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

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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

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

With her Amish parents’ twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller stumbles across a surprise–the old brass tinderbox her clockmaker father keeps in his Lancaster County shop has been left unlocked. Against her better judgment, Sylvia opens the cherished heirloom, not realizing that what she is about to discover will splinter apart her happy life.

Sylvia’s bewilderment grows when her father confronts her about snooping in the box. To her amazement, the respected convert to the Old Order reacts as if he has something to hide.

Burdened by the weight of his deception, Earnest Miller decides he must reveal the details about his past to his beloved wife, Rhoda. The long-kept secret alters everything for the close-knit family, jeopardizing Earnest and Rhoda’s relationship, as well as threatening Sylvia’s recent engagement to the preacher’s grandson.

Can the Millers find a way forward through the turmoil to a place of forgiveness and acceptance?

MY REVIEW:

“Hard work puts meat on your bones…and builds strong character.” Ack, character: for sure and for certain the centerpiece of yet another Amish tale Beverly Lewis has brought us. A family and couple(s) are in crisis. The Tinderbox out in her father’s clockmaking workshop has tempted Sylvia ever since she was small. Little does Sylvia realize the Pandora’s Box she will be opening as she peeks inside.
While not a fast-moving book, The Tinderbox deals with some of the strongest human emotions possible: intense human love, lust, (very tastefully dealt with), anger, fear, deceit, betrayal, and despair. I have my suspicions about a few others that we may not realize until the sequel, The Timepiece, is out in September of this year.
Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.
It has been said that women are emotional creatures. I thought about this a lot as I read The Tinderbox. It was easy to put myself in either Rhoda or Sylvia’s place. I wondered if the stress and emotions would be unbearable. God has said He will not give us more than we can bear. While Rhoda, Sylvia, Hannah, and Earnest all must have questioned this, God provided a special friend for the ladies as well as for Earnest in his time of need. It was fun to visit with the Wise Woman of Hickory Hollow, Ella Mae, yet again. Everyone needs an Ella Mae in his/her life.
Five. That many months until the sequel comes out. I need it now. Lewis neatly sets us up for The Timepiece, and I, for one, don’t want to wait!
Quotable:
“Have you fallen so far that the Lord can’t reach down and pick you up?”
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Beverly Lewis, raised in Pennsylvania Amish country and both a schoolteacher and an accomplished musician, has been an award-winning author for over a dozen years. Her acclaimed novel, The Preacher’s Daughter, was a 2006 Quill Book Award finalist in the romance category. Her books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including USA Today and The New York Times. She and her husband, David, live in Colorado.”

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Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, LPC, NetGalley

The Songbird and the Spy

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About the Book

 

Book: The Songbird and the Spy43080349

Author: J’Nell Ciesielski

Genre: Clean historical romance

Release Date: Feb 19, 2019

As shells explode over Nazi-occupied France, American music student Claire Baudin is trapped behind enemy lines, struggling to protect her identity. Singing as a barmaid while she plans her escape, a handsome Third Reich captain threatens everything she knows to be true about the enemy.

Nazi Captain Michael Reiner isn’t who he claims to be. A British language expert turned spy, he discovers the truth about Claire, but he knows the importance of a secret. Struggling to resist his attraction to the songbird, he’s determined to complete his assignment, no matter the cost. His cover is threatened when a ruthless female Gestapo officer arrives hunting Resistance fighters. The raid forces Michael’s hand: complete the mission or save Claire.

As the war threatens to tear them apart, they must rely on each other for survival. Is there hope—and a future—for an American songbird and a British spy?

Click here to purchase your copy!

