Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen ~ by Susan Gregg Gilmore, 2008, fiction.
The narrator is Catherine Grace Cline, a teenager who wants more than anything in this world to get out of the little town of Ringgold, Georgia. Her daddy is the preacher at Cedar Grove Baptist Church, which was founded by Catherine Grace's great-granddaddy William Floyd Cline, who had been "one of the most prolific bootleggers the state of Georgia has ever known" (p. 12). "William Floyd found the Lord somewhere in the congregation's third singing of the fourth verse of 'Just As I Am" (p. 13), and within days he was "sermonizing from his own makeshift pulpit next to a grove of cedar trees" (p. 14). When one preacher died, his son took over the pulpit. Catherine Grace's daddy was the current Reverend Cline.
"You see, three generations of Cline men had been known for three things -- their love of the Lord, their devotion to their family, and their commitment to growing the perfect tomato" (p. 11). [Did someone say perfect tomato"?]One of the women at the book club meeting last night asked a logical question, since the reverend at Cedar Grove had always been a Cline and the current one had no sons: "Did you think about making Catherine Grace the next preacher?" The story is set in the early 1970s, not exactly a time when a woman would have been welcome in the pulpit of a Baptist church in a small town in the South. Well, not even today, in some Baptist churches. So that wouldn't have worked very well, but I personally believe Catherine Grace would have made a better preacher than her daddy! Just saying. Still, the ending Susan Gilmore gave us was very satisfying, with a lot to think about or discuss in a book group.
The "teaser" I posted just after midnight (today, in other words) shows why I had such fun reading this book. Rated: 8 of 10, a very good book, very entertaining.