February 1, 2014

Ambrose Young



"Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore. Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us." - Making Faces by Amy Harmon


Nancy here hero girls, and I really need to talk to you about Ambrose Young. He is a hero that scored off the chart in every single category, and is now very much ingrained in my soul, as is his novel. This book is one of the best I've ever read in my life, and I read a lot of books. That said, the novel contains some four letter words, which left me with a dilemma that only resolved itself a few hours before the writing of this post.

Most of you know that for me as a reader, language is automatic disqualification for the blog. So is explicitness, as the only shades of anything we want here at FHF is shades of orange. Part of the reason I read Christian fiction (also known as CBA) is I trust the publisher to safeguard me from language and explicitness. With an Indie author however (one that self-publishes), I must rely on the blurb, cover, and reviews to give me a hint of what to expect. Amy Harmon is the favorite author of a Christian fiction colleague of mine, and when I read Amy's book A Different Blue, I finished that book blown away by the writing and strongly suspecting the author was a Christian. So when I read Making Faces, Ambrose's story, (in one sitting) and halfway through, I was certain Amy Harmon is a Christian.There is so much God and exemplifications of biblical truths in this novel, it is one I would give an Olympic Gold Medal for as cross-over fiction. (Honestly, there's more "God" in Making Faces than many of the CBA novels I've read the past year.) This is part of why the story impacted me so deeply and I'm championing it to anyone who will listen. Because while this book was gritty and raw and honest in a way I don't usually find in Christian fiction, it was also completely redemptive, showing that bad choices bring consequences, and the life-changing power of friendship, unconditional love, and sacrifice.

Then there's Ambrose himself.

Ambrose Young is one of the most orange-head heroes I've ever head the privilege/torture to read. Privelage because he's an incredible character whose Gallantry, Woundedness, Softie Side (the cookies, ladies, oh the cookies!!!), Stupid Strikes (and yes, Ambrose would have been a full five there too) and Swoon Score were just seriously off the chart. But I also know the trust that you place in our recommendations, which is why I chose to ultimately share Ambrose with you without featuring him in the usual way. Because I very much value that trust, I'm very clear about the fact that because of the language, some readers will find this novel objectionable. I completely respect that. (If you're wondering about the "heat", I can tell you I had no objections there and found the level of sensuality was in keeping with traditional CBA standards while still being extremely emotional for me as a reader.)

That said, I'm going to finish with something that has the potential to come off really obnoxious.

This is my blog.

I share it with Joy (God bless her, who had no idea I was going to write this post at all), and all of you as followers, and together you are very much what makes this blog so rewarding. But at the end of the day, it's still my blog, Ambrose deserves recognition, as does his novel, for all the reasons I've shared. If I had a daughter, Ambrose is the kind of man I would pray for her to marry. He is a fiction hero that made my heart sing, pound, melt, and at times, bleed, and for all that, I had to share him with you. So I'm giving away three copies of the e-book to the first three blog followers whose comment below includes "I WANT THIS BOOK" in all caps, and be sure to leave your email address. For everyone else and my non e-reader gals, of whom there are still many, we'll randomly draw for another giveaway copy (paperback or ebook) on Valentine's day if your comment includes "throw my name in the hat" along with your email address.

And if you find Ambrose's novel isn't for you, I respect that and hope to see you back Feb. 15th where we return to the land of CBA and bring you a feature that Joy and I are really, really excited about. =)

Much love,

NK

44 comments:

Britney Adams said...

Hi, Nancy! After reading your compelling post, I certainly want to meet Ambrose. I WANT THIS BOOK!

texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

Nancy Kimball said...

Done. (Thanks for the email). I hope this book completely wrecks your world as a reader and takes you on the emotional journey of awesome the way it did me.

That's one ebook down, hero girls, two more still up for grabs. But let me know if you need Nook or Kindle, please. Thanks!

Deb said...

I want this book. rdunson(at)knology(dot)net

Nancy Kimball said...

Deb! You're SO CLOSE my friend. Check the instructions again, and let me know if you need Nook or Kindle. Thanks! =)

Deb said...

I need kindle.

Deb said...

I WANT THIS BOOK. rdunson(at)knology(dot)net.

Nancy Kimball said...

That a girl. ;-) Check your inbox and I hope you love Ambrose and this novel as much as I did. I'm holding off starting my next read because I don't want that awesome afterglow of a great piece of fiction to wear off.

Stephanie Landsem said...

Hey Nancy, I just wanted to say that I just finished Making Faces a couple days ago and couldn't agree with you more. I'm not sure what made me even buy it (other than a low price) but it was AWESOME. Thanks for getting the word out.

Amy C said...

I WANT THIS BOOK!!
In kindle please! :)
Am I too late?
Conneramyd at hotmail dot com

Gretchen E.K. Engel said...

I was as attracted to the heroine's comment that she couldn't get Ambrose unless he lost his beauty spoke to me as much as Ambrose in all of his orange-headed glory. Of course, you had me at wounded warrior. I have a type.

Nancy Kimball said...

