About the Author

Carol Kent is the bestselling author of When I Lay My Isaac Down and A New Kind of Normal. Carol is an expert on public speaking, writing, and on encouraging people to hold on to hope when life’s circumstances turn out differently from their dreams. She lives in Florida with her husband Gene.

Carol Kent is a popular international public speaker best known for being dynamic, humorous, encouraging, and biblical. She is a former radio show co-host and has often been a guest on Focus on the Family and a featured speaker at Time Out for Women and Heritage Keepers arena events. She has spoken at The Praise Gathering for Believers and at Vision New England’s Congress. She is also a frequent speaker at Women of Virtue events across the country.

Tell us about the Christmas gift you received. How did it help you to find grace in the middle of a seemingly hopeless situation?

Two weeks before Christmas our doorbell rang at 9:15 p.m. It was dark outside and by the time my husband, Gene, joined me at the front door, we were surprised to find no one there. It was already dark, but my eyes fell on a large, exquisitely wrapped gift. The card on top said, “Mom.” Initially, it felt like a bad joke. Nine years earlier our son, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy had been arrested for murdering his wife’s first husband and he was in prison serving a life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentence.

However, I am a “Mom” and the package was left on my doorstep, so I opened it. The note appeared to be in my son’s unique handwriting. The note expressed his deep love for me and his gratefulness for what I had done to help him since his arrest. He said a “friend” had helped him deliver the surprise. Opening the box, I discovered a gorgeous russet-colored silk jacket—and it fit me perfectly.

That night I discovered something new about God and something I had forgotten about myself. He loves to interject divine surprises into our lives. His timing is always perfect, but it had been a while since I had been surprised by joy, wonder, and grace in the middle of one of the tight spots of life.

What are “grace places,” and how can hurting people in need find them?

All of us experience tight spots when life turns out differently from our dream. When we face the overwhelming obstacles of life, we can experience the last thing we ever expect—the sweet spot of grace. Grace places have a variety of forms, but some include:

•Receiving love when we don’t deserve it

•Finding safety in the middle of a fearful and uncertain experience

•Being comforted by friends and family (people who are extensions of God’s love)

•Experiencing the embrace of God when we have run out of strength and courage

“Grace means the free, unmerited, unexpected love of God, and all the benefits, delights, and comforts which flow from it.” (R.P.C. Hanson)

How important are contentment and gratitude in finding grace and peace?

My son, Jason, is teaching me that I need to choose contentment and thanksgiving in all things. As an inmate in a maximum-security prison, all of his personal items must fit in one small one-foot-high and one-and a half-feet-deep and two-and-a half feet long steel lockbox. He has learned to live comfortably with very little, which brings him a surprising sense of peace.

When I was visiting him one weekend I asked how he holds on to hope in the middle of a life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentence. He said, “Mom, I have a gratitude list. Whenever the clouds of depression try to discouragement, I get out a piece of paper and write down everything I have to be thankful for. I’m thankful I have two parents who will be my advocates for as long as they live. The average number of years a lifer gets visits is five years and then no one comes anymore. I’m also thankful I can be a missionary on a compound that houses up to 1,700 men.” I’m learning from Jason that I find contentment when I choose to be thankful and when I invest my time in helping other people.

What are some unexpected gestures of kindness you’ve received in the past, and how did they help you through difficult times?

A couple of years ago Jason’s appendix ruptured and he was rushed from the prison to a civilian hospital. Gene and I were not allowed to know where he was and I prayed for someone to care for him as a mother would. He had two armed guards in his room at all times. Nurse Betty was assigned to Jason’s care. She treated him with respect and extraordinary care—and I knew she was a direct answer to my prayers.

A group of people who called themselves our “Stretcher Bearers” received an e-mailed monthly update on how to help with our needs. We were blessed with meals, cards, and financial gifts, often just before we needed extra funds for the next legal payment. These amazing people waited with us for two and a half years through seven postponements of the trial.

How has your definition of adventure changed over the years, and why is it important to retain adventure in your life, despite your situation?

True adventure is seeing the potential of living for things that matter in the middle of your current circumstances. We had the adventure of launching a nonprofit organization that helps to empower our son to facilitate classes by having books and DVD teaching series sent to the prison. We also have the adventure of reaching out to other people who are in crisis, which brings purpose and deep meaning to our lives.

There is a theme of surprise throughout the book. What is one of the greatest surprises you’ve had?

The powerful story of Tammy Wilson and Matthew Ben Rodriguez is in this book. Tammy contacted me after I spoke at an event she attended because my son is incarcerated in the same prison where Matt, the man who killed her mother thirteen years ago is incarcerated. She had been praying for someone to lead Matt to Christ and asked if Jason would try to meet him. It turned out that Jason and Matt were already friends and this amazing story is one of forgiveness, redemption, and restoration that can only be explained in the supernatural dimension.

Between a Rock and a Grace Place releases 10 years after your son, Jason, was sentenced to life in a maximum security prison and includes excerpts from Jason’s letters. Can you tell us how he’s doing now?

He has just taken his 8th group of men through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University Course and he will be facilitating a biblical counseling class on marriage and family this fall. He has a prayer group of twelve inmates who fast and pray for the needs of each other and their families. Prison is a depressing, dark, and sad place, but Jason is living for things that will outlast him.

When you received news about Jason’s clemency hearing being denied, how did you respond?

I wailed like a baby, sobbed, felt angry, hurt, and disappointed in God. Then we saw Jason a day after this devastating news. He was calm and very much at peace. He hugged me as I wept and said, “Mom, this case isn’t about having the best attorney or about having the favor of Florida’s top executive political leaders. If I am ever allowed to walk in freedom in this lifetime, it will be because God miraculously opened a door that was closed.” My son helps me to develop an eternal perspective and that day he comforted me.

What advice do you have for those who are stuck between a rock and a grace place?

In the middle of your own hurt reach out to someone else who needs help worse than you do. When you involve yourself in meeting the needs of others, you discover an unexpected freedom on the inside. Corrie ten Boom once said, “What did you do today that only a Christian would have done?”

As a result of your journey, you and your husband have founded the nonprofit organization Speak Up for Hope. What are the goals of the organization, and how can people get involved?

Our vision: To help inmates and their families adjust to their new normal.

Our mission: We exist to provide hope to inmates and their families through encouragement and resources.

Please go to for a list of practical ways individuals, churches, and organizations can help with specific projects. Our goal is to live out the truth of Prov. 31:8-9: “Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice. Stand up for the poor and destitute!”

Where may we connect with you further or to purchase a copy of Between a Rock and a Grace Place?

I would love for you to visit my web site at, browse through the various events and other resources available. You may also join me on my Facebook page, please click here.

Between a Rock and a Grace Place by Carol Kent (Zondervan)

From bestselling author Carol Kent comes a riveting journey of facing the impassible obstacles of life and discovering the last thing ever expected—the sweet spot of grace.

Carol Kent and her husband, Gene, are now living what some would call a heartbreaking life—their son, Jason, a young man who initially had so much promise, is now living out a life sentence for murder in a maximum security prison. All their appeals have been exhausted at both the state and federal levels—humanly speaking, they have run out of options. But despite their hopeless situation, Carol and her husband live a life full of grace. Kent reveals how life’s problems become fruitful affliction where we discover the very best divine surprises, including peace, compassion, freedom, and adventure. Through the Kent’s remarkable ongoing journey, Jason’s riveting letters from behind bars, and true “grace place” stories from the lives of others, Between a Rock and a

Carol Kent
Grace Place reveals that when seemingly insurmountable challenges crash into our lives, we can be transformed as we discover God at work in ways we never imagined. With vulnerable openness, irrepressible hope, restored joy, and a sense of humor, Carol Kent helps readers to find God’s “grace places” in the middle of their worst moments.



By Carol Kent
Published by Zondervan
ISBN# 978-0-310-3398-1
209 Pages

REVIEW: I’m so thankful to have received a review copy of such an inspiring novel. The reader can get the essence of this heart warming, non-fiction book by reading the dedication Carol wrote to her parents.

“Thank you for consistently pressing into the rock and reminding me to find the place off safety and grace in the middle of my darkest hours.”

I appreciated this story filled with hope and joy found in the most unlikely places. Carol Kent not only chares her story of how her and her husband are finding that in their weakness God is strong, but that he also provides the peace that passes all understanding in the middle of the storms of life. Carol and her husband don’t claim to have it all together, nor do they tell you how life becomes easier after your son has been in prison for life for nine years.

Carol says, “As our family is living out a realty far different from what we once dreamed, God has repeatedly reminded us of his favor in the middle of difficulties. There is hope and joy in the darkness…..we could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only join the world…Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ…Joy is experiencing God’s peace in the middle of impossible circumstances and sensing his care when life is anything but fun!”

Life can be tough and taking one day at a time is all we can do. Just like Paul who prayed for the thorn to be taken from his side. Carol talks about Paul praising God in prison under the most horrible conditions and moving on with the thorn in his side God chose not to remove.

Carol Kent along with others share their stories where God showed in the most unexpected ways. These stories were ones that provided hope and inspiration in the most impossible of situations!

Some of the chapter names are Grace in the hardest of places, Angels in Disguise, Longing for a Better Life, The Secret Power of Gratitude, Unexpected Kindness, Why do you Weep? And Dwelling in the Grace Place.

No matter what you face in life dwelling in the grace place is where you want to be with your heavenly father. This book is not a how to book, follow steps one, two and three and God will do this. Not it’s a book filled with real people walking out their faith in the middle of the storm, relying on God to be there like He said he would.

I know that I’ll be reading this book over and over again. I want to go back and really spend sometime in the back of each chapter where Carol provides questions and scriptures to meditate on. I just can’t say enough great things about this powerfully moving, hopeful book. It’s a must read for the hurting and for those people who want to be Jesus with skin on to the people around them.

Nora St. Laurent
The Book Club Network


Wow, Catchy book cover don't you think? Yes I do!! This cover really made me want to pick it up. I thought that maybe this could be about a hostage situation where they are holding women in exchange for something. Or it might have been about a hostile take over of a big business and/or about shady deals they paid people hush money to Or maybe it was about keeping secrets and if you told you got taken? Not sure, what else it could be about. I did have several things run through my mind when I looked at this cover, all of them got me to stop and look.

I wasn't even close to figuring out this books content by it's cover. My bad. The book cover does capture the tone of the book. I learned so much by reading Rick's new book. I usually learn so much from his books. The last book I read by him was Blood Brothers, where Rick took the reader inside the pharmaceutical industry. Chilling story.

When the Devil Whistles is another grand slam for Rick. He takes the reader inside a fascinating situation where people look into big businesses's shady deals and documentation to create a lawsuit out of it. This was a definite eye opener and a great read. Check out Rick's bio and my review of his new book--available in stores in October.

Rick Acker is a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice. He prosecutes corporate fraud lawsuits like those described in When the Devil Whistles. He has led confidential investigations into a number of large and sensitive cases that made headlines in and out of California. Rick holds law degrees from the University of Oslo and the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated with honors. In addition to his novels, he is a contributing author on two legal treatises published by the American Bar Association. Rick lives with his wife in the San Francisco area. Visit him on the Web at:


By Rick Acker
Published By Abington Press
ISBN# 978-1426707674
343 Pages

Back Cover: Allie Whitman is a professional whistle blower with a knack for sniffing out fraud in government contracts. Conner Norman is a gifted litigator and together they form Devil to Pay, Inc., a shell corporation that files lawsuits based on Allie's investigations. They soon find themselves fighting potentially fatal battles in and out of the courtroom, going great lengths to protect secrets that could ruin them both.

Review: I was thrilled to receive a review copy of a book with such an intriguing subject. This author weaves such a suspenseful and dramatic story, that I stayed up late reading to find out what happened next. Rick Acker gives us a sneak peek into his day job as a deputy attorney general in California's Department of Justice. This author takes the reader through the ins and outs of a high profile criminal case. It was captivating and chilling.

Rick says, "I try to put as little fiction as possible into my novels. Partly because I owe it to readers like you to get my facts right...I also enjoy the research, talking to fighter pilots and scientists…visiting museums and labs..." Not only does Rick Acker pen a suspenseful, legal drama, but I learned so much when I read his books. He takes the reader places we normally wouldn't go. I like that.

This book reminded me of the movie Duplicity with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. I had to pay close attention to the set up in the beginning, so I would catch the sting. Rick does the same with this book. He doesn't bog you down with too much, but just enough to peek inside this fascinating and scary subject. I had no idea a devil whistle blower existed and how they function in an actual case. This author states he has prosecuted corporate fraud lawsuits like those described in this novel.

The main female character is Allie, a young, smart business woman, who knows what she wants and goes after it. Allie says this about her temp work with large companies, "The first day of a new temp job was normally an exciting time. She was a spy setting foot in an energy country for the first time - an undercover Jane Bond who had tricked her way into the heart of a malevolent conspiracy to steal taxpayer dollars. The contrast and between her blah cover and her secret mission - spiced with just a touch of danger - was absolutely delicious."

I enjoyed Allie and felt compassion for the guilt that plagued her. Allie’s partner, Connor, is a brilliant attorney who prides himself on bringing in the bad guy. He says to Allie, "We really do get to fight crime. I love that - I wish everyone took the law as seriously as we do. If you commit a crime, you should pay the price. Every. Single. Time. No excuses, no compromises."

They were a great team until Allie got caught in a serious situation she couldn’t share with anyone. She didn't want to hurt Connor. But the hand was dealt. She had no control over what happened next! It’s a deadly game they played - especially if the whistle blower is caught. The walls of Allie's perfect little world start to crumble when she starts to take matters into her own hands!

I took this book with me everywhere I went. I was mesmerized by this unusual story and Rick Acker's wide array of characters! You won't want to miss this author’s new’ll will make you want to check out his others!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Secret of The Shroud
B&H Books (September 1, 2010)

Pamela Ewen

Pamela’s first novel, Walk Back The Cat (Broadman & Holman. May, 2006) is the story of an embittered and powerful clergyman who learns an ancient secret, confronting him with truth and a choice that may destroy him.

She is also the best-selling author of the acclaimed non-fiction book Faith On Trial, published by Broadman & Holman in 1999, currently in its third printing.

Although it was written for non-lawyers, Faith On Trial was also chosen as a text for a course on law and religion at Yale Law School in the Spring of 2000, along with The Case For Christ by Lee Stroble. Continuing the apologetics begun in Faith On Trial, Pamela also appears with Gary Habermas, Josh McDowell, Darrell Bock, Lee Stroble, and others in the film Jesus: Fact or Fiction, a Campus Crusade for Christ production.

Her most recent novel, The Moon in the Mango Tree (B&H Publishing Group, May 2008) is currently available online and in bookstores everywhere. Set in the 1920’s and based on a true story, it is about a woman faced with making a choice between career and love, and her search for faith over the glittering decade. Pamela’s upcoming book, Dancing On Glass, which was recently short-listed as a finalist for the Faulkner/Wisdom creative writing novel award, will be released in the spring of 2011, and she is currently working on a sequel.

A frightened apostle in AD 33, a tragic child in the 1950s, and a slick, twenty-first century church leader are all linked by the secret of the Shroud of Turin, the purported burial cloth of Jesus-and by something more.

Wesley Bright, a corrupt, media-savvy clergyman, is out to destroy the Christian church of the God who abandoned him in his boyhood. Likable and entertaining, Bright keeps his motives well hidden. But as he seeks revenge, leading the church toward unknowing destruction, the mysterious Shroud of Turin stands in his way.

Strange characters and clues emerge like shadows limned in mist as the most recent discoveries on the Shroud connect the pieces of a fascinating puzzle. When Wesley learns the ancient secret, he’s forced to confront a terrible choice: keep the secret—and the power, wealth, and fame he’s won over the years—or expose it...and lose everything.

At stake is one thing: absolute truth.
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Secret of The Shroud, go HERE.

REVIEW: I will post a review of this book once I recieve the review copy. I haven't gotten it yet. This does look really good!!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Thorn
Bethany House (September 7, 2010)

Beverly Lewis

Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, THE HERITAGE OF LANCASTER COUNTY, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."


Lancaster County, with its rolling meadows and secret byways, may seem idyllic, but it is not without its thorns. THE ROSE TRILOGY is the stirring saga of two Amish sisters on the fringes of the church, and the unforeseen discoveries that change their lives.

Rose Kauffman, a spirited young woman, has a close friendship with the bishop's foster son. Nick dresses Plain and works hard but stirs up plenty of trouble too. Rose's sister cautions her against becoming too involved, but Rose is being courted by a good, Amish fellow, so dismisses the warnings.

Meanwhile, Rose keeps house for an English widower but is startled when he forbids her to ever go upstairs. What is the man hiding? Rose's older sister, Hen, knows more than she should about falling for the wrong man. Unable to abandon her Amish ways, Hen is soon separated from her very modern husband.

Mattie, their young daughter, must visit her father regularly, but Hen demands she wear Amish attire--and speak Pennsylvania Dutch, despite her husband's wishes. Will Hen be able to reestablish her place among the People she abandoned? And will she be able to convince Rose to steer clear of rogue neighbor Nick?

Watch the book trailer:

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Thorn, go HERE.

I didn't read this book yet, but I LOVE the cover of it. It really makes you stop and look at it closely. What do you think?

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network


Winners announced at ACFW Conference in Indianapolis This weekend.



