A story that filled up my heart and July giveaway information

Renee Ann Smith —  June 30, 2011 — 53 Comments

I have favorite books for every mood or season of life I’ve experienced. When I rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 (on Good Reads or Amazon), I give 4’s to the novels that are well-written, suspenseful, and engaging. I save the 5’s for those books that mean something more to me.

A 5 is for a novel that has helped me grow as a person, comforted me, filled up a crack or two in my heart, or bolstered my faith in God. I think Martha by Diana Wallis Taylor earned a 5 because it did all of these things. This lovely story brought to life a woman I’ve long admired. Martha was specifically mentioned in Scripture as a friend of Jesus. He felt at home in her house, visited frequently, and trusted her to make his followers comfortable as well. I loved how the author depicted Jesus speaking to Martha’s heart and making Himself a part of her life, as in this excerpt . . .

“The disciples, enjoying a respite after long hours on the road, were in a mood to celebrate. Thomas pulled a kinnor, a small harp, from his sash and began to plunk its strings, sending a simple melody through the courtyard. Mary picked up her lyre and joined in the music. Jesus seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself, his eyes dancing with the music. Martha suddenly felt like celebrating with them.

As the hour grew late, Jesus rose from the table and his disciples, ever aware of his movements, rose with him. Martha hated to see them leave. ‘Master, you are welcome to sleep here.’

Jesus at Martha’s hous

‘You are kind, Martha, and a generous hostess, but we will retire to the Mount of Olives for the night.’

‘Will you come again?’

He smiled and she was lost in the depths of his eyes. ‘I must travel a long way, but whenever we are in this area again, we will come.’

Jesus glanced to where Thomas and Mary were talking quietly. ‘I believe at least one of my disciples has good reason to return also.’ His eyes danced and Martha was filled with love for him—not the love she’d known with Thaddeus, but a holy love, deep and abiding. It didn’t matter what others said about him. She knew who he was.”

The author created a beautiful inner voice for Martha. I found myself hurting with her as she bids farewell to loved ones, struggles to release cherished dreams, and prepares to embrace a solitary life. The peace that Jesus gives Martha felt real to me. Both those who have experienced that peace—as well as those who are seeking it—will enjoy this novel.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the happy ending Diana Wallis Taylor imagined for her sweet main character. Did it happen that way for Martha in real life? Someday I’ll ask her!

***Available June 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Revell for providing my review copy of this book. Don’t miss this uplifting story! Follow this link to purchase your copy.

July Giveaway Contest: At the end of July, I’ll be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one fortunate commenter. All you need to do to be entered is comment on any eligible post up until July 31st. (I will label the contest posts.) I will then submit all names to the Random Number Generator to determine a winner. I will submit your name as many times as you comment, but you also have a great chance of winning by commenting on just one post! Today’s post is the First Contest Post.

***So feel free to comment and also tell me if you’d like to be included in the drawing. Or you could just leave a comment to say hello. (We bloggers love that!)

Journey to the Well: You can order Diana’s first book from Amazon.com at this link.

About the author: Diana Wallis Taylor lives with her husband Frank in San Diego, California. Between them they have six grown children and ten grandchildren. She serves on the board of the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild and is active in Christian Women’s Fellowship. Follow this link to visit Diana’s website.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

53 responses to A story that filled up my heart and July giveaway information

  1. I think this book sounds wonderful. I would like to see if I can put it on my wish list!! Thank you for sharing the review.

  2. This book sounds so different and wonderful. Would love to read it.

  3. I would love to read Martha. Please include me in the drawing.

    Thank you,

  4. This sounds like a beautiful book that would be on my shelf to read over and over again. Thank you for sharing this, and I too am adding it to my wish list. =)

  5. Hi Renee! Thanks you for posting about the drawing on the Goodreads facebook group! I also really enjoyed your review of Martha! It is already on my to-read list, and I would love to be entered in the drawing. It’s interesting because I am the same way as you are with reviews. 5 stars means it didn’t just engage and delight my mind, but also my heart. I thought you put that very eloquently in this post. I’m sure I’ll be stopping by your blog to read and comment more, but for now, please enter me πŸ™‚



    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, Beth! I’m so glad I discovered Goodreads and joined the Christian Fiction Devourers. I’m finding I have much in common with the gals in our group. Blessings!

  6. Renee Ann, I was just talking to someone at Revell who thinks as much of this wonderful book as you do. I can’t wait to read myself and have a copy coming! I’ve always been drawn to the Mary/Martha story and how Jesus handled that. This looks like a book bound for your keeper shelf – and mine. Please don’t enter me in the drawing, just wanted to say hi. Happy Independence Day to you and yours!

