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Mesquite Springs #1

Out of the Embers

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When a fire destroys the orphanage where she worked, Evelyn Radcliff flees to the Texas Hill Country with an orphan in tow and a killer in pursuit. Will a rugged horse rancher hold the key to her future--and her past?

352 pages, Hardcover

First published March 3, 2020

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About the author

Amanda Cabot

30 books876 followers
With both parents avid readers, it's no surprise that Amanda Cabot learned to read at an early age. From there it was only a small step to deciding to become a writer. Of course, deciding and becoming are two different things, as she soon discovered. Fortunately for the world, her first attempts at fiction were not published, but she did meet her goal of selling a novel by her thirtieth birthday. Since then she’s sold more than forty novels. When she’s not writing, Amanda enjoys sewing, cooking and – of course – reading.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 255 reviews
Profile Image for Deanne Patterson.
1,772 reviews126 followers
August 8, 2020
I've read and enjoyed all of Amanda Cabot's books over the years and am always excited to see when she has a new one publishing.
This is the first book in the Mesquite Springs series and it kept me turning pages so quickly.
Evelyn is a strong and faithful woman determined to make it in life despite so many things stacked against her in life.
She loses her parents to murder and then loses everything important to her again when the orphanage she works in is destroyed by fire when she's out running errands.
I loved seeing Evelyn's perseverance though in life, she could have just complained and given up, but she didn't .
Her strong faith kept her strong and kept her going.
The story flows smoothly and is realistic with a mix of self reliance,faith,perseverance,suspense and don't forget the romance. The romance is subtle though and we don't get overwhelmed by it.
Perfect example of though we may think we are in control it's really God who's the one in control.
Looking forward to the next book in the series.

Published March 3rd 2020 by Fleming H. Revell Company
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Shirley Chapel.
556 reviews73 followers
March 13, 2022
A beautiful historical romance with a wonderful ending . I loved this book from the first page to the last page. I thought it was emotional and a clean inspirational read. I loved the unique and realistic characters that made up the town of Mesquite Springs Texas. I had no trouble being drawn into the book and as the story progressed my interest grew as I turned the pages. Amanda Cabot has long been a favorite author and Paper Roses was the first book I reviewed many years ago. I was sorry to see the books ending come but am glad that there are more books in this series.

Evelynn Radcliffe worked as a cook at an orphanage near
Gilmorton Texas. As a child both patients had died tragically at the hands of a killer. Only she had escaped death that horrible night. She was raised in the orphanage where she now worked as a cook. It was her job to go to Gilmorton once a month to buy supplies at the general store there for the orphanage. How Evelynn hated that town where her parents had died. Even now ten years later the memories are strong as are the nightmares. Always Evelynn feels like she is being watched. By who she can not tell but the hairs on the back of her neck tingle and she can not wait to leave that town. This time she has brought along one of the children from the orphanage to accompany her on the long trip. As they near the orphanage after dark they notice a smell of smoke. As they arrive at what was once the orphanage they discover that it has been destroyed by fire and everyone inside had died. Fearing it was the work of The Watcher Evelynn and the little girl Polly flee for their lives. They didnt know where they are going but only want to be far far away from anyone wanting to harm them.

I recommend this book to fans of Amanda Cabot and to readers of Historical Romance and Inspirational books. This is book one of the Mesquite Springs series.

I purchased a copy of this book. I voluntarily reviewed it and all thoughts and opinions shared here are my own.
Profile Image for Staci.
1,658 reviews509 followers
May 17, 2020
Nice start to a new series set in the Texas Hill Country. Evelyn survived following the murder of her parents ten years prior. She has a wonderful heart and yearns to find something meaningful to do and in a town away from where the murders occurred. She lands in quaint Mesquite Springs which is full of lovely characters and a villain or two.
Profile Image for Karen R.
589 reviews68 followers
February 21, 2020
A good clean historical romance set in the 1850's among the bluebonnet covered hills of Texas.
Fans of Tracie Peterson and Maggie Brendan will likely enjoy this fresh start to a new series. It has the feel of a coming of age story with a bit of mystery.
The main characters are solid young adults, both looking for help in finding their life course, while holding down responsibilities thrust on them through difficult circumstances. Faith plays a minor role in the story, but influences their choices. "...her life was living proof of the truth of Romans 8:28. God had taken a terrible event and brought good from it." A few touching examples of forgiveness and grace are included in the plot, also overcoming fear. A tender romance develops naturally through a friendship. A steady pace and later events kept the story moving along to a satisfactory conclusion.

Recommend for teens and up looking for a sweet, clean read.

(An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.)
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,328 followers
August 18, 2020
3.5 stars, rounded up

Overall I enjoyed the story. However, I had to continually attempt to start the book and finally made it past the first 50 pages on the third attempt. It could very well simply be my reading mood this month—slow and hiccuppy—and that everyone else will completely fall in love with the book. There wasn’t anything wrong with the writing; I simply didn’t get swept off my feet by it.

I really enjoyed the MC and her young companion, Polly. (I hope book 3 is about Polly.) I wasn’t as impressed with Wyatt...again, nothing really wrong—just nothing spectacular about him for me. The sisterly relationship between the two was really what made me enjoy the story most. Plus I loved the small-town vibes and the different local folks that helped make the restaurant a success.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free reading copy. A favorable review was not required.
Profile Image for Christine.
519 reviews85 followers
March 19, 2020
I've been wanting to read a book by Amanda Cabot for awhile now because they all seem to have stellar reviews! So, when I had the opportunity to get a copy of Out of the Embers, I was really hoping I'd be able to get a copy.

Taking place in the 1850s, Out of the Embers is a clean, historical, Christian romance that was an absolute delight to read!

Filled with just the right amount of intrigue and romance, I'm so glad that I got a chance to read this one!

Amanda Cabot is an amazing writer. She has no qualms about writing villains and making them hateful. I love that there was no sugar-coating to make the villain seem more relatable. He was truly a vile character.

The main characters both had amazing back stories that made them perfectly relatable and made me root for them and their happily-ever-after from the beginning. I love when characters have more to overcome than just a villain.

The romance started out as friendship, and naturally blossomed into more which was just the perfect way to make these two end up together!

This read just solidified why Amanda Cabot is such a gem!
Profile Image for Loraine.
2,913 reviews
March 16, 2020
This first book in Cabot's debut series Mesquite Springs was enjoyable from start to finish. It is set in the Hill country of Texas on a horse ranch in the fictional town of Mesquite Springs. Evelyn Radcliffe started out life in an orphanage as both her parents were murdered while she was hiding under the bed. The killer was apprehended, but Evelyn always felt fearful. As she grew older, the cooking skills she had learned from her mother led her to become the cook for the orphanage. When she is sent to town with a new orphan "Polly," Evelyn and Polly return to find the orphanage burnt to the ground. That is when Evelyn and Polly head out on their own to find a safe place to live somewhere in Texas.

Evelyn was a wonderful female main character as she grew stronger with the help of Wyatt, his sister Dorothy, and their mother. She was courted by 3 different men and was very intent on finding a man that would love her the way she remembered her dad loved her mother. The way the past and the present were threaded together throughout the story helped reveal the perspectives of the 3 main characters. There was just enough mystery and intrigue to make it feel more like a cozy rather than a suspense story. I appreciated that the romance was in the background most of the time and the stories of Evelyn and Polly were the main focus.

I look forward to reading more about the town of Mesquite Springs and its citizens.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,523 reviews74 followers
April 4, 2020
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a review.

Out Of The Embers
Mesquite Springs Book One
By: Amanda Cabot

Out Of The Embers is the first of a new series, Mesquite Springs, by Amanda Cabot. This story is about a young woman, Evelyn, a little orphan girl, Polly, and a rancher, Wyatt, in Texas circa 1855. Evelyn and Polly flee from the remnants of their burned down orphanage home. As the only survivors, Evelyn feels like a target because her parents died suspiciously ten years ago. Is someone after her? The girls are rescued from the side of the road by Wyatt. He takes them to his ranch home in Mesquite Springs where they stay with his mother and sister. There are mishaps, bits of humor, touches of intrigue and drama as their backstories are revealed. Each character has a share of heartache and hope. All the while the question remains of Evelyn's safety, also a budding relationship with Wyatt might change things. This historical fiction story is an excellent example of the time period, and the characters are admirable and hardy. If you like the small Texas town vibe with a hint of danger in your history, this is for you!
Profile Image for Maureen Timerman.
2,776 reviews466 followers
February 25, 2020
This story quickly became a page turner, we are shown characters with so much hate, greed, and total disregard for human life. Also we are give a character, Evelyn Radcliff, who takes a little orphan girl under her wing, gives her love and makes her her own.
This is Evelyn's and Polly's journey, and we are enriched by some of the people put in their path, but we see a side of evil that is horrible.
The author gives us a little bit of sweet romance, people who open their homes to complete stranger, and others who are unable to control their tempers, or ever care about human life. There is also a man whose goal is to receive forgiveness, but when we find out what has happened, well, it is scary.
Now I'm looking forward to the second book in this series, and if it's as excellent as this one, I can't wait!

I received this book through LibraryThing, and was not required to give a positive review.
Profile Image for Amanda Tero.
Author 24 books526 followers
March 16, 2020
This was my first time to try Amanda Cabot. It was clean. It was sweet. It was western. And it had a hint of mystery.

Thinking back over the book as a whole, I really can't say what the spiritual plot or message was. They were Christians and prayed (particularly when difficulty arose), but though the MC had to learn to accept safety and trust, it wasn't really a Christian message so much as it was her circumstances that changed. So, I'd have to say it was kind of weak in that area.

The romance would be what most people term as "sweet." It progressed at a moderate pace throughout the book. There were a few kisses, but nothing untoward that I recall.

*I received this book from the publishers and happily provided my honest review*
Profile Image for Linda Klager.
757 reviews40 followers
February 10, 2020
I thought the name of the book was so appropriate. Evelyn and Polly's life was saved from flames (or embers) when the orphanage where they were living burned down.

I was very much attracted to the book by the beautiful cover of a young woman in the 19th century looking over the beautiful Hill Country of Texas. I love Bluebonnets, the State Flower of Texas and am glad that the author included them on the cover. I have visited fields of bluebonnets and love their color and fragrant scent.

The main characters, Evelyn, Polly and Wyatt were drawn to each other from the start. I like how the author weaved them into the story line.

Evelyn was haunted by sensing a "Watcher". Have you ever felt someone watching you? Maybe it was for a valid reason or maybe it was to harm you. Towards the end of the book Evelyn found out who this person was.

Evelyn was a very loving and caring woman for Polly. Evelyn always sensed that Polly was a very special child even though she had a birthmark on her face. That did not bother Evelyn at all.

