Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: Grounded Hearts


Grounded Hearts
By Jeanne M. Dickson
Waterfall Press, 2017


Summary

A brave midwife. A wounded pilot. A risky secret.

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O'Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she's taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she'll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in "flyboy" Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband's death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

Learn more and purchase a copy.


My thoughts

My feelings about Grounded Hearts are mixed, as there were both pros and cons. First of all, I’m always eager to try a new-to-me author, and a story set in Ireland is an added bonus. Jeanne M. Dickson is an excellent writer and it’s rare that I get to read a WWII book that doesn’t involve the Holocaust, so that was enjoyable as well.

The Irish Catholic influence wasn’t unexpected, although I was surprised that it played such a strong part and was portrayed in a negative light – yet it defined who Nan was and gave a rationale to her way of thinking. I loved the small community of Ballyhaven in County Clare and thought the way women supported each other was great. Learning about Ireland’s decision to remain neutral during the war was thought provoking and made an interesting background for Dickson’s storytelling.

A few negatives for me, though. This may be a little thing, but the male characters that I can remember seemed pretty foolish and not very appealing, even the priest, while the women were strong. Secondly, this wartime romance had good potential, but it dominated the story and was way too sensual for my tastes. Nothing explicit, but I halfway expected it at every page turn – with all the physical attraction, noticing of body parts, inward expression of thoughts, and conversations mentioning intimate situations. It’s difficult to explain the difference, but a Christian novel can portray a certain level of intimacy within the marriage context that is realistic and beautiful, while here it felt cheapened. I occasionally read a secular novel and can say that this would be considered a “sweet romance” in that field, but it just didn’t feel right for the Christian fiction audience. And while I understood the initial attraction between Nan and Dutch, their relationship never seemed to deepen beyond the physical.

The other thing was Catholic practices regarding sin and confession, reflected in Mrs. Norman’s words to Nan: “Spending the night in the arms of the man you love is worth the penance.” I imagine this was realistic for the characters in that setting, but just didn’t sit well with me. We do, however, see the God of second chances and that Nan experienced grace and forgiveness in the end. So, while my thoughts were mixed, I would like to see more from this author.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.




_________________________



Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling.

Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer's conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star.

Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Gladden the Heart



Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book title: Gladden the Heart  
Author: Olivia Newport  
Release date: July 1, 2017  
Genre: Historical Amish  

“When you have experienced the Holy Ghost as I have, you would see that it is difficult to turn back.” 

When the lively fervor of nineteenth century revivalism endangers the staid customs of the Amish community in the lush but rugged Kishacoquillas Valley of central Pennsylvania in 1847, the Amish church must deal with a divisive question: What is a genuine spiritual experience? 

The question turns personal when Susanna’s beloved cousin Noah begins preaching while under trances and even though he is not a minister he gives long sermons that attract increasing attention. Curious, she helps to keep Noah safe during his trances. At the same time Adam, Susanna’s intended, feels pressure from the bishop to speak out against the ways of revivalism. 

Susanna and Adam are pushed to opposite sides of a controversy that threatens their traditional Amish faith.. Now they must grapple with whether love is possible…even if they come to different conclusions. 

When Noah goes missing at a time of day when he often preaches while asleep, circumstances thrust community members with divergent opinions into a crisis that demands they recognize the humanity they share regardless of beliefs. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives?


My Thoughts

Gladden the Heart has a different feel than a lot of Amish fiction as it draws inspiration from real-life historical events and explores the “what if” aspect. I’ve always enjoyed reading about the circuit-riding preachers and evangelistic meetings of the 1800s, and Olivia Newport does a great job of bringing this era to life. While there is some romance, it takes a back seat to the historical themes and conflict within the Amish community.

Noah spoke of God’s love, of human failings,
of faithfulness, of repentance, of redemption, of new life,
of serving Christ with love toward one another,
of unceasing prayer, of God’s gracious gift of salvation.

Newport draws inspiration from something I hadn’t heard of – the “sleeping preacher” phenomenon and the fact that the Amish were losing some of their members to these revival preachers. Susanna’s beloved cousin, Noah, becomes a polarizing figure as he starts falling into trances and preaching in an evangelistic style, resulting in conflict within family and community. The relationship between Susanna and Adam also comes into conflict over Noah.

