Saturday, February 6, 2010

Book Review: The Maverick Preacher

Book Review: The Maverick Preacher by Victoria Bylin,
Love Inspired Historical Feb 09

I bet you’re looking at that date and thinking I typed it wrong, eh? Nope. I am way behind in my book reviews, but there really is a reason for telling you about it today . . .

The author, Victoria Bylin, has a new release coming out in March and I thought I'd get you all interested. You see, Victoria Bylin is one of my favorite authors. I will buy anything this lady writes. And no, she didn’t pay me to say it. I started reading Vicki’s books before Steeple Hill started publishing the Love Inspired Historical line. At that time, Vicki wrote for Harlequin Historicals. On her website, Vicki gives an account of those books: 'My HHs all have inspirational themes, but they do NOT comply with CBA standards. Reader beware! These books were written for a secular audience. They’re about saints who’ve stumbled and sinners who’ve made terrible choices. They have rough language and love scenes. I don’t recommend them for younger readers unless they’ve already crossed lines I wish they hadn’t. These books were written for mature women already accustomed to mainstream romance.'

I’m not going to get into the issue of how a believer can write for the secular market because that’s Vicki’s story to tell which she does on her website. You’ve just read a part of it and you can read the rest here .

Although Vicki now chooses to write inspirationals, her books are filled with as much conflict, emotion and drama as her earlier non-CBA books. Personally, I think it’s the ‘. . . saints who’ve stumbled and sinners who’ve made terrible choices’ that keeps me going back to her books regardless of the publisher. Her characters are real. And flawed. And vulnerable.

Vicki’s heroes are men who’ve fallen and understand weakness can wreak havoc in your life. They’re men who’ve strived to rise above their frailties to become worthy of the women they love.

Her heroines are strong in spirit and faith. They work hard and fall in love hard – usually against their better judgment.

God’s plan is woven into every story Vicki writes. You know her characters are God-fearing people. It’s just that we’re all human and stumble along our daily walk and Vicki’s characters are the same way. There are no perfect people. Only God’s perfect love and He uses it to nudge her characters along.

In The Maverick Preacher, the hero is Joshua Blue. Once one of Boston’s most righteous preachers, Joshua drove his own sister away when she committed what appeared to him as an unpardonable sin. He called her a Jezebel among other names and threw her out of his moral mansion. Leaving his hypocrisy behind, she fled west carrying only the baby in her womb and some jewelry.

A few days later while working on a sermon about the woman at the well, Joshua underwent a revelation. His sister had gone to him for support and he’d been the one to cast the first stone. And the last one, too. Driven by guilt, he resigns from the big Boston church and follows his sister’s trail. Trials face him along the way proving no matter how low you think you’ve fallen, there’s still room to drop. Along the way he hears about a boarding house for troubled women in Denver and decides to check it out.

Late one night, Adelaide Clark hears a thump at her door and wonders if it’s another battered woman. She opens it to find a man lying on the stoop. Gaunt and desperate, the man, Joshua, convinces her to let him board with them. Against her own rules, she agrees. It doesn’t take long for her to wish she’d turned him away when he starts questioning her about his sister and the child she would have had by now.

Thank goodness neither his, nor his sister’s names mean anything to Adie. She truthfully tells him she never met his sister. Yet, his story is startlingly similar to the woman Adie befriended back in Kansas. The woman who – before she died – made Adie promise to raise her son as her own and never give him over to her pious, powerful brother. No one in Denver knows the child isn’t hers and she’ll do anything to keep it that way.

If you find a copy of The Maverick Preacher, I know it will give you a satisfying read. I bawled like a baby while I read it. Her books just hit that emotional chord in me.

In March, Vicki has a new release through Love Inspired Historical called Kansas Courtship. It’s Book 3 in After the Storm The Founding Years and it’s her first experience at writing a multi-authored series.

Fun question today:  Without checking amazon or christianbook, etc, take a guess at the professions of the 2 people on the Kansas Courtship book cover. Or, if you want, name a profession you'd like them to have.

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  1. OOoooo. Do tell. I love the plot line for this book, so Yes, you've done your job, Anita Mae. You've made me want to read the new one coming out in March!

    I wish I could tell our readers how much fun we have behind the scenes at Inkwell.

    I raise my cup of cold coffee to Anita Mae today! This blog is a blessing for all of us and I'm thankful to have gotten to know her. I look forward to the day you can all read her historical!!

    If you read our posts this week, you'll know we had some DEEP thoughts and conversations. Check them out!
    Thankfully we can also get rather silly, too.

  2. Good job, Anita Mae. Now I want to read them both.

  3. Wow, I will be reading this one! I've been studying LIH books to acquaint myself with the line. So far I've found some amazing ones, and some pretty hokey ones. This sounds amazing. What a great theme. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

    I just finished reading The Captain's Lady by Louise M. Gouge also coming out with LIH in March. Incredible, incredible book! I'll be sharing more about it as the release date approaches. Sounds like a great month for Love Inspired Historicals.

  4. I would have reviewed Kansas Courtship instead but I just rec'd my copy yesterday and it would've taken all the enjoyment out if I'd rushed to read and review it.

    Actually, you see what an impact The Maverick Preacher made because I read it at least 6 mos ago and it's still fresh in my mind.

    Deb - I agree. I absolutely love being a part of the Inkwell. Not sure if I deserve this blessing, but I'll take it.

    Lisa - Thank you. I know I didn't talk about the spiritual aspect too much, but it's a very strong thread running through Vicki's books.

    Dina - I'm beginning to think we like reading the same 'type' of books. Let me know which LIH books you're thinking of reading and I'll let you know my spin on them. Just have a pinch of salt handy. LOL

  5. Well, The Briton should be coming in the mail anyday. I chose it because it's a medieval. Otherwise, I've just been picking them up as I see them at the library, which isn't the best system. LOL. If I purchased more, so far I'd go with Louise, Ruth Axtell Morren, or now Victoria Bylin on your suggestion.

    Honestly, not to be prejudiced, but I really prefer the ones in Europe or with strong ties to Europe so far.

  6. Great review, Anita. If I can dig up a copy of The Maverick Preacher I would love to read it!

  7. Hey Anita,
    That was fun. I'm fascinated by writers who have written for the secular market and now write for the Christian market. I think they offer up a different kind of novel. I'm not even sure what I mean by that, but it's got something to do with combining the two. For instance, Vickie's brand is: Highly Spiritual, Deeply Human. I think that says it all.

    I have no idea what characters are on the front of Kansas Courtship.But you know me a bit, Anita, so I'll say the woman's a doctor and the guy is a sheriff. Am I close? Okay. Don't tell. I'll go look. :)

  8. Oh, I've got to get my hands on both of these books! They sound fabulous! Sigh.

    Anita, you got after me for saying something like "not sure if I deserve the blessing..." so I've got to set you straight: Pah, sister! You're a major blessing to me and to all of us. For one thing, you write awesome book reviews. You made me want to get online and look for the Maverick Preacher. Not that I'd use the opportunity to cheat and guess the occupations of the people on the cover, or anything like that...

  9. Dina - You're getting The Briton by Catherine Palmer in the mail now? I thought it was sold out. The Briton was the first Love Inspired Historical published and the first one I read. I loved it. Still do.

    Or is there another book out there called The Briton?

    I like Ruth Axtell's Morren's books too. She certainly has a unique voice. Puts that 'old world' flavor into everything.

    I'm looking forward to reading Louise's. Thanks for the head's up, Dina.

  10. 'Highly Spiritual, Deeply Human'
    Oh! I forgot to mention Vicki's brand! Thanks, Jill.

    Actually, I used to agree with you. And then I read one LIH from another author who writes secular as well and although the book was good, it wasn't great like her secular ones. I had the feeling she was trying too hard - like she was trying to take the 'wordly' stuff out. Instead, I think she took the 'stuffing' out because it didn't have the same depth.

    Yet Vicki has managed to maintain all that. And like she says on her website, her books have always been inspirational, they just had added 'bits' to satisfy the market.

    About your guess, Jill. I had forgotten your profession. You would guess doctor, wouldn't you. :)

  11. LOL Susie - that's too funny! I would never accuse you of cheating just because you looked up the cover... I don't think... :D

    Thank you for the reminder, Susie. I'm working on that.

  12. This looks really good. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Yes, Anita. The Catherine Palmer one. It's available on amazon.

  14. Thanks, Niki.

    Dina - I am so dense today. Amazon didn't even cross my mind... I keep thinking category books are only on the shelf for 5 weeks and then they're gone. Good ole Amazon. Thanks for the reminder.

  15. Anita, this is a great review. I've read several of her books both her HH and her LIH, and I agree. They're so good.


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