Because a Novel Saved My Life…

Because a Novel Yella's

Me (Nadine) and the first edition of Yella’s Prayers, published back in 2010.

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When I was thirteen years old, a novel saved my life: John Nielson Had a Daughter by Ruth Livingston Hill (Ruth Munce).

Long story behind that, but it’s the reason why John Nielson is my all-time favorite novel. (Later retitled The Homecoming.) It awakened my purpose for writing, and my purpose fueled me as I wrote my first novel at seventeen: Yella’s Prayers.

Seventeen bottled-up years of life, spilling into a book.

I later learned that Munce, who lived to be 103, lived all the way until I began working on the “masterwork of my teenage years.” Yeah. Munce passed just days after I started writing Yella’s Prayers.

I wouldn’t presume to call it a passing of the baton, since Ruth knew nothing about Nadine. But it’s a testament to how one author’s writing can reach further than she knows…

I wrote my firstborn novel with the hope of reaching into someone else’s life. Maybe even further than I might know.

You know?
Inspiring Love Flower
My aspiration is for my words to help people: to bring hope, to change minds, to expand imagination, to provide entertainment, and to save lives—as other authors’ words have done for me.

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Yella’s Prayers

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Meet Nadine C. Keels

 

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

Fiction

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.

5 Stars

My Name is Asher LevMy Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

The fact is that gossip, rumors, mythmaking, and news stories are not appropriate vehicles for the communication of nuances of truth… So it is time for the defense, for a long session in demythology. But I will not apologize. It is absurd to apologize for a mystery.

“Here we go. Already,” or something similar came out of my mouth after I read those lines, not even past the first page of My Name is Asher Lev by author Chaim Potok.

Remembering The Chosen all too well, one of my all-time favorite books by the same author, I expected this novel might take me on another profound journey. And there it started from the first page. Already.

The coming-of-age story of Asher, who begins discovering a mystery from his childhood: his urgent drive to draw and paint, even as his gift as an artist grates against his Hasidic Jewish observance. A story about the sacred, soulish tension between genius and responsibility, between the need to please and the calling to be.

A story about navigating relationships when you have no easy explanations for the people you love and respect.

No, I don’t read many novels this stark and somber in their beauty. Yes, you do have to have an ear for nuance and the power of what’s unsaid to hear and appreciate the music and poetry behind a narrative like this. And, no, even with my passion for arts and creation, I don’t interpret all the matters here in the same way Asher does.

But I get it. I empathize. And it’s a story that empathizes with me and the kind of impossible pain it’s taken to make me into the creative I am, and am becoming.

A fine, raw, magnificent novel. I plan on reading more about Asher Lev.


It was back before I said much in reviews, but I meant every one of my few words about The Chosen.

Go to Nadine's Books of Hope and Inspiration

Genre Details

Historical Fantasy

Historical fiction is my all-time favorite genre! Because the historical stories I write are fictional history in a completely fictional world, they’re technically historical fantasy fiction.

My historical fantasy stories don’t have fantastical elements like magic or mythical creatures. But the history, geography, characters, languages, etc. in the books are all imagined, not factual. Of course, in my role as the English-speaking translator for my characters, I do translate most of their dialogue into English. 😉

These stories will likely appeal to you if you’re a historical fiction fan who can enjoy a story with history that’s purely from an author’s imagination. If you’re a fantasy fiction fan who enjoys fictional worlds and some world building, my historical fantasy fiction may appeal to you as well.

Romance and Love Stories

All romances are love stories, but not all love stories are romances. Even though a book may have a romantic storyline, or a romance within the storyline, it doesn’t necessarily make the book a romance, genre wise.

In a romance book, the romantic relationship must be the story’s central focus. The romance is the story, and the plot would fall apart without it. The plot follows a specified progression (formula), which includes a “Happily Ever After” ending where the romantic couple ends up together.

A love story, on the other hand, may have love as a significant aspect of the plot, but it doesn’t necessarily follow the romance genre formula. For instance, if the romantic aspect of a love story’s plot doesn’t show up until halfway through the book because the hero and heroine don’t meet each other until then, it isn’t a romance. If at the end of a love story, the romantic hero and heroine go their separate ways for a time, and the status of their relationship is left open-ended, it isn’t a romance.

If you’re like me and believe that romantic love is a vital and universal part of life, then my sweet* romances and love stories may appeal to you.

*Note: Concerning the levels of content I write, I’d say my books fall within the “PG” to “PG-13-ish” range.

• No profanity. If a character does curse, I don’t spell it out.
• Nothing beyond sweet romance. (“Sweet” does not mean a light and easy story where only sweet things happen. “Sweet romance” means there are no sex scenes.)
• Whenever there’s violence in my stories, it isn’t gratuitous.
• Any substance use is mild or brief.

I don’t set out to write squeaky clean or unrealistically sanitized fiction, since real life can get messy. But I don’t include “mess” for the sake of it, either.

Go to Nadine's Books

Yella’s Prayers: Deleted Scenes

Love Story

Yella’s Prayers
~ Deleted Scenes ~

Check out the Deleted Scenes from my coming-of-age novel, Yella’s Prayers.
The ebooklet includes not only the extra scenes but also fun tidbits about the earlier, unpublished versions of the story and the original characters.
(The Deleted Scenes ebooklet contains spoilers and should be read after the novel.)
Click the link below to download a free copy!

Yella’s Prayers: Deleted Scenes

Meet Nadine C. Keels