Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

An Hour Unspent, #3 Shadows Over England, by Roseanna M. White

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About the Book

Paperback, 413 pages
Published: September 4, 2018, by Bethany House Publishers
Original Title: An Hour Unspent
ISBN: 0764219286 (ISBN13: 9780764219283)

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his bAn-Hour-Unspent-194x300ack on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

 

MY REVIEW

An Hour Unspent. Prior to reading the book, I was convinced this was a very awkward title. Having finished the book, book three in Rosanna M. White’s Shadows Over England, I now applaud the author her doubly apt title.

Who could not fall in love with White’s portrayal of Barclay Pearce, an ex-thief, now spying for the English? He is constantly trying to square his new-found faith with the deception required to perform for his country. However, what really draws the reader into Barclay Pearce is the way he is so compassionate for others. He cares for almost anyone needy around him. He has even built his own family, chock-full of “adopted siblings” who have chosen to belong to each other. They care for each other, laugh with each other, and love each other. While not in the least bit related by blood, they would die for each other if need be. Pearce’s family is very reminiscent of the O’Malley family group created by Dee Henderson.
Evalina “Lina” Manning falls in love with this noble thief, but then waffles over who he really is. One of them deserves someone much better than the other.
Quotables:
“And if the Master Clockmaker took such care with each cog, shouldn’t said cogs have the good sense to obey him when they felt that nudge?”
“There’s no such thing as too late. Not with God.”
Intrigue in World War I; regrets of a splintered blood family vs. the riches of a cobbled family that values its members; knowing who you are; and seeking God, are all themes of this new favorite book of mine. Don’t miss Rosanna M. White’s An Hour Unspent. ( Note: I have not yet read the first two books. This story stood well on its own.)
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to leave a review and all opinions are my own.

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About the Author

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Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

 

Guest Post from Roseanna

Last year, as I finished up the writing of An Hour Unspent, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 103. As I sat at her funeral service and listened to the heartfelt memorial raised up to her by her kids and grandkids, I realized anew that this woman had been a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. She’d taught my family for generations how to love the Lord and each other, how to serve the Lord and each other, and how to trust the Lord and each other. Grandma Seward was, in so many ways, the one who instilled in me my idea of what family really is.

That idea—that it’s those knit together by love more than blood, and that faith is the strongest foundation—is what I built my unusual family of thieves upon in the Shadows Over England series. And strange as it is to liken my twenty-something reformed-thief hero to my 103-year-old-grandmother, Barclay Pearce is very much to his family what Maxine Seward was to mine.

The founder. The caregiver. The leader.

I knew as I began the series that I would write about Barclay in book three, and as I got to know him better throughout the series, I grew so excited to share his story! This is a man who led his family first into and then out of a life a crime, always for the right reasons—so he could provide for the children under his care. All he ever wanted to do was give them what he himself had lost. To show them love. To prove to them that they were worth any sacrifice.

It was truly a blessing for me to get to write the story in which Barclay found someone to come alongside him, to appreciate and learn to understand him. To finally share what started him down this path. I loved the idea that only a reformed thief could steal the time another family needed to overcome their own trials.

There are many historical items in the book that were such fun to explore—watchmaking of the era, the suffrage movement in England, technological advancements of the war—but at the heart, this isn’t a story about any of those.

It’s a story about how far people should go for love. I hope you enjoy Barclay’s story as much as I did!

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 30

The Power of Words, October 30

Back Porch Reads, October 30

Kat’s Corner Books, October 30

Janice’s Book Reviews, October 30

Where Faith and Books Meet, October 31

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 31

Faithfully Bookish, October 31

Genesis 5020, October 31

Fiction Aficionado, November 1

Among the Reads, November 1

The Lit Addict, November 1

Just the Write Escape, November 1

Multifarious, November 2

Godly Book Reviews, November 2

Real World Bible Study, November 2

Madeline Clark, November 2

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 3

Christian Bookaholic, November 3

Inspirationally Ever After, November 3

Bookworm Mama, November 3

Bigreadersite, November 3

Blogging With Carol , November 4

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 4

Life with the Tribe, November 4

The Becca Files, November 4

Kathleen Denly, November 5

Cordially Barbara, November 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 5

