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“God is our shelter and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken
and the mountains fall into the ocean depths;
even if the seas roar and rage,
and the hills are shaken by violence.” Psalm 46:1-3

Don’t you just love it that these verses say that God is always ready to help in times of trouble? He wants to walk beside us and help us. It doesn’t say that there aren’t going to be troubles. It says there can be horrendous troubles–life happenings way beyond our control, but even then we need not dwell in fear. Even then. He is with us.

I don’t think it says that we will not have moments of fear. We just don’t have to live there. Like Psalm 91 says, we can dwell in His fortress.

I think some of the ways we dwell in His fortress are to fill our minds with His loving word and live in obedience to His laws; rely on His strength and the certainty of His power to protect and provide; and, to enjoy media and other activities that speak of His presence and His care.

The last is the reason for this blog. We want you to hear about books that will uplift you and and the kids. We want to help you tell your beloved children that God is, that He is good, and that He can and does save.

Book Lists in the menu at the top will take you to titles we recommend. Books are divided by the age of the expected reader and whether the books are non-fiction or fiction.

You will notice that I have not started with our long list of picture books recommendations. You might wonder what I did with it. It’s still there. I moved it to below the list of books we recommend for college/working people. I thought, at this time, you might need recommendations for elementary, middle school, high school, college and young working people more. Also books for those age groups are more often available as e-books.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.)  Her latest works for children are I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue, mystery novels for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

On This Foundation, by Lynn Austin and published by Bethany House Publishers (2015), is the third book in The Restoration Chronicles series. It is a fictional account of the Bible story of Nehemiah. Many of the details and side plots are fictional, but the Bible verses and basic story are true. The novel contains drama, mystery, spiritual depth, growth and joy in the Lord.

The story begins by delving into the past and present of the main character, Nehemiah, who appears to be in his thirties. He is the cup bearer for King Artaxerxes, in the citadel of Susa, one of the capitals of the Persian Empire. Nehemiah’s job is to oversee the food and wine brought into the Citadel. He is responsible to see that the king’s food and wine are safe to eat, often tasting them himself. He also secures the Citadel from vendors who themselves might pose a threat to the king.

Nehemiah takes his job very seriously. He knows that living within the walls of the Citadel provides only a measure of safety for its occupants. The king’s father, Xerxes, had been murdered in his own bed chamber by one of his own courtiers.

Nehemiah’s parents had also been murdered though living in the Citadel. Twenty-eight years before, when Nehemiah was only eight, his father had opened the door of the family’s sleeping quarters to an acquaintance. He and his wife had been killed. Nehemiah and his younger brothers had hidden behind furniture and survived.

As this novel begins, his brothers, who have been living in Jerusalem and whom he has not seen in nearly thirteen years, arrive in Susa to speak with him. Hananiah, or Hanani, works as a scribe as their father had. He and Ephraim have come with a delegation from Judah. The delegation is seeking a reduction in the taxes they are paying to King Artaxerxes. Many of the Jews in Judah are destitute. There is a drought that has lasted two growing seasons.

In addition, the walls of the city of Jerusalem are still broken down though it has been more than a hundred years since the Babylonians captured the city, demolishing its fortifications and burning its gates. The city’s inhabitants are vulnerable to attacks and robberies. The Temple is unprotected. The Levite guards have been unable to protect the temple treasury.

The Jews are also hated by their surrounding neighbors, the Samaritans, Edomites, Ammonites and Arabs. Nehemiah is told that some years previously the Jewish community had attempted to rebuild the wall, but the enemy nations had gotten an edict from the Persian king, forcing them to stop. If they were to attempt to fortify the city and rebuild the walls now without the permission of King Artaxerxes, it would be seen as an act of rebellion. They are hoping their brother Nehemiah can help them with all these issues.

Nehemiah’s brothers leave after four months even though their petition has not yet reached the king. The Lord begins speaking to Nehemiah’s heart. He knows that if he speaks about anything to the king without his permission, he could lose his life. In time, Artaxerxes asks him why he appears so sad, and he explains the entire story. The king grants permission for Nehemiah to go and rebuild the city walls and gates.

It takes Nehemiah several months to arrive in Jerusalem, but first, he stops in Samaria to present the king’s decree, along with his commission to Governor Sanballat, a Samaritan, Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem, the Arab leader.

In Jerusalem, Rebbe Ezra, the retired governor, instructs Nehemiah not to listen to these Gentile leaders. He tells him to ignore these men and do what God has called him to do. Nehemiah knows that it is God’s will for the city to be rebuilt, and desires to bring glory to Him through this project.

Many exciting plot twists, intrigues and events happen in the rest of this story. Sanballat and Tobiah are Nehemiah’s constant enemies, doing whatever they can to hinder God’s work. Yet, God is in control and causes the people to unite to finish the walls and improve conditions in the city.

Other characters and side stories are introduced. In the end, all turns out for the best and God is glorified through the work of Nehemiah and other godly leaders. There is much spiritual growth. Nehemiah’s dedicated group of workers finish the wall in two months, and they all have a dedication ceremony. Nehemiah encourages all the people to dedicate their entire lives to God and obey His commands. This is the path to true happiness.

Even though On This Foundation is over four hundred pages, it did not take me long to finish it. It is compelling, exciting and very uplifting. I felt strengthened by the Lord after reading it. There is a beautiful bible verse that expresses the theme of this story, “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: See, I lay in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed,” Isaiah 28:16. Nehemiah and all the people learn that the Lord is our Cornerstone and we must all build everything we do on Him. I know you will love this story as I did. It is best for readers eighteen and above.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her six children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law and one-daughter-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. She and her husband have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

A Lady like Sarah, written by Margaret Brownley, and published by Thomas Nelson (2009), will keep you reading till the last page. Filled with suspense and action, it will entertain you. You will also see how amazing God’s grace is. He will save everyone who comes to Him in humility, regardless of their background or past mistakes.

The story begins with Reverend Justin Wells on his way from Boston to Texas with his mule and his horse. He was forced to leave his pastorate in Boston when a woman accused him of impropriety, all because he rejected her. He did nothing wrong, but the congregation believed her false story, and he was sent to pastor a church in Rocky Creek, Texas.

On his way there, Justin finds two people passed out on a trail in Missouri. He also finds a horse. The man’s name is Marshal Owen, who has a bullet stuck in his shoulder, and the woman is Sarah Prescott, who is being escorted to Texas to hang for murder. Justin tries to remove Marshall Owen’s bullet, but Sarah insists she can do a better job. She removes the bullet, but after a day, he still dies. Sarah has never killed anyone, but she did go along with her brothers, George, Jed, and Robert when they robbed stages. She decides she will run and escape from Justin as soon as she gets a chance.

It doesn’t take Sarah long to escape, but the next day, Justin finds her stuck in a muddy pit from which she can’t escape on her own. He rescues her and puts handcuffs on her. Sarah tells him her story. As children, she and her brothers lost their parents and have been on the run ever since. She never actually robbed any stages, but went along with her brothers, knowing they were her only family. None of them ever killed anyone, but they were falsely accused, and there is a warrant for their arrest.

In a few days of traveling together, Sarah and Justin become very drawn to one another. He tells her the story of Jesus dying for her sins, and she feels completely unworthy. Soon they come upon a small wagon train that has been attacked by an Indian who lays dead close by. The only living person is a very young mother who is dying. She insists that after she is gone, Justin should baptize her two-month-old baby, Elizabeth. Justin prays for the young mother, and when she dies, he enlists Sarah’s help with the baby.

There is no milk anywhere in sight, so they both pray for some provision. Sarah is out washing clothes and finds a goat. She sees this as a miracle from God to keep Elizabeth alive. She is beginning to believe He answers prayer. She still insists she will not stay and go back to Texas with Justin.

Sarah, Justin and Elizabeth all become very close and Sarah’s attitude is beginning to change. Justin realizes he has feelings for Sarah and prays for her diligently.

The story continues and many exciting adventures ensue. You find yourself wondering what will happen and how it will all work out. Everything ends happily, and you feel blessed and relieved that God will help anyone who calls upon Him, regardless of a spurious past.

I really enjoyed the adventure of this story. I fell in love with all the characters.  I think you will enjoy it as much as I did. This story is recommended for readers 18 and above.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her six children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law and one-daughter-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

On a Summer Tide (Three Sisters Island Book #1), by Suzanne Woods Fisher and published by Revell (2019) will make you smile. It is full of fun, humor, sorrow at times and much spiritual growth in lives of the main characters.

