“The Bound Heart” by Dawn Crandall Blog Tour: REVIEW + GIVEAWAYS!

You may remember a couple months back when I reviewed The Hesitant Heiress from “The Everstone Chronicles” series by author Dawn Crandall. Well, this post is all about the next book in that series, THE BOUND HEART!  I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to review an ARC of The Bound Heart for Dawn. Let me tell you, she is one of the sweetest authors I have had the privilege of “meeting” with! (Click here to see my review of book #1 and an exclusive interview with Dawn).

Now, on to the giveaway and review info. Dawn is currently wrapping up her major blog tour for this book, so be sure to enter the various giveaways before it’s too late! Head over to her website to see her previous blogger participants, for links to the various giveaways, and to enter Dawn’s giveaway (rafflecopter form at the bottom of her page).

The Bound Heart by Dawn CrandallSynopsis: One accidental kiss. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt’s world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn’t have the time or the desire to fall for her friend Lawry Hampton. However, with Vance out of the country and Lawry constantly at her side, Meredyth can’t help but wonder if what’s holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from their unfortunate past.

When Vance comes home to stake his claim on Meredyth, will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she’s convinced she deserves? Or will she find the strength to accept that God’s plan for her life could include redemption… and quite possibly the love of her best-friend?

 

My thoughts:

This is a beautiful story of redemption – with an honorable and swoon-worthy (and I don’t say that lightly) hero!

The characters Dawn writes simply jump off the page and immerse the reader in the story. Lawry was very sweet and steadfast, while Meredyth was likable and insecure. She was very easy to identify with, I thought, because her struggles and doubts of self-worth are common to women. Like Meredyth, we ladies sometimes doubt our choices, our merit, or our futures – but we should find our security and hope in Jesus. I believe Meredyth is drawn to Lawry partly due to the love of God that emanates from his character and actions. This story shows that all it takes is calling out to God, and He will take your burdens.The Everstone Chronicles Series

There is a beautiful thread of redemption in the story, with surprising drama (a few fabulous twists!) and interesting secondary characters. I loved little Wynn and her honest childlike faith. She sweetly tied some of the characters together in unexpected ways. I also enjoyed the setting of the story, with the elaborate events society demanded at the time contrasting with the plights of little children like Wynn.

This is a great sophomore novel from Dawn! I can’t wait to catch up with these characters again in the third book, The Captive Imposter, releasing February of 2015.

Thank you to Dawn and Whitaker House for providing me with an ebook copy to review. This review is my honest opinion.

 

“The Hesitant Heiress” Blog Tour: REVIEW + Interview & Giveaways

I’m so happy to be participating in author Dawn Crandall’s blog tour for her debut novel, The Hesitant Heiress (The first in “The Everstone Chronicles” series)! I’m posting a review, an interview with Dawn, and giveaway information today. Dawn has provided ONE ebook copy of The Hesitant Heiress she’s giving away to one of my visitors, in addition to the weekly and grand prize associated with the tour (more on that in a bit). Dawn’s having a 6 week long Blog Tour, with many giveaways and extras (see the complete schedule here).CAMDEN ENDORSEMENT

SynopsisAfter being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.

Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been “managing her life” isn’t who she thought at all.

HesitantHeiress
My thoughts: I loved the mystery and suspense of this story! Dawn has penned a very intriguing historical romance, skillfully maintaining suspense through the whole story. Throughout it, you’re given tidbits of Amaryllis’s history that have shaped her character.  Also, Dawn keeps you guessing about the romance – will Amaryllis end up with Nathan, the man she’s falling in love with, or with another friend who would make a most convenient match?

Amaryllis is a complex character, very independent and intelligent. She is trying to find her way in a society too stuffy for her, yet not willing to sacrifice her own happiness for money. She feels as though she’s not had any control over some of her past life events, and this has borne a deep longing for consistency in her life. I enjoyed the fact that she wants to use her God-given musical talents to help others.

I thought the cast of characters was reminiscent of an Austen story, with several friends, family, and acquaintances having an active role in Amaryllis’s story. This was a nice element, because in some stories the cast can be small and restrained, when in reality, some of us have many people directly involved with our daily lives.

