One of my favorite authors in the Christian Romance genre is Colleen Coble, a fellow Midwesterner (she lives in Indiana; I live in Michigan). I recently had the opportunity to read her latest book in the ‘Mercy Falls Series,’ ‘The Lightkeeper’s Ball.’
Here is the synopsis of this novel:
At the elegant Mercy Falls masquerade ball, Olivia’s hidden identity will be revealed. It is the dawn of a new century and Olivia Stewart is heiress to a fortune. 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 upon 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?
Here is the biography of this author:
RITA-Finalist Colleen Coble is the author of several best-selling romantic suspense series, including the Lonestar series and the Rock Harbor series. She lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana.
And here is Mrs. Coble talking about this book:
As is the case with all of the books I have read by Colleen, this one features several faith-based characters. The main character in this book, Olivia Stewart, learned something about how other characters related to God; she had previously been unaware. Here she is observing her friend Katie’s relationship with God:
“God expects us to use those gifts. You just have to be brave enough to do it. Ask God how he wants you to use your gifts.”
She’d never considered asking God something so personal. He was, well, God. He couldn’t be bothered with mundane problems. Did Katie really talk to him on such an intimate level? It was much too personal a question to ask. (pp. 68-69)
I also loved how another main character, Harrison Bennett, relied on God for direction:
Harrison wished he could climb into his plane and fly off into the sunset. Never come back. See the world and see what else God had for him. Vistas beyond this small town and the climb to the top that his father wanted for him. When would he get to pursue his own dreams? (p. 110)
Here’s another example of Katie sharing her faith with Olivia:
“God has you right where he wants you,” Katie said. “He provides for our needs no matter how much money we have. Any money you have is from his hand.”
Olivia had never really considered that God had given her family their money. Her father had been quick to take credit for their family’s astute business sense. (p. 183)
And here is Olivia’s observation about Katie and her other friend, Addie (the main character in the first two books in this series, ‘The Lightkeeper’s Daughter’ and ‘The Lightkeeper’s Bride:’
Olivia had never had friends like these two, one who always pointed to Jesus in all circumstances. Her faith had been strengthened so much since coming here. She was beginning to believe she could be who she was inside. (p. 261)
I have enjoyed all of the books I have read that were written by Mrs. Coble: ‘Abomination,’ ‘Anathema,’ ‘Without A Trace' (Rock Harbor Series # 1), ‘Beyond A Doubt' (Rock Harbor Series #2), and ‘Into the Deep' (Rock Harbor Series #3). I also read the first book in this Mercy Falls series, ‘The Lightkeeper’s Daughter’ (you can read my review here) as well as ‘Lonestar Homecoming,’ the third book in the ‘Lonestar Series’ (you can read my review here). This book was no exception! I always am excited when I find out a new Coble novel is coming. She is a speedy writer (or so it seems!), so I usually don’t have to wait very long for a new one!
I’m not sure how I missed it, but I did not read the second book in the ‘Mercy Falls Series,’ ‘The Lightkeeper’s Bride.’ There is no doubt in my mind that it would be worth your time to read!
Please enjoy this interview with prolific and charming lady!
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.
You can order the book here.
This book was published by Thomas Nelson Publishers and provided by The B & B Media Group for review purposes.