Susan May Warren - The Great Christmas Bowl (Tyndale House, Karen Watson - Editor)


Janet Tronstad - Christmas Bells for Dry Creek (Steeple Hill, Tina James - Editor)


Mae Nunn - A Texas Ranger's Family (Steeple Hill, Melissa Endlich - Editor)


Jill Elizabeth Nelson - Evidence of Murder (Steeple Hill, Emily Rodmell - Editor)


Dan Walsh - The Unfinished Gift (Revell, Andrea Doering)


Jenny B. Jones - I'm So Sure (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann/Jamie Chavez - Editors)


Christina Berry - The Familiar Stranger (Moody Publishers, Paul Santhouse - Editor)


Jenny B. Jones - Just Between You and Me (Thomas Nelson, Natalie Hanemann/Jamie Chavez - Editors)


A.K. Arenz - The Case of the Mystified M.D. (Sheaf House, Joan M. Shoup - Editor)


Terri Blackstock - Intervention (Zondervan, Sue Brower/Dave Lambert - Editors)


Allison Pittman - Stealing Home (Multnomah, Alice Crider - Editor)


Mary Connealy - Cowboy Christmas (Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany - Editor)

SPECULATIVE (includes Science Fiction, Fantasy, Allegory)

Kirk Outerbridge - Eternity Falls (Marcher Lord Press, Jeff Gerke - Editor)


Cheryl McKay & Rene Gutteridge - Never the Bride (Waterbrook Press, Shannon Marchese - Editor)


Dan Walsh - The Unfinished Gift (Revell, Andrea Doering - Editor)

There were many authors on this list and voting must have been hard!!


Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network


BOOK DESCRIPTION: HER DAUGHTER'S DREAM by Francine Rivers ( Tyndale House Publishers, Sept. 2010- In stories now)

In the dramatic conclusion to the New York Times best seller Her Mother’s Hope, Francine Rivers delivers a rich and deeply moving story about the silent sorrows that can tear a family apart and the grace and forgiveness that can heal even the deepest wounds.

Growing up isn’t easy for little Carolyn Arundel. With her mother, Hildemara, quarantined to her room with tuberculosis, Carolyn forms a special bond with her oma Marta, who moves in to care for the household. But as tensions between Hildie and Marta escalate, Carolyn believes she is to blame. When Hildie returns to work and Marta leaves, Carolyn and her brother grow up as latchkey kids in a world gripped by the fear of the Cold War.

College offers Carolyn the chance to find herself, but a family tragedy shatters her newfound independence. Rather than return home, she cuts all ties and disappears into the heady counterculture of San Francisco. When she reemerges two years later, more lost than ever, she reluctantly turns to her family to help rebuild a life for her and her own daughter, May Flower Dawn.

Just like Carolyn, May Flower Dawn develops a closer bond with her grandmother, Hildie, than with her mother, causing yet another rift between generations. But as Dawn struggles to avoid the mistakes of those who went before her, she vows that somehow she will be a bridge between the women in her family rather than the wall that separates them forever.
Spanning from the 1950s to present day, Her Daughter’s Dream is the emotional final chapter of an unforgettable family saga about the sacrifices every mother makes for her daughter—and the very nature of unconditional love.


Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist.

Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books and then re-released by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the Christian Booksellers Association's top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian best-seller list for nearly a decade.

Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes—all best sellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. Francine's novels have been translated into over 20 different languages, and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

Francine and her husband, Rick, live in northern California and enjoy time spent with their three grown children and taking every opportunity to spoil their grandchildren. Francine uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and she desires that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.

How has exploring the relationship between your mother and grandmother helped you understand yourself?

This is a question I would love readers to ask themselves at the end of Her Mother’s Hope. I realized early in the story that I have many of my grandmother and mother’s character traits, both good and bad. They both had tempers. So do I. They both had low self-esteem. I’m always striving to “measure up”. They both chose spouses who respected them. So did I. Both women had strong faith and servants’ hearts, something they encouraged in me. My mother extended grace to others -- a trait I want to cultivate to the end of my days. By holding onto her anger, Grandma lacked the peace and joy she could have had in her last years. I tend to relive past hurts. Writing about Marta made me decide to let go, forgive and move on. For whatever reason, Grandma couldn’t and missed out on so much joy in her last years. Sometimes people deeply hurt as children take offense where none was intended. Holding a grudge causes suffering, especially for the one who won’t let go. Jesus said to forgive one another as He has forgiven us. Forgiveness frees us, even if the other person refuses to join in the process of reconciliation. As I examine my own life, I see how much I’ve been forgiven. How can I not extend God’s grace to others? The best way to experience the fullness of God’s presence in my life is to surrender it to Him. And in that surrender, we are made more complete and joy-filled.

