Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Lady Like Sarah - Book Review and Giveaway

Some of my favorite books are historical romance novels set in the west. There was a time when I couldn’t get enough of them. My favorite authors couldn’t write them fast enough. Then the historical market faded quite a bit, and the types of books I loved to read were few and far between. Before long I was reading contemporary novels exclusively. But historicals are on the upswing again and I’m as happy as I’d be if Sonic Burger would come to my part of the country so I could have a cherry-limeade anytime I’d like.

I’m especially overjoyed with the inspirational market. One of my favorite historical authors, Margaret Brownley, has just made her inspirational debut with a western-set historical, A Lady Like Sarah.

One of my favorite books of hers, one of my all-time favorite reads, was a historical romance called Ribbons in the Wind. What I wouldn’t give to be able to get my hands on a copy of that book again. Fun, sweet, down-to-earth and super romantic with a blend of humor, Ribbons in the Wind was about a group of people racing across the United States in Model-T Fords at the turn of the century. Oh, I mean, at the turn of the last century.

My anticipation level for A Lady Like Sarah was high, to say the least. I was on pins and needles waiting for it to arrive, checking Barnes and Noble, checking Amazon and Overstock to see when the release date would be. When I finally found the release date, I went to my local Christian bookstore and ordered it. Two weeks early. I was hoping they’d be able to get it the very instant it was released, and I most likely drove the owner a little crazy since I showed up at least three times before the book came in.

It won’t surprise you that I absolutely loved this book, because it included every little nuance I associated with Margaret’s writing style. And it was made all the more sweet because I’ve missed her historical novels so much.

This is the story of Preacher Justin Wells, as he’s traveling to his new church in Rocky Creek, Texas. Imagine if you will, a preacher, fairly new at his job, traveling to a church in the wild west as a way of punishment for some minor infraction. He comes from Boston, so he’s a little unhappy about heading into the great wild unknown.

Alone on the dusty trail, and thinking about how much he didn’t want to leave Boston, Justin comes across an injured U.S. Marshal and his prisoner. Justin does everything he can to help save the dying man, even though he knows little to nothing about bullet wounds. The prisoner, a female outlaw, is being transported back to Rocky Creek where she’s been sentenced to hang.

Sarah Prescott was raised by her outlaw brothers, and it’s the only life she’s ever known. But when she meets Justin, the pretty girl with the tough exterior finds herself longing for another sort of life…the life of a lady. And yet the only way she can have a life of any sort is if she manages to escape Justin.

Justin, in spite of his growing feelings toward Sarah, is morally bound by his promise to the dying lawman to return Sarah to Rocky Creek.

The dilemma for Justin is huge. It seems there’s no way out for Sarah, and leave it to Margaret Brownley to keep the suspense building. This book kept me on the edge the entire time, wondering if she’d be able to find a way to save Sarah. I absolutely fell in love with these characters…the preacher hero, a baby, a donkey, but mostly with Sarah. Usually it’s the hero who steals my heart, but this time it was Sarah, the outlaw with a tender heart who longs for a life she’s never been able to have—a life she’ll never be able to have if she returns to Rocky Creek.

If you enjoy historical romance, and you love Christian fiction, you won’t want to miss this book. I’m so glad Margaret has found her way to the world of Christian romances. A Lady Like Sarah was a pure joy to read, and I can’t wait for the next book in the Rocky Creek Romance series, A Suitor for Jenny, due out in September.
You can visit Margaret’s website at:

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be giving away a copy of A Lady Like Sarah, so please leave a comment along with your e-mail address so I can contact you Sunday (January 24th) if your name is drawn.

**Visit Inkwell Inspirations today, Saturday, January 23rd, where I'm reviewing and giving away a copy of The Big 5-0H! by Sandra Bricker.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Life Well Lived - A Tribute To Molly Hightower

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others."
~~Philippians 2:3,4

Thursday afternoon as I was listening to a podcast of my favorite radio program, I heard about a young Christian woman from Port Orchard, Washington who was missing following the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Molly Hightower, a twenty-two year old with a true heart for service to others was in Haiti because she felt called to work with the orphaned children. Her family and everyone who heard she was missing was praying for her to be found safe.

