Potter Springs
Britta Coleman
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Potter Springs

Britta Coleman
Center Street
304 pages
June 2005
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars
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Mark Reynolds' whole life seems to be falling into place. He's the up-and-coming associate pastor of a mega church in Houston, and it looks like the senior pastor will be stepping down to pursue other ministry opportunities, leaving Mark in charge. To make things even better, he's engaged to a beautiful, talented woman named Amanda. But everything changes when he learns that he and Amanda are expecting a baby. Soon, those who were most supportive of his ministerial career begin to back away, even though he and Amanda have a quick wedding.

Then tragedy strikes the couple, and instead of clinging to each other, they grow apart. Amanda falls back into the safe arms of her parents, and Mark desperately searches for his identity in a new career path. When the opportunity comes up for Mark to take a job as the associate pastor of a small church in Potter Springs, Mark and Amanda decide to try to salvage their lives and their marriage. Will they be able to find their way back to each other before it's too late?

Potter Springs is a touching, heartfelt novel. It explores the realities of life and the consequences of the choices we make. Even more than that, Potter Springs looks at the things that make us human and fallible, and the grace that God provides for our forgiveness of ourselves and each other. Mark has difficulty seeing Amanda's viewpoint, and he can't seem to understand the depth of her hurt. Amanda seems surprised that God reaches out to her through friends and acquaintances. The contrast between life in the big city of Houston and the small town of Potter Springs is poignant. It demonstrates the dichotomy between the two different "lives" as well.

Although the main character is a pastor and there are many spiritual aspects to this story, Potter Springs avoids preaching and instead focuses on gentle spirituality without overt religious overtones. I came to truly care about the characters and their outcomes, and the ending brought me to tears. There are many unexpected twists and turns to the plot which keeps the pace moving quickly. Potter Springs is a beautifully written debut novel. I will definitely be watching for more books from Ms. Coleman. Readers are in for a treat with Potter Springs, a place filled with people not easily forgotten.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Melissa Parcel, 2005

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