The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner – Sassy Contemporary RomCom in INSPY Fiction

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

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Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2017
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher Provided – thank you!
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Rating: ★★★★½

Charmed lifestyle has been the normal for Sarah. Or at least that’s how it seems. In the aftermath of her divorce, Sarah felt listless and unsure what to do. In an “overnight success” kind of story you only see in the movies, Sarah, along with a non de plume, becomes a best-selling novelist. Then, her life forever changes when Sarah becomes a Christian. This complicates matters because a. Sarah’s novels aren’t exactly appropriate for her new convictions and b. she still owes another book under her contract.

What’s a girl to do?

Life tilts on its axis when, while dealing with these changes, Sarah runs into – quite literally, the man of her dreams.

No secret has been made of my love of contemporary fiction. It’s been documented well and yes, I talk about this all the time. This is why anytime a new contemporary work of fiction releases from a favored publishing house (especially those that are smaller like Revell), I sit up and take notice. Not only does ‘Sarah Hollenbeck’ celebrate a new novel, it also marks the (traditional publishing) debut of its author, Bethany Turner.

Inside these pages, readers are sure to feel and discover a myriad of emotions. There are tears, laughter and even heartbreaking moments. The story doesn’t shy away from realistic situations (for these characters), but there’s a lighthearted manner in which the story unfolds that makes everything work. Bethany has a knack for this kind of storytelling, and she does it with ease and class. The “moving parts” of this story work together seamlessly and all of it feels organic to these characters.

Speaking of the characters, I adore them all. Whether it’s the titular heroine or her love interest, there’s no shortage of realistic and endearing characters. The romance is especially lovely. It’s sweet, but also sassy and I loved its progression. Sarah and Ben are clearly meant for each other from that “meet cute” and from there, the ups and downs of their relationship only makes them stronger.

Anyone who wants a contemporary novel in the inspirational market that breaks out of the typical box will love The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. It’s bursting with sharp wit and authentic characterizations. In short, this book should be no secret. ♥

Content: there is some "PG13" (ish) content in this novel. Mostly some talk of sex, "waiting," and a few innuendos. 

Synopsis: Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn't afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life. – Goodreads

Coming Next from Bethany Turner:

Sincere thanks to the publisher, Revell for providing a complimentary copy of this novel; all opinions are my honest thoughts. 


  1. I added this one to my list for 2018. It sounds really cute, and I've seen it on a lot of blogs lately.

    1. It's adorable, Dianna! (Great add for that 2018 TBR!) I hope if you do have the chance to read this one, you enjoy. :)

  2. YES!!! This book and all is SASS is so fun! I'm very glad you loved it as much as I did. It's just a story you have to read and experience to really see why everyone is gushing over it ;). I can't wait to see what's next from Bethany!

    1. I did, Courtney! I loved how easily Bethany wove together so many emotions and themes into one seamless and wonderful story. Like you, I cannot wait to see what Bethany has next in store! Perhaps that could be one of our 2018 (? - if she has one releasing this year) read-along books. :)

    2. That would be awesome! I know she has more stories in the works, and a new contract, so we'll see!!! We definitely need to plan a read-along for Courtney Walsh's next novel, methinks.

    3. You're so right! I saw the contract news on Instagram. So exciting - and YES! I'd love to have a read-along for Courtney's new novel. It sounds (and looks) amazing. Plus, I would like to read her Just Look Up book early on this year!! Lots of great reading to come.

  3. This is the first I've seen of this one, but I definitely will be reading it. Loved your review, Rissi!! :D

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Tressa - and let me know what you think of this one if/when you read it. So much sass, and oh so fun! :)


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