30 April 2013

Teresa Mathews Reviews Love At Any Cost by Julie Lessman

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman

Revell Publishing 2013

5 Stars*****

Reviewed by Teresa Mathews

When I hear the name Julie Lessman mentioned I have to break out in a grin, can't help but have that reaction to someone who has brought so much joy into my life with her wonderful books. Julie is well known for her Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change books, which introduced us to the O'Connor family. Now it seems she will be known for this one too.

In this novel Julie takes us clear 'cross the country to the big ole state of Texas where we meet a feisty little ole spitfire that goes by the name of Cassidy McClare. Cassie is more at home roping cattle on the range than all dressed up going to dances. When a handsome man proposes marriage to Cassidy she thinks her life is complete until he finds out her daddy's oil wells have dried up and he dumps her. Cassie decides she needs a new start so she takes a trip out to San Francisco to spend time with her Aunt Caitlyn, who is the widow of her dad's brother.

While Cassie is collecting her baggage at the train station she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome man who isn't watching where he is going. Trying not to be rude she accepts his apology knowing she will never have to see this "pretty boy" again or so she thinks.

Jamie McKenna is a handsome lawyer working at one the best firms in San Francisco run by Logan McClare, Cassie's uncle. No one would ever know Jamie was raised in one of the boardinghouses in the unsavory Barbary Coast. Jamie worked three jobs to put himself through college but not only did he accomplish that he moved his mother and crippled little sister to a better part of town. Now if only he could find a beautiful, rich young woman to marry he might be able to fulfill his dreams; to get the surgery his sister needs and to have a beautiful house on the affluent Nob Hill.

When Jamie shows up at Caitlyn McClare's house he is shocked to find the beauty he bowled over at the train station earlier that day, but Cassie is not the least bit happy to see him. Now this is where the fun begins...Jamie is quite smitten with Cassie but it seems it's going to take a lot of smooth talking and a few kisses to get her to succumb to his charms. He may even have to up the ante by going to church with her and that is not high on his list of things to do because he's been angry at God since his sister's accident. Will things work out for Cassie and Jamie or will something happen to send Cassie running back to Texas faster than a spooked filly?

What a book! There are heated moments of Cassie and Jamie sharing kisses that could start fireworks that are hotter than the Fourth of July. There's a juicy little secret from her past that Cassie's Aunt Caitlyn is keeping, as usual it seems Julie thought of everything to get your heart racing!! I even found my mouth hanging open at a big ole shocker she threw in but my goodness this is a Julie Lessman book, what else could I expect??!! In my opinion Julie has written another fabulous book that you DO NOT want to miss but don't take my word for it, this is one you have to savor for yourself!!

AmazonCBD, and Barnes and Noble



29 April 2013

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
~5 stars*****

Ohh the joys of reading a Julie Lessman novel!! I found myself smiling silly right throughout the first chapter and repeatedly thereafter throughout this spirited and sumptuous feast of Julie’s exciting inspirational romance set in the early 1900’s. This is a romance that will take you to giddy heights and to sorrowful depths. A journey of love and relationships that will spark hope and longing within you for the heroes of the story. And a tale of faith and the importance of integrity that will stir your heart as you become involved in the lives of the men and women of this charismatic and loving family.

Cassidy McClare is a spunky 22 year old cowgirl who has travelled from Texas to San Francisco to stay at her Aunt Caitlyn’s for the summer. Nursing a sore heart and a bruised pride after being jilted because the family’s oil had dried up, Cassidy swears off men and especially pretty-boy Romeo’s. But who should barrel accidentally into Cassidy while she was waiting to get picked up from the train station? None other than the very type of man she was running away from!

Pretty boy Jamie MacKenna, and a very close friend of the McClare’s, is only too happy to discover the gorgeous young woman he’d knocked over was none other than Caitlyn McClare’s niece. The icing on the cake for him was that she was an oil heiress… or so he thought. With his little sister Jess, disabled and needing an expensive operation, and wishing for a better life for her and his mother, Jamie can see no other way to help them than to marry well.

Jamie charms Cassie relentlessly, capturing her heart while at the same time entirely losing his. Knowing why she was so terribly hurt from her previous relationship, he still feels he has no choice in the matter when he finally discovers she is dirt-poor. Can he truly give up the one woman he’s only ever truly loved and instead marry the wealthy Senator’s daughter Patricia, as he was originally planning to do? How will Cassie fare, and can love find a way through these seemingly impossible odds?

This captivating and charming tale that also includes a parallel story featuring Cassie’s widowed Aunt Caitlyn that is just as enthralling, is filled to the brim with love, family, teasing, taunts, and laughter! The bantering between the characters was thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable, and that’s when it wasn’t just plain delicious! I was also managed to be shocked silly with a surprising twist of an immense magnitude in this story. In ‘Love at any Cost’, these endearing characters that Julie Lessman has drawn begin to take on a life of their own, almost prompting me to pray for them. They also demonstrate the wisdom in dating those with like-minded faith, and prompt consideration of such issues such as ‘should the end always justify the means’?

Thank you Julie Lessman for taking us all on another gratifying and unique journey with an equally delightful and appealing family like the O’Connors from your previous series!

This book may be purchased through AmazonCBD, and your local bookstore.

GIVEAWAY: Answer the question and LIKE Julie's Facebook page (put JL)  to be entered for a copy of this paperback! We are giving away a book with each review this week!

QUESTION: If you could marry for ten million dollars or for love, what would you choose and why?

28 April 2013

Three Reasons to LOVE Julie Lessman's "Love at Any Cost"

Love at Any Cost

Julie Lessman’s Love at Any Cost
Revell (2013)

Great new cast of characters!

So wonderful to be able to dig into a new Julie Lessman series and “meet” her new characters and delve into a new story line.

Cassidy McClare is a funny little gal from Texas.  Thankfully Julie can write spunky well—sometimes it comes off as silly when other authors do so. I think it is very difficult to write this type of character and pull it off but Julie does.  Similarly she has a hero who is very similar to an antagonist(!) I have in one of my manuscripts (my “problem child” that is giving me fits.).  For her to make me give Jamie MacKenna the time of day, she had a hard sell.  I am not a rogue lover you see.  She deftly manages to convince the reader that he has compelling reasons for his behavior. 

I accidentally purchased several copies of this book, not wanting to miss out on it when it released.  So glad I had it to read, almost all in one “sitting” or laying down in my case as I was ill in bed. 

Julie Lessman fans will LOVE this book!  And I think she will gather an entire new group of admirers with this series, set in SanFrancisco at the turn of the century.  Love the little historic details about the area at that time. 

THREE Reasons to LOVE this book:
1) Voice: positive , perky, hopeful voice underlies the novel but there is more than enough tension.
2) Storyline:  Lovely with a great twist at the end.
3) Characterization: This is Julie Lessman after all—need I say more? Of course it is awesome!

Purchase LaAC at AmazonCBD, and other bookstores!

GIVEAWAY: We are giving away a copy of Julie's book with EVERY review this week!  Leave a comment and LIKE Carrie's and Julie's Facebook Author pages (put CFP and/or JL on your comment):
Carrie's Page
Julie's Page

27 April 2013

Teresa Mathews Reviews Murray Pura's The Last Waltz

5 STARS*****

Reviewed by Teresa Mathews

A Love Story That Transcends The Horrors of War

Murray Pura has a special talent for creating a romantic story so beautiful it will bring tears to your eyes and this story set during the civil war is no exception.

Charity Davis has been single-handedly taking care of the family farm since her husband Mitchell and their two sons joined the war. The morning Charity sees the Confederate Soldiers marching by her house she runs to the road to ask about her husband. After two hours of inquiring she gives up and starts back for the house. Halfway home, hearing her name being called, Charity turns and sees her husband. Mitchell is astride his horse but he is being supported by two soldiers. Charity is told he has been wounded and they are going to allow him to spend the night at home.

