Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review & Giveaway! LOVE STORY by Nichole Nordeman

Several weeks back I headed over to NetGalley in search of a specific novel for review that I hadn't been able to obtain through other sources. While searching for it I happened across the name Nichole Nordeman and... I was immediately intrigued. To find that one of my favorite songwriters had authored a book was a beautiful surprise. But it was nonfiction.

Now I don't have anything against nonfiction. I just don't very often blog about it. So I debated. Could I review a nonfiction book at Edgy Inspirational Romance? And then I thought: what could be edgier--or more inspirational, for that matter--than being wooed over the fabric of time by the Creator of the Universe? So I downloaded the title and began the process of digesting Nichole Nordeman's heartfelt, funny, touching, and tear-inducing Love Story: The Hand that Holds Us from the Garden to the Gates and, somewhere along the way, I rediscovered my own cherished spot within that very gentle, very big Hand.

Here is the book description, as it appears at www.amazon.com:

The best-selling album has inspired a heart-melting book

In Love Story, one of Christian music's most remarkable singer- songwriters brings to the printed page her proven gift for mining the gritty soil of everyday experience and emerging with poignant gems of spiritual insight. Based on the songs of the popular albums, Music Inspired by The Story, Dove Award winner Nichole Nordeman takes us inside some of the pivotal moments of the people of Scripture, revealing a very human side that we've rarely glimpsed. In the process, she offers us startlingly frank glimpses of her own struggles and faith journey, inspiring us to take the hand of the One who walks with us--who has always walked with us--from beginning to end.


I've been a fan of Nichole's music for years. The way she bends poetry and music around vulnerability and truth is astoundingly beautiful. Her book is no less lovely. Penned by a naked hand that isn't reluctant to uncover the pain and humor that can result from being transparent, Nichole gives fresh perspectives on well-known Biblical cast members alongside that of a real, identifiable woman who finds bits of her own journey within the triumph and tragedy of The Story.

Using personal anecdotes and reflection, Nichole draws sweat and blood from each Biblical character's story as well as her own, one moment causing the reader to laugh aloud, the next, to be moved to tears. There isn't a single chapter that could be considered baggage or "filler" -- each one exudes the scent of the profound without losing its accessibility or humanity. And, since each chapter ends with the lyrics to the corresponding song from the album, Music Inspired by The Story, I highly recommend downloading the album and listening to each song as you complete the chapter.

This not a book to sit down and read in one sitting, although it is so engaging that it would  be easy to do just that. Reading this book is like sitting down for a bottomless chai latte with that one, deep friend who really gets the hunger of your heart. Like the chai, the aroma of the prose wafts up from the cup, rich and spicy. Each sip warms you, at once both hot and comforting; yet if you thoughtlessly lift the mug and gulp you could burn your tongue--even your throat. Still, you aren't afraid of the pain that could sear within because you're with someone who is drinking the same drink, sitting at the same table, and trying not to burn her tongue, the same as you. It's that honest. It's that beautiful. It's that real.

I can't encourage you enough to get your hands on this book; to allow yourself to be wooed by the edgiest of all inspirational romancers, the Hand that Holds You. Read it. You won't regret it. In fact, you might find yourself buying more copies simply to gift away, as I just did today for that one, deep friend who, though we rarely see each other, knows the hunger of my heart so well and appreciates a quality chai. (It's on its way, Manon!)

Although this is Nichole Nordeman's first offering as an author, if you haven't discovered Nichole Nordeman as a musical artist, this would be a great time to introduce yourself to her talent. An excellent, but not complete representation of her music is Ultimate Collection, which, for $15.99 on Amazon mp3 download is something of a steal for 24 exceptional songs. But if you are going to read Love Story (and you should!), I highly recommend discovering (or re-discovering) Nichole's lyrical genius by downloading the 2011 Bernie Herms collaboration, Music Inspired by The Story.

If you listen to Christian radio, you've more than likely heard Nichole's duet with Amy Grant, "I'm With You (Ruth & Naomi)", from Music Inspired By The Story, but there is much more to this album. These songs are gems that give a truly fresh view into the hearts and situations of Biblical characters. My personal favorites are "Good (Adam & Eve)", a Matthew West/ Leigh Nash duet that has a beautiful sense of grief and relationship, and  "This Is How Love Wins (Thief)" in which 1990s go-to Christian music artist Steven Curtis Chapman's performance taps into a deeper well of emotion than I've ever heard from this beloved CCM icon. I love this whole album, but the Chris Tomlin performed "Your Heart (David)" has become a prayer of my personal worship time. So... the book is awesome on its own, but having the CD set or album download to augment your reading and worship experience is something I would recommend.

I read this book on Kindle and highlighted the snot out of it, making notes all over the place, (even finding a few that are so beautiful and true that I want to go to Wall Words and have them make custom vinyl quotes for my walls.) But this is one of those cases when my love of Kindle grows a little lukewarm; yes, it's convenient, but when I want to recapture a moment, there's not that "thumbing through" on a device like you can experience in a paper book. Therefore, I am very grateful to Morgan Canclini and Worthy Publishing for providing me with a hard copy. This is one of those rare books that deserves frequent return visits, prime shelf space when not in use, and a fresh flourescent highlighter to be used to mark the beauty and wisdom that shows up in every single chapter. But you, dear reader, can also be thankful to the folks at Worthy: because they not only gave me a copy to keep for myself, but one to give away.

