A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1) Roseanna M. White

Edwardian Romance and History Gains a Twist of Suspense

Synopsis:

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

ANUgraphic

My Review:

I couldn’t put down this fantastic, fast-paced, story! From the very beginning, I found myself fully immersed in Rosemary’s story.  Filled with mystery and intrigue and woven with golden threads of the truth of the matchless love of God.

Rosemary is an easy character to cheer for. From the very beginning, I felt deeply for her plight and cheered as she began to learn who God really is, and how much He loves her. Rosemary is searching for clues that will prove that Peter is either loyal to Germany or to Great Britain. Will she find what she is looking for in time?

Peter is a bit of a recluse, hiding away in his study typing on his typewriter all day. Peter is more comfortable with the characters in his stories than his neighbors in the village. Being of German descent, and the fact that he spends most of his time hidden away, leads some to question his loyalty. Could the active imagination of his neighbors, and the talk in the pub lead to his downfall?

This book is one that you will not want to miss. With an amazing library that book-lovers will appreciate, a mystery to uncover, and the strong threads of faith, I highly recommend this delightful page turning story!

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“If Jesus, could save tax collectors and harlots, thieves, and hypocrites, who are you to say you’re too far gone, hmm? Our God is bigger than our sins. And if there’s something saying otherwise into your ear, know it’s a lie straight from the devil.”

About the Author:

RoseannaJuly2016-185x300Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring.

Being educated at St. John’s Collete (the Great Books School) taught Roseanna to ask questions, to value conversation, and to never accept the simple answer without exploring it for herself. She and her family make their home in the mountains of West Virginia where she and her husband both grew up. Roseanna is a member of ACFW, a frequent speaker at writers events and also small groups of readers, and an unabashed email addict.

Web page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest

  A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England)

Keeping Secrets (Children of the Light #1) by: Donna Hechler Porter

A woman with a past, a man determined to uncover the truth, and a secret that could tear them apart forever.

Synopsis:

A Grieving Husband: Amon Cayle needs a seamstress. He has spent the last year rebuilding his life after the tragic death of his wife in a kitchen fire, the same fire that nearly took the life of his eldest son as well. The business of grieving their loss, as well as the work of his tobacco plantation, has caused him to neglect the simplest of tasks. His family now needs clothes and despite his dislike for Mary McKechnie, and their shared past, he offers her the job.

A Desperate Mother: Mary McKechnie needs a job. Her brother has threatened to take her daughters and place them into indentured service if she can’t provide for them. He hasn’t made it any easier by insisting she work only for fellow Friends. When Amon Cayle offers her a job, she has little choice but to accept.

A Devastating Secret: The last time Amon spoke with Mary, after she walked away from him into the arms of another man over twenty years ago, she assured him she was not keeping secrets. He didn’t believe her then, and he doesn’t believe her now. While she is working for him, he is determined to find answers. She is just as determined to not give them.

Will Mary be able to save Amon from the past? Or will his love threaten to destroy them both?

My Review:

This book will whisk you away to a bygone era. Come sit in the kitchen while Mary brews up a cup of tea and shares her story. Like the title suggest, this book is full of secrets. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

Mary’s life hasn’t been easy. Her marriage to Samuel had not been what anyone would consider a love match. He had been a difficult man to live with, harsh and easy to anger. At 40 years old, she finds herself a widow with 5 girls, and if that isn’t enough her older brother is threatening to take the girls away and place them as indentured servants. She refuses to allow that to happen and desperately needs work.

Amon continues to grieve the loss of his wife, the charred remains of the kitchen a daily reminder of what he lost. However, it seems it is time to start moving forward. Among many things he has neglected, his children are growing out of their clothes. At the suggestion of his sister, he reluctantly agrees to hire Mary to sew his family a new wardrobe.

Mary & Amon share not only a history but secrets. Are the secrets of their past too much to surmount? Come find out in this historical story of love lost, and found, and of a family that struggles to hold on to what is most important.

