Neil Fisher's first trip to Dunbridge was not a success. Having inadvertently locked himself in St Stephen's Church for hours (and succumbing to the communion wine and wafers for dinner) it seemed miraculous they gave him the curate's job! On arrival in the small town of Dunbridge it quickly becomes clear that life is not going to be tranquil for the eligible new bachelor, as four formidable women are determined to make their presence felt. There is his mother, Iris, still questioning his choice of career; his rector, the no-nonsense Margaret, who is not one for taking prisoners; Claire, his new neighbour, whom he's already managed to offend. And then there is Wendy, the beautiful leading light of the church music group, who has her own plans for Neil' It can only end in trouble.
Readers who miss Jan Karon's Father Tim and Mitford Years series have a new church to attend: St. Stephen's, Dunbridge, somewhere in the bucolic English countryside. Curate Neil Fisher is learning the ropes of parish work. Rev. Margaret Prowse helps him get to know the parishioners and their sorrows and needs. He also comes to know not one but two attractive but very different women: Claire, an atheist, single-mom gardener and neighbor, and Wendy, the highly focused leader of the church music group. A certain amount of Rhodes's story is ready-made, with unhappily married people and sweet old ladies among the plot complications. Still, it doesn't take much to lure in Anglophiles during these Downton Abbey days, and readers of wholesome inspirational novels won't be at all bothered by the 1950 feel of the life depicted. The novel has its charms, including crisp dialogue and the promise of more action, as the Dunbridge Chronicles series continues.