Category Archives: BOOK REVIEW

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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The Heart’s Appeal by Jennifer Delamere; Bethany House ISBN9780764219214

In 1881 in London there were not many female physicians. The Heart’s Appeal, a novel by Jennifer Delamere, is the story of Julia Bernay whose goal was to be a physician and to be a missionary in Africa. There was no room in her plans for romance and marriage. Already trained as a nurse, she needed to gain entry to a women’s medical school. But, there are obstacles. As the result of a near tragedy, Julia and Michael Stephenson entered each others life in an unconventional way. Neither could have foreseen the outcome.

 

The novel is character and emotion driven. Tragedy casts a shadow and there are unanswered questions. Even so, the well developed characters grow and discover what is truly worth doing. Relying on love and faith, relationships are tested and strengthened. This is a beautifully told story that is well worth reading. Highly recommended.

 

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

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Beneath the Summer Sun (An Every Amish Season Novel) by Kelly Irvin Zondervan ISBN 9780310348085

Beneath the Summer Sun, a novel by Kelly Irvin, is set in a Missouri Amish Community. Jennie, a mother of seven, has been widowed for four years. There are those who feel she should remarry, but she has personal and valid reasons stopping her. She has kept secret the truth about her marriage. Suddenly two men, Nathan and Leo, are interested in her, but it remains to be seen if she can overcome her fears enough to enter into a relationship.

 

The story deals with serious topics including physical and verbal abuse and the scars it inflicts. Loss is also an integral part of the narrative. Even though we meet the characters after they have experienced life altering circumstances, they are so well drawn that we also learn who they were before and how they evolved.

 

I found this to be a powerful, emotionally complex story about love, loss, and the pain of the past. It is a beautifully told story about what the human spirit can overcome. 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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Hearts Entwined (Historical Romance Novella Collection) Bethany House ISBN978-0-7642-332-5

Hearts Entwined consists of four novellas, each written by a different author.

 

The Love Knot, written by Karen Witemeyer, opens in Harper’s Station, Texas in 1895. Claire Nevin has made a new life for herself in this small town away from family and memories in New York. She receives a letter from her problematic sister telling her that she is sending Claire her “treasure”, which is to be delivered by train soon. When Claire meets the train she receives the shock of her life when she sees what her sister has sent and who has accompanied the “treasure”. Suddenly the pain and hurt she had left behind is now facing her. Can she find a way to move forward, embrace her new circumstances and learn to trust again?

 

The Tangled Ties that Bind (A Kincaid Brides Novella) , written by Mary Connealy, opens in Rawhide, Colorado in 1883. After a five year absence from his home, Connor Kincaid returns. When he had left his best friend, Maggie, was just fifteen and he had known they were too young for a lasting relationship. Maggie, grown up and given up hope that Connor would come back to her, has made her own plans for her future. Expecting to pick up where they left off, Connor is shocked that Maggie’s plans don’t include him. Just how far will Connor go to win Maggie back?

 

Bound and Determined (A Fort Reno Novella), written by Regina Jennings, opens east of Fort Reno, Indian Territory in 1885 with Private Bradley Willis in a precarious situation. As a result of his actions at that time, he is assigned to help a retired officer move a herd of camels through Indian Territory. As if the camels weren’t enough of a surprise, the officer’s daughter accompanying them was an even bigger surprise. Indian Territory was no place for a lady and the trip yields more than anyone foresaw.

 

Tied and True (A Teaville Moral Society Novella), written by Melissa Jagears, opens in Kansas City, Missouri in 1908. Heiress Marianne Lister loves the wrong man according to her parents and even Calvin, the man she loves. Calvin does love her, but he is not wealthy and feels Marianne can do better. Bound and determined to prove she needs and wants Calvin more than money she finds ways to prove this to him. Can this daughter of privilege convince Calvin that they belong together?

 

All four stories are well written and engrossing. The characters are believable and interesting. History and romance are blended beautifully. Highly recommended.

 

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

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Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher; Revell; ISBN9780800721626

Phoebe’s Light, a novel by Suzanne Woods Fisher, opens in 1767 in Nantucket. Phoebe Starbuck just wants to marry Captain Phineas Foulger and to leave the island. Even though she can hardly believe it, they do marry and she convinces him to take her along on his next voyage. She finds out her father has asked her former romantic interest, Matthew, to watch over her as he will be on the ship, too. From the start she is plagued by sickness and the voyage turns into a nightmare. She tries to read her great-grandmother’s journal and in doing so, she learns a great deal about her ancestor and discovers a secret.

 

Phoebe’s story and that of her great-grandmother, Mary, are told alternately. Their stories are fascinating. Mary’s provides insight into the lives of the settlers of the island in 1660. Phoebe’s story is about Quaker life in a whaling community. The wisdom, knowledge and observations passed on to Phoebe, through the journal, turned out to be the greatest of legacies. The novel is a work of historical fiction based on actual people. The characters are well developed and their stories are engrossing. Highly recommended.

 

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

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