Reading with Jessica in January Week 2

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Hello reading friends! Welcome to Reading with Jessica! This month I’m reading and discussing A Mark of Grace by Kimberley Woodhouse. I’ve got this week’s reading done with a ton of sticky notes! And while this is part of a series, and a fabulous one at that, I’m going to be discussing the book through the eyes of someone just jumping in who hasn’t read the previous installments. That way it’s almost through fresh eyes, and our reading friends who haven’t started the series yet can still join us and discuss the book!

Okay, let’s dive in, but first a few reminders. This week we’re discussing Chapter 9 to the end of Chapter 17. πŸ₯° I’m going to divide my thoughts based on chapter so that it’s easy to follow along. Feel free to comment on any of it, or just what you thought about these chapters! The goal is to have some fun discussions. And don’t forget – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!!!! So if you haven’t read these chapters yet, I highly recommend not reading this post until you do. I mean, unless you don’t want to be surprised lol.

About the Book

Reading with Jessica in January Week 2A Mark of Grace (Secrets of the Canyon Book #3)
Author Kimberley Woodhouse
Published by Baker Books
on January 3, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Christian / Historical, Fiction / Christian / Romance / Historical, Fiction / Romance / Historical / American
Pages: 336

When everything crumbles, her chance for a new beginning hangs in the balance.

Ruth Anniston survived an injury that left her physically scarred, broken, and angry at God. Now, she finds herself working behind the scenes as a kitchen and dining room supervisor at the El Tovar Hotel, hidden away from curious eyes and with little hope of finding love. When money begins to disappear from the hotel, Ruth's entire livelihood is put at risk when she lands on the list of suspects.

Frank Henderson has at last succeeded in obtaining his dream job as head chef at the El Tovar. But competition in the kitchen is fierce, and one mistake could cost him his future. As the thefts at the hotel continue, and his affection for Ruth grows, Frank's career--and his heart--are in jeopardy.

As tensions run high, Ruth and Frank must work together to save the El Tovar. They find themselves growing closer . . . but can their combined ingenuity overcome the odds against them?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | | Goodreads | Baker Book House

Reading Schedule Reminder

Week One – Prologue through the end of Chapter 8. Discussion on January 14th.

Week Two – Chapter 9 through the end of Chapter 17. Discussion on January 21st.

Week Three – Chapter 18 through the end of the book! Discussion on January 28th.

Book Discussion

Chapter 9

Finally Ruth comes to see that she is hurting herself by shying away from people. I don’t expect this to be a turn around for her quite yet – she seems a little slow to learn lol – but at least she’s starting to piece it together.

Oh swoon. Frank – it’s time man!! I loved reading about him admitting he loved her. Though it’s just to himself, it’s a good start. I can’t wait to see what he does!! Maybe a ring? No….that would be too forward and Ruth would never expect it. Hmmmmm…….

Ok a camera? Seems odd, but then you keep reading. A man who listens? Who takes note of when you say things, even if it was over a span of years!? I mean……who is this guy? Can he train my husband lol? This is so romantic. Yep, go Frank. You’ve won my approval and then some. Now if only Ruth would open her eyes to the fact that you are as smitten as a kitten. Ugh, I want to flick her forehead.

Ok this is a new more dangerous side of Oliver that we see in taking prisoners. But what would they know that would help him? What’s the end game here? I mean, I know it’s to take down the Harvey Empire, but I’m still trying to figure this all out.

Chapter 10

Ok, are more employees in on this scheme then Howard? It seems odd that all of a sudden there are all these issues.

Also, poor Charlotte. She really is naive and letting her love of getting the gifts confuse her mind into thinking it’s actually real love. Nope, that’s not how it works. I hope her eyes are opened before it’s too late. But also? Maybe Ruth didn’t need to be so harsh.

Chapter 11

Charles. This guy. He is so good at what he does and it is really annoying me, in a good way. I cannot figure out what he has to do with the story. Is it just coincidence that he’s there at the same time Oliver is planning his own scheme? Are they connected? ACK! Let me just flip to the back and find out. Just kidding……….

Okay I am seeing Job everywhere right now, and while it doesn’t have anything to do with talking about this book necessarily, I just have to say it. There was a message about it at church. My pastor’s wife recommended it to me a few weeks ago when I was having a bad day. I’m reading it during my bible time right now. And then Woodhouse puts it in her book, which I am reading this very moment? If that’s not God talking, I don’t know what is. But also…..I love how Woodhouse just puts the gospel right here in the story like it’s just a normal conversation. I mean it is a normal conversation, but it flows ya know? Some authors try that and it’s just too forced. This is not. Perfectly done.

Chapter 12

YAY RUTH!!!! You figured it out! Go girl! Okay, now what is she going to do about it? I mean, first we need to find where the extra wheat is going.

Ugh Oliver. I will figure this out! Anyone else not see this much of an evil side coming? I didn’t I guess. but now I don’t know what to expect from him – and maybe that’s the point!

Chapter 13

So I’m wondering if Frank is going to figure out this Charles guy before all of us. I bet he will. Or maybe it’s just his jealousy kicking in. And if it is, I am ok with that!

Seems like we have a change of heart from Howard. I was thinking he was uncomfortable in the beginning of the story helping Oliver. Did I read that wrong? And now he’s coming up with the ideas? Either I got it wrong, or perhaps the money is getting to him. Something we could all struggle with honestly. Hmmm. This plot line just gets more interesting the more we read about the bad guys.

Chapter 14

Finally we have someone in public ask about Ruth’s scars. But, I was thinking it was so small based on previous chapters that no one would notice? Although kids notice everything. I’m so glad Ruth finally answered when she overheard the little girl. That took so much courage. Great character growth, even though the kid’s mother was totally out of line. BUT…..that’s what happens in real life sometimes. We finally muster some courage, only to have it slap us in the face. Do we keep going is the question? Ok, I hope this doesn’t set Ruth back too much.

Okay, I kind of feel like Ruth is being a baby when she falls with Frank right there. I mean, he’s just trying to help you for crying out loud. He’s seen you fall before. He’s basically declaring his love for you, even if it’s in not so many words. HELLO!!!! Wake up and smell the roses. Ugh. Oh wait, Frank just said he loves her. And that’s the end of the chapter? Ummmmmmmmmm

Chapter 15

Wait why did we skip ahead? I want to know her reaction!!!

Okay she just left again. What is the matter with her? Pride. That has to be it. I wonder how Woodhouse is going to fix that?

Oh Frank. I love his conversation with Ruth’s parents. He doesn’t hold back. But I feel so bad….I don’t want her dad to die!

Ruth! Again I want to flick her forehead at the end of the chapter. And why isn’t Frank speaking up more? If only characters did what we want them to do!

Chapter 16

Ok, seriously. Who is this Charles guy? Does he just want the money? Is it something else? I cannot figure him out and it is driving me crazy.

End of chapter – maybe we’re finally getting somewhere with Frank and Ruth. I like that he tells her he’s not letting the conversation go. It’s about time!

Chapter 17

Okay we have this POV from Emma Grace again. I have mixed feelings. Must be something is going to happen to Ruth, hence her feeling like she needs to pray. But it still slightly feels out of place. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe it’s just to see Ruth from an outsider other than Frank?

Goodness I love Ruth’s come to God moment. It’s so authentic, so relatable. We can learn so much from it. This was beautifully written. Oh Ruth, run to Frank right now!!

Overall Thoughts

Woodhouse still has me flipping pages as fast as I can. I love it!!! I’m anxious to see how all the parts come together. The two villains. The fake auditors. Ruth and Frank. Is it next week yet so we can read and talk about the ending!?

What are you thoughts on these chapters? Share in the comments! Let’s get the book discussion going. πŸ™‚