About the Book
Book: Meghan’s Choice
Author: Donna L. H. Smith
Genre: Christian Historical Western Romance
Release Date: November, 2017
Meghan Gallagher complies with her father’s demand that she work on her own for a year by choosing to tutor eight children in a wild Kansas railroad town. But she had no idea just how wild it was until she was rescued by a local dance hall the day she arrived, and soon after hit by a stray bullet. In short order, she meets a dark, handsome cowboy and a wholesome, attractive doctor who both vie for her heart. As things heat up around town, Meghan’s love life catches fire as well. Is she scandalous to allow both men to court her at the same time? And—how close a relationship with God does Meghan want? Will she draw near?
Meghan’s Choice (pre-published) was named a semi-finalist in the 2014 Operation First Novel by Jerry B. Jenkins and an honorable mention for the Golden leaf Award in 2015. Since publication, Meghan’s Choice was a Selah Award finalist and also in the Will Rogers Medallion Award.
Published in connection with Hartline Literary Agency, serving the Christian book community. Visit us at www.hartlineliterary.com.
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About the Author
Donna L.H. Smith is a Kansas prairie girl transplanted to Lancaster County, PA. She is a graduate of Christian Writer’s Guild Craftsman program and holds two college degrees, both B.S. and M.A. in Mass Communication. She’s been married to a wonderful man named Kirby for thirty years. Her debut novel, Meghan’s Choice, made the finals of both the Selah and Will Rogers Medallion Awards. Rose’s Redemption, the sequel, was just released. She blogs, speaks at workshops and retreats and although she is at an age where many begin slowing down, she wouldn’t think of it. Recently, she took on the role of Managing Editor of Almost an Author.com, and serves as ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Mid-Atlantic Zone Director. She is also a member of AWSA’s Protégé program (Advanced Writers & Speaker’s Association).
More from Donna
Back in 2012, I wrote “Zorro” stories for Fan Fiction. I had an awful lot of fun with them, and people seemed to really like them. So, the thought came, what could I write for ‘real?’ I contemplated, prayed, and after a couple weeks or so, an idea came floating across my brain.
“Gunfight at Hyde Park.” Huh? I thought about it, and realized it was an obscure history lesson from my hometown in Kansas. I had Google it to get the details. I thought, well, I’m not gonna write a Christian romance novel just about a series of gunfights that killed and wounded more people than the OK Corral.
But I did think that the beginning of the gunfights could be the climax of the story.
Now, who should my heroine be? And the hero?
I started with that and took Christian Writer’s Guild’s Craftsman and the novel was completed in 2013—but only published in late 2017.
I’m proud of Meghan’s Choice. Pre-published it made the semi-finals of the last Operation 1st Novel that CWG held and placed in a couple of smaller contests. Last year, it made the finals of the prestigious Selah Awards for published books through the BRMCWC, and the finals of the Will Rogers Medallion Award.
My hope is that you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it.
Inklings and notions, August 12
Creating Relationship, August 13
Connie’s History Classroom, August 13
Moments, August 14
For Him and My Family, August 14
Godly Book Reviews, August 15
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 15
Emily Yager, August 16
Through the Fire Blogs, August 16
My Devotional Thoughts, August 17
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 17
Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 18
Vicky Sluiter, August 18
Inspired by fiction, August 19
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 19
mpbooks, August 20
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 20
Pause for Tales, August 21
For the Love of Books , August 21
Older & Smarter?, August 22
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 22
Texas Book-aholic, August 23
A Reader’s Brain, August 24
Real World Bible Study, August 25
janicesbookreviews, August 25
To celebrate her tour, Donna is giving away the grand prize of a copy of her book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Unfortunately, I was very disappointed in every aspect of the story:
In plot, this was a classic love triangle, with Meghan pursued by two men. That's fine. That was the plot of my first novel. But the author doesn't even give a chance to choose which one we think is going to win her heart. It's obvious from the very beginning how it was going to end. There is no subtext at all, very on-the-nose and too-obvious “foreshadowing.” It wasn't until about half-way through that it finally got interesting. If I hadn't needed to read at least 80% for a fair review, I would have quit long before.
For characters, every single character is one-dimensional except for the dance hall girl, Rosalie/Rosie/Rose. I knew from the description that Meghan begins as a spoiled, pampered socialite, but it was even worse than I expected. I didn't really feel connected to her at all, didn't relate to anything she went through. And her reactions seemed so shallow and contrived, not realistic for any girl with a bit of intelligence.
The nicknames were annoying, as I never knew which name to think of the dance hall girl. Also, the different nicknames given to Meghan seemed too over-the-top.
As to faith threads, the “Christian” references were very minute and surface-level until the very charismatic “experience” of God, which was very mystical and all feelings based. The true relationship with the Lord didn't come until after that. That may have been the author's point, that an overwhelming experience is necessary to begin the relationship, not just a mental belief. But I have that relationship without ever having had such a physical bathing of emotions. So I really didn't agree with that part, though it was handled nonjudgmentally.
The setting in Kansas just a decade after the Civil War is the only redeeming quality, though the continual info dumping in the dialogue did get a little old. I had a ton of questions about how the town still continued after being called the “Wickedest Town in the West,” as the novel said, but that historical and political subplot just seemed to end abruptly without much resolution.
As to voice, all the deep perspectives sound the same at the beginning, both male and female. The flashbacks still have third-person observations while the main character is remembering the past. It just didn't work for me.
The tone in general was very cliché, and I found myself rolling my eyes and/or cringing at the end of almost every chapter.
I was so disappointed in this story not living up to its potential. It really needed a developmental edit by another editor or two.
(I received this book for free. The decision to write a review, as well as the opinions expressed in it, are all my own. I was not compensated for this review.)