"...superbly written...highly recommended reading."
James Cox, Midwest Book Review
"...well done...a complicated story told with precision."
Jo Hollier, Williamson County, TX Sun
"...down to earth...wonderful...It kept me riveted to the end..."
Rian Montgomery, ChickLitBooks.com
"...a grand illustration of love and forgiveness...recommended..."
Craig Hart, craighart.net
"...absolutely wonderful...very impressive..."
Michelle Bates, Minden, LA Press-Herald
Faye Dasen, The Sandhills, NC Pilot.com
"...intelligence, wit, and charm..."
"...characters are easy to like ...strong plotline...a decent, light-hearted inspirational romance..."
Angela McQuay, Curled Up With A Good Book.com
"Forgiveness, grace, love, and courage are highlighted...It is a story of...accepting and practicing God's love and forgiveness...."
Linda Mae Baldwin, The Road To Romance
This book is great! I just love that the story revolves around a church, reminding us that church members aren't perfect, just forgiven... as the saying goes... and I love the forgiveness theme.
In theory, forgiveness seems so easy...but in practicality, it never seems to be in my life!! It's like I can picture church members that I know for each character, with their personalities and situations. (Unfortunately, I've pictured a few "Clara's” from different congregations I've been a part of, too! And, it stands as a huge reminder for ME not to ever be a Clara!)
I couldn't wait to finish! The writing pulled me in from the very beginning! I was so invested in the characters!
Author, 365 Ways to Love Your Child
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this compelling book. Not only is the characterization tight, but the pace is fast and commands the reader's attention. Moreover, the message rings true throughout ~ fascinating people that grab your heart and work through problems that most people face in one way or another. This is probably the BEST Christian novel I've read in a very long time. Highly recommend!
Christian women will fall in love with Bonnie as she struggles with stepping into the dating world after being a widow for several years. You'll find it hard to put this book down as you visit Small Town USA, with all the perks and downfalls of a close knit community. Watch how God weaves the lives of these characters together with a theme of forgiveness throughout the story.
Carolyn Dale Newell
Christian Speaker/Author,Walking by Faith, Not by Sight
The author does a brilliant job of catching the attention of the reader by creating characters that are interesting and have great depth. This is truly a story that touches you in a way that causes reflection long after you've finished reading. Don't miss the opportunity to be immersed in the lives of these unique characters.
Author, The Poker Player and the Preacher
What a fantastic contemporary Christian romance!
I loved how she brought each character to life. Many times as I was reading I felt like I was watching a movie because of her ability to bring you along in her descriptive way.
You'll find yourself cheering some of the characters on, at one point I had to laugh because her book almost begs you to forgive one of the ladies because she builds her personality so well you actually think you know her.
I highly recommend To Forgive, Divine to anyone who would like to read great literature, along with a classic clean love story. What an awesome Christmas present to give to one of your girlfriends, momma, sister, or, heck, a complete stranger!
Author, Ripened on the Vine
There are many Christian books on the market today, so it's refreshing when one stands out in both plot and characters. Leedom has taken a basic principle of the Christian faith--forgiveness--and put a spin on it that involves the everyday challenges we all face, yet often neglect to overcome. There were times when the pace of the story was so intense, I couldn't put it down, and overall, the characters were realistic. The likeable ones were likeable and the others folks we've all encountered. Hopefully, Leedom will follow up with a couple of the characters and give us their stories in the future. Well worth your time to read.
D.A. (Dorothy) Featherling
Author, Friendly, Michael, Marry-Go-Round, The "It's Murder at the Office" Series, The "Time Game" Series
I finished your book and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it. I liked the characters and how kind and loving they were to each other (Clara excepted). We all need more of that kind of modeling in our lives. I can't help but feel that there must be much of you in Bonnie.
Jim Comer, Austin, TX
Author, When Roles Reverse: A Guide to Parenting Your Parents
Praise From Pastors and Ministers
In this story, Melissa Leedom demonstrates comfortable and credible prose, as well as a thorough understanding of human interaction. Her tale is set against the backdrop of life within the culture of a Christian church in the south, which will be familiar to adherents, but not off-putting to the uninitiated. At the same time, as the title suggests, the author intends a thorough consideration of the notion of forgiveness and reconciliation. With generous use of internal dialogue, primarily from the major female character, Ms. Leedom constructs several "good" characters, never hesitating to expose their human and morally incomplete substance, and a few "evil" souls. For a gripping story, with a dose of uncertainty and mystery, I highly recommended this work.
The Reverend Dr. Robert M. Newell
Missionary, Albania, Retired
When I started reading, I was spellbound right off. Didn't want to put it down. Ooh, but that Clara chick gets my goat! Lol!
...Just finished To Forgive, Divine. Loved it. Especially the Christian element. Being a Christian singer/songwriter, I truly enjoyed this book. God bless.
Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Bass Singer at Village Voices, Ontario, Canada
I loved this book and I stayed up half the night reading it the first day I got it. A beautifully written Christian story of forgiveness with characters that are flawed and struggling but totally believable. Melissa Leedom is a gifted writer and I'd love to read more from her. I highly recommend this book.
Associate Pastor (ret.), Georgetown, TX
I took your book with me to read, as I was to be away from home from a couple of days.
Bad move!! Once I started it, I couldn't put it down - read until 3:30 AM and finished it first night!!
Great book - so realistic and, as a pastor for 30 years, I could relate to the chain of events and to "Clara." I am not sure there is a church without one!!! Thanks, too, for showing the Pastor as a real person with real emotions and the ability to err from time to time. It was nice not to see him on a pedestal, but also to see him as a man's man - not some effeminate tea-sipping white collared incompetent.
It was a great read and I appreciate the insights that are woven through the story, especially a glimpse into the life of a single-again person's feelings, etc. Please let us know when your next book is coming out.
Rev. Eric McGrath (Ret.),
To Forgive, Divine is a fun read. Melissa really knows the dynamics of a congregation. I highly recommend it!
Senior Associate Pastor (Ret.)
Bel Air United Methodist Church, Bel Air, MD
Melissa Leedom has jumped right to the top along with the multiple-book authors with this her first Christian romance novel. I didn't want to put it down! I hung on each chapter eagerly anticipating what would happen next. Her character development was all too real in church life. I can hardly wait for the next book!
Minister of Missions/Member Assimilation
First Baptist Church, Georgetown, TX
Author of 100+ Ways to Be Involved in Missions
Melissa's characters face real struggles to live out their Christianity and keep their faith intact. I read til 4 A.M. because I had to see how it ended. This book is wonderful!
former Minister of Single Adults
Columbia Baptist Church, Falls Church, VA
I have just finished your book, and pray that it gets a wide reading. It is well done, and I appreciate the message on forgiveness plus the wonderful tale. My guess would be, if I did not know it for a fact, that you have been involved in Baptist church life. I will encourage all three of my daughters to read it - wishing that my oldest could have read it, too. I like Jeff Wells, and appreciate your naming him for me.
Frank Wells, Th.D.
Former Missionary to Indonesia
Former Pastor, First Baptist Church, Enterprise, AL
Former Interim Pastor, First Baptist Church, Dothan, AL
What a great book! I couldn't put it down! I have read many books by Janette Oke and Francine Rivers and would rank Melissa Leedom's book right up there with these other great fiction writers. I especially liked her including the plan of salvation as a very natural part of the conversation in the narrative. I'm looking forward to the next one!
Williamson County Christian Women's Club
I finished reading your book last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am still amazed at how someone can write a book, but I am very thankful that the Lord has given folks like you such talent, as I surely do enjoy reading. I hope that you will continue to write. I will be sharing To Forgive, Divine with other friends that also enjoy reading.
