The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron

Publication Date: 6 February 2018

Series: The Lost Castle

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Copy from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Publishers

“I think all along, it’s what she was trying to tell me. That the story we’re writing in this life, day by day, it’s a gift from God and we can’t afford to waste a moment of it.”                                                                                                                                                                  -Ellie

The meshing of three stories, each in a unique time period, into one book is a work of art in this latest novel by Kristy Cambron. In the year 1789 we meet Aveline Saint-Moreau, wealthy and beautiful young aristocrat, engaged to be married to Philippe, the Duc et Vivay’s heir; followed by Viola Hart, a Resistance fighter in France during WWII in the year 1944; and last is Ellie Carver, a young woman in the present day struggling with her grandmother Viola’s fading health.  All three young women are connected through history in a very unique manner.

As Ellie works to resolve a mysterious photo, a castle called The Sleeping Beauty, a brooch, and a mysterious marriage proposal, she meets Quinn Foley, slightly rebellious grandson of Titus Vivay and her life becomes linked with his in ways she could not have predicted.

Kristy Cambron helps us to realize the importance of awakening to the gifts around us as she weaves this intriguing tale of love, war, sickness and health, as well as faith and inspiration. The two historical storylines were very strong and appealed to me the most, but the present day telling of Quinn and Ellie’s story adds to the overall book.

She does an excellent job of combining historical people and places in with her fiction. If you love historical fiction or romance, this book will definitely appeal to you on so many levels. Wonderful read!

Five Stars!

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

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As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

Publication Date: 6 February 2018
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Copy from Netgalley.com and Berkley

 

 

“Life is wonderful and beautiful but oh, how hard it can be.”

-Pauline

The year of 1918 is a year that will stand out in history for a long time to come. Reading this novel brings many of those vivid historical elements to the forefront of our minds. The story encompasses the Spanish Flu epidemic, WWI, and prohibition.
The story begins in January of 1918 in rural Pennsylvania and quickly shifts to the city of Philadelphia when the Bright family makes a life changing move. Thomas, Pauline, and their three daughters, Evie, Maggie, and Willa move in with Uncle Fred and begin to rearrange their lives to accommodate city living.

This first year in the city brings unbelievable change to the family. Thomas changes occupations from tobacco farmer to undertaker. Every member of the Bright family is impacted in a major way as a result of the move, the flu epidemic, and the war. The book follows the family through the difficult year of 1918 and the following seven years narrated by various members of the family, most frequently the girls.

This is a very compelling story narrated beautifully from differing points of view. The book weaves loss, love, and the ethics of right and wrong in difficult situations throughout its pages. A well written deep novel that definitely pulled this reader right into the story! I definitely recommend this book for lovers of historical fiction.

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

Susan Meissner

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A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

Publication Date:  February 6, 2018

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

ARC Copy from Netgalley.com and Bethany House Publishers

 

 

“God is the creator, is He not?” she had said. “So when we create, even if it is a mere length of lace and not the stars in the heavens, we honor Him. We bear His likeness when we work.”

                                                                             –Tante Rose

Jocelyn Green once again stuns us with a riveting tale of two people from very different backgrounds striving to make a new life for themselves. Vivienne Rivard, a strong, courageous young lacemaker from the courts of Paris escapes Revolutionary France just in time to save herself while Liam Delaney, a young Irish American who fought during the Revolutionary War, struggles with a changing young America.

The story moves at a rapid pace through Revolutionary France to the shores of Philadelphia where Vivienne lands in the spring of 1794.  As their paths intersect in Philadelphia, both characters have their core values and morals tested. Vivienne grapples with a lack of self-esteem due to her parentage and the frightening effects of the Revolution on her personal life. Liam battles with an overwhelming sense of  responsibility for family and a conflicted conscience regarding independence and a need for laws and taxes in the new government.

Once again I enjoyed Ms. Green’s use of historical detail about an obscure place in American history, French Azilum, Pennsylvania. The settlement was very real and existed along the banks of the Susquehanna River. Her many historical particulars included are the Whiskey rebellion, French Azilum, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Marie Antoinette.

Morals and integrity are displayed throughout the story which also leaves the reader with a comforting sense of inspiration and faith. The themes of family, home, belonging, and responsibility stand strong all through the novel. Read this intriguing tale of the post Revolutionary War America to find out how Vivienne and Liam find a way to move on with their lives during a complex time in history. I loved this book and hope you will too! A truly inspiring read for fans of historical fiction, inspirational fiction, and romance!

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.

5/5

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The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

Woodhouse, Kimberley The Mayflower Bride

Series: Daughters of the Mayflower, Book 1

Publication Date: 1 Feb 2017

Publisher: Barbour Books

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Barbour Books

“It wasn’t Mother, or Father, Dorothy, or David who had been her strength—had kept her going. It had been God working in her life through those people.”

The Mayflower Bride begins a new series where each book is written by a different author. This first story is a fictional account based on true historical facts of the crossing of the Mayflower and their landing at Plymouth in the New World.

The tale focuses predominantly on two individuals, William Lytton and Mary Elizabeth Chapman, who set out on a journey to the Virginia Colony for two very different reasons. William is an accomplished carpenter, anxious to make his way in the new world and become successful financially, and Mary Elizabeth is a member of the Separatist congregation leaving Holland to seek religious freedom. As the difficult journey unfolds, the two young people explore the possibility of their separate paths becoming one.

The story is rich in historical detail and faith inspired characters. The narration is too matter of fact and does not contain enough emotion for a novel.  The book will appeal to some readers of inspirational historical fiction who enjoy very detailed historical novels.

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

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The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

Publication Date:  January 2, 2018

Publisher: Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

ARC Copy from Netgalley.com and Baker Publishing

“To have God’s blessing is to have everything, indeed.”

–Libby

Step back once again in American history to the early years of the American Revolution; the year is 1775 and the town is Colonial Williamsburg. The setting showcases the story beautifully with rich historical detail during a turbulent time at the beginning of the war. Elizabeth Anne Lawson, pampered daughter of the lieutenant governor of the Virginia Colony and a rather fiery, rebellious mother, is engaged to Miles Cullen Roth, one of the most eligible bachelors in Williamsburg.

Elizabeth’s life will change rapidly as upheaval and political turmoil arrive in Williamsburg on her own front doorstep. Her life will be forever altered because of her father’s politics and choices. As part of her life changes, she becomes Liberty Lawson, lace maker of Williamsburg. Another complexity that enters her life is Noble Rynallt, a gentleman of Welsh descent and owner of Ty Mawr as well as cousin to Miles Roth. Liberty and Noble find their lives entwined very unexpectedly. The tension of their relationship and their politics plays a key role in keeping the story moving at a good pace.

This novel will please readers of historical fiction. The detail and the presence of historical figures such as Patrick Henry and George Rogers Clark add depth to the novel as well. The romance and references to faith make the book a marvelous read. I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully written novel that takes us back in time.

This ARC copy was received from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

5/5

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2081104341 

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

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Publication Date: November 2017

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Bethany House Publishers

“If Providence were real, he wouldn’t even be here—a man without a home drifting on a southern breeze.”

In Bethel, West Virginia in April of 1954 a mining accident forever changes the lives of two brothers. One never makes it out of the mine alive and the other struggles to live in the aftermath of the accident. Sarah Loudin Thomas tells a haunting story of two young people trying to live life through other people’s dreams. Judd Markley moves to South Carolina to work timber and fulfill his brother Joe’s dreams. Larkin Heyward, a vivacious young woman with big, charitable dreams, stays at home trying to compensate for the loss of her brother, Ben, from their family. When the two young people begin to spend time together, they each eventually feel the need to live their own life, even if it means living it in two different states and in two very different ways.

This introspective, slightly sad tale weaves a story with an ending that will satisfy readers. Ms. Thomas makes her characters feel like real, down to earth people. The book was slow getting started, but the story picked up momentum as it went further. The story has more of a realistic tone than a typical fiction novel. If you enjoy Christian fiction with a realistic quality, this book is for you.

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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The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen

Series: Tales from Ivy Hill, Book 2

Publication Date: December 2017

Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

ARC Copy from Netgalley.com and Bethany House

The fall of 1820 finds Rachel Ashford, the impoverished daughter from Thornvale Manor in Ivy Hill, teaching etiquette at her friend, Mercy Groves’ school for girls at Ivy Cottage. Dependent upon Mercy and her aunt Matilda for a home, Rachel tries to make herself useful. However, she soon finds out that teaching is not her calling.   The Ladies Tea and Knitting Society, a group of enterprising business women from the village, brainstorm the idea of a circulating library for the village utilizing Rachel’s inheritance of her father’s library. Thus begins Rachel’s career as a librarian.

The story encompasses so many of the village characters, each with their own unique personality and history. We meet Jane Bell, Rachel’s and Mercy’s good friend; James Drake, the gentlemen who is building a new inn in the area; Sir Timothy Brockwell, an upstanding young man who resides in the area and past beau of Rachel. Everyone has a story and some of the stories have a bit of intrigue and mystery tucked into them.

This second book picks up life in the village with all its quirkiness and charm just where it left off in the first story. I really enjoy the townspeople of Ivy Hill and the ladies of Ivy Cottage are unique and special in their own way. Some interesting themes such as the high price of being honest, the cost of accepting charity and grace, and the surrender of one’s dreams run through the novel giving it depth in addition to its entertainment value.

A charming Regency read that still leaves plenty of events to occur and characters to be developed with time! Looking forward to book three!

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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