Interview with Traci Wooden-Carlisle

Happy Memorial Day to our US readers! I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend – and what better way than chatting about books?!?

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Traci Wooden-Carlisle about (of course) books and, specifically, her suspense novel – Missing Destiny.

About the Book

missing destinyShe spends Friday nights with charts and graphs. His best friend is a dog named Sebastian.

All she’s ever wanted was peace and to feel she belonged. All he ever wanted was to disappear.

She’s a city girl hiding in a small town. He’s back home hiding from his past.

If life were perfect, they could be each other’s missing destiny.

When a mysterious man becomes a threat to her health Dr. Shauna Nathan, a workaholic scientist, is about to lose control over her emotions and her life. Her family steps in to protect her even if it means disrupting her otherwise predictable and orderly existence by bribing her with a chance to spend time with her old college roommate and surround herself with her one true passion — horses.

She heads to a ranch in Chandler County to hide from her stalker. Instead, she might find there healing she looks for — and love she doesn’t.

Horse therapist Zach moved to New York, had a successful career in finance, a beautiful wife, and daughter one day and the next it was all gone. He came back to Chandler County to come to terms with his loss and find a modicum of peace as a ranch hand- turned therapist at Murphy’s Equestrian Therapy Center. He has lost everyone he loved. Would he risk his heart again for Shauna?

Though the ruthless killer on Shauna’s trail will stop at nothing to destroy her, will Zach and Shauna escape danger and find happiness in each other’s arms and their missing destiny?

GOODREADS | AMAZON | B&N


Hi Traci! Thanks so much for chatting with us today! Let’s start with a question ‘just for fun’! Ocean or mountains?

Traci: This should be easy, but I’m torn. I was born and raised near the ocean in Southern California and went to college between the mountains and the ocean. I can receive peace from both but if I want to retreat for more than a day it will be the mountains.

Carrie: I’m the same way – both bring me such peace, but when i have to choose it’s going to be the mountains!

Other than the Bible, what are five of your most cherished books?

Traci: I will probably always go back to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for its language, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman for its wisdom, The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell due to nostalgia, Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan for its ability to make me cry buckets, and Black Presence in the Bible by Walter Author McCray which opened my eyes to my some of my ancestor’s accomplishments.

Carrie: Oh! Excellent choices & I love the variety!

If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?

Traci: I love it when she writes because she listens well to what we’re saying and feeling, but sometimes she leaves us for weeks in the same position or situation and that gets frustrating. One good thing is she doesn’t erase and rewrite our scenes over and over but sometimes it does take her a moment to find just the right word or expression to describe how we are feeling.

Carrie: Don’t leave your characters hanging, Traci! haha! 😉 

Shauna and Zach are both hiding out in Chandler County for various reasons. What inspired you to incorporate this element into both of their characters?

Traci: I have been surrounded by quiet and strong men all my life. They can express themselves when they want and are affectionate. I love sharing those traits with my male characters. From the beginning I saw Zach as a recluse. He brooded but was still able to take comfort in nature. From that thought I worked backward to uncover the cause for his behavior. My inspiration for Shauna came from my niece who was going through college at the time. She was struggling with the transition from grade school to college life. Books weren’t the issue. Finding her passion was. My character, Shauna, had the chance to get reacquainted with herself and what she loved by getting lost in a town that expected nothing from her.

Carrie: Oooo I suspect Zach might become one of my new book boyfriends 😀 And Shauna – how many of us have been in the same position, right? Trying to find what we’ve been created for, our passion. I can’t wait to meet them both 🙂

What is one of your favorite quotes from the book & why do you love it?

Traci: I will preface this answer by letting you know that the conversation following this quote is one of my favorites because it uncovers so much about both Zach and Shauna and it makes my heart sigh. “And right there, as she looked into those warm, gold-speckled, brown eyes, every single emotion hovering at the edge of reason jumped off.”

Carrie: Oh i love that!!

Why is it important to you to write ethnically diverse characters?

Traci: I love to read and as a reader I enjoy many different genres. My favorite is romance and its subgenres. I love reading romances books with ethnically diverse characters because I enjoy reading about different cultures, including my own, and the influence those cultures have on the characters’ reaction to different situations and their feelings for each other.

Carrie: Those differences just add so many great layers and dimensions to the story, don’t they? 

How can we as readers of Christian fiction better support diverse authors and diverse stories?

Traci: We as readers can support diverse authors and diverse stories by introducing them to networking groups that would like to exchange ways to expand their readership. Buying and sharing is important but you can’t buy and share something you don’t know exists.

