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The Writing Desk - Book Review | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

The Writing Desk – Book Review

Book Description:

Tenley Roth’s first book was a literary and commercial success. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who merely found a bit of luck?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Yet her life is not her own. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams of her own. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has literally destroyed her dreams, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds. Yet when Tenley discovers Birdie’s manuscript, their lives intersect. Birdie’s words help Tenley find a way home. Tenley brings Birdie’s writing to the world.

Can two women separated by time help fulfill each other’s destiny?

Review:

I feel like I need to start by saying that I love everything written by Rachel Hauck.  So, you shouldn’t be surprised when I say that I loved this book!

The Writing Desk is a multi-generational story set in the Gilded Age, as well as the present.  It is a story of love, loss, regret, faith, forgiveness, and do-overs. The characters are well-developed and lovable with such enchanting story lines that you don’t want to stop reading until you know what has happened to each of them.  And the plot twists are the cherries on top!  I have to cut this review short, or I might give too much of the story away.  But that desk, and it’s story! I love it!

I love to write, and reading about two writers and their challenges hit home for me.  But you don’t have to be a writer for it to hit home.  The Writing Desk is also about mothers and daughters, life lessons, and love.  Ever feel like just staying in your PJs all day? Well, then you will find something to relate to in this fabulous novel.

 

 

The Writing Desk Book Cover The Writing Desk
Rachel Hauck
Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary
Zondervan
July 10, 2017
eARC
352
Received an advanced eARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Book Reviews

The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd – A Review

Winterwood
The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

Book Description:

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything.

Amelia
Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies
family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby.
She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing
to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.

When the
child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting at
her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of
their love for this little one.

Amelia’s detailed plans would
normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s
forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s
strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much
respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own
discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.

Both must learn to have faith and relinquish control so they can embrace the future ahead of them.

Review:

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful book!

I have been on a historical fiction kick of late, and this might just be the best that I've read in a long time. I would recommend it to everyone!

Sarah E. Ladd was able to write a story with a goulash of genres. First off, it is a historical fiction with a little bit of romance, adventure, suspense, and faith mixed in. The characters were realistic, and most were very likable. Ladd was able to paint very vivid scenes with her words, which made me feel like I could've been there.

Beware, I am still trying to catch up on sleep after reading this book. Once you start, you will not want to put it down. In fact, this is the first in a series to be written by Ms. Ladd, and I cannot wait for the next book to come out.

I was given a copy from Thomas Nelson via booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Book Reviews

Secretly Smitten – A Book Review

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Secretly Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, & Denise Hunter

I just have to say that I haven't always been a fan of romance novels. In fact, I just recently started reading them. Okay, within a year or so. I am very picky about the romances I read though, they must be Christian Romances because I don't enjoy reading smut. 

Book Description:

Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?

The mystery intrigues Rose’s three granddaughters—Tess, Clare, and Zoe—and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?

Join popular romance novelists—and real-life BFFs—Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.

Review:

I am pretty sure that Secretly Smitten is the first novella I have ever read.

What caught my interest in this title was the mystery. I was intrigued after reading the book description. Whoever wrote that blurb did an excellent job! 

If you are not familiar with novellas then let me tell you about them. A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. (from wikipedia) I loved the way one story flows into the next just as all streams flow into the sea. The transition from one story to the next was so smooth that I forgot that I was reading writings by four different authors.

Apparently, this is the second book in the Smitten series. I was not aware of this when I read this title. Now I am looking forward to reading the first book, Smitten. Obviously, these ladies work very well together. They have created Smitten, a small town in Vermont, that has me wanting to plan a romantic weekend there. Are there any towns like this in real life?  And they have created characters that could live just down the road from any one of us. 

This novella is not overly sappy, has a great mystery to it, and leaves you wanting to know more. I am looking forward to the third book in this series!

This book was provided for free from Thomas Nelson, through Booksneeze, in exchange for my honest review.

Family

A Valentine’s Day to Remember

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Tuesday was Valentine's Day, and I am sure each and every one of you acknowledged it in some form or fashion.  I love Valentine's Day, but I don't know why.  I guess because it is a day where we can profess our love to the special people in our lives.  This year I have changed my mind about Valentine's Day. 

Let me explain.

We attended a funeral on Tuesday.  Yep, a funeral on Valentine's Day.  As I stood there listening to the scripture reading, I watched the deceased's nephew tell us how he knew his uncle is now in Heaven.  It was the best scripture reading I think I've ever heard at a funeral.  Next came the eulogy, and it was the longest eulogy in the history of eulogys.  Don't get me wrong it was a great eulogy, but I was standing.  Standing in heels, mind you.  It was nice to hear things about our friend that we never knew.  Funny stories, accomplishments, and orneryness.  I think everyone learned something new about him the day he was laid to rest. 

During the scripture reading, I remembered the videos that my sister sent McD and I that morning.  The videos were of our nephews wishing us a Happy Valentine's Day.  As I watched this grown man's bottom lip start to quiver just the slightest bit, something hit me.   At one time, his uncle was probably one of his Valentines.  When we were kids everyone was our Valentine.  We didn't just give one Valentine, we bought packages of 20 or 40.  We gave them to our aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. 

Let me tell you, it is hard to watch someone you care about stand in front of a congregation reading scripture and talking about his uncle.  It is really hard to watch as his lip quivers.  Thank goodness my feet were hurting.  I would have lost it right then and there if I didn't have something else to focus on, because all of these thoughts swirling around in my head were not helping.

I watched the children, step-children, grand-children, nieces, nephews, brother, and wife sit there and mourn the loss of their Valentine. 

Funerals always seem to make me want to hold my loved ones closer, see them more often, and let them know that I love them, and this funeral was no different.  The fact that it was on Valentine's Day did change the way I will look at that particular day. 

I will continue to send Valentine's to the kids, don't get me wrong, that part won't change. 

I'm getting ready to call McD out here, sorry McD. 

This V-Day McD forgot all about it.  Romantic, huh?  At first I was a little upset.  I mean, a couple of days before V-Day he was telling me about what the guys at the office were doing for their wives and kids.  I just assumed (yes, I know I know) that he was planning something too.  Nope, he forgot.  That's okay, really.  I was disappointed at first, I won't lie.  But after thinking about it I decided that we don't need no stinkin' Valentine's Day!  We celebrate our love every day.  I don't need to get a Hallmark card from him to know that I love him.  He may not be the most romantic guy I know, but sometimes he does things that are kind of romantic in his own way.

Just the other day it was snowing huge, beautiful snowflakes.  Huge, I tell ya!  He opened the door after feeding the cows, and told me to get some shoes on and come outside.  By this time, it was dark and cold.  I put my jacket and shoes on and joined him out in the middle of the yard.  He through his head back, and told me to do the same.  He wanted me to experience the same thrill that he got from seeing just how cool it looked seeing the snow coming straight down on us.  It might not be romantic to you, but it was to me. 

Then he opened his mouth and started catching the snowflakes on his tongue, and that wasn't terribly romantic, but it was fun!!

So, I said all of that to remind you to make every single day Valentine's Day.  We don't know when we will lose our Valentine. 

Book Reviews

Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart – A Review

9780800720452

Book Description:

As the daughter of Louisville's number one newspaper owner in 1855, Adriane Darcy is dedicated to the success of the Tribune.  Then brash young editor Blake Garrett takes over the competitor paper.  With his Yankee ways and controversial new reporting style, he launches a battle for readers.

The undeniable attraction between Adriane and Blake is hard to ignore.  But Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune's future.  Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story – and the girl.  Can he do both before it's too late?

To see my review, please head over to ENLR.