18 April 2017

Captivating & Refreshing | Reclaimed by Jennifer Rodewald

ABOUT THE BOOK

God takes broken things and makes them beautiful again. He reclaims our desolate places.

Suzanna Wilton has had a heavy share of heartache in her twenty-seven years. Left wounded by a marriage cut short, she leaves city life to take up residency in a tiny Nebraska town. Her introduction to her neighbor Paul Rustin is a disaster. Assuming he’s as underhanded as the other local cowboys she’s already met, Suzanna greets him with sharp hostility.

Though Paul is offended by Suzanna’s unfriendliness, he can’t stop thinking about her, which unsettles his peaceful life. Intrigued by the woman who lives down the road and propelled by a sense that she carries a painful burden, he frequently drops by to offer help as she adjusts to rural living.

Just as Paul’s kindness begins to melt Suzanna’s frozen heart, a conflict regarding her land escalates in town. Even in the warmth of Paul’s love, resentment keeps a cold grip on her fragile heart.

When romance isn't enough, will Suzanna ever find peace?


MY REVIEW

I’ve learned that Jennifer Rodewald masterfully writes stories filled with great emotion and depth, so I expected nothing less when I read Reclaimed—and it does not disappoint. As Suzanna Wilton and Paul Rustin begin a neighborly relationship, facing plenty of challenges, Rodewald gives these characters realistic complexities—burdens and pain, loves and faith—and tells their incredibly captivating and refreshing story. They have struggles and growth, experience new relationships and inspiring healing, and Reclaimed is just beautiful. It’s a book that readers of Christian romance will surely enjoy—I did and highly recommend it!

★★★★★

Thanks to Singing Librarian Book Tours, I received a complimentary copy of Reclaimed and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. The draw to fiction has tugged hard on her heart since childhood, and when she began pursuing writing she set on stories that reveal the grace of God.

Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.

She would love to hear from you! Please visit her at any of the links listed below, or email her at write2edify@gmail.com.


INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

1. What tips and tricks do you have for potential writers/authors?
Enjoy the creative process. Really. Never lose that love for story, because it won’t be fun anymore. And if you do, take a step back. Leave room in your head for white space. I know, everyone says treat yourself like a professional. Set a schedule. Squeeze out words even when you don’t feel it. And I don’t disagree with that, necessarily… but story is a gift. It’s supposed to be enjoyed, like flowers on a spring morning, a sunset on a warm summer day, or snow on a gentle winter evening. If you don’t savor it, then you’ve missed something.

2. What does your writing process look like?
Ha. I thought I had that nailed down. Turns out, I don’t. Every story is different. Every journey is a new lesson, and God is fresh every time. So my process? Maybe we can boil it down to walking with God, listening to whatever He has to share with me during that season.

3. Where do you like to write? Do you have an office? Do you write on the go as you play taxi for your kids?
I have an office. Sometimes I write there. 😉 Sometimes in my living room. Sometimes in my car (I have four kids. A lot of life happens in the car). The only place I’ve really struggled to write is in a public setting. Someone is always there to chat with! 😊

4. If you were to travel for research, where would you go and what WIP would it be for?
Hmmm…. Not sure on that one.

5. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about it?
I’m working on book three of The Uncloaked, a dystopian trilogy that will release this year (book one comes out this month)! It’s a little dark. A little scary. A lot of thought provoking (I hope). And the goal: to challenge how we live out what we believe, woven into a gripping story of two teenaged kids caught in a changing and challenging world. I’m terrified/excited to release this series, because it’s very different for me as far a story, but The Uncloaked came to me so vividly that I was compelled to tell the story.

6. What do you want readers to take away from reading Reclaimed?
Wounded hearts desperately need compassion. And Jesus. Especially Jesus. And Jesus loves to pour out His immeasurable compassion on wounded hearts. ❤

SNIPPET FROM RECLAIMED

Suzanna felt shock contort her face. Paul Rustin? The neighbor who had been kind to her even when she’d been horrible to him? She studied him, unable to picture him as anything other than the gentleman he’d shown himself to be.

Warmth shaded his complexion crimson. “See, not a very good story, right?”

“Why?”

“Why did I do those things?”

She pressed her lips together, wondering why she pushed him but nodded anyway.

“I don’t really know, Suz. I was just angry, and I’m not even sure why. I didn’t want to live here, I didn’t want to be nothin’, and I couldn’t see anything beyond myself. I didn’t have a real reason.”

“What happened?”

Paul’s eyes softened, and a smile crept over his features again. “I didn’t graduate from Rock Creek—I went to Boys Town in March of my senior year. My grandpa came to Omaha to visit me in April with a proposal. If I studied and got my GED, I could come out and live with them. I would have to work like a ranch hand, but they’d keep me on until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.

“It wasn’t the out I was looking for. I didn’t want to come back to Rock Creek. I thought, man, give me some money and let me go find a life. But Boys Town wasn’t exactly Park Place, and it didn’t look like I’d be passing GO anytime soon, so I agreed.

“I must have thought it would be like visiting my grandparents when I was a kid. You know, farm breakfast at nine every morning, Grandma always ready with a cookie, and I’d collect eggs or do some trivial chore as a token of work.”

Paul chuckled and rubbed his neck. “Nope. My grandpa meant some w-o-r-k. I stayed in the bunkhouse, which was nothing more than a tin can trailer. If I wanted breakfast, I had to get up at six to eat with them because Grandma had things to do. They paid me what they would have paid a hand, and out of my earnings came the cost of rent, electricity, and food. When I slacked off that winter, my bunkhouse got awful cold because Grandpa didn’t pay me enough to cover both heat and food.”

Suzanna’s eyebrows rose. “Seriously? Your grandpa put you out in the cold?”

He laughed. “Tough love, Suz. I found out later they’d set a threshold on the thermostat of around fifty degrees so the pipes wouldn’t freeze, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought. But it felt awful cold. I hated it. And then… I didn’t.”

He stopped, and Suzanna puckered her eyebrows. His attention wandered toward his place south of hers, and she wondered if the scenes unfolded in his mind as he recounted them.

“It came time for calving, and Grandpa said it was my responsibility.” He rubbed a hand against his jeans, and the apples of his cheeks lifted. That look said it all—he loved his work. “I was so tired, but I knew he’d hold me responsible if something went sour. I wound up with a couple of bucket calves, and somewhere in between the late nights and early mornings while checking heifers and feeding orphans, I found myself. I found who God had made me to be, where I needed and wanted to be. It was right here the whole time.”

Bronco shifted under her, and Suzanna slipped a hand around the saddle horn. Fierce rebellion melted away while Paul fed a few cows?

“As simple as that?”

Paul’s gaze fell on her, his relaxed countenance contradicting his story. He looked toward the spring, then the trees, and finally to the hill rising before them.

“Not simple.” He returned his attention to her. “That’s the short version, but it wasn’t simple. I wrestled everyone, including God, for things I thought I wanted. There was a whole lot of humbling that had to happen before I made peace with life. Pride made me useless; selfishness made me difficult.”

His explanation created more questions than it offered answers. Suzanna longed for answers. His story, his life, looked nothing like hers, sounded nothing like hers, but he had peace.

Peace eluded her. She hadn’t found it in church, not the lasting kind. She hadn’t secured it in sacrifice. It wasn’t in love. Love had made her ache all over again.

Where had Paul found this peace?

“Shall we take the hill, Pickle?” Paul gathered his reins and nodded toward the rise.

The mare perked her head, and Bronco followed. Opportunity slipped away, like the waters that rose from the depths of the earth and tumbled down the creek. Suzanna swallowed, pushing a smile across her lips. At her nod, Paul took the lead.

Peace remained hidden with the secret of Rock Creek.






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1 comment:

  1. I love this review! Thank you so much for having me here today!

    ReplyDelete

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