    • I’m beginning to think Revell has some of the best authors out there, Laura! At least for historicals of all types πŸ™‚ I think books like this one prove that a simple style and story have power to touch readers’ hearts. Happy 4th to you and have a great research trip!

  7. definitely happy to enter, ReneeAnn, and to compliment you on a wonderful review!
    inspiring deeper desire to read and enjoy ‘Martha’ along with you!
    celebrating Canada Day today! join me?…

  8. Paula Osborne July 1, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I love to read about women in the Bible and this looks like a good one, will look for this one to add to my TBR books, thanks for sharing with us. I would love to put into your drawing for a free book. I read a lot of historical romance and also Christian books.

  9. I love the way you worded this rating that you use!
    “A 5 is for a novel that has helped me grow as a person, comforted me, filled up a crack or two in my heart, or bolstered my faith in God. I think Martha by Diana Wallis Taylor earned a 5 because it did all of these things. ” I love it when a story fills up a crack or two in my heart…
    I would love to win this. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • I appreciate your kind words, Diana! I’ll definitely enter you for the drawing of the Amazon gift card. You can have your name entered again when you share on another book review in the coming weeks. Or you can come back at the end of July to see who won. Blessings!

  10. love to be included in the July drawing thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  11. Renee- I love your book rating system as well, and I agree with you, there are some books that just touch you deeply. I will definitely put it on my TBR list. Thanks for the great review and the drawing as well, I too would love to be included. Blessings!- Cheryl

  12. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the Book Martha. I have always enjoyed the story in the New Testament of Mary and Martha. I really have a love for Martha and I am sure that I would enjoy reading this book.
    I would love to join in the fun!
    Blessings to you!

  13. I love books like this….about women in the Bible!!! Thanks for the post on it! I would like to be in the drawing, too.

  14. this book sounds like a wonderful read…i value your review πŸ˜‰

  15. This sounds like a book that would be very meaningful to me. I enjoy learning more about women in the Bible. With my new Nook, I am reading a lot more. Of course, not having any work for the summer also gives me more time for things I enjoy! Enter me in the drawing as well!

    • You’re entered, Maureen! This is a lovely story–you might have to grab it for your Nook . . . I’m enjoying being off for the summer also. We held VBS this past week, so I feel like my first official week off begins tomorrow. Can’t wait!

  16. I have found so many great books thru your reviews. Another one to add to my ever growing list:) Thanks for linking up to the NOBH. Also thank you for such kind comments on my new adventure:)

  17. I love stories about WOMEN. I will surely want to have this one. I will wait till the end of July. If I don’t get to win, I’ll buy it next month haha.. It looks very interesting. I’m SO excited!


  18. I can see how writing like this would capture your heart. The peek into the thoughts of Martha, who always gets such a bad rap. And the love of Our Lord – The caring, gentle, yet “man on a mission” love of Our Lord. Thank you. And God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours this day Renee Ann.

  19. I so love the cover of this book, so bright and pretty! Thank you for the giveaway, Renee Ann. πŸ™‚

  20. I’d love to win the card. Amazon is my favorite store — anywhere!

    This book looks interesting. I love reading Biblical novels. So many times it helps to learn the background of the people so important in the life of our Christ.


  21. Hi Renee Ann, I thought I would sneak on over here from goodreads and take a peak at your reviews. I do enjoy reading them. I would love it if you would enter me into the drawing this month. Thank you so much!

    Robin πŸ™‚

    • I’m happy you came to visit, Robin! I’m fairly new to Goodreads and am really enjoying “meeting” fellow booklovers there. You’re entered. Come back anytime! Blessings!

  22. I just love reading books. This is one of the must read for me. I have to find this at our local bookstore.

  23. I have always wanted to see a positive spin on Martha-what you shared from the book intrigues me and makes me want to know more. I think I’ll check it out.

  24. I don’t like reading books, to be honest…But this book interests me because sometimes, I only read books if I like the story…

    • LOL, Trish! I’m sure you can tell we’re almost all about books around here. This would be a great story to start with. Thanks for stopping by, and you’re in the drawing πŸ™‚

  25. Sounds like a really good book. Thanks for sharing the review.

  26. I recently read Journey to the Well by Taylor and really liked it. I didn’t even know about this one, but your review has definitely encouraged me to get this one too!!

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  1. Martha by Diana Wallis Taylor | www.CreativeMadnessMama.com - July 2, 2011

    […] A 5 is for a novel that has helped me grow as a person, comforted me, filled up a crack or two in my heart, or bolstered my faith in God. I think Martha by Diana Wallis Taylor earned a 5 because it did all of these things. This lovely story brought to life a woman I’ve long admired. Martha was specifically mentioned in Scripture as a friend of Jesus. He felt […to read more click here…] […]

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