Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Get your Books in a Row for the Summer

It’s time once again to prepare for the best and worst of times in the Ouachita region- our blazing summer. If you are fortunate enough to have an escape planned, I am here to recommend a few “must-haves” for your suitcase. If your routine will change very little, here’s hoping this list will help divert your attention from the droning weatherman and his never changing forecast. Turn the TV volume down, the air conditioner up, and have yourself a vacation in the pages of a good book.
My long-time fans know that I love Christian fiction. When I do have time to escape, I love nothing more than a heart-touching story with a happy ending. So if you’re the guns-a- blazing, missile dodging, end of times type . . . well, to each his or her own. Maybe one of these books will catch your eye when you’re ready for a break from all that stress!
First up- a contemporary story from Kim Vogel Sawyer, who also writes very good historical novels. This one, “When Mercy Rains” takes place in a Mennonite community. Similar to the Amish in their love of simplicity and biblical truth, this family has been rocked by an out of wedlock pregnancy and the secrets that have accompanied it for years afterwards. When the young mother and her teenage daughter return to tend to the aging matriarch of the family, they all must come to terms with the truth, and their feelings for each other. An excellent multi-generational read. I have already ordered the sequel- “When Grace Sings.”
The latest story in Rachel Hauck’s series about fictional royalty is “How to Catch a Prince.” Like her others, it deals with the clashing worlds of European royalty and modern-day America. This time, what comes between our star-crossed lovers is a shared burden dealing with war-time tragedy that has altered both of them. There’s a touch of magic that relieves the sadness, and ultimately engineers the happy ending. Oops, Spoiler Alert.
Speaking of series- One of my absolute favorites chronicles the Christiansen family of Minnesota, on the shores of Lake Superior. These contemporary tales draw me in over and over again as we get to know and love each member of the large, active family. If you’re new to Susan May Warren’s world- start with “Take a Chance on Me”. The succeeding books all have song-title names, and the one I finished most recently, “Always on My Mind” was equally satisfying. The heroes and heroines in these books are real people with real flaws. Mistakes they have made in the past can never quite be ignored, as they struggle to find their futures. They draw on the stability of a loving family, and their trust in God to get them to where they are meant to be.
As always- a summer reading list needs a cold weather tale. This time-it’s a collection of stories that take place during the Second World War. Three Christmas Carols popular during that period spark the stories in “Where Treetops Glisten” by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman and Sarah Sundlin. I knew that Tricia, who lives right here in Central Arkansas, was great at writing stories from this time period, but the other two ladies were new to me. A delightful way to experience the romance of the “Greatest Generation” and cool down several degrees at the same time.
Two more Arkansas authors teamed up to produce “Swept Away,” a romance in the Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Fiction. Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven piece together a tale of a couple who seems helpless to counteract the designs of a very determined grandmother. Well crafted, warm and comforting, like every good quilt should be.
Currently, I’m immersed in “To Win Her Favor,” Tamera Alexander’s  latest
Belle Meade plantation novel. Set in post Civil War Tennessee, this story begins where most other romances end, with a wedding. As many unions of the time, love at first sight is not a factor here, but I can’t wait to see how the couple who were brought together by a piece of land learn to love each other as much.
Next up, another Arkansas friend of mine, Shannon Vannatter, has a new Rodeo romance that I can’t wait to read.  “Rodeo Reunion” will come out in June, and I’m sure it will offer another swoon-worthy hero and another pretty Texas cowgirl. Believe it or not, I was mentioned in the dedication of her last one, “Rodeo Family.” Believe me, I would recommend these books, even if I’d never met this sweet lady. Look for this one wherever Heartsong Presents is sold.

So many stories, so little time. Get ready, it’s going to be a long, hot summer!

5 comments:

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

I'm honored to make your list, Jenny. And I can't wait to read yours someday, hopefully not in the too distant future.

Cindy Loven said...

Oh wow! Thank you Jenny for sharing Swept Away

Cindy Loven said...

Oh wow! Thank you Jenny for sharing Swept Away

Cindy Loven said...

Oh wow! Thank you Jenny for sharing Swept Away

Jenny Carlisle said...

The honor is all mine, my dear. So proud to know you!