There was a villain in the story. There also was a person who had really bad anger issues. The author kept me guessing "who done it". If you like adventure, drama, danger, mystery and a clean romance, then this is the book for you. I love Amanda Cabot books and give this one 5 stars.

The only thing I wish that was included in the book was the recipe for Oatmeal Pecan Pie. Maybe Amanda Cabot can include that recipe in a future book?

This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell, through Interviews & Reviews.
Profile Image for Patricia Bradley.
Author 24 books836 followers
May 16, 2020
Have you ever read a book that weeks later, you're still thinking about? Well, that's the way I feel about Amanda Cabot's Out of the Embers. Cabot does such a good job of setting you in the Hill Country of Texas. I really want to travel there one day when the bluebonnets are blooming like the way they were in the story! And her characters. Wyatt Clark is the kind of man that is every woman's secret wish! Strong, rugged-looking, honest, and vulnerable. And that he works with horses is just icing on the cake. 

And everything Evelyn has been through has made her a strong woman. It took a lot of courage for her to strike out across Texas with a six-year-old after the orphanage where Evelyn had grown up in and now worked burned to the ground. I loved the way Cabot worked in the intricate details of two crimes that followed Evelyn and Polly 
I loved watching not only the romance develop between Wyatt and Evelyn, but Wyatt as he struggled with what he wanted to do. Evelyn always knew what she wanted, and she knew what Wyatt needed. And the cast of secondary characters is so good. I was sorry when the book ended...but then I realized there would be more! And the next one is about Wyatt's sister, Dorothy.
I read and recommend a lot of books, but Out of the Embers is one story you do not want to miss. 
I received a copy of Out of the Embers from the publisher, but that in no way affected my review.
2,809 reviews1,728 followers
February 4, 2021
I've been doing a lot of armchair time-traveling to Regency England lately so I thought it was time to shake things up and head west. Out of the Embers seemed like the perfect place to dive into a classic western romance and I was definitely captivated by this audible 'read'.

Love the added thrill of mystery and danger and the way Cabot keeps it simmering on the back burner until it all comes boiling over at the end. I'd still categorize this novel as more historical romance than suspense, though. And, oh my, the romance!

Loved Wyatt and his internal musings as he tries to figure out how to fill the void in his life. And it's definitely not going to be from the trappings of marriage and family never mind his mother's yearning for grandchildren. Poor shell-shocked Evelyn has everything but romance on her mind. She is still reeling from her flight from danger and all she can think about is finding a safe place to hide while protecting young Polly. Romance is definitely what neither of them wants...but it might just be exactly what they need.

And Mesquite Springs is the perfect hideaway! A town full of open, friendly people makes for the kind of fresh start she's dreamed of. Only it's not as simple as that. :-) Cue the angst as fates align -- of both the romantical and dastardly kind!

An enthralling start to an exciting new series. Can't wait for book two, Dreams Rekindled, to come out in audible format!
Profile Image for Madison.
1,065 reviews58 followers
February 29, 2020
Out of the Embers is a charming historical Christian romance. Despite the historical setting, it’s quite modern from the female-empowerment positive messages and the independence of our female main character Evelyn. With a touch of mystery and a looming threat that overhangs the characters, the climax was a little suspenseful, but overall this is an easy book to read and enjoy.

When the orphanage destroys the only friends and home Evelyn has, she and the only other survivor run for their lives and make a new start in Mesquite Springs. Evelyn is used to watching over her shoulder ever since her parents were murdered and the feeling of being watched haunted her in the years following. But in Mesquite Springs she dares to dream of a new future for her and Polly. She finds good friends in Wyatt, Dorothy and their mother. She even opens up her very own dinning hall. But the threat promises to follow the two young ladies.

If you enjoy historical Christian romance, try this latest offering from Amanda Cabot. Out of the Embers is the first book in a new series. The sequels are set to follow characters from this book and I’m looking forward to reading Dorothy’s book in the next instalment.

Evelyn is an independent young woman and Wyatt, despite a few poorly placed sentiments that she quickly puts right, supports her and loves her for it.

The suspense in this story come from three angles and I liked how the threads weave together to build the threat and leave you wondering how it all fits together, even as more details about previous crimes are provided.

I enjoyed the sections of the book devoted to Evelyn starting and running her own business and preparing the food for the townspeople. I also thought the mayoral race was a wonderful addition to the story and allowed the exploration of Wyatt’s character.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library
Profile Image for Asheley T..
1,291 reviews118 followers
March 21, 2020
I flew through it today while staying inside for social distancing. This is the perfect story to read at a time like this because it is heartwarming and stress-free, and the characters are so likable. I felt like I could visualize everything in my head just like a movie, which made the experience even better.

The story takes place in 1850's Texas in the Hill Country. Wyatt runs a horse ranch and lives there with his mother and sister. Evelyn is new to town after fleeing her old town when her home (the orphanage) burns to the ground. Evelyn brings with her a young girl named Polly who also lived at the orphanage and has lost both of her parents.

I love the way Wyatt's mother Isolde and sister Dorothy take the girls right into their home. They feed them, they help them get some new clothes, and they don't treat them as if they're sad or pitiful. In fact, they allow Evelyn to show her thanks by taking over the cooking duties at the ranch, so Evelyn doesn't feel quite so indebted to them. They all grow close and feel like family, and this is something that I felt leaping off of the pages.