The old-speak language in the book can be difficult at times, and in a few places the “thee” was forgotten and replace with “you”. As the title suggests there are many secrets; so much so that at times it was almost overwhelming. As a whole, I did enjoy reading the story of Mary & Amon and I am interested to know what will happen with some of the other characters.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“No one understood the private pain or hardships of another. That’s why judgement is best left to God; our command is to love. We will never be given enough time for that.”

About the Author:

DonnaHechlerPorterDonna Hechler Porter has always been interested in writing and history. It was natural for her to combine her love of both and channel it into writing historical fiction as well as books on her own family’s genealogy. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and RWA’s Hearts Through History Romance Writers chapter. She currently resides in southeast Texas where she home schools her teenage sons, teaches flute lessons, tutors children in reading and writing, and continues to write novels. Her first novel, Keeping Secrets, won RWA’s Indiana Golden Opportunity contest for Best Historical Fiction of 2013 and is currently a final in RWA’s Las Vegas chapter’s I Heart Indie Contest.

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter

Keeping Secrets is the first book in the Children of the Light Series. The Society of Friends (Quakers) and colonial Virginia in the years preceding the French and Indian War provide the backdrop for this sweeping historical about families trying to live their faith in a new land. Following Keeping Secrets will be the second and third books of the trilogy: Breaking Promises and Binding Fire.

 Keeping Secrets

  Breaking Promises

  Binding Fire

Children of the Light trilogy

‘Grounded Hearts’ Giveaway and Blog Tour

What do you get when you mix World War II, a brave midwife, a wounded pilot, and a risky secret? Jeanne M. Dickson’s new historical fiction novel, Grounded Hearts. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.

About the book:

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

My Review:

This book starts off strong. With realistic characters and action packed adventure, you will find yourself smack dab in the center of the action.

I appreciated the history and research that went into make this story come to life, and I enjoyed learning more about how Ireland and it’s people experienced World War II.

Nan is a strong heroine. You quickly come to understand why she makes some of the choices she makes. Although, there were several times that I wished I could go inside the book and give her a good strong talking to. Nan feels like she has to earn forgiveness, and with that feeling she never feels like she has done enough to earn it.

Dutch is as handsome as he is patient and kind. He’s the perfect yin to Nan’s yang. Dutch is fighting his own history and struggles, yet he is willing to reach out and help others.

For me the tempo of the story is a little slower toward the end, and there was not as much character growth as I would have preferred.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write a positive review. The thoughts an opinions expressed are my own.)

About the Author:

jeannebiophoto_origJeanne was born into an Irish-American family, the only girl in a family with four brothers. Her Irish grandmother lived with them, and was a constant source of stories about life in Ireland and the saints and ancestors long gone from this earth. She credits her mother, her aunts, and grandmother for her love of storytelling. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.

Jeanne writes romances set in WWII Ireland and also contemporary romances either set in Ireland or there’ll be Irish/Irish American characters.

Web Page // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

Join Jeanne in celebrating the release of her new book by entering to win the Celtic Knots Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 31. The winner will be announced August 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Please visit the Landing page for this tour at:

Passport to Adventure (Daily Devotional for Juniors) Rich Aguilera “The Mud Guy”

Synopsis:

Join The Mud Guy on his exciting adventures around the world! Visit the Hong Kong Bird Market in Kowloon, China Remember the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas Negotiate for souvenirs in Santiago, Cuba Learn about tough love in Martha s Vineyard, Massachusetts Marvel at the natural rock pillars standing 1,200 feet tall in Meteora, Greece Each of these amazing places will teach you how to grow in your friendship with Jesus! In this devotional for middle school aged children you will learn about God’s faithfulness in tough times; the importance of finding time every day to retreat to a quiet place to spend time with God; being a witness to others by the way you live as an imitator of Christ; and most important, “Remember Calvary!” Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can remember that God has already won the battle for us, and if we stay close to Him, we will be on the winning side!

