Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, PB

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

46125026

About the Book

Title: Veiled in Smoke

Series: The Windy City Saga (#1)

Author: Jocelyn Green

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: February 4, 2020 ( I read an ARC.)

Genre: Christian Historical

Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago’s business district, they lose much more than just their store.

The sisters become separated from their father, and after Meg burns her hands in an attempt to save a family heirloom, they make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend not only died during the fire–he was murdered. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum. Though homeless, injured, and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father’s innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

My Review

“It was a lie, Meg had realized years ago, that the end of the war meant the end of suffering.” The Civil War is over, and the boys and men who survived are home. Yet Meg and her sister, Sylvie Townsend, discover that Stephen Townsend’s time in notorious Andersonville has wreaked havoc with his grip on reality. Meanwhile, Nathaniel Pierce of the Chicago Tribune interviews Stephen as a veteran. Life becomes murky when the city catches fire and Stephen’s best friend is murdered, leaving Stephen the cops’ main suspect.

Veiled in Smoke 1


Jocelyn Green is an expert at creating historically accurate and intriguing backgrounds while painting in-depth portraits of her characters. Both Meg and Sylvie exhibit intense loyalty and love for their parents, as well as a great need for their approval. Unfortunately, their understanding of their parents’ love and care is limited by the blinders they wear.
The young ladies also wear blinders when it comes to the young men in their lives. They cannot truly see the love, honesty, and true character(or lack thereof) of their beaux.
So many ideas and themes are presented. Forgiveness. The idea that it’s ok to be imperfect, and in fact, sometimes imperfect is better. Also, accepting life as it is, imperfect, not expecting it to be rosy or requiring others to be perfectly well or perfectly behaved all the time. (Ouch! Preaching to myself!!) True compassion. Sometimes we can’t achieve this until we’ve walked a mile in somebody else’s shoes, or at least had a bit of hardship in life. Faith, believing God is limitless and truly in control.
Two more thoughts. It was hard to breathe as I traveled with Meg and Sylvie and Nate as they desperately tried to outrun the Great Fire. I could smell the smoke, my lungs felt full to bursting, and my anxiety level was high. And then many somethings began falling from the sky!

Veiled in Smoke 2


I had never heard of the term, “soldier’s heart.” How fitting. How sad. So many times, we, the civilians for whom those men and now women sacrificed, refuse to understand and accept with open arms our vets who return to us.
As usual, Jocelyn Green will have me thinking for a long time to come about people and their treatment of others.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. No positive response was required. All opinions are my own.
 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot ( and makes me think and think!)

About the Author

2578437Jocelyn 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.

 

 

 

 

 

BLOG, NetGalley, Revell

The Roll of the Drums, #2 The Amish of Weaver’s Creek by Jan Drexler

43984601here

(This site uses affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I may be compensated.)

About the Book

Title: The Roll of the Drums

Series: The Amish of Weaver’s Creek

Author: Jan Drexler

Publisher: Revell

Released: October 2019

Ruby Weaver’s curly red hair isn’t the only thing that sets her apart from her Amish community in 1863. Twenty-eight and single, Ruby doesn’t believe a woman needs to be married in order to be happy. Her ailing friend Lovinia Fischer, however, has other ideas and wants Ruby to promise to marry her husband after she dies. Never imagining she’d have to fulfill that vow, Ruby agrees. And she’s not the only one. Lovinia has extracted a similar promise from her husband, Gideon.

With both Ruby and Gideon reluctant to keep their promises, a compromise must be reached. Ruby will spend her days with Gideon’s family–helping to raise the children and keep the house–but her nights will be spent at her sister’s neighboring house. But this arrangement raises eyebrows in their conservative Amish community, and it soon becomes clear that Ruby must make a decision–marry Gideon or turn her back on her friend, the children she’s grown to love . . . and their father.

Get your copy here.