Yesterday as I listened to the program, they again spoke about Molly, but as the radio host began the show, he said he was speaking with a heavy heart. I knew what he was about to say. This sweet, amazing young woman had been found. Sadly, she did not survive.

My heart goes out to her parents, family, friends, and everyone who knew and loved her. I pray they will feel the peace of the Lord surrounding them.

Something about Molly’s story touched the deepest part of my heart. I’ve thought about her for hours. I've read about her, read her blog, and have been truly amazed by how much she’s done to help others in her too-short life. Besides her work in Haiti, she worked with campus ministries, Habitat for Humanity, and other organizations that reached out to help others. Here was a young woman who was affected by the plight of some of the world’s poorest children and went out of her way to offer them everything she could.

On the Dori Monson radio show yesterday, Dave Valle, broadcaster and former catcher for the Seattle Mariners, discussed Molly and the children she loved. He reminded listeners that Haiti is so unbelievably poor and these children, these precious little children are so hungry they eat cookies made from dirt.

The dirt! Can you even imagine? I can’t. What must it be like to be so hungry you would eat the dirt off the ground? My heart is deeply grieved at the very thought. And that was before their lives were devastated by the earthquake. My spirit weeps to think of what they went through before the earthquake and how much more they’re going through now.

God bless Molly. I know she’s wearing the crown she earned, and is resting joyfully in His arms.

She was driven to help, driven to serve.

Would that we could all serve others with the same spirit as Molly. Obviously, we can’t all go to a foreign country and help those who are poor, hurting and hungry. But if each one of us could do what we can with the kind of servant’s heart Molly Mackenzie Hightower possessed, just imagine what kind of world we would live in.

To see pictures of Molly and read more about her, visit her blog at

You can also read the news article about her at

Before you read her blog, be warned. You’ll need lots of tissues.

Please lift Molly’s family in prayer.

If you’d like to help the victims of the earthquake, Christian author Jen AlLee has a comprehensive list of organizations on her blog, along with their contact information. You can access it at:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Goals for the New Year

I don't make New Year's Resolutions. They never seem as concrete to me as goals, and honestly, I do better at making goals. I don't remember who I heard this from, but someone said goals are really only dreams until you write them down. And so...I'm writing them down.

My goals are for personal and spiritual growth, professional growth, and to make strides in my writing career.

One of my goals this year is to be a more compassionate person. I don't think I'm as compassionate toward others as I should be, and that's something I want to improve on because compassion is a quality I value in others.

I'd also like to be a more diligent prayer warrior. My friend, Sharon, is one of the strongest prayer warriors I know, and I want to be more like her.

For my new job as a Cancer Registrar, my goal is to keep learning as much as I can so I can do the best job possible. I have seven classes that I have to take this year, and I'm going to a week-long class in Reno in March. Sometimes I wonder if there's enough room in my head for everything I have yet to learn.

My writing goals are to not give up, to write something every day - even if it's just one sentence, to try and hang on to the enthusiasm for whatever book I'm working on, to glorify God with my words, and to write the best, most inspiring books I can.

I'd like to finish two books this year, the contemporary inspirational romance that is now a finalist in two contests, and the historical inspirational romance that I've fleshed out on paper. I've written the first chapter, and it's turned into a historical mystery.

Oh, and one FUN goal: I'm making plans to attend five baseball games in Seattle this year. And I hope the Mariners' players have set a goal of making it to the playoffs. I'll be supremely happy then.

What are your goals for the year?

Check out the Petticoats and Pistols Blog...

My dear friend and gifted author Sharon Gillenwater is guest blogging today and sharing the history of her Texas hometown. Here's the link: