Thursday 15 March 2018

What Dreams May Come Review

What Dreams May Come 
Review by Carolyn Miller @CarolynMAuthor

She's got her heart set on becoming a missionary. He's determined to recruit her for the job.
But is it possible to fall in love with someone you've never even met?

Susannah’s convinced that God has called her to the mission field. That’s why she’s serving him with single-minded focus in Orchard Grove, waiting for the day when she can leave her small town to take the gospel to the nations. Is falling in love with her missionary recruiter part of God’s plan for her life or a distraction from the real goal?

Scott loves his life. Traveling the globe, offering spiritual support to missionaries around the world offers enough excitement that the loneliness hardly ever gets to him …
Until he receives an application from a young girl with a heart for the mission field as large as his own, a young girl he finds himself falling for even before they get the chance to meet face-to-face.

Unfortunately, a promise Susannah made to her family may tear her and Scott even farther apart than the miles that separate them.

Book one in an inspirational sweet romance series by award-winning Christian author Alana Terry, who has won awards from Women of Faith, The Book Club Network, Grace Awards, and several others, What Dreams May Come is based off of the author’s own experiences falling in love with (and eventually marrying) her missionary recruiter.

I remember first hearing about this book on Carrie Booth Schmidt’s blog ‘Reading is my Superpower’ and being intrigued by the premise. When Bookbub recently had it on sale, the ‘Look Inside’ first few chapters were enough for me to snap it up.

It’s an interesting novel for a number of reasons. One, the plot follows the author’s own story of connecting with, and falling in love with, her missionary recruiter. To me, this added a sweet though slightly disconcerting element, as at times it seemed hard to separate fact from fiction. Maybe it’s just me, but when the hero says things like “You are the most compassionate, gentle-spirited person I know…there’s none as sweet or as giving or as selfless as you…” then it’s hard to read that without wondering what is fictional and what is (enhanced?) fact, which can feel a little intrusive.

Another interesting factor is how it progresses, with very short chapters told from alternating viewpoints, followed by a lengthy section devoted to emails as a form of flashback to fill in the details on what exactly happened in their relationship, then another section of action.

There is a great deal of introspection, with some chapters seemingly almost wholly consisting of characters questioning their motives and rehashing what happened, which, while helpful in understanding their thought processes, is not something I’m used to in contemporary fiction, and something that seems to fly in the face of ‘show, don’t tell’ writing advice we hear.

I’m not used to reading about such sheltered (almost Mary Sue type) main characters, so it was good to see characters like Grandma Lucy and Kitty add an element of grit and challenge. I’ve known ‘Grandma Lucy’ types, and enjoy the passion and directness they bring out in others, and the Kitty character was fully realised, someone I could see from my days working with special needs children in school.

Overall, this book appealed to me because I could relate to some of the heroine’s issues: the interest in missions, the questions about God’s call, and the doubts about relationships. This book is the first in ‘A Sweet Dreams Christmas Romance’ series, which sees Grandma Lucy return.

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, and The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, all available from Amazon, Book Depository, Koorong, etc
Connect with her: website | facebook | pinterest | twitter

1 comment:

  1. I think I saw this on Reading is my Superpower, but I didn't see it on BookBub. If I had, I would have bought it as well, because the premise did intrigue me. But I'm always a little hesitant of novels based on real-life events - like you, I always end up wondering what was true and what wasn't.

    Thanks for the review!


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