Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sarah’s Smile by Dawn Kinzer

Sarah's Smile by Dawn Kinzer
Isn't that a gorgeous cover? I’m thrilled to post a review today of a book written by one of my dearest friends. We’ve been writing buddies for years and have worked together on each other’s books. This is her debut novel, which releases October 14, 2016.

Here’s the summary:

Romance. Heartbreak. Scandal. Secrets. Second Chances.

In 1902, Sarah McCall is waiting to leave for the mission field when the man she once loved steps back into her life. Abandoned as a child by her mother and gambler father, she strives to overcome a tarnished history she didn’t create and a heartbreak she can’t forget.

Peter Caswell returns to his Wisconsin hometown a pastor, dedicated to his four-year-old daughter and new congregation. But no matter how hard he tries to move on with his life, he can’t forgive himself for his wife’s death.

When Sarah learns that Peter is returning to Riverton, the letter giving her departure date for Africa can’t come soon enough for her. They were best friends—she loved him and supported his dreams—but he married another and broke her heart. Although ten years have passed since he left Riverton, Peter hopes Sarah still cares enough to give him a second chance. But a charming newcomer pursues her affections—and Sarah’s childhood nemesis manipulates her way into Peter’s life. Will Sarah and Peter find their way to forgiveness and each other, or will past mistakes make a life together impossible?

And now, my review:

This book creates a feeling of not only stepping back in time, but of walking into a peaceful, Midwestern town. Dawn’s descriptions are delicious! Her voice is distinctive and fresh in historical fiction.

Our hero is running from a painful secret that he’s sure disqualifies him even as it restricts his hopes for the future. In fact, though he doesn’t know it, his secret is holding him hostage. I think readers will relate to this as we all have regrets—those moments in our pasts we wish we could overcome.

Our heroine is determined to serve God, and she’s convinced she’ll have to move to another country to do so. But is she running away? There is a lot of pain in her past that she may need to face. Readers will relate to the fact that in order to heal, we must face the facts of our pasts and come to terms with them. The truth sets us free! Forgiveness, another of the themes, brings freedom too.

Overall, this was a gentle, satisfying read peopled with flawed, lovable characters. Dawn’s well-researched details were a treat. (Especially how the “cashiers” at a large store in 1902 communicated with the main office in order to give customers change when they purchased items. I found that fascinating!) I loved the humorous moments in the story, and I highlighted several instances of those beautiful descriptions. Dawn has a way with dialogue and story that will make this book—and this series—reader favorites.

Don’t miss this one!

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