Fleeing persecution in 18th-century France, Jewish Rachel Levin and Huguenot Pierre Dupre take refuge in a church. They're safe, unti...moreBook description:
Fleeing persecution in 18th-century France, Jewish Rachel Levin and Huguenot Pierre Dupre take refuge in a church. They're safe, until the man who killed Rachel's family arrives. Captain Vallae wants her as his mistress---or dead! Rachel and Pierre's "marriage" and subsequent escape leave Vallae furious! Can they reach Scotland before the captain takes revenge?
Sanctuary is a riveting historical with a twist of suspense and a tender romance born from tragedy. I love stories where someone is out to get two young people who long for love but dare not experience it due to tragic circumstances. I had no idea when I started this book that it would give me everything I love. The cover is a bit "dark" so it didn't pull me toward the story. The publication date did and my need to review it in advance. This is a great example of not being able to tell a book by it's cover. The picture is calm. The story is anything but calm. It's action, adventure, intrigue, peril, love, loss, and intense faith. See what I mean?
This story had me turning the pages as I experienced their fear as they fled from the French Captain bent on destroying them. Their slowly developing feelings brought about by hardship and the need to learn to trust each other swept me away. The story was beautiful. The almost-kisses made me a bit frantic, but I love that. This is a satisfying read about the persecution experienced by the Huguenots and the Jewish people in the mid 1700s. It will hold your attention, I promise.
Sanctuary was published by Tsaba House and released today! So hurry and get a copy while you can!(less)
Glastonbury Tor contains a lot of actual historical events and people. During the High Middle Ages and the reign of King Henry t...moreMore like 3.5 stars...
Glastonbury Tor contains a lot of actual historical events and people. During the High Middle Ages and the reign of King Henry the VIII, corruption was rampant. Poor Colin leaves one abusive home and enters another when he seeks refuge in the Glastonbury Abby, though some of monks were kind toward him. He matured quite a bit during the year within which this novel occurs. Colin faced unspeakable evil, experienced situation straight from legends in Britain and of the ancient druids, and came in contact with relics alleged to have ties to Christ. Some of the events that occur in this book are obviously fictional as Christ does not inhabit a cup...the Holy Grail, despite legend. And Colin had visions that no one else could see. Nevertheless I found the story quite entertaining despite the lack of romance in the book. It's more of a coming of age novel about a teen boy who must overcome obstacles and confront evil as he learns about true faith.(less)
I totally loved the first book in this series, The Begotten. It was fabulous. The second book in this series, The Betrayed was just as good. I recomme...moreI totally loved the first book in this series, The Begotten. It was fabulous. The second book in this series, The Betrayed was just as good. I recommend reading the series in order. There was a point in the middle of The Betrayed when I put this book down due to other commitments, but when I picked it up again I was pulled right back into that world.
The brutality the "gifted" experienced was as powerful as the miraculous events. I couldn't believe how many times they were captured after trying to get free. And being pursued like that had to make them crazy. I found the parallel between the "dark" lord and Satan quite interesting. He would get furious when Daria quoted scripture during times of suffering, yet that was the one thing that sustained her. For me, another profound conclusion from this story was how God will sometimes allow others to suffer alongside us to provide encouragement.
I loved the message about God's perfect timing and tuning into his voice. And the strategies that the evil Lord, Sorcerer Abramo, used to try to break them were so similar to the devil's. First he tries luring you in with your own lusts and weaknesses. If that doesn't break you he goes after your flesh (like with sickness) and if you still refuse to curse God in the midst of that pain he tries the ultimate tactic of hurting those you love. What a wicked enemy we have!
Bergren did such a fabulous job of making me see how the enemy works through this parallel story. It makes me want to memorize more scriptures that I can use when I need encouragement and when I need to fight off the enemy's attacks. As far as the edgy factor goes? I'd rate this with 8 out of ten stars for edgy content. If you want to experience an adventure that will both thrill you and at the same time cut you to the very marrow of your bones, you will love this book.
To Love Anew is an amazing journey you won't want to miss. There are some pretty edgy scenes in this book, which of course worked well for me. However...moreTo Love Anew is an amazing journey you won't want to miss. There are some pretty edgy scenes in this book, which of course worked well for me. However, someone else may find a few things a bit hard to read because they were SO realistically done. I felt like I was Hannah suffering through the majority of the book. The stench, the pain, the heartache were all vividly portrayed. I doubt I would have survived what Hannah went through and may have given up hope long before. But Hannah was a survivor despite her low opinion of herself and the guilt that nearly consumed her.
I loved how the author took people that Hannah would not normally associate with, but given her circumstances, she is then forced to look at her own heart and prejudices. The unspeakable evils done to the prisoners amazed me in that anyone survived at all. The story reminded me of the movie Amistad, but the prisoners on the ship were white. The forced labor for the prisoners and lack of freedom was just like slavery.
John was the ultimate hero and just about made me swoon whenever he spoke to Hannah. He had plenty of reasons to be bitter, but still managed to keep his honor despite his harsh living situation. His devotion to Hannah was also commendable. I loved the tension between the two of them. Their connection felt realistic and deep. And the emotional tension between them is what excellent romance writing is all about. I loved their relationship and rooted for them to the end--as John never gave up hope.
The best part of this book (besides the delectable romance) was probably the spiritual portion. Hannah had every reason to believe God had abandoned her. She responded like any human would in a similar situation. Of course God never left her, but the journey she took toward that realization was awesome. I loved this story!(less)
Now this is my kind of historical fiction book! The romance in Beloved Castaway totally rocked! And the kisses were to die for--very well written. The...moreNow this is my kind of historical fiction book! The romance in Beloved Castaway totally rocked! And the kisses were to die for--very well written. There is nothing more exciting than a forbidden love story, and this book has it all. Even some edgy stuff. The heroine's mother was quadroon and from New Orleans and thus she was born a slave. The hero was the captain of the ship she sailed on. The way the hero treated her initially (not knowing about her heritage) made me cringe, but then things turned around. This story truly inspired me like Christian fiction should.
I won't give away the storyline, but this was also a deeply spiritual book. It shows the power of living the way Christ commands us to, and the effect this way of right-living has on non-believers. And the ending has the absolute coolest twist I've ever read. But don't read the last chapter first, or you will ruin the book. You don't want to miss this treat, so don't cheat yourself out of a great experience.
My last thought... The cover is pretty but also kind of dark, so it isn't one I would normally pick up in a store to read. But the story within it's pages will brighten your day, so take a chance on this one. Trust me, if you love romantic tension and some awesome Christian fiction with sizzle, this novel will definitely float your boat.(less)
This is one of the best books on WWII fiction that I've read. I especially like the emphasis on the liberation of people from the concentration camps....moreThis is one of the best books on WWII fiction that I've read. I especially like the emphasis on the liberation of people from the concentration camps. There are not very many stories out there like this one. I couldn't put the book down. Great love story, great intrigue/action, and accurate. I went to the Holocaust Museum in DC and this story takes you right into that era. Also, I like the Nazi piece to the story. War is a terrible thing and many people are stuck on a side they don't necessarily want to be on. Tricia Goyer did an excellent job writing this novel. I laughed, I cried. I felt the love of these people. It doesn't get better than this.(less)
Dawn of a Thousand Nights is a story of survival and hope in God birthed during the most horrible of circumstances. It some ways this story reminded m...moreDawn of a Thousand Nights is a story of survival and hope in God birthed during the most horrible of circumstances. It some ways this story reminded me of Pearl Harbor, only it was so much better. Unlike the movie, this story won't leave you feeling cheated at the end when the woman ends up with the wrong man. Libby remained faithful to Dan and though lonely at times, she trusted in God to see her through hard times. Times when she was tempted to doubt. Personal faith was born through their adversity, rather than bitterness which is often cultivated by unfair circumstances. It is during these trying times that Libby and Dan individually seek God to meet their deepest needs. I felt for Dan as he watched one buddy after another die while he lived on, barely. The Lord was with him even in the darkest places, and like Deitrich Bonhoeffer, he ministered to those who needed hope even while he suffered in prison. What an inspiring novel. At times the reality of the story was so horrible I had to take a mental breather, but otherwise I couldn't put this story down. Goyer brings WWII to life when she highlights the suffering of American servicemen in the Philippines. Their plight is often forgotten when people recall the heroes and circumstances of WWII. Overall, this story is the best accounting of the war in the Pacific that I've ever read. I can't wait for Tricia's next book to come out. It's guaranteed to be an intense emotional ride, just like her first two books. And they keep getting better. How does she do that? :)(less)
Arms of Deliverance is a powerful and fascinating tale portraying the evil of the Nazi regime and the heroic people who resisted by refusing to confor...moreArms of Deliverance is a powerful and fascinating tale portraying the evil of the Nazi regime and the heroic people who resisted by refusing to conform. And, as usual, Tricia's storyline and writing is as gripping as the Thoene's, and I've read all of their books. One character's plight I found particularly gripping. Rebecca Lodz, a Czech Jewess, had to change her name to Katrine and pass herself off as Aryan to survive, only to end up in the Lebensborn project, where German babies were bred for the Reich.
Two female reporters were sent on dangerous missions (at their request) to report tales of heroism to inspire Americans and boost morale. Unfortunately, they both encountered terrors of war that made them question their judgment, but they "hung in there" despite their fear. They experienced things that imbedded in their minds and changed their hearts forever. (I love how Tricia always has strong female heroines in her books. Yes, even Rebecca had incredible strength.)
