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Showing posts with label FullQuiverPublishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FullQuiverPublishing. Show all posts

Friday, 21 August 2020

Discovery - Karina Fabian

Discovery
Karina Fabian

Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 
9781606192313
ASIN B004CLYDUG


I found it hard to believe that I had an 8-year gap in reading books by Karina Fabian, and now I have read 3 novels, and 2 collections of short stories she edited in under 5 weeks. I just cannot seem to put her books down. I already have a few others in my reading queue. I have read some of her contributions in anthologies and love her short form fiction. And I had to read this book after reading her piece, Antivenin, in Infinite Space, Infinite God II. I loved the short story, and I enjoyed the novel even more. I sincerely hope Fabian has more stories available in this world, or stories planned for it, because it is excellent world building.

This is a story about exploration, friendships, religious vocation, and discovery. It is also about survival. A small team has been put together for a classified mission to explore and if possible, recovery an alien ship discovered by chance in the Kuiper Belt on an asteroid. The team includes a wealthy patron, scientists, rockhounds, and sisters of the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue they are post-modern nuns, brave to the extreme. They are pioneers of safety and rescue in space. With unusual habits suited to the work in zero gravity and rigours of space. Sister Ann seems to be a visionary along the lines of Saint Therese of Lisieux, she has great insights into people, and events, sometimes even before they happen. Sister Rita is the head of the orders presence on the mission. She finds herself balancing between the different groups on the mission. The Codists and Wiccans alike on the religious side and the scientist and miners on the skills side.   

The story follows the rag tag group as they prepare and embark on this mission. They are in a partially refitted luxury ship. And The scientific discoveries might be eclipsed by their own personal discoveries and revelations. Oh, and by the way, the archeologist and right-hand man on the mission is a former seminarian with links to our fearless sister Rita. 

As science fiction the story is excellent. It is masterfully written. But the characters are what make this story truly exceptional. You will find yourself engrossed with the personalities both central and on the edge of the main story. And likely you will be left wanting more stories with some of these characters.  

This story is a great piece of science fiction writing. And the way Fabian handles religious themes and sets it in a space context is amazing. I really enjoyed her newer pure science fiction story, The Old Man and the Void, and the follow up volume, Dex’s Way. But I think she shines best when she incorporates more religious and specifically Catholic elements in her stories like in this incredible read. 

This is a great story and I highly recommend it, to fans of religious fiction, or to anyone who just loves a great science fiction story. And this is another excellent read from Full Quiver Publishing a company that focuses on fiction focuses on the Theology of the Body. A most excellent read. I give it top marks. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Karina Fabian:
Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life
Discovery
Perfect Ten
Frightliner


Dex Hollister Series:

The Old Man and the Void
Dex's Way
...

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Series :
Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
I Left My Brains in San Francisco
Shambling in a Winter Wonderland


DragonEye Pi Series:

Magic, Mensa and Mayhem 
Live and Let Fly
Greater Treasures: A DragonEye Novella
Murder Most Picante


Space Traipse Series:
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 1
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 2


Mind Over Series:
Mind Over Mind
Mind Over Psyche
Mind Over All
Hearts Over Mind


Edited by: Karina Fabian:
Infinite Space, Infinite God I
Leaps of Faith
Infinite Space, Infinite God II


Contributed to:
Firestorm of Dragons
The Zombie Cookbook
The Book of Tentacles
Twisted Fayrie Tales
FRIGHTLINER: And Other Tales of the Undead
Mother Goose is Dead
Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Corrupts Absolutely? Dark Metahuman Fiction
Weird Noir
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels
Manifesto UF
Avenir Eclectia
Planetary Anthology: Jupiter
Planetary Anthology: Pluto
Planetary Anthology: Luna
Planetary Anthology: Uranus
FlagShip Science Fiction and Fantasy v2i5
My Little Book of Headdesks
To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity
...

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Stay With Me - Carolyn Astfalk - Stay With Me Book 1

Stay With Me
Stay With Me Book 1
Carolyn Astfalk
Full Quiver Publishing

ISBN 99780987915399
ASIN B015GAH77M


This was the fifth novel by Carolyn Astfalk that I have read, I have also read her short story in the collections, Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories and Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens. I read book 2 Come Back to Me, prior to reading this volume. It was such an excellent read, it took everything I had to not read this book immediately. But my commitment to alternate fiction and non-fiction held out. And even with the wait this was an excellent story. This book sat in my ‘to be read’ pile for over 30 months. That was my loss. It is an excellent Christian fiction story, And Catholic literature novel. I wish there had been more books like this when I was a teen, and young adult. I am certain reading stories like this I would have hurt less people and been hurt less myself. 

