BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley, Uncategorized

The Seamstress by Allison Pittman

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About the Book

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Title: The Seamstress

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities.

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

MY REVIEW:

1788 Paris is dark, gritty, and terrifying; beautiful, lavish and out-of-touch. While the Seamstress by Allison Pittman has much action in the poor countryside, much thought and control are determined in the capricious capital. With its model being The Tale of Two Cities, The Seamstress yet holds forth rays of hope peeking through the backdrop of the dank Bastille on a hot, steamy day. What an incredible, overall effect the completed story has on one’s heart. Abandonment, adoption, intrigue, faith, faithlessness, famine, excess, forgiveness, greed, love, lust, loyalty, rebellion in every form; all are here and present in Paris where the food is scarce and the anger is plentiful. Pittman relates her tale through two cousins, Laurette and Renee. Unsatisfied Laurette’s part is told in the third person, while innocent Renee’s is narrated in first. I half wondered if that encouraged the reader to favor the purer Renee? Silver-tongued Marcel and godly, poor farmer Gagner are major players in the drama. This is certainly a character-driven novel as we see a nation fighting against itself for survival. I loved the great attention to historical detail and political climate, while God’s Word was seamlessly woven into the story in small but efficient sound bites at just the right time. This is a book to leave you reeling!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are my own.

 

MY RATING:

 

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About the Author

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

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Guest Post from Allison

My dream of being an author began by “finishing” other author’s works, fleshing out the stories of neglected characters. When I read the final books in the Little House series, I was far more interested in Cap Garland than I was in Almonzo Wilder, and I imagined all kinds of stories in which he was the hero.

This, The Seamstress, is one of those stories that came to me in a single burst of thought. I was teaching my sophomore English class, discussing through the final scenes in A Tale of Two Cities, when the little seamstress in those final pages reached out to me. She is a nameless character, seemingly more symbolic than anything. Dickens, however, gives her an entire backstory in a single phrase: I have a cousin who lives in the country. How will she ever know what became of me? I remember pausing right then and there in front of my students and saying, “Now, there’s the story I want to write.”

Now, years later, I have.

While every word of every Charles Dickens novel is a master class in writing, what he gave to me for The Seamstress is the kind of stuff that brings life and breath to fiction. I have to convey the fact that any character on my pages—no matter how much story space he or she is allotted—has a life between them. Every man was once a child; every woman a vulnerable young girl.

So, Dickens gave me the bones of the story. A seamstress. A cousin in the country. A country ripped apart; family torn from family. I did my very best to put flesh on those bones, but no writer can ever bring the life and breath. Only a reader can do that.

 

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, February 9

The Lit Addict, February 9

The Power of Words, February 9

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis & Christ Collide, February 10

Lis Loves Reading, February 10

Maureen’s Musings, February 10

Carpe Diem, February 11

A Baker’s Perspective, February 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 12

Emily Yager, February 12

Mary Hake, February 12

Stories By Gina, February 13

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 13

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 13

Inspired by fiction, February 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

Remembrancy, February 14

Through the Fire Blogs, February 15

Seasonsofopportunities, February 15

Inspiration Clothesline, February 15

Books, Books, and More Books, February 16

Inklings and Notions, February 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16

Bibliophile Reviews, February 17

Texas Book-aholic, February 17

Margaret Kazmierczak, February 18

A Reader’s Brain, February 18

By The Book, February 18

Multifarious, February 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 19

Pause for Tales, February 19

Bigreadersite, February 20

Simple Harvest Reads, February 20

Janices book reviews, February 20

For the Love of Books, February 21

Book by Book, February 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 22

To Everything A Season, February 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

 

Giveaway

 

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To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card, a hardcover copy of The Seamstress, and this copy of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens!!

