Kelly Klepfer came on board Novel Reviews several years ago as the Senior Editor through her connections with Gina Holmes, Ane Mulligan and Jessica Dotta of Novel Journey fame. Novel Reviews is the baby sister of the popular Novel Journey. At Novel Reviews we offer honest reviews of Christian and secular fiction titles and love to promote exceptional fiction. We began to do so after we met the authors via their interviews at Novel Journey. Disclaimer: Our reviewers are not paid for their reviews. Some may consider the receiving of a complimentary book or loosley bound manuscript (by publisher or author), as a form of compensation, so, be forewarned that our reviewers RECEIVE BOOKS. In our defense, it would be difficult to review without them. (Also, we are not affiliated or paid for any links to online bookstores.)
By Ann Tatlock
Published by Bethany House
New Contemporary Novel from an Award-Winning Author.
Jane Morrow has a dilemma. She's engaged to Seth Ballantine, a member of the National Guard's 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, and he's returned from Iraq severely wounded. Jane hasn't seen him for nearly a year, and with trepidation, she heads to the VA hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is being treated.
Seth isn't happy to see her. He'd asked her not to come. He wants to end the relationship. But Jane loves him, and despite his injury, she's determined to convince him that they can have a life together. Her faith has never been strong, yet she hopes God will answer her prayers and tell her what to do.
Beautifully written, Travelers Rest takes readers on a journey through pain and tragedy to a place of hope and redemption.
Life had so much promise for Jane Morrow who was engaged to a man she’d loved since second grade. They grew up together. Jane noticed Seth but all the while he didn’t know she existed. Then in high school things changed. He finally he noticed her in a big way! It only took fifteen years. The happiest day of her life was when Seth asked her to marry him. Then Seth signed up to be in the reserves and then is called to duty. They planned on getting married when he came back. But nothing prepared them for what would happen next.
Seth Ballantine was back from Iraq with a purple heart, changed and missing a few things. He tells Jane to stay away from him. He doesn’t want her to see what happened to him in battle. He wasn’t the man he used to be. She deserved more in life. She didn’t care how different he was. They’d make it work; come up with a new normal to their relationship. She wouldn’t stay away.
The realities of Seth’s medical condition and who he had become were staggering! She found it hard to catch glimpses of the old Seth she fell in love with and grew up with. Could she love this man she hardly recognized – personality wise and wishes he died in battle?
A friend says to Jane, “…when he beginning to take inventory of what he has left – rather than thinking about what he’s lost. That’s the beginning….He can’t do what he once wanted to do with his life, but he can do something, and that’s what matters.”
Would Seth ever change his thinking? Seth and Jane are weary. They pray, “Oh, God I’m tired please hear our prayers.”
“We take everything for granted, until we don’t have it anymore.” Jane hears from a friend.
Jane gets to know Truman, a retired doctor who makes it his mission to help the soldiers adjust to their new normal, try to make sense of a life they never expected to have. Is there life after their world was turned up-side down? He listens, encourages them and cheers them up daily. They look forward to his visits.
Jane repeats a saying her nanny said and she’d lived by, “Well child, as mamma always said, life’s gearshift’s got no reverse, so you have to just keep moving forward!” Funny and so true!
Ann Tatlock gives the reader a glimpse into one couples reality as they try to make sense of their new normal! Could they love each other enough to make it work? Would Jane move onto another relationship like Seth and her friends wanted her to do? Or would she know without a shadow of a doubt she was meant to stay by Seth’s side no matter what? How would she find answers to these questions?
This author shows one soldier’s heart break and how his family reacts to him in his new physical state. Also how they all struggle to deal with the question “Where do we go from here?”
There are no easy answers as Ann Tatlock’s endearing characters struggle to hear from God,’ to do the right thing, and learn how to thrive in the after math of war! This author shows there can be hope, healing and forgiveness in the middle of horrific times!
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent at: The Book Club Network
The Soul Saver
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (May 1, 2012)
Meet Lexie Baltimore, who is in the supernatural battle of her life. In obedience to God’s calling, Lexie uses her art and dreams to help others. But will she have enough courage to help herself when she becomes torn between her atheist husband and a godly man? A widower and a father, Pastor Nate Winslow is drowning in darkness. Will he resist his treacherous assignment to win Lexie’s heart or give in to the attraction between them? As events unfold, Lexie becomes entangled in a twisted plot. Will she overcome the evil assailing her or yield to the dark side?
Soul Saver has a fascinating premise. Often Lexie wakes from a vision that contains sensory clues and a portion of a face. She heads to her studio where she sculpts until God’s urging leaves her. With the face of the stranger she is supposed to minister to or help looking up at her from her bench, she prays and then goes about her day, waiting for the urge to seek the face.
One of Lexie’s personal burdens is that she cannot share any of this gift or this ministry with her atheist husband. The fact that he’s atheist breaks her heart on a daily basis and becomes a huge piece of the storyline as the puzzle of God’s plan unfolds.
Miller is a good wordsmith with the necessary skills to tell a good story and keep the reader interested page after page. Her characters are dimensional and sympathetic and she twangs senses as she moves through their lives.
There are challenging situations that crop up that pure inspirational readers might have issue with and so I’d caution that the subject matter could be offensive to some. Anyone who likes to see the behind the scenes working of the Holy Spirit in someone’s life should find much to like in this novel. Readers who love to see the powers of good and evil play out should find Soul Saver intriguing. Those who prefer that their fiction be purely escapist or without teaching/Christianese need to know that God is a main character throughout this book.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer at: Scrambled Dregs
By Valerie Comer, Annalise Daughety, Nicole O’Dell, Cara Putman
Published by Barbour Books
It's an interesting group of strangers who show up for the first annual Rainbow's End geocache hunt, and the spectacular scenery along the bluffs of the Lake of the Ozarks is just one reason. . . .
Lyssa, hoping she can get over her fears and point folks to the treasure found in Jesus, is startled to find her former college professor among the group. Will he upset her mission?
City girl Madison is annoyed that her sister signed her up and then bailed—but now she’s been paired with a complete stranger! Worse, he’s one of those outdoorsy types.
Reagan has always played it safe, doing everything by the book. And then she meets her brother’s frat brother, a guy who’s got his life mapped out, too.
After winning her life-long battle to get fit, Hadley can’t wait to meet people who didn’t know her “before.” But Brad is that species of guy she has no experience with: a player.
God only knows if this adventure in the woods will lead to heartache . . . or love.
Four ladies, four guys, and one two-month geocaching event centered in the beautiful Ozarks.
Rainbow’s End, a Romancing America collection published by Barbour Books, was a quick and fun read. As a Missourian, I enjoyed reading about the beautiful Osage Beach area and could easily envision the various excursions each of the characters went on. The unifying plot of a geocaching outreach event was deliciously unique and engaging. The clever poetic clues presented in the first novella, written by debut novelist, Valerie Comer, produced numerous chuckles while, in novella three, Hadley Parker’s interpretation of one geocaching clue made my pulse race. Thank goodness there was a handsome hero nearby!
I enjoyed getting to know each character presented, from the shy, eco-friendly Lyssa Quinn to the newly-emerging Hadley Parker. The story-lines, although unique, wove together seamlessly, and each author’s unique voice added depth and flavor to the compilation.
Rainbow’s End is a perfect collection to read on a peaceful summer afternoon.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery at: Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud