Category Archives: christian fiction

Aiming for Love, Book 1 by Mary Connealy

Series: Brides of Hope Mountain

Publication Date:  1 Oct 2019

Publisher: ARC from Netgalley.com and Bethany House Publishers

 

“Kissing you is the most thrilling thing that’s ever happened to me, and I once killed a grizzly bear with six arrows and a dull knife, so that’s saying something.”

                                                            –Jo Nordegren

In typical Mary Connealy style, this western is filled with dry humor, interesting characters, vivid descriptions, and a tall tale befitting the western frontier. This first novel in her new series introduces us to the Nordegren girls. The storyline centers around Josephine “Jo”, the middle sister, a curious, yet naïve, blue-eyed blonde who dresses in a most unusual manner and runs wild in the woods with a bow and arrows which she most certainly knows how to use. Her older sister, Ursula, an extremely isolated, anti-social young woman rules the household, and her younger sister, Ilsa, swings from branches all over the woods and runs fairly wild gathering medicinal herbs. These unique young women have no contact with civilization until David Warden shows up in their valley high on Hope Mountain.

The story centers on the themes of helping others because it is the right thing to do, accepting people as they are, and believing that family is what you make it. The secondary characters involved in the story, Dave’s parents and brother, his cowhands, and even the bad guys, add an element of depth to the story. A unique storyline filled with family drama, a bit of romance, and some sadness as well make up this intriguing read from Mary Connealy. Bring your imagination to the table when you read this one!

Readers of inspirational historical fiction and western fiction will enjoy this distinctive story. I am personally looking forward to book two in the series to see what further adventures Mary Connealy has for us.

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

 4 out of 5

 

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

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

Publication Date: 03 Sept 2019

Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

ARC copy from Bethany House and Netgalley.com

Rating: 5 /5

Elizabeth Camden tells a captivating story about Annabelle Larkin, an enterprising young woman fresh from the farm in Kansas who moves to Washington, D.C. to take a temporary job with the Smithsonian Institution. In a move to try and prolong her job in Washington, Annabelle takes on the challenge of Gray Delacroix and his exotic plant collection.

As Annabelle and Gray find themselves struggling with a mutual attraction, outside forces step in to complicate their relationship. Annabelle finds that she must make some very difficult choices and in doing so jeopardizes her relationship with Gray.

The story revolves around the conflict of doing what is right for your country and its people and doing what your heart wants you to do. The conflicts are complex when the choices Annabelle makes and has to live with impact her life in major ways. Not only does Annabelle learn some difficult lessons, but Gray also learns valuable lessons about important priorities in one’s life.

Filled with historical data that is very interesting, this book will hold the reader’s attention from start to finish. I learned some amazing facts about food and the food industry during the late 1800’s. Don’t miss the author’s notes at the end of this book. A wonderful read for people who enjoy strong female characters and good historical fiction!

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

#TheSpiceKing #NetGalley

 

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A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund

Series:  Bride Ships, #1

Publication Date: June 2019

Publisher: Bethany House

“When we’re born we’re put out to sea and can’t always control our fate or destination. We have only to ride out the journey as best we can.”

–Mercy Wilkins

A Reluctant Bride is the beautifully written story of Mercy Wilkins, a compassionate young woman, from the poorest slums of London who agrees to immigrate to Vancouver Island on a bride ship in the year 1862, unknowingly to become a bride to one of the many miners inhabiting the area. Before leaving London, her path crosses with Dr. Joseph Colville, Baron of Wiltshire at a medical clinic and once again, their lives intersect on board the ship.

This young woman with courage, compassion, and heart utilizes everything within her power to break free of the hopeless situation in which she was born. She partners with Dr. Colville, utilizing her minimal nursing skills, to provide care for everyone on the ship regardless of class. Dr. Colville, well known for defying traditional conventions, finds that compassion and a God given courage may be exactly what he has been searching for to help him face the past.

I love the historical detail interspersed through this story based on historical fact woven with fiction. The life lessons in this novel are profound, dealing with concepts such as looking past outward appearances, sacrifices made for love, and the influences of one’s past on our lives. I loved this book and I think you will too!

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

 #AReluctantBride #NetGalley

5/5

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Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham

Publication Date: July 2019

Publisher: Revell

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Revell

 “My father firmly believed that if we are here on this earth, then we still have work to do. He believed we have a purpose even when we cannot see it. ”                                                                                                                                 -Penelope Ercanbeck

Welcome back to Azure Springs, Iowa! The year is now 1883 and the town appears to be thriving as Penelope Ercanbeck steps off the train. Penny, as she is known to her friends, quit her job recently at the dead letter office and makes a journey to this quaint frontier town in search of a mysterious letter writing man, Thomas Conner. Sounds intriguing already!

As Penny struggles to find herself and make some life changing decisions, she poses as a potential writer. As she works on her decisions, she meets Thomas and finds that there is more to the man’s story than she realized. She finds that a man’s words on paper are sometimes more complex than one imagines.

Many of the secondary characters in this novel are familiar from Ms. Fordham’s first book and are as endearing and heartwarming as they were in the first novel. The words of wisdom scattered throughout the novel from both Margaret, the boardinghouse proprietor, and Mr. Ercanbeck, Penny’s father, are wise and filled with faith. Read this engaging story of a man who struggles to feel deserving of love and joy and a woman who finds that life and love do not always look like one expects.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and believe you will too! Great read for lovers of historical fiction and Christian fiction alike!

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

Rating: 4/5

#NetGalley #YoursTrulyThomas

 

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

The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

Series: Daughters of the Mayflower, Book 9

Publication Date: July 2019

Publisher: Barbour Books

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Barbour Books

 

Kimberley Woodhouse takes an adventurous piece of history, the Pony Express, and spins her own special story with a unique twist. This intriguing story actually begins back in 1834 in St. Louis when Anna Vines runs for her life with her baby daughter, Jacqueline; however, the core of the story takes place at the Carson Sink Station in Utah Territory in 1860.

Jackie Rivers’s life changes drastically in just a few months as she deals with the loss of her beloved father and takes over running the Pony Express station at their home, along with an inn for the stagecoach stop. At twenty-six Jackie is a lovely, young woman who wears many hats in her life as manager of the Carson Sink Station. The life she leads leaves little opportunity to meet someone and minimal time for romance. Two unexpected visitors show up on the stagecoach one October day both bringing unexpected activity, adventure, and a bit of romance to the Station.

Check out this intriguing tale of a spirited young woman living life on her terms back in the days of the Pony Express. The story is laced with historical fact and embellished with fictional characters and adventures. A great historical fiction read and one that fans of inspirational fiction will also enjoy very much! This is the ninth book in the series, but works perfectly as a standalone.

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

#TheExpressBride #NetGalley

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

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

Publication Date: June 2019

Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah

ARC copy from Netgalley and Waterbrook Multnomah

“Her experiences in the last few months had sealed this truth in her heart; family bonds were not meant to be broken.”

                            –Laura McAlister

Sadness and sorrow overshadow this very interesting historical story interlaced with hope and love as well. The story highlights the sad lack of law and oversight at the time in dealing with children whose families had been beset by illness and/or poverty. The children, most often removed from their homes, were frequently shipped to Canada as farm and domestic laborers. They became known as British Home Children. This very unique story about these children is based on historical facts woven into a fiction story highlighting one family.

Set in 1909 London, the book tells the tale of the McAlister family, a family that includes a mother and four siblings. Laura, the eldest of the McAlister siblings, is twenty-one and working as a ladies maid north of London. Katie and Garth are fourteen, both trying to assist the family finances in one way or another and the youngest, Grace, is seven. The McAlister family falls upon hard times, particularly when Mrs. McAlister falls extremely ill.

Little does she know what lies ahead for her three younger children as they are taken into group homes for poor and destitute children. The home then ships them to Canada without their mother’s knowledge or approval. The prejudice the children endure as a result of being British Home Children is astounding. They were often treated very poorly as a result of the prejudice, misinformation resulting from the disregard and lack of rules in the emigration system and lack of child labor laws.

The book details Laura’s search and journey to find her siblings and return them to their family and home. Her decisions, often made quickly, and her choices, although done for the right reason, are not always well thought out, but her heart is in the right place. How far would you go to try and save your family?  Read this very unique story that tells a tale similar to the orphan trains utilized in the United States during the years 1854-1929.

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

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Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

 

Series: A Vintage National Park Novel #3

Publication Date:  18 June 2019

Waterbrook

ARC from Waterbrook and Netgalley.com

 “If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?”

–Elsie Brookes

Join me for an adventurous tale that takes the reader on a ramble through another of our nation’s great national parks, Yellowstone, for a peek at park life during the 1930’s. Karen Barnett once again constructs a unique novel set during a trying time in our nation’s history, the Great Depression, and integrates faith, fiction, and historical background and detail into the core of the story.

April 1933 finds Nate Webber, a young man from Brooklyn, New York, headed west to Yellowstone to fulfill his six month obligation to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Although not exactly voluntary, Nate finds himself grateful for the opportunity to provide for his mother and siblings back home. He and his fellow CCC members, all city boys, have much to learn upon their arrival at the park. Some lessons are harder to learn than others for the boys, but they pull together and perform their jobs better than most would have expected.

Over the course of the summer their adventures lead them everywhere from snow covered hills for logging to fighting forest fires to save the majestic forests and hotels of the park. Along with the more serious side of their jobs, the evenings offered entertainment and good times with some of the female staff at the park. Nate finds a special place in his heart for one of the young ladies, Elsie Brookes, who just happens to be his ranger boss’s daughter. Can two people from such varying backgrounds have anything in common?

Filled with a cast of characters that are dynamic and believable, the story brings to life the camaraderie and the ups and downs of life in a summer national park setting. Ms. Barnett takes on some serious topics in the book such as mental health issues, learning disabilities, anger and forgiveness, as well as the standard park issues of conservation and wildlife management. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the story. A perfect summer read that will get you in the mood for a trip to one of our beautiful national parks!

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

#EverFaithful #NetGalley

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Historical Fiction