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A story about the price of fame, the truth sacrificed on its altar, and the love that brings a prodigal daughter home. As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don't pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she's caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, an A story about the price of fame, the truth sacrificed on its altar, and the love that brings a prodigal daughter home. As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don't pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she's caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, and compromise. Finally, she's about to sign with a major studio and make up for it all. Instead, she wakes up next to a dead film star and is on the run for a murder she didn't commit. Only two unwilling men--Oscar, a Mexican gardener in danger of deportation, and Max, a too-handsome agent battling his own demons--can help Mina escape corrupt police on the take and the studio big shots trying to frame her. But even her quick thinking and grit can't protect her from herself. Alone, penniless, and carrying a shameful secret, Mina faces the consequences of the heartbreaking choices that brought her to ruin . . . and just might bring her back to where she belongs.


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A story about the price of fame, the truth sacrificed on its altar, and the love that brings a prodigal daughter home. As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don't pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she's caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, an A story about the price of fame, the truth sacrificed on its altar, and the love that brings a prodigal daughter home. As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don't pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she's caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, and compromise. Finally, she's about to sign with a major studio and make up for it all. Instead, she wakes up next to a dead film star and is on the run for a murder she didn't commit. Only two unwilling men--Oscar, a Mexican gardener in danger of deportation, and Max, a too-handsome agent battling his own demons--can help Mina escape corrupt police on the take and the studio big shots trying to frame her. But even her quick thinking and grit can't protect her from herself. Alone, penniless, and carrying a shameful secret, Mina faces the consequences of the heartbreaking choices that brought her to ruin . . . and just might bring her back to where she belongs.

