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  • Witty and comfortable style

    Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite Church Sweet Home: A Renovation to Warm the Soul by Monica Lee is the non-fiction memoir of the author's time spent renovating a one-hundred-plus-year-old abandoned Methodist church into a place for her and her husband Tyler to live. Monica had long had an inkling that a church conversion was just the space she wanted to live in, but the practicalities of making this happen put the inkling on a wish list, one which was unlikely to be fulfilled. When their nomadic lifestyle is pleasantly interrupted by the news of a grandchild and the less pleasant resignation of a valued employee, Monica and Tyler come across a Methodist church that ticks all the right boxes. However, what looks good on paper and in the light of glittery stained glass windows is not always as dazzling when construction work and bank statements come into play, and Monica finds herself on an adventure that her nomadic lifestyle couldn't compete with. Church Sweet Home is a lightweight read with a heavy weight on the happiness scale, and Monica Lee is fantastic at delivering the highs and lows of the experience. As an American in the UK, and having seen old stone churches turned into restaurants and even nightclubs, I was struck by Monica's story of this transformation in the United States. I probably could have done without a photograph of a skeletal rodent, but it's forgivable against the wonderful collection of stories and pictures that breathe new life into the old girl (the church, not Monica). Monica Lee's storytelling style is witty and comfortable, and it was refreshing to read about how the local residents mostly got on board with their project—a rare feat in a day and age when everyone seems to have something to complain about. This is a fun book for those who love a good renovation story and, frankly, this is the type of memoir that would also make a hilarious movie. Money Pit Part Pew? Highly recommended.

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