31 August 2011

Audiobook Review of Julie Klassen's "The Silent Governess"

The Silent Governess

The Silent Governess
(2010, Bethany House)

by Julie Klassen

Reviewed by 
Carrie Fancett Pagels

Five Stars *****

I listened to the recorded version of Julie Klassen’s book "The Silent Governess" through This was a very romantic Regency story and a great listen!  Please note that one of the reviews on Audible is horribly incorrect. We discussed in the HisWriters (a Christian European novel writers' group) about how this can happen and there is almost no recourse for the writer. I loved this book and have started listening to it a second time through.  
The wonderful hero, Lord Bradley, at the beginning of the story requires the heroine to remain silent.  I was pleased that this was not a traumatized woman who was unable to speak. Julie did a great job of unfolding their romance very carefully and building up questions so that you wonder if their love will be an impossibility. The Silent Governess won the Christy award for 2010 and deservedly so! Christy Awards

Formats for those with special needs:  Available on Christian Book Distributors as a paperback and e-book.  Also through Amazon as a Kindle book, paperback, and on CD but the CD version was over $100.00.  I would recommend the Audible download.  

Bibliotherapy components: Rejection by a parent, math giftedness, illegitimate children, and keeping secrets.

Giveaway:  We are giving away a Julie Klassen book this week in your choice of format and choice of book!  Leave a comment and your email address.  

Thank you for coming by OTT where we seek to show people overcoming through time, with God's help, and we like to review books available in formats friendly for the vision-impaired reader!

30 August 2011

Audiobook Review - Lady of Milkweed Manor

Lady of Milkweed Manor

Lady of Milkweed Manor
By Julie Klassen

(2008, Bethany House)

Book Review
by Carrie Pagels

This is a repost of my February review.  I am putting this up for Julie Klassen week on OTT!  Some changes in my blog - am now trying to include direct links to the audio versions for my readers with vision impairments. Just hover your cursor over the highlighted audio version of the book and left click to go to the website where the book can be purchased as an audiobook.  

Lady of Milkweed Manor had excellent characterization and an interesting storyline. Easy listen. This Regency romantic historical was Ms. Klassen's debut book. I enjoyed this very much. I can see where some readers might be put off by some of the topics covered in this book, perhaps those who have never born and nursed a child. Issues of adoption and loss were very touching and very well handled as was the topic of mania (in a minor character). Fresh voice and unafraid to tackle touch topics and embed them in a great historical fiction.

Bibliotherapy points: Unmarried mothers, betrayal, adoption, and mourning. Mania, given that this is a historical fiction, and results of ineffective treatment, or in those days, not real treatment. For those who have loved ones who struggle with bipolar disorder and particularly people who have lost a loved one due to bipolar disorder, Klassen does a sensitive job of portraying what can happen in someone with BPD without meds. Of course, these days it can happen despite the availability of meds that control the disorder for many people. This is not the main focus of the book. It is in a secondary character.

Disability friendly: Book is available in audio (CD), Kindle, and regular print formats on Amazon. Also available on CBD as a paperback, or e-book (CBD has an e-reader you can download for free to use on your computer).

I downloaded this through This is a great site for persons who want to listen to the latest releases. All three of Julie's books are available on Audible. Great narrator for this book.

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win one of Julie's books in your choice of format!

29 August 2011

Audiobook Review of Julie Klassen's Apothecary's Daughter

The Apothecary's Daughter  -     
        By: Julie Klassen

The Apothecary’s Daughter

Reviewed by 
Carrie Fancett Pagels

I listened to the recorded version of Julie Klassen’s book. She has an elegant writer's "voice", perfect for this historical inspirational novel set in England. The audiobook reader was also very good. 

Lots of nice little “gifts” of information about the lives of apothecaries and their profession and the harsh realities of the transition to more “modern” medicine. A very unexpected pattern in the romances that her heroine has and in the final choice she makes. There are so many twists and turns that this is a novel that I would listen to again.

Formats for those with special needs:  Available in multiple formats on Christian Book Distributors including their e-book format.  Also paperback through Amazon, and as an download as well as on CD (abridged, not sure I would recommend it as abridged as I would not want to miss any of it!),  and Kindle.  

Bibliotherapy components: Losses, recovering from desertion by a parent, coming of age choices, making the hard decisions in life, and discovery of unknown close relatives.

Giveaway:  We are giving away a Julie Klassen book this week in your choice of format and choice of book!  Leave a comment and your email address.  

