Quality. That’s the description that first comes to mind when I think back on the Mended Hearts sReviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/298POOE
Quality. That’s the description that first comes to mind when I think back on the Mended Hearts series. Pure literary quality. And then I would have to add poignant, heartwarming, romantic, relevant, and even challenging to my faith. In these stories you will find richly-drawn characters, compelling storylines, and a masterfully-conveyed sense of place in the west Texas community of Trapp. Varina Denman deals with small-town prejudices, a church’s unjustness, and the issue of depression in a way that thoroughly entertains and fascinates.
When I talk about Jilted, it’s hard to separate it from the two previous books, Jaded and Justified, because they all continue as one gently-flowing stream. Although sufficient background is given so that Jilted can stand alone, I highly recommend reading the series in order, because these three novels have continued themes and characters that grow throughout. The storylines develop slowly, as with the gradual pealing back of layers, and the totally unique and endearing characters wormed their way into my heart, forever to be embedded. From the small-town setting and characterization, to the attitudes prevalent among the townspeople, both good and bad, everything has such a realness to it that I had to keep reminding myself that this is a work of fiction.
We first met Lynda, Ruth Ann’s mom, back in book #1, where she was a little … okay, I’ll just say it – unreasonable and unlikeable, yet I saw a glimmer of hope for her character by the end of that book. I loved her determination! Lynda lived with bitter memories that imprisoned her in the past … and in her words, “Anger had become a familiar blanket I habitually wrapped myself in.” Lynda’s daily struggle with depression felt so real that I wanted to cheer when she drew on that determined spirit and decided to be happy, which couldn’t have been easy.
Clyde also came on the scene in the first book when he returned to Trapp after a 20-year incarceration, where he also found Christ. Understandably rough around the edges, his gradual growth throughout the series is beautiful to watch. Lynda and Clyde are strong and unique characters, with the foundation of friendship on which attraction grows.
In Jilted, you will find love and laughter, as in the scene where Clyde asks Lyn to go out with him . . . "Clyde’s laughter bounced off the walls and echoed through my heart, and I realized I hadn’t heard him laugh like that since before he went to prison. His voice boomed as if his happiness came from deep inside, and the sound startled me so much, I took a step back and stared. Wanting to hear more." (Lynda)
In Jilted, you will also find faith realistically played out . . . "Even if the baptized believers were a tangled mess of problems, God wanted Clyde in the middle of them – worshiping, forgiving, tolerating. If he expected them to overlook his faults, he needed to overlook theirs, too." (Clyde)
Jilted reflects hope, second chances, encouragement when circumstances are bad, and the importance of being there for each other, especially in the sharing of burdens.
Jaded, Justified, and Jilted are well worth the investment of time and money. Read them slowly, savor every gentle nuance in Varina’s exquisite writing – and then read them again. I know I will.
Very highly recommended.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and David C. Cook for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
Legacy. Unconditional love. And not only unconditional love, but outrageous, extravagant love.
This and so much more is the essence of An Endless Christmas, one of the most memorable and endearing stories I’ve ever read. While its December Minnesota setting certainly invokes the Christmas spirit, this story gently unfolds messages that readers can take to heart every day of the year. Cynthia Ruchti is one of my favorite writers, for she always entertains with stories filled with deep characterization, lyrical writing, heartfelt emotion, and spiritual lessons that make life all the richer.
Stillwater, Minnesota . . . From its historical section with quaint stores, inns and Victorian homes, to the vertical lift bridge stretching across the St. Croix to Houlton, Wisconsin, Cynthia brings this picturesque setting to life.
As Micah and Katie join the Binder family for an important family tradition, the Christmas week extravaganza at his grandparents’ cottage north of Stillwater, we are introduced to one of the most precious fictional families I’ve ever met. Katie, “the daughter of parents who ate conflict for breakfast,” yearned for a real family who could weather storms with their love intact. With his patience, tenderness, and steadfast love, God used Micah and his family to open Katie’s eyes to all that could be. This conversation between them is so meaningful . . .
Katie: “You do know that those people in there aren’t normal. Forgiveness is second nature to them. Nobody holds a grudge. The in-laws are indistinguishable from the children born into the family.” Micah: “What if this kind of crazy love is normal and everything else is the warped way of living?”
Micah’s eighty-something grandparents, Dodie and Wilson, are at the heart of this story and the impact of their legacy is something to which all readers can cling. There’s also some incredibly moving scenes, such as the family’s burning of the year’s regrets in a bonfire, Wilson’s goodnight prayer/blessing to each family member, and the children’s delightfully funny Christmas play.
Of all the spiritual gems in this story, I think the one that touched me most is one which we can all apply daily . . . that we should never leave any unfinished business when it comes to our loved ones. That we should never have to rush to a sick person’s bedside with a need to express love, because that love has been conveyed by words and actions every day.
It is my hope that all who read this review will find a copy of An Endless Christmas and cherish your family in a more meaningful way every day because of it. For beauty of narrative, the entire Binder family, and the way this story touched me . . . 5 stars! Highly recommended.
Thank you to Worthy Publishing for providing an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
Laura Frantz is an exceptional writer of historical romance, one of the very best in my opinion,Reviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/1NGuTEn
Laura Frantz is an exceptional writer of historical romance, one of the very best in my opinion, for there's a complexity to her writing that I rarely experience elsewhere. To say that I loved The Mistress of Tall Acre doesn't really do it justice, for I say that about many books. But this story, as with all that I have read by Laura, has that indefinable quality that makes it stand out among the rest. Using her God-given talent, Laura flawlessly blends historical detail, rich characterization, and enchanting storytelling in a way that captured both my attention and heart from the first page. It rises above genre with its exquisite storytelling. Romantic tension, check. Heartfelt emotion, check. Witness these words of Seamus, five years before the story opens, as he holds the newborn Lily Cate in his arms . . .
"I don't want to leave you. I'm willing to die for you . . . and if I don't come back, I want you to forgive me."
The story is set in 1783, primarily on beautiful Tall Acre in Roan County, Virginia, shortly after the American Revolution has ended. "Tall Acre lay like a brown quilt, pieced together in patches, tenants farming sections and paying rent to the estate." This is my favorite era and I wish there more Christian fiction stories with this setting. It was eye opening to see the hostilities that remained, struggles of the newly-formed government, confiscation of property deemed to be Tory, and the divisiveness of slavery that was already a major issue.
