Theodora's Baby by Penny Culliford, published by Zondervan 2006.
Theodora's Baby is the third in the Theodora series by Penny Culliford. (Theordora's Diary and Theodora's Wedding)
The cover art is adorable and the reason I picked up the book in the first place. If I am not familiar with an author (I haven't read the first two books in this series...yet.) I tend to go by back cover blurb, cover art and publisher when making my choice.
Theodora is an inveterate diary keeper. This practice causes some friction between her and her new husband, Kevin. He feels left out when she scribbles in her diary.
The things I liked about this book:
The characters. Theo's father makes the same kind of "dad jokes" my father makes, the kind where you roll your eyes and laugh because they are so terrible. There is a resident "Martha Stewart" in Theo's church, as well as a Bible pounding curmudgeon, a lady pastor, and a curate with delusions of grandeur. Add to that Kevin's 'mates', Vague Dave, Jez and Kev.2, a budgie also named Kevin, and an eel named Eric.
The setting. I love books set in England. Sidcup, Kent, Theo's small village is picture perfect, with oddball residents, the obligatory pub, and cottages with charming names.
The conflict. Theo is searching for what she believes her ministry should be. When God throws a baby into the works, Theo despairs of ever learning what God wants her to do. She and Kevin are adjusting to marriage the way all newlyweds have to. He wants to go fishing and to soccer (football) matches with his mates, and she wants to spend time with him. She can't cook. He eats a lot. There's also a bit of tension between them due to the fact that Kevin, though a believer, is opposed to going to church. Theo rarely misses a service and works part time at her church, St. Norbert's. The resolution to this conflict is touching and realistic.
Things I didn't care for...
Well, not much. I thought it was skillfully written. The text is entirely diary entries, and it does retain that flavor all the way through, but it reads like a novel. The voice is chick-lit, which is new for me. But I found it humorous, witty in that special British way that tickles me, and intelligent.