Book review/interview: Sandra Leesmith’s “Love’s Promises”

I love blogging. I really do. (Even if my posts are somewhat feast-or-famine!) :) I also love to read. And travel. And Sandra Leesmith’s book Love’s Promises lets me combine these three great loves: read a GREAT book, blog about it, and suddenly find myself bumping up Lake Tahoe on my list of Must-Visit Places in the US.

Lori Wick’s 1998 novel Pretense first introduced me to Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area. I’ve not been to the area, but from what I read in that book – and now in Love’s Promise – I really feel like I need to go, and stat! (It’s also been three months since my last airplane trip … let’s face it, it’s about time for another one.)

About the Book

For Monica Scott, building her late father’s house at Lake Tahoe isn’t an option—it’s a necessary distraction from confusing memories and an uncertain future. But a handsome planner working for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is keeping Monica from moving forward with the project. Never mind that he’s young and charming with a great sense of humor. No one is going to stop Monica from making her father’s dream—and her own—a reality.

All Greg Linsey wants is for his work to mean something. His job at TRPA gives him the opportunity to fight for the environment he loves and make a difference in his small corner of the world. But with the sophisticated Monica Scott’s arrival, his dedication is tested as never before, especially when Monica turns to his unscrupulous nemesis for assistance.

As Greg and Monica’s animosity turns into something far sweeter, can they learn to accept each other’s promises and avoid the growing danger to their lives and hearts?

Purchase the Kindle ebook on Amazon
Paperback coming soon!

My take: Oh, my. This book is hands-down my favorite Sandra Leesmith book. She has truly outdone herself with the vivid descriptions, plot twists and turns, and likable characters. I felt transported directly to the Tahoe Basin every time I picked up the book, and still wish I could see Armand Scott’s architectural plans. :) While a couple of phrases were repeated throughout the book (Greg snapped his fingers at every turn!), it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment. The TRPA, environmental issues facing the Basin, and the tug-of-war between builder, consultant, and agency all made for an intriguing read. (And Mitch Jones officially gives me the willies.)

I also appreciated Monica and Greg’s dialogues about faith throughout the book – as well as their roles as characters. Greg was the strong believer and Monica was the one struggling. Far too often, authors write a Christian female character who’s trying to “rescue”, fix, or save the bad boy she is Irresistibly, Unwillingly Attracted To but can’t help herself. The guy gets the bad rap!

Love’s Promises blessedly doesn’t cave into the predictable gender roles that many Christian books do – and I really, really like that. Greg is a strong male character, and is unwilling to compromise his Christian faith. That in itself is a breath of fresh air in the fiction books I read! THANK YOU, Sandra! :)

Sandra was also gracious enough to answer some questions for me as part of the blog tour. (Speaking of, go check out the tour introduction and schedule at Seasons of Humility!)

Hi Meagan, it is wonderful to be back with you at The Curried Nut. Thank you for having me. I am really excited about this book because it involves an area and issue dear to my heart. I spent part of my childhood in the Lake Tahoe area, and my parents lived at the lake for over twenty years, so we have spent many vacations there.

The Curried Nut: How do you like to plan your trips? Do you plan down to the nitty-gritty detail, or do you leave some wiggle room? (Or a combination!)

Sandra Leesmith: It depends upon what type of trip I’m taking whether I plan every detail. If I have a specific purpose and limited time, I will plan with care to include all I need to see and learn. Most of my travels are left open. My husband and I like to learn everything about the areas we travel to. He is a biologist so loves to learn about the geography, ecology, geology, and animal life. I like to learn the history and meet people that live in the area. So we make a great team in that we get a well-rounded view of the places where we have traveled.

TCN: Some of your previous books have been set in the greater Pacific Northwest. What brought you “down south” to Lake Tahoe?

SL: I actually wrote this book before I wrote LOVE’S REFUGE. If you are familiar with the writing business, this can happen. In fact, my first book published was actually the third book I had written. But what drew me to the Lake Tahoe area is similar to what drew me to the Pacific Northwest and that is family. My parents both lived in the Lake Tahoe basin, so hubby and I spent most of our time off from teaching in the area. Lake Tahoe has perfect weather for camping in the summer. The winter has great skiing. It’s pretty hard to beat.

TCN: I’ve not been to Lake Tahoe or the surrounding area. Do you have any recommendations? i.e. must-do activities, restaurants, cities, etc.

SL: The Lake Tahoe basin is very diverse. Some of the public land is National Forest so there are lots of hiking trails. You can bicycle most of the lake on paved bike trails. Because the lake is huge, there are marinas with boats to rent (including kayaks, sailboats, ski boats, jet skiis, etc). Sometimes there are vendors with parasails. There is fishing in the lake or streams. It is in the mountains, so there is plenty of wildlife. Deer, black bears, coyotes, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, mountain lions, and a huge variety of birds. This attracts wildlife enthusiasts as well as hunters.

The Eastern shore of Lake Tahoe is located in the state of Nevada, so there are casinos, night clubs, and plenty of nice restaurants. One of my favorite restaurants is on the California side called Sunnyside. You sit out on a deck and eat lunch on the lakeshore so you can watch boaters.

There are State Parks in both states and National Monuments that include historical displays and artifacts. In Nevada’s Sand Beach State Park, they hold the Shakespeare Festival in August. Performers come from San Francisco and perform plays written by Shakespeare. The park has a natural amphitheater set in the sand dunes so you go early and take a picnic and sit in the sand. Before the play begins, you meet and visit all the people around you. After the sun sets, the play begins right there on the beach. It is one of my favorite activities.

TCN: Wow! Thank you for all of the recommendations. They sound great! I particularly like the Shakespeare-in-the-park suggestion. A local park near my parents’ house has an amphitheater and hosts Shakespeare plays every summer, too. I haven’t made it there (or to Ashland, Oregon) yet, but they’re on my list. (I’m still waiting for “Much Ado About Nothing” or “Macbeth” to be on the list!)

What kind of on-site research did you do in Tahoe for this book?

SL: The men and women who worked at Tahoe Regional Planning Agency were very helpful. They wanted to be sure I portrayed the Agency with accuracy. They helped me with ideas for developing the conflicts in the plot. I also talked with consultants and real estate agents in the area for additional information.

TCN: I’m sure they did! :) I can tell a lot of research was put into the book – it definitely adds depth and makes the story come alive.

Do your processes for on-site research vary by book, or are there common threads from book to book?

SL: The only common thread that appears in all of my books are reflections for my love of nature and the out-of-doors. I always incorporate the setting into the story. Since every book is so different, the research is different also.

I do tend to find people though that are experts in their field to be sure I have accuracy regarding their jobs and/or the conflict. For example, when I wrote THE PRICE OF VICTORY, my heroine wanted to become a pro-bicycle racer, so I met women who were pros and asked them technical questions. When I wrote LOVE’S MIRACLES, I consulted with a psychologist from the Veterans Administration who gave me great info for my heroine, who was a psychologist, and also for post-traumatic stress syndrome.

When my husband and I took a cruise on a steamboat up the Mississippi, I interviewed the crew working on the steamboat which gave me the ideas for the story CURRENT OF LOVE. In fact, many readers claim they felt like they had been on the cruise as they read my book.

TCN: If the powers that be made Love’s Promises into a movie, which actors do you see playing the leads?

SL: I would love to see LOVE’S PROMISES made into a movie. But I do not really see many movies so I don’t know the names of stars. Who would you pick?

TCN: Oh, that’s a toughie. Greg Kinnear (a young version!) came to mind several times as I was reading Love’s Promises, but the jury’s still out for me. If Paul Walker were still alive (*tear*) … he, actually, would be quite perfect. For Monica, I think Amy Adams or Isla Fisher could be great!

If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

SL: The hero of course. Who wouldn’t want all that handsome male humor and attention? I like Greg’s love of the environment and would probably enjoy talking about environmental issues.

Although I have to say it would be fun to talk to Monica about Spain.

TCN: I agree, on all counts! :) I’ve been to Spain twice now and would love to pick her brain – where she’s traveled as well as just architecturally. Spain has some amazing architecture and art, from Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia to Granada’s Alhambra, Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum to Toledo’s cathedral. Such history and talent!

Thank you so much for joining me, Sandra! Looking forward to the next book tour and more. Cheers!

About the Author
SandraLeesmith
Sandra Leesmith loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history, and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball. Learn more about Sandra and her books at www.sandraleesmith.com.

You can connect with Sandra on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. You can also find her and her talented writing buddies at the Seekerville blog.

Sandra is offering one reader a taste of Lake Tahoe with a sweet prize pack: a signed paperback copy of Love’s Promises, a journal, a Lake Tahoe coffee mug, a pound of Millstone Velvet Chocolate coffee, and a Hulet Glass chocolate drop! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. You can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below:

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7 comments

  1. sandraleesmith says:

    Hi Meagan, I always enjoy visiting you at the Curried Nut. Thank you for the wonderful review. I’m delighted that you like the story.

    It was fun answering your questions. Now I’m going to have to write a book set in Spain so we can share those fun experiences. You wet my appetite with your references. smile.

  2. Amber Stokes says:

    I love your review, Meagan – and such a fun interview! I agree with Sandra – it’s always a pleasure visiting your blog. Your posts are full of so much personality and enthusiasm! :D

    Thank you for participating in this tour and featuring Sandra today!

    ~Amber

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