Sisters of the Last Straw, #1, #2, #3
by Karen Kelly Boyce
Chesterton Press

"She sat on the floor with a bright red face, amidst the broken boxes and crooked metal chair. A broken cigarette hung from her mouth. And that is exactly how the other nuns found her."

What does a nun do when her bad temper forces her out of other convents? Why, she forms her own, of course. Together with the eternally clumsy Sister Krumbles, cigarette-sneaking Sister Lovely, neat freak Sister Shiny, and excitable Sister Lacey, who invents colorful curses to counteract her swearing, Mother Mercy attempts to hold together her new order of misfit nuns and give them all one last chance to practice their vocation.

Naturally, with such a diverse collection of bad habits and difficult personality traits, running a successful nunnery can be challenging, especially when their neighbor and local sourpuss, Mr. Lemon, wants them gone. To stay in their home the sisters will need to effectively deal with a kitchen fire, flying jam jars, rampaging goats, mysterious thieves, "ghosts," exploding birthday cakes, a missing person, an aggressive rooster, and a multitude of other minor disasters often brought about by their own vices or character flaws while trying to maintain relations with their neighbor, the police, and members of their ecclesiastical authority. In the process, they even welcome in a new novice, Sister Wanda, whose tendency to take wrong turns makes her a perfect candidate for the convent.

In her quirky, frequently slapstick, and fast-paced books for young readers, the author has crafted a charming story of a group of challenged but sincere nuns who band together out of their love for God, the poor, and each other. Boyce adds some religious and moral teaching into the mix, as well, but never in a heavy-handed way. The result is an enjoyable and entertaining series of adventures with an offbeat but lovable religious community.

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