Arms of Mercy by Ruth Reid; Thomas Nelson ISBN 9780718082468

Arms of Mercy, a novel by Ruth Reid, opens in the Amish community in Posen, Michigan. Catherine Glick hopes her boyfriend is finally going to propose. Suddenly her old boyfriend, Elijah, reappears and this, and a mistake she makes, causes her to decide to travel to Florida where she will work for relatives. For reasons of his own, Elijah joins Catherine on the bus trip. What follows is a tragic accident after which Catherine disappears. Even though Elijah has serious injuries, he persists in searching for Catherine. Refusing to believe she is dead and meeting with obstacle after obstacle, he clings to hope he will find her. And, if he does, he hopes to win her back. Can he succeed?

 

The author brings to readers a beautifully told story. It is both gripping and heartwarming. Catherine and Elijah, as well as the secondary characters, are well developed.   Readers become immersed in their fictional world.   Even though tragedy casts a shadow, this is a story that embraces faith, love and hope. Highly recommended.

 

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

 

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The Edge of Over There by Shawn Smucker; Revell ISBN 9780800728502

The Edge of Over There is the sequel to author Shawn Smucker’s novel, The Day the Angels Fell. I found that this dystopian fantasy can be read as a stand alone novel. Sixteen year old Abra Miller has already killed one Tree of Life and is now tasked with killing another one. In order to do so she must travel to New Orleans to gain access to Over There to find the tree. What she finds is a world full of mystery, danger, magic illusions.

Just as intriguing as the unpredictable plot, are the characters. They are unique and fascinating. Presented with impeccable detail, the narrative flows quickly and is engrossing. Secrets are revealed and there are surprises. This is an exciting tale that is well worth reading. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Minding the Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher; Revell; ISBN 9780800721633

Minding the Light, a novel by Suzanne Woods Fisher, is a work of historical fiction. The story is set on Nantucket Island and has two sets of characters. One lived in the 17th century and descendants who lived in the 19th century. The story opens in 1821. Captain Reynolds Macy, having gone to sea six years prior, returned to learn he now had twin six year old children. His wife’s letters advising of this had not reached him. Tragedy struck unexpectedly and the life he thought he was returning to changed. As a result, Daphne Coffin, his sister-in-law, became an important part of his life. She encouraged him to return to his Quaker heritage with the hope he would benefit from this. He questioned this. Daphne’s life was far from uncomplicated and the journal of her ancestor, Mary Coffin Starbuck, played an important part in her life. The journal, an integral part of the narrative, opened in 1662 and passed to Daphne from her sister. As each passage is revealed, the true wisdom accredited to her ancestor became evident. Will Mary’s words help Daphne?

 

The plot and the secondary stories are fascinating. Readers are immediately immersed into the history of the Quakers on the island as well as the history of nineteenth century whaling. Slavery is an issue in both centuries. Hypocrisy, betrayals and senseless cruelty are also part of the story and tragedy casts a shadow. There are surprises, often shocking. Even so, this is a story that encompasses love, faith and hope.

 

The author has crafted a well told story that marries history and suspense perfectly. It is an emotionally stirring novel that is well worth reading. Highly recommended.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

 

 

 

 

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The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham; Revell ISBN 9780800734732

Near the small Iowa town of Azure Springs in 1881, nineteen year old Em is found bleeding from a gun shot wound. In addition, there has been a murder. This came after a long series of hardships she had already endured. Sheriff Caleb Reynolds wants this case solved. His first meeting with Em didn’t go well. Em understood that Caleb found her plain and fragile, but she wanted to help provide details about what happened anyways. While working on the case much happened, but perhaps most important were the changes both Em and Caleb experienced. Unconventional as their relationship was, a friendship developed and neither expected it to go further than that.

 

The author brings to readers a richly layered and unique story. Em and Caleb are well-developed and interesting characters. Even though they were very different people, what they brought to the relationship was invaluable. While their goals and motivations were different, they found there was something they could share. The secondary characters add much to the depth to the story often by offering wisdom and advice. Within the story are several themes that include loss, trust, kindness, resilience and love. I found this to be a well written and engrossing story. Highly recommended.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck Thomas Nelson ISBN: 978-0-7852-1668-1

Two couples who lived two hundred and fifty years apart come together in Rachel Hauck’s beautifully written novel, The Love Letter. Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Kingsley lived and loved during the Revolutionary War. Chloe Daschle and Jesse Gates live in Hollywood in the present. Based on a letter written by his ancestor, Hamilton, Jesse has written a screen play and Chloe, an actress, wins the part of Esther. With good reason, Chloe and Jesse are reluctant to take a chance on love even though they are drawn to each other. While their lives were totally different, there is one commonality the couples share. The past and the present intersect and this is the heart of the story.

 

The stories are alternately told in the voices of the four vividly depicted protagonists. The author uses detailed imagery and rich dialogue to create an engrossing love story. The novel’s premise is unusual and readers will find much to enjoy here. By weaving together two intriguing stories, the author has crafted a wonderfully readable novel. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

 

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Barbados Bound (Book One) by Linda Collison; Fireship Press; ISBN -13:978-1-61179-229-4

Barbados Bound (Book One) is a work of nautical and historical fiction. The story opens in 1760 in Portsmouth, England. Sixteen year old Patricia Kelley is about to become a stowaway on a ship so that she can reach Barbados. Even though she is the illegitimate daughter of a deceased plantation owner, she has been educated in England and has in her possession a letter from her father stating the plantation will pass to her. To say she is unprepared for the trajectory her life takes is an understatement.

The author deftly takes readers into the very heart of this exciting and moving story.  Vivid descriptions of the nautical setting during a war-torn era  keeps the reader totally engrossed.  Patricia Kelley is a complex protagonist. Even as young as she is, she has to face her realities. In spite of her inexperience, she must quickly learn to adapt to changes in order to survive. She struggles with identity and longs for freedom even as she loves deeply.

I found this to be a fascinating story. It is a well written and powerful novel which brings an important time in history and those who lived in it to life.   Highly recommended.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Authors Den. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter Thomas Nelson ISBN 9780718090524

Honeysuckle Dreams, by Denise Hunter, is an unusual story. After Brady Collins’s ex-wife died, their infant son, Sam, lived with him. He was struggling, but was determined to make a good life for them. Out of nowhere came the revelation that he was not Sam’s biological father and that his ex-wife’s parents wanted custody. In a desperate attempt to win custody of Sam, he agrees to an unconventional marriage to his long time friend, Hope. The marriage is almost a matter of practicality. Brady needs a wife and Hope wants a marriage and a family. Can this really work? What are the boundaries and limitations of a friendship?

The author brings to readers an emotionally complex and powerful story which takes us into the lives of Hope and Brady. Skillfully, their   pasts are revealed and over time we see how it impacts their present situation and their future.

For me, the mark of a good story is when I keep thinking about it long after I have finished reading it. Honeysuckle Dreams is one of those stories. Highly recommended.

 

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

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