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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


Click here to SUBSCRIBE to the Newsletter!

This Month on

Late August 2005


As Summer Draws to a Close...

Faithful Reader Talks to Philip Gulley, Author of A CHANGE OF HEART

Lynn Austin Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Patti Hill Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Deeanne Gist Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Faithful Fiction Reviews
Christian Living Reviews

Marriage and Family Life Reviews

Reading Group Discussion Guides Poll: Church Discussion Groups
FaithfulReader Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: What You're Reading
Quick Links
Christian Living
Marriage and Family Life
Author Interviews

As Summer Draws to a Close...

As summer draws to a close, it's our tradition to not publish the last week of the summer and take some much-needed time off to read --- and relax. I am headed to the Outer Banks where I'm looking forward to reading THE SCENT OF LILACS by Ann H. Gabhart.  I've heard it's heartwarming with some unexpected turns.

Years ago I sat up late one night and read my first Philip Gulley Harmony novel in a hotel in Anaheim, California. I love when I remember exactly where I read a book like that. Since then, when Gulley's books come into the office I make a beeline for them. This month I am pleased to share with our readers an interview that Cindy Crosby did with him.

We have a truly inspiring set of Faithful Fifteens this month. Lynn Austin, the Christy Award-winning author SONG OF REDEMPTION, talks about finding poetry in hymns and the beauty of a small, familiar congregation. Patti Hill has written two books thus far in her Garden Gates series and in her answers to The Faithful Fifteen she talks about her rebirth in the Church after a decade-long absence and reveals some of her favorite encounters with readers. Finally Deeanne Gist, whose novel, A BRIDE MOST BEDGRUDGING, is our newest Word of Mouth book, reveals how she emphasizes the 'giving' aspect of Christmas in her family.

Can I ask you to do me a favor? If you have a bookstore near you that has bookclubs for Christian or secular readers, can you drop me a line at to give me their name/address? We are looking to do some exciting programs with book clubs and bookstores and want to be sure we have your local stores included.

Take these last few weeks of summer to breathe deep and enjoy before the pace quickens again. Take some time for yourself and keep reading.   

Carol Fitzgerald (


Faithful Reader Talks to Philip Gulley, Author of A CHANGE OF HEART

A funny thing happened to Philip Gulley in 1990 when his church newsletter writings ended up in the hands of Paul Harvey, the popular radio host. Harvey saw the young pastor's potential even though Gulley had gotten a "D" in college English Composition. With Harvey's recommendation in hand, Gulley ended up publishing the first of many delightful books of nonfiction and fiction about small town life, culminating in his most recent, A CHANGE OF HEART.

In this interview contributing writer Cindy Crosby chats up Gulley about how he has responded to criticism from the Christian community, his own life in a small town, the "Dale Hinshaws" in his life, and his love affair with motorcycles that is about to come to an end.

Click here to read our interview with Philip Gulley and a review of A CHANGE OF HEART.

Lynn Austin Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time, has won three Christy Awards for her historical novels CANDLE IN THE DARKNESS, FIRE BY NIGHT, and HIDDEN PLACES. In this interview Austin details how her spiritual calling permeates through every aspect of her life --- including her work as a novelist --- explains the ways in which the novels of Chaim Potok (a Jewish rabbi) have influenced her writing of Christian fiction, and shares touching stories about the profound effects her books have had on others.

Click here to read Lynn Austin's answers to the Faithful Fifteen.

Patti Hill Answers The Faithful Fifteen

In this interview Patti Hill, who has written two books thus far in her Garden Gates series, talks about her rebirth in the Church after a decade-long absence and describes her active participation in her local church, despite her busy work schedule. She also shares her unique rituals, expresses her belief in the magnified spiritual power of the written word, and even divulges a few of her driving habits while listening to Christian radio.

Click here to read Patti Hill's answers to the Faithful Fifteen.

Deeanne Gist Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Deeanne Gist has worn many hats in her lifetime: wife and mother of four, elementary school educator, entrepreneur, business executive, and journalist turned inspirational historical romance novelist. Her debut novel, A BRIDE MOST BEGRUDGING, was published by Bethany House in July 2005. In this interview, Gist explains how themes of faith find their way into her writing, recalls her spiritual awakening at the age of nine while eating a bowl of cereal, and shares with readers an endearing family holiday tradition.


