“The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” by Bethany Turner
Releases October 3rd, 2017 (today!!)
Review copy from the author/publishers; launch team copy.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
About the Book:
Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.
With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life
This book was adorable. The writing style was truly so great, and I was just drawn right in by the first chapter. It was so…readable. :) The style felt so unique and yet still so familiar to my own. And the story – oh my goodness, I had so many giggles throughout it. This was a book where I literally laughed out loud. Which then caused my family to question my sanity a tiny bit, but more so they wanted to know what I was laughing at. So yes, I had to read some parts out loud, and they giggled right alongside me! Sarah was hysterical in so many ways. From her crazy “What if??” scenarios, to her panicked reaction to things. And very relatable in those instances. Her character really was a gem to read.
Piper! Oh Piper, I loved her so much. Will she get her own story, Bethany? Please? She was like *the best* friend. So grounded, so joyful, and so loyal. Yep, loved her.
Ben. Um, yeah he was kinda perfect. Not like unrealistically perfect. But Bible-Nerd cute perfect. You can see why she fell for him right away.
The characters were all so well-written, and like-able (except Patrick…and one or two others that are supposed to be unlikeable. :D). This book was just a lot of fun to read.
So, the only “downside” to this book for me, what made this a 4.5 instead of 5 for me was Sarah’s obsession with sex. Yes, I expected a bit of that, seeing the plot of the story. And for the most part, it was handled really well and tastefully (going from a “steamy romance” novelist to a Christian…tricky transition that would be! But like I said, it was handled well!). And there wasn’t the “shame” that often comes when Christians have to deal with anything sex-related. However, that seemed to be Sarah’s driving point – when could she be together sexually with Ben? It couldn’t be soon enough for her, and sometimes that seemed like the only reason she wanted to be with him. No, I know that’s not true – she was in love with him for more reasons than that, but that was definitely a focal point that got stronger towards the end. There was nothing really inappropriate, but it was…edgy? That’s why I would recommend only for mature readers, because well, there’s a fair amount of sex talk. And for me personally, I don’t think it was all totally necessary. No, sex is not a shameful thing, and like I said, I was impressed that the author didn’t make it so, but I also don’t think it needs to be the focal point of a book, if that makes sense. And I know everyone’s preference on this one is different. I’m just stating this for others who feel as I do. :)
But that aside, it was a really adorable book, and I dearly loved it, enjoying it so very much. Author Bethany Turner writes with such wit, you can’t help but smile and laugh along, and it still deals with tougher aspects of life.
Oh, and the cover…!!! I can’t end my review without saying something about that. The cover for “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” is superb. Spot on. Brilliant. Amazing. Basically, I’m in love with it. As soon as I received my copy, held it in my hands, I was practically drooling over it. So beautiful! <3
(I created the first two – flower pot, and pink background – and the other graphic is from the author herself. :))