Friday, September 24, 2010

Love's First Bloom

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love's First Bloom

Bethany House; Original edition (September 1, 2010)

Delia Parr


Delia Parr, pen name for Mary Lechleidner, is the author of 10 historical novels and the winner of several awards, including the Laurel Wreath Award for Historical Romance and the Aspen Gold Award for Best Inspirational Book. She is a full-time high school teacher who spends her summer vacations writing and kayaking. The mother of three grown children, she lives in Collingswood, New Jersey.


Ruth Livingstone's life changes drastically the day her father puts a young child in her arms and sends her to a small village in New Jersey under an assumed name. There Ruth pretends to be a widow and quietly secludes herself until her father is acquitted of a crime.

But with the emergence of the penny press, the imagination of the reading public is stirred, and her father's trial stands center stage. Asher Tripp is the brash newspaperman who determines that this case is the event he can use to redeem himself as a journalist.

Ruth finds solace tending a garden along the banks of the Toms River--a place where she can find a measure of peace in the midst of the sorrow that continues to build. It is also here that Asher Tripp finds a temporary residence, all in an attempt to discover if the lovely creature known as Widow Malloy is truly Ruth Livingstone, the woman every newspaper has been looking for.

Love begins to slowly bloom...but is the affection they share strong enough to withstand the secrets that separate them?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love's First Bloom, go HERE.

Love's First Bloom by Delia Parr is a historical romance filled with many twists. Ruth Livingstone's father is a pastor in New York, well-known for his work getting prostitutes to turn to Jesus. When he is accused of murdering one of them, he forces Ruth to take the prostitute's secret toddler daughter, Lily, and take on the identity of a woman in his program to protect the child while he is tried for the crime. Ruth moves to New Jersey and lives with a family who takes in former prostitutes trying to make a new life for themselves, but not long after she disappears, the press takes note of her absence and accuses her father of murdering her as well. The hunt is on by all of the major newspapers to find Ruth, including Jake Tripp who wants to redeem himself as a journalist after making a terrible mistake two years ago and nearly destroying the newspaper he owns with his brother, Clifford. Clifford gives Jake an assignment that will give him redemption: find Ruth Livingstone and get the real story behind the prostitute's murder. He moves to the same small New Jersey town Ruth is staying in and takes on a false identity to gain her trust but instead finds himself falling for the young woman who has been forced to live away from her father and pretend to be something she's not. I had a hard time believing that a pastor would do this to his daughter, it just seemed unbelievable to me, but when I swallowed my disbelief, other events continued to be forced by the plot: a unexpected death, a letter from beyond exposing a long-lost child, and the identity of the killer both made me go "what??" Parr's previous book, Heart's Awakening was a beautiful and poignant historical romance. This one had some great characters, but they were at the mercy of a far-fetched plot that did them no favors.