16 April 2014

Noela Reviews A BEAUTY SO RARE by Tamera Alexander

A Beauty So Rare

A Beauty So Rare
by Tamera Alexander
Bethany House Publishers (March 24, 2014)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
~5 Stars~ *****
A Rare Beauty!

To read Tamera Alexander’s novel ‘A Beauty So Rare’ is to step back into the pages of history to visit the luxurious Belmont Mansion in Nashville, Tennessee during the year of 1868... just a few years after the brutal civil war had officially ceased. The dreadful war images almost fade away as you take in the grandeur of the exquisite estate with its expansive lavish gardens and magnificent palatial home. It is there we meet the lady of Belmont Mansion, the beautiful although demanding and intimidating Adelicia Cheathum, known by many as the richest woman in America.

Eleanor Braddock, niece of Adelicia, is financially devastated due to the failing health of her father. After committing her father to an asylum, she arrives as arranged to her Aunt’s grand estate to stay until she gets back on her feet. Eleanor comes with a pre-determined practical and hardworking plan to support herself and to pay for her father’s care. But Adelicia has plans of her own for her niece. They include an engagement to a wealthy suitor and a more leisurely high society lifestyle in keeping with Adelicia’s social circles. Personality and ideals clash, because Eleanor is unable to shake the images of Nashville's destitute war widows whilst living in such luxury. But when Eleanor finds her own plans falling into pieces, she begins to seriously consider the wealthy acquaintance of her aunt.

Archduke Marcus Gottfriend aka Marcus Geoffrey, second in line to the throne in Austria, has come to Nashville anonymously to spend time living his life catering to his interests for a change, while also longing to leave his mark in America with his combined passions of nature and architecture. But he has responsibilities to his fiancé, family, and country, and knows he will soon have to return. Working in the enormous glass-walled conservatory in the Belmont grounds, he meets Eleanor and discovers her to be a breath of fresh air, a woman without pretences, and with a generous heart like none other. With all that binds them, they know the growing affection between them cannot be allowed to bloom. Will love find a way in the impossible? I loved seeing Proverbs 16:9 being played out… ‘A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

There was so much to love about this book: The fascinating history and impeccable research that has gone into this story; the multi-layered characters that invoke in you an intense longing for; and the smiles and chuckles the clever dialogue prompts to name just a few. Spiritually, I departed with the reminder of how intimately God cares for each of us, and that He will guide us to a better place than imagined when our trust is placed in Him. Tamera Alexander is an outstanding storyteller and has created a rare beauty with an excellence that should definitely be savoured!



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This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, BAM, or your local bookstore.

GIVEAWAYS: This week we are giving away a paperback and e-book copy of A Beauty So Rare, a Starbucks $10 Card, a pink surprise giveaway, AND Tamera is offering a signed copy, too!!

*Please leave a comment to enter and don't forget your email addy! If you'd like, share an instance with us of how you've seen God care for you intimately!



86 comments:

  1. Can't wait to read this book! I loved the others.

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    1. forgot to leave email.. onorman@wilkes.net

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    2. Thanks for coming by ONORMAN... You're in the draw so maybe you'll get to read Tamera's new one sooner than later! I'm with you in loving all of Tamera's books too!!

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    3. Hope you enjoy, ONORMAN!

      And Noela, bless you for that fabulous review. I'm so thrilled you enjoyed Marcus & Eleanor's journey!

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    4. I sure did TAMERA, and thanks!! x

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  2. NOELA what a beautiful review! Maybe one day a little of that talent will rub off on me. :-) Cant wait to finish this beautiful story! Tamara is truly an anointed writer!

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    1. Ha TERESA, I think more than anything, you and Diana have rubbed off on me! ;) I know we have a lot of reading to do, but if you can savour it at all, do so.... Soooo good! Just loved the personalities and conversations of these characters!

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    2. Thanks, Teresa, for those kind words. All glory to God who is our strength to overcome!

      And Noela, sending you yet more Southern hugs, babe! : )

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    3. LOVE those Southern hugs TAMERA!! :) Sending hugs from Down Under back to you mate! :)

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  3. I'm really looking forward to reading this book. I love all of Tamera's books!
    violetcilt99@hotmail.com

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    1. And you'll love this one for sure too CHRISTINE!! All the best with your entry!

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    2. Thanks, Christine! Appreciate you reading!

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  4. Hello Noela, my friend. You took me right into the Belmont Mansion with your review. I could see what was going on and trying to make things happen my way. And imagining this man who was to become King wanting to be another person, not sone who was being forced to a position he might not even want. But, we don't know GOD's plans. I still would like to win one of the print books. The cover also puts you into the era right away. By the way, how am I going to buy a book with a Starbuck gift card? :) Thanks Tamera for writing these books that pull us right into the setting and never be ready for it to end. Thanks for a chance to win. Sending big hugs to my OWG girls. Love you all. You too, Tamera. GOD bless each of you. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Hello dear MAXIE! I'm so glad I was still able to take you to the beautiful Belmont Mansion, Maxie... Especially since I originally had a way more descriptive opening passage about Belmont - but wiped it all out because it was too wordy for the review!! :)
      Hoping for a win for you and BIG hugs back to you our faithful friend Maxie, we LOVE you too!!

