Have you ever sat in church on a Sunday and thought to yourself “I could write a book about the people in my church“? CHURCH FOLK by Michele Andrea Bowen answers that question and a lot more!
Set in Mississippi in the 1960s, this hilariously entertaining book takes a peek into the world of the sanctimonious politics of church life in the African-American community. We are introduced to The Rev. Theophilus Henry Simmons and Essie Lee Lane and follow them through their courtship and eventual marriage. Rev. Simmons has aspirations of leading his own congregation and along the way we read about the colorful antics, schemes, and ploys of some unscrupulous individuals. While Rev. Simmons and those in his circle of influence take the high road, Ms. Bowen shows us how some ministers abuse their power and the influence of their position that make this a real page turner.
The storyline centers around an annual conference being held in Michigan. The “annual conference meant sparking rivalries among preachers for the attention of the bishops and prominent influential preachers,” and there is plenty to go around. For instance, there is the father and son duo of Rev. Ernest Brown (father) and Rev. Marcel DeMarcus Brown (son) of Detroit and a host of other “preachers who would do just about anything for money and power” in the church, as well as use their status with some of the women in their churches.
One of the strengths of CHURCH FOLK is the ability of Ms. Bowen to develop and breathe life into characters that make them real and believable. For example, everybody has an Uncle Booker and a Glodean Benson, a Bishop Percy Jennings and a Mrs. Neese. You find yourself rooting for Essie who loved Theophilus but didn’t want to lose her own identity; while wanting to succeed in her new role as a “first lady” of a church.
Ms. Bowen writes a book that can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of the denomination or age. Another plus is that although this is Christian fiction it does not beat you over the head with an overabundance of bible verses, nor is it a representation of all ministers, and all churches. If you live in or are familiar with Detroit, Michigan, there are numerous references to a mega church in that city that is woven into the storyline. But it could be a mega church in your or any other city. An easy, light, good-hearted page-turner, a never a dull moment summer read!
Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates CHURCH FOLK as CHALLENGINGLY CHARISMATIC (301-500 pgs.)…borderline lengthy – “it better have a good ending!”