House of Living Stones / by Katie Schuermann. 4.4.2016

Concordia Publishing House ISBN 9780758649454

Adult Rating: 4

House of Living Stones is a charming and heartfelt story revolving around the congregation of a Lutheran church in the small town of Bradbury, Illinois.

Emily Duke is hired by Pastor Michael Fletcher to fill the choir director position at Zion Lutheran Church. In her new job, Emily is faced with the bias of long-term parishioners who are resistant to change, as well as gossip, personality clashes, resentment, underhandedness, meddlesomeness, and misunderstandings. Will she be able to overcome these challenges and gain the respect of the congregation, or will she give up and resign from her position?

Kate Schuermann provides readers with an in-depth look into the effects of social norms on church parishioners living in a small town. There are not only painfully awkward moments in the story but also humorous incidents that give readers an entertaining glimpse into the funny side of church life. The majority of the story takes place during choir rehearsals at the church. The story flows smoothly with rich character development, and multiple storylines are effortlessly woven together.

Latin phrases are scattered throughout the story, and the translations are provided at the end of the book. Discussion questions are also included. The novel reflects both the intricacies and appeal of small town life.

Dianne Woodman, CLJ