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The written word has always been a joy for me.  I can not remember a time in my life when I did not have books. Before I was able to read them, my mother read books to me. As soon as I could read independently I was never without a book in my hands or very nearby.  As years passed, writing developed into a passion for me as well. I tried novel writing while home with my two children during their early years and was challenged to focus on the craft.  I never gave up the love even when I had to give up the pursuit.  Now, with grown children and the fact I am sitting on the other side of fifty I can pursue my dream of writing.  I have continued the reading quest but now the writing is attainable as well.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Waiting for Morning

        "Life took place on the  enemy's ground. And the enemy would always allow drunk driving and senseless murder..."   Hannah Ryan, in Karen Kingsbury's novel, Waiting for Morning, realized this when she finally forgave  the man who had torn her perfect family apart.
        Hannah Ryan's life as she had always known it was destroyed one afternoon by the senseless act of one man, driving under the influence of alcohol.  In one fated moment Hannah's oldest daughter, and beloved husband were torn from her life along with her sense of trust in God.
        The ripple effect of her grief encompasses the lives of both Hannah, and her surviving daughter, Jenny, as Hannah doggedly pursues the arrest and conviction of the drunk driver, Brian Wesley.

        Jenny feels abandoned by her deceased sister and father and equally by her anger and grief stricken mother.  Jenny begins to court the idea of suicide because she only wants to be with her father and sister in their new home with Jesus, where she will feel loved once again.
        Hannah,  has lost her faith in God.  Once a strong Christian woman, now Hannah is bitter and feels that if God had really loved her, He would have never torn her perfect family apart.  Where Jenny wants to be with Jesus, Hannah wants to run as far away from her Christian faith as she can.
         Karen Kingsbury does an incredible job of portraying the emotions and unfathomable loss of a mother and sister in the depth of tragedy and heartache.  Kingsbury takes the brave approach of creating a character who does not at first embrace forgiveness as a Christian is supposed to do.  Most Christian inspired literature spouts repetitive dialogue about being forgiven and giving absolution to our fellow man. Though this is a foundation of the Christian theology, Kingsbury understands and exposes the humanity of her character in Waiting for Morning,  by acknowledging that even devout, "good" Christians can become bitter and fall away from the faith, yet find their way back to God and healing.

         Kingsbury was eloquent in creating characters that inspired the reader to hurt for their losses and rage for the injustice then cheer for the acceptance of forgiveness and healing grace.
This reader thoroughly enjoyed Kingsbury's novel, Waiting for Morning. The realism of the plot and the response of the characters made her story one that will be remembered and shared.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Monday, September 7, 2015

Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion

     As a born and raised Lutheran, I grew up learning about the history and love story of Martin Luther and his wife, Katharina von Bora.  Therefore, I had high expectations for Jody Hedlund's new book, Luther and Katharina. I am thrilled to say that I was not disappointed.
      Luther and Katharina is a charming and poignant love story of a man driven by his goals to reform the Catholic church, and defying all odds not only does God's will, but in the process finds the love of his life in the form of a runaway nun, Katharina von Bora. 
     Upon orchestrating an escape with fellow nuns from the Marienthron Abbey, Katharina goes to Martin Luther at the Black Cloister for assistance.  Luther's letters exalting scandalous reforms of the church have inspired the nuns to abandon their home and their vows and pursue an earthly life seeking marriage and family.  The journey to the Black Cloister is rife with dangers that follow the nuns into their new lives. In time all the nuns are married to suitable husbands, all at least but one, the strong-minded Katharina von Bora.
      Luther is hunted by church and nobility and stricken with poor health and melancholy, yet he never waivers in his convictions. Katharina has left her life at the abbey behind her, but has a difficult time leaving the rituals and ideals of the church behind as well. This causes a continual strife between Martin and Katharina, however the more their tempers flare, the more their desires ignite. In the end God's will for Martin, Katharina, and his church prevails.
     The culmination of plot and intrigue makes Hedlund's book a delightful page turner.  I knew the story of the historical pair, yet spent the time reading Hedlund's book nervous and rooting for  the two to unite.  Every fight, every danger had me gulping down more pages to ensure that they would finally find common ground and acknowledge their love and commitment to each other.  
      Hedlund has created a literary treasure. In addition to the entertaining writing, Hedlund includes a reader's guide and a list of characters in her book, to aid the reader.
      I would recommend Hedlund's book, Martin and Katharina, to any reader who enjoys a good historical fiction with truly more fact than just fiction in the story. 
FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review