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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on

January 2010

Quick Links to Features on

Reviews, Features, About the Books, Excerpts, Study Guides, Award Winners, Coming Soon

We're Back!

It’s been a while since our last update. I trust that you all enjoyed your holidays and started the New Year off strongly. It was a hectic wrap of 2009, but was spelled nicely by some much needed vacation and family time. My family and I made our annual trip to the Outer Banks for Christmas and New Year’s, and it was a perfect blend of celebrating and relaxing. The Outer Banks is such a special place to us, mainly because of how welcomed we always feel there. It's become a “home away from home” as we visit our favorite haunts and tuck into the house and enjoy escaping for a bit.

2010 has been anything but quiet. I've already been to Boston for the American Library Association Convention, and I am off to San Jose (yes, I know the way) for the American Booksellers Association Convention next week. On these trips the conversation is all about books, and as a result, each has its own special charm.

Among the highlights of the year thus far was my evening at the premiere of the movie, Extraordinary Measures. For those who haven’t seen the commercials or read the reviews, this is the story based on Geeta Anand’s book, THE CURE: How a Father Raised $100 Million and Bucked the National Medical Establishment in a Quest to Save His Children, about John Crowley and his quest to help his kids while saving future generations. When they were born, Megan and Patrick Crowley were diagnosed with the very rare Pompe disease, which affects muscle development. He began his own medical start-up company and used his connections to raise millions for research and a cure.

I was invited by my friend, Esther Margolis, at Newmarket Press, who is publishing CHASING MIRACLES: The Crowley Family Journey of Strength, Hope, and Joy by John Crowley, Aileen Crowley and Ken Kurson, which will be in stores on February 2nd. Although this book wasn’t the basis for the film, it is the family’s personal account of their journey with Pompe. The Crowleys were at the theater, and I got to congratulate John and Aileen on what they have accomplished; they were so very gracious. They have sacrificed so much to help fight this rare genetic disease, and were so friendly and engaging despite being the center of attention. Theirs is a real story of inspiration, and I wanted to share it with you!

Speaking of the power of the kindness of strangers, I imagine you, like me, have been saddened by the devastation in Haiti. The haunting images that are part of the ongoing coverage are overwhelming. However, it’s been so uplifting to see everyone around the world doing what they can, be it a monetary donation or sending clothes, food or blankets. Seeing the global, celebrity-studded telethons as well as local organizations and churches banding together has been a true testimony to the human spirit. I personally loved the easy way to contribute by texting “HAITI” to 90999 so a $10 donation could be made to the Red Cross, which would be reflected on my monthly statement. So easy. And every bit counts!

As for what’s happening on the site this month, we’re excited to share a number of new titles with you. We’re featuring two contests where 10 readers each can win a copy of THE COURTEOUS CAD by Catherine Palmer and THICKER THAN BLOOD by C.J. Darlington. Catherine Palmer is a name many of you likely already know, and this is the latest in her Miss Pickworth series. C.J. Darlington makes her debut with THICKER THAN BLOOD, which was the winner of the 2008 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.

This month we are sharing an interview with Julie Klassen, whose novel THE SILENT GOVERNESS is now in stores. Everybody is eligible and encouraged to enter our Word of Mouth contest to win a copy of this book. Simply share some feedback on your recent reads, and you might be randomly selected to win.

We’ve added seven new study guides this month, including THE CHOICE: Lancaster County Secrets, Book 1 by Suzanne Woods Fisher, THIRD TIME’S A CHARM: Sister-to-Sister Series, Book 3 by Virginia Smith and SWINGING ON A STAR: Weddings by Bella, Book 3 by Janice Thompson.

We’ve reviewed nine new titles in our Faithful Fiction, Christian Living, and Marriage and Family Life sections, including WHITE PICKET FENCES by Susan Meissner, PRIMAL: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson and BECOMING YOUR SPOUSE’S BETTER HALF: Why Differences Make a Marriage Great by Rick Johnson. Read on to see all of our new reviews. And don’t miss THE BOOK OF GENESIS ILLUSTRATED, R. Crumb’s graphic novel based on the first book of the Bible.