The pace moves slowly at times, but I enjoyed this story and it gave me much to reflect upon. One of my favorite characters was Niklaus, a good and humble Amish minister who followed the convictions of his heart in preaching. I also loved the contrast between grace and judgment, assurance and fear. The title reflects this story’s theme well, for it’s the beauty of faith that gladdens the heart.

Recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and Barbour Publishing. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author

Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. She chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. 

Her books include the Avenue of Dreams series set in 1890s Chicago; the Valley of Choice series, which intertwines contemporary and historical Amish stories; the historical Amish Turns of Time series; and Hidden Falls, a warm, contemporary, small-town novel.









Guest Post from Olivia Newport

Sleepy Sundays

Now don’t laugh, but my guess is that if you looked around your church on any given Sunday morning, you’d see somebody sleeping. It might be an infant or toddler whose nap time collides with the worship time resting in a parent’s arms, or it might be a senior citizen who has perfected the art of dozing in an upright position. 

What you don’t expect is that the person sleeping will be the preacher. 

I’ve always been interested in church history. I even read a magazine called Christian History on a regular basis and consider it pleasure reading. In my ambling through church history, I came across a notation about “sleeping preachers” in the nineteenth century in various denominations, including the Amish. The accounts suggested that individuals who were not ministers would fall unconscious, wake up to preach for lengthy periods, sleep again, and have no recollection of their actions. 

Could this possibly be true? Or a giant hoax? What’s a genuine spiritual experience, and what do we do when don’t agree on how to answer that question? Let’s face it, even now, 150 years later, we still don’t quite know what to do with our varying traditions when we don’t agree on how to answer that question. 

I knew I had the makings of a story. Gladden the Heart travels back to 1847 and wrestles with these questions. When a divided community faces a life-or-death situation, they must respond to a crisis that challenges them to look past their differences. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives? 

Gladden the Heart is the fifth story in Olivia Newport’s Amish Turns of Time series of historical Amish novels. Olivia chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.



Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a Grand Prize that consists of: 
All five books in the Amish Turns of Time series 
PLUS 
Bonus: All three books in the Valley of Choice series 
PLUS 
$25 Amazon Gift Card!! 
Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!




Saturday, July 15, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Engaged in Trouble




Engaged in Trouble
By Jenny B. Jones
Enchanted Events #1
Sweet Pea Productions, 2017


Summary

When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.

Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldly property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.

Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.

This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.

Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.


My thoughts

Engaged in Trouble … smart, sassy, and southern. I’ve found a new favorite author in Jenny B. Jones, one who captivates me with her storytelling, characterization, and lyrical writing. For pure entertainment, it doesn't get much better than this.

What did I find in Engaged in Trouble, book #1 in this Enchanted Events cozy mystery series? Unforgettable characters, small-town (to-die-for) romance, laugh-out-loud adventures, a mystery that kept me guessing, and a story that satisfies my love for Southern fiction. Engaged in Trouble goes on my "best of the best" list.

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read any of Jenny’s highly-rated books published in the Christian fiction genre, so when this mystery came up on Great Escapes tour, I immediately signed up. Let me quickly say that Engaged in Trouble is not Christian fiction, but rather fiction written from a biblical worldview. It is completely clean, but with an edginess that some conservative readers might not appreciate.

Jenny B. Jones is a wordsmith. One strength of this story is lyrical imagery that paints a vivid picture, such as … Violet pink and lilac purple covered the sky as if God had airbrushed his favorite colors across it. The moon hid in the distance, not quite ready to report for the night shift. At times, I felt like the narrative was wrapping its arms around me. Then there’s the wicked humor, snappy quips, bridal salon setting, unforgettable characters, romantic tension, and solid mystery plot.

Ex-CIA operatives Sylvie and Frannie, also known as Paisley’s grandmother and close friend, almost steal the show with their zany antics and love for “secular” romance novels. Another character that I loved is Paisley’s assistant, Henry, who “could be as prickly as a corsage pin, but he was also as reliable as a wedding march.”

