Keli Gwyn
Recommended Read: Unending Devotion

If you like a gripping historical romance that will keep you turning pages,
check out Unending Devotion by bestselling author Jody Hedlund.

About the Book

High-Stakes Drama Meets High-Tension Romance

In 1883 Michigan, Lily Young is on a mission to save her lost sister, or die trying. Heedless of the danger, her searches of logging camps lead her to Harrison and into the sights of Connell McCormick, a man doing his best to add to the hard-earned fortunes of his lumber baron father.

Posing during the day as a photographer’s assistant, Lily can’t understand why any God-fearing citizen would allow evil to persist and why men like Connell McCormick turn a blind eye to the crime rampant in the town. But Connell is boss-man of three of his father’s lumber camps in the area, and like most of the other men, he’s interested in clearing the pine and earning a profit. He figures as long as he’s living an upright life, that’s what matters.

Lily challenges everything he thought he knew, and together they work not only to save her sister but to put an end to the corruption that’s dominated Harrison for so long.

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My Thoughts

I was privileged to read this book in manuscript form. As I read, I fell hard and fast for Connell. Wow! Talk about a hero that is sigh-worthy. This hunky, hardworking, principled logger earned some serious hero points. The more I got to know him, the better I liked him. I enjoyed watching him deal with Lily as she challenges everything he stands for.

Lily is one feisty heroine. There are times her impulsiveness gets her in trouble, but I admire her determination. In an effort to save her sister, she’s willing to take on anyone, even the vilest of villains. Her major problem is that she doesn’t know how to accept help, which puts her very life in danger at times. Learning to lean on others and follow the Lord’s leading isn’t easy for Lily, but learn her lesson she does–eventually.

The historical romance fan in me loved Jody’s depiction of life in the lumber camps of Michigan. I was there, shivering with those out in the bitter cold, hearing the ring of axes echoing through the forest, and inhaling the fresh scent of recently felled white pine. Jody’s handling of the “white slavery” prevalent in the lumber towns was tasteful and added an authenticity to the story that tugged on my heart.

Jody is known for writing fast-paced, action-packed stories. Unending Devotion is certainly that. The story takes off in the first chapter, and the pace just picks up from there. Readers be warned: you could lose sleep over this one. When I read the story in print form, I had the hardest time putting the book down–even though I knew what was coming next. It’s that good.

If you like gripping tales with strong characters that keep you glued to the pages, then Unending Devotion is a story for you. Note that due to the thematic elements of the story, it might not be appropriate for young teens.

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Questions for You

Do you enjoy reading stories that tackle tough issues?

What issue have you seen handled well in a romance?

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Win a Copy of Jody’s Book!

To enter the drawing, leave a comment by Monday, December 10, answering one of the questions above. Be sure to leave your email address when prompted so I can contact you if you win.

I’ll post the winner’s name here and in a comment.

Congratulations to the winner: Jasmine!

No purchase necessary.
Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses only.
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Keli Gwyn
Celebrating with my Critique Partner

Waiting can be tough, and there’s plenty of it in a writer’s life.

I’d been eagerly awaiting the release of my critique partner Jody Hedlund’s second book, the first one I helped her edit. The official release date is September 1st, but I’ve learned that books begin appearing in stores a few weeks before the big day. I’d found Jody’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, three weeks before the release date last fall, so I began looking for The Doctor’s Lady August 5th.

I did my best to wait patiently, but it wasn’t easy. In my exuberance, I explored all the possibilities of finding a copy early. The closest big-box bookstore was Borders, so that option was gone. I pestered the poor staff at my local Christian bookstore until I was afraid to show my face there again, especially when they said The Doctor’s Lady was back-ordered. I resigned myself to waiting for Amazon to ship my pre-ordered copies and made my post office run daily so I didn’t miss the package due to show up in my box any day.

This past Monday, I remembered that there had been a Family Christian store in a town half an hour away. I’d not been there in several years and feared the place had closed. I looked up the number, called, and was thrilled to learn the store was still in business. I dropped everything and made a trip down the hill.

When I reached the bookstore, I parked, rushed through the door, and sprinted to the fiction section. I went straight for the H’s and found the book sitting face front.

Thankfully no one saw me and the racks were well over my head, so I was able to get my first look at The Doctor’s Lady in privacy. Why is that a good thing? Because when I beheld the book for the first time, I burst into tears. And this was no dainty display either.

I was so moved by the sight of Jody’s book that tears flowed over my cheeks, dripped off my chin, and rolled down my arm before I could get a tissue out of my purse. It took two tissues to mop my face. Let me tell you, I’m glad I don’t wear mascara, or I’d have been a terrible mess. As it was, there was no eye shadow left by the time I’d restored a modicum of control, as is evidenced by the picture the very understanding clerk took of me holding Jody’s  book in my hands.

Why did I react so strongly? I told Jody that while she put her whole heart into writing The Doctor’s Lady, a part of my heart is in it, too. Sure, I helped her by critiquing it, but what’s far more important to me is that our friendship was forged as we went through the process of getting The Doctor’s Lady ready for readers. For that reason, it’s very special to me.

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Despite my concerted efforts, I wasn’t the first one to locate a copy of The Doctor’s Lady. I was, however, the first to post a review on Amazon. Here’s the text of my five-star review:

A Tale of Heartache, Hardships, and Hard-earned Happiness

Jody Hedlund’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, captivated readers and left them wanting more of her page-turning stories. They’re sure to be satisfied with The Doctor’s Lady because she’s crafted another gripping tale, one that takes her characters—and her readers—on a journey fraught with hardships and heartache.

When Eli Ernest and Priscilla White learn that they must wed in order to fulfill their dreams of serving the Lord as missionaries, they agree to a marriage in name only. They embark on a dangerous trip across the country, one that will test them to the utmost of their endurance and abilities.

Both strong and independent, Eli and Priscilla battle not only the harsh conditions but also their growing attraction, which neither of them planned for nor welcomes. Past disappointments have left them wary and unwilling to drop their guard. Tension crackles as they face one challenge after another and are forced to rely on each other or perish. Only when they release control to the Lord can they overcome their differences and find happiness.

Hedlund is a masterful storyteller who paints a lush picture of life in the early 1800s, peoples the story with well-developed characters readers will long remember, and adds non-stop action and adventure. I highly recommend The Doctor’s Lady and eagerly await the release of Hedlund’s next book.

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Win a Copy of The Doctor’s Lady

I’m giving away two copies of The Doctor’s Lady.

To enter the drawing, leave a comment, including your email address when prompted.

I’ll hold the drawing on Friday, August 19th, choosing two winners, and will post their names here and contact them via email to get their mailing addresses.

Congratulations to the winners, Rosslyn Elliott and Eileen Astels.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses only.
Comment Link 27 Comments
Keli Gwyn
Celebrating with my Critique Partners

I have two talented critique partners on my Dream Team, and good things have been happening to them. I’m beyond thrilled for Anne and Jody.

As I announced last week, Anne Barton won the Golden Heart. Since then she sold that GH winning story in a two-book deal! To hear about Anne’s First Sale and join the party, I invite you to visit her blog.

On Tuesday July 12, the American Christian Fiction Writers announced the finalists for their prestigious 2011 Carol Awards for published authors. My other CP, Jody Hedlund, is a finalist in the Debut Author category for her debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride.

I’ve been doing so much happy dancing recently that I’m downright light-headed. 🙂

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Keli Gwyn

 
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