Sean O'Connor wants only one thing--to spend all his days in the bliss of bachelorhood. When he takes a job working with his little sister's best frieSean O'Connor wants only one thing--to spend all his days in the bliss of bachelorhood. When he takes a job working with his little sister's best friend, Emma Malloy, he does the one thing he never meant to do. . . he falls in love her with her. There's only one problem . . .she's already married. Emma Malloy escaped the hands of her abusive husband eleven years ago when she fled from Dublin to Boston. Still, she intends to keep the vows she made to her estranged husband and God. But nothing prepares her for falling in love with Sean O'Connor. Can she possibly resist her feelings for the only man she's ever truly loved? Is it possible to remain bound to the vows she made so long ago. . . ?
Julie Lessman has done it once again in this second installment to the Winds of Change series. A Heart Revealed is a riveting story filled with tons of romance.
I have say right off that out of all of Julie Lessman's characters, Emma and Sean are my favorite so far!
Julie Lessman's readers have to come to expect more than just a story about two characters in her novels, but rather a family saga that continues to grow with each new book. This novel is no exception. Inside the pages of this story, one will find more conflict between the beloved characters who captured our imaginations in previous novels.
While this novel definitely contains the spiritual depth that can usually be found in Julie Lessman's work, A Heart Revealed really impressed me! I especially appreciated two things in this story.
The first thing I appreciated was how the main female character not only lived a full, single life, but actually lived it in absolute contentment, realizing she had already been made complete in Jesus Christ. As a single woman, I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read about a woman who has that kind of perspective! It's a message that took me a long time to learn in my own life, and I'm so glad to see it impressed upon in a romance novel.
The second thing I appreciated was how the romance in this novel completely differed from most. Rather than focus on starting out with attraction, then moving onto sparks and falling in love, this romance began with a genuine friendship between two people who appreciated and respected each other without looking for anything in return. It represented a logical kind of love that is not normally led by the heart.
I really enjoyed this story and highly recommend it. I will caution however, that anyone who doesn't like to see any kind of sexual references in Christian fiction, should probably stay away from this book. While Julie Lessman has become well-known for showing the God-created beauty of intimacy and passion within the marriage bed--in a manner that is never explicit and always tasteful--,people who have a low tolerance for this sort of thing may feel uncomfortable with this novel.
The only reason I gave A Heart Revealed a 4.9 rating and not a 5 star rating, is because there is one loose end that I would have loved to have seen tied up in this novel rather than carried over to the next one.
Other than that, A Heart Revealed is a great read!
I received a complimentary review of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. ...more
When Vanessa Grant's father lay on his death-bed, Clayton Profitt made a promise to his employer that he would always look after Vanessa. Years later,When Vanessa Grant's father lay on his death-bed, Clayton Profitt made a promise to his employer that he would always look after Vanessa. Years later, that promise is tested when Clayton finds Vanessa crying in the barn. As Clayton sees the bruises on Vanessa's body, he makes the quick to decision to take her out west so she can escape her step-father. As they make their way to the Colorado territory, it becomes evident they'll have to marry in order to keep her completely safe from her step-father, who is no doubt hunting them down to take Vanessa back.
A Texan's Promise is both engaging and heart-wrenching. While it starts off slower than most stories, every moment is worth it.
Shelly Gray's writing style is different and fresh as she brings a mixture of heart-wrenching events and romance in the same story. Her characters are compassionate and enjoyable.
While I had a hard time understanding the heroine's reluctance to marry the heroine, Shelly Gray brings us deeper into the the character and exposes his true reluctance.
Shelly Gray brings event, such as rape and abuse, into this story that might make some people cringe or may be downright uncomfortable for others.
At times the book did seem to border on the verge of "preachy". With that said, Shelly Gray does skillfully engage the preaching through interesting dialogue, and not once does she ever slow down the story. It's through this skill that I didn't find the preaching overly annoying.
I definitely recommend A Texan's Promise and can't wait to the next book in this new series!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Abingdon Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Fannie Rousseau has just lost her mother and is struggling to keep her family's estate in good condition. When she discovers a long held family secretFannie Rousseau has just lost her mother and is struggling to keep her family's estate in good condition. When she discovers a long held family secrets that no one is willing to talk about, she boards a steamboat traveling along the Missouri River in hopes of discovering the truth for herself. Samuel Beck is also on a quest for family. . .but his is to reconcile a mistake he made long ago. Yet left penniless and knowing he needs passage aboard a steamboat traveling along the Missouri, he takes a job as freighter to help pay his wages. There, he meets the beautiful Miss Rousseau. As Fannie and Samuel grow closer, their obvious differences don't stop sparks from forming. But is it possible that they are truly a most unsuitable match?
A Most Unsuitable Match has a great many elements in it that make for a good story. The beginning starts off very slow, almost bogged down with more narration than immediate scenes, but once the story picks it up it holds the reader engaged and highly entertained.
While I enjoyed Stephanie Grace Whitson's previous novel far more than this one, I still truly enjoyed A Most Unsuitable Match.
As always, Stephanie Grace Whitson fills her stories with such wonderful historical detail and accuracy. I enjoyed learning about the steamboats along the Missouri River, and even learning more about the early territory of Montana.
The message in this book is one of the best I think I've read in a long a time. While we've seen a great many stories on bookstore shelves that deal with broken prostitutes in search of redemption from their previous life as society's outcasts, Stephanie Grace Whitson brings something unique to this story by approaching it from the perspective of those broken women's families.
While the ending seemed a little rushed, and the epilogue didn't quite make sense in the beginning, overall, it's still a good story.
Fans of historical fiction will definitely love A Most Unsuitable Match.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Priscilla White longs to rescue the heathen residing in unknown parts of the world from the fires of hell, should they never hear of Jesus Christ. PriPriscilla White longs to rescue the heathen residing in unknown parts of the world from the fires of hell, should they never hear of Jesus Christ. Priscilla is preparing to leave for India to just that . . . until she receives devastating news--the mission board will no longer send unmarried candidates into the mission field. The painful reality that she can never bear a child has left her determined to never wed, but now she must re-consider her choice. Eli Ernest has spent years convincing the mission board to fund a ministry that will share the Gospel to the Native American Indians. The mission board has finally decided to help fund his mission in Oregon Country, but there is only one condition . . . he must find a wife. Priscilla and Eli realize they have few options. Knowing they may never have another chance, they decide to marry, with the agreement that it will be in name only. As they make they make their way to to the other side of the continent, unexpected events will test them . . . and force new longings in their heart. Can they possibly keep their vow to have a marriage in name only?
The Doctor's Lady is an excellent story that will hold you captive until the very last page. This story is filled with characters who are not only true to the time period, but so realistic they come right off the page.
Jody Hedlund proves her skills as a writer as she creates a flawless story that is not only historically accurate, but wonderfully executed with vivid writing and characterization. The romance that blossoms between the two characters is not only the most natural I've ever seen in a romance novel, but also the most endearing one I've encountered.
While the romantic elements in this story are very strong, Jody Hedlund also doesn't shy away from letting readers experience the darker side of life that nineteenth century missionaries dealt with as they traveled west.
I truly enjoyed this story! As one who has delved into studying both the Oregon Trail and nineteenth century missionary life, I give this book one the highest marks of accuracy.
I highly recommend The Doctor's Lady. Fans of Deeanne Gist will be especially pleased with this story, as will those who enjoy stories that deal with travels out west.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. ...more
Pirate of My Heart is a riveting tale filled with charm, adventure, comedy, and romance!
After the death of Lady Kendra Townsend's father, she is leftPirate of My Heart is a riveting tale filled with charm, adventure, comedy, and romance!
After the death of Lady Kendra Townsend's father, she is left in the care of her ruthless uncle. He gives her the choice to marry the man he chooses for her or leave England to live with relatives she has never met, in the land called America. Believing God has a plan, she boards a cargo ship to start a new life. On the voyage, she meets American sea captain Dorian Colburn. Dorian felt an attraction to the Englishwoman the second she stepped on the ship . . . but he's not about to let some heiress slow him down from his sea adventures. He's been wounded by women before and he enjoys his single life. When Kendra is threatened, will he change his mind and take a risk on her?
Pirate of My Heart is a charming story that sparks with romantic tension. Jamie Carie creates delightful characters full of wit and humor. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the hero and heroine spar with each other. Even when they aren't arguing, their humor and quick wit around one another is just as amusing. There are moments in this story that are priceless!
The writing in this novel is absolutely stunning and brilliant. Jamie Carie pens clever descriptions of characters and their moods.
The historical approach in this novel is also very accurate from the early English point of view. It is in this historical accuracy that we find the title of the novel. While the cover, title, and back-cover description may lead one to believe this story is about pirates, the truth is that pirates make a brief appearance in this story. While at first I felt as though the misleading information should have decreased my rating, I truly found the reason behind the title too clever and endearing to do so.
I found an instance when I disagreed with one of the heroine's decisions. That being said, this story is not about me or anyone else. It's about this character. Though the author gives us good enough motivation to justify the decision, from a biblical perspective, it's not one I'd feel comfortable with if a real-life friend made that same choice. I do, however, believe the varying feelings on this decision would make an excellent discussion in book clubs!
This is the first book I've ever read by Jamie Carie. After reading Pirate of My Heart, not only do I look forward to her next title, but I'm ready to go out and purchase all her other books. I loved every moment of this novel and highly recommend Pirate of My Heart.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from B & H Publishing, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Livy O’Brien knows all too well the plight of street children. Though once a child who wandered the streets, she now assists in running the local town Livy O’Brien knows all too well the plight of street children. Though once a child who wandered the streets, she now assists in running the local town orphanage. Yet running the orphanage is not enough for her. She longs to reach out to the children who still wander the streets, but she knows their fear and how hard it is for them to trust anyone. It’s a fear she once shared—and still shares when it comes to lawman, Jake Russell--which is why she’s determined to keep her attraction to him from growing. If he learned of her past, he’d reject her. Deputy, Jake Russell, is struggling to pay off a loan. He knows he doesn’t have time to pursue the beautiful Miss O’Brien, but he can’t deny the attraction he feels toward her. Despite his attempts, she seems uncomfortable around him. As local crimes around town increase, crimes supposedly committed by urchins that wander the streets, he works to try to catch the culprits. Yet his and Livy’s views of the criminal street-children differ. Will these views be their undoing, or will they pull them into something neither of them expected? I have to say right out that this book did not disappoint! This story captured me from the first page and didn’t let go until the end. Filled with romance, mystery, and depth, this story is sure to capture you.
Pam Hillman proves herself an expert at historical research. The thorough and accurate presentation of history in this novel is impressive. In fact, I believe calling it impressive is doing her an injustice. The research is actually phenomenal.
Her ability to create not just intriguing leading characters, but an entire town filled within various characters and personalities shows mastery that one rarely finds with debut novelists.
The thing that stands out most in Stealing Jake is the message Mrs. Hillman shares with her readers. Her heroine’s passion for the street children seeps though the pages of the book and makes its way straight to the heart. While America may not have many orphaned children wandering the street anymore, families and individuals who lack adequate food or shelter do still wander the streets, struggling to make it through the next hour—and this book made me stop and consider what I can do to help them. While the message definitely exposes the heart to truths we may never have considered, it’s never once presented in an over-preachy or condemning manner.
I highly recommend this book. It will definitely satisfy those who love historical romance! I can’t wait to see Pam Hillman’s next novel....more
In 1896, Helga Estby and her daughter Clara, journey on foot from Spokane, Washington to New York City in a desperate attempt to save their family farIn 1896, Helga Estby and her daughter Clara, journey on foot from Spokane, Washington to New York City in a desperate attempt to save their family farm. Much to the dissatisfaction of their community, they leave their family behind to make the six month trek across the county. During the time spent on their walk, Helga reveals a deep secret that alters her perception of her family. Upon their return to Spokane, several years later, Clara continues to walk. . .but this time away from her family. She relocates and changes her name, leaving a rift between her and the ones she loves the most. Based off a true story, Jane Kirkpatrick explores Clara's life that follows the great walk of 1896.
I'm not sure how to sum up my experience with this book, except to say that this story is like none I've ever read. It gripped me and fascinated me in a way that no other work of fiction has ever done. The tone of this novel differed from other novels, but that didn't deter me.
Mrs. Kirkpatrick is a master at bringing real-life figures into pages of fiction. Since this book is written in first-person, and because Mrs. Kirkpatrick does such an outstanding job with these characters, I constantly I had to remind myself that I was reading a piece of fiction and not Clara's actual biography.
