Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Editors: N.J. Lindquist and Wendy Elaine
Publisher: That’s Life! Communications
“Would you like to take a break from your busy life, have a heartwarming conversation with a friend, and come away refreshed, encouraged and inspired?” editors N.J. Lindquist and Wendy Elaine Nelles ask in the introduction to their book, A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider.
This sequel to their best-selling first book, Hot Apple Cider: Words to Stir the Heart and Warm the Soul, is targeted toward readers who enjoy simple, quick yet effective stories about God involving faith, love and hope.
At three hundred and twenty-four pages, this paperback book begins with three pages of reviews, includes over fifty stories, and ends with thirteen pages of authors’ short biographies with black and white photographs. A separate one hundred and twenty page study guide for readers, book clubs, and small groups and speakers is also available that includes four to seven questions regarding each story.
Written by Canadian Christians who are members of the national association of The World Guild, there are thirty-seven authors who write fifty-one brief stories from one to eleven pages long about hope and encouragement. These authors come from various ages and walks of life such as pastors, missionaries, teachers, writers, editors, doctors, photographers and speakers and include names as Belec, Blenman, Cummings, Fast-Vlaar, Fawcett, Inman, Meyer, Payne, Phillips, and Sketchley to name a few.
Most of the stories are non-fiction, written in first person, covering the gambit from personal heartbreak of losing a child, having a stroke, or marital problems to quilting, using junkyard trash, or getting new eyeglasses. A few fictional tomes about sharks, farmers, dementia, a reunion, empty nest, and an awkward funeral are added with some poems and a short drama.
While all writings “stimulate the mind and delight the spirit,” the thread of God, His redeeming and cleansing love and grace weave throughout the tender stories, sometimes with Bible verse noted or written out.
Take the short story titled “Charlie” by Adele Simmons about a gruff old man in an assisted living complex. One day she walks into his room and he is not having a good day. After singing and playing guitar of country and World War II military songs, he slowly softens when he thinks of his past wife and two sons. By the end of the story, they both are singing “Jesus loves me” with tears in their eyes.
Not to be skimmed or placed on a shelf, this book is a wonderful, casual read to pick up at any time and be uplifted and refreshed, remembering how awesome, amazing and powerful our God is.
This book was furnished by Bookfun.org in lieu of an unbiased review.