Tag Archive | Forgiveness

The Serpent Beguiled Eve by Acacia Slaton

HEALING THE WOUNDS OF ABANDONMENT, BETRAYAL AND SHAME

Serpent-Beguiled-Eve

While this is a story of infidelity and betrayal, it goes much deeper…

A young married woman with two daughters deals with her husband’s infidelity and his struggle with the demons of his past.  She seeks spiritual counsel, but when her husband refuses to cooperate with spiritual leaders—other than on a surface level—she has to make the most important decision of her life. 

Find out what this courageous young woman does to turn her life around for her children and her walk with God.

Acacia

Author Bio:  Acacia Slaton is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and has earned her Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2012. She works in the Social Service field and finds a sense of  joy from helping others.

She has two daughters;  Jana and Jaci.  Acacia loves to interact with  readers and welcomes questions and feedback. Visit Acacia On Facebook

Benefits Of This Inspirational Book

Trust In God

You’ll learn from the author how to look to God in the midst of all trials.

Forgiveness

You’ll learn about true Biblical forgiveness that brings new life and healing.

Renewal

Follow the author from feelings of worthlessness to God’s will for her life!

Acacia empowers her readers to overcome trials, to forgive and to begin again in victory!

  • The book is filled with inspiration and God’s truth to overcome the difficulties of life.
  • The story teaches how to overcome feelings of  condemnation and worthlessness.
  • Acacia shares the importance of putting a relationship with God  first over all things

Source: http://lifepurposebooks.com/blog/infidelity-and-betrayal/

My Review:

Acacia has written a very transparent story of her life.  The desire to be married before she got too old and the warnings against this marriage.  It’s a matter of listening to God or your own desires.  The consequences of her choice echoes down the hall of her life.  Her story is a lesson we all need to heed in all the decisions of life.

Her compassion and forgiveness toward her husband is clearly displayed, but he must ultimately make a choice as well.  His choices bring about the dilemmas she must face.

Despite all Acacia goes through, God’s word for her life helps her overcome her multiple difficulties, but not without consequences.  Before you marry, please read this book and learn to follow God’s voice and warnings He gives through others in your life.  Do not let the serpent beguile you.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was received.

Coming SOON!!! ‘BROTHER’S KEEPER’ Movie from Desert Winds Films in Theaters on November 1, 2013

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BROTHER’S KEEPER

Watch the trailer here.

Sometimes the greatest revenge is forgiveness.

Andy and Pete Goodwynn have been side-by-side since the womb. But that’s about to change…

Identical twins, they have grown up watching out for one another while avoiding the glares and whispers that come with a small-town tragedy like the one that left them orphans at a young age.

Yet despite their bond, Andy and Pete couldn’t be more different. While Pete readily turns the other cheek, Andy prefers an eye for an eye. As their high school graduation nears, Pete plans to marry Maggie, the love of his life, and head off to school to become a preacher. Andy, who wants nothing to do with God, has no plans, no direction, and seemingly no future.

Yet this too is about to change.

Instead of becoming engaged to Maggie, Pete hears his love say no to his proposal. In a dizzying turn of events, he ends up in jail… framed for murder! As Pete wrestles with God about this cruel twist of fate – orchestrated by the most powerful family in town – Andy struggles to find a way to help his brother… even if it means coming to peace with God and abandoning his hopes for revenge.

Coming to theaters on November 1, 2013, BROTHER’S KEEPER takes moviegoers on an incredible journey through rural Georgia in the 1950s: from Main Street to the State Penitentiary… from young love to a heinous crime of passion… from counterfeit justice to forgiveness forged through pain… from God’s mercy to the ultimate sacrifice.

The first feature film from Desert Winds Films, BROTHER’S KEEPER is co-directed by Josh Mills and TJ Amato and stars Alex and Graham Miller as Pete and Andy. The cast also includes Daniel Samonas (as Gordon), MacKenzie Mauzy (as Maggie), Ray Wise (as Herbert), and award-winning singer Travis Tritt (as Eddie).

Will Andy be able to help Pete gain his rightful freedom? Will the brothers seek vengeance on those whose corruption and deceit have taken that freedom away? While revenge may seem sweet, BROTHER’S KEEPER is a powerful reminder that only forgiveness can truly heal.

BROTHER’S KEEPER
In Theaters November 1, 2013
BrothersKeeperFilm.com

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Pete and Maggie at the PromHerbert Leemaster

“The Gilded Prospect” by Philip P. Thurman

Worth The Risk?

the gildedIf you only have seconds to choose between saving your estranged father’s life or your terminally ill seven-year-old daughter, who would you choose?  Charlie Sutcliffe knows the answer.

Already nearing a nervous breakdown from his daughter Charlotte’s medical treatments spiraling him into poverty, his grandfather’s recent death, and a pink slip receipt ending the only means of supporting his family, Charlie Sutcliffe questions his existence, identity, and faith.  Charlie’s world is collapsing around him, helpless to alter the momentum of events—almost.  His wife, Karen, discovers the nineteenth century Alaskan Gold Rush handwritten journal of Absalom Sutcliffe, Charlie’s great-great-grandfather, while they are settling his grandfather’s estate.

Charlie and his best friend, George, embark on a journey toward the Northern Wilderness to locate and retrieve Absalom’s gold.  Their prospect follows the same century-old gilded path, but what they don’t expect is someone else is seeking the same riches.  Along the way, Charlie might discover something more valuable.

Phil ThurmanPhilip P. Thurman:  This life has and continues bringing blessings most men can only imagine.  I’ve written several books but The Gilded Prospect is my first published novel. My personal and professional life has brought extensive domestic travel, international journeys in Europe and Central America, and childhood in the Alaskan and Canadian forests. I am an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hiking, camping, and fishing with a particular appreciation of North America’s remaining wilderness. An English major and graduate of Stetson University, I am employed as a manufacturing quality assurance executive.

Do you exist each day with no more hope than surviving this one until reaching the next sunrise? We aren’t here long enough to live that life of quiet desperation. Appreciate each moment. Relish each breath’s small victory pushed and pulled from your lungs. Pick up your pen. Sit down before that keypad or open a pad of paper and make your mark. Maybe no other eyes than your own will ever read the significance of your voice’s attempt. But the chance exists that one, just one, will understand and learn that you can love your wife just a bit more deeper, appreciate the rising sun’s brilliance as a gift of hope, or find tranquil moments to savor the quiet innocent breaths of your sons and daughters.

I live and write in Lake Mary, Florida with my wife, Donna, and three children, Matthew, Elizabeth, and Paul.  My daughter Ashley lives in St. Petersburg but regardless of geographic distance, I will always call myself her dad.

Q&A about Philip P. Thurmin:

Where are you from?  I entered this world at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital just outside of Chicago in 1968 after my father returned from Vietnam the previous year.  My parents, brother, and I lived in a trailer in the Ohare Airport parking lot.  My Great Uncle Bob built our first house across the street from their own home in Wasco, Illinois.  At the time, I don’t believe the town’s only intersection had a stoplight yet.  As a career military man’s son, we moved twelve times and I attended ten different schools through high school.  The farthest memories of my father are surrounded in fishing, camping, and hiking:  the same activities my family and I enjoy today.  He played the most active role in my appreciation of the outdoors.  We lived in fantastic places to be a kid like Alaska, Michigan, and California.  After thirty-two years of service, he retired and we settled in Deltona, FL where I graduated from both high school and college in Deland, FL (Stetson University).

Tell us your latest news?  I am diligently promoting and marketing The Gilded Prospect.  Many people do not realize that even after publication, authors are often required to commit a significant amount of resources and effort into their own promotion.  The launch has generated extensive excitement and the novel is receiving excellent  reviews.   
When and why did you begin writing? I’ve written stories almost as early as I began reading them.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write.  Moving around the country so frequently and sharing the back seat of our Ford LTD station wagon with my brother, I was forced to keep myself occupied without the assistance of today’s electronic amusements.  So, I did what I thought everyone else did – read.  The earliest days were filled with small newsprint paperback cartoon collections of Peanuts comic strips.  I read and reread for hours straight, learning a vocabulary including such words as “opthamologist”, “agoraphobia”, and “wishy-washy” by the time I was seven years old.  I made friends with ease wherever we traveled but the one constant companion I always knew would be there regardless of geography was a good book.  Then, I graduated from comic strips to science fiction sometime around the sixth grade – Verne, Asimov, Bradbury, and my favorite Robert Heinlein.  The constant changing environments and new people entering and leaving my adolescence brought subconscious writing contributions.  Like most others who find a need to express themselves through the written word, I finally reached the epiphany where I believed that I could tell stories better or at least as well as what I read at the time.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? I’m still not a writer.  I don’t know if I can express it with anymore eloquence than already described on this website’s Author Bio.  Everyone today calls themselves writers.  If you have enough financial resources and public recognition, you can call yourself a writer.  I rather like to consider myself a compulsive story-teller.  Although there is some contemporary fiction I admire and appreciate, the vast majority of what is considered mass market fiction is filled with every conceivable form of dysfunctionalism and neurosis imaginable.  If I want to spend my time or invest my reader’s time in such a manner, I will turn on the news.  A distinct reciprocal trust exists between an author and his or her audience.  I am not only asking my reader to make a monetary commitment, I am also requesting an implicit spiritual trust that I am not wasting their time or squandering an opportunity to enrich their lives through my interpretation of fictional characters and events.

What inspired you to write your first bookAs this website mentions, I wrote my first novel (20,000 words) in penciled crude cursive on a spiral bound notebook when I was twelve and yes, I still have it to this day.  In later years, my tastes matured and developed more sophistication.  I read any novel I could find at used book stores.  During the summers between high school years, I literally read at least two fiction novels a day.  Then, one day, I read James Agee’s “Knoxville:  Summer 1915” as a school reading assignment.  I read those few brief pages over a hundred times.  I can’t recall if I was able to go to sleep that night.  Of the millions of words that already passed my eyes, this was something I never thought could be done.  Then, after more and more contemporary fiction, I finally read a few successive novels where a little voice inside my head said “You can write better than this guy.”  And so, I wrote a novella called “The Weeping Stone”.  It was over ambitious and much of the writing was horrible but as with the first one, I keep the original around when I need a good laugh and perspective of where this started.

Do you have a specific writing style? Writing manifests in fragmented scenes like puzzle pieces with edges that never seem to fit together.  In fact, the end picture usually won’t even end up like the box cover.  There are times when certain clarities roll across my thoughts and slow down long enough to record.  One of The Gilded Prospect’s first scenes actually appears half way through the novel with a main character wandering along a hillside and ended up with Charlie and George trying to find Uncle Tyler’s cabin.  If any serious author tells you that they can write a story from beginning to end with the final words you read before your eyes, they are lying.  This is a complicated, self-doubting craft.  If you offer even an honest surface scratch about what you do, you labor over every paragraph, word choice, and punctuation mark.  Even after exhaustion and a belief that you’ve done your best, you soon realize that it is not done.  That’s what keeps you writing. 

How did you come up with the title? The first title was The Golden Road.  Then, the word “gold” was too obvious.  The word “road” came from a personal belief that some of the best stories involve a journey, whether physical or spiritual (i.e., Huckleberry Finn, Heart of Darkness, On The Road).  I sent a list of ten alternative titles to my managing editor and we finally concluded contentment with the current title.  “Gilded” is an antiquated term and suggests a superficial sense of value – the closest possible metaphor of the novel’s central theme.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I’ve always believed that writing should mean as many different things to as many different people as possible.  To some, the story is nothing more than a superficial action and adventure story of two individuals on a quest.  To others, it is a study in relationships between a father and son and a father and daughter.  To even more, it is an allegorical allusion between man and God with a foothold in the Book of Job.  Throughout the story, I use foils to contrast each relationship.  For example, the marriage between Charlie and Karen contrasts with the loneliness George experiences at the beginning of the story.  The closeness of Leaf and his father Creektoe juxtaposes what Charlie hoped the relationship between him and his father should have always been.  Then, after a time of adversity and reflection, Charlie recognizes his own inanity after witnessing Bill Stanton’s relationship with his children.  The story touches on multiple themes of forgiveness, sacrifice, faith, insecurity, and pursuit of a goal – many of the human frailties touching our lives on a daily basis.  These themes outline an epic struggle we all experience in questioning God’s Plan for our lives.  After analysis is complete, we don’t have control, we’ve never had control, nor will we ever have control.

How much of the book is realistic? Every word is realistic.  The specific events may or may have not actually occurred but that isn’t important.  What is important is that they are occurring in the mind of the reader enjoying the novel and how the events relate to their own lives.  As I mentioned, most of the stories I have always enjoyed involve a journey.  Life is dynamic.  A state of constant learning is the difference between living and existing.  Maybe it’s some sort of subconscious connection to the constant travel during my youth.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? I thank God for the blessings He has and continues giving this life.  I am also grateful that I have never experienced the traumas confronted by the characters in this story.

What books have most influenced your life most? The Classics mostly with a few scatterings of 20th century novels.  Keep in mind; I am a child of the 70s.  While literature has always played a critical role, I can’t discount television influencing a creative effect on the story telling process.  Early family series like “Little House on The Prairie” and “The Waltons” possessed a unique innocence almost vanished from the medium today.  I will always believe that a good moral story with a spiritually reaffirming conclusion will never go out of style.  Maybe it’s the same reason why we still love “A Christmas Carol” or “The Wizard of Oz”.  There’s a part of every man or woman who never wants to forget that a fragment of childhood virtue remains no matter the physical age, knowledge, or wealth amassed over a lifetime.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? A conglomeration of Hemingway, Agee, Faulkner, and Thoreau offer their own particular influences in terms of style and characterization.  However, this response does injustice to so many more too numerous to list.

What book are you reading now? I just finished My Life with Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz and M. Thomas Inge.  Prior to that was John Hart’s Down River and Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Michael Modzelweski’s Inside Passage is a wonderful account of his interface and experience with the Alaskan wilderness and individual self-reliance.  While he isn’t a new author, his writing style and grasp of the natural world’s gifts transcend most other authors in the same subject.  He is the John Muir of our times.  Michael performs a parallel result in words as Ansel Adams did in photographs. I have also enjoyed John Hart’s recent works as well as David Wroblewski’s The Tale of Edgar Sawtelle.  Deen Koontz’s Odd Thomas series has provided significant lessons of writing in the first person.  His blend of metered humor and humility force the reader forward.

What are your current projects? Some have already suggested that I should start working on a sequel to The Gilded Prospect.  A few ideas are already swirling.  In addition, I may start some significant revisions to the other three manuscripts I have already completed.

Name someone who you feel supported you outside of family members. Michael Modzelewski’s Inside Passage is a lesson too often untold of his interface and experience with the Alaskan wilderness. He doesn’t so much as want to get away from a society as much as wanting to get closer to the natural wilderness. The sublime Alaskan salmon brimming brooks, shifting colored leaves in watermelon reds and gold dusted yellows, and the crisp gasp of a first Arctic breath are all gifts of a land that is in love with us although our preoccupations obscure the gratitude. Michael has penetrated and shattered that ingratitude for all who choose to listen and learn. For those of you who enjoy the solitude of nature that comes with hiking, camping, or hunting, then you already understand. There is a unique, self-affirming quality that can only be evoked in an environment where the basics of being alive are broken down to their most fundamental elements. An individual must take full control and personal responsibility for survival and sustainability without the assistance of technology.  Several years ago, my brother and sister-in-law took an Alaskan cruise up the Inside Passage where Mike Modzelewski was autographing copies of his first novel Inside Passage.  They had a copy signed for me.  After learning of The Gilded Prospect’s publication, I sent an e-mail informing Michael that I would return the favor.  He actually answered himself.  I was quite amazed since this industry tends to be very competitive and self-centered.  From the original cover concept, through publishing status (it’s a long development), we continued exchanging e-mails and he offered encouragement throughout the entire process.  I cannot state enough of my respect for him not only as an author, but also as a human being.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? It’s a fine line – no artist ever feels that a work is done or completely states everything intended to express.  There must be a final conscious decision of no more.  I tell myself the next project will be even better.  If I felt that The Gilded Project was the perfect expression of everything I ever wanted to say, then I would have no reason to ever write again.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?If your imagination is profound enough and an abundant life already lived, you should have sufficient resources from where to draw.

Who designed the covers? I came up with the silhouette against the Alaskan mountain scape concept last spring while Donna, the kids, and I were vacationing up in Tennessee.  I did a rough concept sketch and sent it to my editor.   Atalie chose one of their artists, Nathan Morgan, to team up on the effort.  We exchanged a few ideas, I illustrated the silhouettes on the front cover, and he translated it using graphic editing software.  In addition, I wanted the sun rise to be positioned at the Golden Ratio with a hint of the aurora borealis wrapping from the back cover.  I wanted the presence of my own dad somewhere in the novel so I used one of his mountain scape photographs he took in the Kenai range, illustrated Uncle Tyler’s log cabin, and graphically manipulated it in front of a pencil converted photograph.  This is the illustration after the interior title page.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?I am husband to a better wife that I could have ever expected or even deserve, a father of three unbelievably perfect children, and a working professional.  Writing typically only occurs late at night after everyone goes to bed.  Something my dad instilled in my brother and I at the earliest ages and hope I never forget is staying faithful to your priorities.  My entire life is framed in God first, family second, work third, then writing, then various hobbies, and everything beneath that is a constant shifting swirl of minutiae.

Did you learn anything from writing your book? God has His plan for everyone’s life even though we may not be able to see it while occurring.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Writing is one of the most difficult challenges you will ever accept upon yourself.  It is as difficult as any physically demanding effort or seemingly ungraspable concept.  But, the euphoria of writing down and expressing your exact feelings, and seeing that same excitement in the realization of others reading your words, is an unmatched experience.  If you can’t handle rejection and criticism, this may not be your best choice of direction.  But, if your passion is profound enough, your belief in yourself and the importance of your voice that dramatic, then there is nothing more I can offer than the confidence in your own inherent spirit to write.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?     Enjoy The Gilded Prospect

Source.

My Review:

Charlie has lost his job, his daughter was hospitalized and the bills were piling up.  Charlie was losing his faith in God, since he couldn’t believe a God would allow this to happen.  After Charlie Sutcliffe’s grandfather’s funeral, Charlie’s wife, Karen, found an old journal of his great-great-grandfather, Absalom Sutcliffe, written about the Alaskan Gold Rush,  and detailing his hidden gold and thus a possible answer to prayer.

Charlie and his friend, George, decided to go to Alaska together and find the gold.  While they regrouped their plans, Charlie’s estranged father came by the house and stole some of the last pages from the journal.  But Charlie figured they knew the way well enough, and took a fishing ship up to Alaska.

Their adventures on the Triton Majestic, a 130 foot Eastern Rig Scaloper converted to a long line hauler, made for an interesting read, especially with all the ‘unique’ characters aboard ship.  Upon finding someone overheard their conversation and ransacked their bunks, they sneaked off ship in Juneau.  From there they had an unusual ride to Skagway that chills me to the bone just reading about it!

Upon reaching Uncle Tyler’s place, we are privy to the pristine, yet dangerous areas of Alaska that would hopefully take them to the gold.  We meet Creektoe and his family, whose son, Leaf, takes them to the area where the gold was allegedly stored.  The dangers of rain followed by snowstorms, wild animals, earthquakes, an estranged father, and sickness pique your interest through the balance of the book.

Once I got past the first two chapters, I was thoroughly entrenched in this adventuresome book.  For some reason, the story just didn’t connect very well for me in those two chapters.  But I did find it to be one great adventure book across the snowy plains and mountains of Alaska.  I found it entertaining and informative.  It’s not just a story of adventure, though, as it has a message of forgiveness and reconciliation and trust in God.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.

An Open Letter to Post-Abortive Women

Exclusive: Matt Barber gives hope of redemption to those who ‘chose’ death

Reposted from Friday, December 7th, 2012, by  Matt Barber.     Credit Source:  here.

I write these words chiefly to women and girls who have had an abortion. Still, it is my humble hope and honest prayer that anyone weighing this life-versus-death choice might also read them with an open mind and a hearing heart.

I share these truths in love. Some of you already know them. Others deny them.

Yet truths they remain.

It is through obedience to Christ and in the authority of His Spirit that I write you this letter. It may be difficult to read, but I pray you will read it.

First, let us dispense with the oft-asserted notion that, lest one is a woman – more particularly, lest one has faced an unwanted pregnancy – one has nothing to say about abortion.

Abortion profoundly impacts us all. When you became pregnant, the child growing within you was, without exception, one of two sexes – male or female. Abortion affects men, women, boys and girls of every race, color and creed.

Before we were born we all, to varying degrees, lived under some threat that “choice” might kill us.

Aren’t you glad your mother chose not to kill you?

I am.

Know this about your choice: Yes, you are still a mother. Yes, you have killed your child. And yes, there is forgiveness, love, redemption and healing available through Christ Jesus alone.

These are hard truths.

Your inner voice was right. You have indeed committed a sin most grave. Those “pro-choice” flowers you were sold, though alluring, were, as you suspected, too good to be true.

Instead, you purchased a bouquet of lies awash in the foul stench of death. You were told that for a few hundred dollars you could buy freedom, only to be bound by a horrible thing that, in this life, cannot be undone.

But with eternal life, it can be undone.

Your blood-covered hands can be washed clean by the blood-covered hands of Christ the Savior.

You need only ask, receive and believe.

Abortion kills God’s children and hurts women and men alike. Your child has an earthly father, too, regardless of whether he took responsibility.

Abortion makes men fathers of dead sons and daughters.

I’m the father of five beautiful children, three of whom are with me and two of whom are in heaven. My wife and I lost our first child together in miscarriage; but long before that, my first child died at the hands of an abortionist.

As a teenager, I was not living as God intends. On a sunny fall day when I was 15 I heard a knock at our Gunnison, Colo., home. With a full house, it was I, by chance (or not), who answered the door.

There stood a girl – we’ll call her Lisa – with tears streaming down her face. I hadn’t seen her for months. She hadn’t been in school. As a volley of muffled cheers came from the living room in celebration of a John Elway touchdown, I opened my mouth to speak.

Lisa interrupted me.

“My mom thought it was right for me to tell you,” she said, “that I had an abortion and the kid was yours.”

Her mom sat in the car behind her glaring at me. I’ll never forget the expression on her face. It was a jarring blend of contempt, anger and pain.

Lisa turned and walked away. I said nothing. I wish I could say I felt shame, but, mostly, I was just relieved that my parents didn’t know.

I never saw Lisa again. She moved away shortly thereafter. It was many years later that God showed me the magnitude of that day. I had sinned against Lisa. I had mistreated one of His precious daughters. From it, a child was conceived, and, due at least in part to my negligence and callous treatment of Lisa, that child died.

A sin that led to a precious life was compounded by sins that led to a tragic death.

I mourn the loss of my first child. I can’t know for sure, but I’ve always envisioned a girl. Today, she’d be about 27. Perhaps I’d be a grandfather by now.

I’ve never been able to find Lisa, but I wish I could. I’d ask her to forgive me for the horrible way I treated her. If she didn’t already know, I’d tell her of Christ’s love for both of us and our child in heaven. I’d tell her that forgiveness, redemption and salvation are available to all who ask and believe upon Jesus.

Please know that I don’t write this letter to hurt you.

Know that I don’t judge you. How could I?

I hurt with you.

The enemy of the world is a liar. He is wicked beyond comprehension. You were lied to. Satan loves death. In the context of abortion, he deceptively calls it “choice.”

But it’s only death.

There is no freedom in death, except for those whose names are written in the Book of Life.

God is good beyond comprehension. He wants to write your name in the book of life.

Jesus promised: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Of both you and your lost child God says this: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. …” (Jeremiah 1:5)

Come to Jesus and He will comfort you. Come to Jesus and He will forgive you. Come to Jesus and He will use for good that which was intended for evil.

Even your abortion.

Come to know Christ, and one day, in that place where sin is dead and life eternal, the baby you never knew – that child who knows you, loves you and has already forgiven you – will rush to your arms and say to you: “Mommy, I’ve been waiting for you. Welcome home.”

One Desert Rose:  I reposted this to let men and women to know there is redemption and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.  There is no condemnation.  Come and find peace if this refers to you or give it to someone you know who is in this position.

“Sofia’s Secret” by Sharlene MacLaren (A FIRST Blog Tour)

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
and the book:
Whitaker House (October 1, 2012)
***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in western Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. After graduating, she traveled, then married one of her childhood friends, and together they raised two daughters. Now happily retired after teaching elementary school for over 30 years, “Shar” enjoys reading, singing in the church choir, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren—and, of course, writing. Her novels include Through Every Storm, Long Journey Home; the Little Hickman Creek series, the acclaimed historical trilogy, The Daughters of Jacob Kane, and the first two books in her latest series, River of Hope: Livvie’s Song and Ellie’s Haven.
Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The River of Hope Series, set in the 1920’s, continues with the story of Sofia Rogers who is pregnant, unmarried, and guarding a secret. Nobody in Wabash, Indiana seems to know her real story and Sofia isn’t about to share it. She’d rather bear the shame than face the threat of consequences. When Eli Trent, the new doctor in town, gets involved, trouble escalates in the form of thievery, arson, and death threats. Nevertheless, Eli remains determined to break down the wall of silence behind which Sofia hides her secret. He is out to convince her she is not alone and to help her come to the realization that trusting him—and God—is the only thing that makes sense.

Sofia’s Secret/List Price: $10.99/Paperback: 432 pages/Publisher: Whitaker House (October 1, 2012)/Language: English/ISBN-10: 160374214X/ISBN-13: 978-1603742146

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
—Psalm 51:17
June 1930
Wabash, Indiana
The blazing sun ducked behind a cloud, granting a smidgeon of relief to Sofia Rogers as she compressed the pedal to stop her bike in front of Murphy’s Market and, in a most inelegant manner, slid off the seat, taking care not to catch the hem of her loose-fitting dress in the bicycle chain. She scanned the street in both directions, hoping not to run into anyone she knew, then parked the rusting yellow bike next to a Ford truck. These days, she dreaded coming into town, but she couldn’t very well put off the chore much longer if she wanted to keep food on the table.
Her younger brother, Andy, had won the race to their destination. His equally corroded bike leaned against the building, and he stood next to it, his arms crossed, a burlap sack slung across one shoulder. As she approached, a smug grin etched his freckled face. “Didn’t I t-tell you I’d b-beat you?”
“That’s because you had a full minute head start on me, you rascal.” Sofie might have added that her present condition did not permit the speed and agility she’d once had, but she wasn’t about to make that excuse. “Just you wait. I’ll win on the way back home.”
“N-not if I can help it.”
She pressed the back of her hand to her hot, damp face and stepped up to the sidewalk. “We’ll see about that, Mr. Know-It-All.”
Andy pointed at her and laughed. “Now your face is all d-dirty.”
She looked at her hands, still soiled from working in the garden that morning, and frowned. “I guess I should have lathered them a little better when I washed up.” She bent over and used the hem of her skirt to wipe her cheek before straightening. “There. Is that better?”
He tilted his face and angled her a crooked grin. “Sort of.”
“Oh, who cares?” She tousled his rust-colored hair. “Come on, let’s get started checking those items off my shopping list.”
They headed for the door, but a screeching horn drew their attention to the street, where a battered jalopy slowed at the curb. Several teenage boys, their heads poking out through the windows, whistled and hollered. “Hey, sister! Hear you like to have a good time!”
At their crudeness, Sofie felt a suffocating pressure in her chest. With a hand on her brother’s shoulder, she watched the car round the bend, as the boys’ whoops faded into the distance.
“Who were those guys?”
“Nobody important.”
As if the baby inside her fully agreed, she got a strong push to the rib cage that jarred her and made her stumble.
“You alright?” Andy grabbed her elbow, looking mature beyond his eleven years.
She paused to take a deep breath and then let it out slowly, touching a hand to her abdomen. Even in her seventh month, she could scarcely fathom carrying a tiny human in her womb, let alone accept all of the kicks and punches he or she had started doling out on a daily basis. She’d read several books to know what to expect as she progressed, but none of them had come close to explaining why she already felt so deeply in love with the tiny life inside of her. Considering that she hadn’t consented to the act committed against her, she should have resented the little life, but how could she hold an innocent baby accountable? “I’m fine,” she finally assured her brother. “Let’s go inside, shall we?”
Inside Murphy’s Market, a few people ambled up and down the two narrow aisles, toting cloth bags or shopping baskets. Sofie kept her left hand out of view as much as possible, in hopes of avoiding the condemnation of anyone who noticed the absence of a wedding band on her left ring finger. Not that she particularly cared what other folks thought, but she’d grown weary of the condescending stares. Several women had tried to talk her into giving the infant up for adoption, including Margie Grant, an old friend who had served as a mother figure to her and Andy ever since their parents had perished in a train wreck in 1924. “The little one growing inside you is the result of an insidious attack, darling. I shouldn’t think you’d want much to do with it once it’s born,” Margie had said. “I happen to know more than a few childless couples right here in Wabash who would be thrilled to take it off your hands. You should really consider adoption.”
Because Margie had long been a loyal friend, Sofie had confided in her about the assault, including when and where it had occurred. As for going to the authorities and demanding an investigation—never! Margie had begged her to go straight to Sheriff Morris, but she had refused, and then had made Margie swear on the Bible not to go herself.
“That is a hard promise to make, dearest,” Margie had conceded with wrinkled brow, “but I will promise to keep my lips buttoned. As for adoption, if you gave the baby to a nice couple in town, you would have the opportunity to watch it grow up. That would bring you comfort, I should think, especially if you selected a well-deserving Christian couple.”
“I can’t imagine giving my baby away to someone in my hometown, Christian or not.”
“Well then, we’ll go to one of the neighboring towns,” the woman had persisted. “Think about it, sweetheart. You don’t have the means to raise a child. Why, you and Andy are barely making ends meet as it is. Who’s going to take care of it while you’re at work?”
“I can’t think about that right now, Margie. And, please, don’t refer to my child as an ‘it.’”
The woman’s face had softened then, and she’d enfolded Sofie in her arms. “Well, of course, I know your baby’s not an ‘it,’ honey. But, until he or she is born, I have no notion what to call it—I mean, him or her.”
“‘The baby’ will do fine.”
Margie had given her a little squeeze, then dropped her hands to her sides and shot her a pleading gaze. “I sure wish you’d tell me who did this to you. It’s a crime, you know, what he did.”
Yes, it had been a crime—the most reprehensible sort. And it was both a blessing and a curse that Sofie couldn’t remember the details. The last thing she could remember was drinking her habitual cup of coffee at Spic-and-Span Cleaning Service before starting her evening rounds. She’d thought it tasted unusually bitter, but she’d shrugged it off at the time. Half an hour later—at the site of her job that night, at the law offices of Baker & Baker—she’d been overcome by dizziness and collapsed. She’d teetered in and out of consciousness, with only a vague notion of what was going on. When she’d awakened, it had been daylight, and she was sore all over. Fortunately, it had been a Saturday, and the offices were closed; no one had discovered her lying there, nauseous and trembling, her dress torn, her hair disheveled. A particular ache had given her a clue as to what had gone on while she’d been unconscious. As the sickening reality had set in, she’d found beside her the note that had haunted her ever since.
Breathe one word about this and you can say bye-bye to your brother.
It had been typed on the official letterhead of the sheriff’s office, making her even less inclined to go to the authorities. Whoever had assaulted her had connections to the law, and she wasn’t about to risk her brother’s life to find out his identity. Plus, without a name, and with no visual or auditory recollection, she had nothing to offer that would aid an investigation.
By the time she realized she’d gotten pregnant, two months had passed—too late to go crying to the authorities. Not that she’d planned to. Her attacker’s threat had been enough to keep her quiet. She could bear the scorn and the shame, as long as he left her alone. And the only way of ensuring that was to comply with his demands. No, she couldn’t say anything more about it to Margie.
“Margie, we’ve been over this. It’s better left unsaid, believe me.”
“But, don’t you know people are going to talk? Who knows what they’ll think or say when you start to show? If they learned the truth, perhaps they’d go a little easier on you.”
“No! I can’t. No one must know—not even you. I’m sorry, Margie.”
Margie had rubbed the back of her neck as if trying to work out a kink. A loud breath had blown past her lips and whistled across Sofie’s cheek. “You know I love you, and so I will honor your wishes…for now.” Then, her index finger had shot up in the air, nearly poking Sofie in the nose. “But if he so much as comes within an inch of you again, I want you to tell me right away, you hear? I can’t abide thinking that he’ll come knocking at your door. You must promise me, Sofia Mae Rogers!”
Sofie had hidden the shiver that had rustled through her veins at the mere thought of crossing paths with her attacker again. Why, every time she went to work, she couldn’t get the awful pounding in her chest to slow its pace until she was home again. She’d stopped drinking and eating at work—anywhere other than at home, really.
“Show me your list, Sofie.” Andy’s voice drew her out of her fretful thoughts. She reached inside her pocket and handed over the paper. When he set off down an aisle, she idly followed after, her mind drifting back into its musings.
***
Dr. Elijah Trent parked his grandfather’s 1928 Ford Model A in the lot beside Murphy’s Market. As he climbed out, he was careful not to allow his door to collide with a bicycle standing nearby. Another battered bike leaned against the building. It looked as if it could use some serious repair work. He closed his door and took a deep breath of hot June air, then cast a glance overhead at the row of birds roosting on a clothesline that stretched between two apartment buildings across the street.
When he pulled open the whiny screen door, an array of aromas teased his nostrils, from freshly ground coffee beans to roasted peanuts in a barrel. As he stepped inside, a floorboard shrieked beneath his feet, as if to substantiate its long-term use.
“Afternoon,” said the shopkeeper, who glanced up from the cash register, where he stood, ringing up an order for a young pregnant woman. Beside her, a boy dutifully stuffed each item into a cloth bag. The young woman raised her head and glanced briefly at Eli, who sensed a certain tenseness in her chestnut-colored eyes. Then, she shifted her gaze back to the clerk.
“Say, ain’t you Doc Trent’s grandson?” the man asked.
“That I am, sir. Elijah Trent. But most people call me Eli.”
The clerk stopped ringing items for a moment and gave him an up-and-down glance. “Heard you’re takin’ over the old fellow’s practice. That’s mighty fine o’ you. I understand you graduated with honors from the University of Michigan, an’ you worked at a Detroit hospital for two years, but you were itchin’ for small-town livin’. Timing’s good, since Doc’s retirin’. S’pose you two been plannin’ this for quite a while now, eh? Hate to see Wilson Trent retire, but most folks seem to think it’ll be good to get in some new blood. Get it? Blood?” He gave a hearty chortle, causing his rotund chest to jiggle up and down.
Eli smiled at the friendly man. “It sounds like Grandfather’s been keeping everyone well-informed.”
“He sure has. Plus, the Plain Dealer wrote up that article ’bout you.”
“Yes, I heard that.”
The woman shifted her narrow frame and fingered one of her short, brown curls, but she kept her eyes focused on the counter. Beside her, the freckle-faced youngster poked his head around the back of her and met Elijah’s gaze. They stared at each other for all of three seconds, but when Eli smiled, the boy quickly looked forward again.
As the clerk resumed ringing up their order, Eli reached inside his hip pocket and grabbed the short list his grandfather had scrawled in his somewhat shaky handwriting. In Detroit, he’d taken most of his meals at the hospital. Helping his grandfather in the kitchen would be an entirely new experience. At least it would be only temporary, until Grandfather’s housekeeper of twenty-odd years, Winifred Carmichael, returned from her two-week vacation out West.
“You lookin’ for anythin’ in particular?” the clerk asked.
“Nothing I can’t find on my own, sir.”
“Pick up one o’ them baskets by the door for stashin’ what you need. Name’s Harold, by the way. Harold Murphy. I’ve owned this place goin’ on thirty years now.”
Eli bent to pick up a basket. He hadn’t thought to bring along a sack in which to carry the items home. The store he had occasioned in Detroit had offered brown paper bags, but the trend didn’t seem to have caught on in Wabash just yet. “Yes, I recall coming here with my grandmother as a kid.”
“And I remember you, as well, with that sandy hair o’ yours and that there dimple in your chin.”
“Is that so? You have a good memory, Mr. Murphy.”
A pleased expression settled on the clerk’s face. “You used to ogle my candy jars and tug at your grandmother’s arm. ’Course, she’d always give in. She couldn’t resist your pleadin’. Seems to me you always managed to wrangle some chewin’ gum out o’ her before I finished ringin’ her order.”
“It’s amazing you remember that.”
“Well, some things just stick in my memory for no particular reason.” He glanced across the counter at the freckle-faced boy. “Young Andy, here, he’s the Hershey’s chocolate bar type. Ain’t that right, Andy?”
The lad’s head jerked up, and he looked from Mr. Murphy to the woman beside him. “Yes, sir. C-c-can I g-get one today, Sofie?”
Her slender shoulders lifted and drooped with a labored sigh. “I suppose, but don’t expect any other treats today.”
“I won’t.”
The brief tête-à-tête allowed Eli the chance to disappear down an aisle in search of the first item on his list: sugar. He found it about the same time the screen door whined open once more, with the exit of the young woman and the boy. Next, Eli spotted the bread at the end of the aisle. He picked up a loaf and nestled it in the basket, next to the box of sugar.
“Well, I think it’s plain disgraceful, her coming into town and flaunting herself like that. My stars, has she not an ounce of decency? And what, pray tell, is she teaching that brother of hers by not keeping herself concealed?”
“I must agree, it’s quite appalling,” said another.
Eli’s ears perked up at the sound of female scoffs coming from the other side of the shelving unit at the back of the store. He stilled, slanted his head, and leaned forward. If he could push a few cans and boxed goods to the side without creating a commotion, he might manage a partial view of the gossips.
“I always did wonder about her and that pitiable little brother of hers, living all alone on the far edge of town. No telling what sort of man put her in a motherly way. Why, if I were in her place, I’d have gone off to stay with some relative in another state. One would think she’d have somewhere she could go. She could have birthed the child, given it to some worthy family, and come back to Wabash, and no one would’ve been the wiser.”
The other gossip cleared her throat. “Perchance her ‘lover’ won’t hear of her leaving, and she doesn’t dare defy him. She always did come off as rather defenseless, wouldn’t you say?”
“Yes, yes, and very reclusive. Never was one to join any charity groups or ladies’ circles. Why, she doesn’t even attend church, to my knowledge. As I said before, the whole thing is disgraceful.”
Eli shuffled around the corner and stopped at the end of the next row, where he picked up a couple of cans of beans, even though they weren’t on Grandfather’s list, and dropped them into his basket with a clatter. The chattering twosome immediately fell silent. Eli cast a casual glance in their direction, and he almost laughed at their poses of feigned nonchalance. One was studying the label on a box, while the other merely stared at a lower shelf, her index finger pressed to her chin.
When Eli started down the aisle, both of them looked up, so he nodded. “Afternoon, ladies.”
The more buxom of the two batted her eyelashes and plumped her graying hair, then nearly blinded him with a fulsome smile. “Well, good afternoon to you.” She put a hand to her throat. “My goodness. You’re Doc Trent’s grandson?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Well, I’ll be. I overheard you talking with Harold, but I didn’t lay eyes on you until now.” She perused him up and down. “You sure are a handsome devil.”
“Oh, for mercy’s sake, Bessie, mind your manners.” The second woman bore a blush of embarrassment. “Don’t pay her any heed, Doctor. She’s such a tease.” She extended a hand. “I’m Clara Morris, the sheriff’s wife, and this is Bessie Lloyd. Her husband owns Lloyd’s Shoe Store, over on Market Street. Welcome to Wabash, Dr. Trent. We read about your impending arrival in the newspaper. I hope you find yourself feeling right at home here.”
“I’m sure I will.” Eli shifted his shopping basket and extended a hand first to Mrs. Morris, then to the annoying Mrs. Lloyd. He would have liked to remind them that two upstanding women in the community ought to put a lock on their lips, lest they tarnish their own reputations, but he hadn’t come to Wabash with the intention of making instant enemies, so he restrained himself. “Nice meeting you ladies. You have a good day, now.”
He glanced to his left and, seeing a shelf with maple syrup, snatched a can and tossed it into his basket. Casting the women one last smile, he headed down the aisle in search of the remaining items.
“My, my,” he heard Mrs. Lloyd mutter. “I think it may be time for me to switch physicians.”
“But you’ve been seeing Dr. Stewart for years,” Mrs. Morris said. “What about your bad knee?”
“Pfff, never mind that. I’d much rather look into that young man’s blue eyes and handsome face than Dr. Stewart’s haggard mug. Why, if I were younger….”
Eli picked up his pace and made it out of earshot before she finished her statement.
Several minutes later, he’d rounded up everything on his list, so he made his way to the cash register. As he did, the voices of the two gabby women carried across the store. Evidently, they’d found a new topic of conversation. “I went to McNarney Brothers yesterday,” Mrs. Lloyd was saying, “and would you believe they raised the price of beef by five cents a pound? Don’t they know times are tight? Before you know it, folks won’t be able to afford to eat.”
“She could afford to go a few days without eatin’,” Harold Murphy muttered. His eyes never strayed from his task, as he keyed in the amount of each item before placing it back in the basket.
Eli covered his mouth with the back of his hand until his grin faded. He decided it was best to keep quiet on the matter. Something else bothered him, though, and he couldn’t resist inquiring. He leaned in, taking care to keep his voice down. “That girl…er, that woman, who left a bit ago, who is expecting….”
“Ah, Sofia Rogers? She was here with her little brother, Andy.” Mr. Murphy rang up the final item, the loaf of bread, and placed it gently atop the other goods. Then, he scratched the back of his head as his thin lips formed a frown. “It’s a shame, them two…well, them three, I guess you could say.” He glanced both ways, then lowered his head and whispered, “Don’t know who got her in that way, and I don’t rightly care. When she comes here, I just talk to her like nothin’s different. Figure it ain’t really my concern. I know there’s been talk about her bein’ loose, an’ all, but I can’t accept it. Never seen her with anybody but that little boy. She takes mighty fine care o’ him, too.”
“She’s his guardian, then?”
“Sure enough, ever since…oh, let’s see here…summer of twenty-four, it was. They lost their ma and pa in a terrible train wreck. They’d left Andy home with Sofie for a few days, whilst they went to a family funeral somewhere out West, little knowing their own funeral would be three days later.” The man shook his balding head.
The news got Eli’s gut to roiling. Even after all those years of medical school, which should have calloused him to pain and suffering, his heartstrings were wound as taut as ever. He needed to learn to toughen up. Needed to accept that, thanks to Adam and Eve’s fateful decision in the garden, bad things happened to innocent people; that he lived in an imperfect world in which evil often won.
“Where do they live, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Somewheres out on the southwest edge o’ town. River Road, I believe, just off o’ Mill Creek Pike.”
Eli didn’t know Wabash well, but his grandfather certainly did, having driven virtually every street within the town limits to make house calls. But what was he thinking? He ought to bop himself on the noggin. He knew next to nothing about this woman, and the last thing he needed upon taking over Wilson Trent’s medical practice was a reputation for sticking his nose where it didn’t belong.
Eli paid the shopkeeper and took up the basket. He had a good feeling about Harold Murphy. “Nice to see you again, sir. I’ll bring this basket back next time I come in…or shall I return it to you tonight?”
Harold flicked his wrist. “Naw, you bring it back whenever it’s convenient. You give ol’ Doc a hearty hello from me.”
“I’ll do that.” Eli turned and proceeded to the door, shoving it open with his shoulder. The first thing he noticed when he stepped outside was the absence of the two bikes, and it occurred to him then that Sofia and Andy Rogers had ridden to and from Murphy’s Market on those rickety contraptions. A woman in what looked to be her seventh month of pregnancy, riding a bike clear to the edge of town? In a dress? And in this heat?
This time, he did bop himself on the head.

My Review:

Set back in the 1930s, Sharlene MacLaren, in her book, Sofia’s Secret, does a thorough job of describing how church women’s gossip flew about regarding Sofia’s lifestyle, her unmarried pregnancy, and her lack of scruples.  Whispers and stares abounded instead of willingness to help her out.  Unable to defend her predicament and her unwillingness to assist in an investigation due to secret threats to her and her brother’s lives, no one except for a couple of people were willing to help her out.

Sofia’s pride in her independence since her parents died didn’t help her situation either.  She was unwilling to ask for help.  But that changed with the arrival of Dr. Elijah Trent, who secretly admired her the minute he saw her.  Through Eli’s tentative romance and willingness to get involved with Sofia and Andy, some of the secrets began to unravel, as he was never one to mind his own business.  But as the secrets leaked, however, the threats increased.

Sharlene’s book is full of suspense, danger, bitterness, judging, forgiveness, love and faith.  What stood out the most for me were the harsh judgments by the church women and their lack of compassion. I realize it’s a different era, but I was grieved at the gossip and whispers.  Though they did not understand the circumstances behind Sofia’s pregnancy, she and the baby still needed their support and help.

The plots within Sharlene’s book were well put together, along with the suspense and threats.  The characters fit the storyline.  One could easily relate to Sofia’s predicament, Andy’s dependence on Sofia, Eli’s enchantment with her, and even the dastardly perpetrator.  Resentment and bitterness reap a bounty of evil behaviors, causing trouble, with many being defiled. But forgiveness, though there is no repenting, brings life to those who have been injured.

This is a good story to learn how to rein in our judgments, along with watchfulness so that bitterness does not spring forth in our own lives.

This book was provided by Cathy Hickling in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.

My Review: “No Safe Harbor” by Elizabeth Ludwig | Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Party {10/30}

From Political Unrest in Ireland to New York City, 1897

She came to America searching for her brother. Instead all she’s found is a web of danger.

Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead. Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desperate to find him. Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend–Rourke Walsh. Despite her brother’s warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York.

She’s then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats, and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge. Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother–but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps.

With her faith in tatters, all hope flees. Will her brother finally surface? Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke… a man she’s grown to love?

Purchase a copy here.

Read an excerpt here.

Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author and an accomplished speaker and teacher. Her historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned four stars from Romantic Times.

She is the owner and editor of the popular literary blog The Borrowed Book.

Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in Orange, Texas.

Learn more at www.elizabethludwig.com.

Welcome to the campaign for Elizabeth Ludwig’s,No Safe Harbor’!

Elizabeth’s latest release is already receiving praise, “Texas-based Christian-fiction-author Ludwig keeps readers on the edge of their seats in this suspenseful romance.” (Booklist) Elizabeth is celebrating her new book with a Kindle Fire Giveaway and connecting with readers at a Facebook Author Chat party on 10/30.

My Review:

What a power-packed historical fiction of Ireland and NYC in 1897!  Political unrest, murder, and revenge transport the Turner family from Northern Ireland to America to order to find the snitch/alleged murderer of their father and a husband.

Elizabeth Ludwig’s book, No Safe Harbor, is an intriguing story of inconsolable revenge festering from the shores of Ireland to the shores of America to find Eoghan Hamilton.  The author keeps us hoping that Cara Hamilton finds her brother before he is compromised and killed.  She’d been warned by her brother not to trust anyone in America, yet she falls for Rourke Walsh and puts her trust in him.

Little does Cara know that Rourke wants her brother dead also to avenge his father’s death.  His conniving ways puts him in a bad light for me most of the time, yet there’s a hint of his faith that keeps him cautious.  He’s secretive and lies to Cara to get his hands on her brother, and Cara does likewise to protect her brother.  Thus the dilemma that runs throughout the storyline. Both feel betrayed by the other. Yet their attraction is very palpable.

Elizabeth does an excellent job of twisting the plots almost page by page to keep your head spinning.  One page you’re ready to trust Rourke, and the next you can’t.  Little do Cara and Rourke know there were more sinister activities going on outside the rim of their romantic yearnings.

Elizabeth’s use of metaphors makes for vivid, picturesque descriptions that fit the scenarios to a ‘T.’ The Irish brogue adds to the realistic storyline, as well as the in-depth descriptions and inner thoughts of the characters.  Without the luxury of electricity, walking at night was dangerous, even deadly. Add the explosive intermingling of the women at the boardinghouse at times, especially between Cara and Deidre, and the story is ripe for suspense and intrigue. We aren’t privy to the reason until close to the end of the story.

It’s a story that demonstrates the ravages of man’s vengeance instead of forgiving and leaving vengeance to the Lord, and the host of other maladies that afflict man when politics tears Ireland apart and the skirmishes are brought to America.  One realizes that life in a new country may not be any different if they don’t resolve the issues that caused them to leave the first country.

This book was provided free by Amy Lathrop and Christen Krumm of the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.

“Cradle My Heart” by Kim Ketola (Litfuse Blog Tour with Review)

Finding God’s LOVE After You’ve Had an Abortion

About the Book: 

Abortion continues to be a hot topic in politics, women’s rights, and medical practice. But for the eight to ten million American Christian women who have had one, abortion is a spiritual issue as well, raising questions of life and death, heaven and hell, grief and loss.

Writing from her own experience, Kim Ketola sheds light on one of the darkest and most neglected personal issues of our time: the widespread need for healing and spiritual recovery after abortion. “After abortion brought the worst trouble into my life I had ever known,” writes Ketola, “I just couldn’t see my way free to believe in God’s love.”

With a compassionate heart, Ketola offers ten true stories of healing promise from the Bible to help women answer the most common spiritual torments they face: Is abortion a sin? Does God hate me? Where can I turn in my shame and distress? How could I ever tell anyone the truth? And more.

Inspired by Romans 6:4–“just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life”–this is a definitive resource to help women see themselves and God anew and–finally–to find spiritual healing.

Meet Kim: 

Kim Ketola is a sought-after writer and motivational speaker with the Ruth Graham and Friends conference. After thirty years in the broadcasting industry, she founded a nonprofit organization through which she presents professionally accredited conferences to equip counselors and help individuals recover from the emotional and spiritual wounds of abortion. Kim lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Visit her website: www.cradlemyheart.org

In coordination with the launch of their fall releases, Kregel will be hosting a live webcast event on September 20 at 8 PM EDT featuring authors Kim Ketola (Cradle My Heart), Teske Drake (Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow), and Dawn Scott Jones (When a Woman You Love Was Abused). The webcast will allow women to come together to share their struggles and fears in order to move toward healing and hope. Women will able to support one another and discuss shared experiences in a non-threatening, open and loving environment.

Cat Hoort of Kregel says, “”We are seeking to provide safe means for Christian women to be vulnerable with each other, to seek help and guidance from authors and counselors, and to find encouragement from those who have shared similar experiences. Our hope is that the Women Redeemed webcast will become a forum for hurting women as well as for those who can help. Kim, Teske, and Dawn are all survivors and their stories will surely inspire and equip other women to move toward healing and hope.”

To register for the event, just click here. {https://www.facebook.com/KregelBooks/app_241719209283045}

ENDORSEMENTS:

I want to recommend Cradle My Heart to you. In working with the pro-life movement, I have seen the incredible need for a book such as this one. Kim graciously communicates the love and hope Jesus brings to hearts wounded by abortion. May God continue to bless and lead your ministry, Kim! Rebecca St. James, singer, author, actress

A compelling, powerful, honest account of accepting forgiveness and experiencing the miraculous, healing power of God. A powerful reminder that God wants to redeem pain in our lives and use it for his glory. —Dr. Wess Stafford, president and CEO of Compassion International, and author of Too Small to Ignore and Just a Minute

For the one who’s had an abortion, this book can help them realize that God still loves them and that there’s no sin that’s unforgivable. God’s waiting with open arms. This book is a must read for those who have struggled by the loss of abortion. While the Bible doesn’t specifically speak of abortion, Ketola modernizes biblical stories of hope, healing, and forgiveness in Christ. — Ruth O’Neill, CBA Retailers + Resources

Blog Tour Schedule:
http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13531421/kimketola

My Review:

The angst that follows an abortion is seldom, if ever, addressed at the abortion clinic or in the news.  Though I’ve not had an abortion, I do know women who have, and the guilt and shame are sometimes overwhelming.  Some drown it in work, alcohol, or drugs, while others suffer with depression and/or anxiety.

Kim Ketola, the author of Cradle My Heart, has had an abortion.  She shares her life transparently in hopes of helping other women who’ve had an abortion get the healing she has received.  She acknowledges it isn’t an easy or fast process, but through faith in Jesus Christ, healing can come.  Though abortion is a physical action taken, it affects your spiritual and emotions parts more drastically.  Only God can heal the spiritual aspect.

Cradle My Heart is divided into three parts:

  1. Your Heart:  examination; invitation; open conversation
  2. God’s Heart: demonstration, realization; restoration; jubilation
  3. The Whole Heart:  consolation; dedication; celebration

In her book, Kim will share with you how to:

  1. Face yourself and face God
  2. Repent and accept God’s love
  3. Forgive and be forgiven
  4. Grieve and find an end to sorrow.

I found Kim’s book to be full of love, hope, grace and mercy, all of which stem from God through His Son, Jesus.   You won’t hear condemnation from God.

She gives Timeless Truths that resonate Jesus’ love to and for you.  She also includes a Reflect area where you meditate on Scripture that pertains to the chapter issues she writes about.  The Request section is a personal prayer about learning to trust the Lord and thanking Him for His help.  You can use that specific prayer or use it as a springboard to to pour out your own soul.  It’s a great starting place to check out your own feelings and state your desires to the Lord.  The Respond section shares ideas of how to grow in the Lord, develop relationships, and richly care for yourself as you reflect on God’s love for you despite having an abortion.

To find a place to assist you in healing, she has a list of places to call for free and confidential assistance and referrals.  To find healing and peace, please make a call today if you are grieving the loss of your child(ren).  You are important to God and He wants to see you whole.  My hope, after reading this review, is that you will find the acceptance and forgiveness that you are searching for.  Check out and read Cradle My Heart.

This book was provided free by Amy Lathrop of Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.