Judith D Collins
Water From My Heart
By: Charles Martin
Publisher: FaithWords/Center Street
Publication Date: 5/19/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars +
#1 2015 Best Fiction
Top 10 Books of 2015
May Blog Tour "Thanks for stopping by today, to learn more about this extraordinary book, WATER FROM MY HEART, by New York Times bestselling author, Charles Martin-- one of my all time favorite authors and top book of 2015!"
Enjoy the vidoes, while learning more about the inspiration behind this powerful story and Charles' personal connection with Nicaragua.
I hope you will enjoy reading, and look forward to your thoughts. An ideal gift selection for upcoming Father's Day.
New York Times bestselling author Charles Martin's breathtaking novel of love, redemption, and selflessness.
Charlie Finn had to grow up fast, living alone by age sixteen. Highly intelligent, he earned a life-changing scholarship to Harvard, where he learned how to survive and thrive on the outskirts of privileged society.
That skill served him well in the cutthroat business world, as it does in more lucrative but dangerous ventures he now operates off the coast of Miami. Charlie tries to separate relationships from work. But when his choices produce devastating consequences, he sets out to right wrongs, traveling to Central America where he will meet those who have paid for his actions, including a woman and her young daughter.
Will their fated encounter present Charlie with a way to seek the redemption he thought was impossible--and free his heart to love one woman as he never knew he could?
About the Author
I used to put a long list of all my great and varied accomplishments right here in this space (In truth, it was rather short.) hoping it made me look important. Now that I’m forty, I’m not sure I see the value.
Yes, I have a few degrees and I worked hard to get here, but saying all that reminds me of the story of the guy who walked barefoot, backwards, through the snow, uphill both ways, carrying his horse…to school. (I’m scratching my head.)
Here’s some of the stuff that matters.
Christy and I married in 1993. If you include dating, I’ve known and loved her for more than half my life. She is and always will be the home for my heart. We have three boys. Charlie, John T. and Rives. Folks often ask me, which of my books do I like the best. You might as well line up my sons and ask me who I love the most.
My hobbies are bow hunting, working out (a blend of old school stuff and martial arts, called Fight Fit) and Tae Kwon Do. In October 2012 I earned my black belt but I’m still the least flexible person you’ve ever met. The guy that trains me, laughs everytime I start warming up. My boys are far better at Tae Kwon Do than I but I doubt they have as much fun – I get to do and watch. They just do. I also like to write, but that's another story.
Charles is a New York Times Bestselling author of 11 books and resides in Jacksonville, FL with his family.
Connect with Charles: Website Twitter Goodreads
More Charles Martin Books
A special thank you to FaithWords / Center Street and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
E X T R A O R D I N A R Y! Words cannot adequately convey the power and depth of this amazing multi-generational suspenseful story of love and redemption. If you only read one book this year, WATER FROM MY HEART, would be my "top recommendation." Hands down, the "Best Book of 2015!" Movie-worthy and deserving of 10 stars. Martin's A Life Intercepted landed on my "Top 30 Books of 2014", as well. There is SO much, to this story, I cannot even imagine the time and effort into the writing, and do not want to give away the “journey.” It is an experience. A voyage. This could almost be 2-3 books, a series. Well-paced, once you begin reading, you cannot put it down; a page-turner. Set aside the time, as you will be here for the long haul, one to savor. First and foremost, Charles Martin, is a master storyteller. A truly gifted writer --my favorite author, since reading his first book years, ago— to the present, having had the pleasure of reading them all (highly recommend each one). He once again delivers an emotional and captivating multi-layered complex story of life, love, tragedy, and best of all, redemption- like "no other." It will change you. Martin grabs you by the heart, from page one to the end, and long after. Flashing back and forth in time and place, from fast boats, glitz, money, yachts, cars, drugs, danger, risk, and wealth from the jetsetters of Miami, Caribbean, Panama Canal, Pacific, the islands, to Central America— from the poor, downtrodden, chicken coops, bottom of a well, sickness, and coffee fields of Nicaragua, to the past. From a poor childhood in northeast Florida, college at Harvard, studies abroad in London to an MBA, a dazzling investment career, and back to where the stories connect, taking Charlie down a long and dangerous path. Never burn a bridge as you may have to cross it again in the future. With many wrong turns, some good and some evil people along the way, when Charlie least expects-- his wayward ways, his life in the rear view mirror, will catch up- when it matters the most. Karma has no expiration. Charlie sets out on a course to right the wrong; for redemption and a love he never knew existed—a strong special caring woman, a protector, a family, a teenage boy, a young innocent girl, a friend, a community he will grow to admire, an older mentor father figure, and an extreme feeling of unworthiness next to the courage and sacrifice of one dynamic woman, and all she stands for – crossing his path and changing his life forever. Charles Finn (Charlie) is an outdoor enthusiast, similar to the author’s affinity for the great outdoors. Charlie grew up combing the beach in Jacksonville, FL; barefoot, blonde-haired beach bum without a curfew and a bit of a Hunk Finn childhood. He has no memory of his dad, a cabdriver who died when he was three, and lived with his mom. They were poor; however, with the life insurance money, their modest home was paid for, even though they often lacked for food, clothes and the essentials. His mom worked all the time and left Charlie to fend for himself at an early age. He hated school and his mom did not push him—she allowed him to be a free spirit, similar to her own life. She died when he was sixteen and he was left alone in the world, with no other family. When looking at his limited choices, he knew he did not want to answer to anyone. He finished high school, working odd jobs and sometimes selling marijuana through his pizza job. His boss Sam used his pizza parlor as a front for the drug dealing and made him an independent contractor. He was only providing a service. In between his drug dealing, Sam taught him how to play poker, and eventually he found himself pretty good, later in life while at college. His teachers at school always said he lacked work ethic but possessed great potential. His graduating high school class even voted him “Most Likely to be Elected the First President with a Felony Record.” So when deciding about college, he knew he would not be able to make it in the Marines, so Harvard was the next best thing, and he was able to get in with a full scholarship ride—he was smart, good with numbers, hence a major in finance. While in college he was a runner, until he got tired of his track coach on his case. One thing about Charlie, he did not drink or do drugs and he liked outdoor sports and running. He wanted no responsibility and wanted no one to depend on him for anything. While his scholarship at Harvard paid for his tuition, room, and board, his stipend did not go far. He then turns to playing poker with the trust fund kids who had a lot of money and crazy enough to bet it all. Given their reckless behavior, he seized the opportunity and provided a service. By the end of his sophomore year, he had money in the bank and was making a name for himself. Risk did not bother him, similar to his mother’s thoughts. He valued nothing, including money, so losing it did not bother him like others, plus he could read body language well, so the higher stakes games were invite only and he soon began racking up. He even won a car (twice). It was not so much the money as it was about being told what he couldn’t do. Soon he was tired of Boston and decides on London, studying abroad. His scholarship sent him to London where he studied derivatives, leverage, and the emerald-green eyes of a goddess named Amanda Pickering. She was beautiful, self-confident, and loved to run, like himself. Soon they met up through running and he found out quickly, she came from money, lots of it—like one of the richest girls twenty-five and under in the US. What he also finds out is that he was her dad’s scholarship pick. Charlie learns, even with the private planes, the helicopters, yachts, the estates in the Hamptons, he would not be able to live up in the eyes of her dad. After all, his own dad was a drunk when he was killed, his mom worked two to four jobs. Even though he aced the SAT and had a 4.0 GPA, and would graduate a semester early--However, he was truthful when her father asked how he supported himself back then. He did not come from money nor possess the background. He would not be a choice for his daughter. Mr. Pickering (Marshall) brings him into the fold, but Charlie knows he is using him, as he is smart and knows how to make Marshall money. Marshall owned companies around the world and had a net worth of over $3 billion plus. Someone to take over his business one day. Charlie graduates with his MBA and the real work began. Even though he