Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Mention: Freedom to Love by Rhonda Kulczyk

If you like historical romances, particularly in the Christian market, you’re missing out if you don’t read Rhonda Kulczyk’s Freedom to Love (the first in her Freedom series).

I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy novels. It’s a rare thing when I pick up a historical romance, and even rarer when I enjoy it enough to tell others to read it.

So when I sat down to read Rhonda Kulcyzk’s first novel, Freedom to Love, I did it with a bit of trepidation. Let me give you full disclosure here: I know Rhonda Kulczyk personally. We both attended the same writers group in Tulsa during the time she began preparing this novel for publication. It’s a little nerve-wracking to pick up the book of someone you know. What if you don’t like the book?

Thankfully, that’s not a problem with Freedom to Love. It’s a charming book, nicely written, and with an interesting premise. Young Alana has just lost her mother and has nothing to her name but her mother’s journal, which contains a secret that could ruin her life. She has no choice but to travel west and try to rebuild her life, and the only way she can do so is in the company of a man she doesn’t fully trust.

Naturally, he’s the love interest. Will he love her in return? And will her love survive a difficult trip west, personal struggles, and that dreaded secret? It’s the perfect mix of drama to keep a reader turning the pages.

Alana’s character is written believably, and the challenges she faces are also believable. But that’s not necessarily enough for keep a reader turning pages. A book needs to be well-written too, and thankfully the author does a good job of turning her phrases. It’s a pleasant journey from start to finish, and it’s a quick read, particularly when the stakes are raised and Alana’s future is so precarious. The author takes this trope of romance (a life on the brink) and does a nice job of telling it well.

As I mentioned, the novel is Christian, and not just nominally. The use of Bible scriptures and principles abounds, but don’t worry. Kulczyk wields this part of the novel well, and I didn’t feel preached at. That’s important to me because I believe the elements of a novel are meant to serve the flow of the overall story. If any element stands out like a sore thumb, that’s a problem. But it’s not a problem here, or at least it wasn’t to me.

Kulczyk has written two more novels in her Freedom series, Freedom to Live and Freedom to Surrender. She’s a good writer with a promising career, and I feel confident recommending her to you.

To learn more about Rhonda and her books, visit her personal page at Tate Publishing. Or buy it on Amazon.

Copyright © 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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