The Simple Soul of Susan

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The Simple Sould of Susan

Title: The Simple Soul of Susan

Author: Noel Branham

Genre: Romance, YA, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary

Release Date: October 11, 2017

Susan Combs had long ago found the love of her life. The only problem was the other party still didn’t know he had been found.

Every day Susan saw Calder Hurtz, her next door neighbor and childhood best friend. They always enjoyed the short drive to school down the dusty streets of their small Texas town. She was happy in those perfect moments, for her life at home was most imperfect. The challenging homestead she inhabited was also the favorite subject of local gossip.

But one autumn day she overhears Calder and another boy having a conversation. This occasion of accidental audience sets Susan’s life on an unforeseen path. In the seasons to come, her future will be changed by two hospitalizations, two confessions of love, and one betrayal.

Compulsively readable, The Simple Soul of Susan is an engaging, soul-endearing romance and a mesmerizing debut.


Click here to purchase your copy!



I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, as this author is new to me. While I love reading contemporary romance, I didn’t think I would be able to connect with characters that were still in school, not being a teenager myself. It’s always easier to understand characters that are your own age, at least it was until I read this book. Susan brought back so many memories for me, and I connected with her instantly. Now, obviously the author doesn’t know my back story, the tough life I had through high school, but I think any girl/woman out there who was picked on, misunderstood, or had a hard time can connect with Susan in ways that others cannot. All you women out there with similar problems – I urge you to read this. You’ll understand Susan. You’ll get her story. And you’ll enjoy it in the process.

I must confess, however, that I did not like Calder’s character at all, but loved the way his character was written. Sounds silly, right? Let me try to explain. Calder is that one boy we all love, think we’re close friends with, and maybe even have a shot at going out with. But what does he do behind our back? Nothing. He doesn’t really stick up for us when it matters, and while I’m not saying he did this throughout the entire book, it did happen and it really bothered me. If you’re going to be friends with someone, don’t be “closet” friends! I’m afraid this probably happens more often than we care to admit in our society, and I applaud the author for showcasing it here.

This book gave me more than I expected. Sure, it brought back some horrible memories, but it also reminded me to be proud of how things turned out. To have hope that things will work out for other girls in similar situations. And to now let the evils of gossip get you down. It’s simply not worth it. Thank you Noel Bransham for writing a story that I would gladly share with my teenage daughter and her friends. Thank you for writing a story that was certainly more than I bargained for, in a good way.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Noel Branham



Born and raised in a small Texas town, Noel Branham started her career in digital communications after graduating with a degree in English. An award-winning communicator, she now writes from her residence in Florida about things closest to the heart: home, family, and love.







Fictional Romance: A Real Relationship Killer?

You’ve heard it before… All romance novels give readers unrealistic expectations of relationships. Yep. They totally do. But I think most of the time, with life in general, we have unrealistic expectations not only of others but of ourselves. We live in a world where there is always something else to try, buy or satisfy our ever-evolving aspirations of happiness and fulfillment. So here are three things to remember while reading romance novels that will lead to having deep, meaningful, romantic, relationships in real life:

  1. Happiness isn’t fulfilled expectations. When you expect yoursignificant other (SO) to see you and romantically sweep you off your feet while pulling flowers from behind your back and force feeding you chocolates… you may have some unrealistic expectations. Would it be nice? Sure! But there is always something more they could do to make you happy, feeling loved, satisfied, etc. It’s a bottomless pit of desire and implied anticipated actions. We have to realize that no matter how many things we want out of a relationship, we can never receive them all… because realistically, we could never live up to the things expected of us either. Romance is a two-way street.
  2. Happiness is the unexpected, fulfilled. Wait… how can you fulfill something that isn’t expected? You can’t. And that’s what makes it so great. Your SO fills your car up with gas, takes you out for a date for no particular reason, watches that Victorian-era PBS drama with you even though they can’t understand the accents… When we get rid of expectations for ourselves and others we are able to really enjoy the things and people we already have and anything else is simply adding to lovely life that we already possess.
  3. Happiness in relationships is what you make of it. Just not feeling the love anymore after five years together? Was it that you chose the wrong person? Was it something they did? Something you did? Love can be a feeling and an action. Your relationship doesn’t have to be defined by feelings. Feelings fade. They aren’t realistic. They change with time as people change with time because all people change. But actions… actions are what you choose to do on a regular basis. They are a daily intentional choice (made by you) to care for another person. You can control your actions, but not so much your feelings. Funny thing is often times your actions create feelings you never thought you could have.

If you are looking for a romance novel with a bit more realism to test out these principals, check out The Simple Soul of Susan. You can have the realistic expectation that you won’t be disappointed ?



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To celebrate her tour, Noel giving away

Grand Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card
First & Second Place Prize: eBook copy of the Simple Soul of Susan!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

4 thoughts on “The Simple Soul of Susan

  1. Thank you for your great review on “The Simple Soul of Susan” by Noel Branham and for being part of the book tour.

    I have this book on my TBR list. From everything I have read, I would love to read it and share with some young folks as well.

  2. I’ve been looking for more YA to add to our church library. Thanks for the review. Sounds like this one could interest our readers.

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