Wyatt is great. He's a leader on the ranch, shouldering the majority of the responsibility for taking care of his family. He's also courteous and kind, and he treats both Evelyn and young Polly well. Even though there are eventually multiple people that have their eyes on Evelyn for courting and marriage, he is a gentleman throughout the process. The relationship between Evelyn and Wyatt grows from a friendship into a sweet romance.

I loved that even though this is very much an 1850's-story, the female characters were not doormats. The women were esteemed in this town. They had responsibilities and jobs, and they were respected for their opinions and feelings. So this really feels very forward in terms of the social norms of the time without being so progressive that it didn't ring true. I suspect that we'll see even more of this as the series continues, as the next book features Wyatt's sister Dorothy, who dreams of being a writer.

There is a thread of mystery and suspense in here, but not so much that it made my pulse pound. There are mysteries involving two of the secondary characters and I like the way everything worked out with their big reveals.

I loved the story, I loved the setting, and I can't wait to hear more from Mesquite Springs, TX whenever I can get my hands on the next book.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you, Revell Books!
Profile Image for Libby May.
Author 3 books85 followers
March 17, 2020
Out of Embers was a cute book!

When I first started reading it, I was not drawn in. In fact if I didn't have to review it I probably would not have picked it up again. How awful, for Evelyn to lose the entire orphanage. However because I did have to review it, and I wanted to give it a fair second chance, I picked it up again. I can say I was not disappointed.

The writing style, after the first couple of chapters, was light and easy to read, as it will be with most books. I appreciated the POV changes more than I usually do, even though they never really bother me unless there are too many of them.

Evelyn following her dream was so cool! I love seeing how it played out and how satisfyingly slow we got to learn about her past and who she was and how she grew up with Mrs. Folger and her manipulation being so well kept under wraps only Wyatt could have seen it.

Wyatt's horsemanship was beautiful, and his journey from wanting to escape to realizing what he needed made my heart happy.

And then Polly! Polly herself never had me wrapped around her fingers. She felt like she was written as a cliche little girl. And I don't mean offense to the author, but I work with little girls all the time. They have their personalities and their habits and their quirks that make you smile. Polly didn't have any of that. I feel like she was undersold. She had so much potential and she was simply put into the plot to complicate things. That's not saying I didn't appreciate it. Even though she as a character was not the best developed and conveyed, her place in the story was perfect and kept me reading.

All in all, I do recommend this book to readers who like a bit of historical fiction suspense. It was fun. And the sweet, slow, clean romantic aspect was a warm thread too. Then again, it felt repeated that neither Wyatt nor Evelyn wanted a partner over and over, until it was time in the story for them to start falling for each other.

Summarizing, I can say, nothing in this book was perfect, but it was well done and definitely good enough. I'm keeping this one on my shelf for the next while.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review! A positive review was not required and all opinions are my own. Thank you Revell Reads!
Profile Image for Virginia Campbell.
1,282 reviews243 followers
January 23, 2020
Noted historical romance author Amanda Cabot begins her "Mesquite Springs Series" with "Out of the Embers"--an involving and inspiring love story set in 1850's Texas Hill Country. With added elements of mystery and suspense, this intriguing tale features well-drawn characters and the timeless appeal of the rustic Old West era. For over a decade, Evelyn Radcliffe had been haunted by the murders of her parents when she was just thirteen years old. She had found refuge in an orphanage, and all these years later, it was still her home, and it was also her workplace. Whenever Evelyn would travel to obtain provisions and to sell the lace made by the children at the orphanage, she often felt an ominous, unseen presence whom she called "The Watcher". After one such trip, she returns to find an unspeakable tragedy: The orphanage had burned to the ground and the children and the staff had all perished in the fire. Only Evelyn and the young girl, Polly, who had traveled with her, were still alive. Evelyn knows she must find a safe haven for herself and Polly, and they head westward--away from sorrow, and hopefully toward a brighter future. Along the way, they are rescued from a raging storm by Wyatt Clark, who offers them shelter at the family ranch he shares with his mother and sister. Wyatt and his sister both have hopes of travel and life beyond the ranch. Evelyn and Polly are seeking a new start in the security of a settled home. The hand of Fate has brought them all together, and their lives--and dreams--will be forever changed. Has "The Watcher" given up on his prey, or will he follow Evelyn and Polly to Mesquite Springs? Will the attraction between Wyatt and Evelyn convince Wyatt that there is no place better than home on the ranch? I very much enjoyed "Out of the Embers", and I look forward to the upcoming books in the series.

Book Copy Gratis Revell Books via Library Thing
Profile Image for Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews.
2,320 reviews120 followers
March 16, 2020
When I started this book, I was quickly immersed in the characters, scenery, and even the mystery that is dangled in front of the reader with only tidbits revealed here and there to keep the reader engaged and on the edge of their seats.

There was so much to like about this book I don't know where to start!  The setting is the Texas Hill Country which is beautiful today, I can only imagine what it was like when this book was set.  Rolling hills painted with bluebonnets in the spring....sigh, a place I want to visit.  The characters are diverse and complex and while we know some of the histories of the main characters, we don't know everything yet and it leaves much more to be discovered in future books in this series.  But we do learn about their strengths, weaknesses, desires, and hopes for the future.  There are even a few antagonists in this book that while they might have some redeeming qualities, are not portrayed in a positive light and it adds to the complexity of the story.  Sam would be the biggest one in the book and I can only hope that a future book will focus on him and he is able to redeem himself.