My Review:

I purchased this Devotional book for my son as a Christmas gift. My son was super excited, he couldn’t wait until January 1st to get started. He loves reading the stories and often goes back to re-read stories again!

We have enjoyed as a family reading the daily devotionals together; reading the stories together as a family has brought up some fun and unique discussions.

There are fun places to learn about and explore thru the pages of this book. We learn about God’s amazing creation and are reminded how much He loves us all.

I highly recommend this wonderful devotional to families with middle-school age children. You will enjoy having this devotional book for your family worships.

About the Author:

RARich Aguilera was a successful architect when he decided to make a change. He realized that working in the architecture industry was just a career, while his real passion was serving as youth director at church and with children’s ministries. So in 2008, he closed his architecture practice and opened One Mustard Seed, a ministry that finds fun, creative ways to explore nature and the biblical creation story.

Aguilera, “The Mud Guy” from Guide Magazine and 3ABN’s “Kids’ Time,” travels the world looking for evidence of creation and sharing his discoveries with kids and adults in his columns, books and speaking engagements

Rich is blessed with a wonderful wife and two awesome boys. He enjoys working to producing Christian resources for kids that teach on Creation. In addition to freelance writing, producing video and audio, doing speaking engagements, etc. Never a dull moment! You can connect with Rich at the following:

Web Page // Facebook // Twitter 

  Passport to Adventure

 

I’d love to connect with you:

Do you have daily family devotions? What format for family worship do you find works best for your family?

 

Love’s Sure Dawn (Eagle Harbor #3) by: Naomi Rawlings

The bestselling Eagle Harbor Series continues with Book 3, Love’s Sure Dawn.

Synopsis:

No matter how hard she tries to help, Rebekah Cummings always ends up causing more problems than she solves. This time, though, things will be different. She’ll find a way to pay her family’s debts, even if doing so requires leaving Eagle Harbor. Maybe then they’ll start treating her as a capable woman who makes her own choices.

Gilbert Sinclair is going to marry an heiress. With his latest business venture sunk at the bottom of Lake Superior, he needs money to replace the steamship he lost, so he heads to Chicago where his father’s business connections should land him a suitable wife. Like most things in his meticulously planned life, everything goes as expected—until he discovers Rebekah Cummings working as the new cook on his ship.

Rebekah well remembers the pain she endured the last time she tried trusting Gilbert, and Gilbert can’t afford to pursue the love of a working class woman. But they can’t stop the forgotten feelings swirling between them—or ignore the sacrifices they’d both have to make for a future together.

My Review:

I really enjoyed reading Rebekah’s story. Growing up with brother’s she is somewhat the tomboy. She has a big heart for others and feels a strong need to pull her own weight and do her part. Her inability to be patient and wait for God’s leading took her down a path that brought her heartache, but also growth.

Like most who have read the previous two books, I struggled at first to like Gilbert. However, as I got to know the real person he is, not the persona he allows most other to see, I changed my opinion of him. He is possibly the most misunderstood character from the first two books. Gilbert had long ago learned to withhold himself from others, and he had to do some personal soul searching to uncover for himself who he was in Christ. I enjoyed getting to know who Gilbert really is in this book. I found him to be kind, compassionate, and willing to give of himself.

I appreciate reading Naomi’s books and I look forward to reading more from the Eagle Harbor series!

(I received a complimentary digital copy of this book for review from author/publisher. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“The man was cold enough to freeze love and snap it like an icicle in winter”

About the Author:

Naomi-Rawlings Naomi Rawlings is the author of seven historical Christian novels, including the Amazon bestselling Eagle Harbor Series. While she’d love to claim she spends her days huddled in front of her computer vigorously typing, in reality, she spends her time homeschooling, cleaning, picking up, and pretending like her house isn’t in a constant state of chaos. She lives with her husband and three children in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula, along the southern shore of Lake Superior where they get 200 inches of snow every year, and where people still grow their own vegetables and cut down their own firewood–just like in the historical novels she writes.  You can connect with Naomi at these locations:

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter

 

If you haven’t yet visited Eagle Harbor thru Naomi’s books, you can pick them up at amazon or your local book vendor.