This book is not your typical work of fiction. I found the pace a little slow, yet every second equally compelling. I'm not sure how the author accomplished that, but somehow, for this novel, it truly works.
The Daughter's Walk tore at my emotions and touched me deeply. This is a fascinating fictional account about a young woman who forges on in a time when women were undervalued and fighting for their rights.
I highly recommend this story. Readers who enjoy Nancy Moser's fictional accounts of real-life figures will devour The Daughter's Walk. Anyone who reads this story will come away with a new perspective on forgiveness and family.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. ...more
The best of the Fountain Creek Chonicles. Tamera Alexander's writing breaths life into the characters as they jump off the page and into our hearts. FThe best of the Fountain Creek Chonicles. Tamera Alexander's writing breaths life into the characters as they jump off the page and into our hearts. From the first page of the novel, you will be hooked on every word. Mrs. Alexander does another wonderful job in the conclusion to the Fountain Creek Chronicles. I love how she works with the French language, almost allowing the readers to hear Veronique's accent. ...more
Susannah leaves her home in Detroit to head to the Dakota territory as a mail-order bride for her minister's brother, Jesse Mason. Upon her arrival, DSusannah leaves her home in Detroit to head to the Dakota territory as a mail-order bride for her minister's brother, Jesse Mason. Upon her arrival, Dakota is nothing like she expects. Even worse, marriage demands far more than she expected. Shy and wounded, she believes Jesse could never lover her.
Jesse is patient with Susannah, waiting until she learns to love him. They grow to love each other. Then a locust plague wipes out their crop. With few options left, Jesse leaves to find work in the growing towns. Somehow he ends up in Fort Lincoln, and things continue to get worse. Will Susannah and Jesse ever be able to rekindle their new found love?
I initially found myself excited about this book. My excitement, however, soon diminished as I began to read the book. I'm not sure if it's the author's voice or the writing itself, but I found this book a very hard read. It became entirely too confusing at times. The proportion in this novel proved to be an issue. Some scenes were so fast-paced, jumping from one location to the next--or from one action to the next--that it became near impossible to discern what was taking place or even form a solid idea of the story itself. Some events needed to be slow-placed to build important tension, yet they were glossed over some much so that one had to wonder what just took place.
The dialogue lent much confusion as well. At times it became difficult to know who was speaking as character reactions and actions had been placed with the wrong dialogue.
The conflict itself seemed too devised and unnatural, almost forced. Arguments often sprung out of nowhere, the heroine's past hurt didn't seem to justify her current state of mind, and it seemed like the stakes were never high enough to make me understand the true conflict.
I wish I could have enjoyed this story, but overall, I found it very difficult to do so.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through Bookneeze, for the purpose of providing an honest review of the material. ...more
Ex-prizefighter Levi Grant has turned over a new life. Upon his release from prison, he finds himself eager to earn an honest living in blacksmithing.Ex-prizefighter Levi Grant has turned over a new life. Upon his release from prison, he finds himself eager to earn an honest living in blacksmithing. The town of Spencer could use a blacksmith, and he could use a place where no one will learn too quickly about his past transgressions. The town librarian, Eden Spencer, has resigned herself to a contented life of singleness. She doesn't give second thought to the idea of marriage . . . until the new blacksmith starts paying regular visits to her library. As her heart blossoms toward him, her pre-conceived notions of the blacksmith begin to wither. Once the genteel librarian discovers Levi's previous crimes, however, he finds himself thrust into his toughest fight yet. . .winning Eden's heart.
When I pick up a Karen Witemeyer novel I've come to expect an entertaining story entwined with various lessons that will deepen my understanding of Scripture and God. While not unusual for Christian fiction to contain a spiritual message, it is a rare author who can use several verses of Scripture and write individual mini-lessons while using each to contribute to the overall message conveyed in the novel. Even rarer yet is the author who manages to pull such off and somehow still leave her readers feeling as if they haven't been bashed over the head with preaching. And Karen Witemeyer seems to do all of it with ease as she pens a delightful story.