Thank you for coming by OTT where we seek to show people overcoming through time, with God's help, and we like to review books available in formats friendly for the vision-impaired reader!!

26 August 2011

Words of Wisdom

Michael Hyatt had an excellent post the other day (I think a re-post).  In it the reader was encouraged to "Do the next thing" when stuck.  Great advice. I used that with my writing situation the other day.  Nothing back from my critique partners that morning, nothing from the freelance editor, but I could do the next thing that I could do.  And I did!  Then later in the day when my wonderful critique partners got me their suggestions I did those.  And when the freelance editor's chapters came back to me I was ready!  A lot of wisdom in those few words.  Using that Friday as I prepare to evacuate for the hurricane heading toward us.  Going to just do the next thing.  Praying the east coast is spared from a hit and from damage. Will you join me in that prayer?

24 August 2011

Diana's Corner - An Ocean Away by Lisa Harris

An Ocean Away

An Ocean Away by Lisa Harris

Book Review by Diana Flowers
4 stars~ ****

An African Adventure!

Lisa Harris immediately sweeps us away on an exciting adventure to the wilds of Africa, a beautiful and majestic place, but one fraught with many dangers as well. Lizzie MacTavish loves her life as a missionary to the people of southern Africa, serving the natives along the banks of the Zambezi River. From the time she could walk, Lizzie has lived among the natives, learning their language and customs, and teaching them of God's love. Even when a tragedy befalls Lizzie and she loses both of her parents, her desire is to stay and work amongst those she has grown to love as family.

Andrew Styles is a man on a mission, and he has come on behalf of Lizzie's aunt and uncle to persuade her to return to New York, an assignment that proves to be very difficult for him. Soon a tribal war ensues, and Lizzie and Andrew must help move her people to a safer location. In transit, a hippo overturns their boat, and Andrew almost loses Lizzie. When she is attacked by someone in the jungle, Lizzie and Andrew begin to question whether it was really a hippo attack that caused their boat to capsize or was it a person? Who would want Lizzie out of the way and why?

Finally, out of necessity, Lizzie leaves her beloved Rhodesia to live in New York with her aunt and uncle, a place where she feels she doesn't belong; a place of secrets. Her heart longs to return to Africa, and Andrew fights within himself, concerning the call from God that he left behind years earlier. Soon it appears that Lizzie is no longer safe even in New York and Andrew fights to protect her and find out why someone wants her out of the picture. Is there any hope for Lizzie and Andrew, who belong to two different worlds, for Lizzie knows she must return to her beloved Africa.

Lisa Harris, herself a missionary in Mozambique, takes us on an exciting journey from page one...with wild elephants, warring tribes, dangerous hippos, mystery and romance all rolled into one! Her descriptive writing makes one feel as though they are right there. Loved it!

Available for purchase through Amazon and CBD. An Ocean Away was published by Summerside Press, March 2011.

Giveaway:  Lisa is giving away a copy of An Ocean Away.  Leave a comment with your email address to enter. Drawing will be this weekend.

22 August 2011

Interview with Lisa Harris

Interview with 

By Carrie Fancett Pagels 

Lisa Harris is the author of An Ocean Away (Summerside, 2011), Blood Ransom (Zondervan) and Blood Covenant (Zondervan). She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency (also my agent!)

Lisa, welcome to Overcoming Through Time. 

Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

The most difficult thing I’ve ever faced is the loss of our first child. After many years of waiting for a child, I finally got pregnant, only to lose the baby at three months. I’ve written about this on my blog and how it ended up taking me on a spiritual journey that in turn would change my life. I had to make the decision of whether or not I truly believed that God was in control and if he was, I was going to have to give Him everything, including my desire for a child, over to him.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
This changes as the circumstances in my life change, but right now one of my favorites is Romans 8:37-39. Through Him we are more than conquerors!

Disability friendliness:
Blood Ransom (paperback through CBD) and Blood Covenant (CBD paperback) come in large print, kindle, and an audio version.

An Ocean Away is available as an eBook and in paperback through Amazon.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
There are numerous examples in the Bible of men and women who God called to serve Him in an extraordinary way through His power. Gideon was victorious with only three hundred men, a handful of trumpets, jars, and torches. Esther saved her people from the threat of death, David was a shepherd boy who became king of a nation, and I could go on and on.

God calls us in the middle of our ordinary, run-of-the-mill, take-out-the-trash- and drive-the-kids-to-school routine. So stop and ask yourself this one question. How do you see God calling you to make a difference in your world? He’s the one who will give you the strength to do extraordinary things for Him.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
As I started doing the research for Blood Covenant, for example, I found myself afraid that my readers would find the plot unbelievable. Surely the story of a humanitarian crisis dealing with so many issues—from cholera to measles to rebels—could only be fabricated and would never happen in today’s world. Yet as I read story after story of individual refugees I found myself weeping with them over what they experienced. And I realized that, if anything, I had sanitized my story to make it more believable, because the facts tell another story.
According to the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders, there are forty-two million people in the world who have been displaced by war and violence.
Read that again: forty-two million.
So while the story behind Blood Covenant, including the setting, is fictional, the issue of those being forced to leave their homes with nothing more than the clothes on their back, often after witnessing murder, rape, violence and kidnappings, is very real. But in spite of this horror, I didn’t want to stop the story there. Drawing from my own experiences across Africa over the past twenty years I wanted to tell a story that went beyond the adversities and gave a message of hope.
          This research has made me want to listen closer to God and how He wants me to reach out to those hurting around me. We’re not all called to live overseas as missionaries, but we all can see those living near us who need God’s grace, forgiveness, and love. It might be a hurting neighbor down the street, a lonely teen in your youth group, or a tired young mother in your apartment building. God can and does use ordinary people like you and me to do extraordinary things. 

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
I’m not sure about this. J

Thank you Lisa Harris for agreeing to answer these questions.  We appreciate your sharing about how God has helped you overcome the loss of your child and pray that it will encourage others who have suffered, too. May God bless you in your ministries!

Giveaway:  Lisa is giving away a copy of her new book.  Leave a comment with your email address to enter. Drawing will be next weekend.

20 August 2011

Liebster Blog and This Week's Winner!!

Tori Chase (K. Victoria Chase) awarded Overcoming Through Time the Liebster Blog award last week.  I passed it on.

The blog is supposed to have under 200 followers but is deserving of note.  Then you post it and pass on to five others and post on their blogs.  Thanks Tori!  Here are my "picks" for the award:

Sheri Salatin Farming with Heart
Connie Almony Living the Body of Christ
Rita Gerlach InSpire
Joan Hochstetler  American Patriot Series
Patricia Iacuzzi AmHis Books

This weeks winner!!!
Well, we have a slight problem - Judy Strunk Burgi won per  Congrats and  blessings!

17 August 2011

Diana's Corner - The Blessed by Ann H. Gabhart

Book Review by Diana Flowers

4 1/2 stars~

Fascinating Read!

Ann H. Gabhart takes us on a fascinating journey into the world of the Shakers, a religious sect in the 1800s, who believed in a utopian type of life-style, communal living, visitations from angelic beings, and no marriage or family ties. Lacey Bishop agrees to marry her widowed preacher, almost twice her age, to help her take care of Rachel, a child who was left on her porch as a baby, but one Lacey loves as much as if she had given birth to her. Immediately, Lacey realizes her mistake, but knows she must keep her vows to the elderly man, even if those vows take her to a nearby Shaker village. There Lacey encounters a strange, but hardworking group of people, with stringent rules and ritualistic type worship. Rachel is immediately taken from her, and she is separated from her husband also, as Shakers did not believe in family ties, and regarded marriage as a sin.

Isaac Kingston, a widower and a victim of circumstance as well, finds himself in the Shaker village also, but only to put food in his stomach and a roof over his head. Isaac carries around a burden of guilt over the death of his young wife, and only when he meets the lovely Lacey, does the sun begin to shine in his life again. But for him, it is a futile attraction, for not only is Lacey married, but all interaction between the Shaker men and women are strictly forbidden. 

As Lacey and Isaac live amongst the Shakers, dark, hidden secrets begin to unfurl, and they both must find their way to the one true God, a God of grace and not of rules, a loving God who ordained the sanctity of marriage and family. Who is Sister Aurelia, who supposedly receives visitations from the angels, and what does she have against Lacey? What dark secrets are exposed in this seemingly peaceful, loving community? What does the future hold for Isaac and the very married Lacey, when to leave the Shaker village behind means leaving her beloved little Rachel?

I was totally fascinated with this book...the 4th Shaker novel written by Ann Gabhart. It is not a series and can be read as a stand alone novel without reading the first three, although I highly recommend those as well. Ann stayed true to the reality of a Shaker's life and therefore the romance was downplayed between Lacey and Isaac, and centered more on the drama of living in a Shaker's world. Beautifully and realistically written, Ann has given us a fair look at the Shaker lifestyle, the good and the bad. 

