I recently finished reading The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner.
You guys. I think Christian fiction has turned on its head. I seriously have never read a book like this in my entire life. How many books–especially Christian/inspirational romance books–have I read? Hold on, let me check my Goodreads…
459, people! 459 books! I have never, in 459 books, read one like this. I am not exaggerating when I say that this book will change how I view the inspirational romance genre for the rest of time.
Where do I even begin? It was so relatable. You know all those moments in Hallmark movies that make you roll your eyes and cringe? There was none of that. In fact, I think Bethany Turner even gave those cheesy romances a clapback or two! It addresses all the complexities of relationships that most books ignore or simply gloss over. Not here! The romance, although very much love-at-first-sight (hey, despite my cynicism, I somehow still believe it exists), was perfectly executed. There was not a single campy moment. Every issue the characters experienced was genuinely beneficial to the story and made them and their relationship stronger. It wasn’t useless drama-for-your-mama just for the sake of drama. I loved the format of the book, almost like Sarah was telling us her own story from a more mature and wise point of view. Which reminds me, all of these characters were fantastic. Every single one added depth and richness to the story and served it incredibly well. I wish I could go over every bit of the plot with you, but for the sake of time and spoilers, suffice it to say that I loved every second. As soon as I finished it (which was in one sitting), I turned around and read it a second time. It was that good!
As I’m sure you can tell, this is definitely a new favorite for me, and it’s definitely one of the best books of 2017, without a doubt. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever watched a Hallmark movie and died a little inside at the absurdity of it or for the person who has read countless (459) romance novels and yet still believes (hopes) in love-at-first-sight. You will not be disappointed.
I received this book from the publisher, but I was in no way required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.