Friday, January 28, 2011

The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy

Patti Lacy's writing theme is "Spanning Seas and Secrets" and her novel Rhythm of Secrets takes her brand of fiction to the absolute limit and back again.

The Rhythm of Secrets chronicles Sheila Franklin as she grows from precocious child in 1940's New Orleans to the respectable wife of a pastor who is on the cusp of the political grass roots conservative movement in 1969.

Her husband, Edward, has no idea that his lovely wife has allowed herself to be swallowed up in his dream to the point where she has lost the richness of her soul.  She has dutifully denied her passion and joie de vivre in exchange for safety and rules that will ensure that no hint- or even appearance- of sin or scandal will damage the congregation.

One day Sheila receives a phone call from a young soldier and the walls come tumbling down.

Secrets are exhumed and one by one they are revealed.  Sheila must choose between her safe, Christian life, or risk everything in order to reconcile her true self with the woman she has become.

Sheila Franklin's road to redemption is paved with loss, shattered dreams , star crossed lovers and unrepentant users.  Along the way, she finds help and love in unlikely places.  Signposts point the way, sometimes in neon, sometimes in random acts of kindness.

I was reminded of how God's grace flows through time, perhaps to help just one person become free of their chains and bondage.  He uses the ugliness of past mistakes in order to rescue one lost soul from the mire.

Patti's  love of the Crescent City or the Big Easy as it's sometimes called, its music and people gives a richness and depth to this story spanning the 1940's to the Vietnam era.

Patti Lacy's iconoclastic style confronts prejudice and invites the reader to break free of stereotypes and soar with the Saviour in grace and freedom.

Please read on for more about this wonderful book.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Rhythm of Secrets
Kregel Publications (December 22, 2010)
Patti Lacy


Patti Lacy, Baylor graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw. She has two grown children and a dog named Laura. She and her husband can be seen jog-walking the streets of Normal, Illinois, an amazing place to live for a woman born in a car. For more information, visit Patti's website at, her blog at, and her Facebook daily Artbites.  


Sheila Franklin has masqueraded as the precocious daughter of avant-garde parents in colorful 1940s New Orleans, a teen desperate for love and acceptance, and an unwed mother sent North with her shame.

After marrying Edward, Sheila artfully masks her secrets, allowing Edward to gain prominence as a conservative pastor. When one phone call from a disillusioned Vietnam veteran destroys her cover, Sheila faces an impossible choice: save her son and his beloved…or imperil Edward’s ambitions.

Inspired by a true story, The Rhythm of Secrets intermingles jazz, classical, and sacred music in a symphony trumpeting God’s grace.


“A vibrant journey across time in search of the greatest truth of all: grace.”—Tosca Lee, author of Havah: The Story of Eve and Demon: A Memoir

“No longer a ‘well-kept secret,’ Patti Lacy is a master storyteller who speaks to the soul with a powerful and unique rhythm, weaving a tale so emotionally rich that story and reader become one.”—Julie Lessman, author of The Daughters of Boston series and A Hope Undaunted
“Patti Lacy pens another beautifully written story in The Rhythm of Secrets. I couldn’t put it down!”—Melanie Dobson, award-winning author of The Black Cloister
“The Rhythm of Secrets is a stirring story of faith and endurance that will keep readers turning the page until every last secret is revealed.”—Tina Ann Forkner, author of Ruby Among Us and Rose House

If you would like to read an excerpt of Rhythm of Secrets, go HERE.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Angel Harp by Michael Phillips

I am smack dab in the middle of Angel Harp as I write this and I am thoroughly absorbed in a wonderful journey of epiphanies and revelations.

Phillips' style is a bit reminiscent of Daphne DuMuarier's Rebecca, not a bad thing at all, written flawlessly in the first person. The reader is drawn into the life of Marie Buchan, a widow who realizes that her life is passing by and she's in a rut, a somewhat pleasant rut, but a rut none-the-less.  She decides to take a trip to Scotland where she and her dead husband had always wanted to travel, but never did.

Michael Phillips weaves a story replete with mystery and history. Cliffs and castles. Music and theology. Tea and scones.

If you have any prior love of or fascination with Scotland and long for a brilliant yarn -the story kind- although there are some sheep that act as minor characters, please do yourself a favor and get this book.

Oh, please excuse me, I really must be getting back... I have a date with a duke, or is it the curate?  Maybe I'll just play my harp by the cliff overlooking the sea... Danger? What danger???

Read on for more information about Angel Harp!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Angel Harp
FaithWords (January 26, 2011)
Michael Phillips


Michael Phillips has been writing in the Christian marketplace for 30 years. All told, he has written, co-written, and edited some 110 books. Phillips and his wife live in the U.S., and make their second home in Scotland.  


Widowed at 34, amateur harpist Marie "Angel" Buchan realizes at 40 that her life and dreams are slowly slipping away. A summer in Scotland turns out to offer far more than she ever imagined! Not only does the music of her harp capture the fancy of the small coastal village she visits, she is unexpectedly drawn into a love triangle involving the local curate and the local duke.

The boyhood friends have been estranged as adults because of their mutual love of another woman (now dead) some years before. History seems destined to repeat itself, with Marie in the thick of it. Her involvement in the lives of the two men, as well as in the community, leads to a range of exciting relationships and lands Marie in the center of the mystery of a long-unsolved local murder. Eventually she must make her decision: with whom will she cast the lot of her future?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Angel Harp, go HERE

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Someone to Blame by C.S.Lakin

"Of all the forms of wisdom, hindsight is by general consent the least merciful, the most unforgiving."
                                                                                             John Fletcher

I had a feeling that Someone to Blame would rock my world and I was right. I love being right, but what I wasn't expecting was a roller coaster ride with the theme being my deepest, darkest fears.  As a parent of teenagers (see Saturday's blog)  I would do anything to protect my kids from harm in all of its forms.  We all would.  So therein lies my deepest fear.

Someone to Blame is the story of the aftermath of tragedy.  A parent's nightmare.

Meet the Moores. They are an average, middle-class church going family.  Mom Irene is a teacher, Dad Matt a contractor, Daniel the troubled, difficult child, Jesse the happy-go-lucky kid, and Casey the proud and fiercely loyal sister. They didn't even know that they were a family hanging on by a thread when the unthinkable happens and both boys end up dead.

The Moores move to a town called Breakers, a place where no one knows their name or the grief they have endured. Their identity is now that of a family broken by losing their sons, one to an accident, one to despair. Now they know that they are hanging on by a thread.

Breakers in the late fall and early winter is gray and rocky and the townspeople, though most are nice enough, have made some interesting life choices. When a young and shifty drifter comes to town and trouble ensues, they must decide whether or not to take the law into their own hands.

Someone to Blame explores the natural outcome of bitterness, fear, and revenge left to fester in the human heart and mind.  C.S. Lakin spares no one as truth is exposed in order for healing to have a chance.

C.S.Lakin said in an interview that this book "morphed into a study of the way we blame ourselves, God, and others for the pain we have in life." (Check out the whole interview by Kim at Window to My World).

This book will challenge the way you look at life.  Oh, Mom's out there, there is one place in this book where you will want to stand up and cheer!

Live. Love. Laugh. Tell them you love them.

Read on for more about this book.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Someone To Blame
Zondervan (September 21, 2010)
C. S. Lakin


C. S. Lakin is a novelist and professional copyeditor and writing coach. She is currently working on her eleventh novel, a contemporary family saga drawn from the biblical story of Jacob. Someone to Blame(Zondervan), an intense relational drama and winner of the 2009 First Novel contest, released in October 2010, and she is also the author of the allegorical adult fantasy series The Gates of Heaven, featuring The Wolf of Tebron and the upcoming release The Map Across Time (March 2011). She is currently completing her tenth novel and developing a dog memoir of epic proportion.


In the wake of heartrending family tragedies, Matt and Irene Moore move with their fourteen-year-old daughter, Casey, to a small town. Their goal is to get far away from the daily reminders that leave each of them raw and guilt-ridden. Their hope is to find redemption, repair, and renewal. Instead, the threads that hold them together unravel even more.

Breakers, a small community perched on the rocky coast of the Pacific Northwest, is draped with cold isolation that seems to mirror the hearts. As they settle into their new life, old grief settles with them. Matt is always on edge and easily angered, Irene is sad and pensive, and Casey is confused and defiant. They've once more set the stage for calamity. Into this mix comes Billy Thurber, a young drifter with his own conflicts, whose life unexpectedly entangles with the Moores'.

His arrival in Breakers parallels a rash of hateful and senseless crimes, and soon the whole town -- eager for someone to blame -- goes after Thurber with murderous intent. Out of this dangerous chaos, however, the Moores find unexpected grace and healing in a most unlikely way.  

