Love Among the Lilacs (Book Review, Blog Tour and Giveaway)

Love-Among-the-Lilacs-216x300About the Book

Book title: Love Among the Lilacs

Author: Jenna Victoria

Release date: April 4, 2017

Genre: Sweet Romance

Bookkeeper Mollie Wright knows about living on the streets, and her purchase of sweet Lilac Cottage is a dream come true. She is determined to stay and fight when a legal error puts her ownership at risk. Attorney Sean Grady never wanted his great-aunts to sell their cottage in Westchester County, New York, so when a paperwork snafu puts the deal on hold, he moves swiftly to evict the pretty, feisty squatter. Mollie finds unexpected allies in Grady Cove neighbors and a member of Sean’s own family but knows the clock is ticking. Will a theft and her past secrets force a showdown to heartache, or will Mollie and Sean discover home is truly where your heart is?

Purchase ‘Love Among the Lilacs’

 

 profile-photo-jpg-50My Thoughts:

“Mollie’s merry-go-round had chipped wooden horses that inflicted splinters and a calliope organ that played only unhappy tunes.”

 I love happily-ever-afters. I really do!

Both Molly and Sean have good reason to be mistrusting of other people and relationships. To expect that those they get close to will eventually betray them. Jenna Victoria writes beautifully, adding just the right amount of conflict and suspense, with a healthy dose of humor. I love the lilac theme, which wafts its way throughout the entire book. In fact, I found myself ‘googling’ and researching the various types of lilacs. Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised – so gorgeous. I am hoping they will grow where I live.

All of the characters are well developed and rounded, even Alma who isn’t physically around for long. I love Emily Rogers and Maria but absolutely adore Aunt Genevieve. She is full of wisdom but at the same time such a hoot. As I read Jenna’s lovely story I was frequently in stitches of laughter. It is sad that we weren’t able to know Aunt Alma better, however, Ms. Victoria gives us many hints and clues, from which we can only deduce, she was a beautiful soul. Quite often the true heart of a person isn’t fully revealed until after they have passed away. Jenna Victoria portrays this well. The analogies throughout were perfectly done.

“Life did not often go in Mollie’s favor, yet the entire real estate closing process had unfolded as seamlessly as a bolt of well-made silk”.

“Never look back”.  “For the first time, her mantra represented a flower unfolding in the sunlight, rather than one cut off at the root.”

I found myself just about unable to put this sweet book down, reading it over two sessions. I’d have read it in one go if chores and other commitments hadn’t taken priority. Yes, the ending was perfectly beautiful (not apologizing for ‘unnecessary’ use of adverbs). Mollie and Sean’s relationship came to a satisfying conclusion after so many bumps in the road. All of the loose ends, for all characters, were neatly and fragrantly tied together by the end of the book.

My only misgiving about this book is that it had to end. A sequel would be nice *hint hint*.  Would I read ‘Love Among the Lilacs’ again sometime? That’s a resounding ‘yes!’.

This is the first book penned by Jenna Victoria that I have read, but I guarantee I will be looking out for more. What a gem!

For its portrayal of human weaknesses, the assumptions we often make about others, and the importance of anticipation and forgiveness, all married together by fragrant love, I have given this book 5 stars.

I received this book as an ARC from the author via CelebrateLit at no cost. I was under no obligation to give a positive review, just an honest one. All thoughts are entirely my own.

Please feel free to jump on board and read the other blog stops along the way. It is always a wonderful opportunity to discover the sites of other writers and bloggers, and of course, offer invaluable support to the author.

Past Blog Stops

May 25: Pause for Tales

May 25: Avid Reader Book Review

May 26: Carpe Diem

May 27: Ashley’s Bookshelf

May 28: Live.Love.Read.

