Review – Casting Samson by Melinda Hammond

About the Book:

Finding your boyfriend in the shower with another woman isn’t high on Deborah Kemerton’s “best birthday presents ever” list. Her life in London shattered, she retreats to her sleepy hometown to heal her broken heart. There, she’s quickly swept up in planning a pageant to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the village church. Tasked with casting the perfect Samson, Deborah may have found her man in Josh Lancaster—onstage and off…

Fellow committee member Anne Lindsay is convinced a 12th-century crusader is buried under St. John’s. As the story goes, Hugo left for the Holy Land after his true love Maude was given in marriage to his brother. Professor Toby Duggan is equally convinced Anne is wrong, and is determined to prove it. Neither of them counts on their mutual passion for history turning into a passion for each other…

When romantic entanglements and small-town dramatics come to a head, local legend proves to be more than just a story…

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                 Casting Samson

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

When Deborah Kemerton catches her sleazy boyfriend in the act of cheating on her with a co-worker, she’s crushed.  She leaves him, her job, and London, and returns to her hometown, where she becomes a part of the committee planning a special pageant.  The parish of St. John is celebrating what it believes to be its 700th anniversary, and there is going to be a big gala.  All of the biblical scenes which are depicted in the church’s stained glass windows are going to be acted out.  There’s just one problem  —  they’ve lost their Samson!

A group of four young men comes to town, and they’re playing in a “tasteful” male stripper revue.  (If you read the book, you’ll love their name.)  The committee is never afraid to ask, so they query whether any of the young men might become the new Samson.  One of the men, Josh Lancaster, has only been filling in temporarily, and is currently looking for new employment.  He eventually comes back and agrees that he’ll take part in the pageant.  Romance seems to be in the air, as Josh and Deborah immediately hit it off, though Deborah wonders at her own quick attraction to another man when her heart just got broken.

Anne Lindsay is a 40-ish widow who is handling the publicity for the pageant, and she hints to the press that local legends indicate that their church may have ties to the Templars.  A local professor, Toby Duggan is so certain that she’s wrong, and so outraged that she would even hint at such a falsehood, that he comes to confront Anne directly.  While the sparks that fly between this couple are originally antagonistic, they soon become sparks of another kind.

As the pageant draws ever nearer, the fledgling romances suffer from misunderstandings, miscommunications, and plain old mistakes.  The pageant starts off strong, but evolves into a comedy of errors, including the return of Deborah’s sleazy boyfriend.  Meanwhile, the current day tale is interwoven with the story of Hugh/Hugo, the Templar Knight who may, or may not, have built the church.  CASTING SAMSON is an unusual, but enjoyable book, with a lot happening.  I couldn’t wait for Deborah to grow a backbone and tell her awful ex to hit the road.  Despite his actions, she still seemed to be unable to stand up to him.  There are a lot of excellent secondary characters who add some additional smileworthy moments to the story, while sexy Josh is my favorite.  CASTING SAMSON is a lighthearted contemporary romance which made for a delightful read.    ~Rose

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