Paisley and Beau are compelling, appealing lead characters, both with backgrounds that affect who they are now. Paisley’s thoughts about Beau are too good not to share: His eyes … reflected his protective nature, his loyalty, and unspoken stories he unwittingly carried like the shrapnel in his leg. On the drive, I kept finding myself asking Beau questions just to hear his voice. It was a voice that could narrate books – and a girl’s fantasies.

The mystery plotting is excellent, slowly developed in a methodical and logical way. Romantic tension is palpable and while the ending is satisfying, we’re left with the promise of much more to come. Jones has created rich characters and a beautiful Arkansas community that I am eager to return to. I’ll end with Paisley's closing words from the story …

      This was home.
      For most of my life I’d wanted nothing to do with it.
      But it welcomed me back all the same, gathered me to its freshly laundered bosom, and said, “Child, I’m gonna love you anyway.”
      Home.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


_________________________



Award-winning, best-selling author Jenny B. Jones writes romance, cozies, and YA with sass and Southern charm. Since she has very little free time, Jenny believes in spending her spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits, such as eating ice cream, watching puppy videos, and reading celebrity gossip.

She lives in the beautiful state of Arkansas and has worked in public education for half of forever.  She loves bluegrass, a good laugh, and strong tea. She adores hearing from readers.

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GIVEAWAY

Please click on this link and share my Facebook post, then leave a comment here. If you’ve read any previous books by Jenny B. Jones, be sure to share your thoughts.





Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): The Renegade's Redemption



On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

The Renegade's Redemption
by Stacy Henrie
Inspirational Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 288 pages
July 1st 2017 by Love Inspired Historical

Refuge for the Outlaw

When Tex Beckett arrives at Ravena Reid's farm, he's eight years too late for the elopement they'd once planned—and it's far too early to win her forgiveness. He's seriously wounded, though, and she can't turn him away, though she knows better than to trust him. Yes, it's wonderful having help with the farm, and with the orphans she fosters, but if she opens her heart, she'll get hurt again when he leaves. And Tex always leaves.

As a notorious bank robber, Tex is used to danger. Yet reuniting with the only woman he's ever loved is the riskiest thing he's ever done. All he wants is to stay with Ravena and the children. But can he build a new start before his past catches up with him?



My Thoughts

I don’t have time to read as many Love Inspired stories as I’d like, but I always read Stacy Henrie’s stories. She’s a solid, smooth writer who creates well-rounded characters and tells an engaging story. The Renegade’s Redemption brings Tex, a notorious robber, together with his former sweetheart. We met Tex’s identical twin, Tate, in the previous book, The Outlaw's Secret (click on title for my review), but this story can stand alone.

She’d never marry an outlaw,
and he couldn’t change what he was.

Renegade and redemption … now that’s a winning combination for me! Redemption is at the heart of our Christian walk, and who doesn’t like a repentant “bad boy”? The road for this unlikely pair seemed impossible, and I loved how everything was resolved. I so admired Ravena’s hard work and love for her family of orphans; she just had to learn to trust again. Tex was a flawed character for whom bad choices and actions came out of a spirit of fear. I was quickly drawn to Tex and rooted for him to find peace, forgiveness, and happiness because none of these were assured.

Each child is richly drawn, vulnerable, and simply stole my heart. Henrie created some great family scenes that revealed Tex’s heart for children, such as his playing of the harmonica one evening and when sweet Ginny confided her nightmares to him. Spiritual themes are woven into daily lives and I was particularly moved by Tex’s honest and humble talk with the Lord toward the end.

I enjoyed The Renegade’s Redemption very much and look forward to much more from Stacy Henrie.

Recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Prism Book Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.



Other Books in the Series

The Outlaw's Secret
by Stacy Henrie
Christian Historical RomancePaperback & ebook, 288 pages
February 7th 2017 by Love Inspired Historical

Lawman in Disguise 

Getting taken hostage by a gang of train robbers wasn't in dime novelist Essie Vanderfair's plans, but interviewing these men could make her career soar. Especially since the gang includes legendary outlaw Tex Beckett, better known as the Texas Titan. Tex is famed for his protection of women and children, so she'll be fine…right? 

