Turtle Heart, by Lucinda J. Kinsinger: Review and Giveaway

Luci Kinsinger just came out with a new book, Turtle Heart. I agreed to read and review a copy because based on her first book, Anything but Simple, I knew she was a good writer. But I was unprepared for just how much I’d love and relate to the stories and ideas inside it.

Turtle Heart is the story of Luci’s deep and life-changing friendship with Charlene, an elderly Ojibwe woman. It’s a heartfelt and wild story from beginning to end, taking twists and turns that I did not expect. 

When I first heard the synopsis, before I read the book, the concept felt familiar. I’ve read several popular books about a kindhearted person befriending a societal “outsider,” believing they can help them and then ultimately being changed because of them. It’s not new.

And yet, this book felt new to me. And I think what was remarkable about it was the way it wasn’t about a “normal person” finding an “outsider,” it was two outsiders finding each other. The book begins with the line, “I heard the F word for the first time when I was twenty-four,” underscoring the way Luci feels like a sheltered outsider from greater US American society. Although she begins her friendship with Charlene having some benevolent ideas of saving her soul and helping a frail old lady, from the beginning we understand that their friendship is something different: two lonely outsider souls who found each other. 

There was much to love in this book. Foremost, of course, was the beautiful friendship at the center of it. Then there’s the story itself which, together with the story of Charlene’s past, is slowly revealed to the reader in surprising ways. 

But what I loved the most was the commentary on outreach. 

Here’s a question for you: What is the best way to reach people in your community for Jesus?

You may be full of ideas, then go out into the real world and discover that your ideas don’t quite “work” the way you expected them to. Thus it is for Luci and Charlene. Luci begins the book trying to teach Charlene the plan of salvation while also trying to win her heart by being a “sweet Mennonite girl,” singing while she weeds the garden and such. 

These tactics never go as planned. It’s not that Charlene doesn’t want Jesus. It’s that Charlene already has a relationship with the Creator. Being much older and full of life experience than Luci, she doesn’t exactly appreciate Luci acting like she has all the answers. 

And the thing is, Luci doesn’t have all the answers. Ultimately, the story becomes something much larger than the story of someone being “led to the Lord.” While Luci answers many of Charlene’s spiritual questions and gets her to start reading the Bible, Charlene gives Luci many insights into the nature of the Creator, helping Luci to realize that He is much greater than she ever realized. 

That was my favorite message from the book. 

I also have to add that Luci has a masterful way of writing about what it feels like to be the odd one out, knowing that how you’re perceived isn’t how you feel inside. For instance, describing attending a funeral with Charlene, Luci writes,

I sit in a corner, just behind Charlene, and watch the family move around the room in short-cut or long-swinging hair, in short black skirts or jeans, in earrings and bracelets and tattoos, and feel conspicuous with my unmarked skin, my long dress, and my little white cap. Like a saint or a nun…and who wants that when you are just turned twenty-five? I want to be young and free-spirited, not righteous. But I’ve grown used to this conspicuousness of dress and wear it like a security blanket. It’s my identity, chosen for me before I was born.

Chills. I relate so much. Thank you, Luci, for writing this. Your work is a gift.

Now, here’s the best news: Luci has agreed to give away a copy of her book!

*Update: This giveaway is now closed* 

To enter, just leave a comment saying you’d like to be entered. Or leave a comment telling me the best book you’ve read recently, or your favorite thing about Fall. In fact, unless your comment specifically says that you DO NOT want to be entered, any comment will count as an entry. 

Unfortunately, this giveaway only applies to US addresses. International shipping costs are brutal, guys! Even Canada. If you live overseas and want to enter, consider asking a friend in the USA if you can get it sent to his or her address for you to pick up on your next trip to the States. 

Also: This is your friendly reminder that I’m doing a mini book tour next week! Wednesday the 29’th I’ll be in Lancaster PA, and Thursday the 30th I’ll be in Harrisonburg VA. For more details, click here. 

***

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101 responses to “Turtle Heart, by Lucinda J. Kinsinger: Review and Giveaway

  1. The best book I’ve read recently is probably either Born a Crime by Trevor Noah or Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

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  2. The best part of fall for me is the beautiful colors in the leaves that come out of hiding. 😄 It’s a bit like getting to know someone’s heart instead of just what your first impression is of them.

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  3. Cooler weather and pumpkin spice coffee! 🍂

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  4. This book sounds so interesting! I’d love to have a copy!

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  5. Just finished a captivating book called My Friend Anna, the true story of a fake heiress

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  6. I’d love to read this book!

    ⁣Miriam

    Live as though today was your last day on earth.​

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  7. I would like to enter this giveaway. Thankyou

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  8. Ah! Can’t wait to get my hands on this book!

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  9. Luci’s writing is gold and I’d be delighted to get my hands on this one!

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  10. I haven’t yet read either of her books , but I would love to read them.

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  11. I would dearly love to own any of her books and her writing is amazing!

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  12. Mary Ann Stoltzfus

    Enter me for the contest, please!

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  13. Sounds interesting!

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  14. I enjoyed Anything But Simple, and would love to win a copy of this book.

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  15. I enjoyed reading Anything But Simple, and I would love to read this book. My favorite thing about fall is the crisp, cool weather.

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  16. I’d love to read this book!

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  17. I like fall because summer work is winding down and it’s sweatshirt weather and isn’t so hot (no AC). This book looks like a good read!

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  18. I’d love to have a copy!

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  19. I’d love to read this book. I appreciate Luci’s writing style and was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed Anything But Simple. My current read is Are My Kids On Track by Sissy Goff and David Thomas. Excellent book!

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  20. I’d love a copy of this book! I very much appreciated her first one and have read Luci’s blog for a few years.

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  21. I just finished The Grapes Of Wrath and would love something to lift my spirits

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  22. Well, that sure sounds like an interesting read!

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  23. Enjoy the book signing! Happy you can do it! Thanks for the review of this book. Sounds interesting

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  24. I would like to be entered!

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  25. Sounds like such a good read! I love to watch the leaves 🍃 blowing down from my Walnut trees.

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  26. I’d love to enter for the giveaway!

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  27. I love the cooler air and colorful fall skies!

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  28. I’d love to win this book— I’m planning to read it regardless.

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  29. September feels like we can breathe again after the warm days of August. Blue sky, harvest humming along here in the midwest, crisp mornings, chilly evenings, hot chocolate … I know we are heading for winter, but we’ll put that thought on the back burner and enjoy the beautiful autumn!

    Like

  30. cabincreeklogging

    If the book is not fiction , I’d love a copy .

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Would love to be entered in this giveaway…

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Ooh another book by Lucinda. I feel like I should win because she was in the same starting class at Sattler with my son Cody;) just kidding! One of my favorite books this last year was Suffering and the heart of God by Diane Langberg. She knows what it is like to walk in the trenches with the wounded and yet she draws your eyes to the Good shepherd as the only way to survive in the catacombs of darkness.

    Like

  33. Another good book I’m reading( and another chance to win that book;)
    Adore by Sara Hagarty. I have enjoyed all her books, every bitter thing is sweet and then Unseen, but this one challenges me to use the middle moments of life to stop and lean in and adore through the different characteristics of God. Highly Recommend

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  34. Oh, it’s me again;) having raised 5 MKs who have at times struggled to be at home in their own Anabaptist culture, I resonate with the paragraph you liked and highlighted. This beautiful truth by Sarah Clarkson, is a beautiful well written book dealing with the subject of mental health in almost a holy way, I’m still digesting it actually.

    Like

  35. Thanks for the review. I look forward to reading the book.

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  36. I just read “Evidence Not Seen” by Darlene Deibler. My daughter and family are living in Papua New Guinea so this book was especially interesting to me.

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  37. Just read Runs with Courage about a Lakota girl who was sent to boarding school run by whites. It’s a middle grades children’s book. The author keeps it child appropriate, but still makes it clear that they were mistreated and didn’t want to be there. Highly recommend.

    Like

  38. I’d like to be entered…

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  39. I wasn’t sure about this book when I heard about it, but after reading your review I am interested in reading it.

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  40. I read her first book and would love to read this one!

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  41. I want to be entered!

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  42. I want to be entered…sounds like an amazing book!

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  43. Would like to be entered in the giveaway.

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  44. The best book I read recently is “This Too Shall Last”, by K.J. Ramsey.

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  45. I’ve read many good books recently. Hind’s Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard was one that really touched me. I could relate so often with Much-Afraid, and it helped me see my spiritual journey in a new light.

    Like

  46. Pingback: Final Day of Launch and a Final Review and Giveaway - Lucinda J Kinsinger

  47. I love fall as a time to sit with a got cup of coffee, warm blanket and a good book! I would love to read this book n can’t wait for when I am able too.

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  48. I enjoy the chill in the air in the fall.

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  49. The things I like about fall is the chill in the air and the beautiful weather.

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  50. Pick me!

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  51. I would love to read Luci’s book, or even win it! I’m looking forward to reading it, either way!

    Like

  52. I would love to win this book!

    Like

  53. I read Anything but Simple and loved it. I’ve been wanting to read Turtle Heart!

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  54. This book sounds interesting; I would like to be entered, please.

