Friday, September 29, 2023

A Royal Christmas By Melody Carlson

A Royal Christmas
by Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800742317

With the season turning chilly in my area, I was looking forward to reading A Royal Christmas! This cover gives off all of the Christmas feels! Thanks to the publisher for sending me the book for review.

Summary:

Adelaide Smith is too busy for fairy tales. She's been working hard to put herself through law school, and she's determined to stay focused on her goals. Then she receives a letter notifying her that she is a direct descendant of King Maximillian Konig V, the ruler of a small European principality called Montovia. 

What? No. That's the stuff of cheesy made-for-TV movies, not real life.

Still, curiosity gets the best of her, leading to a Christmas break trip chock-full of surprises, including a charming village, an opulent palace, family mysteries, royal jealousies, a handsome young member of Parliament, and the chance at a real-life fairy tale romance.

My Review:

Tis the season! If you're looking for a quick read that gives Christmasy vibes, then you'll enjoy A Royal Christmas. You'll get the sense that you've just landed in a Hallmark Christmas movie. The story felt like a mix between Princess Diaries and To Win a Prince (by Toni Shiloh). It wasn't really original, but it was a sweet read.

I really liked Adelaide. She's thrust into a life she never expected and dives in with great aplomb. There's a dying kind (her father), a "wicked" stepmother, and a stepbrother who is rather clueless. I liked that there was a bit of added suspense with the king's missing brother.

There is a thread of romance in the story, but it kind of feel a bit flat for me. I could see where it was going, but never got a sense of romance other than what the author tells us. Had it been a full length novel I'm sure that storyline would've been more developed.

Thankfully there was a good sense of faith to the story. I really enjoyed how the king and others wanted to keep the traditional sense of Christmas and hearing more about the Weihnachtskrippe (hand carved nativity).

If you want a quick read that gives you Christmastime feels, then you'll want to grab this story.

About the Author:

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 250 books with sales of more than 7.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic TimesCareer Achievement Award, her novel All Summer Long has been made into a Hallmark movie, and the movie based on her novel The Happy Camper premiered on UPtv in 2023. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.MelodyCarlson.com.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The London Forgery + Give Away

The London Forgery JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The London Forgery by Heidi Eljarbo, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

The London Forgery

Title: The London Forgery
Series: A Fabiola Bennett Mystery #1
Author:
Heidi Eljarbo
Publisher:
Independently Published
Release Date: August 29, 2023
Genre:
Historical Cozy Mystery, Dual Timeline

1973. Art historian Fabiola Bennett sees herself as a prudently observant deer who becomes a daring and even mischievous lioness if the situation calls for it. And that’s exactly what’s required when greedy criminals steal, forge, and tamper with treasured artwork. When the crooks add murder to their list of crimes, the chaos is complete. 

A mysterious note is delivered anonymously at the door of the National Gallery in London, and the director immediately calls Fabiola’s office in Oslo and pleads with her to come without delay. The message is confusing, but it seems one of her favorite eighteenth-century portraits is in trouble. 

Fabiola hops on the first plane and meets up with her vibrant side-kick Pippa Yates and the ever-loyal Detective Inspector Cary Green from New Scotland Yard. But she is not na├»ve enough to think untangling the purpose and meaning of the mysterious note will be as simple as a walk in Hyde Park. These things never are.  

1750. Newly married Robert and Frances Andrews, members of the landed gentry of Suffolk, England, hire young and talented Thomas Gainsborough to paint their wedding portrait. Their desire is a lovely conversation piece showing their wealth and class, an artwork to remember them by for generations to come. 

Little do they know the gifted artist portrays their personalities exactly how he perceives them, and the artistic symbolism is not as flattering as they’d hoped for. Even the looming clouds in the distance promise a troublesome future.  

This is the first book in a new dual timeline series by Heidi Eljarbo—an intriguing spin-off from the much-loved Soli Hansen Mysteries. 

Fans of Lucinda Riley, Rhys Bowen, Kathleen McGurl, Kate Morton, and Katherine Neville will love this cozy historical art mystery, which takes the readers back to the nostalgia of the groovy seventies and the classical Georgian era of the eighteenth century.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub


Book Excerpt

AN OLDER MAN—distinguished but a bit worn-looking—stood in Mr. Wilson’s office when
Fabiola returned.
Leaning forward, Mr. Wilson asked, “What did you find out?”
She opened her mouth to answer when the older man cut in.
“Aren’t you going to introduce us, Wilson?”
The museum director wiped his forehead again. “Of course. This is Fabiola Bennett, our art
history specialist. Fabiola, may I present Detective Chief Inspector Goode, head of New
Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Unit?”
Goode leaned his head back and shook her hand. “I know your mother. A true art connoisseur
extraordinaire. I’ve never met anyone as gifted or as pleasant in my entire life.”
Fabiola was used to people complimenting her mother, and Goode seemed sincere, despite his
self-important tone and demeanor.
“She has always been quite remarkable when it comes to art…and wise in many other things,
as well,” Goode continued, placing his folded hands on his protruding stomach. “Fabiola
Bennett. Hmm. Your first name is unusual for a Norwegian, is it not?”
“It certainly is. I was the only Fabiola in my class at school,” she said with a playful smile.
“My parents named me after a seventeenth-century woman they shared a special bond with.”
His face still solemn, he looked her up and down through half-closed lids. “So, now you’re
here.”
“Yes, Director Wilson contacted me.”
Goode wandered around the room. “I’m not sure a woman like yourself can be of help in this
matter.”
“A woman such as myself?” She concentrated on her best behavior despite a growing
frustration toward the haughty, old gentleman.
He didn’t respond. Maybe he didn’t have a reason for saying what he’d said. Although she
just met him, she pegged him as the type to speak just so he could hear his own voice.
Fabiola’s impatience grew. At this point, only she and the criminal or criminals were aware of
the fake Gainsborough. As soon as the detective chief inspector had finished establishing his
position as almighty and powerful, she’d explain the situation. She crossed her arms and
began to tap her foot. He just needed to hurry up.

About the Author

Heidi Eljarbo

Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don't want to go near.

Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter. 
 
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, fifteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier. 
 
Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter. 
 
Heidi’s favorites are family, God's beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.

Connect with Heidi by visiting heidieljarbo.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.


Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will win a print copy of "The London Forgery", an eBook "Of Darkness and Light" and a $10 Amazon gift card!

The London Forgery JustRead Tours giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight September 26, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on October 3, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. No shipping restrictions. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Fall Back And Find Me By Sarah Hanks

Fall Back and Find Me
by Sarah Hanks
Publisher: Sonflower Books
ISBN: 9798985478945

This was my first dive into Sarah Hanks' books. Thanks to my friend, Andrette, I was excited to give her a try. Boy am I glad I did! She sent me her ebook ARC for review.

Summary:

Two resilient women separated by over 150 years are linked forever by their challenges, values, and determination.

Amber Prichard is thriving in her role as pastor’s wife, mom, and indispensable church volunteer—until chronic illness threatens to upend everything. Now unable to prove her value, she is forced to reevaluate how she defines herself. Inspired by an ancestor’s faded journal and heirlooms, she must work with her arch-nemesis if she wants to accomplish what is now impossible on her own.

Faced with the turmoil of the civil war, Willow Forrester didn’t intend to illegally enlist in the Union army as a secret female soldier. She only wanted to escape her father’s tyranny and follow her brother into the throes of adventure. When she comes face to face with the leader of a guerilla army, her health and insecurities threaten to shatter her heroism and render her powerless.

As their opposition threatens to overtake them, these two women must find their strength and identity to defeat impossible odds.

My Review:

My first thought when Fall Back and Find Me comes to mind, is that we need more books like this! Women's fiction that covers everyday, real life issues like a chronic illness. While I don't have a chronic illness, I completely felt for Amber. You hear real life stories about invisible illnesses, and the author did an excellent job of what that looks like for the person living with the illness, their family, and those around them. And don't even get me started on her mother! hahahaha

I can't tell you how many times I wanted to haul off and give some people the "what for!" We're told not to take up other people's crosses, but in this instance, I was ready to do it for Amber. Living the story through Amber's eyes really gives the reader painful insight to what she deals with on a regular basis. As her role as pastor's wife shrinks in the rearview mirror, she's forced to figure out who she is in Christ. There are times it's hard to watch as she struggles with her identity, her perceived failures, and fear of losing her family. I'm getting all worked up again thinking of the awful people who treat her so terribly. On the flip side, how well she's loved by so many people gives me hope that there are still good people in the world.