Laura has a unique ability for giving life and breath to her richly-drawn characters, and Seamus and Sophie will live on in my heart. Female leads don't always strike a chord with me, but Sophie - with her hard work, commitment, and love for Lily Cate - certainly did. Their romance is the best kind, starting out with mutual friendship and respect, and slowly growing into the deepest love and trust. This description of Sophie's feelings is so vivid . . . "She felt herself warming, soaking up his attention like a neglected flower left too long in the shade." Seamus's daughter, Lily Cate, simply stole my heart - and I also appreciated the freed slave, Myrtilla, and her daughter.
And Seamus! Well, suffice it to say that he goes on my list of favorite male leads (along with Ian and Silas from previous novels). Appointed major general by Washington and a hero of the Revolution, Seamus could easily have become larger than life, yet he doesn't. Betrayed more than once, stranger to his daughter early on, realistically flawed, yet loving, committed and generous, we see every emotion as he struggles with life's complexities just as we all do. While technically Seamus and Sophie did enter into a marriage for the sake of convenience, this story far exceeds the typical marriage-of-convenience plot theme. Seamus's rationale is laugh-out-loud funny . . .
"Theirs was a safe, suitable arrangement. She was in love with someone else. He had no wish to love again. What could possibly go wrong?"
I so greatly appreciated how faith values were woven throughout the story. Although Seamus was a believer, his prayers had virtually stopped during the war, and it was Sophie's gentle, steady and faithful witness that slowly drew him back. That God provides and will bring about good from our messed up past - in His own timing - is clearly evident in this story.
I have to mention that there's a well-executed plot twist that I never saw coming. The Mistress of Tall Acre is a favorite of mine, and that says it all. Highly recommended.
Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
I read This Quiet Sky last week, pondered for a while about what to say in my review, thenSee full review at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/1I7N2TJ
I read This Quiet Sky last week, pondered for a while about what to say in my review, then decided to read it a second time instead. However, I'm still no closer to finding adequate words to do justice to this heartfelt and memorable story.
First, the tangibles. This Quiet Sky is a poignantly beautiful novella, exquisite in its simplicity, and a prequel to Be Still My Soul, book #1 in the Cadence of Grace series. It's a tender, bittersweet story of the young, but enduring, love between Lonnie's Aunt Sarah and Tucker O'Shay. And it's penned by a master at crafting imagery, rich characters, emotions, and invaluable life lessons. In Joann's capable hands, a story of love that would seem hopeless on the surface is transformed into a heartwarming portrait of the hope that only comes from above.
Tucker and Sarah are so very real and easy to relate to - from Tucker's vulnerability, intellect, self confidence, and sense of humor, to Sarah's journey from friendship into a relationship which led her to the putting of another's needs first. This Quiet Sky reflects life, the realities of which are seen in Tucker's words, "Sometimes an entirely different equation than you expect is staring you in the face." And there's just the right injection of humor with great scenes, such as Tucker's conjugation of Latin verbs and the favorite "Tucker stories" shared at a family birthday party. reflect
Now for the intangibles . . . I am so glad that Joann told the story that was on her heart, and I believe it is a story that had to be told. This Quiet Sky is in a class all by itself, for I can't think of another story to which it could be compared. The best stories entertain, but in addition to that, they challenge you, make you change or grow in some way - and that's what This Quiet Sky did for me.
I want to be like Sarah when I grow up - to be able to see the person, not the illness; to risk; to love selflessly and grow in the ways that she did. I wish I could have reached out and embraced Sarah when she realized, "It's now I who will be brave for him."
Joann ends with an epilogue that takes place several years later, giving beautiful closure to the story. Another character that I'm drawn to is Benjamin, Tucker's brother, and I hope that Joann will someday return to Rocky Knob, Virginia, with more stories from these families.
This Quiet Sky is a story that lives on in my heart and I am a better person for having read it. Very highly recommended.
Thank you to Joann for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
Poignant...timeless...inspiring...entertaining...reflective...unexpected...emotional...a literaryReviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/1GKKY7W
Poignant...timeless...inspiring...entertaining...reflective...unexpected...emotional...a literary gem...insightful... The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy is all that and more. We are reminded that human nature has always been the same and I often had the feeling that I was looking at myself through the mirror of these stories. It troubles me that there's no way my words can adequately convey the beauty of these books and why readers should be moved to open their pages.
The setting of this trilogy is a 14th century Benedictine monastery - and the first two volumes, The Hawk and the Dove and The Wounds of God, contain vignettes passed down through the centuries by Father Edward's family and told to the present day Melissa by her mother. The imagery of St. Alcuin's on the edge of the Yorkshire moors and the monastic life couldn't be more vivid, and the deceptively simple lyrical prose reveals a wealth of insight.
The trilogy revolves around the beloved Father Peregrine, who is appointed Abbot of St. Alcuin's in the early chapters. But he wasn't always beloved, for "there was precious little compassion or gentleness about him" in the beginning, and it took a horrific personal tragedy to gradually reveal a Christlike spirit that touched all who were around him, and will touch every reader in the same way.
Book 3, The Long Fall, uses the novel format to tell a darker story that focuses on Father Peregrine and Brother Tom, and it's this story that I found most profound and almost haunting. Penelope's hospice experience has served her well in writing of Brother Tom's distancing himself from Peregrine after his stroke, learning to see the person instead of the illness, and not allowing the indignity of illness to erase the dignity of the human spirit. Penelope shared in an interview:
"In The Long Fall, I wanted to give a voice to those hidden lives. In many novels and dramas, it is the doctors and nurses who are the stars, the people they care for having merely supporting roles. I wanted to give back centre stage to people who had been pushed by illness to the margins of their own lives."
Fellow blogger Faith Farrell has a gift with words and I appreciate receiving her permission to share a few of her thoughts on this series . . .
Oh, there's so many reasons to read these books. Read them for the fine writing that turns these little tales into magic doors that transport you to another world. Read them for the way they'll absorb you utterly, and the way you'll crave the next chapter, and the way they'll feed your heart. Read them for their deceptive simplicity, because while they're stories of particular people and place- the brothers of St. Alcuin's- they're somehow about you and I too.
Read them for Brothers Tom and Cormac and Francis and Theodore. Enjoy the delightful camaraderie of young men all trying to understand their vocations and conform their lives to the pattern of simple service. There are antics and escapades and growth in goodness aplenty among these novices! Read them for Brothers Andrew and Matthew and Edward, older men who took their vows long ago and still find themselves learning God's ways. Read them for Father Peregrine, the abbot who leads them all, with justice and distance at first, and eventually with a true shepherd's merciful hand. These men may belong to the 1300s, but the human heart still breaks and mends in the same old ways.
These stories are timeless, relevant, and will speak to everyone. Highly recommended.
Thank you to Kregel/Lion Hudson for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ...more
With To Win Her Favor, Tamera Alexander has just elevated herself into my list of top historReviewed at The Power of Words: http://tinyurl.com/kov96f5
With To Win Her Favor, Tamera Alexander has just elevated herself into my list of top historical romance writers. This story uses the "marriage of convenience" plot that I greatly enjoy, yet raises it to a whole other level than what I'm used to. It has that perfect blend of historical detail, well-drawn characters, captivating storyline, and a love story that touched me with its tenderness, passion, and honesty.
The rich historical detail of Nashville during the year of 1869 provides a fascinating backdrop for this story - from the lush thoroughbred horse farms to racial tensions, prejudice, and KKK violence, evidenced by "need not apply" signs prevalent throughout the area. Former plantation owners had been stripped of wealth, dignity, and all they held dear, while others found themselves judged by skin color and national heritage. Even Maggie, based on what she read in the newspapers, considered the Irish to be "a lazy and violent lot, given to heavy drink and wantonness."
There's a level of realism to Cullen and Maggie that captured my emotions and immediately drew me to them. Together they faced much conflict - financial difficulties, thwarted dreams, personal attacks, prejudice from without and within, guilt from the past. Cullen is a hero I will long remember - a man who, in spite of all the prejudice and personal loss he endured, is a man of compassion, integrity, and tenderness. And Maggie, a young woman with the ability to literally "soar" on her beloved Belle, touched me greatly. This novel has many strengths and their love story is one of them.
One of my favorite characters was Maggie's father, Gilbert Linden, for it is through his character that we see the impact of a Christian legacy. Fully aware of how important both Maggie and Cullen's dreams were to them, and how unlikely it was they could be obtained, he had the wisdom and insight to secure both of their futures in a way neither one would have imagined in their wildest dreams. I loved these words of Gilbert to Cullen as they were talking about prayer: "Let's just say that as I've gotten older, I've learned that there's always a conversation going on. It's just me who's sometimes stubborn of hearing. Either that, or I simply don't like the direction the conversation has taken."
The bond of strong relationships is another strength of this story, seen through Cullen's championing of the downtrodden, as well as Maggie's maturity and spiritual growth. And there are secondary characters who are every bit as endearing as Cullen and Maggie - Ennis, Kizzy, and Savannah Darby, who I believe will be featured in a novella soon. I also have to give praise for the cover, which pictures Maggie in a new riding habit made for her by Savannah, even down to the lace on her collar.
I can't leave with addressing something that I just don't understand; namely, that several reviewers have given this book a one-star rating due to the level of intimacy between Cullen and Maggie. In a time when so many books end at the engagement or wedding ceremony, I find it refreshing to read a story that focuses on the marriage itself. As a Christian wife who has been happily married for over 40 years, I appreciate the realism of both conflict and growing attraction that Tamera conveys so tastefully. And the conversations that take place in the bedroom setting add so much understanding, feeling and emotion that I can't imagine this story without them. There's a difference between intimate and explicit, and Tamera never goes beyond the boundaries into anything that I would find offensive.
I also don't believe all CBA books can be judged by the same standard, as To Win Her Favor is simply a book for adult readers; nowhere, to my knowledge, has it been marketed to the teen or YA audience. However, reading is subjective, and while I appreciate the realistic portrayal of romance in a Christian marriage, I respect that other readers will have a different viewpoint.
To Win Her Favor is an outstanding and memorable novel, happily added to my list of favorites, and one that I look forward to reading again in the future. Highly recommended. 5+ stars
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
If awards were based on personal impact, Anna’s Healing would win a gold medal. This story pulledReviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/2aQeuyY
If awards were based on personal impact, Anna’s Healing would win a gold medal. This story pulled me in from Chloe’s question in the very first sentence – “Was Anna healed?” – and touched me over and over, page after page. I read it slowly, with tears in my eyes more than once. This won’t be a typical review because Anna’s Healing isn’t a typical book.
Chloe, a reporter and close friend to Anna, came to realize “that writing was more than a job, it was a calling” – and I think that’s exactly the way Vannetta Chapman approaches her writing. No matter what genre she writes in, Vannetta writes in a lyrical style, her storylines entertain, and she has a way with characters, making them feel so real that they could be your neighbors. But in this Plain and Simple Miracles series, she delves into what it really means to be a Christian in a way that is life-changing for the reader.
Here are the main characters . . .
-- Anna had a restless spirit, felt smothered by her large family, and moved to Cody’s Creek in northeast Oklahoma to “find the answers to how she was supposed to live her life, and where, and with whom.”
-- Jacob was also restless and had a need to travel, until Anna and her family’s needs gave him a reason to stay. On a romantic level, Jacob represents the kind of love we all long for … a love that sees with the heart, that sees beyond outside appearance, that puts the other’s needs before his own.
-- Chloe reported for a local newspaper, developed a deep friendship with Anna, and her articles beautifully convey the stories of Anna and the community. She learns how precious life and relationships are.
Anna’s paralyzation as the result of a freak accident during a tornado becomes the pivotal point of the story. Bishop Levi quotes an Amish proverb to Jacob that has an application to all of us: “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” Questions are asked, questions for which there are no easy answers: Why did this happen? Why hasn’t God answered my prayer for healing? Why me? Anna experienced all that anyone would – depression, a feeling that life no longer had meaning – but what makes this story so eye opening is watching the positive ways in which the community and those closest to Anna responded.
There was so much that resonated with me in Anna’s Healing . . . the importance of asking what God wants us to learn in difficult times . . . that life is precious and should be lived to the fullest . . . and a believing faith most of all. My favorite character was Ruth, Anna’s grandmother, for her prayers literally bathed Anna in the Psalms as she continuously prayed and believed in Anna’s healing. I want to be more like Ruth.
