As soon as I read the Dear Reader Club installments of this book, I knew it was for me. It will probably make for an interesting saga some day of my own, but I used to rent a house in London, Ontario, Canada, and rent out rooms to Christian college girls. That created a very lively and unusual family of young women. Each one impacted me.
In this novel, by the recognizable names, Vonette Bright (wife of now deceased, Bill Bright of Campus Crusade) and Nancy Moser, author of three books so far, Evelyn Peerbaugh has been recently widowed, and left without an income. She decides to open up her Victorian home to rent out rooms.
As soon as she hangs up the sign, used before by her parents-in-law back in the 50s, she begins to get one woman after another coming to ask for a room. In no time she has Mae move in, the 60s flower child who has a jewelry making business, and whose wit pops out almost every time she opens her mouth. Next a short, black grandmother who is 75 decided she wants to move in to get away from her noisy family. Tessa is very strict and disciplined, and legalistic about her church-going and Bible studies. When Evelyn returns home with some groceries, she finds a young woman, Audra, with her five-year old daughter Summer sitting in her kitchen, and eager to move it also.
Evelyn, who never had the heart to disagree with her husband, or have any thoughts of her own now turns into a landlady, or (landlord in this book), and must try to be peacemaker when her tenants don't get along so well.
Actually, things even out, for Mae blurts out helpful suggestions, Audra helps them organize, and Evelyn works at pacifying Tessa, who is difficult to please. Two of Audra's friends, Piper, her high school counsellor, and Gillie, the rich friend who needs to learn the art of giving gracefully, are often at Peerbaugh place, and soon they become the seven sisters. Mae cements this pact together with a secret project of her own.
The various scenes and crises the woman go through with each other, sometimes funny and sometimes heart-breaking, are so realistic that I could plunk my tenants from The Ridgeway right beside them and identify all the way. (We didn't have quite the age range). We had some clashes too, and some wonderfully close and precious sisterhood times as well.
This novel does have a pattern where the women by turn, all seem to need the others to help them over a major problem, and as they do they are drawn closer to each other, and also to God. Piper being a huge influence on each one.
I have just one wee problem. I thought I saw the makings of a discovery for Evelyn of the baby girl she gave up for adoption long before she was ever married, and a romance for Evelyn's son Russell. However, at the end is a preview of Round the Corner, Book 2 in the Sister Circle series, and it seems to be bringing brand new tenants into Evelyn's home without reference to the continuing saga of the characters in this first book. I do hope to meet them there!
I'd urge you to get this book for a great read, and watch for the rest of the series as they come out!