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Beyond the Door

books-1141911_1920.jpgI’m a big C.S. Lewis fan, whether his fiction or his nonfiction. He had an amazing way of taking deep concepts and sprinkling them with imagination. From the world of Narnia to the wit of The Screwtape Letters to the poignant wording of deep truths in Mere Christianity, he had a way of squeezing creativity out of almost every ink dot.

Anyway, I read a beautiful quote from him yesterday, from his book, The Weight of Glory:

“At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get in.”

Isn’t that beautiful? Can’t you see it? Hear it? The anticipation peeling into the present, into our hearts, for something just beyond what our eyes can see. It’s kind of like my perception when I first wake up in the morning before I put on my glasses or contacts. A blurry view of familiar surroundings. Things I can recognize, but not clearly. A certain item of clothing I think I’ve chosen, upon closer examination isn’t what I thought. Almost…but not quite.

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We live just outside the door of eternity. We can hear echoes of it in creation – through birdsong, a ba

by’s laughter, a thunderstorm, and myriad other experiences, but our vision cannot take it in on this side of the world.

We’re longing for the perfect peace. Aslan’s country. Heaven.

And all creation eagerly waiting along with us.

Like a magical looking glass or an ancient wardrobe, our hearts wait with an anticipation we can’t always define, sometimes forget, but something our souls long for.

We know there’s something better just “beyond” us.

34725844_10216495433079043_900262232284200960_nAn untainted rightness, a pure goodness, an unblemished beauty, a generous richness, an unbridled future – and we know, this ‘other place’ will answer the wordless longings. At our cores, we try to satisfy ourselves with this world and these broken pieces of eternity as best we can, but God has promised something greater…something that satisfies to the soul.

An inexhaustible hope and a magnificent answer to every longing.

The view through these “heavenward glasses” is how we push through when life is difficult. It’s how we find out focus and purpose. It’s what grounds our earthly choices because our perspective isn’t finite, or spoiled, or fixed on our empty hands.  

It’s focused on the One who has the power to get us through the door.

The One who holds our hearts, dreams, and eternal lives, waits to usher us into a kingdom where all the broken pieces will be mended, the blurry scene made clear, and the upside-down perspectives set right.

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Cover Reveal and Giveway – Jane by the Book

About the Book

Four years ago, Jane Warwick escaped the shame and heartbreak of being jilted at the altar by becoming a housekeeper at the secluded Inn at Simeon Ridge. Predictable and quiet, the inn helps Jane find a place to heal and celebrates her strengths, where she is promoted to head housekeeper. But an unexpected visit to Bath, England, upsets Jane’s plans and sends her out of her comfort zone, directly into the harrowing path of historical detective author, Titus Stewart. The only plans Titus sticks to are family holidays and the ones that send him careening into his story worlds, but when an uptight and nervous innkeeper stumbles into his life – and his latest novel – nonfiction begins to take on a much more interesting gleam.

As the unlikely pair delve into the mystery behind a one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old letter, will they both uncover a romance that stands the test of time?

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The Cover!

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GOODREADS

You can find Jane by the Book this JULY in the Once Upon a Laugh Novella Collection.

About the AuthorPepper Basham

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance novels with grace, humor, and culture clashes. She’s a Blue Ridge Mountain native and an anglophile who enjoys combining her two loves to create memorable stories of hope. You can connect with Pepper over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, her website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

Also by Pepper Basham

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Amazon | Goodreads

Second Impressions

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Giveaway

As part of this Cover Reveal Blitz, I am giving away 1 (ONE) ebook copy of Second Impressions. Please enter via the Rafflecopter Form below.

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Swoony Saturday – Klaus

Welcome! Welcome! Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high-quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

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There are just some heroes who dig deep and leave a meaningful mark on the reader. The slow burn of interest and understanding may take a little while to soak into swooniness, but there’s some massive swooniness to encounter if one just takes the time to stay at the coffee table and have a conversation.

