Her Lord and Protector is a wonderfully engaging story with strong well written characters. This intriguing historical romance really made me feel I wHer Lord and Protector is a wonderfully engaging story with strong well written characters. This intriguing historical romance really made me feel I was 'there' and riveted my attention from beginning to end. I found the mute heroine refreshingly unique and was drawn in by the brooding hero and his dark past. Rather like Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. The restoration time period also captivated me and made an enjoyable change from the far more common Regency era. Her Lord and Protector left me wanting more by this talented author. Well done....more
How did I love this book...let me count the ways. The western flavor of the historic setting and period caught my attention immediately. I could tellHow did I love this book...let me count the ways. The western flavor of the historic setting and period caught my attention immediately. I could tell the author did her research because every detail speaks to the authenticity of that town, in that time and place. A big high five from me. If there's a historical error, I didn't catch it and I usually ferret out these things. For most readers, though, the characters will be the real attention and heart grabbers. By the end of the story, which I parted with on a happy but wistful sigh, wishing there were more, I felt as if I knew these people. They could be neighbors or family. The heroine, widower Elenora Watkins, is a spirited woman, while also being very likable. Not always the case with super strong females. She has genuine issues that ring true, not just angst thrown in there for conflict. Ms. Gwyn could have taken a late 19th century woman's journal and penned this story based on her struggles to gain the respect of the community, especially the man she comes to love, in an era when women were not regarded as capable of running a shop as efficiently as a man, among other things. Most of all, Elenora strives to stand on her own two feet and provide for her young daughter. I understand why Elenora is so driven to succeed after all she's suffered in her life. As to her daughter, Tildy, sometimes in books children are a bit too cutsy, but she's an appealing little girl who adds depth to the story.
I've saved the best for last; I loved the hero, widower Miles Rutledge. I don't know how Elenora didn't succumb to his charms far, far sooner. Wow, what a man. What woman wouldn't want to take him on as they go head to head over how each conducts themselves, or should, according to the other. Again, Miles is battling deep but real issues, raw wounds that Elenora and Tildy help him to heal. Nothing sounded contrived to me in this story. Miles also seems cut from real life. And both he and Elenora are violinists, so the music is a lovely and unique touch. Clearly, Ms. Gwyn is extremely knowledgeable on the subject and that makes the story all the better.
I also liked that while this is a Christian Inspirational Romance, the author didn't preach at me every other paragraph and have the characters endlessly praying. It was a good balance of life and faith struggles and also seemed real. I keep using that word, but it matters. Did I truly feel I was in this time and place with these people? Yes! And I loved them.
Highly recommended to anyone with a heart. ...more
Fascinating book about life in the Alleghenies, just a hop and a skip from our farm in the Shenandoah Valley, and yet, how different is the world Ms.Fascinating book about life in the Alleghenies, just a hop and a skip from our farm in the Shenandoah Valley, and yet, how different is the world Ms. Shifflett brings to life. Some of these customs and practices were known in the valley--still are with the deeply country folk--but many are unique to this far more isolated mountain community. The little elementary school she describes being bussed to from Hopkins Gap is the same school my children attended, and their father before them, now replaced by a far larger modern structure. Much is gained, and lost, in our modern era. ...more
View from the Medicine Lodge is a soul-stirring, poetic, wise collection of Indian stories and life experiences from the heart of Jim Great Elk WatersView from the Medicine Lodge is a soul-stirring, poetic, wise collection of Indian stories and life experiences from the heart of Jim Great Elk Waters: "Our religion is not of paint and feathers. It is a thing of the heart."
Once begun, this inward trek into what is the best of being Indian and human is not easily put down. Curled on the couch with my cat, I journeyed on under the gentle, eloquent guidance of Great Elk as he led me to a richer understanding of what has gone before us, where we are now -- and most importantly, all that we CAN BE: "No dream comes true unless you breathe into it life." And: "To be human is to be truth, less will make us hollow." Great Elk exudes a positive, irrepressibly hopeful spirit that is contagious. He makes me believe in the rich possibilities of this great land we call America and calls me to affirm those possibilities within myself. Despite his people's tragic history, which he touches on in a poignant and comprehensible way, they and he have held to the truths and traditions that make them Shawnee: "We are the total sum of all our ancestors." But you need not be Shawnee or from any other tribe to appreciate the wisdom and poems threaded throughout this unique perspective: "One cannot be long angry in the loving arms of another."
