Friday, March 11, 2011

“Heartwarming Realism” Makes “A Family for Faith” the Author’s Best 5-Star Romance!

"I give expression to the overflowing love of God within me". Unity saying.

A Family for Faith
Missy Tippens
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired (March 22, 2011)

After reading “A Family for Faith” I wanted to change the cover art to make it look different from all the other Love Inspired Inspirational books. I wanted it to visually say, “This one is different! Don’t’ miss reading this book!”

Since her first book, “Her Unlikely Family"  I fell in love with Missy Tippens heartwarming voice. There is no doubt that she loves her characters and her readers. No other romance author makes me feel as good when I am reading her books. I place a high value on how reading a romance makes me feel. This quality makes Missy Tippens books both ‘automatic buys’ and ‘instant reads’. A Missy Tippens title has never made it to my TBR pile!

Even though I considered her first book, “Her Unlikely Family"   a five star effort, each following book has become better. Missy Tippens is an author still learning her craft and applying what she has learned. Her books are about as reader friendly as books can be.

I believe “A Family for Faith” is better by an order of magintude in reader enjoyment and as such is a prime candidate to win future ‘Book of the Year’ awards.

What I like best is the author’s voice.  I consider her writing to be almost a new subgenre: ‘Heartwarming Realism'. Many authors write ‘sweet’ romances and they are good. But when reading these novels you known that you are reading a ‘sweet’ romance. Moreover, some of the ‘sweetness’ is there for ‘sweetness sake’. Missy Tippens is different: in her books the heartwarming love and sweetness flows realistically from the characters personalities and actions. This is so hard to do that I think it took four books for the author to raise it to the almost subgenre level.

You really have to read Missy Tippens books to fully understand this style of writing. Here is an example of what I mean by, 'Heartwarming Realism', on page 160:

Set-up: The heroine was dumpted by her first husband. She feels she was not 'good enough' for him. She is very guilt-ridden and believes she is a bad mother who drove her son away to live with his father’s new family. As the story opens Faith is becoming interested in a handsome widower who has a 13 year old daughter. She tells her old friend how she feels about the hero, “Gabe”.

“It would be so easy to accept, to settle for less than total devotion.”

All the heroine wants is ‘total devotion’ and maybe she would begin to trust in love again. When I read this I said to myself, ‘honey get real…no one is ever likely to get total devotion.’ I also thought the author had gone too far to be heartwarming, that is , too far to be considered realistic.

But then, on page 163, her old friend advises:

“I want you to remember – there are no perfect situations. Don’t waste time trying to attain something that’s not possible this side of heaven. You and Gabe put God first, and you’ll have a good, sold foundation.”

“And here you are setting unrealistic expectations. Give the man—and yourself—a break.”

This is exactly what I was saying to myself and what I would have said to the heroine in real life. That’s it! Things happen in "A Family for Faith" like they would in real life. This makes reading Missy Tippens books so satisfying.

About the story:

The hero, Gabe , is a widower with a thirteen year old daughter. He is still so in love with his dead wife, Tina, (who was almost perfect), that he keeps her very uncomfortable furniture in his house because Tina picked it out and loved it. Life for Gabe would be a lot easier if Tina had not been such a loving and ideal wife. (I think in most romances that I have read dead wives have been given real faults. Sometimes the first marriage itself was on the verge of divorce. I think doing this makes it easier to write the story but it does not make the story as heartwarming.)

The heroine, Faith, married at a young age, had a son, but her husband was not satisfied with her and left her. He now has a very nice new family and has become successful in business. Faith put so much pressure on her son to fill the ‘gap’ in her life, that he revolted and moved in with his father.

Faith has serious guilt problems and feels she is a bad mother. She also has to deal with the hero’s strong love for his ‘perfect’ departed wife. It would seem hopeless for Faith. She runs a small coffee shop in which the hero likes to stop and buy donuts. (Of course, he’s a cop and Chief of Police.)

Ben is headed for the 'Show'.
Gabe's daughter, Chelsea, is just turning 13 -- a crazy age for girls. I believe the author currently has a 13 year old daughter. Chelsea’s antics and problems are so realistic that they just have to have come from personal knowledge. Again this adds to the realism.

Faith’s teenage son, Ben, is a baseball superstar with big league potential. Ben’s trials and hopes, as he moves from baseball tournament to tournament, are also totally realistic. That’s probably because the author has a young relative who is going through the same experiences! (As they say, “Write what you know.”)

So while this book is heartwarming and wonderful to read, the realism makes it work so much better.  For more on this read my award for Best Character Names given to "A Family for Faith" posted on this blog.

Being both very realistic and very heartwarming is hard to do. It takes a long time and I expect a lot of revisions. So don’t expect a Missy Tippens book every four months. Read each book slowly and enjoy every minute.

Best Book Yet!
Highest Recommendation!


  1. Wow, Vince! Thank you for your kinds words. You just made my day! :)

    I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. It's my favorite so far. I loved these characters! And guess what. They'll get brief appearances in my next book--A House Full of Hope (Feb. 2012). :) Oh, and Faith may just have a baby bump. But you didn't hear that from me. ;)

  2. LOL!

    Vince, you've got Missy down pat. Don't you just love the sweet, warm, Southern flow of her voice? Dagnabbit, she makes me almost (ALMOST) think bugs are all right.

    They're not.

    But her writing voice is so gently unforced, and I don't feel spoon-fed. That's important to me as a reader.

    Great review, as always, and Vince I know there's a lot of us who really respect your opinion. You do good! ;)

  3. Awesome review, Vince! Congratuations Missy! Going to order my copy now!

  4. Looking forward to reading this book after such a glowing reveiw from you, Vince!

  5. Vince,
    You're right on with the review. Missy has such a way of drawing a reader into her story. She truly has a gift.

  6. Vance, Wonderful review! Makes me want to read it NOW!

    Missy, Great job!

  7. Hi Missy:

    Thanks for coming by. I think “A Family for Faith” is your most polished book. All four books are very good but the polish puts “A Family for Faith” over the top. I think the time you took to finish this book was well worth it.

    BTW: I really don’t know if I want Faith to have a boy or a girl. Gabe would like a son and Faith would love a little girl. Maybe you shouldn’t let on what gender the child is. : )

    Unless, you don’t want to be realistic, and you have Faith have fraternal twins: one boy and one girl. Now you wouldn’t do that.


  8. Hi Jennifer & Christy:

    I know how you feel. I am always looking for ways to get Missy’s books sooner. So far ARCs and eBooks are the answer. However, the sooner you read the book, the longer the wait until the next one. It a very good thing that there are some other great authors out there filling the gaps. : )


  9. Hi Lindi:

    I agree. Missy has the gift and she makes it shine!


  10. Hi Nas:

    I think we like a lot of the same authors.

    I know you’ll like this book.

    I like nothing better than writing a review on a book that gives me so much to work with.

    Thanks for commenting.


  11. Hi Ruth:

    Thanks for your comments and compliments. I think you have Missy down pat as well. But then when you hear a beautiful voice, it kind of stands out! : )

    I think the style is too hard to write. If the balance is too realistic or too heartwarming, it can easily sound off-key.

    Would you say it’s like making a soufflé?

    I’m struggling here. It’s very hard to describe a ‘voice’ you can’t actually hear!


  12. Hi Mindy:

    It’s so nice to see you here! I’ve never had so many F.A.I.T.H girls visit. I’m delighted!


  13. Vince, What a fabulous, insightful review. I agree totally. Love Missy and her books! I can't wait to read A Family for Faith.

  14. Hi Janet:

    Thanks for coming by and commenting.

    And of course I agree!