Monday, November 29, 2010

Emily of Deep Valley

Pattie's Maud Hart Lovelace Memories:

I discovered Betsy Ray and her besties--Tacy and Tib--after moving to Missouri in grade school. I found Heaven to Betsy in the library stacks and I was hooked! I started in the middle and had to work backwards, then forwards, to read Betsy's entire story. I used to have to request Maud Hart Lovelace's books from other library branches, because they were out of print and the entire St. Louis County library system had only one set among all the branches. So I'm thrilled to see them all in print again.

I had forgotten about Emily's story (another one I'd requested via interlibrary loan once upon a time in the 80s) until I received this book for review. I loved it all over again! The new introduction by Mitali Perkins adds perspective and insight into the book, now that I'm reading it again as an adult and mother of daughters.

Highly recommend all the Lovelace books, but for a stand-alone, this one is at the top.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Emily of Deep Valley
Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010)
Mitali Perkins


A word from Mitali: Who In The World Is Mitali Perkins?

That's a good question. I've been trying to figure it out myself, spending most of my life crossing borders.

I was born Mitali Bose in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and always tried to live up to my name—which means “friendly” in the Bangla language. I had to! Because my family moved so much, it was the only way I could make new friends.

By the time I was 11, I'd lived in Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York and Mexico before settling in California just in time for middle school. Yep, I was the new kid again, in seventh grade, the year everybody barely makes it through.

My biggest lifeline during those early years was story. Books were my rock, my stability, my safe place as I navigated the border between California suburbia and the Bengali culture of my traditional home.

After studying political science at Stanford and public policy at U.C. Berkeley, I taught in middle school, high school and college. When I began to write fiction, my protagonists were often—not surprisingly—strong female characters trying to bridge different cultures.

Mitali Perkins is the author of several books for young people, including SECRET KEEPER (Random House), MONSOON SUMMER (Random House), RICKSHAW GIRL (Charlesbridge), and the FIRST DAUGHTER books (Dutton).


Often cited as Maud Hart Lovelace’s (of Betsy-Tacy fame) best novel, Emily of Deep Valley is now back in print, with a new foreword by acclaimed young adult author Mitali Perkins and new archival material about the characters’ real lives.

Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. The gulf between Emily and her classmates widens even more when they graduate from Deep Valley High School in 1912. Emily longs to go off to college with everyone else, but she can’t leave her grandfather. Emily resigns herself to facing a “lost winter,” but soon decides to stop feeling sorry for herself. And with a new program of study, a growing interest in the Syrian community, and a handsome new teacher at the high school to fill her days, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed...

In addition to her beloved Betsy-Tacy books, Maud Hart Lovelace wrote three more stories set in the fictional town of Deep Valley: Winona’s Pony Cart, Carney’s House Party and Emily of Deep Valley. Longtime fans and new readers alike will be delighted to find the Deep Valley books available again for the first time in many years.

If you would like to browse inside Emily of Deep Valley, go HERE.

Gifts 2

holy experience

Today I continue my list.

2. I am grateful for my husband. He knows me, he loves me, he sticks beside me, he provides for our family, and I can NOT imagine my life without him.


Susan May Warren's latest novel is entitled Nightingale, and it is an enchanting World War II period novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. Like all of Susan May Warren's fiction, the spiritual element of the story is knitted artfully into the narrative, like a cable stitch in a sweater--it's there, it looks different and stands out, but it's not like a big neon patch that assaults the senses. Rather, it enhances the story, making it beautiful and more artful than it would have been plain.

About Nightingale: Esther Lange doesn’t love her fiancĂ©—she’s trapped in an engagement after a mistaken night of passion.

Still, she grieves him when he’s lost in battle, the letters sent to her by the medic at his side giving her a strange comfort, so much that she strikes up a correspondence with Peter Hess, an Iowa farmboy. Or is he? Peter Hess is not who he seems. Indeed, he’s hiding a secret, something that could cost them both their lives, especially when the past comes back to life. A bittersweet love song of the home front war between duty and the heart...a battle where only one will survive.

Don’t miss book 1 in this stand-alone collection, Sons of Thunder.

