Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck 

Paperback, ebook, hardcover

October 3, 2017

by Bethany Turner (Author)

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Revell 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727666

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. 

Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn't afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

My thoughts: THE SECRET LIFE OF SARAH HOLLENBECK is a first-person, chicklit style book. Reeling from her divorce, Sarah is struggling to find her identity apart from her ex-husband's trophy wife. So she joins book clubs. And in the process discovers she can write. And she begins to make friends. Unfortunately, her best friend is judgmental and drops her like a hot potato when she learns Sarah writes steamy romances. 

But Sarah's friend returns. And leads her to Christ. Which means that Sarah is losing it all, it is falling apart right and left, but yet there is this hot new man and... he gets drawn into this drama which ultimately is going to cost him everything too. 

Okay, if you read any chicklit, you know the score. And I've read and LOVED chicklit. I cried when the genre sort of died. But while I've read some really really good chicklit, this wasn't it. 

Ouch, right?  I wanted to love it. I was over-the-moon excited when I saw this hot new debut that was chicklit. YES! I honestly wanted to love it. But I didn't.  

This book was blah. I didn't care one ounce for Sarah. Piper had more personality though I didn't understand her. And some of it seemed rather contrived. 

More conservative readers will have issues with a lot of the book. Divorce. Affairs. Sex with an almost minor. And more. This is like a soap opera. Really. 

But it also touches on the very real tendency of Christians to be judgmental without knowing all the facts. Shoot their wounded instead of supporting them. 

A hard-hitting book that will leave the reader hurting but thinking. And for that, maybe I will give it more than the amount of stars I'd planned. Maybe. Or maybe not. Because the faith message was zilch. 

I was given a free copy. All opinions are my own. 

1 comment:

Marilyn R. said...

Thanks for your honest review of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck.

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