I've been following Krista Phillips' blog, http://reflectionsbykrista.blogspot.com/, for years and was pleased to learn of her debut novel, Sandwich, with a Side of Romance, published by Abingdon Press. As a reviewer for Abingdon, I received an early copy and loved the book.
This is a delightful Christian romantic comedy with just the right amount of angst to leave you feeling you have read a story with meaning. Deep down, it is a story of God's forgiveness and the promise of how it is never too late to "find Jesus", as Maddie puts it.
Maddie Buckner has turned her life around with the help of one of her father's girlfriends, and she's determined to live a proper life and make a family for her eleven-year-old brother, Kyle. He's in a foster home and about to be adopted. Maddie must get a job and home to prove she can take care of him before it is too late. The clock ticks throughout the book requiring the reader to keep turning pages to see if she makes it in time.
The book begins with Maddie moving to the town of Sandwich, Illinois to begin a job as a hair dresser. She's living out of her car and saving up to rent an apartment. Her first customer is Rueben (nice name for a sandwich) Callahan and Maddie manages to mess up his hair, even though it is his fault. She's fired and he feels guilty about it so he hires her to work as a waitress at his restaurant, The Sandwich Emporium. She dumps a plate of food on the mayor's lap and is almost fired again, but Rueben gives her another chance as his personal assistant.
She is good at this latest job, but Rueben's long-time girlfriend and restaurant manager, Livy, is not happy with Maddie and makes her life miserable in many ways.
Rueben's Christian family, including Allie, his sister, Betty, his mother, and Gary, his step-father, all conspire to help Maddie even as she demands to stand on her own two feet.
The sprint from this point to the end includes many ups and downs that left me alternating between tears and laughter. I think you'll love this book from start to finish.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.