Category Archives: Revell

Promises Broken, Promises Kept: A Book Review of Lynette Eason’s “Hostile Intent”

Bestselling Christian fiction author Lynette Eason brings her Danger Never Sleeps tetralogy to an electrifying finale with Hostile Intent. As with the previous three books in this series, this one can be read as a standalone, although there is strong character overlap and therefore spoilers; having previously read only the first book so far myself, I still encourage everyone to read all of them for the pleasure of the plot intricacies and the obvious research that has gone into them. Even as someone who typically shies away from contemporary military stories, I could not put this book down, and it definitely increased my heart rate a time or two!

From the first page, Hostile Intent ratchets up the suspense and lays the foundation for an intense romantic thriller. A caveat is necessary for those who are profoundly disturbed by the murder of children, as well as violence and torture because they are integral to the plot, but Eason handles these sensitive issues with grace and leaves out graphic details. As such, while this may not be a light read, it does take on the all-too-real brutality and antagonism that fuels so many in modern society, offering some insight into how this type of behavior comes about and where it can lead when left unchecked: “Just two more families and his mission would be complete, his promise kept. His grandmother was wrong. Vengeance didn’t belong to God. It belonged to him. And it tasted sweet.” However, teaching someone to hate another person or group of people for any transgression, perceived or real, will never lead to a positive outcome for anyone.

Amidst this backdrop of reprisal, Ava Jackson, who recently left the Navy to care for her dying mother, finds herself somehow involved in a case of several murdered families, of which hers might be next. Working with FBI Special Agent Caden Denning to put the puzzle pieces together before time runs out, the duo uncover secrets that someone went to great lengths to conceal—and keep that way. Just as revenge can be a powerful motivator, so too the desire to protect the ones you love, even at the cost of personal sacrifice. After all, Jesus Himself showed us that sometimes the most unpleasant situations can lead to the most blessed destinations. As Caden remarks, “It’s funny how life can throw you a curve ball when you least expect it—or how God can change your perspective.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Oh the Places You’ll Go as A Packhorse Librarian: A Book Review of Ann Gabhart’s “Along a Storied Trail”

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While this is not the first time I’ve heard about the packhorse librarians, it is the first book that I’ve read featuring them, and what a grand initiation! Along a Storied Trail may be a fictional tale, but Ann Gabhart incorporates the intrepid spirit of the women who promoted literacy among the Appalachian Mountain communities during the Great Depression while offering readers a glimpse into life in the hills. Women, both married and single, become the heroines as they accept paying jobs to follow the postal service’s creed to travel through all forms of inclement weather to keep to their schedules—an early bookmobile! “A packhorse librarian had to be tough and ready for anything,” Tansy Calhoun asserts. I was interested to learn that they received payment for this job, and that it was a full-time commitment that involved traveling to different areas daily, returning to each location every two weeks. I also love that these women had a weekly meeting at the Booneville Library to swap out books, choosing ones that they knew would suit their readers, and to repair books and use magazines to make their own books and write their own stories for the children on their routes.

Gabhart creates a satisfying cast of characters that provide a kaleidoscopic portrait of life in the Eastern Kentucky hills in 1937. Tansy Calhoun is a girl after my own heart, with her unabashed love of the written word and her dedication to bringing books to her neighbors in Owsley County. I can’t think of a more perfect occupation: “A day chin-deep in words and stories seemed the next thing to heaven to Tansy.” Being able to share, and in some cases introduce, literature to those who would otherwise go without it, and doing so on horseback through the mountains sounds like a dream come true to me, as well. I also felt a connection with Tansy in the way that she stood out from the majority of the mountain folk due to her pastimes, and just reading about the decline of the American chestnut saddened me while at the same time bringing a smile to my face, particularly given that she did share this interest with Caleb Barton. Gabhart does not give readers much detail about Caleb’s work with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) because the story begins after his time there, but that aspect drew me in also because my grandpap worked with the CCC in the 1930s, too.

As with any story from this era, Along a Storied Trail has its share of heartache and romance. Unexpected death, the loss of one’s home, unrequited love, and the challenges of everyday survival pepper the narrative. I appreciate that the author does not sugarcoat the lives of her characters, but instead portrays them as realistic individuals. Damien Felding represents the outsider who does not understand the mountain way of life but sees it as something to escape from, while Jenny Sue and Junie prove that grieving has no geographical or time limits. Nevertheless, Tansy sagely notes that “While there were some things a book couldn’t heal, a story could give you some minutes to escape from what was to what a person could imagine.” And it is through the pages of a fire-tested Bible that healing comes to these Appalachian hills.

Reminiscent of such beloved classics as Christy while also possessing its own unique Appalachian flair, Ann Gabhart’s Along a Storied Trail is a must-read for fans of the genre and for anyone who enjoys an inspiring story of love, books, and family—both the one we’re born into and the one we create for ourselves, or as Perdita Sweet would say, a “family born of need.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Dynamic Duo: A Book Review of Melissa Koslin’s “Never Miss”

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Like always, she pretended the pain wasn’t there, hadn’t ever been there. If she didn’t pretend, she’d never survive. And if her training had taught her anything other than how to kill, it was how to survive.

Categorizing this novel proves to be challenging, as it has an amalgamation of elements that all blend together into one taut thriller. It is equal parts suspense and romance, with intrigue, a military component, and psychological twists thrown in to make things even more interesting. I would be hard-pressed to recall another book like it that I have read, and I am planning to read the author’s next book, a sneak peek of which appears at the end of this one.

For a debut, Never Miss aims high and hits the mark. Melissa Koslin demonstrates an impressive ability not only to craft an exhilarating plot, but also to create quirky, sympathetic characters that in most settings would seem aloof yet fit ideally into their roles here. In fact, despite not being much of a romance fan and accustomed to glossing over those scenes, in this novel I found my heartstrings tugged and at times outright wrenched. I felt able to identify with the characters, Kadance Tolle and Lyndon Vaile, on the basis of being the odd one out most of the time, not really fitting in with any groups of people, and living a solitary life. I appreciate how Koslin writes them as complements to each other but does not make their relationship a completely linear journey. Their complexity and neurodivergence is what sets them on the path of preventing a bioweapons attack, and as the plot unfolds and they learn more about each other, the story only becomes more compelling.

Admittedly, reading about the lethal Ebola virus as a synthetically-produced bioweapon while the Covid-19 pandemic is ongoing may seem like overkill, but, in my opinion at least, Never Miss does not concentrate on the biological or medical details as much as it does on the personal development of the characters and their interactions. Theirs is the storyline that dominated my attention, and Koslin digs deeply into the psyche of each, unearthing their unconventional childhoods and their skill-honing years since. I thought that both Kadance and Lyndon were fascinating, despite how improbable their characters were with regard to abilities. Mac the Maine Coon fit in perfectly, and while I am a dog person, I loved Mac’s character, especially since it was often more canine than feline.

As for the faith element, it exists largely in the background, a “show-don’t-tell” aspect of the story that I might have been disappointed by had Koslin not already set up the framework for why it is this way. Without giving anything away, I will say that it again comes down to the characters. I do love that the author is not afraid to take on the fact that science and Christianity are not mutually exclusive, and that the Bible confirms this. Lyndon sums it up when he says, “For me, Jesus is more than logical. His teachings do make the world a better place—you can find empirical evidence for that. But even stronger than that, for me, is that his teachings reflect who I want to be. I probably fail more than I succeed, but I keep trying.

Readers who enjoy high-octane adventures full of twists and clean romance, with at times questionable plausibility that makes the story all the more entertaining will devour this debut novel from Melissa Koslin.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Home to Roost: A Book Review of Elizabeth Goddard’s “Present Danger”

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Most people dream about going to the beach, but I’ve always been a mountain girl. My favorite vacations as a child were in the Poconos, and I still dearly love any kind of forest or mountain setting. Add in some suspense and I’m there! So, I was eager to kick off the Rocky Mountain Courage series by Elizabeth Goddard with Present Danger. This novel has an assemblage of elements characteristic of the romantic suspense genre, yet it avoids becoming formulaic through the execution of the plot.

