As a Catholic, the whole "we're all happy Protestants in this town" can get to be a little wearing after a while, but it's also a nice reminder that there are still people of faith and moral uprightness out there. That might be another reason this series appeals to me - I live a basically religion-free existence, thanks to popular American culture, and that's okay for the most part. But at the end of the day, I often find myself longing to reassociate with religion in a non-invasive way, and these books do that for me with their gentle spirituality.
If people are expecting to read books with depth and underlying tensions and hidden hatreds, you're not going to find that here. I consider these books "vacation" from everyday life, and the heavier fare that I typically read. They are sweet and simple and take you to a place that you just might be able to create for yourself someday.
Oh, the characters are colorful enough. I like the repartee Father Tim has with Dooley, his secretary (Edna?) and Puny, the kookiness of Miss Pattie and Miss Rose and Uncle Billy, and Puny's blunt down-home way of talking ("Esther Bolick's lookin' to give you the ol' 'whang-do.'")
However, there's no intrigue--the plot lines are short-lived and resolve with a "happily ever after" ending since most of the characters are God-fearing White Christian heterosexuals who live squeaky clean lives. I'm only a third of the way through the third book and it's obvious that I'm in for at least 100 more pages of "I can't believe how lucky I am to have found Cynthia" from Father Tim. That's great for Father Tim, but just think of all the paper wasted that could have been put to better use with say...an actual story arc or two.
As a Jewish gay man born and raised in NYC and now living in San Diego, perhaps I'm just the wrong demographic for this series. For sure I won't be finishing it--YAWN!!!