Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Blue Cloak: True Colors by Shannon McNear with Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Blue  Cloak

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre:  Christian Historical/Suspense 9781643523149-197x300

Release Date: March 2020

Evil Incarnate Leaves a Trail of Destruction across the Frontier

Book 5 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence in 1797 at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend Sally Rice’s wedding only to watch the marriage dissolve into horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin Micajah become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims.

How many will die before peace can return to the frontier?

 

Click here for your copy.

My Review

“Today it”  (the wilderness ) ”held a definite air of menace.” While I’m quoting this line out of context, it could be said of the whole tone of The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear. The latest in the True Colors: Historical Stories of True Crimes series, there is an ominous feeling of dread, if you, the reader, start reading not with chapter one, but with the words,  “Dear Reader.” 
Nine long months of terror seize the wilderness of Tennessee and Kentucky at the turn of the nineteenth century. Two brothers, Big and Little Harpe, with their three wives, prowl the beautiful countryside and turn it into a place of gruesome murders and fear, anxiety breathing down every settler’s neck. 

 

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Some phrases seemed so applicable to what our country is going through currently.  “It seemed, though, that the entire country held its breath, waiting, watching—.” 
I loved that McNear’s characters put a high value on prayer. This is mentioned many times throughout the unsettling narrative. I appreciated one such time as Rachel’s brother knows the business of the day needs to start,  “but I’m thinking we’ve a greater need to pray before you go any further on your journey.” 
How could a marriage that started with a few misgivings on the part of witnesses turn into a component of a horrible killing spree? What if one of those in the Harpe party wishes to escape? Rachel is sure her friend Sally had no idea of the fiend Little was when Sally and he wed. But can Rachel and her new friend Ben do anything to rescue a person that resists help? 
McNear is good to explain why she wrote this very intense novel, which can be hard to read at times. Much prayer and research went into this novel. I found the notes at the beginning most helpful. Is God indeed greater than man’s worst evil? Can God redeem even evil situations? (That is not to say there won’t be hurt from the terrible crimes.) So many questions brought to the forefront. 

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Now, about the hero. Ben is so unselfish, wishing he could take his cousin’s place. Ben is closer to Thomas than his elder brother, as Ben’s uncle and aunt raised him after his parents died. Ben stays on the hunt for the Harpes for many months, motivated by love for his cousin, his uncle, and eventually Rachel. Ben also comes to understand that the social class distinctions of the East do not truly tell the mettle of a man. 
 “He already knew that the amount of a man’s coin did not necessarily correlate to the amount of wisdom he possessed, not gentility equate completely with pedigree.” 
I am amazed at both Ben and Rachel’s care for Sally. It took such gumption, courage, and incredible determination to even try to help her and the other wives. Yet, especially in Rachel’s mind, was the conviction that her friend was worth such loyalty. 
All in all, a good book, thoroughly researched, a real page-turner, but oh, so chilling! 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely my own. 

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot When I Want a Chiller

 

 

About the Author

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South ShannonMcNear-219x300Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.

 

More from Shannon

How dark is too dark for a Christian to write?

That was the question I wrestled with when deciding whether or not to take on the story of the Harpes. The histories in Scripture itself aren’t rated G, but writing fiction requires a level of detail and depth of emotion I wasn’t sure would be wise, or helpful, to explore in this case. But as I prayed and sought the counsel of those whose discernment I trust, the answer came back, overwhelmingly …

Is God stronger than the darkness, or not?

Well, of course He is. And nothing in human history has ever escaped His notice, or taken Him by surprise.

So, was there something redeeming to be found in the tale of the Harpes?

For the first few weeks of research, I walked around in a state of shock at the horror of the historical accounts, but details surfaced that helped me shape my fictional characters Rachel and Ben. With Rachel working in her family’s trading post near the wild frontier town of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Ben a lawyer who recently passed the bar, the real-life Hugh Lawson White provided a handy connection point between them. Many other details fell together in ways I had not foreseen when I began developing the story. Sally Rice Harpe, however, rose to the forefront. This was more her story than anyone’s, but realizing I couldn’t properly write the book without using her point of view? That was scary. I knew the moments I’d have to visit, some of them in real-time.

Despite the tragedy, however, I could see an overarching story of spiritual warfare. Felt a growing conviction that prayer must have played a vital role in bringing the Harpes’ reign of terror to an end. So it is my hope that against the backdrop of one of the most chilling episodes of our country’s early history, the hand of God shows clearly, and that yes, the reader finds it redemptive.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 24

Texas Book-aholic, March 24

Inklings and notions, March 25

Girls in White Dresses, March 25

Emily Yager, March 25

Godly Book Reviews, March 26

Genesis 5020, March 26

Remembrancy, March 26

Among the Reads, March 27

Through the Fire Blogs, March 27

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 28

Christian Bookaholic, March 28

Inside the Wong Mind, March 28

For the Love of Literature, March 29

For Him and My Family, March 29

Betti Mace, March 30

Older & Smarter?, March 30

deb’s Book Review, March 30

Robin’s Nest, March 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 1

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 1

Stories By Gina, April 1

By The Book, April 2

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, April 2

Blossoms and Blessings, April 2

A Reader’s Brain, April 3

Connie’s History Classroom, April 3

Artistic Nobody, April 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 4

Back Porch Reads, April 4

Daysong Reflections, April 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 5

Pause for Tales, April 5

Britt Reads Fiction, April 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 6

Hallie Reads, April 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 6

Giveaway 

To celebrate her tour, Shannon is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Blue Cloak and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f7a3/the-blue-cloak-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Blizzard Bride, #11 the Mayflower Brides by Susanne Dietze

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About the Book

Title: The Blizzard Bride

Series: The Mayflower Brides, #11

Author: Susanne Dietze

Publisher: Barbour

Released: February 2020

A Blizzard Changes Everything

Abigail Bracey arrives in Nebraska in January 1888 to teach school…and to execute a task for the government: to identify a student as the hidden son of a murderous counterfeiter—the man who killed her father.

Agent Dashiell Lassiter doesn’t want his childhood sweetheart Abby on this dangerous job, especially when he learns the counterfeiter is now searching for his son, too, and he’ll destroy anyone in his way. Now Dash must follow Abby to Nebraska to protect her…if she’ll let him within two feet of her. She’s still angry he didn’t fight to marry her six years ago, and he never told her the real reason he left her.

All Dash wants is to protect Abby, but when a horrifying blizzard sweeps over them, can Abby and Dash set aside the pain from their pasts and work together to catch a counterfeiter and protect his son—if they survive the storm?

My Review

Susanne Dietze pens a worthy addition to the Mayflower Brides series with her title, The Blizzard Bride. Hoping against hope for snow this year, the title appealed to me, as I love the cold ferocity of a blizzard (as long as my family is all safely ensconced at home with me).
Set in the open plains of Nebraska in 1887, Abigail Bracey agrees to help the Secret Service by posing as a school teacher while looking for a missing boy and a counterfeiter. That might have been simple if the operative assigned the case were not Dash Lassiter, who left her six years ago amid their dreams for a wedding.
Abby has a lot of courage and spunk, but she also needs to learn to rely on others and the Lord. Life’s difficulties have taught her to reject getting too close to people, and to trust only herself.
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Dash has been cut to the core by people’s mean assessment of his lack. I found myself wondering whether Abby would truly be able to see beyond these deficiencies or whether she would reject Dash for good. Then, the big question, can Dash see himself as a person of worth in God’s eyes, or will he forever believe his inability equals personal failure?
Themes in The Blizzard Bride include questions of unanswered prayers and why we suffer for others’ sins. We also see lessons of forgiveness, fairness, the spirit of love (& spunk) fostered by forgiveness.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.
My Rating
5 Stars- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning, RITA®-nominated author of several romances who’s seen her work on the Publisher’s Weekly, ECPA, and Amazon Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com. 13657688

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock

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About the Book

Title: The Gray Chamber

Series: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crimes

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Publisher: Barbour

Released: January 2020

Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Will Edyth prove her sanity before it is too late?

On Blackwell Island, New York, a hospital was built to keep its patients from ever leaving.

With her late father’s fortune under her uncle’s care until her twenty-fifth birthday in the year 1887, Edyth Foster does not feel pressured to marry or to bow to society’s demands. She freely indulges in eccentric hobbies like fencing and riding her velocipede in her cycling costume about the city for all to see. Finding a loophole in the will, though, her uncle whisks Edyth off to the women’s lunatic asylum just weeks before her birthday. Do any of Edyth’s friends care that she disappeared?

At the asylum, she meets another inmate, who upon discovering Edyth’s plight, confesses that she is Nellie Bly, an undercover journalist for The World. Will either woman find a way to leave the terrifying island and reclaim her true self?

 

My Review

Grace Hitchcock’s The Gray Chamber would probably win my “Sleeper of the Year” award. (And, yes, I know it’s only January.) I thought this book would be fun and interesting. I did not bargain for a love in danger of being lost nor a trip to Blackwell’s Island, infamous in its time for housing “insane” women. This series of historical American crimes gives a fictional façade to journalist Nellie Bly’s visit to the island. 

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At first, we are immersed in an enjoyable turn-of-the-century account of Edyth and fencing master Raoul Banebridge. Edyth is dying to have her best friend Raoul “Bane” notice her as a woman, but her eccentricities seem to block his view. When finally, he begins to see Edyth for the woman she is, her eccentricities have enabled other shocking developments. 
This book is the stuff my nightmares are made of. It made perfect sense, and I could visualize it all happening. The evil mankind can perpetrate on another, made in the image of the same God!! My only hope as I read with elevated blood pressure and eyes scurrying over the pages was for a happy ending. Certainly, a chiller. However, as I think more about it, I can think of the Great Shepherd going after that one lost sheep, as well. The ultimate love that conquers hate. 

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Having read Hitchcock’s previous novel in this collection, The White City, I was pleased to meet Jude Law again. I always like it when novelists include fun tie-ins like this to their other works. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions, which are my own. 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City and The Gray Chamber from Barbour 16145482Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

 

 

 

 

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Rebel Bride, #10 Daughters of the Mayflower by Shannon McNear

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About the Book

Title: The Rebel Bride

Series: The Daughters of the Mayflower

Author: Shannon McNear

Publisher: Barbour

Released: December 2019

During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still, he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)
The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1849 San Francisco (April 2019)
The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1860 Utah (July 2019)
The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1863 Tennessee (December 2019)
The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze – set 1888 Nebraska (February 2020)
The Chisholm Trail Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – (April 2020)

My Review

I was really looking forward to this book after reading an earlier Daughters of the Mayflower novel by Shannon McNear. While her previous book brought to mind authors such as Laura Frantz, Michelle Griep, or Jocelyn Green; The Rebel Bride fights for its place in a full field of Civil War novels. It alternately is compelling and then more of a textbook. The first sign of struggle is when the author, Shannon McNear, pens a very cautious “note from the author.” While I was impressed McNear wants me to follow her way of thinking, I did not feel she came across as confident in her ability to convince me.

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The storyline itself was sound and seemed at times strong, at other times weaker. A Sergeant from the Union Army, Joshua Wheeler, has had an arm amputated. He finds himself and several other very ill, POW Union soldiers billeted in a humble house in Georgia, following the Battle of Chickamauga. Pearl McFarlane, on the other hand, is the one pressed into caring for these grievously ill enemies. Can she handle the events God allows into her life around this time?
I liked the secondary characters that McNear factored into the story.
A father who is progressing through dementia; a wandering, curiously absent brother when work needs doing; and a shunned sister-in-law.
There were times the narrative shone, but it just didn’t flow smoothly, consistently, as I would have liked.

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The author’s ending note was quite long and a little off-putting because of said length. In retrospect, I believe there may have been too much information the author wanted to share, and the pressure of that came across in the written page. Please remember this is only my opinion and others, including yourself, may see the book quite differently.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, which in no way influenced my opinions.

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent – I Would Recommend This Book.

About the Author

6880909Shannon has been writing one thing or another since third grade and finished her first novel at age fifteen—but waited more than thirty years for her first book contract. In the meantime, she graduated from high school, attended college, met and married her husband, birthed nine children, lost one, taught five to drive, revised that first story innumerable times, and completed six others.

Her first published novella, Defending Truth, in A Pioneer Christmas Collection (Barbour, 2013 & 2015), was a 2014 RITA® nominee. She writes regularly for Colonial Quills, is a member of ACFW and RWA, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, she loves losing herself in local history. When this homeschooling mom isn’t sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies.

Connect with Shannon online at https://www.shannonmcnear.com/ or on Twitter @ShannonMcNear.

 

 

 

Barbour, BLOG

The Express Bride, #9 Daughters of the Mayflower by Kimberley Woodhouse

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About the Book

Title: The Express Bride

Series: The Daughters of the Mayflower

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse

Publisher: Barbour

Released: July 2019

The Wilderness Is a Great Place to Hide

Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Jackie can’t decide if Elijah is friend or foe. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)
The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1849 San Francisco (April 2019)
The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1860 Utah (July 2019)
The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1863 Tennessee (December 2019)
The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze – set 1888 Nebraska (February 2020)
The Chisholm Trail Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – (April 2020)

My Review

The Express Bride, # 9 Daughters of the Mayflower by Kimberley Woodhouse, is yet another slice of life in American history and women’s roles in it. This era, lasting only a year and a half, was nevertheless a very important part of our country’s history.

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Woodhouse incorporates an engrossing story of a millionaire seeking a long- lost family with that of a female express station operator. The story flows smoothly, employing romance, faith, and mystery as it serves a memorable history lesson on this time long past. I especially loved the mystery thread.
Well- done, Ms. Woodhouse!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

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Kimberley Woodhouse is the best-selling author of more than twenty books who loves the JOY of story. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate. She’s spoken to more than 800,000 people at more than 2,000 venues and has taught the craft of writing around the country. Married to the love of her life for twenty-five plus years, she makes her home in Montana. You can connect with Kimberley at: www.kimberleywoodhouse.com www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAu…

Barbour, BLOG, Favorite

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas: 3 Charming Christmas Tales Set in Victorian England by Michelle Griep

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About the Book

Title: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas: 3 Charming Christmas Tales Set in Victorian England

Author: Michelle Griep

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

Released: September 2019

Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan-favorite Michelle Griep:

12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?

The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

My Review

A “second chance coin” and something that reminds me of “six degrees of separation ” from Charles Dickens threads itself through these three, lovely Yuletide novellas. Two have already been published (but a truly good story is always worth a re-read), while the third is brand-new.
I enjoyed reviewing The Twelve Days at Bleakly Manor. It brings our first couple together, Clara and Ben. 

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This novella was the recipient of the 2018 Christy award. My quote here?
“If you knew all the answers, there’d be no need for trust, little one.”
Next was one of my favorites, The Tale Of Two Hearts. It is the story of scoundrel William Barlow who pretends to be married to serving maid Mina Scott, in order to inherit. Oh, how I loved the characters in this one! Mina sure can stand up for herself! And the descriptive quotes:
“His face was a road map of years.”
“He wore his wrinkles like a garment, the deep creases on his
face in sore need of ironing.”
Indeed, Griep speaks Dickensian quite fluently.
“… real joy is not found in the best moments of life, but in trusting that God is making the best of every moment.”
“Maybe, perhaps, true meaning in life had nothing to do with outward trappings but with inward genuineness.”

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The Old Lace Shop brings us, Edmund and Bella, thrust together as unwilling business partners. I loved the mystery on a couple of different levels, and the wisdom both Bella and Edmund show.
Quotes:
“The two are as thick as scabs on a pox victim.”(Try picturing that one!)
“Either your faith will move mountains or your doubt will create them.”
This next sentence reminds us that even those without the “usual” gifts others have, may have a greater gift, the gift of joy. “How I wish I could bottle up the child’s laughter and carry it around with me, opening it now and then for a draught of joy when needed.” How true!
I received this complimentary book from the author and publisher. No positive review was required and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

 

About the Author

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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?

connect with Michelle here: https://www.goodreads.com/michellegriep

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley

The Yellow Lantern: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime #3 by Angie Dicken

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About the Book

Book: The Yellow Lantern

Author: Angie Dicken

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: August 2019

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Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of  Romance and American Crime

In Massachusetts in 1824, Josephine Clayton awakes on the table of the doctor she’s assisted all these months. She was presumed dead by all and has become the doctor’s next corpse for his medical research. Frightened, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. A deal is struck—Josie will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission—posing as a mourner to help his body snatcher procure her replacement. At the mill though, Josie is praised for her medical remedies among the mill girls, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all.

What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?

 

Click here to grab your copy.

My Review

What a fun, ghastly story Angie Dicken writes in The Yellow Lantern. Infusing just the right amounts of romance, horror, intrigue, and family rivalry, Dicken had me swiping the pages as fast as I could. We think nothing of medical colleges using cadavers in our day, but in the 19th century, doctors realized the need for examining dead corpses for research but didn’t have the access to them. « Resurrection men » had ghastly jobs of providing just-buried corpses, much like this book details. Often, the whole trade was done underground and involved dirty money, as people, of course, wanted their dearly departed to rest in peace.
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I loved that the characters were so three dimensional. Some I couldn’t figure out which side of the good guy/ bad guy line I wanted to put them on. There were even a few points where I felt sorry for the mean son, Gerald, as Braham is able to see him through eyes other than his own, and actually, understand why Gerald hates him.
I think anyone who has ever had a nightmare will love this book of a nightmare come to life, with Josephine struggling so hard to break free of her living reality!
Great wording:
«Uncle Bates’ body emptied of life.» What a mental image of the spirit slowly leaking away!
This quote had me thinking: «She focused on the path ahead, begging for God’s protection despite the unholy predicament.» How often we go our own way, then beg God to release us from the consequences!
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A note about the facts that were instilled into the story is helpfully included at the end. While part of the True Crimes series, each book stands on its own merit.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. This does not affect my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

About the Author 

Angie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a AngieDicken-300x213military kid in England. Now living in the U.S. heartland, she’s a member of ACFW, sharing about author life with her fellow Alley Cats on The Writer’s Alley blog and Facebook page. Besides writing, she is a busy mom of four and works in Adult Ministry. Angie enjoys eclectic new restaurants, authentic conversation with friends, and date nights with her Texas Aggie husband. Connect with her online at www.angiedicken.com.

 

More from Angie

Barbour’s True Colors Crime concept intrigued me from the very beginning. Being the daughter of a doctor and discovering the ties of grave robbing to the early medical profession, I was excited to dive deep into 19th century Massachusetts. Grave robbing around Boston and New York was often employed by doctors desperate for medical advancement. Men and women were both involved in the procuring of bodies for doctors. Finding these accounts led me to take took a look at the current medical remedies of the time—tinctures, elixirs, and herbal concoctions. My heroine was created in the tension of a desire to heal and the desperation of medical pursuits.

Amidst these medical ties to the historical moment of 1824, something was also shifting among women in rural areas of New England. Many women were employed by newly built cotton mills (Lowell Mill was my inspiration for the fictional Gloughton Mill in The Yellow Lantern). These working opportunities for women offered an escape from their home-bound lives and the rare chance for independence. Of course, with such industrial environments, injuries, and sometimes death, would occur. Noting the accounts of these kind of fatalities in historical articles, my research came full circle.

I found three strong threads to weave into my grave-robbing story—desperate doctors in need of research, a doctor’s assistant needing an escape from her village, and a mill, not only offering that escape, but the chance at bodies for the desperate medical community.

My heroine, Josie Clay, found life in the tangle of these threads of mills, medicine, and grave robbing—all playing out within the pages of The Yellow Lantern.

 

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, August 15

Seasons of Opportunities, August 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 15

Bigreadersite, August 16

Emily Yager, August 16

Inspired by fiction, August 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, August 17

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 17

Daysong Reflections, August 17

Retrospective Spines, August 18

Spoken from the Heart, August 18

Kathleen Denly, August 19

Through the Fire Blogs, August 19

Christian Bookaholic, August 19

Maureen’s Musings, August 20

For the Love of Literature, August 20

Simple Harvest Reads, August 21 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Godly Book Reviews, August 21

A Reader’s Brain, August 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 22

Betti Mace, August 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 22

Hallie Reads, August 23

Mary Hake, August 23

Inklings and notions, August 23

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 24

For Him and My Family, August 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 24

Connie’s History Classroom, August 25

Pause for Tales, August 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 26

amandainpa, August 26

Blossoms and Blessings, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 27

janicesbookreviews, August 27

Back Porch Reads, August 28

Just the Write Escape, August 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of each of the books in the series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/e71c/the-yellow-lantern-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley

The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep- on Tour with Celebrate Lit and Including a Giveaway!

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About the Book

Book: The Noble Guardian

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: June, 2019

A Cross-Country Trip through Regency England Brings Intrigue, Rogues, and High Adventure

The must-read conclusion to Michelle Griep’s Bow Street Runners Trilogy: Life couldn’t be better for Abigail Gilbert—but it’s been a long time in coming. Having lived with a family who hated her, it’s finally her time for love. Abby sets off on a journey across England to marry one of the most prestigious gentlemen in the land—until highwaymen upset her plans and threaten her life.

Horse patrol captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby. But she’s simply another victim in a job he’s come to despise. Tired of the dark side of humanity, he intends to buy land and retire.

Abby pleads with him to escort her for the rest of her journey. He refuses—until she offers him something he desperately needs to achieve his goal. . .money. Delivering her safely will give him more than enough to buy property.

So begins an impossible trek for the cynical lawman and the proper lady. Each will be indelibly changed by the time they reach her betrothed, if they don’t kill one another first—or fall in love.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

The Noble Guardian had me at the author’s name, “Michelle Griep.” I admit I sign up for any book she writes, plus I preorder the paperback copy. And if I haven’t read the synopsis first, no harm done. It IS Michelle Griep, read “you’re gonna love it” in my language.
Taking place in England in 1815, The Noble Guardian is, alas, the last of The Bow Street Runners Series. I loved the idea of danger from the dreaded outlaws, in some small way comparable to America’s “wild west.” The idea of a stagecoach being pulled at full gallop over the empty heath, a knowledgeable scout/protector riding ahead, DREAD being the constant companion in every coach on every trip.
Then, mix in the romance, slowly at first, like flour going into a cake, little by little coming to full flavor when all the right ingredients are finally present. (Excuse me while I stop and swoon here, the hero is just perfect for his role! The cover artist helps with that fact, too, giving just the right appearance to Samuel Thatcher. He is a lawman who is bone-weary of the very wickedness he tracks in his job. Thatcher wants only to retire to a nice, safe farm, but fortunately for poor Abby, duty is stronger than the desire for comfort.
This novel kept my attention from start to finish. I smiled to see references to characters from former books of the series. Yet, it is not imperative to read the other books to understand this one.
Griep likes to encourage the reader to build up her old English vocabulary, well-setting the tone. I did find Google to be a good friend as a few words and concepts like “truncheon” and the “putrid throat” got me curious exactly what they might be. Griep does include a glossary at the end to discuss some English historical references for those of us unversed in English history.
Learning to trust God to care for those we love, and to find our ultimate value in God are some of the themes.

“You say you’re on your way to happiness, when all along it’s been right under yer very nose. The truth is, ye are wanted, by the Creator of the stars, no less. Ye don’t have to run across the country to find love .png
Funny quotes, amazingly descriptive quotes, and quotes to live by are all planted within this wonderful book.
Here are a few of my favorites:
“God had provided the captain at just the right time today. Surely he would continue to provide tomorrow.” This is a concept I am currently utilizing to encourage both young children and young adults as well as myself. If we can memorialize God’s past faithfulness, we can have faith the next time as we wait for Him to act.
“…he stockpiled regrets as avidly as some men collected fine paintings.”
“You say you’re on your way to happiness when all along it’s been right under yer very nose. The truth is, ye are wanted, by the Creator of the stars, no less. Ye don’t have to run across the country to find love when every minute of every day it’s being offered to ye in God’s wide, open arms.”

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“Until ye’re fully satisfied with the love God gives ye, freely and without question, ye’ll not be satisfied at all.”
“Houses leaned one against the other, like drunken sailors holding each other upright. If one fell, the rest would lie down and never get up again.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. I also bought my own copy. The complimentary copy did not influence my opinions, which
are solely my own.

My Rating

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

About the Author

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Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at http://www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

More from Michelle

Highwaymen Aren’t All Glamorous

Highwaymen are often romanticized in historical romances, but the truth is these fella’s were generally not compassionate thieves at all. They were cutthroat robbers who sometimes killed. Here’s a brief history so that you’re in the know.

The term “highwayman” simply means a thief who steals—usually at gunpoint—from travelers on the road. Not all, but some of those attacks turned deadly, the robbers not wishing to leave anyone behind who could identify them. Others wore masks for the same purpose.

Long, deserted stretches of roads that were main thoroughfares were the particular favorite haunts of these men. Criminals would choose remote highways that supplied regular traffic going to and from major destinations, such as Hounslow Heath, about fifteen miles outside of London.

To combat these villains, in 1805 the Bow Street Horse Patrol was created. There were about sixty men hired to protect travelers on the principal roads within sixty miles of London. Most of the men had served previously in a cavalry regiment. Their most successful achievement was to rid Hounslow Heath of highwaymen.

And that’s where I got the idea for my hero, Samuel Thatcher, in The Noble Guardian. He’s a rough and tumble man who’s tired of life and the wickedness of man. Mostly he’s just biding his time until he retires—that is until he rescues Miss Abigail Gilbert from the clutches of one of the worst offenders of all…Shankhart Robbins.

Sound like an adventure? It is. Settle back with your own copy and see what it’s like to ride the rugged heath in a carriage, bounding along—until you hear the crack of a pistol.

Enjoy!

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, June 8

The Power of Words, June 8

Ashley’s Bookshelf, June 8

Inspiration Clothesline, June 9

With a Joyful Noise, June 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 9

Back Porch Reads, June 10

Among the Reads, June 10

Captive Dreams Window, June 10

Genesis 5020, June 11

Inklings and notions, June 11

Blogging With Carol, June 11

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 12

As He Leads is Joy, June 12

Connie’s History Classroom, June 12

Carpe Diem, June 13

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 13

Abba’s prayer Warrior Princess, June 13

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 14

Wishful Endings, June 14

Stories By Gina, June 14

Through the Fire Blogs, June 15

Just the Write Escape, June 15

Blossoms and Blessings, June 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 16

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 16

Texas Book-aholic, June 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 17

For Him and My Family, June 17

Hallie Reads, June 17

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, June 18

janicesbookreviews, June 18

Moments, June 18

Bigreadersite, June 19

Godly Book Reviews, June 19

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, June 19

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 20

Remembrancy, June 20

Daysong Reflections, June 20

A Reader’s Brain, June 20

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 21

Pause for Tales, June 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize that includes a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Noble Guardian!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e31b/the-noble-guardian-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Barbour, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

The Golden Bride, #8 The Daughters of the Mayflower Series by Kimberly Woodhouse

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About the Book 

Title: The Golden Bride (#8 DoM)

Series: The Daughters of the Mayflower

Author: Kimberly Woodhouse

Publisher: Barbour

Released: April 1, 2019

Can Olivia survive the crime and Gold Rush fever of 1849…and the countless marriage proposals?
A series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

The Daughters of the Mayflower series continues when Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the rush for gold. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope.

