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It Had to Be You

Renee Ann Smith —  March 23, 2014 — 6 Comments
“My prayer is that you would believe God has a good story for you, too. Because only then will you truly hear the voice of God, telling you what He told me years ago when He put you in my arms: ‘I will take delight in her. I will rejoice over her with joyful songs‘ (Zephaniah 3:17).” ~Ingrid Christiansen to her daughter Eden, It Had to Be You~

susan may warren book 2Overshadowed by her talented siblings, Eden Christiansen is a born story-teller, who doesn’t quite believe that God has a good story for her life. Eden can help others see their potential but cannot see her own. As a child, she spent her free time hidden in a book. Now she’s still hiding from life—or maybe living it vicariously through her NHL star brother Owen. 

Enter playboy hockey star Jace ‘J-Hammer’ Jacobsen, who has everything his fans want in life, but longs for something more. His friend Sam, who finds himself in crisis when his adorable daughter Maddy needs a second heart transplant. The entire Christiansen family, who welcome all comers into their loving circle. And a teenage John Doe, who needs someone to watch over him.

These are the folks God uses to show Jace and Eden that His take on their stories is very different from their own.

This good-for-your-heart story ties together God’s wisdom, sweet romance, personal suffering, sacrifice, death, life, and God answering our wildest, most impossible dreams in His own special way.

I love how Susan May Warren novels touch on the most deeply felt needs and fears of our hearts—and often present heart-breaking situations with no easy answers—yet leave me feeling uplifted and hopeful.

What I liked best . . .
  • The under-confident heroine, Eden, penning beautiful memorials to ordinary folks in her obit column
  • The powerful yet endearing hero, Jace (High school girls will want to marry him. Grandmotherly types will want to bake him cookies.)
  • When Eden & her friend Russell are in the stands of his first Blue Ox hockey game
  • Jace’s best friend Sam singing to his little girl Maddy
  • The scenes describing a weekend with the Christiansen family (My students & I soooo want to visit Deep Haven!)
I limited myself to sharing two favorite quotes . . .

It Had to Be You Susan May Warren

It Had to Be You Susan May Warren

You don’t have to change the world to earn the applause of heaven. (Click to Tweet)

We expect God’s love to be all nice and neatly packaged. But He’ll do what He has to in order to draw us to that place where we need him. (Click to Tweet)

***I made these graphics with free images from & tweaked them with Feel free to download, pin, tweet & share!

What you should do next . . .

***Thanks to LItfuse, Susan May Warren, and Tyndale House for providing a copy of It Had to Be You for me to review.

susie chairback new smAbout the Author:  Susan May Warren is the bestselling, 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.

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. She also runs a writing community for authors.

Visit to learn more.
***For any writers out there, joining My Book Therapy was one of the best decisions I’ve made yet in my writing journey. I recently attended the MBT Deep Thinkers Retreat and found that so many things connected for me during those five days. You should hop to the website and join the free level today!

You can connect with SMW

“Like restoring cars is a highway to being a princess? Dad, my life is not a Disney movie.” Reggie Beswick, Princess Ever After

princess ever afterOnce I opened Rachel Hauck’s Princess After Ever, I had to keep reading until I’d wrung the last drop of sweet, romantic, quirky goodness from the story. This book is equal parts Princess Diaries, Roman Holiday, and Tammy and the Bachelor. (Anyone else remember that oldie but goodie?). And I kept picturing Tanner Burkholdt as hunky widowers Tom Winters, aka Cary Grant, from Houseboat or Graham, aka Jude Law, from The Holiday—even though he’s blond.

Princess Ever After is big on charm, and I love how Tanner is totally respectful and virtuous in how he treats Reggie. I can’t wait to share this story with my students. I know they’ll love it!

What’s it about?

