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Advent for Authors: Peace with Stephanie Morrill and Within These Lines

This week's blog post for #Advent for Authors is all about PEACE.

(And yes, I have peacefully neglected to stay on schedule with Advent, but I will get there before the big day. Plus, I found the perfect book to showcase for this week, even though I technically missed it. )

I listened to Stephanie Morrill’s novel “Within These Lines” last month during my commute and I almost got into an accident due to it’s addictive and attention- encompassing storyline:

What it's about:

“When Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki are torn apart by the events following the attack of Pearl Harbor, they must fight if they want any hope of returning to one another before World War II steals their future together.”

We interviewed Stephanie last month on the Hope Prose Podcast, (listen here) and during our interview, I politely shared that I don’t often read historical YA or straight-up romance novels, but this was so good. She may have converted me. Okay, she has converted me. And here is why.

What did I think?

Quality of Writing (5/5): Stephanie is masterful with integrating just the right amount of description, historical context and teen voice, appropriate for the time. I was particularly impressed with how well she switched back and forth between a male and female point of view. (Listen to the podcast to hear how she did it so well!)

Turn Paging Effect (5/5): I was worried that I would get bored mid-way with this story, given that Tai moves to a Japanese-American internment camp with sparse surroundings. However, because of the detailed and shocking conditions Stephanie included from her research on these camps, I found myself praying that Tai would find a way out and flipping pages furiously to make sure there was a HEA (Happily Ever After) with Evalina.

Attributes of Hope AND Peace (5/5): Without giving anything away, this story satisfies on so many levels of the Advent themes. Stephanie creates characters that are impossible not to love, takes you on a journey that is layered with hope and concludes with multiple scenes of peace, both within Evalina and Tai’s relationship and families, but also within the larger conflicts of the time.

I was so inspired by one of the scenes in the story, that I actually borrowed Evalina’s (okay, so it was Stephanie’s idea) of painting a single nail in remembrance of what she believed in. This was such a powerful visual that it has stuck with me for months!

I also posted this review on Goodreads, in line with my goal of adding at least a star review for every book I read. I know a lot of authors out there who would be ecstatic if you did the same.


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