Unwrapping a Novella

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! A couple words about the weather: Hot. Dry.

I’m not complaining, but rejoicing that our A/C unit is working. I do love Fall, so it will be missed. 🙂

It’s hard for me to admit, but I’m kind of a scrooge when it comes to Christmas. I love some things about the season itself, but honestly, I like Christmas to occur in December. What makes it such a special season (to me) becomes not so special when it goes on for months, or even all year.

But, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sandra Ardoin’s Christmas novella, Unwrapping Hope. It was not over-the-top Christmas-y, but I definitely absorbed the feel of the season as I read. Ardoin’s historical fiction is authentic, drawing the reader into the era, as well as the season.

The main character, Phoebe Crain, lives under a dark cloud of pain and mystery. Even the reader doesn’t know her past until it surfaces near the end. Phoebe is flawed, but I came to appreciate her strength as she casts her pride to the wind in order to make Christmas special for her daughter.

I like flawed characters. I enjoy reading a story that brings their deepest flaws to the surface, but doesn’t heal the flaws or even make them go away. A well-told story shows its readers how love can accept and encompass those differences. That’s so much more realistic and for me, oh, so satisfying.

My only complaint about Unwrapping Hope? It’s short! It is a novella, after all. So, I was pleased to discover that this story will open a series called “Widow’s Might.” I like the name and the implications behind the name. That’s another part of the story I enjoyed—this character didn’t wallow in her misfortunes—she joined together with other widows to help bring relief where needed.

Click-to-Tweet: Unwrapping Hope by @SandraArdoin is not your typical cookie-cutter Christmas tale, and it earns an easy five stars from me. #BookReview #NewRelease


A Bit About the Book – Unwrapping Hope

Phoebe Crain, an accomplished pianist, lives in near poverty to protect her five-year-old daughter from scandal. When Phoebe receives a handcrafted cigar box by mistake, her desperation to give the child something special for Christmas drives her to suggest a trade with Spence Newland, a man she views as no more principled than her daughter’s late father. But the more time she spends with the department store heir, the more Phoebe struggles to keep up her guard against him.

Spence believes the cigar box will help him gain a reclusive investor’s financial support for his proposed five-and-ten-cent stores, demonstrating his ability to manage the family fortunes. Yet he hesitates to bargain with a widow who mistrusts him for no apparent reason…until he meets a charming little girl at the train station who awaits the arrival of a prince.

Will a betrayal in Phoebe’s past and Spence’s unraveling plans derail their hope for happiness and keep a child’s fairy tale from coming true? [Release Date: Oct. 15]

Click to Preorder

About the Author – Sandra Ardoin

As an author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

Visit her on her website. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and BookBub. Become a member of the Love and Faith in Fiction community and discover what’s upcoming, and learn of specials and giveaways.

The Ties that Bind: Delilah

This post is what you would call “two birds, one stone.”

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I have a treat for you today. I just finished reading Delilah, by Fay Lamb. It was delightful. This is book four, the final book in her “Ties that Bind” series. I’ve loved all the books in this series, and hate to say goodbye.

Delilah has been a lasting presence throughout this series. In the beginning, she was the character I loved to hate.  If she had walked off the face of the earth, or been eaten by an alligator, I would not have minded, except the stories may not have been so interesting. She did at least provide plenty of conflict.

The change in Delilah actually begins in book three, aptly entitled “Hope.” You don’t have to read Hope, or any of the other books, but I urge you to begin with Charisse and read your way to the end.

Delilah (the book) begins with conflict as she (a former judge) stands before a judge. In fact, this story keeps the conflict wire live, piling on enough to break Delilah. At times, I wondered if she could hold onto her newfound faith.

Isn’t that just like life? Everything’s going well, then along comes the tests and trials that strengthen our faith. They’ll make or break us. Delilah (the woman) was always a tough cookie, so I was hoping for the best. She didn’t disappoint.

Of course, Lamb added romance, complete with a dollop of steam and a near train wreck when little hateful sister arrives. Yes, more conflict. Nothing is going to be easy for Dee. Would you expect anything less for such an edgy character?

The Ties that Bind series offers an ensemble cast. You meet them in Charisse. You get to know them better in Libby. The friendship deepens in Hope, and matures by the end of Delilah. These ties are strong, which is a good thing, since they’ll be stretched to the limits by all that life throws at them in Delilah.

This is a story with a message of forgiveness and grace. Saying “I forgive you,” may be easy, but true forgiveness which is coupled with forgetfulness is difficult. You have to forget the past in order to truly forgive. You can’t keep rehearsing the sin or circumstance.

I loved the character arc that completes in this final episode, as Delilah learns to live among people without chewing their heads off.

So, why “two birds, one stone?” Well, I needed to review Delilah, and I also needed a blog post this week. Simple, right? Now I have both, and y’all have a possible list of four books to read while on vacation.


Delilah – Ties that Bind Book 4

Calling a truce with the man you love? What’s the fun in that?

Newly elected judge, John M. Turner, tries his best to call an end to his war with former Circuit Judge Delilah James, the woman he bested in the election by only a narrow margin. Delilah refuses to accept his flag of surrender. Worse yet, a vengeful assistant state attorney, the other candidate whose entry in the race actually handed the win to John, is seeking to have them both removed from the Florida Bar, and the game Delilah has forced upon him has given their enemy ammunition for his disbarment.

Delilah likes the give and take she shares with John. What fun is there in surrender? She wants to make amends but makes a mess of every attempt. Added to her foibles, life has become complicated: John’s teenage sister hates her, and Libby Carter has been arrested for battery on a police officer and has embroiled Delilah in the plight of the homeless. Her past has returned to haunt her, and if that’s not enough, she’s deep into the one experience in life she never thought would happen to her. She’s fallen in love.


Fay Lamb has always taken joy in forming words that tell stories that will enrich the lives of others. She tackles issues that she has had to face. She isn’t afraid of the hard issues and takes delight in weaving humor into the lives of her characters, even in the direst of circumstances.

Fay has contracted with Write Integrity Press for three series. The Amazing Grace series is complete and available as are the first three books, Charisse, Libby, and Hope, in her Ties that Bind contemporary romance series.

Fay loves teaching the art of fiction and has taught at several conferences over the last five years. She is currently the co-host of Publishing Laine, a monthly radio talk show on the Along Comes a Writer Network on BlogTalkRadio.com

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and six grandchildren.