Simple Harvest Reads, November 5 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

God’s Little Bookworm, November 6

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 6

Faery Tales Are Real, November 6

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 6

Carpe Diem, November 6

Margaret Kazmierczak, November 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 7

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, November 7

Blossoms and Blessings , November 7

Maureen’s Musings , November 8

Connie’s History Classroom , November 8

Book by Book, November 8

Just Commonly, November 8

cherylbbookblog, November 9

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 9

Have A Wonderful Day , November 9

With a Joyful Noise, November 9

KarenSueHadley , November 10

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Baker kella, November 10

Bibliophile Reviews, November 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 11

Inklings and Notions , November 11

Two Points of Interest, November 11

Inspiration Clothesline, November 11

A Baker’s Perspective, November 11

Henry Happens, November 12

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 12

 

Giveaway

 

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To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a signed book, a London mug, and a 48-pack Twinings tea sampler!!

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/d570/an-hour-unspent-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, BLOG

Caught by Surprise, #3 Apart From the Crowd, by Jen Turano

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: Caught by Surprise, #3 Apart from the Crowd

PUBLISHER: Bethany House

PUBLISHED:  July 31, 2018

FORMAT: Paperback, 359 pages
ISBN: 0764217968 (ISBN13: 9780764217968)

GENRE: Christian Historical Romance

After years of hiding her true nature, Miss Temperance Flowerdew is finally enjoying freedom outside of the shadow of her relations, so the last thing she expected on her way to work was to be grabbed off the street by a stranger and put on a train bound for Chicago.

When Mr. Gilbert Cavendish is called upon to rescue a missing woman, he follows the trail to Chicago only to discover that the woman is his good friend, Temperance. Before they can discover who was behind her abduction, they’re spotted alone together by a New York society matron, putting their reputations at risk.

Even though Gilbert is willing to propose marriage, Temperance is determined not to lose her newfound independence. But when the misunderstanding in Chicago escalates into a threat on her life, accepting Gilbert’s help in solving the mystery may lead to more than she ever could have dreamed.

 

MY REVIEW:

Jen Turano is a name I turn to when I need a light-hearted, whimsical, and thoroughly entertaining book. Caught by Surprise does not disappoint. With preposterous situations and amazingly mismatched protagonists, Turano has recreated her hilarious world, and we all want to enter for the rollicking ride she provides.
Turano starts her tale by giving her heroine the rather oxymoronic-name, Temperance. Temperance is anything but. Impetuosity could be her middle name. Gilbert Cavendish, on the other hand, lives by lists. Starting with a botched abduction, this fanciful novel moves along smoothly with breaks only for howls of laughter. Highly recommended! It is not imperative to read the books that come before, but if you do, you will enjoy meeting up with old friends.
I was gifted a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. No positive review was required and all opinions are solely my own.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Jen Turano is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She pursued a career in management for nine years before switching to full-time motherhood after the birth of her son. When she’s not writing, Jen can be found watching her teenage son participate in various activities, taking long walks with her husband and dog, socializing with friends, or delving into a good book. She lives in suburban Denver, Colorado. Learn more at www.jenturano.com.

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The Light Before Day, #3 Nantucket Legacy by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

TITLE: The Light Before Day, #3 Nantucket Legacy

FORMATS: Paperback, hardback, Kindle, 368 pages

ISBN: 0800721640 (ISBN13: 9780800721640)

PUBLISHED: Oct. 2, 2018

GENRE: Christian Historical Fiction

 

After three years on a whaling voyage, Henry Macy returns to Nantucket to news that his grandmother has passed, bequeathing her vast fortune to him and his sister, Hitty. And it was truly vast. But Lillian Coffin was no fool. The inheritance comes with a steep cost, including when they should marry and whom–a Quaker in good standing, of course. But if they relinquish the inheritance, it all goes to Tristram Macy, their father’s thieving business partner.

As Hitty and Henry seek a way to satisfy the will’s conditions, they’ll be faced with obstacles on every side–and it may be that Lillian Coffin will have the last word after all.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher surprises and delights with this story of hope and renewal, love and redemption, arriving just when most needed.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Suzanne 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 take 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

 

MY REVIEW:

The Light before Day is the astonishing conclusion to Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Nantucket Legacy Series. This is again a split-time story, told through the diary of “Great Mary” (Mary Coffin Starbuck) of the 17th century, and Hitty and Henry Macy, 19th-century twins of Reynolds Macy. Two influential ladies of their respective times bestow two very different legacies. One brings blessing, the other curses.

Another perspective of this novel is a study of human nature, of the “haves” and the “have-nots,” revolving around freedom, money, and religion(Quakerism). Those who think they “have” are not always better off. Certainly, Grandma Lillian Coffin never was, for all her wealth. Another small example of “having” but being unhappy is Stephen Hussey, who as a Quaker, “possesses the Light.” According to Great Mary, “he could convince anyone not to be a Quaker simply because he is one.” May this not be true of us as Christians!

I highly recommend this book. Full of real-life struggles, well-researched history, and a few chuckles, this tale renewed my acquaintance with old friends and allowed me to meet new ones. (Team Anna? Team Marie-Claire? What about Team Isaac vs. Team Benjamin?) This is a series I will be acquiring for my paperback keeper shelf.

A wealth of extra material is included at the book’s end, including discussion questions, author’s note, and “What’s True and What’s False in The Light Before Day?” Fisher also refers to quite a list of historical resources.

So many great quotes. I am choosing to highlight some unique ones that tickled me.
“Decisions were difficult for Henry, small or big. Anna Gardner once told him that he was the only man she knew who could sit on a fence and watch himself walk by.”

“Quakers might be hypocrites, but we are not liars.”

I gratefully received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This in no way influenced my voluntary review. All opinions are my own responsibility.

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Fool’s Notion by Lisa J. Flickinger

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: Fool’s Notion

Genre: Historical Romance

Kindle Edition, 187 pages; pb 228 pages
Published September 14th, 2017 by Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications. Pb ed. published Oct. 1, 2017.
ASIN: B075NQRSB5
ISBN: 1775129705 (ISBN13: 9781775129707)

Missouri mules were the best. Alda grew to love the creatures working side by side with her pa on their farm along the banks of the Missouri River. He would be hopping mad when he realized his wife and daughter colluded behind his back to sell a pack string. It wouldn’t matter that they were trying to save the farm. Alda struck out on her own to drive the team over fifteen hundred miles. By day three, her lead mule Bessie refused to take one more step. It was a good thing the handsome cowboy Cord stopped by to lend a hand or Alda might still be sitting in the dust. Now, Alda needed the man to move on so she could continue her journey. Judging by the spark in Cord’s eye … it just might take some convincing.

 

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Lisa J. Flickinger, author of historical novels Fool’s Notion, Ella, and All That Glitters, lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops or sipping a maple latte with friends and family. To learn more about her visit http://www.lisajflickinger.com or her Facebook author page Lisa J. Flickinger.

 

MY REVIEW:

 Fool’s Notion by Lisa J. Flickinger first caught my eye with its unusual and intriguing cover. A redheaded woman in a beautiful period dress is watching a mule train trek across barren land. I knew there had to be a great story there.

In 1883, Alda Lealand of Kansas has decided to take the California trail as a single lady. Unusual enough, but she is also driving a pack of mules 1500 miles cross-country to be sold following her mother’s death and father’s disappearance. Cord is the bounty hunter who can’t settle down, but can’t keep himself from coming to Alda’s rescue more times than she would like.

I really enjoyed this light-hearted western. I often found myself laughing at situations in which the characters found themselves. The romance is sweet, albeit not smooth, due to the personalities and baggage both Alda and Cord have.

Alda has to learn that God is a “God who cared about His family, not like a fickle earthly father-like her father-but a God whose love was deep and wide.”

