“The Sound of Silver” Birthday Blog Tour

Hello and welcome to The Sound of Silver birthday blog tour! Today’s celebration is all about Rachelle Rea Cobb’s second book in the Steadfast Love series, an inspirational historical romance set in 16th century Europe!The Sound of Silver

Rachelle is also the author of The Sound of Diamonds, the first book in the series, and a newlywed! This summer, she married a man with the same first name as the hero of the series! (And if you haven’t, take the time to read her real-life love story on her personal blog. It’s so sweet and encouraging!) I’m joining in this blog tour to tell you a little more about Silver and spread the news about Rachelle’s awesome giveaway—make sure you enter using the Rafflecopter form linked below to win the lovely necklace pictured and your choice of any of the Steadfast Love titles!


My reviews of the Steadfast Love series:

The Sound of Diamonds (with interview)

The Sound of Silver

The Sound of Emeralds


Enter using the Rafflecopter form below to win a beautiful necklace created by Baubles, Beads, and Stuff and your choice of any one of Rachelle’s three books (the series begins in Book One, of course, but in case you have one or two of her books already, Rachelle will gladly send you the next one to read!).

International friends, the paperback & necklace giveaway is open to continental U.S. addresses only (sorry!). But do still enter, because one international winner will also be chosen to receive an e-book.

Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e8cfa9569/

ABOUT The Steadfast Love SERIES

In 16th-century Europe, the Reformation rages between Protestants and Catholics. Gwyneth, half-Dutch, flees from England to Holland to escape the man who murdered her parents. When he follows her there and insists he came to rescue her, will she trust this man called Dirk? When tragedy strikes, will their steadfast love erode?


Rachelle ReaTimes gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago–her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series during college. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She’s a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck. In June 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero, and they live happily ever after in Small Town, South.




Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelleReaCobb

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/RachelleReaCobb/

Instagram: @RachelleReaCobb

Amazon Author Pagehttp://www.amazon.com/Rachelle-Rea/e/B00RZHIL1Q



MORE ABOUT The Sound of Silver

The stalwart saint and the redeemed rebel. One fights for faith, the other for honor…

Fire and RainAfter Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Meanwhile, Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?

Find The Sound of Silver on…

Amazon Paperback: http://is.gd/1HwJoi

Kindle: http://is.gd/EZ7DJ1

Barnes & Noble: http://is.gd/qhoCTc

Books a Million: http://is.gd/M2y5P2

Goodreads: http://is.gd/iBE2lJ

Review: “The Lady and the Lionheart” by Joanne Bischof

Review: “The Lady and the Lionheart” by Joanne Bischof

Today I’m writing a long and gushing review of a recent independent release (yay for #indieauthors!) from Joanne Bischof, The Lady and the Lionheart. Its setting alone is intriguing: a traveling circus in Victorian-era Virginia. Combine that with a colorful cast of characters, most prominent being the enchanting lion tamer, a nurse in training, and a precious baby who will steal your heart, and we have a stage for a dramatic story of heart with hints of Beauty & The Beast.

About the Book

Two worlds collide when the circus comes to Victorian-era Virginia.


This book cover!!!❤ I absolutely adore it! (especially the hat in her hand after knowing its meaning)

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past,
awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

Just then a child in the row behind Ella cried out, “Look, Mama!”

Charlie, dressed in his center ring finery, strode into the arena, as strong and strapping as ever. Face powdered and painted with two jagged teardrops under his eyes, he walked with stoic authority, tall boots forging a fresh trail straight toward his audience. Ella didn’t know a single man could hush a packed house with no words, but…then there was Charlie Lionheart.Add to Goodreads


This is one book I kept hearing exclaimed by fellow bloggers AND some favorite authors, so I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about as soon as I could. And WOW, was it all well-deserved!

Let me continue by saying this is now one of my absolute favorite books! This story is a beautiful picture of the Gospel, of the freely given sacrifice, the love of Christ for His bride, the constant call for us to have a relationship with Him.

The dynamic (and romance) of Charlie and Ella is wonderful! They perfectly complement each other. Both have pasts filled with pain, and through this story we see how Charlie has chosen to react — and his encouragement for Ella to do the same — to choose hope. Charlie finds strength in Ella, I think. A determination to press on, a reassurance that his life choices were right, even though he feels like he doesn’t have much to offer.

