Jolene Tilman is too naïve to function as a normal 35-year-old woman when her hateful mother finally dies. When Pastor Coles arranges for her to move into his sister's boardinghouse, the secret of her mother's past haunts Jolene's freedom.

Meanwhile, Richard Peterson, another resident of Thank the Lord Boarding House, is dancing with his own devil. He walks away from the trappings of his success as a diplomat. His "ghost" is alive -- a former lover who married someone else. As they stumble along different paths, Richard and Jolene help each other learn the true meaning of home, friendship and love.

While the story is interesting, the novel is slowed at times by retellings of Jolene's troubled upbringing. The backstory is adequate to set the tone for some of the struggles Jolene will face, so the repetition is less engaging. (Aug., 288 pp., $14.00)
Reviewed by: 
Robin R. Pendleton