And finally, we’re excited to launch our official Facebook page, and we hope you all will be our first fans --- charter members, if you will. We’ve found the Facebook pages for our other sites to be a wonderful place for readers to connect, comment, share ideas and offer feedback, and they truly have become communities unto themselves. We’ll also be posting content from the homepage as well as other resources throughout the Internet. And it will be a lovely way for you to keep up with us between updates.

Happy reading! Stay warm!

Carol Fitzgerald (

Special Contest and Feature: THE COURTEOUS CAD by Catherine Palmer
We are celebrating the release of THE COURTEOUS CAD --- a story of love and class in feudal England --- with a special contest. Ten readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of the book, which is the third installment in Catherine Palmer’s Miss Pickworth series.

THE COURTEOUS CAD: Miss Pickworth, Book 3 by Catherine Palmer (Historical Romance)
On her tour of the English countryside, a chance encounter in the streets alerts Miss Prudence Watson to the inhumane working conditions at the worsted mill. She learns that the owner is William Sherbourne, a Royal Naval officer just returned from sea. Following in his wake is his reputation as a cad and a secret so ghastly he’ll do anything to protect it. Even worse, he’s handsome and charming and not at all the villain Prudence expected him to be.

-Click here to see the study guide for THE COURTEOUS CAD.
-Click here to read more about THE COURTEOUS CAD.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE COURTEOUS CAD.

-Click here to read Catherine Palmer’s bio.

Click here to read all the contest details.

Special Contest and Feature: THICKER THAN BLOOD by C.J. Darlington
We are celebrating the release of THICKER THAN BLOOD --- a mystery in which an antiquarian book buyer is forced to confront her past --- with a special contest. Ten readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of the book, which was the winner of the 2008 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel Contest.

THICKER THAN BLOOD by C.J. Darlington (Mystery)
Christy Williams finally has her life on track. She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged younger sister, May, whom she abandoned after their parents’ untimely deaths. Soon, Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could May’s Triple Cross Ranch be the safe haven she’s searching for? Will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it’s too late?

-Click here to see the study guide for THICKER THAN BLOOD.
-Click here to read more about THICKER THAN BLOOD.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THICKER THAN BLOOD.
-Click here to read C.J. Darlington’s bio.
-Visit C.J. Darlington’s official website,

Click here to read all the contest details.

Author Talk: Julie Klassen, Author of THE SILENT GOVERNESS
Julie Klassen is the award-winning author LADY OF MILKWEED MANOR, THE APOTHECARY'S DAUGHTER and the newly released THE SILENT GOVERNESS. In this interview, Klassen traces her love of British literature --- as well as her fascination with English governesses --- all the way back to a sixth-grade reading of JANE EYRE and explains how she found the perfect setting for her latest book in the countryside. She also compares and contrasts the heroines of her three novels and pinpoints what she hopes readers will take away from her work.

Click here to read an interview with Julie Klassen.

Study Guide Now Available: THE SILENT GOVERNESS by Julie Klassen

THE SILENT GOVERNESS by Julie Klassen (Historical Romance)
Olivia Keene is fleeing her own secret. She never intended to overhear his. But now that she has, what is Lord Bradley to do with her? He cannot let her go, for were the truth to get out, he would lose everything --- his reputation, his inheritance, his very home. He gives Miss Keene little choice but to accept a post at Brightwell Court, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. Keeping an eye on the young woman as she cares for the children, he finds himself drawn to her, even as he struggles against the growing attraction. The clever Miss Keene is definitely hiding something.

-Click here to read more about THE SILENT GOVERNESS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SILENT GOVERNESS.
-Click here to read an interview with Julie Klassen.
-Click here to read Julie Klassen’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for THE SILENT GOVERNESS.

