I enjoy romantic fiction. Even better is when a romance has meaning and purpose to the story. Jennifer Slattery’s new book, Healing Love is one of those stories. Brooke is a career minded young woman who is focused on becoming a broadcast journalist. She finds herself side-tracked when she feels forced to go on a mission trip to El Salvador to chaperone her younger sister. She’s not prepared for the emotional impact the trip will have on her heart.
Looking hungry orphans in the eye, seeing the poverty children live in, and comparing that to the life of affluence back home causes her to re-examine her priorities. She finds herself drawn to the handsome translator, Ubaldo, who is their guide and driver for the trip. Ubaldo has pre-conceived ideas about visitors from North America and his prejudices are challenged when he meets Brooke and sees that she has true compassion. We also meet 12-year-old Fatima and her younger sister who end up homeless in order to avoid a painful and dangerous situation.
Can a group of affluent teens from America make a difference in El Salvador? Brooke and Ubaldo are attracted to each other but they live thousands of miles apart and come from different worlds. How could they ever have a relationship? Will Fatima and Dinora survive on the streets without food and water? Ubaldo is trying to help his people find a way out of poverty while he himself struggles to find a place to live.
Jennifer takes all these threads and weaves them into a beautiful story. She paints a clear picture of life in El Salvador and challenges us to consider reaching out beyond ourselves to help others. This book is written with humor, truth, and hope. It includes romance, faith, and gives us a glimpse into another culture. If you enjoy a fiction story that challenges you as well as giving you an entertaining story, you will like this book. I highly recommend Healing Love.
I want to visit Mercy Inn! I could visualize the cabins and surrounding beauty as I read Lee Warren’s novella, Mercy Inn. What a beautiful sight! And I would love to meet Ray and Alma and enjoy Alma’s cooking. This is a beautiful story, well written, and it touched my heart. I appreciate that Lee included a character that is disabled. Characters who are disabled are so often left out of books and movies.
Three people find themselves stranded at Mercy Inn during a blizzard in Colorado. Megan, who has Cerebral Palsy is 20 years old and struggling to get by, Brad is a middle-aged former baseball player who has regrets from his past and Sarah is a former music star who has lived in seclusion for many years. The three come together and find themselves in the care of Ray and Alma, the elderly couple who run the Inn.
Is it a coincidence that these three people find themselves here or was it a divine appointment? Will Megan, who has been hurt so often, be able to trust these people she is stuck with? Can Sarah move past her hurts from the past? Yes, there is romance! Loved that. There is a wonderful theme about how we need each other and are here to encourage each other. I loved the game, created by Alma and Ray, which the group plays. A game that becomes something of a therapy session. I highly recommend this novella. If you enjoy stories about people finding healing of past hurts, that inspire you to reach out to others, and that have a wonderful budding romance, then you will love this story. I can’t wait to read about Mercy Inn again in coming books!
I just finished Daughter of the Regiment by Stephanie Grace Whitson. I loved this book! I’m a fan of historical fiction and this is a good one.
The story takes place in Missouri at the beginning of the Civil War. Maggie Malone is an Irish immigrant who lives in Missouri with her brothers who like her are supporters of the Union. They have neighbors who have a plantation and are slave owners. There’s a wonderful contrast in the book between Maggie who’s tough, unfeminine, great at shooting and working on the farm and Libbie who lives on the plantation and is a picture of the feminine Southern Belle (although things are not always as they seem).
The book offers a fascinating look at the horror of being neighbors one week and facing each other in battle the next. It caused me to wonder what I’d do if my neighbor suddenly became my enemy. Throughout the book the author, Stephanie Grace Whitson, shows a masterful contrast between the two women and their situations. Maggie has followed her brothers into battle where she meets the fascinating Sergeant Coulter while Libbie stays on the plantation under the domination of her older brother who’s a slave-owner and decides to turn his property into a Rebel camp. The author paints a picture of each character that helped me understand even those who are minor characters. Between the house slaves who work for Libbie, Maggie’s brothers and other soldiers in the Union army all the characters seem like real people and I found myself caring about what happened to them.
I’d never heard of the Daughters of the Regiment before (women who sometimes traveled with Union soldiers) and it amazes me to think of their bravery. This is truly historical “fiction” as the characters and battles are fictional but it is historically accurate and gives us a picture of how the Civil War impacted the lives of everyday people. I didn’t want the story to end and appreciate so much the afterward provided by the author which gives a look into what happens to each character (loved this).
If you enjoy historical fiction, I know you will enjoy this book. If you don’t usually read historical fiction, you don’t know what you are missing! It has romance, adventure, history, drama (including a look at an abusive relationship), faith and humor. Plus there’s a dog! What more could a reader want?
When Dawn Breaks by Jennifer Slattery
Jennifer Slattery’s second novel is a moving, powerful story. We meet 51-year-old Jacqueline Dunn when her flight to escape a hurricane takes her directly into the path of 3 needy children who eventually change her life. She also encounters a lonely railroader who is facing a crisis in his new job. Jennifer weaves these stories together seamlessly. I found myself laughing out loud one minute and one chapter later feeling heartbreak. I was drawn into the lives of these characters and found myself caring about each one. Seeing life through the eyes of 14-year-old Gavin broke my heart and made me wonder how many children face the same things in real life. This book is very well-written. It includes a romance but the greater love story in the book might surprise you. Jennifer writes about faith in such a real way showing how her characters struggle with past sins and face challenges to their faith yet find strength in prayer and scripture. There are no super Christians but real people with real faith. If you want to be drawn into a moving story, find yourself rooting for characters you feel you know, enjoy a romance, and possibly be inspired to take action, then you need to read this book. The book is written with humor, realism and from a place of true emotion. There are storylines that include finding romance after fifty, the foster care system, abandoned children, disaster relief, unethical work practices, broken relationship between parent and child, and being willing to step out of one’s comfort zone in order to serve God. Will Jacqueline’s daughter ever trust her again? Will Gavin and his sisters ever have a real home? Will Jonathan lose his job? Will he love again? I highly recommend this novel.
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