BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘Search’ by Michelle Huneven

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, host of the long-running Book Stew, a video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, authors, playwrights, and even a cat who survived a tornado and wrote a book about it.

Search by Michelle Huneven

Who would suspect that the fictional machinations of a committee at the Arroyo UU (Unitarian-Universalist) Community Church would be the foundation of such a sweet-tart, ruminative novel?

Dana, a middle-aged food writer, is one of the number given the difficult shared task of replacing a beloved minister, who had replaced an even more beloved minister.

The committee consists of The Olds vs. The Youngs, who disagree over the importance of sermons, physical plant, and staff management, and even hand bells, yea or nay!

The cumbersome vetting process itself will be fascinating to the uninitiated, and observing how each committee member behaves under pressure from each other and from the factions, and the interviews and tests of the finalists, is truly gripping. So much so that appointed scribe Dana is secretly turning it all into a novel!

High drama and rueful humor place this unusual novel in my top 5 of 2022.

QUOTES: “Several of the living have recognized themselves, although sometimes in the wrong character.”

“These days, ministry’s more a march to mutual disappointment.”

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