Saturday, June 2, 2012

Review: The Ride of Her Life

The Ride of Her Life (Lake Manawa Summers - Book 3) by Lorna Seilstad

Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Genre: Christian Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 381pp.
ISBN-13: 978-0800734473
ISBN: 0800734475

(Received for an honest review from Revell)

Lorna Seilstad on the WEB: Webpage, Blog, Twitter, Facebook

Books In The Series: Making Waves (2010), A Great Catch (2011), The Ride of Her Life (2012)

Coverart: Click on the image for a clearer, larger picture of the books in this series.

Excerpt from The Ride of Her Life Courtesy Of Amazon's Inside Look Feature


The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws' home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. However, her in-laws find that life utterly unsuitable for their grandson, and when a row ensues, a handsome stranger--who designs roller coasters, of all things--intercedes on her behalf. Still, Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky (though charismatic) gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.

Filled with delightful characters and the romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life is another supremely entertaining story from the witty Lorna Seilstad. Readers will laugh out loud and sigh contentedly as they spend the summer of 1906 in Lake Manawa.


The Ride of Her Life is the conclusion of Lorna Seilstad's Lake Manawa Summers series. It is the third book in the series and continues to entertain readers who are looking for great Christian fiction with a historical setting. Set in 1906 this book takes up the story of Lilly Hart, a widow determined to provide for herself and her young son despite the interference of her in-laws. Seilstad strikes a good balance between Christian principals and the realism of life. Her characters are three dimensional with personality and feelings, that readers will see on each page. A great conclusion to a rewarding series. 

Lorna Seilstad returns with another great story, set at Lake Manawa. The previous books in the series also take place at this wonderful locale and readers will enjoy returning to this turn of the century time period in book three. Readers were first introduced to Lilly Hart in book one and now she has her own story to tell. One of the things I particularly like about this series is that the heroes and heroines from all three books appear in the other books. They can each be read as a stand alone, but there is definitely enough connection that readers know the books are related. Personally, I think that books in a series need that connectivity to be considered a real series. 

Seilstad has a way of writing her characters that will attract the reader. And this book is not an exception. Lilly is a resourceful young woman who knows the value of hard work. Lilly has a young son to provide for and wealthy in-laws who would prefer a more refined approach to his upbringing including boarding school. It's been three years since her husbands death and Lilly wants some freedom. She wants to live her life and raise her son as she sees fit. I liked her resolve and her need of independence. I also liked the fact that though Nick would be a great addition to Lilly and Levi's life, he would not be a replacement for Ben. I think readers will identify with Lilly and feel passionately about her finding love again. 

Nick is such a great character. I loved the fact that Seilstad gave him a challenging career and personality. I certainly would never have thought of a roller-coaster designer as a hero in a Christian fiction book. That gave it a sense of novelty that was appealing. Nick is also very determined and he doesn't give up easily. Perseverance in this case it what it takes to make Lilly forget her fears and learn to trust again. Nick was willing to stand up for Lilly and her son and that made all the difference in my opinion. Readers will love Nick's attitude and the way he cares for those he loves.

Levi is of course the star of the show in my opinion. Lilly's six year old son is a typical boy. He loves bugs and creepy crawlies and finds himself in some comical situations. Seilstad gave a Levi a zest for life that is contagious as you read about him. He sees the world from a simple and innocent perspective that will tug at the readers heart strings. I thought he really made this book.

This is the conclusion of the Lake Manawa Summers series and I think Seilstad did a great job of wrapping it up. She was able to bring out her theme of trust for this novel well. She doesn't beat the reader over the head, but allows her Christian message to seep into the fabric of the book. It is clearly Christian fiction, but it's also something more... it's just a good romance. The relationship between Lilly and Nick is sweet and tender and realistic for the time period. The interfering in-laws was a good catalyst for the story and helped to move it along. I liked a lot of things about this book including the sense of laid back summer holidays and fun things like rides and water sports. It gave this book and the series a lazy summer day kind of feel that was just what I wanted. You've gotta read this one! It's a goody!

The Ride of Her Life is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

A history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer, Lorna Seilstad is the author of Making Waves and draws her setting from her home state of Iowa. A former high school English and Journalism teacher, she has won several online writing awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.