Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Secret Courage

A Secret Courage (The London Chronicles Book 1) by [Goyer, Tricia]I just finished reading A Secret Courage (The London Chronicles Book 1) by Tricia Goyer.  Travel with me to the countryside from London circa 1943 to Danesfield House.  Hidden behind the doors of this beautiful manor estate are men and women doing their part to win the war in Europe. What they didn't know could have crippled their work and cost them their lives because a spy was in their midst!  Espionage and intrigue made for those special discoveries that led to usurping air strikes that could have decimated Great Britain following the terrible blitz on London.

The cast of characters were brilliantly written and each part played a role that suited their surroundings. Emma, our heroine was an American who traveled to England to study at Oxford. Her mother hailed from England and emigrated to America after marrying a soldier from the states after W.W.I.  Emma joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force soon after war broke out.  Stationed at Danesfield House, her job was carefully studying aerial photographs taken over Germany for signs of anything out of the ordinary.

Will Fleming, is a handsome Englishman who worked for the British government recording the changes in the landscape of the country through his painting.  He and Emma met by chance at a bookstore while she and her friend Vera were on leave for a day.

Vera, along with Georgette are Emma's friends and coworkers. These women work closely together and also share living quarters.  The ladies lived in Nissen huts, which are what I grew up knowing as "Quonset huts.  
Adding to the intrigue was Berndt, who, as a handyman, seemed to be everywhere.  Edward, the sergeant who was Emma's superior officer, supervised Emma and her coworkers.  The work being done on this estate was paramount to the cause and security was strict. People who worked together didn't necessarily know all the pieces of a project or why locations of study were chosen.  The timing was just as cryptic, making it difficult for the information to be cracked.

Emma was a dedicated member of the W.A.A.F. who was vigilant in the secret nature of her work.  Her only brother, Samuel, a pilot lost his life when his plane was downed.  She mourned his loss greatly and she worked all the harder to contribute her best to the war effort. It was her fervent hope that if she could find an important clue while studying the photographs perhaps she could help save the lives of others.

The plot of A Secret Courage was well constructed and the characters well written.  All mysteries seem to have a red herring or two and while I had some suspicions, I'll admit I was surprised more than once.  It is fun to guess an outcome but much better find that the author truly kept a mystery, creating a better book.  I heartily recommend this book. I am glad that it is only book one in a series because I feel there is more to unfold in this story.  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Long Time Gone Has a Plot With a Twist!

I recently finished reading Mary Connealy's Long Time Gone for review.  Book 2 in the Cimarron Legacy the book will take you back on a trip back to the wild west days of New Mexico ranching.  The Boden family has been beset with troubles as they fight to keep their ranch from rustlers who will stop at nothing to bring the family down.

Long Time Gone (The Cimarron Legacy Book #2) by [Connealy, Mary]The story unfolds after a trap left Cole, the oldest Boden son nearly dead.  That leaves Justin to manage the ranch while frantically searching for the reason behind this shooting and an avalanche meant to kill their father Chance.  Only the quick thinking and training from ranch hand Heath Kincaid gave their father a fighting chance.  Secreted away to a Denver hospital Chance and his wife are unwillingly apart from the fight being fought at home.

The book is full of the usual rugged cowboys but what sets it apart are the strong women who know their way around the west.  Sadie Boden is a crack shot and fearless in a fight. Newly married to Heath, they are a force to be reckoned with.  Not content to sit around and become bait, she places herself in the middle of the whole fight.

Enter Angie DuPree with the doc to nurse Cole. Winsome and wan, she is seemingly out of place in the novel but the west definitely had some strange bedfellows when it came to surviving ranch life without the finer things in life.

If you crave tales of the old west, this book is for you. I think it only fair, however, to let you know that this is not a stand alone novel. Had I known this I would have read No Way Up, book one in the series first.  For series followers, this will make a good set. Book three is sure to follow!  Many thanks to Bethany House for an opportunity to try a new author.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Head to Turtle Springs: Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands!

Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands by Cynthia Hickey, Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Carrie Fancett Pagels and Gina Welborn,  is a collection of novellas by seven authors who provide the "voices" in our story. The Civil War was a brutal war in our nation's history, creating widows and orphan of untold numbers. It is spring in the year 1865 and in Turtle Springs Kansas, the women left behind are tired eking out a living and barely getting by.  They band together to solve the shortage of men by placing an ad for mail-order husbands.  Men travel from far and wide for the chance to be interviewed for the honor of courting the husband hunting women.  Imagine a little town of 223 with so many bachelors converging at once that a tent city is constructed near town.  Every man had a different reason for answering the ad but none so sweet as the ones who were featured in this collection.