Keeping the gang in line was hard enough before a stubborn, beautiful writer interfered. Now Tex is scrambling to keep Essie safe, to gather evidence against the gang and most of all to hide his dangerous secrets. First, that he's a detective working undercover. And second, that he's not the Texas Titan at all, but Tex's twin brother, Tate Beckett.



About the Author


Stacy Henrie has always had a love for history, fiction, and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a mother to three, Stacy loves to live out history through her fictional characters. In addition to author, she is also a reader, a road trip enthusiast, and a novice interior decorator.

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Tour Giveaway

- 1 winner will receive  copies of The Express Rider's Lady and The Outlaw's Secret, and a $10 Amazon e-gift card (US only)
- 1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon e-gift card (open internationally)
- Ends July 22nd

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

With a Song in My Heart


I love music and it has always been a huge part of my life – from beginning piano lessons at age 11 to playing in worship for going on 54 years now. Other than some contemporary worship music, most of my favorites can be found in Southern gospel, folk music, pop, and traditional country from years past. Any other fans of these genres?

This blog has primarily been book reviews, but my original intention was to include music-related themes and Erma Bombeck’s poignant humor. Life’s “busyness” always seems to get in the way, but I’m going to do my best at sharing what I’ve loved through the years, what moves me most. It will be an eclectic assortment from the many styles that I mentioned above, from the mid-50s on. So welcome to With a Song in My Heart


Farther Along

… A song which looks forward to that time and place
where there will be no more death, sorrow, and crying
(Revelation 21:4)

In thinking about where to begin, I came across a video of Joni Eareckson Tada’s testimony leading into Farther Along, and couldn’t think of a better starting place. Others that I love have recorded it (Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, etc.) and I’ll probably share their arrangements in the future –but Joni’s testimony is so moving that I had to begin with her. And she has a beautiful voice! May you be blessed by her words and music, and please share your thoughts. (Be sure to watch the whole video).




Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested, though in the wrong

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand it all by and by

When we see Jesus coming in glory
When He comes from His home in the sky
Then we’ll join Him in that bright city
And we’ll understand it all by and by


Background:

        The text and the tune are both attributed to William B. Stevens (1862-1940), a Church of God preacher in Schuyler County, Missouri. If anyone had a motivation to write such a song, it was Stevens; he was a truly Job-like figure who outlived all six of his children, many of them dying in childhood.
        Farther Along is one of those songs in which words and music blend almost perfectly to present a wonderful message of faith. We should derive comfort from the chorus that what we now know only in part, we shall certainly understand Farther Along. Then we will not have to ask why, or to speculate. We may not always understand why things happen the way they do on earth, but we can eagerly anticipate being at home with Christ Farther Along.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Review: The Captain's Daughter


The Captain’s Daughter
By Jennifer Delamere
London Beginnings #1
Bethany House, 2017


Summary

Warm-hearted Victorian romance brings 1880s London to life.

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he's glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can't wait to leave behind.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


My thoughts

It’s always fun to try an author who is new to me when their book descriptions sounds like something I would enjoy – and enjoy I certainly did! The Captain’s Daughter is filled with well-rounded characters and vividly conveys the sights and sounds of Victorian London. I loved the historical detail, which included the theater world of Gilbert and Sullivan. I’ve long been addicted to British fiction and found this story very satisfying.

The prologue introduces us to Rosalyn and her two sisters, all raised in George Muller’s orphanage. I’ve read a good bit about Muller’s devout trust in God to provide, and think this is a great foundation for the girls’ stories. Rosalyn’s sisters have distinctive characteristics, making it fun to anticipate their future stories.

That faith in God’s provision is tested when Rosalyn finds herself penniless upon reaching London, and I liked the way God worked through the people who reached out to help her. It was easy to like Rosalyn and one thing that stood out to me was her simple kindness, even when things weren’t easy for her.

