Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.
With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.
This is not your grandmother’s (or even your mother’s) Christian fiction. The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck is a book for the new generation of readers.
As Sarah’s story unfolds on the pages, I laughed. She’s got a subtle sarcastic streak that resonated with me, but it’s her naivety when it comes to the Bible and Christianity that endeared this character to me. I mean, her confusion about Mary Magdalene along had me laughing out loud. And then there’s Sarah’s agent who bases Christian fiction on his understanding (mostly given to him by Sarah) of The Thornbirds. Throw in all the pop culture—movie and music—references and the book just got better and better.
Sarah’s journey of becoming a Christ-follower is followed quickly by meeting and falling in love-at-first-sight with a man whose first desire is to do God’s will—a pastor, for goodness sake—and my heart melted a little along with a loud sigh that sounded an awful lot like “awww.”
But Sarah and Ben’s journey is not without challenges, disagreements, misunderstanding, and even a bit of scandal. And plenty of sizzle!
Bethany Turner delivers it all in a fresh, fun, and fulfilling package. With humor, heart, and heat, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck should jump to the very top of TBR lists everywhere. If this is what Turner debuts with, we’ve got great things to look forward to from her.
***I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.