Book Review: Fetching Sweetness

24 Aug

fetching sweetness FNL.inddStanding between Stephanie and her dream is one hundred pounds of lovable trouble.

It should have been so simple for Stephanie Pink: Meet up with Agnes Wharton in a small town in California, retrieve the reclusive author’s valuable new manuscript, and be promoted to a full-fledged literary agent.

But Agnes’s canine companion, Sweetness, decides to make a break for it before Stephanie can claim her prize. Until Agnes has Sweetness safely back at home in Eagle Cliff, Washington, Stephanie will never set eyes on the manuscript she needs to make her dreams come true.

When Stephanie tracks the runaway mutt to a campground, she meets Rhett Hastings—a man also on the run from a different life and a costly mistake. Rhett agrees to help Stephanie search for the missing dog…thus launching a surprising string of adventures and misadventures.

Once Sweetness gets added to the mix, it’s a recipe for love and loss, merriment and mayhem, fun and faith in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest.

 

DMentink-361Dana Mentink lives in California, where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and an award winner in the Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third and fourth grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with her husband, two daughters, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle, and a feisty parakeet.

Find out more about Dana at http://www.danamentink.com.

 

My Impressions:

She’s a bookaholic, he’s into movies. Both of them are trying to bring to life other’s dreams. But is that what God really wants for theme? Along the way they acquire a few critters that show them the way to go. That, in a nutshell, is Dana Mentink’s latest slightly quirky, thoroughly sweet romance, Fetching Sweetness. Oh, there is more to the story, but you’ll just have to dive in to find out what scrapes and adventures Stephanie Pink, super associate literary agent and bad boy movie theater mogul Rhett Hastings encounter.

Fetching Sweetness is full of big personalities from two-legged characters Stephanie and Rhett to the four-footed, furry characters of Sweetness and Panny. This contemporary romance takes place on the road in a rusting and leaking aged travel trailer. As Stephanie and Rhett travel up the coast of the Pacific Northwest, they learn a lot about each other and themselves. Namely, that man often plans and plans, but it’s God’s path that counts. Both characters have been on the outs with God. Rhett is trying to hear God’s voice, but Stephanie doesn’t want anything do with what God wants. Stephanie believes  . . . her plan was better. Unless it wasn’t. (p. 192) Wow, that sounds so familiar to me. The theme of God’s plans vs man’s plans runs throughout the novel. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:

God loved bad men too, sinners one and all. That was comforting. But He worked things out in unexpected ways, and that was not. (p.60)

. . . just because things don’t go according to plan, that doesn’t mean they’re turning out wrong. (p. 160)

I admit that this book started out a bit slow for me, but it really didn’t take long to be captured by the fun and funny, real and relatable characters and of course the cute dogs! Spiritual truths tended to hit me on the head, making me stop and think a bit before continuing.

Fetching Sweetness is a good weekend kind of book — when you have some time to relax and spend a few hours reading. How about taking it along on your next road trip!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse and Harvest House for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Giveaway!

 

Celebrate the release of Fetching Sweetness with Dana by entering to win the Sweetness Unleashed Prize Pack!
fetching-sweetness-400
One grand prize winner will receive:
A copy of Fetching Sweetness
A $75 Visa cash card
A library book necklace
A dog-inspired insulated shopping tote

fetching-sweetness-collage

 

Enter today by clicking HERE, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 24. The winner will be announced August 25 on Dana’s blog.

Top 10 Tuesday: The Enduring TBR Pile

23 Aug

This week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish have challenged bloggers to list their Top 10 Books STILL on The Shelf Long after You Started Blogging. So, do I pick them by genre, age, color of cover? I have a serious problem — 10 just isn’t enough! I decided to go shelf by shelf (I arrange by genre) and pick out the first 10. I didn’t get very far — just 1 shelf (Biblical fiction). As my dear MIL would say Oh, me! I’ll save the rest for a Freebie or Rewind week. To find out what other bloggers have on their TBR shelves, click HERE.

toptentuesday

 

Top 10 Books STILL on My Bookshelves (After 7 Years!)

