Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Cross Gardener by Jason F. Wright

The Cross Gardener

By Jason F. Wright
Berkley Books, March 2010

Reviewed by Heather Moore

The Cross Gardener is wonderful book to add to your collection, especially if you’re a Jason F. Wright fan. Wright is the New York Times bestselling author of Christmas Jars, The Wednesday Letters, and Recovering Charles.

Wright skillfully paints John Bevan as a character with incredible depth. John’s life starts out tragically. Right from birth, death is an ever-present part of his life when his mother dies in a car accident that instigates her labor. At the age of four, John is adopted by a single man who runs an orchard. Only then does he learn what unconditional love is.

John’s journey in life applies to all of us as he faces the death of his wife. As a young widower, with a six-year-old daughter, John doesn’t know how to heal the gaping hole in his heart. His orchard business suffers, he isolates himself from his in-laws and friends, and no matter how much time passes he can’t seem to exist beyond the moment of his wife’s death.

John becomes obsessive about visiting his wife’s gravesite and the location where she was killed. During one of his daily visits, he encounters a strange man who calls himself the cross gardener. A friendship slowly forms between the two men until John learns to open up to the stranger. The cross gardener teaches John how to listen, how to lighten the burdens of his past, how to savor the world again, and how to add meaning back into his relationships.

The Cross Gardener is a book teeming with emotion, truth, and insightfulness into the human heart. A story of hope and healing that brightens the dark corners of despair, simultaneously offering the reader a gratifying journey.
To order The Cross Gardener visit HERE.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dangerous Connections by Julie Coulter Bellon

Dangerous Connections
By Julie Coulter Bellon
Covenant Communications, March 2010

Reviewed by Heather Moore

It isn’t often I read a book that reminds me of why I’m a bookworm. Dangerous Connections is exactly that type of book. To be transported into another place and to meet characters who are involved in a life that you can only guess out, is the perfect remedy for an average person like me (about the most daring thing I’ve done is drive from California to Utah with a nursing baby).

Bellon has a way of writing an international thriller that is straight-forward, yet exciting at the same time. Dr. Tyler Winthrop, war veteran from Iraq, goes to Paris on vacation to meet his father. From the moment he arrives, he’s thrown into a web of danger. His father is missing and in his place is a strange note telling him to return immediately to America. Tyler takes a gamble and remains in Paris, trying to contact anyone his father might have known. When he finally tracks down an acquaintance, Tyler discovers that his father’s disappearance is linked to an intricate terrorist plot that threatens to kill thousands of innocent soldiers who are fighting the war on terror.

About half-way through the book, I flipped to the acknowledgments and discovered that Bellon had spent time in France researching the novel. I was impressed with the accuracy of descriptions and the subtle blend of French culture into the characters.

Dangerous Connections is a great escape and will have you guessing the outcome until the final chapters. The characters are well-defined with excellent depth, from the main characters of Tyler and Isabella to even the most minor character. Trés bon Madame Bellon!