Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Prayer: A Love Story Blog Tour and Giveaway with Jacqueline von Zwehl

The Prayer: A Love Story
By Jacqueline von Zwehl
Publisher: Johann Press
Published: Oct. 21, 2013

Amazon Synopsis:

Do You Believe in Miracles? 
Do You Believe in Eternal Love? 
Do You Believe in Answered Prayers? 

You Will 

The Prayer, A Love Story is the inspirational true story of one woman who discovers the secret to living a life filled with miracles, unconditional love, and answered prayers. 

The journey begins with a divine promise, continues with unforeseen life challenges, and eventually leads to Jerusalem. Inside the Old City, a prayer will unlock the key to a life of miracles. This journey is proof heaven is real and its gifts are available to you now. Whether you have stopped believing in God or not, God believes in you. 

The journey holds a promise for everyone. No matter how much darkness exists in your 

life, it cannot diminish the flicker of even the tiniest light. That light will lead you to your destiny and it will change your life forever.

Book Links
Amazon  *  B&N  *  Goodreads



As soon as I got in the car, I almost changed my mind. I was exhausted. It had been a long week and, quite frankly, I was not in the mood for a party. Still, I had to go. I’d just say hello to Todd and leave early, I decided. I fumbled around in the dim light, looking for the directions. I had gone to Fort Lauderdale only a handful of times, and I still wasn’t sure how to get downtown.

Todd and I had known each other for years. He was the friend from Long Island who had organized the dismal raft-up that made me decide to leave New York. He was one of the most sociable and fun people you’d ever meet. Once you get on his email list, you’re a friend for life. That’s how he is. Todd was one of the last people I said goodbye to when I moved to Boca.

The previous Tuesday night, he had called. In his classic, larger-than-life style, he said he knew a guy  who had a house in Fort Lauderdale, and he and a big group of friends from Long Island were flying down to stay there for the upcoming boat show. They were throwing a huge party on Saturday night, and I just had to be there.

I was not in the mood even early in the week. I was working long hours at the time, and I was men- tally drained. I also didn’t look forward to partying with a bunch of single guys from Long Island. If it had been anyone else but Todd, I would have politely declined, but we hadn’t seen each other in over a year and a half.

Reluctantly, I accepted, but I added one little white lie. I told Todd I had a boyfriend. The last thing I want- ed was for any guy at this party to think I was single. I did not want to get hit on by any out-of-state guys on vacation. I’d just make a quick appearance and get home early, I told myself.

I pulled up to the house a little after dark. It was a spectacular, newly constructed mansion on the inter- coastal in the Las Olas Isles  of  Fort  Lauderdale. The home was impressive and stately, surrounded by stunning landscaping tall palm trees and a gated entrance. Although the house was huge, it looked quite warm and inviting, as well.

Suddenly, something odd hit me. There didn’t seem to be a party. In fact, hardly any cars were parked on the street. I double checked the address and checked the number on the gate.Yes, it was the right house.Was I too early?

Flashbacks of the cancelled raft-up went through my mind. The last time I got an invitation from Todd  for a supposedly huge event, it turned out to be a small disaster. I swore that if Todd had invited me to this house and there was no party, he was going to owe me big time.

As I started toward the gate, my doubts took over. What was I doing there? I couldn’t hear any music. I considered turning around and getting back in my car, but just then, someone on a Harley parked next to my car. He spotted me right away and made his way towards me. I thought I would look foolish if I turned around and got back in my car.

The tall man from the Harley approached.“Hi, I’m Joe.”

“Hi, Joe, I’m Jackie.”

“Hey, Jackie. So, how do you know Chris?”

“I don’t know Chris. My friend Todd invited me.” “Oh. I have no idea who Todd is.”

I was starting to feel a bit awkward, but there was no turning back by then, so Joe and I walked in togeth- er. From a grand center hall foyer, we stepped down into a sunken living room accented by a vaulted ceiling and twenty-foot floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

The first thing I noticed was the angel above the fireplace. It was a stunning, hand-carved, six-foot- tall wooden angel with a four-foot wingspan. I stood there staring at it, mesmerized. He was  beautiful. For a moment, I completely forgot where I was or how I got there.

I began to notice my surroundings. This was not the house of a bachelor, as I had assumed. It was defi- nitely a family home. Family photos were everywhere, adults and children covering every wall and counter. In the foyer, an ornate antique Bible and a pile of rosaries graced a coffee table. Crosses and religious pictures adorned every wall. I could see that this home had been decorated by a mother, a woman of faith. It was a gracious and welcoming home.

