Anna Lucia, Book 2 Casa Bella Chronicles

Life hasn’t been kind to Lucinda Stewart. Unforgettable heartache, loss, and unspeakable violence mark her heart and her face. Twenty years have passed and she’s yet to put the fractured pieces together. Now a spinster without hope, Lucinda resigns herself to live a quiet life with her brother. For who would dare love a physically and emotionally scarred woman?

But when she and her brother travel to Italy, Lucinda’s life is hurled back in time. When they arrive at Casa Bella, she’s introduced to Vincenzo Castello. Something about the dark Sicilian haunts her. Memories dance inside the shadows of her mind, but never close enough to the light for her to remember. Is he a friend or a long lost enemy returned to finish her nightmare? Why should she trust him, a complete stranger?

Liz Galvano Book Meme

Vincenzo Castello is a God-fearing man haunted by the past. If he could go back… When Lucinda Stewart waltzes back into his life without a memory of that night, Vincenzo’s doesn’t know what to do.  Does he tell her the truth inside his heart and fill in the gaps of her memory? Will that truth set her free or tighten the chains that now hold her? Can he convince her to trust him and his God? Can he and the Castello family protect her from the one man threatening to take her life?

Liz Galvano transports her readers to faraway places through the lives of unforgettable characters. In her latest novel, Anna Lucia, Book 2 in the Casa Bella Chronicles, she shares her love of family, food, horses, and fencing. Yes, fencing! And she wraps it all up with God’s amazing gift of love and compassion for the hurting.

I give Anna Lucia five hearts because it is the story of two people overcoming the obstacles in this journey we call life. They have seen heartache, and still, they choose to trust a faithful God whose love never fails. The characters love hard and fight harder. Galvano doesn’t sugarcoat the war we must wage to become overcomers. It isn’t a short or easy read. But it is worth the time, belly laughs, and tears.

Happy reading!

What makes a good book for you?

I was given a copy of this book by the author and was under no obligation to publish a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Wendy L. Macdonald

Good morning, dearest reader. I’m glad you’ve stopped by for a visit. Today, I am excited to welcome Wendy L. Macdonald to Women of Faith and Fiction. Wendy is a writer, aspiring novelist, and radio host. She is also an amazing photographer. The pictures in the post are her very own. Let’s get started, shall we?

IMG_5787Good morning, Wendy! Thank you for taking the time to visit with us. I’m sure our readers are anxious to hear more about you. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi everyone, you may have noticed I included my middle initial; it’s so my name will stand out better. It’s tempting to switch back to my maiden name, but it’s too tricky to spell or pronounce (Later, I’ll share what it is—don’t you love a good hook?).

By the way, dear Gail, thank you for inviting me here.

I happen to enjoy blogging, and I’m a contributor to several blogs besides my own. Last year, I also began producing an inspirational podcast called “Walking with Hope” for HopeStreamRadio.com: https://hopestreamradio.com/program/walking-with-hope/. It’s been an incredible opportunity to practice meeting my writing deadlines, polishing my public speaking skills, and learning to depend on God for strength and ideas to write about. I’ve confessed to my listeners that my many flops and fumbles in life keep me well-stocked with writing prompts. Isn’t God’s grace great?Wendy's daffodil

My nature photography, poetry, and prose are featured on all of my social media sites. Years of homeschooling my three—now-grown—children gave me a deeper appreciation for creation as we studied the earth together on our former acreage in the woods.

Deadlines do keep us busy! And your photos are inspiring. Wendy, this month’s theme is Joy. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Wendy's EagleJoy is one of my favorite words because I’ve learned through experience it’s possible to feast on it in the midst of a plateful of sorrows. God uses our sadness to draw us to Himself, so our soul finds spiritual nourishment in the God of more-than-enough.

Happiness is a fleeting feeling that’s dependent on good circumstances. Joy transcends our sorrows and lifts our spirits to find satisfaction in the One who can create goodness in the midst of badness.

Life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have joy? How did you overcome?

