Tag Archives: 17th Century

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin



Publication Date: Nov 2016

St. Martin’s Press

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


Daisy Goodwin once again takes on a cast of historical characters in this novel set in England during the early 19th century. The novel details the early years of Queen Victoria’s ascendance to the throne of England as well as detailing some of her earlier years prior to becoming queen.

Alexandrina Victoria was a young woman who lived an extremely sheltered life guided by her single parent mother and her mother’s advisor, Sir John Conroy, a rather shifty individual who stood to gain much through his manipulations of Victoria and her mother. However upon gaining her crown, Alexandrina Victoria retitles herself as Queen Victoria and finds her own mentor in the form of Lord Melbourne.

The book portrays the Queen as having a less than discreet romantic interest in Melbourne; however, Melbourne treats her for the most part like his Queen in spite of his feelings for her as a female. The reality of the story is not really known, but Ms. Goodwin does a nice job of portraying Melbourne in a positive manner.

As Victoria gets a couple of years experience behind her and learns some difficult lessons along the way, she receives a visit from her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.  Her Uncle Leopold did his best to match make, and he eventually succeeds. Victoria marries Prince Albert in what will become a very strong love match.

The characters are dynamic and changing as they age and progress through the story. They are not always likeable, but generally always interesting. A fun read filled with historical data based on the real life of Queen Victoria, her family, and the political intrigues that followed her! A well written, interesting story!

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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Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund

Hedlund, Jody Undaunted Hope

Publication Date: January 2016

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Bethany House Publishers


“He wanted to pull out his money and outbid his brother.”

-Alex Bjorklund

Tessa Taylor certainly complicates the lives of bachelor brothers, Alex and Michael Bjorklund, when she lands in Eagle Harbor, Michigan on a September day in 1871. Tessa, a beautiful young woman, hired to be the local schoolteacher finds herself in all kinds of trouble after being hired by Percival Updegraff, superintendent of the local mining operation, because he thought she was a man.

The novel follows the drama of life in a mining town which is controlled by a dishonest, scheming man who thinks nothing of destroying anyone who dares to dispute his word. The tale unfolds as Tessa begins teaching and gradually finds herself enmeshed in the lives of the Bjorklund brothers, who run the local lighthouse.

Some of the characters in the story are based on real people and events which were detailed in diary entries. The detailing of life in a mining town during the most brutal time of the year is both interesting and sad at the same time.  The book is centered on themes of overcoming fear by facing it with faith and the fact that goodness and faith triumph over evil even in the darkest of times.

Personal Thoughts:

The characters in this novel were not as appealing as in the previous books in the series. The story did not move at a very fast pace. I had to push myself to get through a couple of slower spots. I have read all of Jody Hedlund’s books; and to me, this particular book was not as engaging as her others.

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.


Links to author websites:

Jody Hedlund


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Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray

Gray, Shelley  Whispers in the Reading Room.jpg

Publication Date: November 2015

Publisher: Zondervan

Copy from publisher as a “Fiction Guild Team Challenge” book


“If life has taught me anything, if that World’s Fair in the middle of our fair city has shown me anything, it’s that everyone, no matter what their circumstances or bearings or hopes, deserves to be around other people.”

                                                                                    -Sebastian Marks

Sebastian Marks, a handsome, aloof, and formidable young man from the wrong end of town, likes to hang out in the library reading some most respectable works of literature. His presence in the library reading room has intrigued Miss Lydia Bancroft, the upright and serious young librarian who manages the front desk at the library.

The story begins in 1894 shortly after the World’s Fair has closed in Chicago. The historical detail on the seedy end of Chicago and the violent crime occurring at the time lend a different approach to the story that centers around the lives of four people who are drawn together as a result of a poor decision of Lydia’s late one night. A bit of mystery and intrigue creep through the story, as well as a healthy dose of romance.

The four main characters are interesting and dynamic. They all come to the realization by the end of the novel that solving their individual problems is not a task to be handled by them alone. Each finds the need for faith in order to turn their lives in a more positive direction.

I felt the book was relatively predictable. The mystery added a bit of intrigue to the overall tale, but at the same time, the clues were easily read. I enjoyed the story, but the book was not a complicated read. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting being in the library and Sebastian and Lydia’s love of literature and books.

This ARC copy was received from Thomas Nelson Zondervan as part of the Fiction Guild Team Challenge in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.


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The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

Curiosity Keeper

Series: Book 1, Treasures of Surrey

Publication Date: July 2015

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

ARC copy from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Publishers

“All things work together for good to them that love the Lord.”

Inscription from Camille Iverness’s brooch

A flawless ruby the size of a quail’s egg stands at the center of controversy in this latest novel by award winning historical novelist Sarah E. Ladd. The ruby, called the Bevoy, is said to either bless or curse the person who has possession of it. As dusk fell one evening in Blinkett Street in a seedier part of London, Camille Iverness worked on finishing up her day’s work. A stranger, trying to find the ruby, gains entry into the shop and Camille gets wounded in the upheaval that results from Jonathan Gilchrist, heir to Kettering Hall, trying to save her as he too searches for the Bevoy ruby.

The novel explores in depth the meaning of family, values, and loss. Camille and Jonathan are both uncomfortable with the roles that life has handed them. They each strive to compensate for a lack of close familial relationships. Camille, in spite of her surroundings, has a strong set of personal values. When her circumstances change, Camille is challenged to remain self-sufficient.

This book started slow, but pulled me in tighter as the story gained depth. Overall, I enjoyed the story. Suspense, mystery, romance, and a subtle message of faith combine for an interesting read.

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

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The Wood’s Edge by Lori Benton

The Wood's Edge

Publication Date: April 2015

Waterbrook Multnomah

ARC copy from author

“But as she spoke, the knowledge of what had been done burst inside her head like one of the big fort guns exploding.”

During the in fall of Ft. William Henry in August of 1757, Good Voice, wife of Oneida warrior Stone Thrower, has given birth to twin boys, one brown, one white. What should have been a rare event to be celebrated with much joy has turned into a tragic occasion. When she awakens after having given birth, one baby is dead and one still lives.

Rescued and returned to Stone Thrower with one living son, Good Voice begins a different life than the one she anticipated prior to the birth of her babies. The chain of events that unfolds as a result of the white baby’s death forever changes the families of Reginald Aubrey and Stone Thrower. Both men suffer and grieve in very different ways; all parts of their lives revolve around the death of the boy at Ft. William Henry. One man is bitter and unforgiving and the other man guilty and distant.

The storyline is complex, involving several characters that play primary roles in the novel. Anna Catherine, a young orphan rescued by Reginald as they fled Ft. William Henry, grows into a beautiful, bright young woman whose life becomes complicated over the years as she becomes good friends with Two Hawks, the son of Stone Thrower and Good Voice. Lydia McClaren, daughter of the apothecary that gives aid and a home to the Aubreys, is another young woman with character and loyalty. The two girls form a bond over the years as their lives become entwined. William Aubrey, son of Reginald and his wife, grows from an overprotected young boy to a fine, intelligent young man over the years.

Throughout the novel, someone is frequently at the wood’s edge; emotionally, spiritually, or physically. Once in awhile, it was even me as the reader. Read this amazing story to grasp the significance of being at the wood’s edge. The book will grip your attention as you follow it through the years from 1757 to 1776 and the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Absolutely amazing read! The characters stay with you long after you put the book down. Anxiously awaiting book two of The Pathfinders!

Sample Chapters available: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Woods-Edge2.pdf
Lori Benton: http://loribenton.blogspot.com/
Lori on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLoriBenton#

This ARC copy was received from Lori Benton and Walter Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall

Series: Book 3, Whispers on the Moor

Publication Date: October 2014

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

ARC copy from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Publishers


Once again author Sarah Ladd takes us to Regency England in her latest novel. The year is 1814 and the setting is the moors of Aradelle Park where young Cecily Faire is about to have her life changed forever. Several miles away that same year, Nathaniel Stanton is forced to listen to his dying father’s confession and have his life irrevocably changed as well. Five years later, these two challenged souls will find their paths cross and each tries to help the other expose the secrets which torment them.

The novel examines the question of identity. Cecily and Nathaniel both struggle with their identity. Cecily strives to deal with the loss of her family, and Nathaniel’s battle concerns his parentage. Cecily’s job change takes her from the halls of Rosemere, the girls’ school from book two, The Headmistress of Rosmere, to Willowgrove Hall, where she crosses paths with Nathaniel for the first time.

This book is a pleasant, enjoyable read that works well as a standalone from the series. I thoroughly enjoy reading Ms. Ladd’s work and this third book in the series blends well with the first two. A bit of mystique, romance, and redemption all wrapped up together!

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


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The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Publication Date: January 2014

Viking Adult

Borrowed library copy from St. Charles City County Library


                                    I said, “My body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, it’s the other way round.”                                                                                                                                              -Hetty “Handful” Grimké

The Invention of Wings tells the story of the intertwined lives of Sarah Grimké and her personal servant, Hetty also referred to throughout the story as “Handful.” Handful is given to Sarah on her eleventh birthday even though Sarah tries to decline the gift. Living in the Deep South in the city of Charleston, the girls live their early lives in an unconventional manner for the time. Sarah is not comfortable with a personal slave and Handful’s life had been shaped by a defiant, strong mother.

Sarah battles many trying issues, a speech impediment, unconventional looks, her desire to be educated, and men, over the course of her younger years. However as she grows up and matures, Sarah comes to term with her life and strives toward making it an acceptable existence with which she can live. She raises her younger sister, Angelina, primarily on her own and the girl turns out to be very similar in nature to Sarah. Angelina has a different life, partially due to her beauty and her outspoken ways.

Together the girls take on society, both Northern and Southern, to become early trailblazers in the movements of women’s rights and abolition. Along with their efforts at educating society, the girls also manage to help Handful and her sister, Sky, escape Charleston and the life of slavery they have always known.

The story delves into the harsh aspects of slavery as well as emphasizing the difference between urban and rural slaves. Although not covered in a great deal of specific detail, the abolitionist movement and the involvement of the Quaker church with the movement is brought to light.  The historical element is interesting and detailed very thoroughly at the end the novel. Be sure and read the author’s notes.

This book starts out very slowly. I had to read approximately one third of the way through the book before it really captivated my interest and started pulling me along. The book has a tendency initially to read like many other slave and mistress stories. The novel does differentiate itself the farther along you get into the story. An interesting read, but not one I would recommend for people that are not true enthusiasts of detailed historic fiction!


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