A Baby for EasterBy: Noelle Adams
As was the case with Married for Christmas, this book is centered around a church, but it is not an inspirational romance. It is a regular contemporary romance that features characters who happen to be religious. It’s a distinction I want to be clear about because the expectations for each genre are different. Because I assume some will be reading this book who didn’t read Married for Christmas, I’m going to repeat the explanatory note I wrote there.
Spirituality is an important aspect of human experience and the lives of a lot of people, but it’s often surprisingly absent from contemporary romances. Because of that, I thought I’d write this note to prepare readers of this book. The point of this story is not to present any sort of religious message, but faith is important to these characters, and so the plot and character development turns on their spiritual condition as much as anything else. In writing a story like this, the challenge is that there’s likely to be too much religion for some readers and too little for others. I don’t know if I navigated this difficult creative challenge successfully, but I do believe it’s worth the attempt.
Daniel was a good man and a great preacher, but he could sometimes be a frustrating boss.
“Alice,” he called out from his office. “Where’s Jobes?”
Alice Grantham was sitting at the desk in the outer office at First Presbyterian Church in Willow Park, North Carolina, but Daniel’s booming voice carried easily through rooms. She looked up from the bulletin she was putting together for Sunday. ”What?”
“Jobes. I need it. Weren’t you going to bring it to me?”
With a sigh, she stood up and walked over to the credenza against the wall, on which were piled dozens of books. She was pretty sure Jobes was an author’s name, since she remembered seeing it as she organized all of Daniel’s books three months ago, when she first started working for him.
If the book was on the shelves in his office, where it belonged, he would have gotten it himself, so she figured it must have ended up in one of these piles. The credenza was like the island of lost books, where anything he’d lent out, left in another room, or taken home and then brought back ended up until Alice took the time to return them to his bookshelves.
She knew he was working on an adult Sunday School class on Hebrews right now, so she scanned the spines for something by a person named Jobes about Hebrews.
“Is it there?” Daniel called, after about forty-five seconds.
“I’m looking.” She had to speak loudly to be heard through the office, but she did try to keep her tone from sounding impatient.
Working for Daniel twenty hours a week was better than having nothing except the ten hours the local library was able to give her, and being rude to her boss was probably not the best way to commend herself to him.
Six months ago, she’d been living in Asheville. She’d had a nice apartment, a good job at a university library, and a fiancé. After six years in college and graduate school and one failed engagement, she’d thought things were finally lining up very nicely for her. She was preparing for a happy, comfortable life.
Then Bill, her fiancé, dumped her because he decided she wasn’t what he needed in a wife.
Then, two months later, she’d been laid off at work. They liked her at the university, but she was the library’s newest hire, and the budget cuts they were facing were too severe to keep her position.
So she’d had to move back in with her parents in Willow Park and try to resurrect her life.
She was forced to cobble together part-time work while she kept looking for another full-time job. First Presbyterian, the church she’d grown up in, had money in its budget for a part-time assistant for the pastor, so Daniel—who’d only started preaching at the church recently himself—had offered her the job.
If things had gone as she’d expected, she would have been married this coming Saturday, but instead she was back in her hometown, searching for a random commentary for a sometimes exasperating pastor.
Whom she’d known since she was four years old.
She finally landed on a book by Jobes that had Hebrews in the subtitle, so she grabbed it and brought it into his office. She held it up. “Is this the one?”