David C. Cook
Nancy Rue’s Unexpected Dismounts continues the story of modern-day prophet Allison Chamberlain, whom readers met in the first book of The Reluctant Prophet series. After following “nudges” from God to buy a Harley and minister to drug addicts and prostitutes she meets on her rides, Allison feels as though she knows what to expect, until she doesn’t seem to be nudged as often or with as much clarity. All she seems to be hearing is “wash their feet,” but what does that have to do with funding the Sacrament House? How is that supposed to help when Zelda, one of the Sacrament Sisters, backslides?
While Allison struggles to decipher this unclear message, she is, as the title suggests, unexpectedly dismounted through a series of events. Not only is she unclear about what God is trying to tell her, but she must once again deal with the pain of the past – both hers and the Sisters – as she fights to keep her foster son, Desmond. After Desmond’s mom was killed and his father, Sultan, was presumed dead, Allison expected her adoption of Desmond to be clean and easy. However, a relative shows up trying to take Desmond from her, which helps Allison realize what God must feel like when he is about to lose one of his children.
Fortunately, Allison is not alone on this journey. The well-developed characters introduced in The Reluctant Prophet – Chief, Hank, Mercedes, Bonner, India, and others – return in Unexpected Dismounts with just as much support for Allison’s nudges as concern for the outcome of the adoption hearing. With the help of these friends, God’s perfect timing, and a young attorney named Kade Capelli, Allison finds the courage to face all of her unexpected dismounts.
One of the scenes I particularly like is when Allison is speaking with Hank about not being sure what God was nudging her to do. Was it what God wanted or what she wanted? Hank reminds her that as long as her heart is aligned with God’s, perhaps they are one and the same thing.
As in her other novels, Nancy Rue’s voice resonates throughout the story, combining just enough humor and sincerity to hook readers and make the characters come to life. Readers cannot stop reading until they find out whether or not Allison gets to keep Desmond; if Ophelia, a new addition to the Sacrament House, will stick with her decision to turn her life around; if Zelda will come back; and whether Chief feels the same way about Allison as she does about him. Of course, Rue saves some of the biggest twists for the end, which only increases readers’ eagerness to get to the last page.
Overall, I think Unexpected Dismounts is a well-written novel that allows readers to peer into the heart of someone trying to follow God’s will and sincerely listening to the counsel of her friends. Proverbs 15:22 (NIV) states, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” Similarly, Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Allison lives out both of these every day. And though there are some bumps in the road, she trusts God through it all.
This book is definitely worth reading. And if you haven’t read the first one yet, go get it and read them both. – Nicole E. Dynes, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Allison Chamberlain thought she was doing everything God required of her-but as her journey continues in the second book of The Reluctant Prophet series, she might have to let go of everything she loves to follow the call.
Allison is already taking care of five former prostitutes, trying to adopt an orphan, and helping a woman who's been raped. Along the way, she experiences unexpected dismounts, as every Harley owner who risks the ride eventually does. A relative challenges the adoption. An influential businessman blocks her ministry. Her beloved Chief is seriously injured. A piece of her past adds even more turmoil. As she picks herself up again and again, Allison realizes that some are guilty of terrible wrongs-but everyone must be responsible for righting them.