Then we meet Willow! What a tenacious gal. Living during the Civil War times, Willow doesn't have a lot of worth in her father's eyes. All she wants to do is prove herself to him and gain his love. When that doesn't happen, she follows her brother into war disguised as a boy.

I loved how she used her skills (which she didn't realize she had) to rise in the ranks and respect of the military. I just felt so bad for her because She just wanted recognition, but it kept alluding her. Watching her brother rise up through the ranks bristles, so she strives even harder. In the midst of it all, she starts to realize there's something wrong with her physically. There's nothing she can do about it except to keep pressing on!

This author knocked it out of the ballpark on every level of this story. It was well written, characters were easy to care for, she stirred up all kinds of emotions in me, and the thread of faith was strong! I'll be diving into more of her books and can't wait!

About the Author:

Sarah Hanks is an award-winning author of Christian fiction in both the contemporary and historical genres. After spending over a decade mostly writing and teaching Sunday school curricula for churches in her community, she finally jumped into writing fiction full-time. She and her husband have nine children of their own, a couple of whom seem to have inherited their mother’s love for playing with words and crafting stories. Though Sarah dreams of a cabin by the beach, the family of ten lives jammed together in beautiful chaos near St. Louis, Missouri. She buys earplugs in bulk.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Shadowcast By Crystal D. Grant

Shadowcast
by Crystal D. Grant
Publisher: Quill and Flame
Series: The Gateway Trilogy
ISBN: 978-1957899558

First of all, this cover gave me all the heart eyes. Then, when I read the synopsis, I was all in! Crystal asked me to read an ARC ebook of the first book in her series. She sent it to me for review.

Summary:

After witnessing the brutal death of his brother at the hands of the Steward Knights, Mason Grey turns to vengeance. Using his Gifts to read and control the minds of others, he climbs the ranks of the Dark Army, determined to earn the coveted Shadowstone-a powerful tool against the light-wielding Stewards. But when he is wounded in battle, he finds himself recovering in the home of a chatty peasant girl...without the use of his Gifts. Even worse, the girl mistakes him for one of the Stewards he despises.

Seria Gayle longs to be seen as more than the town washerwoman. When she finds an injured Steward in the woods, she welcomes the chance to use her healing skills and hopes it will earn her some respect. But as she nurses the sullen stranger back to health, she discovers he is nothing like the knights she has long admired.

When Mason's true identity is revealed, Seria is devastated and humiliated. But she is offered a chance at redemption by the very prince that Mason hates. Now Mason struggles between two choices: accept the Shadowstone to avenge his brother or pursue this newfound light in the form of a peasant girl. With time running out and war looming, will Mason and Seria defy their own convictions for a chance at love or stand against one another like they've sworn to do?


My Review:

Alright, let's be honest. Anyone else gun shy to try a new-to-you author in a genre you enjoy, but have your "favorites?" Let me happily tell you to move Shadowcast to the TOP of your TBR stack. If you're looking for a story you can "escape" into, this will do the trick. Every time I picked the book up, I felt like I was right back in it!

We start off by meeting wide-eyed wonder (at the time), Mason, but almost immediately, he has a life changing experience when the Stewards cut down his brother and friends in cold blood. This turns him into a very angry young man who is set on vengeance. This is exactly the kind of man the Ruler of the Dark Army is looking for.

And then we meet my favorite character, Seria. Seriously, I just loved her. I loved her innocence (even after all she's been through), her kindness, and her strength. It's rather ironic that Mason ends up in the care of Seria because she drives him batty with how much she talks. I'll admit that there are times it becomes pretty comical. After his injury in a battle, he can't use a gift the Dark Army ruler is hoping will defeat the Stewards of the Old Realm so that his New Realm can take over.

Lastly, we meet Prince Eric. He's in Cadence where he's trying to take over the reins of the Stewards after a heavy loss during battle. His past hasn't put him in the best light with his army which makes it difficult to lead.

If you love medieval period stories, then you will 100% love this one. There's a strong faith element, and you come to see how the Lambient is this fictional world's word God. The author seamlessly weaves in the faith thread and I love how the Stewards rely on Him. This story is an epic battle between good and evil.

