Many a novel has a clergyman or woman as their main character, but this collection of short stories offers a different perspective.

Licensed lay minister Sam and his wife, Penny, are relocating to a new area and starting afresh in a new church with its varied characters. Each story concerns a different character in the new community. The stories stand alone, but share a common theme – God at work in people’s lives.

I found much to identify with in these tales; the portrayal of church life and the pastoral situations that occur rang true, although there was a slight tendency to sweeten reality and also to play down the difficulty that comes with adapting to life in a new culture.

The fact that Sam and Penny are working in secular employment but still have positions of authority within the Church provided an unusual and interesting angle; perhaps one that would most resonate with those in a similar tradition. An enjoyable read, but possibly of limited appeal to those not familiar with the church context it describes.

CAROLINE NEWBOLD is chaplain of Lady Margaret School and associate minister of St Stephen’s Church, Ealing