About Susan May Warren: Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:

Link to buy the book:

Flip Nightingale Just a couple more days on the contest!

Special thanks to Lit Fuse Group and Susan May Warren and her publisher, Summerside Press, for a review copy of the novel.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lady in Waiting

Susan Meissner's latest novel Lady in Waiting is a wonderful mix of historical and contemporary fiction, centered around a gold ring found in an antique Protestant prayer book.

Susan duplicates the wonderful mix of contemporary and historical that she had in her novel The Shape of Mercy, and I loved how she intertwined the stories, keeping them separate yet equally enthralling.

I loved both Janes in Lady in Waiting. I think Susan does a great job with voice, as always, and with a sense of the characters belonging in their environment. Not so much a sense of place, exactly, but a sense that the characters know who they are, and they are comfortable in their own skin and locale within the novel.

I highly recommend Lady in Waiting for the Christian fiction enthusiast, or even a reader who might not select a Christian book but is curious about Susan's work.

Monday, November 22, 2010


holy experience

Today I begin my list.

1. So very grateful to God for the moment when I was just turned 15, when I made sure I belonged to Him.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I will be attending the Protestant Women of the Chapel International Conference this weekend. Hope to see you there!

Amy Inspired

Review at the end. Thanks!
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Amy Inspired
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Bethany Pierce


After completing a master's in Creative Writing and working as a visiting instructor at Miami University in Ohio, Bethany Pierce now lives with her husband in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she is a member of the McGuffey Art Center and continues to write. Her first book, Feeling for Bones, was one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2007.


With rejections piling up, she could use just a little inspiration...

Amy Gallagher is an aspiring writer who, after countless rejections, has settled for a career as an English professor in small-town Ohio just to pay the bills. All her dreams suddenly start to unravel as rejections pile up--both from publishers and her boyfriend.

But just as Amy fears her life is stuck in a holding pattern, she meets the mysterious, attractive, and unavailable Eli. She struggles to walk the fine line between friendship and something more with Eli, even as staying true to her faith becomes unexpectedly complicated.

When secrets, tragedy, and poor decisions cause rifts in Amy's relationships, she must come to terms with who she's become, her unrealized aspirations for her life, and the state of her faith. Can she dare to hope that she will find love and fulfillment despite it all?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Amy Inspired, go HERE.

Pattie's Review:

Amy Inspired is the story of Amy, an English adjunct wannabe writer, who lives with her freespirited roommate Zoe. But Amy feels trapped in her life of jealousy over Zoe's publishing success and her regimen of to-do lists. When Amy begins to feel more for Zoe's friend Eli than she feels like she should, her world falls out of balance. Slowly but surely she learns that life is to be lived, not meticulously planned.

I identified strongly with Amy, in spite of the fact that I'm a full decade ahead in age. I'm exactly with her in terms of realizing life is for living, it's not the end of the world if my writing is never chosen for publication, and matters of faith are best learned not in preaching but in showing love to others to woo them to Christ.

This book is recommended for readers looking for a Christian book that is not preachy or moralistic.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Preacher's Bride

My review is at the end. Enjoy!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Preacher's Bride
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Jody Hedlund


Jody has written novels for the last 16 years (with a hiatus when her children were young. In May of 2009 she double-finaled in the Genesis contest, a national fiction-writing contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW.Shortly after the final, Jody acquired an agent, Rachelle Gardner of Word Serve Literary. Her agent spent the summer of 2009 working on selling her books. In September of that year, Jody signed a three-book deal with Bethany House Publishers. Jody’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, releases in Oct. 2010. Her next book will release in 2011 and a third in 2012.


In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher--whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aid. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family. Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child--and man--she's come to love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Preacher's Bride, go HERE.

Pattie's Review

The Preacher's Bride is more than just a romance. It is a fictional retelling of the story of John Bunyan and his second wife, Elizabeth. While the author freely admits to some artistic license (including a surname change), the story's framework is based upon truth.

I was engrossed in the book and found it an interesting and enjoyable read. Expect good things from Jody Hedlund in the future, to besure.

Review: The Dinner List

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle My rating: 4 of 5 stars I heard about this novel last month. It sounded great, because who hasn't m...