Tremors of Doubt by Lael Harrelson – Book Review, Guest Post, Preview

Posted June 12, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Giveaways /

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Tremors of Doubt by Lael Harrelson - Book Review, Guest Post, Preview

Have you ever ridden a bus in a foreign country? When my husband and I got married, we were young and poor as church mice. (We actually were church mice!) We had reservations just outside of Ensenada, Mexico, for our honeymoon. My parents had taken off on a trip of their own, right after the wedding, having expressed in no uncertain terms that we should not drive their car into Mexico. We had things covered, though, because we were going to borrow my friend’s car.

In the way many best-laid plans work, my friend’s car broke down. Not having other options, we decided in a confident way (as those too ignorant to know better often do) that we would drive down to San Diego and find parking on this side of the border, walk over and then take a taxi to our resort. And so we did.

Hauling our luggage with us (no wheels on suitcases back then!), we walked across the border, which was a vastly different experience than driving across. I will never forget the emaciated children with the big sad eyes selling little packages of Chicklet gum. The filth and the desperation. My heart broke!

When we eventually got to a taxi stand, we were stunned to discover how much it was going to cost. Being the resourceful people we are, we decided to take a bus instead. So we found ourselves on a Mexican bus traveling the hour and a half into Baja California. It was quite the experience for this middle-class girl who had rarely even taken a bus here in the States. We were the only Americans onboard and had the privilege of traveling with a least one goat!

Our experience was nothing compared to the bus ride that Callie experienced in Haiti, though!

Tremors of Doubt by Lael Harrelson – Book Review, Guest Post, Preview

Tremors of Doubt

by Lael Harrelson

Published by Elk Lake Publishing Inc
Publication Date March 19, 2018
Genres: Christian Fiction
Setting: Haiti, Colorado Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
Pages: 330


Does Exploring Her Past Risk the Future? For a young Mennonite woman who wants to make a difference in the world, growing up on the mission field in Haiti should be the perfect fit. But not for Callie Zimmerman. Raised by her aunt and uncle after the death of her parents, Callie works beside her aunt cooking, cleaning, and sewing each day as the men head off to serve the community. She longs to do more to alleviate the poverty and sickness that surrounds her, but tradition and her uncle forbid her. On the eve of her twenty-third birthday, struggling with hopelessness as another year passes, Callie pleads with God to open a door for her. The prayer has barely left her mouth when she finds a stack of letters with secrets about her parent’s lives and their excommunication from the Mennonite church. Devastated, Callie cries herself to sleep, only to be awakened a few hours later by her uncle with the startling news that Noah Koehn has asked permission to court her. Is one of these things the answer to her prayer? Would exploring her parents’ past mean losing a future with Noah? Is the exploration worth the risk?

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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Tremors of Doubt by Lael Harrelson Quote 1I knew from the introduction that I was in for a treat. I was not mistaken. Tremors of Doubt is the beautiful love story of Callie and her God, and of Callie and the Haitian people. It also speaks loudly of the love that author Lael Harrelson has for the people of this beautiful Caribbean Island. While there is a love triangle in the story, the emphasis of the book is Callie’s spiritual journey and not the romance.

There are some somber subjects in the book: fear, oppression, abuse, disease, and yet the story is not dark at all. Tremors of Doubt by Lael Harrelson QuoteFilled with hope, Callie’s journey in seeking God’s will for her life and searching for answers is inspirational.

I hope that this will not be the only book this author writes. I would love to hear more about Noah and about Becka.




Guest Post from Lael Harrelson

Tremors of Doubt Quote 2
To the casual observer, Haiti is a magical island of swaying palms, laughing children, and azure blue oceans, but for one who takes the time to look deeper, a darker truth emerges. Starvation. Desperation. Darkness. Hopelessness.

Callie’s church is a shining beacon of family values, sincere faith, and simple living but, again, for one who takes the time to dive deeper, there is a hidden trail of broken spirits, crushed dreams, and oppressed women and girls.
Drawing inspiration from my experiences as a Haitian missionary and former Mennonite, I hope you will find Tremors of Doubt not only entertaining but life changing as you follow Callie’s journey through self-doubt, crushed dreams, love triangles, life changing secrets, and fragile hope as she navigates being the daughter of Haitian missionaries on an exotic Caribbean Island where danger is lurking just below the surface.

