Sunday, June 26, 2016

"jaded" by varina denman

Jaded kicks off Varina Denman's small-town saga about judgement, misunderstanding, and abuse among church leadership.

As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed—unearthing a string of secrets which threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside-down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is both love story between a woman and man ... and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness and restoration, it will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart ... and a thirst for hope.

When I agreed to review Jilted, the third book in Denman's Mended Hearts series, the publisher offered to send the first two novels, as well. Since I had time (yay, summer!), I decided to go ahead and read the novels in order.

First off, I want to be clear: You can read each of these novels without having read the others, but reading them in order will provide a much richer experience. Things introduced in Jaded are paid off in the following novels, and the three novels come together to form a cohesive story.

Jaded focuses on Ruthie Turner, who was left with a bad taste in her mouth toward Christians when she and her mom were expelled from the Trapp, Texas, church, and her best friend Fawn shut Ruthie out of her life. But new preacher Dodd Cunningham and his family seem different from Trapp's Christians, and Ruthie finds herself slowly drawn to the God Dodd loves, even when she still can't stand other Christians.

One of the highlights of the novel is Ruthie's bond with her cousin JohnScott (a bond that is played for laughs early on in the book). I liked Ruthie and Dodd, but I absolutely loved JohnScott, so I was thrilled to learn that JohnScott would get his own story in Justified, the second book in the series.

Jaded is a great beginning to this fabulous series. It's romantic without being sappy, and it deals with real issues that could be present just about anywhere. 4-1/2 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my review of Denman's Jilted (4-1/2 stars).

Varina Denman is author of the Mended Hearts series and a native Texan. She spent her high school years in a rural town and now writes stories about the struggles women face in similar small town settings. She and her husband live near Fort Worth, where they enjoy spending time with their five mostly grown children.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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