Saturday, July 16, 2016

Book Review, Tour, and Giveaway: "A Change of Heart" by Rachel J. Good

Lydia Esh feels like she needs to look after her younger sister Emma and make sure she doesn't do something she shouldn't. This causes Lydia to follow her sister to parties and puts her reputation and job as a schoolteacher on the line. She finds a co-conspirator to separate Emma from her boyfriend in Caleb Miller, who is just as desirous of getting Emma away from his brother as Lydia is.  Lydia is not prepared for the strange sensations she feels whenever Caleb is around, but she can't fall in love with an Englischer when she plans on staying true to her faith and joining the church.

"Change of Heart" is the first book in the "Sisters and Friends" series by Rachel J. Good. This book was a roller coaster of emotions. I stayed up too late reading on more than one occasion and other times, I'd planned on reading for a short time and the book just drew me in and captured my attention. I truly did not know what was going to happen until the very end of the book and it kept me on my seat waiting to find out. The characters' growth through the book is a reminder that everyone has space for improvement. I am eagerly waiting for the next book in the series. I would recommend this book to those who like Amish romances.

About the Author

Rachel photo webRachel J. Good, inspirational author, writes life-changing, heartfelt novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of Amish romances in the Sisters & Friends series. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her novels. A former teacher and librarian, she completed her MA from Vermont College while raising five children. She is presently an MFA student in Writing and Illustration at Hollins University. In addition to having more than 2200 articles and 30 books in print or forthcoming under several pseudonyms, she also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. To buy the Amish Quilts Coloring Book:  
Visit Rachel at:

Guest Post from Rachel J. Good

Hi, I’m Rachel J. Good, inspirational author of heartfelt tales of faith, hope, and forgiveness.
I’m excited to launch the first book in my Sisters & Friends Amish series, Change of Heart. Although I’ve been writing for many years and have about 30 books out now, this is my first inspirational novel. I’m busy editing book 2, Buried Secrets, and writing book 3, Gift from Above. And I’m planning the next three books in the series.
I’ve been asked how I came to write Amish novels. For that, I have to credit my agent Mary Sue Seymour, who suggested it to me. I loved the idea because I’d lived near Lancaster, PA, and had always been interested in the Amish. Although Mary Sue went to heaven a few months ago, just before the book launched, I feel her presence in my life as I write. She believed in me as a writer and encouraged me to work on this novel, which she quickly sold.
Lydia’s story in Change of Heart has several connections with my real life. The first is that I’m the oldest in my family and have two sisters, and so does Lydia. We both feel responsible our younger sisters. Lydia’s younger sister, Emma, gets in trouble during Rumschpringe. (And no, her wild sister doesn’t resemble either of my two younger sisters.)
The second connection with my life is the spiritual lesson Lydia learns in the book. I wanted Lydia’s journey to be not only a struggle between faith and love, but also a personal inner journey from self-righteousness to seeing with God’s loving eyes.
Oftentimes, goodness and spirituality can be a source of pride, and it can also be used to justify being judgmental. Lydia’s sister Emma points this out to her, but in my case, it was my young daughter who piped up, when I was complaining about someone at church, and said, “She sounds just like you, Mommy.” Ouch!
That day I came face to face with the truth that often what I criticize most in another person is often a flaw or a sin I’m overlooking in myself. As Matthew 7:3 (NIV) says: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” I wanted Lydia’s story to reflect that truth.
The Amish try to avoid the sin of hochmut (pride), but Lydia, without realizing it, is secretly proud of her own spirituality. It often saddens me that, as Christians, we spend more time criticizing others outside the faith or with different lifestyles or beliefs, but very little time examining our own unloving and judgmental behavior. I’d like to see us become more like Jesus, who ate with the “publicans and sinners,” and showed love to everyone, instead of condemning them.
Lydia is also forced to choose between staying in her faith or leaving it for love. I, too, faced a similar challenge many years ago, so I wrote those scenes from my heart. I hope Lydia’s story touches hearts, and that readers come away reassured that although we can’t always see the larger picture, God can, and He’s working out a wonderful plan for us. Our present circumstances might seem dark, but He knows the final results. We need to trust Him even during the challenging times, because “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).
Blog Stops
July 15: Bigreadersite
July 18: Bukwurmzzz
July 22: Quiet Quilter
July 24: A Greater Yes
July 24: Carpe Diem
July 27: cherylbbookblog


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away lots of fun prizes, including copies of her books and even a box of Whoopie Pies from Bird-in-Hand Bakery. Click here to enter:
"Change of Heart" is available in paperback:
  • Series: Sisters and Friends (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (May 3, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1629987433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1629987439
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 2078 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (May 3, 2016)
  • Publication Date: May 3, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B017QL5IMU

I received a free copy of this book to give my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.


Robin in NC said...

Thanks for the review & interview! You've got a beautiful family! Thanks!
rw620 AT aol DOT com

Rachel G said...

Thanks for commenting, Robin! She does have a lovely family, doesn't she?

Rachel G said...

Becky, I really appreciate you hosting me on your blog. I'm sure your children keep you busy, so I'm grateful you found the time to read Change of Heart. Glad you liked it!

Marilyn R. said...

thank you for a nice review of Change of Heart. I love Amish genre books.

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Rachel G said...

Thanks for stopping by, Marilyn and Aimee!