The Wonder of You is Susan May Warren’s fifth book in the Christiansen family series, but this is the first time I have had the pleasure of reading anything by this award-winning author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. Now I need to see if my local library has the first four books in the series!
The Wonder of You opens with a dramatic rescue scene, and I immediately fell in love with the main characters. Warren creates characters who have realistic attributes, flaws, and struggles, but they are also surprisingly charming. The only complaint I have about this book is the main characters are in their early twenties, so they make me feel old (I am in my late thirties), but the leading lady is the youngest sibling in the Christiansen family, so the ages are appropriate and fit their characters’ struggles and lifestyles.
I must confess that I was afraid the book had too many pages left after I had read the first five chapters. I couldn’t help but wonder how Warren could possibly fill the rest of the novel with enough to keep me interested, but there were so many little surprises throughout the book that kept me not only interested but unable to put down the book. I read this book in less than 48 hours, and I hated having to put it down for any length of time.
The Wonder of You is about Roark St. John trying to convince Amelia Christiansen that he loves her. My favorite quote in the book is when Roark tells Amelia, “Extreme doesn’t begin to describe what I’d do to win you back.” (That sounds a little creepy taken out of context, but it was completely sincere, even romantic, in the book.) The rest of the book details Roark’s efforts to regain Amelia’s trust and win her heart.
Warren also includes the continuation of Amelia’s siblings’ stories, which provides emotional depth and a touching side story along with a little mystery for the next book in the series.
I received this book free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. While I love their blogger review program, I have been finding it difficult to post my review within a month of receiving the book, since our one-year-old twins demand so much of my attention. I knew I needed to start reading this book when I received another book to review about a week after receiving For Such a Time. One night, after putting all four kids to bed, I told myself I would try to read a chapter or two each night, even though all I wanted to do was fall into bed and sleep. Five hours later, I forced myself to close the book and go to sleep! My husband was out of town at the time, and I ended up reading well past midnight three out of four nights because there was never a lull in the action. (I wouldn’t even let myself pick up the book on the third night because I knew I needed some rest!)
For Such a Time is a retelling of the Biblical book of Esther set against the backdrop of the Holocaust. The main characters in the novel are remarkably similar to the actual characters in the book of Esther. Each chapter begins with a verse from the book of Esther, and the events that unfold in that chapter directly correlate to that verse. Even though you think you know how the story will end, For Such a Time is so suspenseful that it will keep you spellbound until the final chapter. The author has thoroughly researched the Holocaust, the time period, the languages, customs, etc. I was fascinated by this portrayal of life in a concentration camp, and I have continued to read all that I can find on Theresiendstadt, the Holocaust, and World War II. It has been awhile since a book has so intrigued me that I have willingly researched the subject matter myself. Kate Breslin has crafted realistic characters thrust into a horrific setting that was real.
I highly recommend For Such a Time, and I would like to know if you have as much trouble as I did in not trying to finish the book in one sitting!
I believe I found Grave Consequences free or cheap in an email from Inspired Reads. You can sign up here to receive daily emails with discounted or free books for Kindle. Later I had the opportunity to download Glittering Promises free via Net Galley, which I was able to join because I have a book review blog, and I agreed to post an honest review of the book. I would have gladly paid for either of these books because I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of them. I only wish I would have read Glamorous Illusions first, since it is the first book in the series. However, the author does a splendid job of explaining the characters’ histories without boring us with a retelling of the previous book(s).
The Grand Tour Series is set in the early 1900’s, and follows the lives of a group of young socialites on a grand tour of Europe with their guides. One of the young women did not grow up wealthy and privileged as the others in the group did, and so she finds herself unaccustomed to being waited upon and treats people and life differently than the others. Both books are love stories, but the last book became an intriguing mystery with a twist. I don’t want to write too much and spoil the ending for anyone who wishes to read this series, but you won’t be sorry you read them. In fact, Glittering Promises kept me up late into the night with the suspense. I wasn’t expecting that, or I would not have begun reading it again right before bed!
If you enjoy reading historical fiction, this book is a treat. The reader can learn much about the behind-the-scenes lives of wealthy socialites and be exposed to much history and art through the experiences of the young group. The story is often told from the point of view of the main character in first person, but some chapters switch to a different character in third person. It is a very interesting way to tell a story.
These books are well-written, interesting, and Christ-centered. I would recommend them to anyone.