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    2. Haha Maxie about the Starbucks card! Hugs and love to you, too! I would so love to see Belmont!

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    3. Maxie, LOL at the Starbucks card comment. Hugs to you, friend, and thanks for taking these journeys with me! :)

      And ROFLOL, Noela, I do that with my novels. Or rather, my editor does! :)

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  5. Would love to win! rita.navarre@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks for coming by RITA... You're in with a chance! :)

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  6. I love all of Tamera's books - thanks for the chance to win an hour or two settled in a Starbucks with her newest one! :)
    sahm211(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. That would be the perfect thing to do, wouldn't it JEN!! :) Glad you were able to stop by!

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  7. What a lovely, well-written review, NOELA, of an awesome book! It's going to be hard to pick our favorites of 2014. It's only April and already we have read such stellar books with the promise of more to come!

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    1. Oh my gosh DIANA, you're not wrong!! I have SO many favourites this year already, with Tamera's being the latest one! I think we'll need to have a minimum list of 30 - at the least, lol!

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  8. Absolutely love Tamara Alexander's books and can't wait to read her latest!! Thanks for sharing with one of us!! amber@egardengate.com

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    1. You're welcome AMBER! You're in for a real treat with this one of Tamera's!! :)

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    2. Thanks so much, Amber! Southern hugs coming your way. Hope you enjoy ABSR!

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  9. I would love to find myself in this mansion with Eleanor--I'm sure we could have some fun together. ;-)

    Thanks for so many chances for a win--you have my addy...
    Vicki

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    1. Thanks VICKI and you're most welcome! Tell you what, I wouldn't mind looking through that magnificent conservatory with Marcus. Lol, we'll just do that while you're having fun in the mansion with Eleanor! ;)

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    2. NO DOUBT you would, Vicki! ;) Either there or the conservatory with Marcus!

      LOL, Noela, I wrote the above response before even reading yours. Great minds and all that... :)

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    3. Haha Tamera!! Not hard to tell I'm a massive romance fan huh? ;)

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    4. Well, since I'm not near this mansion right now, I guess I will have to be satisfied with going with my hubby to see Windsor Castle today. (I wonder if the Queen will be in...). ;-)

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  10. Great review of what I'm sure will be a great book. I have loved each of Tamara's books. Haven't read the release before this one, but plan to remedy that soon. I think because they are such large books I am a bit intimidated by them, but I'm sure I will enjoy it once I pick it up!

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Hello PATTY, thanks for coming by to read the review! I know what you mean regarding feeling 'intimidated' by the size, but although Tamera's books are a little bigger than some other books, what I find, is that because you can get so caught up in the stories and can't put them down, you actually get through them quite fast! :)

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    2. Patty, I totally understand the intimidation. They intimidate me sometimes too!!! ; ) Much love, friend, and thank you for reading!

      Thanks, again, Noela!! Appreciate you.

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  11. Can't wait to read this book! Love her books!
    Nancycooks4u(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. They're treasures aren't they NANCY!! Makes me wish I had another one already! :) Better get busy Tamera, lol ;)

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  12. Thanks so much for the chance to win A Beauty so Rare.
    As for an instance that God has taken care of us...what pops out in my mind was when our son (now 11) was an infant and very sick. For months he couldn't gain the weight he was supposed to gain and the specialist wouldn't listen to our concerns that something other than the obvious severe GERD (acid reflux) was going on. We prayed constantly and had a network across many states praying for all of us. God opened doors for us and led us to an amazing doctor who figured out what the issues were and got him past his problems. He is now a very healthy 11 year old. God protected him all through the situation brought him through safely.
    Brittany McEuen
    kbmceuen(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. wow, another great testimony of God's awesome provision! He is so good!

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    2. Beautiful testimony of God's great goodness, Brittany! Thanks so much for sharing! Continued blessings!

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  13. I am super excited to read Tamera's new book. I've loved every one of her other books so I know this one will be great too. Thinking of a time when God cared for me intimately, I would have to say it would be when He blessed me with my son. My husband and I went through years of infertility and I struggled with severe anxiety through much of it. God never let go of my hand through it all and did answer our prayers for a baby. My baby is now 4 1/2 and I thank the Lord everyday for my sweet red-headed, blue eyed miracle. =)

    Thanks for the great contest!
    jennybug52(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. What a sweet testimony, Jenny! Glad God brought you your sweet child!

