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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A Love Discovered by Tracie Peterson

New Frontiers

A Love Discovered by Tracie Peterson is a fabulous historical Christian novel that contains godly lessons for us all. It is the first book in The Heart Of Cheyenne series which promises to be great.

The novel is set in 1867 in America, just as the population is expanding westwards. The reader joins the leading characters as they set up new lives in Cheyenne.

We see the importance of having lives in tune with God. God ‘speaks’ to our hearts. He also speaks through His Word. “God had always comforted her with the Bible.” The Bible is God’s instruction manual for us here on earth.

We see the hardship of life, especially in a new frontier town. As the railroad is being built, new towns are springing up. They do not always attract the best of characters. Women are not safe to walk the streets alone, even in daylight hours. Vigilantes carry out ‘justice’. They often clash with the law enforcement agencies that are being set up. Despite the hardships, it is still possible to experience God’s peace. “After praying… Marybeth had had a peace.”

It is important to put our trust in God. “We shall make the best of it and trust God to watch over us.” In dangerous circumstances, we need to cover ourselves with prayer. We can always trust God. “I’m not going to be afraid. I’m going to trust in God.” If we have faith, there is no room for fear.

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Love On A Whim by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Everyday Miracles

Love On A Whim by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the most charming contemporary Christian novel that I absolutely adored. It is the third book in the Cape Cod Creamery series but can be read as a stand-alone. I, however, recommend reading the previous books first for maximum enjoyment and for character progression as the characters run throughout the books, in a timeline capacity. Each book focuses on a different main character.

We see the importance of forgiveness. If we withhold it, we will become bitter not better. Forgiveness brings freedom as we give it, or receive it. “I’ve seen forgiveness produce miracles.” God’s love works on hearts, making the miraculous possible. What is impossible for us, is possible for God.

Being able to say sorry and to mean it, is how healthy relationships grow. I loved the thought that “apologies don’t have an expiration date.” While we still have breath, there is always time to apologise.

Our upbringings shape the adults we become. Sometimes we fear turning out just like our parents. We need to have a heart of flesh that is aware of the character traits coming down the generations.

A son does not want to model himself on his father who was always absent due to work. However, the son did not see the effect of growing up in poverty had on his father. His father is motivated by the need to provide for his family. There does need to be a healthy work/life balance.

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Cold Threat by Nancy Mehl

Totally Gripping

Cold Threat by Nancy Mehl is a totally gripping, contemporary Christian suspense. It is the second book in the Ryland & St Clair series but can be read as a stand-alone. I recommend reading book one first in order to see not only character progression but there is a story thread carried over.

It was good to meet up with familiar faces. The pairing of Ryland and St Clair work well together. There is a chemistry simmering between them. They both had very different upbringings but River Ryland is welcomed and feels at home with the St Clair family.

We see the importance of faith and spreading God’s love. “Instead of the judgmental religious spirit she’d been raised with, the St Clair’s operated in love and grace.” Souls will never be won by Bible bashing. We are called to be Jesus’ representatives on earth. We are His hands and feet, His eyes and ears. We need to show His love to a hurting world.

Everyone wants to be loved and to belong. “I’m not special” … “To God, all His children are special.” God loves each and everyone of us. His love is big enough for us all.

God doesn’t wait until we are qualified to call us. He equips those whom He calls. God looks for willing hearts. “Tony wanted to be available to Him if He chose to use him.”

Forgiveness is important. If we withhold it, we risk becoming bitter. “She knew God wanted her to forgive him… but how could she?” If we cannot forgive in our own strength, we need to ask God for help and forgive in His strength.

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