Friday, February 10, 2012

Bittersweet Surrender

Bittersweet Surrender
Diann Hunt
(Thomas Nelson)
December 2011/E-book/524 KB/$9.99

The last few years have been tough, but now Carly Westlake’s life seems picture perfect. Business at her spa is up thanks to her famous chocolate facials. And Jake Mitchell—-her dreamy, teenage crush-—has moved back to Spring Creek, Vermont, with his daughter in tow. Carly’s nearly floored to learn that Jake has his sights set on winning her heart.

But when long-buried secrets threaten her business-—and her friendship with her best friend and business-partner, Tom—-Carly has to fight like crazy to keep her plans afloat. Can it be that her dream of marrying Jake Mitchell isn’t the plan God has for her life? What if God’s plan requires something totally unexpected . . . a bittersweet surrender that Carly must make before she can discover true love?

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate. Learn more about her on her website. She also contributes to the Girls Write Out blog with fellow authors and friends Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, Kristin Billerbeck, and Cheryl Hodde (pen name Hannah Alexander).

I thought this sounded like a fun, lighthearted, chick-lit novel to enjoy on a dreary day, and while it definitely met those expectations, it is so much more as well. Diann Hunt has written a story that touched my heart. Carly is scarred by her experiences--breast cancer, a husband's desertion, the death of her dear friend who was also Tom's wife, and the extra pounds that her love for chocolate has wrought--and she struggles with her body image and confidence as a result. Many women will identify with the authentic emotions, frustrations, and insecurities that Carly battles. The novel isn't all drama though, as there are plenty of lighter moments, such as when Carly's step-mother moves in with her temporarily -- at least Carly hopes it's temporarily! A fun bonus is the book's setting near Smitten, the delightful town/novel created by Diann and 3 of her Girls Write Out blogging author friends, which I reviewed in early December. Whether you are looking for a book with an underlying message of faith or a simply an enjoyable read, I definitely recommend this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an electronic copy of this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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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