IMB Missionary to Honduras
I have read your book and it was a blessing. I wanted you to know that I have recommended to all the Texas Baptist Camp managers that they carry To Forgive, Divine in their gift/bookstores.
My wife and I are praying God's best for you as you serve Him.
W.L. "Red" Colquitt
Baptist General Convention of Texas
Letters and Reviews from Readers
This is a great book to sit and enjoy on a quiet afternoon. The story is heartwarming and the characters are lovable. The author delivers a simple message to the reader: don't let your perception cause you to judge others. If you allow the notions and preconceived ideas of other people to influence you, chances are you will be wrong. Melissa Leedom delivered a beautiful love story about forgiveness without "pushing" God to the reader. Anyone who is a non-Christian may enjoy this book because it applies to all of us. I definitely look forward to reading Melissa's other books.
To Forgive, Divine: A Novel is a beautiful and well crafted story!
The story pulled me in early on with the strength shown in spite of heartbreak in the main character's pasts. Bonnie and Jeff are such warm, likable characters that you can't help but cheer for them to let go of their pasts and find the happiness God has in store for them. In addition to the subject of embracing new love, the author weaves into her lovely story, the strength and the steadfastness of God's love.
Faith Heart, Wilmington, NC - Amazon.com Review
This story is full of warm, believable characters that made me want to keep reading their story beyond this novel. The characters are realistic, human and likeable. Melissa Leedom has woven together a story that is inspirational, clean and truly heartfelt.
An excellent novel on the struggle to forgive when the wounds and hurt run deep and the wounded person allows pride and resentment to get in the way. God's grace enables the wounded to forgive each other (as His grace works the same in real life) to end with a HEA!
Newnan, GA - Amazon.com Review
Most of us have had one of those misunderstandings in our lives. You are SURE you know the truth, only to find out you are VERY mistaken about the facts.
To Forgive, Divine is full of life's big misunderstandings that could be easily solved with a little bit of time and patience...and a listening ear. From the main characters, Bonnie and Jeff, all the way to a young boy, JaMa'al, we find that forgiveness is needed in all aspects of life. Although, it sometimes needs a little encouragement from a special friend.
If you enjoy Christian Romance with a lot of twists and turns, you'll like To Forgive, Divine by Melissa Lea Leedom.
New Orleans, LA - Amazon.com Review
I absolutely loved this book! I had never read a Christian romance, but it was full of love, forgiveness, the danger of gossip and a clear presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I absolutely recommend this book!! .
Houston, TX - Amazon.com Review
To Forgive, Divine is a different kind of romance novel. It has intelligence, wit and charm woven into a plot that accurately reflects the concerns of our time. Ms. Leedom's characters are multi-dimensional, with the all-too-human faults and failings of ordinary people finding their way in a complicated world. From the first tenuous steps of a man and a woman recognizing a mutual attraction, through their journey of understanding, to the ending that could only be written with Divine guidance, the book is a page-turner.
Killeen, TX - Amazon.com Review
The author has an extraordinary grasp of the dynamics in relationships and the equally masterful writing skill to capture the myriad of inner thoughts which travel back and forth between our emotions. I didn't feel like I was reading about others' lives but, actually living among the characters. I felt my anger towards Clara, my sympathy towards Anna Lee, my disgust towards Preston, my heartache towards Bonnie and Jeff, and so on. The author adeptly places you inside the characters' hearts where the intricacies of forgiveness are insightfully unfolded in a captivating narrative worthy of any reader's time.
Georgetown, TX - Amazon.com Review
Melissa Lea Leedom has done a marvelous job of telling a story of a Christian Romance. You begin with an assortment of lifelike characters that grip your attention as you follow the ins and outs of a romance between a widowed pastor and one of his widowed members. I thoroughly enjoyed the many twists and turns of their romance. I look forward to more novels from Melissa Leedom.
Fort Worth, TX - Amazon.com Review
With very likeable and relatable characters, this book presents a great message on the power of forgiveness. Whether you are new to coupledom or together for many years, everyone in a relationship should read it.