30 review for In a Far-Off Land

  1. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Chiavaroli

    From Endorsement: LOVED this book! One of the best books I’ve read this year! In A Far-Off Land is a beautiful story echoing the power of mercy, forgiveness, and love as it peels back the multi-faceted layers of those living in Hollywood during the Great Depression. Stephanie Landsem weaves a heroine with as much spunk and edge as heart and soul. Just a gorgeous, page-turning novel.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    1931 Los Angeles, CA and Odessa, South Dakota In a Far-Off Land is inspired by the prodigal son story from the Bible. The novel is told from multiple points of view: Mina, Max, Oscar & Papa (Mina's father). A central question is should a risk be taken, even a foolish one, if that is the burning desire of your heart? Mina wants with everything in her to be a movie star. She believes if she can only make it to Hollywood, she would become a big star and be able to bring back money needed to save her 1931 Los Angeles, CA and Odessa, South Dakota In a Far-Off Land is inspired by the prodigal son story from the Bible. The novel is told from multiple points of view: Mina, Max, Oscar & Papa (Mina's father). A central question is should a risk be taken, even a foolish one, if that is the burning desire of your heart? Mina wants with everything in her to be a movie star. She believes if she can only make it to Hollywood, she would become a big star and be able to bring back money needed to save her father's farm. As you can guess, Mina's time in Hollywood turns out to be drastically different than she envisioned. While the entire novel was good, the final 30-50 pages were simply spectacular. To avoid spoilers, I'll leave it at that. Phenomenal final pages. The author does a wonderful job of bringing the time period (Great Depression and Hollywood lifestyle) to life in the pages. The characters are incredibly well written. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    Endorsement: Fans of Susan Meissner and Kristina McMorris will be spellbound by Landsem's gorgeously researched historical. Told with heart-wrenching conviction, In A Far Off Land is a lyrical and thematic treatise on redemption, loss and love and wielded with such surprising grace the reader will have many breath-catching moments. Landsem is a treasure of inspirational historical fiction and In A Far Off Land is no less than a masterpiece. Endorsement: Fans of Susan Meissner and Kristina McMorris will be spellbound by Landsem's gorgeously researched historical. Told with heart-wrenching conviction, In A Far Off Land is a lyrical and thematic treatise on redemption, loss and love and wielded with such surprising grace the reader will have many breath-catching moments. Landsem is a treasure of inspirational historical fiction and In A Far Off Land is no less than a masterpiece.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Overall, I had conflicting feelings about this book. I picked it up on a whim as I had a chance to listen to the audiobook and had seen the cover around. The first 75% of the book was honestly a 1-star. Finally the last 25% of the book got a deeper and more meaningful message, and that section would be a solid 4 stars, so I’m settling for 2 stars by averaging and rounding up. It felt like a secular novel and though the descriptions were clean, the themes were very decidedly adult. To toss in a f Overall, I had conflicting feelings about this book. I picked it up on a whim as I had a chance to listen to the audiobook and had seen the cover around. The first 75% of the book was honestly a 1-star. Finally the last 25% of the book got a deeper and more meaningful message, and that section would be a solid 4 stars, so I’m settling for 2 stars by averaging and rounding up. It felt like a secular novel and though the descriptions were clean, the themes were very decidedly adult. To toss in a faith message at the very end of the story left it feeling unbalanced and incomplete, to me. It had no time to mature and grow and much of her final journey was simply summarized. I had a hard time getting into the book in the first place, as there are some massive backstory dumps in the early chapters. I struggled to adjust to the narrator’s unusual speaking cadence. I also didn’t like that the view of the border patrol and police was presented as unequivocally corrupt, demanding bribes and attempting to frame someone for murder, and so on. Sure, there are some bad apples. But the vast majority of these groups were and are well-meaning regular people trying to protect others. The worst years of the Los Angeles police were in the 1970s and the worst years of the BP officers, the 1990s. There is zero historical evidence to suggest that both groups were simultaneously 100% corrupt in the 1930s. I found this portrayal, especially now during such an attack on police this past year, to be extremely tone-deaf and offensive. There was an instance mentioned of Mexican deportations as well. It took me a while to research this, as I had never heard of it before, despite having heavily read period Westerns and encountered plenty of respected Hispanic characters. It appears the deportation phase wasn’t well documented and estimates range in the large variation of 300,000-1.2 million over three years from the US total. Yes, many of these were in the LA area, but the estimates of citizens scooped up range from “a handful” to “perhaps a few hundred,” so I found it odd that the whole Hispanic population would be petrified and hiding in the first year of that, where the historical photos show them gathering en masse to wave at a few dozen departing friends on the deportation train, not hiding in the gutters terrified of discovery. I would have liked it much better if the beginning leading up to her crisis was a lot smaller portion of the book. It was just atmosphere, atmosphere, etc of old Hollywood, with a few names thrown in as Easter eggs. Not a lot of digging into inner thoughts. When we finally got to the part where the parable comes into play, there is so little of the book left. We are left uncertain of the state of Max’s soul, (view spoiler)[since it seems he simply went back to the Catholic church (was he going to leave or was she going to have to join the church with them in order to marry?) and we didn’t get to see what was going on with his faith while we watched him wrestle with some other really deep things. (hide spoiler)] I would be interested in a sequel where they actually got to show themselves acting on the new resolutions and staying on a better path than previously. Content: direct profanity, sanitized swears, prostitution, infidelity, heavy drinking, smoking, sleeping with a married man to get a part, theft, etc

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tara Johnson

    A beautiful, compelling story of forgiveness and redemption. The Prodigal Son mingled with a dash of intrigue, the dark culture of old Hollywood, and a romance that mirrors the love of God. Excellent read!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    Depression-era Hollywood provides the perfect stage for the desperate and colorful cast of In a Far-Off Land. This tale is that of a journey from brokenness to healing, from emptiness to wholeness. Through the eyes of two characters who could not be more different, Stephanie Landsem gives us a timeless story of the prodigal traveling far from home and finding the way back again. Fans of Francine Rivers’ A Bridge to Haven will not want to miss this.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate Breslin

    Brilliantly crafted, this edgy, inspiring Prodigal story is like nothing I’ve read before! From the first page, this remarkable tale set in glittering Hollywood during the Great Depression captured my imagination. I felt dropped into a cast of kindred spirits; humankind in all its flawed state, with scandal and secrets and the deep wounds we’ve all carried, never healing if not for the power of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Aspiring actress Mina Sinclaire’s amazing pilgrimage from the dark hollow Brilliantly crafted, this edgy, inspiring Prodigal story is like nothing I’ve read before! From the first page, this remarkable tale set in glittering Hollywood during the Great Depression captured my imagination. I felt dropped into a cast of kindred spirits; humankind in all its flawed state, with scandal and secrets and the deep wounds we’ve all carried, never healing if not for the power of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Aspiring actress Mina Sinclaire’s amazing pilgrimage from the dark hollows of her despair into the light of unconditional Love will offer hope to anyone who has ever believed themselves beyond redemption. Bravo!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    This unfortunately was a DNF read for me after ~25%. I initially was drawn to the book by its cover and intriguing synopsis, but found the more adult content (something I've personally committed not to read as it stays in my head for a lot longer than I'd like) off-putting, and the regular discussion and consumption of alcohol somewhat triggering--again, due to personal choices in my own life. The book certainly reveals the unseemly underbelly of Hollywood--something by no means unique to the Gre This unfortunately was a DNF read for me after ~25%. I initially was drawn to the book by its cover and intriguing synopsis, but found the more adult content (something I've personally committed not to read as it stays in my head for a lot longer than I'd like) off-putting, and the regular discussion and consumption of alcohol somewhat triggering--again, due to personal choices in my own life. The book certainly reveals the unseemly underbelly of Hollywood--something by no means unique to the Great Depression, as we've seen to present day, especially with the rise of #MeToo. Depression-era struggles (in many forms) were also vividly brought to life here. I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ebos Aifuobhokhan