Some of the books on my list are those I thought my book club would love. Others are books by favorite authors. Some are classics. And others just called my name when I was in the bookstore.

 

51QI4JKKAvL._SX300_BO1,204,203,200_Ben Hur by Lew Wallace — Ben-Hur is the remarkable saga of betrayal, revenge, and redemption, played out in the bloodstained arenas of ancient Rome. Framed for attempting to murder a Roman official, Ben-Hur is robbed of his freedom, family, and fortune. Condemned to death as a galley slave, he lives only to avenge himself against the Roman tribune Messala—the boyhood friend who betrayed him.

Ben-Hur vividly recreates the sweep of Imperial Rome — from a thrilling sea battle, to the famous chariot race, to the agony of the Crucifixion. It is the moving, personal tale of the prince who became a slave and then — through a unique twist of fate — was able to fight his way back to the free world as a champion gladiator.

Written by the territorial governor of New Mexico, Ben-Hur was an immediate bestseller upon its release in 1880 — selling over two million copies — and continues to be an enduring classic.

61LSXxMTANL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas — The story traces Peter’s journey from self-sufficient fisherman to his dependency on a risen Christ. It also presents another story of redemption and forgiveness, as he takes in a young Arab/Jewish girl, Fara. As they both learn of Jesus, it changes their lives.

The young Fara discovers that she is the daughter of Herod Antipas who married and shortly discarded her Arab mother Arnon in favor of Herodias. Her half Arab ancestry makes her marriage to the future King Deran impossible. Disguised as a boy Fara goes to Galilee to assassinate Herod in revenge, though Herod has survived eight previous assassination attempts from the Arabs who are described as people with a short temper and a long memory. She is followed by Voldi, an Arab prince who wishes to marry her and take her back home, however Voldi is captured by the Romans.

Robbed by bandits, Fara is discovered by John the Baptist who advises her to listen to the great teacher, Jesus. She comes under the protection of Peter but vows to kill Herod. She manages to be employed in Herod’s household as she can translate Greek, in particular a series of prophecies written in the language that have been given to Herod.

51KQS17X7RL._SX297_BO1,204,203,200_Journey by Angela Hunt — On this deathbed, Jacob the patriarch bestows the blessing of the firsborn on the sons of Joseph, igniting a bitter conflict between the two brothers. Manasseh, the elder son, is surprised and disturbed when Jacob deliberately crosses his hands, giving the more favorable blessing to the younger Ephraim — the blessing that rightfully belongs to him.

Ephraim glories in the unexpected promise of power and feels that he is the one to continue his father’s work and keep the Hebrews in Egypt. He is convinced that greatness for the nation of Israel will only be achieved through the mighty kingdom of Egypt.

But Manasseh, visiting Hebron for the first time at Jacob’s death, feels a warm stirring in his heart for Canaan. He believes the Hebrews should leave Egypt immediately and return to the land that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and his grandfather Jacob. There is no reason to stay in Egypt any longer. The famine has been over for twelve years and Jacob is dead.

Two brothers in conflict — not only over Israel’s future, but also over love. One brother loves the beautiful harpist of Pharaoh’s court, but the other already possesses her heart. Life, love, and the future of the nation are at stake!

51znTU3-HrL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Madman by Tracy Groot — If there is a way into madness, logic says there is a way out. Logic says. Tallis, a philosopher’s servant, is sent to a Greek academy in Palestine only to discover that it has silently, ominously, disappeared. No one will tell him what happened, but he learns what has become of four of its scholars. One was murdered. One committed suicide. One worships in the temple of Dionysus. And one … one is a madman. From the author of The Brother’s Keeper comes a tale of mystery, horror, and hope in the midst of unimaginable darkness, the story behind the Geresene demoniac of the gospels of Mark and Luke. 

UnknownMagdalene by Angela Hunt — Mary Magdalene. The controversial woman with a past only one Man could forgive. A true love story that changed the face of history.

“I was Miryam of Magdala, seller of fine fabrics and wife of Yaakov the fisherman. With my husband and son, I held a place of honor among my countrymen until a company of rogue soldiers took everything from me. I might not be Roman, but I knew injustice when I saw it. And I had been most grievously wronged.”

In an era when women are sequestered and silenced, Miryam of Magdala lives a contended life until her son’s careless gesture evokes a hostile action that shatters her serenity. With no hope of justice, Miryam commits and unthinkable act…and descends into depths of darkness that threaten her life and her sanity.

Even after Yeshua the Messiah dramatically restores her life, Miryam can neither forget nor forgive unresolved injustices. Prodded by a hunger for vengeance she will not deny, this woman of uncommon courage risks her life and her heart by drawing destiny into her own hands.

UnknownThe Priest by Francine Rivers —  The Priest is the first book in a new companion series to A Lineage of Grace. Each novella peers into the life of one of five biblical men (such as Aaron, Jonathan, Silas) who stood behind the great heroes of faith.

In The Priest you’ll meet Moses’ brother Aaron, the first high priest of Israel. How will Aaron support Moses while he struggles with being satisfied with God’s plan for his own life? Be inspired by how this seemingly secondary character plays a key role in supporting his leader and impacting the faith for eternity.

Rahab’s Story by Ann Burton — They were women of conviction and courage, whose stories inspire the faithful to this day. Here is Signet’s second installment of Women of the Bible, a compelling new series for fans of historical romance and fiction.

Accused of witchery, Rahab is banished to certain death in Jericho. Now the girl once known as Beautiful Rahab must join the ranks of the city’s prostitutes. She keeps her faith in God, but when Jewish spies appear, begging her to hide them, she must decide: stay safe and deny them-or help her fellow believers and transform herself from harlot to heroine.

411dMLAkFwL._BO1,204,203,200_Three From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes — Marjorie Holmes, the award-winning author of such classic bestsellers as I’ve Got to Talk to Somebody, God, was renowned for making the Bible come to life in books that brought hope and inspiration to millions. The first novel in this trilogy-her acclaimed, hugely successful Two from Galilee-told the great love story of Mary and Joseph as never before.

Now, in Three from Galilee, Holmes’s fictionalized retelling of the life of Jesus covers a period overlooked by the Gospels – the “lost years” between age 12, when Jesus debated the elders in the temple, to the age of 30, when he actually began his ministry. With great reverence, she dares to wonder what Jesus did during those years, if he was like other young men of his time, and whether he experienced God’s greatest gift to humanity – love. Using her remarkable talents, Holmes brings Jesus, his parents, brothers, sisters, and friends to life in a story that is dramatic, deeply moving, and unforgettable.

UnknownUnashamed by Francine Rivers — Book 2 in the Lineage of Grace series by best-selling author Francine Rivers. In her trademark style, Francine tells the compelling story of Rahab from the book of Joshua. Readers will gain a fresh understanding of God’s work through the life of this unlikely woman in the lineage of Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

41vrUXPRhcL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Unveiled by Francine Rivers — Unveiled is the story of Tamar, one of the women in the lineage of Jesus. Francine brings the story to life in her trademark style, showing the grace of God in the life of Tamar and her father-in-law, Judah. Unveiled is the first in the Lineage of Grace series of five novellas covering the stories of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help me out here.

Which one would you read first?

Book Review: Surrender to Love

22 Aug

51R6x3MkG2L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When young widow and life coach Dr. Teresa Lopez Gonzalez goes to Puerto Rico to coach Pilar Sanchez, the granddaughter of her mother’s best childhood friend, Teresa comes face-to-face with her own unwillingness to surrender to God’s will for her life. In the process, she learns that only by losing her life will she truly find it.

 

 

MaryAnn-50Dr. MaryAnn Diorio earned her PhD in French from the University of Kansas and her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She is a diplomate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and has won numerous writing awards. A widely published author, Dr. Diorio has taught writing at Rowan University and Regent University. Her stories for children have appeared in several magazines. MaryAnn and her husband are blessed with two daughters, a son-in-law, and a granddaughter. When not writing, MaryAnn enjoys painting, reading, and composing silly songs for children. You may reach MaryAnn at maryann@maryanndiorio.com or at http://www.maryanndiorio.com.

