Tag Archives: Linda Hall

Review: Steal Away, by Linda Hall

Steal Away, by Linda Hall

Steal Away, by Linda Hall (Multnomah, 2003)

Steal Away is the first in a series of mysteries featuring Private Investigator Teri Blake-Addison, a vibrant former cop who has recently returned to the Christian faith. Teri is an interesting character in her own right, struggling to balance her independent career within her new role as the wife of a university English professor.

In this story, she is approached by a well-known evangelist to discover the truth about the sailing accident that killed his wife, Ellen, and two of Ellen’s friends five years earlier. The boat—and Ellen’s body—was never found. Teri’s investigations take her to coastal Maine, and to St. Andrews and Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick.

This complex mystery is filled with real people and their real struggles. Readers can nod and say, “Yeah, I know someone just like that.”

As always, Linda Hall writes with an honest and unvarnished view of life and faith. The book deals with choices, redemption, betrayal and mercy, as well as with some of the stumbling-blocks that can cause people to “go off church.” It’s hard to put it down once you’ve started reading. But when you’re finished, it would be a good book to share with a friend—Christian or non.

Steal Away was originally published in 2003 but is now available in audio book format, narrated by Kirsten Potter, at Audible.com and through  iTunes.

From the author’s website: “Steal Away was a Christy Award finalist, a Daphne finalist and was given top honours by The Word Guild. As well, it was the 2004 Beacon Award winner for Best Inspirational Novel, the Winter Rose Award Winner for Best Inspirational Novel, and it was given the Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers.

Linda Hall currently writes romantic suspense for the Love Inspired line, and her next release with them is Storm Warning (January 2010). She’s also the author of a number of stand-alone suspense novels, including Sadie’s Song, Dark Water and Black Ice.Each of her novels delivers the memorable characters and struggles that we’ve come to expect from this award-winning Canadian author.

You can learn more about Linda at her website. She also contributes to multiple blogs and maintains a Facebook fan page. Read the prologue of Steal Away here.

Review: Northern Lights: An Anthology

Northern Lights: an anthology

Northern Lights: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Writing in Canada, Byron Rempel-Burkholder, Dora Dueck, Doug Koop, eds.  (John Wiley & Sons, 2008)

What does it mean to be a Christian living in Canada? Does our national identity affect our spiritual one?

The Northern Lights anthology came together as an exploration of “the many faces of being Christian in Canada” (p. 1). In essays and poetry, the selections attempt to trace out our “spiritual geography.”

Northern Lights is filled with beautiful and often thought-provoking writing. When I picked it up, I was glad to see some authors whose work I always enjoy, like Mark Buchanan, Susan Fish, and Linda Hall, and to “meet” many new-to-me authors. The best-known contributors are Bruce Cockburn, Michael Coren, Preston Manning, and Rudy Wiebe.

These are stories to savour slowly, not to rush. Some you may want to chew on for a bit, maybe mull over and discuss with a friend. I liked the ones in the first section, “Dance to Creation,” best.

The anthology is more an exploration of the significance of ideas and events than a simple telling of tales. It feels to me like a literary journal, or perhaps a university-level discussion—not hard to follow, but treading some deep water in places.

It’s almost inevitable to compare Northern Lights with Hot Apple Cider, since both anthologies of Canadian Christian writing released in the same year. They’re both fine books, and I’m glad to see them raising awareness that, yes, there are plenty of talented Canadian Christians who write. I hope many people will read these books and discover new favourite authors.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine—everybody drinks water.” Northern Lights may be a fine wine. Hot Apple Cider may be more of an “everyman” drink. We need both.

Northern Lights is a book well worth reading, and you’ll probably want to look for more works by the authors you like best. You can get it through your local bookstore or online through John Wiley and Sons, Chapters-Indigo or Amazon.ca.

It must be awards season…

A number of books you’ve seen on my free books page are up for awards these days:

Finalists for The Word Guild Christian Writing Awards (winners announced at The Word Guild Awards Gala, 17 June, 2009) include:

Cibou, by Susan Young de Biagi: in both Book—General Readership and Novel—Historical categories.

Vengeance, by Donna Dawson: in both Novel—Contemporary and Novel—Mystery/Suspense.

Stories from the anthology Hot Apple Cider are short-listed in seven categories: Article—General Readership (two), Article—Inspirational/Devotional (two), Article—Personal Experience, Article—Profile/Human Interest, and Short Story.

Finalists for the Daphne du Maurier contest (winners announced at the Romance Writers of America National Convention, 16 July, 2009) include:

Suspicious Minds, by Christy Barritt: Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense.

Finalists for the Faith, Hope and Love, RWA Chapter’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest (winners announced at the RWA Conference in July) include:

Shadows at the Window, by Linda Hall: Romantic Suspense

[This one hasn’t been one of my free book offers yet, but Shadows in the Mirror, previous book in the series was.]

Congratulations to these authors and to all the others who are up for these and/or other awards!