Just this morning I saw a post on Twitter wishing for a delete button for poor choices made in life. Have you ever felt like that?
I am always so comforted by the verses that remind me of how completely I am forgiven! Here are a couple of my favorites:
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Publication Date February 12, 2020
Genres: Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Texas Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
After a failed engagement, Captain Andrew Lee James has focused on building a career in the Army he loves. That commitment includes helping a feisty, out-of-work ballerina whose devotion to her grandmother’s dying wish immediately grabs his heart. She’s the one, but will he be able to win the heart of a woman who has vowed to never be involved with a soldier?
College graduate Clara Malone swore to never love anyone in the military again but when her dying grandmother asks her to deliver a love letter to the general who broke her heart decades ago, she agrees and finds herself escorted by a handsome Army captain whose kindness challenges her beliefs. Surrounded by desert willows that shower her path with pretty pink flowers and sing with the buzzing of hummingbirds, Clara enjoys the wild beauty of El Paso—and her time with Andrew—more than expected.
Can she deliver her grandmother’s last love letter without losing her heart to a man who represents everything she fears?
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
I loved Clara and Andrew! They came from such different, yet similar worlds, with brokenness and sin. His hurts had driven him to the Lord. Hers had convinced her that God didn’t care.
Andrew’s persistence to convince Clara to give him a chance was so sweet! His commitment to the Lord and purity was strong and yet he still experienced temptation. Despite this, he had a plank in his eye in the form of unforgiveness and judgment that kept him quite human.
I loved all the sweet things that Andrew did for Clara and how much it meant to him to be able to do them. And I loved the way she accepted his kindnesses and allowed him the privilege of caring for her in even the simple act of opening her door.
When Clara heard the truth taught in church about sin and realized how it applied to her, she struggled with being able to forgive herself for what she had done. Her shame was great and yet she learned that the Lord’s love is greater.
Patricia Beal did such a great job with carrying themes throughout the story, even the detail about Andrew’s goldfish! In fact, I loved how they came back into play at the end of the story!
With plenty of tension, conflict, and temptation, the story remained clean. Though it is written for adults, it would not be too much for a teenager to read and could help encourage sexual purity.
If you enjoy romance where the gospel is front and center without being preachy, I can highly recommend Desert Willow.
More from Patricia
Desert Willow: A Love Song to the City of El Paso, to Family, and to Prince Harry
I enjoy this story so much! It’s great to finally get to share it with you.
Desert Willow started as a NaNoWriMo project in 2015 and has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil, the beginning of the shoe industry there, and the story of the most influential man her town has ever known, my great-grandfather.
And what does that have to do with El Paso and Prince Harry?
Well, my Prince Harry lookalike, a young Army captain named Andrew Lee James who lives in El Paso, is helping the protagonist deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter she was urged to write all those years ago after what happened in Brazil.
The contemporary story of Clara (protagonist) and Andrew was fun to write too because I’ve been around the Army since the nineties. We moved to Fort Bliss/El Paso in 2012 and lived there for six years. I thought I was going to hate it, but I loved it, so I just had to write an El Paso story.
Now I think that what I enjoyed the most about writing this novel was making all the connections and showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply.
Some of you have journeyed with me for a while and know that my debut, A Season to Dance, was my salvation process. What comes after salvation can be hard. What’s that? Well, looking at past mistakes through God’s eyes and realizing just how wrong we were, for starters.
We know how quickly God forgives us, but can we forgive ourselves and each other as quickly?
Desert Willow deals with all that. And with Prince Harry… 😊