Tuesday, September 29, 2009

By Love of By Sea Review

By Love or By Sea by Rachel Rager

4 stars
Rating: PG

Audience: YA, Adult, Women

Genre: Historical Romance

Review of By Love or By Sea

Alice Lind Frank is a happy young woman who is being courted by the most eligible man in town, Clarence Hielott. She enjoys working with her grandparents and anticipates the expected day that Clarence will propose marriage to her.

While walking through her seaside town one morning, Alice Frank sees a sun-bronzed, tattered sailor who resembles Caleb Newman, someone she once loved. She knows that it cannot be him, for his ship went down and he died at sea many years before.

When she finds out that the sailor is indeed the boy she had loved, she is torn between her commitment to Clarence and her yearning for Caleb. Yet, Caleb hurt her once and she is afraid to open her heart up to him again, especially when Clarence unearths a deadly secret from Caleb’s past.

I enjoyed reading By Love or By Sea. My favorite character in this novel was actually the grumpy Betsy Winters, a townswoman that Alice befriends. The plot moved quickly and it made for an easy read. It took a few chapters to get into, but once Alice realized who Caleb was, I didn’t want to put it down. Also, I wanted Alice to show as much spunk to the men chasing her as she did to the cantankerous, old Betsy!

This is a sweet, clean romance that I would recommend to anyone who loves kissing, drama, love triangles, and…pirates!

I had the opportunity to interview Rachel Rager.

Kaylee: Can you tell us a little about yourself, Rachel?
Rachel: I’m the mother of three beautiful young girls. My husband and I have been married for eight and half years. I love to sing and have a degree in vocal performance for opera. I published By Love or By Sea in April 2009 but have seven stories that are complete and five works in progress! I love to read any good, clean romance book, ride my bike, go on picnics with my family, write, sing and bake! (Not usually at the same time, of course!)

Why did you want to be a writer?
I didn’t. I had other ambitions. I wanted to be a mom or a business woman but I never thought I’d be an author. When I was young, I couldn’t spell well and didn’t like to read and I didn’t read well. So, it’s amazing that I ever desired to write a book and see it to fruition.Shortly after my first daughter was born, my mother-in-law gave me A Heavenly Surrender by Marcia Lynn McClure to read. I loved it and eagerly searched out more of Marcia’s books. At the time, she only had three in print, but I devoured them!Then one night I had a dream and when I woke up, I decided to try and write it down. Did I imagine anything might come of it? Of course not. I didn’t even know if I’d have the patience to sit and write all those words! Still, I eagerly wrote down an outline and then timidly told my husband. I will always remember the doubtful look on his face as he said, “Well…I guess if you really want to.” I told no one else! Instead I wrote. After a month of typing during my daughter’s naps and while my husband was in classes, I finished. And it was terrible! But I had done what I set out to do. So I edited and submitted it. (Only then did I tell my mother, who was floored by my revelation.)My first attempt was rejected, but I persisted. I kept rewriting, editing, and even began writing another book. I also broadened my horizons and read tons of books. With each rewrite or book I read, I learned more and more. Finally, after five years, I had written five stories. I submitted my third story and finally got a contract with Cedar Fort, Inc. Six years (almost to the month) after I started writing, I accomplished another goal and held a copy of my book in my hands.

What was your inspiration for Alice and Caleb's story?
By Love or By Sea is the third story I wrote. And Caleb is actually six-years-old in the first story he makes an appearance in, so I had a long time to get to know him. One day I was in the shower and I had an idea to write a story just about Caleb. I was working on something else, but I soon started his story. The journey he takes developed long after I started his story.

What are some of your favorite books?
Since I feel I owe my start to Marcia Lynn McClure, it’s obvious I love anything by her. I thoroughly enjoy books by Jaimey Grant and Joyce DiPastena, along with just about any clean romance novel. I don’t get into science fiction or fantasy much but I love Maria V. Snyder’s books who wrote Poison Study. But one of my all time favorites is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. That was the only book I read in high school or junior high and it remains one of my all time favorites.

Can we look forward to more books from you in the future?
I’m polishing up one with a working title of A Dress to the Heart. I’m also doing some rewrites on The Tiger, Unleashed, and A Cold Heart which is a historical romance based at Platte Bridge Station just outside of Casper, Wyoming. I’m also considering writing a book about Betsy Winter’s journey. I have heard so many things about her. Everyone just loves her! So, I’m thinking about that. I have probably a dozen stories in my head and no time to put them on paper. So I hope that you will see many more books from me in the future!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
If I had to say anything, I’d say if you have the dream, don’t give up! Learn all that you can and keep at it. Don’t let rejection get you down. And make sure you make it fun!

Thank you for this interview, Rachel. I loved the book and look forward to reading more from you!
Thanks, Kaylee! You’re a joy to visit with!

You can visit Rachel Rager at http://rachelrager.blogspot.com/ or at http://www.rachelrager.com/.

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