Thursday, June 14, 2018

Tremors of Doubt: A Novel by Lael Harrelson

Welcome!  I am featuring Lael Harrelson today. She was raised by a fun loving, atheist single mom who struggled with depression and mental illness.  Lael Harrelson spent her childhood backpacking around Europe, visiting yoga communes, eating vegan, living on a houseboat, then an old pony express outpost in the backwoods of Montana. Her teen years took a drastic turn when my mom got saved, got married, and joined an ultra-conservative Mennonite church. Faith, step parents and unquestioning obedience is a dangerous combination when mixed with mental illness, legalism, and heavy handed physical correction.  Ms. Harrelson became a confused believer with a heart for Jesus but drowning under a sea of rules, regulations, and legalism.  She became a missionary teacher and then a nurse and escaped to the mission field, the one avenue open to single women.  She taught VBS on Indian reservations, led school for missionary children in Haiti and Africa. On a furlough, Lael met her future husband – a new believer who wasn’t looking for a door mat in a wife but a partner. As he grew in his faith, she reexamined her faith and what Biblical womanhood looked like. She discovered a new relationship with Jesus Christ based on grace and not performance. Lael left the Mennonite church and married the love of her life twenty years ago. They have five beautiful teenagers, two by birth and three through adoption from Haiti.  She draws from her experiences for her stories.  "<>I like to think of them as fiction with grit – fast paced and entertaining stories that make you want to read till the very last page while at the same time tackling real life issues – legalism, abuse, divorce, adoption, Asperger syndrome, mental illness, etc."  To find out more about the author and her novel, visit her blog.
Tremors of Doubt by Lael Harrelson takes us to Laminasse, Haiti in April 2009.  Callie Zimmerman lives with her Uncle Roman, Aunt Rhoda and cousins in Haiti.  Uncle Roman is conservative Mennonite minister working in the mission field.  Life is not easy on the island.  They lack electricity, running water, and a vermin free house.  Callie was taken in by her aunt and uncle after her parents passed away in a fire.  Callie has spent the years working alongside Aunt Rhoda cooking, cleaning, and assisting others.  Now that she is an adult, Callie wishes to do more.  She wants to make a difference.  However, her uncle and their religion are holding her back.  Just before her twenty-third birthday, Callie happens to be at home to receive the mail.  There is a card from a Jean Morgan, a friend of her parents, along with a photograph of a young Callie.  Callie discovers that Uncle Roman has been hiding letters from her and kept vital information about her parents from her.  Callie gets the opportunity to visit Jean and her family in Colorado.  It would mean leaving her family as well as Noah who has asked to court her.  However, this could be the opportunity that Callie has been praying for.  What will Callie decide to do?  Accompany Callie on her journey of self-discovery in Tremors of Doubt

Tremors of Doubt is about one woman’s journey of self-discovery.  Callie wishes to make a difference in the world.  She has seen such poverty, illness and violence.  Callie wants to help people, but she does not know how to go about it.  She has been praying for God to show her the way. Uncle Roman and the church leaders (all men) are conservative especially regarding women and their roles.  Callie has a strong faith, but she is struggling to make sure she is following the Lord’s path (and not what she thinks God wants).  I thought Tremors of Doubt was nicely written and had a gentle pace.  There are smooth transitions between sections.  Callie is a character many women can relate to along with her journey. The other characters are realistic and relatable.  You can feel Callie’s struggle with her uncle’s domineering personality and the rules of her church.  She has such a big compassionate heart.  I did feel that the scripture was a little heavy handed at times (felt preachy), but it was relatable to the book and easy to understand.  I cannot imagine living without electricity or modern amenities (running water, grocery store, good medical care, air conditioning, book store).  The author does not hold back in describing the condition of Haiti and the people living on the island.  I am rating Tremors of Doubt 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  Tremors of Doubt is a book that will touch your heart.  Tremors of Doubt is available on Kindle Unlimited through Amazon.

To celebrate her tour, Lael is giving away a grand prize of an autographed copy of Tremors of Doubt, an adorable set of Amish dolls, a set of handwritten recipe cards with mouthwatering Amish recipes, a handmade Haitian bracelet made by Haitian students, a pound of nationally acclaimed Haitian coffee, a bar of rich Haitian chocolate, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!  Click here to enter.  Good Luck! Be sure to comment on this post before you leave to claim 9 extra entries!  Make sure to visit the other blogs and comment on their posts (stops listed below) for extra entries (only one blog post comment per 24 hour period).  Thank you for visiting today.  I will return tomorrow with my review of The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates.  I hope that you have a amiable day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, June 12
Among the Reads, June 12
Mommynificent, June 13
Bigreadersite, June 13
The Avid Reader, June 14
Carpe Diem, June 15
Mary Hake, June 17
margaret kazmierczak, June 17 (Interview)
ansel book blog, June 22
cherylbbookblog, June 23


  1. Replies
    1. Jessie, thank you! Come on over to and let's get to know each other!

  2. Sounds like a very harsh life. You can't blame people for striving to escape deplorable conditions.

    1. It is. Hard times and hard choices. You have to admire how much some people fight to go another day, don't you?

  3. This book sounds so good!! I love books that are not just the same predictable Amish stories! I look forward to reading it!

    1. Hi, Tiffany! Tremors of Doubt is definitely different :) Let me know what you think about it!

  4. I don't know if I've seen this book before but it looks like a great read! Adding to my TBR! Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Becca, that makes me so happy! Let me know what your thoughts after you read it!

  5. I've never read a book that was based in Haiti, although I know some people who have taken mission trips there.