10 September 2015

Bonnie Roof Reviews REFUGE OF THE HEART By Ruth Logan Herne

  

Published by Franciscan Media

Reviewed by Bonnie Roof
5-Stars*****

When District Attorney Mitchell (Mitch) Sanderson rescues Magdalena (Lena) Serida, and her 5-year-old sister, Anna, from the peril of a flat tire in a store parking lot - little does he realize she could be the rescuer of his heart. Shielding it against loving again, since the loss of his wife and unborn son in a drunk-driving accident, 5 years prior - he still blames God for their deaths.

Lena, a church-sponsored refugee from war-torn Chechnya, Russia, had witnessed the horrors of war firsthand - her strong Christian faith having led her through the loss of the rest of her family. However, Lena is hiding a dark secret - one which causes her nightmares, anxiety attacks, a fear and distrust of law enforcement, and a reluctance to testify on war crimes before the U.S. Senate. Once a near-affluent doctor, she is now being schooled to become a nurse - while working part-time in a nursing home, raising her sister, and living in a poverty-stricken, crime-infested neighborhood. 

Mitch, a caring man from an affluent family, and a relentless worker who has strived for 3 years to remove problems in the justice system that allow criminals to escape incarceration - has earned respect and trust for his conviction rate. Drawn to Lena through her strength, courage, and faith - their relationship is challenged when Mitch's friend spreads rumors about Lena to him, causing a possible obstacle to his re-election, and his doubt of Lena's integrity.

'Refuge of the Heart' is a novel that touched me deeply with it's touching, heart-warming message of faith, trust, courage, redemption, hope, and strength. I read most of it in one sitting - through the night - unable to put it down. It expanded my knowledge of, and compassion for, the plight of refugees from war-torn countries, and aroused sympathy for Lena, in her courageous battle to a better life for she and her sister. Enduring the poverty of less than enough food and a lack of warm clothing and bedding, the struggle for money to put gas in her car. Things many of us take for granted. Lena's misinterpretation of the English language made me smile, as did the sweetness and conversations of Anna. The novel didn't overwhelm me with scenes from Anna & Mitch's past, or jobs - thus allowing me to become totally engrossed in the story of Mitch and Lena: their romance, faith, and lessons to be learned. Lena's resilience, practicality, dreams, and faith through such adversity was truly inspiring.

I love this longer novel from Ruth Logan Herne, her first novel for publisher Franciscan Media. I consider it a "work of art", her best writing to date, deserving of more than a 5-star rating. I became invested in the characters, feeling their pain and joy, thinking of them long after I finished reading the novel. I hope Ruth has plans for a series, a continuation of Mitch and Lena's story.


You may purchase this and other books by Ruth at AmazonCBD, and BAM.


GIVEAWAY: Ruth has graciously offered to give away one copy of this wonderful story; e-book or paperback - winner's choice! To be eligible please be sure to leave your email using (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers.



82 comments:

  1. Bonnie, thank you for this awesome review of Refuge of the Heart!! If I wasn't convinced before (which I was, lol), then I'd be convinced now, to get a hold of this book by Ruth! :) Sounds intriguing and very relevant, as well as hugely inspiring!! Blessings on you and your book Ruthy!

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    1. It's a beautiful story, Noela - so glad my review entices one to buy it!! It is all of the things you mentioned, and more. Thanks for your sweet comments!!

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    2. Noela, good morning! Well, not for you, but for me, yes! Oh, thank you both for the beauty of your words, and I loved, loved, loved Bonnie's review. It honestly made my heart sing (okay, hearts don't really sing, which is good because they have a very big, important job already, right? To beat!!!) So if my heart didn't actually sing, it sure did feel good! And Noela, I hope you love it when you read it, God and I had a wonderful time putting this together, and then to have the opportunity to work with the Franciscan Media team... Wow. That's all I'm sayin'.... Wow.

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    3. Your praise of my review makes MY heart "sing", Ruthy - as stated to a commenter, my prayer is always that I do justice to authors and their beautiful writing when I review it. Motivating readers of reviews to purchase the beautiful books I review, and experience the same joy, education, and inspiration I have!! We at OWG, and our readers, are honored to have you back on OWG - with another beautiful book - even more so, knowing you're doing double online duty today, with a book release party on Seekerville. I urge our readers to check out your wonderful post, and interesting comments, on Seekerville. We really appreciate your kindness in providing a copy of your beautiful book as a giveaway on OWG - thank you so much!!

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    4. P.S. The link for Seekerville and Ruthy's post: seekerville.blogspot.com

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  2. BONNIE, what an amazing and descriptive review! The book sounds equally amazing and I love the cover! Thank you for bringing this novel to our attention!

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    1. Thank you, Diana!! The cover is beautiful, isn't it - and so relevant to the story, as you will see when you read it. It's one that will stay with you, long after you finish it.

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    2. Diana! Good morning to you! Didn't Bonnie do a wonderful job, shoot, I want to go read the book! :) I was so honored when Bonnie offered to do this, it's such a pleasure to be over here with you guys and chatting about things I love. God, romance, heartache, faith, hope and healing. The strength of faith has seen so many through so much!

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    3. LOL, you always bring joy, humor, and inspiration when you come, Ruthy - we always love "chatting" with you!! Thank you!!

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  3. BONNIE, thank you for the lovely review! The cover is so beautiful. I am looking forward to reading this novel.

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    1. Caryl, it was my pleasure - thank you for stopping by. There is much to look forward to, in reading 'Refuge of the Heart'!! Ruth is such a gifted, prolific author - arising in the wee hours of the morning to write. 'Refuge of the Heart' is her "crowning joy" - in my opinion.

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    2. I did not pay Bonnie to say that. Although if I'd thought of it, I might have done just that, LOL!

      You know, you'll think this is odd, no doubt, but putting Refuge out there, before an audience, was concerning in some ways. The story is deep, the plight is deep, and it ties the reader into good knots of hope and challenging knots of conflict... But I wanted the reader to know how blessed we are, here in America, while challenging all of us to see the world around us. But I didn't want to be "THAT PERSON" who bosses others around or lays guilt, because that's not me. I love the awareness this story brings out in all of us, and that's the best blessing of all, right there.

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    3. Never any payment needed for praise when it comes to your wonderful writing, Ruthy, lol!! So glad you overcame your concern in publishing 'Refuge of the Heart' - it achieved exactly what you wanted it to. An awareness of the world around us, and the realization of our blessings here in the USA!! Thank you!!

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  4. This book sounds amazing, and I'd love to read it based on your review, Bonnie. It seems especially pertinent considering the refugee crisis we are facing today. Great timing, fascinating plot!

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    1. Hi, Kathleen!! I so appreciate your kind comments, and your stopping by. I'm honored to know you, an author-yourself, are motivated to read 'Refuge of the Heart', based on my review. It's my prayer that my reviews always do justice to the books, and their authors - not always an easy job, considering the numerous gifted Christian Fiction authors.

      You're so right - 'Refuge of the Heart' does have a fascinating plot, and is very pertinent and relevant to today's refugee crisis. Opening one's eyes to their struggles and dreams, as well as how blessed we are to live in the USA!!

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    2. Kathleen, isn't that the truth? And who but God and His timing orchestrated everything that had to come together so that Refuge was released at the height of a global refugee problem spurred by ISIS and other extremist groups? The knowledge that folks just want to go home... and then can't... is a spur of the story. But the grace of freedom rings loud and true for so many, while we cry and pray for others.

      My daughter's doctorate program had sent her to Myanmar (Burma) and she visited the refugee camps there. Her stories of the difficulty, and then when I read the accounts of Chechnya (in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia) I could see the wretched conditions, similar to soldiers in WWII. No blankets, no food, disease, no money, no jobs... So while that's horrid, Lena's appreciation for freedom and respite knows no bounds.

      I thoroughly enjoyed showing her story through her eyes. I hope you guys all love it as much as I do.

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    3. Amen, Ruthy!!

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  5. Thanks for the excellent review, Bonnie! This sounds like a book I would love...very intriguing! I will need to add this book to my increasing wish list.

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    1. I loved doing it, Regina - thanks for your sweet comments!!

      I feel sure you will love 'Refuge of the Heart' - Ruth is such a gifted author!! Can you believe she has released 3 novellas, 2 books, and a book in a boxed set - as well as a 4th novella releasing in Oct. - for numerous publishers, this year, alone?? Amazon already has listings for 3 other books, and a novella, to be released in the first 3 months of 2016. All this while tending a small farm, and operating a day care - absolutely amazing!!

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    2. Oh, Bonnie, I love you! Thank you for those accolades! You know, honestly, writing isn't work for me. I waited so long (God and I had a pact, I'd raise my children to the best of my ability and he'd give me writing time, a very "first-things-first" deal!) to be able to write, that when I finally could do it, the stories just kind of pour out of me. I don't know if that's good or bad, but it's making readers happy, and that's the best thing ever.

      Well, except for really cute grandchildren who love cookies!!!! And yes, 2016 is a big release year for me.... Oy vay, two Franciscans, two Waterbrook novels (my new cowboy series, the Double S Ranch series!!!) two Love Inspireds so far, and several novellas already in the pipeline. Isn't that so amazing to think about??? I CAN'T EVEN!!!!! :)

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    3. Ruthy, so glad God is blessing your honoring the "pact" with Him - with those beautiful stories. We, your readers, are recipients of those blessings, also. So looking forward to all those coming releases!!

      Love viewing the pictures of your adorable grandchildren - on your Facebook page, especially your daily post on "The Mighty Finn"!! It always puts a smile on my face.

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  6. On chapter six and I'm entranced. Had to pull myself away kicking and screaming. My heart hurts but it's expanding with wonder and awe over Lena's stoic determination. Sniffle.

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    1. KAV!!!! YOU STARTED IT!!!!! Well, now I'll be on pins and needles to see if you love it. But I think you will, you have such a good, beautiful heart! Thank you so much for reading it!

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    2. So true, Ruthy - Kave writes such beautiful, touching book reviews!! I really appreciate the many book giveaways she provides!!

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    3. P.S. Sorry, should read "Kav"!!

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  7. LOL, I relate, Kav!! 'Refuge of the Heart' kept me up all night - such a beautiful story of faith, hope, forgiveness, and unbelievable determination!! I shed a few tears, also. Thank you for your beautiful comments!!

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  8. So exciting, Ruth - you are definitely a wonder woman. And this release sounds SO good. I feel privileged to say I met you once in an elevator at a conference…lol.

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    1. SO happy you stopped by, Gail!! LOL, a "wonder woman" indeed - Gail. Truly a beautifully touching story. I'm already privileged to meet Ruthy via her amazing writing, will feel even more so when I have the opportunity to meet her face-to-face. Her joy and optimistic spirit are contagious!!

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    2. Hahahahah! I remember that, and I think I was the privileged one, Gail! Isn't that the funniest thing? I love that we're all just people, God's children, and no matter age, color, gender, His work is just so amazingly good... and that's the truth of it whether we're published or not, tall and thin or short and not-so-thin... We've all got a smile and a heart. If we share those, well, then... we've got something going! So nice to see you, kind of!!!

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    3. Hopefully, I'll get the opportunity to drop by ACFW next year, in Nashville - and meet many of my fave authors, Ruthy. Nashville is only a 3 hour drive for me, and one of my fave towns - having lived there in the '70's.

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  9. I am just loving this cover! And your review drew me in with this description "heart-warming message of faith, trust, courage, redemption, hope, and strength", those are the kind of words that I love to see play out in a Christian book. Thank you for featuring this and for the chance to win a copy of "Refuge of the Heart"!

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Hi, Trixi - thank you so much for your wonderful, comments!! In 'Refuge of the Heart' - you will find all the elements mentioned in your comments, and so much more. Truly, a beautiful book!! I sneaked a peek at the cover for Ruthy's next novel from Franciscan Media - it's beautiful also!! Good luck in the drawing for the free book, however, please purchase a copy - if you're not the winner. You'll be so blessed if you do!!

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    2. Trixi, it's such a beautiful review! I should blush, but honestly, this story was such a gift from God and I know I can say that here and you all understand it! I think you'll love it. And if you read it, let me know what you think, I love hearing from readers, chatting about things. I love talking about things on facebook, too. Faith, hope, family, prayer, giggles, romance!!! :)

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    3. And those are my favorite books to read, Trixi - the ones their authors realize were gifts from God. It's such a blessing when a reader feels a book he/she is reading, was divinely inspired from God. It's my feeling they should all be, however, not always the case.

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  10. Thank you for the chance to win a coy of Refuge of the Heart! I love Ruthy's books and try to read all of them....she is such an inspiring person!

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    1. Inspiring, and full of joy, Jackie!! Ruthy is such a gifted author, although, it's beyond my comprehension how she writes so swiftly. I think the reason she writes while everyone else sleeps: she has some elfs helping her, lol!! Thanks for commenting!!

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    2. I like that idea! Writing elfs! Leprechauns, with keyboard talents! Laughing!

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  11. So happy for Ruthy! It's wonderful to get glowing reviews! Can't wait to read this one myself!
    Cheers,
    Sue

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    1. Honored you stopped by today, Susan!! Save an entire day, or night (as I did) - to read 'Refuge of the Heart', you won't want to put it down until you've read all of it. I've seen nothing but 5 stars review for this book.

      Speaking of books, a copy of your beautiful 'Irish Meadows' is winging it's way through the mail to me. I've read numerous wonderful reviews on it also, including the recent one on OWG - congrats!! Now for the time to read it - can't wait!!

      Please stop by again soon!!

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    2. Susan, so nice of you to take the time to stop over. Kudos right back at you for your beautifully crafted series. Aren't we crazy blessed to be where we are, doing what we love? Honestly, I have to learn to never, ever, ever complain because God has been so stinkin' good to me!

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    3. I so agree, Ruthy - always a joy and blessing, when one loves his/her work. Whether writing, or scrubbing toilets. I think God wants us to be happy in all things, a "tall order" at times - being continually grateful for the small things in life, we may tend to take for granted, helps us more easily realize just how blessed we are.

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  12. A beautiful cover & a lovely review thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Everyone is attracted to the cover of 'Refuge of the Heart' - it's a stunner, for sure!! I really appreciate your comments, Mary - thanks for stopping by, good luck in the drawing!!

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    2. Mary Preston, thank you! The cover pulls people, I love that. And I just glimpsed my spring cover of "More Than a Promise" and I love it... It's another thought-provoker, gentle pull toward... something sweet and faith-filled. Where would we be without faith? I'm so glad you popped in!

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    3. Amen, Ruthy!! But for the grace of God, and my faith - I literally wouldn't be here, nor would I have gotten through some of life's trials as easily as I have.

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  13. I think this is a heart grabber! I'd love to read it :)
    dkstevens(aT) outlookDoTC OM

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    1. Lena's courage will grab your heart, for sure - Deanna!! I think you will love 'Refuge of the Heart' - good luck, thanks for stopping by!!

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    2. Deanna, I think it's a heart-grabber, too! Thank you for stopping in!!! Tucking your name into Bonnie's cat dish! :)

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    3. Good thing my cats are as accommodating as yours are, Ruthy, lol!!

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  14. It sounds amazing! Would love it. ohiohomeschool (at) gmail (dot) com
    Becky B

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    1. Hi, Becky!! 'Refuge of the Heart' is definitely one amazing book - as well as inspiring, and so many other beautiful words!! Good luck in the drawing, please stop by again - soon!!

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    2. Becky, good to see you! Thanks for stopping over here! And I bet you'd love it!

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  15. Oh me! This one sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Melanie, hey! I met you for the first time over here, didn't I? And your daughter, right? So nice of you to stop by today, I brought some fresh chocolate chip cookies. Be sure to have one, dear!!! :)

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    2. Always glad to see you, Melanie!! Thanks for your comments - good luck in the drawing. Ruthie's a master baker, and her cookies are a wonderful consolation prize, however, you'll want to purchase her beautiful book, if you don't win. You don't want to miss the blessing it will bring!!

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  16. What a wonderful sounding book. I love a book that is so passionate. It shows that you can be faithful and it gives you the strength to over come obstacles in your life. Thank you for the giveaway for your awesome book. Congrats on your book I hope it does very well.

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    1. Tammy, good to see you again! And thank you for your good wishes, I hope it sells like crazy and that folks all over take a little bit of Lena's heart, hope, faith and love with them when they turn that last page. And that every child, regardless of circumstance, is treasured from conception, the way Lena treasured her baby sister. Sacrificial love is a marvelous thing!

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    2. Hi, Tammy!! The right kind of passion is one of my very fave elements in a book - Lena's faith, hope, determination, and love guide her through some unbelievably difficult life trials. The story behind her baby sister, Anna, has turned from sadness to beauty - she'll steal your heart. As Ruthy commented-
      "sacrificial love is a marvelous thing"!! God is using 'Refuge of the Heart' to touch reader's hearts & inspire, Ruthy - it certainly touched and inspired mine.

      Tammy, thanks so much for your sweet comments, and kind thoughts!!

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  17. This book sounds SO good. Sounds like it really blessed you. I saw your post on my FB page Christian Fiction Lovers and I'm so glad I did. I have to get it. Thanks.

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    1. Thrilled you stopped by, Debra - thank you!!

      Yes, 'Refuge of the Heart' was a huge blessing to me - I'm not normally a person who can read for hours on end. Truth is, I have sleeping issues - therefore, problems dozing off if I sit for extended periods of time (falling asleep during the sinking of the Titanic, while watching the movie in the theater, is an example, lol). All that to say I was so totally engrossed in 'Refuge of the Heart', I read most of it in one night.

      So glad you saw my post, I pray 'Refuge of the Heart' blesses you - and everyone who reads it - as much as it did me!! Thank you for your sweet comments, please stop by again soon!!

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    2. Debra, what a beautiful thing to say... and I hope "Refuge" blesses everyone who reads it. It is a different kind of love story, and it kind of just wraps itself around your heart... and then your soul in the very best way. Thank you for stopping in today! I'm over-the-moon grateful!

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    3. "A different kind of love story - wraps itself around your heart, and then your soul in the very best way".
      Such a beautiful statement, and so true, Ruthy!!

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  18. What a wonderful review. It is a book that readers need to rush to get . A book filled with perseverance, learning to trust, fierce determination and a heart overflowing for the love of her sister. It sounds like a book that will bless everyone who reads it and thevstorybwill stay with you long after the last word is read. This is a must read for me.

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    1. Deana, you put it so beautifully! A love story of conviction and sacrifice. How have we so easily forgotten that sacrifice is a huge part of love? We're so silly sometimes! Thank you for your beautiful words, and thank you for coming over here today. You've blessed us all!

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    2. Thank you, Deana - and thank you for your beautifully worded description of 'Refuge of the Heart', it's "spot on". It's sure to be a blessing for all who read it, and yes, the story is one you'll hold in your heart and soul, long after you finish reading it. Enjoy, and good luck!!

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  19. Wonderful review, Bonnie! I really hope I get to read this book one day :). Thanks for the giveaway, Ruth - who knows, perhaps I will win and then i can read, review and share it with others.
    bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I really appreciate your kind words, Betti - thank you!! Crossing my fingers for your win of this beautiful book- Ruthy would love your enthusiastic review, and others will be blessed by learning of it's message.

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    2. Betti, welcome to the party! I love folks who read and share their opinions both online and to their friends. I know that's still the best way to build an audience because we trust people we know and love... I've found some of the books on my keeper shelf that way! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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    3. Amen, Ruthy!! 2 of my very fave authors were referred to my by a very dear friend, I now have every book the 2 of them have written. They are such gifted, inspiring authors, very godly women, prayer partners, and precious friends/sisters-in-Christ - who bless my life so much!!

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  20. Sounds like a wonderful read. kamundsen44(at)yahoo(dot)com.

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    1. Wonderful, and a true blessing, Kim!! Thanks for stopping by!!

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    2. Kim, it is. It's the kind of book I love reading, and the kind I love to write... So nice to see you over here!

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  21. First, a big thank you to my wonderful friend Diana Flowers for posting the link to Bonnie's review of Ruth's book "Refuge of the Heart." Bonnie your loving review of the book has me on the edge of my seat and I am very sure that I will read this one! Your descriptive comments should make any prospective reader excited to get into the story and become one with it. Ruth, the subject of your book and the characters of Mitch and Lena will come to life in my heart, I know. They have each suffered enormous tragedy that will certainly link them together as they help each other to find a life beyond the hurt and pain to find each other's hearts through the healing hands of God. Joyce Graves Joyce1510(dot)jrg(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Joyce, what a pleasure to meet you! I'm so glad you saw the posting and came over. Thank you!

      Tragedy can drive folks away from God or bind them to him. It often does the same for humans. We either run the other way, or we empathize and seek to console. I think human nature is built that way purposely, and our task is to find the person God designed for us. Even through the heartaches and sadnesses that come along, we are so blessed to us. And to be free! Wishing you blessings on this 9/11 anniversary.

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    2. So true, Ruthy!! Just as Lena, in 'Refuge of the Heart", didn't let her circumstances deter her fight for freedom - today, 9/11, is such an appropriate day for us to remember, and be ever grateful for ours.

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  22. Joyce, it's wonderful to meet you!! Diana is such a sweetheart, a gracious teammate here at OWG - always ready to lend support, and a precious friend/sister-in-Christ with a wonderful sense of humor. I'm blessed to share posts with her (and the other wonderful ladies on the team) - and enjoy her friendship.

    Thank you so much for your beautiful comments - I'm thrilled my review has elicited your desire to read Ruthy's inspiring 'Refuge of the Heart'. It's a book I feel will bless every reader - compel them to reach out to others, and show them the positive impact faith in God can have in their lives.

    Good luck in the drawing - it's my prayer all who have read this post will purchase a copy of 'Refuge of the Heart', be blessed and inspired by it, and be prompted to inspire a friend or family member with a copy of it also. Please stop by again soon!!

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  23. Bonnie, you write beautiful reviews! I've been wanting to read something by Ruth for quite a while and you have really drawn me to Mitch and Lena's story. Maybe I can eventually connect with Ruth to review and promote her writing. Thanks so much for sharing, Miss Bonnie!
    cjarvis@bellsouth.net

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  24. You don't know how much I appreciate your compliments, Carole - especially, since I always feel YOUR reviews are so beautiful. Guess everyone has his/her own style of reviewing, I always feel the reviews of the other members of the OWG team are more beautifully written than mine - and usually second-guess every one I write, lol.

    My personal opinion is 'Refuge of the Heart' is Ruthy's best writing - it's full of beauty, hope, faith, perseverance, forgiveness, touching scenes, and of course, romance. Her other books are shorter, I love the length of this one - the first with publisher Francisan Media. I'm betting the next one through them (details on Amazon) will be a beautiful story, also. Ruthy is such a godly woman - full of joy, an always optimistic spirit, a sense of humor. She enjoys talking and swapping stories with her readers, and is a very prolific writer - publishing through several publishers, as well as Indie. The number of novels/novellas she has published each year overwhelms me (especially, considering she helps care for their small farm, operates a daycare center in her home, and is very involved with Seekerville and it's blog).

    Thanks so much for visiting with us, and taking the time to comment. We'd love it if you stopped by again!!

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    1. Don't ever second-guess yourself, Bonnie, just write from the heart - which is exactly what you're doing. And comparing your review to others will only frustrate you. Of course, I've been guilty of that in the past! Sometimes I'll think, "Let me just see what some of my friends on Goodreads thought . . ." But then I stop myself, realizing that I just need to express my personal feelings irregardless of others' opinions. Believe me, you're doing a great job, Bonnie.

      Like I said before, I think Ruth writes in the character-driven style that I like, so I hope to read one of her stories soon. I noticed Franciscan Media somewhere the other day - maybe it was even Ruth's book - and looked them up. There were a couple of other fiction books in addition to Ruth's that appealed to me. So glad Ruth has found a publishing home with them, Bonnie. I'll be in touch . . .

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  25. Thank you, Carole - good advice!! Don't know if you've read any of Myra Johnson's books, she is a fellow Seeker with Ruthy - the first book in her new series released through Franciscan Media (her first book with them also) the same day as Ruthy's .

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  26. This looks like a great book, and I love the cover. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

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    1. It's a beautiful cover, isn't it - Susan, as is the story. It's a special story that touches the reader's heart, I must not be the only one that feels that way as Ruthy has 100% - 5 star Amazon reviews on it. Good luck in the drawing!!

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