This is a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Monarch (December 15, 2009)
***Special thanks to Cat Hoort of Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy.***


A professional author, Bette Nordberg has published many books, plays, and articles. Her previous novels have been published by Bethany and Harvest House; this is her sixth. Her best known, Serenity Bay, has sold over 22,000 copies. She lives in Washington and she and her husband, Kim, have four children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Monarch (December 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825462967
ISBN-13: 978-0825462962



By Bette Nordberg
Published by Kregel
ISBN# 978-0-8254-6296-2
317 Pages

Back Cover: Young widow Brandy Beauchamp inherits a bed and breakfast on Vancouver Island. It needs energy and commitment, but the beautiful, shabby property can be restored. Brandy moves to British Columbia and sets about building a new life—only to discover that a local property developer has very different plans, and very direct methods of persuasion…

REVIEW: Brandy Beauchamp is overwrought by the news her husband’s been killed in military action and left to raise their daughter, Gabby, alone, Brandy feels disconnected and says, “Part of me felt like a purse left behind at a restaurant. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for someone to come and claim me. Waiting to go home again.”

Brandy didn’t belong with the military crowd anymore, her friends didn’t get it. Then an unexpected phone call changed everything. Unexpected news—her dear friend, Maggie, leaves everything she owns to Brandy; it's a house she ran as a bed and breakfast resort. Brandy jumped at this chance for a new life, but soon discovered this place needed serious repair. Could she do this? Would it be worth it? Had she really heard from God on this?

Brandy’s childhood memory about Maggie, “As a teenager, when I first came to the house at Genoa Bay, I’d always believed that there were only two kinds of people, slobs and neat Knicks—you know the kind, the ones who alphabetize their spice cabinet. But when I met Maggie, I realized that there was also a third category. Maggie was meticulously clean in areas that mattered to her, and remarkably sloppy about things that didn’t.”

I felt compassion for Brandy as she struggled to find her place in the world. Her daughter, Gabby, was adorable, honest and fun to read about. Brandy runs into unexpected difficulties she’s not sure she can handle. Cliff, who works for the marina near Brandy’s house, tried to lighten her load and be a friend.

The author discussed a wide range of topics in this book which intrigued me and warmed my heart. One such topic was Brandy’s courage to live life and do what God’s called her to do, even though it was scary, to stand firm and fight for what she believed in. It was also a time for a new beginning for both Gabby and Brandy. A whole new world opened up to them, if they had the courage to walk in it. God said, He is a lamp unto my feet, but I have to take the first step so the light will shine on the next step I should take - this is Brandy challenge—to trust God for the next step. I enjoyed this story and I’m thankful for the review copy. I can’t wait to read more books by this author.

Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator



February 8th 2004

God talks to me.

Now, hear me out. Before you put me in the same category as the loony folks who hear voices just before they go on a shooting rampage at the local shopping mall, remember: In general, I don’t have visions. I don’t hear voices, either—at least not audible ones.

Still, sometimes, even in the most mundane of moments, I hear the voice of God.

Most recently, it happened down at Waterfront Park at Navy Point, right here in Pensacola. I’d taken Gabby, my seven-year-old and Liz our golden-doodle for a walk. Gabby rode her new bike, a fluorescent pink Speed Demon complete with training wheels, and Liz trotted along on a leash. By the time we began the final loop toward the car, my daughter had begun a serious meltdown.

“I don’t want to ride anymore,” she said, climbing off the silver seat. “It’s too hard. The wheels get stuck.”

She had me there. It seemed her bike’s only demon resided in the five inch balancing wheels that wobbled and froze in every quarter-sized pothole along the trail. Her short legs had powered their way through nearly two miles of these freeze-ups; she’d had enough. Who could blame her?

If Timothy were still alive, he’d have figured out a way to fix the wheels. Me? I’m no tool man. Instead of fixing the bike, I hoped that Mags would out grow the need for wheels.

“We’re almost to the van,” I said. “You can make it that far, can’t you?”
Gabby shook her head as tears began to roll down her cheeks. Crossing stubby arms across her chest, she said, “Go get the car!”

Wanting to avoid yet another battle, I resigned myself to pushing the bike back to the parking area. I wrapped the dog’s leash around my wrist, threw my purse strap across my back, and bent over to push the bike down the pavement. Glancing over my shoulder, I discovered that Gabby and the dog had chosen not to follow. Instead, Gabby—with both arms around the dog’s neck—was enjoying a face washing of sloppy dog kisses.

“Come on you two,” I called. “We don’t have all day.”

By the time we reached the van, my back ached, and sweat rolled down the space between my shoulder blades. I unlocked the car, started the engine and turned up the air conditioning. After settling Gabby in her safety seat, I loaded the little bike inside the passenger compartment. At last, holding the dog’s leash, I opened the back hatch and called for Liz. “Come on Liz,” I called. “Jump!”

The dog circled around behind me, as if to gain speed for the leap into the cargo space. But, just as her front paws touched the bumper, she balked, as if to change her mind. Liz jumped back to the ground, and sat down, whining. “Come on,” I pleaded. “Just get in the dumb car. We’re already late!”

Once again the dog circled. This time, instead of leaping for the cargo area, she stopped dead and circled back the other way. Apparently changing your mind is not a prerogative saved only for women. “Please, just get inside,” I begged, losing what little patience I had. After two more false starts, I began to exert my position as leader of the pack. This time, as Liz approached the car, I dragged her forward by the leash. Why wouldn’t the stupid dog just get into the car? How hard could it be?

That’s when I heard God speak. “Don’t be so critical,” his voice clearly said. “You’re not all that different from the dog.”

The problem with hearing from God, I’ve discovered, is that sometimes, he gives you an answer before you are even aware of the question. Such was the case that day at waterfront park. From the day Liz refused to enter the van, until I clearly understand his meaning, nearly four months passed. And until I put the pieces together, I felt as clueless as a blind man at the bottom of a deep well.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, looks great, I am going to keep an eye out for this one! I NEVER read first chapter excerpts, but this pulled me right in!