Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Released: October 3, 2017
304 pages
About the Book:
Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier.
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.
My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars) 

“God’s not going to help you escape bondage and wander through the desert,
only to abandon you as you search for the Promised Land.”
The first person point of view telling made me feel like I was sitting down having coffee with Sarah as she was personally telling me her story. I really enjoyed this perspective.
Sarah is in a transition period in her life trying to figure out to go from a steamy romance novelist to a new Christian and how to transition her writing with her new life. She then literally runs into Pastor Ben and feels an instant attraction to him. How does she deal with this attraction and what does she do about her past? Could a possible relationship ever work between them? And will he be able to accept her past?
I loved the characters. Sarah kept me so entertained. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some things she said or thought. Ben was a true swoon worthy guy, wholesome, honest, cute, and a loving father. He may have been naive to some things around him, but he was a caring guy who tried to treat everyone with love. But Piper was my favourite. She was the best friend everyone wants/needs to have. She was the one that told Sarah directly how she felt about what Sarah was doing, no darting around the bush. But she was also the one that was there for Sarah. She kept Sarah grounded, she loved Sarah and stood by her and up for her. She was also very entertaining.
I did feel like there was quite a bit of discussion about getting to the intimate physical relationship between the two main characters. Yes they were waiting to get married before taking that step, but they couldn’t wait to get there and it was talked about quite a bit. A little too much for my liking, it was more edgy than most Christian fiction I have read. At times it felt like this was the main reason for the wedding rather than the fact that they really loved each other and couldn’t wait to start their life together. That being said the relationship was adorable and I loved that they were completely honest right from the beginning and made a point to follow the rules they had put in place for themselves. There were many moments that I was smiling as I read. I loved that the climax moment brought them closer and stronger as a couple rather than tearing them apart. The ending had my heart a fluttering.
“There are bigger things in our lives than trying to please everybody.”
(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley;
opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

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