Showing posts with label Christian fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian fiction. Show all posts

Friday, January 17, 2020

The Gregory Sisters: When Love Calls - Book 1 Reviewed

The Gregory Sisters: When Love Calls - Book 1 Reviewed
I recently read a delightful series of romantic fiction books set in the early 1910s.  The books provide a clear picture of what life in America was like for women a hundred years ago.  Specifically, women who were not married and clearly needed a way to earn a living.  They serve as a reminder of how thankful I am that I was not an adult female during the Progressive Era.  What a difference 60 years can make!

The Gregory sister's lives are turned upside down when their parents die.  Not only are they grieving the death of their parents, but they cannot afford to payoff the mortgage and family debts.  They are faced with losing their home while having to make major life changes and decisions that will effect the rest of their lives.  Neither sister has a husband, fiance, or even a prospective husband.  And, neither sister has a job.  Actually, they are all still in school, albeit, the two oldest are in vocational schools.

The first book, When Love Calls, provides the background information for the series.  The 3 sisters are in all of the books, but each book has a primary sister character.


When Love Calls Book Synopsis


 When Love Calls (The Gregory Sisters Book #1)
A Novel
When Love Calls focuses on the oldest sister, Hannah, who is in law school.  When her parents die and the family home is repossessed, Hannah makes the difficult decision to leave school and go to work.  After all, someone has to earn money for rent, food, clothes, etc., for all 3 girls. 

Hannah feels extremely blessed when she is hired as a "Hello Girl", a switchboard operator for the telephone company. Unfortunately, the very thing that would make Hannah an excellent attorney, is the part of her personality that makes her a problem by company standards.  Hannah has a mind of her own.  She doesn't make a very good conformist follower.  Still, she tries hard because she really needs the job.

There are so many changes all at once in Hannah's life, it makes it hard for her to know who she can trust.  When the very attorney who represented the bank in their home foreclosure seems to keep turning up, Hannah isn't sure if he is trustworthy, yet she needs his help.  As it turns out, they have a lot in common.


My Opinion of "When Love Calls"


I suspect this book was named "When Love Calls" because Hannah is a switchboard operator.  However, it could easily reference how she changed the entire direction of her life because of her love for her sisters.  She answered the "call" to care for her sisters instead of finishing law school. 

Because of her life changes, she meets someone and falls in love.  Of course, he does call her on the phone occasionally.  Regardless, what is clear is that love dictates Hannah's actions. 

There are many changes in the Gregory sister's lives over the course of the series.  The one thing that is consistent is the bond between sisters.  Regardless of trials, failures, fortune, or life choices, these girls remain committed to supporting each other.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a wholesome and uplifting story of love and family.








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Friday, December 27, 2019

The Patriot Bride Book Reviewed

Daughters of the Mayflower - Book 4 in the Series


The Patriot Bride Book Reviewed
It is unusual to find a series where every book in the series deserves an individual review!  However, that is the case with the Daughters of the Mayflower historical series.

As I have read each book, I have thought it was my favorite.  At this point, I must declare that this is clearly a series of favorites for me.

Because these books are historically accurate, simply written with fictional characters included, I have felt I was walking the path alongside these women.  There are real places, real historical individuals, real historical events that are the foundation of each story.  It is easy to believe these "Daughters of the Mayflower" could have been real people.

In The Patriot Bride, both George Washington and Benjamin Franklin are important characters in the book.  Not one word cast these real men in a negative light.  Nor does the author take liberties with their integrity, as some fictional books are prone to do.  I appreciate her for being true to the character, wisdom and extreme sacrifice of these esteemed men of our real American history.  

This book made me sit back and really consider the price of America's freedom.  It isn't the first time in my life that I recognized the dedication and sacrifices of our patriots, but the book served as an excellent reminder that we owe them, at the very least, a debt of gratitude. 

I've seen the dates and years written in ink before, but until I read this book, I had not considered how long 8 years is, in reality.  I had not realized that George Washington had not been back even for a visit, to his beloved Mount Vernon for that entire 8 years.  Personally, I don't like being away from home for 8 hrs, or 8 days.  I can't imagine the enormous dedication required to endure 8 years.


The Patriot Bride

1774 Philadelphia - American Revolutionary War

 The Patriot Bride: Daughters of the Mayflower
Book 4
Check Price
Faith Jackson is a mere child whose parents were killed in a home fire.  Her neighbor, a young George Washington, becomes Faith's guardian.  Being an only child, Faith has always looked up to George, like an older brother.  Now, she depends on him for everything.  

