Quote from A Shot at Love by Sarah Loudin Thomas, featured in Christmas Heirloom

Book Review | The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love through Generations

This is a fun novella collection from four popular authors, each writing in the genre they are known for. The stories are linked several ways—they are linked to each other as the heroines are gifted and then pass down a family heirloom, and each has a Christmas scene (enough to make it marketable as a Christmas collection, but not so Christmassy that it felt odd to read in October). Some of the stories are also linked to other stories from that individual author. Clever, and fun!

As is typical for novellas, the stories are quick and relatively fast-paced, but each is a complete and satisfying story.

Legacy of Love by Kristi Ann Hunter is loosely linked to her current Haven Manor series.

The heroine, Sarah Gooding, was raised at Haven Manor and has no idea who her parents are. She’s working as the companion to the Dowager Countess of Densbury and is secretly in love with Lady Densbury’s grandson, Mr Everard. Or perhaps that’s not-so-secretly …

The story is written in Hunter’s trademark fun style, with subtle humour that builds character and reduces tension rather than crossing over to the ridiculous. Despite the short length, Legacy of Love manages to pack quite the emotional punch—I can’t remember the last time I cried over a novel, let alone a novella.

Gift of the Heart by Karen Witemeyer introduces widow Ruth Fullbright and her daughter, Naomi.

Ruth has come to the resort town of Hope Springs to take a job as cook at the Homespun Cafe. But Ruth has no money to pay the deposit or advance rent on the only place in town she can afford, so she asks the owner if he’ll accept a broach, a family heirloom, as security. He does … especially because he’s curioius about and attracted to the small town’s new resident.

This is a feel-good romance, exactly what I expect from Karen Witemeyer. There are great characters, Christian themes, and plenty of subtle humour.

(As an aside, Hope Springs seems to be a popular name for fictional towns—I’ve just started Who I Am With You by Robin Jones Gunn, which also features a heroine living in Hope Springs. I guess Christian authors like the symbolism.)

A Shot at Love by Sarah Loudin Thomas features an unusual heroine.

She’s a crack shot who carves rifle butts and wants to own her own gunsmithing store one day. When Hank visits town for work, Fleeta soon finds he’s the only person she’s met—male or female—who can give her some competition for her shooting. But will he be content to settle a shooting, or will he want more?

This was the story I didn’t enjoy as much as the others. I haven’t read anything by Sarah Loudin Thomas before, so that could be because I was still trying to get used to her style. It could also be because I’m not a gun person, so the idea of anyone wanting to be a gunsmith is outside my experience.

However, that’s a statement of preference. There was nothing wrong with the story, the characters, or the writing. I just found it harder to related to Fleeta, which made it difficult to engage with the story.

The final story, Because of You by Becky Wade, is set in the present day.

It’s part of the Bradford Sisters Romance series, but it’s not about one of the Bradford sisters. Instead, it’s about Maddie Winslow, who works for one of the sisters.

Because of You is a classic friends-to-something-else plot, as Maddie is in love with her (dead) best friend’s husband. When they are assigned to be partners in the church Christmas project, they are forced to spend time alone together, and that changes things …

All in all, this was a fun novella collection centered around a family heirloom—a valuable brooch. If (like me) you already know and enjoy one or more of these authors, then the collection is a great way to be introduced to the others.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About the Authors

Kristi Ann Hunter

Author photo: Kristi Ann Hunter

Kristi is the RITA® award winning author of Regency romance novels from a Christian worldview. Her titles include A Noble Masquerade, An Elegant Façade, and An Uncommon Courtship. Beyond writing, she is also speaker, teaching classes in writing as well as Biblical and spiritual topics. She has spoken to writers’ groups, schools, and young women’s groups at churches.

When she is not writing or interacting with her readers, Kristi spends time with her family and her church. A graduate of Georgia Tech with a computer science degree, she can also be found fiddling with her computer in her free time. A born lover of stories she is also an avid reader. From very young she dreamed of sharing her own stories with others and praises God daily that she gets to live that dream today.

You can find Kristi Ann Hunter online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

About Karen Witemeyer

Author Photo: Karen WitemeyerFor those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warm-hearted historical romances with a flair of humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home.

Winner of the HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website.

Find Karen Witemeyer online at:

Website | Facebook

About Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author Photo - Sarah Loudin ThomasSarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.

Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle–the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reading.

Find Sarah Loudin Thomas online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Becky Wade

Author Photo Becky WadeBecky is the Carol and Christy award winning author of heartwarming, humorous, and swoon-worthy contemporary inspirational romances.

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

These days, you’ll find Becky in Dallas, Texas failing to keep up with her housework, trying her best in yoga class, carting her three kids around town, watching TV with her Cavalier spaniel on her lap, hunched over her computer writing, or eating chocolate.

You can find Becky Wade online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

About The Christmas Heirloom

In Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson, a man far above her station.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart,” widow Ruth Albright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local banker. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas’s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.

In Becky Wade’s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?

Find The Christmas Heirloom online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to The Christmas Heirloom below:

Click here to find this and other great Christian fiction at my Amazon shop.

Bookish QUestion: Have you planned a summer reading list?

Bookish Question #82 | Have you planned a summer reading list?

Umm … No 🙂

My reading plan is generally which books I have in my reviewing pile.

Beyond that, it’s which book in my Kindle to-read folder takes my fancy, or which book on my actual reading pile catches my attention.

I do have a pile of books I’ve mean meaning to read for a while, but I suspect many of them are too deep and serious to read over summer (e.g. Francine Rivers or Lisa Wingate). I’ll probably read a mix of light contemporary romance mixed in with the occasional historical romance (especially Regency), and a few romantic suspense or cozy mysteries for good measure.

What about you? Have you planned a summer reading list? What are you planning—or hoping—to read?

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 65 | True Nobility by Lori Bates Wright

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from True Nobility by Lori Bates Wright, the first in her Saberton Legacy series:

First Line from True Nobility by Lori Bates Wright

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About True Nobility

In an unfamiliar country, she’s left all alone, the noble privilege of her name rendered useless. Everything she believes in is not as it seems. Driven by desperation, she risks it all to find her way to the one man whose love has proven true.

Lady Victoria Haverwood, beloved daughter of a prominent earl, lives a sheltered life. But when she becomes the target of a murderous plot, her idyllic world is turned upside down as her father has them whisked across the ocean to the shores of Savannah, Georgia.

Nicholas Saberton, an accomplished American Naval captain, is commissioned by the earl to escort them safely to America. Drawn to the charm and elegance of the earl’s daughter, he us determined to remain focused on expanding his shipping company. Nevertheless, he pledges to protect her with his life.

When danger threatens to consume her, Victoria must find courage to overcome the repercussions of her father’s past to chart a new course for herself and those she loves.

You can find True Nobility online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

And don’t forget to click here to check out my Amazon shop for my top picks in Christian fiction!

Just Look Up

#ThrowbackThursday | Book Review | Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh. This was the first Courtney Walsh novel I read, but I think I’ve gone on to read all the rest! In fact, you can click here to read my review of Just Let Go.

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home—a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work—something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along—if only she’d just look up.

My Review

I requested a review copy of Just Look Up because I’d heard so many good things about it. Surely it couldn’t possibly measure up?

It did.

Lane is an interior designer up for a big promotion at work when her mother calls to say her brother is on life support following a motorcycle accident. She returns home, but is immediately thrown into conflict with everyone in her family (except perhaps her father, who only gets about two lines in the whole novel). The reasons behind this conflict are gradually revealed as the novel progresses

Ryan was also in the motorcycle accident, but escaped with minor injuries. He’s from a bad background, but he’s made something of himself—with the help of the Kelley family, who were surrogate parents for him and his sister throughout his teenage years. He’s always had feelings for Lane, but never felt good enough for her. Now he meets the adult Lane, he realises she has issues, and he might be able to help.

Just Look Up was a great title that worked on many levels.

There was the obvious, that we have to look up to see the world around us, to live. Lane spent much of time looking down at her phone that she missed what was going on around her. And the more subtle, the way Lane consciously or subconsciously looked down on herself.

It seemed to me that looking down was a habit formed early in her teenage years, where she looked down because of her low self-esteem. I could relate to this—and I suspect many grown women can, especially those of us who were bookish teenagers who were never part of the ‘cool’ crowd.

To me, Just Look Up showed the lie that many of us believe in our teenage years.

The lie that we don’t fit in because aren’t good enough. Lane was different to the others in her family—lactose intolerant in a family that made and sold cheese for a living, unattractive and unpopular (or so she thought) in a family that were attractive and popular.

What especially hurt for Lane was that her family perpetuated the lie through their ‘harmless’ name calling (‘Pudge’ is not term of endearment. Ever). The result, I think, was a teenager and adult who never understood how precious she was to God, because she never felt she was precious to her family.

Overall, Just Look Up is a story about how achieving our dreams might not be everything we thought it might be, but the answer might have been in front of us all along.

Recommended.

Thanks to Tyndale Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

 

About the Author

Courtney WalshCourtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theater director, and playwright. Change of Heart is her fifth novel and is set in the same town as Paper Hearts. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two additional books in the Sweethaven series, as well as two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives in Illinois where she and her husband own a performing and visual arts studio. They have three children.

Find Courtney Walsh online at …

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

Click below to buy Just Look Up:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo

You can read the introduction to Just Look Up below:

Click here to find Just Look Up and other great Christian fiction in my Amazon shop!

Book Review | Stratagem by Robin Caroll

Grayson Thibodeaux’s divorce from Anna Belle didn’t go well … which unfortunately makes him the prime suspect when she’s murdered in a game he designed. It doesn’t help that he’s friends with one of the investigating officers, because it’s the other one who is sure he is guilty. Which means he has to find the real culprit.

Stratagem is a murder mystery with a unique concept. Grayson is a psychologist who is the co-owner of a business which designs “games” as training, teambuilding, or recruitment exercises. As readers, we’re sure Grayson isn’t the culprit and that the detective is picking on him, but the facts do add up. Grayson has no alibi. He has motive, means, and opportunity.

But if Grayson didn’t murder Anna Belle, who did? And why?

I recently read and reviewed Darkwater Inn by Robin Caroll. Stratagem is a standalone novel that’s not related to the Darkwater series, although it’s still set in New Orleans and the Darkwater does make a cameo appearance. While Darkwater Inn had romantic aspects, Stratagem is purely a murder mystery with no romance … but it’s so good I didn’t notice (hey, I’m a romance reader. This is important).

As I said, it’s a unique concept, and that’s always a good start.

The characters were excellent, the plot was original with plenty of twists, and there was a definite Christian thread. All in all, the best kind of Christian suspense.

Thanks to Shiloh Run Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Stratagem

A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure Leaves Grayson Thibodeaux the Prime Suspect. . .for Murder

Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.

Find Strategem online at:

Amazon | ChristianBookKoorong

About Robin Caroll

Robin Caroll grew up in Louisiana with her nose in a book. She still has the complete Trixie Belden series, and her love for mysteries and suspense has only increased with her age. Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her published novels.

Best-selling author of thirty-plus novels, ROBIN CAROLL writes Southern stories of mystery and suspense, with a hint of romance to entertain readers. Her books have been recognized in several awards, including the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and more.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends quality time with her husband of nearly three decades, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home in the South. Robin serves the writing community as Executive/Conference Director for ACFW.

Find Robin Caroll online at:

WebsiteFacebook | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

Where would you like to "visit" in a novel?

Bookish Question #81 | Where would you like to “visit” in a novel?

I’m lucky in that I’ve travelled to over 25 countries, and around 20 US states … which means I’ve already visited many of the places I’d otherwise like to visit in a novel. But there’s also places I’d like to visit again in fiction …

Here are three places I’d like to visit in a novel:

Iceland

Iceland is a beautiful country, but it’s cold and dark for a lot of the year, and it’s a long way from New Zealand. I’d love to visit Iceland. One day! In the meantime, it would be great to read a Christian novel set in Iceland. Any suggestions?

India

I’ve read a few novels set in India (e.g. the Silk trilogy by Linda Chaikin, and the Twilight of the British Raj trilogy by Christine Lindsay). It’s a fascinating country, and I’d like to know more about India. Have you read any great Christian fiction set in India?

Wales

My father’s family are Welsh, as is my name (Iola means valued by the Lord). But I rarely come across Christian fiction with a Welsh setting, and I’d like to see more. The ones I have read have had Welsh settings but haven’t featured Welsh characters—that’s something I’d like to read. Do you have any suggestions?

What about you? Where would you like to visit in a novel?

Cover Reveal | Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate

I know today is Monday and Monday is usually when I post a new review, but I’m mixing things up a little this week to bring you something special: the cover reveal for the debut novel from my critique partner, Jessica Kate.