I liked having the continuity of the story crossing each novella. Each author built on the main story yet added her own rich style to the mix.  Each story had a different aspect that made each couple unique.  Reluctant grooms and grooms who still felt the wounds of war each shared a deep love for the woman they married.

Historical elements like the one used by Carrie Fancett 
Pagels in The Dime Novel  by adding soldiers traveling to real life  Fort  Mackinac through Turtle Springs during that era add an interesting element to the stories.  Little extras added to the story kept me hooked and drove me to search for more history online.

While this collection is fiction it is indeed true that the hardships of war can be felt long after men come home to their families to pick up their lives. For the many women and children left behind it was such a devastating loss to run the farm, run businesses and keep the family going when their man didn't make it home.

Many thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy to review this book. I enjoy American fiction and this book gave me new insight to the Civil War. While the book is definitely entertaining, I can't help but think of the untold stories of women who lived through the years after the war ended.




Sunday, March 5, 2017




I enjoyed reading Love's Faithful Promise by Susan Anne Mason.  Discovering a new to me  author is exciting. It opens the door to new experiences and new people. Although this is book three in the Courage to Dream series it stood on its own quite well. 

Our heroine, Deidre O'Leary is a young woman who dreamed of becoming a doctor in a time when women were supposed to marry well and raise a family. She completed her nursing studies and was about ready to take a well-fought for seat in medical school. God's will or fate if you will, intervened when her beloved mother was stricken with a stroke. Unwilling to see her strong mother suffer the loss of mobility and on the verge of deep depression, she searched for any means of restoring her mother to health. 

Deidre traveled to meet with Dr. Matthew Clayborne, whose innovative methods in physical therapy worked wonders with critically wounded war veterans.  She worked hard to convince the doctor that she and her family were not simply a rich family entitled to services that any amount of money could buy.  Dr. Clayborne, a widower with a young daughter had trials of his own and didn't need or want anything to do with the O'Leary family. However, Deidre convinced him to bring his young daughter Phoebe to her family compound and treat Mrs. O'Leary.  What Matthew couldn't know was how his own life was on a path to healing.

Even the most hopeless situations can turn around and this story of courage and determination proves that. Love and faith can heal many things. Deidre had her life planned ahead for many years. We may plan our lives  all we want but along the way life happens. In this book a life well lived can be better than a life well planned. Love finds a way to open even the staunchest bitter heart. Well written story with characters who come to life, I recommend this book without hesitation. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Reviewing: Murder on the Moor

Murder on the Moor is a story that has all the elements of a baffling mystery one would expect of its genre. Set in 1930's England, it is complete with old stone mansions fully staffed with servants, expensive cars and jewel clad ladies who dress for dinner.

Drew Farthering and his lovely wife Madeline have built a reputation of solving unsolvable crimes.  He is not only wealthy and handsome but as clever as he is compassionate. She is beautiful and charming but also the perfect confidant.  Julianna Deering expertly captured the essence of the wealthy sleuthing couple. I could almost imagine Nick and Nora Charles staying at Bloodworth Park Lodge, but Drew and Madeline are the guests of Beaky and Sabrina Bloodworth.

Murder on the Moor (A Drew Farthering Mystery Book #5) by [Deering, Julianna]The story began in earnest when a quiet evening at Farthering Place was interrupted by one Hubert (Beaky) Bloodworth, Drew's chum back in his Eton days.  He had just driven 200 miles to entreat Drew and Madeline to see who is behind dreadful mischief on the moor.  Topping off all the mysterious goings on, someone committed the unthinkable by murdering the vicar.

The moor is lonely and desolate, generally not a place to wander about and adding fog to the mix spells danger.  Remnants of an old church tower, an abandoned kiln and an oversized dog had this reader breathing rapidly as I turned the pages for more.  As one murder leads to another one has to wonder how this second murder could possibly be linked to each other in such a quiet village as Bunting's Nest.

Reading about the moor I was reminded of Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. With a cast of savory characters such as Rhys Delwin, the gamekeeper, I could only imagine his bearing a resemblance to the likes of Heathcliff.  The author also prominently placed the Bronte books within the homes of the characters as if to spark even more interest of the moors.

Several red herrings cleverly add to the mix of clues to throw the reader off of the trail of the killer. Everything is tied up in a neat bundle in the end though, to everyone's satisfaction.