    I would give this book a 10 star if that was available. This book is one of the most beautiful prodigal story out there. Amazing story of love lost and gained, of forgiveness, second chances, grace, the beauty of family and having Godly people in one's corner.  The Book was about Mina. She veered off the straight path and went to Los Angeles to become an actress. Her dreams became just dreams when life threw the most dire of curve balls at her. Her journey through the horrors she went through was I would give this book a 10 star if that was available. This book is one of the most beautiful prodigal story out there. Amazing story of love lost and gained, of forgiveness, second chances, grace, the beauty of family and having Godly people in one's corner.  The Book was about Mina. She veered off the straight path and went to Los Angeles to become an actress. Her dreams became just dreams when life threw the most dire of curve balls at her. Her journey through the horrors she went through was so touching, painful to read but redemptive at the end.  If this is the first of the author you are reading, it definitely won't be your last. The story is doused with so much love, mercy and forgiveness that will make one cry. A story of love and grace given that could never be deserved or earned even if one tried. Love that never says no or enough is the perfect title for this book. The life changing lessons of faith are more than inspiring and worthy of emulation.  If you love historical fiction that will make you cry both happy and sad tears, filled with intrigue, mystery and suspense but also inspire your heart to live a life of love, then In A Far Off Land by Landsem Stephanie is the perfect book for you.  I received a copy of this book and this is my honest opinion.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem is an excellent historical fiction novel that has mystery, suspense, intrigue, an excellent character cast, and a message of hope and faith. I really enjoyed this novel. It is so unique. Not only does it feature the Depression-era of the US, but also old-Hollywood. The combination of the location and timeframe really give it that old movie-Tinseltown feel, but with a darker, more hopeless and disheartening feel. It is here where we find our characters: down In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem is an excellent historical fiction novel that has mystery, suspense, intrigue, an excellent character cast, and a message of hope and faith. I really enjoyed this novel. It is so unique. Not only does it feature the Depression-era of the US, but also old-Hollywood. The combination of the location and timeframe really give it that old movie-Tinseltown feel, but with a darker, more hopeless and disheartening feel. It is here where we find our characters: down and out, pushed into corners, losing loved ones, bright futures, jaded by misfortune, sadness at what is beyond their control and what they have encountered due to mistakes of their own, and on the edge of something potentially much worse. Each brought to this moment through different situations and circumstances, yet all similar: hoping for love, happiness, acceptance, purpose, and a faith that feels as if it has extinguished within their own lives. I really liked reading the stories of Mina and Max. I enjoyed the transformations that occurred, the chance for love, forgiveness, and family to return to both of them. It was so heartwarming to see the mercy and unrelenting faith of Mina’s father, the way Mina was able to find her way back home, and the happy ending, faith restored, that all the characters deserved. 5/5 stars Thank you EW and Tyndale House Publishers for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Instagram, and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 5/4/21.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carissa

    first reviewed here: http://belovedgraceful-carissasbooksh... Title: In a Far-off Land Author: Stephanie Landsem Pg: 384 Genre: Christian Historical Rating: 3 stars Publisher: Tyndale In A Far Off Land by Stephanie Landsem is a book that’s slightly out of my comfort zone but I did enjoy it. This one was edger that other Christian fiction that I’ve read but it was worth the read. I enjoyed the prodigal son retelling in 1930s Hollywood which was a setting that worked for the type of retelling. The autho first reviewed here: http://belovedgraceful-carissasbooksh... Title: In a Far-off Land Author: Stephanie Landsem Pg: 384 Genre: Christian Historical Rating: 3 stars Publisher: Tyndale In A Far Off Land by Stephanie Landsem is a book that’s slightly out of my comfort zone but I did enjoy it. This one was edger that other Christian fiction that I’ve read but it was worth the read. I enjoyed the prodigal son retelling in 1930s Hollywood which was a setting that worked for the type of retelling. The author stayed true to history and it’s easy to see that she did her research in order to do justice to hard topics. Even now no one wants to admit it but during the depression Americans weren’t fond of immigrants taken what few jobs and the author handled that event in the novel truthfully. As well as the police corruption in the L.A. police department in the 1930s which is indeed based in historical fact. That the author handled tactfully. This book is worth the read but it’s a hard read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Regina Jennings

    Hollywood in its heyday seems like a foreign land to a girl from a South Dakota farm during the Great Depression, but when in Rome… Mina Sinclaire comes to Hollywood hoping to make a fortune that will redeem her shameful betrayal of her family, but Hollywood has no mercy for desperate girls. Just when she's afraid she'll have to return home in disgrace she meets Max, a handsome agent who promises to make her a star. But the longer Max knows her, the fewer calls he sends her on. Max doesn't unders Hollywood in its heyday seems like a foreign land to a girl from a South Dakota farm during the Great Depression, but when in Rome… Mina Sinclaire comes to Hollywood hoping to make a fortune that will redeem her shameful betrayal of her family, but Hollywood has no mercy for desperate girls. Just when she's afraid she'll have to return home in disgrace she meets Max, a handsome agent who promises to make her a star. But the longer Max knows her, the fewer calls he sends her on. Max doesn't understand Mina's desperation, so she takes matters in her own hands, with disastrous results. Both gritty and glamorous, Stephanie Landsem's In a Far-Off Land digs beneath the sparkle of gilded Hollywood to uncover the true gold of love, mercy and forgiveness. Don't miss this unforgettable story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kylie Hunt

    "You’ll find your way, my girl." Stephanie Landsem spins a beautiful tale reminiscent of the biblical "Prodigal Son" within the pages of her book “In a Far-Off Land.” I was intrigued to see a book written in the 1930's and specifically old Hollywood - the characters have all been written with such care and you can tell the author put the work in to research everything throughly, as it shows throughout the story. Mina had you cheering for her to make good choices throughout the tale, in spite of her "You’ll find your way, my girl." Stephanie Landsem spins a beautiful tale reminiscent of the biblical "Prodigal Son" within the pages of her book “In a Far-Off Land.” I was intrigued to see a book written in the 1930's and specifically old Hollywood - the characters have all been written with such care and you can tell the author put the work in to research everything throughly, as it shows throughout the story. Mina had you cheering for her to make good choices throughout the tale, in spite of her many bad ones. If you're a fan of well-done historical fiction with faith & forgiveness woven throughout, definitely check out this book! ***Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the digital copy of this book. All views and opinions expressed in this review are my own.***

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    Hollywood 1930s Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Charlie Chaplain, a young girl wants into the movies. This is a surprising, heartfelt story that tugged at my heart, and one I cannot stop thinking about. This gorgeous cover first grabbed my attention and made me want to look inside. I loved how the author brought readers into the golden age of motion pictures; with its ups, downs, and everything in between. Hollywood is a city that used people up in their hopes of making it big. I was quickly caught Hollywood 1930s Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Charlie Chaplain, a young girl wants into the movies. This is a surprising, heartfelt story that tugged at my heart, and one I cannot stop thinking about. This gorgeous cover first grabbed my attention and made me want to look inside. I loved how the author brought readers into the golden age of motion pictures; with its ups, downs, and everything in between. Hollywood is a city that used people up in their hopes of making it big. I was quickly caught up into this fabulously, layered story, with its larger-than-life characters and a situation that made my heart ache. I was blown away at how this author took readers on a profound, intriguing journey with Mina as she desires to make it big in the movies to make things right with her family. She tries extremely hard but does not get anywhere. Then one night Mina finds herself in more trouble than she ever thought imaginable. There was no going home now. The author throws in a mystery that takes the story to a whole new level. I loved that it unraveled in a big way. I liked what the author had to say about her new book, “My hope is that through this reimagining of the Parable of the Lost Son, we can see ourselves in one – or all – of the characters: Max, seeking redemption and forgiveness; Oscar, obsessed with justice; Penny, unable to forgive; Ephraim, a parent faithfully waiting for the return of a wayward child. And most of all, Mina, who longs to return to her father and be forgiven.” This novel would work well for your next book club pick. And one to read just for the fun of it. This is the first novel I have read by this author it will not be the last. Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! The Book Club Network blog www.bookfun.org

