SAINTS AND SINNERS by Olivia Rupprecht
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Olivia Rupprecht is an author that's no longer writing that I know of. That's really unfortunate, because she's an awesome writer. Matthew was a deep, real character to me. I loved that she showed this Man of God as a real man, with all the good and bad points of any man. He was raised in the church, but had a falling out with his denomination, and his minister father. This resulted in him being kicked out of his church for heresy. After that he goes off to live a carnal life, riding with a motorcycle gang. But his faith and God's calling doesn't leave him. Now he's the minister in a different church.
When Dee (short for Delilah) moves to town with two kids she's not old enough to be a mother to, unless she started really young, rumors start flying. She's painted as a Jezebel by gossip, and rumored to be twice divorced. But Matthew tries to look past rumors and innuendo, and welcomes her with open arms. He does this as part of his ministry, but also because he feels that she's the woman he's been waiting for his whole life.
I loved this book. I got sucked in, although I didn't care for the idea of the heroine being seen as a scarlet woman. It's frustrating the way women get judged, although we're all guilty of doing it, I know. Dee is not as she seems. She is hiding some secrets that are quite dangerous. And there's the reluctant attraction to a minister who she should stay far away from. She's in awe of his good heart, and down to earth, warm, attractive nature.
It's really good to see a person of deep faith in a mainstream romance. Matthew is torn between his desire to be above his carnal nature, and his deep feelings for Dee. I liked that he did want to do the right thing by his faith and for Dee. I liked that he did believe that sex should follow a deep commitment of the heart leading to marriage. What I was torn about was that I felt that he should have waited until they were actually married to make love with Dee. I know he called her his wife in his heart, and made vows to her, and was working very hard to get a commitment with her. In his old church, he got in trouble for counseling couples that he thought it was okay for a strongly committed couple who plan to marry to have sex before marriage. That was what he believed. I can't say I agree with that, but at least he follows his beliefs. That was a bit of a hiccup for me, but otherwise, I really liked Matthew.
The love scenes were pretty steamy. You could see the strong connection between Dee and Matthew that was sensual, but also loving. Too bad they didn't have a marriage between them when it happened. That may not bother other readers. It's my personal thing, so I have to mention it when I post my thoughts on this book. But because it's such a strong book and I enjoyed it so much, I wouldn't downgrade this novel for that aspect.
Another wonderful book by Olivia Rupprecht. I'm glad I got a copy to add to my keeper shelf.
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