Click here to purchase the book!

My Review

At last! Kimberly Woodhouse strikes gold with this volume. My emotions were greatly moved by The Golden Bride by Woodhouse! A clear picture of the smutty town of San Francisco during the gold rush emerges from the pages of The Golden Bride, # 8 The Daughters of the Mayflower, crafted by Kimberly Woodhouse. This is Ms. Woodhouse’s finest offering to the series yet. While each book stands alone, Ms. Woodhouse ties the other two books of the series she authored to this by some special objects that change Olivia’s attitude towards her life. Also, I was very impressed by the way I was drawn into the narrative while consuming history. This time, the time period presented seamlessly melded with the beauty of the romantic, yet tragic story being revealed.
How many times have we repeated about someone, “He’ll never change”? Yet, The Golden Bride is a great example of less-than-wonderful people who decide to follow God, and who then find themselves walking a different path.
I loved the way Olivia refused to be forced into society’s mold but instead chose to see people through God’s eyes. So often we as Christians are afraid to be different from the world, then we wonder why the world doesn’t want our God.
A reminder we should be careful not to judge each other, but instead be encouragers:
“We’re all sinners, Olivia. All of us. We all struggle. But your brother told me when I first came to town to exhort one another. We’re all going to feel beaten down at some point and we’re all going to lose our confidence. It’s our job to help each other through the muck and mire.”
Evil in San Francisco was like an iceberg; while a great deal was visible, yet a huge, majority of it lay unseen beneath the surface.
A quote as true today as it was in 1849:

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“People are afraid to stick their noses where they don’t belong, and so evil facts face no resistance.”
A great book crafted by Kimberly Woodhouse, I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

golden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-stargolden-star

About the Author

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Kimberley Woodhouse is the best-selling author of more than twenty books who loves the JOY of story. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate. She’s spoken to more than 800,000 people at more than 2,000 venues and has taught the craft of writing around the country. Married to the love of her life for twenty-five plus years, she makes her home in Montana. You can connect with Kimberley at: www.kimberleywoodhouse.comwww.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAu…

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens

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About the Book

 

Book: Shadow Among Sheaves

Author: Naomi Stephens                                          Shadow-amonght-Sheaves-195x300

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: April 2019

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz

The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

“The Sun was the same, but that was all.” I was intrigued by the first sentence, sure that I had discovered another jewel in Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens. The novel takes place in England in 1861. Touted to be a modern recounting of the Old Testament story of Ruth and Boaz, I was disappointed. Stephens does a great job describing India; its revolt against Britain; the hatred of the one people for the other. She also shows us how much Rena loved Edric, but I felt like so many details of the story that Scripture spoke to, were ignored and the circumstances changed for the sake of the story.
We don’t know a lot about Boaz, but again, I felt the character representing him was not as honorable and respected as the one shown in Scripture. The author uses a couple of swear words a few times over. In both cases, it was a few times too much for my taste. I am not a prude, but I don’t expect to have to read those words in Christian books.
In summary, I thought this was a great book to explain the resulting relations between the British and Indian peoples following the Indian revolt against British rule. It was not, however, a great representation of the Biblical Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. This is only my opinion. I would encourage you to read other reviews and judge carefully for yourself.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own responsibility and no positive review was required.

My Rating

golden-star-e15383548489822golden-star-e15383548489822golden-star-e15383548489822

About the Author

Naomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a M.A. in Naomi-Stephens-200x300English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and now lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock.

More from Naomi

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz

The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own. Which will he choose? Find out in Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens.

Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Shadow Among Sheaves:

She smiled, stepping closer and placing her hand on the horse’s wet snout. Samson was a pretty beast with wide, ponderous eyes and a few splotches of gray around his nose. The soft puff of air Samson snorted into her palm brought a delighted smile to her lips, and she gasped as he bowed his neck to nuzzle his nose against her stomach. She felt her smile leap into a grin. It was a delightful change, to feel joy so deep it finally showed.

Barric circled around Samson to stand beside her, his hands never leaving the reins. “He’s fond of you,” he remarked as Samson dropped his snout against her hip.

“Unsurprising, I suppose. Though he could also be searching you for a carrot.”

Surprised to hear Lord Barric speak so teasingly, and pleased by the gentle light she found in his otherwise tired eyes, Rena laughed her faint agreement. “That will teach me to come empty-handed, won’t it?”

Their smiles both dropped as a young, lanky stable hand came rushing out to take Samson, and Barric relinquished his hold on the reins, nodding his silent thanks.

As soon as the stable boy had disappeared with Samson, Bar¬ric glanced back at Rena. “Are you going home?” he asked, nodding toward the dusty road looping down the hill to William’s house.

She stepped back, realizing she had dawdled longer than she’d first intended. “Yes,” she answered. “I often come this way to avoid the other workers.”

“Might I walk with you?” He turned to hang his whip on a peg. “Just a short stretch of the road?”

Stunned by his request, and a bit suspicious of his motive, she nonetheless nodded. “Yes, of course.”

Barric drew up beside her, his even strides betraying no unease, though he was silent for some time as they made their way down the golden-colored hill.

“You have seemed tired these past few days,” he observed. Rena did not bother to deny it. She’d been working hard to keep up with the others, as Barric had told her she must, and felt wearier for it. She had tried to split her days in half, the mornings spent binding sheaves with the women and the afternoons spent picking for her own stores, but the work was backbreaking, and, as he had already pointed out once before, she was not used to hard labor. “I realize I haven’t really asked you how you are settling in,” he went on.

“Perhaps you’ve been too busy provoking me,” she answered before she could stop herself.

Barric’s eyebrow inched up as he slanted an approving smirk down at her. “Perhaps.”

Rena cursed her honest tongue. She must have been more tired than she thought, to speak so freely to a man of title. “I have been well,” she tried again, a bit more diplomatically. “The house suits us if that is what you are asking.”

“The people here do not speak to you unkindly?”

“The people do not speak to me at all.” She had meant to sound casual, unaffected, but heard the hurt in her own voice she hadn’t been able to weed out. As Barric’s expression tightened, she hastened to amend, “Except for you, my lord. Of course. And the Wilmots.”

“They are good people,” he agreed quietly. “And will you be coming with them to the festival this evening?”

She hesitated. According to Alice, harvest home was a yearly tradition, a night of raucous drinking and dancing to celebrate the close of the harvest. All of Abbotsville would be there—landowners, stewards, even tenant farmers, and common laborers. But Rena was none of those things, and she and Barric both knew it.

“Come,” Barric teased, “do not tell me you are afraid to go. I would never have thought it of you.”

“I am not afraid,” she insisted. “I just had not thought about it.”

At her defensive tone, he smiled—a true smile—one that pinched the corners of his eyes and pressed grooves along the outer edges of his mouth. “You ought to come,” he decided. “Everyone in Abbotsville is welcome, and many are the men who would feel lucky to dance with you.”

But, of course, Lord Barric knew this was not true. The men in his fields regarded her mostly with contempt and made no secret of it— they would not count themselves at all lucky to dance with her. Was Lord Barric trying to offer her words of comfort? Or was he trying to convey a message?

Did he want to dance with her?

This was hardly a safe question, and so she asked another. “Do you dance, Lord Barric?”

When he met her gaze, so direct, she was all the more glad she had not stammered in her reply. The man walked a dangerous line whenever he deigned to speak to her. Far too close, she’d think, and then stern enough to cool her blood with a word.

He surprised her with another smile, this one a faint twist at the corner of his lips. “Perhaps you would have to come to find out.”

 

Blog Stops

Godly Book Reviews, April 30

Mary Hake, April 30

Worthy2Read, April 30

Back Porch Reads, May 1

Inspirationally Ever After, May 1

Fiction Aficionado, May 2

Splashes of Joy, May 2

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 2

Bigreadersite, May 3

Inklings and notions , May 3

Blossoms and Blessings, May 3

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 4

janicesbookreviews, May 4

Just the Write Escape, May 5

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 6

For Him and My Family, May 6

Kat’s Corner Books, May 7

Pause for Tales, May 7

Aryn The Libraryan, May 8

Faery Tales Are Real, May 8

Hallie Reads, May 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 9

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 9

Through the Fire Blogs, May 10

The Becca Files, May 10

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 11

Older & Smarter?, May 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 11

Texas Book-aholic, May 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 12

A Reader’s Brain, May 13

For the Love of Literature, May 13

Giveaway 

 

To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a finished paperback copy of Shadow Among Sheaves!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/deb9/shadow-among-sheaves-celebration-tour-giveaway