  15. 5 out of 5

    Grace Johnson

    12 chapters. I read the first two and the last one. Does that count as reading? Probably not. Does that count as finishing? Most certainly not. But sometimes a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. Review to come. 12 chapters. I read the first two and the last one. Does that count as reading? Probably not. Does that count as finishing? Most certainly not. But sometimes a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. Review to come.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer K

    What a wonderful prodigal daughter story! I really appreciated Stephanie Landsem’s story telling. She kept this engaging well researched historical fiction interesting with her wonderful characters and their struggles. Landsem maintained the realistic 1930’s Hollywood lifestyle without going into graphic details. Then she added a little bit of romance and suspense to complete the picture. A great story, don’t miss it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    3.5 stars In a far-off land takes you to Hollywood in the 1930's, the author does a good job of immersing you into the time in the culture, and the atmosphere of the period. This book is well written with a hook in that first chapter that had me wondering how this was going to work out. I usually read, and enjoy books with a lighter hearted or faster plot line, so this book is out of my normal reading taste. This book takes a take a good look at the events in that culture in the flavor of what wa 3.5 stars In a far-off land takes you to Hollywood in the 1930's, the author does a good job of immersing you into the time in the culture, and the atmosphere of the period. This book is well written with a hook in that first chapter that had me wondering how this was going to work out. I usually read, and enjoy books with a lighter hearted or faster plot line, so this book is out of my normal reading taste. This book takes a take a good look at the events in that culture in the flavor of what was going around in the time. Based on content this book it does have more adult content and heavier series issues, and that's to be expected with this story. In some parts I did have a hard time completely connecting or rooting for the character that just because of how hard the story was. The author did do a good job of wrapping up the story but it took a while for me to get to that point. If you are looking for a book that has a strong message of mercy and the social issues of the day, youmay enjoy this one. I recieved a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Netgally. All opinions in this review are honest and completely my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    Newsflash: Christian fiction does not have to be cheesy. It can be gritty, challenging and thought-provoking, like this novel. Lansdem has skilfully written a parable about a prodigal daughter, set in the Depression-Era old-Hollywood. Far from a trite filler, she delves deep into the meaning of redemption, forgiveness and sacrificial love. Yet, I didn’t feel preached at - I was captivated by her vidid descriptions of 1930s Hollywood. Whilst Mina was definitely the main act, the supporting cast w Newsflash: Christian fiction does not have to be cheesy. It can be gritty, challenging and thought-provoking, like this novel. Lansdem has skilfully written a parable about a prodigal daughter, set in the Depression-Era old-Hollywood. Far from a trite filler, she delves deep into the meaning of redemption, forgiveness and sacrificial love. Yet, I didn’t feel preached at - I was captivated by her vidid descriptions of 1930s Hollywood. Whilst Mina was definitely the main act, the supporting cast were also allowed to shine and the sub-plot regarding the lives of Mexican immigrants was equally fascinating. Lansdem gives us romance, suspense and intrigue. Max and Hugo could have been as real as Chaplin and Estaire, so fleshed-out were they. I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed every second. I thoroughly recommend.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    Such an excellent novel! Stephanie Landsem places themes from the Parable of the Prodigal Son in 1930s-era Hollywood in this compelling tale of ambition, glamor that's all on the surface, family loyalty, and forgiveness. Such an excellent novel! Stephanie Landsem places themes from the Parable of the Prodigal Son in 1930s-era Hollywood in this compelling tale of ambition, glamor that's all on the surface, family loyalty, and forgiveness.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    This is an old biblical tale (Prodigal Son) retold creatively and magnificently through the historic events of the old Hollywood experience, the Great Depression and the Mexican American Deportation era. We walk alongside each main character (Mina, Max, Oscar, etc.) as they struggle courageously with individual choices made through extremely hard times. It is an endearing tale that flows effortlessly to its conclusion. It is filled with examples of great individual acts of sacrifice, generosity, This is an old biblical tale (Prodigal Son) retold creatively and magnificently through the historic events of the old Hollywood experience, the Great Depression and the Mexican American Deportation era. We walk alongside each main character (Mina, Max, Oscar, etc.) as they struggle courageously with individual choices made through extremely hard times. It is an endearing tale that flows effortlessly to its conclusion. It is filled with examples of great individual acts of sacrifice, generosity, love, compassion, forgiveness and goodness. It is both a great historical and inspirational read. I truly enjoyed reading this story. Stephanie Landsem is a master storyteller!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Alfveby Crea