Ella is longing for home in more than one sense (both earthly and heavenly belonging), though she doesn’t realize it until Charlie’s discerning presence arrives in her life.  And Ella, in turn, sees the contrast of Charlie’s response to some damaging things that have happened to him with her own responses.

Joanne Bischof creates beautiful scenes with each turn of phrase, conveying feelings with just a simple description. There was so much raw emotion expressed by Ella and especially Charlie that I couldn’t help being caught up in it all, tugging my heart with moments both bittersweet and joyous. And little Holland! She is so important as a catalyst between these two and a ray of light.

I want to mention the supporting characters because they contribute so much to the story, even the lions. They are gracious, important, and colorful (it IS a circus, after all!). The lions and corresponding circus act is so unique and intriguing! They are really just overgrown cats, and I was happy to see them portrayed with a little humor.

The message of this story resounds long after reading it. It’s impactful in its display of a pure love with raw — and sometimes painful — honesty. The underlying theme of sacrifice is beautifully realized as secrets are slowly revealed regarding Charlie’s past. I believe it’s a story I will come back to multiple times and see new truths and joys with each reading.

Connect with author Joanne Bischof

 Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

What about you? Have you read a story lately that’s completely blown you away with its beautiful message or themes?

Review: “A Lesson in Love and Murder” by Rachel McMillan

Join me today as we return to early 20th century Toronto (and Chicago!) with the notable lady detectives, Jem and Merinda, subjects of Rachel McMillan’s latest novel, A Lesson in Love and Murder. A delightful (and somewhat short) read, it furthers the story of these two as they find another adventure amongst dangerous criminal activities and a couple very eligible bachelors.

About the Book

From political danger to personal drama, life is about to get explosive…

The legacy of literary icon Sherlock Holmes is alive and well in 1912 Canada, where best friends Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts continue to develop their skills as consulting detectives.
a-lesson-in-love-and-murderThe city of Toronto has been thrown into upheaval by the arrival of radical anarchist Emma Goldman. Amid this political chaos, Benny Citrone of the Royal North-West Mounted Police arrives at Merinda and Jem’s flat, requesting assistance in locating his runaway cousin—a man with a deadly talent.

While Merinda eagerly accepts the case, she finds herself constantly butting heads—and hearts—with Benny. Meanwhile, Jem has her hands full with a husband who is determined to keep her out of harm’s way.

As Merinda and Jem close in on the danger they’ve tracked from Toronto to Chicago, they uncover a sinister plot to assassinate presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt. Will they be able to save the day and resolve the troubles threatening their future happiness before it’s too late?

Independence, love, and lives are at stake in A Lesson in Love and Murder, the gripping second installment of the Herringford and Watts Mysteries series.


ReviewThis is another classic Jem and Merinda tale! We readers are slowly watching these two girls mature as they settle into private detective life. To elaborate on the adventure, action, and serious drama they traipse through during a case that takes them away from home and to bustling Chicago would be to reveal too much of the mystery and delight contained between the pages. Instead, I will outline a few observations of the growth of the characters themselves within this latest story.

Jem is coming into her own with more boldness and determination, which I think is a result of her now-married status, though Ray would scoff to think he’s encouraging her daring vocation in any way. Merinda has matured from her first ventures on the page, too, though hers is a slower and more subtle change. With this book, we glimpse her heart and deep caring friendship with Jem, though Merinda tries to hide the fact behind a toughened exterior. Merinda is at somewhat of a crossroads in her personal life, trying to hold on to her camaraderie with Jem while knowing the nature of their relationship is different now that Ray’s in the picture. And, a new maybe-love-interest for her is shifting her opinion on the possibility of a happily ever after.

For those of you reading this book just for Ray and Jasper, have no fear, they are back and just as stubborn as ever when it comes to their determination to be heroes. Jem and Merinda don’t put up with that for a second. Gladly, we do get to learn more about the both of them. And there’s a new man in town — also in uniform — a mountie, no less, of the Royal North-West Mounted Police. Benfield Citrone, or Benny, proves to be heroic in his own way, bringing a new contrast to the story in light of his wilderness background.

