Love Held Captive by Shelley Shepard Gray

Gray, Shelley Shepard Love Held CaptiveSeries: Lone Star Hero, Book 3

Publication Date: Oct 10, 2017

Publisher: Zondervan

ARC copy from Netgalley and Zondervan

 

“Someone recently told me writers and poets make wars seem glorious but only fools think that way.”                                                                                     -Julianne Van Fleet

This third book in the Lone Star Hero series brings together two young women who both suffered greatly as a result of the less than glorious circumstances they found themselves in as a result of the Civil War and its aftermath. Julianne Van Fleet, a quiet, young woman, lives alone in San Antonio, Texas, and Lizabeth Barclay, a pretty young woman of similar age, is employed as a maid by her cousin at The Menger Hotel in San Antonio.

Their lives become entwined with two men, Captain Devin Monroe and Major Ethan Kelly in a set of unusual circumstances that brings them all full circle with an old nemesis of theirs, Colonel Daniel Bushnell, a self-serving, mean man with some very bad habits. These men served in the same unit during the war and were imprisoned in a prisoner of war encampment prior to the war’s end. Their story reaches back in time to the war and events that involved each of them. As well, the storyline also pulls us into the present and the entanglements of their current lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about Major Kelly and Captain Monroe whom we had met in the first two novels of the series. Ms. Gray’s characters are normal people with flaws and character defects, but they work hard to be people of integrity. I really enjoyed the story and the end tied our characters together quite nicely.

Readers of Civil War and post Civil War fiction will enjoy this read! A good solid read that continues the story of the four survivors from Johnson’s Island POW camp.

This copy was received from Zondervan and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Historical Fiction

The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Copy from Netgalley.com and Thomas Nelson

 

“Years ago my mom told me life sometimes leads you along a strange crooked path, but in the end it will always take you where you’re supposed to be, she replied.”

                                                -Lettie Romanelli

Irma Joubert’s latest tale once again draws the reader to the complex life of South Africa during WWII. Readers of her previous novel, Child of the River, will find many of the same characters in this book along with many new ones. The story begins in Italy in 1939 and revolves around Marco Romanelli and the Rozenfeld family and their plight to escape the Nazis.

After four years of hiding the Rozenfelds in isolation in a mountainous cave and nearly starving, Marco and the Rozenfelds are captured by the Nazis and shipped to a camp. The depth of their tragedies during these difficult times is heart breaking. After the war finally ends and Marco returns home to his village, a sick and broken young man, his family sends him to South Africa to stay with his brother and recover from the war.

Marco meets Dr. Lettie Louw, who begins to nurse him back to health. Lettie and Marco marry and begin their family, only to have another of life’s difficulties change their course. Read this detailed account of Marco and Lettie’s life as they encounter complexities one can only imagine.

Once again Joubert gives the reader a good look at religious and ethnic prejudices during this very difficult time in history.  The author delivers a deep, detailed book for readers of historical fiction, particularly those with an interest in WWII and South Africa.

This copy was received from Thomas Nelson and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 

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To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

Publication Date: August 2017

Publisher: Zondervan

ARC Copy from The Fiction Guild and Zondervan

 

“No matter where you’re going, God is already there. He’s already on the train. He’s already waiting for us at the first stop in Cincinnati. There is nowhere we can go—by carriage, wagon, ship, or train—where he is not already there, holding us in the palm of his hand.”

                                                                        –Words of wisdom from Ella’s mom

Tamera Alexander once again transports us back in time to Nashville during the year 1871. A wonderful blend of true historical facts mingled with a fiction storyline runs through this outstanding novel highlighting Alexandra Jamison’s heartfelt battle for independence to follow her heart’s calling as an educator.

Alexandra must first break free of a domineering father and the expectations of society in order to fulfill her dream. Getting hired by the Fisk University, a freedmen’s university, is only the start of a life changing course of events for Alexandra. Her choice to teach at the university leaves her without a home, money, or family. However, during the course of events, Alexandra meets Sylas Rutledge, a mine owner from Colorado trying to bid on a railroad near the Belle Meade Plantation. The story follows Alexandra and Sy as they each pursue their dreams and struggle to find out if they can surmount a past that stands between them and build a future in spite of their differences.

The historical detail encompasses railroads, Fisk University and its Jubilee Singers, and touches once again on Belle Meade Plantation, in addition to the struggles for the general recovery of the South following the Civil War. The characters feel like real people that will touch your heart with their stories, struggles, and efforts.  The themes running through the novel are many; forgiveness, acceptance, family, prejudice, and realization of fulfilling dreams in different ways.

A great read! I highly recommend this novel for anyone with an interest in historical inspirational fiction. An engrossing story that will hold your attention!

This ARC copy was received from Zondervan and The Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction, Romance

If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss

Weiss, Leah If the Creek Don't RisePublication Date: August, 2017

 

Sourcebooks Landmark

 

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Sourcebooks Landmark

 

 

“I need an ally to instill hope and possibility in my good people. We all deserve hope and possibility.”
                                                   -Excerpt from letter written by Eli Perkins

Sadie Blue, pregnant, seventeen, and illiterate, finds herself with a worthless husband in the form of Roy Tupkin, a drunk, belligerent bully, living in the town of Baines Creek, North Carolina deep in the Appalachian Mountains. The year is 1970; and deep in those mountains, the world has not caught with this small rural town, a town and people that really need hope.

The novel is narrated in first person, present tense by a multitude of characters that affect Sadie’s life in one way or another. The characters have depth and personality. They are not always likable and they are not always nice people. They do, however, make one think about the difficulties of life in the Appalachians. Some of the more likable characters in the novel are Eli Perkins, the local minister and advocate for education; Kate Shaw, the latest educator to come to rural Baines Creek; and Birdie Rocas, a very unusual local resident who adds her own unique voice to the story.

Multiple storylines run through the book. In one, Sadie’s marriage, pregnancy, and all the complications that come with being married to Roy Tupkin are covered. In another storyline, Eli Perkins, his sister, Prudence, and Kate Shaw are intertwined in Sadie’s life with dramas of their own. The story is intricate and contains a few surprises along with a twisty ending.

I enjoyed the haunting narrative. The characters are gritty and real. Not a light read, but a deep story that will make the reader pause!

This ARC copy was received from Sourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary, Contemporary

Cherished Mercy by Tracie Peterson

Series: Heart of the Frontier, Book 3

Publication Date:  Oct 5, 2017

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Bethany House Publishers

“I’ll definitely be praying. Ain’t never known anything that wasn’t made better by prayer.”

                                                                                                                     -Uncle Edward

 

Cherished Mercy, book three in the Heart of the Frontier series, focuses on Mercy Flanagan, the youngest of the three Flanagan sisters whom we met in the previous two books of the series. The sisters survived the Whitman Massacre and settled with their uncle Edward in Oregon City. The year is now 1855 and Hope and Grace Flanagan are married with children and busy lives. Mercy lives with Grace and Alex and keeps busy helping her older sisters.

This story focuses on Mercy’s quest to help the family friends, Isaac and Eletta, missionaries to the Indians along the Oregon frontier. Mercy goes to the mission with an open mind and heart to do her part. Upon arriving, she comes face to face with Adam Browning, Isaac’s brother. Adam carries a grudge against her before she ever arrives because of his own personal history and his unwillingness to see beyond it. Mercy’s arrival brings a far different person than Adam expected.

The story encompasses so many characters that will touch the reader’s heart. This third story blends family, friends, and shared histories together in a very touching way. Sad in many ways, poignant in others, and inspiring all the way through, Cherished Mercy will engage your attention all the way through!

A thoroughly enjoyable and emotional story and a fitting end to a great series! I think this series was one of Tracie Peterson’s finest. If you haven’t read books one and two, take the time to read those stories as well.

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under American Frontier, Book Reviews, christian fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

 Publication Date: August 2017

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers

ARC copy from Author and Waterbrook Multnomah

 

“A busted wagon, a vanished son, a brush shelter in the wilderness, a stranger to midwife—none of that would have figured into those plans.”

 Complex and rich with historic detail, this story engages the reader from the first page. The year is 1774 and Clare Inglesby, a young and very pregnant mother of one finds herself once again on the move. Her husband, Philip, has single handedly decided that it would be to their benefit to depart rural Virginia for the wilds of the settlement of Kentucky.

As the journey progresses, Clare battles through one conflict after another. Jeremiah Ring, a frontiersman and adopted Shawnee, arrives in Clare’s life at a time when she most needs help. Through the disappearance of her husband and son, Jacob, to surviving life in an Indian village, Clare looks to find someone in whom she can place her trust. As Clare continually struggles to force her will, she will eventually remember how to trust and who to trust. 

The book touched this reader deeply. The emotions are raw.  I wanted to cry and to pray for this woman Clare many time during the book. The characters have a depth of spirit and strength that embodies the true spirit of early Americans and many Native Americans. Read the novel to discover how Clare finds the patience to realize that our time is not always God’s time and how she resolves the issue of her missing son.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah and the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The above thoughts and opinions I have expressed are wholly my own.

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Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

Scottoline, Lisa Exposed

 

 

Publication Date: August 15, 2017

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and St. Martin’s Press

 

 

In this latest book from the Rosato and DiNunzio series, Mary DiNunzio is once again embroiled in neighborhood/family business. Mary gets embroiled in what appears to be a relatively straightforward discriminatory firing of a young man from the neighborhood who has a very sick child.

As the investigation begins DiNunzio soon realizes the complexities with which she is dealing. The actual case is complicated by the fact that the parent firm she intends to sue is owned by a large corporate conglomerate represented frequently by her partner Bennie Rosato. Before she can begin, internal legal and ethical issues must be resolved.

The characters from the South Philadelphia neighborhood are amusing as usual, and the new characters play their roles well. The storyline twists and turns with murder and danger lurking throughout the pages. The story is entertaining with its suspense, intrigue, and drama. A good light read!

This ARC copy was received from St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense