Monday, December 28, 2020

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "A Castaway in Cornwall" by Julie Klassen


Book Summary (Amazon): Set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers, Laura Callaway now lives with her uncle and his disapproving wife in North Cornwall. There she feels like a castaway, always viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong.

While wreckers search for valuables along the windswept Cornwall coast--known for its many shipwrecks but few survivors--Laura searches for clues to the lives lost so she can write letters to next of kin and return keepsakes to rightful owners. When a man is washed ashore after a wreck, Laura acts quickly to protect him from a local smuggler determined to destroy him.

As Laura and a neighbor care for the survivor, they discover he has curious wounds and, although he speaks in careful, educated English, his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Despite the evidence against him, the mysterious man might provide her only chance to discover the truth about her parents' fate. With danger pursuing them from every side, and an unexpected attraction growing between them, will Laura ever find the answers she seeks?

My thoughts... Cornwall provides a unique backdrop for this novel with its steep cliffs, rocky shores and colorful residents. As ships often find themselves adrift and cast headlong into danger, the same is true for Laura Callaway. Without close family to call her own, she often feels a bit lost. As she searches the shores for treasures, she witnesses a shipwreck and plays a part in rescuing one of its few surviving inhabitants. She finds a new purpose in taking care of him, which leads to a shift in life as she knew it. 

    This novel was a very enjoyable read, including interesting characters in a variety of settings, romantic tension, and light suspense. There was a clear villain, who was especially nasty to the hero, and it was contrasted with moments of redemption in the story for several of the main characters. Julie Klassen always does an especially great job in creating romantic tension, which I love. I felt like the romantic tension was high in the beginning of the book when the mysterious castaway was found and they were in Cornwall, then dipped some as the plot shifted. At that time, the romantic tension dropped some as the suspense increased. I found it to be a shift that helped build up to more romantic tension in the future. Nicely done! This book really does have a little bit of everything. I will say, though, if you're a fan of Poldark, the beginning of the book reminded me SO MUCH of some of those characters and plot. Even so, there were enough differences that it kept me engaged 'til the end.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in order to share my honest opinions, which I did.**

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "Sacred Tears: Simple Reminders That God Sees You and Loves You" by Lindsey Wheeler


My thoughts...This book is a beautiful combination of Lindsey Wheeler's personal story and ministry, meaningful quotes, and eye-catching images. Lindsey's message of love from God, even through difficult circumstances, is especially meaningful to me. As someone who has gone through the hardships of losing loved ones in the midst of broken relationships, financial struggles, and personal health battles, it's easy to retreat into oneself for protection and remain isolated. It's been especially hard for all of us as we're in a season of a pandemic and have been forced to become less engaged with people. Lindsey's message of hope, along with her encouragement to walk with others through the messy parts of life, has sparked a personal word from God in my heart to not let my own personal struggles paralyze me. God wants to use us, in the middle of our pain, to bless and walk with others through theirs. What a picture of what Christ does for us! I'm so grateful to have an opportunity to read this book and be inspired to live a life of courage and love for others!

**I was given a complimentary copy of this book in order to share my honest opinions, which I did.**