Leona is a pastor’s wife, skilled in pot-luck suppers, diffusing awkward situations and making coffee. Despite being at loggerheads with the church elder and his wife, and having a rocky relationship with her son and daughter, Leona is content with her lot in life. Until the Sunday her beloved husband unexpectedly collapses and dies in the pulpit, throwing her life into complete disarray. Leona must learn to lean on the Lord as, within a fortnight of her husband’s death, she must find a job, fight to keep her home, figure out how to cope with a potential new minister (complete with perfect wife and family), and try to patch up her relationship with her grown-up kids. As if that wasn’t enough, her cantankerous, manipulative mother comes to stay, ends up breaking her hip, and causes havoc in the local convalescent home.
There are some fun descriptive phrases in the book: ‘Hymns that once plodded the narrow aisles danced before the Lord under [Parker’s] direction.’
I found Reinventing Leona to be a gentle read with some humour and romance. Deep issues are lightly touched upon. I thought the book was warm and light-hearted, no easy feat considering the storyline is born out of bereavement.