Genre: Christian Christmas Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling
Release date: November 26, 2021
“Time to dance, sugarplum.”
A painter at the Meyer’s Toys factory, Clarice Stahl, knows something is strange about the way so many men come and go through Mr. Meyer’s office, especially one in particular.
Then murder strikes a little too close to home and uncorks a barrel of secrets.
When mob king, Mario Topo’s, enforcer goes missing the race is on to prove he’s behind the murder. Police and mobsters alike are after Milo Natale and he who finds Milo first might determine the enforcer’s fate.
A race through the city, a new friend… or more… a new life in the offing. Milo and Clarice must find who killed Topo’s man and why before the police arrest him for murder or Topo’s men bump him and Clarice off, too.
This next book in the Ever After Mysteries combines “The Nutcracker Suite” with a murder mystery set in the heart of 1920s Rockland.
Totally Terrific!! Chautona Havig can write any genre she undertakes. In The Nutcracker’s Suite, though, she outdoes herself in presenting a suspenseful mystery mashing together a retelling of the Nutcracker, a 1920s Prohibition mob mix-up, and a romance with faith interspersed. I was glued to my seat until I finished, at turns laughing out loud and terrified. I get the distinct impression the author is having a blast with the creation of this story! As a result, the reader has a rollicking good time. I’ve read several Havig novels, and The Nutcracker’s Suite just vaulted to the top and into my list of Top Ten CF Novels of 2021!! The mystery kept me guessing and I never did quite figure it out!! Well-done!! I must admit, I loved Havig’s use of sarcasm, especially as it relates to Clarice’s thoughts. I hope there will be a book for Lily in the future.
I received a copy of the book from the author through Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.
“His ability to think dashed out and into the street where he was certain, it would be run over by a police car.”
“The lies are piling up faster than finished nutcrackers.”
“Did she just lie with the truth?”
“Not married, but I’ll remember that if I ever find a nice girl.” He didn’t say, “like you,” but Milo heard it and wanted to tie the man’s throat in a knot for it.”
“Keep her safe. If you aren’t a man of faith, become one and then pray until you can’t think anymore, but keep her safe.” It was a fool’s promise, but Milo made it. “I will.”
“…feelings always demanded an audience, even at the expense of truth.”
“Topo. It means mouse. I’m the attic mouse.”
“Every word the man spoke sat on a paragraph of threats.”
“People dying have a way of interfering with one’s shopping.”
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent!! A Rollicking Good Time IF You Survive Suspense
About the Author
Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours, and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
More from Chautona
Here Are Several Fun Facts & a Secret about The Nutcracker’s Suite
You’d think that while writing a book based on the fairy tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, I’d have heard “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” in my head as I wrote. Well, I guess for a brief moment I did, because at some point, someone actually says that. “Dance, sugar plum!”
But Tchaikovsky isn’t who played in my head as I wrote. Over and over, word after word, my fingers did their bourres and glissades across my keyboard to one, rather unexpected song. “Ballerina” (I prefer the version sung by Buddy Clark. You can listen HERE.)
However, there are so many elements of the original ballet’s story in mine. I thought I’d share a few of them.
Let’s talk about the cast of characters.
Clarice Stahl is our “leading lady.” It’s kind of obvious where I got her name since the original character was Clara Stahlbaum.
Clarice works for Mr. Dieter Meyer, the owner of Meyer’s Toys. He gives her the job of painting nutcrackers. So, it’s not too difficult to see the connection to Uncle Drosselmeyer who gives Clara the nutcracker, no?
All of 1925 Rockland is in the clutches of mob king, Mario Topo. For those not fluent in Italian, can you guess what “topo” is in that language? Remember… he’s the mob “king.”
But I think my favorite name of all is Emiliano (I call him Milo) Natale (Christmas in Italian… just sayin’) who is known as “the nutcracker.” He’s an enforcer for Mr. Topo, and that means he squeezes people until they crack and do what Topo wants. Let’s hope he repents!
Yes, I had a boatload of fun coming up with this stuff! How’d you guess?
I have a secret to confess about this book. I’m writing this post when I’m only about a quarter of the way done. I went to get the synopsis for this tour and went, “oops!” You see, I forgot that I’d planned to make Milo going missing a big part of the plot.
Guess who has to flex? I’d better get back to it. They need to figure out who killed our victim… and why. And before Clarice is next!
Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series
Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies–and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.
Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spies. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors–not to mention the nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner, who suspects her of a daring theft.
Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission?
Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance.
Wow! This is only the second book I’ve read by Erica Vetsch, but The Debutante’s Code just pushed Vetsch into my must-watch authors.
An adventurous and resourceful debutante, fresh from finishing school, Juliette’s biggest desire is to return home to get reacquainted with the parents she has missed for seven long years. Unfortunately, upon entering society, she finds herself in the care of a drunken uncle and an overbearing dowager duchess. When Lady Juliette makes a surprise discovery about her parents, can she reconcile the faith they taught her with what she now knows to be true?
