30 December 2014

Diana's 2014 Favorites!

 
Here are a few of my favorite book picks of 2014 in no particular order.
If you would like to purchase any of these awesome reads please click on to title!  

Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman, Oct. 2014
In Surprised by Love, author Julie Lessman has once again crafted a dramatic, breathtaking read -- that takes the reader on an exhilarating journey with as many twists and turns as the streets of San Francisco! 


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Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl, May 2014 
 In Gathering Shadows, author Nancy Mehl takes us on another suspenseful, roller coaster ride to the quaint Mennonite town of Sanctuary, Missouri! A must read for all suspense lovers!


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Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz, Sept. 2014
From the wooded, primitive hills of Kentucky to the industrial city of Pittsburgh comes a sweeping saga of the affluent Ballantynes -- and of the beloved Rowena "Wren" Ballantyne, who finds herself caught between both worlds.


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First Impressions by Sarah Price, May 2014
 
In her own eloquent, exquisite style, author Sarah Price has penned a delightful Amish tale — reminiscent of the timeless classic by the memorable Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. Highly recommended!


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The Midwife by Jolina Petersheim, May 2014
Masterful storyteller, Jolina Petersheim, has penned a riveting, emotive tale that vacillates between three women from different walks of life, but all having two things in common --- deep buried secrets and a desperate need for love.

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The Ransom by MaryLu Tyndall, Mar. 2014
 With quill in hand, MaryLu Tyndall has crafted a swashbuckling, seafaring adventure set in the wicked city of Port Royal, Jamaica, where nefarious villains and pirates roam the streets—and where an unescorted lady dare not!


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Rumspringa's Hope by Beth Shriver, May 2014
 I have never read an Amish book where rumspringa is depicted with such depth and realism---rather than an idealized or romantic view of it. Truly a wonderfully exciting tale of God's redemption, healing, and purpose in life -- be sure to put Rumspringa's Hope on your wishlist today!
 
 
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The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky, Oct. 2014 
With pen in hand, er keys rather, author Carrie Turansky once again sweeps the reader away on a wonderful Edwardian adventure -- from the glamorous balls, social functions, and opulent mansions of the very elite -- to the poverty stricken streets of London's East End.


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Veiled At Midnight by Christine Lindsay, Oct. 2014
 
Once again Christine Lindsay sweeps the reader away on an exotic, riveting journey to faraway India -- a land of exquisite, mystical beauty, but one of extreme political and religious unrest as well. Sure to be an award winner!


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A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino, June 2014
 Debut author, Rebecca DeMarino, has penned an intriguing, sweeping saga fraught with dangers on every hand, adventure, and unrequited love—spanning from mid-1600s England to the primitive colonies of the New World.


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The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton, Apr. 2014 
Author Lori Benton has penned an exciting journey of one young woman's dangerous quest to find freedom in the frontier wilderness of North Carolina —  a breathtaking tale of romance, long buried secrets, treachery, and abuse.


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An Amish Buggy Ride by Sarah Price, Nov. 2014
In her own exquisite style, Sarah Price masterfully writes of an Amish community – where the consequences of keeping dark secrets are as far reaching as the ripples in a stream, and where love hides a multitude of sins!


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Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble, July 2104
In Seagrass Pier, Colleen Coble has penned a heart pounding, suspense-filled novel in the lovely, seaside setting of the quaint little island of Hope Beach, North Carolina!


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My Favorite Novellas!

The Fruitcake Challenge by Carrie Fancett Pagels, Oct. 2014
 The Fruitcake Challenge is a heartwarming, Yuletide novella guaranteed to awaken the reader's senses with its descriptive imagery and the distinctive, tangible aura of Christmas! A must read this holiday season!


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At The Edge of a Dark Forest by Connie Almony, Feb. 2014
This story (reminiscent of the classic tale, The Beauty and the Beast) is a beautiful tribute and "thank you" to all of our wounded warriors and members of the military who sacrifice their lives daily for our freedom—and to those who help them to heal.


