The Hope of Refuge: An Ada’s House Novel by Cindy Woodsmall ~ Review

The Hope of Refuge Cindy Woodsmall book1

The Hope of Refuge: An Ada’s House Novel by Cindy Woodsmall

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall is the first book of a three book series: Ada’s House. This trilogy reminded me how much I enjoy books by this author. Ms. Woodsmall creates tales with emotional dynamics that pulls me in, keeps me reading intently without wanting to put down the book, and connect with the well-developed characters so that I feel I have a vested interest in the outcome.

Two of the main characters are Cara and Ephraim. Cara had been running since she was 15. She found respite once she married Johnny. The best thing that ever happened to her was their daughter Lori. But Johnny had cancer. And now she is on the run again, with Lori in tow. The one thing she has from her past that has brought her peace and direction is her diary from her mother. In it, she recently found a clue to past memories that were fleeting now. Acting on those clues, she left the city she grew up in and found herself without cash, out in the country, with Amish all around her.

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Ephraim found the mother and child in his old rickety barn. His first impulse was to chase them away. But eventually he learned that Cara had a reason for being in his barn. It had to do with memories from twenty years before. They couldn’t stay in the barn, and no one else seemed to want to help the two. So he took a risk, and did something that was dangerous to his standing in the Old Order Amish community. He let them stay in his house while Cara worked to get enough to set out on her own.

This isn’t a simple Amish tale. The author includes some truly heart-wrenching details, with twists and turns I didn’t anticipate. In spite of Cara’s rough background, and desperation at facing so many wrong turns, I had to admire her for her desire to care for her daughter and keep her safe; and what Ephraim had to do to protect this mother and daughter may also take you by surprise. I absolutely loved this book. It was so well written, I had difficulty finding a place to stop reading just to do normal every day tasks. Their story resolves nicely at the end. Be sure you have a box of tissues on hand toward the final chapters; you may need them!

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Looking ahead to the second book, the subplot in this book involving Ephraim’s sister, Deborah, and one of his good friends, Mahlon, becomes one of the main plots of the next book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing). 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, Part255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Double Cross (FBI: Houston series) by DiAnn Mills ~Review~

Double Cross by DiAnn Mills

Double Cross

Double Cross is the second book of three in the FBI: Houston series. I have read and reviewed both the first and second books; they are both able to stand on their own as independent novels. The third book, Deadlock, is scheduled to come out in the Spring of 2016. You can read my review of Firewall by DiAnn Mills here.

Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton loved his grandparents. Together, the three of them loved the Lord and lived for Him. When his Gramps, a respected former accountant, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they were all affected deeply. During the day, Gramps and Gran stayed at a high security memory facility six days a week. Daniel brought them home every evening after work. When Gramps mentioned some of his friends at the facility had bought life insurance, Daniel was concerned. When a large sum of money was missing from one of their accounts, he felt it was time to investigate. He had the complete cooperation of the facility’s manager. But when some of the patients who had bought the insurance began to die, Gramps demanded they take the case to the FBI. Daniel stubbornly disagreed, but took them anyway.

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Special Agent Laurel Evertson was in her office when Daniel and his grandparents arrived. She and her partner handled cases like white collar crimes, including elderly fraud. Laurel took charge of the meeting while two other agents asked questions. Theirs was not the first scam they had heard about. The FBI was investigating what appeared to be an organized attempt at targeting dementia patients. Millions of dollars were at stake. If lives were also threatened, this upped the ante for the Bureau. Laurel thought of an angle of investigation involving a former case of hers where her undercover work sent a man to prison. She wondered what he knew of these fraud cases. She decided going against FBI policy by visiting him in prison without another agent present. Her reasoning was personal. A couple days later, she was sent undercover again, this time making it appear she had betrayed the FBI and was fired. The object was to gain the confidence of the possible ring leader perpetrating the scams. Twists and turns in the plot keep the reader guessing with each new development.