 

My Impressions:

Surrender to Love by MaryAnn Diorio is a novella-length book that is long on romance and spiritual truths. Diorio transports her main character and her readers to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, rich with heady scents and vibrant colors. The story centers around Dr. Teresa Gonzalez, a life coach who has lost her way after her husband’s death five years before. She travels to Puerto Rico to help the young daughter of a family friend, but she soon confronts her own problems that have kept her from living for so long. Because of its length, there is not much time for character development and the action progresses very quickly. But Surrender to Love does have its feet firmly planted in the truths of God’s plans for His people, and the freedom one experiences when surrendering to Him. This one was a very quick read. I was able to complete it during a lazy Sunday afternoon. For those who want a sweet, sweet romance with characters dedicated to God, this book is sure to appeal.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE. Currently only 99 cents for Kindle!

(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Hope after Trauma — Justine Johnston Hemmestad

21 Aug

 

http://clashofthetitles.com

 

by Justine Johnston Hemmestad

In 1990 my car was broadsided by a speeding city bus as I turned out of a parking lot – I was in a coma and had sustained a severe brain injury. I was paralyzed when I woke up from my coma, though I worked hard to walk again within a few months, and to relearn how to perform the basic functions of life.

I began to write when I was carrying my first child Megan, less than two years after my accident, as tool or a way to cope with feeling so alone in my disability and misunderstood. Writing, throughout the darkest part of my recovery—when everyone looked down on me and I had no one to talk to or relate with me—helped me to get my thoughts in focus, to learn new things, and to remember what was important to me. I felt bullied, my thoughts and perception were skewed, and I felt emotionally alone, isolated by my personal lacking (my speech was slurred; my reactions were slow, etc.).

But writing was my Savior. When I was so afraid and so filled with guilt for being disabled, writing offered me a safe and comforting place to go, where I could cry and feel loved. Writing was my confidante and gave me hope when the world was crushing me. Writing even helped me find out who I was, since everything about “me” seemed to have melted away with my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Writing helped me find my words to speak again. Writing was my purpose, and writing was my healing.

 

http://faithbygracepublishing.com/products/truth-be-told

My novella, Truth be Told, is essentially the story of my recovery wrapped up in fictional characters in a different time and place. Everything is symbolic in my novella because symbolism itself taught me how to travel deep inside my thoughts and search until I found the answers. Symbolism aided my memory by the weight of its meaning.

The old man in my novella is symbolic of God, prayer, love of my children, and the inner truth I found when I dug deep, the challenges that stretched my mind and that I knew I had to face when I wanted to give up on life completely.

The Lady is the aspect of my recovery in which I felt lost, even to myself—I didn’t know who I was—but in prayer and meditation I learned to focus my mind, calm my thoughts (which were drowning in the guilt I felt for being disabled) and listen to God’s answer…what defines me?

The knight is the aspect of my recovery that was assaulted by PTSD. Not only was I recovering, but I was recovering amidst a torrent of fear, pain, and false persecution. He represents the survivor’s guilt I had for living as brain-injured, and the part of myself that felt I deserved the lies that people told about me simply because it was easy to lie about me. I illuminated my purpose— the purpose that any recovering person needs to be able to climb out of the darkness—symbolically as Jesus. When people lied about me, writing defended me and made the truth immortal. My purpose, as writing, was the well within me; writing saved me and gave me direction in life (even when I no longer had any sense of direction due to my TBI). There were people who tried to point me in the wrong direction, but my prayer, and written prayer, was always brimming with truth.

My purpose in writing raised me out of the darkness and set me on a new path. As my characters in Truth be Told founded one of the first Universities in Europe, my purpose led me to enter into college, to study tirelessly, and to set goals and reach them. For a person with a TBI, these things stretched my mind to the breaking point. And yet my savior, writing, was always there, so much that my purpose and my goals became intertwined. Every class I’ve had brought me new challenges; every professor’s pushing has helped me more than they were ever aware.

