Author of Sweet Hope and Happy Endings

Tag: Camping


BOOK BY: Erin Bartels

The author has a special talent in pulling the reader into the setting of the story. Almost the entirety of the novel takes place in the Porcupine Mountains where characters are hiking, camping and trying to work through issues they’ve ignored for the past decade. This story is very much character driven, with internal struggles causing much of the friction between sisters – Olivia and Melanie. I appreciated the beautiful and polished narrative.

If you are used to reading Christian fiction with a strong faith thread, you will get that here but unlike what a Bible-believing reader has come to expect in the Christian Fiction market. Religious faith, New Age faith, agnosticism and everything in between is discussed as characters grapple with their internal struggles. When Melanie and Olivia started discussing Tarot cards and what they meant and believing in reincarnation, the enjoyment of reading completely left. The question of the existence of God continues throughout the novel, with minor characters feeding into the discussion (who by all appearances believe in the existence of God). The dialogue doesn’t resolve the questions satisfactorily – and sometimes is left completely unfinished, an abrupt change in conversation – and invokes more questions than answers. At the end of the novel, neither sister has resolved their issues with faith – or have they? The reader is left wondering.

As well, a sort of friend/love triangle happens which causes more friction between sisters. That kind of trope isn’t my cup of tea, though other readers will love it. It is handled relatively well – but again, it’s just not my thing.

The biggest disappointment for this reader was the faith thread. If this book had been marketed for the general fiction market, I likely would have enjoyed it more. But with the expectation that this is marketed as Christian Fiction, it is lacking in the essentials. Hope and pointing readers to Truth.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Happy Camper


Book By: Melody Carlson

photo source: goodreads
photo source: GoodReads

What a sweet read!

I love camping in our RV, so when I saw the book cover to Melody Carlson’s latest release I HAD to read it!

To be honest, I was more interested in the restoration of the antique trailer than in the love interest of the heroine. The book did not disappoint – I learned quite a bit about restoration and could picture the transformation in my mind thanks to the vivid detail and descriptions provided by the author.

The story follows Dillon Michaels, a fed up computer programmer who calls it quits one day on the boyfriend who hasn’t been able to commit and on the tyrannical boss who expects Dillon to be a slave to the office. Neat, orderly and organized Dillon makes a spontaneous decision that sends her packing and heading home to her grandfather’s farm where she grew up.

Perhaps the most precious thing about returning home is the gift her grandfather gives her – a-run-down-in-bad-shape-fixer-upper-antique-trailer he’d been given by the widow of a close friend. To the average person, the trailer would be worthy of the junkyard, but to Dillon, it was just the change she needed. She throws herself into the restoration and finds a new calling in life.

Secondary characters abound and add complications to Dillon’s planned reprieve from life – especially the clueless ex-boyfriend who is determined to make Dillon his, while a budding friendship with the town’s local hardware owner is just what she needs to embark on a new adventure.

A light-hearted read that has arrived just in time for camping season.

If you love camping (or even glamping), you’ll enjoy The Happy Camper.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

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