Tampa, FL - Amazon.com Review
I had never read a Christian Romance novel, and didn't think I would particularly like the genre. When I first started To Forgive, Divine, I thought I might have been right. However, the familiar plot (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl) had so many surprising twists and such rich character development, I found myself relishing the time I spent with the book. I recognized so many people in the congregation! What a fun read!
Eagle, ID - Amazon.com Review
The author had me with the very thoughtful insights into Bonnie and Jeff, and what they were thinking as they move through things big and tiny in their lives, delivered so delicately, with just the right mix of power, like an expertly prepared gourmet dinner...I love the way Ms. Leedom writes! She has an extraordinary talent! She put me right there in the lives of good-hearted people trying to make their way as God would have them, and I can feel the romance and the hope and trepidation as if I were living the story myself. And it is so nice to read about good-hearted people for a change.
Court A., Midland
I found To Forgive, Divine to be thoroughly enjoyable and engaging. Although I'm a Christian, I'm usually not a fan of Christian novels. This good, clean (not always easy to find these days) romance (and more) was recommended to me by a friend, however, and I'm glad she did! Reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice, this novel takes place in a modern setting and touches on issues so prevalent today. Well-written and skillfully constructed, this book is a good read.
Georgetown, TX - Amazon.com Review
I enjoyed reading To Forgive, Divine. Melissa Leedom captures the characters in a very personal way, allowing the readers to feel what the characters felt. She wrote a very heartfelt story expressing the character's struggles and victories while threading the need to forgive and trust that God's plan is being woven throughout our lives.
Schuyler, New York
I enjoyed your writing very much. Just when I thought I figured each person's character, you added more. Excellent reading.
Loved this book! Could not put it down. I am looking forward to more books from this author. Each chapter full of action that added to the story.
I loved it. Impressive!
Even though religion is the backdrop of the story, it doesn't distract. I flew through the story and enjoyed every page.
I really enjoyed this book. We all struggle with the insecurities the characters faced. At least everyone I know does. To Forgive, Divine is a nice reminder that God gives us wonderful opportunities, we just have to listen and be fearless.
Janna Koenig - Amazon.com Review
This book is a good read. It relates a lot to me.
Mary Ann B.
New Orleans, LA
To Forgive, Divine reads like a friend is telling you about someone she knows. I couldn't put it down. The struggles that the main character had in forgiving are common to most. When she finally was willing to forgive, she was blessed. You will enjoy reading this book.
Your book was fantastic; couldn't put it down - it was great! Wish I could write like that.
Don B., Keller, TX.
I want to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed reading To Forgive, Divine, and I look forward to reading it again and also to sharing it. It's one of those WOW books!
I purchased your book and have read it twice. It is a wonderful story and you certainly brought out the 'real' people in each character. I have either known someone like them, or have found myself acting along the same lines.
June S., Texas
This is just the kind of love story that should be made into a movie. The characters feel like someone you know and are praying for to find comfort, peace, and love.
I enjoyed your book, To Forgive, Divine. It was a perfect summer read for me. I plan to give a copy to my mother-in-law for Christmas.
Keep me posted if you write any more.
A wonderful story of love and forgiveness. Well-staged circumstances that kept me reading!
Haymarket, VA - Amazon.com Review
There is nothing quite like old-fashioned and pure romance, especially when it happens in a book that is well written featuring likeable and charismatic characters. To Forgive, Divine by Melissa Leedom is such a book with these qualities. Chock full of endearing characters and set in Georgia, To Forgive, Divine is a Christian "Chick Lit" book that should not be missed.