The Destiny's Child navigator, Eddie, is incredible and handsome--the ultimate hero, and of course, a Christian. He bonds to one of the female reporters during their plight and he proposes a plan that has Mary afraid--the title's name sake, yet she agrees to trust God. (I don't know how she does it, but Tricia always has me sighing over the guys in her stories.) The author also does what most excellent authors do...she takes the characters' worst fears and makes it happen, then adds even more trials to their load.
Great writing. Excellent twists and turns. Incredible plot. Strong faith element. Enthralling story. I don't want this series to ever end. What a great way to teach young people today about true heroism in the midst of a cynical society obsessed with self-preservation.(less)
I love reading WWII fiction and have been a fan of the Thoenes's series for years. Tricia's account of what happened in Austria during that era and th...moreI love reading WWII fiction and have been a fan of the Thoenes's series for years. Tricia's account of what happened in Austria during that era and the atrocities of the concentration camps is compelling. I visited the Holocaust Museum in DC in 2003 and reading her novel was like going back for a visit to the rooms with the chilling history of death and torture. Though not grossly graphic, she gets the truth of the sadism and inhumane thinking of that era across without sounding preachy. Also, the plot kept my interest and the characters were well developed. I found it to be very true to life. She did a great job weaving a fictional tale around a true life account of someone else's suffering. I keep thinking about the story after I've read it and that is unusual for me. From Dust and Ashes (first in the series) also sticks with me, but Night Song surpasses even that wonderfully written story. I can't wait for her third book to come out.(less)
I'm so used to Tricia's Nazi era books that this one took me a while longer to get into at first. However, she had me hook, line, and sinker on this o...moreI'm so used to Tricia's Nazi era books that this one took me a while longer to get into at first. However, she had me hook, line, and sinker on this one to the end. Trica is so adept at describing scenes that you feel like you're there. The blood, the smoke, the cries of the dying. Her descriptions are an amazing treat for the senses. Tricia does a fabulous job describing the horror of war. Her writing style is always a cultural banquet and I felt like I got a real taste of war-torn Europe.
She also had me going there for awhile about Michael. I'm still not sure I like the guy. Plus, there is still some major mystery lingering by the books end. And the romance! Oye ve! She BETTER address some of that in the sequel or I'll have to hunt her down. I can almost feel the rope burns on my neck from where she left me hanging! I wish I had the sequel on hand because I'd whip it out and continue the saga right now! Great new series. Makes me want to kick back, put my feet up, roll my Rs, and eat a torta! :) (less)
Wow, I've never a had a book impact so much emotionally. The title is so perfect in so many ways. It's about so much more than 9-11. It's about rememb...moreWow, I've never a had a book impact so much emotionally. The title is so perfect in so many ways. It's about so much more than 9-11. It's about remembering your first love, remembering your youth and the good things in life, remembering to care and to live in the moment rather than protect your heart from pain because you never know what tomorrow will bring, remembering God and the big picture, remembering that only God can heal our heart and love us the way we need to be loved. I cried so many times during this story I can't remember (LOL!), mainly because all of the relationships between the characters were so real. And there was true love, and romance, and kissing between several sets of characters, all with different issues causing them pain. This is so often absent in "inspirational" fiction, and that makes me sad. The characters' temptations were real, their sin and mistakes were real, the losses they all felt were amazingly real. I don't think the 9-11 thing was overdone at all. Maybe because I'm from NY state, it hits me closer to home. I remember watching the events unfold on television (while living in Arizona) and being in shock for a week. Remembering this event, in my opinion, is important, because like with any tragedy we tend to forget, and I don't think that's a good thing at all. Remembering makes us love more, try harder, and ultimately heal. Did I mention that I couldn't put this book down? Good thing this was a long weekend!(less)
I can see this novel made into a television series. I'm not kidding! When I first saw the cover I wasn't sure I'd like the story despite the intriguin...moreI can see this novel made into a television series. I'm not kidding! When I first saw the cover I wasn't sure I'd like the story despite the intriguing summary on the back of the book. But I wasn't disappointed. The characters were rich and the drama contained real-life conflict that kept me reading. I was totally into this story and fell in love with the different romances as they occurred in their unique settings. One of a married woman and her battle-scarred husband, the other of a woman who denied herself true love until old age, and the most amazing story of all...the woman who falls in love with the "enemy" who is a brother in the Lord.
