Publisher's Note:  

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn't afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Revell

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

by Bethany Turner

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Overall Review:  

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner turned out to be a major let down on several levels.  The story follows the life of Sarah Hollenbeck as she becomes a Christian.  The challenge is that she writes smutty romance novels.  The concept is interesting as it is inspiring to read of people making positive changes in their lives. 

Bethany Turner does a great job of characterizing Sarah's basic personality and this makes the book both difficult and easy to read.  Sarah Hollenbeck is a person whose mouth and mind are running a mile a minute and reading that stream of consciousness word dump feels like every situation is over examined and over explained.  At the same time, there are people who are just like this and that makes it easy to understand Sarah's thoughts.

With over sixty references to sex in the story, it felt as though the author was trying to write a chaste, steamy, Christian novel by seeing how many times she could refer to intimacy without actually describing the act. It did not feel romantic at all really, just lust driven; this is the main reason I did not enjoy the book.  

It seems that Sarah Hollenbeck defines relationships by how much physical desire is involved. Sadly, this obsession with the carnal leaves little room to develop more desirable qualities in the leading lady.  The man who is Sarah's potential love interest reads like a dream, but it is hard to see why he would be interested in Sarah.  She just doesn't seem very intriguing.  She only seems to have one thing on her mind and she is not afraid to say it over and over and over.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  None 

Sex/Nudity:  Many references of a man having an affair; more than sixty uses of words sex, sexual, sexy, erotic, made love and so forth; mention that people slept together or made love in the past; mention of a movie in which a female's breast is not seen; report that a person had an illegitimate child; word prostitution mentioned; implied that a married couple had sex; non-married couple kiss, embrace and hold hands.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Infidelity, references to sex, divorce, death of spouse, illegitimate child.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adults consume wine; report that a person went into a bar and became drunk.

Reviewed By Susan
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