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Two more books for your Christmas List

Christmas is only two days away now so while it might be too late to add these to your list this year but both of Lorna Seilstad’s books are well worth purchasing with those Amazon and Barnes and Noble gift cards that’ll fill any reader’s stocking.

I was drawn to Lorna’s Lake Manawa series because of the unique setting. So many historical books are set in places like Texas, New York, California, Colorado, or Montana—how refreshing to find a story set on a resort lake in the heart of the Midwest. I loved learning how the elite vacationed back then.

Both Making Waves and A Great Catch are perfect reads for these wintery months because for the couple days it’ll take you to read them (and only a couple days because you won’t be able to put them down) you’ll be transported to a summer or swimming, sailing, playing games, flirting, eating ice-cream, star-gazing, and sharing many laughs.

Making Waves had me hooked (and laughing) by page one. Seilstad has this amazing ability to slip subtle wit into the character’s dialogue and internal thoughts unlike so many writers who try to attempt humor and it comes across forced.

The main character, Marguerite, was courageous, headstrong, and spunky. She often finds herself in bad situations that are of her own making—yet she never means for them to happen. She is perfectly flawed which makes her a loveable character. We root for her, see ourselves in her, and rationalize with the lies she finds herself telling.

As one “little white lie” carries to the next. Marguerite finds ways to explain away all her small compromises (which are often with good intentions) like so often we do in our own life. When Marguerite discovers that her father is harboring a big-dark lie she must face consequences and decide if she will do something that will affect the rest of her life in order to save her family.

The leading man, Trip, has lies of his own to battle. When he finds out Marguerite has been lying to him he must decide what to do, but when he finds out that a lie his father told him in childhood has colored how he sees his own life, Trip must take action to change the tides.

Making Waves is an engaging read. The story has family drama, humor, romance, history, mystery, and mild suspense. After reading it I counted the days and pre-ordered A Great Catch and wasn’t disappointed.

A Great Catch had me hooked by the fifth sentence. This book is light-hearted and endearing.

The main character, Emily, is determined to change the world. Doing everything in her power to promote the women’s suffrage movement, Emily has determined that no man will run her life or make her give up her dreams. And God? She wasn’t about to ask Him how she should be spending her time…what if He wanted her to stop devoting her time to fighting for women’s rights?

While Emily wanted to change the world, Carter, the hero in the story, just wants to change his family’s opinion. His brother and parents want him to grow up, stop playing baseball, and join the family bank. But Carter sets out to prove to them that he can have a life playing the game he loves.

Emily’s clumsiness, her meddling aunts, and a tin of bust-improving-food provide one laugh-out-loud moment after another.

And yet there is a message in this book—make time for God—one I so needed to hear. Emily was so focused on her god-given cause that she forgot to focus on God at all. Emily is president of her local suffragist organization which has an arm-load of responsibilities. Beyond that she is under deadline writing articles, giving speeches, and organizing a huge event to shed light on the suffrage movement. Add a growing friendship with Carter into the equation and suddenly Emily realizes that God has fallen into last place in her life.

On the other hand, we have Carter who places a high priority on seeking what God wants in his life, so much so that he’s willing to give up a relationship with Emily if it might mean making a compromise in his faith. This was a nicely done thread that is rarely touched in Christian fiction.

Both of these books are entertaining and offer enough mystery that while you know they two main characters will end up together in the end, you just have no idea how it will come about. Beyond that, so often secondary characters are no more than cardboard cut-outs in fiction, not so with these two books, the side characters leap off the page with stories all their own.

I highly recommend both books, they are nothing short of fantastic. It’s hard to explain how such deep messages can be conveyed in the same books as side-spliting humor, but Seilstad does it seamlessly.