Today, we’re swooning over Rachel McMillan’s hero, Klaus Bauner, from Love in Three Quarter Time, and let me just say…bring it on!

Who? Klaus Bauner

Where can we find this dreamboat?Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan

Personality summary: Klaus Bauner isn’t a young pup whose ready to pounce on the unsuspecting Evelyn Watt. Oh no, he’s a seasoned heart, who has lived through wounds and has a good knowledge of himself. Cautious, yes, but not afraid by opportunities or put off by change. Our first impression might be of a disgruntled introvert who would rather enjoy a good book than a good conversation, but as the coffee flows and excellent pastries follow, we discover that Klaus is as much a part of the romance of Vienna as the coffee and pastries. He melts into Evelyn’s life, inspiring her to think and grow in ways she’d never attempted, and in the process, he helps her to uncover the true definition of romance.

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What makes us swoon? A HUGE thank you to my Dream Team for sharing what YOU love about Klaus!

Here are a few of my initial thoughts:

He comes off as endearingly disgruntled.

He’s intense yet gentle? How did Rachel pull that off so well 😊

He’s smart. (I love a smart, well-read man. SWOONY!)

He’s honest and incredibly perceptive – and this is a perception in a sweet way where he’s trying to leave the heroine to a deeper understanding of herself.

He knows how to treat a lady.

He LISTENS (I mean, seriously ladies, what can be more romantic to a woman than a man who really listens!!)

There are SO many good things to say about this amazing man, so I had to limit the responses I shared.

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Eli Olmedo said: I love that he’s grounded and confident in himself. He doesn’t demand/fight for attention. Even when Evelyn is being dumb chasing after a guy that’s not worth it, Klaus doesn’t freak out, feel like he has to compete, or show E. what he has to offer and that he’s a better option than Rudy. He is simply himself. He knows who is and is confident enough to wait for Evelyn to figure out his worth on her own.

Courtney Clark added: Klaus’ photo would be by the definition of “gentleman” in the dictionary. From his adorable nerdiness (glasses and eye crinkles) to his tenderness (handkerchiefs! and waltzes), he has many great qualities. Like you said, Pepper, if one takes the time to get to know him! I also love how he encourages and helps Evelyn to grow and be the best version of herself.

Kissing Levels & Hero Types

Kissing LevelsKissing level of such swooniness:  I “had” to go back and reread the kisses to ensure I rated this appropriately 😊

I rate Klaus as a total 5. TOTAL! Rachel builds to the moment with SUCH anticipation, my breath actually stopped to experience the scene with Evelyn. As is part of Klaus’ personality, he was gentle, thoughtful, sexy (heavens), and saw HER more than seeing a need to kiss her. She may have started the kiss, but he finished it with panache and enough swooniness to leave the reader feeling it to her toes. Yep!

Hero Types

Basic hero type: So, the ladies and I were having a chat about this hero type and he’s a tough one. He starts off as a kind of Wentworth, but…for me blended into a Henley!   A combo of Henry and Mr. Knightley. His genuineness, friendship, and humor fit both of them, he’s also incredibly inciteful– and, as you get to know him, he’s not broody as much as thoughtful.

I LOVE how Eli (from my Dream Team) added this bit of info about our handsome hero:

I was almost thinking Mr. Tilney. Both men like/love the heroine, are somewhat amused by their naivety, and neither one pushes when the heroines act foolishly regarding men who are nowhere near the calibre of the heroes.

What does the author have to say about her hero?

Klaus is the quintessential gentleman inspired by the book characters I first crushed on as a kid: namely Paul Emanuel from Villette by Charlotte Bronte and Prof. Bhaer from Little Women. I love him because he hopefully inspires women to look at the men in their life carefully. Are they treated the way Rudy treats Evelyn or the way Klaus treats her: as an equal with respect? Every woman deserves a Klaus and fashioning him with some traditional characteristics hopefully recaptures some gentlemanly trails long lost.

How can I meet this swoony mister?

Love in Three Quarter TimeYou can find my review for Love in Three Quater Time Here. And don’t miss my Book Journeys post about Vienna! 