Carrie: That is so true and a great reminder for us!


About Traci Wooden-Carlisle

traci wooden carlisleTraci Wooden-Carlisle began writing poetry and short stories as soon as she was able to form words on paper. She used that as a way to creating worlds, as well as, to communicate with God. A native of Los Angeles, California, she grew up attending United Methodist Church under the leadership of a pastor whose heart was for youth. Once she finished college at she found herself at a loss. She felt caught in the transition between childhood and adulthood. She surrounded herself with saints and volunteered her services as a graphic artist. Through the early-morning prayer, all night Friday prayer and 3-day shut-ins she started on her journey toward her most desired gift, an intimate relationship with God.

Today, Mrs. Wooden-Carlisle lives in San Diego with her husband, David Carlisle. She teaches fitness classes, runs a jewelry and craft business, and is currently writing her third book in her Christian-fiction series, Promises to Zion.

CONNECT WITH TRACIwebsite | Facebook | Twitter


**Giveaway**

Have a comment or question for Traci? She’s giving away a print copy of Missing Destiny and a bookmark. (US only, International winner will receive a $6 Amazon gift card instead) One winner will be randomly selected from everyone who comments on this post by Friday June 1, 2018.

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Book Spotlight: Missing Destiny

Happy Wednesday, dear readers! I don’t know about you, but this week feels like it’s already been at least six days. Wednesday just means we’re closer to the long weekend (here in the States) so yay!!

Today I’m spotlighting a new to me author with a book that sounds right up my alley!

About the Book

missing destinyShe spends Friday nights with charts and graphs. His best friend is a dog named Sebastian.

All she’s ever wanted was peace and to feel she belonged. All he ever wanted was to disappear.

She’s a city girl hiding in a small town. He’s back home hiding from his past.
If life were perfect, they could be each other’s missing destiny.

When a mysterious man becomes a threat to her health Dr. Shauna Nathan, a workaholic scientist, is about to lose control over her emotions and her life. Her family steps in to protect her even if it means disrupting her otherwise predictable and orderly existence by bribing her with a chance to spend time with her old college roommate and surround herself with her one true passion — horses.

She heads to a ranch in Chandler County to hide from her stalker. Instead, she might find there healing she looks for — and love she doesn’t.

Horse therapist Zach moved to New York, had a successful career in finance, a beautiful wife, and daughter one day and the next it was all gone. He came back to Chandler County to come to terms with his loss and find a modicum of peace as a ranch hand- turned therapist at Murphy’s Equestrian Therapy Center. He has lost everyone he loved. Would he risk his heart again for Shauna?

Though the ruthless killer on Shauna’s trail will stop at nothing to destroy her, will Zach and Shauna escape danger and find happiness in each other’s arms and their missing destiny?

GOODREADS | AMAZON | B&N

About the Author

traci wooden carlisleTraci Wooden-Carlisle began writing poetry and short stories as soon as she was able to form words on paper. She used that as a way to creating worlds, as well as, to communicate with God. A native of Los Angeles, California, she grew up attending United Methodist Church under the leadership of a pastor whose heart was for youth. Once she finished college at she found herself at a loss. She felt caught in the transition between childhood and adulthood. She surrounded herself with saints and volunteered her services as a graphic artist. Through the early-morning prayer, all night Friday prayer and 3-day shut-ins she started on her journey toward her most desired gift, an intimate relationship with God.

Today, Mrs. Wooden-Carlisle lives in San Diego with her husband, David Carlisle. She teaches fitness classes, runs a jewelry and craft business, and is currently writing her third book in her Christian-fiction series, Promises to Zion.

CONNECT WITH TRACI: website | Facebook | Twitter

Book Review: Dear One by Brandi Boddie

Happy Friday! Today I’m reviewing a novella that we spotlighted here on Diversity Between the Pages in February – Dear One by Brandi Boddie

About the Book

Dear One by Brandi BoddieLove in Steel Town America during the midst of WWII

Youngstown, Ohio 1944

Molly Clayton works as a ladies columnist for the Valley Bulletin, the town’s most prominent African American newspaper. Between writing, aiding the war effort, and helping her struggling parents pay the bills, she doesn’t have time for her favorite pastime of swing dancing.

When a friend gives her tickets to a Valentine’s Day dance for her birthday, Molly can’t wait to attend. She meets Stephen Keller, a handsome jazz magazine editor. She’s attracted to him, but a painful secret lurks beneath the surface of Stephen’s easy charm that makes him defensive to others and suspicious of her faith.