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The Captain's Wife by Marian Baay, Aug. 2014
In The Captain's Wife, author Marian Baay has written a touching and intense sequel to The Officer's Daughter; revisiting the horrors and triumphs of our nation's darkest hour, the Civil War --  guaranteed to leave you catching your breath with anticipation and smiling with amusement at the same time!


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**If your book didn't make it on my favorites list this year it may simply be because I was off  two months for major surgery and wasn't able to get to it. But I want to congratulate all of you on a job well done. This was an amazing year for Christian fiction and I want to thank you for all the many hours of reading pleasure you have given me!**
 



28 December 2014

STRIVING TO BE RESOLUTE IN 2015 - by Bonnie Roof


RESOLUTE

The presents have been unwrapped, the goodies devoured and time shared with friends and family - joyful for some and not so for others - now the tree and decorations come down, we wait "patiently" in store lines to make exchanges and thoughts for many of us turn to New Years resolutions. There's something about a new year that means a fresh start. Webster's dictionary defines a resolution as: the quality of being resolute: determination, a formal statement expressing the opinion, will or intent of a body or persons.

Perhaps 2014 was your best year yet or maybe it was a year full of sickness, unemployment, family/personal issues or other trials - a year you'd like to forget altogether. Many resolutions end up broken by February - yet there can be something worthwhile about setting realistic goals that make us accountable for living with resolve. One help in accomplishing goals is to make a list and post in a spot where one can easily refer back to it every few weeks to check progress and those things that still need to be accomplished - the goals can be serious, simple or silly. You may not accomplish all your goals, however, the point of the list isn't to force yourself to do and be more - through guilt - but to live 2015 with resolve.

It's wonderful if resolutions help us accomplish a goal but if that goal is something we know we won't follow through on, maybe we need to rethink the idea of yearly resolutions. It may be helpful to look at the previous year and determine whether your habits are healthy or harmful. Ask yourself what struggles you had in the previous year, how you grew and in which life areas you think God would like to see growth. Decide which areas you can and should work on in the coming year and write them down. Also consider reading books that may help you achieve your goals.

One goal for each of us should be to continually deepen our relationship with God and grow in character. An alternative to a list of resolutions is the concept of the One Word - the book "My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word", authored by Mike Ashcroft and Rachel Olsen, explains the concept. The book cover description: The concept of My One Word is simple. Lose the long list of resolutions-all your sweeping promises to change-and do something about one thing this year instead of nothing about everything. Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year. This simple act will force clarity and concentrate your efforts. As you focus on your word over an extended period of time, you position yourself for God to form your character at a deep, sustainable level. Growth and change will result. 

Each day is a gift that we've been given - it's up to us to make the most of it. "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me". Psalms 51:10, KJV


How do you feel about New Years resolutions? Do you make resolutions - if so, do you keep them? What helps you set and achieve the resolutions you make?

25 December 2014

OH COME LET US ADORE HIM!!!


O COME LET US ADORE HIM!

Angels Proclaimed
Shepherds Came
God Sent His only Son.

Born in a stable,
More than a fable
God Incarnate was He.

Wise Men from afar,
Followed His star
Brought gifts to this baby King.

God had a plan,
When He became man
To redeem us from the fall.

Gave up his life
To redeem us from strife
Risen Savior of all!

Soon Coming King
Let our praises ring
Unto the Lamb that was slain.

Seated on High
At His Father’s side
Forever more to reign.

O COME LET US ADORE HIM

Teresa S. Mathews





MERRY CHRISTMAS TO OUR FOLLOWERS AND FRIENDS!!!
WITH LOVE!!!

Please pray for healing for Carlton Mathews, who is battling Multiple Myeloma. Also please pray for all those others suffering with health problems this Christmas, that God will bring healing!
And we thank God for what He has already done for us and for sending His son to Earth to save us!!!


DIANA
TERESA
NOELA
&
BONNIE

23 December 2014

Bonnie's Celebration - WELCOME & HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!






