Tag Archives: Lauren K. Denton

If You Liked The Hideaway . . .

31 Jul

By The Book was unanimous in our approval of The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton. This well-written novel focused on relationships that shape our lives. If you liked it too, here are a few suggestions for more great reading.

 

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have long since buried their desire for children of their own. While Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget her dream of motherhood. But when her free-spirited sister, Jenna, drops off her two young daughters for “just two weeks,” Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As the two weeks stretch deeper into the Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world—and revel in the laughter that now fills their home. Meanwhile, record temperatures promise to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Attending an art retreat four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She finally has time and energy to focus on her photography, a lifelong ambition. But she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home as a single mom.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims a steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that will change her family’s future, even as Betsy and Ty try to protect their beloved farm and their hearts. Hurricane Season is the story of one family’s unconventional journey to healing — and the relationships that must be mended along the way.

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper – the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale

In the South you always say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You know everybody’s business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food — especially dessert — is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family —  even if the threat is something you cannot see.

In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

Test of Faith by Christa Allan

Elle Butler has managed to hold on to her politically-driven husband and her secrets until the unexpected happens. When one phone call rips her world apart, Elle will have to decide if the truth is worth the consequences. Especially when it threatens to destroy the world she’s so carefully built around her life and her marriage.

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Book Review: The Hideaway

23 Jul

When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever knew in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it — no small task considering her grandmother’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid drywall dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed her grandmother’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice — stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. Her debut novel, The Hideaway, was a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, Hurricane Season, released in spring of 2018. Her third, Glory Road, will release in February of 2019.

Find her at LaurenKDenton.com or on Facebook (LaurenKDentonAuthor), Instagram (LaurenKDentonBooks), or Twitter (@laurenkdenton).

 

My Impressions:

The Hideaway, Lauren K. Denton’s debut novel, was my book club’s selection this month. I was eager to read it since I had already read her second novel, Hurricane Season, and knew that this one had been a best seller. A debut novel that became a best seller — there had to be a reason. Yes, yes there was. The novel is written in the currently popular dual time/story style. It tells in first person accounts the stories of Mags and her granddaughter, Sara. The similarities between the two women become apparent as the narrative progresses. Both chose to run away from other’s plans for their lives, as well as emotionally difficult relationships. Part love story, part women’s fiction, the novel was an enjoyable read and got a unanimous thumbs up from my group.

The dual story line style can be difficult to sustain, as a reader often loses interest in one of the stories. Denton does a great job of maintaining the pacing of each storyline. The characters are interesting, although caused frustration for more than one member of our group. There are a lot of assumptions, wrong assumptions, that they make that cause pain and separation. I did like that as Sara came to know and understand her grandmother (and recognize their similarities), that her choices were informed by the wrong turns her grandmother took. The setting of the novel is perhaps the best part of the novel. Denton does a wonderful job of creating the world that is The Hideaway. There is also a sweet love story that will appeal to the romance fan. Now for the cons of the book. The novel was published by a Christian publishing house, yet there really isn’t anything Christian about it. A secondary character is described as a person of faith, but not much is said beyond that. Mags has an almost come-to-Jesus moment that also goes absolutely nowhere. My group was a bit puzzled by that scene as well as the lack of regret for the more adult of situations. Did it keep us from liking the book? Not really. We just expected a deeper reading experience.

All in all, my book club and I liked The Hideaway. Well-written with great characters and a wonderful sense of place, it definitely is a good read. But if you are looking for a novel with a strong Christian message, I would pass on this one.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased a Kindle version of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

July Book Club Pick

2 Jul

I am very excited that this month By The Book is reading The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton. I have had this best-selling novel on my radar since it was released last year. I read Denton’s sophomore offering, Hurricane Season, and loved it, so I am expecting a great reading experience. Have you read The Hideaway? We’d love to know your thoughts. If not, please join in our discussion on our FB page.

When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever knew in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it — no small task considering her grandmother’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid drywall dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed her grandmother’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice — stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. Her debut novel, The Hideaway, was a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, Hurricane Season, released in spring of 2018. Her third, Glory Road, will release in February of 2019.

