Friday, March 15, 2013

Review on The Chance by Karen Kingsbury

Ah, the second chance. Why is it that novels that stress that theme just seem to resonate for so many of us? Maybe it’s because we all know that we need them, right- a second chance, or in my case, third and fourth chances as well. You know what I mean- a second chance on a relationship that you thought was long over, or a chance to have a do-over on a job you messed up pretty well the first time. We are human, we are fallible and we all need a second chance. So if you take the concept of the second chance, throw in a large measure of forgiveness, grace and faith in God, you have the story line for The Chance - Karen Kingsbury’s latest offering from Howard Books.

As the novel opens we meet the 2 main characters Nolan Cook and Ellie Tucker living in Savannah, Georgia-. Two 15 year old best friends, on the verge of being something more, are torn apart by the broken relationship of Ellies’ parents Alan and Caroline. Because of this broken relationship, Alan takes Ellie away to San Diego to a new job and what he is hoping for is a new life away from his wife. That doesn’t go so well as when we try to run away, our troubles usually follow us. On the night before Ellie is whisked away from Nolan and her mother, Nolan and Ellie meet in the park, their usual place to go and talk and decide to write each other a letter telling each other how they really feel about one another and bury it in an old tackle box. The plan was to return in 11 years, dig up the box and read what the other person wrote. Neither one thought that they would be separated from each other for that time period. Even with Ellie’s move, they could write each other, call each other, etc. Unfortunately through some unforeseen circumstances, they were separated for that long, but still in the back of their minds was returning to that tree as promised all those years ago.

Their lives each took very different directions- Nolan’s in the world of professional basketball living out the dream he had had for himself for many, many years. And Ellie, her journey was the complete opposite- she didn’t reach the dreams that she had for herself, which included writing the perfect novel and being a part of Nolan’s life. His faith had grown, hers had shrunk. How could this work out?

This story, as most of Karen Kingsbury’s stories do, resonated with me. I love the second chance- the beauty from ashes story lines. They just always make me want to stand up and cheer. This one did as well. The heart string pull was pretty strong for me and I appreciated the journey this novel takes you on. When God is allowed in the middle of relationships, there is forgiveness, grace and restoration. And this is portrayed beautifully in several of the story lines. So if you feel like reading a novel that makes you stand up and cheer both at the basketball portions as well as the relationship journeys, I recommend you pick up Karen Kingsbury’s novel The Chance.

4 stars

I was provided a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review on The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Tutor’s Daughter is Julie Klassen’s  latest offering in the Regency Historical Fiction genre, a genre that she simply excels at. Verging on a gothic romance with her sweeping landscapes and mysterious moments of “things that go bump in the night”, she brings home a story full of secrets, romance and some pretty suspenseful scenes as well.  

  We see her main character Emma Woodhouse, who is extremely prim, proper and structured, show growth in this story as her faith grows and her relationships with others as well.  She truly learns to let go of the control she desperately tries to hold onto and surrender her life to God’s control.  This story is reminiscent of Jane Eyre as it takes place in a grand sweeping house named Ebbington Manor in Cornwall, England.  There lives the Weston family- the older sons, Henry and Phillip Weston- former pupils of Emma’s father-, their father Sir Giles, their stepmother Lady Weston and half brothers Rowan and Julian.  Add in Lizzie a ward of Lady Weston’s and you have a houseful of people that add to the mystery and suspense that unfolds at Ebbington Manor. Who of these people is sneaking in to Emma’s house late at night leaving mysterious messages in her room, stealing her journal and playing music downstairs in the wee hours of the night?

   Julie Klassen crafts  a fun, mysterious and lovely historical fiction novel  in The Tutor’s daughter.  She is quoted as saying that she loves “all things Jane”- I do too!  So for those that love to see the influence of Jane Austen, “Jane Eyre” and some well researched history of Cornwall thrown in, placed in a faith based novel, I am sure that you will enjoy this journey to Ebbington Manor in the form of The Tutor’s daughter.


4 stars


I was provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.