Bethany House, BLOG

The First Love by Beverly Lewis

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The First Love

AUTHOR: Beverly Lewis

PUBLISHER AND DATE: Bethany House, November 2018

It’s the summer of 1951, and Maggie Esh is in need of some hope. Sweet-spirited and uncommonly pretty despite struggling with chronic illness, she is used to being treated kindly by the young men of her Old Order Amish church district. Yet Maggie wishes she were more like other courting-age girls so she could live a normal, healthy life.

To make matters more complicated, Dat has recently remarried, less than a year after her mother died. And while her stepmother is kind, Rachel is much younger than Mamm, and she simply doesn’t understand Maggie or her illness the way Mamm did.

When tent revival meetings come to the area, Maggie is curious, and the words of the Mennonite preacher challenge her to reconsider what she knows about faith. Can she learn to trust God even when hope seems a distant dream?

 

MY REVIEW:

Packed full of emotion and Biblical truth, this latest novel by Beverly Lewis explores young Maggie’s struggle with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis as she comes of age. The First Love also reveals Maggie’s family’s struggle to accept their father’s new wife, less than a year after their beloved Mamm dies.  
The reason I enjoyed the book was that it helped me see life from the perspective of people who have had a very different experience than myself. 
Lewis carefully brings out the details of a disease like Maggie’s. Life is never predictable, health-wise, from day-to-day. Others may or may not understand the inability of one with RA to do tasks one day that they could do the day before. Bad health can make a romantic future uncertain. I learned to love Maggie and was especially glad when she takes a risk that changes her life. 
I also really enjoyed the wisdom of Aunt Nellie. I am fortunate to have a godly person in my life with that kind of wisdom. 
The camp meetings are an integral part of the narrative, yet I was torn, wondering if there was a way to get this most important message across without being preachy. It felt like the book was only a vehicle for the message at that point. 
On to more positive. Having survived my own kids’ teenage years, I can identify just a pinch with Rachel who feels she is desperately trying to find her place in her stepchildren’s lives, let alone hearts. What a tough journey she undertakes, so courageously! 
Quotables I loved: 
Aunt Nellie’s goal: “Her goal is to make one person smile every single day.” Definitely one of my goals. 
“God won’t guide his footsteps unless he’s willin’ to move his feet.” God works best in those willing to obey. 
And lastly, a prayer for my adult children. “I pray you never disdain prayer. It’s the simplest way you can serve our Lord, and suffering won’t hold you from it…”  
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no review was required. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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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.”

 

 

 

Barbour, BLOG

The Liberty Bride, #6 Daughters of the Mayflower Series by MaryLu Tyndall

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The Liberty Bride, #6 Daughters of the Mayflower Series

PUBLISHER: Barbour

PUBLISHED: November 15, 2018

GENRE: Historical Fiction

LENGTH: 256 pages

ISBN: 978-1683226178

Lieutenant Owen Masters and Emeline Baratt meet on a British warship as sworn enemies. Where will Emeline place her loyalties when forced to spy against her country?
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

War Forces a Choice Between Love and Country
A trip home from England to Maryland in 1812 finds Emeline Baratt a captive on a British warship and forced to declare her allegiance between the British and Americans. Remaining somewhat politically neutral on a ship where her nursing skills are desperately needed is fairly easy—until she starts to have feelings for the first lieutenant who becomes her protector. However, when the captain sends her and Lieutenant Owen Masters on land to spy, she must choose between her love for him or her love for her country.

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall.

 

MY REVIEW:

“The Daughters of the Mayflower” series has produced some fantastic novels and some that, while interesting, are less than spectacular. You don’t know what you’re getting until you try each different book, written by different authors about different times of conflict in our country’s history. I have read several of MaryLu Tyndall’s books and really enjoyed the adventure and the Christian message. The Liberty Bride seems to lose some of the adventurous feeling as it gets weighed down by the message Tyndall is trying to impart. The Liberty Bride takes place during the War of 1812. I enjoyed meeting Emeline Barratt, who upon returning from England, finds herself in a position to spy for the Americans. Then there is her counterpart, First Lt. Owen Masters, who both intrigues and annoys her to no end. Emeline doesn’t understand the love of the Heavenly Father but equates God’s love with the punitive love of her own father. She is quite worried that God might be punishing her for any past disobedience. Only doing right will bring God’s approval, she believes. “I’m definitely going to Hell!” So says Emeline about all the deception, lying, and spying she has been doing for the Americans. Emeline’s character is actually very full of mercy and grace, what she needs to learn about God Himself. In short, I loved the action, the themes were good, but the conversation got heavy and preachy. Maybe others will not see it so. I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. I am not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are solely my own.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award finalist and bestselling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series, is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but open people’s eyes to their God-given potential. MaryLu is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

