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Saturday Morning    by Lauraine Snelling order for
Saturday Morning
by Lauraine Snelling
Order:  USA  Can
WaterBrook Press, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Hope Benson provides help for women at her San Francisco shelter, Casa de Jesus, and income through the shelter's Saturday Market. She and her husband Roger have long prayed for a child of their own, but now are satisfied by nurturing the children God brings to 'J House.'

Andrea 'Andy' Taylor is beginning to realize her dreams in Medford, Oregon. Her daughters are grown and her lavender business is flourishing. The one sore point is that her husband Martin travels constantly for his job. Andy and Martin have grown apart, their relationship becoming more and more strained. When Martin is offered a promotion that includes a move to San Francisco, they have difficulty reconciling their individual desires. Julia Collins heads to San Francisco in search of her runaway granddaughter. Clarice Van Dam has been fleeced for everything she owns by a man she trusted. Desperate and with nowhere else to turn, the former wealthy woman moves into J House. These four women are drawn together by circumstances and by God at just the right time. They form the 'Girl Squad' and begin to pray through their joys and trials. Could it be that each woman is exactly where she is supposed to be, even though the road to get there has been rocky?

This uplifting and interesting story portrays four women drawn together both by their differences and by their similarities. Because two of them experience problems with men, this could easily have turned into a male bashing treatise, but it didn't. Through every ordeal, the women cling to their faith in God and pray through the circumstances. This leads to following God's direction, even when it is contrary to their own inclinations. Although each character provides a necessary viewpoint, Andy and Hope are much more developed than the others. The reader truly gets to know them, their motivations and their hearts. Though we know slightly less about Clarice, her transformation from wronged woman to discovering her strengths is believable. In contrast, Julia is mostly unknown. Though her quest to find her granddaughter is touching, it doesn't really go anywhere in the larger scope of the story.

Lauraine Snelling's writing is clear and fresh. The plot grabs the reader from the beginning and detailed characterizations keep interest high. Each woman, especially Hope and Andy, stays with the reader long after the story's completion, allowing us to mull over their choices and wonder what we would have done in similar circumstances. Saturday Morning is a treat to curl up with.

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