Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I Read Wednesday: Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer

Cover ImageFrom the Cover:
Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family’s farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promises adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he’s the man she’s meant to marry.

While she waits for the end of the Great War and Arthur’s return, her mother’s sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, sure that her glamorous and exciting life is about to start.

But the Spanish flu epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt’s sickness, Arthur’s indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebekah discovers she must choose between her desire to escape the type of life she’s always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.

Andrea’s Take
Wings of a Dream is the debut novel from Anne Mateer. It is written in first person point of view, which slowed me down a touch at the beginning of the story simply because I don’t read a lot of first person work. Once I got used to it, I flew through the story.

Rebekah Hendricks is the viewpoint character. The entire story comes to the reader through her eyes. Ms. Mateer makes good use of this limited scope. Rebekah has a few men vying for her hand. With the first person point of view, the reader is as uncertain as she is what course she will take.

It is clear to the reader right away what Rebekah wants – adventure in the big city. This goal makes Rebekah a universally sympathetic character.  What country kid hasn’t dreamed of big city life? 

If her dream makes her sympathetic, her follow through is what makes her admirable.  When she commits to care for Aunt Adabelle, she has no idea what is in store. When the worst happens, Rebekah takes on four children. Later, when her dreams seem to be falling apart all around her, she remains steadfast, her faith assuring her that some things are more important.

Wings of a Dream is a romantic story, but it is so much more. It is the story of a young woman’s coming of age at a time in history when life held all the uncertainty of war and disease. When tradition was tested and sometimes discarded for new and flashy, Anne Mateer gives us a character willing to hold herself to God’s standards and lay aside her own plans in favor of His…trusting that He knows what will make her happy better than she does.

Anne Mateer is a new author worth watching.

I received my copy of Wings of a Dream complimentary from the publisher.  I have not been compensated, and all the above remarks are truly my own opinions.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wives, Submit...But to Whom?

WARNING: You are about to see just how old-fashioned I am for a thirty-odd year old woman.

I read an article on this topic Monday at a lovely blog called The Pastor's Wife Speaks. It was by a pastor's wife named Niki Turner. Here's the link if you'd like to read it too: Answering the Submission Question

Here's a little of what Mrs. Turner says, paraphrased, of course. I don't have to walk around with my eyes down and hands folded, scrambling to obey my husband's every whim.  I can, and should, have an opinion. It is valid and valuable, and it can help my family make right decisions.

I agree completely with everything Mrs. Turner said. But I know from experience there is another, harder side to the issue of submission in marriage.

I started to comment on that blog, but it got a little long. So I decided to move my comment over here...and turned it into a Bible Study of sorts.

The Scriptures
"Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord."
     ~Ephesians 5:22

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not unto men"
     ~Colossians 3:23

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
     ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Andrea's Take:
I've been married ten years. I love my husband more than anything or anyone in the world. We have a happy life together. But I have struggled (and will again if I know me) with the biblical requirement of a wife's submission. I know what it is in me that causes this struggle, but I won't bore you with the details. I'll just put it this way:

I am by nature a hen, and I have married a man who simply won't be pecked.

The three verses above have been invaluable to me. Together they address the problem I encounter when submitting to my husband is hard to do. And sometimes it is hard.

~ ~ ~

When her husband is absolutely certain of one course of action and she is equally certain of another. When submitting to her husband means she must let go of a plan or dream she holds very dear...

What is a wife to do? 

The short answer is Ephesians 5:22. Submit.

But what if that's not enough. What if it's still hard?

Well, try this one on for size. Proverbs 3:5. Trust in the Lord.

I have asked myself, "Do I trust in the Lord?" Occasionally, my honest answer has been, "No, right now, I don't trust in the Lord." That is an act of fear. I refuse to submit when I am afraid of losing something, or losing control of something.

Then I have to repent and ask God to help me trust in him. That's verse 6. Acknowledge him and he will show you the way.

He has done so every time. That shouldn't amaze me, but it does.

When I've trusted in him and acknowledged him, the initial command has always remained the same. Submit. Relinquish control of whatever I'm holding onto so tightly.