Things take a turn for the worse when a vicious rumor threatens to destroy both her career and her blossoming courtship. Will she gain the courage to confront the rumor and speak her heart to Stephen before it’s too late?

GOODREADS | AMAZON

My Thoughts

Dear One is a short novella, but it is rich in historical tidbits that will make you want to do your own research. The pace flows well (it doesn’t feel rushed at all) and the plot is vividly drawn. In cases of stories with this short of a page count, sometimes the end result is a narrative that barely scratches the surface of the emotions or history of the day. Other times, it has the opposite problem – everything but the kitchen sink is crammed into those few pages. With Dear One, Boddie achieves the right balance of story pace and character development, covering a lot of ground in the plot and tying things up nicely too. However, you wouldn’t hear me complaining at all if she ever rewrote this as a full-length novel – I enjoyed it that much to willingly invest more time in the plot and characters if given the opportunity.

I very much appreciated the history covered by Dear One; in our historical fiction, we – to our detriment – don’t often focus on the soldiers of color who fought during WW2 or on what wartime looked like for black Americans back at home. The fictional African-American newspaper in Youngstown is based on similar papers of the day, papers I never knew existed and which prompted me to do further study on my own on these and the Associated Negro Press. Boddie also explores prejudice from within the African-American community, as well as from without, and weaves a tender message of faith throughout the story too.

And yes! She does that all in less than 75 pages without feeling rushed or incomplete. I thoroughly enjoyed this novella and would recommend it for everyone, especially readers who believe that learning about the past can better help us understand the present and change the future.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this novella which I read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

About the Author

Brandi BoddieBrandi Boddie writes historical and contemporary romance. She holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Youngstown State University. She lives in Texas with her husband and two rambunctious canines who aspire to be food critics. When she’s not writing or playing dress up in Victorian/steampunk/1940s garb, you can find her swing dancing or getting her daily fill of antioxidants through coffee and dark chocolate.

Connect with the author: WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

What about you? What most intrigues you about this novella?

Reviewed by Carrie

Book Spotlight: People of the Book by Kathi Macias

Happy Wednesday!

Today, I’m continuing to spotlight the Extreme Devotion series from Kathi Macias with a look at People of the Book, a story which pulls at my heart from conversations I’ve had with my Muslim friends.

About the Book

people of the bookWill God protect and keep them safe in the midst of persecution?

Farah lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her family, and wants nothing more than to develop a deeper devotion to her Muslim faith. She sees the month of Ramadan as her chance to draw nearer to Allah, and pursues that goal. All goes well until the prophet Isa—Jesus—appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself. Her brother, Kareem, who has never liked her, seeks to discredit her.

Farah’s cousin, an only child, frequents an online chat. She discovers former Muslims discussing their new belief that Isa is much more than a Muslim prophet—He is actually the Son of God. She becomes acquainted with an American girl of Muslim ancestry—now a devout Christian—Sara. Sara has problems of her own due to her brother Emir’s suspicious behavior.

Each finds their faith put to the test. Will they be true to their beliefs? Will God protect them, or will they pay the ultimate price for their faith?

goodreads | amazon

About the Author

KathiMaciasPhoto-200x300Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 50 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Kathi is passionate about The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. To learn more about the persecuted church, please visit VOM’s website and Open Doors Website.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


What about you? What most interests you about this story?

 

Book Spotlight: Red Ink by Kathi Macias

Happy Wednesday!

Today, I’m continuing to spotlight the Extreme Devotion series from Kathi Macias with a look at Red Ink. This was originally published in June 2011. While China’s one-child policy has been relaxed, couples still have to apply to have more than one – which implies that it’s not always granted.

About the Book

red inkA young Chinese woman, Zhen-Li—raised to observe the party line, including its one-child-per-family doctrine—falls in love with and marries a Christian, and adopts his faith. Though the couple downplays their Christianity in an effort to survive, Zhen-Li’s family is appalled, and she and her husband are ostracized. When she becomes pregnant for the second time and refuses to have an abortion, the persecution begins in earnest. Zhen-Li’s parents, under pressure from the government, pay to have Zhen-Li kidnapped and the baby aborted.

It is then Zhen-Li decides she must live up to her name—Truth—and take a firm stand for her faith, regardless of the consequences, and so she begins to regularly teach children about Zhu Yesu (Lord Jesus) and to distribute Christian literature every chance she gets.

