A ★★★★★ Book Review of One More River to Cross by Jane Kirkpatrick | A historical fiction novel

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell at Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A truly remarkable tale of courage, endurance and pioneering spirit. 

Jane Kirkpatrick does a magnificent job of remaining true to the real story in her newest novel, One More River to Cross, creating a narrative that is both historically accurate and beautifully told with dynamic characters based on the exceptional pioneers of the day. 


Adversity can squelch the human spirit . . . or it can help us discover strength we never knew we had.

In 1844, two years before the Donner Party, the Stephens-Murphy-Townsend company leaves Missouri to be the first wagons into California through the Sierra Nevada. They enjoy a safe journey--until October, when a fierce mountain snowstorm forces difficult decisions.

The party separates in three directions. Some go overland around Lake Tahoe. Others stay to guard the heaviest wagons. The rest of the party, including eight women and seventeen children, huddle in a makeshift cabin at the headwaters of the Yuba River awaiting rescue. The months ahead will be long and at times terrifying. But with friendship, family, and enough courage to overcome their fear, these intrepid pioneers will discover what truly matters in times of trial.


"Jane Kirkpatrick has turned a scrap of history into a story of courageous women strong enough to meet the challenges of nature--and of men."--Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author

"What an incredible journey this novel is! It's moving and beautifully told, and I absolutely loved it."--Molly Gloss, award-winning author of The Jump-Off Creek and The Hearts of Horses


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★★ | I can’t say enough about this masterful retelling of the Stephens-Murphy-Townsend pioneer party. Author Jane Kirkpatrick weaves her magic in a soft and easy to read narrative that inspires, delights and encourages the soul with the perseverance, determination and faith of her characters.  In true early American fashion, these Irish Catholics make their way westward in hopes of finding land for their families to experience religious freedom, peace and prosperity.  As they face the challenges that nature presents them, they come to grips with hard decisions, endure hunger and starvation, and bond together while holding onto hope and ultimately preserving.

Kirkpatrick used historical resources to build her dynamic cast of characters in such a beautiful way, they immediately become engraved on the heart and soul of a reader who will find themselves rooting for these pioneers and their families. I personally found myself intrigued by the story enough to do my own research into the history and real people behind One More River to Cross.

I enjoyed the dialogue throughout the book, the historical accuracy, the well developed characters and learning about the struggles these families overcame.  The book is well written; a beautiful unfolding of difficult but triumphant events that evoke a spirit of pride, perseverance and hope. As a result, I can’t recommend this new novel enough to lovers of historical fiction of all ages. It will remain a passionate favorite of mine for this particular time era.

I trust God is with us whatever choice we make. It’s what I draw on in the hard times. That I’m not alone and that God wants good things for us at the end.” Ailbe leaned in. “Truth is, I’d rather be happy than right.”
— Jane Kirkpatrick, One More River to Cross

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books, with nearly two million copies sold, including Everything She Didn't Say, All She Left Behind, A Light in the Wilderness, The Memory Weaver, This Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have won the WILLA Literary Award, the Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award among others. Jane lives in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry. Learn more at www.jkbooks.com.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of One More River to Cross via one of the purchase links below or borrow it from your local library.  

Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 

WHERE TO PURCHASE ONE MORE RIVER TO CROSS BY JANE KIRKPATRICK:


 

A ★★★★ Book Review of All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner | A story of family, war and America in the 1960's.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell at Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


An endearing story of family, war and the heart of an American girl in 1960’s Michigan.

This beautiful, well written story draws readers in as they experience life and family through the eyes of Annie Jacobsen, an eighteen year old girl with a single mom, two brothers and a father who abandoned the family years ago. Truly the heart of this story is about family, war, hope and the coming of age. An emotional, yet comforting read for a lazy summer afternoon.


After Annie Jacobson's brother Mike enlists as a medic in the Army in 1967, he mails her the address of their long-estranged father. If anything should happen to him in Vietnam, Mike says, Annie must let their father know.