We always think of healing as physical, but I think the real healing in this story, as in life, is of the heart. To a certain extent, the characters take secondary roles – for there is only one main character, and that is God. Anna’s dreams or visions play a moving part, and the one where all of her loved ones were together celebrating drew many tears of happiness from me: “The scene at the table, in the center of the harvest, was a promise of another reunion – one that would last for all eternity. A holy gathering of those she loved – both those present and those who had gone ahead.”
Anna’s Healing was a 2016 Christy Award finalist, and deservedly so. Read it even if you don’t particularly enjoy Amish fiction, for it is so much more.
Very highly recommended.
Thank you to Vannetta Chapman and Harvest House Publishers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ...more
This is why I read fiction. Many stories entertain and inspire me, tugging at my heart and pullinReviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/1FPyEhr
This is why I read fiction. Many stories entertain and inspire me, tugging at my heart and pulling me away from the busyness and cares of life. But every once in a while, a gem like Cynthia Ruchti's As Waters Gone By comes along - and hoping to stumble across those gems is why I read.
As Waters Gone By embodies all that Christian fiction should be, a story that conveys the heartbreak, anger and distancing of oneself from God when life's strongest desires aren't met and the unimaginable happens - and then we get to travel with the characters down their path to healing. Cynthia's subtle injection of humor hits the spot. This story will especially touch those facing physical or emotional distance from a spouse, but it's the simple message of a story beautifully told that will touch any reader.
With her vulnerability, determination and courage, I was immediately drawn to Emmalyn - but really, every character is loveable and memorable. Cynthia has taken the infrequently-used storyline of Max's five-year prison sentence and treated it in a realistic, inspiring way. And then there's Bougie, a character I don't think I will ever forget! Bougie's eclectic style is reflected in the bright colors and stenciled quotes all around the Wild Iris Inn, and I loved that she describes herself as: "Rescued. Rescuer. Grateful."
Read this story for its vivid imagery . . . the majestic beauty of God's creation seen from the shores of Wisconsin's Madeline Island, the enticing scents of Bougie's dishes at the Wild Iris Inn and Café, the sounds of incoming waves or gentle rains falling against the skylight in Emmalyn's cottage.
Read this story for its exceptional lyrical prose that engages the senses: "As she looked farther down the shore, she saw the sand swallowed by rock cliffs with trees jutting over the water and pines playing 'I can lean farther than you can without getting wet.'" Or "She abandoned the resumption of her wardrobe search in favor of sea-gazing, watching the fat snowflakes melt on the water's tongue like a million communion wafers or flakes of manna."
Read this story for the message of friendship, healing, and second chances . . . love received and given by a child named Hope . . . the comforting presence of a dog named Comfort . . . and that "Grace always outweighs gravity."
But most of all, read this story to be reminded again of God's goodness and faithfulness through every storm of life.
Cynthia writes, " I want to communicate the grace I’ve witnessed that can transform a long distance relationship from unraveled to hemmed in hope." And that is exactly what she has done through As Waters Gone By. I highly recommend this story to every reader....more
When I come across such a deeply moving book as Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, I struggle with howReviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/1CmJ6Sn
When I come across such a deeply moving book as Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, I struggle with how to adequately convey my thoughts. This is a highly entertaining novel - poignant, bittersweet, compelling - and gives cause for reflection after the last page is turned. The writing is exquisite, with an atmospheric, otherworldly feel. It is of "read again" quality so as to pick up all that I might have missed the first time.
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor reflects the human condition with all its flaws and failings, the "shadows" of family secrets spanning generations. Characters are three-dimensional and completely believable, for we know and identify with their background, struggles and emotions. I have long been a fan of British fiction, so I loved the English countryside setting of Bibury in the Cotswalds which Melanie conveyed so vividly - thatched-roof cottages, colorful English gardens, rolling pastureland dotted with sheep, elegant country manors, and cycling down winding lanes.
The narrative flows seamlessly between past and present, told through multiple voices. Perhaps the best way I can convey the feel of this story is to share a little about some of those voices . . .
Libby is one of the most unique characters I've ever seen in novels. In real life, she would probably be diagnosed with "autism spectrum," but this was unknown in the 1950s of her childhood, causing much misunderstanding and frustration. Yet I found her exceptional qualities fascinating . . . "Ethereal. Magical. Like a fairy or butterfly," Libby craved beauty and freedom. And "she saw a rainbow of colors where other people saw only black and white." Melanie handles complex issues well, and I think this story will especially resonate with anyone who has been a caregiver for a special-needs child.
Results of past actions are constant companions of Walter and Maggie Doyle, Libby's parents. Walter just might be my favorite character because of his humanness. He tries to do the right thing, to be honorable, yet he keeps struggling and making mistakes with all that life hands him. But oh, how he learns! Walter is a man of character and depth, whose influence is felt on every page, and he is eventually able to reflect what real love is - and that is something we can take heart from.
Living next door to the Doyle cottage is the Croft family, aristocrats who "clung to their status and property like the wisteria clung to the stone towers on their house." Oliver, the son and heir, enjoyed a childhood friendship with Libby and shared her longing to be free, "but his parents treated him more like a piece of pottery - shaping and molding him into the distinguished Lord of Ladenbrooke. No one had ever asked him if he wanted to be lord."
Heather brings home the modern-day story as she returns to Bibury to sell the family cottage after her father's death. While events of the past caused her to prefer a safe friendship with someone who would never break her heart, family revelations, understanding and joy await her.
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is a story every one of us can relate to, for surely we've all made regrettable choices and spent countless hours in life's shadows, leaving us nowhere to turn but to the Lord. This is a memorable story about God's faithfulness and transforming power, how He is so very capable of restoring that which is broken, in a "crown of beauty instead of ashes" style. Very highly recommended.
Thank you to Melanie Dobson and Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
A Reason to Stay is a very moving story – poignant, compelling, heartwarming, and even humorous aReviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/29Q99qK
A Reason to Stay is a very moving story – poignant, compelling, heartwarming, and even humorous at times. It’s the story of a marriage, with past and present cleverly entangled throughout. The romance is tender, characters are richly drawn, and tough issues are faced realistically. It touched me in lots of ways and left me with much to think about after the last page was turned.
Kellie Coates Gilbert instantly became one of my favorite writers after reading her first book, Mother of Pearl, which has a similar emotionally engaging plot. I’ve read four books (#5 has just been released), and as for a favorite? It would probably be whichever one I’m reading at the time, they’re all that good.