 Love’s Unfading Light (Eagle Harbor #1)

  Love’s Every Whisper (Eagle Harbor #2)

 Love’s Sure Dawn (Eagle Harbor #3)

   Love’s Eternal Breath (Eagle Harbor #4)

    Love’s Winter Hope (Eagle Harbor #5)

   Eagle Harbor – 5 book series 

“Making Love Last” by: Laura Taggart

Can a happy marriage really last a lifetime?

Synopsis:

With thirty years of experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist, Laura Taggart understands the unique struggles of newly married couples who find marriage much more difficult than they imagined. Failed expectations, unanticipated conflict, and disagreements about money, sex, children, and more have many young couples assuming they made a mistake, married the wrong person, or just weren’t ready. As a result, one-third of all married couples divorce before their ten-year anniversary.

In this practical and hopeful book, Taggart offers the wisdom and help she would share as a counselor with a couple beginning their marriage. She helps couples examine their true expectations for marriage, provides six action steps for improving the way couples relate, and gives couples a new picture of what it means to enjoy marriage for a lifetime.

Each chapter includes discussion questions for couples or small groups as well as additional questions for personal reflection.

My Review:

As a Social Worker who has worked with families  who have gone through a divorce I can appreciate the need for this book. As a wife who has been married for 13 years, and looking back over the typical highs and lows, I can see where the thoughts shared in this book have a very practical application and can be useful for young married couples.

The coming together of two unique individuals, with their own thoughts, backgrounds and ideas isn’t as smooth and seamless as Hollywood or popular sources would have you believe. Many young people jump into marriage without the benefit of positive role models and without the full knowledge of what it really takes to blend two lives.

I appreciated the positive application of ideas and the thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter. I also appreciated the strong faith application and the reminder that Marriage is God’s gift to us, and the reminder that by drawing closer to God we can draw closer with our spouse and have the marriage that God intended. This book is a wonderful resource for young married couples, and couples struggling to find their way back to each other.

(I received a complimentary digital copy of this book for review from Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

About the Author:

Taggart_LauraLaura Taggart has been a licensed marriage and family therapist for nearly thirty years. As director of marriage and family ministry at Community Presbyterian Church in Danville, California, she founded a highly successful marriage mentoring ministry to help young couples develop a solid foundation for their young and often struggling marriages. A popular speaker at conferences and retreats, she has also taught as an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Web Page // Facebook // Goodreads // Pinterest

 

   Making Love Last

Beloved Hope (Heart of the Frontier #2) by: Tracie Peterson

A Compelling Novel of Forgiveness and Hope 

Synopsis:

Hope Flanagan survived the massacre at the Whitman Mission, but at terrible personal cost. Safe now in Oregon City, she lives with her sisters, Grace and Mercy, and Grace’s new husband, Alex. As she spends her days tending their flock of sheep, Hope’s mind and soul are slowly healing. Yet, though she was once surrounded by suitors, she has no interest in giving her heart again after the man she loved died in her arms.

Hope’s precarious new peace is shattered when those responsible for the massacre are captured and put on trial. She is asked to testify against them, but she’s not sure she can bear to relive the events of those horrific days.

As Hope struggles to free herself from the pain of her past, Lance Kenner, an Army lieutenant, brings an unexpected ray of light into her life. But what will Lance think of her if he learns the truth behind her anguish? And what secrets lie in his past?

My Review:

Expansion west in the mid-1800’s was fraught with many hardship and dangers. Native Americans resented the influx of white settlers as an intrusion to their very way of life. Many missionaries traveled west hoping to bring Christianity to the Natives. Some were met with open acceptance, and some were met with resentment and viewed it as a threat to be neutralized.

After serving the Massacre at the Whitman Mission, Hope Flanagan has withdrawn from everyone but her immediate family. She prefers to spend time with the sheep and taking care of their wool. Hope has even withdrawn from God and struggles to understand how a loving God could have let something so awful happen to His children. Over time she begins to understand that it isn’t so much that God let bad things happen, but the freedom of choice that we all have, and sin itself has a negative effect on everything on this earth.

Lance Kenner has one assignment to finish and then his tour with the Army will be over. He is to guard the Native American prisoners until after their court hearing. Lance has plans to return to his family Plantation in New Orleans. One afternoon after the court hearing Lance is surprised to find a women holding a gun on one of the prisoners. He finds himself drawn to Hope and convinces her that he needs a friend.

I enjoyed the plot line and found the characters to be believable and realistic. The sweet romance in the story is slow, which is fitting for a character who had gone through a traumatic event. I did find the story a little slow at times. It could be due to the fact that I had not read the first book in this series. I would suggest that anyone picking up this book, be sure to read Treasured Grace (the first book). I’ve read other books by Tracie Peterson and feel that other fans of her writing will also enjoy reading Beloved Hope.

(I received a complimentary digital copy of this book for review from Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“Revenge or even justice won’t undo what happened. It won’t bring the dead back to life or restore what was stolen, and while it might satisfy the requirements of the law, it satisfies very little for the heart.”

About the Author:

Tracy PetersonTracie Peterson is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 100 books. Having given her heart to Jesus at the young age of six, Tracie has always felt called to some form of ministry, and writing fulfills that mission field.

Tracie received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings’ Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership’s vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers. She has co-written with a variety of authors including Judith Pella, Judith Miller, James Scott Bell, Kimberley Woodhouse and her daughter Jennifer.

Throughout her writing career Tracie has found time to speak at writer’s conferences where she has a special heart for new authors. She is often joined by her husband Jim, whose background in history offers new authors insight into research. Besides teaching at conferences, Tracie also at one time managed Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents book line – overseeing the production of 52 books a year. Tracie teaches at women’s conferences around the country and shares her testimony and insight for Christian living through the eyes of an author passionately in love with her Heavenly Father.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests, including USA “Best Books 2011” Awards, best Religious Fiction for Embers of Love!

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family–especially her three grandchildren–Rainy, Fox and Max..

For information on having Tracie speak at your event – contact Noelle Buss at Bethany Publishers/Baker Books.

Connect with Tracie at: traciepetersonbooks.com

 

  Beloved Hope (Heart of the Frontier #2)

Treasured Grace (Heart of the Frontier #1)

Review, Snippet & Giveaway — So Pure A Heart (Daughters of His Kingdom #4) by: Amber Lynn Perry

SPAH

Series: Daughters of His Kingdom
Genre: Historical, Romance, Christian
Publisher: Liberty Publishing
Publication date: June 20, 2017
Number of pages: 346

Since the night her dear uncle gave his life for hers, Hannah Young is determined to risk everything by spying for the Patriots in order to seek retribution against the British soldier who killed him. But when her former love, Joseph Wythe, insists on ensuring her safety, she must decide if the vengeance she seeks is worth the danger of his nearness. For the love she once felt is liable to grow deeper and more threatening to her heart than it ever was before.

Leaving his young ward to join the fight for liberty is the hardest thing Joseph Wythe has ever done. Nearly. The most difficult happened ten years past, which he tries his best forget. Seeing Hannah Young again after all this time does something frightening and wonderful to his soul. Though her determination to spy for the Patriots is honorable and brave, he will never allow her to take such a risk without him to protect her, no matter how she protests – and no matter how he knows he will ache all the more for the thing he always wanted and still could never have.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

 

About the Author

AmberLPerry

A Pacific Northwest native, Amber Lynn Perry lives in Washington state with her husband and two daughters. She studied humanities at Portland State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree focused on art history. As a homeschooling mom, Amber spends much of her time teaching everything from Shakespeare to science.
When she isn’t crafting with her kids, making dinner or driving to dance classes, Amber is either reading or writing about her favorite time in American history. The Revolutionary era has captured her imagination from the time she was in middle school. Through her books, Amber hopes to not only give readers a glimpse into the past, but to instill in them a lasting love of liberty.