Meet Bonnie, a widowed mother of two who is a dedicated Christian. She resides in Chandler City, GA, one of those small town type of places where you run into people you know every day, everywhere you go. In the beginning of our story, she has just begun to notice Jeff Wells, the pastor of Foster Road Baptist. Jeff is also widowed with a teenage son, and has just begun to notice Bonnie. The two of them however don't have time for anything but one special kiss between them before it all comes crashing down. Clara Adkinson, the town gossip, can't stand to see the two of them get together and starts spreading nasty rumors about them. And we all know how rumors can spread like wildfire in a small town! And unfortunately Clara manages to break the two of them up before anything really starts. Jeff believes Clara, and quickly cuts things off with Bonnie, who can't believe she has already fallen for him and is crushed.
Meanwhile other things are falling apart as well - a young boy who recently joined a gang breaks into the church office; a woman who has left her cheating husband joins the church, and is suddenly spotted all around town with Jeff; Bonnie can't stop running into men she wants little or nothing to do with, including a loud-mouthed, overbearing ex-flame (that she'd never gotten together with in the first place); Clara tries to have Pastor Jeff resign from the church because of false allegations; and Bonnie and Jeff can't stop running into each other even when they try, and it's the last thing they want! Will this town and congregation ever pull together? Will this group of people ever learn to forgive each other? Find out in this heartwarming story.
To Forgive, Divine was a wonderful book and I enjoyed it immensely. Bonnie, the main character, is a likeable woman with flaws that many can identify with. Her situation with Jeff as well as the other characters' lives kept me riveted to the book to see how it would all end. I also loved how the book wasn't sickly sweet and unrealistic. It showed the ins and outs of living a Christian life, even some of the bad things about it, such as hypocrisy and jealousy that sometimes takes place. Melissa Leedom manages to get the message of salvation through to her readers too in this delightful story.
Overall, I recommend To Forgive, Divine to all readers who love a romantic and down-to-earth story that will tug at your heartstrings. People with a Christian background will especially like it. Do you think that a true, simple and pure love doesn't exist? Read To Forgive, Divine - it may change your mind!
Riann Montgomery (ChickLitGirl)
An impressive piece of writing! I also loved that To Forgive, Divine naturally presented a clear explanation of the Gospel within the progression of the story and how we can be aware that God loves us and is seeking out each of us and is actively and personally at work within our individual lives.
Bonnie Callaway has had a difficult time dealing with the tragic death of her husband and, although the accident happened two years ago, she still has not given love a second chance. So, when things start happening between her and her single pastor, Jeff Wells, she isn't quite sure how to handle the transition.
Unfortunately, the attraction they were beginning to experience is shattered by distrust and betrayal. But as the compelling story of forgiveness continues, both Jeff and Bonnie are witness to lives around them being changed by forgiveness. Gradually, they are forced to recognize that, even as they urge others to love and forgive, they themselves neglect to do so.
To Forgive, Divine is a grand effort to illustrate the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Melissa Lea Leedom writes with both skill and sentiment. A recommended read.
Jack W. Ragan - Amazon.com Review
To Forgive, Divine book was a fun read that includes a love story and a reminder of the need to forgive those who have hurt us. Where would we be without God's Love and Forgiveness? The author includes an easy to understand plan to finding a personal relationship with our Creator. The travels take us to New Orleans and even a beach in Florida. Time for a sequel, Melissa Leedom.
Sioux City, IA - Empty Nest Vacations Review, Facebook.com
Just finished reading To Forgive, Divine. It was wonderful! Shows how prone we are to avoid applying the principles Jesus taught us in scripture and how our own pride and stubbornness bring only heartache and grief in our lives. After spending a couple of days with Bonnie and Jeff and the other characters, I hated to see it end. Perhaps a sequel is in the making, huh?
This is a GREAT book. Once I started reading it, I found it very hard to put it down. I read in between music students, while we were out in the car and my husband would be driving. He laughed and said do you want me to drive slower so that you can finish? Tonight I finished! WOW!. I really enjoyed it and found myself caught up with the characters.
I do hope that you plan some sequels.
Round Rock, TX
Wow. To Forgive, Divine is really something! I think it would make a good movie!
