Friday, June 1, 2012

The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere

Many years ago, I ordered a book from the Crossings book club called The Christmas Shoes.  That book started my love for author Donna VanLiere and her works.  She went on to write 5 more novellas in The Christmas Hope series, and there have been movies made based on the first 3. I love her way of tying together both characters and events.  I also love that her books can make me laugh and smile.  They’re real life!

Recently, I was given the wonderful opportunity of reading Donna’s latest work – a full-length novel called The Good Dream – that will be available to the general public on July 3rd.  Here is a bit about the book, followed by my thoughts . . .

429268_361013147264736_654707891_nIn this new full-length novel from the New York Times Bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series Donna VanLiere has written a beautifully rendered and poignant story about one woman’s unlikely path to motherhood and the healing power of love.

Tennessee, 1950:  Still single and in her early thirties, Ivorie Walker is considered an old maid; a label she takes with good humor and a grain of salt. But when her mother dies, leaving her to live alone in the house she grew up in, to work the farm she was raised to take care of, she finds herself lost in a kind of loneliness she hadn’t expected.  After years of rebuffing the advances of imperfect, yet eligible bachelors from her small town, Ivorie is without companionship with more love in her heart and time on her hands than she knows what to do with.

But her life soon changes when a feral, dirty-faced boy who has been sneaking onto her land to steal from her garden comes into her life.  Even though he runs back into the hills as quickly as he arrives, she’s determined to find out who he is because something about the young boy haunts her. What would make him desperate enough to steal and eat from her garden?  But what she can’t imagine is what the boy faces, each day and night, in the filthy lean-to hut miles up in the hills. Who is he? How did he come to live in the hills? Where did he come from? And, more importantly, can she save him?

As Ivorie steps out of her comfort zone to uncover the answers, she unleashes a firestorm in the town—a community that would rather let secrets stay secret.

The Good Dream is a pitch perfect story of redemption and the true meaning of familial love.

425894_363625047003546_1843662240_nDonna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author and gifted conference speaker. She has published ten titles including The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing, both of which were adapted into movies (starring Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Perry and Neil Patrick Harris) and garnered big ratings for CBS television. LifetimeTelevision adapted The Christmas Hope (starring Madeline Stowe) and premiered it December 2009 to stellar ratings as well. Donna's non-seasonal novel, The Angels of Morgan Hill, has captured the same warmth as her Christmas books and continues to please loyal and new fans alike.

Donna is the recipient of a Retailer's Choice Award for Fiction, a Dove Award, a Silver Angel Award, an Audie Award for best inspirational fiction, a nominee for a Gold Medallion Book of the Year and was recently inducted into the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Hall of Excellence joining such luminaries as Coretta Scott King, Hugh Downs, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Senator John Glenn. Donna is an in-demand conference speaker having appeared at countless women's and family events, including select Women of Faith and Extraordinary Women conferences.

Donna lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, Troy, and their children, Grace, Kate and David.

Heidi Says . . . When I received the promotional materials for this book, I was struck by two of the review quotes (you’ll also see these on the below video):

"Donna VanLiere has created a heartwarming story of redemption and has shown the world that she's not just for Christmas anymore."
- Richard Paul Evans, New York Times bestselling author of The Christmas Box, Lost December and Miles to Go

"A great story...a heartwarming winner of a book."
- Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers

The emphasis is mine.  But the fact that two popular authors would call this book “heartwarming” stuck out to me.  I was already drawn into the book just by looking at the cover, so I was anxious to dig in and read.

I was not disappointed.  This book IS truly heartwarming.  It’s a book about love, loss, redemption, and healing.  There have been times, both when reading the book and now long after I’ve finished it, that I felt such a connection with Ivorie and her story.  I commend her for following her heart and doing the right thing even when others seemed to think she was crazy or making a big mistake. 

And I commend Donna VanLiere for writing this book.  If you can read it and your heart not be touched by it, there’s something wrong! 

Be sure to head out to your local bookstore – or to – on July 3rd to pick up your copy!  This one is a keeper!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the products mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on our website.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. This review may also contain some affiliate links.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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