May 29: Lane Hill House

May 29: Christian Bookaholic

May 30: Moments Dipped in Ink

May 30: Karen Sue Hadley

You are here May 31: Josephine-AnneWrites

Blog Stops Still to Come

June 1: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 2: Have A Wonderful Day

June 3: Inklings and Notions

June 4: A Baker’s Perspective

June 5: Caffeinated Reads

June 6: His Grace is Sufficient

June 7: my site/autism mom

beth-head-shot-smaller-300x300About the Author

Ever since her grandfather co-created Twinkies, Snowballs & Hostess cupcakes for Intercontinental Baking Company, circa 1955, Jenna has yet to taste a cake she hasn’t liked.
Jenna writes books for readers who enjoy sweet & compelling romances, and also for those who look for her “fiction that feeds your faith” titles – happily-ever-after romance & romantic suspense stories with a Christian worldview. Her stories emulate those she enjoys reading…with a heroine who is in grave danger & a hero who is smart enough to get out of her way as she kicks butt and takes down names… and those that feature satisfying fairy-tale-endings.
Her clean romances won’t put you into a diabetic coma, and her faith-based romances aren’t preachy or unrealistic. It is her glad purpose to glorify God and His sacrificial love through His Son, Jesus Christ through books that illustrate hope & peace in unbearable situations. Her first triple negative breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 has led to surgeries, radiation, reoccurrences and incurable metastasis. Still, Jenna continues to praise God and trust His oversight in her life; and continues to write more books.

ebdbd602-34f2-4074-bfbf-e106d8206271-300x157Don’t forget to enter the giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jenna is giving away a grand prize of an authentic, new in unopened gift box Coach zipper accordion leather wallet – from their Disney X Collection (Value $140.00)!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! enter Jenna’s Giveaway here

Guest Post from Jenna Victoria

I am thrilled you will be introducing my newest novel, Love Among the Lilacs, to your readers and visitors through CelebrateLit. I am excited to share this sweet love story with quirky characters who hijacked the plot mid-stream, and took me places I did not anticipate!
So – Why Love Among the Lilacs? I chose the title and a subplot regarding lilacs for one reason – I absolutely adore the scent! The fact that a lilac’s bloom is so fleeting, makes their fragrance that much more memorable and anticipated.

jenna pic 1Mollie Wright anticipates something too – finally buying her own home, Lilac Cottage, after a childhood of homelessness. Genevieve Carter, one of the two elderly sellers, leaves her a note of welcome next to a small bouquet of lilacs in Mollie’s new bedroom, after the closing. This helps readers experience Genevieve’s spirit of generosity. Isn’t the bedroom phone antique? The sisters lived in the cottage for more than 50 years and changed little of its amenities.
How did I choose to write about Mollie? What if a character dreamed and saved and finally bought a house after a childhood of homelessness? Then, due to a real estate closing error and interference by the seller’s great-nephew, her sweet cottage ownership is in real peril. Dare she hope for a positive outcome?

 

Jenna pic 2Attorney Sean Grady didn’t want his maternal great-aunts, who lovingly raised him and his younger brother Mark, to sell Lilac Cottage. After a rookie mistake led to a tragedy when he was an associate at his family law firm, Sean decided to concentrate on elder law. He’s seen plenty of abuse of the elderly in his ten-year career, and something about Mollie Write doesn’t sit well with him.

Mollie finds support from her neighbors – including long retired Emily Rogers (Genevieve’s BFF) who often visits Lilac Cottage’s back garden through this connecting gate. It’s so beautiful! She reveals her profession which is perfectly suited to Mollie’s needs. We see selfless giving and stalwart friendship in Emily’s character.

 

Jenna pic 3Mollie has secrets to hide, and a far away half-brother and Mother who aren’t exactly upstanding members of society.

When her half-brother unexpectedly surfaces, bringing a mountain of trouble with him, the budding love between Sean and Mollie takes a hard tumble.

 

The theft of an antique necklace, Sean’s renewed lack of trust and Mollie’s shame at her past – not to mention the final outcome of legal decisions – pull them further apart.

 

Jenna pic 4The intervention of others gives Mollie and Sean a chance at reconciliation – but is it too late? Can they finally unpack and empty baggage from their past?

 

I hope you enjoy Love Among the Lilacs as much as I did writing it!

 

Happy Reading!

 

p.s. my selected giveaway, an authentic Coach Disney X Mickey Mouse accordion zip wallet in glove-tanned leather was chosen to represent the transformation of Mollie’s negative childhood experiences into memories of acceptance and joy among the trials.

 

Promises, Anticipation, Enjoyment

pooh-1“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best –” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

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Ah, don’t you just love the anticipation? pooh-2Isn’t it just the best thing? Oh, but the enjoyment of actually doing it! Then, alas it is over …. Oh, but the memory is worth its weight in gold …. err honey. 

When we take a look at those three words, promises, anticipation and enjoyment, we would think that they mean very different and separate things. If we limit ourselves to the dictionary meaning for each of those words, we would be correct.

promise is an assurance, a guarantee, a pledge or a vow, that something will be so; or something will happen, either immediately or eventually.

To anticipate something is to be expectant of that thing, person, occasion, gift etc. Also to have hope that something wonderful is going to happen, based upon past experiences.

pooh-3Enjoyment is the actual pleasure, delight, satisfaction or gratification that we derive from whatever it is that we have obtained.

If we look more closely at each of these words, we would realise that they are intimately conjoined. 

Even Winnie-the-Pooh knew from past experience that there was something more to eating that honey, than just the sheer enjoyment of it all …. And of course he was a bear of very little brain. Sometimes I think that maybe we aren’t much more ‘cleverer’ than dear old Winnie. We probably know the word to match the feeling, but we don’t always appreciate that feeling for how wonderful it is. I know I often forget to stop, listen and feel – how about you?

cruise-shipBack in 2008, I went on a cruise. HoneyBun and I flew to Bangkok, stayed a week, and then took a 21-night cruise back to Sydney via South East Asia. We spent months planning and talking about our upcoming holiday, imagining what it would be like (I had never been on a cruise before). We had both travelled before, HoneyBun more than me, however, each experience is different. We were so excited!  I remember being about one week out of Australia on our return trip home. I became impatient to be back home, not because I wasn’t having a good time, but because once more I was anticipating something. This time my anticipation was backed up by a promise that something good would happen – I loved going back home. ‘There is no place quite like home’.  HoneyBun and I had thoroughly enjoyed our trip; the feelings of satisfaction and gratification were immeasurable. Yes, when we arrived back home there was also the feeling of “oh, it is all over now”; but those precious memories would remain forever.

1474151094I have done some travelling in my life; seeing places such as Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Great Barrier Reef, Islands of the South Pacific – the list goes on. Then there was Bali, Los Angeles and Egypt.  I really do feel blessed; however if I had not anticipated each journey before going, I don’t believe the experience would have been quite the same. As human beings, we rely on our memories of past events to know whether or not something might be good or worthwhile. That pot of honey was pretty good judging by the amount of golden joy that was running down Winnie’s paws, and the remnants smeared all over his cute, furry face; but the day-dreamy look on his sweet face when he anticipated the enjoyment he would derive from that golden pot of heaven, is almost indescribable.  I feel that same way about a piece of lemon-cakelemon cheesecake, or maybe a slice of chocolate/raspberry torte, chocky-cakewith loads of cream. Oh, the expectation, the sheer delight and the afterglow of basking in the memory – mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!

We need promises, anticipation and enjoyment to be so closely related to fully appreciate the beauty of everything that is around us, provided for us, and even those things and events that we indeed work so hard for. I have always said that half of the fun is looking forward to something. Now as I approach more senior years, I believe that looking forward to something and then cherishing the memories, are usually most of the fun.

You can probably see where this is heading by now. I hope so because when I first started preparing this post I didn’t think it would lead to exactly where it has. The message I wanted to remind myself of and pass on was basically the same, perhaps with a little bit less cake.

Our lives here on earth are for us to enjoy, to make others happy, to work hard and provide the best we can. We won’t always be happy with everything that happens in life, but we need to make the best of everything. Our lives are filled with sadness and joy, pain and delight; life is one big rollercoaster. We are not meant to stay here on earth forever, we are actually citizens of heaven. We don’t know what that really entails, but we have been made a promise by God so that we can anticipate with joy and delight, the world that is yet to come. Our total enjoyment of our eternity is based on faith – faith that God is true to His Word, and of course, we know He is.

 dreamy-clouds“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  ~ John 3:16

Patiently we must wait; but with joyful anticipation, that God’s promises to us will come to pass, and our joy will be everlasting, surpassing any form of human enjoyment that we could ever imagine.

hands-on-clock “The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”       ~ 2 Peter 3:9

Photo courtesy of LivingWithGod.org

 

Never my dear friends, take any moment or memory for granted – yes we know that there is something more beautiful coming and we must joyously anticipate; but every moment and every memory that we make here on earth will contribute to and richly embroider our everlasting lives in paradise. I wish us all a beautiful and glorious life of hopeful anticipation, laced with excitement for the enjoyment that has been promised to us. 
pooh-4Oh yes, and honey, cake, and whatever else our little human hearts desire.

Originally published on my Just Jo’Anne website/blog in August 2015