Book Review: Unbreakable

Book review time! This time I have Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl to share with you, courtesy of the blogging review program offered by Bethany House Publishers.

Unbreakable | The Pajama Chef

Here is a description of the book from the publisher:

Hope Kauffman has never been one to question her Mennonite beliefs. But changes have begun to stir in their small town, and their traditional ways are being challenged from within. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is moving for reform, while her fiancé, Ebbie Miller, insists Kingdom must remain true to its foundation. When Hope’s personal safety is threatened by an outsider, even she begins to question the Mennonite tradition of nonviolence. Now the town that’s always stood together finds itself divided. Will Hope and the people of Kingdom allow fear to break them, or will they draw on the strength of the God they serve?

As usual, here’s my 5 point review:

  • This is book two in the Road to Kingdom series. I reviewed Inescapable last fall. The storyline was intriguing and interesting. Nancy Mehl is a thoughtful, talented author with an authentic voice.
  • One of the major strengths of this novel is the discussion of the Mennonite value of nonviolence versus justice and the desire to protect the community. It is always inspiring to hear people stand up for their beliefs in adversity, and that is exactly what this book focuses on. Nonviolence is quite admirable, and since this path is chosen based on faith and belief, it is even more so here.
  • I also really cared about the characters in this story. Hope’s [mostly predictable but always with a twist] romantic ties to both Jonathon and Ebbie were just fun to read about because Nancy Mehl succeeds in drawing the readers into the lives of all three characters. I genuinely wanted all of them to be happy, no matter the outcome… and I was happy about how everything turned out.
  • That being said, I think I preferred the first book in the series to this one. I think I found the story more believable and less contrived. Now, I haven’t ever lived near large Mennonite communities so I’m not really sure if there is a history of conflict from “outsiders,” but this book took much more suspension of disbelief for me to get into.
  • All in all, I’d recommend this book… but probably only if you have already read the first in the series and care about the characters. I wasn’t ever close to not finishing this book but I can’t say it’s my favorite of all time. But if you have read Inescapable or are interested in approaches to nonviolence, do check it out!

What are you reading lately?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book! 


Book Review: Inescapable

So, I hate to admit that I am a bit behind on my book reviews that are part of the blogger review program for Bethany House Publishers, a well-respected publisher of Christian fiction and other Christian titles. Fortunately, they are extremely graceful, and for that, I thank them. But just because I am behind does not mean that I am not a fan of Nancy Mehl’s Inescapable or the next book I’ll review soon [with Ben’s help!].

Inescapable book cover

Here is the description of the book from the publisher:

Lizzie Engel ran away from her Mennonite hometown and swore she’d never return. But five years later, a stalker and a string of threatening letters have left her with no other option. Back in Kingdom, Lizzie attempts to plan her next move with the help of her old friend Noah Housler—and realizes she may not have left her roots as firmly in the past as she’d thought. When it becomes clear that the danger has followed her to Kingdom, Lizzie no longer knows who to trust.

As with my usual style… here’s my five point review!

  • This was a super fast read. From the first pages, you’re sucked into Lizzie’s story, interested her welfare as well as that of her young daughter, Charity. You just want them to be safe and okay and happy. You can tell that they aren’t, but you’re a bit confused as to why. And you are so torn between Lizzie’s love interests… but at the end her choice is so easy, so wonderful, and so satisfying. I love a good love story! 🙂
  • This is the first Christian romance about Mennonites that I’ve ever read. I’ve read a lot of Amish romance novels [ha! so lame!] and found similarities between the cultures, but also differences. It was an educational read in that sense [don’t worry, it’s not school :)].
  • Reading about Lizzie’s growth in faith and learning a right view of God as a loving Father was so encouraging. There are several women who really minister to Lizzie as she returns home, and it was awesome to read about that grace, forgiveness, mercy, and redemption.
  • Speaking of redemption, I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there is soooo much redemption taking place in this story, in Lizzie’s life, in her family. Absolutely love this! I know she isn’t real [gasp!], but it’s an amazing illustration of what God can do in people’s lives.
  • Overall, I thought this was a fun, interesting read. I love the dual romance/mystery nature of the book, and would definitely read more of Nancy Mehl‘s work, including the next book in the Road to Kingdom series [expected to be released spring 2013].

What are you reading lately?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!