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Reviewed by Natalie Soine for Readers' Favorite
Sister Southern Belle by Judy Kathleen Thompson takes place in The Isle Of Hope, South Carolina, and tells the story of four nuns: Sister Ellen, Sister Donna, Sister Regina, and Sister Jo. The four nuns form the Poor Saint Louisa Sisterhood prenatal birthing clinic to care for and minister to unwed mothers. In 1963, a pregnant artist named Snodia joins them and gives birth to a baby boy named Chancem, but Snodia does not survive the birth so the sisters raise Chancem. In 1973, a hippie named Carmel joins the sisterhood, eventually teaching prenatal exercises and stretching. Dave, Mr. Bugman, helps rid the clinic of vermin and forms a relationship with Carmel. After a visit from Mother Sheila, the nuns are informed that they have been recalled to the convent. All monetary funding will cease immediately. The nuns take matters into their own hands and arrange a bazaar to raise funds, which becomes a regular event.
Judy Kathleen Thompson uses prayer, poetry, and rhymes to tell this unusual and delightful story of empathy, hope, and determination. The four nuns are dedicated to their profession and taking care of people in the community who need the help that only they can provide. This story also motivates young people to treat others with dignity and respect, regardless of who they are or what situations they may find themselves in. The interesting array of characters is well defined and the story is charming. I particularly enjoyed the fun way in which the author strings the words together. My favorite example captures the story: “The world, these disadvantaged women you serve with so much care and compassion, these underprivileged children who depend on you for motherly grace and fatherly direction”. Overall a lovely, enjoyable story.