As always, Karen Witemeyer introduces readers to compelling and dynamic characters. Having read all her novels, I've come to admire her work. While I enjoyed Eden Spencer as a heroine, I found her to be the least likable of Mrs. Witemeyer's female protagonists. It seemed she lacked any validation for her moral dilemma. Realizing, of course, that this novel takes place during an era where the heroine's reaction is quite normal and even deemed as righteous, it's important for the reader to understand Mrs. Witemeyer remains true to the time period she writes about. Modern day readers, such as myself, may find themselves irked by this unfortunate attitude that once existed in ages past, but it is nevertheless a dilemma a young woman may have found herself in .
The writing in this story is both vivid and clever. While Mrs. Witemeyer proves to be a skilled word-smith, the consistent over-use of the"simile" throughout the story became rather taxing and at times seemed like purple prose. One will stumble upon a well written phrase, but by the time you reach it, the over-use of the device makes the cleverly written simile seem a bit clichéd.
Regardless of how one feels about the heroine or the similes used in the story, it's impossible to dispute the fact that this novel is definitely a great read. ...more
Mariah Aubrey has disappointed her family and those who trust her. Choosing to seclude herself from their condemnation, she takes up residence in theMariah Aubrey has disappointed her family and those who trust her. Choosing to seclude herself from their condemnation, she takes up residence in the gatehouse of her aunt's estate. Determined to enjoy one semblance of life and support herself, she secretly pens novels. Captain Matthew Bryant has worked hard to reach his current success--hoping one day to attain proper status in the eyes of the woman who once rejected him. When he leases an estate, he finds himself intrigued by the beauty who resides in the gatehouse. The more whispers he hears about her, the more he realizes that involving himself with Mariah Aburey would undo all he has accomplished. Yet they seem drawn together, in a quest to uncover the secrets of the estate they both live on. How many secrets will be revealed? And how far will one ambitious captain go in order to obtain the prize he's longed for all these years?
The Girl in the Gatehouse has to be one of the most outstanding, intriguing, and vibrant books I've had the privilege of reading all year! Klassen pens an excellent story that leaves readers hanging on every word until the last page. There is never a dull moment in this story!
In the past, I haven't taken to Mrs. Klassen's novels very well. While I've always found them enjoyable, they just never seemed to resonate or stir my imagination. This novel, however, is not only one of the best she's ever written, but probably one of the best examples of an outstanding and well-written novel in Christian fiction.
In this novel Klassen whisks readers away to regency England and introduces them to a story that is overflowing in vibrant settings and rich characterization. Her writing style and characters capture the Jane Austen-type characters (and Austen herself, for that matter), while powerfully meshing the mystery and Gothic elements one can find in a Charlotte Bronte novel. Even the title of the novel lends a certain air of mystery to it.
Klassen introduces a variety of plots and mystery that might feel like a lot at first. Rest assured, she expertly weaves all those individual threads into a masterful tapestry of a story.
Aside from a lush setting, enriching characters, and outstanding story-telling, the spiritual element in this story is absolutely beautiful. Not too light, yet not overbearing, it lends just the right amount to have a profound impact on the reader. I believe the spiritual element is what adds that extra spark to this novel that already shines!
Without a doubt, I highly recommend The Girl in the Gatehouse! As, I've already stated, it has to be one of the best books I've read all year. ...more
Neither Marianne Denton and Noah Brenin like the idea of marrying each other. Circumstances have left each of them no choice. If Marianne doesn't marrNeither Marianne Denton and Noah Brenin like the idea of marrying each other. Circumstances have left each of them no choice. If Marianne doesn't marry Noah, her mother will fail to receive the proper medical treatment necessary to save her life. Noah doesn't like the idea of wedding himself the arrogant Miss Denton. He hopes he can bring in a fortune selling his cargo to England before the war starts, releasing from their arranged engagement.
Furious when Noah walks out of their engagement party, Marianne follows him to his ship. When she ends up stuck on board the ship with no way to return to Baltimore, she must endure Noah's loathsome presence.
When Noah and Marianne cross tides with a British naval ship and are impressed into the navy, they must both suffer unthinkable cruelty. In this midst of it all, will they surrender their hearts to each other and the destiny that God has for them?
I absolutely loved this book. I normally don't read pirate stories (which this wasn't), but I loved every moment of it. Filled with fascinating characters and amazing romantic tension, MaryLu Tyndall captures her readers. The plot is excellent and unique. How many historical novels take place around the war of 1812.
The spiritual element not only spoke to me, but deeply touched in me.
I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to the next one. ...more