This is a book that would interest non-Christians, because it's real. It shows Christians as normal people with normal problems who just happen to have an intimate relationship with God to get them through.
Bel Air, MD
I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your book. It was recommended by Joe, who goes to my church, and he did me a favor by doing so.
To Forgive, Divine was a delight. I couldn't put it down once I got started. Read it in two days. Left the book with my daughter to read, and she had already read two chapters. I could just imagine all the characters in the book in our church.
I just finished reading To Forgive, Divine last night. I have to say that I read it in two sittings. It was very uplifting. It shows that there can be life after tragedy if one is willing to open themselves up to new possibilities. It drove home the point that we all can listen to the same message and take away something quite different. I honestly felt sorry for Clara [the antagonist of the story] that she could not find the same kindness in her heart that Carolyn found after listening to the same message!
To Forgive, Divine book is wonderful. Your characters are so well-defined - I could picture each one of them. From Bonnie's mix of shyness and courage to Clara, whom I can see just shaking with righteous indignation. It is said that we write what we know, and it's almost as if you know the people of Chandler City, Georgia, intimately.
You've also captured the flavor of small town life, peopled with those that can be found in most every community - the good and the bad/misguided.
Lastly, what a joy to read a book and know that I'm not going to run into gutter language or situations. It isn't often that one finds that these days.
I so enjoyed reading To Forgive, Divine! I was quickly pulled into the story. Some of the settings were familiar places to me, so it was fun to read about them. The story of forgiveness was a beautiful picture of God’s grace and forgiveness to us!
It was nice meeting you at the Marble Falls conference. I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading To Forgive, Divine! Enjoyed the story line and the characters. Do you have any others? The picture on the book cover was a "grabber" for me! Still have not made the recipes yet--will sometime. Thanks!
Sincerely, Rhoni Harris
Marble Falls, TX
I am not a "reader" due to a vision perception dysfunction. However, I have been curious about this book since I first heard about it. I was struggling with hurt and forgiveness in my own life. As I read To Forgive, Divine, I felt like I was another character in the book. It was wonderful to be reminded of God's grace and mercy. I found it easy and delightful to read even though it has taken me a long time to do so. I typically fall asleep before the end of the page...I found myself not wanting to put it down to go to bed. Thank you, Melissa Leedom, for a wonderful Christian romance that kept me coming back day after day to complete! I highly recommend this book to everyone!
Georgetown, TX - Amazon.com Review
I have just finished reading your book again. To Forgive, Divine is so true to life. You tell the truth so magnificently. This book is a must read for all ages.
You don't know me, but I wanted to write you to tell you thank you. Please let me explain:
I was sitting home one day when my husband called me from Hastings to tell me that there was a Christian writer signing her book and asked if I would be interested in reading To Forgive, Divine?
When I told him to get it for me, I never expected a book that was as wonderful as yours. I have been reading Christian novels for a couple of years now. There have been many I have enjoyed, but only a few that I couldn't put down. Yours was definitely one I couldn't put down.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful writing with the rest of us. Your book was very touching, and I am very disappointed that it's over already, so I really hope you will have another one coming out soon.
Good luck and God bless you.
Round Rock, TX
Hi Ms. Leedom,
I just finished your book, To Forgive, Divine, and I LOVED it! Please tell me you have written, or are writing, other books.
I am very anxious to share your book with family and friends.
I will be checking the web to see if you have written anything else. You have a great gift!
Again, I really enjoyed your novel, and I know others I share it with will too!
Awesome book! I loved it!
New Orleans, LA
What a lovely story, I am all about reading more than just a "romance" in a book. This book definitely delivers on that count!
Florida - Amazon.com Review
Have you read To Forgive, Divine? I'd love to post your comments! You can email them to me at email@example.com or drop me a line at To Forgive, Divine, P.O. Box 1884, Georgetown, TX 78627. Or, better yet, why not leave a review on Amazon.com? I can't wait to hear from you!
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