Reuniting under less-than-perfect circumstances, Detective Jack Tanner and Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors enter into a work partnership years after their romance abruptly ended. Both have moved back to their childhood homes and matured in the intervening years, determined to put the past behind them. A strange case requiring both of their skill sets resurrects secrets from the past, however, and raises questions about their families and what their current investigation has to do with the events of those fateful years. Taking this journey with the characters is a poignant reminder of how one occurrence can shape a person’s life, or as Terra’s mother told her, “The direction your life takes can often come down to one decision, one moment in time.

The trafficking of archaeological artifacts is a criminal market that I had never heard of prior to reading this book. It truly surprises me that in some ways this theft seems relatively easy to accomplish—which I absolutely do not recommend, by the way!—especially outside the U.S. I was initially drawn to the archaeological aspect of this story because it sounded unique and was an area of interest to me as a kid. I enjoyed digging in my yard and looking for arrowheads, and ancient Egypt has always intrigued me a bit. As such, I wish that there had been slightly more of that facet within the story. I found myself struggling with keeping the secondary characters straight, especially in the second half, although I understand the reasoning behind writing it this way. Aunt Nadine is my favorite character; with her endearing confusion and love for dogs, she reminds me of a great-aunt of mine who passed away nine years ago.

Perhaps the most touching facet of Present Danger is the tender grappling of the main characters with their failures, real or perceived, and the constant striving to prove themselves. This is so relatable in our social-media-driven culture, and yet the solution remains simple: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Sometimes when it seems that things are falling apart, God is actually weaving them together into a tapestry more beautiful than the one we thought we lost.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Hearts on Fire: A Book Review of Amanda Cabot’s “Dreams Rekindled”

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As much as I enjoyed Out of the Embers, I have to say that I loved Dreams Rekindled even more. There will be one more book in this trilogy, and I presume that it will also have a fire-inspired title. Symbolic of so many things, in this case I personally think that the connotation evokes a sense of renewal and the presence of the Holy Spirit. While the books could be read as standalones, the stories have much more depth when read in their proper order; the backgrounds of the characters and of Mesquite Springs itself all contribute to the series as a whole, and seeing how they connect enhances the impact.

Combining romance and suspense with the happenings of small-town Mesquite Springs, Texas in the 1850s, Amanda Cabot tells the story of two people on a mission to take a new direction in life—one that sets them straight in each other’s path. Sister to Wyatt from the first book in the trilogy, Dorothy Clark dreams of a career as a writer, fueled by the recent publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Brandon Holloway seeks a quiet town to start over and establish his newspaper after an editorial brings devastation. However, “A newspaper is more than entertainment or simply reporting what happened. When an editor sees important issues, it’s his responsibility to bring them to everyone’s attention,” according to Dorothy. Truly, no matter what our past and present struggles, the Lord can use them for good in ways that we would never have thought possible, and usually there is a part of the resolution that speaks directly to us as a special nudge from God.

Dreams Rekindled raises issues that are mirrored in our current society. One of these is the feeling of guilt over perceived culpability in an unexpected situation over which someone had no control, as is the case with Brandon. Most of us have experienced this to some degree at one time or another, blaming ourselves for something beyond our control and thereby carrying a heavy burden that was never meant for our shoulders. Sowing division also plays a large role in the story as well as in today’s world. Then, as now, pitting citizens against one another is a sure way to tear a community apart and ultimately destroy it. Dreams Rekindled illustrates how this is so often done through nefarious means, planting lies and turning people against one another. As the apostle Paul exhorts in 2 Corinthians 13:11: “Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

One of the prominent themes in the novel is forgiveness. Forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others. Compassion and empathy go a long way toward healing wounds, especially when we seek to understand someone else’s point of view and perspective. Our own might not change, and while the other person may be in the wrong, some understanding can encourage better conduct and communication in the future. That is, after all, part of our mission as Christians: to be encouragers and to communicate well with the Lord and as witnesses for our faith. As Dorothy thinks to herself, “What an amazing answer to prayer.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

A Unique Perspective on Moses’ Story: A Book Review of Jill Eileen Smith’s “Miriam’s Song”

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As she watched the fire of God move and breathe like a spirit ablaze, somehow she knew. He cared for her. She might never see His face, but she had felt His touch. And that was enough.