Introducing our newest OWG Angel...Bonnie Roof. We've enjoyed having Bonnie as one of our faithful OWG Followers and commenters for a long time! And we'd asked Bonnie a while back if she might considered joining us on the blog. We got a very polite denial. Then we began praying about it faithfully and asked Bonnie to do the same. And before we knew it, the Holy Spirit had convinced her to come on board with us. YAY Holy Spirit!!!


Not only are we celebrating Bonnie joining us on OWG, 
we are celebrating her upcoming birthday. Bonnie is a Christmas baby. She's a Kentucky-born lady and shares a birthday with our precious Savior!



We want to WELCOME Bonnie to the OWG blog and celebrate her first birthday with us! Pull up a chair, have some hot cocoa and cake, and help yourselves to the trays of yummy candies we have out, too!  Do you have a birthday on or near Christmas yourself? Tell us what you do to celebrate!


GIVEAWAY: A box of books by some of our favorite authors will go to one of our party attendees!  WELCOME BONNIE and welcome to our guests!!!

21 December 2014

Noela Nancarrow reviews ONE AMONG MEN by Connie Almony

One Among Men

One Among Men: The Maryland State University Series, Book 1

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

A captivating suspense and romance covering realistic issues!  

In ‘One Among Men’, Connie Almony has produced an amazingly compelling and gritty tale of a woman’s challenging journey toward discovering purpose, whilst working and living in an all-male dorm crawling with testosterone, alcohol, and drugs.

The male dorm was not her first choice, but it was the only position she was offered. So with some trepidation, Samantha Hart (Sam) accepts the job as Resident Director at the University where she once attended but would prefer to forget. Now much wiser and with a growing faith, Sam hopes she can make a difference while protecting her heart and beliefs, and prays that her ADD doesn’t impede her work.

Chris Johnson, a gifted guitarist, has come back to school as a Music major, but also works on campus as a Facilities guy. When he fixes Sam’s power points, she is surprised at the attraction he sparks in her. After all, he’s younger, and being a resident assistant, that made her his boss. And she especially can’t get past the fact that his friends are known drug users. So why is it he continues to intrigue her, and yet confuse her by frequently coming across as a Jekyll and Hyde character?

Although rewarding, this new job Sam has taken on is in a risky environment and leaves her vulnerable at times. Aside from way too many males in her building, there’s also an unidentified serial rapist that haunts the University and a drug ring operating in the school that has deadly connections. Will Sam be risking everything… her career, her faith, her heart… her life? Might Sam ever find the respect and purpose she’s looking for?

With a cast rich in personality, and suspense that will hold you captive, this deeply real story is one that will stay with you. The romance in ‘One Among Men’ was sublime. It wasn’t contrived or formulaic but authentic, growing, and fraught with insecurities. If you appreciate interesting and conversational dialogue as I do, you’ll love that aspect of this novel. I particularly enjoyed the discussions about God between a Christian and a non-believer. Another superbly written story by Connie Almony!! 

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You can find this book at these bookstores: Amazon and Barnes & Noble 

GIVEAWAY: We're giving away an ebook copy of Connie's new release. Leave a comment.


18 December 2014

Happy Birthday Diana!!!



Wishing a VERY happy birthday to our beloved Angel, Diana!!!










WE LOVE YOU, DIANA!!!


















Giveaway: $10 Starbucks card so you can raise a  cappuccino, mocha, coffee or tea to toast Diana's birthday! Leave a happy birthday message for our senior reviewer for the OWG blog!


16 December 2014

Noela Nancarrow reviews PETTICOAT DETECTIVE by Margaret Brownley

Petticoat Detective

Petticoat Detective (Undercover Ladies - Book One)
by Margaret Brownley
Shiloh Run Press; Gld edition (December 1, 2014)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

Undercover and Overexposed – The job just became a whole lot more challenging!

