Lisa Kay's Reviews > Borrowed Light

Borrowed Light by Carla Kelly
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I’ve only ever read one Carla Kelly book prior to this one, and it was very good. This one is wonderful. Every once in a while I like to read an inspirational love story or one about a person of faith. I adore a good historical-western-romance and this seemed right up my alley. I naively started this book not realizing that it is a LDS (Latter Day Saints) book. Once I realized that, I had to put it down for awhile, for personally reasons I don’t wish go into here. However, I am glad I picked it back up.

I am not an expert on the Mormon religion; however, being a history buff that loves the Oregon Trial period, I’ve read a little of their history and can’t help hearing the current news about the fundamentalists sect. Nevertheless, this is a book involving a regular LDS heroine and Ms. Kelly lets us know LDS folks are just normal people; in 1909 they put their pantaloons on one leg at a time like the rest of the world. Some of them wonder how they will explain or justify their religion to people who are simply inquisitive and others who are judgmental. Maybe CK made a point of setting Julia up to show she has ‘free-will’ – which is our greatest gift and the reason we are on the Earth (IMHO). I don’t know. I still liked the story.

As the back of the book says, this is a story about a young woman who answers an ad for a cook in Wyoming. I love books about cooking, and our delightful heroine is in for a delicious surprise. (I probably would have reacted the same way!) Of note, I especially enjoyed the relationship Julia Darling had with her parents throughout the book. Also, the fact that Paul Otto, the hero, calls everyone by their last name; hence, he calls Julia “Darling” through most of the book, except toward the end when he calls her “darling Darling”. Cute. CK has the talent of being able to set a scene and let it tell the tale with stirring dialogue. I found fun, humor and depth of emotion in this book. I got a wonderful sense of time and place and was pulled into the pages. There is a rich caste of multi-dimensional secondary characters. There is growth all around and an ability to heal even the deepest of emotional wounds. All things I like! Plus, the type of danger Julia has to face was a surprise and very well written.

I had to think hard about the end before I wrote my review. Julia is in love with Paul and admits it, and visa versa. (view spoiler)

The upshot of it all was that I liked the book and am glad I read it. Will I continue to read Ms. Kelly’s books by Cedar Fort, Inc.? I don’t know. She sure writes an excellent story, although I have all her previous books to plow through first.

This book was sent to me free of charge by Cedar Fort, Inc. and, by doing so, had no effect of my rating.
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Reading Progress

03/06/2011 page 98
24.0% "Excellent so far! I got this in the mail as a ‘first read’ and had to peek at the first few pages, even though I'm reading a different BOM for one of my groups. Big mistake. I haven’t had a book grab me and not let go like this in an eternity. I couldn't put it down! Eight chapters later and I had to make myself go to sleep, then walk past to my other book. Wonderful characters with lots of depth."

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by Jill (new)

Jill I was so looking forward to this as I'm a big fan of CK and of westerns. But I was put off by several reviews that said it was too preachy. May do a re-think.


Lisa Kay Jill, Thanks for liking my review!

Ms. Kelly is the master at incorporating her research into her books to make it appear seamless. I did quite a bit of research on Fannie Farmer (proprietor/instructor of the cooking school Julie, the heroine, attended); everything CK put in this book regarding her is very accurate. The whole book is so well written.

As I mentioned in my review, I did struggle a little with the whole LDS thing. The fundamentalist sect has been in the news a lot lately here in America. True, they are separate from the mainstream, but some of the women who are in the plural marriages come from the mainstream sect. Recently, a woman in Utah became the first woman ever granted custody of her children after leaving a plural marriage in Utah. That tells me a lot about the amount of power welded by men of that faith in the state.

I tried very hard to put all that aside and enjoy the book; however, in all honesty, it probably would have been 5 stars without it. I always felt I was kind of bracing myself for an onslaught of preaching and I was pulled out of the story a couple of times to wonder if CK was setting up something specially to show the “rightness” of the Mormon religion or how or how much Julia had “free will”. Nevertheless, they made a wise choice in Ms. Kelly as a representative for their voice in woman’s romances. She writes an excellent story.

