Saturday, April 6, 2019

Review: The Governess of Penwythe Hall

Cordelia Greythorne is comfortable in her role as governess to the children of Randall Twethewey. Having fled Cornwall following the death of her husband, she has settled into life at Easten Park a truly loves the children under her care. These children had earlier lost their mother, and look to her with love and respect.

 All of that is upended by the sudden death of Randall Twethewey. Twethewey, in the moments before his death, requests that she and the tutor stay on to care for the care for the children, at the estate of his brother, Jac Twetheway, in Cornwall. Though she fears the return to Cornwall she stays with the children and they all depart for Penwythe Hall.

Jac Twetheway, accused of having stolen Penwythe Hall from Randall, is busy trying to establish the orchards and make the estate profitable again. He does not receive the letter regarding his brothers death, and is quite surprised at the arrival of the tutor, five children, and their mysterious governess.

At the Frost Ball rumors swirl about Delia and her background, and the arrival of her brother in law leaves her rattled, yet Jac is sure of her character and trusts her fully even when she evades his questions.

This story was rich and captivating. I loved Delia’s devotion to the children, the way that their relationship with Jac slowly grows and flourishes, and the mystery and suspense that builds throughout the story.

The book also has rich descriptions of the orchards, garden, crags, and moors that bring the setting to life.

This light romance was a joy to read, and the suspense kept turning the pages until late at night. I finished this book the day I started it.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary review copy of this book through the Amazon Vine reviewers program.

This book will be available April 16, 2019.

Review: A Silken Thread by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This story opens with Lauren Millard receiving a visit from her five older siblings, during which they declare that it is her duty to give up marriage in order to care for their mother. Lauren, the youngest, was only three when her crying chased off their mother’s suitor so they blame her for their mother being alone.

Meanwhile, Langdon Rochester is lounging in his family’s library when his father comes in. Though he has graduated from the university, he has done nothing with his life. His father gives him an ultimatum: become his apprentice and marry by September first or be disinherited.

Willie Sharp has been working at the Rochester’s factory and caring for his father, who also worked for the Rochester’s until he was disabled by an attack of apoplexy. His father needs rehabilitation in the convalescent hospital, but they cannot afford that.

Quincy Tate is Willie’s friend, and is struggling to find his place and a sense of equality as a young black man in the South.

For all four of these young people think that Atlanta Cotton Exposition of 1895 seems to offer an answer to their problems.  Langdon believes it will be a good place to find a young woman who will suit his needs. Lauren, who has been weaving at her mother’s loom, believes she might meet a young man who would be willing to take on her and her mother, Willie can earn enough money for his father’s care, and Quincy would be able to help his family financially.

Their lives all come together at the Exposition, where issues of race and class surface. Laurel begins to see that though the North and South are united, black and white are still divided.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The characters were unique, and Lauren was perfectly loveable. I found myself genuinely caring about what happens to her. The story unfolds at the perfect pace, with a thread of mystery weaving throughout. As these characters interact, each learns valuable lessons about life that are applicable to all of us.

This book is also rich in symbolism if you take the time to look for it. From Lauren's single shelf of well-loved books to the floor-to-ceiling shelves in Langdon's library, even the descriptive details in the story have meaning.

Often Christian fiction is just “clean” fiction. This book, however, is true Christian fiction with a strong message of faith and the value of the family of God. Willie’s church rallies around him and his father and blesses them richly.
 “Everybody who’s born got two choices – be owned by God or be owned by sin.”
-Mam (Quincy’s mother)

Lines like these are ones that we can all take to heart.

That brings me to one last thing – each character has their own unique voice, which makes the dialogue colorful and real.

This is an excellent and inspiring piece of Christian fiction.

I must mention that I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Review: Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Description:Abigail Brantley grew up in affluence and knows exactly how to behave in high society. But when she is cast from the social registers due to her father's illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in the subjects of manners and morals so they can "marry up" with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose father was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he's put off by the snooty airs and fastidious behavior of the "little city gal" in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out to the teacher who tries so diligently to smooth the rough edges from the down-to-earth men. How can he teach her that perfection won't bring happiness?

My Review:This is a beautiful with rich and unique characters. I loved how the individual personalities developed through the story, how hearts and minds were changed, and how the men responded to feminine gentleness, and how the men set equally changed and broadened the women.