Can Amy Gardner aka Jennifer Layne be any more of a contradiction? A Bible-believing, petticoat-wearing Pinkerton detective working as a woman in a bordello? Amy is struggling to hold these mismatched elements of her present life together. Set in the year 1883 in Goodman, Kansas, this intriguing and entertaining whodunit holds you hostage with loads of laughs, love, and secrets until the unforeseen conclusion.

On an undercover mission to track the infamous Gunnysack Bandit, Amy is sent by Mr. Pinkerton to Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Fine Boots to chase a lead. When Amy finds herself working covertly as one of the girls, it proves to be the toughest and most humiliating assignment she has ever worked on. Seeing behind the painted faces of the girls to their fractured souls, and encountering the harsh judgments of society, is not something Amy ever thought she’d experience.

Tom Colton, former Texas Ranger, arrives in Goodman determined to clear his brother’s name. His only clue leads him to one of the girls working for Miss Lillian. As he tries to unearth the truth, he enlists Amy to work undercover for him. What an amusing and interesting mishmash of circumstances and conversations this leads to! There is something that pulls Tom to this beautiful enigma of a girl, but her profession leaves too bad a taste. Can they get past their disapproval and distrust of each other? And will Tom and Amy prove his brother innocent?

For all the laughs and smiles that tremendously witty author Margaret Brownley prompts, there are just as many poignant and inspiring moments within this story. The colorful secondary characters, including the penny-pinching, Jack-of-all-trades Miss Lillian, add extra depth and significance to this story, while covering issues of denial, fragmented families and judgment of others. And there is also the indispensable message of seeing past the exterior to the person who you were meant to be.

Wow, I honestly could read Margaret Brownley novels back to back endlessly! ‘The Petticoat Detective’ shoots with a heartrending reality that’s peppered with humor, complimenting a creative plot that keeps you guessing until the very end! As a bonus, you’re treated to fascinating nuggets of information on Pinkerton Agency operations threaded throughout. Highly recommended!!

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You can find this book at these places: Amazon; CBD; BAM; Barnes & Noble; Book Depository

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GIVEAWAY: Margaret Brownley will be giving away a copy of 'Petticoat Detective' in your choice of format to someone who leaves a comment!

*As a bonus GIVEAWAY to celebrate Christmas, OWG will also be giving away a Kindle copy of Margaret's Christmas novella 'The Nutcracker Bride' to a second winner (who leaves a comment)! Click on the title of this book to read about it on Amazon!



14 December 2014

COPING WITH A CHRONIC ILLNESS DURING THE HOLIDAYS By Bonnie Roof



Bonnie Roof, Our Newest Contributor to the Overcoming With God blog!

Welcome to our newest Angel, Bonnie Roof, who is sharing her first post of encouragement with us on the OWG blog!


The holidays are upon us again. For many people, they are some of the most joyous days of the year - for others, they bring added stress that complicates chronic health issues. Here are some tips that might alleviate some of the stress:

(1) Engage in 30 minutes of walking or related activities and 8 hours solid sleep daily.

(2) Make a list of the most important things and make them your priorities.

(3) Take care of your own needs first as it is easy to become overwhelmed with expectations and 
      demands, otherwise.

(4) Make time to take care of yourself.

(5) Unrealistic expectations add stress - as demands on your time increase, do more for yourself 
      instead of less.

(6) Conserve your energy and focus on your health, the most important thing.

(7) What special gifts and skills can you share with others? Do you paint, knit, bake, play/sing music, craft, write? Often, little is needed to create the perfect gift - many times, it truly is the thought that counts. Perhaps there is a home-bound friend for whom a visit and word of encouragement would be the perfect gift. 

(8) Make both verbalizing to God and writing down thoughts of gratefulness - a daily occurrence - 
      for blessings both large and small. There are blessings to be found even in the midst of 
      chronic pain - you may be surprised at the number when you make it a habit to daily list new blessings a gratefulness journal is good for this. Expressions of gratefulness promote good 
      feelings which can help take one's mind off his/her pain and feelings of despair and 
      hopelessness.