    Wow, what a tale set in 1930's Hollywood during the Great Depression. A Midwestern girl, Minerva Sinclaire, runs away from home with dreams of making it big in Hollywood and making money to help save her family's farm. "I'd thought California was different, that the hard times didn't dare visit this far-off land of dreams. Boy, was I wrong about that." A wonderful cast of characters join Minerva during her difficult journey, some want to help willingly, and others not so much. Max Clark, Minerva Wow, what a tale set in 1930's Hollywood during the Great Depression. A Midwestern girl, Minerva Sinclaire, runs away from home with dreams of making it big in Hollywood and making money to help save her family's farm. "I'd thought California was different, that the hard times didn't dare visit this far-off land of dreams. Boy, was I wrong about that." A wonderful cast of characters join Minerva during her difficult journey, some want to help willingly, and others not so much. Max Clark, Minerva's agent is handsome, well-connected in Hollywood, and takes her under his wing. I loved the hardworking Mexican immigrants Oscar, Lupita, Padre Ramirez, and others who add so much. This story contains some of the nitty-gritty experiences of Hollywood, the lavish parties, drugs, and promiscuity. Minevra Sinclaire makes successive decisions to survive that she is not proud of. Add murder and corruption into the picture and you will find yourself needing to keep reading to see what happens. This prodigal daughter story kept me turning pages with a beautifully satisfying conclusion. A reminder of God's tender mercy no matter how lost or unworthy we may feel.

  22. 5 out of 5

    LeAnne

    In this retelling of Jesus’ Parable of the Lost Son as a daughter running off to Hollywood in the 1930s, Landsem strips away the glamour to reveal the sordid underside of the film business in the middle of the Great Depression. Mina longs to make it big so she can pay back what she stole from her father and sister when she left. At least, she tells herself that’s the motivation for doing things that would have shamed her back in Odessa, South Dakota. It takes reaching bottom to admit her own sin In this retelling of Jesus’ Parable of the Lost Son as a daughter running off to Hollywood in the 1930s, Landsem strips away the glamour to reveal the sordid underside of the film business in the middle of the Great Depression. Mina longs to make it big so she can pay back what she stole from her father and sister when she left. At least, she tells herself that’s the motivation for doing things that would have shamed her back in Odessa, South Dakota. It takes reaching bottom to admit her own sin and returning home, broken and penniless, to discover grace. Max has lived “the good life” since he was a child, but he has seen what it can do to the unwary. Falling in love with Mina gives him the chance to rediscover who he really is. I loved Max and Mina and agonized as they missed each other in their determination to keep up pretenses. Landsem’s secondary characters of Oscar and his immigrant Mexican family are also fully drawn, showing us the less-than-glamorous side California in the ‘30s and the tragedy of how the Mexican community was treated. As the child of people growing up in that era, I found it amusing to hear some of my grandfather’s favorite phrases coming out like “See you in the funny papers!” The book is well researched and includes lots of film references and stars from the era. I had forgotten how pervasive smoking was at the time! The book is published by Tyndale House, a Christian publisher, but a bit grittier than usual for Christian fiction without ever being graphic. Landsem uses Mina’s shame for her actions to avoid getting too specific.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michele Smith