About the Author:

Crystal Grant is a daydreamer who adores freshly-baked cookies and anything with fur or feathers. During the day, she strives to instill a love of books and learning within her young students. As a hearing-impaired, home-school graduate, she found her voice in writing and has had multiple short stories and poems published. When she’s not reading or writing stories that sweep her away to another time and place, she watches classic movies and TV shows that do the same. Or she works on jigsaw puzzles. Crystal currently resides in small-town Missouri, where she is always looking for space for another scented candle.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

JustRead Rendezvous Reader Retreat + GIVE AWAY

JustRead Rendezvous Takeover Blitz

Welcome to the Takeover Blitz for JustRead Rendezvous, hosted, sponsored, and organized by JustRead Publicity Tours! I'm already signed up to go!! I went to my first reader retreat this year and it was AMAZING! As much as I loved getting to meet the authors, I may have loved getting to know other readers IN PERSON even more! I would LOVE to meet you!!

You are Invited

JustRead Rendezvous 

November 16-17, 2023

Holiday Inn St Louis SW – Route 66

Join fellow readers and authors at the inaugural JustRead Rendezvous to celebrate Christian fiction and sweet reads with food, games, giveaways, and books. This event aims to sweeten reading and storytelling experiences with fellowship and encouragement and is modeled after Christian Fiction Readers Retreat. Friday's activities will include speaker sessions, author panels, small group discussions, and author signings. 

On Thursday evening, JustRead is hosting a Meet and Greet and Watch Party for The Christy Award Winners Gala webcast. The Christy Award honors and promotes excellence in Christian fiction and is a program of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Additional Rendezvous event sponsors include Baker Publishing Group fiction divisions (Bethany House Publishers and Revell), Kregel Publications, and Ambassador International.

Learn more about the 2023 JustRead Rendezvous


Participating Authors

First 30 registered JustRead Rendezvous authors

Keynote speakers are Jocelyn Green and Pepper Basham, 2022 finalists of The Christy Award. Rounding out our first 30 participating authors are Amanda Cox, Ann Elizabeth Fryer, Ann H. Gabhart, Barbara M. Britton, Danielle Grandinetti, Elly Gilbert, Erica Vetsch, Heather Greer, Janine Rosche, Jenny Rae, Jerusha Agen, Kimberley Woodhouse, Kristi Ann Hunter, Lisa M. James, Lisa Phillips, Lorri Dudley, Megan Besing, Michelle Griep, Nancy Mehl, Peggy Trotter, Rebecca Hemlock, Regina Rudd Merrick, Sarah Hanks, Shaen Layle, Stephenia H. McGee, Suzie Waltner, Tabitha Bouldin, and Tamara Leigh. Additional interested authors will be invited to register as reader registration grows.

Register

Friday's activities (including a book tote, light breakfast, lunch, snacks, and more) are $110 for readers and Thursday evening is an additional $30. Reader registration ends on October 13 (or earlier if event capacity is met). Subscribe to email updates and learn more about each author on the JustRead Rendezvous website. Connect with other attendees and hopefuls to arrange shared experiences or cost-sharing opportunities in the Rendezvous Roomies & Logistics ’23 private Facebook group

Register Now


Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a Rendezvous book tote loaded with books and swag, a signed event booklet, a cozy Route 66 throw, and an "If I can't take my BOOK, I'm not going" keychain!

JustRead Rendezvous Takeover Blitz Giveaway prize including keychain, Route 66 throw, books, swag, event booklet and tote bag

The giveaway begins at midnight September 12, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 19, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Items may vary slightly. Throw and keychain ship immediately. Tote, books, swag, and booklet available at event or to ship in late November. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

JustRead Rendezvous Takeover Giveaway


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Sunday, September 10, 2023

He Should Have Told The Bees By Amanda Cox

He Should Have Told the Bees
by Amanda Cox
Publisher: Revell
ISBN9780800742737

Having become a huge fan of Amanda's stories, when I saw this cover, I knew it would be on my shelves. As a gardener, and appreciating all of the bees, I couldn't wait to read this story. I was sent an ARC for review.

Summary:

Beekeeper Beckett Walsh was living her dream, until her father's death sent her world into a tailspin. She suddenly finds she must deal with a new part owner of the family apiary--one who is looking to sell the property--and she cannot fathom why her father would put her in the position to lose everything they built together.

When Callie Peterson is named in the trust of a man she's never heard of, she's not sure what to do. Her fledgling business has just taken wing and her mother has reentered her life asking for help, making Callie's financial situation rather . . . precarious. She's sure she has no right to someone else's farm, but the money from the sale could solve her problems and give her the stability she's always craved.

