Friday, June 20, 2008

Book Review: Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist

"When she'd asked the Lord for help, she never imagined He'd send angels disguised as bloomer-girls..."


A Texas-Sized Tale of Unexpected Love

Essie Spreckelmeyer is the last woman anyone in Corsicana, Texas, expected to see with a man on her arm. Independent and outspoken, she’s known more for riding bicycles in outrageous bloomers than for catching a man’s eye.

And the last man who seems willing to give her a second glance is Tony Morgan, newly hired at Spreckelmeyer’s oil company. The disinherited son of an oil baron, Tony wants most to restore his name and regain his lost fortune--not lose his heart to this headstrong blonde. She confounds, contradicts, and confuses him. Sometimes he doesn’t know if she’s driving him toward the aisle or the end of his rope.

That’s how life is ...
Deep In The Heart Of Trouble

If you would like to read the first chapter, go

Christy here: Read that top line again. I wanted to share that line because it's just one of many great lines from Deeanne Gist's fourth book, Deep in the Heart of Trouble.

Last year, Lindi talked about Deeanne's other book, Courting Trouble. This week we've been talking about everything from pet-peeves to characters. This book has it all. Look at that beautiful cover! I'm a sucker for an interesting, pretty, or intriguing cover. I want a cover that can draw me into the story. Look at this cover and you'll wonder where that girl's going on an bicycle in that lacy dress and boots! The cover is fun, but open up the book and there's so much more. I really enjoyed this book, and by looking at my copy, that's obvious. The book is worn out, dog-eared and may end up having some areas of its prose highlighted, because this is a book I will probably come back to and use to study as I continue in my pursuits to become a published author.

I was interested by the first chapter, and absolutely glued by chapter 15. The spectacle of a woman causing such a stir over a bicycle costume was hilarious, and then learning that the "hero" of the story had been stripped of his inheritance had me reading more and more to find out what happened next. Ms. Gist pulled me out of today's stress and worry over work and every day hassles to another time, over one hundred years ago, and that's exactly what a tale of fiction should do.

But the heroine, Essie, is a woman well ahead of her time. Why she's teaching the ladies of her Velocipede Club about the restrictions and health consequences of a corset. She's teaching them not only to ride a bicycle, but how to shoot as well!

And the hero Tony is someone, unwilling at first, to see the benefits of such an independent woman, but Essie soon wins his heart by the way she takes over when a young girl is bit by a rattlesnake. Reluctantly, about the time Tony begins seeing beyond Essie's outrageous hats and sees the person inside, Essie's seeing Tony as a man and less her employee.

I loved this book because it doesn't hide the fact that even as Christians, mistakes will be made. We are all human and sometimes we get angry. We lose our temper. We make mistakes. The presence of Christ is in this book, but it's comfortable-as He is; reassuring-as He always is; and not preachy-as He never is.

It's no wonder Deanne Gist won a Christy award. Lost in the novel, I forgot for a long while that I'm a writer wanting to learn all I can about the craft and was able to simply disregard all else to enjoy the entertaining love-humor-adventure-mystery story of Essie and her man, Tony Bryant Morgan.


Deanne Gist has been a busy lady. She had a career in elementary education. She raised four children. In fifteen years she has: run a home accessory/antique business, member of the press, penned freelance journalism for a few well-known publications, People, Parents, Family Fun and more. She was the CFO for her husband's engineering company, she did all this in her home.

She also founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products which would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she submitted
A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers and they picked it up for their new "edgy inspirational" line of historical fiction. After its release in July 2005, Bride hit eight best seller lists and has sold over 100,000 copies and won the Christy Award for BEST ROMANCE 2006. The Measure of a Lady was her 2006 summer release. It hit five best seller lists and won the Christy Award for BEST ROMANCE 2007. Gist is contracted to have a new book come out every summer. Courting Trouble was her 2007 summer release and it hit three best seller lists.

Deeanne lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-four years. They have two kids in high school, two in college.


  1. Great post, Christy! Thanks so much for the info on the book. I need to catch up. I loved the first book and the second is in my TBR pile. :)

    I need to make sure to buy this one!


  2. Thanks Missy! And I need to go back to her first books and read up. I was very pleased with it. I like the titles of her books, too.