In Mike's absence, their father returns to face tragedy at home, adding an extra measure of complication to an already tense time. Letter by letter, the Jacobsons must find a way to pull together as a family, regardless of past hurts. In the tumult of this time, Annie and her family will grapple with the tension of holding both hope and grief in the same hand, even as they learn to turn to the One who binds the wounds of the brokenhearted.. -Synopsis from All Manner of Things

"Some books are meant to be read. All Manner of Things is meant to be lived in."--Jocelyn Green, Christy Award-winning author of Between Two Shores


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★ |   All Manner of Things drew me in from the first few pages. The characters were so very relatable, coming to life for me as I found myself comparing them to members of my own family, or even myself. As the story wove through the fibers of this family and the ways in which they dealt with Frank’s abandonment, return and Mike’s going to war, the story stirred my heart and soul.

This book is very well written, touching on a wide variety of circumstances that families often find themself dealing with such as an elderly grandparent with dementia, single motherhood, PTSD, duty, fear, faith, first love, racism and death. Finkbeiner masterfully crafts a story that is heartwarming, tender and touching. I enjoyed that All Manner of Things was from Annie’s point of view as she experiences coming into adulthood and watching her family change, grow and strengthen. The inserts of letters and reel-to-reel recordings is a stroke of genius on the author’s part as I found myself enjoying those the most. I haven’t read very many stories in this time era, 1960’s American during the Vietnam war, and I enjoyed it. Parts of the book reminded me episodes of the popular fiction tv show, This is Us on NBC.

The novel wraps up with an emotional ending that truly drew me to tears, even if it was predictable. My recommendation is to give All Manner of Things a read. I’m certain you’ll find the Jacobsons walk right into your heart and home, surrounding you with feelings that we as a human race all face similar situations and that even in the midst of that, our faith and our family are the two most important things we have.

Behind the clouds the sun is shining. If only we have the eyes to see it.
— Susie Finkbeiner - All Manner of Things

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Author Susie Finkbeiner | Image courtesy of Baker Publishing Group, Photo Credit: Bree Rose Photos

Author Susie Finkbeiner | Image courtesy of Baker Publishing Group, Photo Credit: Bree Rose Photos

Susie Finkbeiner is the CBA bestselling author of A Cup of Dust, A Trail of Crumbs, and A Song of Home. She serves on the Breathe Christian Writers Conference planning committee, volunteers her time at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and speaks at retreats and women's events across the state. Susie and her husband have three children and live in West Michigan. Find her online at https://susiefinkbeiner.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of All Manner of Things or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


A ★★★★ Book Review of the Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma, Book Two in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A Desperate Young Mother Searches for Her Child
Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives. How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?

Synopsis from The Pink Bonnet


A ★★★★ Book Review of the Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma, Book Two in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

A ★★★★ Book Review of the Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma, Book Two in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

★★★★ | The one thing no mother wants to face is the loss of her child. As a mother who’s experienced loss and as an adoptive mother, The Pink Bonnet yanked open doors and windows into my soul and brought me to tears.

Liz Tolsma took a true story of horrible tragedy and turned it into a beautiful tale of a mother’s love and how that love is a picture of the love God has for His own children.

The True Colors series is a series of books that highlights American crime. This particular story is that of Georgia Tann, the corrupt director of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society located in Memphis, TN. Miss Tann used highly unethical methods to secure and place children under the age of 7 into adoptive families from the 1920’s until the 1950’s. Her methods included deception, forcefulness, and kidnapping, which sets the plot for this fictional story.

Liz Tolsma does an excellent job of creating a suspenseful story line while keeping the details historically accurate. Cecile Dowd is a character that embodies every mother who’s ever lost a child and takes desperate measures to ensure that child’s safe return. As a mother, I identified with her desperation and determination. The cast of characters are all well developed and I felt a connection with each of them. Watching as each of their stories unfolds was a beautiful revelation of how God can use each one of us if only we allow it.

The only thing that kept my rating from five stars was the fact that Cecile’s plight wasn’t immediately taken to the police. I would think, if a child had been kidnapped, police would need to immediately notified. I was disturbed by this in the first half of the book. I did some research online at that point and discovered that oftentimes, these young mothers were considered poor and uneducated, making claims against what appeared to be a respected, licensed social worker. I also discovered the police officers even looked the other way because of affiliations Miss Tann had with high ranking politicians and offcials in the city. While these affiliations were made known in the book, the police aspect wasn’t truly revealed until the last chapters. I personally would have liked to have had that become known much earlier in the book and I would have found the storyline to be somewhat more believable. Regardless of that personal preference though, this novel is still worthy of all four stars.

The Pink Bonnet offers mild suspense, disturbingly accurate details, a heinous villain, a budding romance and a climatic conclusion. The underlying currents of desperation, hope, love and reunification are truly beautiful. I recommend it to readers who enjoy crime/suspense novels and even those who enjoy a historical romance.

While Georgia Tann will be forever known as a corrupt kidnapper and human trafficker who misused her license as a social worker for personal gain, God did use this horrible brokenness to create a more positive stigma surrounding adoptions. As a result we have better laws in place now, social workers who are routinely checked and adoptions are more open and public than they used to be. Our family, for one, is grateful for that as we enjoy an open adoption with our daughter’s birth family and celebrate them for their love and sacrifice. Adoption nearly always stems from brokenness, but there can be healing and beauty in the process if the parties involved choose love.


This mother, this child, loved each other with an overwhelming love, a love that knew no bounds, no limits, no ends. ...there was nothing like a mother’s love, other than God’s love for His own children.
— Liz Tolsma, The Pink Bonnet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Author Liz Tolsma | Photo Courtesy of  www.truecolorscrime.com

Author Liz Tolsma | Photo Courtesy of www.truecolorscrime.com

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and their two daughters. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

Visit Liz online at LizTolsma.com


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Pink Bonnet or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes, a Christian Fiction Novel

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A SOUL STIRRING DEBUT NOVEL FROM A MARVELOUS AUTHOR!

This deeply emotional novel ties two time eras together in a beautiful and spellbinding way. With captivating characters and melodic words, Amanda Dykes draws readers into the fictional world of Ansel-by-the-Sea where a story of love, honor and hope takes root in readers hearts and minds. A novel so well written, it deserves more than five stars!


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★★ | When author Amanda Dykes reached out to me on Instagram and asked if I would be interested in reading and promoting her debut novel, I immediately agreed and felt a kinship to her on a soul level. Fast forward a few months to when her novel, Whose Waves These Are, landed on my doorstep… I couldn’t wait to dive in to this story! What I didn’t anticipate was the way my very soul would connect to her novel - the characters, the story, and how it and they would be forever written on my heart.

Whose Waves These Are is captivating, soulful, emotional and layered but not overwhelming. Rather, it is a beautiful tale that evokes joy, laughter and hope amidst the trials life deals. The characters’ stories are real and heartrending, yet triumphant. I’m certain readers will find a piece of this story that they relate to and empathize with.

The pages of Whose Waves These Are stirred my soul, filled my heart and brought tears to my eyes. The characters and their unique stories, the way the book split history and present day, plus the way Amanda Dykes masterfully pulled it all together into one novel is extraordinary. It is so well written and so beautiful…

When I finished this story, I sighed. An audible, tear filled sigh that the story had come full circle. Love won, redemption was found and my heart was full. Now, as I write this review, I fear my words aren’t going to do justice for this novel. Instead of revealing the plot or mentioning the characters by name, I’ll simply leave my review at this - I recommend you read this book. Allow your heart to feel the writer’s words, absorb the narration and embrace the characters. When you’re finished, you won’t be the same.


“In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Its message? Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss's humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the harbor village on the coast of Maine, and he sets his callused hands to work.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when GrandBob, the man who gave her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is the one in need of help. But what greets her is a mystery: a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Memories of stone ruins on a nearby island ignite a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

Together with the handsome and enigmatic town postman, Annie uncovers the story layer by layer, yearning to resurrect the hope GrandBob once held so dear and to know the truth behind the chasm in her family's past. But mending what has been broken for so long may require more of her and those she loves than they are prepared to give.” -
Synopsis from Whose Waves These Are


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Amanda Dykes (www.amandadykes.com) is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. Give her a rainy day, a candle to read by, an obscure corner of history to dig in, and she'll be happy for hours. She's a former English teacher, and her novella, Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, was met with critical acclaim from Publishers WeeklyReaders' Favorite, and more. She is also the author of a novella in The Message in a Bottle Romance CollectionWhose Waves These Are is her debut novel. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Whose Waves These Are or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★★ Book Review of Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin, a historical fiction novel.

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A romantic tale of espionage, war, loyalty and the bond of family.

This beautiful new novel from one of my favorite authors offers the lovely story of a young woman desperate to find her family, a young man determined to honor his promise and a captivating romance set in Europe during the era of World War I.


"A complex and riveting tale that you won't be able to set aside. Bravo!"--Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of the Ladies of the Manor and Shadows Over England series

In 1918 England, Lieutenant Colin Mabry spends his days decoding messages for MI8 after suffering injuries at the front. When he receives an urgent summons by carrier pigeon from Jewel Reyer--a woman who saved his life and whom he believed to be dead--he can only hope he'll regain the courage he lost on the front lines as he's driven back into war-torn France. 

But Jewel isn't the one waiting for him in Paris. Instead, it is a stranger who claims to be her half sister, Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence. She found Jewel's diary and believes her sister is alive and in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is at first skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust grows.

That trust is quickly put to the test, however, when their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot and their search for answers quickly turns into a battle for their lives. - Synopsis from Far Side of the Sea

"Blending spycraft with a story of romance forged under the pressure of a life-or-death rescue mission, this action-packed historical will appeal to fans of historical thrillers and will keep readers guessing until the final moments."--Publishers Weekly


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★ |  In true Kate Breslin fashion, she delivers another exquisitely romantic tale in Far Side of the Sea. This sweet, tender historical fiction novel is all I hoped for and more. Being a huge fan of Breslin’s novels, For Such a Time and Not By Sight, I was looking forward to this newest release.

Johanna Reyer is a young woman, alone in this world, desperately seeking to find her sister and father in war-torn France. Her journey and persistence lead her to Colin Mabry, one of her sister’s friends who works decoding message for MI8. As the pair sets out to locate Jewel Reyer, they work together posing as a married couple and traverse Europe during the era of WWI, working alongside undercover British, French and American secret service agents.

I was captivated with this story from the first few chapters. Both Johanna and Colin battle their own unique past scars and uncover God’s truths along the way. The level of mystery that ensues the characters as the story unfolds is tantalizing. While the ending didn’t quite surprise me (I had my suspicions all along), I found the story was still complex enough to hold my interest and keep me entertained. The blooming romance between the two main characters was so touching plus I enjoyed their banter early on.

In Far Side of the Sea, Breslin educates readers to the unique way in which the various militaries utilized carrier pigeons during WWI, by weaving it into her narrative. I found this fascinating and learned something I hadn’t known before. I believe historical fiction lovers will enjoy this aspect of the novel, along with the WWI setting. Because the story holds a sense of mystery with espionage and the search for Jewel, light suspense readers may enjoy this story as well. As always, Breslin does an excellent job of delivering a beautiful Gospel message through her characters’ experiences and that is something I love dearly about her novels. So in conclusion, while For Such a Time is still my favorite Breslin novel, Far Side of the Sea is a great read also and one to be recommended!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and Christy Award finalist and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at www.katebreslin.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Far Side of the Sea or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★ Book Review of the White City by Grace Hitchcock, Book One in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


1893 | Chicago’s World Fair, mysterious disappearances, romance, undercover adventures and the secrets of the infamous H.H. Holmes, rumored to be America’s first serial killer.


Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair

Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?.

Synopsis from The White City


A ★★★ Book Review of the White City by Grace Hitchcock, Book One in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

A ★★★ Book Review of the White City by Grace Hitchcock, Book One in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

★★★ | Perhaps, you know of the infamous H.H. Holmes, a man rumored to be America’s first serial killer. And perhaps you do not. This newly released novel, The White City, by Grace Hitchcock delves into that fantastical story of a man who’s true story is still somewhat unknown.

Readers will join fictional character Winnifred Wylde as she seeks to uncover the truth about H.H. Holmes. As the daughter of Chicago’s inspector Wylde, Winnifred spends her days buried in romance novels until she finds herself captured up into the real life crimes of H.H. Holmes. Posing as his secretary, she works undercover for this dangerous man, under the protective eye of the dashing Jude Thorpe, a true life detective and one of New York’s finest. The budding romance between these two characters is the highlight of this novel!

I gave this book three stars and want to encourage others to read and discover the story for themselves because I’m certain there will be many readers who will enjoy it immensely!

When I first read about this series and the release of this book, I was excited and anticipating a truly suspenseful plot, rich with historical facts and fictional liberties . After all, we’re talking about a serial killer and a time in history when crime was rampant. I expected a serious tone to The White City but instead found more of a Christian romance than a true crime novel.

