An Inconvenient Beauty

The Hawthorne House series by Kristi Ann Hunter has come to a close. I have long anticipated Griffith’s story and am happy that all the rest of you are finally jumping on the Griffith is awesome bandwagon. Griffith and I share the perpetual desire for control, and I hope, like Griffith, that I can learn to “let go and let God.”

An Inconvienent BeautyGriffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes–as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.

As all Griffith’s and Isabella’s long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?

My Review

My expectations for An Inconvenient Beauty were high and Kristi did not disappoint. It was extremely entertaining watching Griffith, master of control, lose control, particularly a scene where he couldn’t control his words and they all came tumbling out (not saying any more though, I don’t want to spoil it). Isabella is exactly the heroine he didn’t know he needed.

A theme of this book that was unique in Christian Fiction (especially without diving into A LOT of drama) is that life is not so black and white. We often face decisions about which direction we need to go without much time to consider our path, and sometimes when we feel, for whatever reason, that God is not there for us. That idea exists more in our heart/mind than it does in reality, but in our humanness and the seemingly bleak choice in front of us, it is easy to lose perspective about how God is working in our lives and what path we are to take. Both Griffith and Isabella figure out that the path they thought was theirs to take, was indeed not the one God was calling them too. They had to learn how to turn back to Him, how to work through the guilt of not listening in the first place, and how to trust in His plan, even when they have no idea how it’ll work out.

While Griffith is eternally swoony, Kristi weaves a deeper meaning into his gradual loss of control and growing trust in God’s plans over his, resulting in a story that is light while providing a depth of story. I really encourage you to pick this one up for your personal library. While it is a final in a series (and you should really get the others, as well) you can also read it as stand alone.

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Author

hunter_headshotKristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.

Top 10 Summer Books

It’s technically fall, though the weather here disputes that fact. So, that means it’s time for the summer round up! This is for books read July-August-September. (There were so many in June, I just couldn’t include it, and I’m resisting a great book I just finished today, because it’s already October!) I surprised myself when I started narrowing down the options and saw how many contempories there are; I normally consume mostly historical fiction, but it appears to have been a summer of contemporaies!

Enjoy!

All This Timealways watchingAn Inconvienent BeautyBlind SpotJust Look Upaoy cover final(1)A Name UnknownMatter of TrustPeace in ValleyThen There Was you

CFRR Recap – Giveaway

CFRR 19

Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat. Those words peaked my interest last year as I started seeing some favorite bloggers begin to talk about the inaugural event. It sounded a bit like heaven hanging out with bookish friends and meeting authors. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t swing it last year. So, when they announced that this year’s event was going to be hosted in Cincinnati, my (now former) hometown, I jumped at the chance. Timing ended up working out perfectly so I could stay with my mom and then hang around a couple extra days to hang with my best friend an her new baby. Here’s a recap of the fun, and at the end, a giveaway!

The first thing that I was super excited to meet Carrie from Reading Is My Super Power. Carrie has answered so many blogger questions as I’ve gotten started and been super sweet about it all. I also got to meet Annie, organizer extraordinaire, from Just Commonly.

Carrie and I pre-CFRR and post CFRR.

The day was filled speakers and great panel discussions such as spirituality themes and how to/should they/to what extent be woven into Christian Fiction. We heard some great opinions from authors about “organic” faith where their authors live it, but don’t necessarily preach at others and how these themes impact readers. Cynthia Ruchti open with a great talk about why chose Christian Fiction. I wish I had recorded it so I could listen again.

I got to meet sooooo many awesome authors. Here are some I was able to snap photos with! Carrie and Annie kept a secret from us all. Friday night, after after a long day of packing bags, Carrie said she wanted me to meet someone. Lo, and behold, I walk around the corner and there’s JEN TURANO. And when I started to introduce myself, she knew who I was. FANGIRL MOMENT.  I tried valiantly to real it in and act normal, but not sure how successful I was. On Saturday, I was privileged to eat lunch with her, Shelly Shepard Gray, and a new to me author, Mollie Campbell. It was awesome to be able get to know these authors more along with a few other attendees.

CFRR 1

After end of the retreat Saturday, Kristi Ann Hunter grabbed some of her lead team and some others and we all went to LaRosa’s and then UDF for ice cream. I learned that Kristi was staying at a friend’s that was only about 15 minutes from where I grew up and she had lived in the area for awhile! It’s a small world. I also got to meet some other great bloggers and readers and author Deb Marvin!

There were also many giveaways and games. It was a seriously awesome day. I hope I can see you there next year!

One of the books in our swag bag is Ronnie Kendig’s newest A Crown of Souls. Even the title is intriguing. And….you could win a copy!  I will announce the winner next week on Tuesday. As always, please read my terms and conditions for giveaways and it’s open to US residents only. Click on the link here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.

 

 

 I tried to get a nice photo of the book, but Onxy was not cooperating.

An Uncommon Courtship (Plus my first Author Interview!)

I read a lot of books in a year, varying from ones I barely make it through to those I devour in as few sittings as possible. An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter was the first new release I was looking forward to reading this year, and it did not disappoint in its debut spot. This is the third installment in the Hawthorne House series (plus a prequel novella) and features the affable younger brother, Trent.

I am so excited that Kristi has agreed to be my first author interview! She’s been amazingly kind through the process. See her answers below the book summary.

uncommoncourtshipcoverLife for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier if she hid in her older sister’s shadow–which worked until her sister got married. Even with the pressure of her socially ambitious mother, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience to save her previously spotless reputation.

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn’t be happier that he is not the duke in the family. He’s free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, which includes grand plans of wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he doesn’t know, his dream of a marriage like his parents’ seems lost forever.

Already starting their marriage on shaky ground, can Adelaide and Trent’s relationship survive the pressures of London society?


Kristi, thanks so much for joining us today! I have a few, hopefully interesting, questions for you.

  1. It’s the first day the kids are back in school after the summer. What are you doing?

Kristi: Sleeping. 🙂 Then writing. I love getting back into schedule after the kids go back to school.

  1. Are you a ninja or a pirate?

Kristi: Can I be both? Kick you in the head while saying arrrr instead of hiya? No? Sigh. I’ll be a ninja. They kick posterior. 😉

  1. Have you ever Googled yourself? If yes, were you surprised with what you found?

Kristi: Every few months so that I can make sure my website is still at the top. But when I first started writing I Googled myself and found that I was already a pretty prominent painter. Hence the addition of the Ann.

  1. Open your text message app. What are the first 10 words that come up automatically?

Kristi: “I think it would make more sense to be a weekend.” So, there you have it.

  1. I loved how Lady Blackstone really shined in this story and can see how she was strong enough to raise a Duke. Might we ever get to hear the story of how she fell in love with Lord Blackstone?

Kristi: I’ve had a lot of people asking about it so I might have to look into it. It’s not a very long story. They’ve always been more settled in my mind, but a lot of people want their story.

  1. You’ve mentioned previously that you scrapped an entire first draft for this story, which I’m sure was very difficult. How did you get through it and keep going (besides the obvious I have a deadline I had to keep)?

Kristi: Deadlines are powerful motivators, but it was more that I believed in the story and I knew I could do better.

  1. What in the world is a rasher? Are there any other words in the book that you use, but still aren’t quite sure what they mean?

Kristi: I haven’t a clue, but I know it’s a measurement of bacon. I vaguely remember looking it up when I was writing to make sure I didn’t give him like 20 pounds of bacon of something, but I don’t remember what it was…Here I go, off to Google to be able to answer your question. Apparently it’s a thin slice, not a measurement. So, yeah. But it sounds cool.

  1. You’ve mentioned before that your heros share character traits with your husband. What, if any, traits do Trent and your husband share?

Kristi: It’s a little harder to pin down with Trent than with some of my other heroes, but probably the most identifying one is that he adores Adelaide’s faults. I’m very blessed to have a man that thinks it’s cute when I forget to do the laundry. Again. 

  1. How did you come up pineapple? Did you think about using any other fruit? (like a Georgia peach, LOL)

Kristi: Okay, this one was one of those very fortunate research rabbits. I was looking up agriculture facts for the prologue and stumbled across the instructions for growing pineapples. They started growing them in England in the 1700s using the Dutch method of growing them in glass hothouses, using horse byproducts to keep the warmth tropical. It was so fascinating that I had to use it. Plus there’s something fun about the word pineapple.

  1. If there’s one lesson you’d like readers to walk away with after reading this story, what is it?

Kristi: You can choose love. It doesn’t have to be a feeling or even something the other person wants. You can choose to love because Biblical love is about what you do for and to the other person. Are you kind, patient, etc.? Choose love. Every day.

Those are some great answers. I really love the lesson of the book too. Relationships, especially marriages, have their hard seasons and choosing love is what gets you through.

Bonus: I love my silly cats who try to read all of my books by osmosis. I’m asking every author about their pets. If you have a pet, what’s their name and your favorite thing about them?  

I have no pets. My kids have pet rocks, though. They have adoption certificates and everything.

LOL, Kristi. You should get them a pet! At least you can’t accidentally kill a rock, though, right?


Review (with a [minor] spoiler!)

The first two pages are enough to give a girl heart palpitations. Trent is already married, plus he’s not finishing his bacon? What?! I forewarn you that as soon as you start reading an Unncommon Courtship that you will not be able to put it down. Will Adelaide and Trent be able to make a real marriage?

I know that so many of us readers have been on #teamtrent for awhile, even referring to him as #mytrent, and waiting, waiting, waiting, for his story to come about. To say I was surprised that his marriage came about as it did is an understatement, but for all the expectations we put on him and pressure Kristi felt in living up to those, she did not disappoint in the least. The book was so very Trent.

I did not expect Trent to struggle so much with figuring out what love is, but I did admire his desire to give their marriage the same foundation that typical couples would have experienced. I think that Trent wading his way through the great love question provides a faith filled insight into Biblical love and the basis that it’s more than a feeling; it’s a choice. And in the end, Trent first chooses to love and then falls in love. Calling in the “cavalry” (aka “the boys,” aka Griffith, Ryland, Colin, and Anthony) who proceed give Trent an education was brilliant, and I love how we get to view the more intimate side of the relationship between these five men.

Can I also just say that Kristi is the master of awkward conversations? There are a few chapters that happen after a delayed wedding night between two inexperienced people. While most authors avoid the, ahem, more physical side of marriage, Kristi plunges right in in a manner that is realistic while being tactful and hilarious at the same time. Of course, it’s probably only hilarious because it’s happening to Trent and not me. That said, I know some folks ask about appropriate ages for reading a novel, and while it’s handled superbly and leads to some great conversations about what love is and isn’t, I’d suggest that parents make sure they’ve addressed this topic with their kid before reading this book and then follow up afterwards as well. That said, there are fantastic lessons to be had from Trent and Adelaide’s story.

I received this copy as a courtesy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest opinion. All the opinions above are mine alone. But, seriously, the book is awesome, so go read it.

An Uncommon Courtship (Hawthorne House, #3)        Amazon       Christian Book

hunter_headshotKristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. In addition to several pre-published contests, Kristi is a Rita award winner and has also been a finalist in the INSPYs, Christys, and GRW Maggie Award of Excellence. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

You can connect with Kristi Ann Hunter at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.