The Grand Duchy of Hessenberg is in trouble. It seems the late Prince Francis established a one hundred year entail, at the end of which he intended for his heir to return and reestablish the monarchy. Now the entail is about to end. Yet all members of the monarchy are gone—except for Regina Alice Beswick, a country bumpkin from the States, who would rather be dipped in axle grease than model a tiara. So it’s up to Minister of Culture Tanner Burkholdt to bring Reggie home to Hessenberg. However, Tanner’s old mentor isn’t too keen on giving up his power to the new girl. If only stoic Tanner can keep from losing his heart to Reggie, he might be able to concentrate on how to save his country and Reggie’s crown before it’s too late.

What I liked best (in no particular order) . . . 

  • When Reggie & Tanner tour the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg dressed as a fun, famous couple from the past
  • “Meadowbluff Palace, with its gables and turrets, framed by the towering Cliffs of White”
  • Sunset in Wisteria Park
  • St. John’s Chapel, where Reggie soaked in “The millions of prayers. Peace. The presence.”
  • Gram Alice’s backstory, told in letters from 1914
  • Meeting 10-year-old twins Bella and Britta
  • The spiritual thread invoking the royal roots which belong to every daughter of the King.
When Reggie reminds herself, “Wasn’t that what Gram did? Live the life of a princess by her actions, not her title?”

Another quote I loved . . .

Princess Ever After Rachel Hauck

What you should do next . . .

Follow this link to purchase a copy of Princess Ever After for you and the teens in your life. Then enter the Giveaway below. ***Thanks to Rachel Hauck, Litfuse PR, and Zondervan for providing a copy for me to review.

GIVEAWAY: Rachel is celebrating the release of her latest “swoon”-worthy romance,  Princess Ever After, with a fun $200 “Princess” prize package giveaway and a Facebook “Princess” party on March 6th. Grab your tiaras and RSVP today! Enter at this link or by clicking on the image below.
Princess Ever After Rachel Hauck

One winner will receive:

RHauck 203About the Author: Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as RITA nominated The Wedding Dress and RITA nominated Love Starts with Elle, part of the Lowcountry series, the Nashvegas series and the Songbird Novels penned with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals. A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full time in 2004. Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker. Rachel writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

You can connect with Rachel on her Facebook page, on Twitter, and at her website. Continue Reading…

The first scenes of Shelly Shepard Gray’s Eventide brought back the day I received my first pair of glasses. I was ten years old. As I walked out of the eye doctor’s office with my new specs, the world looked sharp and clear and beautiful—especially the leaves on the trees, which had once taken the form of a giant green blob.

shelley eventideThat’s close to how Elsie Keim feels when she receives her glasses. Unfortunately, the feeling does not last long, because Elsie has keratoconus, a condition that is slowing stealing her sight. In spite of this, Elsie is determined to live an independent life and stays busy enough to push her fear of blindness to the back of her mind. As for her loving family, they can’t get past their fears for her future to see how strong and capable she is.

Then Landon Troyer comes along. His interest in Elsie starts her wanting things she never thought she’d have and stirs her family’s fears to a fever pitch. What happens next tests everyone’s faith.

This sweet story is one to enjoy when you need refreshing. Add a cup of tea, an apple pie, and a crisp fall day and—perfection!

What I loved most  . . . 

A plot built around the everyday heartaches we all must face and can only overcome through the help of faith and family.

The courage of a young woman facing bitter disappointment with a smile on her face.

A loud, loving family who takes on each other’s burdens as their own.

New kittens in the barn and buggy rides and star gazing in the cool of the night.

My Favorite Quotes . . .

Eventide quote 2b

“‘Don’t you understand that there is nothing fair about what happens to a person? People get sick and hurt. Accidents happen. God doesn’t give everyone only what is fair. Instead, He gives us what He thinks we can handle.’

Elise wanted to protest again. But under her sister-in-law’s watchful expression, she realized that she no longer had a choice about what to do. And worse, she realized that Amanda was right and she’d been wrong. There was something worse than knowing the truth about her blindness—hurting someone she loved through her own stubbornness and fear.”

Who will enjoy this story . . .