What I loved about this novel was the setting, the villain, and Miss Wylde and Detective Thorpe’s romance. Detective Thorpe, with his handsome and protective demeanor is the epitome of a romance novel’s hero. I also loved the backstory of H. H. Holmes and his underhanded swindling, insurance fraud and the mysterious killings that he committed in his “hotel” with hidden doors and rooms. Truly, if the author had focused on these three things solely, setting aside Miss Wylde’s personal life, aunt and suitors, this would have a top notch read and exactly what I was hoping for from The White City. More historical background on Chicago and the World’s Fair would have been icing on the cake. At times, I felt like I was expected to have prior knowledge of these things as a reader and unfortunately, I had only but a little. For instance, I never did discover why Chicago was called the White City and found myself Googling H. H. Holmes too.

In the first two thirds of the book, I struggled with the characters and their actions/decisions, the plot and the parts about Miss Wylde’s aunt and suitors which I found myself hurrying through. I desperately wanted more suspense and a deeper plot focused more on Holmes and his crimes. The climax of this novel near the end was my favorite part for this reason - suspense, crime, romance and heroism all rolled up into a few chapters! In the end, this was a solid three stars for me. A good book with a hint of crime, lots of romance and a tiny dash of suspense.

I encourage you to read this book for yourself. I think readers will find the characters to be likable, the story flows along fluidly and the author writes very well, even if it wasn’t the way I initially expected or wanted. This novel is a light read, a clean story for young adults and there’s a delightful romantic aspect to the book that romance readers will enjoy with just enough historical fiction to entice a historical fiction lover.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Author Grace Hitchcock, Photo Courtesy of  http://gracehitchcockbooks.com

Author Grace Hitchcock, Photo Courtesy of http://gracehitchcockbooks.com

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City
and The Gray Chamber from Barbour Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest!


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The White City or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright, a time slip suspense novel

* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A superb combination of historical and contemporary fiction with powerful characters, a brilliant storyline, riveting suspense and a captivating dash of romance!

Author Jaime Jo Wright completely outdoes herself with this third time slip novel that is sure to capture readers imaginations and hearts in an edge-of-your-seat page turner! Both the depth of this story and the compelling plot are truly remarkable, showcasing the creative way in which Wright delivers the narrative.


Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to turn-of-the-century Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin. When the clues she finds lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a postmortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death. 

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother--who is battling dementia--compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman haunting the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns--and with it, Heidi's fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, they must overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined. - Synopsis from The Curse of Misty Wayfair

"Narrated in parallel story lines from 1908 and the present, Wright creates an inspirational mystery with thrilling finesse, blending chilling supernatural elements with the raw interiority of mental illness, and taking readers on Heidi's haunting search for identity, which is sure to keep them up at night."--Booklist

"Stellar writing combined with stellar storytelling is rare. Jaime Jo Wright brings both in abundance to her third novel, The Curse of Misty Wayfair."--James L. Rubart, bestselling author of The Man He Never Was

"The Curse of Misty Wayfair is deliciously thrilling, with a resolution steeped in light and hope."--Jocelyn Green, author of Between Two Shores

"Jaime Jo Wright does it again! The Curse of Misty Wayfair is a compelling and deeply moving story."--Kara Isaac, RITA Award-winning author of Then There Was You


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★★ |   Since reading the Reckoning at Gossamer Pond, I found myself eagerly listening to the House on Foster Hill by way of my Scribd account, highlighting the fact that I truly loved Jaime Jo Wright’s creative storytelling and suspenseful, time slip narratives. But only time could reveal that my absolute favorite of Wright’s novels is her newest release, The Curse of Misty Wayfair.

As I delved into this new story, I was immediately immersed in two stories… That of Thea Reed, a young woman who’s searching for her roots so to speak at the beginning of the twentieth century, and that of Heidi Lane, a present day woman who’s returned home at the mysterious bidding of a letter penned by her dementia ridden mother. Both stories take readers captive from the very beginning… Wright has a way of creating magnetic, multi dimensional characters that are relatable and likable.

While I loved Thea and Simeon’s story, it was the dynamic relationship between Heidi and Rhett that I found captivating, amusing and enjoyable. Their strength, and stubbornness, made for some great interactions that left me smiling. Not to mention, the intricate way these two stories wove together in a fascinating tale of suspense, mystery and intrigue was phenomenal!