MY REVIEW

J’nell Ciesielski’s second novel, The Songbird and the Spy is a masterpiece of espionage, secrets, divided loyalties, and suspense. While not usually a WWII novel fan, I am a new devoted fan. Ciesielski’s characters covertly work their way off the page into your heart. Poor Claire only wants to return to her music studies in unoccupied France. But finding a safe route back is impossible and Claire must pose as a bar singer, attracting both the French nationals and the German soldiers.
One of those soldiers is Captain Michael Reichner, whose true identity is a carefully guarded secret.
This a very heart- wrenching story, lightened by a love that cannot be denied, yet must stay under wraps. I liked Michael’s strong sense of confidence. This can be very appealing in a man.
The tension is drawn even tighter when a female Gestapo agent, eager to earn her way to Berlin, begins to haunt Michael and his men and the very bar where Claire earns her keep.
I found it very interesting that the butcher’s son was named “Savon,” which means “soap” or “soap maker.” The Germans are determined to cleanse the land of undesirables, the French are desperate to wash the German army out of their land. Definitely a story worth reading and sharing.
One note: I was thrilled to see a map at the beginning of the book. The author’s short note was also appreciated.
Some great quotes:

“Trust is rather unreliable in your line of work.”

“If you give him a name, he becomes a person, a man. He is anything but!” 

“…the situation was so tangled that she could no longer determine if lies or truth were the better option.”

“She was the most important mission he’d ever undertaken.” 

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are my own.

MY RATING

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About the Author

Believing she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days creating heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages contest and Maggie Award, J’nell can often be found 17735994dreaming of a second home in Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle. Find out more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

More from J’nell

The most popular question an author is asked is where did the inspiration come from. Most of the time, if not always, my inspiration comes from a trifecta of resources: movies, music, or books. A single song lyric, or secondary character, or novel setting can trigger a whole world of possibilities that has to be explored. In the case of Songbird and the Spy, it was a movie. A Quentin Tarantino movie to be exact set during WWII where one of the characters is a British officer posing as a Nazi meets up with other spies in a French bar. Another character was a Jewish woman posing as a theater-owning Frenchwoman. My brain immediately tingled with ideas. What if identities were all in question? What if you fell in love with the wrong person? Not just the wrong person, but the enemy? The drama and tension in such a situation would be unbelievable!

And that is how Songbird was born.

Here are a few bits of trivia for you:

  • Songbird was originally titled Iron Shepherd for Michael’s call sign.
  • There have been three or four different endings written.
  • Michael Reiner was based off of Michael (see what I did there?!) Fassbender’s character in Inglorious Basterds. The actor was born in Germany to German and Irish parents, and later grew up in Ireland J Art imitating life.
  • Music always makes its way into my stories and here it takes center stage.
  • I’ve always wanted to write a USO story so the ending was my perfect chance to squeeze it in.
  • Ilsa von Ziegler was based off of Elsa Schneider from Indiana Jones.
  • There was a scene showing Michael at SOE training in Scotland, but it was later cut.
  • Nazi headquarters in Paris really was located on Foch Ave. The building is still there.
  • The molten lead that Michael’s new assistant talks about is a German New Year’s tradition to divine fortune in the coming year. A small bit of lead or tin is melted, and then dropped in water. The form created by the metal predicts the future.
  • Chanteuse is a female singer. Edith Piaf, the most famous French singer of all, was known as The Little Sparrow. Songbird and chanteuse are both used to reference Claire and pay homage to Piaf.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

For Him and My Family, April 2

Among the Reads, April 3

Where Faith and Books Meet, April 3

Wishful Endings, April 4

Carpe Diem, April 4

Connect in Fiction, April 5

Emily Yager, April 5

Through the Fire Blogs, April 6

The Christian Fiction Girl, April 6

Hallie Reads, April 7

Lis Loves Reading, April 7

Babbling Becky’s Book Impressions, April 8

Genesis 5020, April 8

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 9

Godly Book Reviews, April 9

Stories By Gina, April 10

Maureen’s Musings, April 10

Carla Loves To Read, April 11

Mary Hake, April 11

Inklings and notions, April 11

Inspired by Fiction, April 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 12

Bigreadersite, April 13

As He Leads is Joy, April 13

Texas Book-aholic, April 14

The Becca Files, April 14

janicesbookreviews, April 15

A Reader’s Brain, April 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away a grand prize of a print copy of Songbird and $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/dfe9/the-songbird-and-the-spy-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

On a Summer Tide, #1 Three Sisters Island by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: On a Summer Tide, #1 Three Sisters Island

AUTHOR: Suzanne Woods Fisher

PUBLISHER, PUBLISHED: Revell, April 2019

GENRE:  Contemporary Romance (Not Amish or Mennonite)

When her father buys an island off the coast of Maine with the hope of breathing new life into it, Camden Grayson thinks he’s lost his mind. An unexpected event sends Cam to his rescue, and she discovers the island has its own way of living . . . and loving.

