Historical

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Gladden the Heart by Olivia Newport



MY REVIEW:

I have very mixed feelings about “Gladden the Heart”. It has an intriguing and unique plot that is filled with quite a few very interesting events. Unfortunately I did find it to move along at a snail’s pace and I had difficulty connecting with its many characters. I will also admit that my difficulty reading it may have just been a matter of timing and could have an entirely different opinion if I picked it up again at another time. The author’s skill is excellent and I found no real complaints with the book itself. As I said, it was probably just not the right time for me to read it.

I enjoyed reading this historical novel about an Amish community that lived in close proximity to evangelical Methodists who often held tent meetings. Knowing how strictly the Amish adhere to their own beliefs, it was a surprising twist when one of the Amish men suddenly began to have frequent “episodes” where he began preaching in his sleep in the style of the Methodists. As can be imagined, this caused no lack of controversy and curiosity within the Amish community. Was it really the Holy Spirit or was Noah trying to pull something over on them all?

This is one book that devoted Amish fiction lovers should enjoy. I personally learned a good bit about how many of the Amish were taught to dwell on their trials and suffering as what God expected from them and resisted the good news of His love of His people.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click to purchase

“When you have experienced the Holy Ghost as I have, you would see that it is difficult to turn back.”

When the lively fervor of nineteenth century revivalism endangers the staid customs of the Amish community in the lush but rugged Kishacoquillas Valley of central Pennsylvania in 1847, the Amish church must deal with a divisive question: What is a genuine spiritual experience?

The question turns personal when Susanna’s beloved cousin Noah begins preaching while under trances and even though he is not a minister he gives long sermons that attract increasing attention. Curious, she helps to keep Noah safe during his trances. At the same time Adam, Susanna’s intended, feels pressure from the bishop to speak out against the ways of revivalism.

Susanna and Adam are pushed to opposite sides of a controversy that threatens their traditional Amish faith.. Now they must grapple with whether love is possible…even if they come to different conclusions.

When Noah goes missing at a time of day when he often preaches while asleep, circumstances thrust community members with divergent opinions into a crisis that demands they recognize the humanity they share regardless of beliefs. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives?

Click here to purchase your copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. She chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Her books include the Avenue of Dreams series set in 1890s Chicago; the Valley of Choice series, which intertwines contemporary and historical Amish stories; the historical Amish Turns of Time series; and Hidden Falls, a warm, contemporary, small-town novel.

GUEST POST FROM OLIVIA NEWPORT:

Sleepy Sundays

Now don’t laugh, but my guess is that if you looked around your church on any given Sunday morning, you’d see somebody sleeping. It might be an infant or toddler whose nap time collides with the worship time resting in a parent’s arms, or it might be a senior citizen who has perfected the art of dozing in an upright position.

What you don’t expect is that the person sleeping will be the preacher.

I’ve always been interested in church history. I even read a magazine called Christian History on a regular basis and consider it pleasure reading. In my ambling through church history, I came across a notation about “sleeping preachers” in the nineteenth century in various denominations, including the Amish. The accounts suggested that individuals who were not ministers would fall unconscious, wake up to preach for lengthy periods, sleep again, and have no recollection of their actions.

Could this possibly be true? Or a giant hoax? What’s a genuine spiritual experience, and what do we do when don’t agree on how to answer that question? Let’s face it, even now, 150 years later, we still don’t quite know what to do with our varying traditions when we don’t agree on how to answer that question.

I knew I had the makings of a story. Gladden the Heart travels back to 1847 and wrestles with these questions. When a divided community faces a life-or-death situation, they must respond to a crisis that challenges them to look past their differences. But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives?

Gladden the Heart is the fifth story in Olivia Newport’s Amish Turns of Time series of historical Amish novels. Olivia chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

BLOG STOPS:

July 4: Cafinated Reads

July 5: Book by Book

July 6: Genesis 5020

July 6: A Baker’s Perspective

July 7: Reading Is My SuperPower

July 7: Connie’s History Classroom

July 8: Daysong Reflections

July 9: God’s Little Bookworm

July 9: Inklings and Notions

July 10: A Reader’s Brain

July 10: Zerina Blossom’s Books

July 11: Bibliophile Reviews

July 11: Artistic Nobody

July 12: Karen Sue Hadley

July 12: Blogging With Carol

July 13: The Fizzy Pop Collection

July 14: Have A Wonderful Day

July 14: cherylbbookblog

July 15: Bigreadersite

July 15: Carpe Diem

July 16: Splashes of Joy

July 16: The Power of Words

July 17: His Grace is Sufficient

July 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a Grand Prize that consists of:

All five books in the Amish Turns of Time series
(http://www.olivianewport.com/amish-turns-of-time/)
PLUS
Bonus: All three books in the Valley of Choice series
(http://www.olivianewport.com/valley-of-choice/)
PLUS
$25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
https://promosimple.com/ps/bc59

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My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho by Susanne Dietze



MY REVIEW:

“My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho” is a mail order bride story with a twist. When Rebecca arrives in Ruby City to marry Mr. Fordham, it is not until she has already tied the not that she learns that she has married the wrong Mr. Fordham. She was supposed to marry his cousin. To make matters worse, the cousins are not on the best of terms due to past differences over a woman. The new husband and wife agree to get an annulment so that Rebecca can marry the right man but accomplishing that is taking much longer than expected. Could it be that she married the right man after all?

I found this novel to be quite entertaining with humorous mix-ups, plenty of action and danger, and of course romance. Tad and Rebecca were both likeable characters who were obviously suited to each other but Theodore offered Rebecca the security she craved. She cared for Tad too but she refused to marry a lawman. Over the course of the story Rebecca learns the importance of placing her trust in God rather than man.

