Friday, November 13, 2015

Review and Giveaway: Accidentally Yours by Robin M. Helm

Two worlds . . .
Two centuries . . .
Two men who love the same woman . . .
Two prayers fervent enough to shift time . . .
Endless questions and possibilities . . .
What would a man give for a second chance at love?
What would he sacrifice to keep it?
What if the proud, arrogant Fitzwilliam Darcy of Jane Austen's
Pride and Prejudice never changed after his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford?
What if the humbled man who successfully courted her was not the same Mr. Darcy?

Accidentally Yours, Book 1 of the Yours by Design Christian fantasy romance series, the lives of two men are turned upside down when they both fall in love with the same woman.

Austenesque fiction is known for utilizing the “What If?” concept. What if Jane Austen’s characters took a different turn? What if their reality was somehow skewed in a slightly different way? Robin M. Helm makes use of this motif in her three-part series, Yours by Design, which begins with the volume Accidentally Yours. In this initial title, we find a Fitzwilliam Darcy who is an actual historical character, not a fictional creation at all. Jane Austen knows of him through a relative, and will ultimately base her Darcy of Pride and Prejudice on this living, breathing individual.  Centuries later, another Darcy is alive and well in modern-day Atlanta, Georgia. His family roots can be traced back to England, and in one particularly remarkable moment, he utters a prayer which leads to the transportation of his consciousness into the body of the 19th century Fitzwilliam Darcy. Likewise, the form of the modern “Will” is now inhabited by the Regency-era mind of his ancestor.

Initially both men are bewildered and confused, but in due course they come to some acceptance of their new states of existence. Life in their new centuries begins to take on some sense of normalcy as they work to adapt and fit into the new time periods that God has seemingly sent them to. Modern Will seems to adapt with little hesitation, as he recognizes his world as that of the one found in Pride and Prejudice. He assumes he must be dreaming, but resolves to assimilate himself into the life of Fitzwilliam Darcy in order to meet the woman of his dreams, Elizabeth Bennet. Regency Fitzwilliam is not quite so nimble in his new role, finding the modern world to be strange and utterly foreign in both geography and culture. A friend of Will’s introduces Fitzwilliam to the world of Jane Austen, primarily through the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and he begins to see his 19th century life in a new way.

Accidentally Yours
is an interesting premise, one that I haven’t explored in my six years as a fan of Austenesque fiction.  The concept does require quite a suspension of disbelief, but Robin Helm writes in a light, entertaining manner that charms me into believing in this scenario. It is not an impossibility that Fitzwilliam Darcy truly was a real person. Perhaps we haven’t discovered the proof of this as of yet.  The swapping of consciousnesses is another matter altogether. Helm is a strong Christian and makes her beliefs very clear in her writing, and she attributes the altered states of the Darcy men as acts of God. While I’ve never heard of this type of supernatural happening, it doesn’t seem completely implausible when we consider the abilities of the Creator of the universe!

I’d heard rumors that the elder Darcy’s character was a distasteful one, and thus far, I would have to concur. He’s a pretentious, spoiled, prat of a man. In truth, I don’t like him very much. No sensible Elizabeth Bennet would ever be charmed by this man-child, no matter how wealthy he might be. In contrast, I highly enjoyed the chapters that were devoted to the modern Will, now seemingly residing in 19th century England. He is a man of honor, faith, integrity and more than deserves to be with Elizabeth.

I will withhold my opinion on the series as a whole until I’ve had the opportunity to read the entire trilogy, but thus far Robin Helm is off to a good start with Accidentally Yours. My hope is that she improves upon the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and also finds a way to fulfill the aspirations of the upstanding Will Darcy at the same time. Otherwise I would say that the story will be very lopsided, with a highly enjoyable Regency tale on one face, with a weak, frustrating narrative on the other. However, given the strengths that I’ve seen in Helm’s writing for Will, I have faith that she has some interesting episodes in store for us. We just might witness the metamorphosis of a pretentious man, struggling in our modern day world, to a man no longer lonely, abiding not only in our world, but also in the body of Christ.


Author Robin M. Helm has graciously offered two copies of Accidentally Yours.  One copy will be a Kindle edition for our international readers, and a U.S. winner may choose between an autographed paperback or the Kindle edition.  Contest period ends on November 28th at 12am EST. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below for your contest entry.

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About the Author

Robin M. Helm is the author of a modern Christian fantasy fiction series, The Guardian Trilogy, which includes Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy. She has also published the Yours by Design series, a Christian Regency/Modern Romance with a paranormal element. Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours are all available for purchase in both e-book and print formats.

Mrs. Helm shares a blog, Jane Started It, with the other writers of the Crown Hill Writers' Guild, and is one of the founders and administrators of, a website for readers with common interests. She also has published three Regency short stories, "First Kiss," "The Prize," and "Treasure Chest," which can be read on Jane Started It on her author's page or at She has one husband, one granddaughter, two daughters, two sons-in-law, four family dogs, five part-time jobs, and six published books.

