The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen

Publication Date: December 2019

Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

ARC Copy from Netgalley.com and Bethany House

A quaint, rather remote island in the Thames River sets the stage for Julie Klassen’s latest Regency tale!  Suspense, intrigue, and romance add to the essence of this captivating story. After getting rather publicly humiliated during a trial, Benjamin Booker gladly accepts the challenge of going to the country and investigating Ms. Isabelle Wilder, purported to be a possible suspect in the death of her guardian, Mr. Norris, the senior partner at Mr. Booker’s law firm.

Benjamin finds himself drawn into life on the island, making his investigation a bit more challenging than he planned. As the story unfolds and more details come to light, the suspect list develops as do the motives. The main characters each have their own distinct issues to deal with adding to the complexity of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot twists that added depth to the intrigue. There were definitely a couple of things I didn’t see coming!

A great read that will draw you in at the beginning and keep your interest all the way through. An intriguing little mystery that will surprise you, followed by a delightful ending filled with family, faith, and romance.

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#TheBridgetoBelleIsland  #NetGalley

4/5

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

The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear

Series: Daughters of the Mayflower, Book 10

Publication Date: 1 December 2019

Publisher: Barbour Books

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Barbour Books

 

Walk back through history with the Daughters of the Mayflower series. Book 10 takes us back to the Civil War era to Tennessee and the Battle of Chickamauga, one of the deadliest battles of the war. This story reinforces the fact all southerners did not believe in slavery and all northerners were not hard core abolitionists. People often do not fit the stereotypes placed upon them by society.

The war forces Pearl McFarlane, a young Southern woman struggling to hold what remains of her family together, to care for Yankee soldiers from the very army that has taken three of her older brothers. Pearl’s Christian spirit is sorely tested as she is called upon to nurse and provide for the wounded soldiers. As she works to heal Sergeant Joshua Wheeler of the First Ohio and prisoner of the Army of Tennessee, she begins to look at the man behind the uniform. As Josh heals and makes himself helpful with the other men, Pearl comes to appreciate the man behind the uniform.

A very good story detailing the everyday struggles of life for many people living near the battlefield during the Civil War! The characters have spiritual and moral depth and add to the genuine sense of faith, forgiveness, and trust in the book. Rich in historical detail, this story shows a more unusual side of the war than what one generally reads in Civil War fiction. Read this captivating story of Pearl and Joshua to see if they can find a way past being just a northerner and a southerner at odds with one another.

This ARC copy was received from Barbour Books and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Hope’s Highest Mountain by Misty M. Beller

Publication Date: 1 Oct 2019

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Series: Hearts of Montana, Book 1

ARC from Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley

 

 

 

“I learned long ago trusting God to help never makes things better. It only makes me weaker.”

                                                                                                -Micah Bradley

 “Relying on God fills me with an inner strength much greater than I could possess on my own.”

                                                                                                   -Ingrid Chastain

The conflict begins. Set in the mountains of Montana in the year 1866, this latest novel from Misty Beller takes the reader on a perilous journey with two amazing people each with differing views on life and faith. The novel centers around the story of Ingrid Chastain, a brave, very determined young woman from Boston who works in the medical field with her father, and Micah Bradley, a reclusive doctor from the mountains who hasn’t practiced in five years.

Ingrid Chastain sets out on a trip with her father, a prominent doctor from Boston, to deliver smallpox vaccine to a colleague in dire need in the wilds of Montana Territory. In addition to Ingrid and her father, they are accompanied by their maid and a guide. As misfortune hits them along the way, Ingrid is left injured and alone in the mountains until Micah comes along to rescue her.

Vivid descriptions of their dangerous journey to finish delivering the vaccine will have you shivering and shaking as you relive the rugged winter they must endure to survive. Filled with adventure and drama, this book holds the reader’s attention from the very beginning. Ingrid, a young woman filled with faith and trust in the Lord, steadfastly refuses to give up as Micah, a haunted man who lost his trust and faith struggles to find healing and God’s will. Can these two people possibly have a future if they can survive the rigors of their trip?

I highly recommend the book to fans of historical inspirational fiction. This novel is the first I have read by the author and I intend to do some catching up on her past works. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Great read!

I received this copy from Bethany House and NetGalley. The opinions and statements above are my own.

4 out of 5

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

In the Cradle Lies by Olivia Newport

Series:  The Tree of Life, book 2

Publication Date: 01 November 2019

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

ARC from Shiloh Run Press and Netgalley

 

The second book in the series The Tree of Life brings Jillian Parisi-Duffy and her father, Nolan, a new friend that will challenge their genealogy and legal skills once again. Jillian, a professional genealogist, and her father, the attorney, utilize their skills to help their new found friend, Tucker Kintzler, resolve some very personal and perplexing issues he is undergoing. Set once again in Canyon Mines, Colorado, the story introduces a dual storyline from the mid-1930’s incorporating Tucker’s family history.

This second novel definitely held my attention with the introduction of the second storyline. A captivating story that gets peeled back layer by layer as it unfolds with the exploration of Tucker’s family history.  Once again I enjoyed the secondary story much more than I did the actual main storyline. The secondary story works through a family mystery of locked doors, walled off rooms, and old family secrets.

The book brings back all the eccentric characters we met in the first story and gives them a bit more depth and growth in this novel. Enclosed in the pages is a bit of mystery, greed, romance, and of course, genealogy.  An enjoyable read with a great winter setting!

This ARC copy was received from Shiloh Run Press and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

4 out of 5

#InTheCradleLies  #NetGalley

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The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts

Publication Date: 22 Oct 2019

ARC from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Netgalley.com

“My driveway reminds me of the freedom I have to come and go as I please. Things were not always this way.”

                                                  -Brighton Friedrich

This is a story of contrasts; dark and light, hope and despair, isolation and freedom. Born in an asylum for the mentally ill in 1923, Brighton Friedrich’s life revolves around her extremely unstable mother, the care she receives from a loving nurse, and her friendship with a lonely albino child named Angel, who is a patient in the children’s ward.

Trapped in a life over which she has no control and no hope of changing, Brighton meets Grace Douglass, a young woman sent to the institution by her parents for behavioral issues. Grace introduces Brighton to the outside world through her stories and her love of photography. Filled with despair and faced with the loss of her friends, Brighton struggles to find a way to save herself and her friends as they slip deeper into the life of the asylum.

Having no exposure to the outside world, Brighton and Angel are naïve and ill-equipped to deal with the real world. Relying on the God’s guidance and protection and basic human kindness, Brighton and Angel find a way out. Their poignant, courageous story is told in an evocative, emotional manner that will leave the reader haunted by their story long after the last page is closed.

This novel is filled with historical detail regarding the institutionalizing of people during the 1930’s and their care. Frightening details bring to life the treatments such as hydrotherapy, insulin shock, sterilization, and lobotomy, the patients underwent in the name of medical care. The book shows the true courage and strength it took to survive in one of these facilities for someone who had no mental health issues. I highly recommend this amazingly, unique story of Brighton and Angel and their journey to find a life and peace.

This ARC copy was received from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

5 out of 5

#TheBrightUnknown  #NetGalley

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

Child’s Play by Danielle Steel

Publication Date:  October 2019

Publisher: Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House

Secular Genre

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Delacorte Press

Meet Kate Morgan, a beautiful, efficient corporate attorney, widow of a prominent politician, and mother of three adult children. Widowed 19 years earlier, Kate raised her children to be good upstanding adults and seemingly perfect in her eyes. Meet the children; Tamara, 32 year old senior vice-president of a prominent fashion house, Anthony, 29 year old technology guru building video games with a prominent tech company, and Claire, the youngest at 26, an attorney with a prominent New York firm. This family seems to have it all; beauty, good jobs, and a good family relationship.

As in most families that look perfect on the surface, there are underlying issues and cracks. Kate has no idea that her perfect children have underlying currents and some very major issues going on in their life. The first of the upheavals appear in Kate’s life in the form of an unwed pregnant daughter with a mind of her own. Rebellion in one seems to grant permission to the other two to lead life as they choose instead of following mom’s conservative lifestyle. Anthony cancels his high society wedding just in the nick of time and Tamara brings a long standing secret to the forefront of her life instead of hiding it in the shadows.

One rebellious incident is all it took to change Kate Morgan’s life considerably. As she struggles to deal with all the changes in her seemingly perfect world, Kate also runs into major conflict in the form of opposing attorney, Scott White, in her current big case. Kate. As with all good romances and family dramas, a little conflict is necessary.

As Kate begins to accept her new norms, she realizes that life is about dealing with the issues we are handed. She learns some important lessons about being honest, forgiving our differences, making choices, and the true meaning of family.

A very enjoyable read! Very relevant issues to today’s modern families! And a reminder that normal is what you make it!

 This ARC copy was received from Delacorte Press and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

4/5

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The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Revell

Copy from Netgalley and Revell

 

“Life finds us, no matter how we try to push it away.”

                                                          -Robin Windsor

 Erin Bartels lays out an unusual and unsettling story in her latest novel. Setting the atmosphere in a relatively run down, fading town in Michigan, the story unfolds with Robin Windsor, a teen whose parents have serious issues, being sent to live with her aging grandmother and her eccentric parrot next door to an old cemetery. The novel told in a split timeline alternates between the past leading to an explanation of how Robin Windsor got to the present.

Robin’s introduction to the town and one of the high school’s more popular students, Peter Flynt, begins in the cemetery. Their friendship starts with an exchange of novels and poetry adding a decidedly bookish theme to the novel. The first book in their give-and-take relationship is The Catcher in the Rye, setting up a recurring theme of classics.

The writing itself in this novel has a literary feel to it. The characters are complex and difficult to relate to.  The themes of running and hiding, lying about the past, conquering fears, both real and imagined, and forgiveness are all relevant to the story. The book does not have a strong Christian message to it, and I feel it will probably due well in the mainstream fiction genre. Readers of literary fiction and lovers of classics and bookish novels may enjoy this story.

This copy was received from Netgalley and Revell. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#TheWordsBetweenUs  #NetGalley

3 out of 5

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