    Like

  55. Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski

    Like

  56. The best part of Fall is the chilly weather, which gives you an excuse to pull out all your favorite hoodies and make chai at every campfire.

    Like

  57. Please enter my name in the drawing; I’d like to read luci’s book!

    Like

  58. I read Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge recently, and liked it quite a lot. It’s cozy, set in an English village, with a glimmer of magic—my favorite things.

    Like

  59. weddingblissplanner

    I love the cooler weather that fall brings! That crisp feel of fall in the air makes me nearly giddy with delight! I miss it so much now that I no longer live in PA!

    Like

  60. My favorite thing about fall is one of those blue sky sunshine crisp air days that you want to savor before the cold winter comes!

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  61. This book keeps coming up in different places….and I’d love to read it. Although a Canadian, I have an American mom-in-law;)

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  62. I recently read Invitation to Tea by Monica Lang again and enjoyed it as much as the other times I’ve read it!

    Like

  63. Fall picnics are lovely!

    Like

  64. I want to read the book, a free copy would be great!

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  65. This song is like very interesting book I want to read!

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  66. This book sounds amazing!

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  67. I would love to read this book!

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  68. I’m excited to read this. Sometimes I feel more Mennonite when I’m totally outside my culture than I do when I’m sitting in a circle of other Mennonite ladies.

    Like

  69. This book sounds interesting! I’ve been enjoying reading Amanda Owen’s, “The Yorkshire Shepherdess”, books lately.

    Like

  70. Enter me please! Fall? Crisp Autumn leaves which we have none of in Central Oregon. 🙂

    Like

  71. I am stirred Lucinda Kinsinger’s writing and her way of putting ideas and thoughts and feelings and longings into real words that I can connect with. My favorite last read (actually listen because it was an audiobook) was The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

    Like

  72. I’m here for the book give away 😄

    Like

  73. Please enter me! 🙂

    Like

  74. The best book I’ve read recently is The Healing Path by Dan Allender.

    Like

  75. I am currently reading, “Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation As An Exercise In Hope” by Esau McCaulley. It is the most thought provoking book I have read in a long time.

    Like

  76. When Crickets Cry (Charles Martin) is a deeply moving fiction I read last month.

    Like

  77. I just finished The Color of Water written James McBride. Totally enjoyed it!

    Like

  78. I would like to be entered!

    Like

  79. I love fall a little more slow paced and hot cider!

    Like

  80. I’d love a copy of this book. Reading your review brings up many memories of living with Ojibwe people when I was 25.

    Like

  81. Just Mercy and the Eye of the World. Both FANTASTIC

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  82. Best book I’ve read recently? Yours, Emily! In fact, it arrived in the mail over the weekend while we were away, and was waiting for me when I got home last evening. What a treat! I started it before going to bed and am absolutely loving it! I wish I had all day to sit and read, but the problem with that is that it would be over too quickly! The best books are never quite long enough. 😉 I followed your journey on your blog, but getting the longer version in book form is perfection!

    Like

  83. I’d like a copy of this book someday.

    Like

  84. I’d like to be entered please!

    Like

  85. My favorite thing about fall is the sky.

    Like

  86. Miriam F Hershberger

    The best book I’ve read recently is From the Whitehouse to the Amish .

    Like

  87. I would very much enjoy the chance to win and get to read this book!!

    Like

  88. One of the best books I read lately was a junior’s nonfiction called All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team. I was planning to skim only the interesting parts of the book. But I started reading and the suspense drew me in.

    Like

  89. I would love to read this!

    Like

  90. I wish the book signing would have been in Ohio! Take care!

    Like

  91. I’d like to be entered please!

    Like

  92. Linda Rose Miller

    A sobering book I finished recently was Seeking Peace. by Titus Peachey and Linda Gehman Peachey. During the Revolutionary War, ten Mennonite men from PA were imprisoned and banished because they did not swear allegiance to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Around the same time three Amish men from Pennsylvania were sentenced to death because they did not support the military effort. In both cases the men were eventually released.

    This book has many other stories about brave peaceful people. –Linda Rose Miller

    Like

  93. I love reading her other book ,So I’m looking forward to reading this one and see what it’s about. I would love to win one. Something that I like about fall is a nice crisp smell of leaves,All things pumpkin. And the color red

    Like

  94. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis is a favorite I’ve read recently.

    Like

  95. I just read Song of the Shepherdess by Gwen Hertzler. It is a gripping story.

    Like

  96. The best book I’ve read recently is Persuasion by Jane Austen. I also really love the book The Christian Book of Mystical Verse, which was compiled by A.W. Tozer.

    Like

  97. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book; it sounds great!

    Like

  98. Pingback: 3-Day Christmas Special! - Lucinda J Kinsinger

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