Book Review: Stay for Lunch ‘like clean white sheets on your bed on Sunday morning’

By Susan Johnson

Copy Editor

If good things come in small packages, that’s certainly applicable to Anne Goodwin’s Stay for Lunch: A Story of Faith and Friendship (Pleasurable Pause Press, 2009, ISBN: 13-978-0-9816499). A compact, 94-page volume, this book will delight you from beginning to end. It is, in every sense,
a story of faith and friendship,

beginning with the seemingly coincidental meeting of two women at the scene of an accident.

Anne Goodwin, a young woman grieving from her own heartbreak, stops to help a stranger in need, an older woman named Francina. As the press release says:
Beginning in Atlanta, the friendship between the young woman and the refined community leader ended up spanning decades. Even with a relocation across the country, they remained stalwart supporters for one another.

Francina, an 86-year-old Methodist woman, wants to reward the kind stranger who helped her and decides to invite her over for lunch. From there, they discover touch points that bond them together as lifelong friends.

This small book, in a few concise chapters, tells an inspiring story of faithfulness and documents a spiritual journey. One reader commented:
This book is like clean white sheets on your bed on Sunday morning. It is fresh and comfortable, and ever so sweet. It’s about friendship and faith, and dance hall jams and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off.

As Anne shares her family news with Francina, we see how she grows in confidence and faith, encouraged by a woman who has weathered the storms of life and trusts God to be there for her. After Francina’s death, Goodwin wanted to write Stay for Lunch as a personal tribute and to give testimony of life’s unexpected gifts.

Stay for Lunch won a prestigious Gold IPPY in the inspirational/spiritual category and is sure to win many more new friends. It contains Francina’s actual letters to Anne, as well as excerpts from a draft of Francina’s own reflections on the friendship and how it came about. The book is beautifully designed, with illustrations that serve as snapshots of a continually blossoming friendship. Alison Larkin, best-selling author, remarked,
Stay for Lunch is a delightful gem of a book that touches the soul.

Retail price is $14.95. The book is available from Pleasurable Pause Press, LLC, 1730 White Ave., Beloit, WI 53511, or see

From the Aug. 19-25, 2009 issue

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