Synopses & Reviews
Once upon a time, I was a rebel. And I have the tattoo to prove it.
Then there was the spiked hair-the shade of which changed monthly-“colorful” language that cant be found in your everyday sixteen-count crayon box, a pack-a-day habit, less-than-modest wardrobe, and an obsession with guitar-trashing, drum-bashing music.
Did I mention Im also a preachers kid? Thats right. And like the prodigal son after whom I modeled myself, I finally saw the error of my ways and returned to the fold.
Today my life is all about “lead me not into temptation.” When Im not serving as Womens Ministry Director at my fathers church, Im working at Glorias Morning Café. I even have worthy goals, like saving enough money to buy the café, keep my Jelly Belly habit under control, and to never again hurt the people I love. No more parties. No more unsavory activities. And no more motorcycles! Youd think I was finally on the right track.
But since my dads replacement hired a hotshot church consultant to revive our “dying” church, things arent working out as planned. And now this “consultant” says Im in need of a little reviving myself. Just who does this Maddox McCray think he is anyway? With his curly hair that could use a good clipping, tattoo that he makes no attempt to hide, and black leather pants, the man is downright dangerous. In fact, all thats missing is a motorcycle. Or so I thought… But if he thinks hes going to take me for a ride on that 1298cc machine of his, he can think again. Harriet Bisset is a reformed woman, and shes going to stay that way. Even if it kills me!
"Romance author Leigh (Stealing Adda) mixes chick lit with a treatise on the need for change in traditional churches in her latest. Former wild child Harriet Bisset, 27, tries to keep to the straight and narrow. Between living in a senior citizens' trailer park, her part-time job as a women's ministry director at First Grace in Franklin, Tenn., and waitressing at Gloria's Morning Cafe (which she's saving to buy), she doesn't have time to get into trouble. But when the church hires hunky 30-something Maddox McCray, a former bad boy, as a consultant to help attract new members (translation: bring in the guitars, drum sets and programming), Harriet grapples with her own fears about risk and change. Some readers will disagree with Maddox's breezy assertion that 'today's Christians have different needs from past generations' and that programming and contemporary music are the answer, especially when interest from young people in more liturgical traditions is on the upswing. Church marketing themes aside, Leigh crafts the expected romance, with all the tensions and tingles, adding splashes of fun with Harriet's Jelly Belly addiction and cat-sitting dramas. The novel's elderly characters sparkle, and readers will hoot when one 'old biddy' takes out a no-good amorous lecher with a stun gun." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Preachers kid and prodigal Harriet Bisset returned to her church and her family, free of her tattoos and nose ring. Nothing could tempt Harri to return to her old ways. Nothing but a 1298cc, liquid-cooled, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder motorcycle--and the church consultant riding it.
About the Author
Tamara Leigh is the bestselling author of Perfecting Kate and Stealing Adda. Her first seven novels earned awards and became national bestsellers, but Tamara was dissatisfied that the stories were not God-honoring. In 2003 she determined to write books that more directly represented her faith. Tamara and her husband, David, live with their two young sons in Tennessee.
Reading Group Guide
1. Harri was a rebellious preachers kid who crossed over to the “prodigal” side. What are your experiences with PKs? Do you think expectations are too high for them?
2. Splitting Harriet is set during a time of tremendous change at First Grace Church-change that makes Harri and some of the older members feel threatened. What changes have you experienced in your church that made you feel threatened or uncomfortable?
3. What are your feelings about the trend toward contemporary forms of worship? Does it keep members engaged and present a greater opportunity to reach the unsaved? Or does it shift the focus away from God and toward entertainment?
4. Fearful of being hurt as she was as a teenager, Harri avoids meaningful friendships with women her own age. How are your relationships with women affected by your early experiences?
5. Harri tends to “play it safe.” When have you “played it safe”? How do you think your life would be different had you taken a risk instead?
6. Harri reads the Bible daily, translation after translation. However, her actions and fears contradict the depth of her knowledge of Gods Word. What do you do to guard against a “surface” reading of the Bible? What helps you to internalize and apply Scripture to your life?
7. Though attracted to Maddox, Harri is put off by his appearance for fear he will be a
bad influence. Do you tend to stereotype people? Have you ever been stereotyped?
8. At the height of Harris rebellion, her brother suffered fallout from association when his girlfriend broke off their engagement. Have you ever been found guilty by association? How did it affect you?
9. Harri has a difficult time accepting the fullness of Gods forgiveness. What struggles have you faced in accepting Gods forgiveness?
10. Though Harri longs for the safe, predictable future she envisions once she buys the café, she sacrifices her dream for her friends. What dreams have you had to sacrifice? Any regrets?