While it has its lighter and humorous moments, it still boasts a dramatic story dealing with real issues and hints at spiritual themes of trust. Rachel McMillan manages to capture the serious and enchanting moments of everyday life, the happiness and constant struggle, within the oppositions Jem and Merinda face in this story. While much is resolved by the story’s end, I am quite anxious to know how certain predicaments will be resolved in the upcoming novella and then series conclusion. Thankfully, they release in December and May, respectively, so I won’t have to wait long!

Sincere thanks to the publisher for a complimentary review copy.

See my thoughts on other books in this series:

#0.5 A Singular and Whimsical Problem

#1 The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder (and author interview)

#1.5 Of Dubious and Questionable Memory

Review: “Love Everlasting” by Julie Lessman ~ Blog Tour & Giveaway


Today I’m happy to be participating in the blog tour for Julie Lessman’s latest indie release, Love Everlasting, the second book in her contemporary “Isle of Hope” series. Read on for more about the book, Julie, my review, and an opportunity to enter the giveaway for an ecopy of book 1 or 2!

(Just a little note here: you can read this book as a standalone, for sure, but you would experience the story with more perspective and deeper emotional investment if you start with book 1, Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love.)

PictureSeries: Isle of Hope
Genre: Christian, Romance
Publisher: Julie Lessman, LLC
Publication date: September 30, 2016
Number of pages: 307

He sets hearts on fire.
She’s been burned by love.
Can hope survive the flames of the past?

School teacher by day, ghostwriter by night, sweet and shy Shannon O’Bryen doesn’t mind writing romance on the sly, but to live it? No, thank you, not since the man she loved turned out to be a player who broke both her heart and her spirit. Now focused more on her faith and her fiction, she vows the next time she falls in love, it will be safely—through the pages of a book.

Dr. Sam Cunningham is a charismatic player who breaks hearts as regularly as he washes his pearl-white Corvette. Abandoned as a young child, Sam was an orphan shuffled through the foster-care system, bitterly driven to prove he is worthy of love—the kind that lasts forever. Once he learns Shannon is a romance writer, he enlists her help in winning back his ex-girlfriend. She teaches him about faith and the true definition of love, and he soon discovers he’s been seeking it in the wrong place all along—and with the wrong girl. But can he convince a woman who’s been burned by love to open her eyes—and her heart—to a love everlasting?

PictureJulie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.
Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, Julie Lessman was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered 17 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also named on Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction list.Julie’s most recent novel, Isle of Hope was voted on Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, and Surprised by Love appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s list of Top Ten Novels of 2014. Her independent novel A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets.
You can contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at www.julielessman.com.
Whew! Julie Lessman calls herself a caffeinated drama queen, and this book certainly reaffirms that fact with the characters’ habits of caffeine and my need for some after losing a little sleep for “just one more chapter”.
What begins as an engaging, sweet story of friendship with moments of romance grows into a story full of Scriptural truths, honest failures and pain, and a message of the hope we can only find through the love of Christ.
Sam and Shannon’s dynamic is somewhat predictable at first, with the shy good-girl and rebellious player thrown together in a new friendship. While their eventual mutual love might have been predicted from page one, the arduous journey each one of them travels to get to their happy ending comes with an unexpected grittiness. Shannon’s past is hinted at as holding her back from trusting herself to love again, and Sam’s lack of faith in God combined with his carefree lifestyle prove to be obstacles for both of them. With a realness and loving approach, Julie takes these two on a journey of faith influenced by the wisdom of family and close friends, showing them both what unconditional love looks like.
Also, we get to see our favorite returning families and spunky supporting characters again! I was happy to read a secondary plot and romance carried over from book 1 between Tess O’Bryen and Ben Carmichael. Their relationship continues to grow while facing its own hurdles to overcome (like trust).
This is another fantastic contemporary romance with so much depth and several swoony moments from Julie. I personally am already anxious for book 3, releasing in 2016, because I suspect it’s centered on two of my favorite secondary characters from this series (Cat and Chase!!🙂 ).
Thank you to the publisher and Singing Librarian Books for a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Click here to enter the rafflecopter giveaway!

