Review of To See the Moon Again

It’s February, when I usually pick my favorite romance novel of the past year to review.

But this time I’m deviating a bit from Valentine’s Day. This book is not a romance, or a story about a man and a woman. But is a story with a lot of heart, about a friendship between an aunt and her niece.

I love this book. It has strong characters with severe challenges, yet is full of warmth and a moving plot. And the connection with the author whom I so admire made it even more special.

Two women, one older, one younger, nudge each other to have healthier attitudes toward life and themselves. Julia, an introverted professor of fiction writing in South Carolina, is on a year sabbatical, planning a trip to New England to see famous authors’ homes. She definitely did not plan on her grand-niece Carmen disrupting her safe, orderly life. But Carmen is suffering deeply from losing her father, feeling alone, and carrying a secret.

The ending is unexpected and creative, and completely believable. This book was a treat, a typical Jamie Langston Turner book–I didn’t want it to end. Excellent writing, plot, character development, the book is current, relevant, gripping, realistic, satisfying and inspiring.

Of course, being a Jamie Langston Turner fan from wayyyyy back, this is par for the course. I have loved every moment of reading her books. Years ago, I gave away By the Light of a Thousand Stars, a favorite, to my best friend. When I later came across it at a thrift store, I bought it. When my daughter-in-law asked me what my favorite books were, I ended up giving it away again. I’m sure it will get back on my shelf somehow.

I am thankful that of the making of both friends and books, there is no end.

Sheila J Petre

I wondered if there were any of her books I hadn’t read yet. So I went to the author’s website (where I found the lovely quote above, and today found a humorous update by the author). I was surprised to find out that there were several that had eluded me, and was delighted at the prospect of reading more.

On the page that listed her works, I saw a little note saying that she still had several signed copies of To See the Moon Again, and if anyone wanted one they could send her a message. Yes, please! But I checked the date of the post and it was 2014. Well, there was little chance that there were any copies left, but I sent a message anyway.

The author immediately responded that she had one more, so it must have been meant for me! We sorted out how I could send her a cheque and she could mail me the book. What a privilege and a joy to have a personal connection with her! Corresponding with Jamie was as delightful as reading one of her books, full of warmth and friendship.

As we emailed back and forth, talking about how much it cost her to mail it at her local post office–and the exchange rate from U.S. dollars to Canadian–she decided that I had definitely sent her too much money. So the solution we arrived at was that if I was ever anywhere near where Jamie lived (or if she was near Calgary), she would treat me to coffee! (It hasn’t happened yet, but I still look forward to that!)

When I checked my local library, I saw that they had 2 of hers, Sometimes a Light Surprises and By the Light of a Thousand Stars. So I decided to recommend that they consider adding To See the Moon Again to their collection–and they did!!!

Let me encourage you, if you haven’t already discovered Jamie Langston Turner and her beautiful books, now is the time to do so! They were made “for such as time as this”.

Love and hugs, I hope you are well and safe, finding connections of all sorts to buoy you up, and realizing how much you are loved!

[Clipart courtesy of Clipart-Library.com]

Book Review of The Sky Beneath My Feet by Lisa Samson

In this novel, Beth’s predictably crazy world is knocked sideways when her unpredictable husband backs out of the family’s summer vacation.  The reader tags along with her as she lives a life of faith and honesty in the sometimes messy world of learning about her relationships, going out of her comfort zone, committing to a cause or just sitting silently listening to God.

This is one of those books that you look forward to each day, and find hard to put down after just one chapter.  It is effortless reading; the dialogue is completely genuine and the narrator has a light, easy-going, let-your-hair-down personality.

Beth is as unpretentious as you can get.  She is my hero, as she impulsively plops herself in the midst of strangers and dangers on several occasions.  She opened my eyes to how other people in other places, churches and families feel the same feelings and frustrations, even frustrations with our own idealistic, weak selves.

Sky Beneath My Feet_240_360_Book.784.coverI could relate to Beth’s indecision over the family holiday, how we dance around the point with teenagers, and the frustrations of a large, contemporary church service.  What I didn’t get was why she was so upset and offended by her husband’s need to retreat to the backyard shed in solitude, to work through a tough, career-changing, life-changing decision.  Since she’d been a pastor’s wife for many years, I didn’t think that she would be so shocked over that.  Consequently, I kept waiting for the main conflict of the plot to reveal itself, and never felt like I knew what direction the story was going in.

Yet The Sky Beneath My Feet inspired me.  It warmed and entertained me, and challenged my faith.  I saw myself in contrast with some of the characters, and wished I was more like them.  Afterward, having been taken out of my comfort zone for a while, I’m glad I made the trip through this book, because I see the beginnings of an attitude shift in myself.  I would certainly recommend this book and this author to others, especially those that would be willing to read it with an open mind and heart.

I originally chose this book because the author came to speak at our writer’s group several years ago, and gave us a refreshing dose of her down-to-earth personality and her passion for walking in the steps of the disadvantaged people in our society.  I’d also read another book by this Christy Award-winning author that I loved, so I knew beforehand where this one was coming from.  But it was full of surprises nevertheless.

I believe that challenging our attitudes and perspectives is Samson’s forte, and she does it with gentleness and humility.

[Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions I have expressed are my own.]