Lone Star Book Blog Tour: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner



Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 304

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Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck is a rare treat packed with humor, hope, and heart. Sarah’s struggles are real and nearly tangible, and she feels like a friend we’ve all had. I laughed with her and fell in love alongside her and couldn’t wait to hear her whole story. What a charming, delightful book!”

Liz Johnson, bestselling author of The Red Door Inn



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The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

By Bethany Turner

As difficult as editing may be, at least for me, an outside view from a trusted source can make your work so much stronger, if you can manage to remain open to the suggestions. Of course, in the process, you occasionally end up cutting scenes which once seemed vital to the story. This is one such section from The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck.

As we meet Sarah in this scene, she has recently dedicated her life to Christ and is just beginning to wrestle with her past as the author of an extremely provocative romance novel entitled Stollen Desire. She has convinced herself there is no redemption to be found, but on the heels of a sermon on Hebrews 11 by her pastor, Ben, with whom she is falling in love, she begins to realize her sins are not too much for God to handle.

Though this passage did not make it to print, Sarah’s heart throughout the situation remains the same.


To an extent which I had confessed to no one—not even Piper—my soul had been crying out in repentance and regret. I viewed Stollen Desire as the sin from which there was no escape. I was prepared to turn over the rights and go into hiding if I had to. I had decided that my recent European venture to promote the books had been my last. I could no longer be associated with something so destructive, even if I had been its creator.

But that day, as Ben spoke of faith which could move mountains, I was drawn to a lesser recognized series of verses from the passage. By faith, by faith, by faith…a sentence or two was given to each of the giants of the faith, and then the writer of Hebrews started summing up. In his summary, he spoke of the many others he didn’t have the opportunity to discuss in detail, “who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”

Whose weakness was turned to strength?

God used my minimal biblical knowledge and understanding to speak to me in terms that even I could understand. King David had sinned in ways that most of us in the world, sinners all, would never dream of. As evil and corrupt as we are, we would never in a million years sleep with the spouse of one of our most trusted colleagues and friends. Well, my ex-husband would, and did, but most of us never would. And even if we did, we wouldn’t try to trick our colleague into sleeping with his spouse so that he would believe the child she was carrying was his after all. And even if we did that, we wouldn’t have our colleague and friend killed when that plan didn’t work. But even if we did that, we wouldn’t have him deliver his own death warrant.

And yet that’s exactly what King David—the man after God’s own heart—did. The man who had been handed a monarchy on the strength of his faith and love for the Lord had become a murderer. Surely sin like that could never be forgiven.

A non-believing heart says that sin like that could never be forgiven, and even the most steadfast believer may struggle to understand how it could be. But don’t tell that to the boy who knocked down a giant with only a stone and his God in his corner. In Psalm 51:10-13 he pours out his heart, unable to bear the separation and shame.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.”

I’d been looking at it all wrong. I considered Stollen Desire a blight upon my soul and something to be destroyed. All the while, God was viewing Stollen Desire as an open door. I needed the Lord to grant me a willing spirit, and then…

And then what I didn’t know, but I knew I needed to find out.


Bethany Turner is the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former VP/operations manager of a commercial bank and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she’s chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.



Grand Prize: Copy of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck + a typewriter tote bag + a typewriter notebook + Columbia Jo’s coffee + Novel Teas teabags
2nd Prize: Copy of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck + a typewriter hardcover journal + typewriter enamel lapel pin
3rd Prize: Copy of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck + $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

October 19-October 28, 2017
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