When Mitchell was shot and pretty much given up to die, he does as King Hezekiah did, he prays for God to extend his life. He doesn't ask for the fifteen years like Hezekiah but for just one more day with his beautiful wife he hasn't seen in two years. When he hears there is a unit headed to Chickamauga, Georgia, he asks to be allowed to go with them because he knows they will be passing his home.

Mr. Pura's description of the day that Charity and Mitchell shared is so deeply moving you will not want to see it come to a close. The love they share can only be described as ethereal, truly a love ordained by God.  Only an author that personally knows the true source of love could write such an enthralling story. Thank you Mr. Pura for sharing this story that despite being short on words is definitely long on heartwarming emotions. 

You can find this novella and all the other wonderful books Mr. Pura has written at Amazon

25 April 2013

Noela Nancarrow Reviews Shadowed in Silk by Christine Lindsay

Shadowed in Silk

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
~5 stars~*****

I found Shadowed in Silk to be a fascinating and extremely compelling story that had me engrossed right from the onset and throughout this captivating tale until the very end! Set in India during a time of great political unrest during the British Raj (rule), this story is written with such realism you’ll experience first-hand the tension, vulnerability, and danger as the British attempt to suppress the growing tide of insurgence from the natives of India. The treatment of the Indian people from the British will cause you to balk as you observe them being dealt with immense disdain and condescension.

However, despite the drama that unfolds in this outstanding novel, you’ll also be swept away to a culture that’s exotic, colorful, and fascinating. A place that’s teeming with people everywhere you turn with a kaleidoscope of color from the women’s silk saris, skirts and hair ornaments. You’ll imagine yourself hearing the thousands of voices assailing you during the day; the screeching of the colorful parrots; and through the night, the howling jackals and chirping crickets. The smells from the frequent clouds of dust and spices will simultaneously invade your senses.

After a whirlwind courtship, Abby had married army man Nick Fraser after only knowing him for a few weeks. Nick was about to shipped to India to rejoin his regiment there and therefore convinced Abby he wanted to make her his wife right away. After four years of barely hearing from him and with the war ending that Nick was fighting in, Abby has decided to join him in India. Their three year old son Cam whom Nick has never met is with her. Abby feels a little jittery about seeing him and being his wife again but is not prepared for him to not be there waiting at the quayside for them. After four long years of not being together, what could possibly keep Nick from being there to welcome his wife and son?
When Abby finally meets up with him, will she be swept off her feet again by this handsome Lieutenant or will she discover there’s another whole side to this man that she didn’t know?

Major Geoff Richards along with his troops that had survived the war returns home to India on the same ship that Abby and Cam had arrived on. During the voyage, Geoff who is a widower and young Cam develop a special friendship. When Geoff sees Cam and his mother alone and waiting on the pier, he helps them to get to their new home in the British civil lines, a cordoned-off part of the British empire in India. Strong and commanding yet thoughtful and quiet, Geoff himself has been scarred by the war and suffers from a hand tremor and large scar near his temple. It is easy to be drawn to this hero but you feel for his helplessness not only where Abby is concerned but also the injustice against the Indians.

After Geoff had settled back into duty, he needs to discover the Russian spy in their midst before it is too late. He knows this spy is endeavoring to cause unrest among the Indian natives and is involved in selling weapons. Abby and Cam become caught up in in this alarming situation and so with lives being in jeopardy and tensions all around escalating to boiling point, can Abby remain safe and shadowed in silk?

Christine Lindsay’s story is one of the those rare and beautiful gems that provokes such beautiful deep imagery while also gifting the reader with perfectly layered characters and a stirring and mesmerizing story that is almost impossible to put down. It was through these rich characters that the issues of love, loss, abuse, and varying levels of faith in God, are explored and thoughtfully embraced. I highly recommend this exciting and exceptional historical fiction ‘Shadowed in Silk’ to all readers!

