Genre: Historical Romance, Christian Mystery/Suspense
Released: September 2022
Length: 320 pp
Julia Schultz has a reputation for being a storyteller–or as others see it, a liar. But with a dark and painful past, stories were all that kept her company and made her interesting to others. Longing for a fresh start and a second chance to earn real trust, Julia takes a job as a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar hotel, where she’s challenged to be her true self.
Learning the trade of a master jeweler is hard work, but Christopher Miller takes pride in running his family’s small shop and earning the respect of the people around him. But when he discovers that he has six weeks to buy his shop from his landlord before it is sold, he must find a way to save his grandfather’s legacy.
United by the discovery of a legendary treasure, Chris and Julia find hope in each other. But when Julia’s past catches up with her, doubt creeps into Chris’s heart. Can he really trust her and her stories?
After reading Kimberley Woodhouse’s first book in the Secrets of the Canyon series, I knew I had to read the next, A Gem of Truth. What a gem it is, too! Set mainly at the Grand Canyon Harvey House in the early 1900s, history and romance marry action to form an exciting book you won’t soon forget.
“Instant friends. If only there were such a wonderful thing.” I could empathize with poor Julia who had trouble feeling worthy and making friends. Unfortunately, Julia tells fantastically entertaining stories to gain approval, but loses people’s trust in bargain. Will she learn to tell the truth before her life lays in shambles at her feet?
How many people can identify with Julia as “she still felt very much alone…Surrounded by people, but lonely.” This is so easy to fall in this trap. We often try to be good enough to please people, hiding who we really are, afraid of rejection if people discover the real us.
Told in third person, the novel switches back and forth quickly between characters and the reader must be alert.
I loved seeing our friends from Woodhouse’s first book, as well the new characters who added so much to the story. Ruth figures into this narrative until we are ready for her story, which will be out next year! (Yay!)
Woodhouse has done her Harvey House waitress homework, as well as incorporating a legend masterfully to add so much suspense! And her detail to jewelry making!
I appreciated that the main characters respected the Hopi Indians and treated them and their culture well. I would love to have seen that part of the Canyon, something we need to rectify next time we visit, as well as visiting the El Tovar.
Don’t miss this book!! I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley, plus I purchased my own ecopy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.
“Would she never get past who she’d been? Would anyone truly love her for who she was?”
“There are no bad eggs, just a bunch of people with sin natures. God loves every one of us the same.”
“Humility is knowing your worth and choosing to put others ahead of yourself anyway.”
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! Exciting Mix of History, Romance, and Suspense in the Grand Canyon!
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
Luke Davenport has been fighting all his life–for respect, for country, and for those unable to fight for themselves. But now that his Horsemen brothers are domesticated, he’s left alone to battle the wildness within. When an opportunity arises to take a job on his own, tracking down a group of rustlers, he jumps at the chance.
Damaris Baxter has mastered the art of invisibility. Plain and quiet, she hides in books and needlework, content to be overlooked. Until her brother dies suddenly, leaving her custody of her nephew. She moves to Texas to care for Nathaniel, determined to create the family for herself that she never thought she’d have and to give him the family he desperately needs.
When Nate finds himself knee-deep in trouble, Luke’s attempt to protect him leaves Damaris feeling indebted to the Horseman. But suspicions grow regarding the mysterious death of Damaris’s brother. And the more questions they ask, the more danger appears, threatening the family Luke may be unable to live without.
In Honor’s Defense, #3 Hanger’s Horsemen, by Karen Witemeyer is the story of the fourth and final Horseman. I enjoyed the first but didn’t get a chance to read the second. This book can be read as a standalone, but you will appreciate the relationships and characters so much more, if you read the other two first.
I enjoyed the easy reading style, coupled with the romance, historical western setting, and suspense all wrapped up into one unputdownable package. Witemeyer uses humor to help drive her thoughts home and make her characters relatable and memorable. “She’d persevere, even if the thought of asserting herself among strangers delighted her as much as the prospect of being dragged behind a horse. By her hair. Through a bed of cacti.” How fun this book is!