I also enjoyed the late 1800’s New England setting of Boston and coastal Maine, complete with elaborate mansions, parties, and visits to the ocean.

Faith in God was a prominent feature of the story, and the characters learned and grew as a result of God’s leading. One thing in particular I noticed was the theme of love – God’s love is given to us freely, even when we don’t deserve it or feel undeserving ourselves. We sometimes find God’s love in unexpected places, like in a new friendship, the support of our family, or in romantic love.

Guess what??? You can click the picture below to read the first chapter of The Hesitant Heiress for free!FREE CHAPTER ONE

INTERVIEW:

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always wanted to write a book! It was always one of those things that my heart thrilled at the thought of! I wanted to tell a captivating story about a heroine who struggled through feelings of not being good enough. I guess I was inspired by my own life, because I often struggle with that myself. What I wanted most of all, through the process of writing the book, was to have fun.

What spiritual message or theme do you want to communicate to readers with this story?IMG_3368 (683x1024)

That God does indeed know what He’s doing, and that He even works through our fumbling about as we’re trying to make sense of things.

What was most challenging about writing a story set in this time period?

Honestly, I didn’t feel like there was much of a challenge in writing a story set in 1890! I live history so much–I just wanted to be there, sort of like in the movie “Somewhere in Time”… (that probably dates me, but oh well!). However, when I tried my hand at writing a contemporary romance (from first person, of course), that is when I realized how much more difficult it is to write historicals! Writing a story set in the time in which I live was so much easier!! But I won’t stop writing historicals. I just seem to have more in common with characters from a hundred years ago compared to characters based in today’s world.

Just for fun:

Do you have any hobbies?

My hobby used to be writing. And reading. I guess I’m pretty boring, because those were the two things I liked best before having my son in March! Now it seems my biggest hobby is taking care of him… which I love! He’s such a good baby! God knew I would need a content baby while working at launching this debut series from Whitaker House— all of which will be released before his first birthday!

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

I would totally choose my 1890s. Yes, they are already mine! I’ve been living there for a few years now, actually. 🙂 I’ve had to, to be completely immersed in the world I wrote from. I love the dresses, the buildings, the simplicity, the way people had to interact with each other. Everyone moved in such smaller circles back then–I think I would have fit in rather well.

 Thank you, Dawn, for answering my questions! It’s always so fun to get to know an author better 🙂

Dawn and Rhett{About Dawn Crandall}

A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit working in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.

CONNECT WITH DAWN

Facebook: facebook.com/DawnCrandallWritesFirst

Book Review Blog: APassionforPages.blogspot.com

GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/dawn_crandall

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/dawnwritesfirst

Email: dawncrandallwritesfirst@gmail.com

Twitter: @dawnwritesfirst

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Dawn-Crandall

Without further ado, to enter ALL GIVEAWAYS associated with this blog tour:

Comment on THIS POST, answering the question “What is your favorite historical era?”, including an email address to contact you. That’s it. You’ll be entered for everything (details below).

The details:

Giveaway on THIS blog:

Dawn has graciously provided an ebook copy of The Hesitant Heiress for me to giveaway to one person who comments on this post {answering the question above, including your email address}. Winner will be contacted by email on August 11.

Blog Tour Giveaway:

Dawn is giving away a prize pack every weekend for the six weeks of the blog tour, and then one larger prize pack at the end. Each of YOU who comments on my post {answering the question above, including your email address} will be entered into the drawing for this week, and then also for the end of the tour Grand Prize–all of which will be announced on Dawn’s author blog (www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com).

THE FIVE WEEKLY PRIZE PACKS: a $10 Amazon Gift Card, an eBook of The Hesitant Heiress, a mug with all three book covers and a moleskin journal.

THE GRAND PRIZE (at the end of week six): a Kindle Fire, a $10 Amazon Gift Card, an eBook of The Hesitant Heiress, a mug with all three book covers and a moleskin journal.

 Thank you, Dawn [and Whitaker House Books], for providing an ARC for me to review during the blog tour, and for agreeing to the interview!

So, what’s your favorite historical era?  [comment to enter!!!]