The Writing Desk
Tenley Roth’s first book was a literary and commercial success. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who merely found a bit of luck?With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Yet her life is not her own. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams of her own. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has literally destroyed her dreams, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds. Yet when Tenley discovers Birdie’s manuscript, their lives intersect. Birdie’s words help Tenley find a way home. Tenley brings Birdie’s writing to the world.Can two women separated by time help fulfill each other’s destiny?

The Writing Desk Details

TitleThe Writing Desk
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 10th, 2017
PublisherZondervan
ISBN0310351278
ISBN-139780310351276
Number of pages352 pages
Rating
GenreChristian Fiction, Historical, Contemporary, Christian, Fiction

The Writing Desk Review

  • Jill Croce-McGill
    July 12, 2017
    Wow! I couldn't put this book down... I loved it! Rachel Hauck hit it out of the ballpark with this captivating story about 2 women trying to find their way in this world. You will find moments of laughter and sadness with hidden dreams that were lost and found. This was absolutely flawless!Birdie lives in the early 1900s and has a strong love for writing. Her mother is very controlling and has specific plans for Birdie's future, she wants her to marry a man for money instead of love. But, Birdi Wow! I couldn't put this book down... I loved it! Rachel Hauck hit it out of the ballpark with this captivating story about 2 women trying to find their way in this world. You will find moments of laughter and sadness with hidden dreams that were lost and found. This was absolutely flawless!Birdie lives in the early 1900s and has a strong love for writing. Her mother is very controlling and has specific plans for Birdie's future, she wants her to marry a man for money instead of love. But, Birdie has other plans for herself, her dream has always been to write a novel and have it published. Unfortunately, in the early 1900s, she was told women don't write books and faced social backlash. Birdie found an escape from her mother in the attic where she had a special desk she did all her writing on.Tenley comes from a family of writers where she followed in her father's and great great grandfather's footsteps. Her first book was a success and now she is riddled with fear that her second book won't be as successful. Just as she is about to pen her second book her estranged mother calls and asks Tenley to help her while she undergoes chemotherapy. Tenley agrees in hopes a change will help her get over her writer's block. While staying with her mother Tenley uses an antique desk to write her new book - the same desk Birdie used 100 years ago. This is a beautiful story of forgiveness, overcoming fear, and developing a deep faith in God. Highly recommended!*I want to thank NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Deanne Patterson
    July 20, 2017
    The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck really captivated my attention. Very hard to put this fast paced page turner down!Featuring a dual time line, which I love in books the stories take place a century apart but actually have a connection. Two very strong women are trying to prove themselves in the writing world. Birdie,is from old money and was born during the Gilded Age. I just loved the rich and sumptuous descriptions here and the elegance. She uses the desk to pour out her thoughts and fears but The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck really captivated my attention. Very hard to put this fast paced page turner down!Featuring a dual time line, which I love in books the stories take place a century apart but actually have a connection. Two very strong women are trying to prove themselves in the writing world. Birdie,is from old money and was born during the Gilded Age. I just loved the rich and sumptuous descriptions here and the elegance. She uses the desk to pour out her thoughts and fears but she has a very controlling and manipulative mother who makes Birdie pay for her,(the mother's mistake). Coming out into society was all about you associated with and it must be high society. Her mother wants to force her to marry someone against her will to further her high society ranking not caring That her daughter has no feelings for this man.Fast forward a century, After an amazing best seller, Tenley is expected to produce another best seller by the quickly approaching deadline. Her writer's block is not helped by the stress she feels. Her boyfriend is pressuring her to marry him and she's just not feeling it. She doesn't have a close relationship with Blanche,her mother who abandoned the family when Tenley was a young child. Being raised by her father caused her to feel neglected and abandoned by her mother. She is in a tug of war when her boyfriend asks her to go to Paris with him so he can work on his screen play at the same time her mother asks her to go to Florida to help her get through her chemotherapy. The pressure mounts from her publisher as her writer's block continues. She is using the same desk to write on that Birdie used and she find something amazing in the stuck middle drawer.My take on this is don't settle in life. Go for what's important and that you know is right even if it involves waiting and never marry for any reason but real,true love. Money and material things are just things but true love will sustain you!Amazing Book!Pub Date 11 Jul 2017Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson--FICTION for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Karen
    March 21, 2017
    An intriguing story, set on a dual timeline, featuring two fledgling writers a hundred years apart. A stand alone novel with characters whose stories seem unconnected, except by an old desk. The past story begins in 1902-3 New York, among the social elites, the old "Knickerbockers". In a time when American heiresses were being matched up with English Lords who had titles and estates in need of cash flow, Birdie is under a lot of family pressure to marry according to her family's wishes. All she An intriguing story, set on a dual timeline, featuring two fledgling writers a hundred years apart. A stand alone novel with characters whose stories seem unconnected, except by an old desk. The past story begins in 1902-3 New York, among the social elites, the old "Knickerbockers". In a time when American heiresses were being matched up with English Lords who had titles and estates in need of cash flow, Birdie is under a lot of family pressure to marry according to her family's wishes. All she really wants to do however is be free to write her stories. The present day tale is centered on another young writer who is under a deadline to produce her next novel. Coming from a family of successful writers adds even more pressure, then a call from her absentee mother to come help her through a health crisis seems to be the final straw. I love how this author adds a twist or two along the way, with a bit of mystery and romance, tying both stories together in surprising ways. It took me awhile to engage with these characters, but it became more interesting as it went. Giving both stories a divine thread through a song resonating in the character's soul, reassuring them of a divine presence, was a lovely way to connect them, as they hear, "Do not be dismayed, you don't have to worry or be afraid." I love the thought of God singing over his people, like it says in the book of Zephaniah. I liked the fun dialogue between Tenley and Jonas, and how accepting he and his family were of her quirky ways, helping her with her mom, and showing her a lot of grace. Birdie was an interesting character too, trying to please her parents, but not give up her dream of being a writer. I wasn't sure how either story would end or how they would connect. The mystery kept me reading on, hoping they'd both have happy endings. It was a satisfying conclusion and worth the wait.Recommend to readers who enjoy Christian fiction with some romance and a redemptive theme. Some mature themes may make this a better fit for an adult reader. 4.5 stars(An e-book was provided by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
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  • Rachael
    June 17, 2017
    I simply loved this book! The plot seemed so very original. For an avid reader, sometimes it seems so many books are so familiar, but not this read.The characters seem so real. Tenley, Jonas, Birdie, Eli, and the secondary characters are all wonderful and create a great story that centers around an old desk. I love books that switch back and forth to different time periods.This book was like a layered dessert.The first bite begins, and you enjoy it. As I delved further, each layer is more bewitc I simply loved this book! The plot seemed so very original. For an avid reader, sometimes it seems so many books are so familiar, but not this read.The characters seem so real. Tenley, Jonas, Birdie, Eli, and the secondary characters are all wonderful and create a great story that centers around an old desk. I love books that switch back and forth to different time periods.This book was like a layered dessert.The first bite begins, and you enjoy it. As I delved further, each layer is more bewitching and more enjoyable than the last...until I found I couldn't stop.I was totally taken in. I was the characters. I was part of the story. I was in the time and place without the ability to stop until I arrived at the delicious end...with a tinge of sadness that it had ended at all.It truly was a remarkable story with a wonderful faith thread woven throughout. This one definitely earned its place on my forever shelves.I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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  • Kristin
    June 24, 2017
    I don’t want to fangirl over this book so much that you all ignore what I have to say. But, I loved this book so much that I think the only way to adequately describe my feelings is to share my facebook status that I posted just after I finished reading.Okay, my bookish peeps… I rarely demand you go buy a book but I sat here blubbering like a kid over this ending. You cannot miss this book. You can’t! Like, go buy it or we can’t even be friends!!! -KristinI fell in love with the characters, with I don’t want to fangirl over this book so much that you all ignore what I have to say. But, I loved this book so much that I think the only way to adequately describe my feelings is to share my facebook status that I posted just after I finished reading.Okay, my bookish peeps… I rarely demand you go buy a book but I sat here blubbering like a kid over this ending. You cannot miss this book. You can’t! Like, go buy it or we can’t even be friends!!! -KristinI fell in love with the characters, with Tenley and Jonas but most of all with Birdie. She reached right through the pages and gripped my heart and gave it a good squeeze. One word sums up these characters—endearing.I think most people who read my blog knows that I rarely read contemporary fiction. When I do, Rachel Hauck’s books are the ones that I pick up. Yes, I’m a fan. Make no mistake though, this book is fantastic and I’m not saying that just because I enjoy this author’s work.The interesting thing about The Writing Desk is the duel timeline. Most authors cannot pull off a duel timeline but Birdie and Tenley’s tales were so beautifully woven together. Their lives were connected in a way that left me reeling. Their connection was beautiful and I kept turning the pages to see where the story would take me.Lastly, I want to say how much I appreciate this author’s authentic tale of loss, love and redemption. This book was bittersweet and the characters were flawed. They were real—as real as a book character can be.I hate to be on repeat but this book was just lovely and I truly think anyone that loves a sweet, clean romance would love this story. It’s not overly preachy and I think some devout Christians may want more. But, I like seeing the subtle hand of God working in the lives of those that need redemption. This book had the perfect amount of romance and faith elements for me. It felt authentic and not as if the author was trying to beat me over the head with a full plan of salvation. She let God find her characters where they were and I loved that. Truly, I loved this book.A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Harper Collins Christian Publishing, the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. All opinions are my own.This review was originally posted on A Simply Enchanted Life
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  • Brittany
    July 1, 2017
    This dual-timeline novel pulled me into its pages and simply didn’t let go! When I finished the book, I felt as if I’d lived two different lifetimes. Both stories, present and past, were so compelling. I enjoyed the contemporary storyline and wondered how things were going to work out for Tenley. She seemed to be digging herself into a hole as she struggled to be the amazing author that everyone touted her to be. And the Gilded-Age story from the past…romantic sigh!!! I just absolutely did not s This dual-timeline novel pulled me into its pages and simply didn’t let go! When I finished the book, I felt as if I’d lived two different lifetimes. Both stories, present and past, were so compelling. I enjoyed the contemporary storyline and wondered how things were going to work out for Tenley. She seemed to be digging herself into a hole as she struggled to be the amazing author that everyone touted her to be. And the Gilded-Age story from the past…romantic sigh!!! I just absolutely did not see how things could possibily go right for these two people who were so in love, yet unable to devote themselves to each other. Birdie’s story completely captured me!I’ve found myself thinking of the characters in this book many times over the past few days. This was definitely an intriguing read!I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.You can read this review on my blog at:https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...
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  • Tima
    June 19, 2017
    Tenley wrote an amazing best seller. Her father and grandfather were also best selling authors. So with the deadline for her next book looming, Tenley must make up her mind, go to Florida to help her estranged mother or go to Paris with her boyfriend. She needs inspiration to remove her roadblock. What she finds is nothing like she expected. An old desk with a stuck drawer, a local carpenter who wants the desk, and renewed relationships help change Tenley in ways she never imagined.I loved this Tenley wrote an amazing best seller. Her father and grandfather were also best selling authors. So with the deadline for her next book looming, Tenley must make up her mind, go to Florida to help her estranged mother or go to Paris with her boyfriend. She needs inspiration to remove her roadblock. What she finds is nothing like she expected. An old desk with a stuck drawer, a local carpenter who wants the desk, and renewed relationships help change Tenley in ways she never imagined.I loved this book. The cover is beautiful and the story captivating. The writer was able to convey the feelings of the main characters and write descriptive scenery that made me feel as if I was living the story with Tenley. The emotions were authentic and sometimes raw, but added depth to the plot. The characters were flawed, but the reader comes away from the book with a sense of understanding, conviction, and thoughtfulness. I felt some elements of faith woven throughout the book, but they were subtle. The author did a great job of weaving two stories, set in different times together. It flowed well and felt seamless. I think anyone who enjoys thought provoking, real stories will enjoy the story of this young author as she deals with family, writer's block, and conviction. Overall, a book that captivated me and I couldn't put down. Can't wait for her next book.I received a copy of this book. All thoughts expressed are my own.
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  • Susan Snodgrass
    April 26, 2017
    Tenley Roth’s first book was a literary and commercial success. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who merely found a bit of luck?With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missi Tenley Roth’s first book was a literary and commercial success. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who merely found a bit of luck?With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Yet her life is not her own. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams of her own. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has literally destroyed her dreams, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds. Yet when Tenley discovers Birdie’s manuscript, their lives intersect. Birdie’s words help Tenley find a way home. Tenley brings Birdie’s writing to the world.Can two women separated by time help fulfill each other’s destiny? I have always loved Rachel Hauck's books and will buy a book with her name on the cover automatically. This one was no different. Hauck moves effortlessly between the Gilded Age and the present time and the times in between. The reader is engaged to a degree that it's hard to put the book aside. I was rooting for Birdie and hurting for her at the same time. Goodness, what depth of emotion Hauck writes! All through the book, the theme of God whispering, 'Do not be dismayed' resonates. Even to His children today, that phrase still resonates. God cares about our every problem and cries out to us to never fear for He is there. As always, Hauck's books carry a strong spiritual theme, a fact for which this reader is very grateful. Don't miss this one, folks. It will carry you away!*I was given a preview copy of this book by the publisher via Net Galley. My opinions are my own.
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  • Cara Putman
    July 16, 2017
    This is a sweet story, with split time stories one involving a debutante in the Gilded Age and the other modern day. In classic Rachel Hauck fashion the stories intertwine in unique ways with characters I loved. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel.
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  • Melissa
    April 18, 2017
    https://www.rtbookreviews.com/book-re...4.5 Stars TOP PICKHauck has penned another gorgeous story about two female writers, separated by time and circumstance. Spiritual content is beautifully integrated and makes the story meaningful. Mistakes and heartbreak are a reality in the tale, as in life, and make the characters relatable. Attention to historical detail places the reader in the midst of early 1900s New York with all of its challenges, especially for young women like Birdie who have drea https://www.rtbookreviews.com/book-re...4.5 Stars TOP PICKHauck has penned another gorgeous story about two female writers, separated by time and circumstance. Spiritual content is beautifully integrated and makes the story meaningful. Mistakes and heartbreak are a reality in the tale, as in life, and make the characters relatable. Attention to historical detail places the reader in the midst of early 1900s New York with all of its challenges, especially for young women like Birdie who have dreams that go against the acceptable choices of the era. This superb book will entertain and make readers think.Tenley Roth has a huge legacy to live up to in the writing world. Both her father and great-grandfather are well-known authors, and she has written one massively successful novel as well. Unfortunately, she is on a deadline and suffering from extreme writer's block. When her estranged mother asks Tenley to come to Florida while she goes through chemotherapy, Tenley reluctantly agrees, and thinks a change of location might help her to write. In 1902, Birdie Shehorn lives a life of wealth and privilege, but this means that her choices are limited by her status. All Birdie wants is to write and become a published author, but this desire is thwarted by Birdie's mother, who wants her to marry a wealthy, titled man. As Tenley struggles in the present, her life intersects with Birdie's through an old writing desk that might give answers to them both.
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  • Dawn
    July 3, 2017
    This book was amazing. I can't say enough about it. I absolutely adored it.There is something about the way that Rachel Hauck writes that just pulls me into her books. I get lost for hours. As much as I've loved her Royal Wedding series, her stand alone novels are probably the ones that stay with me. I love the depth of the past meeting the present. I love how the main character, Tenley in this case, has to make a decision that is similar to the one Birdie is forced to make. I love how each woma This book was amazing. I can't say enough about it. I absolutely adored it.There is something about the way that Rachel Hauck writes that just pulls me into her books. I get lost for hours. As much as I've loved her Royal Wedding series, her stand alone novels are probably the ones that stay with me. I love the depth of the past meeting the present. I love how the main character, Tenley in this case, has to make a decision that is similar to the one Birdie is forced to make. I love how each woman makes her choice for certain reasons, but was it necessarily the right one?I love the depth that is Tenley and Birdie's characters. Both are not shallow characters. I love how they each either learn or not from the circumstances that they are presented with.Some authors can draw a reader in. Others can make the story linger long after the book has ended. Ms. Hauck is one who has managed to do both with this book.I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in order to share my honest opinion. My thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not required to like the book, only honestly give me honest opinion.Recommended to fans of women's fiction, Karen Kingsbury, Lisa Wingate, Rachel HauckRating - 5 stars
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  • Karen
    May 29, 2017
    Such a beautiful story of two women finding their way in life. I love how the two stories intertwine to create a story of love, pain, forgiveness, and happiness. A must read. *I received an advanced copy of this book*
  • Marylin
    April 25, 2017
    In this book the author tells a story of a woman striving to prove herself to others and to her own self. I loved how Rachel Hauck gave us a glimpse of life in the 1900s and the struggles it was to be a young girl wanting to be and do what she felt called to do, not what society or family told her she should do. Within this story Rachel Hauck also wove the life of a young girl in the 21st century who has connections to the past.Both girls were striving to find out who they were and what their li In this book the author tells a story of a woman striving to prove herself to others and to her own self. I loved how Rachel Hauck gave us a glimpse of life in the 1900s and the struggles it was to be a young girl wanting to be and do what she felt called to do, not what society or family told her she should do. Within this story Rachel Hauck also wove the life of a young girl in the 21st century who has connections to the past.Both girls were striving to find out who they were and what their life should be like.It’s a wonderful story of acceptance, and love.This book flowed with beautiful word pictures and captivating conversations. I received this book from the publisher to read. All opinions are my own.
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  • Tracey Hagwood
    March 21, 2017
    Full review coming closer to release date, but this is Rachel Hauck's BEST BOOK EVER and I predict it will make everyone's best books of 2017 list. Could not have loved it more. PERFECTION!
  • Miriam Lozano
    June 9, 2017
    I have read other Rachel Hauck books and they always leave me feeling happy. Her stories combine past experiences of her characters with the present in a way that helps us understand the meaning of "deja vu". The Writing Desk is no exception. Tenley Roth's first book has become a bestseller and now her publishers are expecting a follow up book to keep the momentum going. Fear and doubt creep in and so does writer's block. She is being pushed on all sides; her fiance, her mother. her past. When h I have read other Rachel Hauck books and they always leave me feeling happy. Her stories combine past experiences of her characters with the present in a way that helps us understand the meaning of "deja vu". The Writing Desk is no exception. Tenley Roth's first book has become a bestseller and now her publishers are expecting a follow up book to keep the momentum going. Fear and doubt creep in and so does writer's block. She is being pushed on all sides; her fiance, her mother. her past. When her estranged mother calls her from Florida with the news that she has cancer and needs her to come help her through her the chemo, she doesn't necessarily jump at the chance but decides that perhaps a new outlook and a new place may help her writer's block. There she meets Jonas, the man that may help her get the creative juices running again. She finds a beautiful desk at her mother's house that makes her feel as if it will help her tell her stories. In another time; during the Guilded Age Birdie Shehorn, another gifted author writes stories at the same desk. However, she comes from a rich family and a matriarchal mother who wants to make all decisions for her, including who she will marry. Birdie has struggles and decisions of her own in order to make her dreams come true. Birdie's and Tenley's story join together seamlessly and tell a story of timeless love, endurance and fate. Highly recommend this one.
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  • Cecelia
    June 14, 2017
    This book focuses on two women, Tenley's story takes place during modern times. Birdie's story is a historical.Tenley is floored, literally, when she receives a marriage proposal right before she receives a prestigious writing award. Suffering from writers' block, she struggles with making decisions - should she go to Paris with her boyfriend or travel to Florida to care for her estranged mom. Isn't it too late to try and fix their broken familial relationship?Birdie wants to publish her romance This book focuses on two women, Tenley's story takes place during modern times. Birdie's story is a historical.Tenley is floored, literally, when she receives a marriage proposal right before she receives a prestigious writing award. Suffering from writers' block, she struggles with making decisions - should she go to Paris with her boyfriend or travel to Florida to care for her estranged mom. Isn't it too late to try and fix their broken familial relationship?Birdie wants to publish her romance novel. But, her parents aren't aware of her writing aspirations. They want her to marry a well-to-do man that they've chosen. I almost felt as if Birdie had been born 100 years too early - she seemed like a modern woman.Both Birdie's and Tenley's stories are related in a unique and appealing way. This was a light, enjoyable summer read.
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  • Rebecca
    June 26, 2017
    "Alone was the loneliest place on earth." Following the death of her beloved father, Tenley Roth pours herself into a lukewarm relationship while basking in the overwhelming success of her first novel. Quite unexpectedly, she receives a desperate request from her estranged mother, sending her from New York to Florida, where she "meets" an antique desk . . . . . . and a fascinating man. Struggling to overcome writer's block, she makes a decision that will fortunately or unfortunately change the c "Alone was the loneliest place on earth." Following the death of her beloved father, Tenley Roth pours herself into a lukewarm relationship while basking in the overwhelming success of her first novel. Quite unexpectedly, she receives a desperate request from her estranged mother, sending her from New York to Florida, where she "meets" an antique desk . . . . . . and a fascinating man. Struggling to overcome writer's block, she makes a decision that will fortunately or unfortunately change the course of her career, and perhaps even her family history. Birdie Shehorn is one of many sought-after heiresses during the Gilded Age; beautiful, rich, and headed for an arranged marriage, unless she can assert her independence over an overbearing mother. Longing to use her education wisely, Birdie secretly pursues a writing career, writing furiously on a beautiful desk tucked deep inside her third floor attic. When presented with a rare opportunity to marry for love, it appears that all will be lost in expectations, unless truth can forge a way.This lovely dual timeline traces the lives of two very different women, with remarkably similar struggles, and hearts that long for a forever love. Rachel Hauck has certainly penned a satisfying blend of winsome wit and classic romance!I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions stated are entirely my own.
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  • Iola
    July 29, 2017
    Rachel Hauck’s most recent novels have all featured a present-day romance and a historical romance, with something that connects the two.No prizes for guessing what the connection is in The Writing Desk …In the present, Tenley Roth has just won a major writing award, but she’s convinced she’s only won because she’s the great-great-granddaughter of the author for whom the award is named. Not to mention that she’s just a hack who wrote a romance novel, and she’s exactly zero words into the manuscr Rachel Hauck’s most recent novels have all featured a present-day romance and a historical romance, with something that connects the two.No prizes for guessing what the connection is in The Writing Desk …In the present, Tenley Roth has just won a major writing award, but she’s convinced she’s only won because she’s the great-great-granddaughter of the author for whom the award is named. Not to mention that she’s just a hack who wrote a romance novel, and she’s exactly zero words into the manuscript that’s due in less than three months. And now she’s in Florida, caring for her estranged mother as Blanche recovers from chemo.In 1902, Bridie Shehorn has recently graduated from Wellesley. Now Mama insists she marry and move into her rightful role as leader of the Four Hundred. Mama even has a groom picked out—Alphonse, who is from a good family, suitably rich, yet far too fond of the ladies. And he’s not Eli, the handsome Earl who is back in New York after serving in the Boer War.I have to say that at the beginning, I was a lot more intrigued by Bridie’s story than by Tenley’s.Most of Tenley’s problems appeared self-inflicted. She’s got an almost-fiance she stays with for no known reason, and a bad case of writers block made worse by constant lying to her agent and editor. On the other hand, Bridie’s problems were mostly caused by a controlling Mama whose idea of good parenting was to do what was best for Mama with little or no regard for anyone else. Bridie least of all.But I grew more and more interested in Tenley’s story as the novel progressed.She befriends Jonas, who has the large, close-knit family she always dreamed of, and begins to investigate his Christian faith. Yes, this is Christian romance, although the faith aspects are subtle to the point a reader might not even notice.Bridie had her own subtle faith journey as well, although the focus of her story was more on her impending marriage, and her writing. Yes, Bridie was also a writer. I thought I’d picked up the connection between Tenley and Bridie early on (and the twist), but there was a lot more to the connection.Recommended for those who enjoy dual-timeline stories.Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing an ebook for review.
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  • Fiction Aficionado
    July 20, 2017
    It took me a couple of chapters to settle into this novel, but once I did, I was well and truly hooked. Both the historical and the contemporary stories held my attention equally (I would go so far as to say demanded my attention at times), and the way they eventually dovetailed together was immensely satisfying. Not only that, but the path was often delightfully—or heart-stoppingly—unexpected. Even when I knew what I hoped would happen, I wasn’t able to anticipate (or even imagine) how or when It took me a couple of chapters to settle into this novel, but once I did, I was well and truly hooked. Both the historical and the contemporary stories held my attention equally (I would go so far as to say demanded my attention at times), and the way they eventually dovetailed together was immensely satisfying. Not only that, but the path was often delightfully—or heart-stoppingly—unexpected. Even when I knew what I hoped would happen, I wasn’t able to anticipate (or even imagine) how or when it would come about. And there were so many layers and threads to the story. What a glorious tapestry it ended up weaving!In many ways, Tenley and Birdie were each other’s antitheses, which made for some great contrasts within the story. Tenley was both vulnerable and quirky—traits which endeared her to me and entertained at the same time—whereas Birdie was poised and forthright, knowing what she did and didn’t want from life. Tenley’s mother abandoned her and her father when she was much younger, and so part of her journey in this story is reconnecting with her mother while she looks after her during her chemo treatment. By contrast, Birdie’s mother holds a tight grip on her daughter’s life, determined to see her wed to a man who will help make her a leader in society, and so Birdie actually struggles to separate herself from her mother’s iron will.Perhaps the most important contrast, however, is in their writing. Birdie wants nothing more than to tell stories and be published, but her manuscripts are rejected. Tenley feels as though her one novel, written as a way to process her feelings after her father’s death, has propelled her into the publishing world simply because her father and great-grandfather were both successful and much lauded authors. Now she has a looming deadline, reams of blank pages, and zero inspiration. Is writing really what she’s supposed to do with her life?The one thing Tenley and Birdie do have in common is the writing desk, and I was totally unprepared for the way it would bring the two stories together. Masterful plotting! What's more, these two women eventually saw their hearts' desires fulfilled in ways that were unimaginable—even unlooked-for—at the beginning of the book, which somehow made it all the sweeter.I haven’t even mentioned Jonas or Elijah yet, the two men who play important roles in Tenley’s and Birdie’s lives respectively. This is a definite two-for-the-price-of-one in the romance department, and both men were heart-stoppers in their own unassuming ways. Romance-loving hearts will be well sated.The one slight criticism I have is that I think the cover, beautiful though it is, led me to expect a different kind of story—or at least, a different kind of heroine than either Tenley or Birdie turned out to be—and after much reflection, I think that may have been part of the reason why it took me a little while to settle in to the story. The woman on the cover is serene, and has an air of innocence or naïvety or simplicity—or something. That’s not this story. And that isn’t a bad thing!—but it’s not this story.But it is a story well worth reading.I received a copy of this book as a part of TLC Book Tours. This has not influenced the content of my review which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
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  • Jessica Baker
    July 13, 2017
    Wow. Just wow. This book was all I wanted and more. I had a huge book hangover when I finished it. In fact, it took me a couple of days before I could even being reading another book, and that is rare for me. I was completely blown away by the storyline, the characters, and that desk! The desk was my favorite "character" in this book. It held stories, secrets, dried up tears, hours upon hours of someone using it to pen a novel. If only the desk could talk.....and yet it did. Obviously not in the Wow. Just wow. This book was all I wanted and more. I had a huge book hangover when I finished it. In fact, it took me a couple of days before I could even being reading another book, and that is rare for me. I was completely blown away by the storyline, the characters, and that desk! The desk was my favorite "character" in this book. It held stories, secrets, dried up tears, hours upon hours of someone using it to pen a novel. If only the desk could talk.....and yet it did. Obviously not in the way we do, but it was an integral part of the story. I think one of my favorite scenes was when Jonas came to pick up the table and first met Tenley. I laughed, quite a bit actually. From that moment on I became invested not only in where to desk was going, but how Jonas and Tenley might spend more time together and continue the dynamic they had going. Ms. Hauck has mastered the art of providing two stories in one that tie together in such an unexpected way. I'm not sure who's storyline I was enjoying more, Birdie or Tenley. Birdie has this passion, and new exactly what she wanted out of life, while Tenley was almost the opposite - she needed lots of direction and had some growing to do. Their stories balanced each other out perfectly, leaving this reader very satisfied and interested in what was going on. The thing that I love about Rachel Hauck's books are that she is easily able to tie the gospel into the storyline. And when you see that at the end of the story, you can look back and see glimpses of where it appeared earlier, and the parables that she had used in a mighty yet subtle way. She has a unique way of getting the reader involved in a way where they cannot ignore what is being presented. She is not too preachy, which I think is great for the more secular audience. Just another way for them to hear the word.I highly recommend you start reading this book today. It will be well worth your time. Just be ready for that book hangover when you are done! I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Patricia Romero
    May 17, 2017
    Rachel's books have a way of calming the soul. Bringing things into perspective if you will. And this one is no different in that regard.Tenley comes from a line of successful writers, or so she believes. Was her first book just dumb luck or because of her last name? Or is she a one hit wonder?Told from two different time periods, now and the Gilded Age, we follow along with both of them until in the end so many people and things had to come together just so to end with a very satisfying AH!This Rachel's books have a way of calming the soul. Bringing things into perspective if you will. And this one is no different in that regard.Tenley comes from a line of successful writers, or so she believes. Was her first book just dumb luck or because of her last name? Or is she a one hit wonder?Told from two different time periods, now and the Gilded Age, we follow along with both of them until in the end so many people and things had to come together just so to end with a very satisfying AH!This may be under Christian Fiction, but that part of the story was not overwhelming or shoved in your face. The book is chock full of really interesting characters that I really hope will spin-off!
