Christmas Hope, by Leslie Lynch

Leslie Lynch creates such amazingly REAL characters, as we see again in Christmas Hope. Fortunately, she took time after the story to explain how she went into the real world to find her fictional protagonists among the heroes and victims of our crazy times. Fans of the Appalachian Foothills series will enjoy meeting Leslie’s latest characters and welcome another visit with Father Barnabas, who, up to his old tricks, plays a pivotal role in this novella.

We often see only our defects and assume that others hold the same perception. The Christmas season may add to one’s miseries as the holiday reopens family problems, especially for wounded souls desperately in need of completeness. If the family failed as a resource, Tennessee Williams, via Blanche DuBois, reminds us and the protagonists that “you can always depend on the kindness of strangers to pluck up your spirits and shield you from dangers.” Dreaded disasters that we all shun actually bring a couple together. The question remains, can they control their demons long enough to push beyond their first impressions and establish a loving relationship that heals their wounds?

Christmas Hope is the author’s fourth book of 2014, all of them segments in the Appalachian Foothills Series. Lynch has established herself as a formidable author who blends romance with grit and reality. Her characters come from life and reflect her interest in regular folks, the down and out, as well as law enforcement and the military. Louisville, Kentucky shines brightly as a venue. I look forward to another productive year as novels flow from the fertile mind of author Leslie Lynch.

Opal’s Jubilee, by Leslie Lynch

 

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Strong coffee and strong women perk the pages of Leslie Lynch’s third novel in her Appalachian Foothills series. Learn what gave these women the muscles of the agile tigress who struck from the shadows, the guile of the rural widow who skulked the hollows with her double barrel shotgun or the steel of the sweet grandma who brooked no interference from husband or son when it came to her business. Of all the women to pack a wallop, Opal Mc Bride reigns supreme. Although she served her time in prison, those behind the “Blue Wall” punished her and remained vigilant, to insure that Opal wore the equivalent of the “Scarlet Letter” for the rest of her life. Yet, she cultivated patience and awareness of the threats about her. She dared to dream, hoping for her Jubilee, and she never relented. She would rather die fighting than ever again suffer the imprisonment of fear.

Opal’s dark, lonely journey began in her teens. She had to make it on her own. Her survival skills and instincts kept her alive and sane until parole returned her to the outside where she encountered prejudice, bullying and mistrust, but she would not quit. She found friends where she could, and began to make a new life for herself.

Leslie Lynch drew inspiration for Opal’s Jubilee from case histories of women who were convicted of murder or attempted murder after years of domestic violence and were later granted early release from the Kentucky penal system. Suspense, romance and a river of surprises shackle the reader to each new page until the very last, where lust for a sequel prevails.

I recommend Opal’s Jubilee to those concerned with social justice, women’s rights and to those who enjoy a fresh approach to suspense, romance and adventure. This novel will especially please any who hope for their own Jubilee—their year of freedom.