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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Midnight Sea by Colleen Coble - A Book Review

Midnight Sea   Colleen Coble Headshot 

This book has been on my bookshelf for awhile.  I am so glad that I recently picked it up to read.  It was an enjoyable romantic mystery.  Following Colleen Coble on Facebook, I was not surprised to discover that the book was set on a coffee plantation.  While I may not share her fondness of butter in my coffee, I do love a good cup of kona. This book always motivated me to have a cup in hand as I read; although I must admit it doesn't take much to motivate me to reach for a cup of coffee.
     The story revolves around Lani Tagama, recently blinded, who is struggling to become independent while being at the mercy of those who would do her harm.  She is aided by Ben, a former policeman and current guide dog trainer.  Perhaps her greatest sense of confidence comes from Fisher, the guide dog Ben is training, with whom there is an immediate bond.  Lani's and Ben's stories are intertwined with those of Lani's aunt and her friends who had once lived in a commune setting, hippies living in tree houses in a place called Taylor Camp. In order to solve the mystery of who is trying to harm Lani may mean solving a mystery that began at Taylor Camp.
     Lani has other struggles as well.  Having recently accepted Christ, she struggles to put her old desires behind her.  Through the support of Christian friends and family, she is doing well.  She struggles with forgiving herself for past mistakes, something many of us can relate to.  She struggles with understanding how God can allow not just bad, but horrible things happen to those who have given their lives to Him.  A common question for centuries. The reader will find this book relevant, absent of pat answers to difficult questions, and filled with hope.        

Monday, March 2, 2015

Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher - A Book Review

     Fans of Amish fiction and historical fiction alike will enjoy the time spent between the covers of Anna’s Crossing. I received my copy late due to a recent winter storm’s impact on mail delivery. Therefore I had to read through it in three day’s time in order to review it during the author’s blog tour dates. However it is a book that I would have preferred to linger over. The language, or maybe I should say languages, of the story is worthy of being dwelt over as are the lessons in Christian living.
     In 1737 Anna K├Ânig, a young Amish woman, crosses the Atlantic with members of her community on their way to the New World. Aboard the Charming Nancy, Anna weathers the voyage displaying grace and forgiveness as only one with the mind of Christ can. Along the way her faith becomes a balm to the ship’s carpenter, Bairn, who suffers from a past he longs to forget. Anna and Bairn are drawn together by affection for young, Felix, a lovable although mischievous Amish lad, but also by the One who loves them and has plans not to harm them, but to give them a future filled with hope.
      Bairn is challenged, as is the reader, by the Amish minister’s words, “Each one of us will face a watershed moment that will define all others in a life. The moment that puts our humanity to a test. When that moment arrives, we each need to ask ourselves, which path will it be? Will we follow God’s ways or will we choose man’s ways?” When the time comes, Bairn responds to his watershed moment in a manner that takes the reader by surprise, and what seems to be the end, might actually be a new beginning. Anna tells Bairn that we can see the beginnings of the love of God, but not its end as it goes on forever. Yet often times we, as humans, focus on perceived endings and miss offered beginnings. In this story Fisher helps us see God’s participation in our lives that offers us forgiveness, provision, and second chances. When we have difficulty seeing God in our daily lives, we would do well to remember Anna’s explanation that, “Broken expectations aren’t meant to crush our hopes, but to free us to put our confidence in God alone. They aren’t meant to make us give up, but look up.”
      I do recommend this book to fans of Amish fiction and fans of historical fiction. It is a part the Amish Beginnings series by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I look forward to reading more books in this series.
      I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Anna’s Crossing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.