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Midnight’s Budding Morrow by Carolyn Miller Review and Giveaway

Part of the I Read with Audra Tour

About the Book

Can real love grow between a wallflower and an unrepentant rogue?

Sarah Drayton is eager to spend time with her best friend at her crumbling Northumberland castle estate. Matrimony is the last thing on her mind and the last thing she expects to be faced with on a holiday. Yet she finds herself being inveigled into a marriage of convenience with her friend’s rakish brother.

When James Langley returns to his family’s estate, he can’t be bothered to pay attention to his responsibilities as the heir. War is raging and he wants only distraction, not serious tethers. But his roguish ways have backed him into a corner, and he has little choice but to obey his father’s stunning decree: marry before returning to war, or else. Suddenly he finds himself wedded to a clever and capable woman he does not love.

Sarah craves love and a place to belong, neither of which James offered before returning to the battlefront. Now everyone around her thinks she married above her station, and they have no intention of rewarding her for such impertinence. It isn’t until her husband returns from war seemingly changed that she begins to hope they may find real happiness. But can she trust that this rake has truly reformed?

When tragedy strikes, this pair must learn to trust God and his plans. Will they be destroyed . . . or will they discover that even in the darkest depths of night, the morning still holds hope?

Click here to read an excerpt.

About the Series

While most stories set in Regency England focus on the rich, the young, and the beautiful, award-winning author Carolyn Miller decided she wanted to give readers something different for a change. Her new Regency Wallflowers series follows the commoners, away from the hustle and bustle of 1810s London, out in the Lake District of England. She tells the stories of women who are slightly older and have few prospects for marriage, women who might be considered “wallflowers.”

Midnight’s Budding Morrow is the second book in the Regency Wallflowers series. The first book in the series is Dusk’s Darkest Shores.

My Impressions

“God is a Redeemer, One who turns the weak into the brave, who can use the broken ones to save.”

I cannot love Midnight’s Budding Morrow by Carolyn Miller enough. A Regency Romance, Midnight’s Budding Morrow explores themes of drunkenness; depression; plus, searching for acceptance and deep, forever love. Miller also presents the flip side. Redemption and forgiveness are centerpieces of this amazing novel I couldn’t read fast enough.

Unfortunately, the inferiority that plagues Sarah Drayton may be far too easy for many readers to identify with. James Langley’s behavior is also easy to imagine. Miller has done a great job of producing realistic, imperfect, and relatable characters, whose growth will depend upon whether their faith can rise to meet the challenges.

I loved the way that we see the maturation of both characters, as they grow into the roles they have been called to fulfill. Yet, both are imperfect, which drives the novel, along with the machinations of shrewd and conniving tertiary characters.

I could not read this book fast enough, yet I wanted to savor every word, every scene. And I ugly-cried. Books rarely make me cry. These people of Miller’s-for they are no longer merely characters on a page- will live on with me for some time. This novel hit every sweet spot in my requirements for memorable, top-of-its-category Regency Romance. Problems are impossibly deep, God’s Grace is deeper.

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I received a copy of the book from the I Read with Audra tour. I also bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

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Notable Quotables:

“Nothing mattered. No one would remark on her absence. She was nothing. Nobody. Of no value. Of no importance. She was a failure. A failure as a wife. A failure as a mother. She had failed to be accepted.”

“God didn’t see her. He didn’t care. He hadn’t cared before, so why would He pay attention now?”

“Broken, but being healed by God.”

“It is most wonderful to see how God can restore the brokenhearted, and free those who have been bound to their pasts.”

“When we’re in the depths of midnight’s pain and darkness, we cannot see that God is still working goodness for tomorrow.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! This Regency Romance Catapulted to the top of my Top Ten Reads in 2022!!

About the Author

AuthorCarolyn Miller is an inspirational romance author who lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children.

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English literature and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. She enjoys music, films, gardens, art, travel, and food.

Miller’s novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.

Learn more about Carolyn at www.carolynmillerauthor.com, or find her on Facebook (Carolyn Miller Author), Instagram (@CarolynMillerAuthor), and Twitter (@CarolynMAuthor).

Giveaway

Click the link below to enter the giveaway of Carolyn’s book, Midnight’s Budding Morrow!!

https://www.audrajennings.com/2022/05/win-copy-of-midnights-budding-morrow.html

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When the Meadow Blooms by Ann H Gabhart Review

About the Book

Title: When the Meadow Blooms

Author: Ann H Gabhart

Publisher: Revell

Released: May 3, 2022

From the back cover:

Hope blooms at Meadowland

If any place on God’s earth was designed to help one heal, it is Meadowland. Surely here, at her brother-in-law’s Kentucky farm, Rose and her daughters can recover from the events of the recent past–the loss of her husband during the 1918 influenza epidemic, her struggle with tuberculosis that required a stay at a sanatorium, and her girls’ experience in an orphanage during her illness. At Meadowland, past troubles become rich soil in which faith can grow.

Dirk Meadows may have opened his home to his late brother’s widow and her girls, but he keeps his heart tightly closed. The roots of his pain run deep, and the evidence of it is written across his face. Badly scarred by a fire and abandoned by the woman he loved, Dirk fiercely guards his heart from being hurt again.

But it may be that his visitors will bring light back into his world and unlock the secret to true healing.

My Impressions

“Are you fey, child?”…””Is that the same as tetched in the head?…If so, I don’t think I am. My mother told me I wasn’t and not to pay mind to anyone who said I was.”

“Most people have some life scars, Miss Warfield.

Sometimes they show, sometimes they don’t.”

“Scars aren’t a sign of wickedness. Mistreating children is a sign of wickedness.”- Calla

Ann H Gabhart has been a favorite author of mine for years now. Employing uncomplicated, warm, and homey language, Gabhart invites us into the lives of a fractured family trying to find normalcy in When the Meadows Bloom. Rose Meadows has spent years recovering from TB at a sanitarium. Her young daughters are left in a children’s home that promises to care well for them until she returns. Rose finally decides she is ready to well enough to leave snd reclaim the girls, but finds she must have someone to stay with. Enter her late husband’s reclusive, taciturn brother who owns a beautiful farm. Not promising new beginnings.

This book made me want to cry. To think that children’s home workers could be two-faced and not properly care for those in their charge.

I loved the tertiary characters who were not in charge, but who did what they could to lighten others’ burdens. Those who saw beyond their own needs or in one case, world.

I loved how even scarred hearts had openings where love and care eked out for the downtrodden. Which, I think, amazed even the persons suddenly showing such compassion!

If you love kids at all, you will love both fearful Calla and dreamy Sienna! They are so very different, yet love each other fiercely. You will only want the happiest of endings for these two wise-beyond-their-years, deeply scarred little girls. And you may come to care for the adults who love them, as well.

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I received a copy of the book from Library Thing Early Reviewers. I also bought a copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

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Notable Quotables:

Meadowland. The very name sounded like heaven.

You need a purpose other than what you are to somebody else.

Secrets nearly always surface eventually and bring with them troubles.

He could drown in those eyes of hers. “You are trespassing on my heart.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! A Heartwarming Historical of Healing Scars

About the Author

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Along a Storied Trail, An Appalachian Summer, River to Redemption, These Healing Hills, and Angel Sister, along with several Shaker novels–The Refuge, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted. She and her husband live on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the everyday wonders of nature while hiking in her farm’s fields and woods with her grandchildren and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. Learn more at http://www.annhgabhart.com.

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Counterfeit Love by Crystal Caudill Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Title: Counterfeit Love

Author: Crystal Caudill

Series: #1 Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age

Publisher: Kregel

Released: March 2022

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves–or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name–and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home–and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiance is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career–but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets–and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

To read an excerpt of Counterfeit Love click here.

My Impressions

Ah, a deliciously, satisfying debut novel of the Gilded Age from Crystal Caudill. A couple, Theresa Payne and Broderick Cosgrove, once engaged, must determine if they can trust each other and if there is any hope for a rekindled romance. Will they be able to work together to uncover the true counterfeiters in Cincinnati?

Caudill emphasizes themes of trust, forgiveness, and family as she provides plenty of emotion, action, and truth. “Even if… “ is a big question that Theresa grapples with mightily. The novel is well-paced, balancing all the threads together- romance, history, suspense, and life lessons- delightfully.

Broderick is the long-absent love; tall, charming, and witty. But, he is shrouded in mystery. His methods are a little suspect. His results, well, not quick enough for the boss. Is he a man of faith and integrity or one who would play Theresa and his partners for fools?

Theresa is wonderfully headstrong, intensely loyal, and also very intelligent. Is she intelligent enough to figure out her grandfather’s secrets? Loyalty is a great quality if one places it in the right person. Can Theresa discern who to trust with her secrets? Theresa tends to be quick to forgive and allow most people second chances. I loved this about her, but sure rooted for her trust not to be abused!

While Theresa and Broderick are relatable and sure to earn the reader’s loyalty, other characters kept hopping the good guy/bad guy fence for me. What I thought of characters like Isaacs, Lydia, Abraham, Mrs. Hawking, Grandfather and others was variable. This fluidity made the story very suspenseful and I couldn’t put it down!

With thoughtful questions at the end, this would be a good book for a book club discussion.

I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through I Read with Audra. (I also bought a copy for my keeper shelf.) No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Nathaniel wronged you, but God convicted him, and he’s a different man now.”

“It’s so nice to be together again. Isn’t it?” Theresa squeezed their arms…”“About as nice as an outhouse in summer.” …”Then I suppose it’s a good thing I have plumbing.”

“Feelings change, and they can lie, but God’s presence is constant and true. Whether we feel Him or not.”

Love, not blood, makes a family.

Family. The word stuck in her throat like a lozenge, melting to soothe an ache she’d long accepted as permanent. Her blood relatives were gone, but the love flanking either side of her pulsed with life and healing. They may not always see eye to eye, but they cared. More than that, they wanted her.

God answered Theresa’s prayers this time, but that didn’t mean He would in the future. Could she trust Him with what little she had left? But trust didn’t mean she’d get what she wanted. So what did it mean?

“…no matter what happens or what you think you’ve lost, you cannot lose God….

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! This is a Satisfying Debut Novel of the Gilded Age, and I’m looking forward to the next two in the series!!

About the Author

Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW.

She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

Learn more at crystalcaudill.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter to Win a copy of Crystal Caudill’s book at the Rafflecopter site below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b3c91bb31/

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The Lady of Galway Manor by Jennifer Deibel Review

About the Book

In 1920, Annabeth De Lacy’s father is appointed landlord of Galway Parish in Ireland. Bored without all the trappings of the British Court, Annabeth convinces her father to arrange an apprenticeship for her with the Jennings family–descendants of the creator of the famed Claddagh Ring.

Stephen Jennings longs to do anything other than run his family’s jewelry shop. Having had his heart broken, he no longer believes in love and is weary of peddling the ÒliesÓ the Claddagh Ring promises.

Meanwhile, as the war for Irish independence gains strength, many locals resent the De Lacys and decide to take things into their own hands to display their displeasure. As events take a dangerous turn for Annabeth and her family, she and Stephen begin to see that perhaps the “other side” isn’t quite as barbaric and uncultured as they’d been led to believe–and that the bonds of friendship, love, and loyalty are only made stronger when put through the refiner’s fire.

Travel to the Emerald Isle for another poignant and romantic story from the enchanted pen of Jennifer Deibel. 

My Impressions

Jennifer Deibel’s second novel has proven to be every bit as fantastic as her debut. I fully expect The Lady of Galway Manor to at least be nominated for an award, if not win big. Why?

First of all, Deibel takes us back to 1920s Ireland, where social justice is fought for, and oppression is used to control people. It is a time when Britain is fighting to retain her hold on the island, and the Irish want none of it. We see a lot of prejudices, each about the other nationality. Whether it be Stephen, who dislikes Lady Annabeth DeLacy for her family’s representation of rule by force, or the townspeople who refuse to look beyond Anna’s heritage to her heart, hate and bitterness sew tragic results. Even Anna is forced to admit to prejudices against the Irish, originally assuming them simple and uneducated. One can’t help but see similarities to what is happening in our own country, with great strife and discord resulting.

Secondly, Deibel fills her pages with great scenery, exciting action, and relatable characters. Reading The Lady of Galway Manor is like a mini-field trip to Ireland with a chance to learn about the famed Claddaugh ring design. With two opposing political forces, there is plenty of tension and action. And the characters! Oh, my!! All are drawn so well, I could understand even the ones I didn’t like.
But Seamus is my absolute fave! He is a gentle spirit, attempting to guide Stephen to see each person for themselves, not their country. I love his way of getting to the heart of the matter as Stephen’s attitudes. So loving, so direct, so challenging!
He is a constant champion of Anna. “Hate is fueled by ignorance, son. The first step toward peace is the genuine desire to understand your so-called enemy. Don’t punish her for the sins of her fathers. Let her learn. Teach her. Guide her. And maybe one day you’ll see what I do. In both of you.”

Thirdly, the romance was thwarted. It peaks out of the novel, starts to emerge, and then is repressed so many times. Is it possible for a romance between Stephen snd Anna to survive?

If you read one historical fiction book about this year, I highly suggest The Lady of Galway Manor!

I received a copy of the book from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. No positive review was required, and all thoughts are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Timely Historical Fiction from Ireland, but so Appropriate for US today!

About the Author

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher and freelance writer. Her work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic Magazine, and others. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona.

Her debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, released in February of 2021, was the recipient of the Kipp Award for Historical Romance.

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A Heart Deceived by Michelle Griep Review

About the Book

Title: A Heart Deceived

Author: Michelle Griep

Publisher: David C. Cook

Released: June 2013

Genre: Gothic Regency

MIRI BRAYDEN teeters on a razor’s edge between placating and enraging her brother, whom she depends upon for support. Yet if his anger is unleashed, so is his madness. Miri must keep his descent into lunacy a secret, or he’ll be committed to an asylum—and she’ll be sent to the poor house.

ETHAN GOODWIN’s been on the run all of his life—from family, from the law…from God. After a heart-changing encounter with the gritty Reverend John Newton, Ethan would like nothing more than to become a man of integrity—an impossible feat for an opium addict charged with murder. When Ethan Goodwin shows up on Miri’s doorstep, her balancing act falls to pieces.

Both Ethan and Miri are caught in a web of lies and deceit—fallacies that land Ethan in prison and Miri in the asylum with her brother. Only the truth will set them free. 

My Impressions

Recently I discovered some of Michelle Griep’s earlier books that I hadn’t read. A Heart Deceived is a gripping Gothic regency, much along with the style of her latest, Lost in Darkness. In fact, A Heart Deceived could easily be a part of Griep’s newest series, Of Monsters and Men. Maybe not the physical type of monster, but a monster, nonetheless.

I loved poor, conflicted Miri Brayden. She is torn between fearing and loving her brother, who alternates between treating her hatefully and regressing into partial insanity. Can she keep him safe and both of them housed and respected? What will the arrival of Ethan Goodwin do to her physical and emotional stability?

I loved Ethan because he is both despicable and charming. God gets ahold of his life through John Newton and transforms his desires. But will it be soon enough to salvage his character and keep him from reaping the whirlwind his wastrel life has sown?

Best supporting actor award goes to John Newton, whom we meet as an older, merciful clergy who understands depravity, grace, and faith. He is not afraid to present God to the basest of society. He does so with such humor, love, directness, and confidence that one can’t help but like him. If Griep portrays him correctly, what a transformation God made in his life! Newton’s goal is then to transform as many other lives for the kingdom as possible, but he is so winsome and positive about it!
“God believes in you. Your belief or lack of it doesn’t change His existence.” “When we are at our weakest, God’s at His strongest.”

Michelle Griep had me smiling so many times, even as she wrote about very serious topics. Her ability to turn a phrase at a precise moment gave comic relief to extremely suspenseful scenes. I love that! “‘Your brother treads in dangerous waters, Miss Brayden. Dangerous and deep. See if you can talk some sense into the man.’
Miri dipped a curtsy. She might more easily talk a chicken into giving milk. “And I chortled at, “Why did it never fail that her most wicked thoughts crept out in the holiest of places?”

Jails and insane asylums were horrible places in the regency era, and Griep provides an accurate, eerie look at both. You will think you are in either location with our hapless characters.

The climax and resolution of this wonderful novel are superb, just like the rest of the book. The action is very quick.

A Griep book is always full of “Notable Quotables,” treasures of words, often Biblically-based, that transcend the time into our present lives. How I love this feature of Griep’s books!

If you haven’t discovered this early Griep work, the time to change that omission is now! Most highly recommended!!

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! Gothic Regency Highly Recommended!

About the Author

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

You can connect with Michelle on her website, http://michellegriep.com

or on Twitter @michellegriep.



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A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz Review

About the Book

Title: A Heart Adrift

Author: Laura Frantz

Publisher: Revell

Released: January 2022

Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction

It is 1755, and the threat of war with France looms over colonial York, Virginia. Chocolatier Esmee Shaw is fighting her own battle of the heart. Having reached her twenty-eighth birthday, she is reconciled to life alone after a decade-old failed love affair from which she’s never quite recovered. But she longs to find something worthwhile to do with her life.

Captain Henri Lennox has returned to port after a lengthy absence, intent on completing the lighthouse in the dangerous Chesapeake Bay, a dream he once shared with Esmee. But when the colonial government asks him to lead a secret naval expedition against the French, his future is plunged into uncertainty.

Will a war and a cache of regrets keep them apart, or can their shared vision and dedication to the colonial cause heal the wounds of the past? Bestselling and award-winning author Laura Frantz whisks you away to a time fraught with peril–on the sea and in the heart–in this redemptive, romantic story.

My Impressions

After reading A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz, how can I be so disloyal to Esmée and Henri as to start another book? I read this novel as slowly as I could, savoring every poetic turn of phrase and lyrical word picture! A Heart Adrift has left my heart undone!! Replete with romance, intrigue, faith, and history, Laura Frantz has created another enduring masterpiece. The evils of slavery, both for those captured and those who fought it are presented. Trust in God and constant reliance on His Word and communion with Him permeate the lives of both Esmée and Henri, even through harrowing times. Set against the capriciousness of the sea and early colonial politics (1745-1755) mixed with the delicious smells of a chocolatier’s shop and difficult family dynamics, this is one historical romance that will bring the early colonial struggles to vivid life.


I received a copy of the book from the author and Revell through NetGalley. I also bought myself and a loved one a paperback copy to treasure.
Notable Quotables:
“He chose the sea—his captaincy and ship—over me.” “And I could not conscience being left behind onshore.”

“And then, much like a courtship, as wooing as a siren’s song, the sea had finally won him over.”

Her fervent prayers went the way of her hopes and became floating wreckage.

“How can you possibly provide all these items, Miss Shaw?” “I shan’t provide them,” Esmée said with a confident smile, pocketing the paper. “The Almighty shall.”

“…the island suddenly felt a tad hollow, as did his cottage. To say nothing of his heart.”

“ ‘Tis never amiss to hope . . . dream.”

“I don’t believe in accidents, nor coincidences, but rather divine instances,”… “Especially in matters of the heart.”

“As for myself, I am in the prime of senility.”

“The only certainty about life was its uncertainty. Only God stayed steadfast. Only the Almighty could walk her through life’s many changes. And when she felt overwhelmed, like now, she simply had to look back to see how faithful God had been, did she not? The heartaches and closed doors of the past had made the present more beloved.”

“Those for whom God has mercy in store He first brings into a wilderness.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! I just don’t want to leave these wonderful characters!! A sea privateer who has to decide who his real love will be, the steadfast heart of a woman lightkeeper, and the colonies as they prepare for war and struggle with the slavery issue. Please don’t make me leave!!

About the Author

Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Readers can find Laura Frantz at www.laurafrantz.net.

Laura has written so many great historical novels. I personally have my sister to thank for telling me about Laura Frantz. Now I am buying and sending Laura’s books to her!

Just some of the books not to miss:

A Moonbow Night

The Mistress of Tall Acres

The Courtship of Morrow Little

The Colonel’s Lady

The Frontiersman’s Daughter

An Uncommon Heart

Tidewater Bride

and The Lacemaker

Look up Laura online for a more complete list!

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Elinor by Shannon McNear Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Elinor

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre: Christian/Historical/Romance

Release date: December 1, 2021

9781643529547 cover

A Journey Full of Hope…
Escape into a riveting story based on the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Author Shannon McNear portrays history with vivid authenticity.

In 1587, Elinor White Dare sailed from England heavy with her first child but full of hopes. Her father, a renowned artist and experienced traveler, has convinced her and her bricklayer husband Ananias to make the journey to the New World. Land, they are promised, more goodly and beautiful than they can ever imagine. But nothing goes as planned from landing at the wrong location, to facing starvation, to the endless wait for help to arrive. And, beyond her comprehension, Elinor finds herself utterly alone. . . .
The colony at Roanoke disappeared into the shadows of history. But, what if one survived to leave a lasting legacy?

Click here to get your copy!


My Impressions

What really happened to the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke? Author Shannon McNear postulates an answer in an emotional, suspenseful tale that is sure to intrigue history buffs.
John White is the “older” governor of the Roanoke colony, trying valiantly to lead his small, capricious group of settlers to peace and safety in the New World. When he returns to England to beg for monies and supplies from the queen, the colonists are left with one loyal Native American friend, but many Native American enemies, often because of the white man’s previous dealings.
We follow the saga of Elinor Dare, John White’s daughter. Elinor is also Virginia Dare’s mother. Sometimes I almost forgot to breathe, the suspense is so great. Happiness, fear, anger, puzzlement, and hope are all emotions McNear’s characters experience throughout the novel, and McNear skillfully maneuvered my emotions along with them. Trust, anger, cultural differences, and hope amid heartache are all themes McNear explores in her meticulously researched book.


My favorite character is Sees Far. He is often unpredictable. He is drawn to Elinor, yet can’t decide how to treat her. His culture and his manhood in the tribe insist he act in ways not compatible with his early vision.
I found the novel harder to read than usual, as McNear prefers to use language as close to the times portrayed as possible. While authentic, it slowed my understanding down.
Research is near and dear to McNear’s heart. She has done her homework, many times over. In her exuberance, the author’s notes get a little drawn out for my taste.
I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own. (I also purchased paperbacks for myself and a treasured friend.)

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Well-Researched, Suspenseful, Fictionalized Account of Roanoke

About the Author

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, 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

Why did I write this story? Well, God shoved the opportunity under my nose, and I didn’t want to be guilty of taking the easy way out, by saying no. 😊

Really, while the concept was fascinating, the execution was daunting, and sometimes terrifying. The Elizabethan Era—before the King James Bible and even before Shakespeare was popular! As a student of the Revolutionary War and surrounding times, I felt very much out of my depth.

Though the research sucked me in, it was also daunting. Sifting through various interpretations of the primary accounts and their own speculations on why they felt things must have gone a certain way. Trying to “find” my story amongst all the theories and opinions. Above all, getting to know my characters and letting them come alive in my own imagination.

And come alive, they did—in full color, with a vividness I did not expect. I hope I was able to translate even a portion of what I envisioned to the page, so that you also can see them!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 4

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 4

Joanna Bair, January 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 5

Rebecca Tews, January 5

For the Love of Literature, January 6

Remembrancy, January 6

Texas Book-aholic, January 7

Betti Mace, January 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 8

Inklings and notions, January 8

For Him and My Family, January 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 9

deb’s Book Review, January 10

Labor Not in Vain, January 10

Blogging With Carol, January 10

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 11

Connect in Fiction, January 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 12

To Everything There Is A Season, January 12

Mary Hake, January 12

Bizwings Blog, January 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 13

Connie’s History Classroom, January 14

Splashes of Joy, January 14

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 15 (Spotlight)

Sodbuster Living, January 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 16

Through the Fire Blogs, January 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 17

Pause for Tales, January 17

Giveaway

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

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/15d5e/elinor-celebration-tour-giveaway

Barbour, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley, PB, Purchase

Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Lost in Darkness

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: FICTION/ Christian/Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

9781636090658

England, 1815

Amelia Balfour has one dream. . .to tour Egypt as a travel writer. But when her wish is finally within reach, her father dies, and her malformed brother Colin depends upon her to arrange for a revolutionary surgery. Amelia returns home, hoping he’ll recover before the ship sails for Cairo.
Former Navy surgeon Graham Lambert is sick—of travelling, loneliness, and especially the injustice of the world. Leaving behind the military, he partners with a renowned surgeon, the man who promises new life to Amelia’s brother.
But just as the operation begins, Graham suspects the surgeon is a fraud. After a botched procedure, Colin goes mad and escapes, terrorizing their neighbor, author Mary Godwin—planting the seed for her greatest creation, Frankenstein.
Can Amelia and Graham stop Colin before he destroys everyone in his path and find the tender soul still trapped inside…or will they be too late?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

“I have learned never to be quick to judge, for not all are as they appear at first meeting.”

Nobody writes Regency romance quite as eloquently as Michelle Griep. And now Michelle Griep adds Gothic to her expertly crafted subgenres as well. We start Lost in Darkness, #1 Of Monsters and Men, in 1815 London. There we discover Amelia Balfour, a travel journalist, hoping to leave for her dream trip to Egypt. Instead, she unexpectedly finds herself caring for her brother, Colin, whose physical deformities cause him to be a recluse from society. Few make the effort to see past the outer man to discover the gentle soul inside.
Will the two doctors who claim they can help Colin, be able to do such an incredible surgery as to make Colin’s form and visage passable to society? Or will there be unexpected problems on this quest for healing?

Griep is an Anglophile with a great love for the historical literature of the period. Rather than retell Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Griep imagines a scenario that would inspire Shelley’s masterpiece. And what an intriguing and suspenseful novel Griep pens! I love all the philosophical questions Griep raises while keeping the reader enthralled with the romantic, gothic atmosphere. How far can a doctor experiment on humans before he has crossed an ethical line? When has one stopped trying to help, and started trying to gain power and prestige at a deep cost to others? “If one could mend the mind, one could bend the mind…” At what cost does one desire success? Many characters must wrestle with this issue.

I loved seeing Graham Lambert progressively develop a spine. Will he actually continue to exert the new muscle he has developed, or shrink back when push comes to shove?

I enjoyed the inclusion of a certain waif. I am a sucker for children in stories, and this one doesn’t fit the mold waifs are usually relegated to.

One more note: I love when slightly dark or suspenseful books have some comic relief. Griep includes this with notes of humor from the maid, off-setting the seriousness and tragedy being presented. Bravo!!

Hard to pick just a few Notable Quotables!

“If houses had souls, this one was clearly bound for Hades.”

“Do not live your lives looking over your shoulder, wondering what others think of your behaviour. It is God you will answer to one day, not society.”

“…the most holy band of society is friendship.”

“There was no cure for fear or despair, leastwise not in his bag of tools.”

“Trust must ultimately rest on God, not in folklore, which is flimsy at best and malignant at worst.”

“Yet I find it is not justice so much as mercy that makes all things right.”

“Family, no matter the size of it, is precious. Never leave a loved one behind.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! An Awesome Gothic Regency, Full of Truth Amid the Shadows

About the Author

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.

More from Michelle

Are You a Monster Too?

“Look at that! The fattest girl in the class is the first one to get in line for a cupcake.”

Those words, spoken to me in junior high by a clueless boy, are forever seared into my memory. Just because I wasn’t a willowy stick-figure who didn’t match up to magazine covers, I was singled out. Made to feel ashamed. Made to feel like a monster.

Have you ever felt that way?

Chances are you have. We are all poked and prodded at some point in our lives…which brings up a few questions. How do you deal with the sometimes ugly perceptions with which others view you? How do you stop trying to prove your worth to others, when in their eyes you are somehow worthless? Why does God allow such hurtful things to happen anyway?

These are the questions I attempt to tackle in my new release, Lost in Darkness. And surprisingly enough, those are the very same issues contemplated in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Now hold on. Don’t go rolling your eyeballs quite yet—which is the usual response whenever Frankenstein is mentioned.

Most people’s conception of this great piece of literature has been forever ruined by Hollywood’s green creature. You know the one, the giant with bolts sticking out of his neck and a stiff-legged walk. So not true. The essence of Shelley’s “horror” story is instead about a creature who struggles with heartfelt needs that can only be met by his creator. In this story, Shelley respectfully handles the subject of what we owe our creator and what our creator’s responsibility is toward us as the created…the very same questions we all struggle with.

As does Colin Balfour, a man with a heart of gold and a face that causes children to scream. In Lost in Darkness, he hopes to undergo a life-changing surgery that will end his self-imposed isolation. But what really happens is a life change for his sister Amelia and the surgeon who tries to prevent it all from happening. For indeed, even if there be monsters, there is none so fierce as that which resides in man’s own heart.

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, November 29

Genesis 5020, November 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 29

The Write Escape, November 30

Betti Mace, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, November 30

Remembrancy, December 1

Inklings and notions, December 1

Blossoms and Blessings, December 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 2

Daysong Reflections, December 2

For Him and My Family, December 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 3

Bigreadersite, December 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 4

For the Love of Literature, December 4

SodbusterLiving, December 4

deb’s Book Review, December 5

Splashes of Joy, December 5

Back Porch Reads, December 5

Connie’s History Classroom, December 6

Simple Harvest Reads, December 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 7

Through the fire blogs, December 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 8

Pause for Tales, December 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 9

Labor Not in Vain, December 9

To Everything There Is A Season, December 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, December 10

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 10

Truth and Grace HomeschoolAcademy, December 11

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 11 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 11

Rachael’s Inkwell, December 12

Blogging With Carol, December 12

Connect in Fiction, December 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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/1

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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/13cfd/lost-in-darkness-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, NetGalley, PB

A Deep Divide by Kimberley Woodhouse

About the Book

Title: A Deep Divide

Series: #1 Secrets of the Canyon

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: October 2021

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

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. 

My Impressions

“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.

Notable Quotables:

“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.”

My Rating

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.com www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAu…
www.instagram.com/kimberleywoodhouse
www.twitter.com/kimwoodhouse

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, PB, Purchase

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright, Review

About the Book

Title: On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: June 2021

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

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! 

You can find Jaime at her website at http://www.jaimejowright.com

on Twitter @jaimejowright

or on GoodReads at
http://www.jaimejowright.com



My Impressions

“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 abus
ive 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.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Eerie, Historic, & Amazing Dual Timeline Not to be Missed!!