  • Who wouldn’t?
  • Women from young teens to sweet grandmas.
  • Lovers of Amish fiction.
  • Fans of Beth Wiseman, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Amy Clipston, Cindy Woodsmall, and Beverly Lewis.

You can purchase your copy of Eventide at this link. **Thanks to Litfuse, Shelley Shepard Gray, and Avon Inspire for providing a copy for me to review.

shelley shepard gray eventideAbout the author: Shelley Shepard Gray lives in southern Ohio. A busy wife and mother of two, she spends her days writing and keeping track of her two teenagers. Shelley enjoys writing about the Amish and visits Amish communities in Adams and Holmes counties several times a year. When not spending time with her family or writing, she serves on several committees in her church.

Shelley also spends a lot of time on line! Please visit her website to find out her latest news or become her friend on Facebook! Continue Reading…

Sarah Sundin’s latest novel seriously interfered with my concentration during our school’s teacher orientation week.

Enjoying favorites

I knew once I opened the cover, I’d be swept away to the shores of Sicily during World War II—a time period that provides endless fascination for me—and have trouble returning to the “real world.”

On Distant Shores tells the story of Hutch and Georgie, a pharmacist and a flight nurse, who use their talents to treat wounded American soldiers. In spite of sweethearts waiting at home, the war raging around them, and personal struggles, Hutch and Georgie are drawn to each other. I thoroughly enjoyed their journey as they navigated Luftwaffe attacks, plane crashes, separations, misunderstandings, and more, in order to end up together. I especially enjoyed their scenes with Lucia, a little girl they saved and formed a relationship with.

What I loved most: The Setting! Sarah Sundin’s attention to detail recreates the time period so wonderfully. Casa Blanca. The sunset over the Mediterranean. Italian children playing in a beachside village. A few carefree moments on the shore with coworkers who might not make it through the next flight.

But though she helps me feel exactly what it would be like to administer an IV to a young patient on a moving C-47 cargo plane, she also helps me see the faces of those brave young men and women who formed what many have called Our Greatest Generation. They weren’t perfect. But their heroism and sacrifice never fail to touch my heart.

Every Sarah Sundin novel is a beautiful tribute to their memory.

Patton PrayerWho will love this book:

  • History/WW II buffs.
  • Homeschoolers teaching this time period to their teens.
  • Classic/old movie fans.
  • Fashionistas who admire vintage clothing.
  • Readers—from teens on up—who love a dramatic, significant, well-told story.
  • Fans of Lynn Austin, Elizabeth Camden, Tricia Goyer, Susan May Warren, and Lauraine Snelling.

You can purchase you copy of On Distant Shores at this link. Thanks to Litfuse, Sarah Sundin, and Revell for providing a copy for me to review.

Are you on Pinterest? You can follow any of Sarah Sundin’s boards at this link. My boards are here. My WWII board is surprisingly popular.

SarahSundin2About the author: Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. The Wings of the Nightingale series (With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and In Perfect Time, August 2014) follows three World War II flight nurses as they find love, friendship, and peril in the skies and on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Bargain-priced at Amazon right now: The Wings of Glory series (A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow) follows three brothers who are B-17 bomber pilots during World War II.

Sundin lives in northern California with her husband, three children, an antisocial cat, and a yellow lab bent on destroying her writing career. When she isn’t driving kids to tennis and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.

Find Sarah online here. Follow her on Facebook here. Continue Reading…

Once upon a prince 700

“Other than Kate Middleton, who marries a prince?” Susanna Truitt from Once Upon a Prince

Rachel Hauck is an author who creates novels with something for everyone. Her most recent novel, Once Upon a Prince, is a story you can share with women of every age—from teens on up to grandma. There’s much to love about this sweet romance. Here are some of the highlights:

The charming heroine: Susanna Truitt has been waiting twelve years for her boyfriend Adam to finish school, military training, and several tours of duty in Afghanistan. Yet the story begins with Adam breaking things off with her. Susanna not only loses the man she put her life on hold for, she also can’t seem to catch a break in her budding career as a landscape architect. Her way of handling life has been to plan every aspect down to the last detail. Once all her plans fall through, she is left wondering how she fits into the world and what the purpose of her life should be. Susanna shows resourcefulness and courage as she faces situations that might send others girls into depression or on a man hunt. I found her a great character to root for!