I love the town of Mesquite Springs and especially the diner that Evelyn opens in town.  The description reminds me so much of the restaurant in When Calls the Heart.  I loved that they would sit single people wherever there was an open seat.  What a great way to get to know someone new in town, whether just passing through or a resident.  And that Oatmeal Pecan Pie?  I don't like pecan pie but now I am intrigued.

Wyatt has so much going on in his life and I can feel his struggles with running the ranch and supporting his mom and sister.  I don't think he gives them enough credit, but in his defense sometimes you can only go by past actions of people.  I think a huge boost to his mom's wellbeing was bringing Evelyn and Polly to their ranch to dry out and stay for a few days.  It gave her a purpose which is something she needed.

There are actually three different storylines and the author weaves a suspenseful tale that kept me wondering who these characters were, what they wanted, and what the end result would be with the culmination of the book.  Part of the story I was able to figure out, but part of it was quite a surprise to me.  I really liked the suspenseful part of wondering who these other characters were since their story didn't flow with Evelyn or Polly's story.

There are many faith-based parts in this book which include a character surviving a potentially fatal injury.  I think that each verse or faith section only strengthens my belief that people are inherently good and will prove that in various situations.  Or if they are evil that they will receive their just rewards.

Overall this was a fantastic book and there is probably so much more I could say but then you wouldn't have anything left to read.  We give this 5 paws up.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,816 reviews98 followers
March 6, 2020
"Oh God, what should I do?"

Devasted after finding the only home she has known for the past ten years reduced to ashes, Evelyn Radcliffe flees Logansville, Texas with a young orphaned girl who has become like a sister to her. Travelling with Polly for days on end with no particular destination in mind brings them to the outskirts of Mesquite Springs, where Evelyn finally feels a sense of peace, for she has spent the past ten years looking over her shoulder, sensing danger lurking just around the corner.

It's in Mesquite Springs where she meets a horse rancher named Wyatt Clark, whose kind family offers Evelyn and Polly a warm welcome while Evelyn searches for a means of supporting herself. It seems like providence provides her with the perfect opportunity, doing what she knows and loves; managing a restaurant. But will what she holds dear, eventually put a killer back on her trail? And will Wyatt acknowledge how the lovely proprietor of "Polly's Place" might change the course of his future?

Readers will be charmed with the "folksy" atmosphere in Mesquite Springs where kindness and solidarity abound. But like any small town, there are misfortunes, and those who refuse to be thwarted. Written with a pleasant cadence and portraying an innocent romance, "Out of the Embers" hides a slightly darker agenda which the author cleverly disguises until the very end.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Dee/ bookworm.
1,332 reviews4 followers
January 20, 2020
#OutOfTheEmbers #NetGalley

Evelyn's parents were murdered ten years ago. While selling lace and buying supplies in a nearby town, someone burns down the orphanage where she had been staying since that fateful night. Evelyn has felt like she has been being watched every time she journeys to this town. Is the Watcher trying to finish the job he started a decade ago?

This book was unexpectedly wonderful. There was a web created, but is it the web you think is being created? Filled with so many facets and layers it is hard to figure out what will happen while reading it. The novel itself has great pacing, not too fast, not too slow. There is a lot of character development, danger, intrigue, hope, etc.

Thank you to Revell and NetGalley for an advance reader copy. The opinions expressed are my own.
1,521 reviews17 followers
June 8, 2020

It’s the 1850’s Texas and Evelyn Radcliffe needs to run some errands for turn orphanage she has lived in for the past 10 years. Wanting to go with her, she decides to take six year old Polly with her. They returned back to the an orphanage of ruins after a fire had swept through. Was this arson? Was Evelyn suppose to die in the fire like her parents did. Was someone after her? Find out when you read this historical fiction by Amanda Cabot.

This story starts out quite sad, with Evelyn and Polly loosing everything and everyone they had. There was a lot if deep dark emotions as they deal with their loss. I grew to love Evelyn and Polly, their characters developed well as they started a new life. I loved the small town of Mesquite Springs and it’s caring people. It seems the perfect place for Evelyn and Polly, and the nice family helping them became a big part if the story. There is a lot going on here in this book. And the plot is interesting enough that you will want to keep reading to know the ending of the story. If you enjoy a good clean historical fiction, this is one you will enjoy. It’s a nice start to a new series.

Profile Image for Jennifer.
Author 24 books550 followers
March 10, 2020
My first foray into fiction—aside from fantasy—was historical romance. As a youth, I devoured everything written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, and L.M. Montgomery I could find. Later, I graduated to the more adult works of Francine Rivers and Liz Curtis Higgs. Why am I rambling about other authors? Because upon reading Out of the Embers, I now consider Amanda Cabot to have well-earned her place in the upper echelons of legacy authors. I could not find a single flaw with her work. Often I was far too busy being lost in the past with her characters to reflect on it.

