Book Review: A Fresh Start in Fairhaven by Sharon Downing Jarvis

A Fresh Start in Fairhaven
The Fairhaven Chronicles
Book 1

by Sharon Downing Jarvis

Grocery store owner, Jim Shepherd is called as the new bishop of the Fairhaven First Ward. The series is by a Latter-day Saint author and the story focuses on the bishop and the members of his ward. For those who may not know what a bishop and a ward are, please allow me to make a comparison with the Catholic Church that may be helpful. A bishop is like a priest. He is the father of the ward. Unlike a priest, the bishop hasn’t gone to divinity school and is not paid. A ward is a geographical area equivalent to a parish. I understand that in present day Washington, D.C., various geographic boundaries are called wards. I hope this has been helpful in setting up the background of this novel.

Jim Shepherd, his wife Trish,and their 3 children, are the main characters in the story. But the ward is made up of some interesting people. As he serves the members of his ward, he has some uplifting incidents, and he is baffled by some of the situations with which he is presented. There are also those ward members go along doing the best they cannot without any drama. No matter where a person goes in life there will be those people who seem to have it all together and are living what would be considered “normal” lives. But as one continues to live, he or she will encounter people who are struggling, misbehaving, or are a little on the eccentric side.

Bishop Shepherd meets a man who thinks everyone is dangerous and therefore has barbed wire around his home and an arsenal of weapons. You can never tell when Armageddon will arrive, I guess. There is the woman who would like to tell the bishop how to run the ward. There is also the family who is giving up everything to provide for their son so he can become a star football player, a young man gets bounced between his divorced parents, and a young man who has been deeply scarred from a fire. And let’s not mention the visit from the bishop’s in-laws who have him feeling like a country bumpkin…

Bishop Shepherd looks after his flock in this wholesome and heartwarming novel. Mrs. Jarvis is no Jan Karon, writer of my favorite series, At Home in Mitford, but the story is still sweet. Daphne and I are reading the 4 book series, The Fairhaven Chronicles, at the same time as part of a challenge. The challenge is offered by Because Reading and the goal is to read a book series by the end of June. I think we will be able to do this.

Please share what you are reading with us. We’d love to know. Happy Reading!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *