Brand new Christian Maddie Buckner is desperately trying to get her life on track so she can spring her 11-year-old brother Kyle out of foster care, but her first day on the job at a hair salon in Sandwich, Illinois, brings cause for a desperation of a deeper sort. The very first customer she’s allowed to lay hands on is a guy named Reuben who falls asleep in her chair then lurches upward, messing up the snip she was in the process of making. Patching it up isn’t an option–Maddie finds herself giving him a whole new (and much shorter) style and getting fired anyway.
She demands Reuben fix things. When she won’t get off the hood of his brand new Beemer, he finally says she can work for him as a waitress at The Sandwich Emporium. Maddie proceeds to dump coffee in the mayor’s lap. Hey, she never said she wanted to waitress. She discovers Reuben’s office is such a disaster he couldn’t figure out how to fire her if he wanted to, so she offers her services as an office assistant, bringing her to the attention of Reuben’s almost-fiancee, Livy–who is livid.
Maddie knows she shouldn’t be falling for her boss and announces this to God. Reuben is practically married, for heaven’s sake! Yet God continues to keep her in Reuben’s path–for humor or disaster. Wanting to provide a stable home for Kyle keeps Maddie from doing anything too drastic. Other than that incident with the Beemer. But that might be too much information.
So what did I love about this novel? Is it too gushy or unbelievable to say “everything?”
But if picking one thing to be a favorite, it might be the way Maddie talks to God. She doesn’t know–or care–about the “correct” way to pray. She just tells him what’s on her mind, which is plenty. Sometimes I think we put up walls in prayer, as though God can’t see past them. Maddie certainly doesn’t do this, and I found it totally refreshing.
I’ve critiqued a few contest entries and the like for Krista in the past, including an early version of this novel’s opening. I knew it was only a matter of time before an editor latched onto her fresh voice (take that any way you want) and irrepressible humor. I’m hoping to hear news of upcoming books from this debut author.
Krista Phillips writes inspirational romantic comedy. She believes a sprinkle of laughter (and a wee bit of chocolate) makes everything a little better! She blogs regularly about life as a wife, mother, follower of Jesus, and mother of a child with a rare congenital heart defect. Sandwich, With a Side of Romance is her debut novel.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley for the purpose of review. The opinions, as always, are mine alone.