After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.
During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who’s on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone’s family’s clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.
For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday.
About the Author
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus.
She also writes many teen books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series.
Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon.
Oh, my goodness! After reading A Christmas in the Alps, I have the strong urge to go out and purchase all of Melody Carlson’s other Christmas novels and novellas! Carlson recounts an amazing story of finding family and restoring relationships long ago damaged and severed. All set against a backdrop of a young woman seeing Paris for the first time, then staying in a lovely chateau-hotel in a quaint village in the Alps. I felt like I was traveling along with Simone, suffering through the trans-Atlantic flight, seeing the beautiful sights, stumbling through awkward attempts at communicating in French.
If you love Hallmark movies, you will love this novel that begs to be its own movie. Several love triangles make for romantic tension and swoon-worthy reading. Team Kyle or Team Noel? Team Sylvie or Team Simone? How will the love triangles affect the loyalties and action and other relationships in this beautiful story?
*Sigh.* I don’t reread books. But I just may have to make an exception!
I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions are my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! I rarely re-read books, but I am ready to spend another afternoon in the Alps with Simone this season!
Restless with the familiarity of her Alabama home, Ellie Fields accepts a teaching job in a tiny Louisiana town deep in bayou country. Though rightfully suspicious of outsiders, who have threatened both their language and their culture, most of the people in tiny Bernadette, Louisiana, come to appreciate the young and idealistic schoolteacher as a boon to the town. She’s soon teaching just about everyone–and coming up against opposition from both the school board and a politician with ulterior motives.
Acclimating to a whole new world, Ellie meets a lonely but intriguing Cajun fisherman named Raphe who introduces her to the legendary white alligator that haunts these waters. Raphe and Ellie have barely found their way to each other when a huge bounty is offered for the elusive gator, bringing about a shocking turn of events that will test their love and their will to right a terrible wrong.
A master of the Southern novel, Valerie Fraser Luesse invites you to enter the sultry swamps of Louisiana in a story that illuminates the struggle for the heart and soul of the bayou.
Young Ellie Fields is about to enter a world very different from which she came. Will she try to change the people to match her cultural norms? Will she bow to pressure from powerful, yet nefarious persons who want to use her as a pawn? Will she find a new life, or will she return to the familiar one she fled? Valerie Fraser Luesse writes so smoothly and enticingly in Under the Bayou Moon that I was under her magical spell after the first sentence. Luesse brings the sultry bayou out of the pages and delights the reader with its incredible sights, sounds, and smells.
I loved the friendship of Ellie and Raphe and Heywood. How beautiful! How enduring! A quote, not from the book, but so fitting for this trio, “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” When I finished Under the Bayou Moon, I felt I had been part of something sacred. Something that had little to do with “L’Esprit Blanc” as the white alligator was called. Ellie chooses to befriend some young women who help her in the school. She befriends a group of grandparents who take on an incredible task in order to make life more pleasant for their beloved grandchildren. She befriends a precious older lady who lives near her borrowed cottage. All these relationships affect her life profoundly. And, of course, she befriends Rafe, Remy, and Heywood. I would urge you to read this book, if you, like myself, are not from the ancient Bayou culture. This is the “Christy” of the Bayou.
Notable Quotables: “What she longed for was not change, but transformation.”
“If you ask me, it’s no less despicable to deny a child knowledge than to deny him food.”
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Revell Reads. I am voluntarily leaving my opinions (no positive review required), and all thoughts are my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
About the Author
Valerie Fraser Luesse is the author of four novels set in the South: Christy Award winner Missing Isaac (2018), Almost Home (2019), The Key to Everything (2020), and the upcoming Under the Bayou Moon (August 2021), all published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. An award-winning magazine writer, Luesse is perhaps best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she wrote major pieces on the Mississippi Delta, Acadian Louisiana, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on the recovering Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, photographed by Mark Sandlin, won the 2009 Travel Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. Luesse earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Auburn University and Baylor University, respectively. She is a native of Harpersville, Alabama, and lives in Birmingham, where she is the senior travel editor for Southern Living. Find her online at valeriefraserluesse.com; facebook.com/valeriefraserluessebooks; bakerpublishinggroup.com; bookbub.com/authors/valerie-fraser-luesse; and goodreads.com
Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel’s real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’s lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all.
As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can’t help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities?
Rachel Fordham pens a tender tale of a soft-spoken man, a hardened woman, and the friends that stand by them as they work toward a common purpose–to expunge the record of someone society deemed beyond saving–and perhaps find love along the way.
