The Lion’s Heart by Dena Hunt encompasses the beautiful teachings of the Catholic Church on same-sex relationships. It won the 2016 Catholic Arts and Letter Award for Adult Fiction.
Paul Meyer has never let anyone get too close. Until Max. The Lion’s Heart is a heart-rending story about love and sacrifice. The emotional struggle of Paul’s same-sex attraction, the guilt he feels, and his ambivalence toward his Catholic faith all come together in this look inside the heart of a tortured man.
It wasn’t the deception, unpleasant as it was, that troubled him. In fact, he simply couldn’t put his finger on it. All he knew that was truly different with Max was that he loved him. And it was that, that single stark truth, which made everything different. He never loved before… He put the empty wine glass on the balcony floor beside him and tried to find again that mysterious, interior quiet that city noise always brought him. But he felt instead a kind of disquiet that seemed urgent… Love was never wrong. He’d heard that so often from sincere people, good people… ‘Love is never wrong.’ More than a platitude, it became a mantra. No one could argue with it, not without being judgmental or bigoted. Paul himself always believed it, although he never thought much about it before—never had much reason to think about it. But then, he’d never really loved anyone before…
“Dena Hunt is a consummate storyteller who does not shirk or shy away from the difficult questions about life and love that her story raises. The Lion’s Heart contains not only the loves of lovers, spouses, parents, and children but also the demons and dragons that selfishness unleashes. The Lion’s Heart is not for the faint-hearted, nor is it for the hard-hearted. It pulsates with a passion that will bring true hearts to their knees.” Joseph Pearce, author of The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, co-editor of the St. Austin Review
“It may be fiction but The Lion’s Heart reflects a truth that is as real as the sunrise. The moral conflicts and dilemmas are treated with dignity and there are no easy answers, though, thank God, there are answers. The style, beauty, and flow of Dena’s writing speaks for itself. I could not give this book a higher rating, for it is at the top of the charts. I thank Ms. Hunt for having the courage and the beauty of heart to see, feel, and love as she did – for this book is, above all, a work of love. May it be accepted as such.” A.K. Frailey, author The Deliverance Trilogy
“Dena Hunt conveys some of the very real struggles of those persons who have same-sex attractions (SSA), especially the shame, confusion, and misery that can accompany such feelings. She shows how that suffering can affect family and friends. The path to understanding homosexuality requires abundant patience, prudence, and good will because the topic is not primarily a controversial cultural issue, but rather a complex personal reality. It is one for which there is not one simple or general explanation – or response. This novel gives us a glimpse into the lives and hearts of those touched by SSA who are striving to understand themselves, and so to love genuinely after the example of Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Church.” Rev. Paul Check, Executive Director, Courage
“Whatever side of controversy you call home, this book is a game-changer. With The Lion’s Heart, Dena Hunt gives us a compassionate story courageously told, depicting the truth in all its dimensions. Readers will never be the same, and with The Lion’s Heart, the landscape of faith-based fiction is changed forever.” Erin McCole Cupp, author, Don’t You Forget About Me
“The Lion’s Heart is a rocketing page-turner that had me hooked from beginning to end. The characters’ very genuine experiences with same-sex attraction, and its consequences, led me to a much deeper understanding and empathy for all those who must bear this burden. Above all, this story powerfully brings to life the reality that love often means saying “no” to one’s own desires, and instead choosing what is truly good for the other.” Christopher Blunt, author of Passport
You can purchase The Lion’s Heart on Kindle at this link.
It’s also available in paperback at this link.
Royalties from this book are donated by the author to Courage International.
From the Arnprior Chronicle Guide:
When local author, Ellen Gable Hrkach, was informed this past July that she was being inducted into her high school’s hall of fame, she was “humbled, honoured and surprised.” The award is “in recognition of outstanding achievement” regarding her success as an author of fiction. The induction ceremony took place on Oct. 7 in Glassboro, N.J. A graduate of Triton High School, class of 1977, Hrkach was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated sixth in a class of over 450 students. She joins 40 other Triton alumni whhave been inducted over the years.
The author recently released her ninth book, Charlotte’s Honor, the second of three books in the Great War — Great Love series. The first in the series, Julia’s Gifts, was published last year. Both books are appropriate for age 12 and over.
Hrkach, who writes under her maiden name (Gable), says that she “enjoys creating stories, especially historical fiction.” In her new book, Charlotte’s Honor, 21-year-old Charlotte enlists as a medical volunteer during the Great War. She begins working in the death ward of the field hospital near Soissons, France, holding dying men’s hands and singing them into eternity.
Award-winning author Therese Heckenkamp highly recommended the novel, saying that it’s an “authentic story of compassion, self-sacrifice, and the true meaning of love.” Dr. Jean Egolf, wrote that “Charlotte’s Honor is a beautiful, tender and moving story set during World War One …” and that “it will not disappoint.”
The main female characters in the series are American and their love interests are Canadian. “I am American, and my husband, James, is Canadian. It’s been fun exploring that relationship with fictional characters.”
Originally from the Philadelphia-South Jersey area, Hrkach is now a dual citizen, having received her Canadian citizenship in 2014. The author began writing Christian fiction when her five sons were small children. The hobby eventually turned into a full-time career of writing, editing, book coaching, and ghostwriting.
She is currently working on the third novel of the Great War — Great Love series, Ella’s Promise, as well as two other novels entitled Where Angels Pass and A Faithful Heart.
Awards and Translations
In 2015, Hrkach’s fifth book, A Subtle Grace, was a finalist in the IAN Book Awards in both the romance and historical categories. In 2010, Hrkach’s second book, In Name Only, won the IPPY Gold Medal in Religious Fiction. In 2006, her first novel, Emily’s Hope, won an Honourable Mention in the IPPY awards.
All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle and in paperback. Her third book, Stealing Jenny, is available in three languages: Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian and will soon be translated into Lithuanian. Julia’s Gifts is available in Italian and will soon be available in Portuguese, Spanish, and French. Stealing Jenny is also available as an audiobook (narrated by Lisa Reichert). Since 2009, the author’s books have been collectively downloaded nearly a quarter of a million times on Kindle. To date, she has published nine original works and has contributed to numerous other books.
Upcoming Book Signings
The author will be signing and selling books at the following events during the month of November:
Friday, Nov. 2: The Knights of Columbus Ladies’ Shopping Night, St. John Chrysostom Parish Hall, Arnprior, Ont., from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 10: Catholic Women’s League Bake Sale and Bazaar, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Hall, Braeside, Ont. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 24: Christmas Craft, Bake and Business Sale, Nick Smith Centre, Arnprior, Ont. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Charlotte’s Honor costs $15 for the print edition and $4.99 for the Kindle edition. It’s available online via Amazon and through the publisher’s website at www.fullquiverpublishing.com. More information can be found at the author’s website: www.ellengable.com.
A few months ago, I was thrilled to find out that my Alma Mater (Triton Regional High School, Runnemede, New Jersey) was planning to induct me (and ten other alumni) into their Alumni Hall of Fame. The ceremony was on October 7, 2018.
Special thanks to Melissa Shepard, Ed Stahl, Tom Dorsey, and the entire TRHS Alumni Hall of Fame Committee. It was a wonderful celebration and a great opportunity to reconnect with some of my fellow classmates.
Here is a portion of the bio that was read aloud by Tom Dorsey, a member of the Alumni Committee:
Publishing under the name Ellen Gable, she is the author of nine books, hundreds of print and web articles and contributor to ten additional books. She is also an editor, book coach, publisher and ghostwriter. She served as the president of the Catholic Writers Guild from 2012 to 2015.
Ms. Gable’s second book won the IPPY Gold Medal in 2010 and her third book was an Amazon Kindle bestseller in Religious Suspense. Amazon reviewers identify Ms. Gable as a “talented author” and “masterful storyteller,” who has the “ability to writer beautiful Catholic fiction in any genre.”
In A World Such as Heaven Intended, Amara McKirnan and Nathan Simmons share a devotion to their Catholic faith but their loyalties lie on opposite sides of the conflict. Dedicated to the Confederate cause, Amara offers to help out at her uncle’s makeshift hospital in Atlanta. Fate brought Nathan to their doorstep and into Amara’s life. Little does Amara know that the wounded soldier she cares for harbors a secret that will not only jeopardize his life but hers as well.
Follow Amara and Nathan’s story from the heart of war-torn Atlanta to the Northern Georgia battlefields to the plains of East Texas as their lives become intertwined in a way that shatters the separate worlds they once knew.
“Amanda Lauer brings history to life in this fast-paced, emotionally charged, splendid tale. Extremely enjoyable.”
May McGoldrick, International Bestselling Author of The Thistle and Rose, Secret Vows and the Highland Treasure Trilogy
“The South of 1864 springs to life in ‘A World Such as Heaven Intended.’ Rich in details of language, setting and social mores, Lauer takes readers on the journey of her protagonist, Amara McKirnan, a strong woman ahead of her time who wrestles with her blended family and the horrors of the Civil War to find the peace and happiness she is convinced awaits her.”
Marni Graff, Author, The Nora Tierney Mysteries
“‘A World Such as Heaven Intended’ is a fast-moving historical romance which will keep you turning pages until the very end! An excellent read.”
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, Author, The Catholic Baby Name Book
“A charming romance with well-drawn characters and clear imagery, offering the reader a chance to slip away to another era and come home refreshed.”
A.K. Frailey, Author, The Deliverance Trilogy
A Life Such as Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer is now available on Kindle! Print edition will be available in a few days!
The Civil War rages around her, yet Brigid McGinnis has her life planned out. That was, until she stumbles across an unconscious Confederate soldier on her father’s property.
A blow to the head stole Dominic Warner’s memory. The beautiful fraulein who nurses him back to health steals something even more important — his heart.
For political and societal reasons, Brigid and Dominic must go their separate ways. They each get caught up in the war and put their lives on the line to remain true to the values and faith they share. Follow Brigid and Dominic from the battlefields surrounding Atlanta, along slave escape routes, to Little Rock, and eventually to the plains of Eastern Texas, as they learn to trust, forgive, love, and surrender to a plan greater than their own.
“A civil war romance that blends heroic choices with faithful love.”
A.K. Frailey, Author, Last of Her Kind.
“A moving love story set during the Civil War… Lauer brings to life different perspectives, fears, and hopes of people on both sides of this terrible war. Faith plays a beautiful part in this story, as the protagonists face trials, choices, and self-evaluation. I highly recommend ‘A Life Such as Heaven Intended’ for lovers of historical American fiction.”
Theresa Linden, author of award-winning Battle for His Soul