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About the Book
Hope Beyond Savannah
Lily Allman and Nikotemo (Nik) Lagatuo were the poster children for the term “opposites attract.” He was an evangelist and CEO for a non-profit from Samoa who grew up in a large loving family. She was a blond bombshell with a funky style and no family to call her own. Two of the most unlikely people meet in the most unlikely of places, but God had a plan when He brought them together. They never let their differences deter them from the love they had for each other, but when Nik’s mother comes to the States for the wedding, the idea of wedded bliss is shaken. Can prejudices be over looked, insecurities overcome, and hope for a better future be restored so that these two can have all that was promised?
I generally do not read romance novellas as I feel the stories often become rushed and as such, a little less believable that the couple will make it beyond the end of the book to their happily ever after. However, I have been trying to broaden my reading horizons and when A Spring of Weddings by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell became available, I knew I wanted to try it.
See, I love reading wedding stories, and the only thing better than one wedding is two!
Ms. Shiloh’s story, “A Proxy Wedding”, is first in the book and it’s a great story.
I’ve only read one other book with a marriage by proxy and it was a historical, so I was interested in finding out if it would work in a contemporary. And I think it does, because the main characters, Carly and Damien, are getting married as stand-ins for their respective best friends, who are both in the military.
I loved Carly. She’s trying not to repeat mistakes her parents made so she doesn’t make any tough decisions. She is also perfectly content to teach art even though it doesn’t make her extremely happy the way creating her own work does. And I relate to that! I think we’ve all had moments where we’re content with our lives but not necessarily happy.
Damien is uptight. He’s also a divorced workaholic who is terrified of repeating mistakes that led to his previous marriage dissolving. Watching him slowly learn how to unwind and relax is extremely rewarding.
I liked this story. The characters are great and Ms. Shiloh packs a lot of character development, lessons on second chances and forgiveness into her story, though the romance does feel a bit rushed. However, it doesn’t detract from the story all. I give “A Proxy Wedding” story 4/5 stars and recommend it to readers who love contemporary romances.
“Hope Beyond Savannah” is by Melissa Wardwell, and I’ve never read any of her work before. I love trying new authors and this novella is wonderful. We rarely see stories start out with the couple already in love and planning a wedding, so it was a treat to see a couple at this point in their life together.
Lily and Nik come from very different racial and cultural backgrounds and it made the story even more interesting. I liked Lily, as she’d been brought up in less than ideal circumstances and had made a good life for herself.
I liked Nik, too. He’s open and affectionate. He loves Lily and his family and is absolutely torn in two when his mother doesn’t immediately love Lily as much as he does.
I did think the resolution with Nik’s mother happened a little more quickly—I would have liked to see it take a little longer to resolve, but of course the novella format condenses the storytelling. I did believe it was sincere.
Ms. Wardwell has written a great story that deals with interracial dynamics with family and the couple. I give “Hope Beyond Savannah” 4/5 stars and recommend it to readers who love contemporary romances.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the authors through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Authors
Guest Posts From Toni and Melissa
A Proxy Wedding
By Toni Shiloh
Spring is here! I love it because I always think of new beginnings as the flowers bud and then bloom. The trials and tribulation of the winter season are no longer on my mind. My hope that the winter season would not linger begins to become visible as new life takes shape on the bare trees. The seeds I planted in faith of God’s faithfulness sprout up in hope and promise.
When I sat down to write A Proxy Wedding, I had to imagine spring time, because the dreary, overcast skies outside my window were a constant reminder that I was in a season of sickness. One person would get sick, then the next, and the next. By the time the last person got sick, the round would start over. Visits to the doctor were made. Miserable kids were constantly whining in their discomfort.
It. Was. Rough.
It made perfect sense for me to throw my characters into a new situation. One that would make the stretch, take them out their comfort zone, and search for God’s goodness. I wanted to give them a hint of goodness and throw in a trial or two so they could make the decision that sometimes, risk is worth it. Just as we all react differently to new situations, so did my characters.
Carly was intent on making lemonade from her lemons. She tries to get the handsome broker, Damien, to see the importance of smelling roses and lingering over new adventures. Of course, Damien wasn’t partial to the frivolity. He’s so intent on becoming a success that he had no time to slow down.
In order for them to see God’s handiwork in their lives, I had to remind them that they were not products of their past. That in God, they’re a new creation with new opportunities available to them.
I hope you enjoy A Proxy Wedding. May you think of the Father’s love as you take time to stop and smell the roses.
Hope Beyond Savannah
By Melissa Wardwell
I hope you enjoy this story of love, acceptance and new beginnings. It was a joy to write because there is much more to it than the hope of marriage. It is about the blending of two families who are from two completely different cultures. Researching the island traditions, beliefs, and customs was not only fun, but enlightening. Being able to return to my background in bridal as well as the most beautiful city in the United States was just an added bonus.
With Nik and his family being from another country, I gave you a glossary of words and phrases used so you knew what was being said. I found the language to be rather beautiful and to not include it would take away from who these people are. I also give a small explanation as to what Rock-a- billy is. Lily is a funky chick who dresses in a fun and exciting way. When I saw this couple in my head, I knew it would be quite the uncommon match. As you will soon see, they fit together quite nicely.
My point in using a bi-racial couple for this story was based on what we have been seeing in the news lately. It is unlike anything I have ever done but after talking to friends in similar relationships, I knew I had to step out on this limb. I think it is time we begin to look at people through the eyes of God and not man, then we would see how beautiful we all are. It doesn’t matter what color our skin is or what our past contains, we are all God’s creation and we are beautifully and wonderfully made.
April 25: Blossoms and Blessings
April 25: Lighthouse Academy
April 26: A Baker’s Perspective
April 26: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
April 27: Blogging With Carol
April 27: Avid Reader Book Reviews
April 28: Moments Dipped in Ink
April 28: Mary Hake
April 29: Reading Is My SuperPower
April 29: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
April 30: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
April 30: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
May 1: Quiet Quilter
May 1: Kristin N. Spencer
May 2: Kat’s Corner Books
May 2: Karen Sue Hadley
May 3: Books. Books. And More Books.
May 3: History, Mystery & Faith
May 4: Jeanette’s Thoughts
May 4: A Greater Yes
May 5: Carpe Diem
May 5: Christian Bookaholic
May 6: These Splendid Sentences
May 6: Just Jo’Anne
May 7: God is Love
May 7: Ashley’s Bookshelf
May 8: Autism mom
May 8: Caffeinated Reads
May 9: Bibliophile Reviews
To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.