Isn’t that gorgeous?

Love and Other Mistakes

So what’s Love and Other Mistakes about?

Here’s the book description:

Natalie Groves was meant for great things. Preferably youth ministry with a side gig as an M&M connoisseur.
But soon after her fiancé left, Natalie’s evangelist father was diagnosed with cancer. Her grand plans evaporated . . . and God has seemed disappointed ever since.
Seven years later a church internship presents Natalie a chance at her destiny, but she needs a job to work around it. And the only offer is worse than a life sentence of tofu.
Seven years ago, Jeremy ‘Jem’ Walters left Charlottesville, Virginia to escape his father, God, and heartbreak over Natalie.
Now he’s back in town, a committed Christian, and desperate for help with his infant son and troubled teenage niece, Lili—who’s hiding an explosive family secret.
When Natalie and Jem join forces, sparks fly. But will they be burned in the process?

If you’d like to read the first chapter, click here to pop on over to Jessica Kate’s website.

Love and Other Mistakes releases in July 2019.

Book Review | Delayed Justice (Hidden Justice #3) by Cara Putman

Delayed Justice is the third novel in Cara Putman’s Justice series, following Beyond Justice and Imperfect Justice. I thought Beyond Justice was excellent, but Delayed Justice is even better.

As with the other books in the series, it’s a legal thriller addressing one of the big issues of today: in this case, child sex abuse. That means it’s not an easy read. It’s not explicit, but survivors or sensitive readers might prefer to skip this one.

Twenty-eight-year-old attorney and public defender Jaime Nichols is filing charges of sexual abuse against her uncle, Dane. Unfortunately, Dane Nichols is up for promotion to US Army general, and he’s not well pleased with the charges.

Jaime faces multiple challenges: her natural fear of repercussions, both personal and professional. And her natural wariness around her new neighbour, a military man like her uncle. But the handsome neighbour also gives her the opportunity to help another victim, and she does have the support of her legal eagle friends.

It’s a challenging story, written with sensitivity towards Jaime and other victims. We have to believe women (and men) when they come forward with these stories. Sure, there are people who make them up, but these are far outnumber by those who never dare come forward.

Recommended for fans of legal thrillers from authors like John Grisham or Rachel Dylan.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Cara Putman

Cara PutmanAs a preteen Cara Putman watched lawyers change legislative opinions at an important legislative hearing in Nebraska. At that time, she wondered if she became an attorney if people would give her words the same weight. An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, George Mason University School of Law and Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, Cara has turned her passion for words into award-winning stories that capture readers. Her legal experience makes its way into her stories where strong women confront real challenges.

The award-winning author of more than 25 titles, Cara writes legal thrillers, WWII romances, and romantic suspense because she believes that no matter what happens hope is there, waiting for us to reach for it.

When she’s not writing, Cara is an over-educated attorney who lectures in law and communications at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and homeschools her children. She and her family live in Indiana, the land of seasons.

You can find Cara Putman online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

About Delayed Justice

She had long given up the desire to be loved. Now she only needed to be heard.

Jaime Nichols went to law school to find the voice she never had as a child, and her determination to protect girls and women in the path of harm drives her in ways both spoken and unspoken. As Jaime, now a criminal defense attorney, prepares to press charges against someone who wronged her long ago, she must face not only her demons but also the unimaginable forces that protect the powerful man who tore her childhood apart.

Chandler Bolton, a retired veteran, is tasked with helping a young victim who must testify in court—and along with his therapy dog, Aslan, he’s up for the task. When he first meets Jaime, all brains, beauty, and brashness, he can’t help but be intrigued. As Chandler works to break through the wall Jaime has built around herself, the two of them discover that they may have more to offer one another than they ever could have guessed—and that together, they may be able to help this endangered child.

This thrilling installment of the Hidden Justice series explores the healing power of resolution and the weight of words given voice. And as Jaime pursues delayed justice of her own, she unearths eternal truths that will change the course of her life.

You can find Delayed Justice online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 64 | Return to Baragula by Mary Hawkins

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m celebrating the re-release of Return to Baragula by Mary Hawkins by sharing the first line:

First Line from Return to Baragula: As Emily's breathing slowed, the awesome feeling of ecstasy evaporated, and the full realization of what had happened raced through her.

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About Return to Baragula

When overcome by being alone with the man she loved on the romantic beach setting, teenager Emily Parker failed to keep her promise to God never to make love until married. She never dreamed how it would impact her own life and the lives of many others. Six years later, despite the hateful way she’d been treated there, she has to return to her home town, but discovers that Matthew Davidson, the man she’d yielded to, is now the local doctor.

While Emily’s faith is now weak, even believing God can no longer love her, Matthew’s life has changed since he committed his life to Christ. However, now he has to deal with all the consequences of his actions with Emily. When he becomes ill and is still weak when disease attacks the community, Emily, a registered nurse, has to help him. But danger from her life in the city has followed her, and now also threatens her family. Through it all, will Matthew and Emily’s faith and love be strong enough to forgive each other, and deal with all the consequences of their behaviour?

You can find Return to Baragula online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

And don’t forget to check out my Amazon shop for my top picks in Christian fiction!

#ThrowbackThursday | Book Review | Kept by Sally Bradley

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Kept, the debut novel from Sally Bradley.

I first saw Kept reviewed by Rel Mollet of Relz Reviews. Like me, Rel is tired of reading Christian novels which have the same feel as every other Christian novel. We’re looking for something real, something different, but something which still affirms our Christian faith. Rel raved about Kept, and while I bought it immediately, it’s taken me a while to get around to reading it. I kept (ha ha) hearing good things about it from people whose opinions I respected, and I started to wonder … could it really be that good? Or was I setting myself up for disappointment?

Well, it really is that good.

Kept isn’t perfect. There was one amusing typo (a segue is a change of topic in conversation; the two-wheeled ride-on has the same pronunciation, but it’s a Segway. Silly name, if you ask me). There was one scene from the point of view of a minor character that didn’t seem to add anything to the plot (and in hindsight, could have been eliminated), and there were a couple of minor plot points that didn’t make sense (maybe they’ll make more sense on the re-read). And there were times when I would have liked to better understand what was going on inside Dillan’s head. He plain didn’t make sense at times. Of course, he’s a man, so that could explain things.

Those details aside, Kept clocks up a number of achievements that rate highly with me.

Sally Bradley has managed something completely original—a story about a kept woman, a euphemism for a high-class prostitute—yet it’s unashamedly a Christian novel, a story of forgiveness and redemption that reminded me of Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. The writing is excellent, and manages to cover some gritty ground without ever spelling out the ugly details.

Sally Bradley has created a cast of likeable characters who feel true to live, even in their failings. Dillan, at “six foot thirteen”, is a complete klutz, which perhaps forces him to cultivate a friendship with Miska even when he’d rather avoid her. His brother, Garrett, is a loveable lawyer with a past he’s still trying to get over.

Miska is complex.

At first she comes across as the sweet girl-next-door—until we begin to get to know a bit more about her, and realise she’s caught up in the oldest profession, and telling herself the biggest lie: that he’ll leave his wife for her. One day. It’s never exactly explained how she became a kept woman, but we see enough of her background to realise it’s a logical progression, and that she feels no qualms for taking the men in her life for everything she can get. After all, that’s all men have ever done to her.

Miska’s scenes showed how good the writing was, because I was completely engaged in her character. She’s an intelligent woman who does dumb, DUMB, things when it comes to me, and there were times I wanted to give her a good shake. Dillan and Garrett were similar, and even at the end I was thinking that Dillan needs to get over himself, while Garrett just needs to get his head examined. They were frustrating, but in a good way—like a teenage daughter.

Their actions might be annoying, but you love them anyway.

Yes, that pretty much sums up Kept. Recommended for those who want something real in their Christian fiction.

About Sally Bradley

Author Photo Sally Bradley

Sally Bradley writes big-city fiction with real issues and real hope.

A Chicagoan since age five, Sally has been fascinated by all things Chicago (except for the crime, politics, and traffic) for almost as long. She now lives in the Kansas City area with her family, but they get back to Chicago from time to time for important things, like good pizza and a White Sox game.

A freelance fiction editor and former president of her local writing chapter, Sally has won a handful of awards for Kept and another work-in-progress.

You can find Sally Bradley online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Kept

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her—all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago’s lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.

Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father’s sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can’t help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she’s longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.

When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes her anonymity was an illusion. Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her—a woman who’s gone too far and done too much.

You can find Kept online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to Kept below:

Click here to find Kept and other great Christian fiction in my Amazon shop!