Sunday, September 5, 2010

No Other, Shawna K. Williams

Romance/20th Century Historical/Life Issues
In the aftermath of WWII all Jakob Wilheimer wants is to get over his pain, get on with life, and if at all possible, forgive those who've wronged his family -- including himself. But it's hard to do when there are constant reminders. One of them being his former schoolmate, now teacher, Meri Parker -- Miss Port Delamar Pearl, Mayor's daughter, Belle of the town -- Meri Parker.

After enduring the stigma and isolation associated with the internment camp, the awkwardness of going back to school should've been a cake walk. But Jakob didn't expect to find himself inexplicably drawn to Meri. Or to discover that the pain and loneliness of her life surpassed his own. She needed to be rescued from the wretched people seeking to control her life. And more than anything, he needed to be the one to save her.

Jakob headed for the living room, holding the chandelier by its chain. "Hey Meri," he called to her over the rain. "Come in here."
Meri walked toward the living room, but paused at its entrance as a gust of wind hit her. "The window is broken," she said.
"I know. The wind is blowing south though and the porch is keeping most of the rain out."
Meri took slow steps toward him, crossing her arms and rubbing them as the chill from the storm hit her. Jakob stood in the center of the room with his hair blowing wildly.
"What are you doing?"
He closed his eyes and tilted his head back slightly. "It feels nice. Kinda like standing in the rain without getting wet."
He laid the chandelier on the floor and marched over to the wall. Meri watched as he used his foot to clear pine needles and dirt from an area of the floor. He stood over the spot, inspecting it, and then unbuttoned his plaid shirt and took it off, revealing the white tee shirt he wore underneath.
Her heart jumped into her throat.
Jakob laid the shirt on the ground, then turned and sat next to it with his back leaning against the wall. "Come on," he said. "I saved ya a seat."
She furrowed her brow. Her teeth clattered with a sudden chill but she did as he asked. "This is crazy," she said, taking a seat on his shirt.
"Nah." He stretched out his legs, leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
"Jakob, what are you doing?"
"Just takin' it all in." He let out a relaxed sigh. "You should give it a try."
Meri folded her arms. Then unfolded them. She hated feeling self-conscious. "I don't know how." He cracked one eye at her. "Be still."
"Copy me," he said. "Lean back, close your eyes."
She did as he said. "Now what?" This was nuts.
"Quiet your mind, and just listen and feel."
Meri took a deep breath and tried to relax. It wasn't working. She sneaked a glance at Jakob. His face seemed beautifully serene amidst the swirling bits of debris flying through the room. It was so... him. Somehow, realizing that made her want to give herself over to the experience. She took another deep breath and let it out slowly.
The first thing she noticed was the musty scent had been cleansed from the air. The smell of rain, clean and fresh, took its place. Droplets rhythmically pattered against the roof. And the
sound changed with the wind -- becoming soft, like a whisper -- then building into a crescendo with the howling gale. At its peak, rumbling thunder. It was music.
Her body relaxed fully and her shivers subsided. She surrendered to the moment, allowing the wild breeze and cool mist to touch her, tickle her. Tiny goose-bumps rose all over her skin. With her eyes closed it felt as if she were elsewhere -- suspended and floating. Free.
"It's beautiful," escaped her lips.
"Glad you could join me," Jakob whispered.
She felt the warmth of his hand slip around hers, his touch joining them in the experience. Their own private symphony.

This is a romance novel that won my heart, even though I normally do not read romance. Shawna's mastery of characterization infused the story with such believability, and I fell in love with Jakob and Meri. No sappy scenes, no corny lines--this book is about story. Yes, it's a love story, but it is so much more.

Set in post WWII Texas, Jakob's German family faces discrimination while they try to rebuild their household. His parents have returned from an internment camp, and his brother has returned as a war hero. Jakob must now step down from his patriarchal role and make his own return--to the high school he had left three years earlier in order to care for his younger siblings in his parents' and older brother's absence.

Matters become even more complicated when he steps into his classroom and discovers his old classmate, Meri Parker, sitting behind the teacher's desk. Their worlds couldn't be more different--she'd had all the advantages Jakob had not. Wealth, college, no one to care for but herself. But Jakob saw what no one else could--how trapped Meri was by her so-called advantages. With his own family restored, Jakob's natural instinct to rescue shifts its attention to Meri.

No Other is beautifully written. If you love romance, you will love No Other. And if you don't like matter. You'll still love it.
-- Kat Heckenbach, Kat's Musings.

There is "no other" story like it. Seriously.

This debut novel by author Shawna Williams took my breath away. It sounds cliche, but I don't know how else to describe the emotions that moved through me as I read this book. My heart was engaged and fully invested in the outcome.

I read most of this book in one sitting. It's a perfect historical romance in that the tension kept building and it made me want them to work things out and find a way to be together. I fell in love with the characters and empathized with their situations. I also felt firmly grounded in the time period.

The author's use of dialog was masterful. I could hear the characters speaking and their inner thoughts and dialog were consistent with that era. My favorite scene was toward the end when Jakob tries to do the right thing. The emotion was intense and so realistic I nearly cried myself. That's great writing because I felt something.

I loved how true to life this story seemed and it was edgy enough to make me want to cheer Shawna on. This story felt real to me because the characters were complex and three dimentional. There were a few shifts in plot that were delightful as well. I love it when the author does something you aren't expecting. Nice job! I can't wait for the next book. This is making my "favorites" list for fiction for this year - 2010.
-- Michelle Sutton, Edgy Inspirational Author.

Why Shawna Wrote No Other:
I wrote No Other because I wanted to tell an inspirational story about getting up after you fall. About how Christians don't just struggle, sometimes we blow it, but God doesn't abandon us. Even when our efforts to right things fail, He's still in control. Him, and No Other.
Amazon - Purchase
Desert Breeze Storefront - Purchase
Author Bio:
Shawna K. Williams is an Inspirational Romance writer who loves telling a story through flawed characters – the only kind she can relate to. She also likes a good dose of nostalgia, which is why many of her stories are set in rural America during the first half of the 20th Century. However, being a fan of other genres, including Science Fiction and Suspense, she has a few surprises planned for future works.
When not writing, Shawna spends time with her husband and three children enjoying life on their ranch. She's also an avid reader, book reviewer, blogger and jewelry designer.

Happy Labor Day and Happy Reading!
No Other is the Acfw Bookclub's choice for the Spetember discussion. Leave a comment for a chance to win. You'll have plenty of time to read it.


  1. Hi Shawna,
    I love your excerpt. It had me relaxing in the room listening to the rain. You've done such a wonderful job with No Other. I wish you much success with all of your writing.

  2. Thank you, Gail! This was one of my favorite scenes. Jakob is showing Meri his abandoned childhood home.

    The sequel comes out in less than two months, and I'm really anxious to share it. These two books were originally one story.

  3. This is by far the best book I've read this year.

    Toni Noel

  4. Hi Shawna,
    What a beautiful excerpt! I was totally transported. Wishing you many blessings and much success with your writings. And thank you for your moral support and all you have done to assist writers in promoting their books.

  5. (I hope this post takes.) Love this, Shawna. I have since I first read the blurb and excerpt to "No Other". Beautiful love story.

    Congratulations on the wonderful reviews. Keep spinning'em out, sweetie.

  6. I'm sooo excited! My post actually took! Woo-hoo!

  7. I loved No Other - it was a memorable story and a page turner. You're a fantastic writer, Shawna.