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When I read the first book in this series, the complexity of the plot was amazing; it riveted me to the book from start to finish. The same occurred to me with this book. DiAnn Mills writes more than just fast-paced mysteries and thrillers. She holds the readers enthralled, with questions around every corner. At one point, she had me guessing who could be trusted, who was on which side, who was the double crosser, and who was being double-crossed. While she is doing this, she is adding layers of character development while the major players race against time to prevent more elderly deaths. If you’re not careful, this book will have you looking over your shoulder.

I love it when an author feeds you anticipation, in this case through the title. Because of this, the book feels a little bit like a “who-done-it” on steroids. But my favorite aspect in discovering the who, why, and how of the plot was the surprise (or should I say both surprises) at the end. At least one of them completely caught me off guard. I know this book will be placed with my favorite reads because I will want to read it over several times.

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Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how important the element of faith is in this book. There is no preaching here. Daniel and his grandparents’ faith is expressed through action. They live it, 24/7. It is not compartmentalized and separated from the rest of their lives. It’s this faith-in-action that speaks loudest to Laurel, who can’t quite grasp the concept and personhood of God. In addition, there is one more person of faith I can’t tell you about; it would spoil the plot. It is a part of the surprise at the conclusion of the investigation, the end of the book, and the turning point for Laurel. Now quit pestering me for more details and go read the book! You’ll love it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for their blogging 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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Slave Again by Alana Terry ~Review~

Slave Again by Alana Terry

Slave Again

This novella is an in-between book, almost like a pre-quel. Though each of Ms. Terry’s books can be read alone, they lend support for each other, beginning with Beloved Daughter, then Slave Again, and finally Torn Asunder. The novella is short enough to be read quickly. Since I am already reading Torn Asunder, I noticed that what is introduced in this book is continued in that one. So if the story seems a little disjointed, there are several threads being introduced that will continue later in subsequent books.

The suspense and action in this book is tough as nails and somewhat graphic. The worst of it is implied, but our imaginations can easily fill in the details. This is not meant to be a feel good, tender read. The events portray the horrors of living in North Korea, how some try to cross the river into China out of desperation just to earn some money to send back to their starving families. The major thread follows Pang and Mee-Kyong after they have escaped Camp 22. They are about to cross over the border, guided by a sleazy, greedy border broker. Before crossing, Mee-Kyong gives birth to a dead baby; she is considerably weakened by the bleeding but crosses anyway. The broker sells her and another girl into a hotel that prostitutes them. Mee-Kyong adopts the young girl, Sun, and tries to protect her as best as she can.

Eventually she escapes and finds the home of an American couple operating a business in the area. But they also operate a secret seminary for refugees who desire to return to North Korea and offer hope to their friends, neighbors and families. The work is very dangerous, and only a few pass over the border at a time to minimize the risk. Mee-Kyong arrives at the house after the last group has already departed. This is where we become acquainted with Roger and Juliette Stern, the American couple who reach out to North Korean refugees as much as they are able. At first, Mee-Kyong doesn’t know how to react to the couple. The cultural differences are great, and being a fighter, she finds it hard to lower her guard and trust them. Eventually she decides to stay with them for awhile.

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This book is filled with danger, suspense, and gritty reality. The author’s talents are crystal clear, as she keeps her readers on the edge all the way through. Our emotions are all over the place as we feel alternately repulsed and heart-broken by the ugly life the North Koreans face, the slavery they sometimes enter when reaching China, the indulgences of the Americans living in China, and the futility of everyone’s efforts to right the wrongs, in contrast to the little bit of hope as we see Mee- Kyon’s life transformed. There are plenty of surprises in this story, including the identity of a spy for the North Korean government in the Stern’s home. Finding the identity of the agent only intensifies the suspense because it impacts the characters in the next story, Torn Asunder.