I connected with Nate immediately – honorable and hardworking, attempting to handle guilt in his own way … “Never once had Nate gone to God to ask for forgiveness. He’d been too intent on earning it.” He’s a great leading man and I enjoyed watching the relationship between Rosalyn and Nate grow from friendship into much more. The musician in me loved that he played the fiddle, and Ms. Delamere writes some beautiful scenes where I could almost hear his tunes echoing off the walls around me.

Although Rosalyn is truly a sea captain’s daughter, it was hard to connect with the title at first because her father wasn’t in the picture. However, there’s a scene toward the end that made me realize it was the perfect title.

The Captain’s Daughter was entertaining, a story that should appeal to fans of historical romance. I look forward to Julia’s story and its courtroom theme in The Heart’s Appeal, which releases March 2018.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

_________________________


Jennifer Delamere's debut Victorian romance, "An Heiress at Heart," was a 2013 RITA award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, "A Lady Most Lovely," received a starred review from "Publishers Weekly" and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers.

Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She's been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

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http://litfusegroup.com/author/jdelamere

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Review: Naomi's Hope


Naomi’s Hope
By Jan Drexler
Journey to Pleasant Prairie #3
Revell, 2017


Summary

When the future is threatened by the past, can she trust herself to make the right choice?

Despite growing pains in her 1846 Amish community in Indiana, Naomi Schrock has settled into a comfortable life in her parents' home with her adopted son, Davey. Surrounded by family and friends, she tries not to think about the fact that she's not at the top of any man's list of potential wives. Yet when Cap Stoltzfus moves into the area and befriends Davey, Naomi finds herself caught between the plans she has made for her future and the tantalizing thought that Cap might be part of a life she never dared to hope for.

When a couple shows up claiming to be Davey's true family, Naomi and Cap must unite to make the decision that will determine the boy's future--as well as their own.


My thoughts

LaGrange County, Indiana
1846

Naomi’s Hope is a lovely reading experience in every way. This is the first of Jan Drexler’s books that I’ve read, and it’s just my luck for it to be the final book in her series. If you’ve read the previous two books, you’ll enjoy catching up with familiar friends, but enough background is given that this story can stand alone.

I hadn’t read very far before realizing that there was something different about this book. It turns out that Drexler’s ancestors were Amish/Mennonite immigrants, and I believe it’s the inspiration she draws from their stories that makes her writing special. Vivid historical detail is woven into the narrative, conveying not only a sense of place, but pulling you right into the era. It was interesting to notice similarities and differences between 19th-century and contemporary Amish communities. I read a good bit of contemporary Amish fiction – because that’s mainly what’s available – so delving into their history adds a depth that I love.

Naomi and Cap are realistically flawed, but totally appealing characters, maybe because of those flaws and doubts. Naomi accepts that she will never wed and has given her heart to Davey, the young boy she adopted – who is precious, by the way. Cap, still grieving over the deaths of his wife and child, instantly connects with Davey in an endearing relationship that often brings tears to the eyes.

“The Ordnung is a kind of fence.
It tells us where the boundaries are
and helps us make the right decisions”
- Cap to Davey

Naomi’s Hope is filled with spiritual insight, gently woven into the story. I liked that Cap admitted to sometimes being puzzled by the Ordnung, how God’s grace meshed with it. If, like Naomi, you’ve often thought that God was too busy to be involved in the small, routine parts of your daily life, then this story will speak to you. And if you’ve ever questioned why God allows bad things to happen – which probably describes all of us, if we’re honest – then this story will minister to you.

Two secondary characters captured my emotions in completely opposite ways. Shem, who claimed to be an ordained minister, actually brought division by sowing seeds of disharmony, doubt and discord – reminding me of how Satan works. And then there was Christian, a humble man full of godly wisdom.

Sometimes a work of fiction will speak a word of truth that we need to hear, especially me, and Naomi’s Hope did exactly that by reminding how easy it is to allow someone to take God’s place in our hearts.

I greatly enjoyed Naomi’s Hope and look forward to whatever Jan Drexler writes next.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book from Revell. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

_________________________


Jan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories.

Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of thirty-five years. She is the author of The Prodigal Son Returns, A Mother for His Children (winner of the 2013 TARA award), and A Home for His Family (finalist for the 2016 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award), as well as Hannah's Choice and Mattie's Pledge.

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