Forever Hilltop by Judy Baer

09.21.12 | Trudi Cook |

Forever Hilltop contains the first two consecutive books in a series by Judy Baer.  Set in the remote community of North Dakota’s “Hillside Township,” the story begins with the arrival of the new pastor for the two small churches.  City dweller Alex heard the call to the ministry after several years of being a college professor, and this is his first parish.  Moving from Chicago to a rural community where the Scandinavian farmers proudly occupy the same farms that their ancestors filed claims on over a century before means lots of new experiences for Alex.  He’s impressed with the neighborly kindnesses he experiences as he moves into a house where the pantry is full, the vegetable garden has been planted and tended, and the casseroles   begin to arrive.  As he gets better acquainted with the individuals, Alex also discovers the many needs, and begins to pray for this diverse congregation. 

The reader gets to know the folks of Hilltop along with Alex, from the bachelor who turned his back on  Wall Street and came back to farm the family land, to the mischievous boy whose heart for wounded animals has led him to start his own “hoomain” society; from the invaluable church secretary who  donates her time  as her family’s tithe, to the single women who eye Alex as they  drop off delicious pies.  The story moves along at a leisurely pace as we along with Alex learn to care for these strong people who face some large life problems in a struggling economy, and rejoice as prayer helps Alex to suggest some solutions.

If you enjoy reading about people more than suspense, if you enjoy the quirkiness of individuals and the humor of a “city-boy” adapting to a rural lifestyle, then you’ll enjoy this collection of stories.  It’s a relaxing read, although I did find myself getting caught up in the relationships and situations and I will look forward to reading more offerings in this series.  And I may even try some of the delicious recipes sprinkled throughout the book!

Guideposts Books.  Copyright 2012.  Trade Paperback.


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