Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review on A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

There are certain themes in writing that I am just always drawn to again and again. It’s familiar and yet interesting and the author brings their own spin to  the situation. In  A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund our familiar themes are  “the fish out of water” theme, (which I always happen to love) as well as the ill treated damsel in distress (perhaps a little Cinderella here). When you combine the two- you have Carl Richards (fish out of water) meeting up with  new widow and mother Annalisa (Cinderella) and the two together give you a great story filled with humor, poignancy, much growth and self-discovery for both characters and of course a bit of romance (Cinderella, remember?) thrown in for good measure.

    I have to say that Carl is just a generally lovable character. He isn’t quite who he seems to be, but shows up at just the right time to help poor widow Annalisa Werner to help her work her farm in Forestville, MIchigan to pay off her land debt or she will quite literally “lose the farm”. Carl is running from a complicated situation from his home country of Germany and seeks sanctuary from the troubles at home, as well as a job.  It turns out that he is the worst farmer in the history of the world, little strength, no know-how and unaccustomed to long work hours, but he somehow manages to hang in there and learn how to help on the farm and in turn help out Annalisa.  She is a new widow whose now deceased husband wasn’t the best guy around and so she is unused to being around a man such as Carl. Carl is thoughtful and kind  and cares about her welfare as well as her thoughts and opinions on things.  The tough situation here is that Annalisa needs a new husband  to run the farm and one has been arranged for her, by her father through relatives in her homeland of Germany, but this likely groom has been detained, indefinitely.  And so while she waits for his arrival, she can’t help but draw closer to Carl. as she watches him tend to things on the farm, laugh at himself when he constantly makes mistakes and lovingly watch out for her daughter Gretchen. I mean what woman wouldn’t fall for him?   But the dark cloud hanging over them was that any day “the groom” would be showing up sending Carl on his way.

  I have to say this was “that book”  for me where I found myself in every last free moment running to, so that I could finish it. The characters were characters that you cared about and really were wishing the best for.  Jody Hedlund did a wonderful job in slowly opening up the character of Annalisa as she was a bit  closed off and downtrodden at the beginning of the story with her financial difficulties and being under her father’s thumb, etc. But as the character of Carl works his magic with his kind ways and loving nature she truly becomes stronger and more open and loving. It was really neat to see that progression.  Carl exemplified that person that we all should be- someone who is able to laugh at themselves when they make mistakes, someone who looks out for the interests of others and someone who learned about what it was truly like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. He gained understanding and a deeper faith in God through his experiences on the farm.

  I really recommend this books for those who love a great historical fiction Christian romance. You will love the characters, how they grow from the hardships they face and how they trust God through all of it.  I hope to see this book make many awards lists in the future! Great read!

I was graciously given a copy of this book by Bethany House publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed ar my own.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Review on Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

A Handsome modern day prince about to become King,  amazing travels abroad, beautiful ball dresses, a chance meeting that leads to something more. Wow, all of these ingredients add up to a recipe that readers love when it comes to contemporary Christian romance novels. Honestly, these are all the things that I  love when it comes to “Once upon a time”  stories. And I really liked this story and the characters, but I have to say that I felt that maybe an ingredient or two might have been left out of this one.

  As this novel opens our sweet heroine Susanna, a beautiful landscape architect, is getting dumped by her long time fiance’ on a scenic walk along the beach.  All of her plans came crashing in around her as she thought that this stroll  was the one to ‘“set the date”  for her happily ever after. However, it turned more into-” See ya, I’ve met someone else. kind of stroll”  This sends poor highly structured and infinite planner Susanna into a tailspin.  And so tailspinning Susanna then meets up with playboy prince, “not -excited- to-be-King-someday Nathaniel as our damsel in distress has a flat tire.  And the gallantry begins.  He is a fish out of water in her world, even helping out at her family’s restaurant as they were short handed and a mop thrown in his hand. And she ventures to his neck of the woods too, where she needs to observe all the royal etiquette correctly and makes an occasional “Eliza Doolittle “ move by standing when she should be seated, etc.

  I have to say that I absolutely adore a storyline where royalty falls for the girl next door, I mean who doesn’t?  I just felt that this relationship didn’t form that deeply for me. It just felt a little rushed and I had a hard time seeing how with so little interaction that they could be so connected so quickly. Perhaps I just needed to suspend disbelief as it is a bit of a modern fairytale. As mentioned previously, it just felt like something was missing.  I will have to say that it was a charming read and like I said had many things that I did enjoy.  The ending is sweet and very romantic and I know that many readers will love it!  I am a fan of Rachel Hauck’s writing and know that I will continue to read her in the future.


3 Stars

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.