Review: “While Love Stirs” by Lorna Seilstad, Revell Reads Blog Tour

Today I’m happy to share my review of author Lorna Seilstad’s latest, While Love Stirs, for Revell Publishers’ “Revell Reads Blog Tour”.

While Love Stirs is a fun and light historical romance, following character Charlotte Gregory as she dreams of having her own restaurant in early 1900s Minnesota. Having completed Fannie Farmer’s School of Cookery, she has returned to her “Aunt” Sam’s house, hoping to find work in a kitchen. After participating in a gas company’s cooking compWhile Love Stirsetition, she is hired to travel in the state, cook, and promote the modern methods of cooking on a gas stove. During her travels, she also is able to speak about a subject she is passionate about – the importance of proper nutrition in hospitals for recovering patients.

While she travels and during her time at home, she meets two completely opposite young men: Lewis Mathis and Dr. Joel Brooks. Lewis is a singer hired by the gas company to travel with Charlotte and provide entertainment at the events. While he is obviously attracted to her, she just thinks him kind and fun. Charlotte thinks Dr. Joel Brooks, on the other hand, is one moment caring and the next obstinate. He and Charlotte comically clash over the food his hospital serves, and over every other subject they discuss, it seems.

When Charlotte and Joel must plan a benefit gala together, they are challenged with getting along and staying on task for the benefit of the hospital and orphanage.

With humor and flair, Lorna combines historical details, like the real-life Fannie Farmer’s School, with heartfelt characters. Charlotte and Joel’s banter is entertaining. Their opposite and in-charge personalities immediately cause them to spar, while Charlotte’s independent antics get her in sticky and hilarious situations. This proves quite entertaining as Charlotte and her friends and family go through one scrape after another.

A thread of faith ties each character’s story together, stressing that God places dreams in our hearts for a reason, but He may carry them out  differently than we plan. Though I usually like a little more drama and conflict in a novel, this is a nice lighthearted story. It’s a feel-good kind of romance, with sweet characters and a fun plot. It would make a great and fun summer read.

Connect with author Lorna Seilstad at her website, or see news and upcoming releases from Revell at their website.

Note: Thank you to Revell Publishers for providing a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

There’s a giveaway going on at The Book Club Network. Visit this post for a chance to win one of 5 copies of While Love Stirs!!!
While Love Stirs, Empty Shelf # 18

Book Review: “Take A Chance On Me” by Susan May Warren (Empty Shelf #5)

My latest read, Take A Chance On Me by Susan May Warren, is an alluring story of second chances intertwining the bonds of family, friendship, and love. It’s the first novel in the recent Christiansen Family series, set in the quaint small town of Deep Haven in northern Minnesota.

Take A Chance On Me by Susan May Warren
Summary from Goodreads:

Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near. 

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case. 

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

My review:

Take A Chance On Me follows the story of widower father Darek Christiansen as he searches for forgiveness and resolution after a tragic accident that killed his wife. Newcomer Ivy Morgan, having always wished for the closeness of family and small-town living, has no idea the emotional baggage Darek Christiansen is carrying when she “buys” him at a charity auction and is drawn in by his caring family. As her friendship with Darek begins to develop into romance, Ivy must consider the provision of God and possibility of grace. When the lines blur between her personal life and professional life as county attorney, she faces difficult choices which could potentially hurt those she has become close to.

Susan’s characters are realistic and have great depth.  In addition to Darek and Ivy, secondary lead characters Claire and Jensen, once close friends with Darek and Felicity, also play prominent roles in the story. Each character experiences, in some form, the importance of taking chances – whether it be risking your heart in love, learning the value of forgiveness and second chances, or experiencing the grace of God and the chance He takes on each person by offering the gift of salvation.

Overall, I really enjoyed Take A Chance On Me by Susan May Warren. She successfully wove elements of faith, grace, and love with drama and romance. I look forward to reading the next one in this series and seeing more of the Christiansen family with their hearts for God and love for each other.