Review: Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh

July 20, 2013

Title: Splitting Harriet
Author: Tamara Leigh
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-1-59052-928-7
Publication Date: November 20th, 2007

Once upon a time, I was a rebel. And I have the tattoo to prove it.

Then there was the spiked hair–the shade of which changed monthly–“colorful” language that can’t be found in your everyday sixteen-count crayon box, a pack-a-day habit, less-than-modest wardrobe, and an obsession with guitar-trashing, drum-bashing music.

Did I mention I’m also a preacher’s kid? That’s right. And like the prodigal son after whom I modeled myself, I finally saw the error of my ways and returned to the fold.

Today my life is all about “lead me not into temptation.” When I’m not serving as Women’s Ministry Director at my father’s church, I’m working at Gloria’s Morning Café. I even have worthy goals, like saving enough money to buy the café, keep my Jelly Belly habit under control, and to never again hurt the people I love. No more parties. No more unsavory activities. And no more motorcycles! You’d think I was finally on the right track.

But since my dad’s replacement hired a hotshot church consultant to revive our “dying” church, things aren’t working out as planned. And now this “consultant” says I’m in need of a little reviving myself. Just who does this Maddox McCray think he is anyway? With his curly hair that could use a good clipping, tattoo that he makes no attempt to hide, and black leather pants, the man is downright dangerous. In fact, all that’s missing is a motorcycle. Or so I thought… But if he thinks he’s going to take me for a ride on that 1298cc machine of his, he can think again. Harriet Bisset is a reformed woman, and she’s going to stay that way. Even if it kills me!  

Splitting Harriet is such a unique book. It touches on a couple of tough subjects, but is made enjoyable by the fun writing style of Tamara Leigh. Splitting Harriet focuses on Harriet Bisset a 27 year old former rebellious PK (preachers kid) who seems to only to be able to live life in one extreme or the next. As a kid, she just wants to get away from the church and turns to cigarettes, alcohol, and inappropriate guys. As the reformed prodigal, she is determined to lead a quiet and orderly life amongst the elderly community who cares for her, and she in-turn cares for at church as head of women's ministry and as a waitress at a morning cafe'. In Harriet's opinion, it is either all or nothing, even when forgiven from the past by others and God.

When Maddox McCray shows up, Harriet is thrown for a loop. Her order of life is thrown into chaos as he starts to help revitalize her dying church while trying to help keep everyone happy and avoiding the possible split of an unhappy church. Maddox not only upsets Harriet's work life, but also her personal life when she finds out that Maddox had a rebellious streak like she did, and he never gave up the motorcycle. So, she is bound and determined to believe, because he isn't clean cut and orderly, ready to follow tradition, he isn't reformed. Maddox is bound and determined to prove, that isn't the case.

Tamara Leigh was able to turn a topic that can usually be hard to stomach into a fun book, church politics. Sadly, yes, there can be politics in church and it can rip a church to shreds if not careful. I've seen it, but here, Splitting Harriet is focused on helping a church and making sure that they also help the people who are used to the old, transition to the new, so that they can reach more people with the love of Jesus. The book also focuses on trust, in many different forms. Having trust that the head minister is doing his best to help the church, trusting God with your life and growing into the person He wants you to be, not the person you think you should be, and trusting the people in your life.

This was a fun book and Harriet's quirks make it all the more enjoyable and real. I don't think I've ever read about another character that had such an intense addiction to Jelly Belly.

Too Read!
4 out of 5

About the Author: 
Tamara Leigh is the bestselling author of Perfecting Kate and Stealing Adda. Her first seven novels earned awards and became national bestsellers, but Tamara was dissatisfied that the stories were not God-honoring. In 2003 she determined to write books that more directly represented her faith. Tamara and her husband, David, live with their two young sons in Tennessee. 

For more information on Tamara Leigh, check out her website

You can also purchase Splitting Harriet at ChristianBook, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Blogging for Books and Multnomah Books, I received this book for free in exchange for an honest opinion. 


  1. I really liked this book. I went on to read all the books by this author and continue to follow her writing :)


    1. I will definitely look into more books by Tamara Leigh. I really enjoyed her writing style as well.

  2. Replies
    1. I flew through this book. It is funny and touching.

  3. I'm so happy you liked it. I never get tired of reading it. It's on my favorite reads ever list! It's simply so much fun. And Harri is wonderful, isn't she? I could really relate to her doubts and fears and I loved that she found a way to get beyond them. But it was a believable transition for her. Great review! :)

  4. It was very believable. I loved how she had a jelly belly addiction. Transitions take time and it showed in the book. I really enjoyed it!


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