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Pam Spano reviews the newly released novel by Catholic author Stephanie Landsem.

At a Catholic Marketing Network conference in Schaumburg, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), I met an author named Stephanie Landsem. Her name sounded familiar, I thought, as I waited in line to get her book, In a Far-Off Land.


In a Far Off Land


When it was my turn, we chatted a bit and I did remember seeing ads on Facebook about the author. As I walked away, I realized why her name was familiar. It wasn’t the ads, but her other books I had on my Amazon wish list. 

When I got home, I started to read this mystery novel set in the 1930s. The premise is: small town girl goes to Hollywood to make it big to help support her family. As I turned the pages and the story unfolded, it became apparent that this was much more than a cozy mystery, but a story about forgiveness and mercy in the darkest times and how individually we process those emotions. A cozy mystery with undertones of biblical proportions!

The main character, Minerva Sinclaire (aka, Mina) believes she can make it in Hollywood and be home in six months to help her financially strapped family. She makes choices she regrets and wonders if anyone will forgive her—or if she can even forgive herself.

Max is the man she meets who becomes her agent. He thinks she can become a star—or does he? Max, too, has regrets about his own past choices and the choices made for him by others.

Oscar is the Mexican gardener who finds himself reluctantly caught up in a murder mystery. Out of all the characters in this book, Oscar is the most complex as he struggles with his relationships with his family, Mina, and especially Max.

Most people think of a cozy mystery as a “fluffy” read—mindless entertainment that transports the reader out of their own lives. That’s what I thought this book was. It wasn’t. This book made me think of my own relationships and where I need to re-evaluate feelings of forgiveness and mercy.

I highly recommend In A Far-Off Land.

You can purchase In a Far-Off Land from Amazon or the publisher, Tyndale. 




Copyright 2022 Pam Spano
Images: Canva

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