Find her at LaurenKDenton.com or on Facebook (LaurenKDentonAuthor), Instagram (LaurenKDentonBooks), or Twitter (@laurenkdenton).

Top 10 Tuesday — Favorites of 2018 (So Far)

17 Apr

This week That Artsy Reader Girl of Top 10 Tuesday is letting bloggers have a Freebie. After much thought, I finally settled on sharing the Best Books I’ve Read So Far This Year. The books on this list all were given a Highly Recommended rating by me. Covering a variety of genres, these books offer realistic and endearing characters, are beautifully written, and share messages of hope, healing, and grace. I loved them, and I think you will too. If you have read any of them, let me know if you agree with my assessment.

 

 

 

 Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 (So Far)

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

The Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

On This Foundation by Lynn Austin 

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey

What book is your favorite this year?

Book Review: Hurricane Season

10 Apr

Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have long since buried their desire for children of their own. While Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget her dream of motherhood. But when her free-spirited sister, Jenna, drops off her two young daughters for “just two weeks,” Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As the two weeks stretch deeper into the Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world—and revel in the laughter that now fills their home. Meanwhile, record temperatures promise to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Attending an art retreat four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She finally has time and energy to focus on her photography, a lifelong ambition. But she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home as a single mom.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims a steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that will change her family’s future, even as Betsy and Ty try to protect their beloved farm and their hearts. Hurricane Season is the story of one family’s unconventional journey to healing — and the relationships that must be mended along the way.

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two young daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. The Hideaway was released in April of 2017 and has since become a USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, Hurricane Season, released April 3, 2018, and has been listed on BookPage’s 2018 list of Most Anticipated Fiction.

 

My Impressions:

So what makes a book get a highly recommended rating from me? It must have something special that distinguishes it from the rest. Hurricane Season, the sophomore offering from Lauren K. Denton, is just such a novel. Great characterization, a wonderful sense of place, beautifully written prose, and a story line that is unique and fresh — those are the things that make this book stand out. Certainly it is one of the best books I have read this year.

Two sisters are the focus of Hurricane Season. They once shared so much, but have grown apart due to life and . . . neglect. Both are wrapped up in their own lives for sure, but it is the perceptions of what the other has, that has kept the two apart. When younger sister Jenna has the opportunity to find her creative center once again, Betsy, the protector of the two, agrees to keep Jenna’s children for the two week retreat session. But as days stretch into weeks and then months, the two sisters have to confront not only what their futures will look like, but what their pasts have created.

Hurricane Season is told in the third person point of view with the emphasis on sisters Jenna and Betsy and Betsy’s husband Ty. This format gives the reader a view of what makes each of these characters act and react. I loved how real each of the characters became to me. The dairy farm on which Ty and Betsy live and the primitive nature preserve that serves as the setting of the artist’s retreat are brought to life in simple, yet elegant descriptions. I felt I was really there experiencing the daily life of the dairy farm and the wonder of an untouched wilderness. Difficult issues that are part and parcel of the human experience — infertility and single motherhood — are uniquely explored. There are no stereotypes here. But it is the relationships between Jenna and Betsy and Betsy and Ty that form the nucleus of the story. And I loved how the author brought about growth and healing for them all. The book does not end in a neat and tidy fashion. There are still lots of questions as to the future of this family. But that is okay with me. I have certain expectations for Jenna, Betsy, and Ty, and I am happy that the author has let me create my own happily-ever-after for the three. 😉

As stated above, Hurricane Season has it all to provide a thought-provoking and immersive reading experience. This novel lends itself to discussion, so if your book club is looking for a great book, Hurricane Season should top your list.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE

(Thanks to TLC and Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR

20 Mar

It has been spring here in middle Georgia for a while now. The unusually cold winter has given way to a very early spring. Everything is blooming here and the inevitable pollen has tinged all things yellow. But it is beautiful and promises warmer weather to come.

With March comes a new Spring TBR! Check out what other bloggers are reading in the coming months at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books on The Spring TBR List

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

High Cotton by Debby Mayne

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

If I Live by Terri Blackstock

The Land Lord by Cheryl Colwell

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund

Presumption And Partiality by Rebekah Jones

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West 

What’s on your Spring TBR List?