Thank you, Stephanie, I really appreciate that. I became aware of Amy Harmon in November when I was captivated by the cover of A Different Blue on my daily BookBub email. It was free so I downloaded it and then read it in a single night. The writing reached a place inside my soul few works of fiction can. So when I saw Making Faces for 1.99 I grabbed it. And four about five hours, I was Fern. I was Ambrose. I felt everything. The pain of a town, of a mother who had to bury a child, of a young mother who didn't know how to escape an abusive husband, the indomitable spirit that was Bailey. This book didn't "entertain" me. It changed how I understood parts of myself and raised new questions... the first being how could I promote this and remain true to my convictions. This is how. Thanks for the support.

Nancy Kimball said...

Nope Amy, you aren't too late. Check your inbox in about five minutes. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

We have that in common, GEKE. =) Fern was an extraordinary character as well. One of my favorite lines in the book is when Ambrose says "You read smutty romance novels and quote scripture. I'm not quite sure I have you figured out."

Dawn Crandall said...

I guess I'm one comment too late to snag the free copy. Oh well. I saw you post the amazon link to this book a few days ago, and I admit, I was intrigued. I didn't buy it, bc first of all I have way to many books in my required to read pile already... and secondly, I barely have two months to do so until this world-changer... I mean baby... comes and steals all my time and energy. ;) BUT, I'm hoping to win it--bc then I would feel that I must make time for it. :D

Crandallberries at gmail dot com

Nancy Kimball said...

The ebook is still just 1.99 today, and I believe so much in this novel, I'll send THREE MORE ebook copies to the next hero girls who follow the instructions in the post.

Here's a tiny bit of this book, so you can get a glimpse of why I feel this way.

"In Isaiah 53:2 it says, "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."
"I remember that verse," Elliot said softly. "It always struck me that Jesus wasn't handsome. Why wouldn't God make his outside match his inside?"
"For the same reason He was born in a lowly manger, born to an oppressed people. If He had been beautiful or powerful, people would have followed him for that alone-they would have been drawn to him for all the wrong reasons. [...] There's nothing wrong with your face, Elliott," Joshua said gently. "There's nothing wrong with you. You are a good man with a beautiful heart. And God looks on the heart, doesn't he?"
"Yeah." Elliott Young sounded close to tears once more. "He does. Thanks, Pastor."

Nancy Kimball said...

Dawn!!! Go check your inbox girl. ;-) Great to see ya, friend.

Amber Stokes said...

Wow - this sounds like a powerful read! Thank you so much for sharing with us. :) I'm a total fan of Christian fiction, as well (and it's currently what I write), but inspirational fiction can be found outside the label, right? My favorite read of last year was a YA book with a swoon-worthy romance and a story that I *adored*! It's Recalled by Cambria Hebert, and I totally recommend it! Like this book, it does have some language, but no explicit sexual content.

Anyway, thank you for your generosity! If the offer in your last comment still stands: "I WANT THIS BOOK!" Thank you! :)

~Amber

amberstokes[at]corban[dot]edu

Melanie Backus said...

Hi Nancy! I WANT THIS BOOK but I know I missed out. I was helping my husband work cows this morning and I just got home. I have a Kindle and would sure love to know more about Ambrose. I am very intrigued by him.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Nancy Kimball said...

Amber, I honestly believe it can. I will have to check out Recalled and you got it girl! I'll email ya because I need to know if you need Kindle or Nook edition.
Giving good books away makes me happy. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

Melanie, we went for a second round. Check your inbox in about ten minutes. Ambrose is very, very orange but honestly, that book is just ripe with orangeness. Especially Bailey.

Nancy Kimball said...

ONE MORE E-book copy of Making Faces. Who will get it? =)

Keri-Elizabeth said...

Is the last copy still available? If so, I WANT THIS BOOK. It sounds phenomenal! My email address is keletitbe14 at gmail dot com

Nancy Kimball said...

It is and it is yours! I hope you adore Ambrose and this novel upends everything you think you know about great stories, like it did for me. =)

But that's the last copy until the drawing on Valentine's day, peeps (if anyone shows up between now and then and leaves a comment including "throw my name in the hat" along with their email address.

Pam K. said...

Please throw my name in the hat for your drawing on Valentine's Day. I generally try to stay away from books with explicit language but this one has me intrigued so I think I can overlook a few words. I trust your recommendation.
Thanks.
pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

Natalie Monk said...

Hi, Nancy!!! I saw your post about this novel on Facebook and immediately went to check it out. I bought that day, lol. I plan to read it over the next week. The "Beauty and the Beast" storyline is one of my favorites. Can't help but love the names in this story and I'm all butterflies about meeting Ambrose now that you've described him to us. :) I've loved everything you recommend (and write), so I'm really looking forward to this one. Thanks for the recommendation!

Nancy Kimball said...

Well get you in the drawing, Pam, and I appreciate that. It is why I wanted to be straight forward about the language (never the F bomb or the Lord's name in vain) because this is such a beautiful, powerful story that honestly is so fraught with God and His truth I fell in love with it.

