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

Friday, October 15, 2021

With Love, Louisa: A Regency Romance - Larkhall Letters Book 3 Reviewed

With Love, Louisa Reviewed
The Larkhall Letters book series has kept me reading, and laughing, for days! 

I've quickly moved from one book to the next.  Most recently, I finished reading With Love, Louisa.  Sadly, I now have to wait for the next book in the series to be published to continue following the lives and escapades of the ladies and gentlemen of Larkhall. However, you can start the series today, then wait along with me in eager anticipation of the 4th book.

In book 3, as you would expect from the title, Louisa Rosemeyer is the main character. Previously, she has been a likable support character in the series.  We first meet Louisa in book 1, The Ace of Hearts.  She and her older sister Alice (the main character of book 1) visit Larkhall for the summer in hopes that one or the other will find a lovable husband so they can avoid being forced into arranged marriages by their stepfather. 

In book 2, The Captain's Confidant, Louisa had become Bridget Northcott's companion, which allows her to safely remain at Larkhall and travel with the Northcott family. 

Book 3 opens with Louisa feeling uncomfortable with continuing to live at Larkhall with Bridget's brother, Matthew, her self-appointed older brother, and their elderly aunt. She believes it will cause a great scandal if she remains in the home with a single man.

Unexpectedly, the shy Louisa manages to find herself in an extraordinary situation that had me rolling with laughter as she winds up in the very worst place while seeking a hiding place in an unfamiliar home.


With Love, Louisa Book Synopsis

 With Love, Louisa: A Regency Romance
(Larkhall Letters Book 3)
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When Louisa Rosemeyer decides it is time for her to leave the protection of Larkhall, she pens a letter to her wealthy widowed aunt, Mrs. Irwin, whom she hopes would welcome a companion. Louisa hasn't met Mrs. Irwin, but she knows she owns an estate, Benham Abbey, in Folkswich. To her happy surprise, Louisa receives a response to come as soon as possible.

However, Mrs. Irwin did not write the letter.  Her tenant, Jack Warwick, replied to Louisa and signed Mrs. Irwin's name. He believes it would serve his disagreeable landlord right to be required to receive unwanted company and believes it would be a grand joke on Mrs. Irwin.

Upon arrival at Benham Abbey, Louisa is mistaken by the housekeeper as a hired maid and escorts her to the servant's quarters. Because it is already bedtime, Louisa believes this is a mistake that can be rectified in the morning and she is exhausted from travel.  However, she can't sleep due to hunger.  She decides to venture to the kitchen for a snack. When she hears a man's voice, she is frightened.  After all, why would a man be in her elderly aunt's home?  Fearing that it could be an intruder, she decides to hide, but she has to keep moving further away as it seems the man is following her.  

Both the man and Louisa are shocked by what happens next!

 

Conclusion

It is rare for me to find a book series that every individual book deserves a separate review.  However each book in the Larkhall Letters by Ashtyn Newbold has an excellent plot with wonderful characters and could easily be enjoyed without having read other books in the series.

With Love, Louisa is a delightfully entertaining story with several difficult situations that must be dealt with properly and in accordance with societal rules.  

In the end, I feel I have made a few new friends and I wish them every happiness.  


Read My Other Reviews of Books in the Larkhall Letters Series

 The Ace of Hearts Review The Captain's Confidant Review




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Friday, September 24, 2021

The Captain's Confidant: A Regency Romance - Larkhall Letters Book 2 Review

I previously reviewed the first book in the Larkhall Letters series. Because it was such a delightful book to read, I immediately started the second book in the series, The Captain's Confidant

We originally met Bridget Northcott in book 1, The Ace of Hearts. I instantly liked her!  She was a gracious hostess, sweet friend, and clearly someone who could keep secrets.  In book 1, Bridget didn't even tell her brother, Matthew, Alice Rosemeyer's real reasons for visiting his estate, Larkhall.

When Bridget shared her own secret with Alice and told her why she wasn't interested in considering any would-be suitors, it is obvious why keeping confidences was so important to Bridget. She had a big secret of her own!  For years, she had been in love with her brother's friend, Captain Colin Foster.

Any romantic reading the book would hope that Bridget's captain returned her love. However, at the beginning of book 2, when we discover that Captain Foster is engaged to someone else, that hardly seems likely. 


The Captain's Confidant Synopsis

 The Captain's Confidant: A Regency Romance (Larkhall Letters Book 2)Check PriceWhen his older brother dies in an accident, Captain Foster is forced to return home and assume his place as heir and master of Thorncarrow.  Colin resents having to leave his career and his beloved sea. He has been living the life he wanted.  Now, he is choked by obligations, debt, and an unwanted estate. Captain Colin Foster is a very unhappy man.

When they find out that Colin is back at Thorncarrow, Matthew and Oliver Northcott make plans to visit him.  They hope they might be able to help him ease into his new role as owner of an estate. Plus, they are interested in how he had so quickly become engaged to their neighbor, Miss. Tabitha Terrell.  

Bridget is heartbroken to hear of Colin's engagement and questions how he could even consider marrying Tabitha. He knows firsthand of the spiteful things that Tabitha did to Bridget when they were kids. She is determined to find out how he could possibly love her and convinces her brother, Matthew, that he should allow her to accompany them to Thorncarrow.  However, upon arrival, is seems Colin is not thrilled to see Bridget. He sends her and her companion to stay in the dower's house with his mother.

In her own state of distress, Bridget decides to vent her anger through a letter that is never meant to be delivered.  However, a maid finds the letter and promptly takes it to the addressee, Captain Colin Foster.  After Colin reads the letter, he decides to write one of his own and that is how Bridget becomes the Captain's confidant. 


My Conclusion

Sharing secrets with someone you trust is something we all need to be able to do from time to time. Knowing they would never betray you is paramount.  

This is a sweet story of an old friendship that is reestablished after years of separation.  It is also the story of forgiveness and reconciliation of other broken relationships.  No doubt, there is a message of encouragement laced within the pages of this story for all of us if we take the time to reflect upon it.

 




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Friday, September 17, 2021

The Ace of Hearts: A Regency Romance - Larkhall Letters Book 1 Review

The Ace of Hearts
I've only read a few Regency romance novels and I don't remember ever recommending one in the past. While they are clearly romantic fiction, which is my preferred genre, there is no guarantee they will be clean and wholesome.  When I search for a new book, I have learned to use the term "clean and wholesome" and have had much greater success finding a romantic fiction book that doesn't include graphic sex.

I've seen Regency romance novels in the "clean and wholesome" search results, but past experience has made me hesitate to choose one again. However, when I saw "The Ace of Hearts" was included in my KindleUnlimited membership, I felt I had nothing to lose if I tried a Regency romance again.  After all, I could stop reading if it became too racy and know that I had not spent a dime on the novel.  I'm really glad I gave that genre another chance!

I love historical fiction and thanks to Pride and Prejudice, I am very fond of the British Regency era depicted in books, especially if the book includes a touch of humor. While I am fascinated by the aristocracy, I admit I am glad I don't live under their rigid rules and expectations for women.  The "Larkhall Letters" book series reminds me, once again, to be grateful that I was not subject to an arranged marriage because my family estate needed an infusion of cash, or because someone was in the right social class.

In "The Ace of Hearts", Alice Rosemeyer went to great lengths and engaged in socially unacceptable activity in order to avoid her stepfather's arrangement for her marriage and life.  Given her circumstances, I'm sure I would have been inclined to run away too.

 

The Ace of Hearts Book Synopsis

 The Ace of Hearts: A Regency Romance
(Larkhall Letters Book 1)
Check Price
Alice thought she had found a way out of having to marry her stepfather's choice when she and her step-brother, Isaac, colluded to help Isaac win the heart of a wealthy heiress, Diana Herring.  He had agreed to use some of Diana's dowry to setup a dowry for Alice that would attract a more desirable gentleman for her to wed.  Alice's hopes, along with her stepbrother's hopes, were dashed when his hopeful bride's brother refused Isaac as a suitor for Diana. 

While Thomas Herring may have made a very wise decision for his sister, Diana, that decision made Alice desperate to devise another way to gain her independence.  Without telling anyone, including her stepbrother, she made plans for her and her younger sister, Louisa, to visit a friend in another city for the summer.  Bridget Northcott was excited to have the two Rosemeyer sisters join her at Larkhall and was more than happy to introduce them to prospects, which happened to be her brothers friends and guests for the summer.  Surely the sisters would catch the eye of a more desirable suitor.  

But, Alice did not wish to be bound by matrimony. She much preferred the idea of being independent and able to provide for herself and her sister if necessary.  When she found a like-minded ally, as well as financial backing, in Diana's aunt, she was thrilled to consider a different future.  It was one, however, that would require careful planning and anonymity. Together, they made a plan.

Thus, the Ace of Hearts was established and open for business!

 

My Conclusion

I found this to be a delightful read that occasionally made me laugh. I could easily envision the characters as described by Ashtyn Newbold. Their actions, unusual, yet creative schemes, and antics were rather entertaining.  Plus, the parlor games were quite amusing! 

This is one Regency Romance Novel I can highly recommend! I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.





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Friday, July 9, 2021

A Better Country Book Series by Kristina Hall Reviewed

A Better Country Book Series
When I received a request to review "To the Uttermost", which is book 2 of A Better Country series by Kristina Hall, I quickly agreed to read it.  However, I wanted to start with book 1, "Strangers and Pilgrims" and I'm really glad I did.  

Reading Strangers and Pilgrims first allowed me the opportunity to get to know the main characters in the series.  Understanding their background and the struggles this created family survived, helped me appreciate and understand them.  I doubt I would have grasped the depth and reason for their close relationships without the revelations of book one.

Both books caused me to really stop and think about several things. When reading books, hearing stories, or visiting battleground sites of the American Civil War, I often consider how families were forever changed.  Reading a book, even a fiction book, about a soldier who returned home to find his parents dead and his home town overrun by the enemy, is not a scenario I previously considered. However, I have no doubt it is a plausible plot and was, most likely, a reality for far too many at that time in history.

As long as the reader keeps in mind that there are evil people in every region of every country and doesn't get locked up on Civil War sides, I believe "Strangers and Pilgrims" offers an excellent message for all.

It is unlikely anyone would struggle with the content in "To the Uttermost", but you will want the background provided in "Strangers and Pilgrims". 

 

Strangers and Pilgrims Synopsis

In book 1 of A Better Country series, Harry Reiner has just returned to his home town in Texas and to a very unwelcome reception.  He is easily identifiable as a Confederate soldier in this town overrun by Yankees, and they are intolerant of his presence.  He is shot and left for dead in the middle of the street. Only one woman has the courage to come to his aid.  

Rose Kendrick previously stood up against the self-appointed leader of the town, Edwin Burton, and is almost an outcast herself. She survives by taking in laundry, but once she takes in Harry, her business completely dries up. She finds herself, her home, and her loved ones under physical attack. 

Sally Guilford is an orphan who was previously taken in by Rose.  She is Rose's helper, adopted daughter, and biggest defender. Sally is also Rose's greatest area of weakness and evil people are not beyond threatening or even harming a child.

Doyle is an adult man who is Rose's only friend in town. Every time Rose is under attack, Doyle comes to her defense, which puts him in great danger.  Because he has previously taken a bullet while defending Rose, his physical strength is limited.

These four individuals don't stand much of a chance against a lawless town full of enemies lead by a vengeful and spiteful leader.

------

Throughout this book, Christians are reminded that they are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth".  (Hebrews 11:13)

 

To The Uttermost Synopsis

Book 2 of the series picks up a few years later where Harry Reiner and his family are living on his parents horse farm, but the book begins in the wilderness of Colorado with Owen Lockart and his 3 brothers escorting a captured outlaw to jail. 

The outlaw is a member of Vic Guilford's gang. When the 4 brothers are ambushed by the gang, only Owen survives.  He vows revenge for his brother's murders. 

Owen heads to a farm in Texas (Harry Reiner's farm) where Guilford's sister lives. He believes the brother will visit his sister there and give him opportunity to exact revenge.  Since Harry is familiar with the Lockart farm and their excellent horses, he doesn't hesitate to hire Owen.  Of course, Harry has no knowledge of Owen's true intentions.

When the area farms are hit by rustlers, Harry and his workers establish around the clock watches. When the rustlers attack his farm, they kill one of his men and shoot Harry.  All of the remaining workers, except Owen, quit. They don't believe defending Reiner and his farm are worth their lives. 

Once again, Harry finds himself wounded and fighting a battle with little help.  Unfortunately, his one remaining healthy worker has ulterior motives and Vic Guilford is back in town.  Owen will go to great extremes to take down Guilford, but when another's life is threatened, will he go to the uttermost?

------

The message of this book is clear as we watch how a desire for revenge will eat away at someone's character and overshadow all else.  

 

My Recommendation

Both of these books deal with the insidious nature of anger, hate, & revenge.  Conversely, they also include kindness, love, & forgiveness.  

Too often, books can make forgiveness look easy and don't really explore the depths of emotions.  I don't believe that is the case with either of these books.  I think the author did an excellent job of walking us through the events, as well as the hearts and thoughts of those involved.  She didn't try to make it all look simple or effortless, and everything isn't tied up neatly with the bow of Christianity.  

We all struggle with being humans.  I highly recommend this series to believers who recognize we are strangers on this earth seeking Him to the uttermost.





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Friday, May 14, 2021

Timeless Treasure by MaryLu Tyndall Reviewed

The book, Timeless Treasure by MaryLu Tyndall, took me by surprise! 

I have read several books by Tyndall and always loved them.  She is one of my favorite authors because I know I can depend on her for a great story with clean content. However, Timeless Treasure is more than a great story.  It is an exceptional historical fiction that I would highly recommend.

When I read historical fiction, I want historical accuracy.  Tyndall certainly did her "homework" for Timeless Treasure.  The story is based on a real pirate, Stede Bonnet, who was executed in 1718.  The author built a romantic story around Bonnet's real life with a fictitious tale of why he turned to pirating even though he was a well educated, wealthy landowner, married and with children. 

So many things in Bonnet's real life story seem unexpected, contradictory, perhaps even unbelievable, but they were true.  He was factually known as "The Gentleman Pirate" because of his own behavior, yet his association with Blackbeard, who was certainly no gentleman, is well documented. It should also be noted that he knew nothing about sailing prior to becoming a pirate.

The fictional suggestion that he was in love with someone other than his wife and wished to secure a separate fortune to support their life together, would be a plausible explanation for why a wealthy gentleman would turn pirate. Thus the reason this book is exceptional! 

 

Timeless Treasure Synopsis

 Chapter One takes place present day and introduces us to a decedent of Stede Bonnet.  Lexie Cain has just returned from her mother's funeral to a home where she is no longer welcome since it belongs to her step-father.  She is there only to retrieve an ancestral chest containing photos, school papers, a scrapbook, and some old letters. Flipping through the letters she discovers they were written by Bonnet. Those letters change the course of her life.

The opening paragraphs of chapter two introduce us to Stede Bonnet and the woman he loves, Melody, at the burial site of his firstborn son. We discover just how bereaved, miserable and unhappy Stede is with his life.  When Melody informs him that her father is moving her family away from Barbados to Charles Town, a city in the colony of Carolina, Stede's desperation intensifies. He must do something to change the course of his life.

Current day Lexie Cain moves to Charleston in the hopes of finding buried pirate treasure.  She gets a job in the local museum, takes the first "Bonnet" letter to a college history professor for authentication, and then finds herself the target of criminals.

As Lexie reads through the letters with the professor, Barret Johnson, we are all hearing Bonnet's tales of piracy, his longing for a life with Melody, and his plans for a happy future together.  In spite of the fact that we know from the beginning that Bonnet is hung, we hold on to the hope that it was somehow not him that was executed. That he somehow managed to find the happiness he so desperately sought.

_______________________

 

There is no way I will tell you more of the story, yet there is so much more than this brief introduction of the book, including the romance that develops between Lexie & Barrett.  

I would never wish to ruin this marvelous book for anyone else.  You deserve to be able to "walk" through this adventure for yourself.  It would be dastardly indeed for me to rob you of this experience and I refuse to do that.  After all, I am no pirate!


Books by MaryLu Tyndall Previously Reviewed

The Liberty Bride


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Friday, March 12, 2021

The Governess of Penwythe Hall (The Cornwall Novels - Book 1) Reviewed

Cornwall Novels
I recently started reading the Cornwall Novels by Sarah E Ladd and thus far, I have really enjoyed all of them.  The stories begin in Cornwall, England, 1811, which is a fabulous setting for historical fiction.
 
The first book, "The Governess of Penwythe", is an excellent foundation for the series. Delia Greythorne is the governess of five children, but she is more than just a governess.  She is the one constant in the children's lives.  When both of their parents die, they must leave their home and everything they are familiar with, to live with their uncle who they hardly know and do not trust. Unfortunately, returning to Cornwall is the one thing Delia never wanted. Her very life hangs in the balance. 
 
 

The Governess of Penwythe Hall Book 1 Synopsis

 
 The Governess of Penwythe Hall
(The Cornwall Novels)
The opening scenes in this book are in Cornwall (1808) and Cordelia (Delia) Greythorne is leaving her home. Recently widowed, her husband's family not only blames her for his death, but believes she knows more than she is telling. Her mother-in-law follows her to the carriage and hurls final insults at Delia.  The Greythorne family has many secrets, all of which Delia knows, and that makes her a threat to them. They want her gone and perhaps would kill her if she didn't have valuable information they needed.  
 
Delia starts a new life as governess to the Twethewey family in Easten Park, Yorkshire which is just far enough away from Cornwall for Delia to feel safe.
 
Randall Twethewey is a wealthy widower with 5 children.  When he is seriously injured in a horseback riding accident, he has a new will written.  Originally, his children were supposed to go live with his sister-in-law, Beatrice, but he worried that her husband would run through the children's inheritance.  With death pending, he decided to make his estranged brother, Jac, the children's guardian.  He also met with the children's tutor, Hugh Simon, and governess to pay them to stay with his children so they would have the two adults they depended upon and trusted so much with them throughout the transition into a new home with an almost unknown guardian.
 
While not as wealthy as his brother, Jac Twethewey owns Penwythe Hall, which was actually the reason for the breach between brothers.  As the oldest brother, Randall expected to inherent Penwythe Hall, but their benefactor left it to Jac instead.  Randall believed Jac had cheated him out of his proper inheritance.  Once you get to know Jac, you know he didn't cheat anyone out of anything.  Their Uncle Angrove simply believed Jac would be a better overseer of Penwythe Hall and left it to him.

Life as they knew it was about to change for everyone. None of them would remain untouched by the necessary move, including their unsuspecting Uncle Jac who had no way of knowing of his brother's death prior to the children's arrival at Penwythe Hall.

However, in Cornwall, their governess was most at risk.

 



Once You Have Read the First Book in this Series, You Will Want More!



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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Her Silent Knight (Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair Book 1) Reviewed

Her Silent Knight Book
Did you know that it is recorded that the Thames River has frozen over 24 times?  Seven of those times, the ice was solid enough that they held a Frost Fair in London.  

