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Jul 27, 2012

Central Park Rendezvous (Romancing America) by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Ronie Kendig, Dineen Miller, MaryLu Tyndall

Central Park Rendezvous
Fantastic Christian historical spanning generations

Central Park Rendezvous (Romancing America) by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Ronie Kendig, Dineen Miller, MaryLu Tyndall
Barbour Books, August 1, 2012
Historical Romance/Christian Fiction
Egalley via publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating: five stars for this great surprise

Welcome to the Big Apple where four generations of heroes find a love that never ends. Home from Afghanistan, Sean Wolfe is avoiding his dreams. Will Jamie Russo and an old coin give him new hope? Once betrayed by love, Alan James is embittered. Will a sweet reunion in Central Park heal his broken heart? Helen Wolfe is struggling to provide for herself and her family. Is Bernie O’Day her answer to prayer? Damaged in body and soul by war, William Wolfe’s fiancée has rejected him. Will he ever risk his heart again? Will love persevere despite unimaginable odds?
Never in a million years did I think I was going to enjoy this book as much as I did. It has a strong Christian message throughout, one of the strongest I've read lately, and I loved it. There was a definite saga feel as we span generations throughout the novel, which switched authors seamlessly most of the time. This was fantastic for gauging the writing techniques of some of the popular Christian historical fiction authors that I have not read, and I enjoyed all of it.

The concurrent theme is the contemporary story of Jamie and Sean, who are opposites that attract. They meet when Jamie is delivering Wolfe family letters to Sean Wolfe, and as they explore the letters the reader is transported back in time to their ancestors. The transition was effortless, and as we continued to come back to the present I didn't have that normal itch to hurry up through the contemporary storyline. The present narrative had its own impact on me, and throughout the novel there were many instances of faith, love, and loyalty that got the Wolfe family through the wars that America participated in.

Sean's father committed suicide when he was a young boy, which left his family in shambles. The letters from Sean's grandfather helped paint a different picture of Sean's dad, helping Sean heal from the issues that he endured because of the loss. These themes of loss and survival are also part of all the stories that we read about, as with war there always comes loss and the questions of faith caused by intense suffering.

I really appreciated how the different authors all presented a different story with different characters yet still it all flowed effortlessly from one to the next. From the Civil War, World War II and Vietnam War, Sean discovers the struggles of his ancestors which are similar to his own experiences and the effects of the Afghanistan War.
Bow Bridge

Where there was romance, there were meetings at Bow Bridge in Central Park, New York. If I were still a New Yorker (which I was for twenty years), the bridge would be on my to-visit list solely because of this book. I loved how the one location was a meeting point for the lovebirds, and it all came together beautifully in the end even with the contemporary couple of Jamie and Sean.

I would recommend this story to anyone interested in some good old fashioned romance! I especially loved the many positive traits of the main characters along with the powerful Christian theme. In one of my favorite stories presented here (To Sing Another Day by Kim Vogel Sawyer) I was reminded of the nuance of Louisa May Alcott and of a Christmas that was about the spirit of the season as opposed to the material aspects of physical gifts; gifts of love and charity are what is important at that time of year. This novel would be a perfect Christmas gift as well as a great book for those needing a little reminder that you need to look at the glass half full. Even though the story unabashedly features faith and God, it does not preach or overdo it which is a feat considering how much the storylines embraced it.  Definitely going on my favorites of 2012 list.