Lighten My Heart by Lin Stepp

Delightful & Heartwarming

Lighten My Heart by Lin Stepp is the most delightful contemporary Christian novel. It is the second book in The Lighthouse Sisters series but can be read as a stand-alone. I recommend reading book one first for maximum enjoyment and for character progression.

Lin Stepp always produces tales that draw the reader close to the heart of God. We see how we desperately need God. When we try to do life alone, it is tough. “How much better life is when you live close to God.” When we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. As our lives line up with His, His light will shine through us.

We need to stand on the word of God when the tough times come, and they will. “God’s truth resonates in us when we hear it.” When we open our Bibles, God’s word will speak to our hearts. We shall know His truth and His truth will set us free.

A character is imprisoned in bitterness and hurt. Withholding forgiveness always damages us. God wants us to live free. If we cannot forgive in our strength, we need to ask Him for help and we can then forgive in His strength.

Another character struggles with guilt. “He struggled daily not to keep berating and beating himself up… Whatever he did wrong, he couldn’t change it now.” The past is gone. We must learn from it but we must not pitch our tent there. We need to give our guilt to God and learn to live in freedom.

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His Fatal Legacy by Heather Atkinson


His Fatal Legacy by Heather Atkinson is an historical novel that gripped me from the start. It is the third book in the Alardyce House series but can be read as a stand-alone.

The tale is set in Edinburgh in the late nineteenth century. It has elements of the Gothic tradition with large houses, dark nights, deserted alleyways and sinister characters. The tone is chilling as an air of menace appears.

Family is important. A mother’s love is fiercely protective, needing to uphold appearances no matter the cost. Dreadful secrets and suspicions arise but lips are sealed.

We witness nature versus nurture – are monsters made by their genes or a product of their environment? A character wrestles with the darkness within as he tries to focus on the light.

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Daddy’s Girl by Michael Schnabel

Live, Love, Hope – So Inspiring

Daddy’s Girl by Michael Schnabel is a powerful book that is truly inspiring. The author wrote the
book for his grandson in order to journal his (the author) daughter’s cancer journey.

What should have been the happiest time, the birth of a grandson, became the start of a rocky road
as a cancer diagnosis was given. The future looked uncertain, but baby Caden gave his mother Steph,
a reason to fight. “Every time I worry about the cancer, I look at you (Caden) and have my reason to
keep on fighting.”

The author opened the book with: “Love is the bond that holds us together… Hope keeps us moving
forward.” This is not the journey of an individual, this is the journey of a family. Cancer does not
affect one person in isolation but affects all those who know and love that person. Sometimes the
family was fearful but they looked to God and they held on to hope.

Faith in God was strong. Despite all the tests, the health reports, and fears, not once did they
question God. “Steph has never asked, ‘why is this happening to me?’” In fact, in the midst of it all
the author declares “I whisper a thank you prayer for all the blessings we have received.” And there
were many blessings and instances of God’s provision.

This book is not a gloomy read. We hear of the cancer walk but also of life before the diagnosis as
there are snippets of happier times.

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The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan

Life, Death & Hope

The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan is a powerful, heart-breaking and inspiring historical tale that completely consumed me for a few hours.

The story is set during World War II in Poland as we move from the Warsaw ghetto to Auschwitz. It is told in alternating points of view in the first person. We witness the horrors of the camp. “The monsters live on the outside, not in the dark, and not hidden in any way.” Auschwitz was hell on earth. “I’m not old enough to say Hell, but I’m living at its gates.”

We join an eighteen year old brother and his fourteen year old sister in this awful place. They hold on to hope – hope helps to keep them alive. They fear being told the truth in case hope dies, and so would they.

Strength, hope and luck were needed to survive. Shari J Ryan has captured the fear with her powerful descriptions and her ability to place us inside her characters heads.

War is horrific. War in Nazi-occupied countries was more than just blood-shed. It was brain washing and unbelievable cruelty. “This war isn’t about who has more muscles… it’s about hatred and the repercussions of such a feeling are more powerful than any weapon in this world.” Being a focus of such hatred was a chance of birth. “I’ve done nothing wrong… other than being born into the Jewish faith.”

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