My Review

This series, The Amish of Weaver’s Creek, presents an unusual view of the Civil War. The first book, A Sound of Distant Thunder, saw Jonas off to war, taking the place of his (pacifist) drafted brother. Now, Jan Drexler provides us with the story of Ruby Weaver, Jonas’s sister. 
Poor Ruby is outspoken, red-haired, and brash. No wonder she is still single. When a new family moves into the area and settles, Ruby has no idea the effect that befriending them will have on her life. 

The Roll of the Drums 1.png

Who, as a reader, won’t fall in love with Ruby? She isn’t your typical beauty, she doesn’t fit the typical behavior norms, and she isn’t just “perfect.” But she is loyal, kind, and she loves children. 
Gideon was a puzzle to me. I liked his determined character, his hard work, and his loyalty to those around him. Gideon feels like he failed God, and God cannot forgive him or use him. But the more I think about it, the more I believe his understanding of right and wrong or what he should have done, was very skewed in real life. Just my opinion. You’ll have to read the book to see what I’m referring to, and even then, you may have a different opinion. 

The Roll of Drums 2.png


All in all, I really enjoyed this book. If you like Amish, romance, or the Civil War, this might be a book for you. I can’t wait for book three! 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Revell via NetGalley
. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own. 

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior – Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

6583749.jpgJan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of thirty-five years, where she enjoys hiking in the Hills and spending time with their expanding family.

 

 

BLOG

The Widow’s Plight, #1 The Quilting Circle by Mary Davis

40074247

About the Book:

Paperback, 311 pages
Published July 1st, 2018 by Mountain Brook Ink
Original Title
The Widow’s Plight
ISBN13: 9781943959389
Genre: Historical Fiction

Washington State 1893

When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?

Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first, but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother.

Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?

MY REVIEW:

This Christian western takes on an enemy bigger than a gunslinger. Mary Davis, in The Widow’s Plight, shows the reader the tragedy and human ruin caused by domestic abuse. Ms. Davis doesn’t just tackle the most obvious, the physical abuse, but also shows the emotional abuse.

I, personally, had a difficult time reading this as I worked through the ramifications of the two kinds of abuses. Both were perpetrated on children (although the one also involved the heroine), and I wanted to enter the pages of the story to somehow help the victims recover faster.

I loved the characters and their portrayal of loyalty, forgiveness, and support of those who needed their help. I think I really fell in love with the children: Toby, Estella, and Nancy; and their resilience more than even the hero and heroine!

A terrifically sad statement, caused by continual abuse, is made of Lily, after the stampede: “She had succeeded in not feeling what she felt.”

Why is this such a great novel? How does it affect us today? Aunt Henny and Edric never gave up loving Lily and Toby. Those who truly love others CAN bring about healing in broken people, with God’s help, but that love may have to be extended again and again until it is accepted and healing starts.

I gratefully received a copy of this book from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own. I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

About the Author:

8126829

Mary Davis

Born and raised in Washington State, Mary now resides in Colorado with her husband of over twenty-seven years, three twenty-something kids, and four pets. She earned her college degree in elementary education and has taken an advanced course from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Mary leads two critique groups, one in the local Colorado area as well as an on-line critique group. She regularly attends the ACFW conference as well as her local writing chapter in the Springs, and she has spearheaded a writing contest for youth for several years. Cascades is her fourteenth book, which contains three previously released novels.

Mary enjoys writing contemporary and historical inspirational romance. She loves reading romance, fiction, mystery, and fantasy books, as well as playing with her cat, Buffy.

BLOG

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

36394907

About the Book:

Title: A Rumored Fortune

Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 31st,2018 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published July 2018)

Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they’ll not soon forget.

MY REVIEW:

Powerful!! A Rumored Fortune, only the second book written by Joanna Davidson Politano, is on my list of top ten for 2018. More importantly, though, this novel will be in the running for top honors among book awards. This is my prediction for a novel of such high-caliber.