I found the perfect phrase for me to remember when I act like a stubborn mule, dig in my heels, and hold on like I’m right and no one better challenge me…
“You’re not above forgiving, are you?…”

All in all, just a great, fun book that I learned a few lessons from as I had a great time getting to know the characters. Highly recommended.

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

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Purchase Link:

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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

 

 

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The (A) Christmas Prayer by Wanda Brunstetter

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About the Book:

Title: The Christmas Prayer

Paperback, 176 pages
Expected publication: September 1st, 2018 by Shiloh Run Press
ISBN
1683226577 (ISBN13: 9781683226574)

Beloved, bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter takes readers on a journey in 1850 along the California Trail.

Only the brave—or foolhardy—would attempt a cross-country journey late in the season. Three wagons meet up in Independence, Missouri, in April 1850, and their owners decide to keep forging ahead despite many setbacks and delays. December finds them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when a sudden snowstorm traps them, obscuring the trail.

Cynthia Cooper is traveling with her mother and the man she has promised to marry. But as Christmas is upon them and they are hunkered down in a small cabin, she is forced to reevaluate her reasons for planning to marry fellow-traveler Walter Prentice. When a widowed father heading to a California ranch and a gold prospector both show an interest in Cynthia, she weighs her dreams for marriage alongside her responsibility to care for her mother. Can love win over her timid heart?

MY REVIEW:

This historical romance, The Christmas Prayer by Wanda Brunstetter, is a very promising plot that fell short for me. I have read several of Brunstetter’s Amish books and really liked them. I have read at least one other historical romance she wrote that I thought was a true winner. This one, I believe, just was too short (it is a novella) and space ran out before the narrative could conclude smoothly. I think, had this book been a novel, things would have happened at what I would consider a good speed and it could have been a great book.

I felt for poor Cynthia stuck on the westward trail in 1850 with a much older, unkind, uncaring fiancé. Especially when there were two highly eligible other young men in their little wagon train. The children, Amelia and Alan, had very integral roles.

The portrayal of the characters was interesting, but at the end, I wanted to see more fleshing out. I realized many were more two-dimensional than I would have liked.

The journey was interesting, but it seemed to reach a climax, then abruptly loose ends were tied up and the novella ended. I felt like I was riding a horse at a good canter, but then the horse suddenly came to an abrupt stop at the edge of a bluff, and I got thrown.

Two songs characterized this book for me: in one spot, Keith Green’s early 80’s hit, “So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?!”; and “You Can’t Hurry Love(You Just Gotta Wait).”

Quotable: “When our hope is lost, that’s when we need to rely fully on Him, for with God, all things are possible.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own, for which I am solely responsible. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

About the Author:

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Wanda Brunstetter

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda’s stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com.

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The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

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About the Book:

Title: The Hope of Azure Springs

Genre: Historical Fiction

Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 3rd, 2018 by Revell
ISBN
0800734734 (ISBN13: 9780800734732)

MY REVIEW:

Where will Em decide her best future lies, in The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham?

Fordham brings to life the story of a “prince” and “princesses,” beauty and ugliness, and the ugly reality of lonely children who travel the orphan train west to very uncertain futures.

I loved Abigail and Abraham Howell and the generosity and love they show to Em in her hour of need. I also appreciate the fact that one of their children is NOT walking in their ways. How true to life that can really be.

I also loved that the heroine is not beautiful by most people’s description of beautiful. Beauty comes from the inside out. This is one discussion my husband and I have repeatedly with our young, single twenty-somethings. Can Caleb, the sheriff, ever start seeing with eyes of the soul?

Sometimes we think the little things we do for others don’t matter. Not so. Em discovers this when Abigail lends her a clean nightgown. “…it was not just a nightdress, it was kindness.”

A few other quotables:

“Where does a caged animal go when it is freed?”

“How will you ever truly live if you are too afraid to be where you need to be?”

Definitely, a book to read to experience the varied lives of orphan train children. I gratefully received a copy of the book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinions. I was not required to leave a positive review.

 

About the Author:

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Rachel Fordham

Website

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.