Friday, May 29, 2020

Review: If I Were You by Lynn Austin

About the book:
From bestselling and eight-time Christy Award-winning author Lynn Austin comes a remarkable novel of sisterhood and self-discovery set against the backdrop of WWII.
1950. In the wake of the war, Audrey Clarkson leaves her manor house in England for a fresh start in America with her young son. As a widowed war bride, Audrey needs the support of her American in-laws, whom she has never met. But she arrives to find that her longtime friend Eve Dawson has been impersonating her for the past four years. Unraveling this deception will force Audrey and Eve's secrets--and the complicated history of their friendship--to the surface.
1940. Eve and Audrey have been as different as two friends can be since the day they met at Wellingford Hall, where Eve's mother served as a lady's maid for Audrey's mother. As young women, those differences become a polarizing force . . . until a greater threat--Nazi invasion--reunites them. With London facing relentless bombardment, Audrey and Eve join the fight as ambulance drivers, battling constant danger together. An American stationed in England brings dreams of a brighter future for Audrey, and the collapse of the class system gives Eve hope for a future with Audrey's brother. But in the wake of devastating loss, both women must make life-altering decisions that will set in motion a web of lies and push them both to the breaking point long after the last bomb has fallen.
This sweeping story transports readers to one of the most challenging eras of history to explore the deep, abiding power of faith and friendship to overcome more than we ever thought possible

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

If I Were You was amazing! I've heard wonderful things about Lynn Austin's books for a while, but I've never actually read one until now…I've been missing out!

From the first chapter I was captured by the characters and their story. The book switches from present time to the past and yet it is easy to follow along. Because of the way it is written, I found myself trying to figure things about before they were revealed…and sometimes I was right, but others I was completely wrong.

All in all, If I Were You was a book I didn't want to stop reading and it took me on an emotional roller coaster. I highly recommend it!


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Q & A with Lynn Austin | Author of If I Were You

Q & A with Lynn Austin

Author of If I Were You



Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction and was one of the first inductees into the Christy Award Hall of Fame. One of her novels, Hidden Places, was made into a Hallmark Channel Original Movie. Lynn and her husband have three grown children and make their home in western Michigan. Visit her online at www.lynnaustin.org.




  1. Have you always loved books and reading? What about your formative years informed your love for reading and books?

Books have been part of my life for as long as I can remember, beginning with bedtime stories when I was a child. My mother was the town librarian in the village where I grew up, so it’s not an exaggeration to say I was raised in a library. Over the years, I helped with everything from processing books to reading aloud for story hour, and I developed a deep appreciation for all sorts of books. In addition, my grandmother was a natural-born storyteller whose tales kept my sisters and me spellbound for hours on warm summer evenings. 

  1.  How did you become a writer?

I loved to read, but after a while it seemed like so many well-written books offered very little hope. Too many themes seemed to be “Life is hard and then you die.” I agree that life is hard—but God is good! So I sat down one day 35 years ago (I was a stay-at-home mom with a new baby at the time) and decided to write the kind of book I enjoyed reading—one that makes me laugh, makes me cry, and helps me learn something about myself and my life. I knew nothing about getting published (that would come later), but I quickly discovered how much I enjoyed writing. Eventually, God brought a wonderful Christian author into my life who asked me to join her writers’ critique group, where I learned the basics of writing and publishing. As the years passed, I struggled to figure out if God was calling me to be a writer. I decided to persevere, and eleven years after I first sat down to write, my first novel was published.

  1.  What made you want to write historical fiction? What about that genre do you enjoy?

I write historical fiction because I love history, especially the little-known stories of ordinary people. For me, reading about the past and how people like me lived lives of courage in difficult times helps me live a life of faith and grace with God’s help. When we travel back in history through novels, I think it’s easier to see how God used tragic events as part of His redemption story. And that gives us faith to believe that He is still working now and that our lives can play a part in His story today.

  1.  What motivated you to write a story line about two women in WWII?

The idea for If I Were You began with a true story someone told me about a British war bride who came to America after WWII—only to learn that her husband had died in a tragic accident. Should she stay? Return to London? As I began researching the time period, I discovered how much the war changed roles and expectations for women in Britain, dissolving class differences. I’m a huge fan of the TV series Downton Abbey, so I decided to create two women—Audrey, a wealthy aristocrat, and Eve, her servant—and explore the ways the war and the “invasion” of American soldiers before D-Day changed their lives. 

  1.  Please tell us a bit about the setting of your novel.

There are three settings, really. The main characters grow up at Wellingford Hall, a stately manor house in the countryside outside of London in the 1930s. Audrey lives upstairs with all of the advantages of wealth and prestige. Eve lives belowstairs as a scullery maid. When the war begins, the setting changes to Audrey’s town house in London in the 1940s, where the now-grown women endure the nightly catastrophic Nazi bombing raids known as the Blitz. But both of these settings are surrounded by a framework set in 1950s America, where one of the women has gone to live as a British war bride.

  1. Please tell us about your main characters in If I Were You and what kind of challenges they face.

Audrey Clarkson is raised with wealth and privilege—which seems enviable except that she’s confined to a life of narrowly defined roles and is expected to marry within her class, not for love. Eve Dawson is born into the working class as a servant, with very little hope of ever bettering herself—or marrying the upper-class man she loves. But when the war begins, the women enlist in the Army together and drive ambulances in war-ravaged London. Their courage and faith are challenged in ways they’d never imagined.

  1. Who was your favorite character to write and why?

I think Eve was my favorite. She had a hard life, yet for the most part she remained happy and optimistic, seeing life as an adventure. She makes some terrible choices out of desperation—but don’t we all? I love that she is imperfect like the rest of us.



  1.  What lessons can be learned from your main characters?

Adversity—in this case a devastating war—can sometimes help us figure out who we are and what our purpose in life might be. God has a purpose for each of us, and once we find the courage to break free from the expectations of family and society—and our own fears—we can live the life we were meant to live. Also, there are things each woman envies about the other, and the story reveals how jealousy can sometimes blind us to the many opportunities right in front of us.

  1. How much research did you have to do on the WWII period in the United Kingdom?

A lot! My favorite way to research is to travel, and for this book, I was able to spend a few days exploring London. The Imperial War Museum allowed me to immerse myself in the setting with the re-creation of a typical house from this time period. It also had an Anderson shelter I could crawl inside for a simulated air raid. (Very claustrophobic!) I love to interview people and read first-person accounts from people who lived through these events and experiences, which I then incorporated into the story. My purpose isn’t to write a history book that teaches readers about dates and battles, but to help them experience wartime London through my characters.

  1.  What is your hope for If I Were You?

I hope that by reading this story of ordinary women who persevered through extraordinary circumstances, my readers will be encouraged to face their own challenges with courage and faith.




If I Were You by Lynn Austin

ISBN: 978-1-4964-3730-3 | Softcover: $15.99

ISBN: 978-1-4964-3729-7 | Hardcover: $25.99

June 2020

Tyndale.com

Link to Amazon: https://amzn.to/3enQkKe


This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Weekend Wrap-Up (May 22nd) & June Bookstagram Challenge with Giveaway!

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here. 

Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and my reading plans for the coming week. 

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've read this past week. :)


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Books I Finished This Past Week:


What I'm Currently Reading: 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Weekend Wrap-Up (May 15th)

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here. 

Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and my reading plans for the coming week. 

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've read this past week. :)


~
Books I Finished This Past Week:



What I'm Currently Reading: 

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