Anyone who dreams of the days when secretaries wore high heels or remembers when "sex appeal" was synonymous with Gary Cooper, Rick Hamlin's "Mixed Blessings" is a lively read. In other words, this is a book for your grandmother.

Lurlene Scott has worked as church secretary at First Church, in Southern California, for 22 years under the Reverend Robert F. Dudley, Jr. a.k.a. "Pastor Bob." She is there not because she is member of the church, or, for that matter, because she believes in God. She is there because she needed a job when her husband abandoned her and her young son decades earlier. "It was a point of pride with her. She didn't want to be dependent upon any man for her livelihood, especially her mate."

Lurlene is cynical toward the church and simply can't get a handle on the mission of the "prayer warriors"--a small cadre that meets upstairs to pray daily for requests received from hither and thither. The warriors respond to each request with a follow-up form letter crafted to address that particular need-- "cancer," "heart problems," "forgiveness," and the like. Lurlene is in charge of remitting these letters and sometimes takes it upon herself to change things around a bit. In a moment of emotional weakness, precipitated by general discouragement and longing to get her son a good wife, she "wishes" that she believed in God and utters a half-hearted wish/prayer along the lines of what one might do when blowing out birthday candles.

Sure enough, miraculous things start to happen for her son. This is not a bad read, but it is not for the reader who has an appetite for serious theology-or fiction. Let's hope the publisher has a large-print version in the works.

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