Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: Argosy Junction by Chautona Havig

About the Book

Book Title: Argosy Junction  
Author: Chautona Havig  
Genre: Christian Fiction/Romance  
Release date: 1st edition: March 11, 2010 ; 2nd edition: August, 2018  

I want nothing to do with Jesus or God.” 

After over twenty years of abuses from the cult-like church she grew up in, Lane Argosy has had it with God and His people. Though the Brethren try to make Lane and her family’s lives unbearable, freedom from their warped brand of Christianity is sweet. She’ll never go back… never. 

He just wanted to visit the country he’d explored through books. So, when Matt Rushby arrives in Argosy Junction, Montana, he expects idyllic meadows and craggy rocks towering above, old-fashioned friendliness and at least one or two cowboys. Instead, he finds familiar hatred and factions very much like the ones back home in Rockland’s inner-city gangs. 

The Argosy family is disillusioned, broken, and floundering. Matt knows the answer is Jesus—just Him and not the trappings of a faith He never designed. 

But how can Matt help them turn their hearts back to the Lord when he suspects Lane has stolen his?


My Thoughts

I appreciate how, while keeping us entertained, Chautona Havig is always able to focus on current and relevant topics in a way that readers can relate to, and Argosy Junction does exactly that. It is a book of contrasts, with one of those contrasts being the wide-open landscape of Montana vs. inner city life. But while the physical differences in the areas are huge, we see that human nature is very similar.

The initial meeting between Matt and Lane is so very funny, one that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I found Matt absolutely endearing. Seeing a character evolve as the story unfolds is my favorite thing, and Lane’s previous cult experience gave her a hardness that just begged for transformation. I also adored Lane’s 9-year-old sister, Patience, whose name would take some growing into.

The beliefs and attitude of the cult members, known as the Brethren, is very relevant as its effects on family and community are shown. I particularly enjoyed the background of how it gradually developed within the rural community, told through an e-mail to Matt from Lane’s father. Argosy Junction vividly reflects the contrast between rules and a personal relationship, between legalism and grace. Matt’s faith simply points people to Jesus, a Savior who welcomes all. Seeing the ministry of Matt’s church in the inner city made me think of the words from a song that I love, “Come ye sinners, poor and needy…Jesus ready, stands to save you.”

My only thought is that it’s a long book; some trimming and tightening of narrative would have greatly helped advance the plot. Argosy Junction is an inspirational and enjoyable read overall, with much to reflect upon.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

The author of dozens of books in a variety of genres, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she uses story to nudge her readers to the feet of the Master Storyteller.

Guest Post from Chautona

What Do You Do When the Church Becomes Toxic?

You know how TV shows and movies like to make fun of bridezillas? 

Yeah. I know. It can be funny. 

But bridezillas aren’t just those gals on reality shows. They’re all over the church, too. People who allow their focus to get off the Bridegroom and onto “their day.” Instead of focusing on the One who loves them so dearly, Who has rescued them from the gutter and holds them close and tenderly, they focus on getting all the trappings right. The right wording, the right clothes, the right rules of… 


So many friendships have been ruined by a bride gone wild—so focused on details that she forgets the people she hopes will celebrate it with her. She forgets her groom. Unreasonable expectations of the day and of people lead to broken relationships and an ugly taint to what should be a beautiful occasion. 

What I find interesting is that people will forgive a lot from a bridezilla. You hear things like, “Well, it’s such a stressful time,” or “She’ll come around after she settles in.”

And it’s true.

So, why don’t we have the same grace for the “bridezillas” of the church? When that deacon decides to become judge and jury of people’s spiritual state based upon what he thinks or knows someone has contributed to the church, why do we write off him and the rest of the congregation (or all congregations out there)? When the church gossip shares private information… or even false information, why do we lash out with thinly-veiled, passive-aggressive rants on Facebook about brutes in the church before flouncing off in a spiritually-superior rejection of that “religious nightmare, otherwise known as the church?” (Yes, I’ve heard it called that). 

When we’re blackballed by people who used to call us family, why do we reject all parts of the bride? Why do we cut off an arm, a leg, a hand, and whack away from the body known as Jesus’ bride until only a piece of an eyelash is left—us? 

I get it. The bride of Christ gets ugly—like many bridezillas do. But do we love our Groom? Do we trust that He will stay faithful to us even when parts of our body fails us? When we get old, frail, and forgetful, will He remember us? Will He stay faithful and true when we wander to other loves? Can we trust that? 

If Jesus can die for that person in the pew across the way, if He can forgive their sins, if He can forgive your sins, can’t you forgive His beloved?

Look, I get it. Sometimes part of the body of Christ becomes ill—gangrenous. Toxic.

When that happens, you need to remove yourself before you become ill, too. I get that. But that local body is just a tiny finger or toe of the whole body. We need to do what we can to help the rest of the body stay healthy while we pray and do what we can to help the sick part. 

And I’m not condoning sin. Please understand that. This isn’t about me saying, “It doesn’t matter if the church sins against us. It does. It’s why Jesus gave us a way to deal with that. 

But regardless of how someone else behaves, we still have to do what’s right. And I Peter 4:8 reminds us that “Love covers a multitude of sins.” 

If you thought I’d wax eloquent about how evil the church is, how we should just abolish the “institution,” and why it’s just so bad… 

You’ll be disappointed. I won’t do it.

So, What Do You Do When the Church Becomes Toxic?

I can answer the question in a word. 


And really, that’s all Matt does in this book. Loves. Okay, and maybe a little prayerful ranting as well.  
It’s what Jesus did when His creation—you and me—when we became toxic. He loved. 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize package that includes a paperback copy of Argosy Junction, “Matt’s” copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and a $25 gift certificate!!

Click the image above or the link below to enter.

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  1. I'm glad you enjoyed Lane's story. It's not an easy one to tell, but I've seen it play out so many times that I needed to do it.

  2. This book looks so good! Thank you

  3. Sounds good, love the cover, new author for me.

  4. Thank you for sharing your review.