I almost returned this audiobook. But the main couple in it caught my attention. There are three couples in this book. I think Ms. Gray might do this routinely, as the last book I listened to also had more than one love story going on. When I re-listened to the first part of the story I was able to follow it (I couldn't initially, with the various stories going on.) This is a pleasant, gentle, listen and there's much to be said for that, especially at Christmastime.
I was a little disconcerted by the back and forth story telling between a contemporary romance between two "Englishers" and then back to another romance between Amish. That was a little odd but it was really needed for the story line. I think this is first book by Shelley Shepard Gray that I've read but it won't be the last. A fairly "clean" and uncluttered writer's voice with a simple sweetness to the story. Nice family story, too. Great job interweaving the three subplots. Great resolution to the story with terrific HEAs!!!
Dumb me. I didn't realize this was book 1 in a series where the entire story takes 3 books to tell. I don't like first person nor contemporary but I listened to the ENTIRE book hoping I was going to get an HEA at the end. Nope. You get the first part of an HEA and there are two books. Big sigh... I hope I learned my lesson. I don't usually read series where there is continuation from one to the next. If this had just been one book and had a HEA I'd have given it a five. This ends up being a women's fiction not a true romance although there is a romance in it. I hate to say I feel ripped off, but I do. So in my mind I'm making up my own HEA because I won't spend another 20+ hours listening to the next two audiobooks. It was well written. But I don't want to listen to two more to hear the final ending.
I haven't listened to the first two audiobooks in this series yet but after listening to this one, I think I'll get them.
Privileged heroine Jessica Atherton may have lost her previous beau but she's got plenty suitors now. One is the rather insistent Harrison Gable, a lawyer who lays his attention on thick and a little too much. But Jessica is beginning to feel like she needs to get married and start a family, and Harrison obviously is interested in her.
Austin Todd, is also new to Jessica's Texas town. Previously a Secret Service agent, he's lost his entire family and is harboring some deep hurts. Although he's begun work as as a Texas Ranger cattle inspector he becomes involved in a dangerous case of forged gold certificates that involve Jessica's close friends.
Jessica has a huge character arc. At the beginning I was somewhat put off by her, because she was an anti-hero--spoiled, self-centered, and privileged. But she journeys on to correct her flaws, with God's help, and becomes a admirable young lady.
Will go back and listen to the first two series as the characters from the other stories are also mentioned in this book. You'll be rooting for Austin to win Jessica's heart. Will he?
I'm not a contemporary fan and rarely read them. But this was a great listen. Although not "biblically correct" it is still a sweet story about angels and their impact on some young West coast people in a Dickens' Christmas Carol parallel. Charming story and darling romance.
Book two in Carrie Turansky's Highland Hall series gives us Kate making her debut in London society. She's very young, only 18, and having to make choices that will affect her for the rest of her life. Scandal in the family looms in the background. As part of her story arc she learns to deal with an over-bearing aunt. Kate must choose between two men who are pursuing her, but it becomes clear early on who she'll end up with. The story is slow to unfold and even though I had the speed set on 1.5 or 2 for speed it was still slow moving, which I am assuming may be a narrator issue. Several of the men in the story sounded exactly alike in their accents and in their choice of words. Some of that may be from the narrator but it made it difficult to differentiate which character was speaking at times. It is so difficult to find Christian fiction to listen to, and this is one that I enjoyed and was able to do my household chores as I was listening. Glad to have had the audiobook available!
Set on an island off Seattle in the Puget Sound, and in the city, this was an interesting story and included a heroine with a lot of emotional baggage, with good reason. There's an environmentalist theme with the eagles vs. developers and enough red herrings to satisfy most readers. I'm not a contemporary reader, usually, but this was a strong story. The hero was perfect for the story because his occupation directly conflicted with the heroine's issues. There was one scene, in particular, that almost made my heart stop but then Ms. Leesmith "rescued" the heroine. Having been to this locale (not on an island though) and caught in the worst storm in 50 years (I believe it was 1991) aboard a ship enroute to Victoria Island, I found this story to be especially enthralling because of the potential danger lurking around every corner. The narrator was excellent--she had a wonderful voice perfect for a contemporary. Also, because this is a Christian romantic suspense you won't get a bunch of stuff such as profanity. The spiritual arc was rather thin so I think even non-believers can enjoy this story.
Disclaimer: I received a credit for this book from the author and am under no compulsion to give a positive rating.
Amazing Story and Characters! Kim Vogel Sawyer has hit a home run with this story. Continues to have her no nonsense but sweet voice, this has a solid believable story, and all the characters, even the minor ones, are well developed.
Christina Willems is left with a legacy of caring for others. But her shoulders cannot bear the weight all alone, despite her efforts to do so. The author beautifully shows how God has to be trusted to provide.
Levi Johnson has hidden off by himself for so long that his connections with others are almost nil. But when the mill owner is forced to take in a blind boy, he finds a part of himself that had gone missing.
Skillfully told tale. Highly recommend!
Audio narration: I purchased the CD audiobook version first. The narrator has a somewhat depressed sounding voice and speaks slowly. Too slowly. So I came over to Audible.com and downloaded this version and set the narration speed at 1.5 which worked out great on my Kindle. Much better narration than performed by the narrator for Sarah's first novel's. Still wish they could have gotten someone who didn't make the story sound like such a tragedy, because it wasn't. This was an inspirational fiction and a narrator with some hope in her voice would have been better.
Story: This is like a cross between a Jane Austen and a Charlotte Bronte story and won't disappoint those fans! A great listen, lovely story, sweet and well developed cast of characters, lots of tension, and little Emma steals the story! This is only the second book Sarah has written and she's already grown so much as a writer. She delivers a wonderful HEA that will leave readers emotionally satisfied. Brava, Sarah!
I don't care for first person POV stories. But the heroine was sympathetic and the narrator was stellar. I read a one star review on Amazon and almost requested a refund/return on this story. Many of her comments were legitimate but many were not. The heroine is an atheist in a Christian Book Association (Tyndale) book. The actual Christian thread is thin BUT this is part of a series. Which causes yet another problem because this is a long convoluted story with an ending that doesn't tie up the strings to all those threads. But it isn't a cliffhanger per se, there is a somewhat HEA to the book, which is why I gave it a 4. I wanted to give the author the benefit of the doubt that she has what "appears" to be the main love interest be a truly evil man. And I think only the most naive of readers will not realize that. Which makes those love scenes with him all the more creepy. And leaves me wondering why are they so prominent in this story? Doubt that I will buy the sequel. I will make up my own ending in my own mind for this story lol! I cannot spend that kind of time with a book these days--I need all the story parts wrapped up within one volume, not in a continuation. Still, Ms. Dotta creates a compelling story that had me listening to the end.
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