Journey to Jesus: Building Christ-Centered Friendships with Muslims (A 6 Session DVD Curriculum) ~Review~

Journey to Jesus: Building Christ-Centered Friendships with Muslims

Journey to Jesus

“The Pew Research Forum expects the population of Muslims in the US to double in the next two decades. Muslims from around the globe are moving into our neighborhoods, working in the same companies, and studying alongside us in schools. This is an amazing act of God as He brings these precious people into our sphere of influence! Many of our Muslim neighbors are struggling with language barriers or are lonely after leaving family and familiarity behind in their home countries. Others are refugees who may be fearful or suspicious of American culture. Still others may be curious about Christianity and about Jesus. Whatever the case may be, Journey to Jesus will equip your church or small group to reach out to all types of Muslims, build meaningful relationships with them, and effectively point them toward Christ.”

Journey to Jesus is a six-session video curriculum designed for use by Christian churches, family groups, small study groups or Sunday School classes. The purpose of this set of DVDs designed by the Muslim Ministries Program at Wheaton College and published by Tyndale Publishers is two-fold.

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First is to educate us about the Muslim culture, providing a brief historical background of Islam and its growth, and common beliefs so that we can view each individual as a person God created in His image. Overcoming misinformation and erroneous assumptions with facts will help us to be better neighbors, coworkers, fellow students and friends.

The second purpose is to equip Christians to lovingly reach out to Muslims within our sphere of contact to discern their spiritual needs, find the common bridge between our belief systems and gently lead them to Christ when the Holy Spirit leads us. Its purpose is to help us avoid butting heads needlessly, inadvertently closing doors of communication.

Each session revolves around a video-based teaching slide show presentation and either the first half or second half of a scenario to view. Sessions one and two feature ways we can extend Christ- centered hospitality to our Muslim neighbors.

God will make a way where there seems to be no way

Sessions three and four present two co-workers, Larry and Azim, who become friends, sharing meals at lunch and talking about life. The teaching slide show introduces the viewers to Muslim beliefs and customs. It helps us learn how to use the diversity of our beliefs to share our faith.

In sessions five and six, two college students are assigned to each other to explore the other’s worldview. As they dig deeper, the sessions become strained. The teaching slide show helps us understand how to share our faith with a devout Muslim friend.

Each of the six sessions are accompanied by a Leader’s Guide, Participant Handouts, and Extra Materials. These can be obtained by opening the DVDs on a computer, finding the PDF files and printing them. The first DVD has sessions 1-3 while the second DVD has sessions 4-6. Each session is meant to last from 50 to 60 minutes, including discussions based on questions from the leader’s guides
and the teaching slide shows.

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I am quite impressed with this curriculum. The intent from those who designed it was to teach us to reach out in a compassionate manner. It is reminiscent of the Friendship Evangelism movement of quite a few years ago. This method employs the Bridge approach, where we spend time finding commonalities in our initial exchanges. In other words, we are encouraged to be friends first. Misconceptions and fear can often hinder this process, so the series will be helpful in setting us at east. Armed with information, we won’t be so apt to blunder our way into a friendship without ruining it.

Another aspect I like about this DVD set is how thorough the presented information is. Obviously we can’t learn all the nuances of the various groups and subsets of Islam that exist, but the overview should provide us with enough to give us insight. The extra material provides us the do’s and don’ts, things to say, topics to avoid, how to act, to dress and so on when practicing hospitality. The extra materials also provide us with some apologetics and guidelines on what to answer when Muslims express objections about certain aspects of Christianity. There were many parts of this session that I didn’t know. I found the suggestions how to share the Gospel with Muslims enlightening.

I think this program is flexible enough to fit nearly any type of Christian group. I would love to see a copy of this program in every pastor’s study or library. Communities of Muslims are expanding throughout the country, even into rural and small communities. We should be prepared to offer friendship and hospitality to our new neighbors.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. through their Blog Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in
Advertising.”

 

 

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When Mercy Rains (The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy, Book 1) by Kim Vogel Sawyer ~review~

When Mercy Rains by Kim Vogel Sawyer

When Mercy Rains

This is a story of family dynamics, secrets, hidden sin and its consequences. Ultimately there is redemption, forgiveness and peace, but the journey from heartbreak to healing is long and rocky, full of twists and unexpected turns, lies and deception. The question that continually ran through my mind while I was reading this book was, “How could such a seemingly invisible act lead to such enormous, far-reaching consequences?”

Suzanne Zimmerman grew up in an Old Order Mennonite community in rural Kansas. But at the age of 17, she suddenly discovered she was to become an unwed mother. She confided this to her mother who immediately made arrangements to send her daughter off to another Mennonite community to adopt the baby out to Suzanne’s cousin Andrew and his wife. But the experience was more traumatic than she expected, and when the time came, she elected to stay in Indianapolis. At the new church where she attended, Suzanne met a couple who essentially adopted her, encouraged her to get her high school graduation equivalent (GED), and schooling for her RN degree. The story picks up twenty years later: Suzanne was now living contentedly on her own, working the night shift as a nurse at a Mennonite missionary hospital. She loved coming home to her apartment where her 19-year-old daughter, Alexa, usually had a meal prepared for them. Alexa was an amazing cook.

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Alexa and Suzanne’s lives took a sudden right turn when they received a letter from a younger brother who informed them that Suzanne’s mother was seriously injured in a farming accident and was unable to walk. She was now confined to a wheelchair. Clete wanted Suzanne to return to Arborville to help the family take care of her. For awhile, she was torn about making such a momentous decision, but she finally decided to take a leave of absence of a few months. The really difficult decision to make was whether to take Alexa with her. It meant having to risk revealing a few secrets she had kept from her family, and even from Alexa herself.

Alexa was beside herself with excited anticipation about meeting her family for the first time. She really didn’t know what to expect. She had visualized a joyful, boisterous reunion, happy faces, and welcoming tears. But when that didn’t happen, she realized that no one had known about her. Why hadn’t her mother told them about her? What puzzled her more was the silent tension and apparent resentment her mother was greeted with. But Alexa was made of sterner stuff, and she was determined to melt the ice and win her family over, beginning with her grandmother, Abigail Zimmerman.

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While this is a character-driven book dealing mostly with mother/daughter issues, the author manages to ramp up the tension and suspense by revealing only a little bit of information at a time. The reader is forced to make numerous assumptions which turn out to be erroneous when major bumps in the road appear. This is the writing strategy that keeps us on the edge of our seats and turning the pages. Because of this, I managed to read the 344-page book in just a few days.

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Another thing I liked about this book is the complexity of the situation. Suzanne had a large family, and her disappearance made ripples that upset the lives of her former boyfriend, all her brothers and sisters, her mother and father, and Alexa. The book explores many of these problem areas while still keeping the focus mainly on Suzanne, her mother, and Alexa. At times, it didn’t look as if any resolution could be reached with Mrs. Zimmerman and some of the family members. But in the end, the seemingly impossible becomes possible and the final events resolve satisfactorily.

Even though the subject matter is serious and the darkness of discord runs constantly throughout the plot line, the author was still able to add moments of humor and light. Suzanne’s former boyfriend, Paul Aldrich, had gotten married after she had left. He had a son Danny before his wife died of cancer. The boy has a great sense of mischief and lends comic relief to the story. Many times, the author also defuses tense moments through Alexa’s light and cheerful personality. One of my favorite funny moments, however, occurred when Mother Zimmerman, Suzanne, Alexa, and Shelley took a day trip to Wichita. Just when you think Shelley’s bad attitude would ruin the trip for the women, Mrs. Zimmerman’s former wry humor finally broke through the awkwardness and anger. It was a moment of hope and a turning point in the story.

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Finally, in spite of the fact this is not a romance story, Suzanne’s former love interest is another major element of the story because Paul is the carpenter refitting the house to accommodate the wheelchair. He is constantly present and both Paul and Suzanne realize they must come to terms with their former relationship and their current feelings for each other. Unfortunately, this is one of the threads that remains unresolved by the end of the book. But I have hopes it will be settled in the next book, which focuses on Alexa’s new life among the Zimmermans.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Waterbrook Press and the website, Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Always on my Mind: A Christiansen Family novel (Book 4) by Susan May Warren ~Review~

Always on my Mind (Book 4) by Susan May Warren

Always on my Mind

I have been captivated with the Christiansen Family series since the first book I have read. I’ve read and reviewed several of the books in the series since then and every one of them is superb in character development, family dynamics, incorporating faith into the characters’ lives and personalities. Always on my Mind is one of the best in this series I’ve read so far. It goes on my book shelf with the other keepers because I’m going to read them over and over.

The book is about Casper Christiansen and Raina Beaumont. We actually meet them in the previous book of the series: When I Fall in Love (Book 3). That book was about Grace Christiansen and Max Sharpe. Raina was Grace’s culinary assistant. She was living temporarily with her aunt in Deep Haven, Minnesota, a town near Evergreen Resort. The resort is the setting around which most of the books in the series revolve. Raina met Casper the previous summer when she delivered a pizza to some of his friends. Casper was in charge of a competitive rowing team and managed to rope Raina into participating. That is how their romance began. But she was carrying a secret that was unfortunately revealed at Casper’s sister’s wedding (Eden Christiansen and Jace’s story is another book in the series), near the end of the book. Casper was hurt and secretly jealous. He decided to bury his rage by following a dream of his, working for an architect’s team down in Roatan, Honduras.

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But while Casper was down in Roatan searching for artifacts and hidden treasure, he couldn’t get Raina out of his head. He cut his adventure short and flew north to try to make up with her. He arrived in Minneapolis where Raina was living with Grace just in time to take her to the hospital where she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Casper didn’t even know she was expecting, and the baby certainly wasn’t his. But when she decided to place her baby up for adoption, he quickly got angry again. He knew who the father was, and was having difficulty wrapping his mind around the turn of events. Thinking Casper was rejecting her again, Raina ordered him out of her life. When he complied without a protest she was devastated.

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Raina eventually moved back to Deep Haven to stay at her aunt’s house. She found a job at an antique store that she grew to love. Not knowing about Raina’s plans, Casper decided to stay at the resort to help his brother Darek over the winter. Darek wasn’t able to hire him, so Casper found a job in sales at the local hardware store/ sports shop. Soon, he discovered Raina was back in town. From then on the story became very interesting.

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Susan May Warren writes some of the most stirring character development I have ever read. Her characters feel real, as if they were people we know. Their pain and their struggles feel real, and we grapple with their problems right along with them. The author is adept at expressing her characters’ mental and spiritual anguish equally. If we are honest with ourselves, we can see our own belief systems and feelings in their inner battles. You can’t help but empathize with them in their triumphs and failings. Most of us could probably think of someone we know going through the same type of turmoil in their lives.

One of my favorite parts of this story is the intriguing mystery the author has created. Raina becomes involved in solving this mystery as a representative of the antique shop that is evaluating an estate. Casper joins forces with her as a volunteer for the Deep Haven Historical Society when he finds items that offer clues toward solving the mystery. What they learn in their “treasure hunt” becomes an intriguing parallel to their own unique situation. Entries from Aggie’s diary of a hundred years ago
become a valuable object lesson for Raina in the present. Furthermore, a couple of surprises at the end at so much depth to this wonderful story.

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I read quite a few book in the Christian genre. Sometimes a book’s inclusion of God, faith in Jesus, and the role of faith in the characters’ lives sound artificial and contrived, while some other books only make passing remarks about God. That’s not the way God operates in my life. He is vital, real, and foremost in my thoughts in most of my waking hours, and His principles influence my way of life because He values me and I value Him. I’m delighted when I discover books such as those of Ms. Warren’s, which reflect a similar relationship in their characters. The characters aren’t perfect, just like me and you. Ms. Warren’s characters don’t preach; they live, love, falter and learn. They grow just as we do. They are three-dimensional. I’m attract to that.

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Finally, another aspect about the author’s books I love is how eventually the entire Christiansen family is gathered together and she wraps us in the collective family sense of warmth, belonging, identity and acceptance–warts and all. As readers, we get to see genuine family love the way it’s designed to be, not sappy or saccharine, but one that folds its arms around the newcomer in welcome, even when that person is flawed. I get the sense that a person could only write about that type of family if that is their own experience. Reading these books brought to my mind some great memories of my own.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. through their Blog Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Book Blast!! No Other Choice: The Naomi Chronicles, Book One by Paula Rose Michelson

cover

No Other Choice: The Naomi Chronicles, Book One
By Paula Rose Michelson

About the Book:

Naomi will be sent back! She left her family and all she held dear, traveled half way around the world while accompanying a blind, old grandmother because they promised to help her enter America and find her uncle. Instead they handed her over to immigration.