Reading the author’s “why” behind one of the main characters made me love this story all the more. Rachel Fordham certainly accomplishes what she set out to do… make a quiet, unassuming, often brunt-of-jokes character into a sympathetic, greatly caring, and deep personality! How I loved him, and I believe most readers will connect well with Gil as he slowly emerges from his self-made cocoon. The leading lady that is so opposite Gil and draws him out? Readers won’t be able to help but love Hazel, either, as we gradually are able to compare the amazing person she is, with the persona she exhibited for so many years.
Fordham fleshes out the story with some friends of Gil and Hazel I grew to love. They showed more depth than I would have credited them. Which, by the way, was one of the major themes of the novel- judging people based on looks, their pasts, or societal relegations. And, oh, that we could all learn the forgiveness that would set us free. Several characters must choose what degree of forgiveness they will offer-or receive- and that will make ALL the difference. Loved the inclusion of art, corn harvest, dental practice, reformatory life, and more. Just a powerful story. I received a copy of the book through Revell Reads. I was not obligated to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own, voluntarily submitted.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent!! Powerful Story!!
About the Author
Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.
Learn more about current projects at rachelfordham.com
Blaine Grayson returns to Three Sisters Island with a grand plan–to take Camp Kicking Moose to the next level. Her dream starts to unravel when she discovers Moose Manor’s kitchen has been badly remodeled by her sister, Cam, who doesn’t know how to cook. Added to that blow is the cold shoulder given by her best friend, Artie Lotosky, now a doctor to the unbridged Maine islands.
As old wounds are opened, Blaine starts to wonder if she made a mistake by coming home. Little by little, she must let go of one dream to discover a new one, opening her heart to a purpose and a future she had never imagined.
Welcome back to Three Sisters Island, ME, and another visit with Paul Grayson and his three grown daughters. (I was thankful for the character list at beginning of this book. With the books in the series a year apart, it can be hard to remember who’s who.) At Lighthouse Point, #3 Three Sisters Island, by Suzanne Woods Fisher is very enjoyable as it focuses especially on Blaine’s return to the island, yet we see Cam and Maddie maturing in their marriages and the dynamics of the family as a whole. There are so many character developments or relationships examined, that the flow of the storyline is wonderfully robust and busy from every angle. With healthy doses of faith that are spoken in Woods’ trademark profound but easy-to-understand style, this book is the perfect conclusion to The Three Sisters’ Island series. Woods even surprised me a few times with her twists and turns.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via Net Galley and LibraryThing Early Reviewers. No positive review was required and all thoughts are my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent!! A fave for its truths and tightly woven storyline.
About the Author
Award winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected. With more than one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of more than 30 works, ranging from novels to non-fiction books to children’s books. Currently, she lives with her very big family in the East Bay.
More from Suzanne
10 Curious Facts about Lighthouses
People love lighthouses. There’s just something special about those sturdy sentinels with their beacons of light, patiently sweeping the water, their mournful and haunting wail of a foghorn. Longfollow’s poem, The Lighthouse, written in 1850, captured the allure so well:
And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright, Through the deep purple of the twilight air, Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light, With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!
“Unearthly splendor.” Wow, doesn’t that hit the nail on the head? A lighthouse, to me, represents a spiritual truth: Someone’s watching out for us, looking out for the dangers ahead, and always glad to welcome us home.
Here are 10 facts about lighthouses that you might not know:
THE FIRST KNOWN LIGHTHOUSE was Egypt’s Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt, built in the third century B.C. The lighthouse was made from a fire on a platform to warn sailors of the port’s entrance. This lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
THE OLDEST EXISTING LIGHTHOUSE IN THE WORLD is considered to be La Coruna in Spain that dates from ca. 20 B.C. A Roman lighthouse is located on the Cliffs of Dover in the UK that was constructed in 40 A.D.
THE UNITED STATES IS HOME to more lighthouses than any other country.
THE FIRST LIGHTHOUSE IN AMERICA was at Boston on Little Brewster Island (1716). The first keeper was George Worthylake who, sadly, was drowned, along with his wife and daughter, when returning to the island in 1718.
THE TALLEST LIGHTHOUSE is on Cape Hatteras, NC. Built in 1872, it reached 196 feet tall.
THE FIRST WEST COAST LIGHTHOUSE was built on Alcatraz Island in 1854.
DAYMARKS are the painted colors and patterns (diamonds, spirals and stripes) on lighthouse towers to distinguish them from each other.
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPING was one of the first U.S. government jobs available to women, as far back as the 19th century. Most obtained their position when their husband died or became incapacitated.
THE RANGE OF THE LIGHTHOUSE LIGHT produces a light seen 25 miles at sea.
