The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival
Set in rural North Carolina amidst the swing of Prohibition, this story follows the perilous adventures of the passionate traveling preacher Jedidiah Robbins. Robbins may be spreading the Word of God, but that isn’t the only happiness and cheer his mission is spreading. The preacher is a bootlegger, multi-tasking as he saves souls. Throughout the story Robbins faces many challenges, from the KKK to an angry sheriff whose daughter wooed Jedidiah. While the crusade gets up to some trouble, they also find time to make a positive difference. These acts of kindness and charity span from feeding the poor to saving several people in a daring and heroic act. Overall, the preacher certainly gets around and is always up to something which keeps the story moving.
While the novel is fast-paced, it is sometimes too rushed. This breakneck speed makes it easy for the reader to fall behind and for smaller, but important, events to fall by the wayside. As a result, births, marriages, and budding romances get lost in the haste to communicate all the wild events. The story has a lot of exciting points, but there may just be too much for the 300 pages.
Jedidiah Robbins is a complex and troubled character, but Roberts’s writing effectively captures the complexities of the man. With trauma in his past, the novel reveals a remarkable transformation of the character. Jedidiah moves from self-serving and scared, to thoughtful and hopeful. In so many books, this character development is rushed and sudden, but in this case, it is one thing that was just the right speed.
Overall, if you’re looking for a book with a story that doesn’t slow, an older man who doesn’t quit, and a plot religiously focused on the main character, then this is the book for you.