Tag Archives: Angela Hunt

Review: Five Miles South of Peculiar, by Angela Hunt

Five Miles South of Peculiar, by Angela HuntFive Miles South of Peculiar, by Angela Hunt (Howard Books, 2012)

Twins Carlene and Darlene celebrate their 50th birthday during this story, and younger sister Nolie is in her forties. Each woman’s life has been shaped by past hurt, whether inflicted or received, intended or imagined. And as the back cover says, “If these three sisters don’t change direction, they’ll end up where they’re going.”

Angela Hunt does an amazing job of bring three very different and yet believable sisters to life, and while there may be moments you want to shake some sense into each one of them, you’ll appreciate each one as well.

The story is set in a sprawling home near the fictional town of Peculiar, Florida. As Nolie says about small towns: “there’s not much to do, but plenty of people to talk about you when you do it.” [p. 288]

Five Miles South of Peculiar is an engaging read. While we may not have the same secrets, longings or hurts that the three sisters carry, it may help us see areas in our own lives where change would be healthy. And isn’t it encouraging to know we’re not “stuck” as long as we’re still alive?

The novel’s secondary characters include two Leonberger dogs, a large breed I’d never heard of. (My spellcheck hadn’t heard of them either, but Google has.)

Angela Hunt is a Christy Award-winning author and sought-after writing teacher who writes both contemporary and historical women’s fiction. Her current series is the Dangerous Beauty series about women from the Bible: Esther, Bathsheba and Delilah. Read her story of how she came to write Five Miles South of Peculiar on her website.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: She’s in a Better Place, by Angela Hunt

She’s in a Better Place, by Angela Hunt (Tyndale House Publishers, 2009)

“One of the surest ways to know you’re ready to be a full-time funeral director is when you start talking to clients.” (p. 2)

So says Gerald Huffman, Jennifer Graham’s gentle mentor, when he catches her reassuring the corpse she’s working on.

Jen is a single mom with two school-aged sons and an unusual occupation: she owns a funeral home. She also shares her mother’s tendency to interfere—er, “help”—if relationships need mending, and so when Gerald becomes ill, Jen contacts his estranged daughter, Kirsten. Contact is one thing, but reconciliation proves to be another.

I like Jen, and one reason is her humanity. She’s a good mother and friend, who doesn’t always get it right. This lesson about trusting God to work things out is one she’s faced before. she may face it again, but she’s learning. Sound like anyone you know?

She’s in a Better Place is written in the present tense, which I find jarring. It’s by turns funny, sad and thoughtful, and it’s a good read. Don’t start here, though, if you haven’t read the previous books in the series.

You’d have no trouble picking up the ongoing story of Jennifer and her family, but where each novel builds on the previous, starting with book 3 would ruin the surprises in the first two. If you can, take time to begin with Doesn’t She Look Natural and then She Always Wore Red.

She’s in a Better Place brings the series to a satisfying conclusion, but there’s definitely room for another story. I hope we get one!

Best-selling, Christy-award winning author Angela Hunt has written over 100 books and is a favourite of many readers. You can learn more about Angela on her website, and she has a readers’ page on Facebook.