I just love stories with such impossible barriers, yet the love of Christ breaks through as long as His children follow His will and not their flesh, which is often deceptive and leads to heartache. Forgiveness and looking beyond the outward appearance are strong themes in this novel. You will be holding your breath in several places and swiping tears from your eyes in others. If you want to read a story that will move your heart and warm your spirit, then you will want to read Footprints on the Horizon. Trust me! (less)
This story will make your heart sing. Poor Edward. You can't help but feel sorry for him and anxious for his cousin as he worries that Abby will want...moreThis story will make your heart sing. Poor Edward. You can't help but feel sorry for him and anxious for his cousin as he worries that Abby will want Edward back. But five years is a long time, and Edward and Abby have both changed. One thing that has remained constant, however, is Deborah's love and admiration for Edward. But dare she hope that he might return her affections?
This enjoyable romance shows how getting to know someone's character and heart for others can lead to love. Beauty is only skin deep. While Deborah is by no means ugly, her heart for others makes her beautiful in Edward's eyes. Hold your breath as you wait for them to discover love and hope that they can get past societal expectations from that era to achieve the relationship they both long for.(less)
A God who knows the key to their deepest need lies in each other?
Wyoming Territories, 1860. Gloria is in trouble. A mining camp is a merciless place when you're young, pregnant--and a prostitute. No matter. Life will not defeat her.
John William McGregan is in despair. His beloved wife died in childbirth. And while John is a resourceful man, raising an infant daughter on his own seems impossible.
Thrown together by a seemingly cruel fate, Gloria and John William make a pact: She will nurse his daughter; he will raise her son. Neither asks for marriage. They are joined by necessity, nothing more.
But after a move to the new Oregon territory, facing John William's faith day after day, and receiving an older woman's motherly mentoring, Gloria longs for something more. For the love she's been denied all her life. If only that life hadn't made her unfit, not only for John William--but for God.
Then tragedy strikes--making even the resolute John William question his faith. Terrified, Gloria turns to the One she has never been able to trust. But can even God save what now means more to Gloria than life itself: her newfound family?
Ten Thousands Charms was such an emotionally gripping story that I had trouble putting it down. But even when I had to work and do other things, I was still thinking about the story. I know so many women like Gloria who have been so hurt that they are emotionally dead inside and when someone offers them hope, they are terrified. I could totally see that struggle in Gloria and it was a beautiful thing to watch how God slowly wooed her to Himself through the love of believers. And while no one in this story was even close to perfect, they were totally believeable and likeable characters. John William was heroic in so many ways even with the flaws he carried with him. And Gloria was such a good mother to the babies. It was impossible not to grow to love her as she cared for the children and learned how to take care of herself and her "family," which was the one thing she never believed she would experience in her lifetime. My eyes filled with tears every time Gloria took a tiny step in faith. There were so many things she learned, and the reader learns along with her as she learns to trust. The author also does a fantastic job writing the male point of view and the intense emotions John and Gloria both felt, both positive and negative. I highly recommend this story because it nurtures both the heart and the spirit, and because I loved, loved, loved it!
Ten Thousand Charms was published by Multnomah and released in 2006.(less)
A Proper Pursuit covers so many topics it's hard to know where to begin. I loved how Violet got to experience all walks of life to some degree while s...moreA Proper Pursuit covers so many topics it's hard to know where to begin. I loved how Violet got to experience all walks of life to some degree while staying in Chicago. Violet had several eccentric aunts and a grandmother who did a lot of work with the poor. One had dementia, another was a feminist, another highly religious, and another had married for money and tolerated her husband's dalliances.
The setting included the World's Fair in 1893. I loved that Violet learned so much when she spent those months with her aunts, including how selfish her own heart tended to be. I especially enjoyed her pursuit of the real meaning of love. It was hilarious how she described the feeling of being in love as being similar to a sickness. She was naive in many ways, but also very wise because she looked beyond the outward appearances the majority of the time.
Violet had a variety of potential suitors, and they were all very different. She learned about getting to know people better and not just exiting in a world of socialites playacting their roles and eating dainties while visiting the rich. As the story moved along, readers got to know each of the men, and discovered the good and the bad about them along with Violet.
Poor Violet just wanted to be loved for who she was...and to find her mother so she could find out why she abandoned her so many years ago. Neither task was easy, though the particulars were so well-written that I found myself growing anxious on so many levels. I cared about all of the characters in this book. The author's voice and setting really brought Violet to life in my mind. Her desperation for her mother's love was emotionally evocative, too.
And talk about an intense romantic element with some whopper kisses! I won't tell you which man she finally received those romantic kisses from because it would spoil the fun...but I can say that Violet discovered that it was possible to find true love. I just about melted when she was kissed that first time. The author really built the tension, and did it so well that I felt a bit breathless myself.
Wonderful writing, an amazing setting full of accurate historical details, believable dialog, tender romance, and a solid faith thread made this book a real winner.
A Proper Pursuit was published by Bethany House in 2007. It received a Christy Award. I can see why! It was an excellent read.(less)