Mother-daughter relationships are often complicated and fraught with emotional land mines. What was your approach to exploring the complexity of those relationships in a fictional setting?

Questions, lots of questions! Every time I told someone I was working on a book about mother-daughter relationships, people wanted to share their family stories. As I wrote Her Mother’s Hope, I wanted readers to see through each woman’s eyes, and understand how the past shaped each in the way she responded to her mother. Hildemara doesn’t believe her mother loves her, but it is out of Marta’s pain and loss that tough-love techniques were forged. Marta wants to strengthen her daughter for whatever lies ahead. Sometimes what we view as rejection can actually be an act of sacrificial love. We seldom know the experiences that shaped our mothers, the deep hurts, traumatic events, broken relationships. I hope women who read this book will want to share those things with one another.

Writing a novel is not for the faint of heart. What was the most difficult part of writing this family saga? What came the most naturally to you?

The most difficult part of writing any novel is getting out of my own way. I have to get rid of preconceived notions about themes and characters and plot. The first draft of this novel came in at over 1000 pages and was too biographical. I wanted the story to shift back and forth from present to past, trying to show what happened to create the rifts and valleys between Hildemara, Carolyn and May Flower Dawn. I was too cautious, too afraid to harm to my grandmother and mother’s memory.

A wonderful editor wrote me an insightful letter in which she listed what she wanted to know about each the characters. Her letter got my creative juices flowing. She helped me look at the story in a new way. I set the first manuscript aside and started over. I found it better to move from one generation to the next in a linear story. This time the characters followed my grandmother and mother’s timeline, but took on a life of their own. They became unique individuals rather than the shadow of real people.

After readers finish this series what do you want them to remember? What questions and feelings do you want it to provoke on a spiritual and emotional level?

I hope and pray readers who have had difficult relationships with their mothers or daughters will let go of the pain and anger and allow God to work in their lives. God can work all things together for good for those who trust and love Him. Following Jesus’ example changes the way we see people. It changes the way we relate to one another. Even when the chasm is too deep to cross, we can decide to forgive. Some people wear grievances like a dirty coat. With God’s strength, we can strip it off and be free. When people finish reading Her Daughter’s Dream, I hope they will want to extend God’s grace and forgiveness. I hope they will tear down their walls and use their life experiences to begin building a bridge.

Who do you see as the audience for this story, and does that differ from your previous readership?

I am fortunate to work with Tyndale House. If a writer does well in one genre, publishers encourage the writer to continue in the same genre. Tyndale has given me the freedom to go wherever the story leads. I have done historical as well as contemporary. This two-part saga was intended to be one LONG book. Splitting the story into two parts made it more affordable for readers, and eliminated the need to delete entire sections. Hopefully, both women and men will enjoy Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream. Men play a strong role in the lives of all four primary characters: Marta, Hildemara Rose, Carolyn and May Flower Dawn. And both books have much to do with faith, how it presents itself, how it grows, often under difficult circumstances and in unexpected ways.

Where may we connect with you further or to purchase a copy of HER DAUGHTER'S DREAM?

I would love for you to visit my web site at  , browse through the various events and other resources available, as well as sign up for my mailing list. You may also join me on my Facebook page, please click here.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at  for more information about blog tour management services.

I am NOT personally giving away a copy of this book. PLEASE GO TO the LINKS mentioned for an opportunity to WIN a copy of this POWERFUL BOOK!!


1. The Virtual Book Tour Facebook page at

2.The Christian Speaker Services blog at



By: Francine Rivers
Tyndale Publishers
ISBN #: 978-1-4143-3409-7
576 Pages

I have been blessed to receive a review copy of the sequel to Her Mother’s Hope. This is a very personal story for Francine Rivers. She says, “I wanted to explore what caused the rift between my grandma and my mom during the last years of my grandmother's life. Was it a simple misunderstanding or something deeper that had grown over the years? Many of the events of this story were inspired by my family history that I researched and events I read about in my mother’s journals or experienced in my own life. You may have guessed that Carolyn is my alter ego…but only some of my life is interwoven through hers…”

Her Daughters Dream covers a time span starting at 1951 and is brought to 2010. The author describes events in the history of the world, how this family and others responded to Kennedy’s assassination, the Vietnam War, Woodstock, Hippies/Free Love, September 11th and others.