Daniel Swann of Bow Street, a young police constable, has humble beginnings that his superior never tires of reminding him about. Yet, when he meets Juliette Thorndike following a robbery at a wealthy residence, he is intrigued.
I fell in love with both of these characters. Juliette is kind, intelligent, and so brave, and willing to learn all she can about her new calling. I felt her pain and confusion in my own soul over her parents’ absence. Daniel Swann… well, for starters, Swann is very close to the word Swoon. Perhaps there is a connection! Poor Daniel!! He has parental issues, too. Plus, his job is in jeopardy because of unfair bias. The closer Daniel gets to Juliette, the more he realizes she is not who she seems.
Unfortunately for the reader, this book ends without a solid conclusion. We must wait for book two to see what develops in many ways. I will be first in line!
The epilogue and author’s notes are essential parts of this book. There are links to more information on certain items of interest.
I received a copy of this book from the author through I Read with Audra via NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all thoughts are solely my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnifcent! Vetsch Becoming a New Fave Author!!
About the Author
Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.
Vetsch is the author of many novellas and novels, including the popular Serendipity & Secrets Regency series and the new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery series
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
Do you have a fiction lover on your holiday shopping list? Look no further for a gift suggestion! Just in time for the gift-giving season, award-winning author Erica Vetsch is kicking off her new Thorndike & Swann Regency mystery series with the release of The Debutante’s Code (Kregel Publications). This new series combining a historical setting, romance, and mystery has been described as Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes. With that combination, where can you go wrong?
Q: Introduce us to the new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery series which has been described as Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes.
This story has been a long time in the making! It has to be almost ten years ago that I first thought up the story idea, and originally, it was set in Gilded Age New York. But when I began writing stories set in Regency England, I realized the original tale could easily be adapted to the Regency Era.
Our heroine longs to be reunited with her parents and have her debut season in London, but her plans go awry when her parents do not meet her at the docks and are, in fact, missing. She discovers that she comes from a long line of spies for the Crown, and she has a choice, either to finish what her parents started, or turn her back on her heritage and become the socialite she assumed she would be all along. Her mind is made up when murder is afoot.
Our hero is a Bow Street Runner, one of London’s earliest policemen, and he’s on the hunt for a stolen painting…then other valuables from the same shipment of rare items disappear one by one, and an art dealer is found murdered in his gallery. Each clue leads our hero closer and closer to the thief and killer, but he’s disconcerted to find that his chief suspect has become the debutante he finds so attractive.
Q: Tell us more about your leading lady, Juliette Thorndike.
Juliette is fresh from finishing school in Switzerland, where she has been for several years. Because of Britain’s ongoing war with France, her parents determined a cloistered school in Switzerland was a safe place for her to remain, especially while they were doing daring deeds for the monarch. Juliette is an accomplished toxophilite, avid reader, puzzle solver, and good dancer.
Most of all, Juliette yearns for her family to be reunited. She was a child when she was sent to Switzerland, and she longs to know her parents as an adult. They have been in frequent communication via letters, but it isn’t the same as being together in person. When she discovers that her parents have kept such a dire secret from her all these years, she wonders if she’s ever known them at all.
Q: Juliette has a somewhat fantasized view of who her parents are, yet she really hasn’t spent that much time around them. What happens to make her realize she’s never really known them at all?
They’ve hidden so many things from her—from her heritage to their activities and hidden rooms in their house. She has created an image in her mind of what life will be like once they are reunited, but now she wonders if any of it is even possible, much less probable.
She’s always felt secure in her parents’ love, but if they can lie about something so big, what else have they lied about?
Q: Why does Juliette not only feel abandon by her parents, but abandoned by God?
We often form our views of a Heavenly Father from our experience with our earthly parents, for good or for ill. Juliette has not been ill-treated by her parents, or at least she didn’t think she had, but if they could abandon her on the eve of her coming out in society (in what should be the most important year of her life), can she trust anything about them?
Their priorities clearly don’t line up with hers. They put their work ahead of their daughter. Is that fair? Is that right?
They’ve taught her that God is with her, that He will never abandon her, but can she trust what they have taught her when they can lie so easily?
Q: How have Juliette’s parents been preparing her to be a part of the “family business” even though they haven’t been a physical presence in her life? A variety of ways, starting with protecting her from the truth when she was very small. They also took great care in the school they chose for her to attend. She’s conversant in French and some Italian as well as English, has been taught the skills required of a young lady in the British aristocracy, such as dancing, deportment, music, and art.
But she’s also learned a great deal of history, logic, and rhetoric in her curriculum, as well as archery. All skills that will aid her if she chooses to follow in her parents’ footsteps as a spy for the Crown.
And her father added another twist. He wrote to her often, but always in code. A different code each time, growing more complex as she grew and became more adept at deciphering his codes.
Juliette comes to realize that her parents have been preparing her for her future role, but she doesn’t realize how quickly her skills will be tested.
Q: A Regency novel is not a Regency novel without a swoon-worthy hero. Just who is Daniel Swann?
