**spoiler alert** When I turned the last page of Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James, I was a bit sad. I really enjoyed the characters in this novel and**spoiler alert** When I turned the last page of Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James, I was a bit sad. I really enjoyed the characters in this novel and I wanted their stories to continue! Lilly Westbrook is a girl after my own heart. God has called her to be a writer. She has penned many dime novels under the pseudonym Fannie Cole as to not draw attention to herself. See, these novels are considered scandalous (even though the people who are claiming they are trashy have not read them – times have not changed much, have they?!). But, anyway… In order to protect her identity and her family’s good name, Lilly hides her writing from everyone close to her.
First and foremost, this is a sweet romance. So, of course, the relationship between Lilly and her beau, Jackson Grail, is what drives the story. The novel opens years in the past with Jackson and Lilly excited to announce their engagement to Lilly’s parents. Jackson, being the insecure boy that he is, overhears a conversation between Lilly’s parents as he is about to walk into the room to ask for their permission to marry their daughter. Of course, this completely changes his mind about the whole thing. So, does he confront them? Well, there wouldn’t really be a story if he did that! Nope, he cuts and runs. Jerk. Maybe I’m too hard on Jackson. He comes from meager stock and feels that he could never provide Lilly with what she deserves. I get it. But, come on! Man up! Lilly is, of course, crushed. But, she picks up and pieces and moves on.
The story picks up years later and we learn that a man of her same social stature, Harlan Santerre, has begun to court her and there is talk of an imminent marriage proposal. It becomes very obvious, very quickly, that these two aren’t a good match. Of course, things get a bit complicated when Jackson returns to the picture, having made his fortune. Things also get a bit hairy when he decides to purchase a publishing company called Jones & Jarman. Do you see where this is going? If you haven’t guessed already, this is Fannie Cole’s publishing company! How will Lilly be able to keep her secret writing life when Jackson is her new boss?
Overall, I enjoyed the story. I did have a couple of small quibbles with it. One is Jackson’s character. I wish he could not have made his fortune and then come back for Lilly. It really made it seem like money was driving his love for Lilly instead of his heart. I was hoping he would have failed and then come crawling back to her, begging for her forgiveness. His character did grow throughout the story and I did end up understanding him in the end, but the whole money thing just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe that is just how things were back in the late 1800s, but why couldn’t he have trusted in Lilly’s love? Why did he have to run away? It just really frustrated me!
Another small issue I had is that the story was wrapped up very oddly, in my opinion. It just didn’t quite connect with how the rest of the story was laid out. Lilly was consumed throughout the entire novel with revealing herself as Fannie Cole. Then, suddenly, her brother makes a stand in his life and she makes a seemingly quick decision that she is okay with outing herself as the infamous authoress? Sorry, that doesn’t jibe with me. There seemed to be no thought that went into the decision other than, “My brother made this huge decision, so I can, too!” Lilly presented herself as this strong, independent woman throughout the entire novel, so this snap decision just didn’t connect with me.
This is a very nice, sweet Christian historical romance that I really enjoyed overall. Other than a few minor annoyances, I would recommend this novel....more
Love on Assignment tells us the early 1900s love story between Charlotte Hale, a woman with a dream of becoming a journalist in a man's world, and DanLove on Assignment tells us the early 1900s love story between Charlotte Hale, a woman with a dream of becoming a journalist in a man's world, and Daniel Wilmont, a Bible professor and religious columnist for the Newport Gazette. Daniel's social reform columns have invoked fury among industrialists.
Charlotte is employed by the Rhode Island Reporter (the direct competitor to the Newport Gazette) as a secretary with dreams of becoming a reporter. When her boss comes to her with a choice assignment - to investigate Professor Wilmont - Charlotte feels that this is her big break. With mounting bills to pay due to her being the prime caretaker of her aging aunt and wheelchair-bound sister, she agrees to the clandestine mission, although niggling doubts creep into the edges of her mind. She goes undercover as the governess for Daniel's two children, Tim and Ruthie.
