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Archived 2017 Reading Challenges > Featured Author of the month- July- Hillary Manton Lodge

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message 1: by Cheryl, Challenges Mastermind (new)

Cheryl Olson (girlsmama) | 1840 comments Mod
Our featured author of the month isHillary Manton Lodge Hillary Manton Lodge

Here is her bio taken from her website. Hillary also has some yummy looking recipes featured on her website so be sure to check it out! www. hillarymantonlodge.com

HILLARY MANTON LODGE is the author of Together at the Table, Reservations for Two, A Table by the Window, Plain Jayne, and Simply Sara. A graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism, Hillary discovered the world of cuisine during her internship at Northwest Palate Magazine. Her next novel, Jane of Austin, will release June 13, 2017, from WaterBrook Multnomah


Over the years, Hillary's novels have enjoyed critical success from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romantic Times and have reached readers around the world. In 2010, Plain Jayne was nominated as a Carol Award Finalist, and Simply Sara was an ECPA Bestselling book. In 2015, A Table by the Window was shortlisted in the INSPY Awards.


In her free time, Hillary often finds herself experimenting in the kitchen, attending indie concerts, and finding new walking trails. Formerly a resident of the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband now live near Memphis, Tennessee, along with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Shiloh and Sylvie.


Hillary latest book released is Jane of Austin A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton LodgeJane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility. I'll be honest I'm excited to get my hands on this one!! Whenever I hear the words Jane Austen I am there!! :) I hope that you find a book by Hillary Manton Lodge that you will enjoy. Happy Reading!


message 2: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (LibraryDiva) | 3117 comments Mod
I'm going to skip this month as I will be busy with house showings, hopefully getting it sold, and then packing.


message 3: by Staci, Book Awards Specialist (new)

Staci | 1398 comments Mod
This is a new author to me. I plan to read Jane of Austen in August.


message 4: by Brandi (new)

Brandi | 102 comments Any suggestions about which one of her books to start with?


message 5: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 416 comments I loved her "Two Blue Doors" series. They are not stand alone and have to be read in order. The first one is A Table by the Window (Two Blue Doors #1) by Hillary Manton Lodge. I generally do not read books which do not conclude in the same book. But I was lucky to get all three books and just read them all one after the other :)


message 6: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (BookwormHannah) | 2089 comments I read hers last month, so I won't be joining in...


message 7: by Carolyn (last edited Jul 28, 2017 07:11AM) (new)

Carolyn V | 358 comments I might be late on starting this challenge; but will try for Plain Jayne (Plain and Simple, #1) by Hillary Manton Lodge this would be a new author to me and I usually read amish fiction. I just have 4 books, now, from the library to finish first.
I'm having a hard time getting into this book of Hillary Manton Lodge; about page 100 it finally starts showing some interest; maybe, because I have read so many amish fiction, a favorite; but, it takes so long to get into something different in this book; but, now, I may start to enjoy it better; but, usually I'm not into romance that much, also.


message 8: by Jolyn (last edited Jul 02, 2017 10:19PM) (new)

Jolyn | 89 comments Caroline wrote: "I loved her "Two Blue Doors" series. They are not stand alone and have to be read in order. The first one is A Table by the Window (Two Blue Doors #1) by Hillary Manton Lodge. I generally do not read books which do not c..."

Caroline - is there anything inspirational/faith-based in the "Two Blue Doors" series? Hannah's review of "Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility" https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... indicated that there wasn't a strong Christian perspective in that book. I am not a foodie and actually don't like to cook very much so the recipes aren't a draw for me with these books. I read through a number of reviews of the first "Two Blue Doors" book on goodreads and don't really see any mention of faith aspects and see very little mention on Hillary's website on anything faith related so I am just wondering if there is anything that I am missing.


message 9: by Beth, Head Librarian (new)

Beth | 2212 comments Mod
I love the Two Blue Doors series! Jane of Austin was good, in my opinion, but missing something that the TBD series had. Jolyn, it's been a while since I read the last book, but they had more of an inspirational element to me. Although they are definitely not heavy with prayer, Bible verses, etc.

I haven't read her amish set books, since that's not really what I gravitate towards, so I can't speak for those.


message 10: by Jolyn (new)

Jolyn | 89 comments Beth wrote: "I love the Two Blue Doors series! Jane of Austin was good, in my opinion, but missing something that the TBD series had. Jolyn, it's been a while since I read the last book, but they had more of an..."
Thanks for the response regarding "Two Blue Doors" Beth. I might give the series a try. I will have to see. Hannah's review of "Jane of Austin" gave me some food for thought. I admit that I am getting more picky regarding what I read. I want my Christian books to actually have Christians living their lives from a Christian worldview. I don't necessarily want the books to be preachy but I want the characters to act in a way that is consistent with a Christian who is trying to live his or her entire life in a way that is pleasing to God. No sex and no bad language is a good start but it goes far beyond that.


message 11: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 416 comments Jolyn wrote: "Caroline wrote: "I loved her "Two Blue Doors" series. They are not stand alone and have to be read in order. The first one is A Table by the Window (Two Blue Doors #1) by Hillary Manton Lodge. I generally do not read boo..."