Out of the Embers begins with the story of Evelyn and Polly, orphans who, after a devastating fire, become set adrift in the Texas Hill Country. In the land of big skies and bigger storms, Evelyn can only hope to get herself and Polly to safety. Enter the Clarks. Wyatt and his mother and sister take the orphans in, unaware of their pasts. But Wyatt’s no fool. He knows Evelyn is hiding something, and he hopes she’ll eventually trust him enough to reveal the truth. Out of the Embers may be a romance, but it’s just as much about the town of Mesquite Springs and its colorful cast of residents. With perfect pacing and immersive world-building, Amanda Cabot pulls you deeply into the daily lives of people not so different from us. All of them are seeking meaning and purpose in their lives. While some, like Wyatt Clark, believe they need to leave town to discover this purpose, others like Evelyn are simply grateful to find a home. I loved the contrast between Wyatt and Evelyn’s stories and all they represented. So many people are never satisfied in their circumstances, always looking over the next horizon. Only to discover, much like the Clarks, what they’ve been searching for was right in front of them all along.

Some sweet romances have a tendency to gloss over the uncomfortable and downright ugly parts of life. Life in the Old West was no picnic, and Cabot doesn’t gloss over the hard truths of life in the 1850s. Many things are simply accepted as “the way things are," but this doesn’t hold true for everyone, especially the strong women at the heart of Cabot’s story. Several characters in Out of the Embers struggle with what we now call mental illness, and how poorly people understood their struggles at the time. There are also underlying hints of the unrest leading to the Civil War, mentions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the awful way people treated orphans and the derelict of society. Rather than dwell on all these evils, Cabot chooses to focus Out of the Embers on a message of faith and hope.

There are so many interweaving facets to Out of the Embers that make it more than just another historical romance. I expected the themes of faith and romance peppered throughout Cabot’s narrative. What I didn’t expect to find was a colorful cast of characters with their own stories and a genuine beating heart at the center of it all. Some books breathe, I’m convinced. Some make you feel things or touch you in subtle ways. Others simply dazzle with prose or the author’s ability to bring the past to life. Amanda Cabot has done all these things and more with the first in her Mesquite series. I look forward to devouring the next series, and hope you’ll agree when I say Out of the Embers is as beautiful and perfect as the Texas Bluebonnet.

**I was provided with a copy of Out of the Embers by the publisher and this is my voluntary and honest review.**
Profile Image for Ruthie Jones.
1,003 reviews45 followers
March 15, 2020
"You need to be strong to survive losing everything."

It is hard to imagine any book by Amanda Cabot not being a sure-fire winner. Out of the Embers is the first book in the Mesquite Springs series, and what a beginning!

Evelyn Radcliffe was orphaned ten years after her parents were brutally murdered, and she lives in constant fear that the killer will one day finish the job and kill her too. The orphanage near Gilmorton, Texas, has been her safe haven as an orphan and now an employee, but when twenty-three-year-old Evelyn returns from town, accompanied by another orphan, six-year-old Polly, they discover their home has gone up in smoke, with nothing left of the orphanage but embers, ashes, and fear. The fire was no accident. The girls are homeless and on the run from Polly's mysterious background and from a faceless stranger who has watched Evelyn from the shadows every time she returns to town. Where will they go? How will they survive? Will they ever feel safe again?

After traveling for miles, Evelyn and Polly, posing as sisters and with a new last name, are exhausted and suddenly at the mercy of a severe thunderstorm, but both their lives are about to take a sharp turn for the better. Enter Wyatt Clark.

Amanda Cabot delivers a lovely story about trust, honesty, friendship, and the realization that dreams really do come true, even the dreams you never knew you had. Evelyn is looking for a safe place to land for both herself and Polly. Wyatt wants to travel the world, but he needs to ensure the horse ranch he inherited from his father, who was killed by the Comanche, is solvent for his mother and sister. But when Wyatt and Evelyn meet during that fateful thunderstorm, their lives become forever changed and forever entwined.

Set in the Texas Hill Country, Out of the Embers is an engaging story about survival, miracles, and the unwavering trust in God’s plan. This first book in the Mesquite Springs series, however, is not all about love and romance and starting over in a new town. A couple of mysteries need to be solved, and a bit of rivalry for Evelyn's attention throws a little spice and even some danger into the mix.

Amanda Cabot's writing is always so smooth and captivating, and she builds characters, plots, and scenes with ease and with such tender care. The story is not too complicated, but it has quite a few twists and a few turns to keep the reader guessing. As an added bonus, it is wonderful when Evelyn opens a restaurant in Mesquite Springs and follows in her late parents’ footsteps of serving comfort food and scrumptious desserts to crowds of hungry people. I would love the recipe to Evelyn’s oatmeal pecan pie, but apparently it is a closely guarded family secret. Prepare to crave this pie throughout most of this delightful story.

Out of the Embers is the perfect book if you love a sweet Christian romance with just enough drama, mystery, and surprises to keep you on your toes. While you’re at it, take a look at the other series by Amanda Cabot. You’ll fall in love with those books, too.
Profile Image for June Jacobs.
Author 29 books144 followers
March 13, 2020
What a great read! This is the first book I have read by Author Amanda Cabot, and I am definitely a fan of her beautiful writing style and her assortment of consequential characters.

Out of the Embers is set in 1855 Texas mostly in the small town of Mesquite Springs. From the opening lines of the book a reader feels Evelyn Radner's anxiety, fear, and dread about being watched by what we would today probably label a stalker.

Layer by layer the truth about Evelyn's past and the past of her six-year-old charge, Polly, is revealed to readers. Nothing is divulged by the author until the time is right for readers to be enlightened. The fine pacing of the revelations adds to the suspense and drama of the story.

Evelyn proves herself to be a survivor, a strong woman, and a woman with dreams for her future. Yes, she is fearful of certain people and things from her past; but she is ambitious, determined, loving, and most of all kind to others. I admired this character.