What she does now, she does because there is no other choice!

This is Naomi’s journey from adolescence to womanhood, from frightened isolation and captivity to the noble status of heiress. Trapped in a life where all who know her think her a saint, saddled with a mission and responsibility many would shirk from placed upon her shoulders, Naomi agrees to marry because that seems to be the easiest way to sidestep more issues.

As timely as the immigration debate of today is, author, William Struse’s endorsement says, “Duty, sacrifice, and faith are carried in the arms of love by a courageous young woman, who rises above her own flaws to help others.”

LINK to KINDLE

Paula Rose Michelson0011Paula Rose Michelson
As a Messianic Jew, Paula Rose Michelson wanted to write about life, love, choices, and forgiveness. She researched what befell the Jews baptized into the Catholic faith to survive the Inquisition, and when she began to write The Naomi Chronicles, Naomi told her the story you are about to read.

Because of her extensive background in recovery as a Chemical Dependency – Lifestyle Disorder Councilor, her work with The Rubicon Center, and as the founded LAMB Ministries in 1988, where she continues to mentor women suffering from trauma and abuse the way God mentored her, the author knows that though her heroine’s story is unique, Naomi’s issues of fear and hiding are universal, for they are seen in anyone who is masking their real pain.

Paula Rose Michelson is the wife of Lutheran Pastor and Chosen People Field Missionary, Ron Michelson. The mother of two married daughters, and grandmother of seven grandchildren, when not involved in ministry, writing, speaking, or teaching the effective use of scripture, you will find Paula researching her next book or meeting with friends.

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A September Bride (A Year of Weddings novella) by Kathryn Springer ~Review~

A September Bride (A Year of Weddings novella) by Kathryn Springer

A September Bride

A September Bride is one of Zondervan Fiction’s Year of Weddings novellas of 2014. I have reviewed several of the books in this series. If you are interested, here are the links to my reviews:

A December Bride,
A January Bride,
A February Bride,
A March Bride,
An April Bride,
A May Bride,
A June Bride.

I will be reviewing October and November’s books soon.

All the stories in this series are stand alone books. This one is bright, cheery, filled with good humor and laughs, a sweet romance, small town family dynamics and a happy ending. Conflict is on the light side with just a smidgen of mystery. It’s the perfect read for a get-away or a weekend.

Anne Price was looking for a new start in her life. So when she was offered the opportunity to manage a small town bookstore, she jumped at the chance. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Anne felt Red Leaf was a refreshing change for her. Everyone treated her like family and she immediately became involved in the town’s events. She even joined the historical society. She finally felt like she belonged–until she met no-nonsense Deputy Jesse Kent, her employer’s son. He regarded her with suspicion and wariness. She knew with her friendship with Lorna, the owner of the Second Story Bookshop, she’d be bumping elbows more than she liked with Jesse. But what had she done to earn his dislike?

Deputy Jesse Kent had gone on a three-week training conference. When he’d returned, his mother had hired a manager for her bookstore and seemed to have found a male admirer. Both were disturbing changes. His mother liked continuity, such as Monday night meatloaf; but here she was with a new manager, a new recipe, and even possibly a boyfriend. Why had all this change happened? All this prompted memories of another time years ago when he’d had to stand by helplessly while she’d had her trust betrayed with a so-called suitor turned con-artist. He had stolen the savings of many townspeople including her own. Jesse was only twelve at the time, but the event laid the foundation for his desire to become a law enforcement officer to protect his mom and his community. He couldn’t help being wary of the two newcomers, Michael and Anne. With Anne, there seemed to be an air of mystery around her, yet his mother trusted her completely. He only hoped it was merited; he was going to do what he could to be certain it was.

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The one thing I most enjoyed about this book was the author’s sense of humor. There were many occasions for a few chuckles and a smattering of giggles. Good clean humor.

