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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 20 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
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.
kickiInyokern, CAAge: 55-65Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5Raw verses revoltingDecember 10, 2017kickiInyokern, CAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 2Value: 2Meets Expectations: 1Teaching high school English 43 years I've read raw and revolting; trying to pass on some understanding about the difference between 'art' and 'porn' and where ethics and morality, love and lust intermingle. Bethany's book did a fair job of doing the same thing - until the one revolting passage, "I plan on knocking you up every chance I get." That is lewd, not love. Had my husband ever said that to me I'd have slapped him and told him to get a reality check in I Cor 13!
Karen RWAGender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5A contemporary romance with humor and faithDecember 8, 2017Karen RWAGender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Not your usual light romantic comedy for sure, but one filled with truth and grace. A very honest, down to earth story with a diary feel to it as Sarah lets the reader in on her personal transition from a trophy wife to divorcee to successful novelist to baby Christian in love. It is a romantic story with frank and honest discussions about her struggles that come with each stage, especially in the area of physical desires that come with an adult relationship. This would be a better read for mature readers, especially ones who desire to live in obedience to God's plan, and don't mind mentions of sex.
Piper is a great example of a friend who speaks the truth in love. I enjoyed being a fly on the wall to their conversations over coffee. The humor and fast pace of their interactions are fun to read. She is a true friend. The reminder that God works all things together for those who love Him, and that He doesn't hold our past against us when we become new through faith, were uplifting themes. All of Sarah's references to the Sound of Music were funny as she tried to figure out what direction to go. I liked how there were more solid faith discussions later on. The topics of infidelity, grief, and finding identity in Christ were dealt with well in the characters' struggles.
Recommend for mature readers looking for a contemporary story with humor and honesty. Fans of Beth Moran, Sandra Bricker, Courtney Walsh, and other Christian romances with more weight will probably enjoy this one.
(An e-book was provided by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
BethErinILAge: 25-34Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Flirty, faith-filled, and fun fiction!December 7, 2017BethErinILAge: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Attraction, dating, evangelism, grief, loss, gossip, LIFE and FAITH... it's all packed between those adorable covers!Sarah Hollenbeck is a hilariously authentic brand new baby Christian and her honest navigation of this crazy thing we call life will appeal to unbelievers, encourage new Christians, and remind seasoned believers to keep hold of that "first-love" faith. I highly and enthusiastically recommend this story and eagerlyanticipate future works by this author.
I requested the opportunity to read this book through the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.