Monday, October 21, 2019
Better than Fiction Review!
Imagining him was harmless...until it wasn't.
Romance novelist Meghan Townsend’s marriage is slipping, and no amount of prayer seems to help. She aims to recapture her husband’s waning attention by getting in shape and finds escape by crafting her own fictional love story. Taking inspiration for the hero from a new friend—the attractive, spiritual, and attentive Curtis Jameson—she pours her yearnings onto the page, and craves the kind of pulse-pounding romance found in her book, Racing Hearts...
In 1916 Corona, California, motorcars are all the rage, and racing them is what Meghan’s hero, Russell Keegan, does best. But when his competition vandalizes his car, the only mechanic available is a greasy woman in a man’s overalls.
After a racing accident claimed her father’s life, Winifred became the sole breadwinner for her family. She is disdained as a female mechanic, but her daddy's trade is all she has left. Can she swallow her hatred of the races and take up Russell's offer of big bucks to fix his car, or will she lose everything to mounting debt?
Under Meghan's skillful pen, these two embark on a thrilling, adventurous romance. But she finds that writing those love scenes with Curtis’s face in mind takes her heart places it shouldn’t go. Will she realize in time that real life can be better than fiction?
About Better than Fiction
Better than Fiction is a unique, fun blend of Christian women's fiction and turn-of-the 20th century historical romance. It has given two best writer buddies an excuse to work together, laugh together, create together. It’s given them an opportunity to spotlight the colorful town of Corona, California in this lighthearted romance, while sharing their burden for the woman tempted by infidelity or struggling with an affair of the heart.
Russell watched as Winifred left the Ford and approached with slow, almost reverent steps. As she walked the circumference, studying every angle of his car, he studied her.
Washed in light, patches of clean skin glowed pale through the grime on her face and neck. A single curl hung forgotten against the side of her gaping mouth. Having made a complete circle, she came around the back of the Cat and took measured strides along its side. Her fingers hovered above the wheel and followed the curve in a worshipful caress.
If he didn’t know her to be an unfeminine creature, he might think she were trying to seduce him.
Unbidden, the feel of her fingers ran a similar trail along his bare shoulders. He swallowed hard and squirmed in his seat. Something was wrong with him if a figureless woman in filthy coveralls set his mind on such an unchristian path. With a grunt, he shook off the images, jammed the handbrake into place, and jumped from the vehicle.
Steve’s game had ended long ago and Meghan was still tapping away on the laptop. Smiling, she closed her computer and nestled into her propped pillows with a dreamy sigh.
There was something about historical romance. A different time, a different way of life, but the same spark between a man and a woman.
A sharp snorting broke her from her reverie. Her gaze traveled to her husband―snoring loud enough to send the city into evacuation.
Meghan turned and studied the strong angle of his nose, the outline of his lips―even if they were hanging slack and flapping with every rattling breath. To be fair, she’d gotten pretty lax with her own appearance until a couple months ago, and Steve had never said a word. Of course, he hadn’t looked at her the way he used to in a long time, either.
She reached out and ran a finger along his arm. Would he stir and pull her close?
He smacked his tongue on the roof of his mouth, then turned the other way.
Dejected, Meghan rolled onto her back.
Looked like all the sparks tonight were reserved for Winifred and Russell.
My thoughts: This book has a lot going for it, with the dual story line and that there is more to the present day story than meets the eye. I enjoyed getting to know Meghan as she writes her story set in the early 1900's while navigating her marriage that is heading towards disaster. The story will keep you up reading, to figure out what will happen with the forward thinking young woman in 1916 and the young wife trying to get to figure out how her marriage got to it's current state. Both of the stories are unique and interesting.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.
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About the Authors:
April W Gardner writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our southeastern Native tribes. She is a copyeditor, military wife, and mother of two who lives in South Texas. In no particular order, April dreams of owning a horse, learning a third language, and visiting all the national parks.
Michelle Massaro writes contemporary fiction, soaked in grace. She makes her home in Southern California with her husband of over two decades and their four children. She’s dabbled in homeschooling, teaching Creation Science, and leading worship. When she isn’t tinkering with words, Michelle enjoys old Rogers and Hammerstein movies, making kefir, and Sudoku. A new lipstick and a good French roast always make her happy.
More from April and Michelle
April and Michelle get a lot of questions about how exactly co-authors write a book. Who writes which part? Did you have any trouble, any conflict? Valid questions! But in the case of Better than Fiction, it was no trouble at all, and neither author can remember a single heated disagreement. In part, because they’d been critique partners for eons and were already working together seamlessly.
It also helped that the story is made up of two intertwining novellas. Each author had her own blank canvas to color on with the other looking on and offering feedback. The most enjoyable part of the process was the challenge of making sure the events in the life of Michelle’s contemporary character (an author) influenced the characters’ decisions in April’s historical plot.
Why intertwining stories? The idea behind it was to show what it’s like to live in the mind of a writer, how her real life makes its way into her stories. The theme of emotional affairs was a good fit, as it is often all too easy for women—even Christian woman—to be drawn to another man and justify it as harmless friendship rather than admit she is looking to this person to fill a need that only God and her husband are meant to fill.
They decided to set the story against the backdrop of Michelle’s hometown of Corona, California in 1916 and the real-life Corona Road Race that took place in April of that year. It was the third race and, due to tragedy, the last.
From concept to “The End,” it took a span of about four years for Michelle and April to publish Better than Fiction, and as far as teamwork goes, it went off without a hitch. April was able to fly from her home in Georgia to stay with Michelle’s family and do research, and later, Michelle flew to Georgia for a concentrated writing weekend. The two had an amazingly fun time writing and working together.
Another question the authors get…will there be a sequel? Only time will tell.
For a complete list of blog stops, go here!
To celebrate their tour, April and Michelle are giving away the grand prize bundle of a $20 Amazon gift card, themed mug and bookmarks, and handmade throw pillow that says, “Books, my happy place”!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link here to enter.