But...the direction changed. Colossians 3:23. Dedicate every action to God, not man.

If I take my husband out of the picture (figuratively, of course), I'm submitting to God, and God alone. I am giving him control of what I value so highly.

This is an act of faith.

I trust him, so I do what he commanded...

Do not kill.


Give to the poor.


Submit to your husband.

Oh. Uh...Okay.

I guess all this can be summed up in one pretty quick sentence.

Trust God, and do everything for him, including submit.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What I Read Wendesday: The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden

Cover ImageFrom the Cover:
When Clara Endicott and Daniel Tremain’s worlds collide after twelve years apart, the spark that was once between them immediately reignites into a romance neither of them thought possible.

But time has changed them both.

Daniel is an industrial titian with powerful enemies. Clara is an idealistic journalist determined to defend underprivileged workers.

Can they withstand the cost of their convictions while their hearts – and lives – hang in the balance?

Andrea's Take:
I just love it when I get in on the ground floor of something wonderful. Well I certainly have this time!

The Lady of Bolton Hill is the debut novel of bright new author Elizabeth Camden. I read it twice. The first time, I liked it. When I didn’t review it right away, I felt I should re-read it so it would be fresh in my mind for the review.  Something changed with the second reading. I loved it!

When Daniel and Clara meet again after 12 years with absolutely no contact, they pick up where they left off.  Or so they think…

They find themselves at cross purposes. In the excitement of renewing their youthful friendship, each  underestimates the other’s resolve. Clara believes she knows “all the sides of Daniel Tremain” (p. 164), but she has no idea of the depth of his hatred against his enemy. Daniel believes Clara to be delicate and “afraid of everything from horses to speaking in public” (p. 243), and he completely discounts her faith in God. 

It is that deep-seated and unshakeable faith that gives Clara the strength – in spite of her fears – to do something that will shock your socks off. If I told you what Clara does, Elizabeth Camden would have my head. So I won’t. But I’ll tell you that when I read it, I gasped aloud (even on the second read through, when I knew it was coming).

This book is good all the way through, but the last one-third is simply riveting (I tend to think that word is over used, but truly no other will do).  After about page 200, I simply could not put it down.

One last point to cover:
Bane – The young man named Alexander Banebridge is an amazing character. I want to know more about what he does between Chapter 23 and the Epilogue…a lot more. Like, he needs his own book.

If you haven’t read this book, you should. And if you’ll come back to this blog on October 13, you’ll have a chance to win my copy. I can’t believe I’m giving it away, but I am.
Cover Image
Isn't it pretty?

Also be on the lookout in a few months for Elizabeth Camden’s second release The Rose of Winslow Street. Available for pre-order now at Barnes & Noble.

I know I can't wait for it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Seeker Sighting--In the Library

I was in my local library, ostensibly working on my WIP. I went to the catalog computer to look up a research point, with no success.

Next to the catalog computer stands the "New Releases" shelf.  I browsed as I walked past just to see if they had anything I had heard of, but not really expecting much of my tiny public library in a poor county.

Oh, me of little faith! Apparently our hardworking librarians are expert at allocating their meager funds. The proof is before you.

As I told Sandra in the email I sent her, I nearly broke the "quiet rule" when I saw this book.  I immediately checked it out.  It has jumped almost to the top of my TBR pile, just behind another book I have to review for my big Birthday giveaway in October.

But be on the look out for a review of The Price of Victory by Sandra Leesmith here on this blog in the next few weeks.

I just love it when I see my friends' books on the shelves.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I Read Wednesday: A Most Unsuitable Match by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Cover Image
From the Cover:
Miss Fannie Rousseau is a young woman of privilege traveling west to uncover the truth behind a family secret.

Mr. Samuel Beck is on a mission to atone for past failures that still haunt him.

Their meeting aboard a steamboat to Montana sparks an unlikely attraction. They are opposites in every way…except in how neither one can stop thinking about the other.

Will the end of the journey bring the end of their relationship, or is it just the beginning?