Because George is a single, young man with a job, he places Faith with friends, a wealthy childless married couple in Boston, but he maintains frequent correspondence with Faith.  When her adoptive parents die, once again George is the only constant in her life.

George introduces her to a soldier, whom she marries.  Sadly, her new husband dies in battle within a week.  Now, Faith is an extremely wealthy young widow.  

As a prominent member of Boston society with plenty of free time, Faith, along with a group of friends, provides aid and volunteers frequently to community service.  These activities, along with her long standing relationship to George Washington, make Faith the perfect messenger for the patriots.  She is assigned a permanent contact, whom she meets regularly to exchange information.

It is necessary to trust messengers completely.  It doesn't take long for Faith to form a strong attachment to Matthew Weber.  When he doesn't show for "meetings", Faith worries something has happened to him.  Likewise, if Faith does not make a meeting, Matthew worries about her.  After all, no one understands better than Faith, how anything can happen in wartime and both sides would seek to eliminate spies or intercept inportant messages. 


A Few of My Personal Thoughts About The Patriot Bride


If I had previously read a review that told me about the personal tragedies in Faith's life, I might have thought it would be a very sad book to read.  That was not the case.  We were told of the deaths and difficulties, but we were not forced to read chapters of details or suffer with Faith as they happened.

The Patriot Bride Book Reviewed
Also, her fondness of George Washington, followed by their continued alliance, actually made perfect sense.  At no time did the author try to make their relationship inappropriate or unfitting of the father of our country.

I thoroughly enjoyed the intrigue, including the stressful uncertainties,  in this book.  Although, I must admit, my favorite part included Benjamin Franklin wearing a dress, which made me laugh out loud in the middle of the night.

Just as the previous books in this series, The Patriot Bride would not easily release me for sleep.  I literally had to find peaceful moments in the middle of chapters to decide to set it down so I could get needed rest.  But, be assured, I awoke with a desire to continue reading instead of attending to my daily work.

I give this book my highest recommendation!



The Daughters of the Mayflower Book Series


While this is a series, the books do not focus on one character.  They are based on a family lineage, descendants of one original Mayflower couple.  Furthermore, the books are written by different authors, which gives each story a unique quality.

Each stand-alone book is most excellent and deserving of individual praise for being outstanding literature. 
 

Previously Reviewed Book from the Daughters of the Mayflower Series

 
The Mayflower Bride Book ReviewThe Mayflower Bride Book 1 Reviewed

True American History woven into the fabric of fiction! An excellent historical romantic fiction about the Mayflower voyagers: Separatists & Strangers..



The Pirate Bride Book ReviewThe Pirate Bride Book Review

At the innocent age of 12, Maribel Cordoba's life changes forever. Her formative years & education are guided by nuns, but she never truly forgets the pirate who stole her heart.



The Captured Bride Book ReviewThe Captured Bride Book Review

An unlikely team is assigned a mission that is fraught with danger. It becomes necessary to trust a previously perceived enemy. I highly recommend this historical Christian fiction.









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Friday, March 22, 2019

The Interlude by Lin Stepp Reviewed

The Interlude by Lin Stepp Reviewed
Definition of Interlude: an intervening episode, period, space, etc.  

Everyone has times in our lives when we need a break from work and responsibility, especially when we are grieving.  Therefore, most of us can identify with Mallory Wingate as she seeks a refuge of peace in The Interlude.

The story takes place in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, which is the perfect place for respite and recovery.  I know from my own experience that the Smoky Mountains are a little piece of heaven here on earth. 


Synopsis of The Interlude


 The InterludeCheck PriceMallory has spent the last few years working full-time and also caring for her terminally ill mother.  When her mother dies, Mallory has an emotional breakdown at work.  Her concerned boss insists that she take time off, so Mallory returns to the one place where she has always found love and care, her grandparents home.

On the plane, a handsome man is seated next to her, but Mallory prefers to be left alone.  However, Lucas James is intent on engaging Mallory in conversation.  He even invites her to join him for dinner during the layover between flights.  What seems like a casual meeting and flirtation when traveling, actually takes on a totally different significance when the two passengers find their destination is exactly the same place, her grandparents home and resort.  

