Historical

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A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner



MY REVIEW:

“A Song of Home” is the first book I’ve read by Susie Finkbeiner. It is the third book of the Pearl Spence novel series but it contained enough back story that I had no problems understanding what was going on. I plan to read the first two books as soon as I have a chance simply to get the entire story.

Young Pearl Spence is the primary character in this book. She has experienced more than her share of tragedy and heartbreak in her short life and has a tendency to escape through her books as often as she can. She soon discovers a new love – swing dancing and simply cannot get enough of it.

Pearl’s story paints a vivid image of life during the depression that includes flour sack dresses, community dances, and racial tensions. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this world through Pearl’s eyes as she learned to look beneath the surface to see the true person inside another and her compassion and generosity to those in need despite her own struggles. A sometimes poignant story that also brims with hope, “A Song of Home” is one that will resonate with many readers.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Kregel Publications. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

A Novel of the Swing Era

Pearl Spence has finally settled into a routine in Bliss, Michigan, far from her home in Red River, Oklahoma. Like all the other kids, she goes to school each day, plays in the woods, and does her chores. But there’s one big difference: Mama is still gone, and doesn’t seem to have a thought for the family she’s left behind.

Escaping from her worries is another part of Pearl’s new routine, whether that’s running to Aunt Carrie’s farm, listening to the radio with Ray, or losing herself in a book. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her favorite place on earth–until she discovers swing dancing. The music transports Pearl to a whole other world.

When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn’t the happy occasion Pearl had imagined. Mama is distant and Pearl can’t figure out how to please her. And the horrible way she treats Daddy is more than Pearl can bear. Seems life would be better if Mama would just stay away.

Finkbeiner’s portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt readers. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won’t be disappointed!

Read an excerpt HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susie Finkbeiner is a stay-at-home mom, speaker, and author from West Michigan. Her previous books include Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (2014). She has served as fiction editor and regular contributor to the Burnside Writers Guild and Unbound magazine. Finkbeiner is an avid blogger (see www.susiefinkbeiner.com), is on the planning committee of the Breathe Christian Writers Conference, and has presented or led groups of other writers at several conferences.

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

The Lacemaker by Laura



MY REVIEW:

I have long been a lover of historical fiction, particularly that with details about the early days of our nation. Laura Frantz is at the top of my list when it comes to colonial history and she may have topped my previous favorites with “The Lacemaker”, a story of colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Noble and “Liberty” are names that perfectly describe the primary characters in this tale that details the volatile atmosphere in Williamsburg as conflict between revolutionaries and the British escalated. Frantz provides enough facts to give the reader an understanding of life during that era but the focus is largely on how Noble and Elisabeth (Liberty) were affected by the events surrounding them.

“The Lacemaker” is a story of loyalty, love, and sacrifice that is filled with action and danger. I loved visiting Noble’s plantation with Elisabeth and learning a bit about Welsh customs and food. It was encouraging to watch these characters grow and walk out their faith as they faced extenuating circumstances. I would recommend “The Lacemaker” to all who enjoy historical fiction. Those who usually steer clear of this genre might just find that they like it too.

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



ABOUT THE BOOK:

It is the eve of a new age of freedom in the colonies.
But can a proper English lady dare hope for her own independence?

Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson has nearly everything a lady of her position could want. Daughter of the British lieutenant governor of the Virginia Colony and a darling of fine society in a rugged land, she is anticipating an advantageous marriage. That her betrothed is a rake and love is lacking is of little consequence–or so she tells herself.

Though her own life seems in order, colonial Williamsburg is a powder keg on the verge of exploding, and her fiancé’s cousin Noble Rynallt carries the flame of revolution in his heart. Those with connections to the British nobility are suspected as spies, and Liberty soon finds herself left with a terrible choice. Will she stay true to her English roots? Or side with Noble and the radical revolutionaries?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, The Mistress of Tall Acre, A Moonbow Night, and The Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net.

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano



MY REVIEW:

I always look forward to Jen Turano’s latest book. I know I can expect to laugh a lot, usually quietly, but I sometimes get some puzzled looks from my husband. But aside from all the merriment her books provide, I know I can always count on a thoughtful and encouraging spiritual thread as well as a delicious romance or two and probably a bit of action, perhaps a little danger too.