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Series Review: Montana Fire by Susan May Warren

Unless you’re totally new around here, you have probably heard of my love of author Susan May Warren. When I heard she was independently releasing 1 ebook a MONTH this summer in a new romantic suspense trilogy, I was super excited! This new “Montana Fire” series is a prequel series, of sorts, to an upcoming series with Revell Publishers (the “Wild Montana Skies” series).

I have since read all 3 of these. They are quick reads, each one a little over 200 pages. Hence, this post with snippets of my opinion on all 3. For time’s sake, I have not included the plot synopsis of each book, but if you click each book cover it will take you to the Goodreads page for more info on each one.

This series is full of action and drama, like a hang-on-to-your-seat (or parachute, if you will), thrill ride from start to end. In the middle of the chaos, moments of slightly sizzling romance (while always remaining classy), deep emotion, and strong messages of faith unfold.

The setting and career featured are unique — the Cabinet Mountains near Glacier National Park in Montana, and a team of forest firefighters and smoke jumpers. (Yes, they jump out of planes into fires.) Definitely a new-to-me perspective, and profession unexplored in the genre to my knowledge. Susan has done her research and offers an eye-opening look at the danger and sacrifice of forest firefighters.

Just when you think the perilous situations these smoke jumpers get in can’t get more complicated, they do. Since I’ve read all 3 of these I feel like I actually survived a river rescue, aggressive grizzly attack, skydiving AND plane crashes, not to mention numerous forest fires and arson threats.

I referenced book 1 in that one Instagram #bookphotochallenge assignment pairing a book and song lyrics. I now say that NEEDTOBREATHE’s Hard Love could be a theme song for this whole series.


#1 Where There’s Smoke

~smoke jumpers Jed Ransom and Kate Burns~

“Complex” doesn’t begin to describe the tangle of history between Jed and Kate. It was established off page and opens this story with action and tension, with ties to fire and a mutual history, both deeply respectful of Jock Burns (Kate’s dad).

Susan works references to fire and parachuting all over the place, and it works so well! Like this quote: “He wasn’t sure how he’d gone from standing at the edge of her world to an all-out dive into what he’d been quietly longing for his entire life, but he wasn’t going to look up, see a possible tear in his canopy.” (from chapter 7)

Main theme/lesson: Learning to cling to faith, that God is always to sustain you.


Playing With Fire.jpg

(click book cover for the Goodreads page)

#2 Playing With Fire

~smoke jumper Conner Young and artist Liza Beaumont~

Let me note here that Susan has been clever and insightful with her “heated” titles of this series, tying in with the theme and hinting at the drama and action of each.

This is my favorite of the series. For a few crazy pages, I thought I might be ok with the idea of skydiving (you’ll know what I mean when you meet Conner and read that scene). Thankfully, I’ve since had a reality check and can say I won’t plan on jumping out of a perfectly good plane unless my life depends on it.

Conner and Liza have a shared history, as well, which is briefly but thoroughly covered in the first few chapters. Fans of the Christiansen family series will be a happily familiar with the setting of their initial meeting, at a fire in Minnesota.

Main theme/lesson: Explores the meaning and implications of promises — that actions can speak as a promise even when words fail. That a promise is a display of hope.



(click book cover for the Goodreads page)

#3 Burnin’ For You

~smoke jumper Reuben Marshall and bomber pilot Gilly Priest~

This story is the one where we *finally* get Reuben and Gilly’s story, an attraction that has been hinted in the previous books. They learn a lesson in teamwork and trust when their team’s lives depend on their abilities to battle the elements and find help (and all of this while realizing their chemistry and fighting an arsonist.)

One important line was delivered by Gilly’s sister, and if I may paraphrase, she encouraged Gilly to not letting her fears determine or failures dictate her choices or limit her potential.

The arc of a mystery arsonist is finally solved in this one. It was well threaded through the 3 different stories — I didn’t suspect who it was at all!

Main theme/lesson: Trusting God to handle your life is the only way to have true peace. And, illustrating how God waits for us to choose Him, seek Him.


Review & Author Interview: “Rumors and Promises” by Kathleen Rouser

As I go deeper into the book blogger world, I’m pleasantly finding hidden story gems in indie (author-published) or small-time published books. They very often have the same quality of content as big-name publishers, sometimes limited to ebook form, with smaller-scale marketing.