Amazon | Goodreads

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Book Journeys – Vienna

Love in Three Quarter TimeI love to travel, whether through my imagination in a book or in real life. Well, Rachel McMillan’s newest novel takes us to the beautiful city of Vienna – and now I want to go there for real.

Since I can’t hop on a plane at this moment, with the handy dandy help of our cyberworld (and some guidance from Love in Three Quarter Time’s heroine, Evelyn Watt, let’s check out some of the lovely world of Vienna.

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Pixabay

As noted in Trip Advisor (and portrayed in Rachel’s novella), “In Vienna, the coffee shop isn’t just a hangout, it’s an institution.” A great coffee shop can create a sense of community, and Vienna is known for having quaint coffee shops where you can enjoy delicious pastries, strudels or cakes, as you pause between your walks down the traffic-free shopping streets from one architectural masterpiece to another. Café Mozart is the introduced to us in Rachel’s book and plays a significant role in the story and the especially the romance 😉

 

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Hofburg Palace – Pixabay

Much of the setting of Vienna comes from its “Imperial” architecture, which nods toward the Habsburg monarchy which ruled Vienna for over six hundred years, but it is also a thriving city with modern structures as well. The Hofburg palace, home of the Habsburg family,  is in the center of Vienna. Originally surrounded by a mote, parts of this ‘castle’ can be dated back to the 13th century. The rooms are amazing!! And as I look through the photos of the Redoutenstaal wing of the palace, in particular, I’m struck my its grandeur. Wow!

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The Belvedere Palace – Pixabay

For a few more breathtaking historical buildings tops, you could visit the Schonbrunn Palace, The Belvedere Palace (there are lots of palaces in Austria and Rachel mentions the winter garden for this one), or even St Stephen’s Cathedral (a roman gothic structure with a spectacular south tower and referred to as Stephansdom in the novella). Check out the roof of this church. The intricate design is amazing. And all of the palaces have extensive gardens to explore too. Really, there is no end to the historic churches to visit too – St. Peter’s, St. Anna’s…so many!

Museums run aplenty in this city rich in culture. From the Kunsthistorisches Museum which spans centuries of artwork to The Third Man Museum which gives a more modern look at Vienna. Basically, you can see about anything you want – science, art…there’s even a carriage museum. Rachel mentions Musiemsquartier in Love in Three Quarter Time, which basically is a beautiful complex of a myriad art museum, from historic to modern, and for some fresh air on a beautiful day, you can visit one of the many public parks, one, in particular, is Volksgarten.

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Staatsoper – Pixabay

Music is everywhere in Vienna, so a visit wouldn’t be complete without taking in an opera or concert (or lots more). Since Mozart’s house (Mozarthaus) is actually in town, why not catch a little tour of it as well. We could catch a performance in the same place as Evelyn Watt – at the Staatsoper – or also in the Musikverein, with its gilded exterior.

There are too many sites to mention in a blog post, but I’ve tried to highlight a few. One thing pictures and videos can’t do is give us a sense of place, which Rachel’s book does through descriptions and story, but I’d LOVE the opportunity to experience Vienna in person too. Have you been to Vienna? If so, what was one of your favorite sites? If not, where would you like to visit in this beautiful city?

You can read my review of Love in Three Quarter Time HERE.

Here are a few more gorgeous photos of the city!

(All photos from Pixabay.com)

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Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan

About the Book

Love in Three Quarter TimeA romantic waltz through a city filled with music, passion and coffee. 

Evelyn Watt fell in love with Austrian marketing director Rudy Moser the moment he stepped into their Boston firm. With his ice blue eyes and chocolate-melting accent, he is as refined as she imagines his home country to be. When Evelyn finds herself unexpectedly unemployed right before Christmas, she is left with an unknown future until Rudy steps in with a job appraising, assessing and cataloging heirlooms, lending her American vernacular to the translated descriptions to give each item international appeal. Evelyn will live in Vienna for the months leading up to a grand auction at a party held in conjunction with the Opera Ball—on Valentine’s Day. 

