Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: I LEFT MY HEART ON MACKINAC ISLAND


Series: My Heart Belongs
Genre: Adult, Christian, Fiction, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Barbour
Publication date: July 1

Journey now to Mackinac Island where... A Tangled Gilded Age Love Story Unfolds. Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel. 
Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel. While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders—including Maude—and he digs deep for his story. But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?
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Review:

There are some books that I pick up because I like the cover or the title or something in the blurb.  It's hard to tell what will catch my eye when I go browsing on certain days.

This book I chose because friends speak so fondly of the setting.  I have a magnet from the island and while I never have been, I know it to be a special place.

Let me put the review into further context with a TV show.  Gran Hotel is set in Spain and I started watching it because I wanted to get a sense of not just the sites where it took place, but of the people who walked the streets of those towns and the footpaths through those valleys.

This book invites me into the setting in the same way that Gran Hotel does.  I wanted to look up many of the locations, but felt like it would take me out of the story to focus on the topography of the book.

Instead, I found myself finding a rich ensemble cast.  Maude and Ben, who have secrets to keep and very individual reasons for those deceptions, are almost tangential love interests.  Their actions towards each other are period-appropriate and feel natural.  Around them, some of the characters seem to be trying too hard--everyone has a kind word to say about Maude, who might as well be a Disney princess for her notoriety, but is more down-to-earth--but I was charmed by Jack, the aspiring Olympian cum trickster.  I found comedies of errors in mistaken impressions of Maude's extended family.

Overall, the plot had good pacing and enough turns and intrigues for me to enjoy it.


ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper.” Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.


Ten of my Fave authors are:Tamera Alexander, who gave me this beautiful endorsement:
Julie Lessman – amazing historical romance with strong family ties
Susie/Susanne Dietze – a rising star in CBA fiction!
Tracie Peterson – I love her audiobooks in particular!
Julie Klassen – especially her early books
Michelle Griep -- her Regencies are amazing!
Serena Miller – a lovely lady with equally lovely books – some set in Michigan
Debbie Lynne Costello – check out her medieval stories!
Rachel Hauck’s dual-time audiobooks are lovely
Suzanne Woods Fisher who gave me this wonderful endorsement:
1. We stayed at the Grand Hotel for me to conduct some of my research.
2. We also stayed at the Windermere, which is the inspiration for my heroine’s inn.
3. The owner of the Windermere is Margaret Doud, Mackinac Island’s mayor and I’d wager we could rightly call her Mackinac Island’s “First Lady.”
4. The Round Island Lighthouse was being built in 1895, as indicated in the story, but on my cover there are two lighthouses, which there weren’t then – but it’s still a gorgeous cover, isn’t it?
5. This is my “Problem Child” manuscript and I knew I wanted this story to matter so I called in the “big guns” to help me. Julee Schwarzburg, a top editor in Christian fiction, came in and consulted on the overall proposal and theme and some of the editing. Sue Brower, who had been at Zondervan for decades, helped edit the first three chapters for the Maggie Unpublished awards, which this story finaled in. Julie Gwinn, a wonderful editor who had switched to agenting but took my story as a freelance job, came in and did a great job of directing me in which way I should go – but she didn’t molly coddle me, and I needed for her to treat me like that – as if I could fix it, and I did, PTL!
6. Maude was originally a much more “neurotic” type of character in that she had some OCD stuff that her maternal grandmother had instilled in her. One of my consultants, not mentioned above, said she was too “crazy” and I should tone her down. So I did.
7. I went to Arch Rock a number of different ways and on different days, to get a feel for the special scene I have toward the end. On one of these, the transportation almost left without me!

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me on your blog! Off today to Mackinac Island for two days of book signings PTL!

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  2. What a fun review! I really would love to read this story for myself :-)

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    1. Hi Trixi! I hope you get to read My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island soon!

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  3. I read this book and it is super good! I love Mackinac Island!

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    1. Thanks so much Paula! I love Mackinac Island, too! Am going over there again on Thursday!

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  4. I loved finding out about the problems that you had while trying to write this book. What a wonderful blog post.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! I appreciate you coming by on the hop!

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  5. I love reading behind the scenes facts :)

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  6. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance to win.

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