Snippet

Chapter One

Alone, Hannah Young stared at the dirt-covered mound as the chilled air breached the warmth of her heavy cloak.
Graves are sorry things.
The words her uncle had spoken not an hour past replayed in her mind and held solid the reality she wished not to accept, but must. Her dearest aunt Bea, her friend and confidant—the woman she’d loved as a mother—was never coming back.
Hannah looked up, gazing across the lonely hill, straining to gather any rational thought through the thick fog of sorrow. At the sight of the house a hundred paces away, and Uncle Ensign nearing the plot where she stood, Hannah’s eyes burned. There was nothing they could have done to save her. ’Twas Bea’s time, and God had called her home. Such knowledge should strengthen, should it not? Lowering her head, she smoothed her cold fingers around the soft emblem in her hand. It should, but it would never quell the pain. That she knew. For still she grieved the loss of ten years past, as if ’twas only yesterday.
“Hannah, you should not still be here.”
She glanced up at the sound of Ensign’s voice, then turned again to Bea’s cold resting place. “Perhaps.” She could say no more without weeping.
“The others have long since returned home. As should you.” He put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close as the gray clouds mourned over them. At long last his heavy tone returned to mingle with the air. “She loved you, my dear. More than you can ever know.”
Nodding, Hannah’s throat grew thick, impeding the reply that wished for release. And I her.
Ensign cleared his throat, but still his words came out thick and broken. “We shall always have the memories of our dear Beatrice. And though she is gone from us in this life, I know we shall see her in the next.”
Hot streams of tears rolled over Hannah’s cold cheeks. “You have such faith, Uncle.”
He released a quivering breath before his solemn reply. “I could not bear the grief if I did not.”
Hannah allowed his words to rest in the wintery air, consumed by both love and heartache, before the thoughts she’d been forming found shape in her voice. “She was so good to me. She loved me anyway.” Hannah glanced down at the tiny knitted booties in her hand, speaking through the tears she could no longer restrain. “Both of you loved me despite everything, and I could never repay such kindness, no matter how I tried.”
He tightened his loving grip and whispered in her ear. “There is nothing to repay, sweet child. She loved you as her own, as do I.” He coughed to clear his throat and straightened his stance. “Your father gave up a great treasure when he left you to us. He is a lost man. We must pray for him.”
The tears halted at the mention of Philo Young, and she glanced up, unrepentant for the truth that spilled out. “I fear I have given up praying for him. He will never…” She couldn’t finish the rest.
“Forgive me.” Ensign looked down at her, the deep lines around his eyes flaring before he kissed her temple. “I should not have mentioned it. I know how it pains you.”
She glanced down at the booties once again and tried to speak through the strain in her throat. “That is not all that pains me.”
An audible sigh left him, and he pulled her closer. “I know.”
Hannah inhaled a choppy breath, attempting to cleanse away the dark clouds that closed upon her mind. “At times…at times it seems as though ’twas only yesterday. Then in the next breath, I feel ’twas a different lifetime.”
The memories she wrestled gathered hard and fast, like storm clouds darkening an already bitter night. She shifted her feet and tucked the booties in her skirt pocket, attempting in vain to tuck away the thoughts with equal ease. “Without Bea—without you both beside me—I…” I would not have lived. Hannah looked away, unable to finish the thought aloud. “And now I shall never again be able to tell her how much I loved her, how grateful I am, how I shall never forget her.”
Ensign released his hold and brushed his knuckles against her cheek. “I heard you speak such to her every day.”
“But it wasn’t enough.”
“Dear child.” He kissed her hair once more, then moved back, one hand still on her shoulder. “You must return inside—I beg you. You have been too long in this chill.”
He turned and started down the hill, but she called after him, the cold slowing her lips as she spoke. “Only a moment more, Uncle. I cannot leave her just yet.”
Ensign stopped and glanced back at the grave, eyes red. Not moving his gaze, he answered her request with a pained smile to hide the quivering of his chin. Wiping a stray tear from his cheek, he took in a long breath, blinking as if he still struggled to accept the truth, the same as she. His mouth tightened, and he offered a quick nod before striding down the slight slope toward the house.
The cold cinched harder, stinging Hannah’s cheeks as she stared at the earthen catacomb of her only and dearest friend. She looked up, blinking against the moisture in her eyes. She had Ensign, true. And Caroline. But her cousin was in Sandwich, and though their treasured letters brightened every week, Hannah could not fathom how she would endure every day without Bea’s smiles and humor, her light and wisdom.
Again, she dropped her gaze, recalling Caroline’s most recent pleading. Nay. She hugged her arms around her chest under her cloak and rubbed them to fight against the cold. Never would she return there, no matter how her dearest cousin begged, no matter how lonely the years ahead might prove. Sandwich was the place of her youth, the place of her formative years, aye. But ’twas the place where her past still lived and breathed.
She reached into her pocket, eyes trained on the clouded horizon. Circling her fingers against the memory, she pushed back the bitterness that pressed against the doors she’d hidden it behind. Here in Plymouth she had discovered the meaning of true caring, true love of family.
Hannah tightened her fist around the soft wool as the face of the one man she longed to forget filled her vision as real as if he stood before her. She looked to the house to escape the illusion of him, but it lingered, forcing the imprisoned emotions to cry for freedom.
’Twas as much your doing as his, was it not?
The wind whipped harder now, signaling the need to find refuge indoors. Loathing to part, Hannah blew a kiss toward the lonely mound, grateful, almost, for the distraction that allowed her to leave her post without weeping.
Walking across the snow, she gripped her cloak, shivering as the memories thumped harder in her chest. Ten years had passed, and still she thought of him. Foolish. For surely he thought not of her.
At the back step she clutched the handle, breathing away her past before she could enter. The light from the house peeked through the small cracks in the wood, like her hope that refused to die.
After all they had done—after all they had lost— and still her heart betrayed her.
She grasped the handle tighter and pushed the door open.
She had forgiven him, aye. But she could never, ever forget.
Review

“I would do anything for you. I would do it a thousand times over if I knew it would keep you from suffering” – Joseph Wythe

“So Pure A Heart” is a captivating story, sure to touch your heart and remind you of the greatest Love of all. From the very beginning I felt pulled into the mystery and intrigue in this delightful, page turning story. Often I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen next.

The story opens during the throws of the Revolutionary War. A tumultuous time, when being a Patriot could get you hung for treason and often the lines between friend and foe were blurred.

Hannah’s bravery in the face of her deep loss, speaks volumes to her strength of character and her willingness to further a cause greater than herself.

Joseph is determined to put the needs of other’s first, even at the risk to himself. He never stopped loving Hannah, even though it has been 10 years. He is determined to see that she is safe.

Hannah & Joseph’s story is full of raw emotion, and I felt every heart-throbbing moment right along with them throughout this engaging book!

I enjoyed reading the previous three books in the Daughters of His Kingdom series and I am eagerly anticipating the next book.  Those new to the series won’t feel like they are missing out if they start with this book, however, you won’t want to miss the other stories as they are just as captivating as this one!

(I purchased a copy of this book for my collection. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.)

 

Giveaway

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The Return (Amish Beginnings #3) by: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Synopsis:

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans, but then she never had to. Not until the night when she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid.

During her captivity, Betsy faces brutality and hardship, but also unexpected kindness. She draws strength from native Caleb, who encourages her to find God in all circumstances. She finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the intense new feelings this compelling man awakens within her.

