About the Book
Book: Beauty for Ashes
Author: Kathleen Neely
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Nathan Drummond’s actions at the age of eighteen had devastating consequences. Writing became therapeutic, leading him into a successful career as a mystery writer. With seven novels to his name, Nathan is rapidly becoming a household name.
When family responsibilities force him to return to his home town, he meets Angie Hernandez. Nathan doesn’t count on falling in love, and certainly not with a woman who has the power to shatter his peace.
Being at home pushes him too close to painful memories, and as guilt threatens and panic attacks set in, Nathan begins to write a novel paralleling the tragic event from his youthful folly.
Will the novel be seen as a work of fiction, or will it expose his secret and threaten his future?
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My tears stream down as I write this review. The author has captured the truth of guilt and finding a way to forgiveness. I’m sure many of us have done something in our past we regret. We wish we could go back and change things but we can’t. Nathan’s past has stayed with him for years. The guilt he has endured eats away at him everyday. I wanted to be angry at him for what he had done but found myself feeling grace towards him. He has made a decent life for himself but his past is about to catch up with him.
Angie is a wonderful character who is joyful and forgiving. As she and Nathan begin to know each other an attraction develops. I liked learning about Angie’s heritage and how deep their faith is. The work Angie does is rewarding and makes an impact on teens. When Nathan comes to volunteer at Angie’s place I was intrigued by how the story would play out. Seeing her everyday becomes harder for him when he realizes how their past connects.
One of the highlights of the story for me was how Nathan bonded with Del. I liked how the author uses Nathan to help Del who has never felt like anyone cared. His struggle at school prevents him from following his dream. Nathan’s heart for Del is unquestionably what makes a difference for Del. Finally this young teen has someone willing to work with him and encourage him. I found this part of the story as a peek into who Nathan really is inside. His hardest hurdle is just ahead as his guilt and shame are brought to the surface.
I have read many books about forgiveness, but this one is probably the best I have read. The emotional turmoil for Nathan is painful as he comes to a hard decision. Knowing he may lose everything and everyone he holds dear, he takes a step of faith and turns to God for help. In his steps to freedom from his past, he will learn how to forgive himself and trust God with his future. In the pages of this book is a story that walks readers through a tragedy that God uses to heal the broken heartened and show them them how forgiveness sets them free.
“People are hurting, and they need to know Christ. They may only see Him through the actions of others.”
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
About the Author
Kathleen Neely is the author of The Street Singer, Beauty for Ashes, and The Least of These. She is a former elementary teacher. Following her years in the classroom, she moved into administration, serving as an elementary principal at Eden Christian Academy in Pittsburgh, PA and at Shannon Forest Christian School in Greenville, SC. Kathleen is an alumnus of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and Regent University in Virginia.
Among her writing accomplishments, Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions. She continues to speak to students about writing. Kathleen is a member of Association of Christian Fiction Writers.
She resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.
More from Kathleen
I’ve always been an avid reader, but began writing at a period in my life when I didn’t have time to commit. While raising three sons, I also worked full time as a teacher, then later as an elementary principal. That left little time for writing. I’d plug away at my manuscript then neglect it for months. Those months became years. Every now and then, I would pull it out, re-read it, then add a little to it. When retirement approached, I thought of that old, abandoned manuscript. That’s when I began to take writing seriously. I joined a writing group, attended conferences, and met with two other writers weekly to critique and be critiqued. That manuscript is now a published novel.
I truly love writing. I can get lost in my own thoughts when planning a story. Characters become real and take on their own personality, sometimes different than I originally intended. Nathan, the protagonist in Beauty for Ashes, is a novelist. This excerpt is scripted from the book as he attempts to explain his trade with Angie. His explanation describes my approach to writing.
Excerpt: “They’re real people. I have to make myself become them. My mind lives out each scene. What would they feel? How would they react? I’m an actor playing a role, except that I have to play each role, each character. I immerse myself completely, then find words to capture it.”
I hope you’ll visit the pages of Beauty for Ashes and meet Nathan. He loves writing as much as I do, but hides a deadly secret. His past triggers challenges that leave him with debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. Writing has always been a balm for Nathan—until he writes his own story.
Emily Yager, April 21
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 22
Simple Harvest Reads, April 23 (Author Interview)
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 24
Texas Book-aholic, April 25
For the Love of Literature, April 26 (Author Interview)
For Him and My Family, April 27
deb’s Book Review, April 28
Through the Fire Blogs, April 29 (Author Interview)
Inklings and notions, April 30
Read Review Rejoice, May 1
Blossoms and Blessings, May 2 (Author Interview)
Artistic Nobody, May 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Batya’s Bits, May 4
To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize of a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.