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    2. That's awesome, Jennifer! I can relate, in a way. We struggled with infertility too. When we finally got pregnant, it was a huge shock. We tried almost 4 years before we conceived. My son is soon to be two, and I have to say I definitely feel that's one of the ways God's shown His intimate love for me. I can't say I have severe anxiety, but once I found out I was pregnant, and I had mild anxiety about miscarriages, everything that could go wrong, etc. But God was faithful!

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    3. How wonderful, JennyBug! God is so good to hear even the faintest intimate whispers of our hearts, as well as the desperate pleas we repeatedly lay before his throne. Not one escapes his attention. Blessings to you and thanks for sharing!

      Jennifer, blessings to you too and oh, God is so gracious and good. We learn so very much about God as our spiritual father once we become parents, don't we? A whole new dimension of understanding opens. We think we love our children––and we DO! But even that all encompassing love is nothing compared to how the Creator of the Universe loves and adores our children.

      That's a truth that's comforted my "mother's heart" more than once in the past 27 years as our children have grown up and left the nest. There is no where our children can be that God's love cannot reach and embrace them.

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  15. I've seen this book several places now, and it looks so good! God has shown His intimate love to me in so many ways...After my son was born, I yearned to be able to stay home with him full time. Instead, for a year after he was born, I had to keep a part-time job. I was thankful for the great job, but often prayed about being able to stay home. Finally, one year to the month of going back to work after maternity leave, circumstances allowed me to stay home full time. I'm so grateful! To me, that was one way God has shown His personal favor toward me.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    jennismith1983(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. It really is SO good JENNIFER, I hope you get to read it!!
      Thanks for sharing Jennifer, I'm sooo glad you were able to stay home to be with your son... I couldn't imagine working and leaving my children in someone else's care when mine were babies, so I am VERY grateful for that also! My last baby, a delightful boy that we discovered had Aspergers when he was 4 yrs old, was the most FASCINATING child ever... The memories I have are priceless. God is good!! Bless you Jenni!

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  16. I would love to win this book - I really enjoy Tamera's books....

    davec777 at yahoo dot com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by STEPH and all the best with your entry! They're easy to enjoy, don't you reckon? :)

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    1. You're counted in SANDY! :) Thanks for stopping by OWG. Bless you!

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  18. I would love to win this book. Sounds like a great story.

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    1. That it is STEPHANIE! Thanks for coming by to read about it!

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  19. I really enjoyed your review, Noela. I laughed when you said you had to cut down the description, when it was getting too long. Isn't it hard to stop writing about something that really touches us? Right now I am reading To Whisper Her Name. It's so good! I wish I had more time to read--LOL! Tamera, you are such a blessing to your readers.

    God is so good and I appreciate his constant care. It is so humbling to realize how He takes care of our smallest needs. He has truly been my Rock, since my husband died over four years ago. I don't know how I would have gotten along without Him.
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Hello KAY, I'm so blessed you enjoyed the review. And YES, it truly is difficult to stop writing about something so good in so many ways! :) Ohhh I truly loved To Whisper Her Name also, Kay! Enjoy!! And if you win a copy of A Beauty So Rare, you'll have it a lot sooner... just to tease you! ;)

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    2. KAY, I wanted to also say thank you for sharing about God's intimacy in your life. You are so right that He cares about the smallest needs in our lives!! I'm grateful that you felt His presence and strength in your life after the passing of your husband. It's truly hard to imagine going through such grief without Him isn't it?

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    3. Noela, Yes, it is hard to imagine attempting to make a new life without Him to show the way.

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  20. The more I read about this book....the more anxious I am to read it! But that is no surprise....I am always anxious to read Tammy's books.....such a great author!
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

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    1. Haha I know exactly what you mean JACKIE!! When I see one of Tamera's books released, it's a given that I must get it! No question. :) God bless!

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  21. Another great review, I can't wait to read it!

    I can now see how God's hand in both of my pregnancies, specially my last one. She was delivered naturally and in a breech position since there wasn't enough time for a c-section. There are so many complications that occur in a breech delivery but thank God she was born completely healthy.

    Janella
    arieljo12 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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    1. Thanks JANELLA, lovely of you to stop by OWG! I hope you can read 'A Beauty So Rare' soon, you'll just love it!! :) Thank you also for sharing your testimony of God's love and intervention in your life - Isn't it wonderful to have Him with us...all the time of course... but especially during those very scary times in our lives?!! I'm so thankful along with you for the safe delivery of your breech baby!

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  22. Would love to win one of these wonderful gifts.. :)
    d_stevens310 at live dot com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by DEANNA to read about Tamera's great new book! God bless!!

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  23. Such beauty in the words of your review, Noela, like the notes to a treasured song tugging the strings of my heart !!

    I feel sure the words in "A Beauty So Rare" will do MUCH tugging also - after reading Tamera's beautiful responses to all of the comments!! SO excited to read this beautiful book - thanks for another opportunity to win a copy!!

    The instances of God's intimate caring for me would probably fill several books - there have been numerous instances in which I survived death, only by His grace. One such instance is the nearly successful asphyxiation of myself, my brother, grandmother, and mother - when I was a young child. We had each passed out and were within minutes of death when my aunt and uncle arrived early for a Stanley Home Party for which my mother was preparing. My father's tractor was in the garage under the house, the engine had been left running - the fumes traveled upstairs into the house.

    God obviously, had a purpose/plan for my life in allowing me to live through numerous such situations through the years and is once again, lovingly guiding my steps as I'm facing yet another physical "mountain"!! I pray that I am fulfilling those plans He has for me in the way He would have me do!!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you dear BONNIE for the kind words and for your wonderful story of God's grace and timely help for you and your family!! You have been such a blessing in my life and I'm positive, in everyone's life that you touch with your kindness, love, and joy! Know that my prayers are with you for the mountain that is facing you atm Bonnie.
      Here's to a win for this beautiful book of Tamera's - you're going to love it!! :)

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  24. Would love to win this book :)
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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    1. It'd be a good one to win, that's for sure! ;) Thanks for stopping by BETTI!

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  25. I think God took care of me during my husbands back surgery and the many complications afterwards (he ended up with 3 back surgeries within 6 months, an infection at one time putting him in a coma for 7 days, and then a reaction to medication that messed with his mind (thank goodness that didn't stick). If it wasn't for God and all the prayers that were said for us, I don't think I would have gotten through it.

    This is a beautiful cover and the book sounds great, thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. I concur WENDY - where would we be without His intervention and grace?! SO thankful He hears our prayers and helps us through so many hard times... And it sure sounded like you and your husband really went through the fire!
      So glad you were able to come by to read about Tamera's wonderful book! All the best in the draw Wendy!

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  26. How God has shown his blessing to me is by giving me two cleaning jobs and also will be getting a 3rd cleaning job this Friday. God is good all the time. So thankful that he has been blessing me with jobs
    oh.hello.hiya@gmail.com

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    1. G'day to you my sweet friend DANIE, always love seeing your 'face' here at OWG! Thanks for sharing how God is working in your life Danie... that's so wonderful about the jobs!!! Hope you get to read Tamera's book soon too! Blessings!!

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    2. Awww thank you my sweet friend and Pinterest buddy. 😊 I really try to get on here when I can. Hope your doing well. Hugs
      Danie.

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  27. On my wish list. Lovely review thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Thank you MARY, I hope you get to read it soon!! :)

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  28. Thank you, Noela!! Prayers SO appreciated!! You are a blessing to me, also - sweet lady!!

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    1. My pleasure Bonnie, thanks and BIG hugs!!

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  29. I have most recently seen God care for me intimately by providing me with an amazing job that has (so far) been everything I've asked for (and more). I was very specific in my prayers about what my boss would be like, what the job would be like, what kind of office it would be (I'm a dental hygienist), how the interview would go, how the job would be offered, how I would know that I wanted it, how I would know that it was the one God had for me, etc... I prayed all of those things and didn't really believe. I had this tiny, tiny mustard seed of faith and REALLY needed God to do something with it... and He did. :)

    amberrdh@gmail.com

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    1. Fantastic testimony AMBER, I love it!! Just goes to show you doesn't it... That we can ask over and above what we 'think' we should - because He really cares for us and loves to bless his children! Many years ago, when we were praying for our rental home... I wrote down a list of specifics and He answered EVERY single one of them! :) What a loving God we serve! Thanks so much for coming by and sharing. God bless you!

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  30. Can't wait to read this book. I loved all the others.
    onorman@wilkes.net

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    1. You sure must be excited to read it ONORMAN! Because I think you forgot you already entered - right at the top of this review! :) Hopefully you'll get your chance to read it soon!!

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  31. This sounds like a very good book.

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    1. It surely is BEVERLY! And we'd love for you to have a chance to be in the running, so I'm hoping you'll come back to leave your e-mail address in case you're drawn as the winner! :)

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  32. Wow, beautifully worded, Noela! Fabulous review! Way to go, Aussie!! :)

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    1. Haha thank you for that my sweet Dutchy!! :)

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  33. Would love a paper version of the book! God is with me even when I am so down trodden that it's hard to pray...HE sends his Holy Spirit to intercede for us....The Triune God cares for us! mandn(at)wisper(dash)wireless(dot)com

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    1. I have to agree MANDN, that it is great to be able to hold a copy of this beautiful book in your hands, so all the best with your entry! :)
      Well said Mandn! Our Lord truly is very loving and caring and though His presence is always there, when we look to Him when we are going through trials... He covers us with His 'wings' and comforts us. God bless!

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