Click here to read Deeanne Gist's answers to the Faithful Fifteen.
Faithful Fiction Reviews
UNFORGOTTEN: The Sequel to SECRETS by Kristen Heitzmann (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Fans of the Christy Award-winning SECRETS by Kristen Heitzmann will enjoy this absorbing sequel that explores issues of trust, forgiveness, faith and romance between a lovely but cold Bed & Breakfast owner and an Italian man who is haunted by secrets from the past.
ROREY'S SECRET by Leisha Kelly (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Leisha Kelly's loyal readership will enjoy this tale of courage and community, as ROREY'S SECRET continues the saga of a farm family during the Depression years in rural Illinois. With trust and determination, the Worthams discover the restoring and healing power of forgiveness.
GIVER OF ROSES: Book One in the Guardians of Gadiel series by Kathleen Morgan (Fantasy)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Dragons, elves, dwarves and beautiful maidens populate this first installment of the "Guardians of Gadiel" series.
GIVER OF ROSES is the tale of a good man called to a heroic destiny, a woman whose life entwines with his, and a land teetering on the brink of an evil conquest.
LOVING LIBBY by Robin Lee Hatcher (Romance)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Libby Blue ran from her past --- a ruthless father and a privileged life --- and never looked back until Remington Walker came into her life. With a wall of lies between them, is the one great Truth they shared enough to unite them forever?
UNSPOKEN by Angela Hunt (Fiction)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
For eight years, Glee Granger has taught, tended, and loved a young gorilla named Sema. When the zoo that owns the animal presses for custody, Glee is forced to surrender "her girl" to a captive environment, never dreaming that an experience in the zoo will change both their lives forever.
OCEANS APART by Karen Kingsbury (Fiction)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
A plane carrying airline pilot Connor Evans and his wife Michele goes down in the Pacific Ocean. Among the casualties is a flight attendant whose will clearly states that before her seven-year-old son can be turned over to the state, he must spend the summer with the father he's never met, the father who doesn't know he exists: Connor Evans.
BAD GROUND by W. Dale Cramer (Fiction)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Seventeen-year-old Jeremy Prine decides to honor his mother's dying wish and seek out his estranged uncle who was badly burned in the accident that killed Jeremy's father. After finding out that the man works in a hard-rock tunnel for a company in Atlanta, Jeremy takes a job as a miner. Soon his young faith is tested by his rough and gritty co-workers, the threat of danger...and the possibility of love.
STORM GATHERING: Prequel to THE SPLITTING STORM by Rene Gutteridge (Suspense)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
In this exciting prequel to THE SPLITTING STORM, we meet Mick Kline at a time when his life is spiraling out of control. Mick finds himself accused of the kidnapping of a woman he hardly knows, and he refuses to turn to his estranged brother for help.
SISTERCHICKS DOWN UNDER by Robin Jones Gunn (Fiction)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
Kathleen leaves behind all that is familiar in her comfortable corner in Southern California to join her husband for a three-month trip to New Zealand when he's hired by a film studio in Wellington. There she meets another Californian native, Jill, and they instantly forge a friendship that takes them on a very special journey.
DINNER WITH A PERFECT STRANGER: An Invitation Worth Considering by David Gregory (Fiction)
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
A mysterious dinner invitation leads Nick Cominsky to be drawn into an intriguing conversation with a baffling man who appears to be more than comfortable discussing everything from world religions to the existence of heaven and hell. And this man who calls himself Jesus also seems to know a disturbing amount about Nick's personal life.
POCKETFUL OF PEARLS by Shelley Bates (Fiction)
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
Dinah Traynell is forced to surrender mentally and physically to her sociopathic pastor's every demand. Even while mourning the loss of her father, Dinah must hold strong to this role she's reluctantly played all her life. When Dr. Matthew Nicholas appears on Dinah's doorstep in the middle of the night, he's burdened with troubles of his own and is instantly drawn to this lost young woman.
THE TROUBLE WITH TULIP by Mindy Starns Clark (Mystery)
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
In this first "Smart Chick Mystery" we meet Josephine Tulip, who writes a helpful hints column and solves mysteries in her spare time, and her best friend Danny, a talented photographer. When Jo's next-door neighbor is accused of murder, Jo realizes the police have the wrong suspect, and she and Danny team up to analyze clues, follow up on leads, and fall in and out of trouble.
Our Faithful Fiction reviews may be found here.
Christian Living Reviews

MANIFEST PRESENCE: Expecting a Visitation of God's Grace Through Worship by Jack Hayford (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
What does worship entail? What is the correlation between worship and real power or effectiveness in our lives? These questions and more are answered as Jack Hayford teaches readers to approach God's throne with praise that welcomes His creative touch.