Based loosely on the life of Christian magazine editor Li Ying, currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in China, the story of Yang Zhen-Li tells the desperate tale of her incarceration and separation from her family, as she continues to minister to other prisoners, and even to her guards.

goodreads | amazon

About the Author

KathiMaciasPhoto-200x300Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 50 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Kathi is passionate about The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. To learn more about the persecuted church, please visit VOM’s website and Open Doors Website.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


What about you? What most interests you about this story?

 

Book Spotlight: More Than Conquerors by Kathi Macias

Happy Wednesday! It’s almost Good Friday which means it’s almost EASTER!! Hallelujah! To paraphrase a popular sermon, “It’s Wednesday but Sunday is coming!” So thankful that we have a Savior who purchased with His blood “persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation”! (Rev 5:9)

Ahem. Sorry about that little mini-sermon there – a freebie for all y’all. 😉

Today, I’m continuing to spotlight the Extreme Devotion series from Kathi Macias with a look at More Than Conquerors.

About the Book

more than conquerorsTrue love ignites their passionate pursuit of His call

With violent crime on the rise and the political climate changing throughout certain parts of Mexico, the opportunity for open Christian witness, particularly in some areas of Chiapas State, is rapidly decreasing. Hector Rodriguez pastors a small church in the tourist-popular border town of Tijuana. He also routinely carries Bibles deeper into the hostile areas of Mexico, where he ministers despite increasing difficulty and persecution.

Hector’s mother accompanied him on one of those trips and felt God called her to stay in the little village of San Juan Chamula, where she uses the Scriptures to teach reading to the families who are open to it. In retaliation for Hector’s bringing the Bibles into areas hostile to Christians and in an effort to dissuade him from continuing to expand his ministry there, Hector’s mother is murdered.

Hector must decide if he will continue his work despite his worries about protecting his wife and children.

goodreads | amazon

About the Author

KathiMaciasPhoto-200x300Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 50 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Kathi is passionate about The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. To learn more about the persecuted church, please visit VOM’s website and Open Doors Website.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


What about you? What do you think you would do in Hector’s position?

Book Spotlight: No Greater Love by Kathi Macias

I have recently the Extreme Devotion series by Kathi Macias and I’m looking forward to making my way through each book. Today, I’m featuring the first book, No Greater Love!

About the Book

no greater loveForbidden romance, an unlikely martyr and an even more unlikely hero. Orphaned four years earlier when their parents, active in the African National Congress (ANC) movement against apartheid, were murdered—16-year-old Chioma and her 15-year-old brother Masozi now live and work on an Afrikaner family’s farm.

When Chioma and Andrew, the farm owner’s son, find themselves attracted to one another, tragedy revisits their lives. Chioma escapes to join an ANC rebel band in her effort to survive and gain revenge for her family and culture. When cultures clash in life-or-death struggles, Chioma must choose between violence and revenge—or forgiveness and selfless love.

Loosely based on historical events and set near Pretoria, South Africa, in the violent upheaval prior to ANC leader Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 and his ascendance to the presidency of South Africa, this story of forbidden romance produces an unlikely martyr who is replaced by one even more unlikely.

Goodreads | Amazon

About the Author

KathiMaciasPhoto-200x300Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 50 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Kathi is passionate about The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. To learn more about the persecuted church, please visit VOM’s website and Open Doors Website.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


What most interests you about this book?

Book Review – Love the War Woman by April W. Gardner

Happy Friday, friends! If you haven’t yet checked out the Creek Country Saga series by April Gardner, you really must! Today, I’m looking at book #5 in the series but you could also read it as a standalone (though you’re missing out on all the other wonderful books that preceded it).

About the Book

Love the War WomanFor the DEFIANCE of a nation. For the DEFENSE of a tribe. For the LOVE of a war woman.

War woman Fierce Mink has loved Tall Bull as long as memory. He is beauty and power, but in the secret pockets of her spirit, he is vastly more. He is the brave to whom she swore her heart, the friend to whom she owes her life, and the chief to whom she will never be bound. Soon, he will be required to take a wife, but lamentably, Mink is severe, intimidating, hard-bitten by war—qualities a man appreciates in combat, not so under the bearskins. But perhaps it’s best he’s blind to her, for he clings viciously to the Beloved Path, and unbeknownst to him, she has joined her fire with Jesus.

