Tag Archives: Zondervan

Love Held Captive by Shelley Shepard Gray

Gray, Shelley Shepard Love Held CaptiveSeries: Lone Star Hero, Book 3

Publication Date: Oct 10, 2017

Publisher: Zondervan

ARC copy from Netgalley and Zondervan

 

“Someone recently told me writers and poets make wars seem glorious but only fools think that way.”                                                                                     -Julianne Van Fleet

This third book in the Lone Star Hero series brings together two young women who both suffered greatly as a result of the less than glorious circumstances they found themselves in as a result of the Civil War and its aftermath. Julianne Van Fleet, a quiet, young woman, lives alone in San Antonio, Texas, and Lizabeth Barclay, a pretty young woman of similar age, is employed as a maid by her cousin at The Menger Hotel in San Antonio.

Their lives become entwined with two men, Captain Devin Monroe and Major Ethan Kelly in a set of unusual circumstances that brings them all full circle with an old nemesis of theirs, Colonel Daniel Bushnell, a self-serving, mean man with some very bad habits. These men served in the same unit during the war and were imprisoned in a prisoner of war encampment prior to the war’s end. Their story reaches back in time to the war and events that involved each of them. As well, the storyline also pulls us into the present and the entanglements of their current lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about Major Kelly and Captain Monroe whom we had met in the first two novels of the series. Ms. Gray’s characters are normal people with flaws and character defects, but they work hard to be people of integrity. I really enjoyed the story and the end tied our characters together quite nicely.

Readers of Civil War and post Civil War fiction will enjoy this read! A good solid read that continues the story of the four survivors from Johnson’s Island POW camp.

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

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To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

Publication Date: August 2017

Publisher: Zondervan

ARC Copy from The Fiction Guild and Zondervan

 

“No matter where you’re going, God is already there. He’s already on the train. He’s already waiting for us at the first stop in Cincinnati. There is nowhere we can go—by carriage, wagon, ship, or train—where he is not already there, holding us in the palm of his hand.”

                                                                        –Words of wisdom from Ella’s mom

Tamera Alexander once again transports us back in time to Nashville during the year 1871. A wonderful blend of true historical facts mingled with a fiction storyline runs through this outstanding novel highlighting Alexandra Jamison’s heartfelt battle for independence to follow her heart’s calling as an educator.

Alexandra must first break free of a domineering father and the expectations of society in order to fulfill her dream. Getting hired by the Fisk University, a freedmen’s university, is only the start of a life changing course of events for Alexandra. Her choice to teach at the university leaves her without a home, money, or family. However, during the course of events, Alexandra meets Sylas Rutledge, a mine owner from Colorado trying to bid on a railroad near the Belle Meade Plantation. The story follows Alexandra and Sy as they each pursue their dreams and struggle to find out if they can surmount a past that stands between them and build a future in spite of their differences.

The historical detail encompasses railroads, Fisk University and its Jubilee Singers, and touches once again on Belle Meade Plantation, in addition to the struggles for the general recovery of the South following the Civil War. The characters feel like real people that will touch your heart with their stories, struggles, and efforts.  The themes running through the novel are many; forgiveness, acceptance, family, prejudice, and realization of fulfilling dreams in different ways.

A great read! I highly recommend this novel for anyone with an interest in historical inspirational fiction. An engrossing story that will hold your attention!

This ARC copy was received from Zondervan and The Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

Hauck, Rachel The Writing Desk
Publication Date: July 10, 2017
Publisher: Zondervan Publications

 

 

 

“Her old typewriter perched on its well-worn grooves, waiting for her to type again. But her story had been told.”

And what a story Birdie Shehorn had lived and told! The book weaves the stories of Birdie Shehorn and Tenley Roth together in an intriguing read that covers two distinctly different periods in history. Tenley, a young promising author, lives in present day New York engaged to a pretentious young man from a well to do family, the Van Cliffs. Birdie Shehorn, a struggling young want-to-be author, lives in New York in the year 1902 and becomes engaged to Alfonse Van Cliff, a flirtatious charming young man. The similarities begin.

Both young women find their lives changed as a result of their writing and the men to whom they are engaged. They each take their destiny into their own hands after many difficult trials and choices. Their path toward finding themselves and fulfilling their writing careers is a complex one.

What starts out as a simple story quickly unfolds and becomes so much more! I really enjoyed this book and particularly loved the historical portion of the story. Readers of contemporary and historical fiction will enjoy this book. Read the story and find out how these young women turn their lives around and find happiness each in her own way.

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

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An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray

Series: Lone Star Hero, Book 2

Publication Date: Feb 2017

Publisher: Zondervan

Gratis copy from The Fiction Guild

 

“I’m too rough. Too big. I’m not smart, and I get in fights all the time too. None of those things are what women want.”

                                                                                    -Thomas Baker

Little did Thomas Baker know but that big, rough man was exactly what Laurel Tracey needed in her life at the time she meets him. Laurel, a pretty, young woman intent on saving the family ranch, is having a tough time on her own. She takes matters into her own hands and uses the last of her money to get Thomas Baker out of jail and into her employ.

Sergeant Thomas Baker is a young man who is rough around the edges but has a very good heart and a huge soft spot for Laurel Tracey. Laurel needs help desperately, and the only person that seems to be seriously on her side is Thomas. As mysterious events start to occur around the ranch, Laurel questions whether she’ll lose everything she worked hard to hold on to or whether Thomas will be enough to help her figure out what is going on and stop the threats.

Little does Laurel know but Thomas has a close group of officer friends who made an agreement to look after each other after the civil war. As a result of this friendship, able bodied help rides to the rescue in the form of his war comrades. Together the four men and Laurel take on the quest to stop the mysterious accidents and save the ranch.

Readers of Civil War and post Civil War fiction will enjoy this easy read! The characters are engaging and the plot line pulls the reader in right from the start. A fun read that continues the story of the four survivors from Johnson’s Island POW camp.

This copy was received from Zondervan and the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 

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A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

hauck-rachel-a-royal-christmas-wedding

 

Series:  The Royal Wedding Series

Publication Date: 2016

Publisher: Zondervan and the Fiction Guild

 

 

“You’re redeeming the curse of Prince Michael, bringing the tradition back to life.”

                                                                        -Edward Tattersall

There is nothing like a good Christmas book filled with a real live prince, a beautiful young American woman, and a bell ringing tradition to spice up one’s holiday season. An entertaining read sprinkled with fairy tale romance, Christmas balls, and a Royal family!

After being dumped by Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom five years previously, Avery Truitt is hesitant to encounter the young man again. However, in order to see her favorite sister, Avery must endure the company of Prince Colin during the holidays.

The story follows Prince Colin as he learns to stand up for himself and act on the wishes of a power higher than himself and his rather overbearing father.  Avery reaches deep to find the faith and trust she will need to change her world and to truly believe in Colin again.  Will Avery show up on Christmas morning after the bell rings?

A fun and engaging story! Perfect holiday reading!

This ARC copy was received from Zondervan and the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray

gray-shelley-the-loyal-heart

 

Series: Lone Star Hero, Book 1

Publication Date: July 2016

Publisher: Zondervan

Gratis copy from The Fiction Guild

 

 

Suspense, a bit of a mystery, and some romance all rolled into a post Civil War story set in Galveston, Texas!

Miranda Markham, a devastated, lonely widow, is currently being harassed endlessly by the townspeople of Galveston. Life is not difficult enough to endure after the loss of her husband, Captain Phillip Markham, she must put up with rumors about her husband’s loyalties, disgruntled in-laws, and a boarding house where no one wants to stay.

Robert Truax, a fellow officer from Robert’s unit, arrives to do his duty to his fallen comrade’s widow. As part of a close knit group of officers who agreed to look after each other after the war, Robert begins an investigation into Miranda’s troubles uncovering secrets that were not meant to be discovered and struggling to maintain secrets that need to remain just that!

Readers of historical fiction who enjoy the Civil War and post Civil War era will enjoy this novel. The secrets and mysteries add to the intrigue. Is it possible for Miranda to have feelings for someone other than Phillip again? A serious, but quick read!

 

This copy was received from Zondervan and the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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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.

 ***/5

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