Saturday, October 17, 2009

Breathe: A Novel of Colorado

Like most all of you, I love books. Books are among my favorite things. I love to read them, and I love to write them. Even though I must have close to a hundred books in my TBR pile, I still love haunting the bookstores in search of at least one more to add to the pile. No, that’s not entirely true. I’m more likely searching for two books to add to the pile because it’s a rare occasion when I buy only one book at a time.

The first thing I do when I go to the bookstore is scan the shelves for a handful of names—those writers who never disappoint me. I’ll snatch their books up without a moment’s hesitation. Oh, and I want to read that special book all in one sitting. That’s why I don’t usually start reading the book the same day I buy it. It sounds kind of odd, doesn’t it? But remember, this is the special book category. I put the books in this category aside with great anticipation, looking forward to the next time I can spend an entire day at the beach. If I’m lucky, it’s the very next day. If not, I’ll try to make sure it’s the next weekend, because patience is not my virtue.

When my beach day finally arrives, I pack my car with lunch, a snack (usually some form of chocolate, with the occasional box of Good & Plenty thrown in for good measure), and plenty of iced tea. Once I’m stocked up for the day, I head to the beach with my treasured book. And yes, I’ll do this even if it’s a stormy day. I am, after all, from the Pacific Northwest. What’s a little rain when I have a great book to read? I simply stay in my car and wrap up in a cozy fleece blanket.

Best-selling author Lisa T. Bergren is one of those authors whose books I look forward to reading all in one sitting. She paints a beautiful picture with her words and has the ability to transport me to another time and place, whether it’s Norway, Alaska, or even Venice. I simply become lost in the world she’s created.

Sometimes I’m so excited when I find one of her books, I don’t even read the title or back cover blurb. And that’s how I ended up with a book about a woman with difficulty breathing when I was smack in the middle of such a trial myself. When I began to read the book, I was surprised by the realistic description in the opening scenes with Odessa St. Clair struggling to catch her breath. I say realistic because she quite accurately described what I’d gone through only a few hours earlier. When I looked at the cover and realized the title was Breathe: A Novel of Colorado, then turned it over and read the back cover copy, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it at the store.

Breathe: A Novel of Colorado, is the first book in The Homeward Trilogy about three siblings who’ve come west to Colorado. Dominic and Moira St. Claire have brought their sister, Odessa, to a sanatorium in Colorado in hopes that she can be cured of consumption. Dominic and Moira each have dreams they long to follow, but while Odessa is trying to get healthy at the sanatorium, they follow their father’s dreams instead, and set up a bookstore.

It doesn’t take long for danger and suspense to find the St. Claire siblings. Odessa thinks she’s witnessed a murder in the sanatorium. Moira wants to sing in the new opera house, and Dominic keeps showing up with various scrapes and bruises. Throw in some romance, and you’ll be on the edge of your seat. Life is tough for these characters, and Lisa Bergren never takes the easy way out. Her descriptions make the book come alive. I’ve never been to Colorado, but I could feel the sun on my face and breathe the pure clean air. I felt I was living the story along with Odessa and her brother and sister.

It takes a lot for a book to make me cry. The books that can evoke my tears are few and far between. Not that I’m a cynic, by any means. I’m most definitely a hopeless romantic, always in search of the Happily Ever After that captures my imagination and makes be believe. As Odessa struggles with the realization that she might never be able to go back home to Philadelphia, as she whole-heartedly puts her faith in God, Lisa Bergren makes me believe, and I found myself teary-eyed more than once.

Many years ago, before trilogies were popular, I read a trilogy about three sisters. Their individual stories continued in each book, rather than having one book be about one sister and the next about another. I was absolutely caught up in the series and I never really found anything like it until I read Lisa’s The Captain’s Bride, and the rest of her Northern Lights Trilogy—a must read, in my not-so-humble opinion, and so far with Breathe, the Homeward Trilogy is proving to be just as wonderful.

I can’t wait to see what Lisa has in store for these characters in her next book, Sing, which is due out in the spring of 2010. I’m hoping the third book, Claim, won’t be far behind.

My only disappointment is that I can’t read the next book tomorrow. I have to wait until next spring. Five months? Six? It can’t get here soon enough for me.

You can visit Lisa’s website at:

Do you categorize your books like I do, and regard some as more special than others?

Do you have a favorite place to curl up and read?

I’ll be giving away a copy of Breathe, so please leave your e-mail address if you’d like to be in the drawing. I’ll be drawing names at midnight eastern time October 20th. Remember to include spaces or brackets around the "@" sign so Net spiders, etc, can't phish your address.


  1. I'm so glad for book reviews. I don't think I've seen this author's work before, Suzie. Very nicely done and you've convinced me to go looking.

    And, thankfully your breathing problems are better.

    Now, just how do you get days to go sit and read at the beach? Do they have eight day weeks out on your coast or something? I'm jealous. :)

  2. I just want you to know how proud I am to have you as my Aunt. As a kid I remember as a kid you would take me and Kirk to the beach to swim while you sat and read all day. I remember eating McDonalds cheeseburgers in the backseat if it was a rainy day and I'm not quite sure how you actually got to read with us fighting in the backround. I also realized how alike we are scouring the bookstores for hours...a love for books...fleece blankets and ice tea! Of course I would love to read my books on the beach..but it's about an hour and a half drive.

  3. I just want you to know how proud I am to have you as my Aunt. As a kid I remember as a kid you would take me and Kirk to the beach to swim while you sat and read all day. I remember eating McDonalds cheeseburgers in the backseat if it was a rainy day and I'm not quite sure how you actually got to read with us fighting in the backround. I also realized how alike we are scouring the bookstores for hours...a love for books...fleece blankets and ice tea! Of course I would love to read my books on the beach..but it's about an hour and a half drive.

  4. Okaaayyy I could have written this post word for word..well except the being a writer part! I have stacks of TBR books and am always looking for more even though I really shouldn't be! My favorite time to read a book is when I can sit down in a relaxing area and read it straight through (usually the next day) I would LOVE to read at the beach but unforunately I'm land I read on the floor of my room! I think I'll read today, it's raining again. Great post!

    xoxo~ Renee

  5. great post.


  6. Suzie, you've introduced me to another new author. Oh, my, my 'to buy' list is longer than my 'to read' pile now! You said you were amazed when you got the book home to realize it was about breathing and your own problems, but I know the Lord led you to it. He's amazing. Thanks for the beautiful post.


  7. so many great books, this is my first time on this blog and I really like it, please enter me into the contest for a free book,


  8. Great post! I have enjoyed the books of hers that I have read. Have not read Breathe yet though.

    I have seperate bookshelves where books are shelved according to a category. I have shelves filled with my TBR books and shelves filled with my keeper books that I suspect I will reread or which I have reread a number of times.

    My favorite spot to read is my recliner after the kids are in bed. It's my time to escape for a little while which i look forward to in the evening.


  9. Deb, LOL. I can usually only spend one full day at the beach. Cuz, of course, I work. But during the long hours of daylight months...which have just come to an end, I only live a mile from the water and can just go sit down there after work for an hour or two until dark. But now I must settle for one day a week and wait until spring again to be able to go after work.

    Hey Tiffie!. Thanks for coming by. I'm so glad we have so much in common, cuz you're so precious to me. And hey, you're not supposed to be telling my secrets about making little kids eat Happy Meals while I read. LOL!

    Renee, I'm really glad you stopped by. I'm sorry you don't have a beach, but I'm so glad you have a special place to read your books.

    April, thank you for stopping by!

    Thanks Connie. You're right. He did lead me to it. :-) Welcome back! We all missed you.

    Edna, I'm so glad you found your way to our blog and that you've enjoyed it. I do hope you come back again!

    Hi Cherie. Thanks for stopping by. My recliner isn't comfortable enough for reading. In fact, I don't like it very much, and sometimes I feel upset that I don't have a nice comfy couch any more.

  10. Suzie, I'm so jealous of your being so near the beach! I have to drive about 6 hours to find one. Your photo is beautiful!

    I heard of Lisa quite a while ago but don't think I've had the pleasure of reading one of her books yet. So please enter me.

    As to the TBR pile... my hubby has threatened to build a second house to hold mine! :)

    missytippens [at]

  11. Thank you for a very enjoyable post. Yes, I definitely have my favorite authors and genres. There are times when only a "reread" of an old favorite will do. Other times, I am looking for something to take me outside "my reading box". I have learned a lot from good blogs and reviews. They have opened lots of new doors in my reading world.

    My favorite place to read is curled up on the couch with my cats.
    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  12. Great blog, Suzie, my beach loving friend. Lisa's new book sounds wonderful. Just like her others. Definitely on my list. Inkwell Inspirations is such a great site. Y'all are doing a wonderful job.

  13. Hi Suzie,

    Thanks for adding another author to find for my own TBR pile.

    I don't need a beach to read, although I envy you yours. Anywhere, anytime I have a book in my hand.

    I just wish Christian publishers would put more titles in e format. In a drive to cut down on the boxes of books that don't make it to my special keeper shelf (I need to get a few kids out of the house before there is room for more shelves!)I've become quite addicted to reading books on my pda. I can take several books with me everywhere I go.

  14. Missy, thanks for stopping by! The beach in the picture is where I used to go walking every day before my breathing problem started. But I won't be able to go there when I'm better, because it's on the military base and I don't work there anymore. I love my new job, but I'll miss walking on that beach.

    Virginia, I'm glad you found some new authors from reading the blogs. I hope you'll like Lisa's books, too. And I hope you come back because I'll have a few more super-great authors to tell you about. Love your cat picture, btw.

    Hi Sharon! I'm waving from across the water. Thanks for visiting, and for the kind words about our blog. We are certainly having a wonderful time with it.

    Wenda, I always have a book or two with me, too. And I always have more than one downloaded into my pda. I'm afraid to be caught without a book, but I have to have more than one in case one is boring. When I went on my train trip this summer, I had twelve books with me, not counting my huge book for school.

  15. I like to come back later in the day and read through the comments.

    Great to see new names and faces, and anticipate getting to know you all better.

  16. I'll have to pick up one of Lisa's books. You've convinced me. :)


  17. Count me with the convinced. I'll have to get this book!

  18. Susan and Lisa, I feel quite sure you won't be disappointed!

  19. This authors series looks like a wonderful one to read!! I love to curl up on my couch which is super comfortable, with a great book and stay there until the last page is turned, my own little "staycation".

    dancealert at aol dot com

  20. Suzie, thanks for the introduction to this author! I haven't read her stuff yet, and it sounds like that has been my loss.

    Lovely post. Thank you!

    As for where I like to read, well, my favorite place is the bathtub, full of warm water and bath salts. With candles on the shelf. And no kids knocking on the door. But that scenario is mostly fantasy, so I'd have to say that I love to curl up in my chair by the window, with a blanket and a cup of tea, of course!

  21. Ditto what Susanne said about introducing me to a new author! And as a native Coloradan, I'm looking forward to the setting in this series.

    I am an abject failure at reading at the beach (I'm so entranced by the waves and the sand and the seagulls I can't concentrate!) and in the bathtub... I'm forever getting my book wet. SO... I read in my chair, with something hot to drink, or an apple to crunch, and my Westie in my lap.

  22. I love the picture of the beach, Suzie! Now I can picture you there when you say you're off to write/edit/read. And I LOVE Good & Plenty. There are few of us black licorice kind of people so we'd better stick together.
    I think I have to go in search of Lisa's books. They sound fabulous.

    Later, Crit Partner!

  23. Suzie, thanks for your sweet and kind words. I'm amazed that God has made women like you who become passionate readers of my own words...and your post encourages me to get rolling on CLAIM again today!!! We're just back from Italy--research trip for my NEXT series, and so I'm up at 3am. I like to read in bed before going to sleep and when I wake up in the middle of the night with thoughts swirling...if we had a beach here in CO, I'd love that too!

    Thanks also for this blog--you all are doing a lovely job with it.


  24. Brenda, thanks for stopping by. I don't have a couch to curl up on any more. My husband decided to replace it with recliners. I really don't like my recliner. It's very uncomfortable (kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?) and is not conducive to curling up and reading a good book.

    Susanne, your reading place sounds heavenly.

    And Niki, I wish I had a Westie dog to curl up with while I read. I've always wanted a Westie. Actually, I grew up with a Scottie and I'd love to have one of each.

    Lisa, thank you so much for visiting. I'm so honored that you stopped by. You truly made my day. I'd I'm already looking forward to your new Italy series. Yay!

  25. This has been my first time on this blog but know that it will not be my last. I really enjoyed it.


  26. Jo, I'm so glad you found us and that you enjoyed the blog. Yes, I do hope you come back!

  27. Cherie J is the winner of my drawing. I will send her a copy of Breathe, by Lisa T. Bergren. Thank you everyone who stopped by and I pray you all have a blessed week.


  28. I just gave this book away as a birthday present. Now I'm sad I didn't keep it :(


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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.