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Review: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

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Review: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

30 Jan Posted by in Reviews | Comments Off on Review: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck
Review: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner
Reviewed by: Pam Graber
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

From trophy wife to divorcee, Sarah Hollenbeck is searching for something but doesn’t know what. She believes it is validation for her writing, until one of her book club friends leads her to the Lord. Becoming a Christian is both wonderful and awful. Wonderful because she loves the acceptance she feels and awful because, up to now, she has made her very comfortable living writing steamy romance under her pseudonym, Raine DeBourgh.

Her first day in church, Sarah makes an immediate connection with a man in the hallway. She’s never had such a strong reaction to any man on first meeting him. All indications are that he feels exactly the same way about her. Their attraction is “off the charts.” She is a little horrified, then, when the worship service starts and her new crush gets up to deliver the sermon. She feels like she can never live up to his pastoral purity but Ben convinces her that, he may be her pastor but he’s still just a man.

As Sarah and Ben get to know one another, her secret life becomes an issue with Ben’s congregation. Can they really accept her tithe when they KNOW what kind of books she writes? And, is she really pastor’s wife material??? (Because, these two have chemistry that jumps off the page – there’s no doubt that marriage is going to be their next step.)

I LOVED this book!! The main character, Sarah, could have been writing humor books judging by her voice in “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck.” It was so fun to read about how she convinces her publisher to let her give Christian publishing a go. It made me wonder if some of the authors I currently love (that I know wrote for the secular market at one time) had much the same conversations with their completely clueless agents when they got saved and made the switch. Bethany Turner’s first foray into the contemporary romance genre wins on so many levels, in my opinion, and it made me think about the many ways I judge people on what I know of their pasts. I think Ben’s response to Sarah’s fear gets to the heart of the book: “Our past shapes us and our past prepares us but our past does not define us.”

If you are looking for a new author to check out, I highly recommend Bethany Turner. I know I couldn’t put it down!

Rated PG: While there is significant discussion of sex within marriage, and some pretty passionate kissing, the book doesn’t step it’s toe over the line to being risqué.

Reviewer’s copy was personally purchased.


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