Andrea's Take:
This book is my introduction to Stephanie Grace Whitson, and let me say she made a lovely first impression. A Most Unsuitable Match is an engaging story with plenty of surprising twists to keep the reader guessing. I stayed up long past bedtime, and got almost nothing done the next day because I didn’t want to put it down. 

Fannie Rousseau and Samuel Beck head up a delightful cast of characters. As they strive to reach their separate goals, both find faith and struggle to keep it alive in the face of painful revelations and trials. Friends they find—and lose—along the way point them toward God and each other. The ending is wonderful, and I love the epilogue.

Something I found truly delightful was the cover.  Before I read the book, I thought it was simply a nice picture of two people standing on the deck of a ship. After I read the book I recognized that the cover designers went to some trouble to outfit the models quite accurately according to the details of the story. I know Mrs. Whitson probably didn’t design the cover, but I thought it worth mentioning anyway.

I found A Most Unsuitable Match to be a lovely story wrapped up in a lovely package. It was worth the loss of sleep and buildup of housework it cost me to finish it quickly. I’ll start keeping my eye out for Stephanie Grace Whitson’s work in the future.

I received my copy of A Most Unsuitable Match free from the publisher for review purposes.  I was not compensated, and all opinions are my honest personal impressions.

A Most Unsuitable Match will be on the list of books for my big giveaway in October. Don't miss it!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bible Study: I Love Trouble!

The Scriptures
Romans 5:3-5And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Andrea’s Take:
Paul says, “we glory in tribulations.”

Wait a minute! That’s like saying “I love trouble.” That’s nuts! If I’m gonna be happy about trouble, I’ve gotta have a good reason.

Okay, here it is. Trouble helps you learn to be patient.

Well whoop-de-doo! If I didn’t have trouble, I wouldn’t need to be patient! I’m still not convinced. What else ya’ got?

Being patient gives you experience.

Lots of things give me experience. Experience ain’t all good.

This experience is a personal encounter with God. When you live through a trial and see God work it out for good.

Oh. Well, that don’t sound too bad. I’ll take it.

There’s more.


Yes. These personal encounters with God give us hope.

Hope? Like, "I hope I win the lottery"?

No, not like that. This hope is more like knowing. Certainty.

How so?

Well, say you’re sick…

You’re sick.

Thank you, but I’m not finished.

Oh. Sorry.

That's quite all right. Now, say you’re sick, and you can’t seem to get better no matter what you do. Finally, you go to the doctor and say, “Doc, is there any hope?” The doctor says, “Yes, there is hope.” He pulls out a medicine you’ve never tried and says, “Take this medicine, and you will get better.” He doesn’t say this medicine should or might make you better. You will get better. There is hope, absolutely certain hope.  This is the kind of hope we learn when we experience God’s work in our times of trouble.

So God is like the only medicine that’ll take care of the trouble when nothing else works. Is that it?

That’s it. The more we wait on God, the more our experience tells us to trust him. When we know nothing else is going to work, we place our hope in him first.

Like going to the doctor when you first get sick instead of waiting until you've tried everything else.

Very good!

I still don’t love trouble.

You don’t have to love the trouble as much as you love what it brings in the end.

In the end, I trust God more. Right?


So trouble is worth the trouble?

I think you’re finally getting it.

~ ~ ~
Now for something a little more dignified.

Hebrews 11:1-- Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.

I had so much fun in the first part of this post illustrating a process, the process by which our hope in Christ is made solid. Our faith becomes substance, as real as something we actually hold in our hands. When we wait on God and see his provision again and again, we begin to hope for it.  Soon, hope becomes certain knowledge that God will provide.

To me, this certainty, this unwavering faith, is only a step shy of actual sight. There is no doubt. When we continually experience God's provision, we don't have to see him moving to know he's there. We know he's there better than we would if we could see him.

I confess, I'm not there yet. But someday, Lord willing, I will be.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seeker Sighting

I was in Wal-Mart drooling my way down the book aisle when I saw this...

"Seeker Reunion on a Shelf"
~Mary Connealy

It seems I wasn't the only one who saw it either since Mary Connealy mentioned it on Seekerville on Thursday

As exciting as it is to witness a Seeker reunion of any kind, it just made me want to cry. 

That blasted budget! 
Those blasted bills!
How often they keep me from 
Buying those blessed books.

Big congrats to both Glynna and Ruthy, a pair of lovely ladies whose stories never fail to touch the heart.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I Read Wednesday: Hailee by Penny Zeller

Okay, confession time: I stole the title "What I Read Wednesday" from my dear friend Carol.  It has a really nice ring to it, though, so I'm gonna run with it (Remember, Carol, imitation is the purest form of flattery).

So, without further ado...Here's my review. (Hey I made a rhyme!)

By Penny Zeller

Hailee by Penny Zeller: Book Cover            For years, orphan Hailee Annigan was just a ragamuffin in the Cincinnati streets, stealing food to keep her two younger brothers fed.  Her thievery landed her in a home for delinquent youngsters, where her life was changed, thanks to her teachers.  Now, nineteen-year-old Hailee excitedly heads to Montana to be a teacher, yet she’s still plagued by her shameful past and the fear of never seeing her brothers again.
            Based on his upbringing in high-society Boston, no one would have guessed that Maxwell Nathaniel Adams, Jr. would attend seminary and become a church pastor in rugged Montana. Even now, Nate’s parents refuse to put aside their own plans for his future and accept his calling. 
            When their paths converge, an immediate attraction draws Hailee and Nate together, even as the pressures and demands of others pull them apart. Can the unlikely pair come to terms with their pasts and face the future together?

Andrea’s Take:
            My very first impression upon opening the package from the publisher was this, “That girl [the model] is pretty. Who does she look like?” Then I stared at her face until I figured it out. She looks a lot like a cousin of mine, which I thought was pretty cool.
            So we were off to a good start, Hailee and I. Then I opened the book and got acquainted with this faithful and adventurous young woman who warmed my heart.  As I read on, I met Nate, the pioneer pastor with the same commitment to his calling – a commitment strong enough to hold its own in the face of strident opposition from Nate’s parents.  Each of them saw God open a door, and walked through it without hesitation, even though the path on the other side was uncertain.
             Some other noteworthy characters are:
 Lucille Granger, the town gossip – Mrs. Granger never failed to make me smile when she appeared on the page, and she has a scene in the second chapter that had me laughing out loud. Even my very stoic husband got a chuckle when I read it to him.   
Zach Sawyer, Nate’s uncle –Uncle Zach is a wonderful sounding board and advisor for Nate. A pastor is so often the giver of wise council, and sometimes it seems he has all the answers. People often forget that the pastor—especially a young one like Nate—sometimes needs advice from older, more experienced Christian men. Zach fills the role of Nate’s wise councillor well and willingly.
Clint and Tommy Dickenson, Nate’s much younger twin cousins – I have it on very good authority that Clint and Tommy are some of Ms. Zeller’s favorite characters in this book (that is if you consider the author “good authority”). A more good-hearted and mischievous pair, you’ve never read. In my family, we’d call them “ornery,” and they certainly live up to that moniker.
Reuben Annigan – Too much about this character would be a spoiler, and I want you to read this book. But I will say this much, he enters the story late, and I didn’t get enough of him. His background touched my heart. If Ms. Zeller decides to write a fourth installment to Montana Skies, Reuben gets my vote for the hero.
            The ending is just the kind I like. Hailee and Nate have a major hurdle to jump on their way to happily ever after. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that they stand firmly together, supporting one another to the end. I love when the story gives the reader a chance to see the power of love in action between two people.  This story does just that.
            Hailee is the third, and final, novel in the “Montana Skies” series.  I did not read the first two books, but I think the references to them in this final volume are enough to keep loyal readers satisfied, without distracting new readers from this story.  The last two chapters wrap the series up beautifully, tying up the loose ends left from all three stories (except that Reuben still needs a story, of course).
I received my copy of Hailee free from the publisher. All the opinions in this review are my own honest impressions.

Hailee, along with a few other books, is going to be up for grabs in a big giveaway in October.  More on that later, but be on the look out!