One of the special perks of being a book blogger is the opportunity to start my Christmas season early by reading some wonderful Christian Christmas fiction months in advance. This week I was happy to escape for a few hours into Cindy Woodsmall’s Christmas novella “The Angel of Forest Hill”, a sweet Amish romance.
Rose Kurtz is a young Amish woman who has lived a difficult life as the lone sister of eleven brothers. Her self-esteem is at rock bottom and her soul longs for kindness when she is asked to help out a family hours away. When she arrives Rose learns that Joel Dienner’s wife has just died, leaving him with a new baby and two other small children. At the bishop’s suggestion, Rose agrees to marry Joel in order to help care for the children without causing a scandal. The story progresses over several years with highlights of her life with Joel’s family and the development of their relationship.
“The Angel of Forest Hill” is an emotional story of a deeply wounded young woman and a grieving husband. I enjoyed watching Rose bloom under Joel’s kindness and being away from her mother’s demeaning comments. The difficulty Rose and Joel had communicating their feelings was quite believable under the circumstances although frustrating at times. I loved how the story was resolved with forgiveness and restoration at the end.
Such a fitting story for the Christmas season. Be sure and pick up a copy for a cozy evening by the fire.
A free copy of this book was provided for review by Blogging for Books. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Old Order Amish Rose Kurtz is asked to leave her family, travel deep into West Virginia, and help Joel Dienner with his children in the wake of tragedy, the quiet young woman recognizes a home where she might find kindness instead of criticism. Hope replacing harsh words. She agrees to stay in Forest Hill and become Joel’s wife for the sake of his family needs, but their marriage is to be a partnership, one built from need, not love and affection.
As the years pass Rose continues to beckon Joel to join life again, to take joy in his growing children, and to awaken his heart to the possibility of new love. Joel, too, hopes that Rose can move beyond deep-rooted hurts to see the beautiful Christmas ahead, their season— and Joel’s longing for more than friendship. But will the arrival of a beautiful widow and a series of misunderstandings threaten to reverse how far Rose and Joel have come?
Filled with deep emotion and the wonder of the season of Christ’s birth, The Angel of Forest Hill invites readers experience an amazing journey toward love and belonging.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of more than a dozen novels. Her connection with the Amish community has been widely featured in national media outlets from ABC Nightline to the Wall Street Journal and a National Geographic documentary on Amish life. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.
Visit Cindy on her blog at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.
“Such a Hope” is one of the absolute best books I have read this year. It moved me in such a way that I am quite certain that anything I can say here would be inadequate. Sondra Kraak has such a true gift that I found myself totally immersed in the story and was so sad when it ended.
The beautifully crafted plot is filled with fascinating characters, especially Anna and Tristan. Anna is a young woman who loves God, hears from Him, and tries her very best to be obedient to his directions. As a result she is the instrument God uses in more than one miraculous healing. Although she always stresses that God is the one that heals, Anna soon becomes the center of controversy. Not everyone is happy about her desire to pray for the sick. Tristan, a gifted farmer dedicated to improving agriculture in the Seattle area, struggled with believing that God even cared. He too had issues with Anna’s faith and her determination to pray for others but despite himself, Tristan found himself her champion and maybe even beginning to care for her. Unfortunately, Tristan carried some secrets that could change everything.
I really appreciated the insight the author gave on spiritual gifts and how people tend to react to them. This story rang so true with some who sought her out for prayer, others who were offended, and then those who wanted to use her gifts to help advance their own ministries. So realistic! This book made me think – a lot. One thing I gleaned from this story is that I would like to be more like Anna. Not a bad goal for any of us!
I loved everything about “Such a Hope” and cannot wait for the next book of the series.
I received a free digital copy of this book from the author. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Anna Warren grew up on the seat of a wagon, the daughter of Seattle’s busiest freighter. After her father’s death—a tragedy away from home—she returns to their cabin on the outskirts of Seattle, seeking the sense of belonging that eluded her childhood. But will her desire to pray for miraculous healing for the sick and wounded endear or alienate her to the community? Her most aggravating challenger is also her staunchest defender and has brown hair and eyes, stands six feet tall, and farms with unchecked tenacity. Tristan Porter. This farmer her father had befriended holds more secrets than Yesler’s Mill holds logs.
When ugly rumors arise about her spiritual gift and her property, Anna fears her quest to find belonging will be thwarted.
Tristan holds the truth to set her free, but revealing it will require him to face the disappointments of his past and surrender his plans for the future–a sacrifice he’s not sure he can make.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A native of Washington State, Sondra Kraak grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, blogging about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain, but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was a Genesis semi-finalist (2015) and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women’s Fiction Award (2015).
One thing I like very much about Suzanne Woods Fisher’s novels is that although her stories usually feature a primary character, they revolve around that character’s entire family and/or community. I have especially loved that aspect of The Bishop’s Family series. In this third volume of the series, Bishop David Stoltzfus’ daughter Ruthie is the focus but as usual I was able to keep up with much of what was going on with other family members and friends from the previous books.
