The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Frankly, Sarah’s become rich and famous (well, at least, she’s rich, her nom de plume is famous) for writing hot and heavy romance novels. But once she becomes a Christian, her career doesn’t really mesh with the person she wants to be. So what’s next?

I appreciate author Bethany Turner’s smart and humorous style in The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. Turner picks up on some of the little human complexities that not everyone can catch or put into words. Now, I’d never heard of maybe half the actors, movies, or what all else Sarah jokes about, so some of the humor was lost on me. But I can confirm that her references to The Sound of Music and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman are on point!

Still, it turns out that this novel’s plot isn’t what I thought I’d signed up for. Judging by the book blurb (yes, I did actually read the blurb this time!), I thought this novel would be a women’s fiction or chick lit read mostly focused on a new believer and her career, with a little romance on the side.

Almost sixty pages into it, there was no romantic hero in the picture at all, and romance novels tend not to take that long to introduce the romantic characters. So I was kind of disappointed when the focus did eventually switch to romance, with Sarah’s career slipping more to the side.

Besides, when a relationship keeps cycling back to sex (in cases like this, cycling back to “trying really hard not to have sex”), it bugs me. I think Sarah herself hits the nail on the head in her reference to Michaela and Sully on Dr. Quinn: “The waiting wasn’t preached to us.” That’s what made it all the more appealing.  I could explain everything I think about that, but then this wouldn’t be a book review anymore.

While I only got halfway through this novel before deciding not to continue, I enjoyed this author’s style enough to read her again sometime.


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