“Out of the Ordinary” totally met all my expections. The characters were perfectly quirky yet somehow normal. Not sure exactly how the author manages that! I love the outrageous names she comes up with for those characters. Imagine being saddled with a name like Gertrude Cadwalader! Now Harrison Sinclair seems to be a very proper and dignified name but oh, his sense of fashion leaves something to be desired. I decided that the man might be color blind considering his color choices but he took eccentric fashion to a new level. In real life at a much younger age, I probably would have avoided the man even if he was considered a prime catch – just too weird for me. But I loved Harrison in this book because the author painted him with such a sympathetic brush. And Gertrude had the eyes to see the real Harrison and loved him all the more for his unique fashion sense. How long would it take him to wake up and smell the coffee?

“Out of the Ordinary” was another perfectly charming novel by Jen Turano. I loved reading about all her characters and not only enjoying their antics but watching them mature spiritually as well as find healing for old emotional wounds. What a great book! I look forward to the next installment!

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Bethany House and the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Rollicking New Release from Humorous Historical Romance Author Jen Turano

Miss Gertrude Cadwalader hoped her position as the paid companion to Mrs. Davenport would be easy. But as she becomes acquainted with her employer, she realizes the wealthy Mrs. Davenport has a strange tendency to be a bit light-fingered with other people’s trinkets. Gertrude is relieved when Mrs. Davenport decides to have a quiet summer away from the social scene–until the woman changes her mind in order to help a young socialite launch into society.

When Gertrude is caught in the act of trying to return one of the trinkets by Mrs. Sinclair, the mother of shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair, the woman jumps to an unfortunate conclusion. Harrison is determined to mend fences with Miss Cadwalader, but he’s unprepared for the escapades a friendship with her will entail.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

 

Mail Order Deception by Heather Blanton



MY REVIEW:

Heather Blanton has become a new favorite author of mine because of her down-to-earth western romances that have just the right amount of mystery and suspense and are often sprinkled with  witty dialogue and situations that keep me laughing. In no way does that detract from her great stories and romance.

“Mail Order Deception” has a brilliant plot of mistaken identities. Reporter Ellie Blair accepts an assignment in which she must pose as a mail order bride, hoping to make a name for herself. Little does she know that her “husband” is not who he claims to be either. Despite their suspicions, Ellie and Jim West find themselves more and more attracted to each other but will true love win when all their secrets are revealed?

This was such a fun book with plenty of action, danger, humor, and romance to keep me turning those pages. I loved Jim and Ellie’s characters and their determination to see justice done. Even though as an avid reader, I pretty much knew how things would turn out, Blanton managed to keep me wondering a few times along the way.

If you have not read any books by Heather Blanton, do yourself a favor and try one or three. “Mail Order Deception” might just be a good place to start.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Secret identities lead to stolen hearts. Can love survive the truth? Intrepid reporter Ellie Blair wants a story–the one story–that will make her name bigger than Nellie Bly’s. She’ll do anything to get it. Lie, masquerade as someone else … even walk away from a man she could love. Treasury Agent Jim West has to break the back of the Irish Mob and will do anything to make it happen–lie, masquerade as someone else, even sacrifice his heart to see justice done. Blinded by ambition, these two stumble into each other on a Wyoming ranch…so what will it take for them to see past the masks they’re wearing and discover true love?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A former journalist, Heather is an avid researcher and skillfully weaves truth in among fictional story lines. She loves exploring the American West, especially ghost towns and museums. She has walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in her hand. You can learn more about her and her work at https://ladiesindefiance.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/heatherfreyblanton. Sign up for Heather’s email newsletter to receive the latest book release updates, as well as info about contests and giveaways (https://ladiesindefiance.com/).

Heather is the independent bestselling author of several Christian Westerns, including the Romance in the Rockies series, which has sold over 40,000 copies. Intrigued by the concept of three good sisters stranded in a lawless Colorado mining town, a few notable Hollywood producers have requested the script for her first book in that series, A Lady in Defiance. Heather’s writing is gritty and realistic. In fact, her books have been compared to AMC’s Hell on Wheels series, as well as the legendary Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love.

She writes Westerns because she grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. Her most fond childhood memory is of sitting next to her father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!

She can be reached several different ways:

http://ladiesindefiance.com/
https://www.facebook.com/authorheatherblanton/?ref=hl

https://www.pinterest.com/heatherfblanton/

Christian Westerns is the genre that lets her write about strong pioneer women and men who struggle to find God and then live out their faith in real ways. Romance is always a strong element in her stories because it is such a beautiful gift from God, and a perfect reflection of how he loves His children: sacrificially and lavishly. Heather’s stories aren’t preachy or cheesy, but she hopes they are heart-warming, realistic, illuminating, and glorifying to God. Like good old fashioned Westerns, there is always justice, a moral message, American values, lots of high adventure, unexpected plot twists, and more than a touch of suspense.

“I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is … and God loves us anyway.” — Heather Blanton

 

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