Mallory is slightly embarrassed to find out that Lucas is the pro-golf instructor at the resort.  Lucas is shocked to discover that Mallory is actually his employers granddaughter.  Both would prefer to keep their "interlude" a secret between just the two of them.  Both have their own issues and baggage that keeps them from desiring a romantic relationship.  

One of the things I found most interesting about this book was how the author showed us just how easy it is to say something hurtful to someone else without realizing, or even intending, to cause pain.  Most likely, we have all experienced that to some degree in our own lives, but seeing it written so vividly in the context of a conversation in a book, really can be eye-opening.  A promising friendship, or relationship, can be irreparably fractured by careless words and assumptions.


My Copy of the Book, The Interlude


I would like to thank the author, Lin Stepp, for gifting me with an advance copy of "The Interlude".  That gave me the opportunity to read and review it before the actual release date.  You will definitely want to grab your copy of this wonderful book today and start reading as soon as possible.

  


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Thursday, February 21, 2019

His Stubborn Sweet Bride: A Christian Historical Romance Novel Reviewed

An excellent Christian historical romance that transfixes readers with Molly's story of loss, betrayal, survival & desperate decisions. Highly Recommended!
I admit, His Stubborn Sweet Bride (Colorado Reborn Book 1) written by Chloe Carley was a big surprise for me. I loved this book! 

This is the first book by the author, Chloe Carley, that I have ever read, but it won't be the last.  I am beyond thrilled to find a new Christian author who writes unique and original content.  That is what I liked best about this book.  I didn't feel like I had ever read one that was similar in plot or characters.  Plus, I loved the unexpected surprise elements in it.  

The story takes place in 1878 in several early settlement cities in America, including Cheyenne, Wyoming, Denver &  Indian Rock, Colorado, which is beautiful, but rough country.  The depiction of the towns, the battle between the original settlers and the new comers, as well as the harrowing life events of the main character, are all reasons why I was transfixed by this story. 



The Plot of His Stubborn Sweet Bride (Colorado Reborn Book 1)


When a wealthy aristocrat from England, Nate Trowbridge, and his sister, Leonie, inherent their uncles ranch in Colorado, they decide to move to America.  Leonie is young, adventurous, and quite naive, while her older brother, Nate, is steadfast and somewhat boring.  Nate wishes to protect his sister for as long as possible.  He also desires to maintain their good name, respectability and social standing even in the new country.  

Upon arrival, they find the ranch is not exactly in the condition they expected.  Immediate repairs and restoration are necessary.  Because there is little else in Indian Rock other than his Circle T Ranch, Nate has to travel to Denver to hire craftsman, and purchase furnishings and decor.  That also gives him the opportunity to visit with old family friends.


Nate Trowbridge's Story


 His Stubborn Sweet Bride:
A Christian Historical Romance Novel
(Colorado Reborn Book 1)
Check Price
Nate believes it will be time for him to get married as soon as the ranch is renovated.  He believes his obvious choice is one of the daughters of old family friends.  Actually, over several generations, the two families have married one another to preserve their wealth and status in society.  The Chiswicks live in Denver, therefore they have already made the necessary transition to America from England.  After visiting with them, he has every reason to believe Emmaline Chiswick is like-minded and would welcome his proposal. 

Once the house repairs are finished, Nate sends a letter of marriage proposal by way of his ranch foreman, Jem, to Denver when he finds out that Jem has to go to the dentist there.  It is necessary for the doctor to give Jem a dose of laudanum so he can preform the dental work needed.  Jem is still under the influence of the laudanum when he searches for the address on the envelope to deliver the letter.  He immediately notes that the woman doesn't appear to be the type of woman he would expect his boss to court and certainly not to marry, but when Molly opens the letter, she accepts Nate's proposal.  Everything gets pretty hazy for Jem and later he awakens to find himself, along with Molly, on a train destined for Indian Rock, Colorado.  


Molly Clanahan's Story


Molly's story is one I had never considered a possibility, but I could easily see how it would happen in 1878.   It made me think of current day human trafficking and how we all want to believe it can't be true and would never happen.

When her father and brothers all died from influenza, Molly was left completely alone.  The bank foreclosed on her family farm and  she had no way to survive.  It seemed becoming a mail order bride would be her best option.  

Molly started corresponding with Jack in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  After she sent him a picture of herself, as requested, the man she believed to be a lonely widower sent her train fare to Wyoming.  When she arrived, she was met by Jack and immediately taken to his business, the local brothel.  She was expected to go to work immediately.  The promise of marriage was just a ploy to get her there.  Jack was abusive, threatening, and downright evil.  Molly felt trapped until she decided to risk her life and get away.  

Even after Molly has escaped the brothel, Jack swore to find her and make her pay for humiliating him.  She knew she was living under the shadow of fear and possible discovery.  She felt fortunate to get a job as a seamstress in Denver, but when Jack found her, she was once again desperate for escape.  That was when the man with the letter containing a marriage proposal showed up at her door. 


My Recommendation of "His Stubborn Sweet Bride"


I have now given you the basic background of the characters and book plot, but you must read this book yourself.  You might even find that you think twice before you jump to conclusions about people and judge their actions.  

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.  While it dips into the dark world of murder, lies, criminals, and pure evil, nothing is too graphic, yet it clearly depicts depravity.  

In addition to the expected romantic love story, the book also aptly depicts the concern and protective nature of an older brother toward his sister.  I enjoyed the way the author developed both types of love throughout the book.

 


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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review of The Steadfast Series by Nancy Moser

Not Your Typical Christian Fiction


When I was much younger, it was hard to find good Christian fiction. Grace Livingston Hill ( who wrote between 1877 and 1947) almost owned the Christian romance genre. Her books are still popular today, but many in younger generations find her books too old-fashioned. Today's Christian readers, however, have far more choices. Many excellent books now exist in the genres of Christian contemporary romance and Christian historical fiction. We also have Randy Singer's Christian legal thrillers to compete with John Grisham. And we have Nancy Moser's contemporary Christian fiction.




Amazon classifies The Steadfast Series as religious and inspirational, as well as mystery and suspense. In my opinion it lives up to both labels. I couldn't put the books down. After reading The Seat Beside Me I had to download the other two books in the series immediately. Warning: When I finish a book in this series, the end leaves me hanging. I always feel the book is not quite complete. But isn't real life also like that? We don't always know what's next.

The Theme of The Steadfast Series


The books in The Steadfast Series emphasize the importance of individual choices. God deals each of us a hand, but we choose how we play that hand. We humans make decisions that have consequences. Each chapter of the three books in this series is introduced by a short related portion of Scripture.


The Seat Beside Me


When you fly alone, do you wonder who will be sitting beside you on your trip? I do. So do the characters in The Seat Beside Me. They have made conscious choices leading up to their presence on Flight 1382 to Phoenix. We watch many of their choices as they board and discover their seatmates. We get to know six passengers very well. Sonja is a schemer who tricks her way onto Flight 1382. She wants to be one of the three from her company to attend a corporate conference in Phoenix and hopes her attendance will help her get a promotion. She uses information she overheard to betray her colleague who was supposed to go so that she could take her place. The seat next to her is filled by a handsome black man in a suit, Roscoe Moore, who immediately engages her in conversation.

Henry's job requires him to fly, but flying scares him. He is a Christian and you see him struggle with his fear as he takes his seat. He's not afraid to die, but hates the feeling of being completely out of control of his life while in the air. He sits in the aisle seat on one side of George (below).

George lost his beloved wife seven months ago. He is grieving and is going to Phoenix to commit suicide. He has one daughter. He has left money, a note, and important documents so that she can't miss them after he is gone. George is sitting between a widow in the window seat who won't leave him alone and Henry, who rescues him from her.

Merry has a husband and son. She is going to Phoenix to meet a single girlfriend and escape her family and responsibilities for a few days. Although she loves Lou and Justin and they love her, she is a discontented housewife and her marriage is going through a rough phase. Merry is not at all happy when Lou and Justin surprise her by boarding the plane, and joining her for the trip. No escape.

Anthony is an egotistical plastic surgeon. He is rude to everyone he meets as he prepares to board. He's a man with no real friends and the reader can easily see the reason why. The person who (in his opinion) overfills the seat next to him is an unattractive woman he immediately labels as "white trash." Even her substandard English offends him. She calls him a "rich la-di-da" and lets him know she hates doctors.

Tina is a high school English teacher who hates her job and doesn't like her students much, either. She is also a Christian. She is not happy to be seated next to a teenage girl who reminds her way too much of her students, but as she converses with Gayla she actually begins to like her.

Dora is a reporter who did not want to go to Phoenix. Then her mother called and begged her to come because she needed surgery and didn't want to be alone. So Dora got ready to make the trip. At the last minute her mother called and Dora didn't have to go after all because the doctor said her mother no longer needed the surgery. She is delighted to stay home.


The Weather

Book Review of The Steadfast Series Suspense Novels by Nancy Moser
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay


Although the passengers are ready to go, a blizzard has closed the airport and delayed all flights in or out. Even after boarding, the plane is delayed on the tarmac for several hours because of snow and icy conditions. This delay gave the passengers a lot of time to get acquainted with their seatmates. The extra time of quiet and boredom made passengers more willing to open up with each other and have conversations that touched on important issues. As we listen in we learn what choices Tina, Sonja, George, Henry, Merry, and Anthony are contemplating. We also discern a lot about their problems and characters.

Finally the pilot tells the passengers that they will be taking off. The author does a good job of foreshadowing what will happen. Readers know the plane will crash.

The Crash

We watch the passengers reactions as they begin to realize the plane is about to crash. Those who survive impact fight for their lives as the plane falls apart and they await rescue. We see the actions of the most selfless and the most selfish. None of the survivors will ever forget their experience in the icy water and the hospital. The memory of the horror and fear while waiting for the rescue helicopter stays with them. We watch  as the crash experience changes all of them. None can go back to exactly the lives they had before.

The crash, important as it is in the plot, is not the main focus of the book. It is the characters' catalyst for change. The focus is on the decisions the characters make after the crash and how those decisions affect their new lives and relationships. You will meet some of the characters in other books by Nancy Moser. One of them is the main character of the next book in the series.  

A Steadfast Surrender


In this second book in the series, crash survivor Merry, who lost her husband and son in the crash, tries to start over in the small town of Steadfast. Orphaned teen Sim runs away from her aunt and uncle guardians. Claire Adams, a famous mosaic artist, is challenged by a speaker at church to give away all her possessions in complete surrender to Christ. All three end up in the small town of Steadfast, Kansas. It is there they meet and begin to influence each other as their lives change. All three need to choose a future direction for their lives.

Much of this book is set in the public library where Merry is the librarian. I loved watching the antics of the regular library patrons and the library "ghost." Most of the characters in this book continue on to the next book in the series. In this book most of the focus is on Merry, Sim, and Claire.

The Ultimatum

This third book in the series has the most suspense. The main characters are restaurant owners, their employees, and their families. Readers will have met most of them before in A Steadfast Surrender. This book zeroes in on 
  • Annie McFay, waitress at the Plentiful Café, her husband Cal McFay, handyman, and their ten-year-old-daughter Avi  
  • Bailey, owner of Bon Vivant. the one upscale gourmet restaurant in town, and Jered (teen son) Manson
  • Merry Cavanaugh (town librarian) and Police Chief boyfriend, Kent Kendell
  • Sim, a teen runaway in previous book, now living legally with Susan
  • Susan, a nurse at the hospital emergency room
  • Claire Adams, a famous mosaic artist who now resides in Steadfast
  • Jinko, owner of Palamba Bar and Grill in Eldora, a town twenty minutes from Steadfast. 
  • Vasylko (aka Vasy), the cook at Palamba Bar and Grill

 

The Action


As the book opens, Jered is running for his life. He has been on the streets for  three months. He had argued with his dad Bailey and Bailey had collapsed with a heart attack. Jered, afraid he might have killed his dad, grabbed a few clothes and fled in his truck. First he'd gone to Kansas City, but he found it too big and dangerous, so he drove to Eldora, which was much closer to home.

He had run out of money and was eating from the garbage. As he raids a dumpster in front of the Palamba Bar and Grill, Jinko, the owner, discovers him, offers him a job and gives him money to clean himself up and return to work for him. Jered accepts and Jinko offers him a place to live. He starts by washing dishes. He is eager for Jinko's acceptance. I won't say more about this because I don't want to spoil it. 

Bailey is plotting to swindle Cal. Annie suspects it. But the marriage is in trouble because Annie recently became a Christian and Cal not only wants nothing to do with Jesus, but also resents Annie following Him. Annie has to be careful what she says. 

Much of the plot revolves around the relationships of people and how they are trying to get ahead any way they can, escape or face their problems, and make important life choices.  Jered's dream is to be a musician but his father mocks that choice and wants Jered to work at Bon Vivant and take it over some day. Jered longs to feel important to his father and know his dad loves him. Annie wants Cal to become a Christian, but Cal wants to pull Annie away from Christ. Jinko wants to control and use Jered. Claire, Sim, Merry, and Susan play supporting roles in this drama as they help, encourage, and pray for others. 

It takes a life and death situation to truly reveal the character of Cal, Annie, Jered, and Jinko. Personal choices brought each of them to play their part in this scene where it appears someone will die. Each reveals his character or lack of it in this scene. And each must endure the consequences of his own choices and those of the others.

The Challenge

What is the purpose of life? Where can we find the significance we humans crave? The characters in these books are looking for those answers. What does God really want from us? How do we follow him in today's world? What does it mean to be a Christian? Why do bad things happen to even good people? This book helps people think through the answers to these questions as they make their own choices.

Review of The Steadfast Series by Nancy Moser: Three Christian Suspense Novels
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay


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Friday, July 20, 2018

Review of The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Review of The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers
The Masterpiece is Francine River's most recently published book. Like all of her books, The Masterpiece isn't a typical cookie-cutter Christian fiction where everything is perfect after salvation. It is a story about people with very real issues in life.  

Rivers doesn't write about fairy-tale versions of life as a Christian.  She writes about down to earth people who have been hurt or are struggling with life and in some cases, struggling with God.  Her books are not meant to malign Christians.  Rather to assure us that we are not alone and that it is not abnormal for a Christian to hurt, suffer, or even fail.  

She also doesn't steer clear of difficult subjects like adultery, divorce, abortion, pregnancy outside of wedlock, prostitution, separation from loved ones, or even going to hell, quite literally.

For nearly two decades, Francine Rivers has been my favorite author.  Ever since I picked up her series, Mark of the Lion.  I have read and reread that series several times.  I originally purchased it in hardback since Kindles were nonexistent.  But, it was one of the first sets of books I added to my Kindle when one was gifted to me.

It may seem odd to you that I read some books several times.  I do that when I want to read something I know I will love.  It is like watching the same movie over and over again because it touches something deep inside of you.

Even though most of my current day book purchases are made in Kindle version, I collect Francine Rivers' books in hardback copies too.  I never want to be without them.


Plot of The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers


 The MasterpieceCheck PriceWhen Grace Moore's father kills her mother and then commits suicide, Grace is found hiding in the closet.  Already she has seen and experienced too much for her young mind to comprehend.  She will be scared by the murder-suicide of her parents for the rest of her life.  

Grace is sent to live with a grieving single aunt she does not know.  Aunt Elizabeth has no idea how to truly care for a 7 year old child, nor does she want to learn.  Every time she looks at Grace, she is reminded of the man that killed her beloved sister.  It doesn't help that Grace looks like him.    

Having been raised in a loveless home, Grace doesn't really know or remember what love looks like.  It is no surprise that she ends up marrying a man who uses his charm to get what he wants from Grace, but who doesn't love her.  Because she believes her husband's education should come first, she drops out of college and goes to work full time to support them both and pay his tuition.  She is devastated when she comes home early from work one day and finds him with another woman.  Adulthood doesn't look anything like what she wanted, needed or expected.  She must get away and start over.  Even though she is a Christian, her problems are far from over.  

Seeking to find love in all the wrong places, she leaves a bar with a man she just met.  The decision to cast caution to the wind will change her life forever.  She ends up being a single mother torn, trying to choose what is best for her child.  She had planned to give her baby up for adoption.  Now, she wants to keep him, but the parents she had chosen to adopt her child, still want him too.

Elsewhere, Roman Velasco is a wealthy artist who has lived under the shadow of evil his entire life.  He never knew his father, and his mother died of an overdose when he was a child.  Roman moved from one foster home to another where the parents either gave up on him, or only wanted the money for taking in a foster child.  He joined a gang just so he could have a place where he fit in.  Selling drugs did not appeal to him, but he found his niche within the gang by painting graffiti on buildings.  After he is caught and arrested, he is sent to Masterson Ranch.  An isolated ranch that makes running away impossible.   However, the Mastersons and his teacher encourage him to develop his artistic abilities.  

As an adult, he changed his name from Bobby Ray Dean to Roman Velasco, and found a place where he, or at least his art, was wanted.  He became a workaholic and spent every day drawing or painting, often forgetting to eat.  He needed a personal assistant to take care of his daily tasks like grocery shopping, laundry, paying bills, answering the phone, etc.   Things a wife might do, if he had one.  But the last thing Roman wanted was a wife and he certainly did not want another personal assistant who wanted to be his wife or his girlfriend.