THROUGH PAINTED DESERTS: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road by Donald Miller (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
Fueled by the belief that something better exists than the mundane life they've been living, free spirits Don and Paul set off on an adventure-filled road trip in search of deeper meaning, beauty, and an explanation for life.

VELVET ELVIS: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg
Rob Bell frees us to consider God beyond the picture someone else painted for us in order to find an authentic understanding of the Christian faith. God doesn't have boundaries, and faith doesn't need to be limited to what someone else has told us.

PEACE MAKING WOMEN: Biblical Hope For Resolving Conflict by Tara Klena Barthel & Judy Dabler (Christian Living/Counseling)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
With personal stories and advice that is firmly rooted in Scripture, Tara Klena Barthel and Judy Dabler's book offers a meaningful, lasting message to lead you out of conflict and into a state of peace where you can live as a representative of Christ to other women as well as to unbelievers.

REVEALED: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World by Linda Clare and Kristen Johnson Ingram (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
This is a unique collection of personal essays, poems, and biblical stories arranged in dialogue format that shows women how to get beyond a makeover mentality to find and extend grace more generously than they ever imagined.

A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO CHANGING THE WORLD: A True Life Adventure Story by Isabel Losada (Autobiography/Travel)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
Tired of half-hearted attempts to effect change in the world, Isabel Losada --- single mother, writer, traveler, and now newly christened activist --- decides to walk the talk and embarks on a journey that takes her from protests in the streets of London to India and back again.

MEAN GIRLS ALL GROWN UP: Surviving Catty and Conniving Women by Hayley DiMarco (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Bestselling author Hayley DiMarco shows you why you might have a mean girl in your life, how you can discover what she has against you, and why calling on God for restoration and freedom is the ultimate way to get rid of mean for good.

Read our Christian Living reviews here.

Marriage and Family Life Reviews

THE VELVETEEN MOMMY: Laughter and Tears from the Toy Box Years by Jenn Doucette (Parenting)
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg 
This is a lighthearted, humorous look at what it means to be a mom from pregnancy to those turbulent teenage years, written not just by someone who has been there, but by someone who is still there.

THE PRODIGAL BROTHER: Making Peace With Your Parents, Your Past, and the Wayward One in Your Family by Sue Thompson (Family Concerns)
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
Anyone who has ever been "the good kid" in their family will find answers, understanding and the knowledge needed to unload the emotional baggage of growing up with a prodigal sibling.

HAPPILY REMARRIED by David and Lisa Frisbie (Love & Marriage)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
Nearly 60 percent of remarriages end in divorce. What can people do to beat the odds? David and Lisa Frisbie share the fruits of more than 20 years of speaking, teaching, and counseling. Having talked to hundreds of couples, the authors use many real-life examples and speak with hope and humor about the challenges.

Read our Marriage and Family Life reviews here.

Reading Group Discussion Guides

ROREY'S SECRET by Leisha Kelly
(Historical Fiction)
Samuel and Julia Wortham have survived many a trial, but when a raging fire breaks out in 1938 and threatens to destroy their neighbors' farm, the two families must cling to their faith. Meanwhile, the Worthams' daughter harbors a troubling secret that could reveal the cause of the fire but finds herself caught between a promise and exposing the truth. A compelling tale of courage and community, ROREY'S SECRET follows the Wortham family, who with trust and determination seek the restoring and healing power of forgiveness.

GOD WITHOUT RELIGION: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths by Sankara Saranam (Religion and Spirituality)
In a groundbreaking approach to today's tough spiritual and social dilemmas, God Without Religion offers an intelligent and compassionate bridge from dogmatic belief systems to progressive spirituality. Sankara Saranam, an ascetic and mystic, shows why organized religion has long been the cause of humanity's worst wars and most acute suffering --- then guides us beyond our divisive history into more expansive perceptions capable of creating a unified, peaceful future. Through a series of penetrating inquiries and practices, readers are invited to examine their beliefs, turn inward, and develop a direct understanding of God.

See all our reading group discussion guides here. Poll: Church Discussion Groups

Does your church have a book discussion group?
Do they discuss Christian fiction as well as nonfiction?
They discuss only fiction.
They discuss only nonfiction.
There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction discussed.

Answer the Poll here.

FaithfulReader Question of the Month

What is the best book that you have read thus far this summer?

Answer the Question of the Month here.

Word of Mouth: What You're Reading
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't. You could then be eligible to win A BRIDE MOST BEGRUDGING by Deeanne Gist. Note that the next Word of Mouth update is September 26th.
Tell us what you are reading here to be eligible to win!

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

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Thanks for reading....and don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend.

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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