Before Christian fiction became my primary focus, women’s fiction in the secular marketplace was my favorite genre, and I have devoured many excellent books over the years. While there is much that I enjoy in the CBA, the limited amount of quality women’s fiction has been disappointing. So let me quickly say that I applaud the writing of Kellie Coates Gilbert, for it holds its own with anything I’ve read elsewhere.
Faith Marin had a glamorous job and celebrity status, all of which had come at a price. A character’s likeability often determines the extent to which readers enjoy a book, and let me just say that Faith is a flawed – broken – character that has a lot of spiritual growth and maturing to go through from the time we first meet her. As the layers are peeled back to reveal glimpses into her background, my understanding of her behavior increased and I easily connected with and felt for her. Geary had his own flaws, but he modeled the patience, love and commitment that are so desirable in a mate, and I adored him.
A lot of stories reflect the values of forgiveness and second chances – yet somehow Kellie Coates Gilbert is able to take these themes to a whole new level, one that completely engages the emotions and envelops you with a sense of God’s hand in the midst of difficult situations. A Reason to Stay reflects a reality where Christians don’t always marry Christians, physical attraction is a big motivator, and couples aren’t completely supportive, open and honest with each other. The enchanting honeymoon ends and the reality of differing goals, values, belief systems, and expectations sets in. Vocation was just one area of conflict, as Faith thought Geary failed to understand the commitment level required by her job, and she “wasn’t all that enamored with the idea their financial security rested in large measure on whether or not the bass were biting on crankbait or woolly buggers, or that the season, time of day, and weather could determine the size of his paycheck.” As in real life, it takes a crisis to open their eyes to what’s really important.
I also loved how family played such an important part in this story, and was reminded that marriage is not just the joining of two individuals, but of two families. Faith’s experience with Geary’s family and their traditions was so funny … a “redneck” family with strong faith values that loved unconditionally, yet boundaries were nonexistent and everything was meant to be shared.
A Reason to Stay is a touching and memorable story, and while the ending is very satisfying and uplifting, I hated to see it end. “Best of the best” for me.
Thank you to Revell Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly is an exquisite novel, atmospheric and emotive, a stoReviewed at The Power of Words: http://tinyurl.com/ot6o2r6
The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly is an exquisite novel, atmospheric and emotive, a story that I will eventually take great pleasure in reading again. While I have discovered many outstanding reads in Christian fiction - and occasional rare gems, even - I often bemoan the fact that literary-style writing isn't often found in this genre. And "literary" doesn't mean slow moving and rather boring, as some might think. Instead, this type of fiction tends to focus on complex issues, character depth, and the beauty of the writing itself, which perfectly describes The Boy Who Loved Rain.
The prose is simply beautiful - lyrical, elegant, layered, even poetic at times. With themes of child abuse and suicide, the subject matter might seem complex and heavy, but in the hands of an author who cares about his topic, the readers will experience hope and joy. The pace is somewhat slower at first, but I felt like an essential foundation was carefully being laid, one precious stone at a time. Everything picks up about one-third of the way in, and what was already an enjoyable read becomes a thoroughly engrossing one as secrets and motivations are slowly exposed.
Fourteen year old Colom experiences nightmares and violent mood swings, going between an anger and indifference that even he doesn't understand. The thoughts of his mother, Fiona, reflect both her frustration and the beauty of Gerard's writing: "How could their bright, smiling son have become this passive-aggressive teen who slalomed daily between rage and indifference? . . . And then there were the constant eruptions, anger blowing in like a storm and staying as an unwelcome lodger, a fourth member of the family."
I loved how each chapter begins with a foreshadowing fact or literary quote about rain - fascinating to read along the way, but with a meaningful twist that only becomes obvious toward the end.
Sections of this story take place in London and Amsterdam, but the main setting is the quaint harbor town of Portivy and the Côte Sauvage area on the wild coast of the French-Atlantic peninsula. This is another instance where setting practically becomes a main character, for Gerard is gifted at taking what is already an awe-inspiring part of God's creation and describing it in vivid ways that add much richness and completely held my attention.
As to the spiritual element, this story doesn't feature the normal evangelical point of view that is often found in Christian fiction. Fiona's husband, David, pastors a large Anglican church in London - and Miriam, a wonderful woman who reached out to help Collom, had previously been a nun. But The Boy Who Loved Rain is spiritually moving, as Fiona and other characters are drawn closer to the Lord, and there are some touching prayer scenes, reminiscent of the spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer.
Secrets are at the very heart of this story - unthinkable secrets thought best to remain hidden in order to protect a loved one, but needing to be exposed so that healing can begin. What a beautiful word picture Fiona's thoughts paint . . .
She imagined the sea itself laid bare; its every rock and secret channel uncovered. Formations of stone and sand submerged for centuries, caressed by the ocean's currents, hidden from view by a dark weight of water: brought now to the light, laid open for all to see. A single fork of lightning; a wind like the very breath of God. Secret things, exposed at last.
The Boy Who Loved Rain is one of the best stories I've ever read. Highly recommended to everyone who enjoys a multilayered, emotionally nuanced drama with the promise of hope.
Thank you to Kregel for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ...more
Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson is an epic story, told by a masterful storyteller. EverReviewed at The Power of Words: http://tinyurl.com/p32rnca
Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson is an epic story, told by a masterful storyteller. Every essential element is present: rich characterization, historical detail, multilayered plots, lyrical writing that flows across the page, an emotional and gripping narrative. This is also a compelling and relevant story, with a message that calls out to us today. My attention was captured and held from the very first page. Whenever I come across a novel like this, my only problem is in writing a review that comes close to doing it justice.
Chateau of Secrets is set in the medieval Château d’Agneaux on jagged cliffs above the River Vire, close to the northern French town of Saint-Lo, and is loosely based on the courage and faith of a real life French noblewoman. Melanie has a gift for seamlessly weaving past and present together between Gisèle Duchant during the Nazi occupation of France, to her granddaughter, Chloe Sauver, in today's time. This is the second excellent story I've read recently that used this literary vehicle, and I loved how the contemporary storyline gave me a much-needed breather from the emotional depth and suspense of World War II.
Gisèle, a French war heroine, is a strong character that readers will love. With a devout faith, as well as passion and purpose that included helping her brother Michel and the resistance cell, I couldn't help but admire and be drawn to her. Gisèle was driven to rescue, even when the enemy was determined to destroy.