My husband and I now have seven children and I’m still writing, for both have truly been essential to my recovery. I’ve also earned a BLS through The University of Iowa and am now working toward a Master’s Degree in Literature through Northern Arizona University. I’m grateful to have written a book that I felt so strongly, all along, could be of help to survivors, for them to recognize themselves in the characters and to know that they’re not alone. I would have recognized myself in this story and it would have given me hope. My mission now is to give other survivors hope.

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Book Review: The Bard And The Bible

19 Aug

51Siy+3ujIL._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_The Bard and the Bible pairs 365 short passages from the King James Version of the Bible with lines from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. The poetry of the Bard of Stratford-on-Avon and the power of God’s Word will enrich the reader’s understanding and appreciation of both, and provide new ways to encounter and respond to God through His Word. A year of daily readings in both Shakespeare and the King James Version yields intellectual stimulation and spiritual inspiration for readers, enlarging their minds as it changes their lives.

 

 

51Kv-C-5wKL._UX250_Bob Hostetler is a writer, editor, and speaker from southeastern Ohio. His 30 books, which include Quit Going to Church and the novel, The Bone Box, have sold over 3 million copies. He has coauthored a dozen books with Josh McDowell, including the best-selling Right from Wrong: What You Need to Know to Help Youth Make Right Choices and the award-winning Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door. He has won two Gold Medallion awards, four Ohio Associated Press awards, and an Amy Foundation award.

Bob is a frequent speaker at churches, conferences, and retreats. He has been a disk jockey, pastor, magazine editor, freelance book editor, and, with his wife, Robin, a foster parent to 10 boys (though not all at once).

Bob and Robin have two adult children, Aubrey and Aaron.

 

My Impressions: 

The Bard And The Bible by Bob Hostetler really appeals to my inner book nerd. Okay, the book nerd part of me is not really a hidden facet of my personality. It is definitely front and center. Hostetler’s book is a devotional that combines the words of Shakespeare and God’s truths as expressed in the King James Bible. I spent two glorious semesters studying Shakespeare, and this book brings all of those memories, plus spiritual depth to my quiet time. There are 365 entries that compare and contrast the words from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets to Scripture. What a wonderful concept! Words of life spoken by God and confirmed by the words of one of the greatest writers in the English language! I loved how the highlighted verses brought fresh perspective to Shakespeare’s words while pointing to real truth. Each day, the reader has a few lines from Shakespeare and a verse or two of scripture to ponder and then a word of wisdom from the author to consider.  At the end, the author adds a tidbit to think about, including Something Curious (interesting things about the world of Shakespeare), By Tale Or History (inspiration or setting behind his works), and a Piece of Scripture (interesting facts about the Bible). Wow! I loved that too! I am impressed with the research that Hostetler undertook to put this book together — Bible study and Shakespearean scholarship. So if you are like me, a quintessential book-y, then The Bard And The Bible is for you.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Worthy Publishing for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: When Death Draws Near

19 Aug

UnknownGwen Marcey takes death in stride. Until she’s faced with her own mortality.

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky — a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.

Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity — a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her — before she becomes a victim herself?

In a thrilling race against time, When Death Draws Near plunges us into cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects.

 

CParks-387Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.
Find out more about Carrie at http://www.carriestuartparks.com.

 

My Impressions:

Have you ever encountered an author you immediately connected with? One whose writing sucks you in and keeps you enthralled until the last page? One whose characters touch something deep in your being? Well for me that is Carrie Stuart Parks. You see, I love suspense — the twists and turns, the peek-between-the fingers moments and the page-turning goodness. And when I find an author who combines all of that plus excellent writing, multi-layered characterization and a plot that really could happen, I am hooked. But when I find an author, such as Parks, who can relate spiritual truths seamlessly while giving me goosebumps, I am going to buy her books every time. All of that to say, When Death Draws Near is another winner! This one is highly recommended.

Gwen Marcey returns in the third book by Parks. When Death Draws Near finds Gwen way out of her comfort zone in the heart of rural, Appalachian Kentucky where accents, food and snake-handling worship are definitely foreign. Gwen is in Pikeville to help the local sheriff with a serial rapist case, but soon finds herself drawn into an investigation of mysterious deaths some attribute to the secretive practices of a Pentecostal congregation. Gwen must rely on her forensic skills as well as intuition and mamma-bear instincts to solve the case and save herself and her daughter.

