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In High Cotton by Ane Mulligan

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About the Book

Title: In High Cotton

Author: Ane Mullligan

Publisher: Heritage Beacon Press

Released: August 3, 2020

While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural South Georgia. Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood—the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to stop him and survive the Great Depression?

My Review

This title puzzled me from the get-go. What could Ane Mulligan mean by “In High Cotton”? I quickly discovered that this is the story of single mother, Maggie Parker, and her seven-year-old son who live in the small Georgia town of Rivers End in 1929. (Points to Ane Mulligan for the town map at the front of the book.) I was relieved to see Ms. Mulligan capture my attention almost against my will, since the Depression is not one of my favorite historical eras.
But present it well, she did. The small town has some big-hearted people, like Sadie and Mama Faylene and Wade, and even little Barry. It also has some small-hearted people, who can’t see beyond the color of one’s skin, one’s gender, or their own ambition. Mulligan balances out the town’s population with enough of these that Maggie must constantly watch her back and her store.

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But this is a novel to be loved for so many things. Maggie’s story is one of most unique and compelling voices I’ve read in 2020!! I loved how Maggie keeps reaching out to help people, because they have needs apparent in front of her, even as her store is struggling. As Sadie would say, “Southern women may seem as delicate as flowers, but we’ve got iron in our veins.” The metal (mettle) of these ladies is truly glorious to behold, whether it is Maggie or Sadie challenging Cal;
the transformation of a surprising character; or Mama Faylene quietly standing up to the worst of the lot.

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Reminiscent of the movie, Steel Magnolias, you will want to have your tissues ready, but also keep an eye out for the wonderful humor, funny sayings and colloquialisms of the time. By the time you close the book, your heart may feel like you, too, are In High Cotton! Mine did.
Themes include finding true family, trusting God, and standing tall against evil, together. If only Ms. Mulligan’s map had shown how to get to River’s End.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.
 

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

8061216I’ve been a voracious reader ever since my mother instilled within me her own love of reading at an early age. Together we would escape together into worlds otherwise unknown.

A new love entered my life when I saw Mary Martin in PETER PAN. Struck with a fever from which I never recovered, I submerged myself in drama through high school and college, but, alas, Broadway never found my phone number.

While a large, floppy straw hat is my favorite, I’ve worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), business manager, creative arts director and writer. My lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for my Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast).

I wrote and published my first script in 1996 and to date have over 4-dozen scripts in print, nine books, and numerous articles on various aspects of Christian drama and the craft of writing. In Jan of 2003, having quit my job with my husband’s encouragement, I began to write full time. I reside in Sugar Hill, Georgia with my artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler.

You can connect with Ane at

https://www.anemulligan.com

https://goodreads.com/anemulligan

 

 

Bethany House, BLOG, NetGalley

The Runaway Bride, #2 The Bride Ships by Jody Hedlund

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About the Book

Title: The Runaway Bride

Series: #2 The Bride Ships

Author: Jody Hedlund

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: March 2020

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Haunted by mistakes in her past, will she ever again trust her heart to another?

Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship, still bearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately attracts suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by making a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy, held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town’s baker who has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella’s affections, but also clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need—a starving girl left behind by her tribe. Intent on helping the child, Arabella leans on Peter’s advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision, or will seeking what’s right cost both her and Peter everything?

 

My Review

Jody Hedlund won me over in The Runaway Bride, #2 The Bride Ships, with her hero. He
is Pete Kelly, a baker who is well-liked and charismatic. He also has a keen eye out for
injustice done to his fellow-man and is quick to get involved. He is kind, has compassion
even on his enemies, and is really trying to live for God. Which brings up his biggest
question for God: if he’s living according to God’s plan, why is his life so tough? Pete has
to decide if living life God’s way is worthwhile if it doesn’t always result in a life of ease
or happiness.
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Arabella is one very confused lady. She certainly seems to have a severe case of
indecision. She brought to mind that verse in James about a double-minded person that
is “blown and tossed by the wind.” (James‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬) Just when I thought, “Now she’ll come
to her senses and understand which direction to go,” she would falter and backpedal
faster than a carriage whose horses are spooked. Thank goodness for Hedlund’s author’s
notes. Hedlund assures us she’s aware we 21st-century readers might have difficulty
understanding a 19th-century English woman’s hesitation to step outside of societal
norms. By the novel’s end, Arabella develops a very strong spine and I wondered if I
would be that courageous.
Runaway Bride #2
This is a nonlinear story, so we are fed a bit of the present story, then a memory bite of
the past. Eventually, the dichotomous storyline is completed after much danger, soul-
searching, and exciting adventures with a few clean romantic kisses, plus a nice ending
twist.
Perhaps the players I most admired stayed in the background. Mercy taught Arabella so
much by her example. Mrs. Moresby and Hayward were ladies I really wanted to meet
and enjoy knowing.
One other note. Hedlund’s historical research is impeccable and a reader can learn a
great deal about Victoria in the 1860s.
Notable Quotables:

“He’ll give you courage like no other can.”

”I always figured if God thinks the condition of a person’s heart matters more, then I should, too.”

”She’d been satisfied with eating crumbs in her relationships when there were feasts that awaited if she just had enough courage to partake.”

”…when we stand up against injustice, we’ll likely suffer for doing the right thing.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Bethany House through NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars– Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

 

About the Author

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Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Find Jody at her website, http://jodyhedlund.com/
or on Twitter as JodyHedlund.