An enjoyable as well as thought provoking novel, “My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho” focuses on finding one’s purpose in where the Lord has placed her and trusting Him to take care of her. This book is an excellent addition to Barbour’s new series. I look forward to reading more of the series as well as other books by Ms. Dietze.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the Barbour Review Crew. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Journey now to Ruby City, Idaho of 1866 where…
A Marriage Mishap Creates an Awkward Love Triangle in this Silver Mining Town

Looking forward to a quiet life and a full stomach, mail-order bride Rebecca Rice is pleased to marry her shopkeeper intended, Mr. Fordham, until the justice of the peace calls him Thaddeus, not Theodore—proceeded by the title Deputy.

Is it possible to marry the wrong man?

When the newlyweds realize they’ve married the wrong partners with similar names, an annulment seems in order—and fast, since Rebecca’s true intended is impatient to claim her as his own, not to mention Rebecca would never marry a lawman like her father. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca wonders if Tad wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . .

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances who’s seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos.  You can visit her online at www.susannedietze.com and subscribe to her newsletters at http://eepurl.com/bieza5.

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Freedom’s Price by Christine Johnson



MY REVIEW:

“Freedom’s Price” is the third book in Christine Johnson’s Keys of Promise series. Although there are some crossover characters, this book easily stands on its own. I would also recommend both of the other books in this series, “Love’s Rescue” and “Honor Redeemed”, not because they are necessary but because each is an enjoyable read.

I personally have enjoyed this series that has seemed to get better with each book. In my opinion “Freedom’s Price” was amazing with it’s steady plot that seemed to move from one dangerous situation to another as the mystery and suspense escalated. Strong characters whose faith saw them through trials and seemingly impossible circumstances were well crafted and natural. An equally convincing villain brought a compelling sense of evil to the story.

I liked how the relationship between Catherine and Tom developed slowly despite their opposing ambitions. I particularly admired Tom’s determination to protect Catherine even when her stubborn choices put her at risk. It goes without saying that romance was inevitable but was not the primary focus of the story.

I would be quite happy if “Freedom’s Price” is not the last book of this series as is the usual practice. I would enjoy reading more novels set in historic Louisiana and Florida.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Sometimes the hardest step to take is the first step forward

When Englishwoman Catherine Haynes loses both her father and her home in 1856, she decides to cross the Atlantic to find her American mother’s family in Louisiana. She enlists the help of Tom Worthington, a dashing Key West man who makes his living salvaging wrecked ships.

When Catherine arrives at the plantation, she finds that her family has left it in the care of a manager–who’s let it fall into disrepair. Torn between returning to Key West with Tom and beginning the hard work of restoring the plantation, Catherine soon finds herself snared in a plot to steal her inheritance. When an incredible secret comes to light, both she and Tom will face a choice: grip their dreams ever tighter or step forward in faith–even if it costs them everything.

Read an excerpt from “Freedom’s Price” HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

© E.A. Creative Photography 2013

Christine Johnson is the author of several books for Steeple Hill and Love Inspired and has been twice named a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® award. When not writing, she loves to hike and explore God’s majestic creation. These days, she and her husband, a Great Lakes ship pilot, split their time between northern Michigan and the Florida Keys.

 

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The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett



MY REVIEW:

Having read this author’s Golden Gate Chronicles and her stand-alone novel “Mistaken”, I was eager to read the first book in her Vintage National Parks series. The fact that my daughter and her husband are currently working as traveling Physical Therapy Assistants in the Pacific Northwest and who also are making it a point to visit as many national parks as possible during their travels upped its interest level for me at least tenfold. And yes, they have already visited Mt. Rainer National Park.

I loved that the story was written about the early days of the park before it became such a popular tourist attraction. It was fun and interesting to read about the unspoiled wilderness that was present during that time as well as the fight to keep it that way. Strong characters and the combination of danger, adventure, romance, faith, and a touch of intrigue worktogether to make this book a real page-turner.

Although traits of the primary characters are not exactly unique (strong but emotionally wounded hero and independent rich girl resisting the restraints of her sheltered life), they work together well in “The Road to Paradise”. Ford’s losses have definitely affected him but his strength and integrity shine through. Margie is adorably quirky and a bit clumsy but her resilience and love for nature and others makes her the perfect heroine.

I thoroughly enjoyed “The Road to Paradise” and am impatiently waiting for the next installment.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Waterbrook Multnomah.
A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

An ideal sanctuary and a dream come true–that’s what Margaret Lane feels as she takes in God’s gorgeous handiwork in Mount Rainer National Park. It’s 1927 and the National Park Service is in its youth when Margie, an avid naturalist, lands a coveted position alongside the park rangers living and working in the unrivaled splendor of Mount Rainier’s long shadow.

But Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is still haunted by his father’s death on the mountain, and the ranger takes his work managing the park and its crowd of visitors seriously. The job of watching over an idealistic senator’s daughter with few practical survival skills seems a waste of resources.

When Margie’s former fiancé sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, the plans might put more than the park’s pristine beauty in danger. What will Margie and Ford sacrifice to preserve the splendor and simplicity of the wilderness they both love?

Karen Barnett’s vintage national parks novels bring to vivid life President Theodore Roosevelt’s vision for protected lands, when he wrote in Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter: “There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

KAREN BARNETT is an award winning author of four novels who draws on her firsthand experience as a naturalist, former park ranger, and outdoor educator to transport readers to America’s national parks.. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children.

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