When Death Draws Near is suspense at its best. With a determined investigator who draws upon deep reserves of courage and faith, this novel becomes a race against time for both the characters and the reader. I just could not put this one down! Gwen is a fascinating character. Intelligent and tenacious, she is also vulnerable in her dealings with ex-husband Richard and her struggle with breast cancer. Gwen does a great deal of wrestling with God as she doubts the effectiveness of prayer, but yet knows that’s all she’s got. I could really identify with that. The setting of the novel is perfect. Parks created a small town and culture that I could easily see. Her Southernisms were spot on and gave me a few chuckles. As in her other books, Parks’ subject matter involves a religious cult, but this time she adds a refreshing twist. And if you are a fan of CSI or Criminal Minds, you are going to love When Death Draws Near. Parks’ own expertise shines through. Believe me, the book is definitely better!

When Death Draws Near can be read as a standalone, but I recommend you travel with Gwen from the very beginning. Her character’s growth is the best part of the series. I impatiently await the next installment in the Gwen Marcey series.

Highly recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to the publisher and LitFuse for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Join Carrie in celebrating the release of When Death Draws Near by entering to win an Undercover Artist Starter Set.

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One grand prize winner will receive:
A copy of When Death Draws Near
A $30 Michael’s or Hobby Lobby gift card (winner’s choice)
Colored pencils
A sharpener
A pencil case
An eraser
A coloring prayer book
A coloring notecard set
A lap desk

when-death-draws-near-collage
Enter today by clicking HERE, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 22. The winner will be announced August 23 on the Litfuse blog.

Book Review: The Hesitant Heiress

18 Aug

51PEq1iAwNL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt’s Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men — Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother’s tragic death. However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems…and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn’t who she thought at all.

 

71XNMguH8YL._UX250_A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming published, he encouraged her to quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.

Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a mom to two precious little boys and also serves with her husband in a premarriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.

My Impressions:

I admit it. I am a bit behind in my reading. About two years behind! That’s when Dawn Crandall published her first novel in the Everstone Chronicles, The Hesitant Heiress. Dawn has been busily writing and now has three published novels and a fourth set to release in September. I’m waaay behind! But I am steadily catching up. Thanks to Dawn, I finally got a chance to read the book that has been causing lots of buzz all over the book blogosphere since it debuted. Here are some of my thoughts.

The Hesistant Heiress takes place during the Gilded Age in the homes and playgrounds of the rich — Boston and Bar Harbor. The inexperienced and newly proclaimed heiress, Amaryllis Brigham, finds herself settled into wealth and luxury. Having spent her young life on a ranch in the wilds of Washington and then sheltered in schools in Boston, Amaryllis is unfamiliar with the trappings of the super-wealthy. She also has no desire to be caught up in the schemes that would find her married and the recipient of her grandparents’ vast fortune. Amaryllis only wants to return to her beloved home state and open a music conservatory. But as she and others soon find out, man may make his plans, but God is the director of the steps.

For those who love historical romance, The Hesitant Heiress is the perfect choice. Dawn has created intriguing and endearing characters that steal your heart. Swoon-worthy hero, Nathan Everstone, is an extremely attractive character and Amaryllis will appeal to those who like their heroines determined and independent, but with a bit of vulnerability. You know you want to be swept up and swept away! Dawn does a wonderful job of weaving spiritual truths into her love story. The relationships between earthly fathers and their children almost always impact how we view our heavenly Father. In Amaryllis’ case, the abandonment and inconsistency of her father keeps her from fully trusting and surrendering to God. But perception is not always truth, as Amaryllis and readers find out. Mystery and intrigue surround Amaryllis making for a page-turning experience, especially near the end.

I have 2 more books to dive into before the release of The Cautious Maiden in September. All books are connected by the characters, but can be read as standalones. I am certainly looking forward to experiencing more drama, romance and true love with Dawn Crandall.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(Thanks to the author and publisher for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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