About the Book
Book: Desert Willow
Author: Patricia Beal
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 12, 2020
After a failed engagement, Captain Andrew Lee James has focused on building a career in the Army he loves. That commitment includes helping a feisty, out-of-work ballerina whose devotion to her grandmother’s dying wish immediately grabs his heart. She’s the one, but will he be able to win the heart of a woman who has vowed to never be involved with a soldier?
College graduate Clara Malone swore to never love anyone in the military again but when her dying grandmother asks her to deliver a love letter to the general who broke her heart decades ago, she agrees and finds herself escorted by a handsome Army captain whose kindness challenges her beliefs. Surrounded by desert willows that shower her path with pretty pink flowers and sing with the buzzing of hummingbirds, Clara enjoys the wild beauty of El Paso—and her time with Andrew—more than expected.
Can she deliver her grandmother’s last love letter without losing her heart to a man who represents everything she fears?
About the Author
Patricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). Her second novel comes out in February of 2020. Patricia graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and has worked for the U.S. Army as a writer and editor for many years. Patricia writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find more info about Patricia on her website here.
More from Patricia
Desert Willow: A Love Song to the City of El Paso, to Family, and to Prince Harry
I enjoy this story so much! It’s great to finally get to share it with you.
Desert Willow started as a NaNoWriMo project in 2015 and has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil, the beginning of the shoe industry there, and the story of the most influential man her town has ever known, my great-grandfather.
And what does that have to do with El Paso and Prince Harry?
Well, my Prince Harry lookalike, a young Army captain named Andrew Lee James who lives in El Paso, is helping the protagonist deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter she was urged to write all those years ago after what happened in Brazil.
The contemporary story of Clara (protagonist) and Andrew was fun to write too because I’ve been around the Army since the nineties. We moved to Fort Bliss/El Paso in 2012 and lived there for six years. I thought I was going to hate it, but I loved it, so I just had to write an El Paso story.
Now I think that what I enjoyed the most about writing this novel was making all the connections and showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply.
Some of you have journeyed with me for a while and know that my debut, A Season to Dance, was my salvation process. What comes after salvation can be hard. What’s that? Well, looking at past mistakes through God’s eyes and realizing just how wrong we were, for starters.
We know how quickly God forgives us, but can we forgive ourselves and each other as quickly?
Desert Willow deals with all that. And with Prince Harry… 😊
Desert Willow by Patricia Beal is an experience. This is the type of novel that begins slowly but builds solidly over time. I found the plot engaging and quite unique. I absolutely love the dance moments and appreciate Clara’s passion, energy, and talent for ballet. Beal’s detailed dancing scenes are exquisite. I felt like I was with Clara and Andrew as they enjoyed a live presentation of Giselle and as they were learning how to do the Waltz. I found the relationship between Clara and Andrew, while seriously quick to ignite, rather relatable and realistic. What I appreciate the most about this story though is Clara’s growth as both a woman and a Christian. I actually found this component of the story to be superbly written. Overall, Desert Willow is a Contemporary Romance I heartily recommend.
To me, Clara is a very relatable character. Instead of appreciating the moment she is in, Clara is often stuck worrying about her next move. She has recently graduated from college and has applied for numerous jobs but has not been successful. Also, her beloved grandmother is very sick and is on Death’s door so to speak. Grandma has tasked Clara with an important and incredibly meaningful job. Instead of seeing the joy in helping her dying grandmother, Clara is only able to see what she doesn’t have — more time with grandma, a job, a life purpose, a home of her own, money, etc. It isn’t until Clara’s mother scolds her that Clara wakes up. Clara’s mom states, Be happy right now. You always have your eyes set on the next thing — the next station. You never seem to enjoy the ride. Open the windows. Enjoy the view. Talk to the other passengers. After her wise mother’s scolding, Clara realizes that she has been letting what could be some of her best moments in life pass her by. Clara understands that she needs to be more tuned in and appreciative of the moments God has placed her in.
This message spoke volumes to me. I’m a lot like Clara. I often look at the BIG picture and see all the many holes in my story. Then I work myself into a frenzy trying to fill those holes with all the stereotypical “meaningful” things that I believe life should be filled with. Along the way, I steamroll over all the little, seemingly insignificant moments in my life. How many of God’s bountiful blessings have I potentially missed along my life’s journey because I couldn’t be content in the moment? This question definitely has me thinking and reevaluating myself, and I realize that I now want to be a bit more like Clara — more intentional in the moments God has me in.
Desert Willow is a novel I will not soon forget. With an engaging plot, uniquely relatable characters, and very timely themes, Desert Willow is most definitely a contemporary romance I highly recommend.
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
To celebrate her tour, Patricia is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7 (https://amzn.to/37TEN21)!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!
Click the link below to enter.
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