Chloe, Gisèle's granddaughter, found herself engaged to an ambitious political candidate, only to be used as a campaign pawn in order to get elected. Chloe "felt a bit like a broken gift hidden under pretty paper and a bow." Riley, with his WWII heritage, was intrigued as to what sacrifices people were willing to make in order to protect themselves and those they loved: "It tells a lot about a person when you find out what or who they're willing to die for."
At the heart of this story are its spiritual themes, relevancy, and even challenges for us today. God uses ordinary, often unexpected people to carry out His will. It's a book about secrets - secret tunnels, secret identities, secret motives. Gisèle questions as to how a secret could destroy, yet it could also shield a family. "When did a secret cross over the gray wasteland between protecting one you loved and destroying him?"
But the theme that hit the hardest is drawn from Jesus' words, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." As she wrestles with this teaching, Gisèle reflects: "When was she supposed to love her enemy and when was she supposed to resist? And somehow, in the great mystery of faith, was it possible for her to do both?" Her conclusion - and maybe ours as well? Pray, but also fight against evil. I'd like to end with these touching thoughts from Gisèle:
"Was it possible to love your enemy even as you hated - as you battled - the wrong that drove them? Perhaps that was what Jesus did on the cross. He forgave those who killed Him and yet in his death, He defeated the sin that blinded them."
Chateau of Secrets is an extremely entertaining and moving story that earns my highest recommendation - and will be on my "best of the best" list for this year's reading.
Thank you to Howard Publishing for providing an electronic ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review....more
I'm so glad I chose to read The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer because everything aboutReviewed at The Power of Words: http://tinyurl.com/ldhujzx
I'm so glad I chose to read The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer because everything about this story appealed to me, making it one of my favorite reads. Writing style, characterization, dry wit, small-town setting, emotion and message . . . Sometimes everything just clicks for me, and that is certainly the case here. There's a lot of character depth, which is something I always look for. Kathryn's lyrical narrative is conversational and easy to follow, and the storyline reached out to grab me from the very first page. I especially like how Kathryn takes a topic not often seen in Christian fiction and handles it so well. Love for family and extended family, showing children you love them, freedom in Christ - it's all here.
The characters seem so real and easy to connect with. Gin avoided putting down roots, pursuing freedom and a clean slate by seeing what was over the next horizon. "Places, not people, filled the pages of the photo album on their coffee table." Raine is an insecure teen, the product of her mother's rambling lifestyle. Cody, with his strong faith and penchant for rescuing strays, naturally gravitated toward Raine. I loved the way his caring drew her out, and how they shared thoughts and goals that they hadn't been able to express to others.
Dan is one of my favorite fictional leading men - firefighter, local hero, and guided by his faith in God. The romance between Gin and Dan is a strong theme - fun, moving, and with a cute twist at the end. I love these thoughts of Gin's: "Dan's eyes were clear, lit by a source Gin couldn't identify, and filled with gifts she was afraid to accept."
Spiritual themes are beautifully woven throughout, like the fact that even the strongest Christians fall, but what's most important is where we go from there. And as Gin learned, no matter what coping mechanism we might use on a human level, the past still rears its ugly head. True freedom and a new start only come through Christ.
I think it was the significant meaning behind the title, The Dandelion Field, that touched me most, though. You'll have to read the story to understand more, but it reinforces the importance of showing our children how much we love them with an image I don't think I'll ever forget.
Bottom line? I did not want to leave these characters. There's so much room for further story development that I really, really hope Kathryn will give us a sequel. The Dandelion Field is a thoroughly entertaining and inspiring novel, one that I highly recommend - and it's going on my list of 2015 favorite reads!
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
No matter what genre, Lynn Austin is a masterful storyteller and exquisite writer. Her lyricReviewed at The Power of Words: http://tinyurl.com/lpzg334
No matter what genre, Lynn Austin is a masterful storyteller and exquisite writer. Her lyrical prose and characterization immediately capture my attention, her ability to paint word pictures literally puts me into the scene - and with The Restoration Chronicles series, Lynn makes an unfamiliar period of Israel's history shine with its compelling relevancy for today. The narrative closely adheres to Scripture and the addition of fictional characters only makes these events come alive. In Keepers of the Covenant, we see the Covenant God who balanced justice and mercy, law and grace. The best biblical fiction makes me eager to read the scriptural account, and that is exactly what happened here.
The first section of Keepers of the Covenant takes place in Babylon, opening with King Cyrus allowing Haman to issue a decree ordering that all Jews would be killed on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, a decree that could not be rescinded (Esther 3:13). Although familiar with the biblical account, for the first time I wondered what it had been like to live each day in the knowledge that you would be killed in a few months. I could sense their fear and despair, questioning, trying to understand why God would allow this.
I loved how Keepers of the Covenant focused on Ezra and really came to appreciate this wise spiritual leader. Upon hearing the phrase for such a time as this, we immediately think of Esther, but I believe the same can be said for Ezra. He was a quiet man who loved studying and teaching the Torah. But God had a plan for His remnant, and when the time was right, Ezra was in place to lead.
Secondary characters were fascinating . . . Devorah, who wanted marriage to be a partnership and went before the elders to battle for Ezra . . . Amina, the young Edomite girl who found unconditional love from a Jewish family . . . and Reuben, a Levite who ran far from God in anger, but eventually found redemption.
There was so much that spoke to me in this story, things that make it extremely relevant for us today. Spiritual Babylon's dangers of apathy, assimilation, and compromise are woven throughout, and could anything be more haunting than Ezra's words to Devorah: "If we aren't careful, we'll wake up one morning and discover we aren't a separate people anymore."
This thought from Reuben's Abba expresses another theme, one that I will take away from this story: "It's the highest form of praise to keep believing that God is good even when it doesn't seem that way."
Although #2 in the series, Keepers of the Covenant stands alone. I highly recommend Keepers of the Covenant to all readers.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ...more
Love's Fortune has all the necessary ingredients that combine to make a fulfilling and satisReviewed at The Power of Words: http://tinyurl.com/k5m3jab
Love's Fortune has all the necessary ingredients that combine to make a fulfilling and satisfying read: rich characterization, emotion, a setting that you can see and even almost smell at times, sigh-worthy romance, and superb storytelling. Although this is technically a review of Love's Fortune, this description is actually applicable to the Ballantyne series as a whole. This story can stand alone, but I can't imagine isolating it from the series, for all three novels blend into one epic family saga - reminiscent of authors like Belva Plain and Barbara Taylor Bradford.
