If love couldn’t keep his parents together, Luke Masterson wonders what will make a marriage last. He decides to steer clear of all women-especially crazy ones like Becky Sawyer, who employs a friend to find her a husband. But when he feels the dogged promptings of the Holy Spirit to move across the country and marry a complete stranger, it seems love has little to do with it anyway.
With commitment their only foundation, and love constantly thwarted, can an arranged marriage find happiness in the twenty-first century?”
You can purchase the novel at Amazon.
Well, my first manuscript (which will never see the light of day) took me 5 years to write. I started it when I was 21 and a student missionary in China. I kept writing while finishing my degree in elementary education, through graduation, getting married, my first teaching position, and, finally, my first child. You could say life happened during those pages! The Isaac Project didn’t take quite so long–about 2 years–although morning sickness and taking care of a toddler kept me busy. I’ve been working on my current work-in-progress for about a year and hope to finish in a few months. My family comes first, but I do try to spend about an hour a day writing. My goal is to be able to write and publish a book a year.
2-When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started it when I was 21 and finished when I was 26. And that was only the first–and only–draft.
3-What suggestions would you give potential author to help them become a better writer?
Read! Read! Read! It’s my favorite way to learn the craft of writing. I just love to soak up a good book. Another thing that really helped me was joining ACFW and participating in their critique program. Getting feedback from other authors really helped to point out my weaknesses and things I could do to polish and tighten my manuscript.
4-How frequently do you hear from your fans?
I love to hear from readers! It’s so fun to talk books and characters. I’ve been able to connect with some readers of Facebook and hope to hear from even more.
5-As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?
I’m a pretty practical person, more logical than dreamer, so I never thought of becoming a writer because, well, you know, starving artist and all. I did always love to read and write and spent a great deal of time doing both. As far as a career goes, though, I always wanted to be a teacher. I’m a stay-at-home mom now and have the tow cutest “students” ever.
6-What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Reading of course! In the summer time I really like going camping and hiking with the family. I’d love to be able to travel more as well. There’s a great big world out there, and I want to see it all.
”Now don’t scold a dying man, Rebekah Anne.”
“You’re no more dying than I am.” Oh, how I wished that were true, but the evidence lay before me in that hospital bed. At least he was looking better and no longer required the use of an oxygen mask.
“Come here, sugar.” Poppy patted an empty spot on the bed next to him. “Tell me about your fella.”
I propped my hip on the mattress and took Poppy’s hand in mine.
“What would you like to know?” I asked, trying to keep the trepidation out of my voice. I had no intention of telling Poppy a bold-faced lie, but I also didn’t plan on telling him the complete truth. I was walking a fine line, which was why I’d hoped this conversation wouldn’t take place.
“Where did you two meet?”
“Lisa introduced us a while back.” As in, two weeks ago. Over the phone. Being vague was not lying.
“When did you know you were in love with him?”
I swallowed hard. Love? This would be a tricky one to answer. “Does anyone ever know the exact moment they fall in love?” Answering a question with a question seemed the safest bet.
“How did he propose?”
Finally, a question I could answer for real. I smiled. Even though Luke had just proposed yesterday, with all the events that took place since then, it felt like forever ago. When I’d first asked Lisa to find me an “Isaac,” I thought having someone propose to me was something else I was giving up. But I was wrong.
“Well, he took me to a restaurant”—no reason to tell him it was the diner—“and in front of everyone”—about five people— “got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”
I caught Poppy staring at me, and the pressure on my hand increased.
“Are you happy, sweetheart? You sure this is what you want to do? You and James just broke up not that long ago.”
I tried not to blink. Or twitch. Tried not to gulp down the saliva that was gathering in my mouth, or wipe away the sweat beginning to form on my palms. Nothing that would give me away. How could I tell him I wasn’t sure? That I had only met Luke the day before, and even though I felt God’s guidance, there was still a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach? That my chest felt like it was in an ever-tightening vise, and I couldn’t take a full breath? That I was scared spit-less, but I was doing it all because of him? For him.
I could never say any of that, so I plastered on what I hoped was a believable smile and a lovesick expression.
What made it even better were the tugs on my heart strings. How can your heart not be engaged in the story when you find out about Becky’s Poppy is dying? (Did you read the snippet?!!)
Ms. Monzon is great at showcasing emotion in her characters and making her readers feel them as well. Becky Sawyer was so real to me. She could have been my neighbor or even my friend. After the tragedy surrounding her past, I so desperately wanted to see something good happen to her. I needed something good to happen to her.
And Luke Masterson…he reminded me of an all around good guy. You know the whole saying, nice guys finish last? He’s a poster boy for a nice guy and I didn’t want him to finish last.
The best way I can explain how I felt about this book is to put it this way. You know that couple you’re friends with and they’re really good people but their marriage is struggling for whatever reason? And you pray and pray for them to work it out and you’re own pins and needles until it happens…. That is how I felt about The Isaac Project.
Plus, I love how Ms. Monzon explains love and marriage. It’s nice to read a book that I can connect with based on my own beliefs. The realism of the characters’ struggle with a loving God in the face of a bleak future keeps the page turning.
So all this to say, read it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, so feel free to comment (without spoilers please) and let’s talk!
*I give this 4 out of 5 stars.
January 19: Just Commonly & Toni Shiloh Prayerfully-Lifted Romance
January 20: Donna’s Bookshelf & Singing Librarian Books
January 21: Between the Pages & Wishful Endings
January 22: Katie’s Clean Book Collection & Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions
January 23: Red Headed Book Lady & Cherylbbookblog
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