Beautifully done, Ann!

Giveaway: Leave a comment either here on Diana's review or on Carrie's interview with Ann (previous post) for a chance to win a copy of one of Ann's books (your choice in either Kindle or paperback!)  

15 August 2011

Interview with Ann Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart is the author of The Blessed and of Angel Sister, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker among others.

Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I met Ann through ACFW and Laura Frantz, a mutual friend.

Ann, welcome to Overcoming Through Time.  Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your characters has had to get past?

I have lived a blessed life, but even in the most blessed life, there are tragedies and hard times. When I was a young married woman expecting my first child at the much too young age of seventeen, my aunt who was more like a very dear grandmother to me, killed herself. She suffered from chronic depression and the doctors had suggested shock treatments. She couldn’t face that possibility and so she ended her life. I think suicide has to be the hardest death to grieve. And I did grieve deeply for months. Even now more than forty years later, I feel a great sadness when I think of how she died. I can’t keep from thinking I might have done something to help my aunt out of that dark valley, but death is final. That hard path gave me a great appreciation of how precious is the gift of life.

As to my characters, the poor things, I put them in major fixes in every book.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
It is so hard to pick one verse that I like more than others. I have at times answered this question by picking the verse John 21:25 as a favorite just because of how it boggles my imagination to consider all those things Jesus did that John didn’t write down. John said “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (NKJ)

But I also love Mark 9:23 where Jesus says, “All things are possible to those who believe.”

So many beautiful, inspiring, wise Bible verses.

Disability friendliness:
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? 

The Shaker books (The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed) and Angel Sister are available in large print and also as audio books. And by the way, the reader on Angel Sister does a fantastic job. (CFP: Thanks and I have downloaded two books from!)  

Those books as well as my Hollyhill books (The Scent of Lilacs, Orchard of Hope and Summer of Joy) are available on Kindle or Nook or other e-readers. My only non-fiction book, Angels at the Crossroads, is also available as an e-book.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?

Encouragement. I think we all need to be encouraged and lifted up. When people read my books and see how my characters overcome problems with the help of the Lord, then I hope they will be encouraged to trust the Lord to help them in their daily problems too.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I have researched so many different time periods for my books. Of course I had to do a lot of research into how the Shakers lived, but I think the research I’ve done on wars has opened my eyes to the courage of the average man and woman as they went to war and faced tremendous hardships. But perhaps most touching was the personal research into my mother’s background that became the background for my novel, Angel Sister, set during the years of the Great Depression. Walking down memory lane with her brought her childhood to life for me.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through 
reading about a disorder or situation?

 Angel Sister deals with alcoholism and Post Traumatic Stress from WW I. All my books have issues that the characters must overcome - often times family relationship issues. I also take my characters to war in many of my books and so the characters are faced with life and death decisions and how they respond to those. In The Blessed, Isaac considers suicide due to his grief over the death of his wife. 

CFP: Thanks so much, Ann.  And I am betting that your books all do have themes that I could consider useful for bibliotherapy (which I always note on my own reviews). Suicide is a tragedy and something that leaves behind a mark on loved ones' hearts.  When I was in grad school, research showed electroconvulsive therapy to only be effective because the patients were either so traumatized by it that they would never want it again or were so impaired by it that it could not be.  Was I ever disappointed and outraged to hear that psychiatrists are using this again, supposedly only for patients with severe entrenched depression.  We know how that usually works out, though...  And some of this being done in our own VA Hospitals. Sorry, but that pushed one of my buttons to read about Ann's poor auntie.  

Giveaway:  Leave a comment for a chance to win one of Ann's books.  We have a review on Wednesday by Diana Flowers, also.  Giveaway will be done next weekend.

12 August 2011

Review of Redeeming the Rogue by C.J. Chase

Book Review
by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I gave it Five Stars!  


C.J. Chase is the author of Redeeming the Rogue (Love Inspired Historicals, August 2011). She won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award last year for this book and I can see why!  A great read!