When it comes to historical fiction, I think Laura Frantz is one of the very best writers in this genre today. Her research must surely be extensive, and the historical detail blends seamlessly into a fascinating narrative filled with multi-faceted characters. Family patriarch Silas Ballantyne stole my heart in the first book, Love's Reckoning, and I rejoiced to be reunited with him and other beloved characters from the series. Love's Fortune is a story so engrossing that I didn't want to put it down, yet so mesmerizing that I wanted to read slowly and spend as much time as possible in its grip. The Ballantyne Legacy series is definitely of "read again" quality for me.
Wren and James are strong, charismatic characters. Wren, a totally unpretentious young lady who just loves people and music, is pulled from her beloved Cane Ridge, KY environment and thrust into Pittsburgh's high society, where she becomes a pawn in her cousin's efforts to shore up the family fortunes depleted by his extravagances. The theme of music was something to which I could easily relate, especially Wren's thoughts: "Never had she so needed her music. Slow Scottish airs and the richer, deeper laments. From the time she'd reached her father's knee, she'd had a fiddle in hand and had leaned on it in joy and in sorrow. . . . When words, circumstances, failed her, the music never did."
I was immediately drawn to James and loved the scenes where he escorts Wren to balls and other society events during her "season." Through James, we learn about some of the Ballantyne business ventures, such as steamboat shipping, and their passionate involvement in the abolitionist movement. One of my favorite things is the way Laura leads into each chapter with a classic quote, and I thought this one by Pierre Charron beautifully exemplified the Ballantyne family: "Riches should be admitted into our houses, but not into our hearts; we may take them into our possession, but not into our affections."
If there's one word that describes the spiritual theme of this series, it would have to be "legacy" - the generational impact of Silas and Eden through their faith in God, wise business decisions, courage to make a difference, and sacrificial giving that was often behind-the-scenes. I couldn't help but think of these words sung by Steve Green several years ago . . .
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone And our children sift through all we've left behind May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
I don't think I'll ever forget Love's Fortune or the Ballantyne family, and I loved the way their story was brought full circle at the end. Highly recommended to all who enjoy rich, character-driven historical fiction.
Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
The Butterfly and the Violin is one of the most moving stories I have ever read, and there'sReviewed at The Power of Words: http://tinyurl.com/qcvelzg
The Butterfly and the Violin is one of the most moving stories I have ever read, and there's no way my words can adequately describe it. After turning the last page, I had to ask myself, Who are you, Kristy Cambron? WWII historian, student of fine art, musician extraordinaire, romantic, world traveler, wordsmith, a worshipper completely in tune with God - this could very well describe Kristy because all of those elements are embodied in this beautifully crafted story. Kristy's words grabbed my heart from the beginning and I don't think I will ever forget these characters.
Only once before have I described a novel as having the Wow! factor, but I do it here without hesitation. Plot, setting, characters and writing style all combine to make this story a riveting, mesmeric read. This novel should appeal to historical romance fans, but it goes so much deeper than that in its theme of survival and hope. The use of contrast was haunting - beauty in the midst of evil, hope in the midst of darkness, and the use of a gift to bring God glory vs. the effort to only survive.
I don't often read stories that involve the Holocaust because I just have a hard time with the extremes to which mankind's unfathomable cruelty can reach, but Kristy does several things that made this a hard-to-put-down read. First, the scenes that take place at Auschwitz are not exceptionally graphic, yet the pictures are real, vividly clear, and chilling. While traveling in a cattle car to Auschwitz, Adele reflects with these poignant words: "Mothers. Lost sons. Violinists who had no concept of the real world before that moment. Daughters. Frightened families. So many strangers. They were all packed in together, young and old, never having met but oddly connected by their crossed paths on this terrible, frightening journey."
Secondly, two connected stories are woven together in The Butterfly and the Violin - the story of Adele Von Bron, the ethereal violinist whose eyes are opened to the harshness of the Holocaust, and that of Sera James, a modern-day NYC gallery owner searching for Adele's haunting portrait. Sera and William's story is lighter, romantic, and humorous - and I welcomed the breathing space it provided from the dark and intense story of Adele and Vladimir. Both stories have heroes and tender romantic elements that I loved.
Another factor is the way musical themes were woven throughout. I've been a worship musician almost all my life and could so easily relate when Adele reflects how music was "her act of worship to her Creator" and how it carried her into communion with God. But as the Auschwitz Orchestra played for the laborers marching out in the morning and those returning at night - or for the arrival of the trains - Adele's playing took on a different meaning: "She'd play for the world's loss of innocence and the coldness of hate that fought to overshadow the love she knew to be born of God."
Most moving of all is the theme of God's love and constant presence, regardless of circumstance or what we might perceive as unanswered prayer. You don't have to look very hard to find Jesus Christ in this narrative, and it always seems that our faith grows stronger when we have nowhere else to turn. Omara, who was like a den mother to the orchestra girls, was an unforgettable character. She came to love Adele like a daughter, and I'll end with her moving words:
"This, child, is our worship. To live and survive and play to God from the depths of our souls. This is the call that binds us. When we worship in the good times, it brings God joy. But worship in the midst of agony? That is authentic adoration of our Creator."
The Butterfly and the Violin is a masterpiece to which I give my highest recommendation.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ...more
Only a few books that I come across have that extra something that makes them memoReviewed at The Power of Words: http://tinyurl.com/phbm4x3
Only a few books that I come across have that extra something that makes them memorable for the right reasons, and therefore worthy of "The Wow! Factor" designation - and that is an honor I bestow to Saving Amelie without hesitation. This story combines a unique plot and setting with likeable and intelligent characters, plus a distinct writing style, or "voice." I realize that this is highly subjective, though, so I'll just go ahead and put my opinion out there . . . If Saving Amelie doesn't win an award, something is terribly wrong with the judging system.
There are elements sure to please almost every reader - adventure, suspense, WWII history, and romance. The plot is tense and fast-paced, characterization deep, and the spiritual element carries a punch. In a narrative of impeccable historical accuracy, Saving Amelie deals with graphic subject matter without detailing the horrors. Cathy does a great job at making the reader see and feel the terror perpetrated by Hitler and the Third Reich, yet does so with great sensitivity. Two particular scenes really captured my emotions: foreign correspondent Jason taking the "Stille Nacht" assignment in Oberndorf, and the young Jewish girl Rivka observing the Passover meal while hiding in Oma's attic.
