Pretty Little Pieces
by Carmen Schober
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Pub Date 06 Dec 2022 | Archive Date 15 Jan 2023
Bethany House, Bethany House Publishers
Ambitious influencer Georgina Havoc and her designer boyfriend have been dubbed "the next Chip and Joanna Gaines"--a power couple that flip homes all over Nashville--and they plan to merge their unique styles into their new home renovation show. But their relationship falls apart when he blindsides her with a "pause." Forced to convince the network to take a chance on her as a solo star, Georgina takes on the task of renovating a forgotten cottage in the tiny, tight-knit town of Tarragon, Tennessee.
Facing one heartache and setback after another, Georgina moves forward with her plan to rebuild her life and save her career, but a surprise drop-in from her troubled twin sister makes things extra messy. The unexpected presence of rugged ex-sniper Cassidy Stokes also threatens to bring all the walls that she's built crashing down.
As she puts the pieces of her previously perfect life back together, will Georgina retreat to the familiar or boldly embrace a new design?
"Carmen Schober is a fresh new voice in Christian fiction! A much-needed author with poignant stories for this day and age!"--JAIME JO WRIGHT, Christy Award-winning author
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 32 members
I stayed up late reading this novel, then I woke up early to finish it. At first, I was disenchanted by the way Carmen Schober dealt with her characters' characters. Lance was underhanded and manipulative, Georgianna was not the "good, Christian girl" found in most Christian novels. That was my bad for judging the characters before they were fully revealed through the plot. The characters have flaws, and I do too. It took something like this to shake up my stodginess. Thank you, Carmen.
After my sweet Mama passed away, I was going through her papers and things (she had thirty years worth of tax returns, plus a plethora of other papers to sort and sift) and I found a gem that I think was an enlistment form for World War II. That it was still in her possession tells me that she didn't follow through. (I promise this particular ramble is relevant). One of the questions on the form asked what her career aspirations were and she said, "secretary or interior designer." That surprised me. Mama wasn't one who chose form over function during the years I was growing up. Our house was decorated in early comfort eclectic. Daddy had a chair and ottoman or a recliner with a side table. Mama had a rocking chair and a footstool. The sofa was for company and we kids sat on the floor. The rugs on the floor were made by my grandmother who crocheted them from the scraps of fabric left over from Mama making our clothes. No matchy-matchy stuff for us--not even a theme in our décor!
The premise of the book is a behind-the-scenes look at how an interior design show is made. The players are the main characters of the book. When Georgianna miscarries, Lance leaves their apartment and ghosts her for the better part of three months. The producers want another show from Georgianna where she and her best friend, Poppy, join forces to renovate a cabin in the Tennessee woods, near the Bible camp Georgianna attended as a child. A Non-Disclosure Agreement binds Georgianna and Lance from discussing their relationship, or what was left of it, so when Georgianna meets Cassidy Stokes, she is not totally forthcoming with details about her life.
While working on the cabin, everything that can go wrong, does, in a way. First, Lance hijacks the producer who has worked with the two of them, so a substitute producer is brought in for the making of this what could be a pilot episode for Georgianna. The new producer can't find a contractor because Lance has hijacked him, as well. She finally finds an elderly gent who still has his license and his bond to be the contractor while Cassidy helps out. Georgianna's twin sister, Savannah, shows up. She is something of an emotional drain on Georgianna, but ends up giving Georgianna the masterpiece bedroom she needs for the show and for the owners of the cabin. Both Cassidy and Georgianna have pasts to overcome on the way to a relationship, and at one point, Georgianna can't see that they can even have a relationship.
The supporting cast of this book bring dimension and depth to the main characters and help to flesh them out a bit more. The setting in rural Tennessee reminds me so much of the area in Arkansas where I grew up and makes me just a bit homesick. Carmen has done a skillful job in depicting the real life conundrums in negotiating around relationships.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a bedroom mural to take your breath away.
Bethany House provided the copy I read for this review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
Where have I been and where did Carmen Schober come from??
There's a reason I don't usually pick up contemporary romances. I like depth, and I don't usually enjoy the Hallmark-cliche romance that encompasses the majority of contemporaries I do pick up in the Christian fiction genre.
But this book? It's genre-defying. It's a story that focuses on real, raw issues and tough faith questions in an honest, realistic way.
This book is the contemporary Christian novel I've been asking for, for years.
Pro-masculine men? Check!
Strong faith, without hiding from the tough questions? Check!
Absence of woke ideas and feminism? Check!
Pro-conservative values? Double check!
I loved this story, for the above alone, not to even mention the amazing plot line and characters that warmed my heart and strong Christian faith seeped into this drama-enticing story. It's a fixer-upper reality TV host meets country ex-sniper handyman in a powerful story of how to pick up the pieces of a broken life and spirit, and where to turn to in the lowest places of your life.
I loved the characters, especially Cassidy. He was so caring to literally everyone, and always trying to take care of somebody or another.
And y'all. The faith. The questions Georgina asked, and the way Cassidy answered them. I am here for it! I love the non-cookie cutter answers and how by Cassidy's answers this story encourages the tough questions and provides depth in the answers.
"Sadly, a lot of folks take pain as a sign that God is far away when it's really a sign that He's near. Pain tells us something has gone terribly wrong in this world, and Somebody's gotta make it right..."
I teared up at the end. I am that person who cries watching military homecoming videos on YouTube so you can bet I had all the same feels here. I would love a sequel. Something to dive a little deeper into the lives of the side characters that were so integral to the overall story and themes. And just more of Georgina and Cassidy.
I'll be posting a content review on my blog shortly, as this book does have mature themes and content. It's a steamier novel than I typically prefer, for one. An overview of the content: some swearing (crap, heck, and that sort), a traumatic event experienced, pregnancy outside of marriage, recovering alcoholic, rehab, drug use, a mention of contemplating suicide (during rehab).
4.5 stars ✨ - the half star for the swearing and steamy romance, which is a personal preference but I prefer books without that content.
I received an e-arc of Pretty Little Pieces from Netgalley for review. All opinions expressed are purely my own. I will be purchasing this one when it comes out. 🤍
A new to me author that had me on the edge of my seat wanting more!
A book that has just about everything a reader could want in a novel!
I finished this book in one evening ( my favorite time to read). So very good!
I felt that I could relate to Georgiana quite a bit especially about taking a step forward and then 2 steps backwards! Sometimes it's very discouraging!
But it's what life is all about. It's a journey and the choices we make.
I loved every minute of this book. I couldn't put Georgiana's story down until I was finished and it had a very satisfying ending.
My heart is feeling full for such a wonderful story!
5 stars for a well written novel. I highly recommend.
My thanks for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
PRETTY LITTLE PIECES by CARMEN SCHOBER is a beautifully written romance novel with a strong Christian message of redemption and restoraion, unforgettable characters and a great love story. As Savannah says of her sister Georgina’s relationship with Cassidy, “Its like your feelings for each other take up actual physical space.”
When Georgina Havoc comes to Tarragon from Nashville with her best friend Poppy to try and build her own career after being let down by her partner and boyfriend Lance Broussard, she is broken but determined to succeed. I like the way the very pregnant Poppy stands by her through thick and thin as they have one delay and potential disaster after another, as Lance does his best to ruin things for Georgina. When Georgie’s twin sister leaves rehab and comes to Tarragon it seems like the last straw.
Cassidy Stokes had an illustrious army career as a sniper and wants to use his talents in order to make a difference in El Salvador. He turned to drink when his wife died and is a work in progress, having turned to the Lord for His help.
It is a story about two people coming from very different family backgrounds, with very different lives and dreams for the future…..
I am not going t tell you any more as I do not want to spoil the read for you.
I cannot recommend Pretty Little Pieces highly enough. It is a book that I will definitely read more than once.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Bethany House Publishers. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
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