Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Love Finds You in Homestead Iowa by Melanie Dobson

This Love Finds You book finds you in Homestead, Iowa,which was part of the Amana colonies, a group of villages based on a Book of Acts way of life. At least as far as the communal life and sharing of work, property and worship is concerned.

Melanie Dobson ushers the reader into a place in time that seems so tranquil that you can almost hear Aaron Copeland's "Simple Gifts" playing softly as a soundtrack. But even though the setting is idyllic, there is a story here with human beings as real as you and me. There's Jacob, a young widower fleeing Chicago with his sick daughter, Cassie, after losing his job in the Panic of '93 and Leisel, who is unhappily betrothed to Emil Hirsch, a young man of whom her father approves. Young people have left the Amana way of life to study and work in the World, leaving their parents to wonder why.

Back in Chicago, the bank where Jacob had been employed is missing a lot of money and fingers are pointing to Jacob. Complications abound, but with every twist and turn of this tale I found myself growing more and more fond of the characters, drawing spiritual conclusions that related strangely to my own life. To me, that is what the best Christian fiction accomplishes. It affirms the love of God for us in spite of the hardships and heartaches that may come our way.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa

Summerside Press (March 1, 2010)


Melanie Dobson


Melanie Beroth Dobson is the author of the inspirational novels Together for Good (2006), Going for Broke (2007), The Black Cloister (2008), Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana (2009), Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (2010), Refuge on Crescent Hill (2010), and The Silent Order (2010) as well as the co-author of Latte for One and Loving It! A Single Woman's Guide to Living Life to Its Fullest (2000).

Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Jon works in the field of computer animation. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their new home in the Pacific Northwest.

Jon and Melanie have adopted their two daughters —Karly (6) and Kinzel (5). When Melanie isn't writing or entertaining their girls, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, traveling, hiking, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.


Times are hard in 1894. Desperate for work, former banker Jacob Hirsch rides the rails west from Chicago with his four-year-old daughter, Cassie. When a life-threatening illness strands the pair in Homestead, Iowa, the local Amana villagers welcome the father and daughter into their peaceful society. Liesel, a young Amana woman, nurses Cassie back to health, and the Homestead elders offer Jacob work. But Jacobs growing interest in Liesel complicates his position in the Amanas. Will he fight to stay in the only place that feels like home, even if it means giving up the woman he loves? Or will Liesel leave her beloved community to face the outside world with Jacob and Cassie at her side?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Heart Of Stone
Zondervan (March 1, 2010)


Jill Marie Landis


Jill Marie Landis is the bestselling author of over twenty novels. She has won numerous awards for her sweeping emotional romances, such as Summer Moon and Magnolia Creek. In recent years, as market demands turned to tales of vampires, erotica, and hotter, sexier historical romances, Jill turned to writing Inspirational Western Romances for Steeple Hill Books. She truly feels back in the saddle again, working on stories that are a joy to write. With her toes in the sand and head in the clouds, Jill now lives in Hawaii with her husband, Steve.


Laura Foster, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past.

When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand’s reputation would be ruined. But it’d not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring Brand down─it’s also his own.

When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand’s future? Or is it worth risking his name─and her heart─by telling him the truth?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Heart Of Stone, go HERE


Heart Of Stone is book one in the Irish Angels series by best selling author Jill Marie Landis. The saga begins in New Orleans with Lovie, the oldest of four orphaned immigrant sisters. The girls were the daughters of Irish laborers brought in to dig what was known as the Irish Channel. I hadn't ever heard of the Irish Channel until reading Heart of Stone and was appreciative of the historical and cultural detail flavoring this time period, which was approaching the end of slavery in the U.S.

The story picks up in 1874. Lovie has already had a lifetime's worth of experience and is starting over in a small town in Texas. She has been separated from her sisters and has changed her name to Laura Foster, a widow operating a boarding house for women and families. She is thought to be a respectable and cultured widow by the townspeople, and by all appearances she is. But appearances can be deceiving as we all know, and therein lies the story, the mystery, the adventure and the heartbreak... okay, so I can get a little swept up in the drama... but it's good. I promise you that.

Jill Marie Landis is the kind of author that leaves you wanting more, and so it's a good thing Book Two is on it's way. It's called Heart of Lies. I can't wait!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

I read a lot of stories that are set in different time periods and I enjoy them. Especially if they have a compelling plot and message, preferably something that strengthens my faith or encourages me spiritually while challenging me to be better than I am. I know that's a pretty tall order...

Liz Curtis Higgs's Here Burns My Candle encompasses it all. In this book, she writes Historical Fiction that is an allegory of the story of Ruth. She delves into the detail of eighteenth century Scotland where the city of Edinburgh is at a crossroads. The people must decide whether or not they shall continue to be loyal to the English king or join the Highland rebels known as the Jacobites in order to put a Stuart on the thrown. I felt as if I were in the midst of the throngs of people listening in to their passionate conversations. Opinions are everywhere and freely given when the stakes are low, but when things heat up and lives and fortunes are on the line, the scuttle dies away and some are left holding the bag of blame.

The theme of love, loyalty and faithfulness are as relevant today as they were in the book of Ruth, and in 1745 Scotland.