The characters are what really set this story apart from others. Each character is unique, and each has their own voice. They are so distinct that I can "hear" them in my mind. Mack, Buster, Helena, Otto, and the many others all won a special part in my heart.

While the story is mostly light and entertaining threads of mystery, suspense, and danger are woven throughout. It's a story that will have you laughing out loud one moment, and laughing at yourself for praying for fictional characters the next.

The contrast between the stuffy and formal East Coast women and the rough men of the west makes for some great moments, and the story that unfolds as both learn and grow from one another is inspirational.

I really enjoyed this story.

More Information:

Available March 20, 2018

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: God Bless America Adult Coloring Book

This beautiful Americana-themed adult coloring book was a joy from the first page. Each has a peaceful illustration and inspirational quote. The paper is heavy so ink doesn't bleed. The pages remove easily so you can cherish each individual picture.
This is a very relaxing reflection of American life.
This is a great way to treat yourself and also makes a nice gift.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Cats in Paris Adult Coloring Book

This is an adult coloring book with beautiful Paris scenes, and many cats. 
The pages are heavy paper, and I have not had any trouble with bleed-through. The pages are two-sided and non-perforated so you cannot remove the scenes. The dust cover is removable and has it's own places for coloring.
While this book was beautifully drawn by a talented artist I found that some of the pages, especially the Paris scenes, were already so detailed that it was best left as ink art. Too much detail actually detracts from coloring. Another issue that I had was the lack of space to add your own art. It seems like often every inch of the paper is taken, so you can color but not create.
With the title "Cats in Paris" I was expecting a book of Paris scenes with cats in them, but the opposite is true. It's a book of cats with some Paris scenes in it. This is not necessarily a problem, but something to be aware of. This is a book for cat lovers, not for Paris lovers. I am not a cat-lover, and found that I lost interest in coloring page after page of cats.
Overall, this is a okay adult coloring book with a few drawbacks.

I must mention that I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

Book Description:
In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.
His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself. 
Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different. 
But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love. 
Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

My Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

While this is a mingling of history, fiction, and theology it was done in an incredibly accurate yet easy to read manner.
For those who are students of church history and are familiar with the reformation as well as the person and work of Luther, I believe you will find this to be a fair treatment of his life and work. His well-known personality comes through well, and you can just see the softening of the often-gruff Luther as his relationship with Katharina unfolds.
Of course, it is fiction and a delightful but realistic love story. This just makes it all the better. 
The vivid descriptions of the people and events, both historical and fictitious, give the reader a glimpse into issues surrounding the reformation and some of what happened to those who were involved in it.
Overall, I loved this book. This was the perfect blending of history and fiction.

*I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Room for Hope Review and Giveaway

Rarely does a book come my way that lingers with me long after the last page has been read. Those books are a rare gift. This is one of those books.

Neva Shilling faithfully tends to the family store and cares for the twins Bud and Belle as her husband takes month-long trips to sell products in other communities. Though disappointed that she had not provided her husband with the large family they had both desired, Neva is a faithful wife and mother who is warm and caring to all.

With the sound of a wagon pulling up to the shop, her life forever changes. Neva receives word that her husband and his other wife  have died. And, he has sent his three  other children to live with "Aunt Neva." Shocked and heartbroken over the revelation of double life that her beloved has lived, Neva is faced with life-changing decisions. Will she keep the mercantile or sell to Arthur, the owner of the Emporium who has long coveted the shop? Will she keep the children or send them to an orphanage? What will she tell the town?

This book was brilliantly written with an engaging plot, a thread of mystery that runs throughout, and a depth of character that is rare to find in a book today.

There is a strong theme of faith, forgiveness, and the return of prodigals in this book. It is a blessing to see how Neva's faith is strengthened through her trials and how her compassionate heart and depth of love only grows deeper through adversity.

This book gripped my heart from the very first page, and is a story that I am not likely to forget.

Interested in reading this? You can download the first chapter here:

I also have two copies of this book to giveaway, courtesy of Waterbrook Multnomah. Just leave a comment below to enter. Winners will be announced March 1, 2015.

*Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah, who provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway winners (both from Facebook entries) are Janelle and Kristine!
Thank you to all who entered.