Book Review: "Love Me Tender" by Janice Hanna

Summary from As "Love Me Tender" plays in the background, Debbie Carmichael determines to salvage her family's restaurant, Sweet Sal's Soda Shoppe, when her father's health fails. Teen heartthrob Bobby Conrad agrees to perform at a fundraiser concert. But just two weeks before the highly publicized event, Bobby backs out of the benefit. Enter Johnny Hartman, a young, unknown singer to take Conrad's place.

Debbie soon realizes the twists and turns leading up to the concert are divinely orchestrated. And it isn't dreamy Bobby Conrad who has stolen her heart - but the tender love of Johnny Hartman.

This was a cute book about the 1950s when rock music, diners and poodle skirts reign. I really liked seeing how Hollywood stars and rock musicians are portrayed in this book because normally a lot of Christian fiction tends to act like all entertainment is wrong! The story feels colorful and lively. It's fun to reminisce (ok maybe not for me since i wasn't born until 30 years later) but it's a time of simpler things. Hanna throws in tidbits from the news of the era and facts that make our day and age seem more indulgent and complicated. I was pleasantly pleased with how the romance turned out (no wedding...yet). Debbie acts like a normal young woman for the time period. She helps out her family but is also really into rock musicians and movie stars. Her family's diner sounds like a fun place to hang out at and the food sounded really good at as well. I enjoyed learning about the entertainment industry and thought it a hoot that Leave it to Beaver was thought to be a flop.

I did have two complaints about the book. The first was that I felt like the story was a in a bubble because nothing negative about the time period was mentioned at all. There was no talk about politics, no race relations, no international conflict...nothing that would make the story seem like a downer. I know that the focus was meant to be on the diner and Debbie's relationship but it just seemed too idealized for me. The other problem I had was that I felt the story to be a bit preachy at times. Characters going to church and mentioning faith several times is not a problem. However in the middle of the book, a mini sermon was preached about the Ten Commandments and then Debbie's father gave her a talk about how having crushes on movie stars and musicians can be detrimental to being a Christian. It took me out of the story to have a moral message slipped in like that.

Except for these two instances, like I said it's a cute story. It's like watching Grease or American Graffiti. You'll want to drive to your nearest diner and put on some golden oldies because you'll be in the mood after finishing this book.

Love Me Tender by Janice Hanna is published by Summerside Press (2010)

This review copy was provided by a publicist


  1. I had similar feelings about this book. For me, there wasn't enough real conflict or maturity and everything felt too "Leave It To Beaver" perfect.


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