The celebrated Frost Fair of 1683-84 featured multiple activities including horse races, football, bowling, ice skating, sledding and more. Vendor booths were set up to sell souvenirs, food and refreshments. Londoner's clearly knew how to quickly make a rare occurrence into a fun festival for all.  

In 1814 (the last Frost Fair), an elephant was led across the ice. Reminiscent of previous frost fairs, there was dancing, ice skating and of course, vendors.  It lasted only 4 days before the ice broke up and several people drowned.

The very real historical Frost Fair of 1814 is the setting of the entire "Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair" series.  This series provides a wonderful look back into history, as well as some really awesome romantic stories. 

First in the series is "Her Silent Knight". It was such a captivating book, that I read it in one night.  Yes, it was nearly 4 am before I went to sleep, but it was worth it!  I thoroughly enjoyed the sweet story.


Her Silent Knight Synopsis

 Her Silent Knight: A Christmas Regency Romance (Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair Book 1)Check PriceSelina Ellis becomes secretly engaged to Noah Skinner, a solicitor who is below her social status. Mr. Skinner would never be considered an acceptable suitor for Selina, especially by her own mother.  But, Selina doesn't care!  She believes she is in love with Mr. Skinner and when he proposes marriage at the Frost Fair, Selina agrees to marry him, even if it means they would be required to elope.  

The couples embrace is witnessed by a childhood friend that Selina hasn't seen in years. When Sir Edmund Sharp recognizes the two people hugging each other, he knows he must find a way to save Selina from the man with a scandalous reputation.  She is young, naive, and clearly unaware of Mr. Skinner's "manipulations". What Sir Edmund cannot immediately figure out is why Mr. Skinner would pursue a lady with no inheritance. Upon her father's death, their home and money was entailed to a distant relative since Mr. Ellis has no sons.  That left Selina and her mother living on a meager stipend.

Sir Edmund agrees to keep Selina's secret if she will make sure he is invited to spend the Christmastide (the 12 days of Christmas) in her home. The request makes sense because his grandmother recently died and he has no other family in London. Selina's mother had always adored Edmund, plus she saw him as the perfect suitor for Selina. Therefore, securing an invitation for Christmastide was not difficult at all.

Now, Sir Edmund only has to figure out how to separate Selina from Mr. Skinner.  That won't be as easy as Sir Edmund had originally thought since Mr. Skinner has possession of Edmund's grandmothers will. Skinner is willing to do whatever is necessary to keep Sir Edmund from interfering in his relationship with Selina.




 

"Her Silent Knight" is a sweet story of love, chivalry, and childhood loyalties embedded in an enchanting historical fiction, set in the fantastic short-lived Frost Fair on the Thames River in London.  It is the first book in the Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair series shown below.

All but one of these authors are new to me.  I love that when it happens in a co-op series!

 

 Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair (5 Book Series)Check Price



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Friday, November 13, 2020

The Lady and the Mountain Man (The Mountain Series Book 1) Reviewed

The Lady and the Mountain Man
This book took me by surprise! 

Because of the title, I was concerned that "The Lady and the Mountain Man" would be too juvenile to hold my attention.  However, since Misty M. Beller is a best selling author, and I liked the Montana setting, I thought I would at least start reading it.  After all, I could set the book aside if it didn't appeal to me.  As it turns out, the opening first few paragraphs caught my attention quickly and the story line kept me interested.

This book reminded me not to judge a book by it's title.  There have been times when a title grabbed my attention, only for the book to be a disappointment.  Even though I love the cover, this book's title didn't appeal to me, but I really enjoyed the story and would highly recommend it as a clean and wholesome romance for anyone.


The Lady and the Mountain Man
(The Mountain Series Book 1- 1874)

 The Lady and the Mountain Man
(The Mountain Series Book 1)
Before his death, Leah's father had entered into an arranged marriage contract with Simon Talbert on behalf of his only daughter.  The wedding was to take place in only 6 days.  As an only heir, Leah would become a very wealthy woman when she obtained the age of 23, in less than a year. 