One thing I loved about “The Devoted” is that is wasn’t the usual romance novel. Yes, there was absolutely some romance in it but it wasn’t the center of attention. This book is such a human interest story with several intersecting story-lines. I thought it was a genius move to have Ruthie so dissatisfied with Amish life only to have Patrick, an Englisher show up wanting to become Amish. Patrick’s fresh view of life in Stoney Ridge gave Ruthie at least a few things to ponder. If I were part of an Amish community, I would definitely want a bishop like David, a man devoted to his family and community and so filled with God’s wisdom. His concern about how their new wealth was affecting the community is something that could apply to most Christians today.
“The Devoted” is a sweet, sweet story with more than one lesson that could be useful to many readers. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one by this author.
A free copy of this book was provided for review by Celebrate Lit Publicity Group. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Restless and adventurous, Ruthie Stoltzfus is right on the cusp of leaving her Amish home. Secretly, she’s earned her GED, saved her money—but she can’t quite set her journey into motion. Just as everything falls into place, along comes Patrick Kelly.
Patrick is a young man on a journey of his own. He’s come to Stoney Ridge to convert to the Amish and has given himself thirty days to learn the language, drive a buggy, and adapt to “everything Plain.” Time is of the essence and every moment is to be cherished—especially the hours he spends with Ruthie, his Penn Dutch tutor.
Ruthie’s next-door neighbor and cunning ex-boyfriend, Luke Schrock, is drawn to trouble like a moth to a flame. Rebellious, headstrong, defiant, Luke will do anything to win Ruthie back—and Patrick Kelly is in his way.
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a story of dreams deferred—and the promise of hopes fulfilled.
To purchase your copy, click here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author whose most recent novels include Anna’s Crossing and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.
October 18: cherylbbookblog
October 18: Blogging With Carol
October 18: Mary Hake
October 19: Reading Is My SuperPower
October 19: Simple Harvest Reads
October 20: Singing Librarian Books
October 20: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
October 21: Seasons of Opportunities
October 21: Daysong Reflections
October 22: Back Porch Reads
October 22: Southern Gal Loves to Read
October 23: Lighthouse Academy
October 23: The Power of Words
October 24: Bigreadersite
October 24: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
October 24: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
October 25: Artistic Nobody
October 25: Donna’s BookShelf
October 26: Pause for Tales
October 26: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
October 26: Bukwurmzzz
October 27: Splashes of Joy
October 27: Bibliophile Reviews
October 28: ASC Book Reviews
October 28: Vic’s Media Room
October 28: inklings and notions
October 29: Jeanette’s Thoughts
October 29: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
October 30: A Baker’s Perspective
October 30: Book by Book
October 30: Quiet Quilter
October 31: Two Girls and a Book
October 31: Blossoms and Blessings
To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a copy of The Devoted and an iPad Mini 2 16GB!
Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a60b
Lexi Eddings was a new author to me but I agreed to review “The Coldwater Warm Hearts Club” based almost entirely on its gorgeous cover art. With a cover that beautiful, how good the book not be good as well? I am happy to say that I enjoyed the book equally as much as I liked its cover.
With an ample supply of interesting and sometimes even quirky characters, “The Coldwater Warm Hearts Club” is a tale that invited me in and encouraged me to stay awhile within its pages. It’s one of those “you can’t go home again” stories that pretty much disproves that old adage by its end but it takes awhile for Lacy to understand that Coldwater is exactly where she belongs. Returning home broken and ashamed, Lacy Evans just wants to get back on her feet so she can leave Coldwater again. But an unlikely old friend and the help of the Warm Hearts Club show Lacy that there is more to life than what she considers success.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Coldwater, especially getting to spend time with some of its special residents. I particularly liked Jacob Tyler and his mostly positive attitude considering his circumstances and rooted for him to win Lacey’s heart even when it was beginning to look doubtful.
I am still not entirely certain if this book fits within my usual Christian fiction parameters but overall I found it to be a clean read with a good positive message. The plot was well written with an inviting and easy-to-read style and held my attention throughout. I am hoping to have a chance to read other books in this series soon.
A free copy of this book was provided for review by the author. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
For Lacy Evans, returning to flyover country is the definition of failure. She had everything she wanted—an award-winning design firm, a chic city condo, a handsome, aristocratic almost-fiancé. Then her boyfriend ran off with her receptionist and her clients’ money. Now she’s out of business and crashing on her parents’ couch. When she slides into a booth at the Green Apple Grill, she’s feeling lower than a worm’s belly.
But Lacy’s old classmate Jacob Tyler is happy to see her. Coldwater’s football hero came back from Afghanistan short part of a leg and some peace of mind, but he’s counting his blessings, and Lacy could be one of them. Then there’s her ex Daniel, wearing a sheriff’s badge and a wedding ring but looking like young summer love. And a host of unlikely serendipities: the selfish do-gooders who sneak around taming curmudgeons and constructing second chances, The Fighting Marmots and the sprawling, take-no-prisoners Bugtussle clan.
Lacy thought she knew her hometown, and herself. She just wanted to get on her feet and keep running. But the longer she stays, the more she finds to change her mind . . .
Read an excerpt HERE.
Coming September 27th to these fine stores!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lexi is the award-winning author of the Coldwater Cove series, a collection she describes as big stories in a small town…with Ozark snark! Her goal is to make her readers laugh a little, cry a little and then leave them with a guaranteed happy ending. When she’s not writing, she loves singing, reading and spending time with her kids and pets. She also loves traveling with her husband who’s taken her on more adventures than she deserves!