This book may be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and BAM.

GIVEAWAY: Christine has graciously offered to give away a copy of winner's choice of one of her books—choice of format. Answer the question and leave your email to be entered in the contest.

QUESTION: Have you ever seen any persecution to minorities or been persecuted as a Christian yourself?

23 April 2013

Diana Flowers Reviews Captured by Moonlight by Christine Lindsay

Captured by Moonlight

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
5 stars~*****

Absolutely Captivating!

In Captured by Moonlight, Christine Lindsay sweeps us away to the exotic, hauntingly beautiful land of India – of women in colorful saris, mango, coconut, and banana groves, plantations where elephants, tigers, and leopards roam in the nearby jungles – and the scent of spices, jasmine, and mimosa permeating the air. Amidst all of the majestic beauty, however, lie many dangers…of religious and political unrest, life threatening storms, a wounded tigress stalking in the nearby jungle, and the dreaded cholera.

Eshana, a beautiful, young widow, only wishes to serve the Lord and the needy women in the mission house, and her best friend, Laine, an English nurse, is masking her broken heart by administering healing to others. Laine is caught disobeying the rules and is sent to a plantation in Madras to work with a missionary doctor and his sister who treat cholera victims. Madras, where her heart had been shattered to pieces after the war by her first love – Madras, a place she has no desire to return to – ever. Once there she encounters many dangers, not the least of which include dangers of the heart as two men vie for her love, a cholera outbreak, and a life threatening storm.

And in the beautiful, romantic setting of white sand-filled beaches and moonlit nights, is it even possible that Laine's heart might be captured by love once again? What secrets is the owner of the plantation hiding in the surrounding outbuildings…and what of Eshana, who has fallen into sinister hands? Will Laine and the handsome Sikh doctor who has fallen in love with Eshana find her before it's too late?

I have ten authors who are my favs...with Shadowed in Silk—Book One and Captured by Moonlight—Book Two, Christine Lindsay has made it into my top five! I was captivated from the very first chapter of this exciting sequel with its unpredictable storyline which may easily be read as a stand alone. I loved the courageous characters—especially their dedication to put others first, and oh, the romance made my toes curl, my eyes fill with tears, and left me with the goose bumps! The author's use of imagery was second to none, and I could see the beauty of India in her descriptive prose. On my fav list of 2013 goes Captured by Moonlight! Very nicely done, Ms. Lindsay!

This book may be purchased through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

GIVEAWAY: Christine has graciously offered to give away a copy of winner's choice of one of her books—choice of format. Answer the question and leave your email to be entered in the contest.

Question: I was absolutely captivated by the exotic setting in this novel! Where is your favorite "exotic" setting for a book?

21 April 2013

Interview with Writer Gwendolyn Gage

Gwendolyn Gage

Gwendolyn Gage is an aspiring author anxious to take the truths God has taught her to the world through the package of an entertaining novel. She’s been writing stories since 2008, and now has three completed manuscripts. For the Sake of One Lost is a Speculative novel about time travel to Roman Ægyptus. The Way of Impressions and Healing Rift fall under Historical Romantic Suspense, and are set in the 18th century.

Gwendolyn, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?
Thanks, Carrie, I’m excited to be your guest today! I was well on my way to realizing my American dream by 2006. A homeowner and a newlywed, I had a cool job at Lockheed Martin, one of the most coveted places to work in Dallas. But in 2007, when my grandpa’s health began to fail, God asked me to quit my job and move to Kentucky for a season.

For a long time, I struggled with the question “Is this really God’s will?” Especially after I gave up my job and made the move, only to be rewarded with a hard financial struggle that sent us right back to Texas in order to save our house from foreclosure. We moved in with my mother-in-law who’d been house-sitting for us, and then the unthinkable happened. She didn’t move out. And the comfortable relationship I thought I had with her, evaporated.