The first season that comes to mind is the winter of 1998 when my dad, W.C. Yarmoshuk, died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was only 62 years-old. Sadly, I allowed grief to isolate me from fellowship. God used a video series, based on the book of Matthew, to draw me back into the Word and back to church. Since then, I’ve become faithful again in spending time in Scripture each morning. This spiritual discipline has produced the fruit of genuine joy in the midst of trials I’ve walked through during the last two decades.Wendy's Bee

In what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

I’m aspiring to be published in inspirational-mystery-romance and/or memoir. I’ve completed several manuscripts and am revising and editing them with the help of amazing critique partners. Writing fiction first has helped me write my recovery memoir with a novel-like structure too. I highly recommend that order.

I’m excited to have a short memoir and fiction article of mine published later this year in a Canadian anthology of Christmas stories. Some of my nature photography has recently been published in a Canadian nonfiction anthology about grief. Good Grief People is available on Amazon or through Angel Hope Publishing:  http://www.glynisbelec.com/BOOKSTORE.html .

Wendy's Swan 2I’ve enjoying reading the book because I have some ongoing family issues that require me to get a grip on good grieving. Grief doesn’t have shortcuts; it’s best to give it time and attention, or it will flip the floorboards of our peace out from under us.

Faith not only influences my writing, but it also infuses it. I remember thinking I wanted to write for the general market. Soon after beginning my first manuscript, I changed my mind about my target audience. God’s love and grace color every line I write. He is my Hope, my Help, and my Hero. I was rescued from the deep of eating disorders and depression when I came to fully trust the Lord in 1983. My writing revolves around recovery in Christ. He longs for us to be close to Him; when we’re not, we’re closed off from joy.

My goal in each manuscript is to allow the Holy Spirit to woo each reader to Himself through the words I’ve written. Writing this way pulls me tighter into His arms too.Wendy's Flowers

Thank you again, Gail, for having me as a guest. I en”Joy”ed the interview.

Did you notice I slipped my maiden name into one of the sentences?

I did notice, Wendy! Thank you for sharing your heart with us, today.

You can connect with Wendy here:

Website: http://www.wendylmacdonald.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greenlightlady

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wendylmacdonald

 

Refining Fire ~ Tracie Peterson

Book Blurb

Twenty-two-year-old Militine Scott is in training at the Madison Bridal School in Seattle, yet she has no intention of pursuing marriage. What respectable man would have her? But she has found the school provides the perfect opportunity to keep her unsavory past hidden.

Thane Patton, though fun-loving and fiercely loyal to his friends, hides a dark secret, as well. He finds himself drawn to Militine, sensing that she harbors a haunting pain similar to his own.

Will they allow God to make something new and beautiful from the debris of their past?

 

My Review

This book reads like a mini-series. The second in the series, Refining Fire, is Militine Scott’s story or so you think when reading the first chapter. However, Abrianna Cunningham is the engine that moves the story along. Nothing wrong with that, if you are aware of it at the beginning of the series. Personally, I like the fact there are multiple POVs. I enjoyed learning about everyone at once. And the conversations? Wow. True to the character and filled with scripture. Often, I laughed out loud as I envisioned the actions of the character.

The heart of Refining Fire is the residents of the Madison Bridal School in Seattle Washington during the late 1800s. The owners, Miss Selma, Miss Miriam, and Miss Poisie instruct young ladies in the art of homemaking. Unfortunately, Militine Scott has no desire to become a wife. A runaway, Militine is hiding from an abusive father. She doesn’t trust anyone, including God. Then, Thane Patton asks to court her. A flame of hope kindles and Militine must choose between her past and Thane. Can she find the courage to trust God with her future?

Militine’s friend, Abrianna Cunningham has no time for romance either. Her days are spent taking care of the homeless. If she had a mantra it would be, faith without works is dead. The problem? Her idea of “works” usually gets everyone in trouble!

As Militine, Thane, Abrianna, and Wade go about their daily lives helping others, we watch relationships change as they discover their love for each other.

Ms. Peterson packs her story with historical facts of the Seattle fire. She addresses the subjects of feeding the hungry, women in leadership, human trafficking, abusive authority within the church, forgiveness, healing from past wounds, and finding the will of God for one’s life.

Although I would have liked a little more from Thane and Militine, I loved this book.

If you are a fan of Anne of Green Gables, Cranford, or Lark Rise to Candleford, you will enjoy reading this series.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.