…to rouse a deaf world…

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
The Problem With Pain by C.S. Lewis

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I haven’t read this one from Lewis yet, but it’s waiting for me on my shelf. With a quote like this, I can only imagine the amazing words that await. This quote hits deep though, not only when I think of my personal pain I’ve gone through, but the pain that is constantly around us. It truly does draw us closer and in need of Him.

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke | Book Review

Well.

I’m just going to go ahead and tuck this amazing gem of a book on my bookshelf and occasionally take it down to simply give it a hug.

Internet, y’all know what I’m talking about – a book that manages to weave itself in your heart and continues to impact you days, weeks, after you’ve read it. Cathy Gohlke’s latest fits the bill perfectly.

All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of her mother’s mysterious past and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany.

Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father is quickly ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter could help advance his career. Lieselotte is in love―but her beloved Lukas is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Reich. Yet Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation.

Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who is hiding wartimes secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past and how their legacy will shape her future.

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I was completely captivated from the very first page of this book. This book was such a reminder that everyone has a story (some inspiring and some not) and what we think and first encounter might not reveal the full picture.

But that’s just one reason why I loved this book.

I loved that the modern day story took place in the 70s. It was really interesting to see post war Germany during the seventies. This was the first book I’ve read that did that. It was sad to think many people still held tight to their anti-Semitic beliefs decades after the war, but I’m not surprised either, just like when I read the stories of Reconstruction and Jim Crow. We’re still fighting many of these wars today.

Both story lines were fabulous to read. Through Lieselotte’s life, we see incredible bravery, what it looked like living in Nazi Germany, those who fought against the Nazi’s underground and the horrors of concentration camps. Through Hannah, we not only see what I mentioned above, but also a beautiful story of hope, redemption and healing – even if it wasn’t the way I expected.

“If I am caught, I would rather die for something than live for nothing.”

As with Saving Amelie, I appreciated the appearance of real life historical person (Corrie ten Boom). Gohlke always leaves me thinking not only about the past, but today’s injustices. But, even with the hard topic, this book leaves you with hope.

As hard as it was to read (as WWII novels are) it’s one of my favorite reads this year. Oh and the cover fits this book so perfectly.

What are some of your favorite reads this year?

(Thank you to Tyndale for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

The Preacher’s Bride | #HedlundChallenge2015 August Discussion

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(The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!)

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Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful August and enjoyed reading (or re-reading) The Preacher’s Bride! I’m excited to chat about the book and as you’ll see, there’s also a fun interview with Jody’s editor – always love an insider’s look at the publishing industry!

I absolutely LOVED that this was based on a true story. So many of the things in this book really happened and I really appreciated that about it. No wonder I was hooked on Jody’s books after I read this one. What an amazing couple and legacy. I’m thankful Jody wrote their story. Her books always spark the desire to go on a massive research binge, this time about 1659 England.

Outside of the story of their relationship and marriage, some of my favorite parts of the novel were:

  • A look at how much religion and politics were connected in England at that time.
  • The family life and roles and what being married to a preacher who defied king and country for the sake of the gospel looked like.
  • Learning so much about that time period! From (ridiculous) punishments and laws to how a community would come together to help one another.

Now for a few discussion questions:
1. What did you think of the book? How about some favorite parts or quotes?
2. Who are some historical couples you like reading about or would like to?
3. What’s one of the biggest takeaways from the story based on John and Elizabeth Bunyan?

And now, please welcome Jody’s Editor, Dave Long to the Hedlund Challenge!

1. How did you get into editing?
My degree is in English, so I have a background in writing and editing. My first job out of college was in the publishing world—actually a medical publisher—and I’ve been fortunate to pursue this passion my entire career.

2. What are some of the main ways you partner with and support Jody?
We’re here as a sounding board for Jody. She’s able to bounce ideas off of us. They can be big ideas, like which direction she should go for a new book, or small ideas about particular scenes or characters. I’m hear to answer any questions she has about the market or sales, though our promotional team is available for those questions as well. One piece perhaps a bit more distinct to BHP is that I end up more heavily involved in the cover design process, and so I work with Jody, to represent her vision for scenes/characters portrayed on the covers.

3. Is there one editor who works with Jody or has she had multiple editors for her books?
While I’ve always served as her acquisitions editor, she was worked with two line (or substantive) editors through the years.

4. In what ways have y’all seen Jody’s work grow from this book (The Preacher’s Bride) to her latest?
Jody’s always written with a lot of passion and drama, that’s part of what her stories promise, but I’ve seen her characters really emerge as distinct. She finds a voice for them—and she’s found some lightness and some humor in some characters more recently that helps contrast the drama. Working with her on Beacons of Hope series has been nice, too, as she’s fashioned a slightly “larger” world through linked series.

5. There’s quite a bit going on in the publishing world, what are some exciting things you’re looking forward to?
I’m excited for the breadth of publishing we’re able to do here. I like all sorts of stories so it’s nice to be able to publishing historical romance with Jody, and then Regency with Julie Klassen, and fantasy with Patrick Carr and romantic suspense with Dani Pettrey. Both Patrick and Dani have new series starting up—and that’s always an exciting time.