What I like most about the author’s writing style is that she writes in a brutally honest manner, not pulling her punches in the way she confidently displays the ugly reality of refugee life and the blatant trafficking that goes along with it. While this is written from a Christian viewpoint, you don’t have to be a Christian to be swept in the poignancy of the story and tragic realities. I am looking forward to reading more books from this author.

Alana Terry loves homeschooling. She loves it so much that in addition to teaching her three boys at home, she also leads clubs and day camps for homeschoolers in her community. An eclectic homeschooler at heart, Alana enjoys the freedom of family-directed learning and also plans interdisciplinary unit studies for homeschoolers of various ages.

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In addition to the “My Solar-Powered History” series, Alana has published “A Boy Named Silas: The First Five Years”, the true story of her tube-fed son’s complicated medical history. She also writes Christian fiction. Her debut novel, “The Beloved Daughter”, won second place in the 2012 Women of Faith’s writing contest.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. 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 Robertson Family Christmas: A Novella by Miss Kay Robertson with Travis Thrasher ~Giveaway and Book Review~

A Robertson Family Christmas: A Novella by Miss Kay Robertson with Travis Thrasher

This is my first personal giveaway! This is how it will work. Between now and October 31, 2014, you will be entered to win a hardback copy of this Christmas novella when you comment on this post. Be sure to enter your email address so I can notify you when the drawing is completed on Nov. 1, 2014. Thank you, and enjoy!

A Robertson Family Christmas

Miss Kay Robertson has written a fictional account of a typical Christmas holiday for the famous family through the eyes of a troubled teen. Her book accomplishes one of the things I love most about fiction–getting a fly-on-the-wall view of a family thousands of people are coming to love because of their television presence. While the story may be the product of Miss Kay’s fertile imagination, the setting, the typical Robertson quirky conversations, their everyday activities, and the Christmas traditions the family keeps are true to life.

From the book jacket summary: “He misses being included in any guy trips since his parents divorced and he went to live with his mom. So he’s less than happy when his mother tells him that he won a contest to spend Christmas in West Monroe, Louisiana, with a family named the Robertsons. For some reason, they’re supposed to be a big deal. How did he win a contest he didn’t enter? Besides, he’s never heard of them and sure doesn’t want to spend Christmas in a swamp with a bunch of strangers.

Korie Robertson is excited to open her heart and her home to Hunter and show him what the Christmas season looks like for the Robertson family. And like it or not, Hunter experiences it first hand. From duck hunting disasters with the bearded guys, to learning to cook with Miss Kay, Hunter quickly discovers what it’s like to live with this boisterous, yet loving family. Putting on his headphones and ignoring them is not an option. Before long, Hunter begins to let his guard down. But with Christmas and the end of his trip fast approaching, will it be too little, too late? Or will Hunter be open to the greatest gift of all?”

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For the few days of his visit, Hunter stayed with Willie and Korie Robertson and their children. He bunked down with John Luke, who was about his age, and went with them when they visited other family. He was like a thunder cloud flashing danger signals and raining on everything they did. They often didn’t know how to read him; his lack of enthusiasm created some tension. Miss Kay wrote most of the story from Hunter’s point of view and she nailed it completely, right down to his sarcastic responses when the family included him in their activities. It was obvious what he thought of the Robertsons, their huge family, their playfulness, their devotion to God, and life in general. Hopelessness dogged his very steps.

The author also wrote part of the tale from Korie Robertson’s point of view. Hunter’s darkness touched her deeply and she ached to draw him out of his shell. She hoped this visit with her garrulous family would attract his attention and change his perspective for the better. For awhile, it didn’t look like that would happen. Korie needed to get input from Willie. Underneath that big old beard and silly grin was a wise man.

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It goes without saying that this book includes the usual nonsense and shenanigans the Robertsons are known for. It begins with the duck hunting adventure and keeps up the pace right to the end. I enjoy redneck humor as much as anyone else does. For me, this was a fun book to read.

