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Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Title: Tidewater Bride

Author: Laura Frantz

Publisher: Revell

Released: January 2021

Genre: Historical Romance

Selah Hopewell, Virginia Colony’s most eligible woman, is busy matchmaking for a ship of brides, though she has no wish to wed.

Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement, but he is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife, daughter of the Powhatan chief.

Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they’ve been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?

My Impressions

For those who know the story of Jamestown, John Rolfe, and Pocahontas; comes this amazing reimagining from the pen of historical fiction maestro Laura Frantz. In Tidewater Bride, we reconnect with bits and pieces of the past lives of three friends, to find out what keeps two of them from being romantically involved after the death of the beloved third. Frantz paints beautiful Virginia scenery, two, make that many, cultures at odds with each other, striving for survival and supremacy in a wild and untamed land. Romance beckons but struggles to stay aflame amidst the winds of distrust and treachery which threaten. When you finish with this novel, you will be amazed at what you have learned about the political climate of the times, the way people groups treated each other, and the strength that some individuals showed in standing true to honest principles. “True Word” is a name given Alexander Renick because he was one of very few the “Naturals” I love that designation) could trust.

The premise for peace among the settlers and the Naturals is amazing, and my heart broke and cheered for those brave souls involved. I loved the growth we see in Selah, Renick, and Shay. May there be more parents like Selah’s and Shay’s, who taught their children to be colorblind to skin tone, but to examine the mettle of another’s the soul. And may we be careful not to assume and judge that which we don’t know for fact about another.
So much history woven into fiction from Laura Frantz, and so much romance, suspense, and intrigue that you’ll be spellbound.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and the publisher and through NetGalley and Library Thing. I also bought copies as prized gifts. All opinions are my own. No positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!!

I love Laura Frantz’s books. Tidewater Bride may be one of my faves.

About the Author

Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. When she’s not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.

Readers can find Laura Frantz at http://www.laurafrantz.net

Giveaway

Doesn’t EVERYBODY Love to Read Laura Frantz?

If YOU would like to win a free copy of the book, Tidewater Bride, by Laura Frantz, I have two paperback copies to give away. Some things you want to know:

  1. You must live in the continental US to enter.
  2. This is a quick giveaway, closing Wednesday evening, 9pm EST.
  3. You must reply comment on this post with your email so I can contact you if you win.
  4. I will be drawing two names of entrants out of a hat, and mailing the books parcel post the end of this week. Good luck!!
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The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep

About the Book

Title: The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Author: Michelle Griep

Publisher: Barbour

Released: January 1, 2021

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Mystery

There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint
 
Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.

My Impressions

Love historicals of the Victorian era? Love a Christian message seamlessly woven into the narrative? Michelle Griep has such a “silver pen” (compare to a “silver tongue” that our heroine Kit Turner has), that I could easily follow her into the underbelly of London. Not many authors could describe the shenanigans of Constable Jackson Forge and his enemy-turned-conspirator Kit the way Griep does. Griep tucks historical fact, English geography, and mystery, romance, and suspense into one mesmerizing, achingly beautiful story. The Thief of Blackfriars Lane grips you and refuses to be expunged from your mind much like the horrible smells of the sewer refuse to leave our unlikely hero’s clothes. For those who love surprises, there are plenty of twists and turns. There are also some very thought-provoking questions raised. Why does God allow failure and tragedy, instead of rescuing us from them? Kit doesn’t understand, and Jack helps console her:

“Yet it is often in tragedy where we find our life’s purpose, and that purpose is to love God and man.”

Are right and wrong clear-cut and absolute? Jack thinks they are. Can Kit teach him to think differently?

“…most of life dwells in the murky grey between right and wrong. Misfortunes will come and go, but through it all, our main duty is to keep loving God and keep loving man.”

Can you judge a book by its cover? If we’re referring to people, Griep proves that to judge based on the apparent cover is faulty at best, dangerous at worst. If we are referring to a book, I judge any of Michelle Griep’s books by one criterion: if her name is on it, it bears the mark of excellence. You would do well to buy it.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author and publisher. I also bought a copy, because a Griep is too good not to share. I am voluntarily leaving my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!!

(I have yet to find anything by Michelle Griep that I haven’t loved!)