When Leah Townsend overhears her fiance admit to killing his first wife and prepared to do the same to her to gain her inheritance, she knows she must flee Richmond, Virginia.  Unfortunately, she had no idea where she could go and be safe. 

Leah's friend, companion and former governess, Emily, hatched what seemed like the perfect plan for Leah.  She would go to St. Louis, Missouri, and stay with a family that Emily knew there.  It seemed like an ideal plan until Leah happened to discover that she was followed to St. Louis by Simon's brother.  She had to come up with a new plan, and fast!

Leah decided to answer a newspaper ad from a gentleman in Montana who was seeking a wife.  It was a long way away, and something no one in Richmond would expect.  Plus, she would not be easy to follow.  She immediately sent a telegram to the wife-seeking man in Montana, secured passage on a boat, and left St. Louis.  

Leah was not prepared for the wilds of Montana or the subsequent events that placed her in some very difficult circumstances causing her to depend solely on God's provision.  


My Conclusion

"The Lady and the Mountain Man" was an easy read and one that I really enjoyed.  I read it rather quickly and hated for it to end.  Fortunately for me, when I checked the following morning, I found the Mountain series has 12 books.  I immediately downloaded the 2nd book to my Kindle.

If you enjoy romantic historical Christian fiction too, I know you will enjoy this wonderful book.


 The Mountain Series: Books 1 - 3: The Mountain Series Box SetCheck Price The Lady and the Mountain Promise (The Mountain series Book 4)Check Price The Lady and the Mountain Call (The Mountain series) (Volume 5)Check Price This Treacherous Journey (The Mountain series Book 6)Check Price This Wilderness Journey (The Mountain series Book 7)Check Price




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Friday, October 23, 2020

Forever By Your Side by Tracie Peterson Book Review

Forever by Your Side
As soon as I saw this book available, I requested a copy.  Tracie Peterson is one of my all-time favorite Christian fiction authors.  I always love her books.  

I didn't realize this was the third book in the series, Willamette Brides, but that was not a problem.  I had already read the first two books, so I was familiar with the characters and the background story for the book.

A reader would probably enjoy this book without reading the first two in the series, but I'm not sure it would mean as much to them.  Knowing the complete backstory, what brought us to this point in time on the Indian reservation, fills in what might otherwise be blanks in the book.  I do recommend reading the first two books first, but you will definitely want to read the resolutions in "Forever By Your Side". 


Synopsis of Forever By Your Side

 Forever by Your Side
(Willamette Brides)
Constance Browning is thrilled when she is hired to catalogue the history of the American Indians on the Oregon reservation, her own childhood home.  Constance's parents are still missionaries there and she is excited to return after years away at school.  

Tom Lowell, Connie's best friend, is the second half of the team hired to record the historical facts.  Together, they travel from the East Coast to the Oregon reservation.  Once there, they are welcomed to stay with Connie's parents instead of other government accommodations.  This is an optimum arrangement for Connie & Tom since they also hope to find out who is supplying the Indians with whiskey and guns.  It has been rumored that her parents are behind the shipments and are organizing an upraising.  

Connie is certain her parents are not involved in anything that would put the Indians in danger.  She knows their hearts and their mission to help the people they love.  Unfortunately, her opinion doesn't matter when there is evidence that her father is part of the operation.  

Since Connie knows some of the Indians, she & Tom plan to use their research as a cover for inquiring about a potential upraising.  They are stunned by some old friends who now consider Connie's family the enemy.  

Connie is equally surprised by the government agent, Clint Singleton, on the reservation who now expresses a romantic interest in her.  She had a childhood crush on him years before and he had totally dismissed her then.  She has to ask herself, is she still in love with Clint?

All the changes are confusing, but Connie is determined to prove her parents are innocent.  With the evidence against her father, that won't be easy to do.


