Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rescue from the Dog Days- Get Lost in a Book

Admittedly, I’m a little late with your summer reading list. Looking back, though, the oppressive heat waited a little longer this year as well. We had a few scorchers in June, then some remarkably nice temperatures around the Fourth of July. At this posting, the burn ban  has been removed for the Ouachita region. Thankfully, it’s nothing like the deadly wildfire season we endured in 2012.

Still, during August, and maybe even September, the time may come when you want to crank up the air conditioning and stretch out on the couch with a book, or even a new-fangled electronic reading device. I still have quite a few on my TBR (To Be Read) list, but so far, I’ve found some real gems, and I’m happy to share them with you.

Two of my favorites this summer were actually written by Arkansans who are members of the Arkansas Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers, for whom I currently serve as Vice President.

First, “Fairer Than Morning” by Rosyln Elliott. The book is set  in the newly industrialized Midwest and eastern part of our nation during a time when indentured servants were used and abused by their “owners” and duels to the death were still an accepted way of settling a dispute. Ms. Elliott writes eloquently about the struggles faced by young people in pre-Civil War America. The lesson learned: Through it all, love, and in particular, God’s love will triumph when we allow it.

The next Arkansas treasure is Shannon Vannatter, who has a very successful career with Heartsong Presents, the inspirational imprint of Love Inspired and Harlequin Romances. Shannon and I attended a writer’s retreat in Lonsdale with several of our fellow Christian fiction writers, and I learned she had written a series of romances based on one of my favorite spectator sports- the rodeo.

The first story, “Rodeo Ashes” centers on a young lady who is finding her stride in the fast paced world of marketing. The company has chosen to promote the career of a newly prominent rodeo champion, forcing our heroine to confront some very traumatic memories from her past. As in any good romance, the two struggle to remove the obstacles that keep them apart, and find that they have much more in common than they ever imagined. I’m very happy to own the next three books in this series, and I’ll definitely enjoy the ride each time I have the opportunity to spend time in Shannon’s fictional arena.

Another reading adventure allowed me to live out every little girl’s dream of becoming Cinderella. “Once Upon a Prince” by Rachel Hauck takes place in the US on the coast of Georgia. A handsome real-live prince from a fictional kingdom somewhere in the British Isles has come to vacation at his family’s estate, when he encounters a young lady with a flat tire and a recently broken heart. Happily, he becomes acquainted with her without all of the press exposure and hoopla that usually follow him. Though she is in no mood to start another relationship, the two form a friendship, and of course eventually fall in love. Their vastly different backgrounds become a stumbling block, and it seems that happily ever after is not in the cards. Scenes on both sides of the ocean keep the reader drawn in, and the journey to the conclusion becomes a very enjoyable page-turning experience.

I’m currently reading another historical, “Thorn in My Heart” by Liz Curtis Higgs, which transports a familiar tale to the exciting and romantic setting of the Scottish Lowlands. Only a little ways in, I’m already spellbound by her very skillful story-telling.

As another source of great entertainment- don’t forget the book that most of you probably own at least one copy of- the Bible. Our weekly studies have taken us through the trials of God’s chosen people as they left a world of slavery and headed to the promised land. We recently enjoyed the romantic tale of Ruth, and the courageous exploits of a giant-killer named David.

There’s much to be learned about the big plans God has for all of us!

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and remember: to everything there is a season. Don’t let the heat get you down. Our beautiful, cool Arkansas days will be here again before we know it!



1 comment:

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hey Jenny, glad you enjoyed the book. Hope you like the rest of the series. Even the one with the long-haired country music star. But it's not out til next year.