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Almost Friends: A Harmony Novel (Harmony - Harper San Francisco #6) [Paperback]

By Philip Gulley (Author)
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Harmony - Harper San Francisco - Full Series Preview
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Item description for Almost Friends: A Harmony Novel (Harmony - Harper San Francisco #6) by Philip Gulley...

When Pastor Sam Gardner takes a leave of absence from Harmony Friends Meeting to care for his ailing father, an interim female pastor takes over his position and quickly endears herself to the quirky Quaker congregation.

Publishers Description

It's summer in Harmony, but not everything is as sunny as the weather. The good citizens of Harmony are back and stirring up trouble as usual, sometimes with disastrous results.

Pastor Sam Gardner must take a leave of absence from his post at Harmony Friends Meeting to take care of his ailing father.

But when spunky pastor Krista Riley comes to fill his position, the quirky Quakers seem to fall in love with her, and it begins to look like Sam's sabbatical may be permanent. Krista's resilience is put to the test when Dale Hinshaw and Fern Hampton begin to question whether a woman can faithfully lead their flock, and it looks like the resulting tiff might just be the undoing of Harmony Friends Meeting. Will Sam come to the rescue? Finding the answer to this question makes the trip back to Harmony worth turning every page.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   216
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.34" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 13, 2013
Publisher   HarperOne
Series  Harmony - Harper San Francisco  
Series Number  6  
ISBN  0060897309  
ISBN13  9780060897307  

Availability  124 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 01:22.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Philip Gulley

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! PHILIP GULLEY, a Quaker pastor, has become the voice of small-town American life. Along with writing Front Porch Tales, Hometown Tales, and For Everything a Season, he is the author of the Harmony series of novels. Gulley lives in Indiana with his wife, Joan, and their sons.

Philip Gulley currently resides in Danville, in the state of Indiana. Philip Gulley was born in 1944.

Philip Gulley has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Art of Spiritual Living
  2. Harmony Novels
  3. Hope
  4. Place Called Hope

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Fiction & Poetry > Fiction

Christian Product Categories
Books > Fiction > General Christian > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Almost Friends: A Harmony Novel?

Comfortable, small town quirkiness  Jun 11, 2008
This is an easy read about the quirky members of a Quaker church in a small town in Indiana and their introduction to a female student preacher, their pastor's feelings about his own inadequacies, and the power of gossip and inuendo. Although some characters are drawn larger than life, I identified easily with the struggle of being christian without being pious and judgemental.
Almost Friends  Jun 5, 2008
I have not read it. I sure I will enjoy it when I get around to reading it.
Another Harmony hit!  Sep 11, 2007
Another Harmony great. Sam is tired of hearing the same old thing every day. Well he gets his chance to take a break when his father has a heart attack and he takes three months off from the ministry. They ask for a woman to fill his space and this sets off a whole series of events. Will she fill Sam's place? Read the book and find out!
Not Gulley's Usual!!  Aug 4, 2007
I've read every Harmony Novel and have enjoyed all of them but this last one is wanting!! I'm very weary of the character of Dale Hinshaw and his narrow mind. The author should put Dale in his place and have him pay for his bigotry and judgemental behavior. He seems to go on and on and on with no price to pay!! Mr. Gulley has the ability to write very touching, warm, reconciling stories. . .This book does not make the mark---I wanted Hinshaw and the old biddies that followed him to pay for their treachery and gossip about the lady Pastor. This kind of behavior is rampant in our society and all to often the evil doers get by with it. . .Note to Mr. Gulley--put Hinshaw in his grave and bring us a joyful story from Harmony!!!!!
The continuing small-town antics of the good folks of Harmony  Jun 6, 2007
The only disappointment readers will have with Philip Gulley's ALMOST FRIENDS is that it completes the Harmony series. Say it isn't so! This last installment stays true to the previous books --- chock full of dry wit and the small-town foibles of churchgoers, and permeated throughout with Gulley's own theology, which he co-writes about in his nonfiction books (IF GRACE IS TRUE and IF GOD IS LOVE).

Reader caveat: If you haven't read the Harmony series before, stop here and begin with book one, HOME TO HARMONY. This sixth full-length novel in the series (there are also some short novellas, including THE CHRISTMAS SCRAPBOOK) will be much more enjoyable if you've read the first.

Quaker pastor Sam Gardner is entering his sixth year at Harmony Friends Meeting in the small town of Harmony, Indiana, and he's ready for a sabbatical. "Sam was genuinely fond of the lost. It was the folks who were found who taxed his patience." The irrepressible Dale Hinshaw is a perennial burr in the saddle for Sam, this time as Chief Evangelist at Harmony Friends Meeting, "unleashing a series of events not even the most clairvoyant among them could have anticipated, trials that would test Sam to the core and find him sadly lacking." Dale, Gulley reminds us, once erected signs throughout Harmony in the Burma Shave tradition: "Go to church and learn to pray, Or when you die, there's hell to pay." Now, Dale's new "scripture greetings" recorded telephone messages are programmed to wake up townfolks in the middle of the night, inciting a near-riot in Harmony that Sam has to negotiate.

When Sam's father has a heart attack, Sam petitions for three months off to care for him. A new female pastor, Krista Riley, takes the church while he's gone and works her way into the hearts of the congregation. This provides Gulley an opening to look at the issues of gender and ordination. Through flashback chapters, we learn that Krista has grown up in the Catholic Church and once longed to be a priest. (Her parents had encouraged her that she could be anything she wanted to be when she grew up, but as Gulley says, they hadn't counted on this). Krista discovers that she might fit in with the Quakers, who have a shorter and quicker list of requirements than the Presbyterians and the Methodists for ordination. Or, as Gulley notes, the Quakers are "fewer in number and desperate for new members."

As Krista's no-nonsense approach and genuine love for her congregation earns her plenty of respectful and enthusiastic supporters, Sam finds himself battling jealousy. Krista has even laid hands on Fern Hampton and seemingly cured her warts! Old parishioners who had left the congregation (including the Harry Darnell family, after losing a "scorching debate over the proper color for pew cushions") are coming back. Even Sam's kids, Levi and Addison, like the new pastor.

But rumors begin swirling around Krista after she's spotted --- gasp! --- holding another woman's hand. Is she gay? After all, she isn't married and doesn't have a boyfriend. How will the small town of Harmony respond? Gulley tackles the issue of homosexuality as perceived by the church, as well as the challenges of forgiveness and the destructive power of wrong assumptions. What will keep readers who disagree with Gulley's theology turning the pages is his delightful dead-on portrayal of small town life, particularly the oddities of small town church life.

The relationships of sons and fathers is another subtheme in the book that offers a mostly lighter note. Sam and his mother are soon exhausted after his father's heart bypass operation, as his dad barks orders, "booting Sam outside to pull weeds and ordering Gloria to the Kroger to buy more Cheetos and Dr. Pepper." However, almost losing his father helps Sam rethink his own priorities as a dad and as a son.

Although this is the last installment of the series, readers will hope Gulley won't leave fiction for good. His novels are just plain fun, and the fiction world will be a little emptier without the continuing small-town antics of the good folks of Harmony.

--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby

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