24 September 2013

Diana Flowers Reviews HEAVEN IS NOT FAR by Marian Baay


Heaven Is Not Far

Stardust Romance, Sept. 2013

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
5 stars*****

Deeply Moving Debut!

In Heaven Is Not Far, Marian Baay has written an emotive, soul-stirring story of a love that transcends time, distance, and even war...as the reader is swept away from the newly thriving logging country of Michigan, to the atrocious battlefield of Gettysburg.

Filled with hope, the handsome, young Albert Van Ampting has traveled many a mile to begin life anew. Much to his parents' dismay, Albert has left the Netherlands accompanied by his Irish Setter, Jessie, to become a prosperous logger in Michigan and perhaps find a wife in the bargain. During his journey he receives the sad news that war has broken out between the northern and southern states.

While wintering in Detroit, Albert meets the dark haired, green-eyed Michelle Lefevre—a woman who both intrigues and fascinates him with her beauty, charm, and the amusing fact that she always wears something unusual in her hair. As their initial attraction turns into an all-consuming love, Albert must leave his new bride as he feels called by God to fight in the Civil War...much to Michelle's distress. His time with Michelle had seemed like Heaven on earthin the horrendous battle of Gettysburg does he still find Heaven is not far after all? As she receives horrifying news, the grieving Michelle frantically searches for him on the battlefield. Will she find him amongst the vast number of casualties of this dreadful war?
  
As I read this debut story I was duly impressed by the storyline and my emotions ran the gamut … from smiles to tears and amusement to great sadness. Once again I was reminded of the atrocities of this terrible war that took so many hopeful young men's lives and I was deeply saddened. This story is far from being dark, however, with such delightful characters as the mischievous, fun-loving Albert, the amusing Michelle, and the jovial antics of Jessie, the beloved Irish Setter. Oh, and I mustn't forget the toe curling romance! :) With a deep spiritual thread of redemption and faith throughout...don't miss out on this heartrending and endearing story by debut author, Marian Baay! Very nicely done!

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This book may be purchased through Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
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GIVEAWAY: ebook copy to one of today's commenters!

       
       **Please remember to leave your email address for contact purposes should you win!**

61 comments:

  1. DIANA, thank you for this WONDERFUL review! It was the first I read of HINF and that makes it extra special. :) :)

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    1. Thanks so much, MARIAN! It was my pleasure...I SO enjoyed the story! You are extra special, my dear friend!

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  2. A beautiful review as always DIANA and a wonderful summary of MARIAN'S brilliant story! I agree that the characters were delightful, and were extremely well-written too! I loved reading about the creations in Michelle's hair as well as Albert's amusement of them!! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, my dear cohort! Our Marian has quite the imagination, ja?

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    2. Thank you, Noela! Your first thoughts on the story immediately after you read it really encouraged me.

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  3. Sounds good. New author and story to me. Please enter me.

    sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

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    1. BOOS MUM, I have you entered for this wonderful book!

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    2. hi Boos Mum, good to see you here!

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    1. MICAH, I love your enthusiasm! Please come back and leave an email addy for contact purposes. Thx!

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  5. This was such a lovely story. It was a privilege to be a Beta reader for it!

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  6. Diana, your review makes me want to read this. I'm so excited Marian has a novella out. Congrats, Marian!!!

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    1. I'm so glad, NAOMI! I know you will love the story...we are so thrilled and excited here at OWG!

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    2. Good to see you drop by, Naomi! I hope you'll enjoy my story!

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  7. How exciting for Marian & all of OWG. Great review as usual, and I would love to win a copy of Marian's book! It sounds like a winner!
    Vicki
    vmarney(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Vicki! There are several chances to win this week, so make sure you stop by each review and leave a comment. Good luck!

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  8. The review sounds Wonderful God bless you
    Chris Granville

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    1. Yes, that is a wonderful review that Diana has written. Bless you too, Chris!

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  9. Again, riveting review making me want this one!! I love any romance revolving around Gettysburg. A horrible history behind it, but such a rich history that needs to be told.
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

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    1. I was very sad after researching Gettysburg. It was such a terrible battle. :(

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    2. I feel like I have done my "job" if my review causes someone to want to read a lovely story such as this. Thank you, SUSAN, for saying so.

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  10. I'm so excited for you, Marian. Great review, Diana. Would love to win this ebook, so please enter my name. Thank you!!
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, BARBARA! I just put your name in the hat!

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    2. I like your excitement, Barbara! Hope you'll win. :)

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  11. Can't believe I forgot to leave you beautiful ladies a message. Diana outstanding review!! Marian congratulations on a marvelous debut book! I am so glad one day I will be able to say..."I knew the world renowned author Ms. Marian Baay back when she wrote her first book." :) I told you I was a proud mom!! lol

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    1. Haha! You're funny, mom! :) :) So glad I made you proud!!

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    2. You are both crraaasseee in the head, but I love my 2 sisters! Wait a minute. If Marian is my little sis that would make Teresa my mom, too. Helppppp...I'm headed for the hills! Hehe

      Thanks, Teresa! Do you think Marian will speak to us when she's multi-published? :P

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    3. I think it's best we don't look TOO closely at our 'relationship status', lol! ;) And I think Marian will still speak to us because we are related after all... even if our family tree is looking a bit warped! :P

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    4. NOELA, you're so funny and witty! Love you, Aussie Miss!

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    5. Noela is right; how could I ever ignore my family - crrraaassseee as they are. ;)

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  12. Enjoyed your review Diana . Would love to be entered in the giveaway . Thanks
    Blessings
    lizd226(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! Good luck in the drawing!

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  13. Another story I know I'm going to enjoy thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. I sure hope you will enjoy it, Mary!

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    2. Mary, I know you will! Good luck in the drawing!

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  14. A wonderful love story that I would love to read! Congratulations, Marian, & thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of your book!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks, Bonnie! I so hope you'll enjoy the story!!

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    2. BONNIE, you will enjoy the toe curling romance in this one! Only a few authors have had that said about their books in my reviews and Marian is one of those few! :)

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  15. I will put this on my to buy list!! thanks for the chance to win
    truckredford(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. ELIZA, thank you for coming by and showing an interest in Marian's wonderful story!

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  16. Hallo, Hallo Ms. Baay,

    I was sitting here wondering how I fell so very far behind with OWG, and then, I remembered! My computer died a week ago, and with it, there went all my RSS Feeds that I would regularly read! I have rectified this by subscribing by email! Oy! I do not want to be 'out of the loop' any longer! Prior to the death of my beloved computer, my parents' computer died as well, so we were sharing one computer between us! Simply not enough hours to accomplish everything! At least, now I can get back into visiting regularly, by which, I enjoy doing!

    Ooh, its a war drama! Ooh, that is rather lovely! I am always wrapped up in a war drama, as I find it such a remarkable time period to stitch together a story of love, romance, adversity, and felicity of spirit! It doesn't matter which war either, or which century! I love the humanity interwoven into the story-lines as much as the history lesson as I traverse through the centuries!

    I like the personal touch you gave the story, of having your lead protagonist emigrating from your own country! Wicked sweet! :) And, you gave him a woman to vex him as much as invigorate him! Love that tug-of-wills that always leads to such an electric interplay in dialogue! I was happy to read its not overtly dark, as I am always keen to tow the line between how dark OR violent of story I read. I have a sensitive heart, so if the war descriptions are too visual, I might blush away, you see! I do better with either generalities, or a light touching of the atrocities, as you cannot bypass them completely! A good case-in-point is "The Spirit Keeper" which I read recently, as I was at first appalled by the imagery, (its set in mid-1700s Frontier America), but then, I had to be honest with myself, would people living through those circumstances not have seen the brutal and bloody horror!? I entertained myself to move forward to see if it walked a line I could handle, and thankfully, the writer excelled in that balance! Therefore, if this goes to print (softcover or POD), I'd be encouraged to read it for the same reasons, as Ms. Flowers alluded to the fact your story has intense moments, but it is able to be handled! :)

    I always appreciate these inclusions in reviews as it helps those readers like me who might be more sensitive than others!

    [Do not count me in the contest for the e-book!]
    [I await the print version, either regular OR POD!]