When Grace is sent by a temp agency to be Roman Velasco's personal assistant, she is not really impressed with him.  He is demanding, yet distant.  However, the distant part is much preferred by Grace.  So much so, that she ends up moving into the cottage on his property for convenience and going to work for him permanently.  


Conclusion


You may think from the description above that you can guess what is going to happen and to some extent, you might be right.  However, expect the unexpected.  Grace is a Christian, but Roman is not, so it is hardly a relationship made in heaven.  

It is what happens to Roman when he suffers a heart attack that I found most gripping.  I have heard people describe going to heaven when they die, or even seeing the white light, but reading River's description of what going to hell might look like, sent chills down my spine.  Frankly, it isn't as far fetched as I would like for it to be.

While this may not be my all-time favorite book by Francine Rivers, I would definitely recommend it.  




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Friday, June 16, 2017

The Artisan's Wife - Refined by Love Series

When Ainslee is abandoned by her sister, she is forced to move to a new city & embrace someone else's dream.  A wonderful Christian fiction book that reminds us to wait and watch for the unexpected blessings from God while we are busy making other plans.
Previously, I reviewed the first and second books in the Refined by Love series by Judith Miller.  While it is not necessary to read the first two books in the series to enjoy The Artisan's Wife, the first book does give an introduction to all of main characters in the books and explains their immigration history.  I also highly recommend the second book in the series, The Potter's Lady which is wonderful historical fiction that can stand on it own merit.

While I enjoyed all three books in the series, I do believe my favorite was this last book.  Partly because of the resolutions, but also because the author delved into the world of asylums in the late 1800's.  She introduced me to several facts that shocked me.  But before I get into that, let me give you a brief plot synopsis of The Artisan's Wife.  


Refined by Love book series by Judith Miller - Books Reviewed on Review This

 

The Artisan's Wife Book Review

Ainslee Mckay only agreed to leave the rest of her family and move to Weston because her artistic twin sister wanted to run a tile works shop.  Since she and Adaira would embark on this new adventure together, Ainsless wasn't too concerned, even though she hated to leave her teaching position at the Pottery Works.  However, when Adaira elopes with her new beau, Ainslee feels betrayed by her sister and is quite angry.  Because her family has already purchased the tile works for the twins, she is forced to move to a new city and embrace her sister's dream alone.  Only when her brother, Ewan, agrees to sell the tile works as soon as possible, does Ainslee feel any relief or hope for her own future. 

 The Artisan's Wife (Refined by Love)Ewan helps Ainslee move to Weston and gets her set up in a boardinghouse for women.  He stays in Weston with her for several weeks as she adjusts to all of the changes.  Since she has never before run any business, she is faced with quite a monumental task.  Originally, the plan was for Ainslee to run the office, while Adaira dealt with the workers, the designs, and the bid proposals.  Now, it all fell to Ainslee to handle alone.  She braced herself to make a success of the tile works so it would be easier for Ewan to sell.

Levi Judson was also new to Weston.  He had left he job, left his dreams behind, and moved there to be close to his brother who had been committed to the asylum.  Both Levi and his brother were artists, but Levi believed his brother was truly more gifted.  Unfortunately, Noah had mental difficulties and lapses caused by a high fever when he was a child.  Levi moved into a boardinghouse for men and went in search of a new job.  He started at the local tile works where he presented his letter of introduction to the pretty girl at the front desk and ask to speak to the owner or manager about job openings. This, of course, made for a entertaining moment in the book.

Because Ainslee had just landed a new contract and because Levi was recommended, plus experienced in multiple areas of tile works, she hired him immediately. 

Like everyone else in town, Ainslee was frightened by what and who was within the walls of the asylum.  She was surprised one day when she ran into her employee, Levi Judson, leaving the grounds of the asylum.  She was even more surprised when she discovered he taught art there to a small group of men.  Being uncomfortable with deception, Levi shared that his brother lived in the asylum.  When he found out how much Ainslee enjoyed teaching, he recommended that she consider teaching a group of women in the asylum.  But it wasn't until Ainslee was hurt on the job and needed immediate medical attention, that she was taken inside the doors of the asylum to the only available doctor in town.  