If you would like to read the first chapter of Someone To Blame, go HERE.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Five Little Indians

      These are my babies!  Jonathan, Samuel, Rachael and Joshua (in the back) Elsa, front and center!  Pretty cute, huh? 

They're so cool and sophisticated now, but imagine me, fifteen years or so ago, trying to navigate a parking lot with these guys in tow- and a grocery cart... oh yeah, it was something...

Now they're so big and I'd give anything to do it all over again!

So... little or big... tell them you love them.
They fly away so quickly. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Courting Miss Amsel
Bethany House (January 1, 2011)
Kim Vogel Sawyer


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren.


Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a strong believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?

Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council hired a female teacher to replace the ruthless man who terrorized his nephews for the past two years. Having raised the boys on his own since their parents' untimely deaths, Joel believes they will benefit from a woman's influence. But he sure didn't bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel.

Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods, which include collecting leaves, catching bugs, making snow angels, and stringing ropes in strange patterns all over the schoolyard. Joel can't help but notice that she's also mighty pretty with her rosy lips, fashionable clothes, and fancy way of speaking.

When Edythe decides to take her pupils to hear Miss Susan Anthony speak on the women's suffrage amendment, the town's outcry reaches new heights. Even Joel isn't sure he can support her newfangled ideas any longer. And if he can't trust her to know how to teach the boys, how can he trust her with his heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Courting Miss Amsel, go HERE.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

The Girl in the Gatehouse is set in the Regency period, which is the era of Jane Austen.  The story echoes plots and themes that Jane Austen used in her published works.  I caught wind of everything from Pride and Prejudice, to Northanger Abbey to Mansfield Park whose character, Maria Bertram, Julie informs us, was the inspiration for Mariah, her heroine.

Jane Austen's work has been described as "brushstrokes on ivory" light layers of color and innuendo on the pure substance of ivory, representing perhaps, the social structure and manners of the time.  Julie Klassen's characters may echo Jane's, almost as if she laid a transparency of Austen's books over a bright light, but then she turns on a switch to make them come to life in a new and original way.  Julie creates characters with depth, style and meaning all their own.

I loved the plot twists and surprises nestled into this gem of a book.  Ms. Klassen began each chapter with a cool quote,  giving a snippet of insight into the period and wisdom of the day.

Calling all Janites to read The Girl in the Gatehouse.

Tea and discussion to follow!!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Girl in the Gatehouse
Bethany House (January 1, 2011)
Julie Klassen


Julie says: My background is in advertising and marketing, but I am blessed with a dream job—working as an editor of Christian fiction. I have been writing since childhood, but Lady of Milkweed Manor was my first novel. It was a finalist for a Christy Award and won second place in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards. My second novel, The Apothecary's Daughter, was a finalist in the ACFW Book of the Year awards. I am currently writing one novel a year.

I graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends.

My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.


Miss Mariah Aubrey, banished after a scandal, hides herself away in a long-abandoned gatehouse on the far edge of a distant relative's estate. There, she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how--by writing novels in secret.

Captain Matthew Bryant, returning to England successful and wealthy after the Napoleonic wars, leases an impressive estate from a cash-poor nobleman, determined to show the society beauty who once rejected him what a colossal mistake she made.

When he discovers an old gatehouse on the property, he is immediately intrigued by its striking young inhabitant and sets out to uncover her identity, and her past. But the more he learns about her, the more he realizes he must distance himself. Falling in love with an outcast would ruin his well-laid plans. The old gatehouse holds secrets of its own. Can Mariah and Captain Bryant uncover them before the cunning heir to the estate buries them forever?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Girl in the Gatehouse, go HERE

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

Now that the hols are officially over and done.  What next?  There are so many things I would love to try. Painting.  Writing. Crocheting.  I promised my sister a scarf... for Christmas!!!  The problem is, I can use every creative endeavor as a procrastination device.  For example, if I have a book review due, suddenly I simply must take the dog for a walk.  Or clean. Or crochet. Or watch the remaining Falalala Lifetime movies in my recorded uverse area (to make room for more recordings).

A friend suggested that I write things down, so that I have a visual of what I would like to accomplish.  It can be simple, like cleaning out the sink, or more ambitious- write four pages- not going to happen but I can dream...

Okay, Pearl, let's go for a walk...