Tressa Harlowe’s odd vineyard-keeping father has disappeared from their mid-1800’s castle. Sadly, the search begins not so much for him, but for the treasure rumored to have been behind.

I should mention the narrative switches between first person, the rich heiress, Tressa; and third person, Donegan, the vinedresser in a class beneath her. Considering the societal differences so important at that time, this is extremely
clever of Politano.

This book grasped my attention from the start and held on, like the sea and mist that surround the castle and rarely loosen their clutches on it or its land.

Sadly, no matter what time period, people change very little. There are those who hear of someone else’s fortune and justify it should be theirs instead; schemers descend like vultures determined to get their share of the grand meal.

Obviously, Politano is an anglophobe and describes the area, life, and characters with a poetic prose that makes them “a wonder to behold.” She is a romantic in the linguistic sense of the word.

Fortunately, Politano is quite the romantic in the more common sense of the word. We see several possible romances, involving more than just the main characters. Which will thrive, and which will die, because there was no real connection?

Speaking of connections, Tressa has three main interests: her father, (and the vineyard because that was his obsession); relationships, and the fortune. Politano weaves them all together in an unforgettable story of agricultural lessons for life, including the spirit, romance, and intrigue that will leave you amazed at the experience you have just sojourned.

Hard to pick just a few quotes, but here are some faves:
“Strength comes to the branch through connection, and that’s what I’m offering.” How Tressa needs connections in more ways than one!

“It takes a harsh summer to yield abundance in the vineyards…When you feel you’re dying in the summer, all a branch needs to do is hang on.” So timely for anybody going through a rough patch!

“…isn’t the sort of man I would imagine knowing much Scripture.” ‘No, …he simply lives it out.’” We all need to live out our faith like that unnamed character!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. (I also bought my own copy.) This did not affect my opinions in any way, nor was I required to leave a positive review.

About the Author:

16355029

Joanna Davidson Politano

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.

Uncategorized

More Than Meets the Eye,#1 PatchWork Family by Karen Witemeyer

36353369

About the book:

Paperback, 347 pages
Published June 5th, 2018 by Bethany House Publishers (first published June 2018)
ISBN
0764212834 (ISBN13: 9780764212833)
Edition Language
English
Series  Patchwork Family #1

Seeking justice against the man who destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront the person responsible. But his quest is derailed when, instead of a hardened criminal, he finds an ordinary man with a sister named Evangeline–an unusual beauty with mismatched eyes and a sweet spirit that he finds utterly captivating.

 

MY REVIEW:

This fantastic Christian historical fiction story by Karen Witemeyer is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. More Than Meets the Eye will pull on your heartstrings as you realize the pain Evie goes through all her life because of her miss-matched eyes. People can be so cruel, not just back then, but even now, when others are different from themselves, in a way they don’t understand.

I loved the way the orphans joined together to form a formidable, unshakable bond they considered family. They learned how to deal with each others’ needs in order to create the strongest possibility for each to survive.

Both Logan and Zach need to learn that the future is not theirs to shape, no matter how desperate they are they retain their tenuous hold on the future. “…control was an illusion. No man controlled fate. God alone claimed that honor.”

Healing from brokenness is a big theme in the book. At first reading, it seems obvious who has the biggest holes in their hearts and who may have transgressed the most. However, broken people heal best when they and those who may stand in judgment all realize that we are all broken somewhere. “People might try to hide their broken places and pretend to be whole, but the truth is that we all have failings. That is why we need each other.” We all need to work together to forgive and forge a new path.

I highly recommend this book. I both bought a copy and received a complimentary copy from Bethany House. This in no way affected my opinions, which are freely given and for which I am solely responsible.

About the Author:

3114906

Karen Witemeyer

Born

in The United States

Website

 

Genre


For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home.

Winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website. To learn more about Karen and her books, or to join her subscriber list, please visit www.karenwitemeyer.com.