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The Promised Land

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In this book, Musser writes of several different relationships which need mending. A marriage relationship, a parent-child relationship, and especially a relationship with God. The primary protagonist is a person who is going through life thinking God needs her help, but as she walks the Camino, she comes to understand many things about herself and about God. A wonderful book which helps one become more introspective.
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The Promised Land is the third book in Elizabeth Musser's The Swan House series. I must admit, I did not realize that this was part of a series until after I'd finished reading and sat down to write this review. It truly felt like a complete story as a standalone. I would still be curious to go back and see what I missed in previous books though! 

In this book, we meet Abbie in the midst of some huge changes in her life. She has moved into a smaller home, her sons have left and in the midst of it all her husband has announced he wants a separation. When her oldest son Bobby informs her that he will be inviting Rasa- an Iranian refugee he has just met- along with him on the Camino Pilgrimage, she invites herself along as a chaperone of sorts. This story follows the journey of Abbie, Bobby, Rasa and Caroline- a journalist documenting the pilgrimage while on her own journey of discovery. While all have very different struggles and reasons for going on this journey, I enjoyed seeing how their stories and their lives were intertwined--- often in unexpected ways. It is a beautiful story of faith, healing and forgiveness that I personally enjoyed. 

I read a lot of books. Seriously, a LOT. Pair that with a horrible short term memory and I must admit that I tend to forget quite a bit from the books I have read until then. Still, there are always a few books that really stick in my mind long after the final page. Among these books was another great read by Elizabeth Musser called When I Close My Eyes. I loved the beautiful way she discussed mental illness and Christianity within that story. As I finished The Promised Land, I couldn't help but think that this will be another one that stays with me for a very long time. She has such a beautiful way of creating characters and journeys that draw you in and tug at your heart. In this book, one particular moment really resonated with me--- a moment in which the pilgrims laid their stones at the foot of a cross. This reminded me so much of one of my own 'wow God' moments which involved laying stones at the cross and turning it all over to God. It was a really powerful moment in my own life, and as such brought a lot of power to this moment in the book. 

Overall, this was an absolutely beautiful and inspiring read, and one that I would highly recommend. 

 **I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All thoughts are my own.
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Literally finished this book at 11:55pm! What I didn't realize was, this is a series. lol The third book to be precise. Ooops

This was such an interesting book. I don't know when a setting has also seemed like a character in a story, not just a place. I don't know about your, but now I want to go walk the Camino. I think anyone who reads this story will feel the same way.

Oh, the characters in this story. Each one tugged on my heart in so many different ways.

First there's Abbie. Goodness I could relate to her in so many ways. She holds on to her husband and boys so tightly. While it suffocates them, it gives her false sense security. I can understand why they're all trying to get away from her. Unfortunately, her son, Bobby, can't get far enough away because she invites herself on HIS trip along the Camino. That poor kid. He's just trying to enjoy his gap year away from his controlling mom...

And then there's Caroline. Whew, talk about a hot mess, but once you learn her story you understand why she is the way she is. Your heart goes out to her, but cringes at the same time because of the choices she's making!

I love the Camino because it sounds SO inviting. The author makes it come alive for readers. The little villages they stay in, how welcoming people are, the community of pilgrims, etc. They give such a sense of unity of humanity through this story. 

Also, I enjoyed how each of the characters grew in their insight of themselves as well as their faith, if they have one. Again, I see myself in Abbie who has let faith go to the wayside in the midst of keeping all of her ducks in a row. Caroline is angry and completely against anything that has to do with religion. Bobby is young and still growing in his faith as well as trying to solidify the direction of his life.

Now I'll have to go back and read the first two book so I understand how the characters made it to this point.
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This was REALLY good!!  I'm so glad to have read this inspirational story!

Full review to come soon!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing this electronic review copy thru NetGalley!
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The Promised Land
by Elizabeth Musser
Bethany House 
Bethany House Publishers
Pub Date 03 Nov 2020

I am reviewing a copy of The Promised Land through Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley:

Abbie Jowett finds herself surrounded by an overwhelming loss.  Her aging Father is loosing his sight and memory, her oldest son is taking gap year in Europe, and now her husband of twenty years tells Abbie he is leaving her.

In a desperate attempt to mend her marriage and herself, Abbie follows her son, Bobby, to walk the famed Camino pilgrimage.  During their journey they encounter Rasa, an Iranian woman working in secret helping other refugees, and Caroline, a journalist who is studying pilgrims on the Camino while searching for answers from her broken past.

Everyone on this pilgrimage has their own reason for for the pilgrimage, but together they learn that the Camino strips you bare and calls you into deep soul-searching that can threaten all your best laid plans.  

If you are looking for a heartwarming, at times heartbreaking, powerful read.  