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    1. hi Jorie,
      So happy to see you find your way back. Sorry to hear your computer died. :(
      I hope there will be a paperback of my story, but I'm not sure when that will be.
      I don't like dark or violent stories either and won't write them. If you survive the prologue - which you can read on Amazon - then you will do fine for the rest of the story.

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    2. One has to acknowledge it WAS a terrible war as all of them are, but I'm glad my review helped you to realize alot of the gory details are not told in this story. They make me sad, too. JORIE, we have missed you and are so glad to see you back here!!

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    3. Ms. Flowers,

      I know, my heart is always quite full when I read certain war dramas, especially the ones that dig into the human heart, the conditions of the battlefields, and of course, when the losses nearly push people's resolve past the point of what can be readily endured. War is such a terrible part of our lives, but within that tragic envelope of time, there is such a strong sense of courage, faith, and sheer will to carry-on, that I am oft inspired by the stories I read. Characters, of whom, are no doubt inspired by someone's grandfather or father, and inside these fictional stories, we each see murmurs of the past coming to life. We always honour the soldiers by acknowledging the stories that allow the humanity back into their memories and lives.

      Honestly, its reviews like this, that help me ascertain if I can handle the context of the story that oft help me decide when I'm betwixt knowing one way or the other. So, yes, I was full of gratitude!! If you can get through the opening chapter of "The Spirit Keeper", the heart of the story is the journey of faith that the three take-on, in a place that is wholly as far from our known world as any other place, yet holds within it the sanctity of what is sacred.

      Ooh, as you can see below in my other note, I'm thrilled to bits to back, myself! :)

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  17. Hallo again, Ms. Baay,

    Yes, I am too! The timing so perfect for me to return! :) Don't worry - I know there is always a long delay between e-books and print books, I was just letting you know which copy I'd read eventually! :) I always figure that the wait is worth it, because if there is a delay to read a book, it ends up arriving in your life at the right moment you need to read it! :) I'll do what you said and seek out the prologue! :) Thanks for the tip!

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    1. You have such a positive attitude and are a great blessing, JORIE! Thank you for sharing!

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    2. I agree with Diana - you are a great blessing, Jorie!!

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    3. Ms. Flowers | Ms. Baay,

      You've each touched me with your kind words on my behalf tonight! No matter what arises in life, our attitude of how we approach what comes to pass, is more important than the circumstances that obstruct our paths. I suppose I always try to remember to keep a happy spirit, even if I am living through a bit of strife. I get inspired by the blogs I visit and by the breadth of work that writers' are putting out each year. I appreciate hanging out with you guys as much as you enjoy having me around! :) Thankfully, I am now on your e-list! :) I'll be back quite often from now on! :)

      Bless you both!
      Your words touched my heart!

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  18. JORIE, you are sooo right about timing...not only in books arriving but God's timing for our lives in all things! I believe as human beings we want things NOW, and that may not always be the best thing for us at the time. I am patient in some aspects...in others not so much. Bless you, and if you don't win I hope the paperback comes out soon---but in His timing. ;)

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    1. Ms. Flowers,

      Yes! That is exactly what I was alluding too -- more of life, rather than in reading, there truly are seasons to our lives, and we are not always where we want to be, rather where we need to be, at the times we're meant to be. Its a difficult balance of acceptance, because we always want to go against the grain at times, but truly, from what I've learnt, we always end up right where we need to be! :) Also, its a parallel truth with reading, as I have oft discovered that certain books have the uncanny way of alighting in my life at the best possible time for me to read them! This surely was the case (of late!) with "The Prayer Box"!!!

      I think we all struggle at times, but if we always resolve to return to back to a state of peace, hinged on hope, and secured in faith, than we're succeeding!

      Ooh, I won't win this time 'round, because I didn't enter the contest!! I just wanted to drop by, show my support, and talk about Ms. Baay's first novel! :) :) Just being able to interact again with you guys is a blessing for me!

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  19. Thank you, Jorie! We love interacting with you as well! I have the "Prayer Box" as well and haven't had time to read it yet. So many books in the lineup. But I will read it in God's timing I'm sure. :) Blessings to you and please feel free to call me Diana.

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