Mattie Fraser is a spirited American heroine whose brother had been pressed into services as a sailor aboard a British ship.  She goes to London to inflict revenge upon the man she believes to be responsible for the disappearance of her brother - the captain of the ship that he had been on. Almost as soon as she arrives, Mattie is endangered.  She thinks her weapon, a small pistol will both protect her and will exact the revenge she so desperately seeks. Unbeknownst to her, Kit DeChambrelle, the gentleman who helps her out of numerous scrapes is the brother of the aristocratic man she seeks to kill.  Kit, a British intelligence officer, has his own secrets, including a death that he blames on himself.  And a small (very lovable!) orphaned street urchin, Nicky, can't keep Mattie out of trouble for long, either. 

Kit's disabled sister, who is called Car-o, is a touching character as well as the hero's protectiveness toward her.  I love the twist with the French mother although SPOILER ALERT it was very shocking when she was gravely injured.  

Wonderful characterization, lovely voice, and tight plot make this a strongly recommended read! The romance between Kit and Mattie was very well done and I loved the ending. Great job seamlessly incorporating a strong spiritual thread for both the hero and heroine.  And I really liked the strong Christian character, Harrison.

Bibliotherapy: The hero self-medicates with alcohol, i.e., he has a major alcohol problem, disabled adult child, homeless children, forgiveness, revenge as destructive, and PTSD.

This book is available through CBD as a paperback and also as a Kindle book.

Giveaway: Leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win a copy of Redeeming the Rogue.

10 August 2011

Diana's Corner - Review-The Healer's Apprentice

Book Review by Diana Flowers

The Healer's Apprentice 
(Zondervan, 2010)

by Melanie Dickerson

5 stars *****

Destined To Be A Classic!

Melanie Dickerson takes us on an exciting medieval journey to 14th century Germany, where knights in armor, castles, lords and ladies, and of course, forbidden love and secrets abound! The lovely young Rose, is appointed as a healer's apprentice in Hagenheim Castle under the tutelage of Frau Geruscha. When the handsome Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured Rose must tend to him in the absence of Frau Geruscha. Out of gratefulness to Rose for helping her brother, Lady Osanna invites her to a festive ball and there she catches the eye of Lord Rupert, their other brother.

 A romance with either brother, however, is forbidden, for Rose is a lowly woodcutter's daughter, and Lord Hamlin has been engaged since the age of five to a young lady he is soon to marry, though they have never met. Soon Rose is torn between both brothers and a web of deceit and treachery threatens to destroy her innocent life. Who is this mysterious young lady, who is betrothed to Lord Hamlin?...and how can Rose get him out of her heart and mind? Are Lord Rupert's intentions toward her honorable? How can she have feelings for both brothers at the same time?...and what evil lurks around every corner? Will she trust God to lead her to her destiny or follow her young foolish heart?

A beautifully written page-turner, destined to become a classic, is a must read for all ages! I can hardly wait for Melanie's next book to be released, The Merchant's Daughter, a take on the wonderful classic Beauty and the Beast!

The Healer's Apprentice is available as an ebook through CBD and as a paperback , too.

Note from CFP - We are doing a mystery giveaway this time.  Like Melanie's story, where you don't really know what is coming until the end, we are gonna let the postman surprise a fortunate reader!  Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing! 

Oh, and would you please pray for Melanie and her husband today for an awesome job for him?  Post your prayer here for a not-a-surprise giveaway of The Healer's Apprentice!  

07 August 2011

C.J. Chase - Interview

Cj Chase 
C.J. Chase is the author of Redeeming the Rogue (Love Inspired Historicals, August 2011). I was blessed to meet C.J. through our local Tidewater Area Christian Writers group when it got started several years ago.

C.J., welcome to Overcoming Through Time.  Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

Well, like most people, I haven’t breezed through life unscathed by difficulties, but the one that stands out most was when our second son was born, and we learned he has Down Syndrome. That just wasn’t in my plans! I was one of those type-A perfectionists, and a child with intellectual and physical disabilities was a blow to my hopes, dreams, and ego. Now 13, Nathanael is a sweet kid who loves books, country music, and baseball. There will always be a bittersweet quality to our joy, but looking back, I can see how God has used him to change me. And I don’t think it was at all coincidence that the hero of my debut book has a younger sister with Down Syndrome. (CFP note: This is also referred to as Down’s Syndrome.)

What is your favorite bible verse and why?

For you created my inmost being,
        you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
        your works are wonderful,
        I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
        when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the
        depths of the earth,
        your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
        were written in your book
        before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139: 13-16 (NIV)
As to the why, I think most people can guess, based on my answer to the question above. It’s a comfort to know God has a purpose for us, even the least of us.
Is your book available in audio format?  Are any available as e-books with audio capability?  Large print?  (Thank you – we offer this information to our readers with difficulty reading books in regular print format.)
No audio, and at this time, Love Inspired Historicals are not published in large print. However, they are available for the most popular e-readers (Kindle, Nook).

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
I’ve discovered that many of the same questions and issues I hear people ask about God (i.e., how can a supposedly loving God allow evil) – often as excuses for shutting out God or denying God’s existence – apply to people across all times. I hope exploring these issues in past times will help modern readers grapple with them.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
Well, each book I write reveals something new to me about God and myself. I’ve come to believe that my time isn’t wasted, even if a book doesn’t sell, if I strengthened my faith during the course of writing.

Thank you C.J. for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

Giveaway:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of C.J.’s new book.

05 August 2011

Friend on Friday - Christine Lindsay reviews Dance of the Dandelion

By Dina Sleiman, White Fire 2011

Dance of the Dandelion

Reviewed by Christine Lindsay, Award-winning Author of Shadowed in Silk.

As I read Dance of the Dandelion, I found myself comparing it to the well-received mainstream novel, Year of Wonders--a novel also set in medieval times with a strong flavor of the exotic Middle East. The reader is taken from a hovel in the England countryside to within the tapestry-lined walls of a castle and all its evil secrets, to bustling London, and then to sun-kissed Italy. It is a flamboyant tale with bright imagery that I couldn't put down.

The main character, Dandy, grew up dancing barefoot in meadows, and kept gnawing hunger away by poaching. She is as wild and spirited as a child, but with the body, mind and desires of a grown woman. Dandy doesn't even trust herself to do the right thing, especially when her decisions are influenced by her raw childhood memories of famine.

Dandy wants more out of life than what her simple cotter family has, and more than what the young farmer, William, can ever give her. Because of this, she recklessly turns her back on true love to marry a nobleman from the nearby castle, only to find there are other types of hunger--the hunger of the soul. As Dandy struggles with heartache and at times, brutality, she also finds within each hardship a vibrant sense of hope. Dandy struck me as a strong, vivacious heroine who learns by failure before she grasps the truth.

The literary talent of this author delighted me as I kept picturing the rich pallet of the Renaissance as I read this extremely gripping story. It was like reading light rippling across water. At the same time, the author doesn't shy away from difficult issues, but the story does come around to a Christian redemptive message that is totally believable, and a wonderfully satisfying ending.

I highly recommend this book. 

Note: This book is available as an e-book through Amazon   Leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win a copy of this book!  

03 August 2011

Book Review - Dance of the Dandelion by Dina Sleiman

Dance of the Dandelion

By Dina Sleiman

Published by White Fire  whose motto is "Where the Spirit Meets the Page."

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels


I gave this Five Stars – I hesitated, almost giving it four because of some of the elements, but the story was so compelling and so well done that I could not.  And the elements that disturbed me were not at all gratuitous elements but intrinsic to the plot.  I could not stop reading Dandelion’s story, she was such an intriguing and different character. 

This is a debut book for Ms. Sleiman,  published by White Fire.  Out now in e-book format, it is available on Kindle as a download, which is how I read it.  The book will be out in print this fall.  I was privileged to critique part of this book this past winter but my comments to Dina, along with Narielle Living another writer friend, we both agreed that “What could we tell her about this book?”  We could not see from looking through the first chapters where we would edit anything.  It is a very well-written book and unique, unusual, in how it addresses the subject of seeking after God’s deepest love.

This is not a typical Christian fiction book and was not picked up by the mainstream CBA market yet it is an inspirational work, with a strong literary element (though not the bummer ending like so many literary books have).  Dance of the Dandelion has violence and lots of sensuality/sexuality in there although it is not erotica, but is meant to show the struggle and journey of Dandelion.  This is a "seekers" book, about a young peasant girl’s path to a deep relationship with God. Young women today could relate to the relationship issues that Dandelion has to process and go through to ultimately know herself and enter into a right relationship with God before being part of a complete marital union on earth.

Dance of the Dandelion is a page turner and a compelling read.  You will find yourself having to find out what happens to Dandelion and being up half the night!  Congratulations, Dina, and thanks for giving us this fresh new work!

Bibliotherapy: Poverty, abusive relationships, obsession, forgiveness, and healing. This would be a wonderful resource for therapists to use with young women struggling with relationships.

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win either the e-book (available now) or a paperback copy when it releases next month!  And leave your email addy, too! 

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