_I don't think that's God's view of Life, Cam. You don't earn purpose._ (2).png

MY REVIEW: 

Family dynamics can be really messy. I can’t imagine a father selling his home (the children are grown, or nearly so); buying an island in the state of déshabillé; AND expecting all three daughters to move there improve it. Maybe Paul Grayson truly has lost his mind.
Suzanne Woods Fisher writes about this widower’s family with three disconnected sisters in such a beautiful way that I found myself quickly mired in the quicksand of uncomfortable and dysfunctional family relationships.
Each sister is delightful, yet shortsighted in her own way, which leads to a mess for them and an intriguing story for us, the readers. The island and its wildlife sound wonderful, yet there are drawbacks.
Anybody not born there is a foreigner. No wi-fi. And a diner with a lady who can’t cook anything, let alone make coffee. I laughed and laughed over the silly antics until the tale wove back upon itself in a serious way that calls for tears.
So many worthy quotes.
“Mom always told us that life would surprise us with important choices, and our true character would emerge in how we responded.”
“…life was full of simple miracles if you just opened your eyes to them.”
“Life presents you with important choices. You can lash out, become bitter. Or draw closer to God, become better.”
“…it’s never too late to learn to listen.”
“We love each other, we tell each other the truth, and we keep working on things. That’s what families are all about.”
Woods leaves just enough threads dangling that I am anxious for the next book in the series already. Good discussion questions follow, making this an excellent choice for book clubs.
I received this complimentary book from the publisher and NetGalley. No positive review is required and all opinions are my own.

 

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling, award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books, host of the radio-show-turned-blog Amish Wisdom, a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. 1922565

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain. A theme in her books (her life!) is that you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate the principles of simple living.

Suzanne lives in California with her family and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can’t life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

Suzanne can be found online at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

 

 

Just one more word… look for this amazing book on April 30th!

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The White City: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crimes by Grace Hitchcock

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The White City: True Crimes: Historical Stories of American Crime

SERIES: True Crimes

AUTHOR: Grace Hitchcock

PUBLISHER: Barbour

PUBLISHED: March 2109

GENRE: Christian Historical Suspense

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

 

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MY REVIEW:

It seems it is always fun to read about one great event that changed the face of Chicago, the World’s Fair of 1893. The White City by Grace Hitchcock helps to sharpen our modern focus on a time when Chicago had a “mini” city of large white stucco buildings well-lit, even at night, to house the fair. The character HH Holmes was a real criminal, detailed in another non-fiction book. White City also caused me to research how the giant Ferris Wheel looked back then. It was nothing like our modern Ferris Wheels, having glass “rooms” holding up to 60 people each! 
I thought this was the perfect vacation read, with a smattering of history, and romance, and suspense.  
I enjoyed the love triangle and truly wasn’t certain how it would turn out. 
Jude Thorpe is a new detective in Winnifred Wylde’s father’s precinct and is assigned the dubious duty of protecting Winnie from her efforts to prove her crime sightings are more than her imagination. Winnie appears attracted to him, but he has competition.  
Winnie fights off many of her aunt’s hand-picked suitors, but will Percival Covington turn out to be the perfect man? 
For myself, I was glad to see Winnie could be a reader and still be a respectable heroine. Often readers are passed over in real life as those who just don’t want to work, instead of those called to nourish an inner need. 
“He didn’t deserve to have her heart’s sloppy seconds.” Said about one of Winnie’s suitors, it hit me how applicable this is in our relationship to God. 
This was one book I would almost have liked to have seen the author write an alternate ending too. That is if she had made a few character adjustments, of course. It just seemed the book teetered on a precipice and the author had to think for a moment which way she wanted to take the action. I know I seriously considered which way I would have counseled her to take it. Indeed, that really brought me thoroughly into the tale, as if the adventure didn’t already have me there. Good point for a book club discussion. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are solely my own. 

