Friday, February 11, 2011

An Unlikely Blessing

51Ri4aBG99L__SL500_AA300_About the book

An Unlikely Blessing is a heartfelt story about a new pastor and life-long city dweller Alex Armstrong, who reluctantly accepts his first assignment, a two-point parish in the wilds of North Dakota. Hilltop Township, a farming community, blooms from the prairie like a wild pink rose—lovely and prickly all at once, much like the people who live there.


Alex quickly finds that this lovely place is in quiet peril. Farmers are struggling to make ends meet: Jonas Owens, a faithful member of Hilltop parish, is on the brink of losing the farm. Alex believes that part of why God called him to Hilltop was to help turn things around, and steps in with ideas for saving the Owens' land. But can even God's minister help save this rural community?

There are a lot of firsts for the new pastor—the annual Hunter's Breakfast, julebukking (also called Christmas fooling), King Oscar's fish balls, and the melody of the musical saw. And the new, single pastor creates remarkable excitement among the unmarried women in the community. If you could die of hot dish overdose, Alex would be a dead man. Whether performing weddings, counseling his flock, or herding cattle by snowmobile, Alex soon discovers that his new church home has as much to teach him as he will teach them. Day by day, he falls more in love with the people of Hilltop Church. People may leave Hilltop, but Hilltop never leaves them.

author_headshotWho is Judy Baer?

Judy Baer is the author of over seventy-five books for adults and teens. She has won the Romance Writer of America Bronze Medallion and has been a RITA finalist twice. She lives in Elk River, Minnesota with her husband. Follow the Hilltop characters on Judy’s blog and find out more about Judy and her books at

My Thoughts

I didn’t know what to expect from this book.   I read the description and decided that it would be different than what I am used to.   And guess what…. I am TOTALLY hooked on these characters particularly Alex Armstrong and his nephew.   I want to know more about them, the members of the churches where Alex is preaching and how some of the problems mentioned in this book will be resolved in the future.  

I sure hope that Judy Baer will release other books in series.   I have learned to love and discover the characters in this book as I was reading it.   Reminds me of the famous Mitford series written by Jan Karon.   I had come to adore the characters and was always on the edge for when the next book would come out.   That’s how I feel with this Forever Hilltop novel.

I personally feel a connection with Alex, the main character.   Probably because he is 42 and this is the age I will have later this year for my birthday.   But more than likely because we have gone through pastoring ourselves.   Honestly, the reasons behind the arrival of Alex in North Dakota are sentimental and he probably just wanted to leave the big city behind him.  But he seems to be a perfect fit for the two congregations, an agent of peace between them.    He also takes his people into his heart and discover ways to help them.    Various issues happens during the reading of this book and he is genuinely interested in their problems and their lives.    I like that about a character.  Makes him feel more real.  The kind of guy I would like to have for a pastor.

And having the community embracing him is wonderful.   I find it interesting to see the difference between the big city and the country folks.   The support he has and the love poured out at him is simply amazing.  

In conclusion, I think you can see that I really enjoyed the book.   I hope and pray that more Forever Hilltop books will follow this one.   I would love to get transported in North Dakota and spend more time with the characters.


In celebration of the release of An Unlikely Blessing, Judy is giving away a KINDLE prize package worth over $175.


One lucky winner will receive:

  • Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • A $25 gift certificate to

To enter just click HERE ( and then tell your friends!   Winner will be announced on February 21st on Judy's blog,

An Unlikely Blessing is available everywhere even at

Disclaimer:   Book has been provided courtesy of LitFuse.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way.  All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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