Thursday, May 21, 2009

The House in Grosvenor Square by Linore Rose Burkard

About the Book:
As Ariana Forsythe plans her wedding to Phillip Mornay, she must adjust to the realization that she is soon to become the wife of an extremely wealthy man. She wonders if it’s wrong to rejoice that her future husband is rich. But she promises herself to use her new position to do what she can to aid the numerous street waifs she sees all too often in London.
During a tour of her future home—the house in Grosvenor Square—Ariana makes plans to redecorate according to her tastes. But when Phillip arrives home later, he is informed that an expensive silver candlestick and a miniature portrait of George III have gone missing. Moreover, each time Ariana visits the house, accompanied by a friend or relation, another item disappears.
Shortly thereafter Ariana is abducted as she leaves a performance at Covent Garden Theatre, leaving Phillip to unravel the pieces of the mystery. Where has his future bride been taken, and by whom? For what reason? How does Ariana’s faith play a role?
Finally, after the safe return of his intended, how does Phillip—a man of intense discrimination in his tastes—find the many alterations in his house? And what on earth is behind the sudden influx of bills from every charity in London, all thanking him profusely for his uncommon generosity? Will he have second thoughts about his future bride?

About the Author:
Linore Rose Burkard creates Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the Regency England era (circa 1800 - 1830). Ms. Burkard's novels include Before the Seasons Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square (coming April, 2009). Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency period. Experience a romantic age, where timeless lessons still apply to modern life. And, enjoy a romance that reminds you happy endings are possible for everyone.

My Thoughts:
While I liked “Before the Season Ends,” I think I like “The House in Grosvenor Square,” even better. I thought that Ariana and Phillip’s relationship progressed well, and was amazed at how his character did such a transformation after coming to Christ. What I have noticed about many male characters in Christian fiction, is that after they come to Christ they tend to get a bit bland or cliché. Phillip didn’t come across that way though, he is quite intriguing and realistic. Ariana isn’t the same either; she started out as an innocent, wide-eyed young girl and has become a wise, godly woman.
From what I have heard, the third book – “The Country House Courtship,” premiering in 2010- in the series is switching gears and focusing on a new couple. I’m going to miss Ariana and Phillip, but am curious about this new romance that will be blooming.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Christ Beside Me

By St. Patrick

Christ beside me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, King of my Heart,
Christ within me, Christ below me,
Christ above me, never to part.

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand,
Christ all around me, sheild of my life,
Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting,
Christ in my rising, light of my life.

Christ beside me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, King of my Heart,
Christ within me, Christ below me,
Christ above me, never to part.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"A Bride of Honor" by Ruth Axtell Morren

About the Author:
I discovered I enjoyed writing when my seventh-grade English teacher assigned our class to finish a story that began with one sentence, a “once upon a time” premise. My version ended up being a romance, and what amazed me most was when someone turned to me after my story was read aloud and told me how much she liked it. I then went on to write a spy thriller—complete with my own illustrations—and knew I wanted to be a writer. There were many detours along the way as I pursued more realistic goals. I studied comparative literature at Smith College, where I received a Bachelor’s degree; I spent my junior year in Paris; taught English and lived as an au pair in the Canary Islands; and worked in international development in Miami, Florida. It was there I met my future husband, a Dutchman from Suriname, who took me to The Netherlands to live for six years. In Holland I began my life as a stay-at-home mom. For the first time in my life I was able to seriously pursue my dream of writing full-length historicals. During my six years there, I completed three manuscripts. My second one gained recognition when it finalized in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Contest in 1994. Then my family and I moved back to the U.S., to the down east coast of Maine to a small village where I had spent childhood summers. Maine has been a place of discovery—from discerning the varying faces of the sea and likening them to the color of my current hero or heroine’s eyes, to observing the changing seasons and the wonders of a flower or leaf or icicle, to simply learning how to say, “yes, Lord,” when I hear His still, small voice.
Ms. Morren’s website:
Ms. Morren’s blog:

About the Book:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady of rank and distinction is no match for an impoverished preacher. Yet Damian Hathaway is entranced from the moment he spies Miss Lindsay Phillips entering his church. She doesn't appear any different from the other pampered society ladies—and she's betrothed to a gentleman of the ton. But Damian is determined to find the pure heart he's sure exists underneath all the ruffles and lace. The unlikely friendship formed by Damian and Lindsay is a revelation to them both, but is frowned upon by her parents—and Damian's parishioners. Torn between two worlds, the pair must trust that their love can bridge the divide—and conquer all.

