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I don’t pass up a book by Brenda Coulter.  That’s how I am with authors I like.  And I’ve liked Brenda Coulter since her first book, Finding Hope. More about that in a minute.

I was really looking forward to reading At His Command, and it did not disappoint. (I really hope it’s ok for me to have a copy of the cover here — if it’s not, someone tell me quick and I’ll take it back down!) There are a couple of things I think Ms. Coulter handled particularly well in this story.

The first was the creation of vivid and memorable characters.  I think I could learn a lot from Brenda’s characterization techniques — the way she gives each character a few defining traits and then weaves those traits in and out of the whole story.  It really made Madeline and Jake come alive for me.

I also liked how tightly the story was written — she mentions the peanut allergy in the first chapter, where it adds humor to Jake’s aversion to Maddie’s presence.  But the peanut allergy isn’t there randomly; she puts it to good use later.  Also something I can learn from.

Anyway, if you’re at all inclined to read “inspirational” romance, you should give this one a try.  It’s a fun, fast read, and it will disappear from stores pretty soon.  If you need more incentive, check out the book trailer:

I think the trailer captures Brenda’s style very well.

And now, more about why I like Brenda Coulter so much.  Finding Hope, her first book, was the first Love Inspired (a Harlequin line) I ever read.  I liked it so much, I immediately did two things:

1- I subscribed to Love Inspired so I could read more great books like that, and

2-I checked out Brenda’s website.

The Love Inspired subscription didn’t last for long.  I couldn’t read the books as fast as they were sending them to me, so they were piling up on my nightstand.

The website, however, turned out to be more important.  For a long time I’d been toying with the idea, dreaming really, about writing.  Something about the story of how Brenda became a writer pushed me over the line from wishful thinking to determination.  I just knew somehow that if she could do it, there was a chance I could do it, too.

Since then I’ve read all of her books, and I’ve enjoyed every one. And I’ve at least begun the writing life myself, working slowly but steadily.

~LW

(Next time: What I’ve learned from the second 50 pages.)

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