An INSPY Blog Book Tour | Entering into the Legacy of Faith series within the third installment which concludes the series: “How Sweet It Is” by Robin Lee Hatcher

Posted Thursday, 23 July, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

I received a complimentary copy of “How Sweet It Is” direct from the publisher Thomas Nelson (an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this story:

I’ve had my eye on the collective works by Ms Hatcher for quite a long while now – even before I first started to work on my list of the INSPY Authors I wanted to challenge myself to start reading. Her novels are thankfully available at my local library and I’ve recently realised her audiobooks are available via #Scribd. It was actually my intention to listen to the first novel of this series via my library’s OverDrive catalogue and either read the second novel via my library and/or listen to the audiobook via Scribd.

What I hadn’t expected is to enter into the series on the final installment without prior knowledge of how the series first began – however, with my migraines clustering together off/on this month and a series of allergies and unwellness rounding out my hours – I’ve found myself unable to read and/or listen to audiobooks for most of July. Thereby, I decided not to get discouraged by what I couldn’t accomplish before I moved into “How Sweet It Is” – as for starters, I love #foodiefiction stories and I love how food can become a catalyst of either change, new beginnings or a stepping stone for a person’s life.

More than anything, as a hybrid reader of both INSPY and mainstream stories – I love being able to soak into an INSPY Romance wherein I get to understand a new author’s vision for their characters and/or their series and become a step closer to enlarging my favourite INSPY authors list! Contemporary INSPY is a beloved favourite of mine – which thankfully in recent years I’ve been hungrily chasing after because of how wicked good the authors are writing these stories I’ve enjoyed! Authors such as Kellie Coates Gilbert (see also Review) and Becky Wade (see also Review) to name a few. Their uniquely realistic storylines within the world of INSPY is what encourages me to seeking out more authors who are writing a similar style of theirs – which is why I was quite motivated to read  my first Robin Lee Hatcher novel! Whereas previously, when it came to seeking out Hatcher’s other novels – I would lean more towards her Historicals than Contemporaries. Isn’t that interesting?

I’ll be participating in the Christian Fiction Reading Safari (hosted by Singing Librarian Books) in August and I’ve decided it would be a great time to revisit this series! As the memories of this novel will still be fresh in my mind. I do find it interesting how the authors I’ve wanted to read in the past are able to come into my life as a book blogger and thereby, reaffirm the circle of how stories and authors find us at moments we’re definitely meant to be reading their stories!

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An INSPY Blog Book Tour | Entering into the Legacy of Faith series within the third installment which concludes the series: “How Sweet It Is” by Robin Lee HatcherHow Sweet It Is
by Robin Lee Hatcher
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

He lost his brother. She lost her dream. Together, they might find what they’re really looking for.

Holly Stanford is doing the best she can with the restaurant she inherited from her late uncle. But after her fiancé abandons her and the business, Holly regrets having given up her dream of becoming a pastry chef. Now a few bad financial decisions might cost her everything, including her hope for the future.

Jed Henning has done well with his new company despite his prodigal brother’s behavior. When Jed‘s father, the controlling member of the board of directors, temporarily suspends operations until his sons work out their differences, Jed resentfully chases his brother, Chris, to Boise. There Jed rents a basement apartment from Holly and hopes to convince Chris to get his act together before their company collapses.

Unaware that Holly is the one person who can help him get through to Chris, Jed starts the tough work of reconciliation armed with little more than a few family photographs, a stack of old letters, and a Bible that belonged to his great-grandfather, Andrew Henning. And as romance blossoms between Holly and Jed, the story of Jed’s great-grandfather highlights the power of God across the generations and the legacy of a family’s courageous faith.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780785219354

Published by Thomas Nelson

on 14th July, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 304

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The Legacy of Faith series:

Who I Am With You by Robin Lee HatcherCross My Heart by Robin Lee HatcherHow Sweet It Is by Robin Lee Hatcher

Who I Am With You (book one)

Cross My Heart (book two)

How Sweet It Is (book three)

Published by: Thomas Nelson (@ThomasNelson)
an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing (@HCChristianPub)

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #INSPYRomance, #INSPYbooks,
as well as #SweetRomance & #INSPY and #HSIIPrism, #TNZFiction

About Robin Lee Hatcher

Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 80 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Her numerous awards include the RITA Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award.

Robin is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors,

Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. Robin makes her home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

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my review of how sweet it is:

When it comes to ultimatums, Hatcher gave quite a big one to Jed! I was torn between thinking this was a smart move on behalf of Jed’s father and thinking that perhaps he was asking a bit too much of his sons. As it was clearly motivational for Jed to want to save his own company but it was the sincerity of the request and the manner in which it was fuelled by an innate hope for two brothers to resolve their own differences that made it have fuller impact. It was an interesting way to open the story – especially as I’m coming into this at such a late stage in the series, seeing Jed completely conflicted by his father and the pressures of success in his family to make the work he puts into the company one that can be honourable and satisfying even brings the point further home.

One of the best traditions I feel a family can give their children and grandchildren are legacy inheritances like Jed’s grandfather’s Bible of whom his Cousin gave to him. These are tokens of a person’s living history – items which can interlink intergenerational ties and reaffirm a connection between the past and the present which helps inspire the future. I love what can become passed down – person to person, through different generations and why certain objects and items are passed from the boys or the girls in succession. This tradition was such a heartwarming one as it was tracing back in time how both the book itself and the intentions behind the gift helped refuell a person’s resolve that this was given at a point in their lives where a little extra nudge of faith was warranted; and who couldn’t relate to that? We all needed extra encouragement at times and we could all use a way to re-fuell our spiritual selves – the gesture is such a kind one from Jed’s Cousin but also an impactful one about needing to recognise when our spirit needs a bit of nurturing.

Holly was easy to connect with because of how she’s finding herself in such a catch-22 situation – she is attempting to make a go of a business but she’s treading water financially due to being overextended in all areas of her life. You can relate to this because it is easy to understand how quickly you can go under if you’re spread too thin – not just in being overworked and underpaid but because of how stressful any business is to get off the ground and start to become viable. I also felt for her due to her personal circumstances with her ex-husband – no one wants to foresee this kind of situation for themselves but the ways in which she drew strength of her personal chaos was commendable because it showed how much she’s a survivor!

I loved how she was re-using the income property which came with her house – it was interesting to read about how this was a flat built into the basement in the ’20s because I love little bits of trivia like that – how where we might think income properties is a very 21st Century idea of carving out extra income but if you go a bit into the past, you’ll see letting out flats in basements and/or in carriage houses were not all that uncommon. I had a bit of a chuckle of a laugh how insecure she is in her own confidence – the laughter grew out of how serendipitously kind fate was to bring her Jed rather than someone who would be untrusting to have as a renter, as Holly wasn’t quite ready to take-on tenants in regards to how she currently interviews them!

knew I would feel a connection to Holly – I didn’t get into cooking until my late twenties, though I did start before Julia Child which I took as a compliment as my first love was baking. For Holly, I feel like there is something holding her back from doing what is her heart’s passion: baking! It is a bit too early-on in the story to better understand what is holding her back and what is preventing her from being the baker at her own restaurant – though, I believe if she had a general manager and some shift managers, it might offset some of the responsibilities that fall on her shoulders in regards to the day to day running of the business. Even if those added expenditures might not be in her current budget, she’s heading for burn out whilst her heart dreams of what she can bake. It is a hard situation to be in and even harder to get out of it – as how do you extract yourself from a highly stressful pattern of unresolving circumstances to get to a future where you feel more comfortable about your choices?

I hadn’t had the chance to look into the plots of the previous two installments, but ooh my goodness, I hope Trixie had her own story! Or at the very least, was involved somehow in the series as she definitely became the secondary character who stood out to me in this final chapter of the series! Trix is the kind of sister you hoped to have in life – dearly intuitive and connected to your own heart and soul, insightful and kind-hearted. Trixie gives you a smile just being in her company but it is also how she unnerves Holly a bit by understanding her thoughts before Holly can even process them as her own! I love that close bond they share but also how their sisterly friendship was peppered into the background of the story. Trixie gives you such a readerly lift of joy!

The closer you become to Holly and Jed, the more understanding you have about the fork in the road their both facing in their lives. For Holly, it is about finding a reason for why she’s on her current path when its not her heart’s desire to be walking it. Whereas for Jed, he hasn’t owned certain choices over the years which has given him a way to dismiss his brother and his brother’s talents in their company. The time he is spending in Boise is offering him the needed bouts of introspective self-examination – to where he can see those mistakes and start to sort out a way to correct them. Everyone needs those moments in life – where you can take a break from your work life long enough to truly examine yourself and where you are on the route to your future.

A more interesting storyline emerged when Willow was first introduced – she was one of the women at the shelter Holly taught cooking lesson too. However, Willow had a greater surprise for Jed and in a lot of ways, his brother Chris. The interesting bit about this story is how it is a brother’s story first and foremost – about the ways in which a connection can be fragile between brothers and how through miscommunication all relationships can suffer. Secondly this is a Sweet Romance where there is a slow burning fire bubbling between Jed and Holly; both of whom are a bit shy wanting to pursue a relationship but find themselves drawn to each other like fireflies. And, third it is a bit of a redemptive story about how sometimes a life can only be resolved when other aspects of a life are repaired; in this case, in order for Jed to find peace with Chris, he first had to sort out himself and is own affairs.

I enjoyed the progression of how the story unfolded, how Hatcher wanted you to stick close to Holly and Jed for the duration of the novel because both of them were integral to how the resolutions would come in the end. I haven’t read the rest of the series, so the only bit I cannot touch on is how this final installment concludes all the loose ends of the series itself. If it was a satisfying conclusion in other words – however, for me, I enjoyed how Hatcher took us on this journey with Holly and Jed; of touching on the important bits of focus everyone should have in their life and the importance of being open to new experiences and new challenges. For those reasons, I truly enjoyed my stay within these chapters because of how the story was writ with such an uplift of joyfulness.

Small fly in the ointment: Transitions in Content

Whenever I am about to embrace a flashback sequence in a story, there is generally a bit of foreshadow in the follow-up and lead-in to the flashback. However, uniquely when it came time to visit with Jed’s grandparents – the grandfather whose Bible is continuously being passed down through the family and of whom had a life they lived which was still inspirational to their living relatives were the topic of inspiration now. However, the transition from the scene with Jed first meeting Holly into this first flashback felt out of sequence with where I was in the present-day of the story. The only reference made to the grandparents was how Jed wanted to know where they had been in the late 1920s and why that had inspired him to remain in the Boise area now.

For me, I felt the transition was a bit rough round the edges – this might have been worked out when the book was published or in the final copy, perhaps the transition didn’t feel as abrupt as it had in the ARC I’ve been reading – however, for me, it was a bit off-putting because it took you out of sync with the story rather than inserting a bit more background on the grandparents themselves.

I felt a better transition was at the end of Chapter Two – wherein there is more foreshadowing about the grandparents before the shift into a flashback wherein we revisit how the grandparents’ life is a reflection on the present and/or an inspiration for the present. It felt a bit more organic  than the transition in Chapter One. Except I was still finding myself more invested in the present sequences than in the past – as the two shifts in time didn’t quite work for me. The flashbacks themselves were written as journalled entries of a person’s diary – little snippets of time about Jed’s grandparents but for whichever reason I didn’t find those sequences mixing into the current timeline – they almost felt like a distraction which is why I stopped reading them.

on the contemporary inspy styling of robin lee hatcher:

love authors who can hook us into the emotional framework of a character immediately after we’ve started to read their story. With Hatcher, you don’t have to wait long, as even within the Prologue of How Sweet It Is – you are rooted into the emotional heartache and anguish of Jed. A man whose expectations of himself equal his father’s and whose brother is a bone of his contention. It is a classic set-up wherein two brothers who are at odds with each other have a father whose tolerance for their divided status within the family can no longer be tolerated. Ultimately, what you feel at the beginning is how much you hope this situation isn’t hopeless and that the resolution the father is seeking can become found. Whilst at the same time, you feel hopeful that Jed will find peace in the process towards healing his brother’s relationship.

I realise this was written as a time shift novel – where the time is equally spilt between Jed and Holly in the present and flasbacks of journalled entry notes for Jed’s grandparents in the ’60s. However, for me, as I bypassed the flashback sequences after the second chapter (as unfortunately they just didn’t click for me in-line with the rest of the story) the story stood up well without those sequences being read. There is such a wonderful strength and centering on the lead characters, Hatcher truly gives you everything you need and more in the present day narratives. I also learnt a bit about the grandparents through the passages wherein Jed is giving information about them and gives credit towards why their life is still having an impact on his in the present.

What I enjoyed the most though – is seeing how two ordinary people who weren’t expecting anything extraordinary to happen to them suddenly find themselves in the middle of their own romance story! And that dear hearts, is why I kept turning the pages – as I dearly wanted to see how Jed and Holly would first begin to realise that sometimes when your not expecting change, change has a way of finding you!

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This book review is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

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How Sweet It Is blog tour banner provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

End of the Blog Tour badged provided by Prism Book Tours

By clicking this badge you can find out about the giveaway associated with the tour;
my particular tour stop doesn’t host the giveaway as I’m a review stop, however,
you’ll find many other bloggers who are hosting the information!

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!
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{SOURCES: Cover art of “How Sweet It Is”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Robin Lee Hatcher and the Prism Book Tours badge were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 23 July, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction

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