The first part of this story is told through Hildemara Rose’s point of view. She’s very sick and needs to ask the help of a person who’s hurt her deeply - her mother, Oma Marta.

Francine Rivers quickly changes to Hildemara's daughter Carolyn’s point of view for the majority of the book. Carolyn is a very studious child and is eager to please her parents. Her brother, Charlie, is the polar opposite of her, but they love each other dearly. Carolyn’s life is forever changed by the relationship developed between Oma Marta and Hildemara and herself, when Hildie was sick.

Carolyn does all the right things in school, learns how to blend in and gets amazing grades. But, things change in high school with Charlie now attending the same school. He becomes protective of her and Carolyn has to learn new rules and how to melt into this new crowd.

1968 hits and Carolyn is at Berkley University gathering signatures to help protest the war in Vietnam. Carolyn’s world was changing quickly. Nothing made sense. She didn’t fit in anywhere. She didn’t know what to believe in anymore. Where was God in all this war and killing?

“God? They’d all been saying God didn’t care or God was dead. When had faith ever been enough?”

Not in Carolyn’s life anyway. Carolyn’s parents, Hildemara Rose and Trip’s world wasn’t the same either- they were both in pursuit of the American dream. They gave their best to the job, there was little time left for family and friends.

Then one day Carolyn hears from Jesus and he’s told her what to do, “She just didn’t think she could do it.”

Her grandma Oma said, “Nothing is easy Carolyn. Life isn’t easy. We do the best we can with what God gives us.”

“But I’ve made a complete mess of everything Oma.”

“It’s not about what you’ve done. It’s about what you’re going to do now...You lived through it. You’re a survivor. The past doesn’t have any power over you anymore…it only has the power you give it.”

Francine Rivers does an incredible job of allowing the reader to get in the skin of each of her characters. I was quickly drawn into their situation and could feel their pain. It was amazing to see the events of our world affect one family and the people around them.

My heart broke for the women in this story and how misunderstandings and the fear of confrontation caused them to be in so much pain when in each others presence. Francine Rivers’ story helped me look at my family and how we weathered events in history and how it shaped and molded us as a family unit and as a country. It showed me that God has plans for us even in the middle of the storm; He wants us to cling to Him and have faith.

I loved Carolyn’s favorite prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done.” This is easier prayed than done, but so true.

A Daughters Dream is a tremendously moving story of a families struggle to overcome misunderstandings of the past, trust God to help them forgive one another, heal the hurts between them and have faith to carry them through the unknown events in the future. Francine Rivers is a master wordsmith bringing God, faith and family together in such an incredibly moving way. This story is personal for Francine and she describes how the characters and the story parallel her personal life and struggles in the back of the book. Fascinating! Get your tissues ready as you read. I found myself weeping near the end as I read of this family’s sad times and joy. I also saw God make a tremendous difference in their lives. This book is a keeper and one this reader will not soon forget. Either will you!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network



It's a Giveaway Extravaganza! Kindle Giveaway, Facebook Party and Book Bomb - OH MY!

Visit the Roaring 20’s with Julie Lessman in the Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway! Julie’s latest series has just ‘shimmied’ it’s way onto the scene with book 1 in The Winds of Change series, A Hope Undaunted! 

Find out more about the book, Julie here.

Enter The Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive a KINDLE preloaded with Julie Lessman's latest title. The Prize Pack (valued at over $150.00) includes:

* A brand new KINDLE, with Wi-Fi
* A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form and be sure to tell your friends about the contest.

Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on October 7th.

Not only is Julie hosting the fabulous KINDLE giveaway, but also a FACEBOOK  PARTY and a BOOK BOMB!!!

Are you ready for PRIZES GALORE??? Then come to the Facebook Party!

How does a gift certificate and a signed book given away EVERY 10 minutes during an hour-long Facebook party sound? (Yeah, we think it sounds pretty great too!) On October 7th at 5pm PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST, & 8:00 EST) Julie is inviting you to attend the A Hope Undaunted Facebook Party! She'll announce the winner of the KINDLE and in addition to the prizes every 10 minutes, she'll also be giving away great prize baskets filled with even more Romance and Technology (Netflix, Starbucks,, Champagne body Lotion, Pearls, & more!)!

BUT WAIT … there’s more (and no, this is not an infomercial … it’s WAY better!).  If you participate in the Book Bomb on October 7th you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to All you need to do to participate is buy a copy of A Hope Undaunted on October 7th and send your receipt (just transaction number from store, store name & date) to! Each book purchased equals one entry, buy 10 books get 10 entries!

All this fun begins with Revell’s blog tour SEPTEMBER 19-25, when 122 blogger/reviewers will post reviews about A Hope Undaunted, followed by the Book Bomb and Facebook Party!

So mark your calendars with these important dates:
September 19-25: A Hope Undaunted will be making an appearance on blogs across the country (and beyond!) in Revell's blog tour!

September 20th: The Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway launches (contest runs 9/20 - 10/6)

October 7th: Book Bomb Day (where everyone is encouraged to buy the book online at the same time!) and Facebook Party - meet and chat with Julie, win some great prizes & find out who won the KINDLE!

Want to help us spread the word about all this fun and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate?

Share Julie's Giveaway Extravaganza on Facebook, Twitter or your blog and we'll enter your name into our random drawing to win 50 smackers to!

Once you've tweeted, posted on Facebok or added the button to your blog/website - simple email Amy and let her know you helped spread the word. Easy.

Here is a sample post for both Twitter/Facebook:

Tweet This: @JulieLessman is giving away a KINDLE and tons more during her giveaway extravaganza! Details here: Pls RT

Share on Facebook: Julie Lessman is celebrating her new release, A Hope Undaunted by giving away a KINDLE, having a Book Bomb and a Facebook Party! Prizes Galore - don't miss the fun!

Or add this button to your blog or website! Simply copy and paste the code in the box into the HTML screen of your blog or website. Then email Amy and let her know you did!

A Hope Undaunted Facebook Party


By Julie Lessman
Published by Revell
ISBN# 978-0-8007-3451-2
505 Pages

Back Cover: The 1920's are drawing to a close and feisty Katie O'Connor, is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy, with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend, Jack, fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and head-over-heels in love with her. But, when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

Review: I was thrilled to receive a review copy of this moving, heart warming epic story. I had read all three books in her Daughters of Boston series and couldn’t wait to read this first book in the Winds of Change series. The author's character descriptions, with their reactions to each other and their situations, made me feel as if I were watching them on a big screen, taking in every detail, hook, line and sinker.

Katie O’Connor is the main character, and is the youngest and feistiest of the O’Connor sisters. It’s the roaring twenties and Katie has big plans to marry rich, go to law school and be the first woman to gain a seat in Congress. She wants to be in a position of influence to change the plight of women and children.

Jack, Katie’s boyfriend, adores her and fits all the criteria for her plan beautifully; that is, until Katie is forced to work with Luke McGee during the summer of 1929. Sparks start to fly between them on all fronts, even as they butt heads at work. They’d known each other as kids. Luke was mean then, and it didn’t appear he changed much. Why did Luke bother her so much now? Couldn’t she let her childhood memories go?

Luke says, “You know, Katie, you’ve always been a cold and callous little thing, but I actually believed it was just a front. You know, a thin coat of steel to protect your fragile little heart? But I was wrong. Seems that steel is as thick as that stubborn head of yours when it comes to making life decisions…You’re a cold, cold woman, Katie O’Connor…your ‘plan’ is your god, and God help anybody who gets in your way.”

“Katie couldn’t believe his words. …I want to be a lawyer, mother- to blaze the way for women who think they need a man to take care of them, women like Mrs. Rhodes at church—everyone knows that tyrant she lives with beats her. But will she leave? Not on her life. And in the end, it will probably cost her hers...Was it wrong to have a plan? She had her plan! God was some fairy tale for weak people, right?”

I thoroughly enjoyed every second I spent reading this book. I got caught up in the characters and their drama. I couldn’t believe Katie and the lengths she would go to, to maintain the forward progression of her plan. And, the fight inside her heart to do what was right was a constant challenge. I got a kick out of the family gatherings, filled with games, conflict, resolve, love and great fun. I felt as if I were in the middle of it all. I smiled big at the satisfying ending and a book filled with an array of colorful characters and their situations. Julie included the entire O’Connor clan that I got to know in her other books, with a few additions. Julie is a master story teller. I love how she naturally wove their struggle with God and his direction for their lives. It wasn’t preachy but realistic. Julie’s writing touches all the reader’s senses and pulls on your heart strings, as she makes you feel like you really know and care about these people. This book's a keeper. I’ll definitely be reading this book again, you will too!

Nora St. Laurent
The Book Club Network