Where does the power to forgive someone come from?
A tender story of love and forgiveness – Follow Natalie’s journey as she learns to forgive and then falls in love.
Natalie Alexander believes she is unworthy of a romantic relationship after a traumatic event back in college. After moving to southern Illinois, she can finally put the past behind her.
But then she’s smitten with the handsome Nick Norton, who she meets over a platter of cookies.
Unwittingly Natalie is drawn to Nick, but will she ever be able to reveal her secret? Can Natalie overcome her insecurities and can Nick help her see her inner beauty?
SERIES: A Chance Encounter #1
GENRE: Contemporary Inspirational Romance
PUBLISHER: Paddle Creek Publishing
RELEASE DATE: October 20, 2015
“Finally, something besides a casserole…”
One of the things I enjoyed the most about Michelle Connell’s Cookie Encounter was Natalie. Specifically, Natalie as a non-Christian. In my opinion, this is one of the most accurate depictions of a never-churched non-Christian that I’ve read in Christian fiction. And since I spend a lot of time with never-churched non-Christians, I feel I am nearly professionally qualified to give that opinion lol.
Natalie doesn’t know the Bible stories that most of us were born knowing. She has no idea what a “Christian bookstore” is. She’s overwhelmed by the “ridiculous” selection of Bibles and when she does read her new one she freely admits (through her narration) that she doesn’t understand it. The discussion of forgiveness is authentic and raw and necessary. She’s puzzled by why her neighbors and Nick are being so kind to her, why they’ve gone out of their way to help her. It makes her curious about this Jesus they love.
And y’all. That’s exactly what it’s all about.
One of my dearest mentors taught me that people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. I so LOVED seeing this concept play out in Natalie’s story. Mrs. White, Mrs. John, Nick, even their pastor – none of them spouted sermons or platitudes at Natalie. They didn’t use a lot of “church speak”. Instead, they just loved her quietly and sincerely and selflessly. Because Jesus had made a difference in their lives, they reached out to make a difference in hers. And in so doing, they introduced her to Jesus in the process. To me, this was such a refreshing look at how it should be done and seeing it through Natalie’s eyes made it even sweeter.
Bottom Line: When your hero is a Richard Castle lookalike, you really can’t go wrong with a chance encounter. Especially one that begins over a plate of cookies. Not to mention that Nick is sweet and sincere and just an all-around good guy. Cookie Encounter has an assortment of characters like this, and I would love to be friends with any of them. While the writing style often strayed into the territory of “too much superfluous detail” and not enough of a focused plot for my personal preference, I still enjoyed reading Nick and Natalie’s story (theirs is a nice instant-attraction but slow-develop romance) and I’m looking forward to future books in the series. Michelle Connell has done a fantastic job of getting inside Natalie’s head through the first-person narrative, and Natalie’s perspective on the book’s events is refreshing and authentic.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 3.5 stars / Enjoyed it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion; will for sure sport a silly grin
Michelle Connell is a wife, and homeschool mom. She has written hundreds of book reviews for various markets, including Christian Communicator, Christian Home & School, and CBA’s Retailers + Resources Magazine. Other credits include a contribution to Tyndale’s Life Verse Devotional and Guidepost’s True Stories of Extraordinary Answers to Prayer: Expecting Miracles. She also contributes to her writer’s group blog at PaddleCreekWriters.com and has coauthored a book of prompts with them. She lives in southern Illinois, in the St. Louis Metro-East with her husband, four children, and a Poodle mix, Ripley. Cookie Encounter is her debut novel in the Chance Encounter Inspirational Romance Series. For more information visit MichelleConnellWrites.net.
Other Books by Michelle Connell
Head over to my interview with Michelle Connell & enter to win one of two paperback copies of Cookie Encounter!
What about you? Can you remember not understanding “church” stuff or can you, like me, speak “church” as a second language?