Suddenly, the spiritual warzone I endured at work followed me home, and sleep was my only rest. Suddenly, my marriage was under attack, and I was losing control of even what we had for supper at night. I wallowed in self-pity, sure that quitting my job at Lockheed Martin and going to Kentucky had been a huge and terrible mistake. I wrote my first draft of For the Sake of One Lost that year, using it as a way to vent my frustrations, express my longing for a normal life, and make sense of the lessons God was teaching me.

That pivotal year of 2008, God taught me the meaning of “for better or for worse”. Sitting on my front porch one breezy, spring night, I imagined my life without my best friend, and considered a road I knew was not God’s best. By God’s grace, I decided to stay with my husband, even if it meant living with his mother for the rest of our lives and accepting second place. God also taught me how to love my enemy—how to repay cigarette smoke in my house with a salad from Olive Garden, her favorite. How to pray for her every morning on my drive to work. When we lost our house the next year, hubby and I moved in with friends across town and my mother-in-law moved into a rental home. Sadly, she never contacted my husband again. I still pray for her.

Today, the blessings of that lesson in tough love are reaching so much farther than my husband and his mother. If I hadn’t gone through the trials of dark 2008, I wouldn’t have the patience or strength to endure the servant-like ministry He’s called me to today. I’m back in Kentucky, serving my grandparents and other family members who live with them. It’s hard. I didn’t want this. I wanted to cook and clean and care for a family of three in my own home, not a multi-generational household of ten people in someone else’s. But I know that God has put me in this situation to minister Christ’s love in a particular way. It may be that my example will get a family member’s attention when nothing else will. I keep that in mind when my selfishness and pride try to tell me I deserve better. I already have better—waiting for me in God’s city, the New Jerusalem. My version of the American Dream is nothing compared to what God has in store when I’m with Him for all eternity. I can’t wait! Can you?

Gwendolyn Gage blogs at “Serving Through Words”, and you can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

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

20 April 2013

Marian Baay Reviews Carrie Fancett Pagels' Novella Return To Shirley Plantation

Return to Shirley Plantation

Reviewed by Marian Baay
5 stars~*****

Carrie Fancett Pagels has written a wonderful historical romance set during the Civil War. This story takes place at Shirley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia. I have heard great things about Shirley Plantation and reading this novella was like I was finally arriving there and getting to see it with my own eyes.
I think the author nicely described the layout of the plantation—clearly she must have been there, and while walking the grounds of Shirley Plantation she must have fantasized about the stories that could have taken place there.

I loved reading about Angelina and Matthew—how they met at Shirley Plantation and how the first sparks of chemistry filled the air. But this is not only a love story—it is war and there are secrets and a mystery to unravel.

This novella was a great historical read that gave me a glimpse into the world from long ago. I’d like to applaud the author with this beautifully written story with endearing characters, rich historical detail, and a good Christian message. Well done, Carrie!

GIVEAWAY: We've been celebrating Carrie's debut all month long. Leave a comment for a chance to win a pink party basket! A summertime hot pink cup for you and a friend, a basket, cards, sunglasses pouches and more! LIKE Carrie's author page on Facebook  and put OWG over there on that page then come back here and put FB to enter! 

19 April 2013

Diana Flowers Reviews The Last Waltz by Murray Pura

The Last Waltz

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
~5 stars*****
~Love is Stronger Than Death~

In Volume 2 of Murray Pura's Civil War series, The Last Waltz, Mr. Pura has written a poignant, bittersweet love story, set during the most horrific battle of our country's history—the Civil War.

Major Mitchell Davis, while suffering from a serious bullet wound to the chest, asks a special request of the Lord and is granted a reprieve...he lives. While his regiment is on their way to fight another battle in Chickamauga, Georgia, he is able to spend one glorious day and night with the wife of his youth. It is a day replete with love and laughter—a temporary respite from the horrific memories of war—and a night filled with dancing, tender romance, and bathing in the moonlight. Charity watches him leave for battle with mounting sorrow in her heart and wonders...will her beloved Mitchell return once again to her awaiting arms?...or become another casualty of this bitter war?

