Saturday, May 21, 2016

Surrender to Peace by Rose Allen McCauley

Surrender to Peace
by
(Olivia Kimbrell Press 2015) 

~~"I had to come to the point of total surrender, giving up what I wanted, and being willing to accept whatever He wanted..."~~(Ramona p.58)


The book brought this line to life. An easy read that wasn't about conflicts. It wasn't about a whirlwind romance. It wasn't about fighting against God's will.

It was a love story--a sweet and simple love story about surrendering your heart.

As I read Joy's and Benigno's story, I came to realize that another love story was unfolding--God's love story.

As the words breezed into my mind, as I pictured myself on the beaches and streets of Puerto Rico, peace settled over me. 

And the title says it all "Surrender to Peace". Only then can love shine and the voice of God be heard.

If you want a sweet, timeless love story written in the vein of Henry van Dyke, then Rose Allen McCauley brought one to you. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mail Order Surprise by Lucy Thompson

Mail Order Surprise
by
(Forget Me Not Romances 2016)

Western romances seem to be the rage in historical romances lately. There are so many and most seem to be cookie cutters of each other, but not so with Lucy Thompson's Mail Order Surprise. She exceeds a Mary Connealy book or a Colleen Coble novel with her wit and humor.


To me it was a fresh take on the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers theme. The surprises that cropped up in the story were unexpected and pleasant. 

At times I wondered why Lydia did the things she did, and it made sense once the ending was reached. "Ah, yeah, that makes sense now. I don't blame her one bit" was my reaction. 

Reading this novel was almost like watching not just the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but also a John Wayne flick like McClintock and others. The brothers interacted with each other in such a natural way. Lydia and the children seemed to be a natural extension of that family. The love that developed between Beau and Lydia was what was expected of an arranged marriage, but one that was orchestrated by God. 

Mail Order Surprise brought a real type of Western life, complete with tough gals and chivalrous cowboys and yet a touch of the gentile. The ending sets the reader up with a foreshadowing of another Lucy Thompson story and one that would be just as entertaining as this one.

 

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Madonna of Pisano by MaryAnn Diorio

by
(TopNotch Press 2015) 

MaryAnn Diorio uncovers a deeply moving story of how sin can fester and unravel lives. Though the sin that was brought upon Maria was not her own, she harbored for seven long years vengeance against the one who destroyed her life and dreams.

As a teen, my favorite novel from school was The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This novel by Diorio is a new, fresh retelling of the age-old tale.

Don Franco learns that sin, no matter how hard you deny it or try to keep it quiet, will rear its ugly head to wreak havoc upon a soul and body. Whereas Luca realizes that sin can disguise itself in the least suspecting of souls. And Maria learns that freedom comes with true forgiveness through the Grace of God.


The Madonna of Pisano brought to life not only the world of religious corruption, but also an inside look at Catholicism--even priests are human--, but also the hypocrisy of a small village. 

As Maria states: You believed a priest over a woman. A pastor over a violated parishioner. A so-called saint over a so-called sinner.

Those words hit hard, for we all are guilty to some degree of that accusation.

Diorio is also able to weave symbolism throughout. The sparrow and the crow come to mind; as does the storm which is no respecter to anyone in its destruction.

So natural was the faith in the story, the reader will feel the conviction and the freedom that God brings to the characters.

This a complex and inspirational book that is character driven in its content. I look forward to more about Bella Terra and more from MaryAnn Diorio.