 

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 16145482

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City and The Gray Chamber from Barbour Publishing. 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

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

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ABOUT THE BOOK: 

TITLE: Ladies of Intrigue (standalone book)

AUTHOR: Michelle Griep

PUBLISHER: Barbour

PUBLISHED: February 2019

GENRE: Christian Romantic Suspense

3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

MY REVIEW:

4.5 stars- Great, just short of spectacular.

Yay for Michelle Griep for coming up with another new book. However, this one is not quite new, but a collection of three novellas that have appeared in other works. Thankfully, I found these, bundled together, whereas I missed them before.

  1. The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady was the first story and my favorite. Taking place in Cornwall, England, Helen, the young adult daughter of a dying minister is thrown into the path of an unusual smuggler. Can Helen understand the world is more than black and white? Can Isaac give up his “rightful” revenge against Brannigan? Eventually, the truth comes out that God is sufficient. Sometimes I shake my head at what appears to be characters’ convoluted thinking- but then realize we all have our blind spots. I found lots of quotes to like in this part.

“‘You are all I have left.’ ‘No, child, there is always God.’” 

“Those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything…” 

“Sometimes what we see… and what is truth are two different things. The world is not as black and white as you seem to believe.” 

“If one cannot trust in God’s provision, then perhaps one has no business professing a faith at all.” 

  1. The Doctor’s Woman – This was my second favorite. Taking place in 1862 Minnesota, Emmy Nelson arrives at Fort Snelling, where she is needed in her deceased father’s place. She ends up helping Dr. James Clark, there because he needs field experience.  As the two get close, will Dr. Clark return east to Harvard? God is indeed watching over this pair, as He watches over all of us, and maps out our futures, too.
  2. A House of Secrets- 1890 St. Paul, MN   Amanda Carston and her attorney fiancé Joseph are at odds about the old Griggs House and its use. Why is Joseph suddenly secretive and refusing to support her very well-intentioned endeavors? While this wasn’t a favorite, the lessons are obvious: honesty, prejudging, considering one’s own motives better than others’, of self, assuming the worst of others. Pretty much the opposite of the love chapter in the Bible.

I received this book as a complimentary copy from the author and/or publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are solely my responsibility.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 2754194

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?

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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AUTHOR: Jaime Jo Wright

TITLE: The Curse of Misty Wayfair

GENRE: Christian mystery, suspense

PUBLISHER: Bethany House Publishers

RELEASED: January 2019

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

 

MY REVIEW:

I had looked forward so long to read The Curse of Misty Wayfair. Jaime Jo Wright lived up to all expectations. At first, it was hard to get into this dual-time novel, but before too long something clicked. I was hooked on the apparition that keeps appearing in both generations. Take one insane asylum, a familial curse, a post-mortem photographer, and a modern-day woman who can’t rise above her family’s opinions; you have the recipe for a very gloomy story. (Thankfully, the story doesn’t stay gloomy.) Both Thea and Heidi are absolutely lost, looking for their identity. Their searches are leaving them unfulfilled. “We weren’t created to find our identity in life. We were created to discover our Creator. In doing so, our identity is defined.” Wise words.

The ultimate light of the book is the light of Scripture and finding one’s self in God’s attitude toward you, instead of others.’ However, humor, a look at autism, family secrets, and progress from old-time asylums also help round out the novel to make it fully appealing. (I loved the “creative cussing.”) Being from a rural area, it was hard to imagine someone who would be “suffocating by woods,” but I imagine, if one is used to the big city, it is quite possible.

Wright knows how and when to play the shock card. She does this with great aplomb. While I had some things figured out, other things I wouldn’t have figured out in my wildest dreams. Now I am glad there are other Jaime Jo Wright books out there. Must go find…must go find…must go read…

I was given a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher. I am under no obligation to leave a positive review, and all opinions are solely my own.

MY RATING:

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Curse of Misty Wayfair

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

13916081Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy TinkerBell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.

Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com!