The story begins in early spring, in the year 1913. A young woman named Hope Irvine was busy tossing flyers about an upcoming prayer meeting to the residents of a small town they were coming to, distributing them from the rear platform of the Chapel Car named Herald of Hope. This was a real railroad car, used as a chapel by Baptist preachers to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transient railroad workers and coal miners and their families.
See here: http://www.chapelcars.com/
In Judith Miller’s book, The Chapel Car Bride, we get immersed into the world of an itinerant preacher and the life he led with his daughter, as they told people about Jesus Christ and how to be born again. Sometimes they would stop for only a few days, other times they remained until a permanent church and preacher could be established. Hope’s dad was worried about how she might not like traveling and having no roots, but she was a strong, determined Christian woman, and overcame a few obstacles quite well.
I was very interested in the life of miners in West Virginia, and Mrs. Miller did a good job of telling what it must have been like for impoverished families of coal miners in Finch, West Virginia.
Hope meets a nice Christian gentleman who works part time in the coal mines, and their relationship blossoms. In the meantime, a scurrilous mine manager gets involved in some shady dealings amongst the miners, while he is supposed to be helping build up the mine. He carries out a plan to make extra money illegally, and that storyline is exciting to read.
The other storyline between Hope and Luke is equally interesting, and Luke’s growth as a Christian is subtly mentioned during the development of the relationship he has with the preacher’s daughter.
Very clean Christian historical fiction romance story. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a unique look into a little-known part of American history. I look forward to reading more of Judith Miller’s books. Praise Jesus!
Disclosure: this book was given to me free of charge by Bethany House publishers, and I want to Bethany House Publishing for this advanced copy of The Chapel Car Bride!