My Thoughts:
From the second I was introduced to Damian in “The Making of a Gentleman,” I loved his character; he was such a sweetheart and my favorite. When I heard that “A Bride of Honor” was his love story I was excited. The book wasn’t what I had expected but believe me, I wasn’t disappointed. Damian and Lindsay make an adorable couple; they are a fine example for what a Biblical marriage should look like. I also like the scenes with Jonah and Lindsay together; they eventually become in-laws, but they act more like a big brother and a little sister. I’m crossing my fingers in hopes that Ms. Morren will write another.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Hillbilly's Ten Commandments

Some people in Kentucky have trouble with all those "shalls" and "shall nots" in the Ten Commandments. Folks just aren't used to talking in those terms. So, some folks in Southeastern Kentucky got together and translated the "King James" into "Harlan
County" language.... no joke, read on...

(posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Harlan, Ky.)

(1) Just one God.
(2) Honor yer Ma & Pa.
(3) No tellin' tales or gossipin'.
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meetin'.
(5) Put nothin' before God.
(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal.
(7) No killin'.
(8) Watch yer mouth.
(9) Don't take what ain't yers.
(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff.

Now that's kinda plain an' simple, don't ya think? Y'all have a nice day.

(Remember, y'all is singular. All'Y'all" is plural.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler: Movie Review

::Spoiler Alert!::

It’s the early 1940’s in Warsaw, Poland. Two years into the war and earlier that year the Germans pushed the Russians back into the Soviet Union and claimed complete control of Poland. The Nazi death machine is in full swing. The Jewish citizens have been living in the ghetto for some time now yet optimistically hope for the best. However, a handful of people sees the truth for what it is; the German’s ultimate goal is to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth. Irena Sendler, a young social worker in Warsaw, works inside the ghetto. As the situation continues to decline, she along with other resistance fighters and members of Zegota work feverishly to rescue children from the German’s clutches. By the war’s end she saves 2,500 children, twice as many people as Oscar Schindler.
“The Courageous Heart” follows Irena’s life from when she began her mission of saving children to her own arrest and going into hiding herself. Anna Paquin brings Irena Sendler to life as a spunky and brave young woman who nearly loses her life for a cause that she believes in. Marcia Gay Harden portrays Irena’s sickly but supportive mother. And Goran Visnjic, is handsome and trustworthy Stefan, Irena’s love interest.

While I absolutely loved this movie, I would caution that this movie is not suited for children or young teens. Keep in mind that most of the scenes feature Irena in the ghetto and though Hallmark didn’t do anything too graphic, there are innocent people shown being fatally shot; starvation and disease runs rampant in the ghetto. Orphan children are herded into a cattle car destined for a concentration camp. At one point a boy and his father are included in one of the transports, and the father makes the dangerously risks his son’s life by crushing the floorboards and pushing his son through the hole. The most gruesome part of the entire movie is the last twenty minutes when Irena is arrested by the Gestapo and interrogated. When she isn’t forthcoming about her clandestine work, the Gestapo agents restrain her and beat her legs, repeatedly. Her feet are broken and she is unable to walk on her own, so the agents drag her up a flight of stairs for interrogations and back down again to her cell, at least twice. Her cellmates bandage her feet for her. When Irena and several others are sent to be executed, it is then that she is freed thanks to Zegota.

Sex and Nudity:
Sex and nudity is non-existent, and for a movie about the holocaust that is unusual. There is a sweet relationship between Irena and her friend Stefan. After he comes to hide in the Sendler’s apartment, he is shown working on a secret hiding place in one of the wardrobes. He shows Irena and the two get locked in. They share a kiss then and again at the end of the movie when they are reunited.

“The Courageous Heart” shows Irena, her mother and the other working in the resistance as respecters of all peoples and religions. Irena, herself is a Catholic, but never goes so far as pushing her religion on others. She does admit to the parents of the children that she rescues that the children will be put in Christian families and will have to disguise themselves as Christians for their own protection. Jewish parents are torn between sending their children to live with Christian strangers and live as Christians or watch their children perish along with them. Irena and other resistance workers are shown teaching children Christian prayers, how to cross themselves and other elements of the Catholic faith in order to save them.

Overall Opinion:
One thing I did notice is that Irena and her mother are referred to as “Miss Sendler” and “Mrs. Sendler,” respectively. And Stefan was given a different last name. In reality that is incorrect. Stefan’s last name was Sendler and Irena only gained that name when she married him. The only reason I can think of for Hallmark doing this is that Irena is not known by her maiden name and it might have been too confusing to refer to her as such. Other than that, I have no other nit-picks. Great production, superb acting. The only other projects I have seen Anna Paquin in was when she played young Jane in “Jane Eyre” and a leading role in “Fly Away Home.” However, I’ll keep my eye out for any of her movies now. This movie also interests me in reading Irena Sendler’s own autobiography “Life in a Jar,” and Ana Mieszkowska’s biography, “Mother of the Children of the Holocaust: The Irena Sendler Story” on which this movie is based.