In the fifth novel of Ms. Warren’s much-loved Christiansen Family series, The Wonder of You finally tells the story of the youngest daughter of John and Ingrid Christiansen. Amelia left Deep Haven behind after high school to pursue her dream of becoming a talented photographer through a study abroad program in Prague. While there, she meets Roark St. John, who becomes her dependable companion on her adventures throughout Europe. However, a misunderstanding sends Amelia back to the arms of her family, where she struggles to find the courage to once again pursue her dreams. When Roark follows Amelia to Deep Haven, he encounters a world far removed from his family’s global hotel empire. Suddenly, lumberjack contests, homey coffee shops, and an ever-hovering family become his new normal. In a small-town battle for Amelia’s heart, Roark takes a look at his own heart and his relationship with a God of second chances, who may not have given up on him after all. In a breathtaking tale of God’s calling for his children, The Wonder of You brings together the Christiansen family and friends as they face life’s many challenges. The novel intertwines Amelia and Roark’s relationship and adventures from Prague with the continued legacy of the Christiansens, including subplots involving Max Sharp and Grace Christiansen (When I Fall in Love) and Jensen and Claire Atwood (Take a Chance on Me). Overall, I loved reading The Wonder of You and would definitely rank it among the best novels of the summer! In the novel, Ms. Warren exemplifies what makes her one of the best among today’s Christian fiction authors, creating an engaging and realistic story that draws in readers and wraps them in the warmth of God’s love. The author’s characters, especially the Christiansen family, and the town of Deep Haven have become some of her greatest accomplishments of her career, as readers will quickly feel at home in Ms. Warren’s depictions of her home state of Minnesota. Thanks! Brittany at the Books and Biscuits Blog
“Okay, here’s the deal. We start over. From the beginning. I want honesty every step of the way, no games. If you lie to me, even once, we’re over. Can you live with that?” Amelia demands in Susan May Warren’s love story, The Wonder of You. Part of the Christiansen Family series, this four hundred page paperback targets those who love romance with relational conflicts, confrontation, and acceptance. With one quoted slang word and no overtly sexual scenes or violence, the topic of assumed premarital sex may not be appropriate for immature readers. Continuing the story of the large Christiansen clan, this current-day story involves the youngest daughter, Amelia, and her personal challenge deciding what to do with her life and with whom. Returning abruptly after a semester overseas, independent and confident Amelia is jilted and confused when the mysterious British Roark St. John arrives at her parents’ doorstep in Deep Haven, Minnesota, to ask for forgiveness in their broken-off relationship. Resuming her long-time relationship with Seth Turnquist, Amelia knows he loves and wants to marry her, but something is holding her back. Seth, cocky and sure of himself, is baffled when Amelia recoils every time her so-called fling with Roark is discussed. Unknown to most of Deep Haven and the Christiansen family, Roark is heir to a mega-million dollar resort conglomerate, but he will do anything in his power not to let others know of his wealth, including lying or hiding the truth. Running from his past, he feels like Biblical Jonah in the big fish’s belly. Sticking around to reconnect with Amelia, Roark must not only face the jealousy and anger of Seth but also win back the woman who has changed his life and way of thinking, even if it is not part of his plan. As Amelia and Roark fear their inadequacies and regrets, God draws them back, showing how to trust Him by looking past how others view them. Through trusting, the wonder of God brings into focus what each needs to do to bring peace and acceptance. With other family members’ lives updated, Grace and Max must deal with their quick decisions, especially when a young orphan girl comes into their lives. Warren’s story of forgiving oneself by understanding how Christ see us is the focal point as we look to Him for guidance. Always leaving options for another novel in the series, the read leaves unknown answers to what happens next in the Christiansen’s family. Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.
Susan May Warren has been on my to-read list for quite some now. This is book number five in the Christiansen family series and it was amazing. You don’t have to have read any of the other books in the series to read this one, but it definitely helps. Warren has the gift of writing real, inspirational, and engaging stories. The Christiansens will make you feel as if you are a part of their family as they journey through life. If you are a Karen Kingsbury fan, you’d probably love Susan May Warren because they both share the family aspect. The only difference is, Susan May Warren’s characters are much more realistic and aren’t too perfect. None of them are perfect and they aren’t afraid to get messy. Non-Christians aren’t made to look like the bad guys. It’s filled with twists and turns that keep you flipping through the pages. It is a must read. Amelia Christiansen returns to Deep Haven, Minnesota when her semester abroad gets cut short. She struggles with failure and that she isn’t brave enough to live out the adventures that she has dreamed all of her life. She most definitely is not expecting the man who broke her heart to travel across the Atlantic just to beg her forgiveness. Roark St. John is heir to a European hotel dynasty. He has traveled from one exotic country to another, haunted by tragedy and expectations that accompany his last name. He’ll do anything to win Amelia, the girl he loves, back. He puts up with contending Amelia’s old high school boyfriend, who is intent on sending Roark packing. While one surprise after another leaves Amelia reeling, Roark’s continued presence only highlights the questions pursuing her. Like him, is she running from the life God has called her to? Could finding her new place mean leaving home behind?
Back in Deep Haven, Minnesota, Amelia Christiansen feels certain she has failed in life. The romance she felt so sure of is over, and her dreams feel dashed as she picks up the same routine from her youth, even reigniting a high-school relationship. However, Amelia’s heart has changed, and she yearns for the adventure and romance she experienced during her semester abroad. As inspirational author Warren (Always on My Mind, 2015) continues the story of the Christiansens, another member of this large family learns what it means to trust in family, faith, and love. Roark St. John, Amelia’s European suitor, has always longed for the type of community Amelia has always known, so when she leaves him behind, he knows he must do whatever it takes to win back her heart. Readers will warm to the couple as they struggle between wanting freedom and the comfort of the familiar, passionate love and the safety of hidden feelings. When they decide to live in faith instead of fear, they realize that adventure and love can coexist.