Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Healing Love -- The House That Love Built

Beth Wiseman hooked me with her excellent Amish fiction.  But she has proven her ability to write excellent fiction in more than one genre.  The House that Love Built is her second non-Amish novel, and it was a delight to read.

Brooke, Owen, and the other characters come alive on the pages.  A troubled teenager and an offbeat uncle add variety and depth to the story, providing a balance of trouble and humor.  As the characters deal with loss and betrayal, hope, love, and healing come at just the right time.  A bit of small-town mystery around an old house and a bonding of an eclectic "family" rounds out this very enjoyable story.

Thanks to the BookSneeze blogging program for providing this ebook in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Book

Brooke has only loved one man, her late husband. Owen’s rebuilding after a painful divorce. Can a mysterious house bring them together for a second chance at love?

In the charming town of Smithville, Texas, Brooke Holloway is raising two young children on her own, supporting them by running the family hardware store. The last thing on her mind is falling in love. But she’s intrigued when a stranger moves to town and buys the old Hadley mansion. She’s always heard that house holds a secret—maybe even a treasure—and she can’t wait to see inside. When she meets the new owner and they spend time together, she can’t deny the attraction. Could God be giving her another chance at happiness? Or is she betraying her late husband’s memory by even thinking that way?

Owen Saunders bought the Hadley place to spite his cheating ex-wife. She’d always wanted to restore an old house in Smithville. Now he’s going to do it without her. But if anything needs restoration, it is Owen’s heart. Then he meets Brooke and her kids and finds himself tempted by love. Can he bring himself to trust a woman again?

Throw an eccentric uncle into the mix, along with the town’s teenage troublemaker, and even a finicky cat—and one thing becomes clear: God is bringing them all together for a reason.

Much like Brooke and Owen, Wiseman has sensed God putting her in situations for His purpose. In turn, she has written some of the lessons she’s learned into her stories whether it be in her Amish series or her new venture into contemporary novels (The House that Love Built is her second non-Amish release). “There have been times in my life that I could see God was using the situation, but I couldn’t foresee the reasoning — especially during the bad times.  It has taken years to understand that much of what I have experienced was to give me a better understanding of certain situations so I could write about it and hopefully help others,” explains Wiseman. “I’m not sure I could have captured the hospital scene in my second novel if my own son hadn’t spent a month in the hospital. I’ve witnessed a miracle, so I wrote about one. I’ve made mistakes I’m not proud of, and those seem to find a way into my stories, as well, painful as some of them might be. I’m adopted, so I’ve written about that. Each book I write ministers to my own soul, and I pray the stories will bring peace to my readers.”

Ultimately, in addition to an entertaining story, what Wiseman hopes readers walk away with is, “God forgives us . . . and so easily. Yet, we beat ourselves (and others) into the ground over the burdens of our past. I personally have trouble forgiving myself, so that ends up in my books a lot,” admits Wiseman. “Carrying our burdens of the past is self-destructive, and my goal for this story was to have several of my characters shedding their burdens as they grow in their faith and put their trust in God.”

When a personal crisis tested and strengthened her faith, award-winning journalist Beth Wiseman was advised by her agent to consider writing a Christian novel, particularly an Amish one. Encouraged by her agent’s urging, she began exploring the Amish lifestyle and soon developed a great appreciation for the more peaceful way of life. In 2008 Wiseman wrote her debut novel, Plain Perfect, featuring the Amish lifestyle within the context of a fictional love story. It was a bestseller, as have been all of the full-length novels and novellas she has written since.

About the Author

While Need You Now is Wiseman’s first non-Amish novel, it will not be the last. She recently completed The House that Love Built, scheduled for release in April 2013Like Need You Now, it will also be set in small-town Texas, a familiar background she thoroughly loves exploring and writing about.

Wiseman’s previous releases have held spots on the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) and the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) bestseller lists. In 2010, she received the INSPY Award for Amish Fiction (chosen by blog reviewers). In 2011, she received the Carol Award and was the Inspirational Readers Choice winner for her book Plain Paradise. Her novel Seek Me with All Your Heart was the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. In addition, Wiseman has been a Retailers Choice Finalist, a Booksellers Best Finalist and a National Readers Choice Finalist. Prior to becoming a novelist she received many honors for her work as a journalist, including a prestigious First Place News Writing Award from the Texas Press Association.

Today, she and her husband are empty nest parents of two grown sons, enjoying the country lifestyle and living happily with two dogs, two cats, two pot-bellied pigs, and a growing collection of Boer goats in a small community in South Central Texas. When Beth isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, and watching good movies. Her favorite pastimes, however, are painting (her paintings can be veiwed on her Fans of Beth Wiseman Facebook page) and spending time with friends and family.

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