I do like reading various women of faith books, regardless of the religion. A good one, which I haven’t read in years – so I haven’t given it a current rating – is A Bed of Spices.
A Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuel

Do you know any?


message 3: by Jill (new)

Jill Hi LK, I guess I was (and am) very reluctant to read something that I think is overtly preachy. Although I do/have read Christian/inspirational now and then. BUT on the condition I don't feel I'm being targeted for conversion.

I have read and enjoyed A Bed of Spices. Very good, but not preachy. And of course I've read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Brilliant story.


Lisa Kay Jill, I haven't had the nerve to read Redeeming Love yet. Good for you. I've heard it is excellent, but sometimes I just can't stomach prostitution and pedophilia, though I understand they basically take place “off camera”. Too heart-wrenching.

The Preacher's Wife is pretty good. Though it is not as in-depth as Borrowed Light, I gave it four 1/4 stars for the type of book it is (Love Inspired); it is a really quick read.


Melissa Wow applause to you for keeping an open mind! That is awesome. I am LDS and know there are lots of ideas about our church that are hard to understand. (Joseph Smith, Book of MOrmon). I love Christian lite too but not the prechy stuff it really gets old after awhile. Have you read any of the other CK novels? Are they as clean as this one? The covers are throwing me off. Colleen Coble is good not too prechy. An LDS author that doesn't include religion in her books is Sarah M. Eden-regency stuff.Michele Paige Holmes book was also good and not religious. I love to find clean romances so I thought I would share a few.


Lisa Kay Thanks, Melissa! I've only read one other CK book, and I can't remember the level of explicatory sexuality. Sorry. Most of her work before this contained some, but at various levels. Several reviewers said that is one of the reasons she started writing for this publisher; her discomfort with writing these scenes.

Thanks for telling me about Sarah M. Eden and Michele Paige Holmes. I think I have heard of the second one; I’ll have to check them out.


Melissa I write reviews on my books and have plenty more. If you want to befriend me. If not it's ok I know some people don't like a lot of friends. But I am always looking for Clean romance books!


message 8: by Jill (last edited Jul 10, 2011 03:47PM) (new)

Jill @ Lisa Kay & Melissa
I've read almost all of Carla Kelly's books and either my standards are pretty lax or my memory's failing me, but I thought all her books were pretty clean.

I've only read one book by Sarah EdenThe Kiss of a Stranger but it was excellent.


Juliana Philippa Great review, Lisa!


message 10: by Juliana Philippa (last edited Aug 03, 2011 05:35PM) (new) - added it

Juliana Philippa What is the one-foot-on-the-floor shelf for?


Lisa Kay Juliana, it comes from an old movie term. Back when the censors insisted that married couples had to have separate beds. During a love scene (for any couple, married or not) one person had to keep one foot on the floor at all times. Hollywood got quite inventive on the choreography for that, LOL! Some of Cary Grant’s movies are the funniest as he would flip and turn around and still maintain one foot on the floor.


Juliana Philippa Ohhhhh! The term sounded familiar, but I had no idea why. LOL, that's funny and I love that you made a shelf from it.


message 13: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate L GAH! Loved the review until you kept saying things along the lines of "non-mainstream religious sect" Felt very condescending to me, like we are compound dwelling religious whackjobs. Remember there are 14 million of us all over the world! We are more mainstream than you would think! :) I'm glad you kept a somewhat open mind while reading the book, since you initially put it down, you probably had some things that didn't sit easy with you. I'm glad you got out of it that Mormons are regular people too, that is probably one of my biggest frustrations, especially when I lived int he Bible Belt! In a small town people would literally cross to the other side of the street....I always just wanted to yell...."We are all Christians!" but I know some people don't believe that, unfortunately :( Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the book, I know I did, I've always enjoyed Christian fiction but like everyone has been saying, it can get a little preachy :/


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