Journey to the Heart by Nora Caron | A Review

Journey to the Heart CoverJourney to the Heart is the tale of how one woman overcomes her bitterness and anger regarding life and love. Lucina, a twenty-five year-old Canadian computer programmer, travels to Mexico in order to heal herself after a terrible burn-out and yet another bad relationship. By chance, she encounters a deeply insightful Mexican woman named Señora Labotta, who slowly helps her come into contact with her inner Self. But Lucina is stubborn and jaded, and has difficulty stepping out of her past into a universe of fluidity and acceptance. When she meets Teleo, a charming green-eyed healer, Lucina must make a decision: Either return to her fears and anxieties, or enter her heart, a place she knows very little of.

(Image and synopsis via Homebound Publications)

My Thoughts:

Nora Caron takes almost every young woman’s story of heartbreak at the hands of young men, adds to it a bitterness and hurt caused by a nagging mother and burnout from a job as a computer programmer. At 25, what else could go wrong in Lucina’s world.

On the advice of her counselor, she travels to Mexico and begins a journey not so much of discovery of the culture, tradition, and mysteries of the Mexican people but of discovering her inner being for the first time.

Two people, Señora Labotta and Teleo, a charming young man trained in healing arts, play major roles in Lucina’s self-discovery.

Traveling with Teleo through the forest and the jungle to ancient ruins of centuries past peoples in Mexico, Lucina begins to shed her past in painful and yet humbling and beautiful ways. She begins to realize that her history is holding her back and in order to move forward, she must examine her heart, a heart she knows very little about.

Caron writes with a fluid, almost languid style which I found relaxing and comforting adding a dimension to Lucina’s self-discovery. The characters are well-developed and I began to feel I was reading a true story and not a novel. At the end, I was reluctant to give the book over to my “finished books” shelf. I still find myself wondering what happened to Lucina after I turned the last page.

My Recommendation:

Journey to the Heart is a beautiful read, no matter your circumstances. However, if you are searching to rid yourself of past fears, disappointments, and anger and perhaps in so doing find the center of your heart, please read this book. It is an amazing spiritual journey for this young woman, a fictional character so real to me I find myself caring for her still.

Meet the Author:

Nora CaronNora Caron was born in Montreal, Quebec. As a child, she traveled to many countries with her family, developing a love early on for culture, people, and art. In Junior College, Nora took up photography and film, and worked as a photo-journalist for two Quebec magazines. She was also the editor of her college newspaper, The Edge. In 2001, she was awarded with Best Photographer Award at Champlain College. At twenty, Nora entered university in Psychology but soon turned to English Literature where she fell in love with Shakespeare’s works. She graduated from McGill University in 2006 with a B.A in English Literature and a minor in Spanish and German. In 2010 Nora graduated from Concordia University with a Master’s degree in English Literature with a specialty in Renaissance literature. She speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and German.

Nora has many passions in life. She is one of the three founders of Oceandoll Productions, a Los Angeles-based film production company. She has acted in several short films to date and has written a feature Western called Wyoming Sky with Ingo Neuhaus. Nora is the author of The New Dimensions Trilogy which is composed of Journey to the Heart, New Dimensions of Being, and Jaguar Dreams (coming out June 2014). Her novels mix spirituality, philosophy, and history. They are pieces of Nora’s own life mixed with teachings from spiritual teachers she had the chance of working with. Her stories carry timeless messages that will uplift and empower those who read them.

(Bio and image via Homebound Publications)

Connect with Nora Caron:

Book Details:

Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1938846090
Release Date: July 19, 2013
Page Count: 248

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Journey to the Heart from Homebound Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed are solely my own.

The Trail: A Tale About Discovering God’s Will by Ed Underwood | Book Review

Book cover for The Trail by Ed UnderwoodFrom a popular and well-loved pastor comes this enchanting, beautifully crafted allegory exploring the mysterious process of discovering God’s will.

Matt and Brenda feel trapped because they look for God’s guidance about major life decisions in completely opposite ways.

Their friends, Brian and Lindsey, try to help by introducing them to a person who had helped them gain an unshakeable confidence in God’s will.

After meeting Sam Lewis in the stunning High Sierras, the three hike together, Matt and Brenda learn that God’s good and perfect will is not a destination on the horizon of life where everything makes sense, but a place where your life is exposed to God’s power. One by one, Sam’s eight principles illuminate the path ahead. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, all three characters desperately seek and experience God’s redemptive guidance.

You will treasure this timeless tale about discovering God’s will.

(Image and synopsis via Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.)

My Thoughts:

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ed Underwood’s book, The Trail. Would it be another The Shack, which wasn’t one of my favorites? Or would it be something new and refreshing. I am happy to see it was the latter.

As we all know, life is about making choices. In a marriage, choosing involves two individuals and sometimes differing opinions. Enter Matt and Brenda, a young married couple, facing a difficult decision on which they do not agree. To make matters worse, they also don’t look to God for guidance in the same way.

Friends tell them about a rather different kind of pastor who teaches eight principles that make it possible to have unshakeable trust when making such major decisions.

So off Matt and Brenda go to meet Sam, this unusual preacher. Meeting in the High Sierras is a little nerve-wracking when you don’t know the person you’re meeting but they press forward. Sam Lewis seems like an ordinary kind of fellow and they settle in to learn from him.

Early on Matt and Brenda learn that God’s will is not a destination, a place where everything makes sense in life. Instead God’s will is that place where life is opened and exposed to God’s power through intimacy with Him and with others. Sam rolls out his eight principles, one by one, shining a clear light on the path ahead. Underwood’s story of Matt, Brenda and Sam ends with all three seeking desperately to experience God’s redemption and guidance.

My Recommendation:

I am not inclined to rate books but in this case I am willing to give Ed Underwood’s The Trail a 5-star rating. I found Underwood’s presentation of Sam’s eight principles to be an incredible study of not only the principles but also the Bible. In a little over 200 pages, the author shares an incredible Bible study through a fictional story, a parable, if you will. If you love Christian fiction filled with Scripture and principles, you will love The Trail.

Meet the Author:

pic_lg_Underwood_EdEd Underwood is a pastor, author, and speaker. In addition to leading Church of the Open Door, Ed has taught Bible school students, seminarians, spoken to packed conferences, and written numerous articles and books. When Ed is not studying, leading, discipling, writing, or speaking, he loves spending time with his wife, Judy, their children, and grandchildren. He enjoys backpacking, and still tries to surf some.

(Bio and image via Tyndale House Publishers)

Connect with Ed Underwood:

Book Details:

Binding: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-4143-9112-0
Release Date: August 2014
Page Count: 208

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Trail from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed are solely my own.