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/db0e/the-seamstress-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge: a Biography for Children

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About the Book

 

Title: Katie Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge

Author: Susan Barnett Braun

Genre: Children’s Non-Fiction

Release date: July 25, 2013, and updated with chapters on each of William and Kate’s children

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is known to most of the world as Kate Middleton. She was an ordinary girl on her way to an ordinary life until she met her Prince Charming. Now, she appears on television and in magazines. She wears beautiful, expensive clothing and travels all over the world. One day, she will be Queen of England. But along the way, she was bullied as a schoolgirl and she waited nearly ten years before marrying Prince William. Learn more about Kate’s road to royalty in this book! Written at Lexile level 930 (same as the Little House on the Prairie books), this book will appeal to girls eager to learn more about the most popular royal since Princess Diana. Full-color photos; timeline that places Kate’s life events into context next to world historical events

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

MY REVIEW:

Interesting and informative, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge: A Biography for Children first catches the reader’s attention with the beautiful cover. Being intrigued with all things royal since the days of Diana’s wedding to Charles, this book by Susan Barnett Braun portrays a happier couple than William’s parents, though Kate had to wait many years for her prince to make up his mind. This read is about more than the royal couple though, as we are treated to Kate’s early life with her family and at different schools.
What every royal watcher wants, a picture is included with every chapter. Welcome addendums to the book are chapters on each of Kate and William’s three children. I would happily recommend this book to upper elementary students and even adults who want a quick look into Kate’s life and history. I know I was pleased to learn a few things about this royal.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

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About the AuthorSusan-Braun-1-200x300

Susan Barnett Braun earned a BS in retail management from Indiana University and an MA in education from the University of Alabama. She taught for eight years in northeast Indiana, earning a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Study Scholarship. Susan has had work published in Parents, Children’s Ministry, and The Secret Place. She also writes online for Fort Wayne Visitor’s Bureau and blogs at Girls in White Dresses. She is married with three wonderful young adult daughters. Susan enjoys reading, playing piano and organ, and spending her time with her family and pets (currently three rabbits and a chinchilla). She has loved the British Royal Family since Diana came onto the scene back in the 1980s.

 

Guest Post from Susan

Back in 1981, as a teenager, I woke early to watch Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer. My fascination with the British royal family began with Diana. As a high school senior, I submitted my senior paper topic: Charles and Diana and the royal romance. My teacher was not amused — but once he read the paper, he did enjoy it and asked to keep a copy.

Over the years, I’ve continued following and enjoying the British royals. When I worked as an elementary teacher, and the next generation of royals came along, I felt that there should be books about Prince William’s wife, Kate. I fondly remembered reading books about Diana when I was younger and felt that today’s girls might be fascinated by Kate in a similar way. I didn’t find many books about Kate, so I decided to write one myself. I learned much while researching Kate (or Catherine, as she prefers to be called). She’s a wonderful role model for girls today in many ways. To name just a few examples: she overcame being bullied by other girls at one of the schools she attended. And, she developed lots of patience during her nine-year courtship with Prince William.

I hope you and the young people in your life will enjoy this biography of the Duchess.

 

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, February 7

Multifarious, February 8

Moments, February 9

Texas Book-aholic, February 10

A Reader’s Brain, February 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 13

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 14

Janices book reviews , February 15

Bibliophile Reviews, February 16

Carpe Diem, February 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 18

Just Your Average reviews, February 18

A Baker’s Perspective, February 19

Bigreadersite, February 20

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away a grand prize of a paperback copy of the book and a stuffed Beefeater bear!!

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/d9a7/kate-middleton-the-duchess-of-cambridge-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

 

 

BLOG

Taken in Texas, #4 McKade Law Series by Susan Sleeman

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE, SERIES: Taken in Texas, #4 McKade Law

PUBLISHER, PUBLISHED: Love Inspired Suspense, February 2019

GENRE: Christian Romantic Suspense

A cowboy protector from her past…

A McKade Law novel

Working her first case as deputy sheriff with her ex-boyfriend, Detective Cord Goodwin, Kendall McKade is determined to track the kidnappers—even if it makes her a target. Desperate to find the abducted victim, his aunt, Cord must keep Kendall safe…while also caring for his recently orphaned nephew. Teaming up threatens to rekindle Cord and Kendall’s relationship, but first, they must solve a life-threatening mystery.

 

MY REVIEW:

The last of the McKade Law Series, Taken in Texas by Susan Sleeman is a juxtaposition. On the one hand, there is the warmth and welcome emanated by the McKade clan. Sleeman describes the ranch and the extended family so well, one could almost hear the laughter and feel the family hugs. On the other hand, desperation seeps out as Cord and “rookie detective” Kendall McKade hit brick walls investigating his aunt’s disappearance.

Can Kendall and Cord forgive themselves and work confidently together despite their past to find his aunt before time is up, or will time expire for Kendall as well?

Sleeman’s action is always heart-pounding and unpredictable. What I didn’t foresee coming was the “false ending.” That left me reeling, as well as the characters.

If you enjoy Christian romantic suspense, read Susan Sleeman. She defines it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my solely own.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

4053429SUSAN SLEEMAN is the bestselling author of over thirty-five novels with more than one million books sold. She writes romantic suspense novels that are clean with inspiring messages of faith. Readers love her series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police-citizen academies, so her research is spot-on and her characters are real.
In addition to writing, Susan also hosts TheSuspenseZone.com. She has lived in nine states but now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.
To learn more about Susan’s books sign up for her monthly email that includes exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and other goodies. http://www.susansleeman.com/susans-ne…

 

 

 

 

 

BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

Mending Fences, #1 The Deacon’s Family by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

SERIES: The Deacon’s Family

PUBLISHER, DATE: Revell, February 2019

GENRE: Amish Romance

Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt–a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher returns to her beloved Stoney Ridge for this brand-new series featuring some of her readers’ favorite characters.

 

MY REVIEW:

Suzanne Woods Fisher has become an author whose books I snatch up as soon as they are available. She is such a wordsmith that one’s whole being is drawn into the worlds she creates. In Mending Fences, Fisher combines a couple different series as Luke Schrock returns home to Amish Stoney Ridge after his third stint in rehab.
This is a novel of second chances; caring for the unlovable; longing for what one doesn’t have, while perhaps missing what is offered one; discovering that one’s foolish actions can have both negative and positive consequences. And the laughter!! Fisher knows how to present serious truths in a hilarious setting.
I felt my heart sympathize with quiet Izzy who is learning to be plain. I wanted to like bad boy Luke who is trying to reform, but still carries a bit of an attitude. I especially liked the characterizations of Amos, Fran, and Bishop David Stoltzfus. Each is more than they initially appear. David is unlike many of the bishops one reads about, very caring, respected, thoughtful, and wise.
Since it is forbidden to quote the whole book, here are a few quotes I liked:
“Like I said, forgiveness, that comes naturally for us. It’s trust that’s hard to restore. Trust is a fragile thing. There’s no such thing as a little violation of trust, especially if you are the one who was betrayed.”
“He was a pity party of one.”
and,
“at any given moment, your life is going to be determined by your view of you, or God’s view of you.”

I can’t wait for the next installment, book two of The Deacon’s Family.

This book can be read without benefit of the other series, as enough backstory is revealed. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

 

MY RATING: 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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

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

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

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

Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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AUTHOR: Jocelyn Green

TITLE: Between Two Shores

PUBLISHER, DATE: Bethany House, February 2019

GENRE: Historical Fiction

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel’s life convince her he’s in mortal danger. Against her better judgment, she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She’s risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

 

MY REVIEW:

I love history. I love bits of French. Combine the two into a most compelling tale of the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War), and I was caught more efficiently than a beaver or fox in a trap. Jocelyn Green unfolds her tale, Between Two Shores in alternating time swatches. Green starts when Catherine, part Mohawk, part Canadian- French, accepted by neither nation, is ten. Then, suddenly like rapids on the rushing river, the novel skips ahead to the “present time” of the narrative, 1759; then, like the river meandering and curling back on itself, retreats back to an earlier essential era, only to repeat this ebb and flow several times throughout the novel. A little truth here, a little more here, too much at one time could perhaps be overwhelming. It seems this could be symbolic of the way Catherine has to slowly piece together her life and how her faith will affect her actions toward her father, Bright Star, Joseph, and eventually two nations.
My heart hurts for Catherine as she searches for a hero and true love. She seems to think love is an equal trade of sorts until finally faced with the question of whether she can love for love’s sake alone.
I did not cry during this novel, but I wanted to. At times, I, too, wanted to wretch, or faint, or plan an escape. NOT for the faint of heart. Bravo to Jocelyn Green for writing a different kind of historical romance, one that surprised me around every bend of the river, and certainly had me talking back to her!

Great Quotes:
“What is courage… but moving forward in the face of fear? If there was nothing to be afraid of, we would have no need to be brave.” ~ Samuel
…”But she was wholly who the Great Good God had made her…”

There are discussion questions at the end. Also included are author’s notes about what events and people included are factual. This book comes highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I was not required to leave a positive review.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

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Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.

Barbour, BLOG, NetGalley

The Alamo Bride, #7 The Daughters of the Mayflower Series by Kathleen Y’Barbo

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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TITLE: The Alamo Bride, #7 The Daughters of the Mayflower Bride

AUTHOR: Kathleen Y’Barbo

PUBLISHER AND DATE: Barbour, February 2019

GENRE: Christian Historical Romance

A Series for Lovers of History, Adventure, Romance, and Ancestry

Will Ellis Lose All at the Alamo?
Ellis Dumont finds a man in New Orleans Grey unconscious on Dumont property in 1836. As his fevers rage, the man mutters strange things about treasures and war. Either Claiborne Gentry has lost his mind or he’s a spy for the American president—or worse, for the Mexican enemy that threatens their very lives. With the men of her family away, Ellis must stand courageous and decide who she can trust. Will she put her selfish wants ahead of the future of the republic or travel with Clay to Mission San Jose to help end the war?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)​
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)

 

MY REVIEW:

Ellis Valmont, a headstrong young lady of Spanish and French descent, finds herself nursing a handsome young bilingual soldier back to health. He has been shot before seeing duty in Texas against Santa Ana. As Ellis nurses him, she discovers the soldier may hold very important secrets- but on which side does his loyalty lie?

This novel hit the sweet spot for me with frequent references to Ellis’s great-grandmother, Maribel Cordoba. Maribel’s story was told in The Pirate Bride, a wonderful story, also by Y’Barbo. Every mention of Maribel’s name brought flashbacks of that vicarious adventure and how much I enjoyed it. This, in turn, increased my enjoyment of The Alamo Bride. Still, I think this novel can stand on its own if one hasn’t read Y’Barbo’s previous tome.

I enjoyed seeing the relationship development between Ellis and Clay. Ellis is quite the spitfire (like her great- grandmother, Maribel) when she decides that she wants to do something. We see that same personality trait as Ellis deals with her beloved Grandfather, as well.

I was really impressed with what a frightening time in the Texians’ history this would have been to live. Y’Barbo kept me feeling off-balance right along with her uncertain characters.

Quotes:
“I don’t believe in luck… The Lord takes care of us in His own way. If we manage to have something go our way, we figure it’s because it is His way.”
“In times of war, not all friends were truly friends. And sadly, not all family escaped the title of enemy.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible. I was not required to leave a positive review.

MY RATING:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  153441

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than eighty novels with almost two million copies in print in the US and abroad.

A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and is the winner of the Inspirational Romance of the Year by Romantic Times magazine.

To connect with her through social media, check out the links on her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

A Love to Behold, #3 Forever Freedom by Sharlene McLaren

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About the Book

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Title: A Love to Behold

Author: Sharlene MacLaren

Genre: Christian romance, historical

Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Whitaker House

Two years after the Civil War, Lydia Albright, 27, is an established teacher in Boston when she senses God’s call to leave the comfort and security of her job and go south. She accepts a position to teach in a school for former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. A church there that’s affiliated with the American Missionary Association offers support, along with room and board at the parsonage.

The Ku Klux men are hell-bent on seeing that the new school fails. Lydia’s life is threatened, and the parsonage, church, and school are vandalized.

But they haven’t contended with a strong, determined woman like Lydia before. It also helps that she has a couple potential suitors on her side.

A Love to Behold is a tale of people who grow strong in the face of adversity and a church that learns love, compassion, and acceptance, even in the face of cruelty and hatred.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review:

Sharlene McLaren’s A Love to Behold is a beautiful, thought-provoking story about the Reconstructionist South. A time of the country being deeply divided, neighbors hating neighbors, and people not recognizing the worth of others made in God’s image. Although it sounds like it could be a tale of today, it is in reality, a tale of over one hundred fifty years ago.
I loved the spunk and spirit of Lydia. She has a mission and nothing can dissuade her. She is a “Steel Magnolia” from the North, determined to help the oppressed. I enjoyed the love triangle that develops. Of course, I always wonder why the characters let it go on as long as they do.
What added life and breadth to the novel was the colloquialisms that McLaren uses that were native to the area. Examples are “ fine as sifted flour,” “ heap of tired,” and, “I don’t give a skunk’s ear!”The best part of the book, though, is that the protagonists base their character upon Scriptural principles and pray about their problems.

There is plenty of suspense, mystery, action, and a bit of romance to keep the reader flipping pages to see how God (and McLaren)allow things to level out.

