Review of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

 Author’s debut novel.

Book Blurb:

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book, she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

Thoughts About the Novel:

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck was a refreshing surprise. It’s a sweet story filled with some funny moments.

It presents interesting plot movements and a well-constructed premise.  The book touches lightly on faith, Bible knowledge and Christian beliefs but it doesn’t make clear what doctrines it ascribes to.

I especially enjoyed the humour in the storytelling, which at times made me laugh out loud. There are also some high peaks in the story development, but nothing overly exciting.

I found Turner’s debut novel, a light, quick read.

My main issue with the novel is that the main character’s (Sarah) conversion to Christianity is presented too simply and superficially. This fact makes me, as the reader, see Sarah’s behaviour after her conversion not believable.

On the other hand, the hero is adorable. He is better developed than Sarah though he is mentioned much less than she is. Finally, best friend Piper is just a great supporting character who is able to show the meaning of true friendship, sincerity and genuine care for someone.

The romance develops very fast between hero and heroine which gave me the impression of being rushed. Their love is so profound in such a short time that this also takes away a little bit of the credibility of the story.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the book, would recommend it to people who like clean contemporary sweet romances.

Posted in Contemporary Christian Romance, Genre fiction, Handpicked Literature.

Laurie Hazel is an inspirational romance and romantic women's fiction writer based in southern Ontario. Her writing is characterized by wholesome, heartwarming stories of love where courage, hope and strong faith take centre stage in the face of adversity.

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