I give The Promised Land five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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An excellent Musser book that didn't disappoint. 
I've followed this author for a long time and I was pleased to see this new book by her.
Her subjects are always interesting and this was no different. I learned a lot through this story. One that will stick with me for a long time.
I read how each character discovers the truth through Jesus and through their journey.
Yes, the Truth will set you free but so will forgiveness.
Her characters well they're awesome! I loved meeting Rasa, Bobby and Abbie.
I enjoyed this journey to the fullest and I stayed with the it until the book was finished.
5 stars for this ride of a lifetime.
I didn't want to say goodbye.
I shall look forward to her next book. She's awesome!
Henceforth why she's one of my favorite authors. I appreciate that she doesn't beat around the bush on the tough subjects that were in this book.
I highly recommend. You'll not be disappointed.
My thanks for a copy of this book.
I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own
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Often I take a chance on a review book and request one that sounds interesting, but I have never heard of the author before. The Promised Land is one such book. I chose it because I have never seen a book set along the Camino, although I have heard of that pilgrimage. Also, I liked that the description sounded like this was not a romance story. It turns out that there is some romance in it, but I like that it is not the main focus.
Abbie has been married for 20 years. Her life is perfectly held together, and she is in control. Until one day, her oldest son, Bobby, announces that he's taking a gap year instead of going on to the school he (or was it she?) had chosen. And her husband informs her that he needs a break, and he's going to live in Chicago, on his own, for three months—or more. And, her father's health is failing. Suddenly, her perfect life has unraveled. What can she do about it? The spiritual director that she starts going to see tells her that the first step is to find Abbie again. What?! That's not the problem—the problem is that no one will do what Abbie wants them to!
Then, Bobby drops a bombshell. He is planning to walk the Camino, a pilgrimage through France and Spain, with an Iranian refugee woman, Rasa, he met in Vienna. Of course, that is a bad idea, so Abbie decides she is going along. Caroline joins them as well. Although Abbie, Bobby, and Rasa are Christians, Caroline is not, and she is still trying to unravel a mystery from some ten years earlier, and a relationship she is somewhat tangled up in. Can the four of them find any sort of healing and restoration on their pilgrimage? Will Abbie even survive the walk—or will her feet give out on her?
This book alternates viewpoints, with Abbie, Bobby, and Caro all narrating the story. It is told entirely in 1st person, present tense, no matter which character is speaking, but so well done that I thoroughly enjoyed the book and had a hard time putting it down. Each section has the name of the person at the beginning, so it is very easy to follow. Each of the people has different things they need to learn about themselves and their relationships with other people. I found this story fascinating and inspiring, as each person worked through his or her problems. I really enjoyed reading about the Camino, as well—it sounds like a fascinating pilgrimage!
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
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The Promised Land
Excellent story! A book that totally engaged me, and was hard to put down. Definitely one to be re-read.
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There was a lot of depth to this book about needing to let go of control and guilt and the things we're holding onto too tightly that might not be what God wants for us.  As Abbie tried to find the parts of herself that she'd let go of as she tried to control her family under the guise of keeping them safe and organized, she found that she really could listen to others and she was able to bring comfort to those who felt lost.

This book definitely felt like it would be a richer read if I had followed these characters' full stories through the author's previous books; while it read well as a stand alone, I wish I had known the full story to fully appreciate the growth and challenges each of the characters' faced.  

I give this book 4 stars. It was well-written, and had I read the characters' full arcs, it could have easily been a 5-star read for me.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.
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Although this is the first book by Elizabeth Musser that I read, it will not be the last. The Promised Land drew me in from page one and kept me up into the late hours reading.

What’s a woman to do when looking empty nest in the face, her son who is graduating high school decides to take a gap year in Europe before starting college, her younger son decides to go to boarding school and her husband taking a breather from her by going out of state for work. Abby loves to be in control and facing life changes is out of her control. A story of fellowship, pain and perseverance and a handful of miracles along the way. A story of loss, love, faith and how God works in each of our lives.

