Monday, August 11, 2008

"Jewel of Gresham Green" by Lawana Blackwell

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Jewel of Gresham Green

(Bethany House - August 1, 2008)


Lawana Blackwell
My Review -
I have finished this book and it was a lovely, historical romance with a lush setting in Gresham, deep characters, risky conflicts (especially for the time period) and an all around great final product. I own the Gresham Chronicles by Lawana Blackwell and had been waiting for a downtime in my TBR pile so I could dive into them... that hasn't happened yet so I dove straight into this book instead. It took me just a couple chapters to orient myself to the characters that Lawana has developed over the course of three other books and then settled myself back for an interesting romp through Gresham.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I connected with the characters and how well Lawana was able to keep different plot lines and stories going along so smoothly. She also brings up to very edgy conflicts that she never names but innuendos well enough that it is clear and yet not crass. It made it easier for me to identify with some of the characters because they are modern topics that you don't always think of as being issues back then but in reality were probably even more prevalent. (There is a teaser for you!)

So come to Gresham and see what you have been missing and I truly hope that Lawana takes all of us back to Gresham soon!

A full-time author, Lawana Blackwell's books include her beloved Gresham Chronicles and Tales of London series.

"I had told myself long ago that three books in a series are enough for my attention span, and so after The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark, I devoted myself to the trio of books in the Tales of London series, then wrote A Table By the Window, my contemporary novel. All along, I received letters from readers asking me to continue the Gresham series. Many, many wrote that the dairying village of Gresham and its people sent them back to a more peaceful time in the midst of their busy days.

"Prayerfully, I decided to return to Gresham, setting the story fifteen years after Julia Hollis and her children first left London for abandoned coaching inn which became Larkspur Inn. I believe readers would like to see how the children—Philip, Aleda and Grace, Elizabeth and Laurel—turn out as adults. But I like to inject fresh faces into every book, hence Jewel Libby and her daughter Becky find Gresham a haven from a bad man. Writing the book was like coming home, visiting old friends."

Blackwell lives in Louisiana with her husband, Buddy, a supervisor at an oil refinery. They are empty nesters who love to visit their three grown sons, Joseph, Matthew, and Andrew, and three lovely daughters-in-law, Kristine, Penny and Heather, granddaughter Madelyn, and grandson Chandler.

Her other interests include visiting her parents and siblings in Mississippi, vegetarian cooking, and naturally, reading.

To protect her precious daughter from the danger nipping at their heels, Jewel Libby must flee the only home she's ever known. Caring friends direct her to the vicarage in the peaceful dairy village of Gresham, but she arrives there to find Vicar Andrew Phelps and his wife immersed in troubles of their own.

The children of Vicar Andrew Phelps and Julia Hollis from the popular Gresham Chronicles series have grown up and are dealing with their own challenges. Philip Hollis, now a successful London surgeon, has a controlling wife who resents his close family ties.

Aleda Hollis lives in a cottage on the outskirts of Gresham, where she enjoys her privacy and a writing career. When Andrew becomes ill and in need of Philip's skills, and Aleda's quest for privacy unwittingly advances an evil man's schemes, it's Jewel Libby, a newcomer to Gresham, who becomes an unexpected support and source of strength to the family. An unlikely romance adds to the intrigue of this jewel in their midst.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Jewel of Gresham Green, go HERE

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