Friday, August 18, 2017

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck Review

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck
By: Bethany Turner

Steamy romance writer Sarah Hollenbeck's career is at its peak, but reconciling her writing with her newfound faith proves more difficult than she imagined--and falling for her pastor doesn't make things any easier.

I received an Advanced Reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was my first foray into the Christian Romance genre, and I found myself somewhat pleasantly surprised by it. I have always been hesitant to pick up any type of religious book with a sense of trepidation that the story would be lost in the religious aspects of the writing. The author did a great job at putting the story first and giving religion a back seat. 

The main character, Sarah, goes on a journey of self discovery after her sudden divorce in an attempt to find out who she is now that she's no longer 'Sarah McDermott'. During her marriage she identified herself based on the man she was with, it made her seem pathetic. As does the journey she takes to find herself again. I applaud the author's attempt to give Sarah a meaningful journey, making her into a famous and popular steamy romance novelist, but she took a sharp turn at Sarah's out of the blue "salvation" and it just didn't feel authentic. Especially as she became ashamed of the novel she had written because of it's sexual content. The one thing that she had done on her own, that helped her become her own person had suddenly (literally, in the span of a minute's decision) became an embarrassment to her and she wished it didn't exist. 

I enjoyed Sarah's relationship with pastor Ben. His character was cute and charming and his story was tragic. I liked the bit of drama the author threw in, and also that it wasn't blown out of proportion and was, for the most part, easily dealt with once all parties were on the same page. I did feel as though Sarah's character was falling back into her past desire to identify herself by her husband. She cared a great deal and thought a great deal about what their fellow churchgoers would think of her and her actions as a pastors wife, and whether or not they would accept her as such. The idea that a group of her peers would judge her based on a fictitious novel that she wrote is exactly the intolerant attitude that I have always thought gave religion a negative connotation.  

The book was a light, quick read that was a nice interlude from the darker novel's I have been reading as of late. It was exactly what I needed to distract me from the negative. Based on my impressions of this book I will definitely be more open to trying more books from this genre with an open mind. Apparently, no matter the type, I will always be a sucker for a romance. 

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading,

Opinionated Bookworm

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