Second, the light romance combined with good character development was a treat to read. Both Jesse and Anne had obstacles to overcome before their relationship could get off the ground. Jesse’s lack of trust was a major issue he had to overcome. Anne simply didn’t believe in herself. The author worked this out well, considering how short the novella is. Both Anne and Jesse were likable and even lovable in their own unique ways.

Finally, the author includes faith issues as part of the character development. Faith was part of their lives. It blended in seamlessly with the story line and felt as natural as breathing. The issues didn’t seem forced or unrealistic. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good, light romance.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Zondervan Fiction. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down by Tony Merida ~Review~

Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down by Tony Merida

Ordinary

What do you do when God reaches out and touches you in such a way that your whole world shifts on its axis? If you were Tony Merida, you would follow that nudge, change directions, and move full steam ahead. In his case, Tony planted a church where the mission and practices reflected this shift in paradigms. He and his wife also embraced a new emphasis in their family and adopted five orphaned and needy children, an action that reflected their new world view. Then he was urged to write a book about this experience. And it all began with a Bible study about the poor. Pastor Merida can’t remember if the study bore much fruit among the student campers he taught. But it blew him out of the water. It literally wrecked him! [Thank you, Jeff Goins, writer, for that colorful and aptly descriptive phrase.]

What does that have to do with this book? It is best summarized in this short paragraph. “Ordinary is a call to, like Job, wear justice. It’s a call to live with a social conscience at all times. It’s a call to care for the vulnerable, not merely on mission trips, but in the ordinariness of our days. It’s a call to conduct our everyday affairs with honesty and integrity. It’s a call to work the character of God deeply into our hearts so that we will care about what God cares about. But it’s not a call to be radical; it’s a call to be ordinary. It’s a call to a new normal.” One sentence in particular grabbed me. How many of us care about what God cares about? Apparently Job did. The author takes a few minutes in the Introduction of the book to allow us a peek into a conversation Job had with some of his friends. Up until the calamity that struck Job down, he was a man of integrity whom people of all ages respected. His conversation in chapter 29 reveals activities he considered normal. His passion for the fatherless, the blind, the lame, the needy, the sojourner, the widow, and the victims of injustice reflected God’s passion for the same. “I broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey from his teeth” (29:12-17). Job chapter 31 bears the essential contents of this book: neighbor love, hospitality, fatherless ministry, and advocacy.

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In the introduction of the book, the author explains what changed within him. He was already a Christian, a pastor, and a professor. “I was never opposed to orphan care or being generous to the poor, I was just very indifferent.” He explains why and how this changed suddenly for him. He points out what hinders others from grasping these concepts that, if we would only look, we would discover fill up both the Old and New Testaments. The five chapters he wrote subsequently are meant to aid us in overcoming our resistance to taking action. So with the groundwork laid down in the first fifteen pages, the rest of the book is imminently practical. Using Micah 6:8 as his template, the five remaining chapters provide us guidelines how “to do justice, to love kindness (mercy) and to walk humbly with God.”

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I love reading books where I can glimpse the spark of the enthusiasm with which the concept was caught, developed, and born into earthly fruit. This is such a book. There are enough practical ideas that no matter who reads it, there will be a seed idea you can germinate and cultivate that will fit you comfortably, because the emphasis of this book is that we are called to do the ordinary, something we can all grasp and attain.

Another thought mentioned by the author impressed me. Jesus had no problems encorporating his message of justice, mercy and redemption with his daily ministry of healing, comfort, acts of kindness, and compassion. So why do we Christians (especially we evangelicals) struggle to choose either the path of evangelism or public service? One of my favorite quotes in the book says, “I don’t think Jesus woke up and asked, ‘Should I do ministry of the word, or ministry of deeds today?’.” Doesn’t the same motivation, love, drive us to do both? Thought provoking, isn’t it?

In Chapter 5, the author uses the life of William Wilberforce as an example of God-centered humility (see Micah 6:8 again). The sub-title says it all: “How an ordinary Christian walked with his extraordinary God.” Guinness called him the most successful social reformer in the history of the world. Wilberforce fought against the slave trade and slavery itself for 46 years. Why did he take on this thankless task? At the age of 25, God grabbed him and shook up his life, changing him from the inside out. He saw the world from God’s point of view and he was in the right place at the right time to do something about it. That’s all that God asks of us.

