Book Reviews

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

The Awakening of Miss Prim: A Novel by [Fenollera, Natalia Sanmartin]

Four Stars

If you want to escape to a village where a modern-age Jane Austen would set a story, you will enjoy Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera’s The Awakening of Miss Prim. Here you will find characters with Victorian-era ideals whose match-making interferes with the independent Prudencia Prim. This is a story that will not leave you.


Books of the Month

Books of the Month: July 2013

Books by Ralph Fletcher: As I am preparing for another year of home school, I have been reading many of Ralph Fletcher’s books of poetry for children. Have You Been to the Beach Lately? , Moving Day , Relatively Speaking are excellent examples of his storytelling through theme and poetry. I am looking forward to studying his poems and writing style with my kids this school year.

In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner by Elizabeth George

Another compelling crime story starring Inspector Lynley and Barbara Havers!

All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith

Amy Elizabeth Smith’s memoir of her sabbatical provides insight into much-loved Jane Austen classics through several organized and ad hoc book clubs in six Latin American countries. Like the author, I had many assumptions about what her journey would be. No doubt, we are both glad we were wrong! I absolutely loved “traveling” these roads, especially with my own book club!

The Invisible Friend by Lois Walfrid Johnson

Bree’s story continues as she searches for a way to escape Norway and for an invisible friend.

Book Reviews, Books of the Month

Books of the Month: May 2013

The Spiritual Secret of Hudson Taylor by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor: This biography of Hudson Taylor reveals missionary heart devoted to life-long service amidst trials and triumphs. Inspirational!

In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon: Of all the books my son and I read this year, we agree this is our favorite. It generated great discussion. A must read for anyone who has asked “What would Jesus do?”

The Chaplain by Maurice Russell: Maurice Russell’s debut semi-biographical novel tells of a chaplain’s faith and personal struggles even as he ministers to others. A compelling read!

A Jane Austen Devotional: This devotional is a gem! Each lesson contains a passage from one of Jane Austen’s classics, applicable insights, and powerful scriptures. Highly recommend it!

DPChallenge, One Good Thing Every Day 2013

One Good Thing Every Day: March 11, 2013

From A Jane Austen Devotional

“Sometimes, nothing ushers in a fresh perspective like a good night’s sleep.”

“Through [David’s] example, we are reminded no matter what our circumstances, we can sleep peacefully when we put our trust in the Lord.”


From Henry T. Blackaby’s Experiencing God

“[David] didn’t depend on yesterday’s guidance for today’s decision.”


Psalm 30:5b NJKV

Joy comes in the morning.


Psalm 4 NIV

Answer me when I call to you,  my righteous God.

Give me relief from my distress;

have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people turn my glory into shame?

How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?

Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;

the Lord hears when I call to him.

Tremble anddo not sin;

when you are on your beds,

search your hearts and be silent.

Offer the sacrifices of the righteous

and trust in the Lord.

Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”

Let the light of your face shine on us.

Fill my heart with joy

when their grain and new wine abound.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,

for you alone, Lord,

make me dwell in safety.


1 Chronicles 14:8-16 NIV

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went out to meet them.Now the Philistines had come and raided the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of God: “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, I will deliver them into your hands.”

So David and his men went up to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, God has broken out against my enemies by my hand.” So that place was called Baal Perazim.The Philistines had abandoned their gods there, and David gave orders to burn them in the fire.

Once more the Philistines raided the valley; so David inquired of God again, and God answered him, “Do not go directly after them, but circle around them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” So David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army, all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.


I smiled when I saw the statement from A Jane Austen Devotional the day after I lost an hour of sleep because of the time change. But, I can attest that a good night’s sleep makes all the difference when facing a new day of decisions. I love the reminder in Blackaby’s book because a solution from the previous day cannot always be applied to now. Every decision requires calling out to God as David did in Psalms 4 and in 1 Chronicles 14:8-16. Notice how God simply says “Go, I will deliver them into your hands” the first time, but in essence says, “Wait! I want you to climb these poplar trees until you hear them coming. Then attack.” Like David, I need to remember that some days God says “go” and other times He says “wait.” He may say, “I’ve got this one.” Or He may tell me, “Do this first. It may not make sense, and you may not think you can do it. But, if you follow my instructions, you will know what to do when the time comes.” Either way, no matter the season of life or time of the day, I need to be ready to surrender my plans, even if it means resting in the boughs of a poplar tree.


File:Four Poplars in four seasons.JPG
DPChallenge, One Good Thing Every Day 2013

One Good Thing Every Day: March 10, 2013

“By biblical standards, reverencing a pastor means honoring him with your words, actions, and thoughts; encouraging, praying for, and building him up. But most important…a pastor is an important advocate, a shepherd who helps guide us in our walk with Christ.” A Jane Austen Devotional

1 Corinthians 9:14 MSG

…the Master directed that those who spread the Message be supported by those who believe the Message.


I am posting these references to reverencing our church leaders a day early. As I read them today, they reminded me to pray for my pastor before Sunday’s sermon. They prompted me to pray for my church and the churches of family and friends. They challenged me to pray for leaders within other denominations, especially for discernment for those choosing the papal successor. May God be glorified through “those who spread the Message” and “those who believe the Message”!