"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble". Psalm 46:1 (ESV)

The holidays are about giving thanks, sharing with family and friends, spreading joy to others and finding peace and God's gift of love to us and sharing them with others!!


What tips have you found to ease the stress and amplify the holiday enjoyment for one who struggles with a chronic illness - whether it be yourself or a friend or family member? 

Giveaway: Box of several recent release books by best selling authors!!!        

11 December 2014

Giveaway and Review of Regina Jennings's New Release - A Most Inconvenient Marriage

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings

Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Set aside a chunk of uninterrupted time for this novel--because you won't want to put it down once you start reading!  Regina Jennings has really come into her own with this book. Abigail, a nurse for the Union, promises "Jeremiah Calhoun", that she will marry him and go and care for his sister, an invalid with Rheumatic Fever, and his mother, and his farm. Abigail has no one to turn to as the Civil War comes to a close and accepts the dying man's offer. Except that the real Jeremiah is alive and has been waiting four long years to be reunited with his fiancee Laurel. Set in the Ozark mountains and faced with criminals who are stealing horses and killing people, the tension in the story will keep you turning page after page.

Laurel Wallace, in Jeremiah's absence, and having heard that Abigail had married "Jeremiah", who was pronounced as dead has become romantically attached to the local doctor. When the real Jeremiah arrives home and goes looking for his fiancee, he's not about to give up so easily despite the doctor's maneuvering to keep him at bay.

bibliotherapy: Jeremiah has suffered a mini ball injury through his thigh and initially his one leg is not even able to tough the ground because of muscle contractions. Abigail Stuart is a nurse and has leaned some new techniques to help recover muscle usage.

Jeremiah's sister, Rachel, suffers greatly with recurring Rheumatic Fever which has damaged her heart. I could really feel for Rachel, because I have rheumatoid arthritis and I know how those hot and swollen joints can pain you. But Rachel's issue is really more to do with unforgiveness.

A powerful romance! Highly recommend.

Giveaway: Winner's choice of paperback or ebook. USA only unless ebook or available through Book Depository.

09 December 2014

Noela Nancarrow reviews A MOST INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE by Regina Jennings

A Most Inconvenient Marriage

A Most Inconvenient Marriage
Bethany House Publishers (December 2, 2014)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

 Regina Jennings’ books never disappoint, but this one just blew me away! Unique as always; intriguing as ever; but it was also beyond riveting, thereby making it impossible to put down. So my advice is not to plan on doing much once you begin reading! There were smiles, tears, and an incredibly satisfying feeling upon finishing that you’ve just read a great book.

It seemed simple at the time. Grant a dying soldier’s wish by marrying him so as to inherit his family’s property. She finally had somewhere to go, somewhere where she’d be wanted. And all Abigail Stuart had to do was to help the soldier’s mother and severely-afflicted sister on their farm. However, what was supposed to be a convenient marriage, turned out to be anything but.

The Civil War had recently come to an end and Jeremiah Calhoun finally returns home, injured, but yearning to see his mother, sister, and his sweetheart Laurel. Instead he arrives home to find an unfamiliar willowy blonde ludicrously claiming that he is an imposter since she’d married ‘Jeremiah Calhoun’ in a prison hospital shortly before he died. Should he send this scheming beauty on her way or avail himself of her assistance for the sake of his family until he’s more able-bodied?

Abigail doesn’t want to leave after feeling like she has finally found a home on the Calhoun’s farm in the rugged Ozark Mountains of Missouri. However, she knows it’s only a matter of time before Jeremiah sends her away and becomes engaged to his beloved Laurel. Can she persuade him to allow her to stay? Will she even want to after he unwittingly creeps into her heart but not her life? Furthermore, who was that dying soldier claiming to be Jeremiah, to whom she'd married?

There’s a captivating web of intrigue that weaves throughout the story in this tale of memorable characters and genuine heart. Tension abounds with treacherous marauders lurking about the mountain. A heart-pulsing romance slowly develops. And inspiration is embedded in this novel with words of wisdom on seeking God’s will instead of striving on your own, and the freedom and peace that forgiveness brings. A well-rounded story that is highly recommended!! 


