Nathaniel Felix. The ordeal inside the elevator stretches into an eternity as the doctor succinctly conveys to her his thoughts on religion, God, and clergy members counseling parishioners. For the first time in her life, she develops a deep-seated loathing for a fellow human being. After their initial meeting, Stephanie finds herself crossing paths with the insufferable psychiatrist. Each experience tests her good nature. In the midst of hating him, she finds herself in need of his therapeutic services for one of her at-risk teen parishioners. Allowing him into her “network of specialists” not only forces her to have professional contact with him, but also provides Dr. Felix with ample opportunity to analyze Stephanie—a game that intrigues him while leaving the reverend feeling exposed and weak. She makes a conscious effort to avoid his scrutiny at all costs.

Spring arrives and, with it, the new baby. The event is bittersweet for Stephanie as she is caught between joy and sorrow, her happiness marred by David’s absence. The resilient priest moves forward yet again as she finds harmony in her life. Knowing that she was blessed with something many people never get to experience, being married to the love of her life, Stephanie resolves to focus on her family and her church. She rationalizes that her unplanned marital status will allow her to be a better mother and priest—or so she thinks. Her Boss may have other plans.


A Moment's Rest (Ellis Springs Series)

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