Friday, April 19, 2013

Lovely Love Stories

I know you’re looking for a good read other than my same old, same old blog.  So I present:

1. Patty from Tales of Me and the Husband shares her Catholic love story, which of course, is added to my collection of real life love stories.

2. Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell.  Historical Christian romance enables me to travel to exotic places and times gone by (that’s why they’re all over my goodreads.) This latest book of hers “Unrivaled”, while not as outstanding (romantically speaking) as her other books, had me taking a trip to the candy manufacturing business in St. Louis Missouri 1910.  The star-crossed romance between two rivals may sound like a cliché formula but the complex characters are not your typical characters, which makes this book an interesting read.  The story is fast paced, with a few surprises and Ms Mitchell pulls off breaking formulaic rules but perhaps the most unexpected twist is that I fell in love with the candy bar.

3. The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen.  This three time award-winning author for Historical Christian Romance is so deserving of her awards.  In her latest novel, Julie Klassen draws me into a Regency-Jane Austen world that is so rich with details from the past, intrigue and romance on the side.  Emma Smallwood, tutor’s daughter, explores a baronet’s mysterious mansion, uncovers the secrets of two brothers and falls in love with one of them.   The unpredictable novel is full of Nancy Drew mystery, that I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end.  

4. Once upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck.   Cinderella’s been rehashed too many times and normally I wouldn’t pick up another fairy tale inspired novel, but I’ve been a huge fan of Rachel Hauck’s since “Sweet Caroline”.    Once Upon a Prince is a story between a Prince of Brighton and a regular Dixie chick, who both turn their lives over to God.  The plot is unreal, I admit (unless you’re Kate Middleton & Prince William) but it is also real in the sense that the kingdom of God will be ours when we give our lives to God.  I did like the character of Susannah, who did not come off as the typical bitter or feisty heroine, but a down-to earth Southern lady.  (In fact, I liked her more than the prince.) Rachel Hauck, as always, is witty and profound in faith because she is not afraid to own Christianity in her work but I l couldn’t help but wish this one was written in Susannah’s first-person perspective because I wanted to see her character developed more.  All in all, it was a light, fun journey into a modern, royal world.

5. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.  Oh my.  This was an absolutely gorgeous historical romance between a gentleman and an heiress, which takes place in the country estate of Edenbrooke. I appreciate innocence and emphasis on inner beauty in characters and the heroine (Marianne) embodies that.  I also love a chivalrous hero who’s been secretly in love for a long time without the heroine knowing it, because it is so very New Testament-y – the gospel truth of a Christ who has loved us and sacrificed for us long before we realize we love him back.   And that, my friends, is why I love, love, love stories. Wait, I need one more “love” in there for emphasis.

6. Secretly Smitten.  I owe author Denise Hunter so much for introducing me to romantic and clean novels and Kristin Billerbeck for hilarious and clean chick lit.    Though I’m not a fan of novellas in one book, I had to read this because as a writer its fun to compare different styles and with both of them on board, its hard to resist.  The book revolves around the romance of four women (or is it five?) from one family in the town of Smitten.  Kristin Billerbeck’s strength is in creating snappy dialogue and a believable setting.  Denise Hunter manages to write a romance that isn’t sappy or contrived, which allows the reader insights into character.  I’d chalk this up as an “okay filler” while waiting for their next novels to be published.

7. Three to Get Married by Venerable Fulton Sheen.  This is by no means light reading.  But I need some Venerable Fulton Sheen’s wisdom on the spiritual truths and the reality of a marriage to anchor my romantic head in the clouds back on the ground so that I don’t get upset when my husband doesn’t dress up in coattails and forgets to ask me to dance.  I quote his wisdom:  “Marriage is a vocation to put God in every detail of love.  In this way, the dream of the bride and groom for eternal happiness really comes true, not in themselves alone but through themselves.  Now they love each other not as they dreamed they would, but as God dreamed they would.  Such a reconciliation of the tension is possible only to those who know that it takes three to make love.”

 If you like clean Christian/Catholic fiction, what books do you recommend?


Morgan said...

oooo! thank you thank you thank you! I'm currently reading "The Time Traveler's Wife" and while I like it, it's slightly steamy. I LOVE new recommended reads! Happy to have found you through 7QTs! :)

Vicky said...

I didn't know you were a romantic, Anabelle. This is so sweet - I feel quite floaty! I love Jane Austen. It's such a wet day, here, that my two older girls and I have planned to watch 'Pride and Prejudice' together, today - the BBC version. Then, I guess it will be the boys' turn so we'll put 'Top Gear' on and watch the cars!

Anabelle Hazard said...

You're welcome, Morgan. Yes those steamy ones had me dropping mainstream novels ;)

Vicky, you found me out-- I'm a hopeless romantic. Oh, those BBC movies, I must have watched the newer Jane Austen ones over and over.

Sue Elvis said...


I am tempted to try a new genre! Your recommendations look interesting.

I actually bought a couple of Janet Oke's books for my teenage girls... Love Comes Softly and something else??? (hopeless memory) I read them myself and really enjoyed them. Have you read any of her books?

We're all Jane Austen fans here!

Patty said...

Thanks for the plug Anabelle! :)

I have heard such great things about three to get married...sounds like another Catholic classic to add to our in-home library ;-)

Anabelle Hazard said...

Sue, I haven't read Janet Oke just seen some of those "Love comes" DVDs. Feel free to browse through my good reads --can't go wrong with the five star books.