Favorite quote?
“But if the current generation wishes to stop the hatred, they can do it, one step at a time, one person at a time. We all have to work together, and then, with God’s help, we can achieve peace. God is love and He commands us to love one another. In fact, loving God and others is the greatest, most important commandment of all.”
Second?
“They calls her a half-breed, but she ain’t half t’ God, is she? She be whole t’ Him.”

I highly recommend this book, possibly in light of today’s animosity in our country. I never realized this was part of a series as I was reading it, so it stands on its own quite well.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.

I also apologize to the author and other readers who looked for my review earlier.  Due to a mistake on my part, it did not appear on time on my blog.  Totally my fault and I ask your forgiveness.

My Rating:

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About the Authorsharlene-maclaren-214x300

Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating in 1971 with an education degree, she taught second grade for two years, then accepted an invitation to travel internationally with a singing ensemble for one year. In 1975, she came home, returned to her teaching job, and married her childhood sweetheart. Together, they raised two lovely daughters, both of whom are now happily married and enjoying families of their own. Retired in 2003 after thirty-one years of teaching, “Shar” loves to read, sing, travel, and spend time with her family—in particular, her adorable grandchildren!
A Christian for over fifty years, and a lover of the English language, Shar always enjoyed dabbling in writing. She remembers well the short stories she wrote in high school and watching them circulate from girl to girl during government and civics classes. “Psst,” someone would whisper from two rows over, always when the teacher’s back was turned, “pass me the next page.”
In the early 2000s, Shar felt God’s call upon her heart to take her writing pleasures a step further, and in 2006, she signed a contract for her first faith-based novel, Through Every Storm, thereby launching her writing career. With eighteen published novels now gracing store shelves and being sold online, she daily gives God all the glory. She dedicated her last novel, Their Daring Hearts, to Jesus.
Shar has done numerous countrywide book signings and made several television appearances and radio interviews. She loves speaking for community organizations, libraries, church groups, and women’s conferences. In her church, she is active in women’s ministries, regularly facilitating Bible studies and other events. She and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake, Michigan, with their beautiful white collie, Peyton, and their ragdoll cat, Blue.
Shar loves hearing from her readers. If you wish to contact her as a potential speaker for a church function or would simply like to chat with her, please feel free to send her an e-mail at sharlenemaclaren@yahoo.com. She will do her best to answer in a timely manner. You may also find her on Facebook.

 

Guest Post from Sharlene

My dear readers,

It has indeed been my great privilege and pleasure to write this series set in Civil War times. What a thought-provoking, amazing, and heart-wrenching era in American history.

If you read all three books in the “Forever Freedom” series—Summer on Sunset Ridge, Their Daring Hearts, and A Love to Behold—you will have gotten some history lessons regarding the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers; Abolition; the Underground Railroad, which the Quakers were instrumental in launching; life as a Union soldier in the Civil War; the Freedmen’s Bureau; and Reconstruction, that period following the war when the south had fallen into great disrepair. Also prevalent in this third book is a bit of history regarding the origin of the Ku Klux Klan, a hate group that formed during the Reconstruction period.

Although I did not appreciate history as a young girl, as an older adult, I’m quite fascinated by it. History itself is a great teacher. Learning about it can be everything from exhilarating to depressing, challenging and yet exciting. It is my prayer that as you read my books, you’ll not only find them entertaining, but also inspiring and uplifting. I aim to encourage, not discourage. Much of history—if we dwell on it—can be disheartening, but focusing our hearts and minds on Christ gives us courage and confidence. Let us learn from history, but let us look to the future with hope in our hearts.

With love and a prayer for God’s best blessings,

Shar

 

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, January 22

Maureen’s Musings, January 22

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 23

Genesis 5020, January 23

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, January 24

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 24

Splashes of Joy, January 25

Blossoms and Blessings, January 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 26

Mary Hake, January 26

Godly Book Reviews, January 27

Daysong Reflections, January 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 28

Robin is Bookish, January 28

My Devotional Thoughts, January 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 29

The Becca Files, January 30

For the Love of Literature, January 30

Texas Book-aholic, January 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 1

Janices book reviews, February 1

A Baker’s Perspective, February 2

Bibliophile Reviews, February 3

Carpe Diem, February 4

Bigreadersite, February 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sharlene is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8d2/a-love-to-behold-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

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