The story starts when Paul Grayson, a widower in his late 50’s, announces to his three adult daughters that he has just bought an island off the coast of Maine. The island has gone bankrupt! He remembers the camp on the island where he and his late wife met and fell in love. They had always promised each other they would go back there someday. Now she is gone, and Paul is invigorated thinking about getting the camp up and running again. The name of the island is Three Sisters Island, and the name of the camp is Camp Kicking Moose!

His daughters are all distraught, wondering why he has sold their childhood home to buy something dilapidated and in need of so much time and effort. Paul sees it differently. He views this purchase as a new beginning, hoping that he can do good for this island and its residents.

His wife had been a strong Christian, serving the Lord in many ways. She died trying to rescue an elderly neighbor in a house fire. The neighbor’s granddaughter, Libby, also died in the fire. Libby was survived by a young son, Cooper. Paul’s oldest daughter, Camden, became Cooper’s guardian.

Camden is a career woman. She has had to learn to be a mother to Cooper, who struggles with a degree of autism. Madison, Paul’s second daughter, is studying to be a therapist. She is engaged to a young man named Tre, whom the family is not fond of. Blaine, the youngest daughter, has been attending college. Yet she is still unsure what path she wants to follow.

Soon, Paul is on his way to the island where he meets some very colorful characters. Peg Legg is friendly to all. She runs the diner and general store on the Three Sisters Island. Captain Ed runs the Never Late Ferry, between Mount Desert and Three Sisters Island. Seth Walker, in his late twenties, is a free spirit, the schoolteacher and leader of worship at the only church in town. Baxtor Phinney, is the self-appointed mayor, and his sons, Peter and Porter, are lazy and annoying.

As the story unfolds, Camden, Madison and Blaine come to the island to help their father fix up Camp Kicking Moose. These young women are not following the Lord, but as time progresses, they seek Him more. They become closer, more understanding and sympathetic with one another. On the island they all also end up finding friends and a purpose. They are surprised by the joy they find in helping others and they grow to appreciate the beauty the island has to offer.

The characters grow, develop a stronger bond with each other and seek more meaning in their lives through their relationship with the Lord. Paul feels blessed to see his family united in a way that is fresh and new. Some funny events, mystery and romance are thrown in to complete the story.

I really enjoyed On a Summer Tide. The characters came to life, and I was sad to leave them when the book ended. The author did an excellent job. This book is best suited to readers age 18 and above.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her six children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law and one-daughter-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of candy and flowers (well, maybe not instead of candy, but in addition to) why not give one of your valentines a romance novel? We have some suggestions for you.

There are others on the Book Lists page. Scroll down to find more YA fiction and College/Working Adult titles.

And remember you are always God’s valentine and ours.

YA

First Date
The Lost Castle
Love Finds You in Lahaina, Hawaii
The Princess

 

College/Working Adult

Christy
First Impressions, A Contemporary Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
With Every Letter

 

A Place in His Heart, written by Rebecca Demarino, and published by Revell (2014) is based on a true story. Demarino’s mother’s eighth great grandfather, Barnabas Horton, left England and came to New England in the 1600’s. Much of his history is written about in this story. It is the first book in a series of three. This story is best suited to readers, ages eighteen and up.

The year is 1630. Barnabas Horton, a Puritan living in a community not far from London, has recently lost his wife Ann. As the story begins, he and his young sons, Joseph and Benjamin, are grieving her loss. A young Anglican woman, Mary Langton, has recently been left on the church steps as she was about to marry her intended, Nathan Cadwell. She has not heard from him since. Her father wants to protect her and have her marry a family friend from London, Robert Haskins. Mary is very close to her father and sister, and yet, she does not love Robert and wants to marry for love.

She soon meets Barnabas, who is a baker in their community. Barnabas, though still grieving for Ann, is very attracted to Mary and sees her wonderful qualities. He knows also that his two young sons need a mother. He feels conflicted.

Mary finds herself falling in love with Barnabas, whom she calls Barney. She also begins to love his sons. It is difficult, but she convinces her father to allow Barney rather than Robert to court her. Her father is concerned that Barney holds Puritan beliefs at a time when there is some persecution for those holding such beliefs. Barney is honest with Mary and admits he does not love her in the same way that he loved Ann, yet he admires Mary greatly, enjoys her personality, and believes she would make an excellent mother.

