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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mail Order Brides Under Review

If you’re a fan of “mail order bride” stories, 2010 is a banner year. Recently I’ve read a trio of historical romances using the “mail order bride” gambit and I heartily recommend all three of them.

In The Substitute Bride (Janet Dean, Love Inspired Historical), Elizabeth Manning takes the place of a mail order bride who has changed her mind. She offers herself as a substitute to widowed rancher Ted Logan—a marriage of convenience that suits both of them. Only Elizabeth falls in love with Ted before she learns a secret past that holds the very thing she left home to escape.

The Anonymous Bride (Vickie McDonough, Barbour) features not one, but three, mail order brides—none of the requested by the man they are promised to marry. Luke Davis’s cousins thought he needed help in choosing a bride. The three enter a series of contests to win the heart of the marshal—and discover there is a fourth, anonymous, contender for his heart. The first book in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series introduces us to an engaging group of characters who will soon fill the town of Lookout, Texas, with newly married couples.

Orphaned Madeleine Mercer finds herself being ramrodded into marriage with her father’s shady business partner. She heads from Boston to Golden, New Mexico, to answer Philip Smith’s ad for a mail order bride. Honor, integrity, forgiveness, faith—issues of many kinds stand between Madeline and the man God has for her in Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico (Lena Nelson Dooley, Summerside)

In addition to the three books I’ve mentioned above, two of my favorite authors, Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonough (author of The Anonymous Bride), have teamed up with Carrie Turansky and Therese Stenzel for Christmas Mail-Order Brides, due out from Barbour in September.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review: Blood Ransom

Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris. Zondervan ISBN 978-0-310-31905-4

Summary: Two American volunteers, Natalie Sinclair and Dr. Chad Talcott, stay busy treating the diseases that ravage entire villages in the country of Dhambizao, Africa. With the country on the eve of a national election, they don't need any additional drama in their lives.

However, when one of Natalie's village helpers comes to her with proof of slave trafficking and a plot to overturn the upcoming election, they feel compelled to act. The enemy chases them from the jungle down the river to the capitol, leaving a string of deaths behind. Will it take a Blood Ransom to prevent terrorists from taking over their adopted homeland?

Lisa lives in Mozambique, where she and her husband serve as church-planting missionaries. Her love and knowledge of the land and its people shines on every page. She has woven a story that leaves the identity of the hero and the villain in doubt until the final chapter. Natalie and Chad's struggle with "why does God allow bad things to happen to His people" reaches new depths in their struggle with an enemy with no regard for human life.

In general, I don't find thrillers by Christian authors as compelling as those by secular authors. Blood Ransom is a welcome exception. Pick it up today.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

House Hunting

Reminder: April Book Drawing! See the side bar for more information.

A week ago I received a phone call from my son the realtor that has sent me scurrying.

"Mom, if you're serious about looking for a house, you can get a tax rebate if you sign the contract by the end of April."

The very thought terrifies me--the last time I tried buying a house, I lost my good-paying job, was out of work, and then returned to work for half the salary. No, I didn't keep the house.

But if ever I'm going to do it, now, with my mother's life insurance policy in my bank account, is the time to do it.

For all of you home owners out there, you know the investment of time and emotion in looking. That's been my week. After we looked at a few places on Monday, I woke up the next morning thinking, "What have I done! I don't know if I want to buy a house. I don't want to move again. I don't want all that responsibility." Then I took all those fears to the Lord. I asked Him that I wouldn't make a foolhardy decision or one based on fear; a friend said also not to make a decision based on selfishness.

The Lord gave me peace. It would be wrong not to pursue buying a house because of a fear based on past experiences. He also reminded me of my "larger than life" wish from last year's ACFW conference to not only provide for my own needs but to leave a financial legacy for my children. Not to build up equity in a house would ultimately be selfish.

Foolhardy? No. My monthly payments will be less than the cost of rent, so even with additional expenses, I should be even.

Some time this week I'll be putting an offer in on a house. I'll keep you informed!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jolene Speaks

I am looking through some of Jolene's writings and ran across this poem:

Paradise Dream

I stand by the bay and dream of a land
far away in a beautiful place.
My dream is so real it's like I'm in paradise.
I sit on a rock looking out over the sea.
The sun is going down but there
the sun always shines.
Over the sea a cold wind blows but there
a warm cool breeze floats across an island.
I wrap my arms around me.
I know that God is keeping me warm and safe.
Heaven will be like my paradise dream.

Oh, Jolene, it's all that, and more.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Resurrection Day

Reminder: Leave a comment on my blog any time in April (and you may comment multiple times) for an opportunity to win a copy of one of my books.

Yesterday I realized that it's been three years since I had a "family" Resurrection Day celebration (I refuse to call it "Easter.") Two years ago, I learned my daughter had died during Passion Week. Mom and I cried and held each other all through worship that Sunday. A year ago, Mom had already moved to Oklahoma while I was still in Colorado. Huh. My son, a Messianic who celebrates Jewish festivals, doesn't celebrate Resurrection Day.

Did I feel sad? Not at all. I joined with the host of people crowding our sanctuary and rejoiced in my living Savior.

And God gave our church something unique: a pair of nesting geese--with four eggs by the bushes right beside the front door! (I may to rethink my reaction to Easter eggs, since God sent us four real ones!) The poor Papa and Mama Geese were very stressed at having so many potential threats to their offspring milling around.

Eggs are about more than fertility. They celebrate the new life possible because He lives! Life eternal, different both in kind in duration, from the life we have at birth.