Click here to purchase your copy!
About the Book
Saved in the Jesus Movement of the seventies, Chris DuPré connected with countless Christians across the world. Yet too many of those Christians, Chris discovered, have years later lost the fire and stepped back from living out their faith. Why? Because they got stuck—stuck in rejection by others, stuck in fear of the unknown, stuck in loving a comfortable life, stuck in scores of similar ruts. What can set them free from their internal prisons? And what could Christians accomplish if we all just got unstuck?
Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut is the first book I’ve read by Chris Dupré. And what a book it is!
Mr. Dupré has written an excellent book that provides insight and help for those struggling with their place in life. It is full of stories, quotes, and while the conclusions seem simple, they are difficult to solve if we remain “stuck” in our routines. The style is informal, almost as if Mr. Dupré is having a conversation with his readers. It is a quick and meaningful read and one that I will most likely reread over and over.
The chapter on comfort zones was one of my favorites. It is easy for humans to fall into them and are difficult to get out of. Fear is the driving force behind leaving our comfort zones and Mr. Dupré devotes a chapter to fear as well. I will say that reading this book helped solidify a life change I had been praying about for a while and I’m sure I’m not the only one!
The chapter on character demonstrates a profound understanding of human nature. People know when you are not being truthful about who you are. We want people to have integrity and are often disappointed when they prove they do not, and the author delivers his conclusions on character perfectly.
I also appreciated the idea presented that it is usually not one thing in our lives that can make us “stuck” in place. Moments in our lives build on each other and make us who we are, and trying to pin down what caused us to become complacent or fearful of leaving our comfort zones can be disheartening or even create bigger problems in our lives.
The emphasis on listening to God instead of others, even those who love us and want the best for us, is present throughout the entire book. Scriptures used by Mr. Dupré are abundant and relevant to the topic at hand.
I give this book 5/5 stars and recommend it to anyone struggling with feeling “stuck” in their lives. Those wanting an easy to read, informative book that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it should also read this book. You will not be disappointed in Unstuck!
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Whitaker House, through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Originally from Upstate New York, Chris moved to Kansas City to work alongside Mike Bickle in establishing the International House of Prayer. Chris recently served as Associate Pastor at Grace Center Church in Franklin TN, and is now an associate pastor of Life Center in Harrisburg, PA. A pastor, teacher, worship leader, traveling speaker, and spiritual father to many, Chris may be best known for his song “Dance With Me.” He has produced eight albums and published three books, including The Wild Heart of God (Whitaker House, 2016) and The Lost Art of Pure Worship with James Goll. Parents of three daughters and grandparents of four grandchildren, Chris and his wife, Laura, reside in Harrisburg, PA.
Guest Post from Chris Dupre
I grew up in a small town about 30 miles east of Rochester, NY. Winters there could be brutal. One year, I received beautiful new pair of boots which I loved, particularly for the joy with which they enabled me to engage in the marvelous sport of puddle jumping. One day when the ice and snow had begun to melt, I eyed a nice puddle and jumped in the middle sending a freezing splash in all directions. But wait, something was wrong — this was no ordinary puddle! This one was made to capture people, and I was captured! Frantic, I pulled one foot out, but no matter how much I tried, the other foot would not budge. My boot was stuck. I was stuck! I pulled and pulled until finally my foot came free in a soggy sock. My beautiful boot had been left behind, buried beneath the slush. My little mind was faced with a choice. Did I care enough about to do something? It only took a second to act. I loved those boots. I found a stick and began to fish. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally pulled out my boot. That’s the first time I ever went fishing and was glad to catch a boot instead of a fish.
My desire with this book is to address some of those “stuck” moments we all face. I want to provide keys that will hopefully open a door or two that have held you back on the incredible journey of life. I say a door or two, or even three, because it’s almost always more than one thing that gets us stuck. Ah, but God—He is the change factor in all of this and in Him we can break free.
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 28
Mary Hake, December 28
A Reader’s Brain, December 29
Carpe Diem, December 29
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 30
A Baker’s Perspective, December 31
New Horizon Reviews, January 1
proud to be an autism mom, January 2
Books, Books, and More Books., January 3
Kristin’s Book Reviews, January 4
A Greater Yes, January 5
Texas Book-aholic, January 6
Blossoms and Blessings, January 7
Janices book reviews, January 8
Bigreadersite, January 9
Pursuing Stacie, January 10
In honor of the tour, Whitaker House is giving away
Grand Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré;” Covenant” Pillar Candle scented with ancient biblical fragrances from Abba Jerusalem, and a Whitaker House Grown-Up Coloring Book.
First Place Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré;” “Man of God” Ceramic Mug, CTAInc.com; and a Whitaker House Grown-Up Coloring Book.
Second Place Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; and The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré”.
Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c457
About the Book
True to You by Becky Wade is the first book I’ve read by this author. And I am absolutely excited to read more of her books. In True to You, Ms. Wade has written an extraordinary story of how we can depend on God even when our lives are thrown into upheaval.
I was dropped immediately into the story on the first page. Each scene is detailed and feels distinct from each other. The prose is great, each line serving the story with no unnecessary details. Within the first three pages I felt attached to the main characters.
Nora, the heroine, is a great character. Her life was thrown into upheaval unexpectedly and she thinks she’s gotten over it and pieced her life back together. Watching Nora realize that’s not entirely accurate and how she learns to depend on God is a wonderful character arc and I fully believe Nora’s transformation.
I related to John Lawson, the hero of the story, even more than Nora. I served in the military and understood him. I won’t spoil the reason he’s searching for his birth parents, but he’s a wounded man with a soft gooey center who often uses humor to escape his emotions before it eventually becomes too much and it all boils over. These are my favorite types of heroes and John is a great example.
I rooted for Nora and John the entire time. I fully believe in their romance and that the two of them will be able to overcome any obstacle.
I rarely share quotes that I enjoy, but this is one of the best lines I’ve ever read: “’If I was going to make it through, I was going to have to do it on what was left of my true character after all the surface parts of who I thought I was had been stripped away.’” What a great line that really drives home the themes in the book.
True to You is the first story in a new series by Ms. Wade and I am eagerly awaiting the next one. I loved this book and give it 5/5 stars. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys sweet contemporary romances with unexpected depth and relatable characters.
** I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House, the publisher. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
About the Book
Life After by Katie Ganshert is the kind of book that makes you think. About life, and death, and finding purpose after tragedy.
One of the characters in the book says a quote that I feel demonstrates one of the themes that Ms. Ganshert was striving for in her book: “It’s not easy to keep going. It’s not easy to get back up after life knocks you a hard one.”
Autumn Manning, the main character, knows this well. She’s the sole survivor of a train bombing and the book picks up a year after the event. In that time, she’s learned about the people killed and is struggling with survivor’s guilt.
Paul Elliot is the other main character, and his wife died in the train accident. He’s raising their two kids alone now and is trying his best. He avoids mentioning his wife to the kids, which causes problems for him and his daughter.
This book is a well-written and heartbreaking examination of tragedy, loss, survivor’s guilt, and God’s plan for our lives. Questions of “why did this person have to die and why did I get to live” permeate Autumn’s entire story arc, and the resolution of it is so satisfying I nearly cheered—and probably would have if it wasn’t close to midnight when I finished reading it
As a family member, Paul’s grief and guilt is different than Autumn’s, but is also excellently examined. The resolution of his character arc is as emotionally charged as Autumn’s as well and also immensely satisfying.
This book is heart wrenching. Several places had me in tears, and I identified with Autumn more than I want to admit to. Ms. Ganshert has seamlessly woven in real events into her book and the world the characters live in feels very real. All of the characters feel like people you’d meet in real life, and the different stories of the family members of those killed do not feel as if they are there only for Autumn and Paul’s character development—they seem like real people’s stories you’d hear after a tragedy.
I read Life After in one sitting and I cannot say enough about this book. I don’t want to spoil any of the character’s arcs, as discovering their secrets and motivations is an essential part of the reading experience, but I urge you to pick up Ms. Ganshert’s book.
Life After is not easy reading, but it was well worth the emotional upheaval I felt while reading it. I will be pondering this book for a while.
I give this book 5/5 stars for the characters, the examination of the core themes of tragedy, loss, and survivor’s guilt, and the full immersion into the lives of the characters I experienced while reading it. I will be adding Life After to my keeper shelf and know I will return to it when life’s losses get to be too much for me.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
About the Book
An Uncommon Courtship is the first book I've read by Kristi Ann Hunter, and it definitely won't be the last. And I will be buying the rest of the Hawthorne House series.
Marriage of conveniences are one of my favorite tropes in fiction, and I especially love them when the characters don’t know each other well. Trent and Adelaide are thrown into marriage after spending a completely innocent night stuck in a crumbling ruin.
Adelaide is a great character. Due to an upbringing where she is ignored unless her sister needs something, and an overbearing social climber mother, she is very reserved and doesn’t always know how to express her needs or wants. Watching her break out of this shell and become more assertive and aware of her needs is one of my favorite parts of the book. I adore Adelaide.
Trent is also a great character. He is honorable in marrying Adelaide to prevent her reputation from being destroyed, and his relationship with his brother is one of my favorite aspects of the book, though it didn’t overshadow the romance. When he realizes he may have feelings for her and how uncertain Adelaide feels in her new life as his wife, he decides to court her to win her affection.
Ms. Hunter is a very capable writer. The setting is so detailed I could picture every scene perfectly and it’s excellently researched. A pet peeve of mine is when titled characters aren’t addressed correctly, so I was glad to see it done perfectly in this book! The secondary characters are also well-done and aren’t merely there to move the plot along.
This book is part of a series but can stand alone. I do, however, recommend you read the rest of the series simply because I think this author has written an amazing story and I hope the others are just as good. I can’t wait to read the rest of them.
I give this book 5/5 stars and recommend it to readers who enjoy a sweet romance with rich historical detail, main characters who live their faith, and excellent secondary characters.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Click here to purchase your copy.
About the Book
Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.
The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?
Mistaken identity and amnesia stories can be tough to read, though I do enjoy them. It is imperative that the reveal of the true identity is handled correctly and that the character who recovers from the amnesia receives time to process it. For me, how it is handled can break my enjoyment of a book.
And Jody Hedlund handles it wonderfully in Never Forget. I won’t spoil when or where it happens, but both the hero and heroine are given appropriate reactions and time to come to terms with it.
Never Forget is the story of Abbie and Nathaniel, both wounded souls, though in two very different ways.
Abbie is struggling to keep her home on the island as lighthouse keeper as she worries what will happen to her Grandfather, who has a form of dementia, if they are forced to leave. She has a husband who’s gone missing and is trying to run the lighthouse herself. She is also working through feelings of abandonment over her mother and husband, and wondering why people she loves won’t stay for her. Abbie is a great character. She is busy and so her time with God and her faith have become almost an afterthought in her daily routine. She also feels guilty she’s lying to Nathaniel about the fact they aren’t husband and wife. Abbie’s growth from beginning to end is a logical progression of the events in the story.
Nathaniel is a wealthy young man who drinks and sleeps with women. It doesn’t actually happen in the book (it is only mentioned) but if you don’t like that in your heroes you may not like this part of Nathaniel’s character. He is in a yacht accident and loses his memory, and through a series of circumstances thinks he is Abbie’s husband Nate. It’s obvious once he becomes “Nate” that he actually is a good person, as he helps Abbie and her grandfather around the island and with the lighthouse, but he knows he wasn’t a good person before his accident. It’s absolutely wonderful how Nathaniel grows in this story into the person he’s supposed to be instead of burying grief and anger through his prior actions.
The setting is fantastic. It is so well drawn that the bay where the lighthouse stands almost becomes its own character. Abbie’s love for the lighthouse, the area, and the water shines through so clearly. The secondary characters, including Abbie’s sister and brother-in-law and Nathaniel’s mother and brother, do not appear much in the story but create impact through their own actions.
I’ve never read any books my Ms. Hedlund, but I will be buying her other books. I truly enjoyed this one and it will be going on my keeper shelf.
I give this book 5/5 stars and recommend it to people who like Christian Historical Romance, lighthouses, water, and stories of redemption over guilt and grief.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Guest Post From Jody Hedlund
Which Do You Prefer: Series or Standalones?
By Jody Hedlund
Readers usually have strong opinions about whether they like series or standalones.
Some readers refuse to read books that are inter-related. Others can’t get enough books about their favorite characters.
I see the pros and cons of both.
For series, I don’t like feeling lost as I try to wade through previous characters along with their backstory. I recently started a series by a well-known author and was disappointed to realize the first book was connected to a previous series she’d already published. From the get-go, I felt left out as though I didn’t quite know who all the characters were or their significance.
On the other hand, for standalones, I sometimes feel as though I would like the story to continue. I’ve invested in the setting and characters and so enjoy when I can return to that place and continue to glimpse the characters I’ve fallen in love with—even if from a distance.