Hi Jolyn, though the book A Table by the Window is tagged under "Christian Fiction", there is not much talk of God and faith. But it is clean fiction and I remember main characters living Christian lives.


message 12: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (BookwormHannah) | 2089 comments Jolyn, I decided not to read the Two Blue Doors series because of the lack of a strong Christian aspect in "Jane of Austin" and because a friend (Andrea) found the third book to be a bit of a letdown in terms of worldly thought.

Not a major spoiler, but I added it for those who prefer not to know much about the story going in...
(view spoiler)

Here's a review of the first Blue Doors book by a reviewer I follow:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

For me, Lodge is a decent writer, but I don't love contemporary fiction or food fiction enough to become a fan.


message 13: by Beth, Head Librarian (new)

Beth | 2212 comments Mod
Jolyn wrote: "Beth wrote: "I love the Two Blue Doors series! Jane of Austin was good, in my opinion, but missing something that the TBD series had. Jolyn, it's been a while since I read the last book, but they h..."

To each their own, of course. Personally, I don't like a super heavy-handed faith aspect. For the TBD trilogy, it's a lighter thread compared to some but feels like it fits with the story and the characters. That's just my opinion, of course. I think even in Christian fiction, there are varying degrees of a spiritual thread. Sometimes the story needs it to be heavier and sometimes it doesn't. Also, what bothers some people, doesn't bother others.

Just to offer a positive perspective, here is my review for the second book in the TBD trilogy (I didn't write one for book one for some reason): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...


message 14: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (BookwormHannah) | 2089 comments I know some language doesn't bother people, and generally Lodge's writing is clear of language issues. I also like to read fiction that has varying levels of spiritual content, but I do have expectations when a book claims to be Christian fiction. Nelson and Zondervan both publish general fiction as well, so there's no reason to publish a book as Christian if the only Christian content in it is a few comments and a minor character decides to plant churches as a career.

If I pick up a book in a mystery section, I expect it to be a mystery. If I pick up a book from the fantasy, I expect it to be a fantasy. For an author whose niche is stories with very light spirituality, I'd be much more appreciative of her stories if they were placed on a shelf that didn't jar my sensibilities and expectations...I suppose part of that is from being a bookseller, but it's pretty common among booksellers and dedicated shoppers at my store.

If the characters are not going to have a strong thread of faith, I at least expect them to not date unbelievers at the drop of a hat and not to lead promiscuous lives (side character). They shouldn't cuss habitually and not get drunken or break laws. They shouldn't be gross/crude and interested only in physical attributes, or mean and grasping and rude. If they have issues like that, they should come to some sort of realization that they're wrong. If I want to read a worldly book, I'll head to the general fiction section and find a good book there. I don't expect the characters to know better because they don't have any spiritual compass to point them a different way.

I definitely agree that the spiritual content needs to fit the character. Forced spirituality is just hypocrisy. To shove in narrative that is more an injection of the author's personality than the character's is disruptive of the story's craft (found this in a Tracie Peterson book once; several moralistic paragraphs were inserted that did not directly affect either character or plot). I'm not asking for "preachy"; simply for characters who either have some notice of God in their daily life (whether by living like there is something more than their personal desires, or realizing that along the way) or by specifically having a relationship with God along the source of the book (higher amount of Scriptural content, or a deeper lesson).

I guess I'm just saying, don't call a character a Christian and then have them live like they aren't. Develop their character fully in whatever direction it needs to go, but don't slap a label on a cover and expect that to do the trick. Does that make sense at all?

Beth, that is a good review. :)


message 15: by Beth, Head Librarian (new)

Beth | 2212 comments Mod
Hannah wrote: "I know some language doesn't bother people, and generally Lodge's writing is clear of language issues. I also like to read fiction that has varying levels of spiritual content, but I do have expect..."

I was more talking about the trilogy, not Jane of Austin. I actually agree with you on that one. I found the story to be really engaging, I just wished there had been a spiritual thread.


message 16: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (BookwormHannah) | 2089 comments I kept wanting to holler at the MC to look up and really see the hero! ;) I'm glad that so many people could enjoy the story.

It is nice to know there was more spiritual stuff in the series.


message 17: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn V | 358 comments half way done reading for monthly author choice----Carolyn wrote: "I might be late on starting this challenge; but will try for Plain Jayne (Plain and Simple, #1) by Hillary Manton Lodge this would be a new author to me and I usually read amish fiction. I just have 4 books, now, from the li..."


message 18: by Beth, Head Librarian (new)

Beth | 2212 comments Mod
Carolyn wrote: "half way done reading for monthly author choice----Carolyn wrote: "I might be late on starting this challenge; but will try for Plain Jayne (Plain and Simple, #1) by Hillary Manton Lodge this would be a new author to me and ..."

I'll be interested to see if how you liked this one! It sounds like a good story.


message 19: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn V | 358 comments Beth, I had a hard time getting into the first 100 pages of the book; having read so many amish fiction. the book seems to becomf more interesting now, after that.


message 20: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Seay | 14 comments I haven't started reading any other books as of yet. I've been busy planning my book signings. I have three coming up in august. cooking for one, a big meal, instead of a simple brunch. although we call it brunch. but it will be a meal. plus I share custody with my dementia mom, who is 87 years old. one sister and I share her time. she's with me a few weeks. then goes back to my other sister. my reading is on hold just for now. I have about two hundred books, that I ordered, and have sold only about fifty. i'm yet holding on . trying to sell these books, so that I can pay off my credit cards. but be patient with me. I will start back to reading soon. nancy seay


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