Book Review: An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer

3 Feb

Meet Alex Armstrong, new pastor and lifelong city dweller, who has just accepted his first parish assignment, a small parish in the wilds of North Dakota. Hilltop Township, a farming community, blooms from the prairie like a wild pink rose lovely and prickly, much like the quirky residents. Pastor Alex quickly learns that this lovely place is in peril; many of the farmers are struggling to make ends meet. As he settles into life on the prairie, he begins to experience a lot of new things like the annual Hunter’s Breakfast, julebukking (also called Christmas fooling), and King Oscar’s balls. Not to mention the excitement the single pastor creates among the unmarried women in the community! Alex soon discovers that his new church home has as much to teach him and he will teach them, providing all with An Unlikely Blessing!

First Chapter

Judy Baer was born and grew up on a farm on the prairies of North Dakota. An only child, she spent most of her days with imaginary people – either those she read about or those she made up in her head. Her most ambitious conjuring did not succeed, however. She kept a clean stall with hay and oats for the horse she imagined would come but unfortunately, it never did. As an adult, however, she managed to make that dream come true and raised foundation quarter horses and buffalo for some years. A voracious reader, Judy learned to read with comic books, anything from Little Lulu and Superman to the Rawhide Kid. She sold her first story for $10.00 to a farm magazine. She still has the $10.00.

She graduated from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota with a major in English and education and a minor in religion. At the time, she was simply studying what interested her, but now realizes that she was educating herself for her future career as an inspirational christian romance writer.

Judy wanted to write for Harlequin even in high school but it wasn’t until her youngest child learned to say “No” that she realized that she’d better consider a second career to fall back on when mothering was done. Her first book was written with her little girl on her lap. Judy would type a few words, say “Now, Jennifer,” at which time her daughter would hit the space bar before Judy continued typing. It wasn’t the fastest way to work, but it offered a lot of mother – daughter time together. An over-achiever, she’s written 71 books for various publishers. The mother of two and step-mother of three, she now has lots of family to enjoy.

In 2001, she went back to school and became a certified professional life coach. Currently she is working on her Master’s in Human Development in the areas of writing, coaching and spirituality and writing inspirational Chick Lit which, she says, is the most fun she’s ever had writing.

Q&A With Judy Baer

My Impressions:

An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer is a gentle read reminiscent of Miss Read’s Fairacre series. City boy and new pastor Alex Armstrong finds God has led him to the prairie of North Dakota to pastor two small flocks.  Hilltop Township is the home to ancestors of hardy pioneer stock.  Self-sufficient, proud and open-hearted, the people welcome Alex into their church and homes with hot dishes, pies, cakes and jellies.  The 40-something pastor finds not the alien country he expected, but a home.  And the parishioners who have been praying for help believe Alex is God’s answer.

Not much action takes place in An Unlikely Blessing.  It is a slow-paced, hometown, comfort read.  If you like Jan Karon’s Mitford series or Charlene Baumbich’s Dearest Dorothy series, you will probably find this book to your liking.  The novel is the first in a series, so a lot of characters and story lines are introduced without much resolution.  The plots introduced should unfold in the coming books.  The lovable and sometimes quirky characters are endearing.  Even those who are trouble are treated with compassion.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an escape to a slower paced, country setting filled with down home charm, wit and wisdom.


To see what others are saying, click here.

(I received An Unlikely Blessing from LitFuse in return for an honest opinion.  The views expressed are mine alone.)

In celebration of the release of An Unlikely Blessing, Judy is giving away a KINDLE prize package worth over $175.

One lucky winner will receive:

  • Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • A $25 gift certificate to

To enter just click on one the icons below and then tell your friends! Winner will be announced on February 21st on Judy’s blog,

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

One Response to “Book Review: An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer”

  1. Brenda February 6, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    I love the Jan Karon series, so I will definitely check out this book.

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