The quirky secondary characters: Susanna is surrounded by lots of folks who cherish her and want to see her succeed. Her loud, lovable family led by Glo and Gib, give her plenty of affirmation and advice.

One gem of a secondary character is Aurora, a beautiful homeless woman who once amassed a fortune lobbying DC politicians. Aurora says she used to be adept at drinking, drugging, and lying. In fact, she could “spin a lie to curl your hair.” But one day she realized “the trappings she possessed, possessed her.” When God’s still, quiet voice told her she was wasting her life, Aurora left all the worldly trappings behind to pitch a tent in the forest of St. Simon’s Island.

Aurora realizes gaining all the world has to offer won’t make up for losing her soul. For me, she symbolizes how we Christians probably look to the world when we make a point to go against the culture. And Aurora is the one who encourages Susanna to stop clinging to her manmade plans and take a risk by following God.

As Proverbs 21:10 reminds us, “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.”

The handsome prince: What a let down this story would be if the prince—Susanna’s catalyst for change—were not worthy of all the fuss. But no fear, Prince Nathaniel is how I’d imagine a young King David. He’s all that we would wish any king to be: upright, pure, prayerful, kind, down-to-earth, and, of course, handsome! His rich inner life gives him depth and helps us believe any young lady would be well-rewarded for changing her life for him. I really hope he shows up in future books in this series. (Hint, hint, Ms. Hauck!)

Nate lives out Psalm 21:1-2, “The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.”

The Spiritual Takeaway: The truth I took from this novel was that sometimes God empties our hands of all we wish to cling to and sets our plans at naught on purpose. He wants us to feel our unfulfilled needs in an unmistakable way. Only then does He miraculously meet those deep needs in our hearts.

It’s not a new concept really. God has been doing this since the beginning of time. In the garden of Eden, God set Adam to naming the animals so he would realize he’d never find a suitable companion on his own. Once God made certain that Adam felt a need nothing on earth could fill, He made a miracle—and enter Eve, the perfect helpmeet.

Just so, the characters in this novel discover that no matter their power, position, or personal charm, they cannot build abundant lives apart from God. And through their stories we see God’s wise ways and tender heart.

This is the kind of book that played through my head like Hallmark movie. If you enjoy sweet films like Roman Holiday or The Student Prince, you’ll love Susanna and Nate’s story!

Follow this link to purchase your copies of Once Upon a Prince. This is definitely a story I’ll be sharing with my students. Your teen will love it, too. ***Thanks to Litfuse, Rachel Hauck, and Zondervan for providing a copy for me to review.

rachel hauckAbout the Author: Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, bestselling author of critically acclaimed novels such as RITA nominated The Wedding Dress and RITA nominated Love Starts with Elle, part of the Lowcountry series, the Nashvegas series and the Songbird Novels penned with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in a chair to write full time in 2004.

Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy and a conference speaker. You can connect with Rachel at her website, at her Facebook page, and on TwitterContinue Reading…

Take a Chance on Me

Renee Ann Smith —  April 28, 2013 — 6 Comments

Jensen crop

I probably shouldn’t have started reading Take a Chance on Me right before bedtime on a school night. Then the next day the book distracted me from grading papers. This became slightly dangerous when my students realized I had a new book by a favorite author. But it was worth the risk. Yes, Take a Chance on Me was that good.

This romantic story is the first in Susan May Warren’s new series about The Christiansens: six adult siblings and their parents. Here’s Susan May Warren’s intro to this fictional family: “They’re a family like you might find next door. Or in your church. Or maybe they’re like your family. Parents trying to figure out the delicate steps of guiding adult children into responsibility, hoping to leave a legacy. When I crafted the Christiansen family, I Iooked close to home, at our family, and the families of our friends. At their challenges, and joys, and their hopes to raise children who embody the values they were raised with. Then I created a family I’d like to get to know and hang out with. To fall in love with. I hope you do too.”

