Sunday, 3 November 2013

Sandy Tilley says: "A well-written, poignant story."



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Keren Joel has a phobia and, without realizing it, she's passed it on to her son, forcing her to seek professional help. What she doesn't expect to find is the man who'd been her best friend, twenty years earlier, and his shrine to a moment that forever changed the adults they became. 
5.0 out of 5 stars Gingerbread Helps Heal the HurtingNovember 3, 2013
This review is from: The Gingerbread House (Kindle Edition)
The Gingerbread House is a beautiful tale filled with energy, truth, and just the right amount of romance. I fell in love with Jacqueline Hopper's characters--especially little blue-eyed Sawyer. In fact, the five-year-old was so real to me, I found myself dreaming about him at night!

The "Gingerbread House", a lovingly created haven that helps hurting children to heal, is the cornerstone of the story. Set in an old theatre, the children's center put on a stage production so animated and full of life I could hear the laughter and smell the popcorn.

Through the pages of her book, Ms. Hopper brings an unforgettable message of hope to child abuse victims of all ages, as well as children wrestling with fears and anxieties of every kind.

I'm confident that The Gingerbread House will assist and inspire many people.

I'm certain it already has.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have children, this is a must read.November 1, 2013
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This review is from: The Gingerbread House (Kindle Edition)
Author Jacqueline Hopper does a great job with this story. It's a tale anyone should read. Parents mold a child. reluctantly Keren had passed down her childhood fears, now she realized what her own pain was doing to her little boy. When she seeks help for her child, she finds Jared. He also shared Keren's past. Jared now uses his bad experience to help other kids. Jared, Keren and Sawyer start a journey, not only to heal the little boy, but to bring closure to Keren. Such a great story!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawless.October 30, 2013
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This review is from: The Gingerbread House (Kindle Edition)
A well-written, poignant story. The characters were vibrant and their story touching. This author has a command of words and a talent for story-telling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tastes like healing,October 30, 2013
This review is from: The Gingerbread House (Kindle Edition)
In 71 pages, Jacqueline Hopper creates a world that begins with the quiet despair of a mother who can't help her hurting child, and ends with a sense of hope and promise of healing. Keren's son Sawyer isn't the only one hurting. Keren's scars go back 20 years, to a traumatic, truly horrific occurrence that changed her life and that of her best friend Jared. Now they have a chance to work backwards through the pain and discover if they can come to terms with the brutal events of their childhood and reconnect in time to save not only Sawyer, but other children in jeopardy.
This book made me wish there was such a place as the Gingerbread House, to help equip parents and children against the dangers Jared and Keren faced. Ms. Hopper writes convincing characters in a well-paced story that emphasizes the ramifications of child endangerment without a hint of exploitation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming FearOctober 30, 2013
This review is from: The Gingerbread House (Kindle Edition)
Dr. Jared Oath started The Gingerbread House project partly due to his past but mostly to honor the love he’d lost. His desire to help children be safe and unafraid stemmed from his own battle with unrelenting child predators. A group of physiologists participated as actors at the playhouse performing a play based on Jared’s past. He played himself, Tenny. His friend, Kizzy, was played by a young student named Peggie.
Keren Joel’s little boy, Sawyer, screamed unmercifully in the presence of strangers. He clung to her not wanting to let her go. She had brought this behavior upon her own child and she had to correct it before he started school. Keren sought out Dr. Oath and brought Sawyer to The Gingerbread House.
Jared recognized her immediately but it took Keren a few minutes to accept that he was Tenny, all grown up. The long ago incident was her fault and Jared was the hero but she never was able to tell him that. Was it too late? Had his Kizzy finally come back to him?
Ms. Hopper writes a compassionate novel about a subject that all parents face: protecting their children. Her artful telling of the story has the reader warming to the characters and feeling their anguish and fears. Well done.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumph over phobias leads to romanceNovember 29, 2012
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When a little boy's (Sawyer) immobilizing fear of strangers reaches a devastating point, his mother (Keren) makes an appointment with a therapist (Jared). Surprise! Jared turns out to be a childhood friend who has changed his last name. This doctor uses a terrible incident from his and Keren's juvenile past to help present day children with phobias. This is a sweet story of love, redemption, and victory. The use of a password is a brilliant idea for children who might be approached by strangers. Parents should teach their youngsters this concept.

Excerpt: 
Copyright 2013 Jacqueline Hopper
Some people smoked when stressed—Jared gnawed pencils. He’d just rid himself of his last casualty but, in light of Keren’s question, his fingers inched toward the top desk drawer where he kept a cupful of sharpened pencils. However, he caught himself before he allowed his nerves to rule his actions.
Why had he called the main character of The Gingerbread House Kizzy?
At the time, when he’d been writing down ideas for the Gingerbread House script, the name Kizzy seemed appropriate for the precocious star of his play.
“Never mind,” Keren said, giving her head a quick shake, backhanding the air as if to cancel the question. “It’s none of my business.”
“But it’s raised your curiosity,” he said, pointing out the obvious. He watched as she rubbed her cheekbone, a trait he’d forever associate with the girl he’d known years ago.
“Well, you see…” She swallowed and then smiled, as if to cover her nervousness. “That was the nickname my best friend gave me a long time ago. Kizzy.” She repeated it, sounding puzzled. “In fact, a lot of things about this room remind me...”
Jared held his breath as she glanced about his office. He didn’t need to look around to know what she’d see—things like the model train set. It was the same one she’d helped him put together one Christmas, and now it sat on the shelf beneath his window. The alphabetized bug collection they’d spent one summer garnering bumps and scrapes to assemble. He still carried the scar on his elbow from the time she’d dared him to net what turned out to be a hornet.
And her purple and pink polka-dotted safari hat. Not even Peggie touched that last item—no matter how much she pleaded.
Her gaze settled on his face again, her china-blue eyes wide with shock, before she reached for the pile of business cards resting on the desk between them. She took one, read it, and then returned it. The only change in her face was her color. She’d paled. Her freckles stood out in stark contrast to the white of her flawless skin.
“You’ve changed your last name.” It wasn’t a question.
“Can you blame me?”
“No.”
When he’d first started writing the script, he’d imagined the different ways she might react to his pet project.
Project? He’d built a shrine to the one moment in time that had driven a wedge so completely and thoroughly between them. The agony of the memory made him catch his breath every time he thought about it.
He’d anticipated her initial hostility, and then, later, tears of regret that they’d lost touch. However, shadows shifted through her blue eyes. Her remote and stony coldness hadn’t been on the list of probabilities. The Kizzy he’d known never reacted with anything less than raw emotion.
Guess things changed.
“Well, Dr. Jared Oath,” she said in a tone he’d heard only once before—and back then it’d felt like a punch in the gut. “Aren’t you going to give me a tour of your theatre?”

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