Reading this literary gem of a story with Murray Pura's poetic voice throughout was nothing short of pure spiritual beauty. My heart soared with the lovely scriptures and a love that was stronger than death; as described in the Song of Solomon and demonstrated by our hero/heroine. But nothing about this war was pretty, and as stark reality set in—I wept. My emotions were all over the page and I got totally lost in the moment—which is a sign of a truly talented author, and Mr. Pura—that you are, sir.

You can get this story for only $0.99 at Amazon.

17 April 2013

Teresa Mathews Reviews Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green

Widow of Gettysburg

5 Stars*****
Reviewed by Teresa Mathews

A Magnificent Tale of Strength in the Midst of War

In this heartrending story of the Battle of Gettysburg Jocelyn Green gives us a look into the lives of several of the many women that struggled to survive the horrors of war. 

Liberty Holloway, our nineteen year old heroine has been a widow for almost two years since her young husband Levi died in the Battle of Bull Run. Since a young age Liberty was taught by her cruel aunt she wasn’t worth anything and that she would never make anything of her life. That’s why her mother gave her away. So now Liberty lives all alone on her farm still in her Widow’s Weeds. Will she forever be known as the Widow of Gettysburg representing all the women who’ve lost so much? Will she ever feel she has made something of her life?

The day a stranger rode up to the farm and asked for something to eat was the day things began to change for Liberty. She has no clue he is Silas Ford, the handsome young man that tried to befriend her when her aunt would belittle her as a child. Once upon a time Silas had been a student at the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg until an outrageous chain of events forever changed his life. When Silas mentions to Liberty that she should start living again, at first she is upset but after he leaves she thinks about it and decides he is right so she puts away her mourning clothes. Will Liberty ever see this handsome stranger again?

Bella Jamison, a freed slave that works for some of the ladies of Gettysburg, remembers the feel of a whip slicing her back apart. She remembers every atrocity done to her at the hand of an evil master and because of an unspeakable act Bella has to keep a secret that could destroy the live of someone she holds dear if it ever comes to light.

On July 1st 1863 the first sounds of battle were heard and Liberty had no clue that in a very few hours her house would be used as a field hospital for hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers. When the doctor asks Liberty to help hold a light for him to perform amputations she tells him she cannot do it.  Will Liberty find a strength that can only come from God to help these men whose cause took the life of her husband? Will she follow God’s leading and realize she can make her life count by helping those who cannot help themselves?

My simple words cannot begin to describe the depth of this novel. From the very beginning I found myself drawn in the story, it was as if I could close my eyes and hear the sounds of battle—the cannons firing, the sounds of the wounded in agony.  Then I think of all that was lost during that time—the young men who only a few years before were babies on their momma’s laps, the men who died that day because of their love for this country who left behind wives and children. Ms. Green did a superb job bringing to light the strength of the women that were left to clean up the carnage this war left behind. Ms. Green has actual statements from women that survived this horrific time, it was so enthralling to read in their own words how they felt about what was happening. This book is not for the faint of heart because there are scenes that will disturb you. Even though I found myself in tears at one point from the descriptions I feel my life is so much more enriched after reading this and I know you will feel the same. Thank you Ms. Green, for creating this masterpiece.

You may purchase this book and Wedded to War at AmazonCBDBooks a Million and other stores. 

GIVEAWAY: A copy of Wedded to War or Widow of Gettysburg. Answer the question to be entered in the contest and don't forget to add your EMAIL ADDRESS so we can contact you if you are the winner.

QUESTION: Have you ever had to keep a devastating secret? Please don't feel you have to share it with us, you can just say yes or no.

16 April 2013

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green Reviewed by Marian Baay

Wedded to War

Reviewed by Marian Baay

5 stars~*****

During the Civil War.