The Promised Land is a story of four pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago across Europe, a pilgrimage that has been walked for over 1000 years by hundreds of visitors each year. This was the second book that I have read about pilgrims walking across Europe, my bucket list is to walk the Camino one day
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I hadn't realized this book's Christian bent when I requested it (my bad). That said, once I did realize it, I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm not Christian, but I'm an open, spiritual person. The book alternates between the voice of a mother and her son, and I didn't find the son's POV to be as believable as the mother's. The God references weren't deep and resonant--in other words, I wanted to understand why these people have the relationship with spirit that they do--but perhaps someone who is Christian and likes this genre might feel otherwise. It never grabbed me so I didn't finish it, so I'm hesitant to rate it, but NetGalley requires a star rating. I wish this writer the best; my guess is that those who are her audience may enjoy it.
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My apologies for the lack of review! I have read and very much enjoyed a stand alone novel by Elizabeth Musser. However, I did not realize this was the 3rd in a series of books when I chose it to preview. As I started reading the book I realized that I really needed to go back and read the first two in order to get a good foundation on the characters portrayed in this novel. The premise (especially the Camino Walk!) very much interests me, and again I very much enjoy Ms Musser's writing. I hope to come back to the book once I have caught up with the characters!
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This book is a complete masterpiece! So profound, truly relatable and realistic, with deep and compelling characters, and a beautiful message that shakes you to the core!
I have to say I haven’t read The Swan House or The Dwelling Place, and this book can be read perfectly as a standalone, but now I’m eager to go back in time and read how Swanee’s story started!
This is Abbie Bartholomew Jowett’s story (Swanee’s daughter, from book one), along with her son Bobby’s story and Caro’s, a young woman that connects to them through her brother Stephen. The novel is told by these three different points of view and that made the story all the more interesting, and the thing holding them together in this journey is the Camino pilgrimage in France.
Abbie, after 20 years of marriage, has reached a life shaking crisis. It seems the people she loves most, her family, are leaving her as an escape to her controlling ways. Her son Bobby leaves to Europe for a gap year, her son Jason is away at boarding school and playing for a football team, and her husband Bill has just announced he’s leaving because he needs a break from her manipulating ways. Abbie is in shock: always giving herself to keep her men safe and now she has lost them. Maybe she’s loosing herself too. But when Bobby tells her he’s going to make the Camino pilgrimage, to do an assignment for his boss at the newspaper where he works, joined by beautiful iranian refugee friend he has just met, she decides she will go along with them, to chaperone. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s about to start the journey that will change her life inside out.
Bobby is out of High School and want’s to be a painter, much against his mother’s wishes who wants him to go to college. So, motivated by his grandmother, he decides to go to Europe for a gap year to pursue his dreams and see if he truly has a vocation to be an artist. There he meets Rasa, a beautiful and compassionate iranian girl that catches his eye and heart. But Rasa is haunted by a tragic past of persecution and fear. And he’s haunted by a tragic event that happened to his friend Anna that he’s still grieving. Can they help each other heal their fears and scars?
Caroline Lefort is still grieving her lost best friend from almost a decade ago, and has been carrying a heavy guilt, since the day she was kidnapped, and her mother was brutally killed, and she wasn’t there to prevent it. She drowned her pain in alcohol and has been spiritually lost ever since. But now, it’s been awhile since she left rehab and has been sober, working as a photographer journalist and engaged to a nice man. But the ghosts of Lola’s disappearance still haunt her, as well as the man who still holds a grip to her heart, and was with her the day she disappeared. She won’t rest until she can find Lola or know what became of her. But then some unexpected and deceiving news arrive and she’s at loss again. Fortunately, her brother Stephen, who is Bobby’s boss, asks her to do the Camino pilgrimage as well and get pictures for an article about the famous and traditional journey. Little she knows, this adventure will also be a life changing journey to self discovery, along with Abbie, Bobby and Rasa, with whom she’ll bond a special friendship, all connected in an unforgettable journey that will make them question the purpose of their life, their relationship to God, and help them free of their fears and invisible chains that keep them from flying and being the best version of themselves that God wants them to be. And to learn to let go, to forgive and start anew…
This was a magnificent story that truly captivated me. I felt so related in different ways to the characters: Abby’s need of control, Bobby and Rasa carrying other’s burdens, Caro’s guilt and need of self forgiveness. And all of them needing to listen to God’s voice and Will. And the perfect place to reflect and find God and oneself is definitely the Camino pilgrimage. I haven’t done that pilgrimage, but I have friends who have done it and their stories have always been amazing. It’s true that you’re never alone in the Camino. There’s a common bond between the pilgrims, a spiritual fraternity if you could call it that. And I felt that I made the Camino experience through this book. It was so vividly described, and the characters struggles were so real and relatable, that I felt transported to that beautiful landscape that I hope I can one day see with my own eyes.
Abbie, Bobby, Rasa and Caro’s journey to self discovery and connecting with God was beautiful to behold. I vividly recommend this book to anyone. It will inspire in more ways than one. Through their journey you will discover many things that you may need to change or let go to. It’s freeing to let go: of control, of fears, of burdens that don’t belong to us to carry. And to let God help us carry our load! It’s very insightful and enlightening!
A great and compassionate adventure! Don’t miss this story! And I’m sure the previous will be as beautiful and touching as this one. I can’t wait to read them now!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher via NetGalley  but wasn’t required to post a positive review. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.
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The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser follows the faith journey of Abbie, Bobby, Caroline, and Rasa along the famed Camino pilgrimage route. The novel enfolds from the perspective of each pilgrim as each character reveals parts of their past and the burdens that each needs to release.  The novel is a story of healing and moving forward, leaving the burdens of the past behind. I also found it helpful to follow the author’s video tour of the Camino on her Facebook page. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Abbie, at her very core, is a planner. A thinker-aheader. Over the years, she has taken the best qualities of this personality style too far - alienating her family, especially husband Bill. Their son Bobby decides to take a gap year before college to study art abroad and Bill takes a consulting contract in a different state. When he tells Abbie he also "needs a break," she is not only blindsided, she is gutted and can't wrap her head around how any of it will turn out in real life.

The author bounces back and forth between Abbie and Bobby's points of view, which provides crucial insight into the big picture. While in Europe, Bobby decides he wants to travel The Camino with his new friend Rasa, and Abbie decides to walk with them. They are joined by Caroline (an old family friend's sister), who is working out her own trauma on this pilgrimage (her point of view is added when she arrives on the scene).

This book is technically number three in a grouping (The Swan House novels); although I had read the first two, it's been a minute. I do think it would have enriched my experience further to have read them in order, and closer together.

This really was an excellent book, one I will be thinking and talking about for a long time. I am delighted to recommend it. It was a pleasure to read and I wholeheartedly want you to enjoy it, too.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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What a unique and interesting concept for a book!  Through the Camino, a pilgrimage leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saints are buried, we take a journey of three people.  Each one is carrying baggage, of sorts, that needs to be dealt with.  Abbie's husband has taken a break from her at the same time as her two sons have also figured out ways to escape her controlling ways.  Bobbie, Abbie's oldest son, has decided to take a gap year to travel Europe and walk the Camino, when he meets a young lady that transports him into his past.  And Caro is a young lady who is carrying around guilt centered around the death of her best childhood friend.  Each of these stories is told from their own perspective, but are all connected to the others.  While reading this story, you may feel that you are right there with them, walking your own pilgrimage, while learning the backstories of what has led each of these new friends to this place and time.  Along with reading the story, I found myself searching for images of the walk and you may find yourself wanting to walk your own version of the Camino in your own backyard!  Definitely a worthy journey!  

I received a complimentary copy of this book.   All opinions expressed are my own.
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What's a woman to do when her graduating senior son decides to take a gap year in Europe between high school and college, her younger son decides to go to boarding school and her husband takes a "breather" from her by working out of state! Abby likes to be in control of life and these changes are completely out of her control! I thought Bobby was a great young man especially when he volunteers at a refugee center in Austria and decides to hike the French Camino. Having his mother join him was not in his plans, but Bobby handles this with maturity. My heart went out to the girl Bobby is interested in--an Iranian refugee. The sister of Bobby's boss, Caroline, also joins the pilgrimage as a photojournalist. Caroline's life has been complicated! It was interesting to see how all of their lives intersect and how God works in all of their lives as they hike the Camino. I recommend The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser to others. I received a complimentary copy of The Promised Land from the author and Bethany House Publishers.
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I have read each of Elizabeth Musser’s novels and The Promised Land did not disappoint. It is a story of a journey  of hope, healing, and soul searching.  Once I began reading, I was unable to put this book down.
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This novel is emotionally charged and deeply captivating!  I love Elizabeth Musser’s books because she does such a great job of capturing the essence of each of her characters and allowing the reader into their lives.  It was easy to be drawn into the story from the first chapter as I grew to love the characters and was pulled into their emotions.  The spiritual truths in the story are strong and relatable.  I particularly loved the theme of putting everything in God’s hands and trusting Him to work out the details.  This novel can easily be read as a stand alone, but it also interestingly ties in with two of Elizabeth Musser’s other works.  This author proves time and time again with every story she writes why she is one of my favorite authors.  This book is such a powerful novel full of depth, emotion, and truth!  I highly recommend it!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser is one of the best books I have read all year.  The story is told in the alternating first person point of view of Addie, Bobby, and Caroline "Caro,"  who never expect that their journey on the Camino in France with not only be a physical journey but a soul-searching journey that will change their lives.  I have loved Elizabeth Musser's writing since I first read The Swan House many years ago, and I was thrilled that she decided to write a third sequel, which can also be a stand alone book.  Mrs. Musser has a way of drawing readers into the story with her rich imagery.  She makes us care about the characters, and we find ourselves taking this journey on the Camino with them.  The theme of letting go and truly putting everything in God's hands and trusting Him resonated me with me.  I have a difficult time trying to not feel like I have to fix everything for everybody and just letting God take control. Abbie, Bobby, Caro, and Rasa (who was first a character from The Long Highway Home) all are dealing with this in some form or another.  As I read The Promised Land, I found myself doing some soul searching as well.  It is rare that a book affects me emotionally and spiritually the way this book did, and I hated for it to end.  I will be thinking of the truths of this book and these characters for a long time.  I highly recommend The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser.
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