No as a 50 year old man I might not be the target audience for this sort of novel. But I really enjoyed it. And how to reread it with both my girls and my son. MY oldest daughter is ready for this story. The other are too young still. But I want stories like this to help shape and form them. Some would classify this as a romance novel. But I would say it is more a novel about relationships. About healing. And about learning to see and follow God in all things. 

The story revolves around Rebecca and Chris, and their friend Father John. Chris is a convert to Catholicism. And He feels a prompting to ask Rebecca out. Rebecca was raised in an unassociated church and raised with emotional and spiritual abuse at the hands of her father. The novel follows the dating relationship, breakup, and reunion of the two. They do have premarital sex, in a moment of weakness, but both regret it, and strive to overcome it. 

Fair waring this is a page turner. Once you start reading you will not want to stop. The writing is excellent. And the characters wonderfully written. Chris and Father John seem like the type of men I would want in my life. 

Reading this story I thought that this story could be about my own brothers, guys I grew up with or even friends now. It is very real. And at times it is very raw. But also open an honest. The characters are exceptionally well written. The writing reminds me of some of Madeleine L’Engle’s more mature Chronos stories or her adult fiction and adult non-fiction. 

Overall the story was a great surprise. I do not even remember why I picked it up originally. But like all of Astfalk’s books I have read, I have been blessed and challenged by reading this novel. It is fiction that will inspire and support faith. 

Another excellent read from Full Quiver Publishing and from Carolyn Astfalk’s masterful pen.


Sunday, 8 March 2020

A Channel of Your Peace - Veronica Smallhorn

A Channel of Your Peace
Veronica Smallhorn
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9781987970142
ASIN B084GGSW8K

 


First, I must state this is an excellent debut novel. I was very impressed with the writing. The story is masterfully written and was very hard to put down. I consumed this volume in three sittings over two days. I literally could not put it down. Second, I think I am getting a little soft in my old age or being the father of daughters, I now find myself reading a lot of stuff I would not have even looked at a few years ago. That being said, even as a 50 years old bibliophile I found this book engrossing and hard to put down.

This book is the story of two very broken people. Both of whom have messed up parts of their lives, either by rebellion against God, or rejection from other people. But God was not done with either of them yet.

Erin Rafferty is a lapsed Catholic. She just let it all slide away when her brother died from cancer.  She thought her life was exactly on the track she wanted when all of a sudden everything changes. And the hits just keep on coming. She is devastated after a 5-year engagement ends because of infidelity. She is heartbroken and devastated. After moving back home, her mother suggests she visit the local church and there is where things start to change.

Mark Ashcroft is a very devout Catholic and he is looking for an equally devout Catholic wife. After daily mass he helps Erin jump start her car. And soon the two have a budding friendship growing.

But they are each keeping secrets from the other, and are not prepared to fully reveal their pasts. When a tragedy strikes can they get over their pasts and learn to trust and hope again?

To find out you will need to read the novel. This is a great Christian, Catholic novel. It revolves around two people who have both made mistakes. Both have turned from God’s plans and ways. And both need healing. But they are very real characters. It could be me, or friends and mistakes from our pasts. The story does an amazing job of looking at several areas of Theology of the Body, sexuality, pregnancy, fertility. The story also presents little miracles. And maybe some not so little.

The writing is very tight. As I stated earlier I was amazing after finishing this to find out it was a debut novel. The characters are well fleshed out. The plot intense. And it is infused with faith and hope. Just a great read.

I have yet to read a book from Full Quiver Publishing that I did not thoroughly enjoy. And I have been impressed by most of the books from FQ that I have read. This was another great read from a wonderful publishing house. Full Quiver Publishing has a tag line on their website of "Theology of the Body Fiction", and after reading a few books from them I have a great appreciation for what they are trying to do and the works coming from this publisher.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! And here is a link to my reviews of other titles from Full Quiver Publishing.


Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Charlotte's Honor - Ellen Gable - Great War Great Love Book 2

Charlotte's Honor
Great War Great Love #2
Ellen Gable
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9781987970043
ASIN B07HYJD3RV



Over the last few years I have read a number of non-fiction books about Military Chaplains, and this book is not about a chaplain but about the same times and circumstances. This historical fiction book, and the other available in the series are both excellent reads. Once I heard that this book was coming out, it was immediately added to my to be read list. And it did not disappoint.

