Apr 29, 2011

The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble

It is the dawn of a new century and Olivia Stewart is heiress to an empire. Her family numbers among the Four Hundred – those considered the wealthiest and most distinguished in America. Unfortunately their wealth has nearly disappeared, and now their security rests solely on the Stewart daughters’ marrying well.

Olivia’s sister, Eleanor, was engaged to Harrison Bennett, one of the nation’s wealthiest men, but has since died. Now the pressure is on Olivia to take her place, despite her suspicions about Eleanor’s fiancé. Using her family’s long-forgotten English title, Olivia travels to Mercy Falls, California, as Lady Devonworth, hoping to learn more before committing to marriage. There she finds that Eleanor’s death was no accident. And Harrison is not the man she thought he would be.

When Mercy Falls holds a charity ball masquerade to raise funds for the new lighthouse, secrets–and truths long hidden–will be revealed. But can Harrison really love Olivia when he finds her true identity? Can she live with the repercussions of failing her family, or will she finally realize that nothing–not money, family, or romance—will ever compare to God’s unconditional love?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Colleen Coble’s thirty-five novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, the Booksellers Best, and the 2009 Best Books of Indiana-Fiction award. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.

Q&A WITH COLLEEN COBLE

Q: Did you always dream of becoming a writer? Why did you choose the romance genre?

I wrote my first story in the first grade. It was about a horse that had twin colts. The teacher praised it and the writing seed was planted. I love illustrating God’s love through romance. I especially love the suspense I put into all my books as well. I have a strong streak of justice and it plays out in the suspense element.

Q: What inspired you to write a historical series based in the early 1900’s? What would you have enjoyed about living in that time period and what would you have found the most difficult?

I happened to read an article about the Gilded Age and it mentioned how that era was so similar to today’s. I was intrigued with that, plus I wanted to choose a time period that wouldn’t be too much of a departure from my contemporary books. In that era, there were still cars and telephones!

I would have loved the simpler lifestyle. However, I would miss my jeans! How vain.

Q: Society at the turn of the century was very preoccupied with appearances and impressing other people. How is that not so different than our society today and how can we keep from falling into that same trap?

That’s exactly right! The parallels between the two eras are astounding. I’ve been at the cancer hospital this week with a dear friend, and it was a reminder of how fragile this life is. We seek THINGS when God wants us to seek Him. We need to keep our eyes set on eternity and remember that THIS life is the real dream. When we reach heaven, we will finally start to really live.

Q: Bitterness and unforgiveness led to the death of Olivia’s sister. Why is it so important to forgive those who have wronged us?

An unforgiving spirit hurts us much more than the person we hate. It makes us ugly and crowds out the love we want to show other people. God is love, not hate. Bitterness is the very opposite of the attitude God wants us to have.

Q: This is the third book in your Mercy Falls series. Addie and Katie were the main characters in your first two books. Olivia was given a true gift in the friendship of Katie and Addie. What does it take to find trustworthy and loyal friends? Why do you think that we all desire to find friends like these?

You have to first be a friend. You have to be open and giving of yourself to have those kinds of friends. A true friend tells you the truth in love, and that’s an important component of the give and take of real friendship.

Q: What do you hope that your readers will take away from reading The Lightkeeper’s Ball?

I hope the readers who feel they have to earn love will take away the realization that their true worth is that Jesus loves them and died for them. They are valuable beyond comprehension. When we can step into the role of daughters and sons, we can realize our true potential.

The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble
Thomas Nelson/April 19, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-5955-4268-7/304 pages/paperback/$14.99

MY THOUGHTS

I love this book! The beautiful red gown on the cover is absolutely stunning, and so is the story. It is a great historical romance filled with danger, deception, murder and secrets. Yet it also has tender hearts, great friendships, forgiveness and amazing redemption. The Lightkeeper's Ball has great characters that you will either love or hate. And some of them ... you might even have the wrong impression of them until the very end of the story.

Olivia Stewart arrived in Mercy Falls under an unknown name, and she is determined to find her sister's killer. She is in great danger herself, and doesn't know who to trust.

Set in the early 1900's, the story evolves around the very rich upper class society and some others in the lower working class who are willing to do almost anything to get what they thing they are entitled to.

This is the first book I have read by Colleen Coble, and I look forward to reading more of her books, especially the first two books in the Mercy Falls series - Lightkeeper's Daughter and Lightkeeper's Bride.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Lightkeeper's Ball courtesy of The B&B Media Group in exchange for my honest review.

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