Saturday, January 22, 2022

Drift Away in A Heart Adrift

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You will need chocolate  - and lots of it - as you read Laura Frantz’s A Heart Adrift. This is a beautiful story of loss, forgiveness, and love. The story follows Henri and Esmee as they get a second chance at love 10 years after they broke their engagement. Esmee is a chocolatier and makes delicious-sounding chocolates you will want to eat while reading this story. Henri is a sea captain that can’t seem to find his place on “land” despite being at a time where he is ready to leave the sea behind for good.

Having the courage to change, get through daunting moments, and forgive is essential for Henri and Esmee to have their second chance at love. Author Laura Frantz weaves a magnificent story showing how having the bravery to sit in the uncomfortable moments and have difficult conversations is essential for not having regrets in life and opens the door of opportunity for potentially a second chance at love.

The most powerful aspect of Ms. Frantz’s writing is that she doesn’t skip over the hard topics. She addresses them with truth, grace, and love. This story includes acknowledging slavery and indentured workers, which was a prevalent issue during this time. It could be so easy to skip over these painful realities and leave them out, but she fearlessly wades in and speaks into these truths that were happening during this period in our history.

I have learned so much about history, especially American history from her well researched and equally well-written stories. I am always blown away at the details and people woven into her stories with historical accuracy. It makes you want to learn and research more about specific people, topics and places from the time period she is writing about. A Heart Adrift is the perfect blend of engaging and educational. 

This story felt very much like Ms. Frantz getting back to her roots as a storyteller. She just has a way of challenging you to see and think about tough topics in new light. This book especially opened my eyes to seeing how losing someone can turn a person into an “idol” that you value before God because of the love they gave you while here on earth. There is a lot of “loss” in this book and some of the characters' storylines wrapped up too quickly at the end for you to feel like resolution happened. I don’t want to give anything away, but since this is not usually her style as a writer, I believe this might mean that some of the characters' storylines might continue in another book to see full closure of their characters' story and growth. At least I hope so!

I absolutely loved this book overall. However, I was sad that there was no epilogue included at the end. This is not a light read and you were only able to have small sliver of the “happy ending” that Esmee and Henri worked so hard to have happen for them.  The story would have felt more satisfying and complete to have a snapshot at what their life might have looked like in the future after making it through so much suffering and hardship. However, please don’t let this fact stop you from choosing to read this stunning story that weaves together history, faith, and love so smoothly. Just like one of Esmee’s chocolates. Remember, don’t forget the chocolate to make this story that much sweeter when you read it.

P.S. Laura Frantz is one of my best friend’s favorite authors. She graciously helped me formulate my thoughts around this book to make sure I provided the best review possible for all the Laura Frantz book lovers out there : ) 

~~ A Heart Adrift was provided to me by the author herself and Revell in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions expressed are my own, I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own.~~

Proposing Mischief Marries Adventure and Treasure

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Author Regina Jennings' new book in her Joplin Chronicles series, Proposing Mischief, was so enjoyable I didn't want it to end.

The Kentworth cousins are back, and Maisie Kentworth is the heroine in book two. Readers meet her in Courting Misfortune, where she is loyal and honest. In Proposing Mischief, however, we discover another side of Maisie. Her family goes into protective mode after a brief relationship with the wrong man, so she finds herself stuck working on her parents' ranch all the while contemplating her actions. Feeling trapped on the farm, she explores a mine on the edge of her family's land belonging to Boone Bragg and discovers unfound treasure. 

Similarly, to Maisie, the hero in this story, Boone, is also feeling trapped by being thrust into a leadership role at his family's mine (Bragg Mine) while his parents are on vacation. He struggles to tactfully dissuade an associate who wants him to marry his daughter without offending him all while learning to run the mine well. 

Boone saw his "proposal" as a way to gain freedom. Maisie would gain independence and protection by being married to him and he would gain 'autonomy' to run the mine to the best of his ability and not have every single female within a 10-mile radius thrown at him in hopes of matrimony. Neither of them factored love into the equation. 

Maisie has so many qualities I appreciated: her gumption, honesty, and hard-working mindset. She was not one to sit idle and she didn't put on airs. She was just simply unapologetically herself and had such a likeable and refreshing persona. The perfect foil for Boone.  

In Maisie, Boone finds her to be "a diamond in the rough" and "the best treasure [he] found in the mine." (Jennings, 219). 

I really liked how Ms. Jennings developed Boone and Maisie's relationship beginning with friendship and gradually growing into love, respect, and a mutual attraction for each other. It's refreshing to read a book that focused on the more meaningful qualities that build a lasting relationship and did not just focus on the physical aspect of a healthy relationship, which seems so lacking in many books. If you want some good laughs and to feel like you are reading about a healthy romance and not a shallow one, then this is the book for you. 

~~ Proposing Mischief was provided to me by the author herself and Bethany House in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions expressed are my own, I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own.~~

Friday, January 7, 2022

Ringing in 2022 with 100th Post

Happy New Year BlondeClassic fans! This blog post will be a departure from my others. The first post in 2022! My blog is celebrating a major milestone - 100 posts! Even typing out the number 100 blows my mind. I'd never have guessed when I started my blog 7 years ago I'd still be blogging let alone reach 100 posts!

Let the thank you's start rolling in:

My parents and siblings for the encouragement with my writing. 

My best friend Jennifer Klotz. We are lifelong best friends. She is the person who helps me by spending countless hours editing my posts until they are just right. She also inspired the name for my blog (BlondeClassic) because I'm blonde and enjoy classic films and books. Thank you doesn't seem like enough. Your constant friendship, encouragement and support mean the world to me and I'm not sure I'd have gotten as far as I did without your unwavering support. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. 

To all the incredibly gifted Christian fiction writers whose influencer teams I'm privileged to be a part of. Thank you for entrusting your books to me to read and review. Even after all these years, it's still a tremendous honor and one I don't take lightly. 

Lastly, thank you to each and everyone one of you that takes the time to read my blogs and comment. It means the world to me. 

Here's to 2022 and the many fantastic books we get to read! 

Happy reading!