Monday, December 28, 2015

The Choir Immortal - Katie Schuermann

In The Choir Immortal, a sequel to The House of Living Stones, we return to the town of Bradbury, Illinois, just in time for a wedding, a celebration that the whole congregation of Zion Lutheran Church has been looking forward to.  However, as can be expected, things start to go awry, beginning with the church's air conditioning units failing, and turning more serious as a participant ends up in the Emergency Room.  The book's plot line continues to take a serious turn, but the people of Zion will rise to meet the challenges head-on, and more importantly, together.

In my review of The House of Living Stones, I'd mentioned that I loved the characters of Zion Lutheran Church, and that continues to hold true in this sequel.  The secretary, Mrs. Scheinberg, is still quirky and blunt, but is the glue that holds many of the characters together, even the more prickly ones.  Blaine, the eyeliner-wearing pianist gets more of a place in this story, and we begin to see how he's gotten to where he is, and we get a glimpse of where he's going.  Evan, the formerly grouchy, unknowable organist of Zion, begins to come out of his shell, and falls lovingly into his role of grandfather, and even mentor to the lost Blaine, teaching him what it truly means to forgive and why we must.
Blaine: "Have you forgiven Shirley?"
Evan: "I have."
"I am compelled to forgive her."
"Because I am forgiven by Jesus."
"Forgiven of what?"
"Of hating Shirley."

This book is sprinkled with scriptural truths like this; even amidst the silliness of Robbie mis-naming the plants he's working with ("We're planting a hibiscuit"), we hear about eternal joy tied to mortal sorrow ("Death may hold no sting for the Christian, but it sure did its best to leave a scar."), we learn about our need to lean on God through the tough times ("God will never give us more than we can handle, right?" "I suspect He always gives us more than we can handle, that we might turn to Him again and again and again."), and we learn how to lean into each other for support.

I still wish that some of the characters had more depth to give the reader a more vested interest into the story as a whole, but I did feel that this book was an improvement over the first.  I hope that this series continues, so that we may continue to delve into the lives of these very interesting and quirky characters!

I give this book 3 stars; while I feel that it was an improvement on the first in the series, I'm still hoping for more from these fantastically unique characters!

You can find The Choir Immortal HERE.
You can find the author's website HERE.

I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.