Friday, August 18, 2017
If you like Historical Fiction, you will enjoy this. Set in Pennsylvania near Philadelphia and Lancaster in 1763, it’s the third in a series about Amish settlers who emigrated from Germany. There is turmoil in the area after a group of Indians massacres northernmost settler and children are kidnapped. A daughter, Betsy, who is betrothed to Hans from Stoney Ridge Amish church, taken as a “tribute” replacement for one in their village who had been killed. She is treated well after she arrives at the village and is befriended by Caleb, who is the son of a Mennonite girl who had been kidnapped years back and was taken as a Shawnee bride. He can speak her language and takes time to help her acclimate. Even though Betsy doesn’t forget her home and people, she learns to endure the hardships and becomes close to the female leaders of the tribe, and Caleb. Tessa, the Preacher’s daughter, has always loved Hans and was very jealous of Betsy. The tragedy becomes a good thing for her since Hans draws close and proposes marriage. That is until Caleb brings Betsy back.
This story is woven with jealousy, prejudice, racism and selfishness, also kindness, forgiveness, tolerance and strength of faith and spirit. Colonial settlers mostly left their country because of great difficulties, only to arrive in America and face some of the same as well as new challenges. Different ways of life, and the settlers’ greed for the land that was set aside for the Indians by treaty strongly influenced this time. This is about one part of that history and peaceful immigrants who are making a great contribution (like the Conestoga wagon) yet are torn apart by violence from within and without.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher from the Baker Publishing Group, Bethany - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
From the Publisher:
Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans, but then she never had to. Not until the night when she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. During her captivity, Betsy faces brutality and hardship, but also unexpected kindness. She draws strength from native Caleb, who encourages her to find God in all circumstances. She finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the intense new feelings this compelling man awakens within her.
Handsome and complex, Hans is greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity and turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. Eagerly, Tessa responds, overlooking troubling signs of Hans's hunger for revenge. When Betsy is finally restored to the Amish, have things gone too far between Hans and Tessa?
Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.
Barnes and Noble
Thursday, August 10, 2017
A new series linked with the fabulous Red River Valley novels. I have read a lot of books. I recall a movie, although not the title, where characters come alive and then freeze where they are when the reader stops reading. Most books are like this, quietly waiting to be picked up again, but Lauraine Snelling’s characters seem to continue to live after the book is put down – and I eagerly look forward to peering through the looking glass again to see what they’ve been up to.
Ingeborg’s cousin is still in Norway and has long waited to see her again. Her sister Gird is married and has gone to America, earning land and building a homestead. They need help, sending for her oldest son Rune and his family to join them. Ready and willing to work hard to repay them yet also earn some land and a home for themselves in this land of opportunity, they sail over – but nothing is easy anywhere along the way. They enter a loveless home and Uncle Einar and Aunt Gird expect way too much from them, with little thanks, but Rune and Signe – and their children - have strong values and deliver 110%. Clearing the large trees is a dangerous job and when overworked it becomes more so. Because Uncle Einar is so single minded about getting the trees cleared, Aunt Gird is very ill and the household has gone severely downhill. Plus, for some reason the community does not welcome Rune and his family. Standing firm on strength and kindness, their faith grows stronger through the difficulties and threads its way to the others who surround them.
I wish I could give Lauraine’s books 10 stars – I can’t recommend them highly enough. They are get-lost-in-and-fully-enjoy stories where you can clearly picture the characters and settings. As always, I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series! I really like the references to Ingeborg as I know she is living a full life not far from Signe and Rune in her piece of America.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Bethany House Publishers - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
From the Publisher:
Beloved Author Lauraine Snelling Launches New Immigrant Series
When Signe, her husband, Rune, and their three boys arrive in Minnesota from Norway to help a relative clear his land of lumber, they dream of owning their own farm and building a life in the New World. But Uncle Einar and Aunt Gird are hard, demanding people, and Signe and her family soon find themselves worked nearly to the bone in order to repay the cost of their voyage. At this rate, they will never have land or a life of their own.
Signe tries to trust God but struggles with anger and bitterness. She has left behind the only life she knew, and while it wasn't an easy life, it wasn't as hard as what she now faces. When a new addition to the family arrives, Signe begins to see how God has been watching over them throughout their ordeal. But after all that has happened, can she still believe in the promise of a bright future?
Barnes and Noble
Thursday, July 27, 2017
First a window, then a door. . .
Another in the series based on the real Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville and real-world events after the Civil War. As the story unfolds it is obvious that the two main characters, Alexandra and Sy are of separate worlds on separate paths. But Tamera gently weaves the story and we see an illustration of how God takes us through our lives – first opening a window, then a door, until time goes by and we can see the path clearly. It has character styles that I am drawn to – a strong, independent, intelligent woman and a rugged, compassionate, intelligent man.
Alexandra was on the train that crashed and her fiance was killed. Sylas' father was the engineer who was driving the train. Sy now owns the railroad and is trying to find out what happened and clear his name. His business depends on influencing General Harding of Belle Meade, but he is not accustomed to prosperity or the Southern way of doing things. Alexandra is accustomed to both and in a position to help Sy, but she is about to lose her connection with her family.
This is one of the best truly Christian stories where Jesus is mentioned often. Beautifully written full dimensional characters you are glad to get to know.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Fiction and the Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.
From the Publisher:
Can a railroad man and a Southern Belle turned teacher find a way to work together to achieve their dreams in the new reality of the post-Civil War South?
Sylas Rutledge, former gambler and new owner of the East Line Railway, invests everything he has into this venture, partly to see if he can do it—but mostly to avenge his father. One man holds the key to the railway’s success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sylas Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver in high society, and when he meets Alexandra Donelson, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor.
Spurning her family’s wishes that she marry, Alexandra Donelson is pursuing her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But her family does not approve, and ultimately, her father expels her from the family home and cuts her off completely.
Through her friendship with Mary Harding, Alexandra is thrown together with both General Harding and Sylas Rutledge. And she soon finds herself falling in love with a man whose roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility.
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win the hand of the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.
Set at Nashville’s historic Belle Meade Plantation, To Wager Her Heart is a sweeping Southern love story about a nation mending after war, the struggle to move a country forward, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves for who they truly are—and can be—with each other.
Barnes and Nobles
Sunday, June 11, 2017
I didn’t know that there were Pullman chapel cars. They only stayed in an area for a short time bringing God's message to isolated areas that did not have a resident preacher. Hope is a good name for this character. After living apart from him for some time, she convinces her father to let her go with him to extend missionary services to small communities. They travel in the chapel car, where they live and hold church services. Two men come into her life. Only one genuinely cares for her but she has a hard time seeing them clearly – not realizing the situation she’s being put in. Engaging characters, very well written tale that keeps you on the edge until the end. Good lessons in faith, learning who you are and caring throughout. Another fabulous book from Judith Miller!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Bethany House Publishers - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.
Description from the Publisher
With her penchant for seeing the best in everyone, Hope Irvine sees a world full of good people in hard places. When her father accepts a position traveling in a chapel car as an on-the-rail missionary, she is determined to join him in his efforts and put her musical skills to good use by serving the mining families of West Virginia, saving their souls, and bettering their lives.
Luke Hughes shares Hope's love of music and her love of God, but as a poor miner he knows he can offer her no future. Still, the notes she sings resonate in his heart. When she begins to travel with a young mine manager to neighboring counties, Luke can hardly suppress his jealousy. It isn't until he begins to suspect these missions of mercy might be the mine manager's cover for illegal purposes, though, that Luke feels justified in speaking up. But how can he discover the truth without hurting Hope or, worse, putting her in danger?
Friday, June 2, 2017
Christian Historical fiction – England early 1800’s
As a young child, after her mother died Isabel was left at the Fellsworth School. She was still there when her father died and her sister joined her. Later a teacher, she never expected to leave unless as a governess. One day a visitor comes to tell her that she has an Aunt, who brings her and her sister to live with them at their mansion. But all is not as it seems.
Her Aunt and Uncle expect her to enter society and marry well. Isabel isn’t even used to talking to men, and now has two she interacts with. Quite a different life than what she had expected. Still it is exciting with all the dresses and parties. Always fond of gardens and outdoors, there’s a forest alongside the estate, but even though she is drawn there she’s been warned to stay away. Conflicting advice from her Aunt, Uncle, Cousin and suitors makes things difficult, and as time goes by she uncovers more secrets and realizes how little she really knew about her mother. Lessons in self-worth and faith in God’s influence and guidance throughout.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Thomas Nelson Publishers and The BookLook Bloggers Team. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “GuidesConcerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.
Description from Publisher
Isabel Creston never dared to dream that love could be hers. Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.
For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School in the rolling English countryside. No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady yet unexciting role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would provide her a steady environment to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father's death.
The unexpected arrival of a striking stranger with news of unknown relatives turns Isabel's small, predictable world upside down, sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.
At her new family's invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with mysterious rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. And perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.
At Emberwilde, Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past may also open the door to her future and security. But first she must find it—in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.
Beautiful book. Great photos and detailed information about the basics of embroidery. So many flowers with excellent detail. I like the way that the patterns are given, with a picture of the flower and the type of stitch near each area. The thing I would change is to have the picture of the embroidered flower next to the pattern so that you don’t have to flip back and forth.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher Roost Books and Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Description from the Publisher:
Featuring 63 plants, this collection of embroidered flower motifs was inspired by a year of studying the garden. Beginning with the spring and going through the late autumn, the flower varieties presented here are presented with care and realistic detail. With beautiful color combinations, wonderful texture, and a studied but artful expression, this is an exquisite guide for those who love flowers and embroidery, and for those who want to share in the pleasures to be found with fabric and needle.