In this story, Charlotte Waverly is going to find out how hard it is for a woman to become a nurse in 1861. Charlotte is determined and works her way into nursing. She will prove her worth—working from the lowest position of emptying chamber pots to real nursing.

Coming from a rich family, Charlotte is not accustomed to hard work, but she will show that she is not afraid of hard and dirty work and prove that a woman is also capable of nursing. Together with her sister Alice, Charlotte travels from New York to the battlefield to be close to her sister’s husband and to do her work in a hospital. Some time later an Irish woman, named Ruby, will walk into their lives, who has several secrets to hide. Somehow Ruby’s secret has to do with Charlotte’s suitor. Will Ruby ever find the courage to share her secret?

Jocelyn Green is a talented storyteller who has done a lot of research for this book. The historical details are nicely woven into this story. It was fascinating to see how difficult it was for women in those days to become a nurse. And like with almost every war story I have read—I am so grateful to live in peace and have no personal knowledge of the horrors of war. After finishing this book I am also thankful for the medical help and supplies we have these days.

Readers who like to read Civil War fiction will enjoy reading this book!

Jocelyn's books can be found at Amazon, CBD, and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY: A copy of Wedded to War or Widow of Gettysburg. 

QUESTION: The Civil War is when nursing really began as a profession. Do you have a friend or family member who is a nurse and have they ever commented upon Civil War nursing? 
Please leave your email address if we don't know you well.

14 April 2013

Interview with Jocelyn Green by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Jocelyn Green

Jocelyn Green is the author of Wedded to War and of four nonfiction books, including Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives, and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front.

Jocelyn, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?
In a nutshell: depression, and the fear of depression.
Now, if you want the story: Once upon a time, I was twenty-two, in love with a man who didn’t love me back, and determined to prove to him, and to myself, that I could live without him very well, thank you very much. So I hastily took a job as a private English tutor in Vienna, Austria. Yep, I moved to the other side of the world, and nope, I didn’t know German. I did not go through an organization when I accepted the position, so when the boundaries and expectations kept shifting, I had no recourse or protection against what the Viennese family I lived with was asking me to do. 

I had unwittingly placed myself in the care of a woman who was 
extremely manipulative, and her promise to let me take German classes was completely reneged. Not knowing the language made me illiterate, dumb, mute, and more isolated than I could have imagined possible. As many of you probably know, isolation breeds depression, and that’s exactly what happened to me. I remember vividly the moment when I snapped—my knuckles white on the staircase railing—and I just started crying and couldn’t stop. For days. For weeks. Until a neighbor, who happened to be a missionary from Minnesota, told me that I needed to take care of myself and go home. I want to make it clear that I was reading the Bible and praying throughout this time. I did not feel that God had abandoned me, and I still trusted him. It was not a matter of will-power, or of just “being more spiritual” to turn off my tears. My system was just overwhelmed and shutting down. My hair was turning grey. I lost weight until my clothes hung on my shoulders as if from a hanger.

So I went home, in defeat, after never really failing at anything in my life before. Back in America, I was diagnosed with severe depression, and put on medication. I moved to Washington, DC, got a great job as an editor for a nonprofit on Capitol Hill, and found a church. Four months later, I decided to stop taking my medication cold-turkey, because I no longer lived in isolation, and the triggers for my depression no longer existed. Then I worried about my decision, and consulted a Christian psychiatrist, to basically confess what I did. He didn’t tell me I had been wrong to just stop taking the medicine, but he did say to watch myself, because people who go off their medication before they’d been on it for six months are more susceptible to slip into depression again.
Fast forward two years. On July 5, 2003, I married my husband, an officer in the Coast Guard. Two days later, we moved from Washington, DC, to a small town called Homer, Alaska. On our one-month anniversary, he kissed me goodbye, and left for a month. I was alone, with a house, but without our furniture which had yet to arrive. It was me and the walls. “But,” I told myself, “at least I know the language here!”