ABOUT 700 LIGHTHOUSES are still in active use in the United States.
As I wrote the third book in the ‘Three Sisters island’ series, I just had to give that little charred lighthouse its day in the sun. It had patiently played a role in the first two books, waiting for its turn on center stage. Not only did its setting provide a very unexpected “WHAT? How did that happen?” conclusion to the series, it even stole the headline! The undisputed title: At Lighthouse Point.
Do you have a favorite lighthouse? If so, please add your picture in the comments below. Don’t forget to include its location.
Thanks for reading! Stay well, stay home, and read.
US Secret Service Special Agent Luke Powell is lucky to be alive. Three of his fellow agents have died in unusual circumstances in the past ten weeks. Luke is devastated by the loss of his friends and colleagues, and his inability to locate the killer feels like a personal failure. He’s an expert at shielding others, but now the protectors are in need of protection.
FBI Special Agent Faith Malone is driven to succeed and confident in her ability to solve every case she’s assigned. She’s been put in charge of the investigation into the unprecedented attacks, and with Luke’s life in danger, the stakes have never been higher. But it’s hard to know how to fight back when you don’t know who the enemy is.
As more agents are targeted, Luke and Faith will have to work together to bring a killer to justice and prevent any more names from joining their fallen brothers and sisters on the Secret Service Wall of Honor.
“Mondays were the worst.” Who doesn’t agree with that statement?! And with that sentence, Lynn H Blackburn deftly hooks the reader. The timbre of Unknown Threat, ( #1 Defend and Protect) escalates as we find out that Secret Service agents in the Raleigh office are being picked off systematically. Can FBI Special Agent, Faith Malone, work with Luke and get past his hatred of the FBI, to discover who wants to eradicate his team?
Plenty of drama, sweet romance, and explosive action make this a story to remember. I love the way that Luke and Faith must put aside their pasts with their hurts and baggage to forge a relationship. Little snippets make us aware of another team member whose romance may be the subject of the next book. I appreciate that Blackburn adds a humorous dimension to very tense moments and keeps the suspense below heart attack level. I have read Blackburn’s Dive Team Investigations series and was pleased to find the same level of team camaraderie and loyalty between members of Luke’s Secret Service agency. That pervading sense of family makes me eager to get my hands on the next book in the series. I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through Library Thing. All opinions are my own, unsolicited thoughts.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
About the Author
It’s probably no surprise to any of you that two of my favorite things are reading books and writing books.
If I’m not reading or writing, there’s a decent chance that I’m talking about reading or writing, which is part of what makes doing interviews for my books so much fun.
I’ve compiled a running list of all the places where you can see/hear/read about everything from my feelings on dogs and cats to how I do my research. All of these interviews have been tied to the release of Unknown Threat in some way.
And speaking of Unknown Threat – y’all! The response has been amazing! As of this writing we are only 2 weeks past the release and there are already 105 reviews on Amazon and it has 4.8 stars. My mind is blown, my heart is full, and it makes me ridiculously excited to dive into writing the next book in the series!
To fulfill her mother’s dying wish, Moira Doherty moves from Boston to the rolling green hills of 1921 Ireland to teach in a village school. She doesn’t expect to fall in love–or to uncover a scandalous family reputation her mother left behind years ago.
Could it really be that this is Jennifer Deibel’s debut novel? A Dance in Donegal by Revell is so gloriously rich in Irish culture, lore, and the magic of the Emerald Isle itself, a reader who is even the slightest fan of historical romance and mystery will be swept away. I certainly was. In 1921, Moira Doherty leaves Boston to teach school in her deceased mother’s hometown of Ballymann, in Donegal. What starts as an adventure becomes an arduous trial as Moira finds the Irish folk distrusting of her and her motives. With a very small handful of friends, Moira must decide who or Who she will please and learn to live well with the consequences. Sean McFadden, the young, searching, roof thatcher, is such a quiet gem. Thoughtful, humorous, quick to learn from his mentor, Colm, Sean is a deep well as opposed to the babbling brook personality of a certain returned barrister. I love the warmth of Brid, and the great depth and wisdom of both Peg and Colm. What it would be like to have them for friends! I love how God’s quiet voice speaks His Word into Moira’s heart, calming her and giving her peace. Comforting Scripture is quite naturally sprinkled throughout. “Once again, the words allowed a sense of peace to settle over Moira’s heart. She might not know what the future held, but she knew the One Who did, and she knew of His love for her.” Forgiveness, obedience despite consequences, and grace vs. judgment are all themes Deibel presents well. So many Notable Quotables. Here are a few:
“When ya seek to love the Laird wit’ all year heart, soul, an’ mind, and then seek ta love others selflessly, ye’re a man who will make a difference in this world one person at a time.”