What’s this book about? Best friends, Jensen Atwood and Darek Christiansen, become estranged after a tragic accident—when Darek’s wife is killed and Jensen ends up sentenced to community service for her death. Now years later both men must decide if they can take a chance on God’s forgiveness and the second chance at life He seems to be offering through two smart & savvy ladies named Ivy Madison and Claire Gibson. (I had fun imagining Jensen as a younger Jack Shepherd from Lost vs. Darek as a younger John Reese from Person of Interest!)

I experienced a strong emotional response to Take a Chance on Me. How can you tell if you’ll feel the same?

  • If you’ve ever had that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you fear you’ve ruined your chance at happiness,
  • Or felt a hole in your heart because you’ve hurt someone you love. And it can never be undone.
  • If life has made you bargain and beg and weep before God
  • Then, after all that, a moment arrived that stole your breath away—when God offered you a second chance
  • And you took it. You grabbed it with both hands
  • And God’s grace and forgiveness filled you until you felt like you could soar,

Then you will love this story.

Two characters quickly worked their way into my heart: Jensen Atwood, a handsome, under-appreciated, intent-on-beating-himself-up secondary hero. Fortunately, Jensen has Gibs. Jack Marshall Gibson, Grandpop or Gibs to his family and friends, Vietnam vet and man of God. Gibs gives Jens exactly what he needs: love, godly counsel, a good checkers game, and a wake up call. Here are some of Gibs’ best lines:

grandpop gibs crop

You can read about the individual members of the Christiansen Family—each to be the subject of an upcoming novel—here.

Tweetables: “You can’t make yourself & your life whole again. God can.” (Click to Tweet)

“So plan A is a bust. God can make a plan B better than plan A ever would have been.” (Click to Tweet)

“He’d settle for Peace.The kind that let you sleep thru’ the night & look at yourself in the morning.” (Click to Tweet)

Need more details? Here’s the back-cover copy: Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

***Thanks to Susan May Warren, Litfuse, and Tyndale House for providing a copy for me to review. You can purchase Take a Chance on Me at this link. (And remember, the teens in your life will enjoy this book, too!)

About the Author: Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award. A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation. She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. You can find her online at Continue Reading…

Ellie Ginny collage A2When a book plays out like a movie in my head—even after I’ve closed the cover—I know it’s a keeper. And Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska passes that Wish-It-Were-a-Hallmark-Movie test with flying colors. Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss’s novel contains all the elements that capture my imagination: the stunning physical setting, the beautiful, torn-between-two-beaus heroine, the handsome, good-guy hero, and the feisty-but-wise grandma. Plus, there’s an intriguing story from the past told through a box of old letters.

In modern day times, singer Ginny Marshall flies to Alaska while struggling with tough romantic and career choices. She leaves her current boyfriend behind to seek advice from the one person she trusts most in the world, her former fiance, Brett Miller. Then the story shifts to 1928, when heartbroken Ellie McKinley seeks refuge in Alaska from a broken engagement. As governess for the children of grieving missionary Clay Parrish, Ellie learns life lessons that she shares in letters. Her letters profoundly affect Ginny and add depth to this sweetly romantic story.

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska tells the story of two women who run to Alaska when their lives are in crisis. There, God meets them with healing, hope, and love.

This novel is a great read for teens on up! You can purchase your copy from CBD or pre-order/purchase from Amazon here. Or come back to visit me on January 8th, when I’ll be GIVING AWAY LFYIGBA! ***Thanks to the authors for providing a copy for me to review & a copy to share with you!

giveaway begins resize 77

Favorite Quote: “I’m quite certain that before God can ever bless a woman—and use her to impact many—He uses the hammer, the file, and the furnace to do a holy work.” Grandma Ethel, LFYIGBA (Click here to tweet this quote to your peeps!)

TRICIA GOYER is a busy mom of four and wife to John. When she finds a break from cleaning up mountains of toys, she is busy writing fictional tales to delight her readers and non-fiction titles to offer encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has thirty-three books to date as well as 500+ magazine articles. She is a two-time Carol Award winner, and a Christy award and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by Tricia is on the blogging team at and Tricia is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently heads up a Teen Mops Group in Little Rock Arkansas. Tricia is the creator of and hosts a weekly radio podcast Living Inspired. Find out more about Tricia at

OCIEANNA FLEISS has cowritten two historical novels with Tricia Goyer: Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana and Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washing­ton. She has written for several publications, including CBA Marketplace and Guideposts, and contributes a bi-monthly column to the Northwest Christian Author. Ocieanna has edited many of Tricia Goyer’s novels and nonfiction titles. An avid historian, she teaches home-schooled junior high students intense history classes involving considerable research and creative methods of bringing history to life. She lives She lives in the Seattle area with her hus­band and their four children. Find out more about Ocieanna at

This week I’m linking up with Miscellany Monday, Word-filled Wednesday, This and That Thursday, Little Things Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Simply Link, Your Sunday Best, The Simple Things, The Sunday Community, Heart Reflected, Fresh-brewed Sundays, Monday Musings, Covered in Grace, A Mama’s Story, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Tuesdays Unwrapped, Teaching What Is Good, Tuesday Tips, God Bumps, Word-filled Wednesday, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Thursday Favorite Things,Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Legacy Leaver, Favorite Things, Just for Fun Friday, Fellowship Friday, Womanhood with Purpose, Weekend Whatever, and Heart Reflected.

No Safe Harbor

UPDATE: A winner has been chosen! I’m just waiting for details on how you will receive the book before I contact you. Congrats & Merry Christmas!

If you’re partial to turn-of-the-century romantic suspense with a touch of Irish charm, you’ll enjoy Elizabeth Ludwig’s No Safe Harbor. The story begins on Ellis Island in 1897, where the heroine, a young lass named Cara Hamilton, has just arrived from Derry. She meets the hero, a fine braw lad named Rourke Walsh, on the ferry to the mainland. Rourke finds himself quite taken with our Cara’s red hair and innocent eyes. Too bad he has vowed to kill her brother.

At first unaware of the intrigue surrounding her twin brother Eoghan, Cara rents a room, finds a job, and takes every opportunity to search for him. She cannot understand why Eoghan does not come to her. Until, as Booklist puts it, “An evolving series of twists and turns uncovers the truth about her brother, and about Rourke, forcing Cara to make hard decisions to save those she loves. Praised for her past works of historical fiction, Texas-based Christian-fiction-author Ludwig keeps readers on the edge of their seats in this suspenseful romance, interlaced with period detail, as desperation to find her family takes Cara down a hazardous road to loved ones lost and found.”

the quiet man

John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man

No Safe Harbor is a fast-paced, entertaining read. I could easily imagine this book as a Hallmark movie and had fun imagining some of my favorite Irish actors—Maureen O’Hara, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Gabriel Byrne—playing various parts. I hope to meet these characters again in a future book. Thanks so much to Elizabeth Ludwig and her publisher for providing a copy for me to review!

GIVEAWAY: Elizabeth has offered to give a copy of No Safe Harbor to one of you! NOTE: I had trouble sending out the books from last month’s hard copy giveaways, but you don’t have to worry about that. This book will be coming from the publisher.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to be entered in the drawing. (USA only) I’ll let the contest run until Friday, December 21. Feel free to complete any of the bonus entries.

Bonus Entries:

***You can purchase a copy of No Safe Place at this link.

Elisabeth Ludwig

Elizabeth Ludwig

About the author: Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author whose work has been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, and often attends conferences and seminars, where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoyed a wide readership in its first full year, with more than 17,000 visitors in 2011. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in the great state of Texas. You can connect with Elizabeth at her website