Great Elk teaches with warmth, humor and a noble dignity that does us all honor. His reverence for the Creator and the earth, living in rightful harmony with ourselves and others, remembering those who have gone before us, and our place in the great circle and dance of life shines forth in this inspiring book: "Happiness, laughter, and family voices in a home keep more people living right than all the laws man can make."
This is a must read for anyone with a soul. It is brimming with food for those weary in spirit, and anyone who desires a better understanding of what makes us good. It is also a visual treat with beautiful illustrations by the author. ...more
Babies in the Bargain is an engrossing medical romance. I couldn’t stop reading except for a quick trip to grab a bite in the kitchen before scootingBabies in the Bargain is an engrossing medical romance. I couldn’t stop reading except for a quick trip to grab a bite in the kitchen before scooting back to this excellent story. Not only are Drs. Marc Suarez and Holly Collier exquisitely well drawn--the tension between them pulses from the pages—and the medical details refreshingly authentic, but the babies are irresistible. The story is reminiscent of Grey’s Anatomy, only I liked Babies in the Bargain better. These two sexy doctors have far more integrity and I didn’t have to worry that the author would kill them off in some hideous fashion as has been known to happen on Grey’s. I thoroughly enjoyed the hard won HEA ending in this most satisfying read. ...more
I don't normally read contemporary romance/Women's fiction but I really enjoyed the characters and story in All of Me. A heart warming as well as captI don't normally read contemporary romance/Women's fiction but I really enjoyed the characters and story in All of Me. A heart warming as well as captivating read. The chemistry between Leila and Ryan really sizzles. ...more
Very interesting. Suzy Whitten weaves an intriguing tale. Not entirely historically accurate but engaging. Note, this is a dark story with a strong seVery interesting. Suzy Whitten weaves an intriguing tale. Not entirely historically accurate but engaging. Note, this is a dark story with a strong sexual element so not appropriate for YA readers. ...more
This book attracted my notice because of my Chinese connection with the past. Not only did I spend my early childhood in Taiwan where my parents taughThis book attracted my notice because of my Chinese connection with the past. Not only did I spend my early childhood in Taiwan where my parents taught English, but my grandmother was born and raised in China by her missionary parents. My mother and father also taught English there at a later time, but I didn’t accompany them on that trip. Their home has always been open to hosting students from China, many of whom have become our friends over the years. My grandmother spoke Mandarin all her life and never forgot it, and my mother also learned the language. She can chat with waiters in Chinese restaurants.
City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell, although a novel, reads as if it were a biography and the reader is an integral part of the day-to-day experiences of Edward and Katherine Kiehn. Especially meaningful is that the story centers on these two Mennonite missionaries who went to China early in the 20th Century, as did my great-grandparents, only they traveled there even earlier in 1891 under the Southern Presbyterian Church. They initially met on the voyage over, but were posted to different cities. After my great-grandfather made an exceedingly difficult trip to visit her, my great-grandmother decided to accept his marriage proposal because she loved him, and to spare him another horrific journey which included a canal boat with an opium addict, as did one trip described in the book.
An extremely moving part of the story concerns the sickness and death of Edward and Katherine’s young daughter, almost more than they could bear and forever in their hearts and minds. My great grandparents had five children born in China, with one stillborn. Their oldest son, after finishing college and seminary in the United States, returned to China to serve as an itinerate pastor, as had his father, visiting small villages where Christ was not known. Another son completed medical school and returned to China to work with his mother, also a doctor. Highly unusual for a woman in that era. She’d been tried early on by villagers who brought a boy to her nearly dead from a worm infestation. Knowing it was a test, she laid him out on the ground where all could see, and gradually gave him something to make the worms leave his body, curing him. And won their respect.
Eventually all members of our family were forced back to the states in 1939, after Japan invaded China and war ravaged the land. Living in China makes an enormous impact on Americans, as it did on those in Ms. Caldwell’s book upon whom she based her story, and as it’s made on our family. A hospital now stands on the spot where my great grandmother practiced medicine and their stillborn child is buried. Many descendents of missionary families who’d served there at that time were invited back to a celebration of its founding in 2005.
My parents have a camphor wood chest, not as elaborate as the one described in the book, but as fragrant, that they bought while teaching school on Taiwan. They (and I) can attest to the feelings of love expressed in the book that flowed between the Chinese friends of Edward and Katherine and which the couple reciprocated with all their hearts.