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A Grand Design: Quilts of Love Series
     

A Grand Design: Quilts of Love Series

4.1 8
by Amber Stockton
 

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When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many

Overview

When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists. As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426773471
Publisher:
Abingdon Press
Publication date:
08/19/2014
Series:
Quilts of Love Series
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
975,929
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

A Grand Design

Quilts of Love Series


By Amber Stockton

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2014 Amber Stockton
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4267-9608-1


CHAPTER 1

I hate the month of June!"

Alyssa Denham shouldered her way through the revolving door to her office building and onto the concrete sidewalk, her arms laden with bridal shower grab-bag gifts. She should have tossed most of the stuff or found an unsuspecting coworker and bestowed the gifts on her as a random act of kindness. Three office bridal showers in the first three weeks of April. It had to be a record. The predictable wedding invitations arrive in her inbox, and she still didn't have a date for the events. Some of it was her fault. It shouldn't bother her, but it did.

I don't have a date, period.

Every year for the past five years, whenever a wedding occurred for someone she knew, it happened in June. And this year was no different. If June was her least favorite month, then April followed as a close second. As Alyssa stepped out from under the overhang, the light drizzle falling most of the day changed to a steady rain.

"Perfect," she muttered, looking up and down the street for a taxi to the train station. She usually walked, but the gift bags and little wrapped items she carried made the idea impossible. The six blocks would feel more like sixty.

Alyssa straightened as a yellow cab rounded the corner. She stepped forward and tried to free one arm to signal it. When the driver maneuvered toward the curb, relief coursed through her. Just as she reached for the door handle, a Tom Cruise look-alike in a dark gray tailored suit stepped in front of her. He opened the door and held it for a young blonde who could easily pass for a magazine model.

Recognizing the girl as the latest bride-to-be from her office, Alyssa rolled her eyes and sighed. The pretty girls always get the guys—and the cabs. So what if the girl was also in a jam. The young woman and her fiancé might be late for dinner reservations, but Alyssa had an armful of packages—thanks to the two who had just stolen her ride. The cab pulled away from the curb, and the rear wheels sent a spray of water in her direction.

Her favorite cream slacks now sporting a dirty rainwater splatter, Alyssa headed for the corner to catch the city bus. It arrived just as she reached the stop. Balancing her bags on one arm, she managed to withdraw enough loose change from the purse dangling on her arm for the fare, then turned to find a seat. Sandwiched between a woman in a black business suit and stiletto heels with a cell phone pressed to her ear and a fifty-something gentleman with a rounded middle and gray-speckled hair, Alyssa couldn't wait to get home.

If you don't do something besides work and stay at home, you'll never meet Mr. Right. Live a little, Alyssa!

The admonishment from her best friend floated through her mind as she surveyed the other riders. From the shabbily dressed college-age crowd to the handful of silver-haired men headed for retirement, there wasn't a prospect in the bunch—unless she counted the Don Juan type with the slicked-back hair and gold-capped smile who eyed her from across the aisle. At only twenty-nine, she wasn't that desperate yet.

Well, Lord, I would live a little. But on my salary, this is about as social as it gets.

Thankfully, the ride to the train station wasn't long, and Alyssa stepped off the bus. Grateful to be under shelter, she smiled and thanked the man who held the door for her and headed inside to catch her train.

Forty minutes later, she walked through the door to her comfortable two-bedroom apartment. She deposited her armload onto the maple dining room table her grandmother had given her and breathed a sigh of relief. Alyssa flipped through the stack of mail. Nothing but bills and advertisements. She sighed. The usual. Suddenly, a bold word on the front of one envelope caught her attention.

WINNER!

Alyssa stared at the return address. Oh, no! How in the world had this happened? She'd entered the magazine contest on a dare. And now, she'd won? She'd never won anything before in her life. Was this God's answer to her current solitary life, or was He pulling her leg? Alyssa smiled. It had to be a God-thing.

But why this? And why Mackinac Island of all places?

Curious, Alyssa slit the envelope and pulled out the full-color, tri-fold brochure along with a letter. She kicked off her pumps, padded over to her favorite burgundy recliner, and extended the footrest. The one lone accent piece in her otherwise neutral décor. Settled into the cozy comfort of the soft velour, Alyssa scanned the enticing images and well-written descriptions. Just the way the mind of her youth remembered it. As if nothing had changed in all these years. The image of a lighthouse and a few seagulls reminded her of her father and the walks they used to take along the beach. Speculating on the types of people who had walked the beach leaving prints behind had been a favorite pastime for both of them.

Every written description in the brochure promised an unforgettable time. And each picture included a happy couple enjoying the boating activities, horseback riding, rafting, and tennis, not to mention the horse-drawn carriage rides and scrumptious dinner selections. She'd done it all at one point many years ago. Advertising the island as a romantic getaway made sense. But it didn't make her current status any easier to swallow.

Couples, couples, couples! Didn't singles go anywhere anymore? Just once she'd like to see a vacation spot showing someone having a grand old time alone. But as she unfolded the brochure, each new page revealed another toothy twosome, caught up in euphoric delight. And she was a "onesome"—an unsmiling "onesome" at that. Blotting out the images of the couples, she focused on the swimming, boating, and nature walks—things she loved to do and hadn't done since she was a kid. And she hadn't taken her vacation yet this year. Why not throw out the romance and do a getaway for one?

But just the thought of going alone dampened her excitement. She'd played the odd woman out too many times. Not her idea of fun. She stared at the word two in the letter as if it were a death sentence. Two. Then, a flash of enlightenment tugged at the corners of her mouth. Not a couple. Just two.

Alyssa snapped the recliner into its upright position and reached for the phone on the end table next to the chair. After dialing, she waited for her best friend to pick up. One ... two ...

Alyssa straightened as the third ring stopped midway through, and she planted her feet on the carpeted floor. "Libby, you'll never guess what's happened."

"What?" Libby's excitement transcended the distance between them.

"Remember the contest the girls dared me to enter in the latest Bride magazine?" Alyssa twirled the phone cord around her fingers and leaned back. "The one promising a chance to win an all-expense-paid trip for two and touted it as a 'honeymoon in heaven'?"

"How could I forget? You almost wouldn't complete the thing," Libby complained. "And I had to dare you to mail it." Her friend's breath hitched. "Wait, don't tell me."

"Yep. I have the notification right here in my hand." Alyssa held the phone away to avoid being deafened by Libby's shriek. "There's only one snag," she said when it was safe. Tucking a strand of her cinnamon-colored hair behind her ear, she pivoted and propped her feet on the edge of the end table. "The getaway is for two."

"Now you listen to me, Alyssa Denham ..." Libby predictably launched into attack mode. "This is not a problem. We'll figure something out. I mean, you are always looking for some excuse to get out of changing your dull routine. If you can find any reason whatsoever not to do something, you will use it. This is just the kind of thing—"

"I want you to come with me," Alyssa interrupted, grinning.

"—you do all the time. And frankly, I'm ..." Silence filled the line, followed by an incredulous, "What?"

Alyssa smiled. "I said I'm going, and I want you to go with me."

"Alright. Who are you? And what have you done with my best friend? Alyssa would not agree to do something like this so easily."

Alyssa laughed. "It's me, Libby."

"Well, you sure don't sound like the Alyssa I know and love. She would die before she'd make up her mind this quickly. I mean, this is the girl who waited a year before getting her hair cut in the latest style. She got her ears pierced ten years after all her friends did. And she waits until styles go out of season before she decides she likes them enough to buy them. So this can't be Alyssa."

Alyssa crossed her ankles and picked imaginary lint off her cable-knit sweater. "Well, God and I had a little chat about my life on the bus ride home. And when I walked in the door, this letter was waiting. Seemed like a quick answer to me, so I decided to go." Glancing back at the brochure on her lap, Alyssa sighed. "Just maybe, that friend you know is changing. Maybe she's looking for a little excitement in her life."

"Wow. I always said it would take an act of God to get you to break out of the rut you call a life, but who knew He'd take me seriously."

Alyssa shook her head. Leave it to Libby to be sarcastic. They'd been best friends for almost twenty years. Libby's rather boisterous style and brand of wit is what attracted Alyssa. Inwardly, she hoped some of it would rub off on her.

"Come on, Libby. Cut me some slack here. You're the one who's always telling me to live a little. So are you in or out? Answer quickly before I have time to talk myself out of it."

"In," Libby exclaimed. "Just bear with me. I'm still in shock." She paused and took a breath. "And it's free? No catches, no time-share spiels to listen to?"

Alyssa picked up the letter of confirmation, reading it again, barely believing it herself. "It says so right here. And I have the letter to prove it." She reclined the chair back and stared at the stucco finish on the ceiling, the white speckled design resembling the intricate patterns on the sand-washed rocks she had on the shelf in her bathroom. Another reminder of the life she'd lived as a child.

"You seriously want me to come along?"

"Well, who else would I take? I don't exactly have a long line of suitors waiting at my door."

Libby's grin came through the phone line. "No, I mean wouldn't you want to take this trip alone? You never know. Mr. Right could be waiting for you. Speaking of which, where is this place?"

"Mackinac Island in Lake Huron." Alyssa examined the brochure again. "There's even something here about it being named 'Turtle Island' by the local Chippewa Indians who discovered it."

"Turtle Island?" Incredulity laced Libby's words.

Alyssa shrugged. "Hey, I don't write the descriptions." She read further. "Anyway, the brochure says it's a great getaway with lots to do and the perfect place for some excitement." Raising one eyebrow, she pursed her lips. "Somehow, I think the 'excitement' they promise has more to do with their billing this island as a romantic getaway than the kind of adventure you and I could have."

"Do tell."

"There's boating, horseback riding, cycling, parasailing—"

"Parasailing?" Libby latched onto the word. "I can see it now. A skimpy little number with a drop-dead gorgeous instructor standing behind me as I fumble with the sail and play the dimwitted damsel who can't tell which end is up."

Alyssa laughed and shook her head. Her friend's flare for the extreme is what made their friendship work. "And what if the instructor's a woman?"

"Then I'll give her to you while I scout out the Baywatch guy."

"Gee, thanks. Some friend you are."

"You know you love me."

"Only the Lord knows why." But Alyssa did know.

Life was an adventure to Libby, and she wanted her best friend to take part in it. Libby usually managed to pull her from her staid and simple existence to create memories far exceeding her wildest imagination.

"So other than the obvious, tell me a little more about this place."

A big ball of fur jumped up into Alyssa's lap. She waited for Kalani to find a comfortable position, then stroked the dark gray Persian's ears, earning a rumbling purr in response. "The brochure says the main hotel was built around the turn of the century, and they don't allow cars on the island."

"No cars? How do you get around?"

"Bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, and your own two legs."

"Sounds like your kind of place. No modern conveniences." Sarcasm dripped from Libby's words. "Wonder if they have indoor plumbing."

Alyssa planted her fist on one hip, startling Kalani. "I appreciate my modernized lifestyle, thank you very much." She gently coaxed the cat to relax. "But, I admit, a part of me would like to get a feel for a bygone era."

"Looks like you'll get your chance." Libby made a sound like snapping her fingers. "Hey, wait a second. Doesn't your grandmother live on the island? And isn't it the same island where you used to spend all your summers as a kid?"

"I was wondering if you'd actually remember."

"As if I could forget. It was all you used to talk about when we first met. I always wished I could go with you just once."

"Well, it looks like you'll get your wish," Alyssa replied, throwing her friend's words back at her.

"Guess so." She paused. "It's been a while for you, hasn't it?" came the soft words.

Libby knew all about what had happened—all except for the real reason Alyssa hadn't returned.

Though her friend couldn't see her, Alyssa nodded. "Nearly fifteen years." Even now, moisture gathered in her eyes. She blinked several times and looked toward the ceiling. No. She wouldn't cry. She wouldn't. She couldn't. It would spoil the elation she should be feeling.

"It's been a long time."

"Yes." Alyssa snatched a tissue from the box next to her and held it to the corners of her eyes. "In some ways, it feels like yesterday. In others, like forever."

"Well, experiences and memories don't just go away. You and your dad had a lot of fun there for many years."

Alyssa sniffed. "And then Dad got sick, and well, somehow the joys of going didn't hold as much enticement anymore."

"Because your mom never cared much for the island. Though I'm not sure why."

"Like you, she preferred the more modern conveniences and easy access to an abundance of stores, outlets, and entertainment options." Alyssa shrugged. "The island just didn't suit her as well as it did Dad and me."

"Probably the lack of cars," Libby intoned. "Still, I think it's been far too long for you, and it's high time you returned. Guess God had the same idea."

Obviously He did. "Well, we've talked about taking a vacation together. And you said you had two weeks coming to you. I can take off as well. It's the perfect opportunity."

"When are we supposed to fly off to our land of adventure?"

Alyssa reached for the letter and scanned the page. "Umm, July seventh." She kicked her feet against the table and swung the chair around, squinting to see the calendar on the wall behind her desk in the corner. "It's a Monday."

Libby rustled some paper. "It gives us a little more than two months to plan. We can have an amazing two weeks, stop in and visit your grandmother, and get into all sorts of trouble. I can't believe this is happening."

"Me, either." Alyssa was almost tempted to pinch herself. She'd wanted a change for a while. This was just the opportunity to help her make it. And it followed all those weddings she'd been invited to attend. After being present to witness three more women she knew being joined in eternal wedded bliss, she'd need a vacation. Winning this trip sealed the deal. "We'll have a blast, whether Prince Charming is there or not."

"You're on, girlfriend," Libby chimed in, obviously infected by Alyssa's enthusiasm. "Mackinac Island, here we come!"

Well, almost. Alyssa had another phone call to make.


* * *

"Oh, Alyssa dear, are you really coming back to our island?"

"Yes, Grandma, I am."

"Praise be to Jesus. My little girl is coming home." Her sniffle was like a knife in Alyssa's gut. "Oh, how I have prayed and prayed for this day to come. I'd almost given up hoping you'd ever return, dear."

"I know, Grandma, and I'm sorry." She shouldn't have stayed away so long. But the days had become weeks, and the weeks had become months, and the months had become years, and before she knew it, fifteen years had passed. "I should have made more of an effort to come see you. What with school and my summer jobs and planning for college, then a career, it's hard to imagine it's been as long as it has."

"Child, there is no need to apologize, though I certainly do forgive you. Your mama needed you after my Richard passed away. It isn't easy losing your soul mate, the love of your life."

Grandma knew it all too well, even if Alyssa could only imagine. First, Grandpa, and then a year later, Dad. And Alyssa had stopped her annual visits, only keeping in touch through cards or the occasional phone call.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from A Grand Design by Amber Stockton. Copyright © 2014 Amber Stockton. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Amber Stockton is an award-winning author, a national speaker, and a direct-sales brand partner with Nerium International. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards. Find out why readers love her by visiting her website AmberStockton.com.

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A Grand Design: Quilts of Love Series 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Amber Stockton in her new book, “A Grand Design” Book Twenty in the Quilts of Love Series published by Abingdon Press brings us into the life of Alyssa Denham. From the back cover:   A fun getaway on a charming island may be just what Alyssa needs—if only she can let go of her past. Fifteen years ago, Alyssa Denham stopped taking her annual summer trip to Mackinac Island, refusing to tell anyone the real reason she avoided the island she loved as a child. Now here she is, unexpectedly on the island for two weeks with her best friend, Libby, trying to keep her secrets buried. Alyssa’s grandmother, who lives on the island, has asked Alyssa and Libby to help piece together a friendship quilt she had started years earlier. Their quest takes them to the homes of some of her grandmother’s long-lost friends, giving Alyssa amazing insight into her grandmother’s life…and attracting the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will she finally learn to trust and let God heal her fractured heart? One of the items on my bucket list is to visit Mackinac Island. I have been in love with this place since I saw the movie, “Somewhere in Time”, and the movie even plays a bit part in the book as well. Alyssa is a wounded puppy. Something happened fifteen years ago when she was on the island and she never wanted to go back for fear of her secrets being revealed. Now, because she has won a trip she has to go back. And her grandmother has something for her to do. Obviously this is not only going to force those secrets out but it gives her a chance for romance. This is a fun light romance that hooks your interest as you tour around this island with Alyssa and Libby. All of the characters are terrific and the plot is very enjoyable. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet story that reunifies a young woman with the grandmother she has estranged herself from. We discover the reason for their separation as the story progresses, and it is sad that Alyssa turned away from her family instead of leaning on them for support. The writing style has a chick-lit feel as it describes the feelings of the main character and her interactions with her best girlfriend and others. I was compelled to skip over several paragraphs in the beginning of the book describing Mackinac Island as if it were a travel promotion- I would have rather learned about it gradually as Alyssa visited the location. Her love interest Scott was adorable and sweet, just what her character needed since she definitely had issues with men. Sometimes the dialogue was stilted when the author gave them unusually descriptive words that aren't normally used in casual conversation. The quilt block collection quest introduced several wise mentors for Alyssa who imparted loving words of advice.
JamieLittle More than 1 year ago
This is another great book from the Quilts of Love series, the story told is an amazing story of love, forgiveness and grace. I've always wanted to travel to Mackinac Island, to witness the past meet the present in a beautiful setting. Amber Stockton made me feel like I was right there traipsing the island with Alyssa. The way she described the settings and crafted the character interactions had me lost in the story, as if I were traveling the island via carriage with them collecting quilt squares. I enjoyed following the twists and turns of the story, even if I wanted to smack some sense into some of the characters at times. :) Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
I've been a huge fan of the Quilts of Love Series, not just because each novel is based around the story of a quilt, but because you get a chance to meet new authors who are taking up the challenge to add to this amazing growing collection. In A Grand Design, Amber Stockton, takes her turn in the 20th book to join the Quilts of Love Series. The best part about this series is that each novel can be read as a stand alone and not in any order which makes this truly a one of a kind collection and series. In this one, the storyline involves Alyssa Denham who wins a two week trip for two to the romantic Mackinac Island. Alyssa is more than familiar with the Island, since her grandmother lives in a small cottage on the island, but she hasn't gone to visit her for fifteen years because of something that has kept her away and one that has remained a hidden part of her past. Yet it seems like God has the perfect plan to reunite her with more than just her grandmother. So with no romantic partner in her life at the present time, Alyssa invites her best friend, Libby to join her instead. Nothing could be more fun, than two glorious sun-filled weeks staying at the Grand Hotel, made famous in the movie Somewhere in Time and one she has been drawn to. Libby has vowed that Alyssa will find that special summer romance and the island offers just that opportunity to make that happen. When Alyssa meets with her grandmother, she is given a task to gather quilt blocks from the friends her grandmother made when they established a quilting bee so many years ago on the island. Now in order to create her own memory quilt, she needs Alyssa and Libby to go around and bring the quilt blocks back to her so she can put them together in a beautiful quilt. Knowing there is no cars on the island, Alyssa's grandmother arranges for a carriage to take them to her friends homes all over the island, and it is owned by Scott Whitman, a young man who is more than enamored with Alyssa. Will this be the makings of something beautiful or will it only be a moment in time for them? I received A Grand Design by Amber Stockton compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Abingdon Press for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I've seen the romantic movie Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve many years ago and have always been a fan of romance. Placing the setting of this novel right where it was filmed was a definite winner for me. From the beautiful descriptions of the hotel and grounds provides the readers with just the imagination to stir the longings of their romantic heart. It conveys that even though we carry around emotional baggage from things in our lives that have hurt us, we don't have to continue to carry them. We can learn to let go and move forward into the new life that God has been planning for us all along. I think Amber Stockton did just that in showing how that can affect our ability to move forward in the future God has planned for us if we are willing to take that leap of faith. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and literally inhaled this in a couple of hours. It was that good. There is even a Reader's Discussion Guide included at the conclusion of this novel as well as a sneak peek at Robin Caroll's novel Hidden in the Stars, another addition of the Quilts of Love Series.
Smilingsally More than 1 year ago
Alyssa, the protagonist, is a single lady who feels that she will never find Mr. Right. When she wins a trip for two to Mackinac Island, she invites her best friend, Libby, another single gal. Libby has the sparkling personality, and Libby is the one who attracts all the good looking fellows. The trip takes place, and the ladies meet two handsome men. Now, the author describes both ladies as beautiful. (I know. It's confusing.) Alyssa's grandmother lives on the island, is a wonderful cook, and a quilt is made during the two-week vacation. There's not much of a plot. The characters are flat as pancakes. Simply put: I did not like this book. In fact, I found it tedious--a simplistic romance. Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon Press for my copy.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
A Grand Design was a very sweet story. The description of Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel were so beautiful and it did make me feel like I was right there. The romance between Scott and Alyssa was sweet. Alyssa had some big fears weighing her down from the past and Scott was so understanding and kind toward her. I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop. I did wonder about Scott’s past relationship that had gone wrong. I felt that it was mentioned a couple of times, but then the details were never really explained. It would have been interesting to hear more about that. Overall, this was a fun, lighthearted read. I liked all of the main characters and the storyline was interesting. Since it is a Quilts of Love story, there is a quilt that is pieced together as part of the storyline. The author allows us to see more of the island and hear some of its history through the collection of the quilt squares. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through Litfuse, in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
JCMorrows More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book! LOVE IT! What a wonderful idea! What a beautiful story. What wonderful interactions between characters and environment and memories of the past! And Amber’s descriptions of Mackinac Island make me want to hop on a plane today! This is a wonderful addition to the Quilts of Love line of books and a story that anyone who enjoys a good romance with a few bumps along the way – is sure to enjoy! I really enjoyed how well Amber wrote about Alyssa’s views on life and love. Too often we read about a jaded character who is completely hopeless and it doesn’t quite ring true when they finally are presented with love but Alyssa is simply someone who has had a rough time of it and she’s not sure what she even wants romance-wise. I also love how well Amber blends God into the story. She makes Him approachable in a way that people today will find much easier to connect with than the harsh, angry God that so many people want to paint Him as. Amber’s writing never gets “preachy” – she just shows the reader that God is very much a part of the lives of our characters. Wonderfully done! And I, for one, will be seeking out more of Amber Stockton’s books! I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.
SGMathis More than 1 year ago
I love to read vibrant settings in stories, don’t you? They are those settings that make you feel like you’re right there, in the story, at the very spot where the story takes place. Right now, I’m reading Amber Stockton’s latest book, The Grand Design, and I appreciate her skill at showing the reader the setting in such a beautiful way.  Amber weaves the setting into her action and dialogue like a skilled artist. Using the five senses, you can see the flowers and smell their delicate aroma. You can feel the white painted wood on the massive porch of The Grand Hotel. You can almost feel the fabric on the character’s body. Snapshot by snapshot, she hones in on details that pull you deeper and deeper into the story. Well done, Amber!