Nancy Kimball said...

Oh YAY. Ambrose is amazing. But there's so many characters in there who are amazing, including Fern and Bailey. Appreciate the compliment, and I'm working hard at both, my friend. =) Great to see you stop by!

Jennie W said...

I guess I was too slow! Oh, well. You can throw my name in the hat for the Valentine's Day drawing. weber(dot)jennie(at)gmail(dot)com.

I usually don't like more gritty books, but you have me intrigued!

Nancy Kimball said...

Jennie, we'll toss your name in the hat. You may want to tread lightly through Making Faces as there are parts that are pretty real life and almost painfully honest. Nothing I would call gore or gratuitous in any way, but it is not "light" reading for sure. Great to see you. =)

Keri-Elizabeth Walker said...

I finished reading Making Faces literally five minutes ago. You were absolutely right! It was such a powerful and moving story! I went through so many different emotions. It is a book that will stay with me for awhile! I'm already trying to get my friends to read it as well! I'm so glad that you featured Ambrose this month.

Lady DragonKeeper said...

A day late to check in, haha. Congrats ladies! Unfortunately, I can overhear "four letter words" from other conversations just walking to class, so although I hate how they're casually used in ordinary conversations ... I'm kind of used to it. I think I'd be more tolerant of it in fiction if there was a "good reason" and not just gratuitous use (which I have a feeling there is in this novel). I usually shy away from self-published books, but 'm definitely intrigued by your review (and the amazon ratings)!

Thanks for the chance to win!

jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

Nancy Kimball said...

I'm so glad! Thanks for coming back to say so and I can completely relate to you wanting to share it now as well. I hope your friends read it too and are moved by it.

Nancy Kimball said...

The Amazon ratings are nuts. I was already going to buy it when I saw it in my BookBub email but when I got to Amazon and saw it had almost nine hundred reviews (and there are more now) I was like, oh that's AWESOME!

Britney Adams said...

OH, NANCY!!! You were absolutely right! What an AMAZING, UNFORGETTABLE story! I read Making Faces the very night that I received it. Once I started reading, I didn’t stop until I finished the book! Thank you so much for sharing Ambrose, Bailey, and Fern. I can’t wait to read more from Amy Harmon!

Marion Ueckermann said...

Nancy, thanks for recommending this book to me. It was absolutely awesome. I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time. Really great read, and yes, the author is a Christian (picked that up from the back of the e-book. Thanks for putting Ambrose up here on Fiction Hero Features - he totally deserved it!

Ruth Ann Dell said...

Hi I've just found your blog. Please throw my name in the hat for the draw, this sounds like a really good read,

Thank you

ruthdell{at}mweb{dot}co{dot}za

Nancy Kimball said...

Thank you, Marion. It was amazing for me too and appreciate the support for this book. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

Ruth Ann, WELCOME. =) We'll get you in the drawing and look forward to getting to know your hero tastes.

Amy Harmon said...

I am so humbled by the responses and by your support of this book. I never set out to write Christian fiction. I didn't WANT to write Christian fiction, not because I'm not a Christian (I am), but because I wanted to connect with people that wouldn't touch books labeled Christian lit with a ten foot pole. I have never been interested in converting people, but comforting them. For me, the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is one of hope and love, and I find that when my characters truly need comfort, I don't know how else to provide it then from the truths that have brought me comfort...namely that there is more to life than what we see, that we are loved by benevolent creator, and that there is purpose in trial. I've been raked over the coals by some reviewers who feel the book needs a warning label (can you believe that???) because it is "Christian Lit" and they don't want religion shoved down their throats, but most readers, even erotic romance readers, have embraced this book and its message. Thank you so much, as a Christian blog and a Christian audience, for taking a chance on me as well. I appreciate it so much.

Nancy Kimball said...

Amy, I'm humbled and blown away you made the time to stop by and share your thoughts with us. I read some of those reviews and they made me happy because some of God's truth found them anyway, whether they liked it or not. I've never seen a book waterboard someone so I believe "forced down their throat" really means when I reached the religious part I didn't like it because I don't believe in that but the story was so good I couldn't make myself put the book away unfinished. That's why I am a fan of your work, Amy. Because your story telling is that powerful and you know exactly what you're doing and who you're writing for. Love it. Absolutely love it. Keep at it, and know me and now many of the hero-girls are with you!

Nancy Kimball said...

Amy Harmon commented on my blog! They might have heard my fangirl squeal in all three neighboring counties, haha. Oh any BTW hero-girls, Making Faces made the USA Today bestseller list. YAY!!!

Nancy Kimball said...

We have a Valentine's Day Winner!

JennieW

Thank you everyone so much for your support of Amy and for this book. Keep spreading the word!

Anonymous said...

I WANT THIS BOOK! here's my e-mail. erialceeni@gmail.com i hope i can get a copy of this book. thanks. :)

Nancy Kimball said...

So sorry but the giveaways and drawings for this feature are already over. I promise you Making Faces is worth the $4 so grab your own copy and we hope to see you around FHF again. =)