Divine Appointments by Charlene Baumbich
Published by WaterBrook Press, an imprint of Random House
The economy isn’t doing so well and times are tough, companies often have to downsize in order to survive – luckily for Josie. Josie makes her living as a consultant who helps companies streamline, a process which often involves layoffs. Her most recent project, Diamond Mutual in Chicago, is really not going very well. Part of the problem is Lyle, the VP with what Josie sees as an overly soft side, not to mention Barb who everyone loves and whose department is first up for firings. And yet, even with Josie holding Barb’s employment future in her brutally practical hands, Barb is the happier and more admired of the two women, a reality that Barb would attribute largely to her faith. When layoffs begin, Barb knows she must do something in order to help her coworkers – both those staying and those leaving – keep up their spirits, which leads her to start the Encouragement Club to allow people to network about job possibilities and just generally affirm one another.
One of the reasons that I don’t read a ton of contemporary faith-based fiction is that I tend to find much of the dialog that revolves around faith to be terribly unrealistic. I have worked in quite a few secular environments and never have I heard anyone speak about their faith in the way that often happens in faith-based novels. In fact, even working in the denominational offices of my church the dialog never seems to quite ring true to my experiences. Although I did have this problem for a bit at the beginning of “Divine Appointments,” I was soon caught up in the lives of the characters sufficiently that I did not notice any unrealistic dialog. Baumbich clearly has a great deal of compassion for her characters, and it comes through to an unusual degree, thereby essentially compelling the reader to care about the characters as much as Baumbich does herself.
Other than potentially slightly unrealistic dialog, I really liked how Baumbich handled the issue of faith. The way in which Barb influenced and encouraged the people around her with her very interpersonal living of her faith actually was very realistic. She was not one to push anyone else where they were not ready to be, but was simply open about what she believed and the way she lived her life bore witness that her words were not mere lip service.
This is a very comfortable novel that can serve as an encouragement in difficult times and as a reminder of the impact a faith lived out can have on other people.
Christianbook.com is holding a giveaway for a signed copy of “Divine Appointments” through Monday, October 18th.
Charlene Baumbich’s website
Other Books by Charlene Baumbich:
Baumbich has written a number of books including nonfiction, the Dearest Dorothy series, and the Snowglobe Connections series. For a list of titles, see the books page on her website.
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