Preview of Tremors of Doubt

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To celebrate her tour, Lael is giving away a grand prize of an autographed copy of Tremors of Doubt, an adorable set of Amish dolls, a set of handwritten recipe cards with mouthwatering Amish recipes, a handmade Haitian bracelet made by Haitian students, a pound of nationally acclaimed Haitian coffee, a bar of rich Haitian chocolate, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

About Lael Harrelson

Raised by a fun loving, atheist single mom who struggled with depression and mental illness I spent my childhood backpacking around Europe, visiting yoga communes, eating vegan, living on a houseboat, then an old pony express outpost in the backwoods of Montana. My teen years took a drastic turn when my mom got saved, got married, and joined an ultra-conservative Mennonite church. Faith, step parents and unquestioning obedience is a dangerous combination when mixed with mental illness, legalism, and heavy handed physical correction.

I became a confused believer with a heart for Jesus but drowning under a sea of rules, regulations, and legalism. I became a missionary teacher and then a nurse and escaped to the mission field, the one avenue open to single women. I taught VBS on Indian reservations, led school for missionary children in Haiti and Africa. All around me was heartache and disease and glaring need. I longed to make a difference but was limited to working on the mission compound – teaching, cooking, cleaning. Work outside the walls of the compound was reserved for the men.

On a furlough, I met my future husband – a new believer who wasn’t looking for a door mat in a wife but a partner. As he grew in his faith, I reexamined mine and what Biblical womanhood looked like. Timidly at first, but then eagerly, as I discovered a new relationship with Jesus Christ based on grace and not performance. I left the Mennonite church and married the love of my life twenty years ago. We have five beautiful teenagers, two by birth and three through adoption from Haiti. My husband is adopted and God used my time in Haiti to prepare me to understand my children’s culture and language and ease their transitions home.

Two people in my family have mild Asperger’s and one has Reactive Attachment disorder, PTSD, and ODD. Our house is not a quiet, well greased machine but a chaotic, happy, crazy, nerve racking, love filled oasis where we all try to help each other grow and thrive. I am so thankful for my life – the good and the bad. I feel blessed to have experienced so many unique situations and to love and be loved by so many wonderful and eccentric people. It is from these experiences I draw the fiction stories I write. I like to think of them as fiction with grit – fast paced and entertaining stories that make you want to read till the very last page while at the same time tackling real life issues – legalism, abuse, divorce, adoption, Asperger syndrome, mental illness, etc.

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25 responses to “Tremors of Doubt by Lael Harrelson – Book Review, Guest Post, Preview

  1. Jessie Young

    I’m really interested in reading this book! Thanks for sharing your review.

  2. Phyllis, thank you so much for the review. Your story of Mexico made me laugh. I fashioned Callie’s ride after one of my own in Haiti. Good times, right? 🙂

    • I’m glad my story made you laugh. It’s a fun memory. 🙂

      Thank you so much for the book. I really enjoyed reading it and can’t wait to read more of yours.

  3. Perrianne Askew

    It sounds like an amazing book and your experiences played a big part in your writing. It’s wonderful that you were able to adopt from Haiti with knowledge of their culture…… that’s a big plus. It takes a special person to do a foreign adoption, I have heard that is not easy to do.

    • Hi, Perrianne! I did draw on a lot of real life experiences to bring Tremors of Doubt to life. Adoption is hard but so very rewarding. I have been so blessed!

  4. Arletta Boulton

    Lael has an interesting life story. My sister fosters two girls who have RAD so I know of the struggles she has had to deal with.

    • Hi, Arletta! You are so right. RAD kids have suffered so much trauma and loss, love and trust can be almost impossible for them. Each little step they make in the right direction, makes your heart rejoice!

  5. Brenda Elsner

    I would love to read this book!! Sounds very interesting!! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!!