    Finished this book and loved it. Takes you into the 1930s Hollywood, The Great Depression, and the Repatriation - a shameful little known period in US History. The characters come to life and felt like the book could have been written in the 30s. Was fun encountering real-life personalities like William Randolph Hearst, and all that applesauce. (Loved the 30s slang). Was hard to put the book down with so much going on.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    What a fun book! I love the descriptions and the layers that the author put into it. It’s easy to envision the era. To be honest, I listened to the audiobook first and was put off by the reader. Then read the book and enjoyed it so much more! A great book club book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    This was a wonderful surprise. Set in 1930s Hollywood right when the depression was taking a strong hold in America, we meet Mina, who seeks to change her farming family's fortunes by running away to make it big as a movie star. How hard can it be for an attractive young lady? Mina holds secrets and meets Max, a budding agent, who is so dedicated to his talent that he only looks after one person at a time. Max, too, holds secrets. Of where he comes from, his heritage. Like Mina. The plot revolves This was a wonderful surprise. Set in 1930s Hollywood right when the depression was taking a strong hold in America, we meet Mina, who seeks to change her farming family's fortunes by running away to make it big as a movie star. How hard can it be for an attractive young lady? Mina holds secrets and meets Max, a budding agent, who is so dedicated to his talent that he only looks after one person at a time. Max, too, holds secrets. Of where he comes from, his heritage. Like Mina. The plot revolves around an investigation into the apparent murder of a top-billing actor. Unfortunately, Mina wakes in the man's bed to discover he is very dead. And she can't remember a thing about the night before. This is the mystery/suspense angle of the story, however, what is far more appealing are the cast of characters that Ms Landsem introduces us to. Oscar and Lupita, Mexican migrants, who happen to work at the deceased man's estate become entwined in the mystery. Then there's Angel and Roman, Oscar's brothers and their mama. We get a real sense of the poverty of the time that especially impacted the migrant populations of the city of angels. Besides unemployment and racism there was this constant threat of being deported back to Mexico simply because there were insufficient jobs and the like for everyone and least of all those who had recently immigrated. Ms Landsem does a marvellous job helping us to see and feel the struggles of the era. Her research was tremendous in bringing it alive. We even get to meet Charlie Chaplin and William Randolph Hearst to namedrop a few of the stars that make an appearance. But this is Mina and Max's story. Mina isn't your typical beautiful heroine. She's a thief, a liar and does what she believes needs to be done to make it in Hollywood. It's a town that is low on trust and big on making it whatever the cost. In all the squalor, the superficiality of the glitz and glamor, we find a story of redemption, mercy, forgiveness and love. This is a re-telling of the Bible's Prodigal Son parable but with two daughters instead. Mina has an elder sister, Penny, who like the elder son in the parable is similarly stuck in her self-righteousness and prejudice. The girls dad is perhaps the ultimate hero of the story even though his part is small (Chapter 11 is brilliantly written) but what we see in the transformation of both Mina and Max is very special. We see the power of love and forgiveness as well as the significance of making one vulnerable to another's secrets in order to be in a position to receive the love we're all created to enjoy. This is a beautiful historical fiction/romance with some suspense that I wholly recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Raechel Lenore

    What a story. I have been eagerly anticipating this new book of Stephanie Landsem's, and it didn't disappoint.  "In a Far-Off Land" is a rich story of realistic and scarred characters. It is difficult to aptly sum up this book or my thoughts into a review, but it really was a poignant novel. The correlations to The Prodigal Son parable in the Bible was beautifully done, and the ending was so, so touching.Mina's character comes across the page just beautifully. She suffered so much, yet learned so What a story. I have been eagerly anticipating this new book of Stephanie Landsem's, and it didn't disappoint.  "In a Far-Off Land" is a rich story of realistic and scarred characters. It is difficult to aptly sum up this book or my thoughts into a review, but it really was a poignant novel. The correlations to The Prodigal Son parable in the Bible was beautifully done, and the ending was so, so touching.Mina's character comes across the page just beautifully. She suffered so much, yet learned so much too. My heart felt for her through every turn of the page. At the beginning, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Max, but this quote summed him up well: "I knew he'd say he wasn't the hero, could hear his voice saying it. But isn't that what a real hero would say?" As Mina said, he was a hero character. The more that was revealed of his character, the more I felt for him.Oscar was an important character too, and I loved him just as much as Mina and Max. And Lupita. This book really does have some vibrant characters. <3 I will say that this isn't a story for the faint of heart; it's more of a heavy read, a serious read. It is stunning, but there are parts that might be hard to read. Mina dealt with a great deal, and her entry into the Hollywood lifestyle during the 1930's was displayed across the page. I would recommend it for mature readers.I absolutely loved its ending. The whole novel wrapped up so beautifully, and the message came through at the end that God's love and mercy is unending...no matter what we've done.<3 I received a copy from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Bridgewater