Study Guide Now Available: THE CHOICE by Suzanne Woods Fisher

THE CHOICE: Lancaster County Secrets, Book 1 by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Romance)
One moment Carrie Weaver was happily looking forward to running away with Lancaster Barnstormers pitcher Solomon Riehl --- plans that included leaving the Amish community where they grew up. The next, she was staring into a future as broken as her heart. Now, Carrie is faced with a choice. But will this opportunity be all she hoped? Or will this decision, this moment in time, change her life forever?

-Click here to read more about THE CHOICE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE CHOICE.

-Click here to read Suzanne Woods Fisher’s bio

Click here to see the study guide for THE CHOICE.

Study Guide Now Available: THIRD TIME'S A CHARM by Virginia Smith
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM: Sister-to-Sister Series, Book 3 by Virginia Smith (Romance)
Tori Sanderson has the professional opportunity of a lifetime. If she can prove she’s executive material, she’s in line for a big promotion. But there’s only room for one new account executive, and her co-worker has his eye on the job…and on Tori. How can she consider romance when she couldn’t hold on to the one man who was supposed to love her forever --- her own father? The time has come for answers, and Tori decides to search for the father who deserted her 12 years ago. Will she find the answers she craves? And will she ever be able to love again?

-Click here to read more about THIRD TIME’S A CHARM.
-Click here to read Virginia Smith’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for THIRD TIME'S A CHARM.

Study Guide Now Available: SWINGING ON A STAR by Janice Thompson
SWINGING ON A STAR: Weddings by Bella, Book Two by Janice Thompson (Romance)
Bella Rossi’s life is nearing perfection. Not only does she have the perfect guy, but she’s also running a successful wedding-planning business and is about to plan its most ambitious wedding yet --- a Renaissance-themed fairy tale come true, complete with period costumes and foods, horse-drawn carriages, and even a castle. There’s only one hitch. The best man just happens to be Hollywood’s hottest and most eligible bachelor, and he’s showing an interest in Bella. Oh, and did we mention he’s staying at her house to avoid the paparazzi?

-Click here to read more about SWINGING ON A STAR.
-Click here to read Janice Thompson’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for SWINGING ON A STAR.

Study Guide Now Available: JENNA'S COWBOY by Sharon Gillenwater

JENNA’S COWBOY: The Callahans of Texas, Book 1 by Sharon Gillenwater (Romance)
Jenna Callahan Colby thought she was content. A partner on her father’s successful ranch, she is surrounded by family and friends. But she never expected to see Nate Langley back in town --- the first guy she ever noticed, the one her father sent away all those years ago. And she never thought the attraction they felt would be as strong as ever.

-Click here to read more about JENNA’S COWBOY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from JENNA’S COWBOY.
-Click here to read Sharon Gillenwater’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for JENNA'S COWBOY.

THE BOOK OF GENESIS ILLUSTRATED written and illustrated by R. Crumb (Graphic Novel)
Envisioning the first book of the Bible like no one before him, R. Crumb, the legendary illustrator, reveals the story of Genesis in a profoundly honest and deeply moving way. Originally thinking he would do a takeoff of Adam and Eve, Crumb became so fascinated by the Bible’s language that he decided instead to do a literal interpretation using the text word for word in a version primarily assembled from the translations of Robert Alter and the King James Bible. Reviewed by John Hogan.

Click here to read a review of THE BOOK OF GENESIS ILLUSTRATED.

Coming Soon: A List of Upcoming Books
Wondering what books are just out, or releasing in the months ahead? Be sure to check out our Coming Soon section on Currently we have titles listed through April 2010. Please note that we have not listed every book coming out, but rather some that caught our eye --- and that we thought should catch yours as well.

Click here to see what's coming soon.