owned a condo in Boston, worked for Marshall, making a six figure income; he was on a Gulfstream most of the time. During this time we hear about the Cinco Padres Café Compania fiasco. He and Marshall shared good coffee and they were snobs about it. With many trips to Central American, Charlie finds they could make some money with a great investment. Nicaraguan coffee. During this time, Marshall made sure he was away from Amanda and the office. After spending six weeks on the back of a motorcycle on the dusty roads of Central American he found out everything about the coffee and presented a plan to buy the business as an investment. Alejandro Mango Café served the best coffee he had ever had in his life (mangoes and coffee) and Marshall agreed. Marshall sends him back with an offer of ten cents on the dollar and the offer was delivered by their attorney and of course the owner was insulted, while he watched from across the street. Marshall would teach them a lesson. He wanted to make sure they broke this company and then they would take over. Marshall even bought the bank that the men used to finance their operations during the lean years. These men, their families, their life, past generations, their history meant nothing to Marshall. They broke this family. Then if not bad enough, Hurricane Carlos came and killed whatever crop was growing and filled up the lake atop a dormant volcano called Las Casitas. The mudslide killed over three thousand people. No more Cinco Padres Café Compania. Back in Boston, Brendan Rockwell, the pedigree kid from Stanford wanted Marshall’s money and status more than Amanda. Soon Marshall tries to buy Charlie to leave to keep him away from his daughter. Charlie walked away from it all, including Amanda who of course did not stand up to her father. Now comes the good part, how all this is connected. This part I will leave to the reader with a few highlights. After Charlie leaves, he moves to the islands, traveling light; nothing to hold him back and he has some money saved. First, he goes back to Jacksonville and runs into a guy talking about the Bahamian island of Bimini, only forty-four miles off the Florida coast. He moves to Bimini. He catches a ride with the guy and helps him out on the deck. Ah, the simple island life with no deadlines and no stress. Fishing, boating, sleeping in a hammock. There he meets Jake, and Legal Grounds, a coffee shop. With only his shades, flip flops, and shorts, he buys a small shack on the water. He is happy to be away from the rat race and in the process of fixing up his shack, he meets Hack. Hack is an older Bahamian man, with weathered skin, white hair, a wide straw hat, deep wrinkles and smile that would not quit. Around eighty years old, he was full of wisdom and life. Hack was the unofficial grandfather of Bimini. He was born on the island and everyone loved him. Their friendship grew and Hack invites Charlie to his shop where he builds wooden skiffs. He had built skiffs for the wealthy, elite, and famous over the years. What better type boat than a skill and no one made a better bonefish skill than Hack. Hack teaches him about life and what is important. Hack had no family, no wife, and no children which meant that the skill and artistry involved with building his skiffs would die with him, but slowly he takes Charlie under his wing and teaches him the craft. He could make one skiff a year and bring in $60,000 plus he is a fishing guide. Could life be any better, all in the great outdoors what he loves to do without all the headaches. Soon the simple uncomplicated life changes the day a guy by the name of Colin walks in and offers $250,000 for one Charlie has built. When Hack and Charlie go to this guy’s home to deliver, they are blown away. It is a mansion, pools, parties, with all toys, cars, boats, money could offer with a life like Gatsby. This man, Colin has money, power, a wife, a son, and a daughter—he has to be doing something illegal. Soon thereafter, each of these players and family becomes an integral part of Charlie’s life. Colin hires him to work for him. From a drug runner, fast boats, yachts, and wealth from the elite in Miami to Costa Rica, which will lead him to danger, destruction, and leads him back to Nicaragua, left sick and on the side of the street in the same place years ago he wanted to buy the coffee fields. Now, he sees things quite differently. Through his journey, two strong women, one a doctor, and one a strong fearless and giving woman, two tragedies, a desperate search for those he loves most, and a past which comes back to haunt him. Wow, this is some story! In all of Martin’s riveting, yet breathtaking novels, he often uses an older wise character to mentor a younger flawed character, whether from the swamps, shacks, or fields of South Georgia, the rivers, the mountain tops, the coast, to the poor islands and the fast and rich waters of Miami. There is always an inspiring take away-- a lesson, a love, and a "box of Kleenex needed" for tears of sorrow and joy. From vivid descriptions and beautiful settings and scenic views, to flawed and troubled characters, with a message you will remember long after the book ends. Martin is in a class all his own; however, he strongly reminds me of Nicholas Sparks and Richard Paul Evans, with his uncanny ability to reach inside the minds of his characters, with a strong sense of family, love, and redemption. His usage of multi-generational and wise characters, with empowering stories often paralleling with an explosive impact when connected. Due to this, Martin and Sparks’ stories attract a wide audience crossing many genres and ages, with the suspense, and great outdoors for men, and the romance, love, and family for women, delivering a powerful message to all audiences, young and old. In addition, Martin and Sparks are both dedicated Christian family men, with strong community ties, and their passion shines through their talented storytelling – with powerful stories from the heart. My favorite character is of course, the beautiful and courageous protector, Leena, and her daughter Isabella in Nicaragua and Paulo. She definitely outshines the two other women in Charlie’s life, and thanks Charles for saving the best till last. A huge contrast between the spoiled, indifferent American lives we live with our modern conveniences, yet unhappy and unsatisfied, compared to those poor, no material possessions; yet rich in love, and life sweet as mangos. “Where tears are clean and rinse the soul.” To get there, sometimes we need to dig through a lot of rock, junk, and muck to find the way. A powerful well-researched and well-written story, with some nice personal connections with the author. Strong metaphors of water throughout, from the drink, the well, bubbles, water sports, oceans, islands, thirst; representing a part of life with profound meanings with the flow of time, peace, endless, disaster, death, birth, the past, ever changing, rebirth, coming of age, a spiritual awakening or cleansing. “Everytime he drinks here, he will remember that his water comes from your heart.” I continue to predict, Martin will be next on the movie scene, following Sparks, with the same intensity and unforgettable stories worthy of Oscars. You can envision the characters, and the setting on the big screen; I want a front row seat for each of his books. Each time I read one of Martin’s books, I say, the “best ever”. However, how do you choose? They each have their own unique message making them all 5 Stars ++. Five stars seem inadequate, along with my review. You have to read WATER FROM MY HEART. You will be speechless. An ideal choice for book discussions and book clubs with many perspectives. What a great father’s day gift. Charles, you make me proud to be a South Floridian, taking me back to days living and working in the Keys on the water, (selling waterfront condo hotels, real estate and condos for boats), and my love hammocks, sunsets, mangoes, and good organic dark roast rich espresso coffee. Well done!
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Top 10 Books of 2015
Martin's Personal Connection to Nicaragua
From Jacksonville.com “(‘Water from My Heart’) is one of the most intensely personal stories I have ever written,” Martin said in a video on his website. “All of my stories are intensely personal, but this one is just different, on a different level.”
Martin has a special attachment to Nicaragua. He spent time there after Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and has maintained close ties ever since, despite the fact he doesn’t speak the language. A couple of years ago, his closest friend there needed a water well. Martin’s group paid to have it dug. Read More
Check out Charles' thought-provoking videos, along with the book, which will change you in many ways.
From AUTHOR CHARLES MARTIN Newsletter
Water from my Heart
My new novel releases next week. Tuesday. May 19th.
"EXTRAORDINARY! Words cannot adequately convey the power and depth of this amazing multi-generational suspenseful story of love and redemption. If you only read one book this year, Water from my Heart, would be my “top recommendation.” Hands down, the “Best Book of 2015!” Movie-worthy and deserving of 10 stars."
-- Judith Collins Book Reviews
To shed some light behind the curtain, I've recorded a few videos where I talk about why I wrote Water from my Heart, why I write what I write, and some other goings-on in our life. (other videos above)
Hope you enjoy. Please share this with your friends -- they might like to know, too.
My Best to You,
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