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Book Review: Enchantment

Okay. I’ll confess – I messed up. 

“What??” you say.

“I know. Shocking, isn’t it?!”  

Seriously, I really did mess up recently.

If you read my blog this past Monday, you will know that I reviewed Abide by JoAnn Durgin. Abide is the latest book in the Lewis Legacy Series. If you’ve not read this book – it is a “must” read. In our back-and-forth emails to discuss JoAnn’s interview (which appeared on this blog post on Friday, July 15), JoAnn happened to mention that she never saw my review on Enchantment. (the book in the Lewis Legacy Series that was published just before Abide.) I thought to myself “that can’t be right. I’m caught up on the reviews I needed to write for JoAnn.” But I told her I would check on the situation. Imagine my embarrassment when I looked at my Kindle and realized that not only had I not written a review, I had not finished reading the book! I apologized profusely to JoAnn, explaining how I had no idea why I had not finished reading the book. I promised her I would have the review written by the end of this week. So, here it is!

The beauty of a series is that the reader has a lot of time to get to know the characters. It is heartwarming to “watch” the characters grow and develop from book to book. JoAnn has this wonderful ability to include her characters from one book to the next. Even though they may not be the hero/heroine of the book, she brings them in effortlessly so that the reader not only remembers the characters but also enjoys learning what’s “happened in their lives” since we read about them last. 

Enchantment brings all of the TeamWork Missions Volunteers that we met in earlier books together again, along with a few new faces. Their two-week mission takes place in  Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they help the One Nation Under God congregation of Native American Christians work on their church building. 

In Enchantment, we meet back up with Eliot Marchand, who was introduced to us in Book Two Second Time Around  and we are reacquainted with Marta Holcomb, who we met in Book 3, Twin Hearts. These two have “danced” around each other ever since they met, flirting, yet not together long enough to know if anything will develop from the flirting. You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Scenery, characters, action, adventure, love–all written with passion and care. And overriding all is the message of God’s love and his faithfulness to lead and guide us. 

It is with great pleasure that I highly recommend Enchantment to you! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: ABIDE by JoAnn Durgin

Untitled         If you have been a follower of my blog for even just a short period of time, you will know that I am an avid reader. Not only that, I love to read Christian romance novels. Christian romance novels are clean, yet full of romantic moments, and the stories deal with real-life issues. They are called Christian because there is always a wonderful message of God’s salvation, or His unconditional love, or grace and mercy, or His faithfulness. . .the list could go on. Christian romance novels always leave the reader encouraged, with renewed faith, or perhaps through the book the reader reads the message of salvation, and s/he accepts Christ as her/his Lord and Savior.

It is said that each genre of fiction romance, women’s, westerns, historical, etc., has its own technique. If that is true, then JoAnn Durgin has mastered the technique of writing Christian romance fiction. Yet, I hesitate to use the word “technic” because there is so much more to her stories than technique. JoAnn describes scenery with such vivid and colorful words, that we have an exact picture in our minds of what the mountains, or valleys, or towns or big cities look like. She writes eloquently of characters, most are inherently good, yet with flaws, just like us, so we easily relate to them and their lives. We watch these characters grow throughout her books, and by the time we reach the end of each book, the characters seem so real, they are family to us.

JoAnn’s style of writing has been evident throughout the Lewis Legacy series. From  Prelude where we meet Sam Lewis Sr., and his bride, Sarah, to Awakening, and through the latest in the series, Abide, we have met almost all of the Lewis clan, as well as members of the TeamWork Missions group. Each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone, but for your greatest reading pleasure, I encourage you to read the series. Start with Prelude, and proceed to book one.

The latest book, Abide, features Catherine “Caty” Lewis, the youngest daughter of Sam and Sarah. She is a high-spirited, feisty young woman, sure in her faith in God. A chief accountant for Belac, Inc., she is transferred to Houston, bringing her back to her hometown and close in proximity to her family. She never hesitates to pray about anything and shares her beliefs through the way she lives and speaks.

Caleb Reid, president and CEO of Belac, Inc., is Caty’s boss–a man haunted by his past while trying to protect and raise his daughter. He has walked away from his faith and from God. He and Caty meet in one of the funniest scenes in the entire Legacy Series. They are immediately attracted to one another and as they get to know one another, the attraction grows.

JoAnn did a beautiful job writing the love story between Caty and Caleb. The spiritual aspect of the story is woven throughout the book. But there’s also a mystery involved and the intrigue will keep you up at night until you read the last page.

Abide is the type of book that you will want to read time and time again. When you finish the book, you will be so encouraged and if, like me, your faith has been a little wobbly lately, it will be strengthened by the encouraging words and scriptures that JoAnn used.

Abide is an absolute “must read,” so add it to your vacation reading list or save it to read when the kids go back to school and once again, the house is all your own—for a few hours at least!

 

 

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Interview with Best Selling Author, JoAnn Durgin

 

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I am thrilled to have as my special guest today, JoAnn Durgin. JoAnn and I met a number of years ago at a writers’ conference when we found ourselves standing next to each other in the conference choir. She is a delightful person, full of joy and the love of the Lord. 