One recent find I am privileged to talk about today is a novel called Rumors and Promises by Kathleen Rouser, published by Heritage Beacon Fiction. Kathleen has graciously taken the time to answer my interview questions listed below, after my thoughts on the novel. I can say from my own communications with her, she is very eager for readers to connect with the characters and recognize the poignant message of the story.

About the Book

Sophie Biddle, an heiress on the run with a child in tow, considers herself abandoned by her family and God. Wary, self-reliant Sophie is caught off guard when meeting a kind, but meddling and handsome minister at the local mercantile.

In 1900, Reverend Ian McCormick is determined to start anew in Stone Creek, Michigan, believing he has failed God and his former flock. He works harder than ever to forget his mistake, hoping to prove himself a most pleasing servant to his new congregation and once again to God.

While Sophie seeks acceptance for the child and a measure of respect for herself, the rumors swirl about her sordid past. Should Ian show concern for Sophie plight, he could risk everything – including his position as pastor of Stone Creek.

Now the pair must choose to trust God and forgive those who slander and gossip, or run. Will the scandals of their pasts bind them together forever, or drive both deeper into despair?


This is very much a character-driven story of belonging and forgiveness. Sophie and Ian
are endearing and instantly relatable. Kathleen Rouser brings the reader on a journey into a realistic and quaint small town with all its charms and a few difficult personalities. rumors-and-promisesThe sense of community Ian wants to establish and Sophie desires to be a part of is not easily obtained by either, yet the message of hope and acceptance is steadfast through all the ups and downs these two characters face.

I enjoyed the way the secondary characters have prominent roles and vibrant personalities. Whether it was Ian’s sister, Maggie, or Sophie’s little one, Caira, the supporting cast helped to reveal another side of the main characters. They also were important to the story progression and enhanced the overall feel of community Sophie longed for.

Kathleen presented the story with a necessary delicate approach, handling topics of deception, abuse, and isolation with care. The themes of forgiveness and God’s grace were clearly communicated in a way that made my heart happy for the journey these characters took. Most important, to me, was the message of faith being useless without action — that we are to live out what we claim in our hearts and share the message of grace through our actions.

Thank you to the publisher for a complimentary review ecopy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Interview with the AuthorWhat inspired you to write Rumors and Promises?

Sophie Biddle’s story in Rumors and Promises really began as an attempt to convey a story similar to the account of the woman at the well in Chapter Four of the Gospel of John. At the time editors weren’t interested in biblical fiction. But I was also constrained by the guidelines of Christian publishing. How could I have my protagonist be a woman of bad reputation while preserving her purity? The character of Sophia Bidershem, an heiress concealing her identity with a slightly different name and trying to pass off her toddler daughter as her sister, was born. The out-of-wedlock-pregnancy had not come about by her volition, but she loves her child anyway and does what she must to take care of her. She bears the brunt of the resulting shame.

Then I thought about who had the most to lose in becoming involved in the life of these runaway girls, just as the disciples became shocked Jesus would associate with the Samaritan woman. Pastor Ian McCormick would have much to lose if his reputation was besmirched by friendship with a “fallen woman.” Of course, that’s where the similarities end. Jesus is sinless while Ian is a flawed man trying to start over with a new congregation because of past failings.

What spiritual message or theme do you want to communicate to readers with Rumors & Promises?

The theme verse I had in mind when I wrote Rumors and Promises, which is included in the front matter of the book is this: I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.~ Exodus 20:2, KJV

My main characters, Sophie and Ian, are struggling with life-altering incidents from their pasts. For Sophie it’s the injustice and how she feels deserted by those she thought loved her. For Ian, he cannot forgive himself for past failure. Though no harm was intended, he thinks he let God and others down.

It is so easy to get stuck in the past. I struggle with it myself, but I hope people who read my book will realize that Christ (and what He accomplished for us on the cross and being raised from the dead) is much bigger than our past failures or the injustices done to us. He is there to guide and heal. When we can grasp hold of that truth we can truly be free and move forward in our lives.

What was most challenging about writing a story set in early 1900s rural Michigan?

Lots of fact checking, such as what kind of heating they’d likely use in a town like Stone Creek, lighting, clothing, etc. It’s trying to make sure an object or a phrase isn’t used before it actually appeared on the historic timeline that can be difficult.


Then when it came to researching homes for unwed mothers, I found a few facts about the Florence Crittenton Homes and that one had begun in Detroit at the turn of the century (1900). But it took some real digging before I was able to find two older books through interlibrary loan, which talked about the history of the homes and gave detail to how they were run. I thought finding details about a mission in the city of Detroit would be a little easier, but not so.

Which character was your favorite to write?

That’s hard to say. I had such a heart for Sophie and her struggles. However, I really enjoyed writing about Ian and his bantering with his sister, Maggie.  I also rather enjoyed making Gertrude Wringer rather despicable. I’m not sure what that says about me, except that my inner mean girl must be coming out.

Just for fun: do you have any hobbies?

I like to read of course, making jewelry, knitting, walking, biking, and watching shows that make me laugh. I also like lunch out with my sister or friends and sipping a good latte.

If you could live in any other time period in history, which would it be and why?

This is another difficult question. There are so many periods of history I’d like to experience! The Regency period in England comes to mind. I love Jane Austen’s writings. I recently was privileged to visit the Jane Austen Museum in Bath, England. I love the style of clothing and the elegant manners of the time. However, I think it would have been a lot tougher to live then too.

What are you currently reading?

 The Chamomile by Susan F. Craft.

Connect with Kathy: Her website | Facebook Author Page | Twitter

Review: “The Long Journey to Jake Palmer” by James L. Rubart

Today’s review features a recent release from Thomas Nelson fiction, The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James L. Rubart. As the title suggests, it is the story of one man’s journey of finding himself again after tragedy. While it is a contemporary drama, it has mysterious fantastical elements that deepen the story and have Narnian-like implications. This made it a page-turner, for sure!

What if there was a place where everything wrong in your life could be fixed?The Long Journey to Jake Palmer.jpg

Corporate trainer Jake Palmer coaches people to see deeper into themselves—yet he barely knows himself anymore. Recently divorced and weary of the business life, Jake reluctantly agrees to a lake-house vacation with friends, hoping to escape for ten days.

When he arrives, Jake hears the legend of Willow Lake—about a lost corridor that leads to a place where one’s deepest longings will be fulfilled.

Jake scoffs at the idea, but can’t shake a sliver of hope that the corridor is real. And when he meets a man who mutters cryptic speculations about the corridor, Jake is determined to find the path, find himself, and fix his crumbling life.

But the journey will become more treacherous with each step Jake takes.


James L. Rubart is a master storyteller. This novel uses perhaps the most unique concept to deliver its message that I’ve read this year. At its heart is a message of HOPE. Of being enough. Finding freedom in faith and simple joy in everyday life, even when the outcome of your circumstances is not something you would have chosen for yourself. But I’m getting slightly ahead of myself here.🙂

While our main character, Jake Palmer, spends his professional life helping other people see their true selves and the gifts they have to offer other people, he is in a season oblivious to his own talents and blessings. He also carries a bitterness and weight only revealed as the story unfolds, as we learn more of his past and personality.

It was a “journey” on my part, as the reader, to see how Jake’s time spent with his closest friends draws him out of himself as much as the mystery he’s searching for. While he resists their efforts at times, they remind him how to find joy in everyday moments. Jake had lost his own identity in a sense. This made me think about how we identify ourselves with things we do or who we’re with, when our true identity should come from God and who HE says we are: HIS, beloved, with a purpose for His glory.

With a fairytale-like otherworld promised at the end of the lake, Jake’s search for answers eventually leads him to recognize himself. Like life, it is as much about the journey as it is the destination. Tiny parallels with The Chronicles of Narnia and outright mentions of C.S. Lewis and his stories in the book will be delightful for any fan of those classics!

I could talk for paragraphs about the lake legend part of the story, but it would be full of spoilers! So, I’ll just say the revealing of this mystery is perfectly timed within the story. It is built up with a great supporting cast and foundation. If this book is anywhere on your radar, bookshelf, or TBR pile, I highly recommend you read it soon! It will bless you with its intricacies of emotion and inspiring message.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson publishers and BookLookBloggers.com for the complimentary review ecopy in exchange for my honest review.