My Recommendation

As I stated in my introduction, while this could be a stand-alone book, I believe the entire series should be read in order.  Connie's cousins, their marriages, and most especially one husband's murder, are important to understanding the entire Willamette Brides story plot and the resolutions in this book.  

Personally, I was glad to finally know the true identity of Mr. Smith and the reasons behind his actions.  

The previous books in the series, Secrets of My Heart and The Way of Love are wonderful books, full of love, mystery and an excellent story that carried through the series.  I highly recommend the Willamette Brides series by Tracie Peterson, especially now that we have Forever By Your Side that provides the answers and resolutions.


 

 

I received an advance copy of "Forever by Your Side" to review from NetGalley. I would like to express my appreciation to Netgalley, the author, Tracie Peterson, and the publisher, Bethany House, for this opportunity. 
 



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Friday, October 9, 2020

A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor Book 1) by Kristi Ann Hunter Reviewed

A Defense of Honor has a very unique plot. That fact alone drew me to this book. Plus, I had never read a book by Kristi Ann Hunter and I love finding new authors (new to me). 

Normally, I review books that I can highly recommend to anyone.  A Defense of Honor delves into some very unpleasant realistic attitudes, especially during the time period of the book's setting of London in 1816.  Therefore, I would only recommend this book to someone who doesn't mind examining the dirty underbelly of society, as well as their own hearts and minds. 

As I read the book, I found myself questioning several things, which is most unusual when reading a Christian fiction.


Synopsis of A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor Book1)

Kit FitzGilbert is "The Governess".  She is hated by London society, even though her true identity is concealed.  Her self-appointed job is to ensure that illegitimate children are financially supported by their wealthy fathers.  She and her friends also protect the mothers and allow them a way to re-enter society without the child or society being any the wiser.

 A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor Book #1)Kit, Daphne & Jess provide a home for the children which is supported by the funds that Kit extracts from their fathers.  

Haven Manor is a large secluded estate that is overseen by a local solicitor, Nash Banfield.  The owner has no desire to live there, so Nash allows the women and children to live in the manor.  This arrangement benefits all parties because the women take care of the upkeep of the manor, the children have a home away from public awareness or scorn, and the owner's property maintains it's value.

It all works quite well for twelve years.  Then, Kit meets Graham, the Viscount Wharton, who is heir to the earldom of Grableton, at a ball she was not invited to attend.  When they go their separate ways, he doesn't even know her full name, but he is haunted by the memory of the beautiful woman in the green gown.

When Graham accidentally finds Kit at Haven Manor while searching for a friend's sister, he is thrilled to once again have an opportunity to get to know her.  However, even though he now knows where she lives, he has no idea who she really is.  In fact, until recently, he had never even heard of The Governess.  

Their relationship is tested multiple times as he discovers more about her, the children, and the household.  It is highly unlikely that a friendship between the two can continue.

 

My Opinion the Book "A Defense of Honor"

Even though this is a Christian fiction, it challenged me.  The reading was not difficult, but some of the judgemental attitudes of the characters were hard for me to embrace.  I don't really understand being able to totally write-off someone you love and dismiss them completely from your life.  

After reading certain chapters, I would stop and think about them.  Question if I knew someone who had done anything like that.  I wondered if the attitudes and actions were very "real-life".  As I delved into my own memories, I found that I have known individuals who, in fact, walk away from family members and friends.  They seemingly never look back, yet leave broken hearts and pain that can take years to overcome, if ever.

There was another point of opinion I found difficult.  The main character, Kit, was judged harshly for the means she used to ensure illegitimate children were financially supported by their biological fathers.  I'm not sure I see the great "sin" in her methods, even though I certainly see the danger.

Plus, the ending bothered me. I can't go into detail about that without ruining the book for you, but I would love to know how others feel about the plot's resolve.  If you read the book, please come back and tell me what you thought.


 

 




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