Faithful Fiction Reviews
SAVING CICADAS by Nicole Seitz (Fiction)

When single mother Priscilla Lynn Macy learns she's having another child unexpectedly, she packs the family into the car to escape. Eight-year-old Janie and Rainey Dae, her 17-year-old sister with special needs, embark on the last family vacation they'll ever take with Poppy and Grandma Mona in the back seat. The trip seems aimless until Janie realizes they are searching for the father who left them years ago. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

WHITE PICKET FENCES by Susan Meissner (Fiction)
The disappearance of Bart Bachmann necessitates the placement of his daughter, Tally, into the home of her aunt and uncle. Though he loves her, his own life is a kind of fleeting and shallow existence, and the Janviers represent the exact opposite of everything that is Tally’s father. They seem to live life under the mottos of responsibility, constancy and, above all, a focus on family. But Tally soon discovers that appearances can be deceiving when their secrets threaten to destroy everything that really matters to them. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE SILENT GIFT by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelly (Historical Fiction)
The decade of the ’30s was a time of enormous uncertainty…for the world, for America and in particular for one lonely, struggling mother and her disabled son. Their story is one of unyielding love and incredible sacrifices in the face of circumstances beyond belief.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

THE COUNTY HOUSE COURTSHIP: A Regency Inspirational Romance by Linore Rose Burkard (Historical Romance)
Seventeen-year-old Beatrice Forsythe knows exactly what she wants and just how to get it. In the early 1800s, marrying a man of high society is a surefire way for a young woman to have a large house, servants, fancy dresses and fine food. Her sister Ariana did it, so there is no reason Beatrice can’t have it all too. True, Ariana and the Paragon, Mr. Mornay, married for love, but Beatrice is not convinced that element is necessary if the rest of the package is in place. Until a certain clergyman enters the picture. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

Click here to read our Faithful Fiction reviews.

Christian Living Reviews
PRIMAL: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson (Christian Living)
What would your Christianity look like if it was stripped down to the simplest, rawest, purest faith possible? You would have more, not less. You would have the beginning of a new reformation --- in your generation, your church, your own soul. You would have primal Christianity.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines.

WHEN YOU NEED A MIRACLE: Stories to Give You Faith and Bring You Hope by Ann Spangler (Devotional)
When life is challenging, each of you can benefit from a daily dose of hope and faith. That’s what this devotional will bring you --- stories of miracles and angels drawn directly from Scripture and from the lives of ordinary people today. Story after story will help you to remember that God is in control and that He still loves you.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines.

A YEAR WITH GOD: Living Out the Spiritual Disciplines edited by Richard J. Foster and Julia L. Roller (Devotional)
Many people are longing to find the footprint of God in their daily lives. This beautiful daily companion is comprised of 365 selections of scripture, commentary, meditations and daily exercises to help readers see how they can bring their entire life into a life with Immanuel --- a God who is with His people. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

THE REASON FOR GOD: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller (Christian Living)
Drawing insights from literature, philosophy and pop culture, say nothing of theology, Timothy Keller undergirds his persuasive, intellectually-based reasons for a belief in God, even as he draws upon his many valuable conversations with doubters he has encountered as a pastor in Manhattan. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

Click here to read our Christian Living reviews.

Marriage and Family Life Review
BECOMING YOUR SPOUSE’S BETTER HALF: Why Differences Make a Marriage Great by Rick Johnson (Love & Marriage)
Having a successful marriage is not about finding the perfect person. It's not even about always getting along. It's about loving the imperfect person you married in an unselfish manner. In this witty and insightful book, Rick Johnson shows you how to go beyond merely tolerating your spouse's differences to using them to add spice and passion to your relationship. Reviewed by Michele Howe.
Click here to read our Marriage and Family Life review.

Word of Mouth: What You're Reading
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't. This contest period, one winner will receive THE SILENT GOVERNESS by Julie Klassen. To put your name in the hat, submit your current reading list and ratings by completing the form here.
Tell us what you are reading here to be eligible to win!

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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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