Book Review: "The Reluctant Prophet" by Nancy Rue

At age forty-two, Allison Chamberlain is still making a half-hearted attempt to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. Although she has been a pew-sitting member of a church for seven years, “prophet” has never been on the short list of possible careers.

Then one Sunday Allison senses a divine nudge to buy a Harley motorcycle and go wherever it takes her. Soon she is wondering if she is called to present the reality of Christ to one of society’s darkest corners—and challenge her own church to look beyond their fears.

I know nothing about motorcycles. I have no desire to ride one at all. I have nothing against people who do ride motorcycles though. I enjoyed the movies Born to Be Wild and Wild Hogs. I just could never see myself buying one, much less riding one. Therefore this book was really interesting because Allison does exactly that. She buys and rides a Harley because she felt a nudge from God telling her to do so.

The story started off a little slow for me. I felt that there was too much dialogue and not enough action and it dragged a little bit. Also Allison has no idea what she's doing and so the first part merely deals with her learning how to ride her new bike. However once Allison met up with Geneve and brought her and Desmond into her house, the story picked up and was a quick read after that. Most of the book deals with Allison helping former prostitutes start a new way of life. She takes them into her home, helps them get into NA meetings, and learn to start to living in society again . These women have been used to living out on the streets, selling their bodies and depending on drugs to get through their day. It's an eyeopening read as it's a subject that isn't normally touched upon in Christian fiction. Part of the story also deals with Allison's growing relationship with Geneve's son Desmond. The two form an unlikely bond as Geneve is not in any condition to take care of the son and Allison reluctantly takes over. This is also strengthened by her relationship with Chief, a motorcycle riding lawyer, who shares an attraction to Allison but also helps her out in time of need.

The most interesting part of the book is how Allison challenges her church and their way of thinking. The pastor and most of the other members of her church seem to want to keep their church "safe". They are fine with growing their numbers but only with the types of people they deem worth of saving They condemn Allison for what she is doing because she is helping out prostitutes and drug users instead of preaching them to turn or burn. Allison risks her friendships to challenge them about their beliefs and who really is justified. There is also a minor subplot involving Allison's background which I felt, while interesting, seemed to not be as important as the rest of the story.

The book is explicitly Christian fiction so expect faith threads and God talk to be present throughout the book. However it is not the stereotypical Christian fiction that people might think of. In fact, as I've mentioned, the author has Allison challenging the rigid and narrow minded thinking that her church and other Christians out there do share. It's a thought provoking read that reaches out into places most Christians won't touch. I enjoyed it very much and I am looking forward to more adventures of Allison, her Hurley and her unorthodox prophet-ing ways.

The Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue is published by David C. Cook (2010)

This ARC was provided by the Amazon Vine program


  1. This sounds good...I'm surprised I haven't heard of it.


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