Tag Archives: Tyndale Publishers

The One True Love of Alice-Ann

Book Review: The One True Love of Alice-Ann

Author: Eva Marie Everson

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Amazon of The One True Love of Alice-Ann:

Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear—having lost her fiancé in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            As soon as I picked up this book, I knew it was going to be a good read. Don’t ask me how, I just knew. And I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if that ‘knowing’ had led me wrong, but amazingly, I was right! The One True Love of Alice-Ann is such a sweet story. As Alice-Ann grows and experiences life, I saw so much of my younger self in her. Her hopes, dreams, and perceptions of life all felt very familiar, almost as if I were stepping back in time, visiting with younger me.

This is a sweet coming-of-age story set in an extremely difficult time in American history. Alice-Ann learns how to grow up, what infatuation and love are, and what her place is in the world. All set in rural Georgia, with a setting so authentic you could swear that you’re standing right there on the streets of Bynum.

In at time period and time of life where all seems uncertain, Alice-Ann learns to trust God with her world, her friends and family, and herself. I fell in love with this book, and I hope, if you choose to pick it up and read, that you will too.

About the Author

Biography from Goodread’s website: Eva Marie Everson is a best-selling, multiple award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction. She is the president of Word Weavers International and the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference. She enjoys teaching and speaking at writers conferences across the US as well as coaching new writers via her company, Pen In Hand, Inc.

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Change of Heart

51N3Y9r9qPL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Book Review: Change of Heart

Author: Courtney Walsh

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Goodread’s description of Change of Heart:

A Colorado senator’s wife, Evelyn Brandt seems to have it all. But her carefully constructed life comes toppling down when the FBI crashes her society brunch with news that her husband has been arrested for embezzlement, and he’s far from repentant. It turns out this was only the start of his indiscretions―for which he has little regret.

As the weeks following the scandal turn into months, Evelyn withdraws, even shirking her duties with the philanthropic Valentine Volunteers. The inquisitive women of the group are determined not to let Evelyn’s divorce destroy her. They have big plans for her to use her long-forgotten artistic talent to reimagine the city’s iconic lamppost hearts. But doing so will force Evelyn to work closely with Trevor Whitney, her ex-husband’s former best friend. Though she and Trevor used to be close―and he’s been letting her hide in his guesthouse―his gruffness conveys his unease with the situation.

Amid the beauty of Trevor’s farm and the comfort of a paintbrush, Evelyn starts to reclaim the dreams she sacrificed to become the perfect politician’s wife. And as creativity inspires them both, Whit begins to see the girl he fell in love with before his friend―and his own mistakes―stole his chance. Possibilities for a new beginning emerge, but long-kept secrets threaten to ruin everything. After so much time, is a change of heart too much to hope for?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            I absolutely loved Courtney’s book, Paper Hearts, so I’ve been watching for her next book to come out. When I read the description of Change of Heart, I wondered how she would pull it off. After all, divorce is a tricky subject, and I wasn’t sure how she was going to write about it. Courtney was able to write this story with grace and tact. She showed all the messiness of sin, but also the redemption that comes through faith in Christ. None of the characters in this book are perfect, in fact, they almost feel as real as you or me. Which I think is why I enjoyed this book. A good portion of it centers around Evelyn’s divorce, both before and after, which made me wonder how Courtney was going to time the romance aspect of the story. She did a good job of that, though.

I liked both Evelyn and Trevor’s characters. They dealt with a lot, a lot that they tried to brush over and ignore. This is really a story of surrender. Surrendering their lives to God and His timing and leading. I love that theme, because it’s something I’m personally trying to do right now. It’s a subject that never gets old, and never gets easier.

While I didn’t like this book quite as much as Paper Hearts, it really made me think. I was entertained, but I also had some food for thought, which I appreciated.

About the Author

Biography from Tyndale’s website: Courtney Walsh is the author of Paper Hearts and the Sweethaven series. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was a New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller and a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. In addition, she has written two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives with her husband and three children in Illinois, where she is also an artist, theater director, and playwright. Visit her online at www.courtneywalshwrites.com.

I was given a review copy of Change of Heart from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Wonder of You

510xTrj5m9L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Book Review: The Wonder of You

Author: Susan May Warren

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Tyndale’s website description of The Wonder of You:

Mortified after her semester abroad is cut short, Amelia Christiansen returns to Deep Haven, certain she isn’t brave enough for the adventures she’s dreamed of. The last thing she expects is for the man who broke her heart to cross the Atlantic and beg forgiveness.

Heir to a European hotel dynasty, Roark St. John has trekked from one exotic locale to another, haunted by tragedy and the expectations that accompany his last name. Amelia is the first woman to give him a reason to stop running. He’ll do anything for a second chance—even contend with Amelia’s old flame, who is intent on sending Roark packing.

While one surprise after another leaves Amelia reeling, Roark’s continued presence only highlights the questions pursuing her. Like him, is she running from the life God has called her to? Could finding her new place mean leaving home behind?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Whenever I receive one of Susie’s latest releases on my doorstep, I have conflicting emotions: read immediately or wait so as to prolong the process? It truly is a difficult decision. 😉 I was SO eager to read The Wonder of You, especially after the way Always on My Mind led up to Amelia’s story. Again, Susie did not disappoint.

This story touched my heart, honestly. Amelia reminds me so much of myself in some ways. She struggles with wanting to do big, brave things, yet finding the courage to do those things is a lot harder than you might imagine. I get that. I also liked how Roark didn’t have it all together in the courage department either. Though Amelia thought he didn’t struggle as she did, he showed her that simply wasn’t true. Then of course, the fact that a handsome European and a northwoods lumberjack duked it out in a fantastic way was awesome. I have to say, being from the Northern Midwest myself, I loved that element. 🙂 Susie did a great job again of crafting an entertaining, gripping story that explores new love, maintaining married love, and trusting God’s love. I would suggest, if you’ve never read any of the Christiansen Family series, that you start from the beginning, otherwise you’re going to hit quite a few spoilers and a good deal of confusion. I have no idea how Susie is going to manage Owen’s story, especially in light of Casper and Raina, but I’m looking forward to how she pulls it off.

I have to share two quotes from this story, because in them, Susie hit the nail right on the head:

“We’re satisfied to get a glimpse of His (God’s) vision, and then we seek out the places where we can accomplish it on our own. And frankly, that’s why we live empty, frustrated lives. Pursuing God’s vision requires faith in God to work it out. It means turning our hearts to Him fully, undivided, focused on loving Jesus with every part of ourselves. I can’t do that on my own. Truth is, I don’t even want to. Loving God like that takes courage and the surety that He won’t fail us.” Pg. 174

“…You don’t have to see the future to trust in God’s goodness, in His love for you. You simply need to turn around and take a good look at what He’s already done. Then you can let the wonder of His love for you draw you to Him.” Pg. 369

About the Author

Biography from Tyndale House Publishers’ website: Susan May Warren is the bestselling, Christy and RITA Award–winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church.

Susan holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives.~ To learn more about Susan and her other books, visit her web page: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/

I was given a review copy of The Wonder of You from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.