Daniel is immediately taken by his new governess. With his own secrets, years in the past, but not forgotten, Daniel is finally trying to put the past behind him and move forward with his life.
Charlotte secretly investigates Daniel and uncovers some information about him that makes her rethink everything. In the process she comes to understand the role that God plays in her life.
As these two unlikely characters forge a fragile relationship, built on lies, what will happen when everything comes crashing down around them?
This is a very nice, sweet story. I enjoyed the characters and the tension surrounding the plot kept me turning the pages, anxious to see what would happen next. However, the middle of the book just dragged on and on. Truly, at least 50 pages of it could have been cut out. There was scene after scene of Charlotte saying "I must tell you what I've been hiding!" and Daniel saying "Eh, don't worry about it. It's all good." Okay, so I used my own language there, but you get my drift. It drove me nuts after a while. I just wanted them to get it over with already! Then, the ending wrapped up way too quickly! I wished it was drawn out a bit more. I don't read a lot of romance, but when I do the money scenes are when the hero and heroine finally figure it all out and come together in the end. I just felt like all of the preceeding 300+ page build-up was a bit of a let-down.
What I loved about this book is Charlotte discovering her faith in God. I thought some of the scenes where she was reading the Bible and praying were very sweet. She seemed a bit hesitant, not sure what she should be doing, but hoping it would all work out. Isn't that how we all kind of feel at first? It was inspiring and these scenes were some of my favorites in the novel.
To sum up, this is a nice, tender Christian historical romance that I had a few issues with, but would recommend.
Josh has lived a difficult life. He and his two older brothers are ripped from the only home they have known when their neglectful parents die in a drJosh has lived a difficult life. He and his two older brothers are ripped from the only home they have known when their neglectful parents die in a drunk driving accident. It may have not been the best home, but it was their home. Trying to keep the boys together proves to be an exercise in futility as they are sent off to different foster homes, only getting to see each other off an on. Then a miracle. A family takes in all of them and they are happy for the first time in their young lives. They make friends. Their foster family truly seems to care for them. Everything is just perfect.
Until a horrible tragedy separates them forever.
Despondent and distrustful of most everyone, Josh ends up living out his teenage years in a home for boys. When he ages out at 18, he begins to try and make a life for himself. Sleeping in homeless shelters or on streets, eating beef jerky for dinner, he works up to three jobs a day in hopes of getting an apartment, a place to call his own.
Trying to get into a more lucrative construction job, Josh heads to a new town. There he meets his supervisor, Mike, who offers him a room to rent in his mom’s house. That decision would change Josh’s life forever. Josh begins to truly live and feel like part of a family; something he feels like he doesn’t deserve.
My heart ached for Josh throughout his story. For any of you contemplating foster care or adoption, I encourage you to read this short book. It gives such an honest and thoughtful portrayal, from a child’s perspective, of what it’s like to live without a family growing up and the destruction it can weave into the soul of a youngster.
Even though this book is classified as Christian Fiction, there is not too much discussion of God in this book, so if you are hesitant to read this book because of the description, I would urge you to give it a chance. There is some talk of going to church and such, but there isn’t a lot of deep spiritual growth in the characters, which is something I was looking for in this type of novel. With that said, I really loved this book and I read it fairly quickly. There is a lot of emotion packed into the ~170 pages, with some surprising twists and turns that were unexpected. Josh’s story is haunting, but so true-to-life for many children. His story is one that will profoundly impact you and stick with you for quite some time.
I love novels centered around World War II and although this is a contemporary work of fiction, it is based on two grandfathers recallingFrom my blog.