This may be the first book by Jill Eileen Smith that I’ve read, but it most certainly won’t be the last! Biblical fiction is difficult enough as a genre when using fictional characters who serve as onlookers to major historical events, but taking on the formidable task of writing about some of the main Biblical figures is something else altogether. As Smith herself mentions in her note to readers at the end of this book, there is not much information about Miriam in the Bible, and extracting her character means working through that of her brothers Aaron and especially Moses. In doing so, Miriam emerges as a woman who has been called by God to serve, alongside her brothers, in leading His chosen people out of Egyptian slavery.

So many aspects of this familiar Old Testament story struck me anew as I read Miriam’s Song, not the least of which is a fresh appreciation for the men and women who paved the way for the eventual coming of Jesus. To think that at the time of Moses and the Exodus, the people had not heard from God in four hundred and thirty years! Jochebed refers to her son, the infant Moses, as their “tikvah,” or hope, and years later Miriam’s husband Jephunneh tells Miriam to “Pray God will do something, because if He does not, there is no hope.” Those whom God raised up throughout the Old Testament prove that every person has a propensity for sin, thereby making Christ’s coming and sacrifice necessary to enable God to live among us.

As I read, Smith’s perspective of this time in Biblical history revealed connections that I hadn’t necessarily made before. I can see parallels between the Exodus and the coming Tribulation, as well as between some of the Egyptians joining the Hebrews in fleeing Egypt and, later, the Gentiles joining God’s chosen people for salvation through Jesus. Similarly, I don’t think that I had ever really honed in on the fact that the ten plagues which God released on Egypt also afflicted those Hebrews who had followed sinful Egyptian practices, or that each plague was clearly aimed at defeating a specific Egyptian god. As Miriam attests, “She had never considered that God would judge His own people as well as their oppressors. But sin was sin, and she knew deep within her that no sin went unnoticed by their God.” Miriam learns that they are the ones holding themselves back from the Promised Land, and instead of becoming frustrated and angry with God and with Moses, she recognizes that “If only the people would realize that to obey was freedom. To rebel only brought heartache and loss.” Some things never change!

Related in five parts with third-person narration, Miriam’s Song by Jill Eileen Smith delves into the largely-unknown life of Moses’ older sister, Miriam. While fictional, it remains true to the Biblical account in regard to historical events, taking artistic liberty to explore the possible perspective and life of Miriam, prophetess of God and leader of women during the Exodus and afterward. Time lapses in the narrative can be a bit abrupt but are understandable and handled well, with a succinct explanation of the intervening years. I highly recommend this Biblical fiction novel to fans of the genre and to anyone interested in the Exodus and the life of the Hebrews during that time.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Mayday: A Book Review of Lisa Harris’s “The Escape”

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Lisa Harris is an author whose name I’m familiar with, but whose work I had not yet read until now. This seemed like an opportune time, with the release of her new US Marshals series, and as far as I’m concerned, there is never a bad time to read a romantic suspense novel. Although it took me a week to read because of the holidays, The Escape is a very fast-paced novel, with no breaks in the action from start to finish. Several times I thought that the plot was about to be resolved, only to have another twist thrown in, and while this technique might become wearying in certain cases, Harris capably pulls it off without resorting to implausible scenarios. This story definitely engenders respect for the US Marshals Service and the extent of the work that they perform!

As one would expect, this story revolves around two US Marshals, Jonas Quinn and Madison James, and their pursuit of a fugitive who goes on the lam after their prisoner-transport plane crashes in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Damon Barrick, a felon convicted of murder, wastes no time in making his getaway and initiating a treacherous cat-and-mouse game across the West, somehow managing to stay one step ahead of the law. Although this story is fictional, it does make me wonder how often circumstances like these do play out behind the scenes, while we as ordinary citizens remain unaware or only see the end result, such as the trial or conviction. Jonas’s thoughts early on in the narrative indicate this: “Truth was, there was never anything routine when dealing with felons. He of all people knew that.” Consequently, as with other law enforcement and also military careers, trauma is part and parcel of the job. Jonas and Madison have different trauma backgrounds, and I think that this is part of what makes them a good team. The question is whether their shared experience during this case will be beneficial or detrimental to them as partners moving forward, which is something that readers must wait to find out because The Escape ends with a lead-in to the second book in the series.