My favorites are books that fall in the middle between standalone and series. I like to think of them as standalones within a series. Becky Wade’s Porter brother series is like that. Each of the books centers around one of the brothers (and a tomboy sister). While characters from other books make an appearance in the stories, each plot is separate and complete without any reliance upon another book.
My Beacons of Hope lighthouse series falls in the middle too. The books are related in that they all take place at lighthouses and share a symbolic “cross of hope” that is passed on from one book to the next. A minor character in a previous book becomes the hero or heroine in the next book. But each book can be read by itself without having read any of the others.
In other words, readers can pick up my newest release, Never Forget, which is the fifth and final book in the series, and they wouldn’t be confused about who the characters are or what their history is. The plot starts with a bang and ends with a satisfying sigh. It is complete story unto itself.
And yet, for those who’ve read other books in the series, they’ll get to see the happily-ever-after of a character from a previous book. And they’ll also get to find out where the cross of hope finally ends.
If you’re not a fan of series, I encourage you to give the Beacons of Hope series a try. It might satisfy the need for standalones and series all in one neat little package.
To that end, I’m giving away all FIVE books in the series as part of the Celebrate Lit blog tour to one lucky winner!
Tell us: What is your preference: Standalones, Series, or Standalones within a Series?
January 10: Reading Is My SuperPower
January 10: Karen Sue Hadley
January 10: Bookworm Mama
January 11: Faithfully Bookish
January 11: Inklings and Notions
January 11: Blossoms and Blessings
January 12: Smiling Book Reviews
January 12: Genesis 5020
January 12: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
January 13: God’s Little Bookworm
January 13: The Scribbler
January 13: Bibliophile Reviews
January 14: Daysong Reflections
January 14: Blogging With Carol
January 14: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
January 15: Moments Dipped in Ink
January 15: Books. Books. And More Books.
January 16: A Greater Yes
January 16: Bigreadersite
January 17: Connie’s History Classroom
January 17: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
January 18: Book by Book
January 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts
January 19: Carpe Diem
January 19: A Bakers Perspective
January 19: Splashes of Joy
January 20: Christian Bookaholic
January 20: Stuff and Nonsense
January 20: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
January 21: Radiant Light
January 21: cherylbbookblog
January 21: His Grace is Sufficient
January 22: Neverending Stories
January 22: A Path of Joy
January 23: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after
January 23: Henry Happens
January 23: Onceuponatime
To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away the entire Beacons of Hope series. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/ad6d
Book Review: "The Mental Game of Writing: How to Overcome Obstacles, Stay Creative and Productive, and Free Your Mind for Success" by James Scott Bell
I have read a lot of “craft of writing” books over the last fifteen years, which is how long I’ve been working toward a full-time writing career. The most recent one I’ve completed, James Scott Bell’s The Mental Game of Writing: How to Overcome Obstacles, Stay Creative and Productive, and Free Your Mind for Success is one of my favorites.
It’s not technically a “how to structure a sentence” craft book. What is actually does is provide simple, easy to follow tips to become a productive writer. As someone who struggles with time management and consistently sitting to write, this book is full of tips, encouragement, and a number of exercises which I cannot wait to test out.
Mr. Bell’s style in this book is conversational. I feel as if I am in a room with him and he is telling me these tips personally. The tips, while easy to follow, are meant to send the writer soul-searching. I have so many tabs in the book it looks like I’m going to start quoting the book straight through for an essay! I will include one of my favorite quotes from the book, though: “You are a writer when you decide to be a writer.”
This quote is fairly early into the book but stuck with me because I have trouble telling people that I am now working as a writer. It’s scary and uncertain but I know it’s what I am meant to do, and so I am trying to take this quote to heart. It’s now taped to my computer as a reminder that I am a writer and I can do this. There are many times in the book where I highlighted phrases I liked or activities I want to try to improve my craft.
I give this book 5/5 stars and recommend this book to anyone who struggles with time management or writing consistently, doubts about your chosen career as a writer, or doubts about your ability as a writer. So, basically everyone who is a writer.
Click here to purchase your copy!
About the Book
When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.
Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning—as tradition dictates—or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?
In the fourth installment of the Royal Wedding Series, New York Times bestselling novelist, Rachel Hauck, weaves a charming story of holiday romance as two broken hearts seek the love they once knew.
I have several books on my bookshelf by Rachel Hauck, including Princess Ever After, one of the books in the Royal Wedding series. After reading A Royal Christmas Wedding, they have been moved to the top of my TBR pile.
A Royal Christmas Wedding is a wonderful book. In fact, it’s one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. The characters, setting, story, and the Christmas magic mixes together to form a practically perfect book that is heartwarming and romantic.
Avery Truitt and Prince Colin were in a secret relationship four years ago, which ended poorly. In the present, both Avery and Colin admit to themselves the feelings are still there, though they deny it to practically everyone else—including each other. We find out over the course of the book that their family members were not as ignorant of the relationship and their feelings, which brings both Avery and Colin into important realizations about their current relationship.
Avery is a great heroine and is probably one of my favorite heroines from books I’ve read this year. I appreciate heroines with their lives in flux because for a long time I felt the same way, and so it makes it easier for me to relate to them and what the heroines are going through. She is struggling with choices and doesn’t know how to reconcile her feelings for Colin with her ambition to coach a college volleyball team. Her love for her family is evident throughout the entire story and the interactions between Avery and her sister Susanna (Queen of Brighton Kingdom and heroine of a previous book) feel very similar to how I interact with my own siblings.
Colin is a great hero as well. He is very upfront with himself about his feelings, and the struggles he has with his father add depth and outer conflict to the romance between Colin and Avery. Colin is self-aware and sure of his feelings for Avery but when it comes to taking action is torn between duty and love. The scenes in which he finally decides which is more important are some of my favorite in the book.
The setting of Brighton Kingdom is truly wonderful. The descriptions of the Christmas festivities and the city and country are so vivid I can easily picture it. And I want to live there! The two hosts of the TV show very entertaining and provide some fun commentary as they count down toward Christmas. The secondary characters, especially Avery’s mother and Colin’s father, are also well crafted and have their own motivations and personalities.
A Royal Christmas Wedding is the fourth book in a series, yet in my opinion stands alone perfectly fine. If you have read the previous books in the series, you will definitely find much enjoyment in seeing the characters from those stories in this one. If you have never read any of the other books in the series, I don’t believe this will impede your enjoyment of this book.
I give this book 5/5 stars and recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary romance with great characters, a gorgeous and clearly rendered setting, and the magic of Christmas filling every page. I cannot wait to read the other books by Ms. Hauck!
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Guest Post from Rachel Hauck
I don’t think we can ever get enough of royals or Christmas, do you? The two just seem to go together.
The Bible tells us eternity is written on our hearts. (Ecc. 3:11) I wonder if it’s also written on our hearts to be princesses in a grand, beautiful, perfect kingdom.
That being said, welcome to The Royal Christmas Wedding blog tour. My deepest thanks to all the bloggers, reviewers, and readers for hosting and visiting this tour. I’m excited to share this story with you all.
The hero and heroine, Prince Colin and Avery Truitt, first met in Once Upon A Prince at King Nathaniel’s coronation.
I hadn’t planned to write a spinoff story with the two of them. In fact, I didn’t even know Prince Colin existed until Avery walked into the abbey for the coronation and glanced across the sanctuary into his eyes.
Here’s his introduction:
Lean, aristocratic with an outdoorsman ruddiness, he nearly made Susanna swoon when he winked at Avery.
I liked Colin immediately. So did Avery. As well as a lot of you.
When my publisher asked me to write their story, it would be two years before the book would release. Plenty of time, right?
But “time crunch” is the name of the game with most writers. Between life, rewrites, edits, and promotional activity, we often find ourselves hurrying toward a deadline. Well, at least I do.
In the fall of 2015 I was writing The Wedding Shop and A Royal Christmas Wedding at the same time.
I’d also dealt with a physical issue that left me shaky. Could I write two books in five months? Did I want to even make the attempt?
If I said no, publication dates would be pushed out, causing a year delay on A Royal Christmas Wedding. And I knew that was something I did not want to do.
Publishing is a long game. Books are contracted and due 12 to 18, even 24 months, before release dates. Time must be carved out for rewrites and editing, marketing and promotion. Review copies go out at least five months in advance.
So I agreed to write both books. I told my editor, “Diamonds come from pressure.”
Coming up with Avery and Prince Colin’s story wasn’t as easy as I’d planned. Since they met in Once Upon A Prince as teenagers, I struggled with how to advance their age and relationship, and how to present them as the book opened.
