Book Review: ‘Her Part to Play’ by Jenny Erlingsson

There is lots to like in this debut! Erlingsson demonstrates her history of writing through her story telling craft and her own experience in being in an interracial relationship. I really enjoyed the fact this story featured such a relationship and Erlingsson presented it in such a way that it felt natural.

John Pope is an actor, not getting the best roles at present, and now trying to get a leg up by making a movie in small town Hope Springs, Alabama. His usual make-up artist, Doris, is on leave caring for her ailing sister and in steps Adanne Stewart, a gusty local Hope Springs young lady.

The connection between the two feels at times a little forced and I felt for parts of the story that the author was creating something between them so she had a story to tell because not a lot happens in the first two thirds of the book.

But John becomes more engaged and senses something in Adanne and her heart for her town and community centre, established by her deceased parents. The centre is struggling to survive and perhaps one of the reasons is Adanne tries to do it all, her brother, Daniel, caring for his son, who is going through cancer treatment.

The faith element in this story is very good. John’s story of repentance and seeking after God is lovely to read. His preparedness to make significant changes to his life is a strong demonstration of what a life living for Jesus can be about. I also loved Adanne’s extended family’s faith. There is one scene late in the story when her two cousins come around Adanne and the three of them pray in surrender to God. Erlingsson captures the beauty of this sacred moment wonderfully.

The romantic twist at the 80 percent mark really bothered me. I felt it was disingenuous to John after all he’d was doing to impress and give to Adanne. Movie stars receive inappropriate approaches from fans, in this case, from an ex-girlfriend of his, and it bothered me that for the twist he was made out to be the bad guy. I’m not sure how he could have responded differently without insulting his ex. which didn’t fit with his character. It made me wonder whether Adanne would ever be able to deal with the attention John would receive from female admirers.

However, the story does end beautifully and I love how the town got around Adanne to show how appreciative they were of her and her unyielding devotion to the community centre.

I was fortunate to receive an early ebook copy from Revell as part of the readers program via Net Galley. This has had no bearing on my review.