It was a shock on many levels. I went from having a career to being unemployed. From big city to small town. From single to married, and from civilian to military. Rob was gone seven months of our first year of marriage, though not all at once. It was challenging. My worst month was November. The weather was cold, it was dark, and when our driveway was covered in ice, I was all but stranded at home. I had to put chains on my boots to walk to the grocery store. I really had a mental battle going on. I was terrified I would slip back into depression. I had to tell myself it was just one day, just one bad day. Everyone gets them. It doesn’t mean you fall into a tailspin. It’s OK to have a bad day, or two, or three.

I felt like I could have gone either way that year. Even if I hadn’t gone into a clinical depression, I could have become bitter and resentful about the sacrifices I made to tag along with Rob’s career. But, with God’s help, I made a decision. I would not allow myself to isolate. I joined two book clubs, two Bible studies, volunteered at the nursing home, and drove a cancer patient to her medical appointments in Anchorage, five hours north of us. God taught me things through his Word, in light of my new status as a military wife that left me in awe of Him.

God used that year to breed in me a passion for supporting the spiritual lives of other military wives. A few years later, my first book was born: Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. Fourteen other military wives from all branches of service helped me write that devotional book—and in 2011, a sequel was released: Faith Deployed . . . .Again.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” This verse speaks so well to my struggle in Alaska. I had to keep my mind steadfast on God, not on my circumstances, and in return, he kept me in perfect peace. I love sharing this with other military wives, but it is relevant to each one of us.

Wedded to War

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 

Wedded to War, along with all my nonfiction books, are available for ereaders, which can enlarge the size of the print on the screen. But so far, no large-print hard copy books or audio books are available.

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

From my nonfiction books, it would be the concept of Isaiah 26:3. From my novel Wedded to War, I want readers to glean a few different insights. First, that we should be more concerned with what God thinks than with what society thinks. The privileged women who gave up their lives of ease in order to nurse faced ridicule and open hostility, but many of them believed God called them to the work. So I hope readers will really examine what they feel God is calling them to do, and then do it with confidence.

Second, from the character of Ruby, I hope readers will learn that even if we make mistakes in our lives, or if we harbor guilt or shame, that does not need to direct the rest of our lives. We’re all sinners, aren’t we? We make mistakes. We do wrong. Satan wants us to believe we are irreparably damaged by those sins, and that those sins absolutely define us. But here’s where we take that thought captive and obedient to Christ—what does God say about our sin? 1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” So there you have it. We need to choose to believe God’s opinion of us rather than anyone else’s. And we can learn God’s perspective only from being rooted in the Bible and by prayer.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
Oh, gobs of things.
My research for both nonfiction and fiction brings me to tears at some point or another. I will just share with you the most recent story that tugged on my heartstrings. 
A young soldier in the Civil War had to have both his legs amputated. His nurse wrote a letter to his sweetheart to let her know he survived the operations, and this girl wrote the soldier a Dear John letter. The soldier read it, said to his nurse, “Tell her I forgive her,” and then died.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
Yes! Topics in Wedded to War would be: misplaced sources of identity, dealing with one’s past, guilt, shame, prejudice, discrimination, loss of a parent, sibling relationships, parental disapproval, and reconciling a loving God with the realities of war.

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

Jocelyn Green is an award-winning author and freelance writer. A former military wife, she authored, along with contributing writers, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and Faith Deployed . . . Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. Jocelyn also co-authored Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan, which won the Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America in 2010, and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front, which inspired her first novel: Wedded to War. Her next novel, Widow of Gettysburg, releases in May.
Find her at:
Purchase her books:
Wedded to War
Widow of Gettysburg
Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front
Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives
Faith Deployed . . . Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives
Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan

Giveaway:  Carrie has a copy of Wedded to War to give away and Jocelyn is offering a copy of her new release, Widow of Gettysburg!  
Answer this question and leave your email to enter: What is your favorite Civil War-era story and why?

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