Tag Archives: Darrel Nelson

If You Liked Almost Home . . .

30 Jun

In June my book club read and enjoyed Almost Home by Valerie Luesse Fraser. This WWII-era novel captured the sense of community that was a part of real life America, something that is sometimes lost in our very modern social media world. If you read it and liked it too, I have a few reading recommendations for you. Hope you find a book to love!

The Anniversary Waltz by Darrel Nelson

At their sixtieth anniversary party, Adam Carlson asks his wife, Elizabeth, for their customary waltz. After the dance they gather the family and share their story — a story of love and courage overcoming adversity and thriving in the face of overwhelming odds.
It’s the summer of 1946, and Adam has just returned from the war to his home in Reunion, Montana. At a town festival he meets Elizabeth Baxter, a young woman going steady with his former high school rival and now influential banker, Nathan Roberts.
When Adam and Elizabeth share a waltz in a deserted pavilion one evening, their feelings begin to grow and they embark on a journey, and a dance, that will last a lifetime.

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval–even marry a man she doesn’t love.

Lt. Walter Novak – fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women – takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives.

As letters fly between Walt’s muddy bomber base in England and Allie’s mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

Five Brides by Eva Marie Everson

One dress, five women, a lifetime of memories.

Five single, fiercely independent women live together in a Chicago apartment in the early 1950s but rarely see one another. One Saturday afternoon, as they are serendipitously together downtown, they spy a wedding dress in a storefront window at the famous Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. After trying it on ― much to the dismay of the salesclerk and without a single boyfriend or date between the five of them ― they decide to pool their money to purchase it. Can one dress forever connect five women who live together only a short time before taking their own journeys to love and whatever comes happily ever after?






Book Review: The Return of Cassandra Todd

7 Mar

360212_w185Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full-time. On his way to class one day, he is shocked to see Cassandra Todd and her young son in town. The sight of her brings back powerful memories of being bullied in high school-she was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her friends’ mean-spirited pranks.

When Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works and she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, he finds himself entangled in a dangerous drama that will require him to forgive and draw on every skill he has if they are to survive.

1360965630Darrel Nelson recently retired after thirty-seven years as a schoolteacher so he could devote himself to writing full-time. He now spends his time writing novels, articles, plays, and music and soaking up time with his ten grandchildren. Nelson has bachelor’s degrees in English and education from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada where he lives with his wife Marsha.

The Return of Cassandra Todd follows Nelson’s highly praised debut novel The Anniversary Waltz.

My Impressions:

Darrel Nelson impressed me with his debut novel, The Anniversary Waltz. Curious to see what he would do next, I looked forward to his second novel. The Return of Cassandra Todd did not disappoint. And while it is a very different novel from his first — in setting, time period and subject matter — it has the same strengths. Nelson has a gift in creating characters the reader can love and relationships that are realistic and plausible. Here is a romance that is sweet because it is so real.

Turner Caldwell was the high schooler everyone made fun of. He was the target for all the cruel jokes and pranks of the in crowd. Cassandra Todd, homecoming queen and cheerleader never bullied him, but her pity was evident. This was almost as bad as the bullying itself. But times change and Turner is no longer the loser he was in high school. He has skills and a determined character that makes him face his problems head on. Cassandra, on the other hand, is married to an abusive husband and is on the run with her young son. Their paths cross again and Cassandra finds herself relying on Turner for survival.

There were several things I especially liked about this novel. First and foremost is what I see as a bit of a twist to normal plots. Cassandra’s character is in danger, yet she is trusting God to make a way for her. Turner, the savior in the story, is the one with big doubts. Often in novels it is the other way around. I like that the more desperate the situation, Cassandra’s faith does not waver. I also like the way the author had Turner use his wilderness knowledge and survival skills. My daughter’s boyfriend is majoring in Outdoor Education and is learning all these same things. I could really believe the things Taylor uses to escape the situations he and Cassandra find themselves in. The final thing I really liked was the ending. I won’t spoil it for you, but it was much more realistic than most romance novels.

All in all, The Return of Cassandra Todd is a suspense-filled story with characters you will love. Another hit from Darrel Nelson.


(I received The Return of Cassandra Todd from Glass Road Public Relations in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: The Anniversary Waltz

10 Jun

Celebrating their 63rd wedding anniversary, Adam and Elizabeth Carlson share their customary waltz—then recall how their love began. Travel back with them to 1946, when war veteran Adam returned home to Reunion, Montana. You’ll be captivated by the story of how he revived his dilapidated family farm—and wooed Elizabeth away from his high school rival!

From Darrel Nelson‘s website:

I am a schoolteacher by profession and have taught school for (thir—ahem!) years. I grew up in Raymond, Alberta, and attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school and serving a two-year mission to Japan. During university, I met and married Marsha Smith, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.

I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers). But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.

I’ve had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and have written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. I won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running, and have had one of my songs receive international airplay. I have written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings.

THE ANNIVERSARY WALTZ is my first novel to be published and arrived in selected bookstores in May, 2012. It is intended for the adult readers’ market. My second novel, The Return of Cassandra Todd, is also intended for the adult readers’ market and will be available in 2013. I am currently at work on my third novel, A Wedding at Angelo’s, which like the other two is a stand-alone novel, not a sequel. I hope to write a sequel to each published novel sometime in the future.

My Impressions:

Darrel Nelson’s, The Anniversary Waltz, is his debut novel.  But you sure can’t tell.  It is a beautifully written love story that has the reader living within its pages.  The small town of Reunion, Montana comes to life — its small town charm, struggling farms and post WWII optimism.  The characters of Adam and Elizabeth left me feeling like I knew them.  This is one really good book.

On the evening of their 63rd anniversary, Adam and Elizabeth share with their family the events of their courtship as they have many times before. Adam had just returned to his small hometown following 4 years fighting in Italy unsure of the homecoming he may face.   His father remained distant and disapproving even after his 4 year absence.  But his mother, other family members and the town welcomed him as a hero.  Elizabeth Baxter is one of the townspeople who especially made him feel he was finally in the right place, yet she was the steady of Adam’s childhood rival.  Despite the hardships of farm life, the difficulties of other relationships and tragedies, Adam and Elizabeth’s love grew and flourished.

There are no chase scenes, mysterious happenings or supernatural visitations in The Anniversary Waltz, but I could not put down this lovely story of faithful love.  All the characters are believable; the circumstances true to life — I felt as if I was in the middle of the story myself.  Also if you like romance, you will love this book!   The emotions expressed are deep and real. (Some may compare it to Nicholas Sparks.  In fact I would love for this book to be made into a movie!)

So get a copy of The Anniversary Waltz and keep the tissues handy, because this one has a very happy ending.

Highly Recommended.

(I received The Anniversary Waltz from Glass Roads PR.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)