Wednesday, June 27, 2007

BJ Hoff's The Song Weaver

...and an update on Cindy's Book Club!

A BJ Hoff book is always an event for me. I count her Emerald Ballad series among my favorite books, I was delighted to read her Mountain Song Legacy trilogy, which culminates in The Song Weaver.

Vintage BJ Hoff

After reading the first two books in the Mountain Legacy series, Maggie McAuley, her family, and Jonathan Stuart had become very real to me. I was delighted to see Maggie and Jonathan fall in love, and was looking forward to how their story would conclude.

BJ Hoff doesn't disappoint. Maggie and Jonathan, now newly-married, face adversity together with a strong reliance on their faith. Heartwarming without being cloying, "The Song Weaver" draws the reader in with solid storytelling and nuanced characters. Hoff doesn't sugarcoat the realities of living in a coal-mining town in the early 1900's, but she doesn't skimp on hope and grace.

A running thread to the story is the power of music to heal, build up and bring joy--not surprising, as BJ Hoff herself is a music lover and teacher.

Like a warm visit with a good friend over a hot cup of tea, "The Song Weaver" offers comfort and satisfaction...and you don't want the visit to come to an end.

BJ tells me her next book will re-visit a character from her Emerald Ballad series. I can't wait!

An Update on Cindy's Book Club!

As I've mentioned earlier in this blog, Cindy's Book Club is an idea that my 101QFL co-host Darren Marlar and I came up with on a very experimental basis.

Based on Oprah's Book Club...albeit on a much, much tinier scale...Cindy's Book Club is aimed at promoting and encouraging the reading of Christian fiction.

As I scan the blogosphere, I realize--avid reader though I am--I've only scratched the surface of the incredible Christian fiction books that are out there. They deserve wide readership. Some of the best writers of our day are writing Christian fiction; I'm convinced of that.

Cindy's Book Club is my small way of doing what I can to spread the word about some of these books.

We're just days away from our first book discussion, and I'm SO excited about it! Our listeners have responded very well, especially considering this is our very first month.

On Saturday, I'll join around 20 women who have read our June pick, Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson, at the Cannoli Caffe here in Rockford. We'll get to know each other, drink delicious coffee, talk about "Quaker Summer," and I'll give away awesome door prizes...which will include a copy of our July pick, Split Ends by Kristin Billerbeck. I can't wait!

A talk with Sharon Hinck

Although Sharon Hinck's "The Restorer" is our August pick, I ended up interviewing Sharon today (I'll save the interview for airing in late July. Kristin Billerbeck wasn't available this week...I look forward to talking with her next week.)

Anyway, I had the most delightful time talking with Sharon! The Restorer is an unusual book, and one that, frankly, I wasn't sure I was going to like. It's a unique blend of fantasy and faith--pretty hard to describe. But as I told Sharon, she grabbed me from the first paragraph. I had a really, really hard time putting the book down--I LOVED it-- and I'm thrilled to spread the word about it.

Fortunately for me and those who have yet to fall in love with The Restorer, this is a series as well. I can't wait to sink my teeth into The Restorer's Son!

Any ideas?

Although, naturally, only people who live in this area can physically take part in Cindy's Book Club, I'd like very much to open it up to the blogosphere. If you have any ideas on how I can do this, please let me know.

For starters, if you're so inclined, check out the Cindy's Book Club blog on a regular basis. If you would be so kind, put it on your blogrolls as well.

You're warmly invited to read the books along with us, and comment freely on the blog. I would love to see this idea take off and make a real difference in promoting Christian fiction and exposing it to a wider audience!

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