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Sarah Hollenbeck is a bestselling author of provocative and steamy romance novels. In her mid thirties, she becomes a Christian and she soon realizes she needs to distance herself from her scandalous reputation. To top it off she starts falling for the pastor at her church. Her world could not be any more opposite Pastor Ben’s world. Now they must learn how to bring their two worlds together.
Number of Pages: 320
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and SensibilityHillary Manton LodgeWaterBrook / 2017 / Trade Paperback$9.99 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 22 Reviews
$14.99Save 33% ($5.00)
With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn't afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.
Bethany Turner is the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former VP/operations manager of a commercial bank and a three time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn't matter what anyone else has to say. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado
Lisa FletcherArkansasAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A New FavoriteFebruary 6, 2018Lisa FletcherArkansasAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I just finished reading The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. Bethany Turner is one of my new favorites! I appreciated the honest, realistic telling of Sarah and Ben's relationship. It was not the same old predictable story line. So refreshing to find a story that is clean, fun, and a little steamy! I eagerly anticipate Bethany Turners next book.
bsnksmom5 Stars Out Of 5Sarah is a New Creation. Now, to Convince Ben's Congregation of that!January 24, 2018bsnksmomQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5From trophy wife to divorcee, Sarah Hollenbeck is searching for something but doesnt know what. She believes it is validation for her writing, until one of her book club friends leads her to the Lord. Becoming a Christian is both wonderful and awful. Wonderful because she loves the acceptance she feels and awful because, up to now, she has made her very comfortable living writing steamy romance under her pseudonym, Raine DeBourgh.
Her first day in church, Sarah makes an immediate connection with a man in the hallway. Shes never had such a strong reaction to any man on first meeting him. All indications are that he feels exactly the same way about her. Their attraction is off the charts. She is a little horrified, then, when the worship service starts and her new crush gets up to deliver the sermon. She feels like she can never live up to his pastoral purity but Ben convinces her that, he may be her pastor but hes still just a man.
As Sarah and Ben get to know one another, her secret life becomes an issue with Bens congregation. Can they really accept her tithe when they KNOW what kind of books she writes? And, is she really pastors wife material??? (Because, these two have chemistry that jumps off the page theres no doubt that marriage is going to be their next step.)
I LOVED this book!! The main character, Sarah, could have been writing humor books judging by her voice in The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. It was so fun to read about how she convinces her publisher to let her give Christian publishing a go. It made me wonder if some of the authors I currently love (that I know wrote for the secular market at one time) had much the same conversations with their completely clueless agents when they got saved and made the switch. Bethany Turners first foray into the contemporary romance genre wins on so many levels, in my opinion, and it made me think about the many ways I judge people on what I know of their pasts. I think Bens response to Sarahs fear gets to the heart of the book: Our past shapes us and our past prepares us but our past does not define us.
If you are looking for a new author to check out, I highly recommend Bethany Turner. I know I couldnt put it down!
Bekah5 Stars Out Of 5Funny and Engaging!December 23, 2017BekahQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This week, my fiction reading took a bit of a different turn, and I have to say, I think it was successful! I enjoy fiction and try to read many different types in my quest to be well-rounded, so when I saw a new book called The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck and read that the main character was a novelist herself, I thought it might be a fun read.
Fun indeed! I actually laughed until I snorted several times and even read snippets to Ryan. (I will occasionally read snippets of non-fiction to him if I find them particularly powerful, but I don't think I've ever subjected him to fiction scenes before.
Here's the basis of the story. Sarah Hollenbeck is a girl very much like any of us. She's trying to find her footing in the world again after her marriage ended. She had spent so many years trying to be the woman and wife his world/career demanded that she honestly isn't even sure who she is or how to behave. In an attempt to make friends, Sarah joins a book club, and secretly, she tries her hand at writing.
When her words are discovered, she's delighted at the positive feedback, but she hides behind a pen name, because her novels are a bit on the (ahem) steamy side.
And then Sarah Hollenbeck finds Jesus. A brand new born-again Christian, she has no idea how to navigate the book contracts that demand more of Raine de Bourgh's edge, find a place in church, or manage her feelings for the ridiculously handsome pastor of said church.
What I appreciated about Bethany Turner's novel was the raw truth of its pages. Honestly, if you're accustomed to traditional Christian fiction, this book might be a bit prickly for you. It touches on subjects most authors won't address in any kind of depth. But these are real problems that face real people today. (Okay, so maybe most regular people aren't NYT bestselling authors sporting a pen name, but the broader sticky situations are common.)
How do we welcome people into our church if they have a past that doesn't match their present? Do we try at all to see them for who they can become rather than who they have chosen to be? I really appreciated some of the supporting characters in this book and their grace balanced with accountability.
This book is also just flat out funny. Sarah Hollenbeck is hilarious, and since the book is told in first-person, you get to enjoy not just her funny spoken zingers, but her stream-of-consciousness too!
I was entertained, for sure, but I was also challenged to be a friend like Piper (Sarah's BFF) to my baby Christian friends!
* Revell sent me a copy of this book, but all opinions are my own! *
IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Brilliant and funnyDecember 12, 2017IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5Ive read a lot of books this yearsome good, some greatbut few that I want to read again. Right. Now. The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck is one I want to read again.
Sarah McDermott divorces her high school sweetheart-husband after he cheats on her, and goes back to being Sarah Hollenbeck. Only she has no idea who Sarah Hollenbeck is, because shes been the trophy wife for so long. She joins a book club, writes bad poetry, quits book club, and writes a naughty novel under the pen name of Raine de Bourgh. The novel goes immediately to the top of all the bestseller charts, as do the two sequels (because, donchaknow, thats what happens to all debut novelists? Not).
And then Sarah Hollenbeck becomes a Christian. She realises she cant write naughty novels any more. Instead, she joins her one remaining friend at church, where she immediately develops an inappropriate crush on the first guy she meets. Who happens to be the pastor. The married pastor. With a daughter. Oops.
Fortunately for Sarah, the pastor turns out not to be married but widowed (fortunately for Sarah). Ben is somewhat taken aback at the thought of dating the notorious Raine de Bourgh, but he copes (lol). Its interesting to watch their relationship unfold, because Bens first marriage was everything Sarahs wasnt.
Sarah decides to write Christian fiction, so reads some of whats on sale:
"The books I read didnt feel realistic. At least, they werent my reality. Then again, my reality was messed up, so maybe I wasnt the best judge."
Sarah goes on to make another point thats recently come up in my reading: how the women in the books dont seem to feel desire or temptation. Yes, Id noticed that as well. In fact, Ive read Christian romances where the hero and heroine had all the romantic attraction of siblings (that has even more of a yuck factor than a sex scene). I dont want lots of hot-and-heavy in Christian fiction, but there needs to be some sexual attraction. Otherwise its not realistic.
Recommended for fans of contemporary romance with humour, from authors such as Kara Isaac, Beth Troy, Becky Wade, and Melissa Tagg.
Thanks to Baker Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Lena Nelson DooleyTexasAge: Over 65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A Wonderful ReadDecember 12, 2017Lena Nelson DooleyTexasAge: Over 65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck is fresh, unique book. The cover looks like a chicklit book, and I dont read many of them. Im glad I checked it out to see if I would like it. The storyline drew me in, and the characters grabbed my heartstrings so I experienced what they did, right along with them. There are many humorous events and serious depths in the story. You wont want to miss this one.