I LOVE this book…”More Than Words Can Say!”

More Than Words Can Say - TreeMore Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

“Choosing a husband was much like choosing a good baguette.  One looked for a strong outer shell, a tender interior, and most importantly, a tractability of dough to hold whatever shape the baker deemed appropriate.

Abigail needed a good baguette by the end of the week.”

Oh wow…this book is sooo good!  I love Karen Witemeyer’s books…all of them.  The title of this book sums up my feelings about it perfectly.

I love this book…“More Than Words Can Say.”

More Than Words Can Say is Karen Witemeyer’s second Patchwork Family Novel.  As the quote above suggests, this is a marriage of convenience story.  Zach’s story has been highly anticipated and meeting Abigail, a joy.  Zach was such a rough and broken, yet loyal and dependable character in More Than Meets the Eye, that I couldn’t wait to see his tale unfold in More Than Words Can Say.  I was not disappointed.  Witemeyer expertly crafted each thought and interaction, deepening our regard for Zach.  He is a man of few words, with a heart of gold.  Abigail’s determination and protectiveness were apparent from the beginning causing you to want her to succeed.  The warring confidence in her abilities in the shop versus her insecurities in her personal life were realistic and very relatable.  Zach and Abigail’s interactions are one of my favorite things about this book and they range from lighthearted and funny to deep and heartbreaking.

I love the way God speaks through Karen Witemeyer’s fictional characters to teach, us, His non-fictional children how to draw nearer to Him.  Witemeyer takes us to church without making us feel like we’ve been preached to.  In this book guilt holds Zach back from a true relationship with God.  It also causes Abigail to cower from her harasser.  A conversation Abigail remembers and shares with Zach allows us to learn along with them.  “Guilt leads us to confession and repentance, she told me, but after we take it to the cross, we’re supposed to leave it there, not carry it around with us.”

One of the things I enjoy most about Karen Witemeyer’s writing is her beautiful balance of humor and heartache.  She writes historical romance and life was hard in the late 1800s.  Just as in every period of time, God was good and good could be found in and through the difficulties of life.  Witemeyer’s writing handles these matters with grace and wit.  A perfect example of this is Zach’s realization that God might just have a sense of humor. “The Big Man must be elbowing the angels right now and guffawing with the heavenly host over the fool mortal who’d done the marrying part yet was still combusting over a pair of dimples.”

More Than Words Can Say is definitely a book for the keeper shelf…one I will be reading again.  And, I’m already looking forward to the next installment – which is a novella of Rosalind’s story…yay!!  If you enjoy historical romance, if you enjoy well developed characters in cute little towns, if you enjoy seeing God working in the lives of others, you will enjoy this book.  Whether you are like me and a stickler for reading your books in order if it doesn’t matter either way to you, you should order the first Patchwork Family Novel, More Than the Eye Can See.  This series is fantastic, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here.  Happy Reading!

*Thanks to the publisher and the author for the complimentary copy to review.  A good review was neither encouraged nor requested.  All thoughts expressed are my own.

Fairy Tale meets Christian Historical Fiction – Perfect Combination!! – Aladdin Edition

The Orphan's Wish Book Cover

Hagenheim has become a place I look forward to visiting with each new Melanie Dickerson Fairy Tale Romance. I absolutely adore every one of these stories. The mix of fairy tale and historical fiction told from a Christian worldview is the most amazing combination ever! I truly cannot find the words to express how much I love them.

The Orphan’s Wish is the eighth Hagenheim Fairy Tale. In this novel we learn the story of Duke Wilhelm’s daughter, Kirstyn and her childhood friend, Aladdin. The Orphan’s Wish is Melanie Dickerson’s take on an Aladdin story. Although this is a loose retelling, the essential elements are all there ~ an orphan boy falling in love with a girl, far beyond his reach and an evil, power-seeking villain trying to ruin it all. This is a fairy tale, so you already know that good wins – God wins!

The characters are well developed, and you are drawn into caring what happens to them from the start. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Kirstyn and Aladdin’s unique friendship through their memories and then following that grown-up relationship through the course of this story. The Orphan’s Wish is full of difficult situations – as life often can be – but throughout we are reminded of the hope we find with God in all circumstances.

I cannot recommend this book enough. If you love fairy tales…if you love historical fiction…if you love stories where good overcomes evil and love wins, this book is for you.

Karen Witemeyer’s best book yet! FANTASTIC!!

More Than Meets the Eye

Karen Witemeyer’s books are an absolute delight to read.  I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them.  Her characters are authentic; her plot lines well thought out and presented.  Her settings are described in ways that transport you into the story yourself.  Her writing engages your emotions – all of them – and leaves you constantly wanting more.

More Than Meets the Eye is the perfect title for the first book in this new Patchwork Family series.  In the pages, beyond the beautiful cover, you will find a treasure of a story.  I love this patchwork family and the stories each member represent.  The characters are vividly real.  Each one bringing their own set of struggles and peculiarities.  The personalities found in More Than Meets the Eye are so diverse that you are sure to relate to at least one aspect of one of their characters.  In the stories of this patchwork family, there is something for everyone.

The emotions portrayed in More Than Meets the Eye run the gamut, from heartache, grief and anger to love, joy and laughter.  I started and ended this book in tears and rode the roller coaster of emotions in between right along with the characters.

Many themes can be found in the pages of More Than Meets the Eye; orphans, family, sacrifice, physical traits, physical limitations and more. This story deals with the heart of man and forgiveness – both God’s and man’s.  It demonstrates sin in the lives of the characters, a variety of motivations for that sin and God’s amazing offer of redemption from sin.  I found the overall theme to be unconditional love – how we can give it to one another and, most importantly, how God offers it to us.

I love reading Christian fiction because it always draws me nearer to God by teaching me new things, reminding me of things I already know and demonstrating how to live for God.  God has used every one of Karen Witemeyer’s books to teach me something.  There are too many of these teachable moments in More Than Meets the Eye for me to mention them all here, but I will share one of my favorites.

“‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’

The words of Jesus echoed in his mind, a pointed reminder that it was Logan’s job to live for God, and God’s job to take care of the rest.”

 

I am already eagerly anticipating the next Patchwork Family novel.

A Passion Most-Pure by Julie Lessman

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This is the first book that I’ve read by Julie Lessman – in fact I was very excited to have won it in a contest!

 A Passion Most-Pure is a book full of drama.  To be honest, almost more drama than I wanted to deal with.  I couldn’t stop reading it though, because it’s kind of like your own family…even when there’s drama that you don’t want to deal with, you’re invested in making sure it works out okay in the end.

Julie created characters that are so real that you feel as if they are your family or at least, close friends.  That fosters a genuine care for each of them, their situations and decisions – even when they are making hurtful decisions.  You hurt when they hurt, you laugh when they laugh, you love the people they love, even if sometimes you don’t want to.

Probably my favorite thing about this book is the very natural way that God is a part of their lives.  From the beginning you have a cast of characters that is very diverse in their beliefs.  From everyday Christians to Sunday Christians to those who want nothing to do with God and live lives fully on their own terms.  In that, Julie writes in a way that makes God in our everyday lives so natural.  It’s a working example of how we can practically have Him in our everyday lives.  She shows the very real necessity of knowing God’s Word and how it truly is a source of help and comfort in our lowest points as well as a beacon of guidance always.  She also shows how vital it is to have a Godly mentor, someone that we share our hurts, beliefs, doubts, sins and love with.  And I love the way she shows the importance of family, even when it’s less than perfect (aren’t they all?) and full of hurt – even so, God puts us together to support one another and see each other through.

So, parts I struggled with:

  • The drama – it was almost soap opera like and more than I truly wanted to deal with.  With that said, life is messy and full of drama and this book shows how God is in the midst guiding us through.
  • The focus on the physical in this book was difficult for me.  One reason I read Christian fiction is to not deal with this aspect.  Never did I feel that she stepped over any bounds in explanation or anything, she is very adept at letting you know where it was headed without the details.  Again however, life is messy.  We are not perfect.  God gives boundaries to live with in – which is a main point of contention in this book – and when we’re not walking closely with God (and even when we are, if not being accountable) we can find ourselves in these very real situations.  As much as I didn’t like it, it’s a reality in our world and needed to be addressed.

Parts that I love:

  • The well-developed characters that you just can’t help loving, even though sometimes you don’t want to deal with them.  I’m so grateful that God sees the potential and doesn’t give up on us as in my humanness I am more apt to do.
  • The variety of settings, from Boston to Ireland to the war-ravaged France.
  • The positive portrayal of a Christian marriage and what it looks like.  God honoring marriages are not the norm these days, so it is very nice to see an example to emulate.
  • The aspect of forgiveness, shown in various ways throughout the book.  I love the way Julie went straight to the scriptures to help one of the characters see the need for this and exactly how to do so when she thought it impossible.
  • The everyday aspect of living with Jesus – not just the knowledge of Jesus, but how knowing His Holy Scripture can make such a difference in how we perceive and react to things.  Although never mentioned or suggested, it leads one to want to memorize Scripture, have it hidden in one’s heart so that it can make a difference in our lives the way it did for the characters in this book.
  • The believability of it.  Life is messy, but some of the issues in this book could have felt forced or not real.  As much as I didn’t like the sin and the outcomes, Julie told this very twisted tale in a very plausible way.  And the grace and faith she wove into it was just as convincing.

In summation, obviously there were more parts of the book that I loved than parts that I struggled with.  This book touched a chord with me.  At one point the heart-wrenching pain I witnessed caused me to leave the book and spend time worshiping God.  At another point I was so thankful that of all the ways my sister and I have struggled, we didn’t have to deal with what these sisters were dealing with, that I stopped reading to let my sister know.  As I finished the book, even though it was 3:30am in the morning, I couldn’t help myself, I had to write down my feelings about it.  This book may deal with things that my heart doesn’t want to see, but this book literally drew me into the arms of Jesus for comfort and guided me in ways and reasons to incorporate my love for Him even more into my everyday life.  I highly recommend this book.  I don’t believe you can read it without being touched by God.  I so look forward to what God has in store for me when I read the next two books in this series, A Passion Redeemed and A Passion Denied.