We meet the real-life Dietrich Bonhoeffer, dissident German pastor and spy, a person I came to care for and want to learn more about by reading his book, The Cost of Discipleship. Dietrich "had foreseen the stripping of Christ from the altars of Germany. He'd seen the Nazification of the Germany church as they'd accepted their Fuhrer as its head and sovereign, replacing Christ. He'd read the truth in Hitler's Mein Kampf about the intended murder of innocents - long before anyone on either side of the Atlantic had believed the madman could be serious about eliminating Jews or Poles or handicapped children or infirm elderly."
I was fascinated and horrified at the same time by the whole eugenics thing. Separated at birth, identical twins Rachel Kramer and Lea Hartmann became part of a "nature vs. nurture, heredity vs. environment" study. Through these characters and also four-year-old Amelie, precious deaf child of an SS officer, Saving Amelie shines the light on eugenics research that was prevalent not only in Germany, but other countries as well, including the US. Initially working toward the eradication of diseases like tuberculosis, eugenics quickly became about weeding the weak and imperfect from the strong. "To be genetically deficient was unforgiveable" (SS officer Gerhardt).
Lea grew up in the picturesque Bavarian town of Oberammergau, where she was raised by her grandmother, Oma, and later married Friedrich, a woodcarver of nativity sets. These three characters, along with Heinrich Helphman, the young boy who steals the Christkind for mysterious reasons, will steal your heart. Rachel, who grew up in America with an inbred sense of entitlement, is not a loveable character at first - but oh, how beautiful is her transformation!
The town of Oberammergau itself becomes a beautiful and integral part of the story with their Passion Play. Dating back to the year 1633, when the plague raged throughout the region, the people made a vow to portray the "Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ" every ten years. No longer allowed to remain isolated from world affairs, we see a division between Third Reich loyalty vs. helping its victims. Fear reeks and nosy neighbors are quick to report longtime friends. Let me just say that Cathy does a wonderful job at exploring every aspect of human nature: those corrupted by power and pride . . . those who turn blind eyes . . . those who see but are afraid . . . and those who risk their very lives.
Most importantly of all, Saving Amelie is a book that challenges and makes me think. What value do we place on human life? What makes one life more valuable than another? And who has the right to make the "life unworthy of life" call? At one point Rachel asks, "Why don't the people rise up?" But Hitler and his followers ruled by fear and intimidation, so would I have done differently? Would I have looked down in fright and quietly mumbled "Heil Hitler," or would I have been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice by allegiance to Christ alone? And most significantly, could this happen again - through our fear, apathy, or indifference?
I'll end with two quotes that beautifully sum up the message of Saving Amelie:
"None of us can save everyone, but we can each do something. . . . Sometimes taking up our cross is doing the thing in front of us, not the glamorous, high-risk thing afar off." - Curate Bauer, Oberammergau
"We are all miracles of costly grace." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I can hardly say enough to highly recommend Saving Amelie to everyone. I hope all who are reading this review will secure a copy and begin reading this entertaining and moving novel.
Thank you to Tyndale for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
A favorite! This gripping, ripped-from-the-headlines story shows what can happen when faith enters in - with exquisite writing that flows across the pA favorite! This gripping, ripped-from-the-headlines story shows what can happen when faith enters in - with exquisite writing that flows across the page, emotionally complex characters who deal with troubling situations, legal drama, southern humor (Texas style), spiritual application, and a plot that just won't let go.
Victoria Bylin has written several western romances in the Love Inspired Historical line, but Until I Found You is her first full-length contemporaryVictoria Bylin has written several western romances in the Love Inspired Historical line, but Until I Found You is her first full-length contemporary romance and is a new author to me. I guess I was expecting another entertaining, but typical, romance - yet this is so much more. Victoria has a distinctive ability when it comes to setting, characterization, romance, environmental elements, and spiritual themes. The Christian element flows throughout, and just feels real and compelling. The story entertains, but also informs and makes you think. Until I Found You touched me greatly . . .
A Stillness of Chimes is one of the most original and memorable books I've ever read. It almost has a haunting quality to it, and its characters are sA Stillness of Chimes is one of the most original and memorable books I've ever read. It almost has a haunting quality to it, and its characters are still in my thoughts. Highly recommended.
Relevant, compelling, emotional, honest, Spirit filled, real . . . A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher is Christian fiction at its best, a well-writteRelevant, compelling, emotional, honest, Spirit filled, real . . . A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher is Christian fiction at its best, a well-written story that entertains, yet challenges and convicts at the same time.
"The devil's crowning achievement is a blindfold. Only the devil could blind good people to such evil." - from The Sentinels of Andersonville
This is o"The devil's crowning achievement is a blindfold. Only the devil could blind good people to such evil." - from The Sentinels of Andersonville
This is one good book!! If you, like me, want Christian fiction that challenges, confronts, inspires, motivates, and entertains at the same time, then The Sentinels of Andersonville is for you. Please see my review at http://booksmusicandlife.blogspot.com......more
The Painted Table is a rich, character-driven drama that focuses on how mental illness affected several generations of a Norwegian family. This deservThe Painted Table is a rich, character-driven drama that focuses on how mental illness affected several generations of a Norwegian family. This deserves a ranking of "best of the best" in Christian fiction, at least in my opinion. Please see my full review at:
I always enjoy Katie Cushman's books, but I think this is one of her best. Well written, so relevant for us as Christians. Emotional, I was even in teI always enjoy Katie Cushman's books, but I think this is one of her best. Well written, so relevant for us as Christians. Emotional, I was even in tears at the end, which is extremely rare for me. Highly recommended!
I could list several adjectives to describe this book, but "outstanding" will have to suffice. A riveting read, "The Outcast" goes on my favorites lisI could list several adjectives to describe this book, but "outstanding" will have to suffice. A riveting read, "The Outcast" goes on my favorites list.
I loved everything about this book and am delighted to have discovered a new favorite author!
When Sparrows Fall is a beautiful, character-driven, debuI loved everything about this book and am delighted to have discovered a new favorite author!
When Sparrows Fall is a beautiful, character-driven, debut novel by Atlanta author, Meg Moseley. Meg's website description of her novels couldn't be more accurate: "Realism, faith, and a funny streak." Written with humor and poignancy, When Sparrows Fall is the story of a young woman's quest to reclaim freedom and safety, for herself and her children. . . .