Saturday, December 12, 2015


I have a few book-related things to share today.  First of all, several days ago I saw that there was a new review for Erin's Ring on Amazon!  It's always exciting for an author to get positive feedback from readers--especially ones that aren't related to her by blood or marriage.  Reading those generous words made me feel like a million bucks.

Here's that review, from my new BFF (whose pen name is "go4th"), if you're interested:

5 out of 5 stars
Captivating Historical Fiction- Excellent Read for Catholics & others
on December 9, 2015

This uplifting novel weaves together friendship, family, and faith through strong women characters from two very different time periods. I loved Ann and Moira, two young Irish immigrants who come to America in 1827 to support their families back home. They face the hardships of working long hours in a mill, and the loneliness that comes from separation from their families; and they do so with humor and grace. Equally endearing are modern teens, Molly and Theresa, who are facing trials and tribulations of their own. I could identify with some of the characters and saw friends of mine in others. A few weeks after finishing the book, I find myself looking at things through Anne's perspective to overcome some of the challenges in my own life.

In one part of this book, Ann and Moira join with other immigrants to protest the lack of a Catholic church and the mill responds. I was delighted to find that this part of this story really happened. A few other parts are based on history as well.

Although I enjoyed this well-written tale as an adult, I could definitely imagine using it in a high school or middle school literature class. There is enough spice to keep it lively without embarrassing the readers. It was refreshing to see typical Catholic routines intermingled with the events in the story, and interesting to see how fallen away Catholics and non-Catholics interacted with the practitioners of the story. I highly recommend this book.

Wow!  My cup overflows!

No less exciting for me was the news that my niece (an 8th-grade Catholic school student for whom I will be a Confirmation sponsor in the New Year) chose Finding Grace as the subject for a school project.  (She read it over the summer, and a big written report was due at the beginning of the school year--but I forgot to blog about it when that news was fresh.)  When my niece got the project completed, my sister-in-law sent me some pictures of her finished work.
Over this past Labor Day weekend, when we were out in South Bend for a Pearl family gathering/tailgater/Notre Dame football game, my niece wanted to get a picture with the author. (Oh gosh, it's still hard to get used to--but I guess that's me!)
It's been such a busy fall that I completely forgot to ask how she did on the report until just recently.  And I found out that she got 100%!

I am very encouraged by these developments.  A reader of Erin's Ring writes a review that says, "I could definitely imagine using it in a middle school or high school literature class."  A junior high student uses Finding Grace as the subject for a school reading project.  I couldn't be more pleased!  It's not important if either book ever becomes a money-maker.  If these novels can touch even a few young lives, if they can inspire even a few young readers to know and love the Faith better...well, that's all I could ever ask for, and more.

If you are a teacher or a parent who might be interested in implementing either Erin's Ring (appropriate for middle school and up) or Finding Grace (aimed at older teens/young adults, high school and up) in your kids' religion/reading/English curricula, contact Bezalel Books for information about bulk purchasing for classroom use.

And remember that if you read a book and like it, an Amazon review (even a short one, with a star rating) can help enormously.

Another thing that can help enormously is using social media as a book promotion tool.  Sometimes I'm embarrassed that so many of my blog posts (like this one) revolve around FG and ER.  But recently, my blogging friend Erin, of Seven Little Australians and Counting, sent me an email with a link to a post by Aussie blogger and author of YA fiction Allison Tait, giving advice to authors about promoting their works.  In it, Tait says, “I can’t imagine doing well without the blog. I feel like people are not just buying the book, they’re buying the story behind the book, which doesn’t mean that they’re buying me, but they’re buying all of the things that I like that they like too."  When I read those words, I realized that there's absolutely nothing wrong with mentioning my books at String of Pearls--because anyone who enjoys the stories and anecdotes they find here might enjoy my fiction works, too.

I'm going to let you go now, because it's Saturday and Christmas is less than two weeks away, and you probably have things to do.  Okay then, in closing...go 4th, my friends--and be bookish! 


  1. 100%! That's incredible!! Well done to your niece.
    Yes I think Alison says it well, we are buying the story behind the book too.

    1. Thanks again for sending me that link to her blog!