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Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Series: Orphan Train, Book 2

Publication Date: May 1, 2018

Publisher: Bethany House

 

“He said it takes great courage to accept what I can’t change, and even more courage to move forward and live my life to the fullest in spite of how achingly hard it is to face each new day.”

-Elizabeth Garner

Together Forever continues unfolding the story of the Neumann sisters, three German immigrant sisters who endured an extremely difficult start to their life in America during the first few years. This novel centers on the middle sister, Marianne, who is currently employed by the Children’s Aid Society. Marianne is stealthily on a mission to find her youngest sister, Sophie, who disappeared while under her supervision.

Marianne’s job as a placing agent puts her in a position to see if she can locate her sister as well as putting her in close proximity to Drew Brady, her male counterpart. As Marianne and Drew begin their journey with the orphan train to Illinois, each discovers a new depth to the other and a strong friendship grows. As the trip continues with many stops along the way to deliver their precocious crew of orphans to their new homes, Drew and Marianne find their feelings growing and deepening.

Will the secret that each of these young people carry destroy their budding relationship? Will they find homes for all these delightful children?  Read this absorbing tale of life with the orphan train as Drew and Marianne work together to restore their faith and love and unravel their secret fears.

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.

 #TogetherFoever #Netgalley

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Out of the Ashes by Tracie Peterson

Series: Heart of Alaska

Publication Date: January 2018

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Bethany House Publishers

 

“Sometimes answers aren’t what we want them to be. But I suppose that is when we need to rely on God for direction—for understanding of how it all works out to be His plan for us…”

–Jean-Michel Langelier

Jean Michel Langelier and Katherine DeMarchis are at the center of this novel set predominantly at the Curry Hotel in the wilds of Alaska. These two people who once meant so much to each other have been separated for over five years by war and an abusive marriage. Jean Michel, suffering in his own private world, and Katherine, tormented by her own demons, meet once again at the Curry Hotel. Can two such damaged people hope for any kind of future?

The book packs outdoor adventure, unexpected explosions and illness, and the historical details of everyday life at the Curry into its pages. The themes of faith and hope dominate much of the novel as well. Along with our primary characters, the novel offers a varied cast of secondary players such as Collette, Jean Michel’s very spoiled sister, Cassidy, the hotel’s cook, Mrs. Johnson, John, Allan, and Thomas, workers at the hotel along with Katherine’s very upright grandmother who orchestrated the entire trip. An interesting read for anyone with an interest in historical Alaska and those encouraged by inspirational fiction! And we have book three to look forward to!

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

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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 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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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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Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson

Series: Heart of the Frontier

Publication Date: July 4, 2017

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Bethany House Publishers

 

 

Closely following the first book in the Heart of the Frontier series, book two once again follows sisters, Hope, Grace, and Mercy, after they have settled in Oregon in the year 1850. Two and half years after the trauma of the Whitman Massacre, Hope continues to work at reclaiming her life. Her younger sister, Mercy, made her peace and lives a happy, lively life with her sister Grace and her husband, Alex.

This is an engrossing story of Hope’s struggle to get on with her life as the trial for the native Americans involved in the massacre unfolds. In her quest to give herself peace and to come to terms with the trauma she endured, she encounters Lieutenant Lance Kenner. Their lives become entangled in ways that neither could imagine.

The characters are once again engaging and very human in their behavior and emotions. I really enjoyed the continuing saga of the three sisters. The story continues in such a manner that you almost feel like you are continuing a book you laid down for a while and picked back up. I really enjoyed the story, emotional and tumultuous as it may be at times. Anxiously awaiting 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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High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

Publication Date: June 2017

Publisher: Bethany House

ARC copy from Bethany House and Netgalley.com

 

 

What could possibly motivate a beautiful young woman to risk her life spying for a secret underground group that specialized in aiding the Allies and obstructing the enemy during WWI? The reasons were many and complex; survival, guilt, and hope. Evelyn (Eve)  Marche played a dangerous game with the enemy, nursing them by day and serving them food and drinks at night, while gathering their information continuously in order to aid La Dame Blanche in 1917 in Brussels.

After the alleged death of Simon Forrester, her RAF pilot husband of less than a month, Eve sets off for Belgium to join her mother and siblings. Events conspire to add to Eve’s already tumultuous life after arriving in Belgium and she risks everything to aid her people and alleviate her own personal guilt.

This novel is an outstanding fiction story inspired by real people and events from this time period in history. Kate Breslin explores espionage during WWI, women and their varying roles during the war, and survivor’s guilt as well as many other complex topics.

A strong message of faith and the difficulties of holding on to one’s faith during a time of trials weaves a chord throughout the story. A wonderful read for people who enjoy inspirational historical fiction or any reader of historical fiction!

 I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

 

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