I stated in my review of book one of this series: “I must admit as a middle-aged man this book would not be my normal reading. I do read a lot of YA, but hardly any romance. And this book is really so much more than that.” But as a father of daughters who is trying to install a life long reading habit in them I find I read a lot of books with my kids that I would not pick up for myself. But as much as I look forward to reading this book with my girls when they are a little older, I was eager to read this book because of how much I enjoyed book one.

This story overlaps a little with book one and has a few cross over characters. But it can be read on its own. It is a complete story and what a story at that. The main characters in this novel are Charlotte Zielinski, a medical volunteer. She enlisted for service after her father had passed away and she received notice that he brother had been killed in the war. She had no family left and wishes to server helping other men like her brother. She has a special skill with men who are dying, and she ends up volunteering to serve in the death ward. Spending most of her time reading to, singing for, and just being present for those who are terminal. The other is Dr. Paul Kilgallen, a Canadian surgeon serving in the field hospital. Paul who has experienced loss, is determined not to be mired in a relationship. But after the two remain behind with the critically wounded, when the rest of the hospital is evacuated. The three days allows each to see the other in a new light. But in love and in war things do not always go as planned and as hoped. 

To find out what happens to these two you will need to read the book. Give it a try I am sure you will not be disappointed. I have yet to read a book from Full Quiver Publishing, that I did not really enjoy. The tag line for Full Quiver on their website is "Theology of the Body Fiction”. And I am following this author and all Full Quiver publications closely. Another great read by Ellen Gable and from FQ publishing. A great book for readers of all ages!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!


Books by Ellen Gable:
O'Donovan Family Series:

On Name Only
A Subtle Grace

...

Great War Great Love Series:
Julia's Gifts
Charlotte's Honor

Ella's Promise


Other Books:
Emily's Hope
Stealing Jenny

...

Contributed to:

Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship

Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body

...




Friday, 11 May 2018

Rightfully Ours - Carolyn Astfalk

Rightfully Ours
Carolyn Astfalk
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9781987970029
ASIN B06XTCC1X3



Carolyn Astfalk's name is one I have come across many times over the last few years. Catholic authors I respect, and other Christian book reviews have raved about her books. I had actually purchased all three of her books but had not got around to reading any of them yet. I have almost 400 books in my to be read list on Kindle, and another 200 on Play books. So occasionally I lose sight of books I want to read. But I just finished an anthology that is coming out later this year called Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories from authors at Catholic Teen Books. Even before I had finished Astfalk's contribution Behind The Wheel, I had bumped this book to the top of my Kindle list so that it would be read next. The short story was excellent, and this novel is amazing!

This book took me completely by surprise. I had bought it because of a recommendation from an author; but had not even read the description. I started reading it because of how much I loved the short story that has two of the characters. Paul is living in the guest house (Granny flat) at the Mueller's. He is 16 and has had to move to Pennsylvania because his single parent, his father has been deployed overseas again. His older brother Sean is working for a Gas company, but the company will not allow Paul to stay with him. Rachel is the Muellers oldest child and is 14, her and Paul will attend the same school. Paul's mother died when he was young. And his father dies during this story. He has two male influences on his life, his older brother and Mr. Mueller.

This story focuses a lot on relationships. Rachel and her younger brother James. Rachel with her parents. Rachel and Paul's growing friendship and eventually romance. Paul's relationship with his brother. And many more. It is also the story about premarital abstinence, chastity, and overcoming temptation. It teaches lessons about respecting each other in relationships. It also teaches about the value and purpose of work. Weather that work is Paul's in an orchard as a summer job, or Rachel building her own garden and roadside stand to sell the fresh cut flowers. Oh, and some buried treasure.

This book is the 5th I have read from Full Quiver Publishing. It is a publisher dedicated to books with a Theology of the Body focus. All the books I have read from this publisher are great reads. They are clean and uplifting. I appreciate the publisher's goals and their books are excellent.

This was the first novel I have read by Astfalk. It is an excellent read. I cannot wait for my children to be a little order to share this book with them. I believe it will help teach my daughters and son's valuable lessons. The characters are incredibly well written. The story was fascinating, and it was very hard to put the book down. In fact, I gave up both my breaks and ate lunch at my desk, so I could keep reading it. When you consider that this is only the authors third novel it is even that much more impressive. I recommend this book and know it ill not be long before I dip into another tale from the pen of Astfalk.


Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! And for other reviews of book by Full Quiver Publishing.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Image and Likeness Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body - Erin McCole Cupp and Ellen Gable

Image and Likeness
Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Erin McCole Cupp (Editor)
Ellen Gable (Editor)
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9780987915351
ASIN B01MF5C5YP



I am a big fan of anthologies. First I find they are a great way to meet new authors. Second I find the skill needed for shorter prose is greater. Third it is a great change of pace from non-fiction, and fiction. And this one was excellent on many levels. I had read 4 books by Full Quiver authors over the last year and decided this Anthology might be a great way to be exposed to some other authors to explore. Now to be honest I was familiar with a number of the authors and had read books by three of the seventeen. 

The contributors are:

Michelle Buckman  
AnnMarie Creedon  
Karina Fabian 
Anne Faye 
Ellen Gable (Hrkach) 
Barbara Hosbach 
Dena Hunt 
Katy Huth Jones 
Antony Barone Kolenc 
Theresa Linden 
Leslie Lynch 
Erin McCole Cupp 
John D. McNichol
Damon Owens 
Arthur Powers
Gerard D. Webster 
R. Elaine Westphal 

And the contributions are:

Foreword by Damon Owens
Venus if You Do by Arthur Powers
Thou by Gerard Webster
No Turning Back by Leslie Lynch
Purple Hearts by Tony Kolenc
Cries of the Innocents by Karina Fabian
Victorious by Katy Huth Jones
Movements by Michelle Buckman
Full Reversal by Theresa Linden
In the Death of Winter  by Arthur Powers
Guess Who's Coming to Sunday Brunch by Erin McCole Cupp
Nice by Gerard Webster 
My Pot of Gold by R Elaine Westphal
Claudio by Arthur Powers
This is My Body by AnnMarie Creedon
Good For Her by Erin McCole Cupp
Pear Trees by Dena Hunt
The Walk by Anne Faye
Two Kinds of People by John McNichol
Hard Choices by Barbara Hosbach
MS by Arthur Powers
Made For Love by Theresa Linden
The Death of Me, The Life of Us by Ellen Gable

But this is more than just a collection of stories with a theme, or unifying thread running throughout them. As Damon Owens in the introduction states: 
"The power of stories on people is a fascinating phenomenon. A poem, anecdote, short story, biography or novel can engage our imagination, intellect, emotions, and memory in transformative ways. We truly are "hard-wired" for story. As a Catholic speaker and evangelist for over twenty years, I have witnessed how a well-told story can build rapport, engender trust, and influence even the most reluctant listener."
C.S. Lewis in On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature stated: "It is very rarely that a middle-aged man finds an author who gives him, what he knew so often in his teens and twenties, the sense of having opened a new door." But this book did that. This book is not just a great collection of stories and it is that. Because the theme central to the stories is The Theology of the Body, the stories have incredible impact. I have already started reading through this a second time, taking a slower pace, and just one story every other night. I also have plans to read books by a number of the contributors, the ones I was already familiar with and some new authors to check out.

This book has punch, from the first story by Arthur Powers, which literally has a fist fight. And it is the not the only story to see actual punches thrown. These stories included unexpected pregnancies, the military's don't ask don't tell, vigils at abortion clinics, cancer. There are stories about living in a fallen world, but also stories about a redeemer, and the church that holds his banner high. I especially appreciated Theresa Linden's first contribution Full Reversal, which continues, sometime after her Chasing Liberty trilogy. And Ellen Gable's The Death of Me, the Life of Us is an incredibly moving piece dealing with guilt. And the poem MS by Arthur Powers simply masterful. 

Damon Owens in the introduction also stated: 
"I am indebted to the authors and poets of Image and Likeness for their gifted storytelling of real life "ugly." This book isn't afraid to hold our gaze into the darkness of sin, doubt, and brokenness before the resolution of redemption. Some of these stories are heartbreaking to read precisely because I know this is true. Some of them I will never forget because of their unexpected turn to redemption. Through and through, this is an artistic instruction in TOB that shows us the wounds needing the balm, the balm applied, and the health and wholeness of men and women healed. And, like every well-told story, its penetrating TOB truths will influence even the most reluctant reader."
And I completely agree. And I hope that the editors are considering adding a second volume. This is an incredible collection that I know everyone who gives it a try will be blessed, and likely a little challenged. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Dying for Revenge - Barbara Golder - The Lady Doc Murders Book 1

Dying for Revenge
The Lady Doc Murders Book 1
Barbara Golder
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9781987970005
ASIN B01F9IGQVE



This was the third book from this small publisher that I have read, and the second by Dr. Barbara Golder, and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. I read the second book in this series first, Dying for Compassion, and loved it. I started reading this book even before I had written my review of book two. I just could not put them down. It has been years, likely more than 20 years since reading mysteries was a big part of my reading each year. But I must say if more books were to be released in this series I would grab them up and bump them to the top of my reading pile.  And it is not a small pile, I currently have just over 100 books in my to be read list.

In my review of the other book in this series I stated that reading this book was like "watching Quincy M.E. with my dad. It also brought to mind Diagnosis Murder. But with an undercurrent from three of the main characters Catholic faith and its influence on them and their world view." That faith element is in many ways even stronger in this volume. Having read the books out of order I was familiar with some of our cast of characters. Jane Wallace, a widow, who is the Medical Examiner in Telluride. A ski town in the mountains. And we have the Eoin Conner and Irish writer, who has been through more than his status as world famous writer would let on. Father Matt a youngish priest at the local parish, a parish that only has a full time priest because of an endowment from Dr. Wallace. 

This book begins with a young women finding of that her husband has HIV and that likely she and her unborn child have it because of his behaviour. Shortly after that he ends up dead. But soon someone starts killing of random people in Telluride. And the body count might be higher than many at first expect. The corners own son starts piecing it together, as he is digitizing the medical records at his mother's lab. We have a nosy reporter that is willing to more than bend the law to get a story. We also have another young woman sexually assaulted, and because of her illegal status things are complicated.

That is a lot of plot elements rolled into one story. But what an incredible story it is. This book starts with a scream and goes on a roller coaster ride from there. It was nearly impossible to put this book down. The few times I had to all I could do was keep thinking about it, and wanting to read that next chapter. While reading this I could think of a dozen friends that would love this book. I also want to get a copy for my dad and step mom because I believe they will love it also. Fans of Andrew M. Greeley's Blackie Ryan books would appreciate this novel. As well as fans of Robert B. Parker's Spencer for Hire books. When you add the smattering of Catholicism, and a female lead this book is an excellent read!

As mentioned previously this book is from a smaller publisher.  Full Quiver Publishing has a tag line on their website of "Theology of the Body Fiction", and after reading a few books from them I have a great appreciation for what they are trying to do and the works coming from this publisher. I can highly recommend this book; and really hope we get more from Golder's pen to read soon. Give it a chance I am sure the writing will grab your attention and keep you glued to the page, and desperately wanting more.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Barbara Golder:
Lady Doc Murders:
Dying for Revenge
Dying for Compassion

Reviews of other books from Full Quiver Publishing:
Julia's Gifts - Ellen Gable




Thursday, 14 December 2017

Dying for Compassion - Barbara Golder - The Lady Doc Murders Book 2

Dying for Compassion 
The Lady Doc Murders Book 2
Barbara Golder
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9781987970067
ASIN B071FP524K



I picked up this book to give a read because I had read another by this small publisher and really enjoyed it. The title and description of this book really caught my attention. I really enjoyed this book and before writing this review have already read about a third of book 1 in the series. I can state that this book is more than strong enough to stand on its own. Even though it is the second book in a series, I could hardly put it down and did not feel like I was missing anything by reading them out of order. And to be honest for me that is a sign of good writing, that each book in a series can stand alone.

In some ways while reading this I could not but help to remember back to my youth and watching Quincy M.E. with my dad. It also brought to mind Diagnosis Murder. But with an undercurrent from three of the main characters Catholic faith and its influence on them and their world view. And I do believe that this book could be made into an awesome movie. But as much as I would love seeing a film based on this book, I loved the book. While I was reading it, I could not think about how much my father would enjoy this, and how I need to get him a copy. I also thought of many friends who were fans of Andrew M. Greeley's Blackie Ryan books back in the day, and how much they would appreciate this novel.