The moment we walked in, Joe had left my side and slipped through the sliding glass doors leading to the back deck. Obviously, he’d been there before and knew the house well. I’m not sure how long I stood there, taking in my surroundings.

I quickly realized there was, in fact, no party. I was standing in a stranger’s home,  completely  alone. No crowds, no music, and definitely no party. Once again, I contemplated discreetly leaving. Then I heard a voice that seemed to be addressing me.

“Hey, there. I’m Carlos. How do you know Chris?” I followed the voice and walked through a break-fast room to get within view of whoever was talking to me. The voice had come from the kitchen. A casually dressed guy was seated at the island, enjoying his din- ner, and I guess he had noticed me standing by myself in the living room. I probably looked ridiculous just standing there, staring at the angel.

“Hi, Carlos. I’m Jackie. I don’t know Chris. I was invited by my friend Todd.”

“Who the hell is Todd?” Carlos blurted out.

At that point, I definitely felt like I had just crashed someone’s home. What was I doing there? Nothing about this made any sense. Why had Todd invited me to that house? Why had he told me there would be  a  party  there  that  night? Why  didn’t  anyone  there know who he was?

I needed to leave, and by then I didn’t care whether anyone saw me walk out the front door with no explanation. However, as I made my way back through the breakfast room and across the living room, I was intercepted.

A dark-haired man in blue swim trunks barreled through the sliding glass doors into the living room. He didn’t have a shirt on, just a towel wrapped around his shoulders. He was soaking wet, obviously just out of the pool. Oh my goodness, but he was cute! He was also half-naked and smiling at me—and that smile was melting me.

Full of excitement and exuberance, he put his hand out to shake mine and announced,“Hi, I’m Chris.”

My Thoughts:

The Prayer: A Love Story was Jacqueline von Zwehl’s story of self-discovery and her discovery of God and His love for her. Jacqueline chronicles her early years when she tried to do things her own way without relying on God and how that only led to frustration, disappointment, anger and depression. It wasn’t until she finally let go and decided to do things God’s way when she prayed and asked Him to take over that things began to change. She discovered that God was there all the time, He was just waiting for her to let Him in.

The Prayer: A Love Story was a beautiful story of how much God loves us unconditionally if we will only let Him. It doesn’t mean our lives will be perfect. It doesn’t mean that we will be wealthy – at least not in the same way as the world thinks of wealthy.

One of the things that Jacqueline wanted more than anything else was to find her soul mate and have a family. Living in New York and heading into her late twenties, she was finding that with the type of men she was meeting, this dream was going to be impossible. It was heartbreaking.

I think that one of the most important things that she learned was that she needed to unconditionally accept the journey that God had planned for her and put aside any expectations of what she thought it might look like. The second most important thing that she learned was that her prayers needed to focus not on herself, but on others – family, friends, community. Of course, she always included thanks for blessings, requested forgiveness for her sins and guidance for her life’s purpose, but the main focus of her prayers was for others.

I think that as Christians we need to put more of these two lessons into our lives. We tend to put God into a box and expect that He is going to do things in a certain way for us. Jacqueline certainly didn’t expect to find her soulmate as quickly as she did. But God works on His own timetable, not ours. We think too much of ourselves. Remember the acronym JOY? Jesus, Others, You. When we put that into practice, we really do find more JOY in our lives. That’s what Jacqueline discovered.

The Prayer: A Love Story was a lovely, heartwarming, inspirational memoir that will encourage you to keep seeking God if you have not yet found Him. And if you already do walk with Him, it will remind you to persevere if things are tough at the moment. It will remind you that God is there with You, He will never leave you. You can be certain of that.

I would recommend this book to everyone who needs some encouragement, and who doesn’t need encouragement every so often? I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to the publishers who provided a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

Jacqueline von Zwehl, is a faith based relationship expert. She holds a BFA from New York University and a MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Jacqueline travels the country as a motivational speaker encouraging singles on the path to finding their soul mates. She has appeared on Nite Line, The Harvest Show, EWTN, TCT TV, Victory TV, CatholicTV, Telecare, Changing Lives, CatholicLife, That's the Spirit, The Church, The Cardinal and You, NPR, and more. Jacqueline lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her husband Christopher, their two daughters and dog. 

The Prayer, A Love Story is Jacqueline's debut book. The Prayer, A Love Story was named as a finalist by USA Book News 2013.

Author Links
Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter  *  Goodreads

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  1. I like the review, sounds like a great book.


  2. Thank you for hosting and thank you ladies for your input. Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. The Prayer sounds like a truly uplifting, inspiring and encouraging read. Thanks for sharing yourself with us.