Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IN EVERY HEARTBEAT, by Kim Vogel Sawyer

In Every Heartbeat explores the lives of three best friends who grew up in the same orphanage and have been granted scholarships to the same college. Libby Conley’s heart’s desire is to become a journalist. The other two orphans, Pete Leidig and Bennett Martin, have conflicting plans. Pete has always dreamed of being a pastor, while all Bennett wants to do is belong somewhere—no matter what the cost.

During the course of her goal to excel at journalism, Libby makes a shocking discovery that threatens Pete’s ambitions. This discovery sends each of the three friends down unexpected paths. The twists the story takes from this point will keep the reader engrossed.

In Every Heartbeat examines the hurts that Libby, Pete and Bennett carry within that propel them toward their diverse goals. The novel is set just prior to World War One, and Sawyer adds excellent detail to make the time period come alive. Fans of Sawyer’s historical fiction will fall in love with In Every Heartbeat.

I love the cover picture! If you’ve already read this book, I’d love to hear from you with your thoughts on the story.

(My thanks to Bethany House for providing my review copy.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CHOOSING TO SEE, by Mary Beth Chapman with Ellen Vaughn

Subtitled, "A Journey of Struggle and Hope," Choosing to SEE is Mary Beth Chapman's story of her life. When I first received the book, I expected it to be about the Chapman family's tragic loss of their daughter Maria in 2008.

Choosing to SEE is that, but it's so much more. Mary Beth begins her story with her growing-up years. She tells of her life in candid fashion, which makes her a real person rather than merely the wife of a Christian music artist. Her personal struggles will strike a chord with many readers.

The driving force behind Choosing to SEE is her honesty. As she says more than once, her life is nothing like what she had planned. She introduces the reader to her husband, Steven Curtis Chapman, as a young man struggling with career choices, and her own struggles learning to be a wife. The book details the births of their children, then goes on to share what first interested them in adopting children from China.

The book turns from narrative to short personal reflections in the second half. Mary Beth strives to make sense of what has happened in her family, sharing thoughts and feelings with which many who have lost a loved one will identify. As she grows in her understanding of God's ways, her words bring hope to her readers. Choosing to SEE is a profound story of one woman's search for God in the midst of darkness. You will finish the book feeling you've had a glimpse into her soul.

Monday, October 11, 2010

LADY IN WAITING, by Susan Meissner

Lady in Waiting is the story of two Janes, separated by centuries. Jane Lindsay is an antiques dealer in Manhattan, comfortable in her twenty-two year marriage--until the day her husband leaves. Soon afterward, she discovers a jeweled ring in a shipment of antiques from England. The name inscribed inside the band is "Jane."
Jane Lindsay is captivated by her find, and here Lady in Waiting takes the reader to 16th century England and the life of Lady Jane Gray. At its heart, Lady in Waiting is a novel about the choices each Jane is forced to make. Both stories are fascinating. It's hard to say which one I enjoyed most.
Meissner is a gifted author. I loved her earlier book, The Shape of Mercy, which also shifts between time periods. Her novels are a delight for both those who enjoy the skilled use of language,and anyone looking for an absorbing read.
I wholeheartedly recommend Lady in Waiting.