I love novels centered around World War II and although this is a contemporary work of fiction, it is based on two grandfathers recalling their stories from the front lines of the war against Hitler’s regime and the ultimate liberation of the Jewish people from one of the many concentration camps, specifically Mauthausen in Austria. In their 80′s, Grandpa Jack and his best friend and WWII buddy, Gran Paul, are fantastic characters, brimming with life. You can feel their emotional turmoil as they recount their numerous stories as the foursome make their way across Europe, from Paris to Belgium, through Germany into Austria. The angst lying under the surface as they watch their friends dying; their joy and horror at opening the gate to the Mauthausen concentration camp rings very true to life and I was very caught up in their tales. The side stories with Jack as he comes to terms with some of the things he had to do during battle were heartbreaking and I felt truly sorry for the young man that he was, having to experience what he did.
Although I loved the historical aspects of this novel, the rest of it fell flat for me. I did not care for the main character, Ava. She was not a likable character at all. I kept wanting to like her, but she kept doing silly and stupid things that made me dislike her even more. Eventually I just got tired of her. I never connected with her as a character or really knew what she was about. All she seemed to care about was her job and getting the next camera shot. It was agonizingly frustrating considering how much I enjoyed the other parts of this book. Her relationship with her grandfather, Grandpa Jack, seemed strained at best and I never really felt a connection between them, which is unfortunate.
Dennis and Ava’s relationship is pretty awkward. It isn’t until 230+ pages in that we learn the whole story of their past and why things are so weird between them. They are on a roller coaster of emotions with each other and it is frustrating trying to figure out what the issues are between them when neither of them will talk about anything!
Finally, considering this book is Christian Fiction and published by Guideposts, I was a little surprised that there wasn’t some conclusion to Ava’s spiritual development at the end of the novel. Prayer and God were touched on throughout the book (but not overly so), but I was expecting some kind of wrap-up to the journey I went though for 300 pages, or at least some type of “it’s in the works” statement. But, it seemed to solely focus on the relationship between her and Dennis and making sure all of those loose ends were tied up. It left me wanting more.
Overall, an okay read, especially for those who love the historical aspects of World War II. There’s a fantastic author’s note at the end regarding her interviews of veterans and some of her research....more
I truly enjoyed this book. The author created this amazing character with a in-depth and detailed back story and she is only briefly mentFrom my blog.
I truly enjoyed this book. The author created this amazing character with a in-depth and detailed back story and she is only briefly mentioned in the Bible! I have a few little quibbles about some things, which I’ll talk about in a minute, but overall this is a richly drawn story and one I would definitely recommended to anyone who enjoys historical/biblical fiction.
In the beginning we meet Kiya, a young girl whose village is overrun by rebels and her parents are killed. When she and her fellow villagers are later freed by Egyptian soldiers and taken to the city of Heliopolis to live, Kiya cannot believe her luck. She continues to miss her village, but over time she comes to accept where she is and actually likes it.
Soon, Kiya is adopted as a priestess-in-training and given the name Lady Asenath. She has many encounters with Joseph throughout her young life and is immediately drawn to his strength and to his God. I found these parts of the novel very sweet. To think that they were smitten with each other years before they actually got married and were star-crossed lovers, so to speak, was an interesting way to approach the character of Asenath.
I think the author took a bit of liberty with the story of Joseph and Potiphar. The Bible tells us that Potiphar “burned with anger” (Genesis 39:19, NIV) after hearing about Joseph supposedly taking advantage of his wife (even though she advanced on him and he ran from her), so he threw him in prison. In the fictional account of Asenath, Potiphar has a soft heart for Joseph and does what he can to help Asenath see Joseph in prison and to help Joseph however he can. I do not see his fondness for Joseph backed up by scripture, so I had a hard time believing it. Now, I do understand that this is fiction, but I think the main themes of the Bible should remain intact. If Potiphar “burned with anger”, I cannot see him softening toward Joseph and helping him while he was in prison. On the other hand, since we know literally nothing about Asenath, I had no problem with the back story that the author created. The Joseph/Potiphar relationship was my only quibble with the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It is easy to read and I found myself anxious to get back into the story each night. It is a rather quick read, too, at less than 200 pages. I would definitely recommend it....more