The main characters of the story besides Evelyn and Polly are Wyatt Clark and his mother and sister who each harbor dreams and regrets which affect their own behavior and their treatment of others.

As expected, there are a fair number of 'villains' who add risk, danger, and excitement to the book. I found myself rooting against these characters throughout the story--a sure sign that the author had accomplished her goal of drawing her readers into the story as it unfolded.

As I read the story I was reminded of how close-knit small communities in the Wild West became out of necessity. People drew together to accomplish common goals for their community and worked hard with the hope their town would grow and thrive to benefit all of the town's citizens.

As always, I enjoyed the faith element included in Revell's fiction, and I was inspired by the attitude of many of the characters toward the teachings in the Bible and how those teachings applied to their own lives.

There were some surprises at the end of the story which I will refrain from sharing here because I do not want to spoil the story for those of you who have not yet read it. Suffice to say this is an outstanding book, and a great way to kick off this new Mesquite Springs series by the author.

This book is highly recommended to fans of Christian/clean romance, historical fiction, Wild West fiction, and Christian/clean fiction.

Disclosure from blogger: I received a paperback copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review to be posted on my blog and on retailer sites and Goodreads. I received no compensation for my review or posts here or on any other site.

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Profile Image for Lorilei Gonzales.
163 reviews3 followers
March 17, 2020
Let me begin by saying that I adore Amanda Cabot books and was so excited to receive this copy of Out of the Embers. When I got my first glance at the cover, I sighed in deep appreciation of the soothing colors, the lovely girl, and the beautiful expanse of bluebonnets on either side of a wagon-worn road. The picturesque cover promised me a happy ending to the bleak beginning of a young woman and small girl’s escape from a devastating fire.

On the surface, Cabot’s writing can sometimes seem formulaic like many romance novelists. The man doesn’t want to settle down, the woman is happy to be free of the chains of marriage, and then there is competition for someone’s heart. But much like Nicholas Sparks’ ability to write so many different stories of star-crossed lovers, Cabot is able to paint the portraits of reluctant lovers with varying brushes and strokes that transport you to a town that feels familiar but new at the same time. While her affinity towards portraying non-competitive female friendships forms another bridge between this series and the Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Cabot treats us to heartfelt relationships and individuals who are unique in the best possible ways. And to be quite honest, it is a relief to read about women who support each other rather than to tear each other down.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the men in this book. And now that I think of it, I do believe that the men in Cimarron Creek also got quite competitive when trying to win the heart of a particular fair lady. At times, I found the alpha competition to be a bit overwhelming, but Cabot would sprinkle tidbits here and there to connect the dots. And it’s by those connections that the reader is able to care about even the most seemingly despicable characters.

My favorite aspect of this book is the level of suspense that Cabot created. There were mysteries to be solved in Cimarron Creek, but the sense of foreboding in Mesquite Springs was on a whole other level. I made my predictions and was proved wrong time and time again. Cabot’s books are never terribly violent but there was a particular scene that made me gasp. There was definitely more of an edge in this book than the other series. Couple that with the teaser for the next romantic pairing, and I am fully committed to finishing the rest of this series. If you’re impatient like me, go pick up the Cimarron Creek Trilogy to keep you company until book 2 of Mesquite Springs comes out!
Profile Image for Ariel Hess.
164 reviews5 followers
March 10, 2020
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review. #partner #LSBBT

In this first installment of a new Christian Historical Fiction series, Cabot dives into the realm of historical fiction. The author does a phenomenal job with the telling of. the story of Evelyn and Polly. The storyline flows seamlessly with twists and turns on every corner. I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional connection the author enabled with her writing style. I was able to fully connect with each character and truly feel transported into this time period. Each supporting character played a major role in the overall plot and the author even provided a teaser at the end of the book. I enjoyed how Eveyln’s character is developed as a strong female protagonist with a compassionate heart to serve others. I also enjoyed the Christian based aspect of this novel and the influence of the scriptures. There is one part of the story where Wyatt looks at Evelyn and tells her that the truth will set her free. Evelyn has been carrying the weight of her parent’s death and the weight of the burning down of the orphanage on her shoulders far too long. At that moment she feels as though God has saved her for a reason. Which we will later find out towards the end of the story and we come to find out more about Polly and why she won’t share her last name.

I felt a strong connection to this novel. Often times we don’t fully understand how God truly intervenes in our lives to save us because our saving is tied to saving someone else. I would implore the readers to really consider this as they dive into this book. Think a moment where you know that God has saved you to only use you to provide a blessing to someone else or use you to save someone else.

Overall this is truly a remarkably written Christian historical fiction novel that allowed the reader to be transported into the story. The author spent time developing every supporting character, the description of the setting, and the plot. This all combined created a well-rounded novel with a heartbreaking beginning and a happy ending. I highly recommend this novel for anyone looking for a Christian based novel as such that focuses on fear, grief, strength, and love.