When Ainslee decided to start a library in the asylum for the women, she met several of them and discovered they had been committed by their husbands.  Some were there for depression or grief, but others were there simply because their husbands had tired of them and wanted rid of them.  One lady was committed because her brother wanted access to her bank account.

Ainslee had now found a place where she was needed in Weston, but she still wanted to make the tile works successful.  To do that, she needed Levi and his brother, Noah.  The artists who could revolutionize the tile industry.


Conclusion

The Artisan's Wife is a wonderful Christian fiction book that reminds us to wait and watch for the unexpected blessings from God while we are busy making other plans.



Reviews of the Books in the Refined by Love Series

The Brickmaker's Bride (#1 in the series) Book Review

The Potter's Lady (#2 in the series) Book Review



Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




The Artisan's Wife Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Friday, June 9, 2017

The Potter's Lady - Book 2 of Refined by Love Series Reviewed

The Potter's Lady Book Review on Review This!
Last week, I reviewed The Brickmaker's Bride from the Refined by Love series by Judith Miller.  If you haven't had a chance to read that review, I invite you to visit that review since that book is the foundation for the entire series.

The Potter's Lady picks up the story two years later from where The Brickmaker's Bride ended.  If you haven't read the first book in the series, this article will be a spoiler.  However, The Potter's Lady would be a delightful read regardless of whether you have read the first book.  It can easily stand on it's own merit.

This Christian historical fiction takes us back to the late 1800's where women were not encouraged to explore the working world.  Outside of being seamstresses or house help, there were very few acceptable jobs for women and none of them were considered proper for women in high society.

Reviews of the Refined by Love series by Judith Miller



Review of The Potter's Lady


Rose has just graduated from Philadelphia School of Design for Women and she is quite anxious to get back home to her family, her place of security and love.  Because she is an Irish immigrant, she was not well received by the other girls in the school.  They took every opportunity to make fun of her and to remind her that, regardless of her connections with the Woodfield family, she is still an outcast in high society. 

 The Potter's Lady (Refined by Love)As soon as she sees her brother, Ewan, she knows something is wrong.  She insists that he tell her what has upset him.  When he finally relents and shares the latest news from home, Rose is distressed to hear that Ewan has been forced out of the family brickyard business.  Since he was never made a partner as promised, when Uncle Hugh died, his wife, Margaret became the sole owner and she had her own plans for the business.  On the train ride home Ewan needs to stop to visit two other businesses that are for sale.  He hopes to start over and would like his sister's help in deciding which company would be the best investment.

They visit both a small brickyard and a pottery works company.  Even though all of Ewan's experience has been in a brickyard, the family decides to purchase the pottery company instead.  Since Rose is an artist and Ewan has management and contract negotiating experience, the family believes they would make a great team in a new business.  That decision is also based on not wanting to compete with Margaret's brickyard and potentially causing a greater divide in their extended family.

At her graduation party, Rose reconnects with Joshua Harkness.  His family also owns a pottery works in another city and she believes he might have some insight to help her succeed.  Joshua has other ideas of his own and starts courting Rose, but he also takes a mistress who happens to be Ewan's daughter's nanny.  

Rylan Campbell is a longtime employee of the pottery works that Ewan and Rose purchase.  He is key to helping them grasp the intricacies of the pottery works business.  Rose immediately sees several changes that need to be made to the daily business.  She desires a cleaner environment, as well as a school for the children working at the pottery works.  She gets a tremendous amount of resistance from the workers and even though Rylan doesn't like change, he strives to help Rose implement her ideas.   Rose and Ewan's twin sisters come to the factory to set up the school that will teach around the children's work schedules.

In spite of their hard work and factory changes, the pottery works can't seem to land any new contracts.  That is, of course, detrimental to the success and longevity of the company.  When Rose hears of a contest with a reward of a huge pottery contract, Rose and Rylan go to work on a new design that they hope will win.  However, just as before, Joshua Harkness has other ideas and plans.


My Recommendation 

As I said in the introduction, this book can easily stand on it's own merit.  Honestly, I enjoyed reading this book more than The Brickmaker's Bride, but I was glad I knew the family background, especially where Margaret was concerned.   It was also nice to already be familiar with the history of how Ewan and his family came to America and met the Woodfields.



Reviews of the Books in the Refined by Love Series

The Brickmaker's Bride Book Review

The Artisan's Wife Book Review 



Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




The Potter's Lady Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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