“Smack in the middle of what God is askin’ us is the best place for any of us to be.”
“The Laird can change even the coldest man’s heart.”
“It doesna matter what the world says I am. It doesna even matter what I believe myself to be…if I believe in the Laird Jesus Christ and what He did fer me, I canna be condemned.”
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, which are solely my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent!! I expect A Dance in Donegal to be in the running for CF Book of the Year!!
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.
Debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, releases February 2, 2021 from Revell. Follow Moira Doherty to the wilds of rural Ireland in 1921. Available for preorder wherever books are sold.
Connect with Jennifer on her blog at jenniferdeibel.com or on Twitter @thisgalsjourney.
Haunted by her sister’s mysterious disappearance, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky, in the spring of 1911 to work for Cora Wilson Stewart, superintendent of education. When Cora sends Lucy into the hills to act as scribe for the mountain people, she is repelled by the primitive conditions and intellectual poverty she encounters. Few adults can read and write.
Born in those hills, Cora knows the plague of illiteracy. So does Brother Wyatt, a singing schoolmaster who travels through the hills. Involving Lucy and Wyatt, Cora hatches a plan to open the schoolhouses to adults on moonlit nights. The best way to combat poverty, she believes, is to eliminate illiteracy. But will the people come?
As Lucy emerges from a life in the shadows, she finds purpose; or maybe purpose finds her. With purpose comes answers to her questions, and something else she hadn’t expected: love.
“Oh, my stars and garters!” By the time I reached the 2nd chapter, my grin was firmly in place, stretching from ear-to-ear. Fisher recounts this remarkable tale of the real Cora Wilson Stewart, who campaigned for literacy in the Kentucky mountains, woven into fiction in a compelling, unforgettable novel. The Moonlight School is everything I’ve come to expect from Fisher and more. This is a tale of triumph of faith, perseverance, and a love for one’s neighbor’s plight that motivates action. The end brings so many pieces together, with twists I wouldn’t have seen coming. Lucy is a very special heroine, changing from inept, unconcerned city-girl to caring, daring, and brave young woman, ready to fight for the rights of the mountain people. Fisher gives creates a believable live triangle with Lucy and Andrew and Wyatt, then another with Lucy, Fin, and Angie. None of the characters are perfect, but some reach towards community betterment, while others reach only for what will benefit them. It is the ones who look out for the mountain folk who are “silent” that we learn to love. They share the following sentiment: “The only way to lift people is to teach them to lift themselves. Literacy is the only road to true freedom… literacy gives a voice to the silent.” I was amazed by the discovery that Cora makes through Miss Mollie that turns her educational philosophy upside down. I was also amazed by the natural teaching ability of Angie and her willingness to share with others when she is so antagonistic towards Lucy. I was proud of Lucy for tackling a job that she isn’t the best at yet filling in because she is needed. The original pronunciations of the mountain folk make the book authentic, while the explanations of their need to hang on to their culture from the Old Country, caused me to think differently than I had before. A hearty five stars to this beautiful book from Suzanne Woods Fisher!
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley, as well as Library Thing. These are my own, unsolicited opinions.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
About the Author
More from Suzanne
I’m Suzanne Woods Fisher, the author of The Moonlight School. This historical fiction will release on February 2, 2021, and is based on a true story featuring Cora Wilson Stewart, a Kentucky educator way ahead of her times. In 1911, Cora had a crazy idea—to open rural one-room schoolhouses in her county on moonlit nights to teach illiterate adults how to read and write.
So what happened next? Well, it’s so astonishing that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Instead, I hope you’ll read the book and find out for yourself.
In the meantime, this infographic provides a fascinating look at illiteracy THEN…and NOW. Makes you want to thank your teachers, doesn’t it?
Selah Hopewell, Virginia Colony’s most eligible woman, is busy matchmaking for a ship of brides, though she has no wish to wed.
Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement, but he is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife, daughter of the Powhatan chief.
Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they’ve been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?
For those who know the story of Jamestown, John Rolfe, and Pocahontas; comes this amazing reimagining from the pen of historical fiction maestro Laura Frantz. In Tidewater Bride, we reconnect with bits and pieces of the past lives of three friends, to find out what keeps two of them from being romantically involved after the death of the beloved third. Frantz paints beautiful Virginia scenery, two, make that many, cultures at odds with each other, striving for survival and supremacy in a wild and untamed land. Romance beckons but struggles to stay aflame amidst the winds of distrust and treachery which threaten. When you finish with this novel, you will be amazed at what you have learned about the political climate of the times, the way people groups treated each other, and the strength that some individuals showed in standing true to honest principles. “True Word” is a name given Alexander Renick because he was one of very few the “Naturals” I love that designation) could trust.
The premise for peace among the settlers and the Naturals is amazing, and my heart broke and cheered for those brave souls involved. I loved the growth we see in Selah, Renick, and Shay. May there be more parents like Selah’s and Shay’s, who taught their children to be colorblind to skin tone, but to examine the mettle of another’s the soul. And may we be careful not to assume and judge that which we don’t know for fact about another. So much history woven into fiction from Laura Frantz, and so much romance, suspense, and intrigue that you’ll be spellbound.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and the publisher and through NetGalley and Library Thing. I also bought copies as prized gifts. All opinions are my own. No positive review was required.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I love Laura Frantz’s books. Tidewater Bride may be one of my faves.
About the Author
Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. When she’s not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.
According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.
When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.
Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.
In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.
The Edge of Belonging is such a spellbinding, dual-time novel from Amanda Cox. I foresee Edge of Belonging winning an award for debut novels. For myself, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page. Heart-rending themes such as foster homes, homelessness, human trafficking, depression, and PTSD are dealt with from both the sufferer’s and a loving helper’s POV. The raw loneliness hurt, and need that several of the characters experience is portrayed so poignantly. It seems each character in the earlier story (Harvey, Pearl, Thom, and Miriam) feels they are on the edge of belonging to some degree.
In the later story, Ivy is the focal point who feels like she doesn’t quite belong, but her best friend Reese has often struggled with those same sentiments. I was thrilled to see how the book’s title applied to so many. I also loved seeing the hope and mercy that certain characters, especially Pearl and Reese, generously dole out to others. Again, so many of Ms. Cox’s characters show significant growth by the end of the story. While it is easy to see early on where the stories will connect, there remains the fascination of just how Ms. Cox is going to work it all out.
I usually like to pick a favorite character, but they were all faves. I love Reese for his steadiness and undying care. Harvey, for the way he supersedes his own fears to love another. And Pearl, for her radar to find and genuinely love lost souls. Get your own copy of this must-read debut! I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Revell Reads via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.
In 1933, most people are focused on the Great Depression but all Piper Danson can think about is how to get out of being a debutante and marrying Braxton Crandall. In an act of defiance, Piper volunteers as a frontier nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains where adventure awaits.
*Sigh* After reading An Appalachian Summer, I wonder how a reader could not consider signing up to be a horse courier for Mrs. Breckenridge’s Nurse-Midwife Service. Sure, the year is 1933, and the locale of most of this unputdownable book is the hills and mountains of Kentucky. The adventure that Ann H Gabhart effortlessly spins rolls from one escapade to the next.
Of course, we might not all be as courageous as Piper Danson, who trades her debutante life for the wild unknown. Who needs to decide between two suitors when there are bigger mountains to climb… literally? What with snakes, men who might shoot before asking questions if a stranger is found on their land, odd jobs the girls have never before dreamed of attempting…life is never dull in these beautiful hills.
This is a journey of faith, friendship, love, and the soul. Faith that the mountain people have and readily share, as one lady on the train does to Piper:
“I’m guessing things has always been easy for you. That can make it harder to recognize what the Lord does for you. You can think maybe you’ve done it all yourself and don’t need him none. But you walk down some rocky trails with troubles on every side , and you’ll be wanting the Lord right there with you.”
Gabhart doesn’t belabor points, but inserts faith as a given for the mountain people.
Friendships. So many different kinds in this story. Some lead to respect. Some lead to good new friends. Some lead to love. *Sigh* It is just so much fun to follow the paths Gabhart winds, almost as twisty as the mountain paths themselves, before allowing her characters to settle their hearts.
There’s magic in those hills. Especially the ones inhabited by Mrs. Breckenridge, Piper, Suze, Dr. Jack, Billy, and on and on. This is a TV show waiting to be picked up.
Be able to say you read the book first.
“…the joy of the song can be in you whether it tickles the ears or not.”
“Sometimes a person had to forget the obstacles and jump into the moment.”
“I think we all have a calling. Sometimes we live up to it, and sometimes we don’t.”
“…every person should be allowed one idiotic dream in her lifetime.”
“You get up high on those hills and the Lord just seems nearer.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell Reads. I also bought an ecopy and a copy to bless a special friend with. All opinions are my own, and are freely given.
5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot!
About the Author
Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800’s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960’s. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl. Visit Ann’s website http://annhgabhart.com or her two blogs, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com, and the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspot.com.Giveaways several times a year.