Where had their relationship gone “between the books?”
When I came up with the idea of the Pembroke Chapel bell, the story magic began to happen. One of the things I love in the royal wedding books is the fairytale aspect. Looking for something out of the ordinary.
Even though my writing time was tight, writing Avery and Colin’s story was a joy. Once again I wish I could visit Brighton, eat a puff, and royal watch for the Strattons!
I hope you found a few sweet spots in the story, all wrapped in Christmas holiday cheer, and enjoyed your time with me in Brighton Kingdom.
December 8: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
December 8: New Horizon Reviews
December 8: inklings and notions
December 9: Reading Is My SuperPower
December 9: Redeemed Hope Dweller
December 9: Book by Book
December 10: His Grace is Sufficient
December 10: Blossoms and Blessings
December 10: Pause for Tales
December 11: Quiet Quilter
December 11: Ashley’s Bookshelf
December 11: Reviewing Novels Online
December 12: Bibliophile Reviews
December 12: Lights in a Dark World
December 12: Splashes of Joy
December 13: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 13: Neverending Stories
December 13: Through the Open Window
December 14: The Power of Words
December 14: Counting Pinecones
December 14: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
December 15: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
December 15: Genesis 5020
December 15: CTF Devourer
December 16: Lighthouse Academy
December 16: God’s Little Bookworm
December 16: Christian Bookaholic
December 17: Smiling Book Reviews
December 17: God is Love
December 17: A Simple Life, really?!
December 18: A Holland Reads
December 18: The Scribbler
December 18: Faith * Love * Books
December 19: By The Book
December 19: Karen Sue Hadley
December 19: Southern Chelle
December 20: Faithfully Bookish
December 20: Books. Books. And More Books
December 20: A Baker’s Perspective
December 21: ASC Book Reviews
December 21: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card plus a copy of A Royal Christmas Wedding and a copy of The Wedding Shop. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aaeb
This is one of my favorite historical romances ever. I read, on average, 75-100 books a year and I've been reading historical romance for almost twenty years, and this one has remained near the top of my list. It’s the book I give to friends who are interested in reading historical romances.
First off, I adore the hero, Kit. He is my favorite type—a “happy-go-lucky” façade covering deep emotional hurt. Kit is charming, yes, but he is also deeply scarred from his time as a soldier and his guilt over his brother’s death (no spoilers about what happened between them, as it’s an important part of Kit’s story in the books).
I spent four years in the US Army and deployed to Iraq. Kit has a quote near the end of the book that perfectly encapsulates my own feelings about what happens after war and it remains one of my favorite pieces of dialogue. I’m not going to quote it below as it’s rather long and I think a bit of a spoiler regarding Kit’s actions for much of the book, but it occurs near the end.
It took me a little longer to warm up to Lauren, but once I did, she is perfectly wonderful character as well. She had an embarrassing encounter in the previous book in front of the entire ton (her fiancé’s presumed dead wife shows up on the wedding day) and she is scared that she will never find love. Her composure after these events plays nicely off Kit’s charm and humor. Of course, Lauren’s humor and “fun” side of her personality is exposed as she spends more time with Kit and his family, who are at odds with each other.
The premise of the book is that Kit and Lauren agree to pretend to be engaged for the benefit of both of both. Kit’s parents are trying to arrange a marriage for him with Freyja Bedwyn, a next-door neighbor who he previously engaged in a relationship with even though she was promised to his (now dead) brother. Lauren wants to escape society and live a quiet life, and having two failed engagements will make her scandalously unmarriageable and she’ll retire to a country cottage.
Watching the relationship turn into friends and then as they fall in love is a delight. They complement each other perfectly and I fully believe the feelings between them. Kit falls for her quickly and it takes Lauren longer but the resolution between them is wonderful. Lauren is also an integral reason why Kit and his family begin to repair what had fractured with his brother’s death and his younger brother’s injuries from war.
I would recommend this story to anyone who wants a quiet, character-driven romance with a few surprises as the couple fall in love. The amount of outer conflict is minimal (though there are some attempts by other people to break the engagement) and this is a story that features real internal conflict for both of our main characters. But it never seemed to drag despite all the introspection, and in fact, that is one of the reasons I enjoy this book and this author.
Mary Balogh is one of my favorite authors and she is one of the few I automatically buy new releases for. I haven’t liked everything she has written but I believe this is one of her best and give this book 5/5 stars.
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