Vienna is a magical blend of waltzing, antiques, and bottomless cups of Einspanner coffee at the Café Mozart. When a secret from Rudy’s family’s past blows in with the winter chill, Evelyn is forced to confront how well she knows the object of her affection. Her café tablemate, the gruff and enigmatic Klaus Bauner might be the only person who holds the key to Rudy’s past. But could that key also unlock her future? In the days leading up to the Opera Ball, Evelyn finds herself in the middle of the greatest romance of her life…as long as she doesn’t trip over her two left feet.

My Thoughts

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Photo by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash

Dripping with wit, colorful descriptions, and a story about the irreplaceable beauty of lifelong romance, Rachel McMillan has crafted a rich contemporary novella with the reverberant charm of a classic. Love in Three Quarter Time takes the reader on a delightful journey both of imagination and heart, as we travel with the insecure and lonely Evelyn Watt through the elegance of Vienna and the complexities of introspection. With Evelyn as our narrator and Rachel as the wordsmith guiding our tour, Vienna comes to life and the reader is immersed in the culture with such clarity we can almost smell the coffee.

 

There’s a sweet message in this story about what romance really is – the flicker versus the smolder, I guess. A lifelong romance (smolder) is something that brews deeper than tingling fingertips and heated glances, but it’s one hearts response to finding kindship in another heart, as evidenced—in Rachel’s book— by comfortable shared silence and mutual appreciation for the feelings and mind of the other person. Who wouldn’t want that, right? Wowzers!!

Rachel also touches on the idea that we shouldn’t have to alter who we are to make someone love us. True love is when someone sees the beauty you already possess and finds kinship in it, as the resident hero of Love in Three Quarter Time does.

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Photo by Firdaus Roslan on Unsplash

Klaus…ah…Klaus. When we meet him, he is endearingly disgruntled and politely distant. With a smooth accent, a mature outlook, a wounded heart, and a tender spirit, the reader falls for Klaus much quicker than Evelyn, but we get the wonderful opportunity to slowly watch her make the transition from a misguided definition of love to experience what it really looks like. And disgruntled, wounded, and tender, doesn’t look bad at all 😉

 

With inside humor from classics like Little Women to more popular culture references like Hamilton, this story has it all – history, humor, depth, romance, far off places, heroes worth a second look and heroines worth a second chance.

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author

Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast andrachel mcmillan.jpg a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

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Book News & Giveaway!

Hi all!

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I have a fun Book Journey post planned for next week as we go to Vienna in search of Rachel McMillan’s swoony Klaus, but today, I wanted to share a writing update with you!

Charming the Troublemaker came out in November 2017, and since then I’ve been busily working on several projects all at once. Between the day job and family, my stories don’t quite emerge as quickly as I’d like, but I hope to keep some curious reader appetites well satiated in the near future 😊

Though I don’t have covers for all of them to show you…YET, I do want to abate your curiosity.

Façade – June 2018

Where can you find it? In the Timeless Love collection and THEN it will release on its own in August 2018. Pretty cover, right? I loved teaming up with the amazing Roseanna White on that cover! (as well as the next two you’ll see…eventually 😊) SOON! Add Façade on Goodreads HERE!

Jane By the BookJuly 2018

Where can you find it? In the Once Upon a Laugh collection. If you’ve read Second Impression, you’ll find familiar favorites, new characters, and the same setting…Bath, UK.

maciej-ostrowski-384041-unsplash.jpgWhen You Look at MeOctober 2018 (Book 2 in the Pleasant Gap Romance series)

Guys!! The cover is AMAZING!!! If you read Just the Way You Are (and enjoyed it), you’ll be pleased to know that Eisley and Wes are secondary characters in this story about Julia Jenkins and Henry Wright – two introverts who have a similar love for music and a similar fear of falling in love. Plus, there’s a historical subplot to bring in a little mystery. You can add it on Goodreads HERE!