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  • Rachel McDaniel
    June 29, 2017
    Anyone who knows me understands that I love both historical and contemporary romance novels, and guess what? The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck has both! Ms. Hauck is masterful at creating novels that combine both genres. Seriously, folks. It hurts my brain to think of all the plotting that she must’ve done to make this story flow-y and flawless. And who doesn’t love twice the romance a dual story has to offer?There were moments of laughter and sadness. It was a tale of dreams lost and gained.Hist Anyone who knows me understands that I love both historical and contemporary romance novels, and guess what? The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck has both! Ms. Hauck is masterful at creating novels that combine both genres. Seriously, folks. It hurts my brain to think of all the plotting that she must’ve done to make this story flow-y and flawless. And who doesn’t love twice the romance a dual story has to offer?There were moments of laughter and sadness. It was a tale of dreams lost and gained.Historical elements:I love the Gilded Age. It’s a part of American history that’s unique from all other eras. The “class system” is still very much observed. Money. Prestige. And society placement. I experienced Birdie’s frustration with being manipulated by her mother and her struggle to find happiness in such a shallow environment. I rallied for her to follow her aspirations and not to close her heart to love. Not only was the historical scenes inspiring but also the blossoming romance shared between the characters was endearing to read.Contemporary elements:Tenley hooked me from the first few pages. She’s at the top of the literary world, so to speak, yet her heart’s empty. My own heart ached for her to get a glimpse of what her soul truly craved – redemption. And as a writer, I totally sympathized with Tenley’s writing block. Oh yes, sometimes the struggle is real. I was surprised by how much I loved Jonah’s character. He impressed me with his honorable and godly behavior. I could gush and gush about the vivid scenes with Tenley and Jonah, but I don’t want to give anything away 😉The Writing Desk whispered to me through the pages of residual grace. Of His faithfulness to hold our hands as we reach for our dreams, but also of His steadfast presence when our desires slip through our fingers.*I was provided a copy through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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  • Nicole
    June 18, 2017
    The Writing Desk (2017) is a stand-alone novel written by Rachael Hauck. This book will release on July 11, 2017, and will come in all forms including eBook. The book is roughly 350 pages in length. With a full-time job and a five-year old at home, this book took me two days to read. I received a copy of this eBook from Zondervan Publishing through NetGalley; all opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give this stunning novel 5 STARS. This is a Contemporary Christian Romance AND Christi The Writing Desk (2017) is a stand-alone novel written by Rachael Hauck. This book will release on July 11, 2017, and will come in all forms including eBook. The book is roughly 350 pages in length. With a full-time job and a five-year old at home, this book took me two days to read. I received a copy of this eBook from Zondervan Publishing through NetGalley; all opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give this stunning novel 5 STARS. This is a Contemporary Christian Romance AND Christian Historical Romance all in the same book.This novel is a beautiful, multifaceted story. Ms. Hauck tells this story through four narrators: Tenley and Jonas from our contemporary time, and Birdie and Eli from the American Gilded Age (c. 1877-early 1900s). I do worry when an author uses this strategy because it tends to take me out of the main story and can have a soap-oprah/telanovela feel, but the use of four narrators in this book is perfect.My favorite story line is Birdie and Eli's. Their story is, at times, exceptionally heartbreaking. I can tell that Ms. Hauck did a lot of research for this book; her attention to detail is exquisite. Birdie comes from old money. Her family is incredibly wealthy and are esteemed members of high society. The reader is treated to stunning scenes of decadent parties and gorgeous dresses, handsome men is fantastic tuxedos and romantic dances. Birdie's moments in this book are so well written I felt like I was at the parties with her. And, I felt her pain so deeply. Ms. Hauck knows how to write heart-wrenching scenes. Some of Birdie's moments in this novel took my breath away. Which leads to Eli. Eli, an Englishman, is next in line to be the Marquess of Ainsworth. He and Birdie met in 1898 when Birdie's family was on a Grand European tour. They fell in love, but nothing could happen. She was off to Wellesley and he was off to fight for Queen and country in the Boer Wars. They meet again in 1902, feelings for one another have not dwindled, but he is in America searching for a wealthy heiress to wed to save his homelands in England, which are falling into great debt. In an attempt to NOT spoil the plot, I cannot explain why the heiress can't be Birdie -- suffice it to say it just cannot be! There is happiness in store for Birdie and Eli, it just takes a while to get there.Tenley and Jonas are couple number 2. Jonas is a great character. He is very well-written and very realistic. He is a good, God-fearing, family-oriented guy. He had an excruciatingly terrible thing happen to him, and at the start of this book, which is two years after the bad thing happened, he is still not ready to take his heart out of its safe house. Then he meets Tenely, and his life gets turned upside down. Tenley is a rich author who is celebrating her first book, which became an immediate success. Tenley has issues with this: did her book become popular because it is good, or because she is related to two well-known and beloved authors? This doubt causes her a severe bout of writer's block, and she can't seem to get a second book going. At the same time, her estranged mother is diagnosed with cancer and needs Tenely's help. Going to her mother's -- the mother who abandoned her twenty years ago -- dramatically changes Tenley's life. She learns many things including who her mother is, who she is, and who God is. The best part of the book is that everything Tenely goes through feels so authentic. Her struggles with doubt and depression, her questioning who she is, her quasi-anger at her mother, and her questioning God are all genuine. Nothing in this book feels formulaic. I think I truly appreciated this aspect the most. I could really relate to Tenley and what she goes through as a woman, daughter, girlfriend, career girl, etc.I read a couple of reviews online for this novel and saw that a few mention that this novel has a thin-line of God in it. I am quite shocked by that, and wonder if maybe I read a different book than those reviewers did. God is all over this book. Just because Ms. Hauck isn't hitting the reader over the head with Bible verses and sermons every five pages doesn't mean He isn't there. In fact, one of the coolest parts of this book is that Tenley and Birdie share a Voice. Both women supernaturally hear the Voice of God whenever they are stressed, hurting, or confused. It's beautiful. When they feel at their lowest or are scared, the Voice sings to them and comforts them with the BEST words: "Do not be dismayed, do not be dismayed, you don't have to worry or be afraid." I am honestly trying not to cry while I type this; it's one of the most poignant pieces throughout the novel. I think I highlighted it in my book each time! It is a great reminder. When I am at my lowest, I need to stop and listen for the Voice of my Lord and Savior so He can pull me out of my dark places.This novel is excellent. It is well-researched, beautifully written, and quite touching. It's one of those novels that will stick with me long after I have finished reading. I am grateful to Zondervan Publishing for allowing me the pleasure of reviewing this fantastic book. If you are looking for a unique Christian Contemporary Romance that is also a Christian Historical novel, then I cannot recommend this book enough. It is a truly fantastic book. Just make sure to have some tissue nearby for the really touching scenes. You will probably need it!
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  • Andrea Guy
    July 31, 2017
    I read Rachel Hauck's The Wedding Dress ....geeze....back in 2012. I'm not sure how I missed out on all her other novels since then, but I'm glad I foud The Writing Desk.Its a story told from multiple points of view; Tenley and Birdie, the two heroines from the present and from 1903 respectively and then Jonas and Elijiah are the men in their lives.Ten and Birdie are linked through an old desk that they find themselves using for writing. Ten has already had a bestseller while Birdie wants desper I read Rachel Hauck's The Wedding Dress ....geeze....back in 2012. I'm not sure how I missed out on all her other novels since then, but I'm glad I foud The Writing Desk.Its a story told from multiple points of view; Tenley and Birdie, the two heroines from the present and from 1903 respectively and then Jonas and Elijiah are the men in their lives.Ten and Birdie are linked through an old desk that they find themselves using for writing. Ten has already had a bestseller while Birdie wants desperately to get published. That's where the similarities between the two women stops.Ten is quirky and self conscious. I couldn't understand her attachment to Holt, from the very beginning this guy didn't seem right for her, and it made no sense why she didn't turn him down when he proposed.Then there's Birdie, who doesn't want to marry the man her family has chosen for her. She has another in mind, but when they meet again he is about to propose to another.This is a faith based romance, but its not done in a preachy fashion. In fact, for the most part, I wouldn't think of it as such, more so as a clean romance, that is absolutely beautifully written.The story moved easily between the time periods and the characters. It is one of the few books I've had a hard time putting down this year. I loved both heroines that I had to find out if they had their happily ever afters. (Truth be told, I liked Birdie best, because she had spunk for the time period that she lived in)Birdie's story is really the heart of the story, her love for Elijah and how they finally came to be a married couple. Its also the story of Birdie and her writing, which is really amazing. They had a hard time getting to where they were.Through most of the book, I found myself wondering how Birdie's story tied in with Tenley's. That reveal didn't happen until the book was quite nearly finished.I wasn't totally thrilled with the outcome of Tenley's story. She had her happily ever after, but I wanted a little more for herI highly recommend this book to anyone that loves good clean romances with historical elements.
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  • Terry Houchin
    May 24, 2017
    Wow! I loved this book! I think this might be Rachel Hauck's best book yet!I will admit that at first I wasn't a fan of the two parallel stories in the beginning. By the third chapter I was eager to find out what was happening in both Birdie and Tenley's lives and how the desk was going to connect them. Rachel Hauck has created not one but two characters I fell in love with.Birdie is an heiress who lives in the early 1900's. Her mother has very definite plans for Birdie's future. Marry a well br Wow! I loved this book! I think this might be Rachel Hauck's best book yet!I will admit that at first I wasn't a fan of the two parallel stories in the beginning. By the third chapter I was eager to find out what was happening in both Birdie and Tenley's lives and how the desk was going to connect them. Rachel Hauck has created not one but two characters I fell in love with.Birdie is an heiress who lives in the early 1900's. Her mother has very definite plans for Birdie's future. Marry a well bred man from a good family and have several children. One day she will replace her mother as the matriarch of New York society. Birdie has very different plans for her future. She will only marry someone she loves, and her only aspiration is to write a novel and have it published. Unfortunately she finds the social prejudices of the time make that an impossibility. Women do write novels.Tenley comes from a family of writers. She has followed in her father's footsteps and written a bestselling novel. She is under contract to write another novel and her deadline is quickly approaching. She is paralyzed with fear that she won't be able to write this second book. She has no clue what to write. Her estranged mother calls from Florida and asks Tenley to come help her while she undergoes treatments for cancer. Tenley leaves New York and travels to Florida, hoping the change of scenery will get her creative juices flowing again. Tenley gets more than she bargained for in Florida.I loved the characters in this novel!I ended up loving the way the story was told in two different time periods.I loved Tenley's spiritual journey. What a beautiful testament of God's love.If you like a good love story you'll be thrilled with this book, it has not one but two love stories. I hope you choose to pick up a copy of this book when it becomes available July 11. It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on reading this book. It is that good.
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  • Andrea
    July 1, 2017
    A Beautifully-Written Story of Chasing Dreams and Finding JoyUntil now, I probably would have said that my favorite Rachel Hauck book was The Wedding Dress or The Sweet By and By . . . but I don’t know that I can say that anymore! I think this novel may have an even broader appeal than any one she’s ever written. If you like historical fiction, contemporary fiction, love stories, stories of forgiveness, characters who transform into better people by the end—this novel has it all. This isn’t her A Beautifully-Written Story of Chasing Dreams and Finding JoyUntil now, I probably would have said that my favorite Rachel Hauck book was The Wedding Dress or The Sweet By and By . . . but I don’t know that I can say that anymore! I think this novel may have an even broader appeal than any one she’s ever written. If you like historical fiction, contemporary fiction, love stories, stories of forgiveness, characters who transform into better people by the end—this novel has it all. This isn’t her first dual-time story, but it’s very fresh and unlike any other book she’s ever written. I eased into the book at first, getting to know Birdie’s historical story and Tenley’s present one, gathering the pieces. Before long, there was no more easing. I could not turn the pages fast enough (and isn’t that every bookworm’s sweet spot?) I felt so connected to these two strong women, and I felt as if they were people that I could know (and would want to know). All of the characters were well-developed, and although the novel had some intense moments, there was plenty of light-hearted banter mixed in. The characters had chemistry with each other, and I was drawn right in. (If you enjoyed the Songbird series, then you’ll appreciate the storyline between Tenley and Blanche.) There are characters you’ll love and a couple you’ll want to smack! The jumps between the two stories were easy to follow, but the plot was delightfully unpredictable. This would be a great vacation read, but I wouldn’t call it a breezy beach read—there will be moments that I think the reader will want and need some time to reflect on the story. This is a memorable novel that I’ll read again and again. And this may seem trivial, but I love the cover! I enjoyed seeing it on my coffee table or night stand. I’ve been a fan of Rachel Hauck’s books for about ten years, and this one just reaffirms what I already knew: she’s both a storyteller AND a true writer. When she writes her next book, I’ll be first in line!
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  • Kristina
    July 14, 2017
    The Writing Desk is the latest novel by Rachel Hauck. Tenley Roth has just won the Gordon Phipps Roth Award for Outstanding Debut Novelist. Tenley is the great-great-granddaughter of Gordon Phipps Roth for whom the award is named. She is supposed to be working on her second book, but Tenley is experiencing writers block (and many doubts about her abilities). Tenley’s debut book is a hit, but she wonders if it is for her writing prowess or her heritage (Conrad Roth, her father, was also a famous The Writing Desk is the latest novel by Rachel Hauck. Tenley Roth has just won the Gordon Phipps Roth Award for Outstanding Debut Novelist. Tenley is the great-great-granddaughter of Gordon Phipps Roth for whom the award is named. She is supposed to be working on her second book, but Tenley is experiencing writers block (and many doubts about her abilities). Tenley’s debut book is a hit, but she wonders if it is for her writing prowess or her heritage (Conrad Roth, her father, was also a famous writer). Her boyfriend, Holt Armstrong is going to France for three months and wants Tenley to join him. But then Tenley gets a call from her estranged mother, Blanche Albright. Blanche is starting chemotherapy and needs someone to assist her. She is asking Tenley to come to Cocoa Beach. Tenley has been yearning for a connection with her mother and decides this might be the perfect opportunity especially since she is her last relative. In the library at Blanche’s house is the perfect desk for Tenley to work on her book. She can tell it has history and it speaks to her. In the early 1900s, Birdie Shehorn has just obtained her degree from Wellesley. She is hoping to spend more time on her writing. Unfortunately, Birdie’s mother is pushing for her to marry Alfonso Van Cliff (a notorious flirt). Birdie has no desire to be married off to someone she does not love, but her mother will not be thwarted. Will Birdie get her chance to write and marry for love? Can Tenley overcome her writing block? Pick up a copy of The Writing Desk to see how the story plays out.The Writing Desk is a well-written and engaging novel. The past and future are beautifully woven together for a lovely story. I was more interested in Birdie’s story than Tenley’s. Tenley is a difficult character to like. Her whining and complaining quickly got on my nerves. The Christian element is light but impactful. I am giving The Writing Desk 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). I only told you a little bit about the story. There is also Jonas Sullivan and Elijah Percy. The story is told from the perspective of all four main characters (it does not get confusing). In this story, we can see that despite a hundred years difference, people undergo the same struggles (joys, doubts, uncertainties, love, grief). The Writing Desk is Christian, romance novel that can be enjoyed by readers from 13 to 103. It is an inspirational story with a feel-good ending (it has a great epilogue). I am never disappointed when I pick up a novel by Rachel Hauck.
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  • Kelly Bridgewater
    July 17, 2017
    he Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck reminded me a lot of her previous series with The Wedding Chapel, The Wedding Dress, and The Wedding Shop. This story is a time slip novel from 1903 - 1960's with a present timeline. The present time line features Tenley, a writer, who is on a deadline to finish her second book, but she has a major writing block stopping her from writing her story. Like her previous stories, the present story mixes with the past, but you have to read the complete novel to find out he Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck reminded me a lot of her previous series with The Wedding Chapel, The Wedding Dress, and The Wedding Shop. This story is a time slip novel from 1903 - 1960's with a present timeline. The present time line features Tenley, a writer, who is on a deadline to finish her second book, but she has a major writing block stopping her from writing her story. Like her previous stories, the present story mixes with the past, but you have to read the complete novel to find out how they mix and depend on each other. As for the romance between Tenley and her "fiancé" Holt, I figured out pretty early on what was happening with him while Tenley helped her mother with her chemo treatments in Florida. But the romance with Jonas was sweet and showed Tenley what it was like to be in a loving family who cared and cherished her. On the other hand, the pace of the novel moved a long at a nice clip. I didn't feel that it dragged at all. I hated having to put it down to make dinner for my family. I enjoyed the story idea. I can totally relate to an author who has a number of doubts and cannot come up with a story idea to put down on the paper. Tenley does transform and understand the significance of God in her life by the end. Fans of Hauck's previous novels will enjoy this novel like I did. I recommend it and can't wait to see what else Hauck comes up with.I received a complimentary copy of The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck from Zondervan Publishing, and the opinions stated are all my own.
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  • Julia Wilson
    July 11, 2017
    The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck is the most wonderful contemporary and historical Christian romance. It is a perfect read, one that will warm your heart and soul. It leaves you feeling good and with a smile on your face as you celebrate God's goodness and faithfulness.The novel explores how God desires a relationship with us all. Even when we do not know Him or do not acknowledge Him, He is present in our lives, speaking into them. It's just that we fail to recognise His voice.Going to church d The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck is the most wonderful contemporary and historical Christian romance. It is a perfect read, one that will warm your heart and soul. It leaves you feeling good and with a smile on your face as you celebrate God's goodness and faithfulness.The novel explores how God desires a relationship with us all. Even when we do not know Him or do not acknowledge Him, He is present in our lives, speaking into them. It's just that we fail to recognise His voice.Going to church does not necessarily mean knowing God. "She attended church only to be seen by people, not God." Church in the early twentieth century (and sometimes today) could be seen as a status symbol. It was never God's intention for this to be so. The church is the people - people who live for God. "He kept his faith quiet and simple." By viewing one's example of living out a Christian life, others will be drawn to Jesus.The novel is about families. There are all sorts of families - split families, matriarch families and families who welcome others with their open house policy. "The Sullivans were not lawn people. They were people people." The reader 'feels' welcome in their company. The Sullivans are the church in action.Early twentieth century life was very much class based. People did not marry for love. Marriages were business deals. "Country and duty trump any man's heart." Daughters were sold to the highest bidder. Old estates were propped up by new money. A love match was discouraged. "She was playing her part Doing what society... expected." Society had underwritten rules that were ignored at your peril. No one wanted to be a social pariah.The novel is one of two halves - modern day and 1902. They are linked by heritage and the writing desk. The characters are wonderfully drawn with strong female heroines and kind supporting men. The reader is attracted to them all. The exchange of dialogue is wonderful to behold. It was exceedingly witty at times as there were verbal volleys backwards and forwards.There was the theme of loss. "In her grief, she'd stumbled upon... writing." Loss never diminishes. We just learn how to cope.There was the theme of treasure. "If you think your greatest fortune is the size of your bank account, you've miscalculated." Some things are priceless - the love of others and the love of God.Dreams are important. "Never let anyone steal your dreams." Dreams fulfilled bring contentment. Dreams can spur us on through life.Guilt and regret are bedfellows with forgiveness. "I don't visit regret often because there's nothing I can do about it." Regrets are a waste of energy. Learn from the past and move on. Forgive where we need to forgive.The Writing Desk was a real gem of a novel. All Rachel Hauck's novels are feel-good reads where the reader can escape for a few hours. They are also grounded in God. The reader learns lessons, along with the characters.A totally wonderful read. Rachel Hauck has done it again.I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
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  • Melissa
    July 17, 2017
    This was an interesting book. I had been dying to read it since it was announced in the spring. The cover is gorgeous and the premise was really intriguing. I was just sure the book would be amazing and I would fly through it. Well it took me four days to read it, partly because for some reason it just wasn't pulling me in completely. I did enjoy it but not to the degree I thought I would. I liked the double storylines, Rachel is so good at crafting. The characters were interesting but for whate This was an interesting book. I had been dying to read it since it was announced in the spring. The cover is gorgeous and the premise was really intriguing. I was just sure the book would be amazing and I would fly through it. Well it took me four days to read it, partly because for some reason it just wasn't pulling me in completely. I did enjoy it but not to the degree I thought I would. I liked the double storylines, Rachel is so good at crafting. The characters were interesting but for whatever reason I just didn't love it. One thing I have noticed since I read her two newest books back to back, is that their seems to be a little more over the top romantic moments in the last two novels. Both have seemed to me to go a little farther than your typical Christian Fiction reads. Still very tame according to worldly standards but still more than I am accustomed to in the Christian market. I did really like how the end of the story came together. Rachel is a very good storyteller and I look forward to her next read.
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