Overall, this was an excellent read. It’s clear that Wright is a master of words and very studious of people and their unique makeup. She portrays her characters and their thoughts in a way so relatable, readers can easily identify with them. I love how each of her books portrays a character with special needs and the unique qualities those characters bring to the story, as well as the concept that everyone is made in God’s image with love and for a specific purpose. The faith elements woven throughout this novel are rich, deep and inspirational. The clear impact a personal relationship with the Lord is evident and following the characters on their journey to uncover God’s truths is enlightening and relevant.

Along with Wright’s other two novels, I highly recommend The Curse of Misty Wayfair to both historical fiction lovers and contemporary fiction readers. It is also a great read for mature young adults and college age readers. Please, don’t miss out on this gripping novel, it won’t disappoint!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com


Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Jaime Jo Wright is the Christy Award-Winning author of The House on Foster Hill. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children. To learn more, visit www.jaimewrightbooks.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Curse of Misty Wayfair or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★★ Book Review of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream by Pepper Basham | A Christian, historical fiction novel

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


This sweet novel opens the door to life in the heart of Appalachia during the early twentieth century. With endearing characters and a storyline so heartwarming, it’s a must-love story from start to finish!


A British Missionary Meets a Chilly Welcome in a Remote Appalachian Community
 
Laurel McAdams is well acquainted with trouble, but her dreams keep her hopeful that life can improve on her mountain in the Blue Ridge. Still, trouble does come in the form of an outsider.

Having failed his Bristish father again, Jonathan Taylor joins his uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination.

Faced with parents angry over his teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

Journey into North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where a young woman’s dreams are held captive by rugged landscape and long held traditions. - Synopsis from My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream


A ★★★★ Book Review of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream by Pepper Basham | A Christian, historical fiction novel

A ★★★★ Book Review of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream by Pepper Basham | A Christian, historical fiction novel

★★★★ || With a tender love story reminiscent of Catherine Marshall’s Christy, Pepper Basham shares a delightful tale of a young, British man who comes to the heart of the Appalachian mountains in 1918 at the behest of his uncle to teach at a mission school. There he meets Laurel, a young woman who’s colorful and upbeat outlook on her life in the mountains when it’s at its best, or its hardest, has him falling for the mountains, and her.

Having lived in the Appalachian mountains myself, I can attest to the tugging the beautiful mountain scenery and countryside can place on one’s heart. I found this sweet novel to be both familiar and endearing. Author Pepper Basham weaves in colorful mountain phrases, wit, humor and country charm while depicting what I believe to be an accurate look at life in the mountains around the early twentieth century. The characters are likable, while the story line moves along with both the highs and lows of life in a remote area. There are strong elements of faith woven throughout the story and a beautiful underlying message of God’s never-ending love for His children and the acceptance He gives regardless of our shortcomings.

In my opinion, this historical fiction novel is the perfect cozy, light read for perhaps a winter afternoon under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa.. My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream is a wholesome read for teenagers and will charm adult readers as well.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She lives in North Carolina with her family. You can learn more about Pepper from her website, www.pepperdbasham.com, or by following her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream or borrow it from your local library.  You can find more of the My Heart Belongs books on Amazon. Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Hidden Among the Stars, a historical fiction novel by Melanie Dobson

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


Hidden treasure, secrets, friendship and a story that will captivate readers hearts and imaginations…

As history unfolds in this gripping, new novel by author Melanie Dobson, readers will find themselves not only captivated by Hidden Among the Stars endearing characters, but absorbed in this time slip book’s two simultaneous stories that are masterfully tied together by an imaginative and creative author. While rich in WWII history, this book takes place in 1930’s Austria as the Germans invade and in the life of present day bookstore owner, Callie Randall. With subtle, yet powerful morals such as friendship, loyalty, equality and choosing what is right, this novel is perfect for both contemporary and historical fiction readers.


A ★★★★★ Book Review of Hidden Among the Stars, a Tyndale House Publishers historical fiction novel by Melanie Dobson

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Hidden Among the Stars, a Tyndale House Publishers historical fiction novel by Melanie Dobson

★★★★★ || I’ll be the first to admit, the Hidden Among the Stars cover is what initially drew me in for this novel. (…And they say to never judge a book by it’s cover.) With my love of historical fiction and a particular interest in WWII fiction, I was excited to begin this novel. From the first three chapters, I was completely hooked; it was quite the page turner! This time slip novel has two stories happening simultaneously, one that happened near Lake Hallstatt in Austria in the late 1930’s, and a second story that takes place in current day, both of which I found completely intriguing.

The characters are both endearing and relatable. As a book lover, I enjoyed Callie’s character very much and as an introvert, found my self connecting with her on a deeper level. Author Melanie Dobson weaves a heartwarming story through her characters as they face loss, overcome trials, maintain loyal friendships and fight to choose what is right.

There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this novel. It was all I’d hoped for and more. I’d no sooner finished the story and I wanted to read it again! The story was entertaining, moved along at a pace that kept me interested, held a bit of mystery and suspense as well as certain elements of faith and friendship that were very impactful. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and descriptiveness very much. So much, in fact, that I’ve already searched our local library for her other books as well.

While reading the story, I saw this post from Crazy4Fiction.com on social media about the author’s trip that sparked the idea for this novel which I found fascinating. I know much time, work and love goes into creating a story of this magnitude and I think Melanie Dobson executed this piece magnificently.


From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.


The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.. - Synopsis from Hidden Among the Stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Image courtesy of  http://melaniedobson.com .

Image courtesy of http://melaniedobson.com.

Writing historical and time-slip fiction is Melanie Dobson’s excuse to immerse herself into the past by reading old books, interviewing experts, and exploring fascinating places across the United States and Europe.

Melanie is the award-winning author of twenty historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels. Three of her novels, Chateau of SecretsThe Silent Order and Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa, have received Carol Awards, Catching the Wind received the Inspirational Fiction Audie Award, and The Black Cloister was named the ForeWord Religious Fiction Book of the Year.

Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master’s degree in communication from Regent University. Prior to her writing career, she was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of Dobson Media Group.

Melanie met her husband, Jon, in Colorado Springs, but since they’ve been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times with Jon’s work including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. Along with their two daughters, Karlyn and Kiki, they now enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific, and they enjoy serving together with the orphan care ministry in their church.

When Melanie isn’t writing or playing with her family, she enjoys teaching, dancing, and reading inspirational novels.

Learn more about Melanie at http://melaniedobson.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Hidden Among the Stars or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar, a historical fiction novel.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers book review program and Thomas Nelson (a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A heartrending story of loyalty, courage and perseverance in the face of adversity.


A ★★★★★ Book Review of Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar, a historical fiction novel from Thomas Nelson.

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar, a historical fiction novel from Thomas Nelson.

★★★★★ || Auschwitz Lullaby is a truly remarkable tale based on a the true story of Helene Hannemann, a German nurse who chooses family over freedom when the Nazis force her Gypsy husband and five children into encampment during WWII. As they are delivered to Auschwitz-Birkenau II, her story unfolds when she’s is torn from her husband and must fight to keep her family alive in the very place where thousands upon thousands of people died from starvation, poor living conditions, Nazi cruelty and disease. 

The author, Mario Escobar, closely follows WWII history and portrays camp life vividly, and yet, heartbreakingly well. As he wove his fictitious tale of real courageous men and women, I was pulled into life in the Gypsy camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau II. This story was very carefully crafted with captivating characters and events that keep readers intrigued from page to page.  I believe readers will want to celebrate the sense of loyalty and perseverance in the brave men, women and children of those perilous times when the Nazis sought to crush the very soul of humanity. 

As a true five star novel, I loved this book because it was rich in historical details, beautifully written and seemingly accurate. The author doesn’t sugarcoat camp life for his readers, but even in the harsh reality of circumstances, he maintains the dignity of his characters and offers bits of joy for his readers. This is a MUST READ for historical fiction readers and anyone with a particular interest in WWII or the Holocaust. It is my understanding that this book may be available in multiple languages as well for readers all over the world.


Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.

On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.

After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.

Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.

Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost. - Synopsis from Auschwitz Lullaby


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Image courtesy of http://www.marioescobar.es/

Image courtesy of http://www.marioescobar.es/

Mario Escobar Golderos has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.

Learn more about Mario at http://www.marioescobar.es/. You can also follow him on Facebook or Twitter


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Auschwitz Lullaby or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 

I review for BookLook Bloggers