My Heart Belongs in the Blue RidgeJanuary 2019

Oh yes! I’ve seen this cover too and it fits so beautifully within Barbour’s My Heart Belongs series. I can’t wait to share the cover with you! This is a fun story set in 1918 Appalachia, where a British teacher enters the wilds of the Blue Ridge Mountains to teach at a two-room schoolhouse. I loved bringing in family history, the Appalachian culture, and some fun culture-clashing humor…not to mention a pretty SWEET romance.

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A Match for EmmaMay 2019

If you love Mitchell’s Crossroads, then you know about Emma Mitchell- the sassy, matchmaking youngest of the Mitchell clan. She’s always trying to create the perfect match for everyone else, but will she miss her chance when Mr. Wonderful turns out to be someone she never imagined! Come rejoin the Mitchells, visit old friends, and make new ones…and, give Haus a good ear-scrub while you’re there 😊

There are books aplenty in the future for the Mitchells, Jenkins’, AND a new historical series on the way (my FAVORITE I’ve written so far).

Giveaway

I can’t wait to share them with you!!!! Meanwhile…I have a super fabulous GIVEAWAY for y’all! Enter below via the Rafflecopter form…

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, just for funsies and discussion, what books/themes/storylines would you like to see me tackle?

Optical Illusions and Autism Awareness

 

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Have you guys ever seen those black-and-white drawings that display an optical illusion of two different pictures? If you look at it one way, you see one picture and if you look at it another way it shows a very different picture.

The first one that comes to my mind is of an old woman…or a young woman, depending on your perspective. Another shows either a candlestick or a silhouette of two faces staring at each other. I have a whole book of these optical illusions and I take the book to work to use with my middle schoolers. Most of the kids can see both perspectives, but some of them can’t. In all honesty, some of the pictures are a lot harder to decipher than others.

But perspective does make a difference!

A big difference.

I think my lovely Blue Ridge Mountains are enormous and grand, but if I ask author Beth Vogt or Casey Herringshaw about their Rocky Mountains, their perspective on what big mountains look like would be very different than mine. REALLY different!!lake-mcdonald-2124702_1920.jpg

Perspective also changes depending on the relationship. My 20-year-old son is viewed differently by his college professors than he is by his peers, his siblings, and then by me. The relationship I have with him changes the perspective.hat-1674894_1280.png

OK, so why am I talking about perspective?

April is Autism Awareness month.

autism-1417942_1920.pngAs some of you may know, by day I am a speech-language pathologist who works primarily with children on the autism spectrum. I love working with “my kids”. Lots of times I feel like they teach me more than I teach them. They’re tender hearts, their unique views of the world, their perseverance against odds that are tremendous and complex and confusing?

Many times, when people hear the word Autism, a vision comes to mind of a child who speaks very little or not at all, who is rigid, unemotional, throws tantrums, has a hard time learning, isn’t probably going to have any friends, and definitely not a job, and let’s not even talk about an actual family with kids.

There may be some kids both on and off the spectrum who would fit that description… But not the majority. Those would be the extreme minority.

steven-libralon-570406-unsplash.jpgLet’s try a different perspective. What about kids who are extremely honest, even to the point of saying things that appear rude sometimes. Kids who value what is good and right and have a hard time figuring out why people would want to do something bad to another person. Kids who accept people because they’re people…not a socio-economic state, or race, or sex. Just as they are. Kids who see far enough outside the box to try things typical folks are too afraid to try.

Kids who laugh unhindered, hug like you’re their favorite person, crave connections with others even though they may not always understand how to get them, grieve their mistakes with such penitence, and live life authentically.

Now that’s a different perspective.

Those kids sound pretty cool, don’t they?

light-bulb-1246043_1920.jpgDo “my kids” get hyper-focused? Do they completely misread the social cues (or not read them at all)? Do they blurt out inappropriate things sometimes? Do they ‘lose it’ in a large way that may require others to help them find their way back to calm? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

But they also inspire me to open up my heart. They astound me with their amazing passions and focus. They humble me with their questions that see beyond the externals and superfluous. They remind me of the importance of relationship and the need to see life from a different point of view.

They have weaknesses.

They have strengths.

We all do.

heart-700141_1920.jpgAnd if we wore our struggles as obviously as these kids wear theirs, we’d want other people to have a positive perspective about us too. We’d want them to try and see beyond the weaknesses, the struggles, to the heart.

God takes a different perspective.

The Bible says, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

Thankfully, if we belong to Christ, he also sees us through the lens of His Son’s sacrifice – we’re seen a beautiful and right and good. What a perspective!!!

Life is too hard and too short to view people through the gray lens of judgment and negativity.

Just like in those black-and-white drawings I share with my middle schoolers, there are other perspectives. We may see both of them, but we get to choose which one we plan to focus on.

Choose wisely…

 

The Things We Leave Behind

I think most people’s lives are full of little secrets, don’t you? I can’t think of too many people who don’t have a few – who are completely authentic.

I started thinking about this when my grandmother passed away a few years ago. Over the months following her death, my mom and aunts cleaned through Granny’s room, digging in places only Granny had been. The dresser drawers, the boxes in corners, and the ‘off limits’ closet at the end of the hallway. Boxes and envelopes and pages upon pages of history, notes, pictures, receipts…. anything we’d ever want to know about Granny.

You know what?

After going through all of those personal, and sometimes intimately personal things, they didn’t find ONE ITEM that shed a negative light on her. No journal entry of frustration. No receipt of a questionable purchase. No love letters from anyone except her husband. No brow-raising books.

Nothing.

Only a plethora of pictures, notes sent to her from her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids, and Bible verses written on scrap paper.

All the ‘secrets’ that were unearthed about her after her death, weren’t secrets at all. They only confirmed that she was EXACTLY who she always seemed to be.

It doesn’t mean she didn’t sin or fail. She needed Jesus just like the rest of us – but she lived life in the real.

If people went through our ‘secret’ things, would the find what they expected? Would the pages of your journal or the corners of your drawers only prove to confirm who you seemed to be?

No matter how much we may try to hide the truth, God’s known us to our cores – all the way to our thoughts. He’s searched through the layers of our feelings, the shadows of our memories, and even sifted through our darkest thoughts. He’s not surprised – and although He might find things we’ve tried to hide, He loves us anyway. An AMAZING sort of love.

A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

I love celebrating great books – and this author holds a special place in my heart because she was one of the first authors I read who really inspired me in Christian fiction. Yes, yes, I DO love the fact that her kissing scenes are OUT OF THIS WORLD (#kissingbooksrock), but I also appreciate her depth of story and complexity. Oh…and did I mention the kissing scenes? 😉 To celebrate some of her stories, today I’m reposting my review of her novel, A Hope Undaunted, which is probably one of my FAVORITES for Julie’s books.

About the Book

What happens when the boy she loved to hate becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O’Connor is the epitome of the new woman–smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband–good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face-to-face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

My Thoughts

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(Review originally published September 2010.)

Well, the Kissing Queen is back with her newest novel, A Hope Undaunted, and let me just tell you guys – you will not be disappointed. Cluny McGee (aka Luke) is a FABULOUS hero. Fabulous. Rivals Collin – and that says a lot.

And Katie O’Connor is SUCH an adorable brat. If you’ve followed Julie Lessman’s books at all, you’ll have met most of the characters in A Hope Undaunted – and Julie has a beautiful way of bringing out those stories, keeping them consistent, and giving the reader a feel for the dynamics of a close-knit family.

And let me just tell you – there are so many varied types of love that Julie introduces in the story, the reader gets an opportunity to cringe, laugh, and hope along with the O’Connors – and particularly Katie and Luke McGee.

Two things:

  1. 1. Prepare your heart for a LOOOOONG agonizing journey of conflict.

