The Two of Us, a novel by Victoria Bylin, opens in a Las Vegas coffee shop where Mia Robinson is fascinated by a stranger, Jake Tanner, who is very adept at working a claw machine. He extracts an impressive collection of stuffed animals, one of which he gives to Mia along with an invitation for breakfast. We learn that they are both in town for a wedding. Little do they know, at first, that it is for the same one. What were the chances of this happening? And, this is just the beginning.
Every character in the novel has their own story. Mia has two broken engagements behind her. She struggles with trust issues. Jake Tanner, a former law enforcement officer, struggles with guilt over the death of his partner. His efforts to establish a camp for boys who have lost a parent has created a huge rift in his community. Only he can decide just how important his mission is. Jake’s mother’s Alzheimer’s disease is an important component of the book. Mia’s sister fears she is not strong enough to be a good wife and mother. Somehow, because of all their issues this group of people come together and draw strength from each other. Having met under unusual circumstances, Mia and Jake’s lives intertwine. They share faith and solid values. Will it be enough for them to lead them to a future together?
I found this to be a moving and well written book. The author deftly deals with important real life issues. She writes with clarity and sensitivity. This book is well worth reading. Highly recommended.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
To Wager Her Heart, by Tamera Alexander, opens in Nashville in 1871. Alexandra Jamison and her family are members of Nashville society. Sylas Rutledge hails from Colorado Territory. He has traveled to Nashville for two reasons. One is to clear his father’s name and the other is to further his business interests. He is unfamiliar with the ways of southern society and after a chance meeting with Alexandra, he approaches her for help. It becomes clear early on that they both share the aftereffects of a tragedy. Alexandra agrees to tutor Sylas as her family has cast her out and she needs the money. The reason for her father’s anger with her is that she has accepted a teaching position at Frisk University which is a freedmen’s university. This is not what he wanted and demanded for his daughter. Neither Sylas or Alexandra was looking for a romantic relationship. Despite all the challenges and adjustments they encounter, a bond begins to form. Where will it lead?
The characters are well developed and have been given distinctive voices. Alexandra is an intriguing character as she goes from being a young woman of privilege to one who makes sacrifices in order to find her purpose. Sylas, too, has strong positive attributes. When confronted with dilemmas, he acts with honor. Even though a tragedy has cast a shadow, this remains a story of hope and faith. The book is emotionally stirring and takes readers back to a time in history that dealt with difficult social issues and a changing society. I found this to be a wonderfuly readable novel. 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.
Fault Lines, a novel by Thomas Locke, is an exciting psychological thriller that opens in a community center in Florida. Charlie Hazard works in the risk containment business and is good at it. Out of nowhere comes Gabriella and she leads him on a journey that he never could have imagined. Gabriella and her team need his protection as they are working on a psychological project that threatens another group. Gradually, we get to know the characters as the fast paced and intense story unfolds. Not knowing who to trust, protecting Gabriella proves to be quite an endeavor.
I found this to be a well written page turner. The author blends mystery, suspense and technology perfectly.
I received a complimentary copy from Revell. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
The Return, a novel written by Suzanne Woods Fisher, takes place in the 1760’s in Pennsylvania. Two young Amish woman are living during a difficult time in history and find themselves connected by unforeseen circumstances and the love of the same man. Betsy Zook became the victim of a horrible crime. Thinking that Betsy is out of the picture, Tessa Bauer hopes that now Hans will fall in love with her. This may be more complicated than she thinks.
This well researched story presents a clear picture of what Pennsylvania was like during this time period. Immigrants and Indians did not always coexist in peace. Often there were tragic results. The Return is the story of what happened to Betsy and Tessa, as well as their families. The well drawn characters deal with serious issues that include prejudice, fear, selfishness and jealousy. In spite of this, some of them embrace honesty and tolerance. We also observe their growth and sense of community.
As per the books back cover, the story is “inspired by true events”. The Author’s Note gives details on this and I found that to be informative. I found The Return to be a fascinating book. It is both well written and engrossing. Highly recommended.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.