Title: Searching For Anna
Author: Jeniffer Carl-Tong
Series: Love In Lansing Book 1
An impoverished seamstress. A wealthy suitor. An entangled past that could tear them apart.
A historical Christian romance from debut author Jenifer Carll-Tong.
As the Great War rages in Europe, Anna Gibson struggles to make ends meet as a seamstress in a small dress shop in Lansing, Michigan. She is content with her life. Or, so she thinks. However, a handsome suitor from her former life unexpectedly reappears, and she finds herself questioning her future when he begins to open doors to her past.
Warren Mallory has never taken life too seriously…until now. Suddenly, he is very serious about finding the amber-eyed beauty that has haunted his thoughts since she left him standing alone on that street corner. And once he has, he doesn’t plan to let her vanish again.
But even as fate draws them together, the sparks of chemistry are doused when a mysterious package and a long-hidden secret threaten to drive them apart. Can Anna forgive the past in order to be with Warren, or will pride and misconceptions make her walk away from the only man she has ever loved?
The author is one of the four hosts of the Christian Indie Writers podcast which I absolutely love and have been listening to for years. When I heard that Jen has published a historical romance series, I jumped at the chance to read her work. Searching For Anna is the first book in the Love In Lansing series and it is actually a novella. The ebook is also free on all platforms so I had no reason not to read it.
I quickly fell in love with Jen's writing style and I love how she described her characters' personalities. The setting was also described really well and it felt like I was walking side by side with the characters in their world. I thought this was really good as the book is a historical romance so I was expecting to be thrown into the setting. The author did not disappoint with that aspect of the book.
Even though this book is a novella, I didn't feel that the story was rushed and I felt there was enough depth to each character which helped me root for them. I also loved the romance between Anna and Warren. I thought it was so cute and it developed at a good pace throughout. I loved the grumpy-sunshine trope with Warren being more laid-back and Anna being more serious. I thought it worked really well and I loved the chemistry between the main characters.
I also loved the faith elements and themes explored in the story. Anna and her mum had been through a lot of loss and grief, so learning to be content and trust God to direct and lead them surely wasn't easy. But I loved that in spite of the challenges Anna and her mum faced, they still boldly lived out their faith and remained content with the little they had.
The one thing that bothered me about this book was the fact that Anna hid her identity from Warren when they first met because she was scared he wouldn't want to associate with her. It made sense initially but it bothered me how this one lie led on to many more others and even when Anna was presented with many opportunities to reveal the truth, she chose not to. I also found it a bit frustrating that she kept running away whenever she was faced with a challenge. It made sense since the title of the book is "Searching For Anna" but there were many times I felt some plot points were dragged on simply because Anna was either running away or not telling the truth. If this was a full length novel, I think the lying and running away would have frustrated me a lot more than it did.
That being said, I still enjoyed this book and I would recommend to anyone looking for a short, cute historical christian romance novel with great faith themes. As I mentioned before, Searching For Anna is available on kindle unlimited for free so you can get your copy here.
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Thanks for reading
Lots of love