Prayers, verses, and thoughts on spiritual matters as relates to a character’s development are smoothly woven into the story. I love the verses Witemeyer chooses to include in the story and how very apropos each one is to the situation. And how appropriate the book about “the Preach” would contain numerous Scripture references!
Damaris Baxter and Luke Davenport are two people who are polar opposites, yet life and God throw them together. Damaris has always been overlooked, but Luke’s attention and example help her develop from a wallflower into a formidable force, “Texas Damaris.” I love that kind of influence!
Luke first meets Damaris and her nephew, Nate, when he agrees to locate missing cattle for a neighboring rancher. Luke is attracted to the little struggling family who possesses a sense of home he never had. Can Luke and Damaris work together to rescue not only the ranch, but her nephew’s wayward heart? And what of their own lonely hearts?
Those who like historical fiction, a bit of a mystery, and westerns, will want to read this novel. Also, those interested in troubled youth, and the difference mercy and love can make in lives will find this book a treasure.
I received a copy of the book from the author through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. No positive opinion was required, and all opinions are my own.
“To be chosen for herself—it was the secret desire of her heart. To be important to someone. More than a glorified servant who fetched and carried and entertained at her aunt’s whim. To be wanted truly for herself. Seen instead of invisible. Valued instead of tolerated.”
“A good boss knew his men, but no man knew another completely. Everyone had secrets.”
“Strange that she should feel more valued and cherished in the middle of an armed standoff than in the middle of her family.”
“The longer the anger lives in you, the more it erodes your soul and destroys your relationships. If you’re not careful, one day it’ll hollow you out and leave you with nothing.”
“sugarcoating danger only left a person ill-equipped to respond when it came calling.”
“Unfortunately, the law isn’t always about what is true. It’s about what you can get a judge and jury to believe is true.”
“Contentment isn’t chained to a certain set of circumstances, Luke. It’s portable. You can take it with you wherever you go.”
“…it’s that there are always more options than you see at first glance. You just might have to get a little creative in where you look for them.”
“It don’t matter how dark things look or how big your opponent is. If you believe you can win, you’re already halfway to victory.”
Magnificent!! A great conclusion to the Horsemen Series!!
About the Author
For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Voted #1 Readers’ Favorite Christian Romance Author in 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a multiple award-winning author and a firm believer in the power of happy endings. She is an avid cross-stitcher, tea drinker, and gospel hymn singer who makes her home in Abilene, TX with her heroic husband who vanquishes laundry dragons and dirty dish villains whenever she’s on deadline.
More from Karen
Meet Luke and Damaris
As the Hanger’s Horsemen series comes to a close, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Luke Davenport and Damaris Baxter. If you haven’t read the other books in this series, don’t worry. This one stands on its own just fine.
Luke Davenport is a former cavalry officer who is part of an elite squad of men known as Hanger’s Horsemen. Haunted by the horrors of war, this group of Texas legends has spent the last few years fighting for justice on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves. Luke is Matthew Hanger’s right-hand man, but when Matt retires the Horsemen in favor of a more settled life with his new wife, Luke is left feeling adrift. So when a solo job comes his way to track down rustled cattle, he jumps at the opportunity.
Known for his strength, his size, and his skill with his fists, I modeled Luke after a pair of football players, Howie Long and JJ Watt. He’s a man of action with a bit of wildness inside, yet his ability to memorize Scripture earned him the nickname Preach. He’s a godly man with scars, seeking to find his place as his Horsemen brothers move on to new phases of life.
