Broken Dreams and Answered Prayers - A Book Review by the Author
My First Novel!
I have just released my first novel - Broken Dreams and Answered Prayers,a Christian romance novel, now available on This is an author's review, but I'll try to be as "unbiased" as possible! But I'm just so darn proud to have FINALLY finished it, that I feel I have a few "crowing rights"! However, I'll try to butter this review lightly, and spread the jam thinly. Amazon.com.
Broken Dreams and Answered Prayers is a Christian romance novel about a young woman's roundabout journey to reclaim the broken dreams she left behind when she was younger. But as she starts to see them being fulfilled, she realizes that maybe they're not all she had thought they'd be. In a desperate attempt to understand how her journey has ended up in places she never imagined, she realized she would have to depend more on God for guidance and direction, and lay all her broken dreams at His feet. It is this revelation, and ultimate submission of will, that allows God to finally work in her life and help her realize the true desires of her heart.
The book, which takes place mainly in a Southern coastal town named Eden Beach, opens with the main character, Summer Layne eyeing a run-down beach house that is for sale by the owner. But even in its run-down condition, the house is perfectly situated on the beautiful coastal shores of Eden Beach and is the "dream home" she has always wanted. Mourning the recent loss of her mother, as well as a failed marriage, Summer is determined to start over in Eden Beach, and reclaim the dream she had of living at the beach as a young girl. It is this cataclysmic decision that sets in motion the turn of events that send Summer on a whirlwind journey from one ocean to another one, half way around the world to Italy. It is there that Summer comes face to face with her broken dreams, which are now easily within her reach. However, she is no longer sure if she still wants them. Confusion leads her to the only place, and the only One who can help her decide what is right for her, as well as the other people who have suddenly appeared in her life.
Summer Layne - Main Character
Summer Layne is a young woman in her mid forties who has endured repeated heartache and loss - from a failed marriage (with highly unusual circumstances), to the death of a controlling mother, and the shameful loss of her fertility. With nothing but her broken dreams and her faithful companion, her dog Sammie, she picks up stakes and moves to the quaint coastal town of Eden Beach; her goal - to finally realize her lifelong dream of living at the beach.
Summer is a carefree, yet inwardly insecure middle aged woman, who is determined to make it own her own, despite growing up with a controlling and negative mother, and being married to a man who blindsided her with a shocking confession. Her heart, although chipped and fragile, still holds dreams of finding her "Prince Charming", and living the "happily ever after" life she so often fantasized about as a naive younger woman. And although she sacrificed her own career dreams for those of her ex-husband, she was finally able to break free and make it as a successful photojournalist, landing a prime position with Eden Beach's touristy coastal magazine, Summer Living. With a new-found self confidence, and her energetic canine companion by her side, she then embarks on realizing another hidden dream - that of buying a beach home. Having been a former real estate agent, she comically uses her rusty real estate skills to negotiate the deal of a lifetime on a rundown beach house in Eden Beach. The owner, however, is not so impressed with her less-than-stellar performance, and she finds herself having to do some fast thinking to save the deal!
Summer Layne is also an avid jogger - a habit she picked up to help her stay fit and healthy. She jogs ALOT in this novel - at times to the point of exhaustion. And almost always with little Sammie trailing happily alongside her. But it is this disciplined physical activity that allows God to "show and tell" Summer things that she may not have realized any other way!
Summer is also somewhat "religious", even though she has slipped quietly away from her religious roots and from God. But throughout her journey, she finds God showing up in oftentimes unexpected and unusual ways, leaving her to re-examine her view of God, love and prayer. And instead of running away from God, she finds that she runs (no pun intended) directly into the direction where He can finally heal her broken dreams and answer her prayers.
There are several other influential and significant characters in the novel, that have a profound effect on Summer's life, as well as her heart.
Samantha (Sammie, for short!) - Summer's sweet, energetic and somewhat mischievous canine companion, and admitted "fur child", who causes a haphazard and embarrassing introduction to a local beach dweller.
Adele Long, a highly polished and sophisticated woman, is Summer's boss, and the owner of the magazine she works for, Summer Living. Adele is Summer's mentor, as well as a "mother figure", and someone she admires and respects.
Jon Christian - the Senior Editor of Summer Living, and an annoying thorn in Summer's side. He is somewhat cryptic in his behavior toward Summer, and she is never sure exactly what his intentions are.
Nick Diego - the owner of The Summer Moon Restaurant, a classy, upscale Italian restaurant in Eden Beach. The perfect "Mr. Right", he is also Summer's love interest - for a while, anyway. A short while.
Mario Bertolli - the Chef of The Summer Moon Restaurant, and a close friend of Nick's. Mario is an acclaimed Italian chef, but becomes a dear friend and traveling companion to Summer on a faraway journey that neither one expected, or wanted to take.
Antonio and Kate Gianni - The Gianni's are Summer's new next door neighbors in Eden Beach, but become close friends throughout the story. In fact, it is Antonio that urges Summer to make a phone call that ends up changing her whole life!
Donato Gianni - Donato (or Don, for short) is Antonio's nephew who lives in Italy and runs a local orphanage there. He too, becomes a love interest for Summer, but their future together seems "too good to be true."
Arianna Bella Russo - Summer's nemesis, and the main antagonist in the story, although Summer only encounters her once, and that is purely by chance. But you'll hate her as much as Summer does - and with good reason!
Gabby and Diego - the two beautiful children at the orphanage who are brother and sister, and who steal Summer's heart, leaving her with a heart-wrenching decision to make.
While there are several other characters in the story that round out the story line, these are the main characters that impact Summer's life. But of course, I would be remiss to mention the MAIN supporting character in this novel:
God - It is God's omni-presence and unique way of showing up in Summer's life that makes her realize that He is always there for her, even if she is half-way round the world! It is also God who brings her to her knees, many times in fact, so that He can heal her broken dreams and finally answer the true prayers of her heart.
Through an unexpected and unplanned turn of events, Summer Layne finds herself whisked away to a foreign country to perform a merciful task. But what happens while she is there could only be the hand of God working to answer Summer's confusing prayers, amidst her shattered and broken dreams. Ironically, it is only when she submits to the will of God, and surrenders her own selfish desires, that God is able to give her the desires of her heart - and more. With much of the story taking place in Italy, the plot is fast-moving, lip-biting and will even bring a tear or two to the reader's eyes. And just when you thought you knew how it would all end, a surprise turn of events thwarts Summer's dreams of "happily ever after".
Broken Dreams and Answered Prayers is intentionally chock full of Biblical scripture. At times, it may even seem "too ironic" that the main character should be seeing and hearing God's Word so much. But the Author wants to show how God can show up and speak to us even in the most unusual and unexpected ways and places. It is also the Author's belief that for some, this may be the only time they are exposed to God's Word. It is in itself, a means of discipleship to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Author makes NO apologies for the excessive use of Biblical scripture in this, or any other Christian novel.
If you have read this novel, please be so kind as to leave a short review. This is the Author's first novel, and feedback is greatly appreciated and needed in order to improve upon future novels. Thank you.