Tag Archive | Net Galley

The Secret Hotel In Berlin by Catherine Hokin

Back Where She Belongs

The Secret Hotel In Berlin by Catherine Hokin is a powerful dual timeline historical novel that I read in just two sittings.

The action is set in Berlin, mostly surrounding a hotel, during World War II and in 1990. The hotel was a favourite of Hitler and the leading Nazis in the war years, then fell into Soviet hands as it was in East Berlin. After the wall came down in 1989, it was privately purchased. Now it has the opportunity to be renovated and brought back to life.

Walls came down in hearts too in 1990. Families torn apart by the Soviet controlled East Berlin, had erected walls to protect hearts but it had the opposite effect and actually hurt hearts. Now these hardened hearts need to be softened, renovated and brought back to life. Now is the time to build bridges instead of walls.

Sacrificial love was a major theme. There was love that let go, in order that others might thrive. The love remained when all else was gone. The memories remained. And a hope for restoration one day remained.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Old Girls On Deck by Maddie Please

Bermuda Triangle

Old Girls On Deck by Maddie Please is the most delightfully fun contemporary novel that warmed my heart.

Maddie Please has created a wonderful set of characters who meet up and interact on a cruise ship. The leading ladies are sisters and both in their sixties. They make friends with an octogenarian who shows them how to have fun.

Growing older does not have to mean settling. Whilst we still have breath, life is for living.

The sisters re-evaluate their lives. One has been a captain’s widow for five years. She has spent her life in the shadow of her husband. Now it is time to stop hiding behind his memory and start to live and find herself again. Her opinions and knowledge are worth listening to.

The other sister is thankful for her steadfast husband of thirty five years. Now that he is newly retired, she realizes there is a whole world out there to explore. Life is much more than pottering in the garden and television dinners.

The reader is treated to the sights and sounds, the smells and flavours of the Mediterranean. We can almost ‘feel’ the heat and ‘taste’ the delicacies.

Continue reading