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You can find this book at Amazon; CBD; Barnes & Noble; BAM; and other good bookstores!

GIVEAWAY: USA - Winner's choice of paperback or e-book! International - Ebook only unless available through Book Despository.

07 December 2014

Regina Jennings: Is God Asking Too Much?


Is God Asking Too Much?

Do you ever feel like God has placed two conflicting callings on your life?

Okay, God, I think You want me to teach Sunday school, but have You noticed how busy we are helping my parents? There’s no way I can fit that into my schedule.

Lord, I’d really like to invite that family over for dinner, but unless You’re sending a maid to volunteer at my house this week, it just isn’t going to happen.
"Tent city" at the Jennings' home!

That’s how I felt when God called me to begin writing. For years I’d set aside my dreams because I knew that I was supposed to homeschool our children. It seemed that the demands of the individual lessons, sports practices and co-ops left no room for anything else. I was at full capacity, doing what God had instructed us to do. Maybe someday I could try the writing thing, but not until my children had graduated.

But then a funny thing happened. I became convinced that this was a test of faith. The question wasn’t whether I’d get published or not—that didn’t seem like a possibility at all. The question was whether I had the faith to try. If God wanted me to homeschool and write, then He would show me how.

Do you know what I found out? I learned that God will not contradict Himself. He will not call you to do the impossible. How do I know that? Because All Things are Possible with Him. You can’t imagine how you’ll find the time, but God knows.

It might mean dropping some activities that aren’t in His plan for you. It might mean letting go of some routines or traditions, but don’t feel overwhelmed. He will provide. Every morning you can look in the mirror with confidence and say: “God has given me enough time to do everything He wants me to do today.”


CFP: AMEN SISTER!!! Regina, I remember being at ACFW conference when you pitched your first book to Bethany as a newbie. That had to have been a shock to you when they picked it up right away, especially given what you said in your post above. How wonderful that God has blessed your faithfulness in reaching out to do what He has called you to do!


Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of Regina's wonderful new novel this week. AND Regina is kindly giving away a signed copy! (Thank you, Regina!!!)  Question: Do you struggle to believe God will enable you to do what He's called you to do?


04 December 2014

Debbie Lynne Costello's Story for A Cup of Christmas Cheer (2014) Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

A Cup of Christmas Cheer, 2014, Volume 3, Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Past


"The Letter" by Debbie Lynne Costello in Guidepost Books A Cup of Christmas Cheer Collection 2014

Volume 3, Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Past


Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels

This beautiful short story is set in 1945, after WWII has ended. Savannah residents Benjamin and Sharon Davis have lost their son, Richard, in the war. And their relationship with their daughter-in-law has suffered. They've rarely seen Jennifer and their grandchildren. (I love that one of the children is "Cassie" as I have my own Cassie, now grown!) When Jennifer receives a letter inviting her to visit, she decides to take little Richie and Cassie to see their grandparents, despite the fact that her mother-in-law has always been so cold toward her.

Debbie Lynne is masterful at the subtle nuances in emotion and also in conveying the concerns of both women in this powerful story. It was mentioned that this would make a great Hallmark movie, and I thought the same thing! The Davises seem almost clueless as to the situation their daughter-in-law, a single parent working to support her children, at a foundry.

Sharon, a society matron, looks down her nose at Jennifer and she feels it keenly. But for the sake of the children, she's tried to set those concerns aside for the sake of her children and because of the letter she received. Debbie Lynne does a deft job of helping the reader see inside the head of the mother-in-law and make her objectionable behavior be understandable given her background. Forgiveness is a big theme and trying to understand others.

A very smooth read and one you'll enjoy re-reading in years to come! Kudos to Debbie Lynne!

Purchase your own copy of the Guideposts collection here: http://www.shopguideposts.org/catalog/product/view/id/2084

Giveaway: A copy of the 2014 collection of A Cup of Christmas Cheer.

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