    In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem is a prodigal daughter and the trials she has to face while she roams to Hollywood during the 1930's. First a word of warning, there is hints of lots of drinking and intimate relationships between Minerva and many men, so I would be a little nervous at allowing a young lady reading this story. Not that Landsem actually shows what happens, but she does have moments that are close to the action and leading up to it that might be not suitable for younger ladie In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem is a prodigal daughter and the trials she has to face while she roams to Hollywood during the 1930's. First a word of warning, there is hints of lots of drinking and intimate relationships between Minerva and many men, so I would be a little nervous at allowing a young lady reading this story. Not that Landsem actually shows what happens, but she does have moments that are close to the action and leading up to it that might be not suitable for younger ladies. Other than this, the story was realistic and haunting. Of course, it was not hard to draw the connections between this story and the Prodigal story in the Bible. The story was well-written and definitely captures my attention. I loved reading about this time period, and it was a unique twist on the Gilded age storyline. It was nicely done. Overall, In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem is a gritty, realistic view of the underbelly of the 1930's Hollywood. I received a complimentary copy of In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Hunt

    First, this was an engaging story that kept me up way too late! It is beautifully written and the historic details are superb. From the real people mixed in with the fictional, from the clothing to the restaurants, it was easy to feel “there.” The authors I automatically re-read are the ones who provide this kind of immersive experience, and I’m already looking forward to Landsem’s next book. The author tackled a lot of tough subjects with grace and discretion. For example, the characters’ drinki First, this was an engaging story that kept me up way too late! It is beautifully written and the historic details are superb. From the real people mixed in with the fictional, from the clothing to the restaurants, it was easy to feel “there.” The authors I automatically re-read are the ones who provide this kind of immersive experience, and I’m already looking forward to Landsem’s next book. The author tackled a lot of tough subjects with grace and discretion. For example, the characters’ drinking and smoking habits, while rarely seen in Christian fiction, were accurate to both the times and their character, and so were not off-putting. The immigration/racial issues and the decadence of Hollywood were all tackled head on. So I was a little disappointed that the Gospel was not given more clearly with that same grace and discretion. I don’t think every “Christian” book needs to include the Gospel. Some books have a different message—learning courage, trusting God, etc. But IMO, this story, as a prodigal retelling, did need to go a little further. I was left feeling ambivalent about Mina’s relationship with the Lord. Was she a believer who got away from her faith or an unbeliever who grew up in church but never made her faith her own? Was she really ever reconciled to Christ or just to her father? There seemed to be more emphasis on her forgiving herself and accepting her earthly happily ever after than on her receiving the full forgiveness of Christ and the eternal life that He gives.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Suzie Waltner

    Stephanie Landsem immerses readers in the glitz, glamour, and underbelly of 1930s Hollywood in In a Far-Off Land. The first chapter introduces us to Mina, a woman determined to find her place among the stars in Hollywood. She crosses moral lines, justifies her actions, and hunts for notoriety while carrying around the shame and guilt of her decisions. I didn’t always sympathize with Mina, but I did want her to find her way home. There are definitely some heavy issues happening in this book, which Stephanie Landsem immerses readers in the glitz, glamour, and underbelly of 1930s Hollywood in In a Far-Off Land. The first chapter introduces us to Mina, a woman determined to find her place among the stars in Hollywood. She crosses moral lines, justifies her actions, and hunts for notoriety while carrying around the shame and guilt of her decisions. I didn’t always sympathize with Mina, but I did want her to find her way home. There are definitely some heavy issues happening in this book, which lend to the gritty portrayal of those seeking fame and fortune. But there is also mercy and hope and healing and all of the darkness and hurt and sadness that lead up to it make the ending that much more beautiful. My favorite character in the book was Mina’s patient and consistent father, and it is not difficult to distinguish the parallels between this story and that of the prodigal son. Disclosure statement: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Prodigal daughter from farm in Odessa, SD journeys to 1930's Hollywood looking for fame and fortune to save the family farm and finds more than she bargained for. Gets caught in middle of murder, mystery and dark side of Hollywood. Stephanie takes you right to that era in detail, characters and feel like you are in 1930 Hollywood. Prodigal daughter from farm in Odessa, SD journeys to 1930's Hollywood looking for fame and fortune to save the family farm and finds more than she bargained for. Gets caught in middle of murder, mystery and dark side of Hollywood. Stephanie takes you right to that era in detail, characters and feel like you are in 1930 Hollywood.

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