Handsome and complex, Hans is greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity and turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. Eagerly, Tessa responds, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. When Betsy is finally restored to the Amish, have things gone too far between Hans and Tessa?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of pre-revolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

My Review:

Suzanne did an excellent job writing the characters in this story and making them realistic and believable. The hardships of life, and how the characters choose to deal with the results of their choices showcased their growth.

I struggled a bit at the beginning to get immersed in this story. Maybe because I hadn’t previously read the other two books in this series. Personally, I would have enjoyed reading more from Betsy’s perspective, as her story of captivity by the Native Americans is the part of this story that grabbed my attention and enticed me to pick-up the book.

I appreciated the historical research that was the framework for the story. I hadn’t previously known the history of the Conestoga wagon. Wanting to know more, sent me on my own little research (see bonus section below).

Both fans of Amish fiction and those who haven’t read the genre before will enjoy this terrific book. I’ve not read an extensive amount of Amish fiction, but I can say that as a whole I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading the other books in this series.

(I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from Netgalley. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own)

Favorite Quote:

“The same sun that hardens the clay melts the snow”

Bonus:

DSC_0817I found the description in the story of the Conestoga wagon fascinating and I wanted to know more. I found some interesting facts and a few photos. I thought that you may also enjoy learning more.(photo credit: By Kevin Burkett from Philadelphia, Pa., USA – FlickrUploaded by SunOfErat, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30602578)

About the Author:

SWFSuzanne 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 life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

Suzanne can be found on-line at:
Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest

Available now for pre-order (release date: 8/1/2017)

   The Return (Amish Beginnings #3)

Amish Beginnings Series:

 Anna’s Crossing (Amish Beginnings #1)

 The Newcomer (Amish Beginnings #2) 

The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel #1) by: Kristy Cambron

A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz–and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Synopsis:

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl–a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover–the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul–who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

My Review:

Deeply poignant and heartfelt. This is one of those stories that lingers with you forever. I quickly found myself immersed not only in Adele & Vladimir’s story but in Sera & William’s story as well. Kristy has a wonderful ability to take her reader on a delightful journey of words thru the very pages of history and back.

Adele on the surface seems to be the perfect society girl; she plays the violin in the Orchestra, and “Austria’s sweetheart”.  However, upon getting to know her, we quickly see that she has a heart for the less fortunate and a strong sense of wanting to see that others are treated fairly, even to the point of putting herself in danger. Adele fell in love with Vladimir from the beginning, but he is more hesitant. He’s from a tradesmen family and knows that her high-society parents will not approve. He can’t help but be attracted to Adele as he tries to watch out for what he feels is her best interest.

Sera has thrown herself into the successful opening of her Art Gallery. After being left at the altar, she has little need for entanglements. She has been searching for years for a painting that she saw once when she was 8 years old on a trip to Paris with her father. The eyes of the women in the painting seemed to draw her in and stayed with her.  Sera’s search leads her to William, as he is also searching for the painting. Can they find a way to work together to uncover the secrets long hidden by time?

Both Adele and Sera struggle and grow in their faith. They may be separated by time, but they are united in their discovery that finding a lasting peace in Jesus brings the comfort they are seeking.

I loved this story and look forward to reading A Sparrow in Terezin.

Favorite Quote:

“To have something of worth in a world full of chaos was the very definition of beauty”

About the Author:

KristyCambronKRISTY CAMBRON has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the bestselling author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists for 2014 & 2015, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. The Lost Castle (HarperCollins, series debut in 2018) is her fifth novel. Her first Bible studies (DVD + study guides), The Verse Mapping series, will release in 2018.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University, and has 15 years experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. She loves storytelling from the stage and travels to teach about the intersection of story roads, faith-following Jesus, and her affection for Bible Verse-Mapping. Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

The last and most important thing? Jesus Christ is everything — let her tell you about Him sometime.

Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest

   The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel #1)

A Sparrow in Terezin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel #2)

 

I’d love to connect with you:

Have you read any of Kristy’s books, if so which one is your favorite?