You can click the link in m profile to head to my blog to see the full review and enter for a chance to win a copy of this book.
Profile Image for Gretchen.
21 reviews1 follower
March 8, 2020
Out of the Embers, by Amanda Cabot, is a five-star-plus historical fiction book. The characters are engaging, the plot has twists and turns to intrigue the reader, and the ending leaves the reader more than satisfied.
After all the occupants of her orphanage die in a horrific fire, twenty-three-year-old Evelyn flees with a young girl to escape the person who wants them dead. The girls travel west until they are stranded in a storm and rescued by a Wyatt, a single rancher.
I appreciate characters who are not only likeable but relatable. Cabot creates characters with scars and who wrestle with fears. Memories and questions about the murder of her parents haunt Evelyn. Her six-year-old companion, Polly, refuses to reveal her last name because she’s been warned something bad will happen if she does. Be prepared to let Polly grab your heart. You will love how her innocent comments unnerve the adults around her.
Cabot’s characters adhere to the cultural expectations and protocol of 1855, especially in courtship. She brings historical details and the hill country of Texas to life. She made my mouth water with descriptions of oatmeal pecan pie. Fortunately, I was a lucky reader who preordered Out of the Embers and received a free cookbook filled with vintage recipes.
I seldom read romance novels, but I always look forward to Cabot’s books. This is the first of a trilogy and I look forward to the next books. However, all her books can be read and enjoyed as stand-alone novels.
She writes romance that buds and blossoms without sexual scenes. Her books are about enduring love that involves both heart and mind. The characters look beyond themselves and are willing to sacrifice for others.
Out of the Embers reflects a Christian perspective but does not preach religious doctrines. As the characters change and face conflict, the book quietly whispers of hope and the power of forgiveness. The title is fitting. Good can arise out of tragedy. Hope for new life can come Out of the Embers.
This is a book you will want to share with others. – Gretchen Carlson

Profile Image for Sarah.
619 reviews48 followers
April 5, 2020
Beginning a new series always evokes a special joy, and as nice as it is when all of the books have been published and can be read back-to-back, there is a certain thrill that comes with following each book as it first releases. This feeling is augmented when the author is new, either to the writing world itself or to the individual reader. Such proved to be the case with “Out of the Embers” by Amanda Cabot, whose work I have hitherto not had the opportunity to read. What immediately appealed to me, even before knowing any details about the synopsis, was the cover. The young woman (Evelyn) stands with her head to the left, facing a light breeze and gazing into the distance with both hope and a degree of wariness. Below a title banner made of a wooden plank, a dirt road stretches on through fields of bluebonnets. As I read, the significance and aptness became clear.

A captivating mixture of genres, “Out of the Embers” offers a tenderhearted, tragic, mysterious journey through the lives of Evelyn Radcliffe (later Radner when she changes her name) and Polly, the little girl she has vowed to keep safe. I did not read the plot summary prior to picking up this book, and this enhanced the reading experience for me because I did not expect the pivotal event at the beginning of the novel. Throughout the story, Cabot interjects a few chapters that interrupt the flow of the narrative; their significance does not become fully apparent until the final chapters, but they add to the aura of mystery. As for the romance, it is tender and gradual and does not overwhelm the other aspects of the story, which I appreciated, and the secondary characters are likewise well-developed. Dorothy and Isolde, in particular, blossomed in this book, and I am interested in seeing what the future has in store for Sam and especially for Caleb, the latter of whom seems to have faded into the background by the last third of the novel. I love Cabot’s resolution of Evelyn’s story, and I find it particularly fitting for Easter, although its significance never goes out of season.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Lisa Johnson.
2,577 reviews37 followers
January 28, 2020
Title: Out of the Embers (Mesquite Springs #1)
Author: Amanda Cabot
Pages: 336
Year: 2020
Publisher: Revell
My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.
Out of the Embers marks the beginning of a new series set in Mesquite Springs, Texas in 1855. The two main characters of this story are Wyatt Clark, the owner of a horse ranch, and Evelyn Radcliffe, a young woman on the run. There is an interesting supporting cast of characters, one of which will be the main characters in book two of the series.
Evelyn Radcliffe has been living at an orphanage for 10 years after her parents were murdered. She travels to a nearby town to sell lace that the orphan children make to help support themselves. Each time she is in town she feels as if someone is watching her, causing her to feel uncomfortable and fearful. She dubs this person as The Watcher. She dreads every trip. She fears the man who killed her parents is watching her just waiting for an opportunity to kill her. It is on one such trip that she and one of the other young orphans, Polly, return to the orphanage to find it burned to the ground with no survivors. Evelyn fears for her life and turns the wagon around, leaving for an unknown destination. On the road she encounters Wyatt Clark who offers them a place to stay for a little while.
Wyatt Clark has worked hard over the last 10 years to make his father’s dream a reality, building a successful horse ranch. Wyatt longs to leave the ranch and all its responsibilities to travel the country, but he wants to make sure there is enough money to take care of his mother and sister while he is gone. As he is traveling home from Mesquite Springs, he meets Evelyn and Polly. As they settle in to a routine at the ranch, it doesn’t take long for Evelyn and Polly to feel at home. Evelyn decides to stay in Mesquite Springs and open a restaurant. In the meantime, Wyatt has been asked to run for mayor. Should he give up is dream of traveling? Is Evelyn truly safe in Mesquite Springs?
There is a rivalry between to friends, a sister who longs to write as a profession, an unknown man longing for forgiveness, along with the main plot to keep the story moving along. The descriptions of the Hill Country of Texas sound beautiful, and the details of running a horse ranch and restaurant were interesting too. I look forward to book two in the series, which centers around a reporter coming to Mesquite Springs and deciding to start a newspaper as well as a couple of nefarious men looking to make Mesquite Springs a town they look to make part of their plans. Grab a copy of Out of the Embers and start a journey to Texas in the 1850s!
Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.
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