With an entangled past behind them and an uncertain future ahead, Beckett and Callie must discover why they've been thrown together before all is lost.

My Review:

When I first saw the cover of He Should Have Told the Bees, I knew I was going to want to read it, aside from the fact that I love the author's writing. Be sure to look at it closely because there are lots of different bees on the cover.

If you enjoy books that draw emotion out of you, then be ready for it to happen throughout the entire story.

We initially meet Callie as a young girl and you can tell she doesn't have a stable life. Next we meet Beckett as a young adult navigating life after her father suddenly passes away. Her grief is palpable and the way she tries to just survive day-by-day is heart wrenching. Through the words of the story you can tell how close and dependent she was on her dad.

When Callie and Beckett meet for the first time, it's at the reading of Beckett's father's Trust. Their worlds collide and they have to figure out how to make decisions that will impact both of their lives. You see the struggle throughout the story. It was hard to imagine being in either woman's shoes. The possibility of losing all you've ever known or losing what you've hoped for.

One of the reasons I love this author's stories is because the situations and characters feel so real. As a reader, I become so invested in the story and begin to feel defensive of certain characters. lol I thought the author tackled some serious real-world issues in a very direct, yet sensitive way. It makes you wonder what she draws from to put this much heart and depth into her stories.

There's a powerful message of recovering from trauma as a child, the effects of addiction, and mental illness. In the midst of all of that heaviness is a quirky young girl and two men who come into the lives of Callie and Beckett. Beckett has the opportunity to teach them all about the art and life of beekeeping while trying to keep her world from shattering apart. There's also a strong message of faith throughout the story.

This book is NOT to be missed. It's powerful and beautiful.

About the Author:

Amanda Cox is the author of The Edge of Belonging and The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery, both of which were the Christy Award Book of the Year in 2021 and 2022, respectively. She holds a bachelor's degree in Bible and theology and a master's degree in professional counseling, but her first love is communicating through story. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with her husband and their three children. Learn more at AmandaCoxWrites.com.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

You Make It Feel Like Christmas By Toni Shiloh

You Make It Feel Like Christmas
by Toni Shiloh
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764242069

I was so thrilled when Toni asked me to join her launch team for her new release You Make It Feel Like Christmas. I've read so many of her other books, loved her characters, enjoyed the setting, that I couldn't wait to read this one. She sent it to me for review.

Summary:

It's the most wonderful time of the year--for everyone except Starr Lewis.

As if going home for the holidays jobless and single wasn't bad enough, she's dragged into a holiday season full of activities leading up to her sister's uber-romantic Christmas Eve wedding--to Starr's ex-boyfriend. But when her brother's best friend, Waylon Emmerson, attends their family Thanksgiving, she starts to wonder if maybe coming home for Christmas isn't so bad after all.

As Starr finds the perfect distraction in helping Waylon make over his late mother's Christmas shop, the most wonderful time of the year works its magic and the spark between them grows. But with the holidays fast approaching, Starr must decide what she wants out of life after the gifts are unwrapped and the ornaments are put away--to go back to New York City or to open her heart to a love that will last beyond Christmas Day?

My Review:

What a fun story! I immediately rooted for Starr when I met her in chapter one of You Make It Feel Like Christmas. She was so likable and relatable. Then I met Waylon. Ladies, get your fans out because you're going to swoon over this modern-day "hero." You're going to get major Hallmark vibes from this story.

While it's set at Christmas time, it's not ONLY about the holiday. In fact, it's more about the family dynamics of Starr's family and her budding relationship with Waylon. Because it's closer to being a novella than a full novel, I liked that Waylon and Starr had a relationship from childhood that they could build on.

Not everything is coming up roses, that's for sure. I couldn't stand Starr's sister OR her sister's fiance. It's clear how alone Starr feels in her family since she's the baby of the family. Her family has pretty high standards for everyone, so coming home with her secret of being laid off adds a wee bit of tension.

There's a strong thread of faith woven throughout the story, which I appreciated SO much!

If you're in the mood for a great romance, main characters who you cheer on from the sidelines, and a taste of the holiday season, don't miss You Make It Feel Like Christmas!