Mrs. Helm is the Associate in Music and Music Academy Director at her church, the interim choir director, a piano teacher, and an elementary music teacher. She formerly taught high school English.

She graduated with a BA from Piedmont International University. She is a member of the Delta Epsilon Chi honor society, the American Legion Auxiliary, JASNA, and the scholarship faculty of the United States Achievement Academy.

Connect with Robin M. Helm

Book 1
Book 2

Friday, November 6, 2015

Devotional Book Review: 5 Minutes with Jesus: Making Today Matter by Sheila Walsh

As the holidays are around the corner, many of us may find our schedules becoming more full, with less time for things in our usual routine. We may find ourselves falling into bed each night, worn out from the day’s activities, with our focus on the things we value somehow skewed a bit.  Or perhaps we awake to a busy day, already bleary-eyed, thinking of all that has to be accomplished in the next 16 hours.  It’s in times like this that I find devotional books to be an excellent way to refocus and remember the important things in life. My all time favorite devotional, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers is an excellent example of how short passages of Christian thought can truly influence one’s day or end one on a good note.  You may already have a lengthy, in-depth Bible study in which you’re involved, or you may be doing absolutely nothing for a quiet time with God.  In either case, a short devotional book can be very beneficial to you.

Meeting Sheila at Women of Faith

I recently took up the title 5 Minutes with Jesus: Making Today Matter by author/singer/speaker Sheila Walsh.  Her book Let Go was one of my very first book reviews back in 2009, and it had a great effect on me. I’ve enjoyed her talks at Women of Faith conferences, and had the opportunity to meet her for the first time last month.  This little book of devotions may not look like much, but it packs a punch for the few minutes the reader spends on each mini-chapter.  Each begins with a short anecdote, usually an episode from Sheila’s past which held a lesson of its own for her heart and mind.  It’s followed by a summarizing sentence, and concludes with several short passages of scripture.  It truly does take mere minutes to read.

5 Minutes with Jesus has been a blessing to me as I’ve been going through it for this review.  I’ve read it in the morning before starting a hectic day. I’ve grabbed it during times of overwhelming stress, as a way to re-focus and catch my breath. And it’s been there at the end of a long day, helping me to get perspective on it all, to remember that the Lord is in control of all the craziness around me.  When I met Sheila to have her sign my review copy of the book, I thanked her for all she did to put this little volume together.  It has been a gift to me, and I most certainly recommend it to anyone.

Here is a sample devotional entry, one that had a great impact on me:

No Stone Throwing Here! (p.70)

The first cool breeze of fall was in the air when I boarded my flight from Dallas to San Antonio. It’s such a short flight that by the time you have your Diet Coke in hand, it’s time to give it back.

That evening I would be speaking to a group of women about moving from rage to restoration, from unforgiveness to freedom. That was a lot to cover in one forty-five-minute message, but the more I thought and prayed about what to say, the clearer it became…which explained the weight of my one checked bag.

“Are you checking any bags?” the man at the ticket counter had asked.

“Just one,” I said. “This backpack.”

He put on the appropriate luggage tag and then bent over to pick it up and move it onto the conveyer belt that would take it down to the baggage handlers.

The weight of the bag caught him off guard. “What do you have in here?” he asked. “Rocks?”

“As a matter of fact, yes,” I replied.

He looked at me for a moment and then decided I was one of those women with whom one should keep conversation to a minimum.

I had six hundred and ten small river rocks tucked into my bag, a visual aid for the evening’s message on forgiveness.

Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things to do. How do you forgive a spouse who cheats on you? How do you forgive someone who slanders your name? How do you forgive the drunk driver who takes the life of your child? How do you forgive someone who’s not sorry? [emphasis mine] It’s a deeply spiritual issue that I don’t think we’ll ever understand this side of heaven. However, forgiveness is not a matter of reason; it’s a matter of obedience.

I carry a small stone with me everywhere I go. I have carried it for twenty-eight years, ever since God literally brought me to my knees over my reluctance to forgive someone who had devastated my life. When I finally surrendered to His command that I forgive that person, I realized that a stone was actually cutting into my knee. Now I carry that stone with me to cut into my heart and remind me of Jesus’ words: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7 NIV).

Make a pledge to live a life of forgiveness—and
find a stone to remind you of your promise.

Five Minutes in the Word
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Matthew 6:14-15

Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  John 8:6-7 NIV

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Psalm 86:5

Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”  Matthew 18:21-22 NIV

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  Colossians 3:13 NIV


Blog Post Update:  I completely forgot that Icon Media Group sent me an extra copy of the book so that I might share it with my readers!  This will be a short giveaway period (1 week), so get your entries in below via the Rafflecopter.  Thanks to all who enter!

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About the Author

Sheila Walsh is a powerful Bible teacher and best-selling author from Scotland with over 5 million books sold.  Her international ministry has reached more than 5.5 million women by combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with the transforming power of God's Word.  Calling Texas home, Sheila lives in Frisco with her husband, Barry, her son, Christian, and three little dogs.

Connect with Sheila

A sample copy of this title was provided by Icon Media Group for review purposes only.


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