Along with many seed ideas to implement, this short book is filled with pithy paragraphs. My copy of the book is all marked up so that my favorite ones jump out at me the moment I turn the pages. I think this book will be a blessing for many. I highly recommend it to anyone who is ordinary.

Ordinary quote3A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) on behalf of B&H Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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A Most Inconvenient Marriage (Ozark Mountain Romance Book #1) by Regina Jennings ~Review~

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings

A Most Inconvenient Marriage

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings is one of the most enjoyable historical fiction romances of Ms. Jennings books I have ever read. It is filled to brimming with action, suspense, mystery, laughs, and warm-hearted family drama. I read this book twice before writing this review, and the second reading was even better than the first.

The setting is Civil War Missouri, first in the prison in St. Louis, and finally on a farm in the Ozarks. Abigail Stuart has spent the past two years as a nurse to the weak and dying in that prison, regardless of which side of the war they served. One particularly charming soldier was beyond hope, yet he talked of his lovely Juliet as if he were Romeo. But then, when he finally realized he would not heal, he pleaded with Abigail to live with his mother and sister, to take care of them and his horse farm–as his wife. Abigail’s first response was to refuse his suit. She eventually relented and married him and laid him to rest in a St. Louis cemetary. Since she had no other future, she headed for the farm. He had provided her specific directions and descriptions. Her heart was warmed when she was welcomed by the Ozark family as Mrs. Jeremiah Calhoun.

A Most Inconvenient Marriage Ozark Mountains view

Jeremiah’s sister, Rachel, suffered from rheumatic fever and needed Abigail’s nursing skills. Her heart was weak. Abigail grew up on a horse farm and knew how to work hard and care for the horses. She and Ma Calhoun got along well, so Abby put thoughts of her childhood home behind her and poured herself in making her new home prosperous once again. Then one day, the real Captain Jeremiah Calhoun returned home. He had never seen this woman who claimed to be his wife/widow before and Abigail wondered who she had married; yet had a paper saying she was married to Jeremiah. She had never seen this man before.

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Jeremiah Calhoun wanted to throw this usurper out on her head, but his mother wouldn’t let him. Right from the beginning he was suspicious of Abby’s presence on his farm. Was she trying to swindle it out from under his family? And how was he to court Laurel Wallace, his sweetheart from before the war, while others believed him married already? Even Laurel had her doubts and a new man in her life, Dr. Newton Hopkins. However, Jeremiah was willing to fight for her.

Besides the contention between the major characters, there is great historical strife among the factions within the state, represented by the diversity of folks living in the hill farms that make up the setting for this book. The story is not overly political, but the divisiveness offers more dimension to flesh out the story nicely. And I learned some new things about the civil war era. Because of the distrust local families had for each other, the presence of riff-raff wandering the hills stealing horses and livestock, plundering homes and shooting people, Abigail was forced to stay close to the Calhoun’s farm whether Jeremiah wanted her there or not. The author has skillfully built tension on top of existing tension.

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The second thing I really appreciate about the author’s writing style is how she provides comic relief in the form of two very mischievous children, Josiah and Betsy Huckabee. Those two were determined to pester Abigail, but she kept besting them at their own games. The pranks played back and forth kept me laughing all throughout the book. My favorite come-back was the dough face episode. You’ll just have to read that to discover what that was all about.

Thirdly, the characterization of Jeremiah and Abigail is done well. Abigail had been annoyed by Jeremiah’s overbearing demanding personality the moment she met him. Jeremiah himself had to hide his attraction to her, doubting himself and burying it under gruff behavior. He also didn’t feel right about his involvement in the war, how his injury forced him to be hidden by Quakers in their cellar while his wounds healed, had doubts about his future with Laurel and frustrated over his confrontations with Abigail. He kept it all hidden behind the stiff, uncaring demeanor of a Captain. How he worked through all the mess is one element that makes this book worth reading repeatedly.

A Most INconvenient Marriage quote3

Finally, the romances developed in this story (all four of them) are satisfying to read. The issues all these characters faced were realistic and plausible. The author writes the personality dynamics so well that I easily got lost in the tug-of-war even the second time when I knew what to expect. Very good writing. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction and romances blended together.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Netgalley on behalf of Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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