Welcome JoAnn!

Thanks, Edwina. It’s good to be here!

Abide is the seventh book in your popular Lewis Legacy Series. Do you find it difficult to keep the momentum going in a long series?

Not at all, and I love writing each new book because they have all focused on a different couple (or couples in a few instances). Every story is unique and individual. One aspect I love about Abide is that it changes the direction a bit since it’s the story of the younger sister of Sam Lewis, the core character in the series. In that way, it keeps the series fresh and new readers won’t feel lost if they start with this particular book. I also wrote a prequel for the series, Prelude—the love story of the matriarch and patriarch of the Lewis family—and it can be read at any point in the series. So, Sarah and Sam Lewis, Sr. are now also featured in most of the remaining books. Readers love that sense of returning to a family they’ve grown to love—whether it’s Sam’s family or the TeamWork family of mission volunteers that he leads. Knowing they’ll return for a visit and get updates with old friends featured in previous books, as well as seeing the kids and various relationships growing and changing, also builds interest in the new books from the beginning. For the first time in Abide, readers also meet NASA shuttle commander, Will Lewis (his book, Pursuit, is up next in the series), as well as seminary student, Carson Lewis, the youngest member of the Lewis family (his story is the last in the series, Assurance).

I noted that you have a widower and single father as the hero in Abide. That was new for you, wasn’t it? Tell us a little about Caleb Reid.

Yes, and that was another way this book is different in the series. Caleb is a wealthy man who’s going through a very difficult time in his life due to kidnapping threats against his daughter, Lauren. Catherine “Caty” Lewis—as both Caleb’s trusted employee and love interest—demonstrates the kind of strong, unwavering faith he’s lost somewhere along the way. I absolutely loved writing the relationship between Caleb and his daughter. He feels as though he’s losing her, and I enjoyed their interactions very much, especially as Lauren and Caty grow to love one another, and as Caty and Caleb fall in love. During the course of the book, Caleb also deals with lingering issues after losing his young wife to breast cancer five years ago, and also long-ago issues with his absent father. He’s a man burdened by the past, and Caty’s love and strong faith help him regain his own faith in a loving heavenly Father.

Fun fact to know and tell: Caleb is an oil man, and I have one of those in my own family. Like Caleb, my uncle owns and operates many gas stations with convenience stores!

Tell us why you write the books you do and why readers unfamiliar with your books should give them a try.

One of my writing strengths is writing realistic but flawed characters, just as we all are. I write about main characters you’d like to call your friends. My books are easy to read but hold deep meaning below the surface. I love writing witty dialogue between my love interests and enjoy the word play leading up to a kiss and writing true romance into my books. Living in today’s world is hard enough, and I prefer to write books that hold humor and fun, but also contain poignant emotional situations where the use of Scripture can help my characters as well as the reader. I delve deep into my hero and heroine so that you feel they are real and that you truly know them and understand them. My books give hope to a hurting, weary world that can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and always—without fail—I give my readers a happy ending.

Can you share with us the “back cover copy” of Abide so we know what to expect?

Of course! Here it is:

Catherine “Caty” Lewis is thrilled to be home again with her family and friends. After working as a chief accountant for a multinational oil corporation in Dallas and then Lubbock the past five years, she’s been transferred to their new world headquarters in downtown Houston. Before she can even inhabit her new office, she schedules a private meeting with the reclusive founder and CEO. Someone in her division appears to be embezzling funds, and Caty prays she’s not the prime suspect.

After suffering a deeply personal loss, Caleb Reid is struggling to raise his precocious twelve-year-old daughter, Lauren, on his own. He moved to Houston for a fresh start and to escape the threats that have plagued him the past few years. Then quickly discovers he can’t outrun them.

When these two meet, romantic sparks fly. Caty stares down fear with the kind of strong faith Caleb has neglected along the way. Can he risk endangering Caty in his fight against an unseen threat? Have the walls he’s built around him and his daughter served to protect them or to keep others from getting too close to his heart?

Abide. An enduring love story between a man and a woman. A story of standing firmly on God’s promises, never giving into fear, and placing our trust in the One who is infinitely more capable.

In addition to Abide, JoAnn Durgin is the author of the six prior novels in the beloved Lewis Legacy Series as well as Prelude, the prequel to the series. Her other works include the Amazon bestselling Catching Serenity, Heart’s Design and its sequel, Gentle Like the Rain (included in the USA Today Bestselling anthology, Whispers of Love), Love So Amazing and Love So Divine (The Wondrous Love Series, Books 1 and 2), Echoes of Edinburgh, Perchance to Dream, and the popular Starlight Christmas Series. A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn now writes contemporary Christian romance full-time and lives with her family in her native southern Indiana.

JoAnn loves to hear from her readers! Please feel free to contact her:

Website:   www.joanndurgin.com

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin                                             

Twitter:   JoAnn Durgin@Gr8tReadsAbide Bk Cover copy