Did I say long? How about agonizing? The reader is suffering and waiting right along with Katie O’Connor as her heart is pitched, pulled, and pried in various directions without any hope for true love. Or at least the true love her soul craves in Luke McGee. I ended up holding my breath more times than I can count, and endlessly wanted to email Julie Lessman to say – “What ARE you doing to these poor people?!?”

2. (And I CAN’T believe I’m writing this) I could have taken another whopper of a kiss at the end, Jules. I mean, after all that heart trauma of the last 150 pages, another kiss-me-till-I’m –dazed liplocker would have been a generous reward 😉

I COULDN’T put the book down.

 HAD. To. Finish. IT.

An Undaunted Hope2.pngWhich is the hallmark sign of a good book. No surprise there, if Julie Lessman’s name is on the cover. It’s a fabulous story about what true love really looks like and how it can often surprise us – especially those of us who want to have our lives all figured out ahead of time. But it’s also about sacrifices of the heart for the good of others. And sacrifices are painful.

But – as the old adage goes – no pain, no gain.

Read the book for the treasure chest at the end of the marathon journey.

Go Julie. Go Revell. Keep those passion-filled books coming!!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Published September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book | Goodreads

About the Author

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.”

Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #4 Novel of the Year and #3 Series of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series—A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Book 1 in her “Winds of Change” series A Hope Undaunted ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010.

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Resurrection Day – 2018

1My oldest son has always been a picky eater.

I remember this one time when he was about eight years old and we were all sitting around the table having spaghetti. He despises tomatoes and did not want to eat the tomato sauce but, knowing the family rule, he anticipated having to eat what was on his plate. With a deep sigh, he put his hand to his ear as if he held a phone to it, and calmly said “Get my agent on the phone. I want out of this movie.”

Oh yes! What a torturous life! Spaghetti sauce!

But in all honesty, who hasn’t felt that way? Not necessarily about eating spaghetti sauce, but the desire to escape.

2

When life gets tough or something happens that we really don’t like, wouldn’t it be so much easier to disappear from the situation? Who wants to struggle anyway? Who wants to push through the hard times? It would be so much easier if life was just a piece of cake.

Sometimes we try to escape or run away or ignore. With the pretension of keeping the peace, we ignore problems or attempt to ‘avoid conflict’. It’s a lot easier to stay away from things we really don’t like. Who wants to ruffle feathers? Who wants to get in the middle of messes? Who wants to hurt?

Well, one person stepped into the middle of a mess when he could’ve easily gotten out of it, and he stayed to see the problem through to the end.

The story of humanity was broken with the fall of Adam. Lives were shattered, the harmonious relationship between God and man was devastated, and the only way to bridge the brokenness was if the son of God would come into the messed-up tale of history and stay in the story.

Even when it got hard. Even if it meant his death.

Yeshua, Lamb of God.
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It’s mind-blowing! We are the ones who caused the mess, who shattered the relationship. We are the ones who rebelled. But out of love and compassion and a desire to please the father he adored, Jesus left the perfect harmony of heaven and stepped into our story. Not only did he step into it, he stayed in it until the end. That’s the important part to remember.

 

You see, the journey became painful. Betrayal. Abandonment. Loneliness.

The tale became torturous. Nails, thorns, lashes.

But he stayed.

I am in awe and wonder at the love of our Savior that he, the very author of the story, didn’t just pen the pages and allow the crazy characters to destroy themselves. No, he became a character, himself. Journeyed with his creations through the pain and the choices, finishing the story with us.

Jesus Lives! He rose on the 3rd day breaking the bonds of death so that we can all be resurrected someday as well. If that isn't LOVE, I don't know what is! #EasterHatsForWomen
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And the cross isn’t the end of the story, because if that was the end, it would not be the happily-ever-after ending that God promised. Nope. The real ending of the story is what we’re celebrating this Sunday. Christ’s resurrection. The rest of the journey is the glorious epilogue because everything that Adam broke in the garden was made right when Jesus rose from the dead.

 

If you’re broken, hurting, wandering, don’t forget, there is Someone who is in this story with you to the end.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Pepper