Ah, Daniel. He’s had very little say in his life up to now, being the illegitimate son of a household servant. He’s done every chore that can be found on a country estate, from being the boot boy in charge of cleaning and polishing all the shoes, to helping the groundskeepers and gardeners with the weeding and planting, to working in the stables and riding the master’s horses out to exercise. In his own way, he’s been training for his future, too.
Through more outside influence, he was removed from his mother’s care, sent to boarding school, and then to Oxford with the understanding that his guardianship would end at his 25th birthday, which is fast approaching. Then he will be in command of his life for the first time…but he wonders if he’s up to the task.
Q: Daniel has a bit of a mysterious past himself—one that even eludes him even though he’s a detective. How has his past directed his career choice?
Daniel has no idea who his mysterious patron is, and he is forbidden from searching out his identity. He’s given other rules he must follow, including cutting off all ties with his mother. He was a bewildered, homesick child, wrenched from his home and shipped off to boarding school, and he believes his mother was only too glad to be rid of him, otherwise why would she agree to such a terrible thing?
Daniel studied art and history at Oxford, unsure of what he would do for a career, but when a Bow Street officer shows up to investigate a murder in the Oxford Canal, Daniel is hooked on detective work. With the help of his hidden patron, he secures a job at Bow Street, against the wishes of his new superior officer, who is always looking for a reason to dismiss Daniel.
With his past so shrouded in mystery, his current situation tenuous, and his future racing toward him at his 25th birthday when his patronage will cease, Daniel focuses on being the best detective he can be and hopes things will all work out.
Q: What kind of research was required to write a mystery set in the early 1800s? What are some of the methods detectives of the day would have to depend on?
There was quite a bit of research involved in this one, from police procedures to art history. Much studying of maps and the hierarchy of society, the lives of British spies, and fitting it all into the current political and social situations of the times. I had fun deciding upon the various items that would go missing, from statues to jewelry to artwork, and deciding upon different ways each piece could be acquired.
As to the police methods of the day, the Bow Street detectives didn’t have our current levels of forensic science to help identify culprits. They relied upon eyewitness testimony, circumstantial evidence, catching someone red-handed, and by following the paperwork/money trail. Some things have not changed. The main motives for lawbreaking still fall into three categories: money, power, and sex. Who has it, who wants it, who wants to deny someone else from acquiring it? And in Regency times, the detectives were still looking for motive, means, and opportunity. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Debutante’s Code is my first true mystery, and it’s all wrapped into a heist story, so layering those different threads together was a new adventure for me.
Q: Fans fell in love with the characters from your Serendipity & Secrets series. Is there any chance we might see some familiar faces make a cameo in your new series?
I am delighted that the Thorndike & Swann mysteries take place in what I like to call the “Haverly Universe” first created in the Serendipity & Secrets series. In The Debutante’s Code, several characters from the S&S series reappear, including the Duke of Haverly, Marcus, his duchess, Charlotte, and the Dowager Duchess of Haverly, who is a personal favorite of mine.
Though there is a host of new characters in The Debutante’s Code, as the series unfolds, more of the S&S cast will come into the stories.
Q: Can you give us a tease of what to expect in the remainder of the Thorndike & Swann series?
The next book, Millstone of Doubt, begins with a bang! Literally! A grist mill on the Thames explodes, but when the rubble and dust are cleared, a man is found dead, not from the explosion, but from a gunshot! Was the mill blown up to cover the murder? Who would want the mill owner dead? Daniel and Juliette put their heads together to sort out the crime, while Juliette juggles her new career as a spy and a debutante, and Daniel uncovers many of the secrets he needs to piece together the puzzle of his past. Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor) and Instagram (@EricaVetsch).
Two successful women, a hundred-and-twenty-years apart, build walls to protect their hearts. Modern-day Willa, a successful interior decorator, is chosen to consult for the Grand Hotel’s possible redesign. She discovers a journal detailing the struggles of a young woman, Lily—which reveals dark secrets. The renowned singer wasn’t who she pretended to be. As Willa reaches out to Lily’s descendant, a charismatic and prominent landscape artist, she lets down her guard. Should she share the journal with him, or once again erect a wall as she struggles to redesign both the Grand and her life?
Behind Love’s Wall, the latest addition to the Doors to the Past series by Barbour, is a great dual timeline novel. Penned by Carrie Fancett Pagels, herself originally a “Yooper,” this romantic mystery is set on the magical Mackinac Island. Having a passing familiarity with the area, I enjoyed Ms. Pagels’s description of the Island, its landmarks, and the Grand Hotel itself. I had a little trouble with the dual timeline at first. This is unusual for me, as I generally read many dual-timelines without feeling lost. Eventually, I closed the book with a well-satisfied feeling that all things worked out, and there were some great twists and surprises that truly made the novel delightful. Bravo for a stunning conclusion!! The author’s notes were of great interest to me. They elaborate so well on the author’s research and separate fact from fiction, which I love.
Be prepared for the unexpected! Many of the main characters surprised me, like Michael. I really empathized with him as he struggled. I especially connected with Lilly, the heroine of the early timeline. How many times do we humans worry about a malady running through bloodlines or obsess over some parental issue we are sure we will inherit? Faith is a gentle aspect, bringing in hope and release from self-made prisons. Recommended!
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Great! Busy Dual Timeline, Mackinac Island Hides Family Secrets
About the Author
ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of over a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at http://www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.
More from Carrie
Why I Wrote This Novel
I got a chance to write another novel set on Mackinac Island!!!
I’m the author of over twenty published stories. I have many books, both novel and novella length, set at the Straits of Mackinac including Maggie Award winner and Romantic Times Top Pick My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island. In the summer, I go up to the area and I’m blessed to sign books at the Island Bookstore—sometimes hundreds of books which is such an amazing thing I can’t tell you! Now that MHBoMI is out of print, Barbour has been helping by doing limited print runs for while I am up there.
My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island was originally part of a full series that I pitched but it didn’t get picked up for all three stories. MHBoMI got picked up as part of the My Heart Belongs series that Barbour put out a few years ago. The second book in my original Brides of Mackinac series was heroine Sadie’s story, which was published as a novella “His Anchor” in First Love Forever collection. So I had two of my book babies delivered out into the world and Lily’s story sat there for a while.
In the Covid summer of 2020, I arrived in my home state of Michigan and over dinner with a close friend I learned that the folks at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island were having legal trouble with their previous long-time designed Carlton Varney suing them. I’d been disappointed that the Mussers, who’d owned the Grand for generations, had sold the hotel but this new development really bugged me. While I was in the Upper Peninsula, I finished an Indy book, Dogwood Plantation, which only figures since I often write my Michigan stories while I am in Virginia and vice versa! I knew the only other book I wanted to work on was to complete my Brides of Mackinac trilogy (not exactly since they aren’t all in one series!) with Lily’s story. I also had a manuscript about 70% done that was my very first contemporary Women’s Fiction novel. When my agent encouraged me to submit a Mackinac Island story set at the Grand Hotel to Barbour’s Doors to the Past series, I knew immediately that the only story for historical I wanted to write was Lily’s. That meant that I needed, for this dual-timeline series, a contemporary story. That wasn’t just a chance sharing at dinner—I believe the info about the lawsuit was meant to be passed on to me one of those God-incidences. My modern-day heroine then became an established resort designer who had a trunkful of issues just like Lily did.
Was I ever glad that I had finally written my first contemporary Women’s Fiction (Butterfly Cottage) because that skill set came in very handy in writing the modern-day 2020 story of Willa in Behind Love’s Wall! This was the most difficult novel to write that I have done so far as I write in character and going back and forth between the 1895 and 2020 timelines could be draining. I tried to write each character and setting on separate days but that couldn’t always be managed.
I pray that this story will touch readers’ hearts. I pray that someone, like the young waitress I meant on Mackinac Island who had been spiritually moved by My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island (she read her grandmother’s copy after her grandma passed away!), will read this book and feel that connection to our Maker. That’s what Christian Fiction is all about!
Released: November 2021(note: available at debbieviguie.com or soon on Amazon)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
In the 18th installment of the Psalm 23 mysteries series, Cindy and Jeremiah find themselves in over their heads when a trip to New Orleans goes terribly wrong.
So, this series, the Psalm 23 Mysteries by Debbie Viguié, is my abs fave of all time!! Murder, a Jewish rabbi and a Christian secretary (how will THAT come together?!), characters that I swear I know like friends suddenly shocking me. Each book revolves around a holiday. This is book #18 in the series, and it is ESSENTIAL to read the books in order. Viguié refers to so many characters and events from past novels, you feel like someone handed you a spoonful of your fave dessert each time that happens. Somehow, Viguié manages to turn everything you thought you knew about your beloved characters on their heads, and you trust NOBODY in this book!! YIKES!! Yet, this book contains a crucial, wonderful scene we Psalm 23 fans have been waiting for, like forever!! Biting my nails, howling with laughter, angrily growling at the author for her treatment of fave characters!! Absolutely highly recommended!! Not for the faint of heart!!
Rating: 5 out of 5.
My All-Time Fave Series!! Best Book of Series Yet!!
About the Author
Debbie Viguié is the New York Times Bestselling author of more than three dozen novels including the Wicked series co-authored with Nancy Holder. In addition to her epic dark fantasy work, Debbie also writes thrillers including The Psalm 23 Mysteries, the Kiss trilogy, and the Witch Hunt trilogy. Debbie also plays a recurring character in the audio drama, Doctor Geek’s Laboratory. When Debbie isn’t busy writing or acting she enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, visiting theme parks.
This epic journey is his last chance to start a new life.
After being cast out of his Blackfoot village for his kindness to the Nez Perce captives, Chogan travels west in search of meaning for his life. Meaning that doesn’t require killing or torturing innocent people. Though the lovely face of Telípe, a Nez Perce woman, is imprinted on his heart, he avoids her village. She deserves a happy life with her husband and coming child.
With her husband dead and the birth of her babe imminent, Telípe’s reality looks nothing like she planned. She’s been forced to return to the village where she grew up and the chaos of her family’s lodge—with all her boisterous younger brothers. She desperately desires to start a new life for herself and the babe growing within her, but she can’t seem to climb above the mire of her past. When she stumbles into the brave who’d shown her kindness during her captivity, something ignites within her—a new hope.
Chogan’s determination to stay and help Telípe is thwarted by her people’s fear and hatred for his tribe—especially since he was among last winter’s kidnappers. It doesn’t matter that he did everything he could to keep her and her unborn child safe and comfortable during that awful event. But as a new predator threatens the safety of the village, Chogan determines to take down the massive wildcat that’s already injured several children—including one of Telípe’s younger brothers. When the danger escalates, Chogan is faced with an impossible choice. No matter which option he chooses, his life will never be the same—nor that of the woman he’s come to love.
From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.
Now I know why so many people gush over Misty Beller’s novels. I love stories about outcasts who need acceptance, and Chogan, in Honor in the Mountain Refuge, surely does! Too tender-hearted to be accepted as a member of his war-like Blackfoot tribe, Chogan is disowned. Chogan finds himself drawn to Telípé, a young, expectant Nez Percé woman whom his people had stolen as a captive earlier.
I could not put this book down once I started. The love story lured me in, and the scenery, history, and action held me spellbound. I never knew what to expect, and the tension runs high in spots. Secondary enigmatic characters like Meksem, Beaver Tail, Elan are great to get to know. I felt like perhaps, if I had read previous books, I would know more about these characters and perhaps understand them better, but that was ok. It didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this novel, just made me want to go back and catch up with some of Ms. Beller’s others.
The faith element is unapologetic and clear, but not forced. It works naturally in the characters’ thoughts and conversations. The make-up of the villagers and couples themselves thrilled me. I cannot say more without giving away spoilers.
Go get your own copy of Honor in the Mountain Refuge!
I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! Searching for Acceptance
About the Author
Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.
She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.
God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.
More from Misty
When minor characters get their own story!
One of the things I love about writing in series is the chance for minor characters to become major characters, with fascinating lives and personalities of their own! The heroine in Honor in the Mountain Refuge, Telipe, first appeared in Light in the Mountain Sky as Meksem’s little sister who was kidnapped by a band of Blackfoot warriors. Even when I’m the writer, characters often surprise me by doing things very differently than what I expected!
Telipe did exactly that in one of the final scenes of that previous book. When Meksem and her friends showed up to rescue Telipe and the other captives, Telipe actually braced herself in front of one of her Blackfoot captors, stopping anyone from injuring him. Why would she do that?
In that book, Telipe only says that the man had been kind to her when the other warriors were not. I knew there HAD to be more though.
I pray you enjoy learning Telipe’s story as much as I did, including how that Blackfoot brave she protected shows up again in the most unexpected of places!
After being kidnapped as a child, heiress Emma Grace McMurray has seen firsthand the devastation that greed causes in the world, and she wants nothing to do with it–including her father’s offering her hand in a business deal. She sneaks away to be a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar Grand Canyon Hotel, planning to stay hidden even if it means always looking over her shoulder.
Ray Watkins arrives at the hotel wanting to impress his father by finding success on his own. Then maybe he can take on more of the family business and do something good with the profits.
Ray immediately admires Emma Grace, and though a friendship forms, she’s afraid he’s just like every other wealthy man she’s known. Then art and jewels go missing from El Tovar and the nearby Hopi House, a mystery that pulls them in and stirs up their worst fears. When shocking revelations come to light, they’ll have to question all they thought to be true.
“Her whole identity was a façade. How could she be real with anyone?”
I really loved A Deep Divide by Kimberley Woodhouse. I think it may be her best work yet. A historical set mostly at the Grand Canyon, we see plenty of great description of this beautiful landmark. The writing style is solid, with a touch of wistfulness that will draw you in with its suspense, romance, and faith. Plus, the great historical detail Woodhouse includes shows her meticulous research.
Emma Grace McMurray learns in childhood that those most responsible for caring for her cannot be trusted. Now she is in hiding, trusting no man, always looking over her shoulder.
I like Emma Grace’s character. She is humble and not too proud to work, when many in her position would be. She befriends those around her in need. She does have an issue with those of the upper class and quickly categorizes most as snobby and self-absorbed.
Ray Watkins has his work cut out for him. Interested in the calm, collected, and beautiful waitress, he has a hard time getting her to pay him any attention. Ray is someone I felt very sorry for. His father is very domineering, with some health issues, that make working for his approval nearly impossible. Ray tries hard to live up to his new faith, but his father and his associates make that difficult.
I loved Ruth, who ended up being such a loyal friend. Always ready to listen, ready to comfort, ready to think the best of her new friend.
I loved learning about the Harvey Girls and the Harvey House, El Tovar, at the Grand Canyon. We saw a display about the Harvey House Girls while we visited the canyon, but we were in a hurry at the display, and I didn’t catch the significance. Thank you, Ms. Woodhouse, for this great, fun education on the Harvey House Girls and the Grand hotel there!
I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.
“A man was a man, no matter his status.”
“She’d love to have a real friend, but she had too many secrets.”
“…you are valuable to us for who you are.”
“You’re so busy trying to be brave and take care of yourself that you’ve shoved God back because you don’t think He can be trusted.”
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! I Loved Learning about the Harvey Girls!!
About the Author
Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than twenty-five books. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate and the promise of eighteen holes on the golf course. She loves music, kayaking, and her family. Her books have been awarded the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Reader’s Choice Award, Selah Award, Spur Award, and others. A popular speaker/teacher, she’s shared with over 1,000,000 people at more than twenty-five hundred venues across the country. Married to the love of her life for three decades, she lives and writes in the Poconos where she’s traded in her hat of “craziest mom” for “coolest grandma.” Connect with Kim at www.kimberleywoodhouse.comwww.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAu… www.instagram.com/kimberleywoodhouse www.twitter.com/kimwoodhouse
Newfoundland Ella and her Alaska State Trooper partner are on the case.
When her estranged uncle attempts to sabotage her family’s reindeer ranch, K-9 team assistant Katie Kapowski heads home to help save it—and becomes his target. With their rocky past, Alaska State Trooper Brayden Ford and his furry partner are the last team Katie wants assigned to protect her. But with the ranch under siege, they must work together…or risk falling victim to a killer.
Dana Mentink has done it again! She has penned another exciting Love Inspired Suspense novel, this one Yukon Justice, (# 7 Alaska Canine Unit) that kept me glued to my seat and flipping pages as quickly as possible.
How could I not like this book? I love Mentink’s suspense writing style. It’s heart-pounding, but not horror-genre material. It’s realistic, and I feel like her characters, Brayden, Katie, Addie, Quinn, and Charlie, are down-to-earth people that anyone might know.
Animals. If an author uses animals in her story well, I’m hooked. Brayden’s K-9 side-kick, Ella, a big Newfie, is so well described as to make me want to know her. I love that she is a smidge less than perfect. And the reindeer. Mentink has done her research, and I learned a lot. Plus the reindeer are rescue animals. Gruff Aunt Addie, who hardly has a kind word for anyone, will sacrifice everything to save her reindeer.
Oh, and Mentink includes a small, secondary romance. I love it because it’s the type I and some others are hoping to see more of in books.
Faith and great quotes. Another reason this novel is a winner.
“…nothing is over until God says it’s over.”
“Don’t worry had to be the most useless phrase in the English language. When had that sage advice ever made someone stop fretting?”
“God is for us, even when we’re losing, so keep your eyes up, not down.”
“God walks us through the struggles, and He’s promised us the win. Eyes up, not down.”
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! So Many Reasons to Like Yukon Justice!!
About the Author
Dana Mentink is a two-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the Publisher’s Weekly and Amazon bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink), and Instagram (dana_mentink.)
More from Dana
Up on the housetop, click, click, click, down through the chimney with good St. Nick. Does anyone know that line from the famous Christmas song? I’ve been singing it for years but only recently did I learn that the clicking is a real reindeer phenomenon. Those reindeer ankle joints make a clicking sound so they can find the rest of their herd if they are separated in a blizzard. It’s just one of the many things I learned about reindeer while researching to write Yukon Justice. In the novel, Katy has to take over running her aunt’s reindeer ranch and protect it from threats by a dangerous intruder. I had the pleasure of “Zoom” interviewing the owner of the Running Reindeer Ranch in Fairbanks, Alaska! Jane helped me learn all kinds of interesting things about reindeer. How much do you know about these critters? Take my quick three-question trivia quiz to test your knowledge!
What’s the difference between caribou and reindeer? They are the same animal but caribou are the wild variety and the domesticated version are called reindeer.
Do males or females grow antlers? Both! Reindeer are a type of deer and the only species where the female grows antlers as well as the males.
How come kids put out carrots for Santa’s reindeer? Good question! Carrots are not, in fact, part of a natural healthy reindeer diet. The animals don’t even have front teeth! A much better treat would be willow or birch leaves, or their favorite food…lichen, which they find by scraping the snow away from the ground with their hooves.
So how did you do? If you want to know more about these amazing creatures, snag yourself a copy of Yukon Justice!
Headstrong Coraline Baxter has worked all her life to be more than the spoiled socialite others expect. When her fellow suffragettes in Tacoma, Washington, suggest that she should climb to the top of Mount Rainier to prove that a woman can do anything, she instantly resolves to do it. And if she can climb Mount Rainier, her mother promises to stop pressuring her to get married to the wealthy Cash Kincaid. All Cora needs is a guide to get her to the top of the mountain.
Nathan Hardee may look like a mountain man, but he once ruled the halls of high society. He left all that behind after his father broke under financial pressure from Kincaid. To best Kincaid now, Nathan agrees to guide Cora up the mountain.
Climbing Rainier will require all of Cora’s strength and will lead her and Nathan to rediscover their faith in God and humanity. These two loners make unlikely partners in righting a wrong and may just discover that only together is the view most glorious.
Fighting for women’s suffrage, climbing Mt. Rainier, and fighting society’s unnecessary restrictions, are all themes Regina Scott deals with in A View Most Glorious. Coraline Baxter decides to climb Mt. Rainier (or is it Tacoma?) with social outcast and mountain guide, Nathan Hardee. Doing so will draw attention to her cause and free her of her mother’s matrimonial expectations.
I don’t know if I was delighted or dismayed by the big loop Scott throws the reader for as a character makes a totally unexpected decision. It certainly upped the ante for the outcome of the perilous journey!
Faith is a quiet, steadying influence in both Hardee’s life and the book. Several times, Nathan can be found with his Bible in hand, worshipping outdoors by himself before the day begins. Scott doesn’t preach in this story, but the power of the Scripture and its Creator are very evident.
I felt for pitiful Cora, who can stand up for and take care of herself- almost. She is so strong and determined, and she can handle herself at a job in a man’s world. She can be the voice for the suffragettes in Tacoma. Yet, she cannot stand against her mother’s iron will.
I loved Cora’s stepfather. He cares for her in a most loving, diligent way. He sacrifices much for Cora and manages to be a go-between for Cora and her mother, without ruffling feathers. Now, if he can just develop a spine!
Nathan is rough around the edges, but a gem on the interior. The question is, whether he and Cora can find a common calling, or whether Cora will follow society’s designs.
I received a copy of this book from RevellReads via NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! Historical Romance: Will Society or Spine Win?
About the Author
Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t actually sell her first novel until she had learned a bit more about writing. Since her first Regency romance was published in 1998, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She is now the author of more than 50 works of warm, witty historical romance.
She and her husband of 30 years reside in Washington State on the way to Mt. Rainier. Regina Scott has driven four in hand, learned to fence, sailed on a tall ship, and dressed as a Regency dandy, all in the name of research, of course. Sign up for her free alert service to hear when the next book will be out or on sale at https://subscribe.reginascott.com/. You can find her online blogging at www.nineteenteen.com. Learn more about her at www.reginascott.com and connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorreginascott .
Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.
Journalist Nellie Wilkerson has spent the bulk of the war in London, photographing pilots taking off and landing—and she’s bored. She jumps at the chance to go to France, where the Allied forces recently landed. She enlists Jean-Paul Breslau of the French underground to take her to the frontlines. On the journey, they come upon an orphanage where nuns shelter children with disabilities. Can they help save them before the Nazis come to liquidate it?
It is the evening after I finished A Picture of Hope, #2 Heroines of WWII, by Liz Tolsma. I am experiencing a very real sense of loss because I can’t spend any more time with Nellie and Jean-Paul. Why, oh, why, did I stay up so late last night to get to the end? Oh, yes… it would have been agonizing not to know what became of Nellie and Jean-Paul!
I love how Marie-Terese is such a strong, influential secondary character. She gently encourages and nudges others to strengthen their faith muscle. Yet, we see that she has doubts, which makes her very human.
The faith aspect is woven in beautifully. Doubts are allowed. Trust is a strong theme. God wins over evil, but maybe not in our timing.
The inclusion of Downs syndrome children as a main component of the story is as delicious as Texas sheet cake. And done just as tastefully. Liz Tolsma possesses a special education background and is also a parent of a special needs child. Tolsma’s expertise shines throughout the book, both in the Downs Syndrome aspect and the French Resistance of WWII.
It’s always great to have fact vs fiction notes at the end! I find it fascinating to see what parts of history an author has been able to incorporate into the story; what events are true, but dates are fudged to fit the story, or when personalities are blended to create an authentic character.
A fabulous, haunting book. May we never forget!!
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit via Netgalley. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.
“Photographs don’t always have to be pretty. Sometimes they tell a story. That’s what I want mine to do. Tell the story of this war so the world knows what is going on and so our children and grandchildren and all those who come after us will never forget what happened on this beach or in these fields.”
“This suffering is meant to make our souls long for heaven. This world wearies us and weighs us down. Oh, but there is another world where we will never weary and where we will never long for anything better.”
“Even if you only help one person, that is enough. By aiding a single individual, you have changed one world.”
“I would rather suffer in chains for the sake of freedom than be free for the sake of tyranny.”
“But she is safe in God’s hands. That’s safer than you could keep her.”
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Truly Magnificent!! A Stunning Picture– May We Never Forget!!
About the Author
Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at http://www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.
More from Liz
Why Another WWII Novel Set in France
You may well read the back cover of my latest release, A Picture of Hope, and wonder why on earth we need another WWII novel set in France. After all, Kristy Cambron just had one. Melanie Dobson and Sarah Sundin will be coming out with theirs in 2022. So why did I feel the need to write my novel with the same setting?
First of all, I’m a Francophile. I love all things French. It started when I took French in high school. Everyone else was learning Spanish, but I wasn’t into being part of the crowd. There were only a few of us in the class, and it was great fun. We had a wonderful teacher. Being able to pull out some of that French, refine it a bit, and use it in the book was a blast. But I also love French food (who doesn’t?) and everything else.
Secondly, I hadn’t written about France before. When I wrote this proposal at least five or six years ago, I didn’t know France would be so hot. God did, and the book came about in His perfect timing. I’d explored the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Philippines. Such a shame that I was leaving out France, so I set about to write a novel located in that country.
Thirdly, there was so much good material to pull from. The French resistance, while small, did good work and sacrificed a great deal to get Jews out of the country and into Switzerland or Spain. The books that Kristy, Melanie, Sarah, and I write are all so different. Only the setting is the same. And when I found out that the famous mime Marcel Marceau was part of the resistance, I couldn’t help but giving him a cameo. Be on the lookout!
Along the way, I discovered some truly heartrending incidents that took place in France. They also compelled me to write this book. I long for the world to remember what happened so that we will never forget. And so that the atrocities committed there will never be repeated.
Fourthly, this was originally the third book in a series. Don’t worry – it’s a stand-alone. Maybe someday I’ll get to publish the other two. The women in the series are all American journalists in Europe. One is a reporter, the other is a broadcaster, and so I decided to make Nellie, the heroine in A Picture of Hope, a photojournalist. And where better to take pictures than on Omaha Beach soon after D-day. How she gets there is based on a very interesting true story, so be sure to read to the end for that one.
There are so many stories about WWII to be told and so many countries that participated in the conflict in one way or the other. The ground is so rich that we aren’t plowing the same parcel. You’ll find all of these books to be very different from each other, each with its own message, its own voice, and its own plot.
The focus in my book is on children with Down syndrome. I have a background in special education, and my husband and I adopted a child from the Philippines with an intellectual disability, so I’ve always had a heart for people with special needs. My daughter brings us so much joy that I wanted to share a glimpse into what these remarkable people are truly capable of.
So that is why I wrote a WWII novel set in France. Make yourself a cup of café au lait, butter up a croissant, and enjoy A Picture of Hope!
To onlookers, Carrie Ann Bell Collier might appear to be the dutiful wife, sitting at her unconscious husband’s bedside. But she feels like a hypocrite. Instead of trusting her intuition, she allowed herself to believe Peyton was dead. And then she fell in love with his best friend, Eli Kent.
Except, Peyton wasn’t dead, and now Carrie will do anything to keep him alive.
Andrea Boeshaar has done it. She has created characters so real, that I cared about so much, that I found myself praying for the heroine, Carrie Ann. I have an affinity for stories of faith set in Civil War times, and There is a Season that will stay on my mind for a long time to come.
While this is the third book in the series, it is possible to read only this novel and not be lost. Boeshaar provides enough backstory that anyone can enjoy this book, but after reading it, I have a hankering to re-read the first and devour the second.
I say devour because the whole premise of this book had me truly gobbling it down. Colonel Peyton Collier is near death, but his young wife, Carrie, hires a nurse, Hannah, who promises healing with experimental medicine. There are just a few drawbacks: Hannah demands an exorbitant fee and complete control of the sickroom. And the saga begins, plus Boeshaar treats us to another competition that traverses the book, weaving the novel into a complex tapestry.
I loved the different characteristics of various players. Carrie is determined and tenacious once she makes a decision. Eli is loyal to a fault. Aunt Ruth loves beyond bloodlines.
The epilogue makes the book even better, if possible!
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.
Several Notable Quotables:
“Practicing my faith is going to be more difficult than I imagined.”
“It’s not much of a battle, really.” Peyton knew what the right thing was, but the decision meant death.
“…just because you don’t feel something doesn’t mean God has abandoned you or that His Holy Spirit no longer resides within you.”
“I should warn you, dear one, that this idea of yours is like handling a deadly serpent. You may be bitten.” …”We may both be bitten…and devoured.”
We’re children of the King of kings.” “Which makes us princesses.”
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Characters so Real I Prayed for Them!
About the Author
Andrea Boeshaar was born and raised in Wisconsin but now lives in South Carolina. She had her husband Daniel have been married more than 40 years. They have 3 grown sons, 1 beautiful daughter-in-law, and 5 grandkids.
Andrea’s publishing career began in 1994 when her first novel was released by Heartsong Presents book club (Barbour Publishing). In 2007, Andrea earned her certification in Christian life coaching and she’ll soon earn her bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
Meanwhile, Andrea continues to write. Her latest novel is There is a Season: A Civil War Novel. It’s book 3 in her Shenandoah Valley Saga. Recent historical short novels include: Give Me Thine Heart, Love’s Guiding Light (Steeple View Publishing).
At last, the long-awaited third and final book in Andrea Boeshaar’s Shenandoah Valley Saga is available for purchase. Discover the final outcome of the lives of the characters you came to love in Books 1 and 2.