About the Author:

Toni Shiloh (www.tonishiloh.com) is a wife, a mom, and an award-winning Christian contemporary romance author. Her novel In Search of a Prince won the first ever Christy Amplify Award. It has also been praised by Oprah Daily, POPSUGAR, Library Journal, and Booklist, and is a Parable bestseller. Her books have been finalists for the Carol and Selah Awards, and the HOLT Medallion. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Toni loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Little Pilgrim's Progress: The Illustrated Edition By Helen L. Taylor

Little Pilgrim's Progress
by Helen L. Taylor
Illustrated by Joe Sutphin
Publisher: Moody Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-8024-2053-4

When Moody reached out to me and invited me to join their reviewing team, my first thought was Little Pilgrim's Progress. I had started following illustrator Joe Sutphin on Instagram about a year ago and fell in love with his illustrations. That's where I learned about the book. Moody Publishers sent me this stunning hardcover for review.

Summary:

Perceiving the need for a simpler version of a timeless classic, Helen Taylor faithfully adapted John Bunyan's allegory of the Christian life, The Pilgrim's Progress, for young readers—hoping to bring its treasury of wisdom nearer to children's hearts and minds. That version has sold over 800,000 copies! It preserves the original plotlines of Bunyan's classic while telling the story of Little Christian and Christiana in a way that kids can understand.

In this fresh, imaginative new edition, bestselling illustrator Joe Sutphin portrays the characters of Bunyan's tale as animals living in a woodland realm. Children will delight in the lavish illustrations, reading alongside their parents or interacting on their own with the timeless words and beautiful imagery that they discover on every page.

This book will help children see the trials and triumphs of faithfulness with fresh eyes, leading them to declare along with Christian, "I am going to the King!"


My Review:

While I knew this was the children's version of Paul Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, I had no idea the children's version existed before Little Pilgrims Progress: The Illustrated Edition. When my son-in-law saw it on my side table a few days ago, he was SO excited. He said he grew up reading the original Little Pilgrim's Progress! I was really surprised, no realizing it had come out in the 80s! I knew at that moment this book would be a gift to him so my granddaughters can grow up having their daddy reading this book to them.

The story is even more incredible that I had imagined. I remember trying to read The Pilgrim's Progress years ago. It was a little difficult to get involved in the story to be honest. Little Pilgrim's Progress: The Illustrated Edition is perfect for children AND adults. I became thoroughly invested in the story and was able to understand it much better than the adult version.


Christian is a sweet looking bunny who hears about the Celestial City where the King lives. Even though he's made fun of by his friends, he is determined to learn more about where the King is. Christian recognizes he has nothing to offer the King, but the King isn't worried about that. He just wants Christian to come to Him. Along the way, Christian meets Christiana who is also a bit unsure of the Celestial City and the King.

As Christian goes along his journey to the King, he's waylaid by many of the things in life that bog us all down. People will distract us from our path or discourage us. Sometimes they will try to show us a different way, but that way doesn't lead to life. Thankfully, the King will send others along our path to encourage us, help us, and lift us up.

The story is told in a way that children (and adults) of varying ages will be able to grasp the concepts while understanding the deeper meaning for our faith journey. Kids can relate to the early part of the story when Christian is made fun of by his friends. And I appreciate how it can help prepare our children (and grandchildren) for what they may encounter as they go through life.

THIS story is one that should be in every family's home, especially if you have little ones. I would even suggest treading through it once a year so that the littles can glean something new with each reading. I would even suggest the book makes a unique baby shower gift!


One of the only pieces of the story that concerned me was his mother watching over Christian (as she was already in Heaven) and was guiding him. We won't find anything like that in Scripture so I would hesitate to add that piece of the story into my reading to a child. It would've been more appropriate to keep that relegated to the King.

Overall, this is a beautiful story that will teach the little ones more about faith and that it's a journey.

About the Author:

HELEN L. TAYLOR, author of Little Pilgrim's Progress, has carefully rewritten a centuries-old tale in order that children might be able to grasp the truths set out by John Bunyan in 1678. She is now at home with her Lord.


About the Illustrator:

Joe Sutphin is an illustrator of fine books for kids such as Andrew Peterson’s beloved Wingfeather Saga, the newly envisioned edition of Hellen Taylor’s timeless classic Little Pilgrim’s Progress (Moody Publishers) and the official graphic novelization of Richard Adams’s masterpiece Watership Down (Ten Speed - 2023). His love of nature, and of the living creatures in the fields and woods around his home, has informed his art for much of his life. Joe lives in a barn in Ohio with his wife Gina and a bunch of cats.

 
Creative Commons License
Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.