We named our daughter Rachael Stuart after some infamous ancestors on my husbands maternal grandmother's side. So you know where I stand.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Here Burns My Candle

WaterBrook Press (March 16, 2010)


Liz Curtis Higgs


In her best-selling series of Bad Girls of the Bible books, workbooks, and videos, Liz Curtis Higgs breathes new life into ancient tales about the most infamous—and intriguing—women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Mary Magdalene. Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, these popular titles have helped more than one million women around the world experience God's grace anew. Her best-selling historical novels, which transport the stories of Rebecca, Leah, Rachel, and Dinah to eighteenth-century Scotland, have also helped her readers view these familiar characters in a new light. And her nonfiction book, Embrace Grace, winner of a 2007 Retailers Choice Award, presents her message of hope in an engaging and personal way, speaking directly to the hearts of her readers.

A veteran speaker, Liz has presented more than 1,600 encouraging programs for audiences in all 50 states and 10 foreign countries: South Africa, Indonesia, Germany, France, England, Canada, Ecuador, Scotland, Portugal, and New Zealand. In 1995, she received the Council of Peers Award for Excellence from the National Speakers Association, becoming one of only 32 women in the world named to their CPAE-Speaker Hall of Fame.

Feature articles about Liz have appeared in more than 250 major newspapers and magazines across the country, as well as online with Salon.com, Beliefnet.com and Spirituality.com. She has also been interviewed on more than 600 radio and television stations, including guest appearances on PBS, A&E, MSNBC, NPR, TBN with Kirk Cameron, CBC Canada, BBC Radio Scotland, Rhema Broadcasting New Zealand, Radio Pulpit South Africa, LifeToday with James Robison, Focus on the Family, Janet Parshall's America, 100 Huntley Street and Midday Connection.

Liz is the author of twenty-six books, with more than three million copies in print.

Her fiction includes two contemporary novels, one novella, and four historical novels. And she has written five books for young children.


A mother who cannot face her future.

A daughter who cannot escape her past.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.

Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.

His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.

One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.

A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

Watch the book video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Here Burns My Candle, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

There are no Coincidences...

So here's a small one. I had just finished reading Liz Curtis Higgs book, Here Burns My Candle when my sister Kate called in from Boston and said "I'm lighting the candles that you bought for me when we were in Kennebunkport".
Yeah, it's small, but sometimes a little thing can be a whisper from the Holy Spirit just to affirm. A soft spoken Hello.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Back from Cabo

"Don't cry for me... Alabama!"- William Shattner

The good thing was that it was great to get away with my husband.

Cabo was coldish (for a desert). It even rained. It never rains there in March.
When I was a child, I dreamt of going to exotic locations,and they are great.

Sadly, I'm not much of an explorer.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Hearts Awakening

Bethany House (March 1, 2010)


Delia Parr


Delia Parr, pen name for Mary Lechleidner, is the author of 10 historical novels and the winner of several awards, including the Laurel Wreath Award for Historical Romance and the Aspen Gold Award for Best Inspirational Book. She is a full-time high school teacher who spends her summer vacations writing and kayaking. The mother of three grown children, she lives in Collingswood, New Jersey.


Two people in desperate circumstances. Life has left few choices for Elvira Kilmer. Her hopes for marriage and a family of her own have long since passed her by, and her arrival on Dillon's Island, nestled in the Susquehanna River, is not of her choosing, either.

She needs work. And Jackson Smith needs a housekeeper. Yet Ellie never imagined the widower would be so young...so handsome. Jackson, on the other hand, has never met anyone quite so...plain. But he quickly comes to realize that Ellie's presence may solve his own problems--both the rearing of his young boys and the scandal that surrounds his first marriage.

When Jackson offers her something quite out of the ordinary, will Ellie look beyond mere necessity and risk opening her heart?

Yet what options does she have? To marry would mean a home and stability. So despite the rumors circling Jackson and his first wife, Ellie accepts this unlikely proposal...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hearts Awakening, go HERE.

Monday, March 1, 2010

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Somewhere to Belong

Bethany House (March 1, 2010)


Judith Miller


Most readers want to know how authors 'got started' writing. My first novel, Threads of Love, was conceived when I was commuting sixty miles to work each day. I had absolutely no idea how publication of a book occurred and had given no thought to the concept. However, through a co-worker, I was directed to Tracie Peterson who, at that time, worked down the hall from me.

With a graciousness that continues to amaze me, Tracie agreed to read my story, directed me to a publisher, and gave me information on a Christian writers conference. Since that first encounter many years ago, I have been blessed with the publication of numerous books, novellas and a juvenile fiction book. Joyously, Tracie and I had the opportunity to develop a blessed friendship. In fact, we have co-authored several series together, including The Bells of Lowell, the Lights of Lowell and The Broadmoor Legacy. In addition, I have continued to write several solo series.

Note: Judith Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her novels, two of which have placed in the CBA top ten lists. In addition to her writing, Judy is a certified legal assistant. Judy and her husband make their home in Topeka, Kansas.


Johanna Ilg has lived her entire life in Main Amana, one of the seven villages settled by devout Christians who believe in cooperative living, a simple lifestyle, and faithful service to God. Although she’s always longed to see the outside world, Johanna believes her future is rooted in Amana. But when she learns a troubling secret, the world she thought she knew is shattered. Is this truly where she belongs?

Berta Schumacher has lived a privileged life in Chicago, so when her parents decide they want a simpler life in Amana, Iowa, she resists. Under the strictures of the Amana villages, her rebellion reaches new heights. Will her heart ever be content among the plain people of Amana?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Somewhere to Belong , go HERE