A Beautiful Mess by Brenda Anderson

Dancing In The Rain

A Beautiful Mess by Brenda Anderson is a powerful contemporary novel that focuses on love and forgiveness. It is part of the Mosaic Collection but can be read as a stand-alone.

Brenda Anderson has created a marvellous mix of characters once again. They are realistically flawed, battling with issues that the reader can empathise with.

Forgiveness is a major theme. We all need to dispense and receive forgiveness. It is something that we all struggle with. When people wrong us we need to look to the example of Jesus. “Jesus loved him [Judas] regardless of that betrayal.” Betrayal hurts. We cannot stop it happening but we can choose our responses. “I’ve decided I can’t wallow in it. I can’t be bitter.”

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Starlight Over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennett

Believe In Fairy Tales

Starlight Over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennett is the most delightful contemporary tale of castles and romance. The reader sinks into the novel and is cocooned within the story. Bluebell Castle is a place where you can begin to believe in fairy tales.

The book is a perfect read on a grey, gloomy autumnal day as its atmosphere will brighten up the reader’s heart. Set in the Derbyshire Dales in the run up to Christmas, the reader eagerly anticipates the snow and the excitement to come.

Christmas is a time for dreams to come true. Planning the perfect Christmas ignites the reader’s heart with warmth.

There is a wonderful, welcoming feel to the whole novel. They “had a knack of absorbing people into their family.” Even the reader feels included.

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Christmas At Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts

To The Moon And Back

Christmas At Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts is the most delightful heart-warming contemporary novel that will really get you in the festive mood. It follows on from Rachel’s Pudding Pantry but can be read as a stand-alone. I would recommend reading both of these charming novels.

Christmas is a time for memories – remembering the old and making new. “Memories were catching up… the rawness of losing her Dad still a haunting feeling.” Loss is very acute. Rachel and her Mum, Jill ‘feel’ her father’s presence everywhere. Christmas heightens these feelings. Loss consumes but seems to hurt even more when suicide is involved. (I am not giving any plot away as this happened before the opening of book one)

Snow covers the ground as Christmas approaches but farm work must go on. Neighbours pull together when disaster threatens. The sense of community pervades the novel.

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The Grumble-Free Year by Tricia Goyer

Change Your Life

The Grumble-Free Year by Tricia Goyer is a powerful book that has the power to change your life. For a whole year Tricia Goyer and her family practiced being grateful and tried not to grumble. Their results are recorded within the book.

Grumbling can destroy relationships. It achieves nothing. Having an attitude of gratitude in us will build others up. This book explains what the Goyer family did and what they learned along the way.

Tricia Goyer writes in a personable way. The book feels like a letter from a friend as we eaves drop on the Goyer family. Each chapter ends with reflective questions and suggestions as to how we can live grumble free.

It is important to set goals. We can always choose our responses. So choose joy and do not grumble. Remember “our thoughts are just thoughts, not facts.” Do not let your thoughts drag you down.

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