Thank you so much for joining in! Hope y’all enjoyed today’s discussion and looking forward to re-reading A Noble Groom with y’all next month!

Fun Finds for the Booknerd #30

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It’s Sunday afternoon as I type this and put together this edition of Fun Finds (procrastination is a very productive motivator) and I have to say I love a calm and relaxing Sunday. I feel like they’ve been rather rare this summer (totally not complaining, it’s been fun!), so how do I take advantage of a schedule free day? A nap. Y’all, I can’t resist them. I blame heavy eyelids. I tell myself 20 minutes and two hours later I get up. Oops. There was also a slight breeze today, which made me think Fall is totally around the corner, which means football!!!! I’m so excited for more fun Sundays!

What about y’all? What do you like to do on a chill Sunday? If you’re like me it’s apparently napping and searching the internet for bookish fun.

1. Aslan is on the Move Wooden Sign Chronicles of Narnia. This is also known as the sign that immediately needs to be on my fireplace mantle.This saying and meaning means more than the internet will ever know. Thank you Wesley for sharing this with me! #IHeartAslan $22.00

2. Ray Bradbury T-Shirt. In honor of his recent birthday (August 22, 1920), here’s a shout out to Ray. I love the simple design of this shirt. For fans of Ray, there’s no doubt what this means. If you love looking for ways to represent your literary love (and who isn’t!?!), be sure to check out the full Etsy shop! $25.00

3. Dracula (or any other classic) iPhone Case. Shout out to the classics! This fun Etsy shop creates book purses, clutches, e-reader and iPad covers, so there’s something for everyone! I haven’t joined the iPhone case/flip wallet, but if I ever do, I’m definitely checking these out. $29.00

4. Bram Stoker Book Quote. Y’all, Etsy for the win this edition of Fun Finds! This is another fun shop with all the book quotes and you can even get customized ones. And what else can I say to this quote except PREACH. $16.11

5. The Point and Click Dictionary. I’m the first to admit this is so ridiculously priced, but it made me laugh because I 100% now know I’m not alone in this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used my iPhone to google words or references (here’s looking at you Jack). $279.00

Any of these grab your attention or what’s a recent fun find you’ve come across?

Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke | Book Review

Novels set in WWII are usually so hard to read, but they’re some of my favorite to read. Some of the greatest stories in our history come from this era and I’m inspired by the stories of men and women who took a stand. Saving Amelie is one such read. And a fabulous one at that. The Nazi regime did horrid and terrible things, you don’t need me to tell you that. This story while taking place in Germany, wasn’t just about the Nazis, but the many brave Germans who made a difference.

Increasingly wary of her father’s genetic research, Rachel Kramer has determined that this trip with him to Germany—in the summer of 1939—will be her last. But a cryptic letter from her estranged friend, begging Rachel for help, changes everything. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter, Amelie, deaf since birth, as a blight on his Aryan bloodline.

Once courted by Schlick, Rachel knows he’s as dangerous as the swastikas that hang like ebony spiders from every government building in Berlin. She fears her father’s files may hold answers about Hitler’s plans for others, like Amelie, whom the regime deems “unworthy of life.” She risks searching his classified documents only to uncover shocking secrets about her own history and a family she’s never known.

Now hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young—a driven, disarming American journalist and unlikely ally—who connects her to the resistance and to controversial theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Forced into hiding, Rachel’s every ideal is challenged as she and Jason walk a knife’s edge, risking their lives—and asking others to do the same—for those they barely know but come to love.

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This was an excellent read! Gohlke was able to pay homage to so many brave people, draw readers into a popular historical era and leave you thinking how their legacies affect us today. Plus there’s a few appearances by Bonhoeffer himself, which I absolutely loved. Talk about a fascinating and inspiring person from history!

I also really appreciated how the characters had real faults. Many of them had to work through the ideas they grew up with against the backdrop of the Hitler regime taking over. Many had to work through the struggles, convictions and fears.

“Is my fear, my apathy – indifference – any better than perpetrating evil?”

I also thought this was a very telling quote, from a conversation after the Nazi’s banned prayer and religious symbols:
“Banning prayer from schools? Stripping crucifixes from walls? That would be like taking down the Ten Commandments in the United States. I’ve never been a churchgoer, but I can’t imagine such a thing happening. The churches, even the people who aren’t churchgoers, would never stand for having their rights stripped away like that.”

It’s hard to imagine that so many people (outsiders) simply ignored what Hitler’s regime was doing. The Nuremberg Laws and Kristallnacht happened long before Germany invaded Poland or the doors first opened to Auschwitz. It got me thinking, what are we (myself included) ignoring in today’s world? Who needs me/us to speak up for them? (So many answers to that question!)

It’s a beautiful story honoring so many who stood up for right and good while facing such evil. I cannot even imagine how that must have been, but am so thankful for the examples they left us.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Desmond Tutu

What’s an inspiring story from WWII that’s stuck with you? Besides Bonhoeffer, the story of Corrie ten Boom is another incredible tale.

Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads