Windswept Way by Irene Hannon- A Place of Hope, Beauty with People You’d Like to Know

Irene Hannon is one of my favorite writers and I was excited to read her newest book Windswept Way, the ninth book in the Hope Harbor series

Ashley Scott is taking a leap of faith when she reaches out and sends a letter to Rose Fitzgerald, a reclusive 80-year-old woman who owns a mansion in Hope Harbor.  Ashley has an unusual proposal for Rose to preserve the history of her home and bring back the love and joy which inspired Edgecliff to be built.  The huge undertaking to make renovations and restore the Edgecliff gardens, will take time, hard work, money, and compromise. 

Relationships will be forged, not only between Ashley and Rose, but also with the grounds-keeper Jonathan Gray.  A man who prefers to stay in the background.  The wounds he bears from his military service are more than skin deep.  Will Ashley look beyond his outward appearance and see the proven character of this man? 

Reading a novel in the Hope Harbor series is like coming home to a friendly place where you want to stay for a while.  I really enjoyed the main characters in this book.  Ashley, Rose, and Jonathan were all dealing with their own feelings, trials, and history.  The characters were likable and I enjoyed watching them grow, change, and challenge themselves. 

I enjoyed seeing the return of some of the town’s people in Hope Harbor, especially Charlie, a wise and caring man who reaches out and, befriends all sorts of people.  He makes time for everyone he meets.  The town’s clergymen were back too.  I would like to have seen a little more depth to their relationship and get to know the men behind the jesting. 

Faith was a part of the story, but I would have liked to have seen more of it in the character’s lives.  I appreciated that the novel was clean and without sexual immorality and profanity.  I would have like to have seen Ashley’s mother further developed.

I enjoy reading Irene Hannon’s books and recommend Windswept Way, which is part of the Hope Harbor series.  Hope Harbor is a beautiful place I’d want to visit and stay for a while.  The people are kind and caring, and make amends when they fall short.

I would like to thank Revell Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of Windswept Way by Irene Hannon.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

With You I Am by Cleopatra Margot – Charming and Romantic

It was the beautiful cover of With You I Am by Cleopatra Margot that got my attention.  After reading the storyline, I wanted to read this book.  Cleopatra Margot is a writer whose work is new to me. 

Noelle Carter is the CEO and events coordinator of Carter, Inc., a business started by her grandparents.  Her curiosity is peaked when the Mayor of Balsam Falls, Nebraska, contacts her about planning the town’s spring event.  Perhaps some time away will help reignite her creativity and allow her to connect to the place where her grandmother had come from.  She will be working with Wynn and Marshall from Bryant Brother’s Construction to make the venue ready for the Spring Fling.  Noelle’s life will be impacted by the town and its people, the Bryant family, and one special man. 

With You I Am is a charming and romantic story.  The reader will fall in love with the small town of Balsam Falls and the Bryant family.  It’s the kind of place you wish really existed and filled with people you would like to know.  Not perfect people, but people who are kind, caring, and giving.  People who have had hard times, but by God’s grace and through faith they have persevered.  As much as this book is about a love story, more than that, it is about relationships.  The Christian faith is an important element in the story. 

I really loved this book.  With You I Am is long and goes at a slower pace, which is kind of nice.  You get to know people as the characters are developed.  I loved the Bryant family, their friends, and would love to visit a town like Balsam Falls.  You won’t want to hurry through this book, but instead, enjoy the journey. 

Faith was an integral part of the characters’ lives.  Some of the theology was sound, and some of it was more motivational rather than doctrinal. 

I really loved this book, and then I got towards the end, and there was a turn of events I wasn’t expecting.  Honestly, that change in the story made me mad.  The character was irrational, wasn’t thinking, was selfish, and overly dramatic.  At no time did this character pray about the circumstances or seek wisdom from the Lord.  I hated this part of the book, and thankfully that wasn’t the end of the story.  But I felt manipulated by the writer for dramatic purposes.  The emotions that the character was working through could have been handled in a much different scenario which would have better fit the story.

Also, the physical attraction between the two main characters was focused on too much, with the repeated references throughout the book.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes…I loved the relationships in With You I Am, the family interaction, and their friendships.  Even though the romance was a huge part of the story, the other relationships were the meat and backbone of the story.

I would like to thank Faith to Love Publishing and JustRead Tours for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of With You I Am by Cleopatra Margot.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Precious Friend

Precious Friend-2

She’s like a breath of fresh air
Or a ray of sunshine
Lighting up the room

Sharing what she loves
Giving of herself
She delights in, inspires and encourages others

Gifted by God
Recreating the beauty around her with paint
Capturing a moment in time with her camera

The Lord and His Word are never far from her thoughts
She’s sees His hand in creation
All around her analogies of what God and faith are like

Never an unkind word comes from her mouth
Gratitude and thanksgiving flow from her heart
A gentle, peaceful spirit and ever so kind

So grateful I am, for my precious friend

Susan Wachtel
July 27, 2018



Hold on to Jesus

If you had told me this morning, that tonight I’d be reaching to someone whom I hadn’t talked to in over two years…I would have told you, “You’re just plain wrong!” But in fact, it is I who would have been wrong.

You know how God has a habit of chipping away at things in our lives. Sometimes…He does it in one fell swoop…and a whole big chunk is gone. Other times…He does it bit by bit…until finally I’m being conformed into the image and likeness of His Son. That chipping away can be painful…especially when the chip that falls away feels more like a piece of my body as He works on my heart and mind…or even a wrong attitude.

Did I have a wrong attitude regarding this person? Maybe? Perhaps a little pride…and a whole lot of hurt thrown into the mix.

The last two years of my life were very difficult. A time…where God whacked off big whole chunks all at once. Chunks…that when I found them missing made me feel quite unstable, uncertain and unhappy.

Of the pieces that were missing…one was my friend. One in whom I took much delight. But as circumstances would have it…just when I needed him the most…he pulled back. That pulling back caused a boat load of hurt in the middle of some very turbulent seas. But God has a way…doesn’t He? He likes to get me in a place…where I have no place to turn but to Him. He had a plan and purpose for allowing what happened.

When I’m the middle of circumstances that seem so uncertain…there is no way I can have perspective and understand what God is doing. I’m not sure I fully understand even now. But at least now I have some distance…and perspective and can see God’s hand in the middle of my mess.

Even with that perspective…I wasn’t overly receptive when God first prompted me to call…to reach out to this friend who has been MIA from my life. I rationalize with God, “I’m sure he would have taken my call…if I called him. But God, he hasn’t called me in over two years…doesn’t that tell me everything I need to know?”

I should have known the answer to that…because in God’s economy…what someone else does or doesn’t do…isn’t an excuse for not obeying God’s direction. But God was gentle…and gave me more time to “work it through”.

But today was the day for obedience when He gave me a couple of promptings…that were too hard even for me to miss. When I heard what was going on in my wayward friend’s life I thought…I really should call or send an email. Reach out. But then I dismissed that prompting. That is…until I got home this evening.

In my in-basket was an email from my friend and author Krista Beth Driver. She had sent an email updating people about what had happened to one of her beloved horses, Misty. Tragically Misty had colic…something quite deadly to horses. This poor horse that had once been abandoned by her owner was rescued by Krista Beth. Once deserted, now greatly loved and well cared for…she was now gone. At her passing the other horses Bo, a blind gelding, and Grace were missing their friend Misty. As Krista told of events from the past week…she applied the lesson learned…from her own emotions and watching these beautiful animals…to friendship. She asked some penetrating questions about what kind of friends we are. Do we come alongside, encourage or challenge our friends?

“Okay God…I get it. You want me to reach out. Alright…I’ll send an email. As I wrote it…I discovered that God had mended…and healed some hurt that remained in my heart. I found that more than wanting to be justified in my hurt…I valued our friendship more. “That indeed it is water under the bridge. Today is a new today…and I value you and miss you. I miss your sparkling blue eyes…and the way you make me laugh. I miss your passion for people and for doing the right thing.”

After re-reading and proofing my letter several times…I hit the send button.

I don’t know how it will be responded to…if at all? I might come away disappointed and a little bit hurt. Or I could have my socks knocked off and have a friendship restored. I don’t know. But I do know this…God called me to obey His direction and reach out. To say I love you and care about you…and miss you. And indeed I do. If I get no response…or find the friendship is just dead…well I guest that’s something I need to take to Jesus.

More and more…with so much of life…I’m find that the looser I cling…and the less expectations I bring to the table…the better. I love the Steve Curtis Chapman song, “Hold on to Jesus”. There is one lyric that holds a truth I need to keep reminding myself about. “Cling loosely to things that are fleeting and hold on to Jesus for life.”

Sometimes the things that are fleeting are people. When that happens…my grip on Jesus must grow tighter.

So is there anyone God is prompting you to reach out to? In reading this…does their face come to your mind? Obedience to God’s direction is always the right answer. What will it take to bring you to the point of obedience?

To learn more about Krista Beth Driver’s work with children and neglected and abused horses please go to the Serenity Center for Change.

Hold on to Jesus
by Steven Curtis Chapman

I have come to this ocean
And the waves of fear are starting to grow
The doubts and questions are rising with the tide
So I’m clinging to the one sure thing I know

I will hold on to the hand of my Savior
And I will hold on with all my might
I will hold loosely to things that are fleeting
And hold on to Jesus
I will hold on to Jesus for life

I’ve tried to hold many treasures
They just keep slipping through my fingers like sand
But there’s one treasure that means more than breath itself
So I’m clinging to it with everything I am

Like a child holding on to a promise
I will cling to His word and believe
As I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ Jesus took hold of me

Hold on for life