Also reminiscent of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane I was pleased to see a reference to The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L Sayers in this book. Wealthy couples who love to play detectives in their leisurely lives have proven a successful formula for mystery writers. I recommend Murder on the Moor if you enjoy this genre. It will not disappoint you. Simply put the kettle on and settle down for a good read.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Review: The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Newcomer, Amish Beginnings book 2 by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the book everyone who read Anna's Crossing has been waiting for. I enjoyed reading Anna Konig's story about crossing the Atlantic in the Charming Nancy.  In the end I wanted to know more about this resilient young woman who fled religious persecution in Germany to an unsettled land so far from the beloved grandparents she left behind.

Our story begins in October 1737 in Philadelphia.  Anna and her fellow church family are waiting to disembark and move to the land their bishop Jacob Bauer purchased just a year before.

In additions to Anna, the church passengers include:
 Jacob's wife Dorothea and his youngest son Felix; Christian Muller, the Amish minister and his wife Maria and daughter Catrina; Isaac Mast and his grown son Peter as well as Josef Gerber and his wife Barbara along with their twin toddler boys and Simon Miller.

Product DetailsOn board ship, Anna met and fell in love with Bairn, the ship's carpenter.  As it turned out, Bairn is the son of Jacob and Dorothea, who was thought to have been lost at sea on Jacob's first Atlantic crossing.

One thing I enjoyed about the story to begin with is that it is historical fiction. Suzanne is a master story teller and her research is superb. I like how she can weave historical characters like Benjamin Franklin into her stories. In this book in particular, she captures what we know is his jovial nature when he befriends 8-year old Felix. He encourages Felix and the boy learns first hand the importance of learning the language of his new home to keep his inquisitiveness alive.  Felix, whose mischievous nature thirsts for excitement leads us on antics that help to neatly tie up the story as he brings people together.

Bairn, for his part, long separated from his family and church is indecisive about what his future holds.  Can he avoid the call of one more call from the sea?  Can he go back to the Amish ways he was removed from so many years ago?  Is his love for Anna enough for him to stay for a life with her?

Complicating matters is the arrival of a newcomer, Henrik Newman who arrived on another ship from Germany. He is charming and he is eager to please everyone  he meets. He is a take charge man who seems to have answers for everything. He is taken with Anna but can she give her heart to him when she has already given it to an absent Bairn?

When the party is finally on land they are separated from Jacob once more as he and Dorothea journey ahead to their new settlement in the wilderness near the  top Schuylkill River.  When the others followed, joined by the newcomer only to arrive at an empty cabin. Nothing, so far turned out to be what everyone thought it would be.

It would be unfair of me to truly give away the whole story. I will say though that continues to amaze me how our country was settled. In a land so vast and unsettled it would have frightened me to be so removed from the life I was accustomed to.  Resilience, courage and a strong faith kept them going. Among all that were real people.  I thank Suzanne for bringing their stories alive. Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award winning, best selling author, who is well known for her works in Amish fiction and non-fiction. I heartily recommend this book along with book 1 of this series, The Charming Nancy.  Each book can be read as a standalone copy but it if you are like me you want more to the story.

Who gets the girl you wonder?  Read the book to find out. It is available at your favorite bookseller.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Leslie Gould's Amish Weddings

Whenever I read a book written by Leslie Gould I am immediately hooked by the characters she creates. If the book is part of series it is even better!  Amish Weddings, Neighbors of Lancaster County series book three is a book I heartily recommend if you enjoy stories of faith, love and forgiveness.

Set in Lancaster County, the story begins with the upcoming wedding plans for Lila Lehman and Zane Beck. I enjoyed their story in Amish Sweethearts and was pleased to tag along for their upcoming wedding.  Their plans are disrupted, however, when Lila is critically injured in a buggy accident. With a long recovery looming she must recover not only her bodily strength but also her spiritual strength.

Zane's love pours itself out in numerous ways as this man who gave up his Englisch life navigates a system that is far different in the plain world.  Uncertainty is like a shroud that threatens their future happiness.

Lila's sister Rose is a lively young woman who enjoys a good time but is ready to settle down with Reuben Byler, the bishop's son.  Reuben is waiting to settle on announcing a marriage to Rose until after Lila and Zane are wed. Rose is captivated by a young man who served in Afghanistan with Zane. He is as exciting to Rose as the bright red sports car he drives.  He is the opposite of Reuben and quick to declare how he feels about Rose.

Tim Lehman, the girls' widowed father enjoys keeping company with Beth Yoder.  He would marry her in a heartbeat if not for her long ago divorce. The divorce is like a shadow over the relationship because the church does not recognize divorce.

