Taking My Life Back by Rebekah Gregory

On April 15, 2013, Rebekah Gregory and her five-year-old son waited at the finish line of the Boston Marathon to support a friend who was running. When the blast of a homemade bomb packed with nails and screws went off three feet away, Rebekah’s legs took the brunt of the explosion, protecting her son from certain death. Seventeen surgeries and sixty-five procedures later, she finally made the decision to have her left leg amputated.

This stirring memoir tells the story of her remarkable recovery–including her triumphant return to Boston two years later to run part of the race and her participation in the trial of one of the terrorists–and explores the peace we experience when we learn to trust God with every part of our lives: the good, the bad, and even the terrifying. – from publisher’s website


I remember where I was and how I heard about the Boston bombings and it was eye-opening to read about how it affected someone not just at the event itself, but recovering from it and as she says, taking her life back. I liked how Rebekah didn’t sugarcoat her story and I felt she did a good job of talking about her own mistakes she’d made in her life. I also liked how she didn’t paint herself as a victim but as someone who was living in spite of everything. She focused more on how she recovered from the effects of the bombings than the actual bombings themselves. I also liked what she said about happy endings and that she calls them happy continuations because it doesn’t end but rather continues.

Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah? – from author’s website


I think this was probably my favorite Denise Hunter book. I loved the story of redemption and forgiveness in a broken marriage. The brokenness of the two characters and how different their pasts were brought a depth to the story that tugged at my heart strings. I thought the difficult subject was presented in a beautifully broken way that was both delicate but not skimping over the tough parts. Through flashbacks, you experience how they first fell in love and how critical points in Josephine’s life affected her. Through the present, you experience the brokenness that came from their choices that resulted in a failed marriage and their story of redemption.

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires. – from author’s website


This was another delightful read from Karen Witemeyer. It was a little different than most of her books in that it followed the main romance but also had a side romance. The way Witemeyer did it was tasteful and still gave you the depth to her characters that you normally expect from her. I could relate to almost all of the characters in some manner and it made the story more enjoyable for me. I liked how Witemeyer took the modern online dating and put it in the past as two people talking over the wire using Morse code. I guess one negative thing I could say about the book was that I wished I could have fallen deeper into Helen’s story and have it as a separate book, but I guess that attests to how well I enjoy Witemeyer’s characters.