GIVEAWAY!!!
One reader, chosen by random.org, will receive an autographed copy of Nichole Nordeman's LOVE STORY: The Hand that Holds Us from the Garden to the Gates
Contest runs through OCTOBER 10, 2012 and is open to residents of the continental United States only. ***Please note, this is different from our usual giveaway policy, which includes Canada. Sorry, Canadians, but I about went broke sending a package to one of our recent giveaway winners. I love you, I just can't afford the postage right now!*** 
TO ENTER, be willing to be vulnerable.
In the comment form below, please leave: 
1. Your email address in spam free lingo (jane dot doe at jmail dot com)
2. One area in which your heart hungers

15 comments:

  1. Hi Joy,
    Thank you for giving me a chance to win " Love Story " by Nichole Nordeman sounds like a great book. God bless you. Have a great week.
    Norma from Ohio n38stanforth at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remember -- to have a valid entry you have to get vulnerable! Name an area in which your heart hungers. Maybe it's for me to lay off already... ;)

      Delete
  2. Hey Serena,
    Love the the way you described her book and, already having a love for that song, would love to get my hands on a copy of that book too!

    Area my heart longs for...as He adopted us as sons and daughters, and as Christ himself was adopted by Joseph, my heart longs and hungers to adopt one day. Waiting patiently until then for the Lord to sink deeper into me His love for adoption, and to lay it on our hearts when His timing is right.

    jodiegerling at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  3. mlayton at mail dot mvnu dot edu

    The hunger of my heart is to learn to be completely satisfied with my love story with Jesus. I am trying to learn to stop living my life as if I were waiting on my love story to arrive, but rather to live my life knowing that I am in the greatest love story that could ever be told.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds ... amazing. And possibly very needed.

    My heart ... it's hungry for dreams coming true. I have dreams - some old, some new, some I know intimately, some I'm still trying to define - and I'm aching for them to start coming true. I've been in a huge, long waiting season, and fighting desperately to cling to faith and hope that it's gonna end and things are going to start blooming into fruition.

    quarterback.girl [at] gmail [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nichole Nordeman is my favorite. "Why" is the most beautiful song! My heart is hungering to not only know, but to feel Jesus as my first love. I want to feel romanced by Him. I have known Him as Lord, ruler, provider, healer, but even though my head KNOWS He is the lover of my soul, and the bridegroom waiting for me, my heart has a hard time with it. Thank you for this giveaway

    Nicole
    nicdawnham at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh my - how are you going to decide after reading all of these comments? Good luck my friend!

    I want to open my eyes wider with every day...
    wide enough to see the beauty and redemption of Christ in and around me and then press in.
    wide enough to see past myself/this world and into the spiritual realm, the Kingdom of God, the power of His Spirit and the truth of His word.
    Watching it break through my every day...
    and finally, wide enough to unleash the God given, God indulged gifts and talents deep within me. Unashamed, unhindered and absolutely how my Creator intended.

    ashleydhammond at g to the mail dot com ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. i, too, love nicole's music...thanks for the chance to read her work...i don't know what my heart hungers for today...i'll have to ponder that question.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. My heart longs and hungers for a child of my own. I want to get pregnant and have my own child. I want it so much it hurts. We adopted a son who I love to pieces and he is my son in every way that matters. I also long for passion and romance in my marriage. I am a hopeless romantic and my husband isn't. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. mrsbcoppedge at gmail.com

    Nichole Nordeman ... a poet who just so happens to sing her musings. If you've loved her music, like I have, the opportunity to read her way with words from cover to cover is nothing short of a gift in and of itself. My heart longs to know fearless love again; love without restrictions set in place by wounds. Our souls tend to close us off to protect, but my spirit longs to break free and believe in limitless love again; love without baggage.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You all are moving me to a tight throat and misty eyes. I'm so glad random.org will choose the winner instead of me! I wish I could give you all a copy of this remarkable book! Love, Serena

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  11. Just so you know, though: contest is still open through October 10th! Keep those comments coming! And share this post with friends who might benefit from such a book (who wouldn't????

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  12. My heart hungers for .... well, I'm not quite sure how to put this but what I really want the most is to mend fences within my family. There are some members of my family who I haven't seen in years due to issues that popped up and I really want everyone to open their hearts to forgiveness and mend the fences. I miss them and I really wish I knew how to get their hearts to open up to that forgiveness and allow us all to come together again the way we should. Family is so important and it's not until it's not there that you realize just how important it is.
    jwitt33 at live dot com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congrats to Nicole H, our winner! I'll be emailing you shortly to get your mailing address.

    Thanks, everyone for being open and honest and vulnerable. You tightened my throat and brought tears to my eyes.

    For those of you who didn't win this time around, I do hope you will go out and get a copy of Nichole's book. It is exceptional.

    In love and hope,
    Serena

    ReplyDelete

I love comments more than Starbucks! Thanks for leaving one!

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