Barney has two brothers who are interested in traveling to New England, so they can worship God in freedom. One of them, Jeremy, has a ship called the Swallow. Early in the story he begins transporting people to the New World.

Barnabas and Mary become engaged and then marry. At the wedding it is said that Barnabas and his family will go to the New World. He says it is only a joke.

Mary really wants a baby, but she is having trouble becoming pregnant. She also feels a sense of loss, knowing her husband cares for her, but has not yet declared his love for her. She loves his boys, but the older one Joseph has trouble getting close to her. The younger one, however, considers her his mother and she is thankful for that.

Several years into their marriage, Barnabas does make plans for them to travel to New England. Mary is devastated about leaving her father, her sister, and her sister’s family. Yet she feels that she should support Barnabas, and she tries to be strong. She knows her husband believes that he is called to New England, and that there he and Reverend Youngs hope to plant churches in Massachusetts and Southold, Long Island.

The journey is difficult and lasts two months. Although the little family has their own stateroom on the ship, there are many struggles. Mary is often very sick and the food rations run short.

There is much rejoicing when they finally reach Massachusetts. They stay in a tent while Barnabas builds them a house. It is now about five years into their marriage, and Mary has still not conceived. Barney keeps saying that it will happen in the Lord’s timing.

This is a difficult time for Mary. She misses her family terribly. In about a year, she receives word that her father had passed away. She is heartbroken, but she realizes she must move on. There is much to do in this New World.

They soon move to Southold, Long Island in New York. Things are a little better. Mary makes some very good friends, Patience and Winney. Barney builds them a large house, and they feel a sense of community. Without giving away the ending, I will say that after several other struggles, the story ends very happily. There is much spiritual growth that has taken place in both Barney and Mary, and they are much more at peace than they ever have been.

I learned a lot from this story. I realized it must have been so difficult for the first Puritans, both crossing the ocean, and settling in the New World. Their faith was stretched, and mine was as well as I read their story. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law and one-daughter-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

 

First Impressions (The Jane Austen Series): A Contemporary Retelling of Pride and Prejudice, written by Debra White Smith and published by Bethany House, Reprint edition (2018) will entertain you from cover to cover. The characters in the story resemble those in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and they are also performing this play for their community of London, Texas.

Eddi Boswick who resembles Elizabeth Bennet, has recently moved to London to start her new law practice. She is beautiful, smart and practical. In order to bond with the community, she tries out for a local theater production of Pride and Prejudice and is cast as Elizabeth.

The play is being directed by an older woman, Madelynne DeBloom. Madelynne owns the community theater, which operates in her home, Huntington House. She resembles Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice. Her nephew, Dave Davidson, ends up playing Mr. Darcy.

Dave, who has been in town for three years, is handsome and wealthy, owning his own ranch. He lost his parents and considers Madelynne his mother. He has a past as Eddi and her sister Jenny come to discover. Before he was fully surrendered to the Lord, he was known as William F. Davidson, and owned a company called USA Online. He was a celebrity, written up in People Magazine, and he’s been seen with the actress, Laura Schock. Eddi and her sister admire him, but don’t trust him.

Eddi’s youngest sister, Linda, who is twenty, is rebelling against her parents, Edward and Mary Boswick who live in Houston. She is drinking and dating a man named Rick Wallace. Similar to Mr. Wickham of Pride and Prejudice, he is always trying to make himself look better than he is. He is also a foster cousin to Dave. In the middle of the story, Linda finds out she is pregnant, and considers ending the pregnancy. Dave Davidson intervenes, and arranges for Linda and Rick to marry and attend church, helping them both to make a new life for themselves. Eddi is very thankful for his intervention.

During much of the story, sparks fly whenever Eddi and Dave are around each other. Eddi is somewhat attracted to Dave, but she feels he is arrogant and that he is hiding things. As the story progresses, she finds out that as a lawyer, she has misjudged him without hearing his side. At first, Dave is very much attracted to Eddi, but doesn’t see how things could ever work between them. He knows that she feels he is arrogant.

Other characters are introduced, and the entertainment continues. Eventually everything turns out for the best as people grow and change with the Lord’s help. All ends happily and the three daughters end up married within one year!

I really enjoyed First Impressions (The Jane Austen Series). Some of the lines from Pride and Prejudice are included, and it is very funny how the different characters in the novel resemble their roles in the play.

There are also some transformations, some apologies, some confessions and some relationships made right because of the Lord’s presence in the lives of the individuals. For example, Linda gives birth to an adorable baby, and Linda and her husband, Rick, begin following the Lord. I really enjoyed how the author shows how much better a life with Jesus can be.

First Impressions (The Jane Austen Series) would be appropriate for high school-age students and above. I know you and they will enjoy this story as I have.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her children and grandchildren. Her two daughters, two sons, one son-in-law, one daughter-in-law and two granddaughters are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

The Lost Castle, written by Kristy Cambron and published by Thomas Nelson (2018), is a split-time romance—multiple stories in one. It follows the lives of three women: a noblewoman during the French Revolution, a British linguist at the time of WWII, and a contemporary young American. Each woman must define herself against the backdrop of her time, and respond to the claims on her life. Moving between three different eras, Kristy Cambron skillfully weaves the three plots into one overarching story line.

It all begins when Ellie Carver visits her Grandma Vi at the care center. Agitated, but surprisingly lucid, her grandmother gives her an old volume of French fairy tales. Inside, Ellie finds a sepia photograph of her grandmother as a young woman, gazing lovingly at a very handsome young man who is not her grandfather. Grandma Vi—overcoming Alzheimer’s for a brief moment—begs her granddaughter to find the castle in the photo before it is too late.

It is up to Ellie to track down this mystery for her grandmother while there is still time. The novel is intriguing, revealing fascinating details of two explosive time periods and tying them to the present. Ellie, Violet, and Aveline must grapple with how to be loyal, honest, persevering, brave, and caring despite harrowing circumstances. Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle come together and the castle emerges—transforming the lives and loves of those who find it.

Over 300 pages in length, this book is for college or high school readers. Since two of the time periods encompass wars, there is violence and loss. Death is not depicted graphically, but the harshness of war might be an issue for some readers. The Lost Castle is sold at Christian bookstores and online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christianbook.com.

Donna Fujimoto’s children love to read. She is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. Her collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge  is available as an e-book at Amazon. 

 

Wonderland Creek, was written by the amazingly talented Lynn Austin and published by Bethany House Publishers (2011). This novel will delight your heart and it will also get it pounding. I read the suspenseful scenes, hoping for a peaceful outcome, but I read the book as slowly as possible because I didn’t want to finish it. Every sentence is packed with either fun, hilarity or suspense. The novel centers around twenty-two-year-old Alice Grace Ripley of Blue Island, Illinois, and takes place in 1936, during the Great Depression.

Alice loves books and is always reading some dramatic story.  She is the daughter of Reverend Horace Ripley, who encourages her to help others as much as she can. She is also dating Gordon T. Walters, the son of a funeral director. Her best friend, Freddy, is a school teacher. Within the first few pages of the story, Alice’s boyfriend Gordon breaks up with her, believing she is not grounded enough in reality.  She also looses her job at the library, due to cutbacks because of the Depression.

She thinks her life is over, until she finds out her very rich Aunt Lydia and Uncle Cecil will be traveling through Kentucky to a spa and hot springs in the Appalachian Mountains for two weeks. This gives Alice an idea. She has been collecting books for the poor folks in the backwoods of Kentucky. She has also been corresponding with a librarian there, Leslie MacDougal.  Alice thinks this would be a perfect way to escape her town for a while, and forget her problems. Her aunt and uncle agree to drop her off on their way to the spa, and return for her in two weeks.

The car ride is long and tedious, and when they reach the town of Acorn, it is so small, they don’t even know they are there. They do however find the library and leave Alice at the door with her boxes of books and a suitcase. Alice knocks and a very grumpy man answers, not knowing who she is. When she explains she wrote to the librarian, Leslie MacDougal, saying she had books to donate and time to offer in the library, the man says . . . “Yes, you did, and I told you not to come!”

The man is the librarian and tells her he has no room for her. He also informs her the town has no hotel, no restaurant, no train station, no telephone, no electricity and no running water!  But because her aunt and uncle have already driven off, Leslie has no choice but to take Alice in and offer his room, sparse though it is. Her first dinner consists of pork and beans slathered between two slices of bread. He informs her there is an outhouse in the backyard.

Alice is distraught. This is not at all what she imagined. She is not sure how she will “survive” until her aunt and uncle return.

Soon Alice discovers there is an elderly lady, Miss Lilly, living on the top floor of the library. Alice thinks Lilly, who is 100 years old,  is weak and frail, but then she finds out more about her and how much of a fighter this little person really is. Lilly is the resident prayer warrior and herb healer. She is also like a mother to Leslie. Leslie, who calls himself Mack, lost his parents when he was quite young.

On Alice’s second day in town, Mack is shot. The bullet goes right through him!  There is no doctor for miles around, so Alice and Lilly must care for him and try to stop the bleeding.

As if this isn’t enough for Alice, Lilly and Mack try to get Alice to agree to make it look like an accident, have him die, and stage a mock funeral. Mack believes he was shot because someone is upset with him. He thinks if he doesn’t fake his own death, the person will return and attempt to  harm him again, putting Alice and Lilly at risk.  Alice thinks they are absolutely crazy, but she agrees to remain silent.

In the next few days, the things these folks ask Alice to do are absolutely unbelievable and outrageous. She finds herself wrapped up in a real life drama, not just imagining the drama in the lives of the characters of whatever book she is reading. Her trip ends up to be a little longer than she had originally planned. I don’t want to give away any of the ending, but I will say it all ends perfectly. Alice finally knows why the Lord wanted her to take this trip.

At the beginning of the book, Alice’s faith is weak, but by the end, she has learned to lean on the Lord in many ways. She spends time helping and encouraging many in the area. She comes to care for them and enjoy being with them. She even learns to ride a horse and takes books up steep hills to those who are living far from the library.

I enjoyed the deeper parts of this story as Miss Lilly shared with Alice a lifetime of trusting in God.  I’m sure you will enjoy this book as much as I did.

However, there is one aspect of the book, I had trouble with. Alice begins a relationship with a young man. He is charming and cheerful and Alice enjoys kissing him. But I thought she didn’t take the relationship seriously. Her reaction when it is over it is rather flippant. She doesn’t question whether she should kiss him or not. She just thought she would have an adventure, go home and that would be the end of it. If that is how she felt, I don’t think she had any business kissing him to begin with. Her attitude is immature and not grounded in reality. For this reason, this romance novel  would probably be best read by women 21 and above.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

In Peculiar Treasures by Robin Jones Gunn and published by Zondervan (2008), quirky, red-headed Katie Weldon is finishing up her junior year of college at Rancho Corona. Her best friend, Christy Miller, is recently married. Katie is in a dating relationship with Rick Doyle, the boy she has had a crush on since high school. As she works to define her relationship with Rick, another guy whom she nicknames “goatee guy” arrives on the scene and challenges Katie’s perceptions.

Struggling with finances, Katie is given a new job as a resident advisor in the dorm, but it takes her away from Rick. Their efforts to draw closer seem to push them further apart. As Katie juggles her responsibilities of work and school, her relationship with Rick becomes a roller coaster.

Other troubles arise as she adjusts to her new job and the conflicts it brings. Katie realizes she must learn to forgive others in order to receive into her heart the peculiar treasures God has given her.

Peculiar Treasures is the first book of four in the Katie Weldon series. I enjoyed this series because it realistically portrays how God works in someone’s life. It showed how God prepares you for the things He wants you to do by weaving the desires of your heart into His plan. And even when things don’t seem to work out, there is a purpose for them in your life which can help you grow. Also, Katie and Rick’s relationship in the stories provides a good, Christian model to follow.

We are recommending Peculiar Treasures for older teens and college-age students. It is categorized as a romance, but it is not a typical romance.  The series continues with On a Whim, Coming Attractions and Finally & Forever.

Books 4 Christian Kids also reviewed two other books by Robin Jones Gunn Summer Promise and A Whisper and a Wish . These novels follow Katie’s best friend, Christy Miller.

J. D. Rempelhttps://jdrempel.com/ , is a graduate of Simpson College. She is endeavoring to pen a YA science fiction novel and an adult fantasy series. Currently, she is seeking a publisher for her middle grade fiction novel. J. D. loves to read, work with her husband in youth ministry, and play peekaboo with her turtle, Applesauce. 

 

 

 

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