Sandcastle Inn by Irene Hannon

Where Hope & Dreams Live On

Sandcastle Inn by Irene Hannon is the most delightful Christian contemporary novel that I absolutely adored. It is the tenth book in the Hope Harbor series but can be read as a stand-alone.

Hope Harbor is a positively idyllic setting. The scenery and the residents all come alive under Irene Hannon’s descriptive pen. A warm welcome reaches from the pages of the book to envelop the reader.

This is a place of refuge for the hurting and the lost. The community offers hope for the hurting and provides a new direction for the lost. “If someone in Hope Harbor is in need, everyone rallies.” This applies to strangers too, who are quickly taken into the bosom of the community. Hope Harbor is a place where there are some very huge hearts who not only notice others but they care. “Hope Harbor is a wonderful refuge for those seeking healing and peace.” The natural beauty and the openness of the locals ensures that those who enter as strangers, soon become friends who have new prospects ahead.

There is much love within the novel. We see the fallout from fractured family relationships. “Part of loving is giving the other person what they need, not what you thing they need.” We need to be careful that we don’t dictate to others but we give them space to grow.

Characters are carrying grief, guilt and burdens that were never meant for them. “God doesn’t hold our mistakes against us… So why should we hold them against ourselves?” We are often our own worst critics. We need to extend grace to ourselves.

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Felicity’s War by Jean Fullerton

The Indomitable Spirit

Felicity’s War by Jean Fullerton is an absolutely marvellous historical novel that held my attention from the start. It is the third book in The Stepney Girls series but can be read as a stand-alone. I recommend reading the previous books for character continuity and progression.

The action is set in the east end of London during 1941, and therefore, at the height of the Blitz. The indomitable bulldog spirit is alive as the people pull together. Up all night as the bombs fell, the community still goes about its’ daily duties. Ordinary life continues.

There are those who take advantage. We witness the black marketeers and looters in action. As if housing being destroyed wasn’t enough, the criminals take advantage and the food prices rocket.

Leading lady, Fliss, is a woman ahead of her time. She writes for a newspaper, is active in the Labour party, wears trousers and campaigns for fairer prices for food. She even finds time to organize a peaceful protest which turns ugly due to an over-zealous young policeman. Despite being a thoroughly modern miss, cupid’s arrow can still hit its’ mark.

The police force has much to contend with – even more so in wartime than peacetime. Some go about their tasks with due diligence. Others are like a bull in a china shop.

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God Calling In Poetry by Frank Raj

Beautiful

God Calling In Poetry by Frank Raj is a beautiful book with 365 devotions and poetry, all dated from 1st January enabling you to start the book whenever you pick it up.

Each day begins with a portion of scripture, followed by a poem that is linked to the scripture.

The poems all vary in length. Some are just a few lines, others a couple of pages.

This book will definitely help with your daily walk with God. The scripture and poems draw us closer to the heart of God.

This is a beautiful book for quiet times. Read God’s word and poem, and let the words sink into your soul.

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The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q Rauf

Heartbreaking

The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q Rauf is a powerful and heartbreaking children’s novel, just perfect for ages ten years and over.

The story surrounds the topic of foster children who have escaped domestic abuse. Such is their innocence that they may not even realise the extent of the cruelty in their lives. They have learnt to follow the rules and to be silent. Life is a new foster house is illuminating – there are no rules but still the children fear activating their foster Mum’s ‘switch.’

We follow a set of siblings, ten year old Aniyah and her five year old brother, Noah. They believe that their Mum will be re-born into a star so when a new star is discovered, they set out to London, to the Observatory to name the star after their Mum.

We see some truly heart wrenching moments as the reader realizes the dreadful time that the children have been through. In their new foster house, they meet other foster children. Bonds are formed. We see that abuse always leaves scars but not all are visible. Some are hidden, as children lose the ability to talk or talk with a stutter. One child is cruel but it comes from a place of fear of rejection.

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