This is Rose's story and the journey she completes toward becoming a woman in her own right. Her mother died when she was just a little girl and she was raised by Lila who was just a girl herself. Her father was busy keeping them fed and housed as a single parent. She is an impetuous young woman who faces consequences that bring her full circle to the woman she was meant to be.  At times I was angry with her and  others I felt she was just a young woman who lost her mother's love and guidance far too soon.  I was happy with the ending of the story and am happy to recommend Amish Weddings without reservation.










Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Reviewing Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz


A Moonbow Night by [Frantz, Laura]Laura Frantz' latest book Moonbow Night is set in the days of Daniel Boone when our country was largely unexplored.  With a lush backdrop one could hardly expect trouble to find its way into peaceful meadows and spectacular waterfalls.  Yet, in 1777, the Revolutionary War was being fought on the one hand and surveyors were marking off land to be taken by settlers eager to own acreage. Danger surrounds the world of Temperance Tucker and  her family.  Fronting the Shawnee River, her family built the Moonbow Inn, a haven for travelers and traders alike.  Her father had trouble with surveyors and lived well hidden beyond the inn. He trained Tucker to hunt, shoot and track better than most men. Her brother, mother and dear friend cooked and cared for weary travelers.

Sion Morgan led a surveying team over the dangerous territory. Weary and hungry his team stopped at the Moonbow and here is where the story really begins.  As fate would have it, the group needs a guide into dangerous areas filled with Native Americans who have no patience for these  surveying "land stealers." Temperance is charged with guiding the team at the behest of her father.  The danger is great but it doesn't take long for Sion to realize she can hold her own to his skill with tracking and shoots as well as he.  She is an unwilling guide but the story provides her a rich journey and the love of a man worthy of her.  

I received a copy of Moonbow Night from Revell for an honest review and I enjoyed many hours reading it.   I was intrigued by the title and all the more so when I learned that "Moonbows or lunar rainbows are rare natural atmospheric phenomena that occur when the Moon’s light is reflected and refracted off water droplets in the air."   
I would love to see a moonbow!  Laura Frantz is a wonderful story teller, weaving history into the lives of the rich characters she creates.  If you enjoy historical fiction I recommend you reserve a copy of this book for your collection. I am in awe of the men and women who settled our country and faced countless trials with more courage than I can imagine. 








Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Primary Decision Is full of Intrigue and Suspense

A Primary Decision by Dr. Kevin Leman and Jeff Nesbit is sure to please anybody who likes intrigue found in the political arena.  The story centers on the powerful Worthington family from New York. The intrigue is supplied by forces who want to take this family down with lies and corruption. I discovered that A Primary Decision is book three in the Worthington Destiny series but nonetheless it can stand alone if you don't mind missing a little of the family background.

Sarah Worthington, the youngest child and only daughter of Bill and Ava Worthington has been tapped by the President of the United States to be the next Attorney General.  One who is forthright and able to give better than she gets, Sarah sails through the hearings and is sworn into office.   Once in office she sets her cap on the conspiracies rampant in Washington and begins proceedings to prosecute the same man who chose her to be the nation's number one attorney.  Truth, justice and nothing less than is the people's due propels her forward on her quest.

In the meantime, her brothers Will and Sean have their own agendas that keep the story lively.  Topping off the family story are the secret messages relayed between two unnamed sources who seem to be puppeteers holding strings above it all.

If you like mystery and politics, you will enjoy A Primary Decision. I received my copy from Revell for an honest review of the story. You decide if this book is ultimately your kind of thriller but this one, while full of corruption leaves out the x-rated fare Christian fiction lovers like to avoid.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Reviewing: Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson

Prince Edward Island is the setting for Where Two Hearts Meet and I have to admit that is what first caught my attention. After all I am a big fan of the Anne of Green Gables Series so naturally I wanted another glimpse of this beloved place.  It takes more than a lovely setting, however, for a book to hold its own. The characters need to come alive and resonate with the reader.

Caden Holt is the heroine of our story and like many who we encounter in our lives, she could be just that sweet shy young lady who is a fantastic cook.  She is so much more as Adam Jacobs discovers when he arrives at her kitchen door.

Adam is a journalist on sabbatical and is mistaken for the promised visitor from a renowned travel magazine that could fill up the inn for the next year. Caden is charged by her boss Marie to show Adam the island and all its charms. The problem is, Caden doesn't feel she has any charm to charm the journalist. 

I enjoyed this story, not just for the glimpse into the location but for the insight into two lives overcoming challenges that kept them 
This is the first time I have read a book written by Liz Johnson. I received my copy from Revell to provide an honest review and honestly, this was a good story for the message as well as the wonderful characters.