Second, there’s wonderful truth tucked away in all the busyness and crazy stuff; Jesus Christ is in the center of Phil Robertson’s entire family, because when young Phil had gotten lost in the tangle of a personal crisis, Jesus was there for him. God and his family became his bedrock. He, in turn, pointed the rest of the family to God’s love and grace. It’s what makes the Robertson family so special. Their lives are not about religion but about a personal relationship with Christ.

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The third thing I loved about this book is that no one “preached” at Hunter during his visit…well, maybe there was a little bit from Phil. He couldn’t help himself. But for the most part, the family allowed their lives to speak for them. They saw Hunter as he was and accepted him. It was the one thing that touched him most.

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Finally, I think this would be a great book to share with the guys in your life. It has hunting, craziness, teen stuff, family life, Christmas activities and food. And it’s a short book. What’s not to love? It would make a great Christmas gift.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers and their blogging 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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Evergreen: A Christiansen Winter Novella by Susan May Warren ~Review~

Evergreen: A Christiansen Winter Novella by Susan May Warren

Wintergreen

The Christiansen family, like the rest of us, go through seasons in their lives. It’s now Mom and Dad Christiansen’s turn, in this heartwarming series, to face their own seasonal shift.

For Ingrid Christiansen, this season or stage seems to offer more challenges than usual. All six of her children are scattered, living on their own or experiencing newlywed life for the first time. Yet her sons Owen and Casper are at odds with each other and she desperately wants to do something to fix her brood. She just isn’t ready for the empty nest yet. And there’s another secret fear that she holds close to her heart, unwilling to even think about it much less tell anyone, even John–especially John, about it. So when Ingrid’s sister breaks a sixteen-year silence and asks her to take care of her son until Thanksgiving, Ingrid snatches the opportunity to once again mother a hurting boy.

John Christiansen was eagerly looking forward to a new season in his life with his wife. He envisioned a variety of activities, including a surprise trip to Europe to renew their vows, then travel on to Prague to visit their youngest daughter at the university there for Christmas. He looked on the “empty nest” as an exciting new adventure to relish and even re-kindle some spark in their relationship. What relationship couldn’t use a little more sparkle? But to his surprise, Ingrid didn’t share his enthusiasm at all.

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When the family dog, Butterscotch, became deathly ill and needed surgery, he had to give up the surprise trip to pay for the aging dog’s operation. That was when he finally woke up to the struggle Ingrid was experiencing. Not that he fully understood what she was feeling, but when his nephew arrived for a short stay, he saw her issues visibly with this new opportunity to mother someone. All John could think of was his desire to protect her from getting hurt again when this nephew had to
leave. Unfortunately, Ingrid did not want his protection.

The one word that comes to mind as I think back over this book is nostalgia. In the previous book of this series, focus has been on the six Christiansen sons and daughters as they reached adulthood and found their purpose in life. Now it is Ingrid and John’s stage that is in focus. Their period of adjustment to a new phase in their married life is what makes this novella a classic. And yet the story is not over because Owen and Casper have yet to settle their differences and find their way. So this story is as much about looking forward as it is about the present. It is the scope of this series that is attractive to me.

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I also love this author’s use of symbolism in this book. The evergreen symbol encapsulates the purpose of the phase in the family’s life. It is beautifully written. “We love living in the north because the seasons are ever changing. But there also remains a constant. It’s a miracle how, when an evergreen burns, the pinecones burst open, dropping seeds into the fertile soil of the charred land. Saplings now edge our property, sprouts of green against the white landscape. In the wake of good-byes, life endures. Even flourishes.” For those of us in this stage it offers up a hope for the future, a new way of thinking about the transition of our lives, and encouragement to press on– together, if at all possible.

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Another thing I took away from this novella was that in life there are times that will take us by surprise, challenge us, cause us to question our direction, and offer us new perspectives. It’s ok to struggle through these shifts, and easier if we decide to face these new facets together, and in faith in God, rather than fighting the shifting relationship along with the other challenges.

This book is a beautiful addition to an already wonderful, touching series. I highly recommend it.

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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