Damaris Baxter has been invisible her entire life. Plain of face and quiet of manner, she it’s the epitome of unremarkable. While she dares heroic feats and grand adventures between the covers of her favorite books, life outside the pages consists of little more than needlework and dull conversation with her great aunt. Until her brother dies under suspicious circumstances and she travels to Texas to care for her nephew. Determined that the “Texas Damaris” will be bolder and braver than her former self, she sets out to win the heart of a grieving boy and ends up mixed up in a dangerous murder plot with a handsome cowboy who actually sees her.
When creating Damaris’s character, I gave her two of my favorite hobbies—reading and cross-stitching. She shares other similarities with me as well. She’s a quiet person who dislikes making waves, but when family needs her, there’s nothing she won’t do to help. Her questionable baking skills might also have found some inspiration in my personal experience. Just ask my husband about my famous transparent chocolate chip cookies.
I love to explore what brings people together, and while it’s a common idea that opposites attract, I’ve always believed that there must be some core commonalities beneath the differences to bind a couple together for a lifetime. So, while Luke and Damaris seem to be stark opposites—he an adventure-seeking soldier used to solving problems with guns and fists; she a quiet, proper lady used to escaping problems with books and needlework—they actually have several core commonalities. They both crave belonging and family, they both value God’s Word, and they both have a strong, protective instinct toward those they care about. This core common ground is what serves as the foundation for their relationship.
Now that you’ve been introduced to Luke and Damaris, I hope you’ll join them on the adventure that leads them to love.
This epic journey is her best chance to find the family she and her daughter long for.
Watkuese is desperate to return across the Rocky Mountains before winter sets in. Time is running out for her to get her adopted daughter back to the familiar surroundings of the Shoshone village before the grief of her parents’ death causes irreparable damage.
Hugh Charpentier has spent his life watching over his siblings, which meant also ensuring his brother’s widow and babe are settled well into their new life. Now he’s asked to help shepherd a woman and child he barely knows across the mountains. As hard as it is to keep up with a six-year-old in the treacherous Rockies, it’s not nearly as dangerous as risking his heart to a woman and child who may not ever be his.
From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.
Ack!! Misty Beller is another author whose books I am starting to really anticipate! I was not overly impressed by the first book I read, but now, I am hopelessly a fan. Peace in the Mountain Haven is on my favorites list. Beller’s beautiful mountain settings, multi-cultural characters, and ability to recount a compelling story of both faith and love have me hooked.
In 1831, the future Idaho Territory area is home to Watkuese, a single Native American, who is raising her deceased friend’s six-year-old daughter, Pop-pank. Searching for inner peace for herself and her sullen, grieving charge, Watkuese decides to return to Pop-pank’s tribal home. Hugh Charpentier and his brother, Louis, are assigned to accompany the two back to the village.
Watkuese is a strong, independent woman who wants to make her own way and rely on no one. She is not close to the family she has, but considers Pop-pank “the daughter of her heart” and will give her life to protect the stand-offish young one.
Hugh Charpentier is a white trapper who is hardened to relationships with others because of his past. “The more you kept your distance from others, the easier it was to part ways.” He is very aloof, but he still takes great care of Wautkuese and Pop-pank. With enough nurturing, will a tender, dedicated heart emerge?
I loved Louis. He is such a happy soul, yet it is not because his life is easy. He chooses to look for ways to engage others and make them feel comfortable. He can see past walls built up to protect a heart, and isn’t afraid to meddle to encourage better thinking.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I also bought a copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.
Firewood he knew far better than people.
She’d already promised herself she would give her life to protect Pop-pank. Should she give her freedom as well?
If only he could be the man Louis thought he was.
Magnificent!! A Beautiful Frontier Fave!!
About the Author
Misty M. Belleris a USA Todaybestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.
Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.
Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.
Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.
More from Misty
What do you love most about this genre?
I tend to be a bit of a sentimentalist, so Historical Romance is perfect for me! My favorite period is between 1800 – 1880, when the west was still an extreme frontier. I love the simpler life, where there’s no rat race. Just hard work, plenty of alone time (can you tell I’m an introvert?), and a strong family unit.
Are readers always promised a “happily ever after” in your novels? Why or why not?
Absolutely! I read as an escape, so that happily ever after is important to me. I know my characters will face challenges after the story ends, but I want to finish the book knowing they’ve grown through the story and will be able to meet future struggles with God’s strength and the support of each other—as well as family and friends!
How can readers connect with you?
I love to connect with readers! One of my favorite ways is through my newsletter, and readers can get a free copy of my book, A Pony Express Romance, when they sign up for the newsletter. Here’s the link for that: https://mistymbeller.com/freebook
Lives depend on the truth she uncovers. She can’t give up her search.
A birthday excursion turns deadly when the SS Eastlandcapsizes with Olive Pierce and her best friend on board. Hundreds perish during the accident, and it’s only when Olive herself barely escapes that she discovers her friend is among the victims.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Olive returns to her work at a Chicago insurance agency and is immersed in the countless investigations related to the accident. But with so many missing, there are few open-and-shut cases, and she tries to balance her grief with the hard work of finding the truth.
While someone sabotages her progress, Olive accepts the help of newspaper photographer Erik Magnussen. As they unravel secrets, the truths they discover impact those closest to Olive. How long will the disaster haunt her–and how can she help the others find the peace they deserve?
Your value comes from a much deeper place than who your employer is. You were made in the image of God, and who you are is bigger than what you do.”
Jocelyn Green is an amazing author who accurately relates historical events while conveying solid truth in an unforgettable novel. Drawn by the Current is the third and final book of The Windy City Saga which tells the story of one Chicago family from the Chicago fire through the sinking of the SS Eastland.
While Green gives enough background for Drawn by the Current to stand alone, the book is so much richer with the memories of the previous novels. I enjoyed seeing old friends Sylvie, Kristof, and Meg again. The personalities of those three have matured and wrap the reader in the comfort of older, wise, and loved confidantes.
Olive fights many of the battles of a modern woman, yet fits within her era. She is a nurturer at heart, finding meaning in life as she helps others. She works at a life insurance company, and wishes to advance, but her boss feels women cannot use their brains. Olive deals with domestic abuse, PTSD, and loyalty. She desperately searches for the truth while concealing secrets of her own. I wholly identified with Olive when she at last learns a great lesson about herself and how God sees her.
Erik is charming through and through. I loved how he takes so much time out of his life to help Olive with her searches. He is so brave to protect Olive. Yet, he doesn’t protect her heart.
A historical novel of great depth, plumbing what it means to survive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. For the keeper shelf.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.
Magnificent!! Forgotten Tragedy Remembered, Great Truths Buried in Novel
About the Author
Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage. The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction, and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more. Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville. Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.
Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance.
When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother’s desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.
The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey’s cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past–including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick–magistrate, widower, and former neighbor–who long ago broke her heart.
When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something. . . .
“For the first time in years, the rusty hinges of his shuttered heart gave an experimental creak.” Julie Lessman entices the reader into the world of the Jane Austen era with beautifully crafted sentences like this. Lessman’s latest offering, The Shadows of Swanford Abbey, is wonderfully stuffed with mystery, Regency-era (even a bit of Gothic) romance, and faith.
It is March of 1820 in Worcestershire, England. Rebecca Lane returns home to care for her foundering brother. His problems are deeper than Rebecca realized, and she must board at a nearby hotel, where a famous writer is in residence.
A former family friend who is also their landlord, Frederick Wilford, is staying at this hotel. Wilford’s manor renovations, started by his deceased wife, were never completed. Before his marriage, young Rebecca carried a torch for Frederick. Can she hide the embarrassment of that attraction now?
So many different characters to puzzle out, whether Rebecca’s brother, John, Miss Selina Newport or Lady Fitzhoward, to name a few of the supporting cast. What fun it is when there are several well-thought-out and presented mysteries to try to work through before all is revealed.
Rebecca is greatly loyal, but that lands her in a heap of trouble. “She just wanted her brother back as he had once been, but she feared that John was gone forever.” She wants to help John, but how far will she go in the name of brotherly love? What will that do to the attraction that is finally blossoming between her and her erstwhile unrequited love? One thing she does realize is this: “Family . . . once gone, there’s no replacing them.”
A ghost. Secrets of the former convent. Relationships are hidden, some for nefarious reasons, some discarded in the shadows of the past. What will come to light at the end?
Lovers of Regency Romance, who also want faith and mystery will devour this Lessman novel, as will historical buffs. Definitely discovering I have not read enough of Julie Klassen’s expertly crafted Regency tales! Hand me another, please!!
I received a copy of this book from the author and Bethany House via NetGalley. No positive review was required. All opinions are my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! Expertly Crafted Gothic Regency!! One of my faves for 2021!
About the Author
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. She blogs at http://www.inspiredbylifeandfiction.com. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
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
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!
1885. Adria Fontaine has been sent to recover goods her father pirated on the Great Lakes during the war. But when she arrives at Foxglove Manor–a stone house on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior–Adria senses wickedness hovering over the property. The mistress of Foxglove is an eccentric and seemingly cruel old woman who has filled her house with dangerous secrets, ones that may cost Adria her life.
Present day. Kailey Gibson is a new nurse’s aide at a senior home in a renovated old stone manor. Kidnapped as a child, she has nothing but locked-up memories of secrets and death, overshadowed by the chilling promise from her abductors that they would return. When the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. She’ll have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons, including her own.
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!
“Foxglove Manor was alive. It had eyes in the walls and a soul in the floorboards.” Indeed, Foxglove Manor is an imposing, sinister house that sits on the cliffs at the edge of cold and howling Lake Superior. Jaime Jo Wright expertly evokes a very melancholy, ominous dual-timeline mystery in her latest, On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor.
In the post-Civil War story, Adria Fontaine is exiled to the manor as punishment for embarrassing her family. She can only get back in her father’s good graces by finding what he is searching for.
My heart went out to poor Adria, whose father and sister are incredibly cruel and self-centered. A large part of who she is, negatively, is caused by their abusive behavior towards her.
What an assorted, unusual cast of characters inhabit Foxglove when Adria arrives. I did not figure out this mystery, but I sure enjoyed how Ms. Wright drew her characters with such depth and intrigue. I loved how all the puzzle pieces came together at the end, quite differently than I would have deduced.
I did figure out a little bit more of the present-day part of the mystery, but it again was multi-faceted, so no wins there for me. Kudos to Wright for the way she stretches and twists her characters to conform to the shape of this compelling, spooky story! Yet it is all very plausible. More kudos.
And Jude. This quote shows all of Kailey’s love and respect for him, when many would disregard him. “But the questions drilled into her by kidnappers at the age of five had their answers embedded in the mind of Jude, the boy with autism. And now Jude was the man with autism, whom too many looked on as less than instead of what he was—a veritable genius.” I love how Jaime Jo Wright shows what an incredible genius an autistic person can be, way more than the average person we tend to see as “normal!”
The two tales tie together well, with the one dependent on the other. Intrigue and suspense run high as shenanigans, manipulation, and abuse are slowly revealed. Romance and some humor plus faith round out this amazing tale and make it a must-read for those who love dual-timelines, mysteries, the Great Lakes, the Civil War, special needs people, etc.
More Notable Quotables:
“The truth that Foxglove Manor would twist its way into your soul until one day it owned you, and it called to you, and it didn’t cease hunting you until you returned.”
“I am losing my mind, and Raymond wants to take all the fun out of it.”
“…there’s a smartness in being a coward. A person stays alive when they run.”
“Stereotyping and ostracizing because of differences were the worst sorts of cruelty.”
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! Eerie, Historic, & Amazing Dual Timeline Not to be Missed!!