Ordinarily, I am not a fan of open-ended conclusions, but I am willing to accept it with The Escape because the main plot is resolved (as far as I know!) and due to references within the narrative, this lingering part of the storyline will be ongoing and will eventually also be resolved. This does mean, however, that this series is clearly intended to be read chronologically and not as standalones. With a constant surge of adrenaline fueling the storyline, this is a very cinematic book, and honestly my only complaint is that I personally felt that the plot resolution scene itself was rather brief and anticlimactic. I do, however, wholeheartedly recommend The Escape to readers who enjoy thriller-dominant romantic suspense that will keep you engrossed from the first page to the last and have you clamoring for the sequel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

The Thrill of Facing the Impossible: A Book Review of Davis Bunn’s “Burden of Proof”

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Perhaps not overtly so, but Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn is an apropos book for 2020, right down to the title. This year I have read several works within the speculative fiction genre, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them because I am much more of a historical fiction devotee. In a sense, however, Davis Bunn’s novel also falls within the dual-timeline category, and it is a legal thriller too. Such a formidable combination of genres promises a high yield and begs the question of whether or not they all blend well and complement each other.

Speaking generally, Burden of Proof falls in the middle of the spectrum as far as my personal ratings are concerned. There are parts of the story that I enjoyed, but also loose ends and some questions that I would have liked to have seen answered. I also have concerns about the implication that Adrian’s life is worth more than Ethan’s, taken from the opening chapters of the story; a life-limiting disease resulting in a poor prognosis, combined with the fact that the individual has no living relatives, leads to a decision that could change the future and the past. I will refrain from elaborating so as to avoid spoilers, but this realization of human worth greatly discomfited me. Along with this, there is no mention of Christianity in the book; given that it is marketed as Christian, I believe that it should be held to that standard, and while the story is clean, the focus is given to weaving the present with the outspoken past rather than in spiritual growth.

Time travel forms the crucial event in this story. Despite being so over-done as a theme, Bunn gives it a unique twist here, fictionally broadening its potential use. This brings in the Butterfly Effect, as found in any time travel scenario, as well as the Grandfather Paradox and, as one of the characters explains, the theory of quantum entanglement. Due in part to all of the unknowns, the bonds of family and friends become especially important. As what was thought to be an isolated incident grows into a full-blown conspiracy theory, Ethan and his brother Adrian fund themselves caught up in “the thrill of facing the impossible” for what may be the last time.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 3 stars ♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

God Will Make You Whole: A Book Review of Jan Drexler’s “Softly Blows the Bugle”

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Amish fiction is a somewhat newer subgenre of Christian fiction for me, one that I’ve been reading for only a few years. Growing up about an hour and a half from Ohio Amish Country and visiting there often, I had some familiarity with the culture, and reading well-researched novels has offered additional insight. I do, however, find Amish historical fiction to be just as fascinating. This series is the first that I’ve ever read about the Amish during the Civil War era, and this third book especially sheds light on the unique impacts on their communities.

In Jan Drexler’s Softly Blows the Bugle, book three of The Amish of Weaver’s Creek, the Civil War has recently ended, and Jonas Weaver returns home. With him is Aaron Zook, a former Confederate soldier who lost his leg in battle and his faith when his mother died years earlier. Two generations removed from his Amish heritage, he is determined to head west to escape all that he’s lost; likewise, Jonas’s sister, Elizabeth Kaufman, struggles under the burden of her own tainted past. When a stranger arrives in town, he may hold the key to helping them both move on.

While this book can be read as a standalone, I would encourage readers to go through the series in order for the most fulfilling experience and to meet all of the main characters in depth. Each story makes more of an emotional impact if readers understand the background. The Weaver’s Creek community, by and large, serves as an example of what the body of Christ is meant to be: welcoming and loving, without compromising its convictions. The kinship is so heartwarming; despite his previous sympathies and being an Englischer, Aaron finds loving care and acceptance, which in turn allows for healing of more than just his physical body. In a similar manner, the Amish response to slavery and segregation plays out through interactions with the former slave named Dulcey. Another interesting aspect of this story is the disagreement between the Weaver’s Creek traditionalists and the more liberal Amish from other districts. In so many ways, these kinds of situations and issues reflect what we are dealing with today, reminding us that everyone has hardships and struggles, and that we are not as different from each other as we may seem.

Redemption and second chances are themes heavily interwoven into Softly Blows the Bugle. Drexler takes her characters through the emotions and doubts of the journey to forgiveness and to surrendering to God, and one of the beautiful facets of it is how God can use other people to draw the hurting to Himself. As Aaron begins to realize, “Grandpop had always told him that the Amish were high and mighty, bragging about their special place in God’s eyes, but Elizabeth didn’t seem to be like that at all. Her whisper…maybe he wasn’t meant to hear it…but her whisper betrayed a brokenness as deep as his own.” With brokenness comes pain and messy situations; sensitive readers may want to be forewarned that there are a few brief scenes of violence and brief discussions about past trauma. In my opinion, they are not graphic and do fit in with the time period and plot. There is one scene that stretched credulity for me, but it didn’t detract from the story overall. I think that Casper Zook says it best: “No man is whole when he is by himself. All of us are broken on the inside until we find our place with God—broken, sore, and weary. Your brokenness is visible, but the solution is the same as it is for any other man. God will make you whole.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

How Do I Love Thee: A Book Review of Joanna Davidson Politano’s “The Love Note”

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I’ll be honest. I almost didn’t request this title. The vintage cover drew me in, though, and a fleeting glimpse at the synopsis made it sound promising, so even though I’m not much of a romance reader, I decided to give it a chance. Oh my word. I am fairly certain that this is going to be my favorite new release of 2020, and most likely the best fictional romance (historical or otherwise) that I’ve read to date. Very rarely, if ever, do I use the word “swoon-worthy,” but I have to say, this book fits that description perfectly, while also being tempestuous and haunting.

The Love Note is the first of Joanna Politano’s novels that I’ve read, despite her previous works being on my to-read list, and I now find myself wondering why I waited so long! From the first chapter, I was engaged in the story, and unlike so many others, this is one that does not lag at any point. Politano seamlessly blends an assortment of genres that keeps readers on their toes: romance, mystery, history, spirituality. As the final third of the story unfolds, the twists are so beautifully executed for maximum impact, right through the final chapter. Willa Duvall herself proclaims early on: “I had been right all along—the letter I’d found in that desk was a piece of something much larger, a story more epic than mere romance.” Nothing is clear-cut until the ending, and I love that! What’s more, Politano meaningfully brings all of the storylines together into one glorious whole.

With echoes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, The Love Note reads like a classic. Politano’s writing style reflects that of the nineteenth century but is free of antiquated words or phrases, thereby making this an easy-to-read book. That is not to say, however, that no hard issues arise within the story. On the contrary, for all of the romance, there is also a fair share of tragedy, as Willa notes immediately: “but I couldn’t shake the tenor of underlying romance lurking in the shadows of this house. It was there, pulsing and sweeping through like a ghost, even if everyone attempted to stifle and deny it.” Through characters such as Celeste, Willa, and Aunt Maisie (a personal favorite), the importance of using one’s voice for encouraging others and the significance of women’s rights is subtly explored. Pithy epigraphs called “A scientist’s observations on love” open each chapter, and a shifting narrative voice allows for the exploration of multiple points of view. The majority of the narrative is comprised of Willa’s story as told by the character herself in the first person, and occasionally another character with whom her story intersects provides a third-person account of something happening to them. Even as readers privileged with this omniscience, though, the surprises are astounding.

As with any Christian-based novel, the best attribute is transformation, and The Love Note achieves this remarkably well. Remarkably because the characters change their hearts and attitudes in spite of their fear and in spite of the leap of faith needed to do so. Willa realizes this in her own quest, remarking, “What makes the past so intriguing, anyway? Perhaps because understanding those stories that so enchant us, those ghostly echoes of long-ago mistakes and passions, means untangling the present and changing the future.” May we glean wisdom from the past as we all strive toward the bright future that awaits us as believers in Christ.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE