Have you read WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY by Myra Johnson?

When the Clouds Roll By
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About the book~
Annemarie Kendall is overjoyed when the armistice is signed and the Great War comes to an end. Her fiancé, Lieutenant Gilbert Ballard, is coming home, and though he is wounded, she is excited to start their life together. But when he arrives, her dreams are dashed when she learns Gilbert is suffering from headaches, depression, and an addiction to pain killers. This is not the man she had planned to marry. After serving in the trenches, Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary is barely holding onto his faith. Putting up a brave front as he ministers to the injured soldiers at the hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas, he befriends Gilbert and eventually falls for Annemarie. While Annemarie tries to sort out her confused feelings about the two men in her life, she witnesses firsthand the bitterness and hurt they both hold within. Who will she choose? Will she have the courage to follow her heart and become the woman God intended her to be? As the world emerges from the shadow of war, Annemarie clings to her faith as she wonders if her future holds the hope, happiness, and love for which she so desperately longs.

Sharing my thoughts~
Ceramist Annemarie Kendall couldn’t be happier when WWI comes to an end and her fiance is on his way home, but from his recent letters, she knows the war’s changed him. What she doesn’t know is if he’ll still love her and want to marry her. After an injury that leaves him feeling dependent and less masculine, Lieutenant Gilbert Ballard isn’t sure he want to return home to Hot Springs. Bitter and in constant pain, the last pill he wants to swallow is pity on his fiance’s face. 

Johnson sets up a robust conflict when Gilbert talks to Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary about his dilemma over Annemarie while on the ship headed home.

“He studied the girl in the portrait and realized with sudden certainty that if things were different–if he were coming home to a woman like Annemarie–he’d fight harder for her love than any doughboy ever fought on the Western Front.”

After hearing Gilbert’s intentions, how can Samuel help but fall a little in love with Annemarie before he ever sets eyes on her? And then when he meets her, she’s more lovely and sweet than he imagined. But Samuel’s suffering his own crisis, a result of the war. 

“If he could just be certain God still listened. If he dared to hope the doors of heaven hadn’t been barred against him for eternity.”

Gilbert tends to be a bit cranky at times, but in my book, he’s still a hero because of the pain he’s in and the suffering he endured. Samuel refuses to move in on Gilbert’s territory, and insists that Gilbert not make any foolish, rash decisions. I won’t tell you which man I was rooting for. You can make your own choice. But I will admit to being very satisfied with the ending. 🙂

While this story is fictional, the characterization was so life-like and the conflict so believable. I can imagine similar scenarios happening back then, even now. Men and women still return home from war, scarred emotionally and physically. 

While I’m not a huge history buff, I enjoyed how the author tucked in little nuggets of historical goodies, like how people conserved food during World War I. That, plus the tidbits about Hot Springs and the nice sub-plot that ran through the book made the story so rich and complex.

Although this book is a hefty 338 pages, I finished it in only a couple sittings. After being forced to put it down the first time (you know, sleep, work, life…), I wasn’t going to put it down again until I found out who won Annemarie’s heart. When the Clouds Roll By is a winner, and I’m excited that there’s another two books in the series!

Disclaimer: Sending a big thanks to Myra Johnson, Abingdon Press and NetGalley for sending me an advance review copy of this book in exchange for my fair and unbiased opinion. This review is my opinion, and I received no compensation.
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Sharing my Review of GATEWAY WEDDINGS by Myra Johnson

About the Book:
Three Missouri women enter the gateway to life, love, and longing. Valerie Bishop, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, is afraid to leave her home. Can ex-con Healy Ferguson show her the path to freedom? Sailor Kern is enamored of romance author Chandler Michaels. Will she fall for his lines or find a real hero in Parker Travis? Jilly Gardner has reluctantly agreed to help out her estranged foster parents. Will Cam Lane help the family heal the breach? Will these three couples be open to the plan God has for their lives—and loves?

My Reviews:

Romance by the Book
Shy water aerobics instructor Sailor Kern believes herself in love with Chandler Michaels, a romance author she’s never met. That’s fine with her because she’s more comfortable with books than actual romance and teaching over dating. It’s not like she meets many men in her line of work anyway. Until Parker Travis shows up for class. Parker isn’t your stereotypical hair-stylist, and doesn’t appreciate the doctor’s RX for back pain: water aerobics. After all, isn’t that where his grandmother and her friends play? What a sweet romance! You’ll enjoy journeying along as Parker wooed Sailor, showing her that true romance is so much better than her imagination.
Where The Dogwoods Bloom
A broken ankle forces tennis pro Jilly Gardner on crutches and out of work. Burned out Bible College Professor Cam Lane heads to the Dogwood Blossom Inn, intent on spending time with old friends, Harvey and Alice, and leading retreats. He doesn’t expect to find Alice in the hospital. Cam’s call to Jilly requesting that she come back and help out her foster parents with the running of the Inn surprises Jilly and leaves her even more off balance than her broken ankle. I enjoyed the playful, teasing interaction between old friends, Jilly and Cam. The road to romance was believable and not at all rushed for a book of this length. I like Ms. Johnson’s writing style, interjected with spots of dry humor. Filled with romance, a little intrigue, and an oh-so-sweet ending, you won’t want to miss this one!
Autumn Rains
I confess to reading the other two stories in Gateway Weddings first, mainly because I wouldn’t typically pick up a book with an ex-con for the main character. But don’t let that throw you off reading this wonderful story. Healy Ferguson captured the essence of what it means to make mistakes and suffer through the consequences. Rather than becoming bitter, he allows God to change his heart and his life, and focuses his efforts on helping others see the impact of their bad choices. Valerie Bishop suffers severe consequences, but not of her own making. Unable to leave the prison her house and yard have become, Valerie must come to the point where she’s willing to move forward and leave the past behind. Healy helps her see beyond the walls of her internal prison. I enjoyed this sweet romance and the delightful way Ms. Johnson created a hero out of an ex-con. And the ending? Sure to leave you with an “ahhh!” Oh, and I love how the author weaves the title, Autumn Rains, into the story. A book full of healing, redemption, and forgiveness!

Three fantastic stories in one awesome read! 

Purchase Link for Gateway Weddings

Disclaimer: An unbiased review, based on my purchase of this book. 

About Myra Johnson….
Myra Johnson’s roots go deep into Texas soil, but after surviving five Oklahoma winters, she now enjoys the milder climate of North Carolina and living near three of her six grandchildren. Empty-nesters, Myra and her husband share their home with two loveable (and very spoiled) dogs. Her debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas, was a September 2009 release from Abingdon Press. She also writes for Heartsong Presents. Her November 2009 release, Autumn Rains, won the 2005 RWA Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript and was named a 2010 ACFW Carol Award finalist.

Myra’s writing career was launched in 1985 when she sold her first short story while taking a course through the Institute of Children’s Literature. Myra later joined the ICL staff as a magazine writing instructor, teaching hundreds of students the fundamentals of story and article structure, plotting, character development, and market analysis. She now writes full-time and is active in her church as well as local and national writers groups. Myra and her husband have been married since 1972. The Johnsons have two married daughters and six grandchildren.

Want to write inspirational romance?

Join Christian authors

Myra Johnson & Dora Hiers

for an interactive discussion on writing inspirational romance
Saturday, July 21 from 2-3:15 p.m.
Mountain Island Library
4420 Hoyt Galvin Way, Charlotte, NC

Get signed copies of books from both authors after the program. Hope to see you there!