Since his youth, Chief Tall Bull has treasured Mink. Even now, in their turbulent refugee world, she is comfort; she is home. Better yet, she shares his passion to preserve the Beloved Path and his fight to start anew in a land where they are no longer hunted. Then, a startling omen: before the blood moon, Tall Bull must make restitution for his transgressions, or the spirits will take payment. From her. A tragedy he would die to prevent.

Another portent looms—that of a horde of bluecoat soldiers pecking at their borders, threatening to drive the Red Stick Defiance into uninhabitable swamps. The Defiance will not go quietly, and as Tall Bull prepares for a brutal strike, he realizes the bluecoats aren’t his only enemy, and Mink’s life isn’t all he stands to lose.

goodreads | amazon

My Thoughts

With a richly atmospheric narrative and gorgeous word pictures, April Gardner takes us once again into Spanish Florida in 1817/18. The events closely parallel those of Bitter Eyes No More, but for a new perspective we follow Mink’s and Tall Bull’s stories instead.

Mink is fierce and fearless, but also insecure in many ways. Not only is she a Muscogee warrior, but she is also a new believer in Jesus. One who is still learning how to balance her vibrant tribal traditions with being a new creation. Yet, even in the transformation that Gardner exquisitely paints for her, Mink retains her culture and tribal identity. She does not, as so often fiction like this portrays, cease to be a Muscogee warrior when she also becomes a follower of Jesus. Instead, she finds new meaning and a covering of grace in her traditions, as well as seeing it all from eyes of faith.

Mink is also a woman long in love with her best friend – Tall Bull, a tribal micco who (as Beth Erin says) is an “unintentional master of mixed messages”. His own heart’s desires seem to catch him by surprise, and his intense pride often keeps him from those very desires. He is, like Mink, a complicated character but one well worth exploring each newly uncovered layer.

I also have to briefly mention Ten Cats, a seemingly minor character who grew in importance as the story progressed. He also grew on me and became one of my favorite characters in the whole book.

Mink and Tall Bull’s relationship is not a ‘typical’ love story. It’s a tumultuous path marked with detours and uncertainty, with other loving relationships, and with a conflict in faith. It’s often deliciously unpredictable but always exquisitely told with rich detail and lyrical prose. Gardner’s choice to include the tribal language (as well as a linked glossary) immerses you into a deeper reading experience that honors Mink and Tall Bull’s culture. And woven through it all is the overwhelming grace of Jesus, pursuing Mink and Ten Cats and Tall Bull – relating to them as their personal Savior, not as a white man’s God. Gardner does a beautiful job depicting the unity found in Jesus, as well as the cultural diversity He created.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, which I received from the author.

About the Author

aprilwgardner

A military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her two children and USAF spouse. She is unashamedly a child of the King. In her free time, April enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

After a year gaining experience as a content editor with Clean Reads, April is now a freelance editor, certified through the University of California, San Diego. As a way to give back to the writing community and to promote Christian fiction, April founded and runs the literary contest site, Clash of the Titles.

website | facebook | twitter

Also In This Series


 

What about you? What most interests you about this story?

Book Review: The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser

Happy Friday – and Happy February! Today, we’re looking at an emotional and inspiring read from Elizabeth Musser that spotlights the courage of Iranian refugees and the people who aid them. The Long Highway Home is a feast for the senses, the emotions, and the soul. It will break your heart and soothe it again, but it will not leave you the same person you were when you began reading.

About the Book

the long highway homeWhen the doctor pronounces “incurable cancer” and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier.

Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss.

Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession back in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along the refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger.

Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time? And at what cost?

Filled with action, danger, heartache and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.

goodreads | amazon

My Thoughts

“… how costly it was to follow Isa [Jesus]. Costly, yes, but worth it.”

The Long Highway Home is set in 2005, at the height of the riots in France, but its theme is oh-so-timely today. The story follows several main characters – Bobbie, Tracie, Stephen, Hamid, Amir, and Rasa – as well as the secondary characters these six encounter on their respective journeys. The text shifts from first person to third person, depending on which character’s perspective we are reading, but the transitions are clearly indicated and easy to follow.

Seven-year-old Rasa has the beautiful faith of a child – after hearing New Testament stories of Isa (Jesus) she comes to believe in Him and trusts Him to help her family. This is not an easy decision, even for such a young child. In her world, in her country, belief in Jesus is a death sentence. And yet… she believes. Wholly and without doubt.

Hamid is a gentle soul who must flee Iran along the treacherous ‘Refugee Highway’ after Rasa is caught with a New Testament. Knowing his family is in grave danger, hoping they are safe where he has hidden them (they aren’t), he escapes to find help and freedom. Along the way, he meets Jesus too. Yet the journey may be no safer than remaining behind in Iran. The terrain is unforgiving and the dangers are many.

Hamid and Rasa’s stories are incredibly moving and emotional – heartbreaking and deeply inspiring. Even in great darkness, when their lives are on the line, Jesus is there in their story, wrapping them with grace. The best part (to me) of Hamid & Rasa’s story is that they are based on real-life refugees and their own stories that captured the author’s heart. As Musser herself said, “The Long Highway Home is fiction, but it is based on many, many true stories of refugees finding hope in the midst of the horror as Jesus reveals Himself to them in the most surprising ways.”

The Long Highway Home is, at its heart, a bringing together of the plot lines of a refugee’s story. It’s not a political statement. It’s not a religious statement. It’s a beautiful picture of how Isa [Jesus] redeems and rescues, with plot lines simultaneously playing out in Turkey, in the Netherlands, in Iran, in Atlanta, and in Austria. No matter where you stand on the refugee debate, this story and its people are for you. It’s an inspiring portrait of the selfless individuals who work behind the scenes in many cases to help refugees find hope as well as freedom. And it’s a heart-clenching reminder that, while following Jesus is very costly to so much of the world’s population, He is very worth it. “Not everyone had made it safely out of Iran. But everyone has made it safely Home.”

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, which I received from the author.
Portions of this review were originally posted on Reading Is My SuperPower.

About the Author

elizabeth musser

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France.  Elizabeth’s highly acclaimed, best-selling novel, The Swan House, was named one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year and one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the Past 100 Years.  All of Elizabeth’s novels have been translated into multiple languages. The Long Highway Home has been a bestseller in Europe.

For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions’ work in Europe with International Teams.  The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren who all live way too far away in America. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog. See photos from scenes in The Long Highway Home on Pinterest.

What about you? Have you ever met a refugee and listened to his/her story?

Book Spotlight: Upcoming Diverse Christian Fiction

Happy New Year! Instead of just spotlighting one book today, I thought I’d take a look at several upcoming diverse titles in Christian fiction!

January 2018

missing isaac

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse
Revell Books

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

Goodreads | Amazon

thebittersweetbride

The Bittersweet Bride by Vanessa Riley
Entangled Publishing

Widow Theodosia Cecil needs a husband to help protect her son. The former flower seller turned estate owner posts an ad in the newspaper, and no one is more surprised than she when her first love, the man she thought dead, reappears.

Goodreads | Amazon

February 2018

Love the War Woman

Love the War Woman by April W. Gardner
Big Spring Press

He is the moon to her tide, the sun to her corn, and the beautiful chief she will never have. She is the scent of home, the glory of a dozen battles, and the woman he didn’t see until she was seen by another.

Goodreads | Amazon

when god made light

When God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner & David Catrow
WaterBrook

‘Let there be light!’ that’s what God said. And light began shining and then started to spread.” Wild and creative illustrations from top children’s illustrator David Catrow pair with Matthew Paul Turner’s lyrical verse in this message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers.

Goodreads | Amazon

a light on the hill

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette
Bethany House

Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing… Her father has found someone to marry her… But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.

Goodreads | Amazon

March 2018

reclaiming shilo snow

Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber
Thomas Nelson

Known as a brilliant mind that could hack humanity’s darkest secrets, seventeen-year-old Sofi Snow is the most wanted teenager alive. She found her way to the icy, technologically brilliant planet of Delon to find Shilo, the brother everyone but Sofi believes is dead.

In this harrowing sequel to The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, Sofi and Miguel must trust each other and discover the secrets locked inside Sofi’s mind as the line between what’s real and what they imagine begins to slip away . . . threatening to take humanity with it.

Goodreads | Amazon

Also in March – Freedom Lake series #2 by Toni Shiloh

April 2018

no one ever asked

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert
Waterbrook

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge… Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?

Goodreads | Amazon

June 2018

the solace of water

The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts
Thomas Nelson

In The Solace of Water, Elizabeth Byler Younts tells the story of two women, one white and one black, in racially charged 1956, who fight personal battles of freedom and form a friendship that neither expected.

Goodreads | Amazon

Also in June – Maple Run series #3 by Toni Shiloh

July 2018

river to redemption

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart
Revell Books

Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She’s determined to find a way to buy Louis’s freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she’ll face an uphill battle.

Goodreads | Amazon


 

What about you? Which of these upcoming titles are you most looking forward to?