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BLOG

The Fashion Designer, #2 The Pattern Artist by Nancy Moser

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: The Fashion Designer
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 1st, 2018 by Shiloh Run Press
ISBN1683226011 (ISBN13: 9781683226017)
Series
Also available in ebook format

The American Dream thrives in 1912 New York City

Annie Wood, the housemaid-turned-pattern designer in The Pattern Artist, jumps at the chance to design her own clothing line when a wealthy New York couple offer to finance her endeavor. Joining the project is Annie’s new husband, Sean Culver, her best friend at Butterick, Maude Nascato, and a mother figure, Edna Holmquist.

Annie and her colleagues give up their careers, risking everything to follow a shared passion: clothes that are both fashionable and functional for modern, busy women in 1912.

Personal and financial setbacks threaten to keep the business from ever selling a single dress and test old relationships and new romances. No one said it would be easy. But the promise of the American Dream holds a deep hope for those who work hard, trust God, and never give up.

MY REVIEW:

As The Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser starts, changes in society were great or were imminent. Women were tired of sitting at home, unable to do more than silently support their men. They wanted the right to be included in the working force, and also the right to vote. They wanted a new sense of purpose.

In this sequel to the Pattern Artist, Annie and Sean are now married, and Annie, Maude, and Edna have a big purpose-to start a fashion company for the average working woman… or so they think…

I enjoyed seeing how humans planned, but God Himself came to the rescue time after time. I liked that when one person would get discouraged, another would pick up the mantle of encourager. It was interesting to see how one person of faith and vision could influence so many others. Annie succeeded because she trusted in God and she well understood her mission. “We’re offering our customers more than just a dress,” Annie said. “We’re offering them the chance to embrace their choice to be a modern woman.”

At times the book had a “Grace Livingston Hill” feel to it, as there were so many singles starting out who rather quickly found God’s choice of partner. I would have preferred a few less main circle characters and storylines, and a little more fleshing out of the forerunners.

Bottom line: while this was not one of the fastest books I’ve read, it was great for gaining insight into the mindset of the American woman in the early 1900’s. I recommend this book. It can stand alone.

I gratefully received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way influenced my opinions. I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of thirty inspirational novels that focus on discovering our unique purpose. Her genres include both contemporary and historical stories.

Her latest historical novel is “The Pattern Artist” about Macy’s and the Butterick Pattern Company in 1911 New York City. It was a finalist for a Romantic Times award. Its sequel is “The Fashion Designer”.

Other recent titles include the Downton Abbey-inspired Manor House Series: “Love of the Summerfields”, “Bride of the Summerfields”, and “Rise of the Summerfields.”

Her historical bio-novels allow real women-of-history to share their life stories: “Just Jane” (Jane Austen), “Mozart’s Sister” (Nannerl Mozart), “Washington’s Lady” (Martha Washington) and “How Do I Love Thee?” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning.)

“An Unlikely Suitor” was named to Booklist’s Top 100 Romance Novels of the last decade.

Nancy’s time-travel novel, “Time Lottery”, won a Christy Award, and “Washington’s Lady” was a finalist.

Her contemporary books are known for their big-casts and intricate plotting. Some titles are “The Invitation”, “John 3: 16”, “Crossroads”, “Solemnly Swear”, “The Sister Circle”, “The Seat Beside Me”, and “The Good Nearby”.

Nancy and her husband live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She knits voraciously, kills all her houseplants, and can wire an electrical fixture without getting shocked. She is a fan of anything antique–humans included.

Website: www.nancymoser.com