In this book we have Jane Wallace, a widow, who is the Medical Examiner in Telluride. A ski town in the mountains. And we have the Eoin Conner and Irish writer, how has overcome a lot in his life. They have a budding romance, and Everything blows up when Eoin's ex-wife Fiona walks in on them in a restaurant. Fiona warns Eoin that if she can't have him, no one will. And when she turns up murdered the blame and all evidence points to Eoin. But not fully believing in his innocence, but also unwilling to leave the matter in the hands of the Irish, Jane travels to Ireland to do her own investigation. And she brings her years as a medical Examiner, Lawyer, and investigator to find answers even if only for her own peace of mind. Fortunately, Eoin has other friends in Telluride, Both Father Matt and Tom Patterson, the local Sheriff are working the case from back home and calling in favors to get to the bottom of the mystery. 

This was a fantastic read. The characters are wonderful. The details in the science of forensics are enough to inspire without becoming too much. The scenery from the mountains in the states to a small island off Ireland's coast are masterfully written. It has been years since I have read mysteries except for the occasional novel here and there. But I would read anything in this series as soon as it comes out. It is a great product from a wonderful publishing house. Full Quiver Publishing has a tag line on their website of "Theology of the Body Fiction", and after reading a few books from them I have a great appreciation for what they are trying to do and the works coming from this publisher. I can highly recommend this book; my only concern is that Golder only has two novels out to date. I already want more to read from her pen. So, give it a chance I am sure the writing will grab your attention and keep you glued to the page.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Barbara Golder:
Lady Doc Murders:
Dying for Revenge
Dying for Compassion

Reviews of other books from Full Quiver Publishing:
Julia's Gifts - Ellen Gable




Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Julia's Gifts - Ellen Gable - Great War Great Love Book 1

Julia's Gifts
Great War Great Love #1
Ellen Gable
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9780987915306
ASIN B076Q8TQQ7



I must admit as a middle-aged man this book would not be my normal reading. I do read a lot of YA, but hardly any romance. And this book is really so much more than that. As a father of daughters this is a book I look forward to rereading with my girls in a few years when they are a little older. Full Quiver Publishing has a tag line of their website of "Theology of the Body Fiction", and after reading this book I understand that goal better. And will likely read other titles by both the author and publisher.

When this book was recommended to me I looked it up. A few authors I respect had given it rave reviews, so I thought I would give it a try. The description of the book is:

"Religious Fiction. As a young girl, Julia began buying gifts for her future spouse, a man whose likeness and personality she has conjured up in her mind, a man she calls her "beloved." Soon after the United States enters the Great War, Julia impulsively volunteers as a medical aid worker, with no experience or training. Disheartened by the realities of war, will Julia abandon the pursuit of her beloved? From Philadelphia to war-torn France, follow Julia as she transitions from unworldly young woman to compassionate volunteer."
Once I started reading this story I was immersed in the world at war. I could hardly put the book down and I read it in three sittings in one day. This book got me thinking about a lot of things. I have heard of other parents that started praying for their children's spouses as soon as the children were born. I also while in university had a list of things I was praying for in a spouse. And in this book Julia took it one step further, not only was she praying for her future husband, she bought him a Christmas gift each year. When she volunteered to go to Europe and serve with the Red Cross as a medical aid worker. When packing she packs the small box with all the gifts that she has purchased 'just in case'.

The story is not a typical courtship or romance novel. It is a story of faith. It is a story of answered prayer, often in unexpected ways. It is a wonderful read. I really appreciated the realism in this story. It captured the essence of war, and the reality of serving at an aid station. There are some very hard parts of the story to read, parts about injured and dying soldiers. The cramped conditions in the medical tents. A suicide. And other elements of war make this book a mature read. Because of that I would recommend this book for older teens, or very mature younger teens.
This is a book that completely took me by surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I made me think back on my grandparents who met during the war, and both grandfathers who had served in the European theatre. It also made me thing of my paternal grandmother who was a war bride and came to Canada after the war. It made me reflect on the future for my own three children, and start praying again for their possible future spouses. It is a fiction book that made me thing and inspired me to pray more and in new ways. As such I can only say this is an excellent read, I am very thankful I took the chance, and gave it a try and I recommend you do the same.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Ellen Gable:

O'Donovan Family Series:
On Name Only
A Subtle Grace

...

Great War Great Love Series:
Julia's Gifts
Charlotte's Honor

Ella's Promise


Other Books:
Emily's Hope
Stealing Jenny

...

Contributed to:

Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship

Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body



Reviews of other books from Full Quiver Publishing:
Dying for Compassion - Barbara Golder
Dying for Revenge - Barbara Golder