Monday, November 24, 2014

CFBA Book Review: Swept Away

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Swept Away
Abingdon Press (November 18, 2014)
Laura V. Hilton
Cindy Loven


Award winning author Laura V. Hilton has penned many novels, including the Amish of Seymour series, the Amish of Webster County series, and the forthcoming Amish of Jamesport series. A member of ACFW, Laura is also a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites. A pastor’s wife, stay-at-home mom, and home school teacher, Laura and her family make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

A lifelong reader, Cindy Loven is an active church wife of a minister and mother to one son who is a home school graduate. Cindy and her family reside in Conway, Arkansas.


Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned. Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter. Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Swept Away, go HERE.

Pattie's Review: I know of Laura Hilton because we've both been reviewing Christian fiction books for a very long time. Cindy Loven is new to me as an author.

The strength of this novel is in the handling of the situation with Grandma Sari. It's not easy to deal with an aging parent or grandparent, and Sara Jane's situation with her grandmother is portrayed with realism and grace.

I also liked the links within the story of historical significance, as well as the link to the Appalachian Trail experience.

The romance seems a bit forced to me in several places. Sara and Drew don't seem to mesh well at all, yet before we know it they're "feeding the crush" they have on each other. I think that could have been handled a bit better. I do like that Sara gets over her first impression by reading Drew's online blog from his hike. That was really neat, and it is culturally relevant with Cheryl Strayed's Wild coming out in theaters soon.

If you're looking for a sweet, clean, Christian romance, this is a good book for you. Probably the entire series, actually, since Abingdon Press is a well-known Christian fiction/romance publisher with quite a few good series in their catalog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day: Pride and Gratitude

I think it's rather fitting to say "Thank You" for our military veterans and their families. Most of us spouses and families just want our service members to be honored, and many of the service members are embarrassed to be so recognized.

I think one day a year, during the month when we already celebrate Thanksgiving and express our gratitude for our many blessings, is apropos. You may not agree, and that's okay too.

Remembering my family legacy of service: Grandpa D. served in the Navy in the Japanese theater in WWII; Grandpa W. served in the Army in the European theater in WWII; Dad served in the Navy in the Vietnam War; his brother was career Army, serving both as enlisted and as an officer, in the wake of Vietnam, during the Gulf War, and in the wake of 9/11; his sister's husband served in the Army in Vietnam. My husband's family: his father served in the Air Force during Vietnam; his uncle served in the Air Force during Vietnam, then as a reservist for a full career, serving active duty for a while in the wake of 9/11; and my husband serves as an Air Force chaplain.

Today my daughter will speak at her high school's Veterans Day program. I am more proud than I can even express.