About the Author

I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write…except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

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To Dwell Among Cedars, #1 The Covenant House by Connilyn Cossette

About the Book

Title: To Dwell Among Cedars

Series: #1 The Covenant House

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: December 2020

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Eight years ago, when the Philistines stole and then surrendered the ark of the covenant back to the Israelites, Eliora left her Philistine homeland to follow the ark to the community of Kiryat Yearim. There, the family she was adopted into has guarded the ark at the top of a mountain in seclusion.

Ronen is a Levite musician determined to secret away the ark to a more fitting resting place, watched over by priests who would restore the Holy of Holies. He never expected that the Philistine girl he rescued years ago would now be part of the very family he’s tasked to deceive.

As Ronen’s attempts to charm Eliora lead them in unexpected directions, betrayal leaves Eliora with strained family ties and Ronen questioning his own loyalties. Ultimately, Eliora and Ronen are caught up in the battle for the soul of Israel and its future under the leadership of Samuel, the last judge before the era of the kings begins. 

My Impressions

My heart is full upon completion of reading Connilyn Cossette’s newest offering, To Dwell Among Cedars, #1 The Covenant House. This Biblical fiction book contains everything I am looking for in its genre. Scriptural accuracy, while approaching an age-old narrative of Israel in Samuel’s time from a unique viewpoint of Philistine Arisa (Eliora). Cossette vividly portrays all the emotions- the terror, the fear, the astonishment, the romance, and the suspense. As the uncertainty of being orphans at the whims and mercy of others is clearly shown, I couldn’t help myself from being drawn into Eliora’s life as she struggles for a sense of belonging and security, and ultimate love. Though she and Lukio(Natan) are adopted by generous and loving priest Elazer and his family, Eliora always feels herself an outcast.
Ronen, a member of an different priestly line than Elazer, first finds Arisa and Lukio(Natan) as they follow the Ark back into Israeli territory after its Philistine capture. An orphan himself, he deals with some of the same insecurities of not belonging as Eliora. These are a driving force in his thoughts and actions. There we have wonderful, multiple storylines going.


I loved Connilyn’s style-immediately warm and enticing you into the narrative, enveloping you into the ancient Biblical events very quickly.
Cossette sets the stage with some unusual premises. Not once did I feel that believability was stretched. One other point that makes me greatly treasure this novel is the many nuggets of truth shared and spoken naturally in uncontrived conversation. Connilyn Cossette is a master in her world of Biblical fiction. I am very sad it will be another year before we can read Natan (Lukio’s) story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, as well as NetGalley. I am voluntarily leaving this review. All thoughts are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“There is no magic in the box itself, Arisa. The power is that of the hand of Yahweh. It is merely a vessel, but one that signifies the sacred covenant between Israel and our God and above which has hovered the very shekinah of the Eternal One.”

”But the Eternal One was not made by man; there is no place you can go that he will not be with you.”

”He is the God Who Sees. There is no place you can go to escape his vigilant watch over you.”

”It is not the Ark you must follow, my precious child. It is the God who made you.”

”…So why do you work so hard for a place at their table when you already have one?”…”you are working so hard to earn something you’ve already been given.”

”Because you are the woman the Creator made you to be, no matter where you come from or what you look like.”

”No matter what decision I made, the cost would be great… the cost of going against the will of the Eternal One was greater by far.”

My Rating

Magnificent!

About the Author

Connilyn Cossette is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on both ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas their home. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com 
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The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer

About the Book

Title: The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

A traveling librarian ventures into the mining towns of Kentucky on horseback and rediscovers her passions in this powerful novel from the best-selling author of A Silken Thread.

During the Great Depression, Addie Cowherd dreams of being a novelist and offering readers the escape that books gave her during her tragic childhood. When her adoptive father loses his job, she is forced to leave college and take the only employment she can find–delivering books on horseback to poor coal mining families in the hills of Kentucky.

The small community of Boone’s Hollow is suspicious of outsiders and steeped in superstitions that leave Addie feeling rejected and indignant. Although she finds an unexpected friend in an elderly outcast, the other horseback librarians scorn her determination to befriend Nanny Fay.

Emmett Tharp grew up in the tiny mountain hamlet where most men either work in the coal mine or run moonshine. He’s the first in the community to earn a college degree, and he has big dreams, but witnesses the Depression robbing many young men of their future.

Then someone sets out to sabotage the library program, going so far as to destroy Addie’s novel in progress. Will the saboteur chase Addie and the other librarians away, or will knowledge emerge victorious over prejudice? Is Emmett the local ally that Addie needs–and might their friendship lead to something more?

Inspired by the real WPA program that sent librarians on horseback to deliver books to hill families in Kentucky, Kim Vogel Sawyer immersed herself in Appalachian history to tell this captivating story.

My Impressions

A while back, some polls were taken of Christian fiction readers. Many said their favorite fiction book of all time was Catherine Marshall’s Christy. Now we are blessed with several Christy-like books on the market. Certainly, the Appalachia of times gone by has a nostalgic pull for readers.
Kim Vogel Sawyer’s depiction of the Kentucky hills and her proud, but superstitious people will sate some of the longings to know these people who lived by their own code of honor. It wasn’t enough to live in the hills, one needed to be born and bred in the hills, know the neighbors from birth, and adhere to the superstitions.


In 1936, Addie Cowherd and Emmett Tharp, near strangers, and separate of each other, leave college in Lexington, KY, and attempt to make their respective homes in Boone’s Hollow (pronounced ”Holler” by the mountain folk). Emmett is rejected because of his outside education; Addie, for being a total stranger to an area where being a stranger ”like to as not” can get you shot on sight.
Sawyer shows us throughout the story what life in the mountains could be like. Superstitions run high, distrust of strangers is learned early, family feuds are fed for generations, and anyone stepping off the mountain is seen as a traitor.
Stills hide in the trees, feeding addiction, which then, in turn, feeds abuse, yet neighbors refuse to break the ”code of honor.”


I couldn’t believe that at the end of the story, Ms. Sawyer had me loving the person she had shown unlovable. That’s talent! And those are characters- who can forgive that mightily! So much to learn, more than even reading, from the people of ”Boone Holler.”
My two favorite characters (who like to be too shy to take a bow) would be Emmett’s mother, Damaris, and Nanny Fay. They just might could be the backbone of the mountain.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. I also bought my own copy, to be sure I didn’t miss it. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.
Notable Quotables:
“…yawning during a sermon is most certainly a sin.”
“Just ’cause nobody else knows you done somethin’ extra special don’t mean it ain’t special.”
”She’d cracked that mirror herself so her soul could escape if the mirror captured it, but she didn’t want to take no chances by looking at herself too long.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Award-winning, bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer told her kindergarten teacher that someday people would check out her book in the library. The little-girl dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer’s Return. Kim’s titles now exceed 1.5 million copies and are available in six different languages. A former elementary school teacher, she now enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Kim’s passion lies in writing stories that point the reader to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. When Kim isn’t writing, you’ll find her traveling with her retired military hubby, spoiling her granddarlings, petting the cats, quilting, or–as time allows–participating in community theater. You can learn more about Kim’s writing and speaking ministries at her website, KimVogelSawyer.com. 

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The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

About the Book

Title: the Haunting at Bonaventure Circus

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: September 1, 2020

1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend. 

My Impressions

“Life was not unlike the wisp of fog that curled around the base of a grave marker, softly caressing the marble before dissolving into the violet shadows of the night.” And so, Jaime Jo Wright begins spinning her chilling web of mystery, wonderment, and deceit in The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus.
At first, it seems like there might be a lot of unrelated information we are given. Like Alice in Wonderland, we just never know down which rabbit hole Ms. Wright will take us, or what to do with the scenes we see. With a dual timeline story, Wright alternates chapters between past and present. Double the rabbit holes; add a baby elephant, a Sasquatch-like man, a self- proclaimed medium, and a pit-bull, in no particular order.

We see young Pippa Ripley, adopted daughter of the circus owner, who longs to know her people and find value in her life. Before we can discover too much about Pippa, Wright pulls us out of the mire and thrusts us into the quagmire that is Chandler Faulk’s story. As we sort through her present-day needs to survive, excel, and raise a child on her own, we are again uprooted and thrown back into the circus world, or as close as Pippa is allowed to venture. Actually, Wright does a wonderful job of feeding us just enough information about each young lady, both searching for belonging, significance, and love. Then, like a crazy carnival ride, we are tossed back and forth between the two narratives, hanging on for dear life, and trying our best to hang onto our wits as well. When I finished the book, I looked back in astonishment, amazed at the wild ride I’d been on, helpless to change it (I tried, but Pippa wouldn’t listen).


What a slowly-building whirlwind adventure that turned out to be! The book is finished but the repercussions will live on in my mind. Dare to read the book and leave it unfazed.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!

About the Author

Daphne du Maurier and Christy Award-Winning author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful, mysteries stained with history’s secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimewrightbooks.com!