Debut novelist Erin Bartels has taken on difficult subject matter in her novel We Hope For Better Things. This split time narrative explores relationships between blacks and whites through the stories of three different women in the Detroit, Michigan area. Their individual stories take place during the civil war, the volatile sixties, and the present time. While the reader is presented with views from both sides of the equation, it is evident that we still have a long way to go if we are ever to resolve the divide between the races.
Overall, the story is well told although I found myself lost a time or two when the plot switched from one time frame to another. The characters are strong ones but I would have liked to get to know each of them more thoroughly than was possible in a split-time story. I did feel like the story was well researched and presented a historically accurate view of the respective time frames, especially the effects certain choices made on the women and their families. By the end of the book, most of my questions had been answered with the exception of the true cause of one death. I have my suspicions but I imagine the author intended for her readers to draw their own conclusions.
Erin Bartels definitely has a way with words and should find more of her novels on store shelves in the future.
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.
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The past is never as past as we’d like to think
When journalist Elizabeth Balsam is asked to deliver a box of old photos to a relative she didn’t know she had, the strange request seems like it isn’t worth her time. But as she explores her great-aunt’s farmhouse with its locked doors and hidden graves, she soon discovers just how dramatically some of the most newsworthy events of the previous two centuries shaped her own family. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding.
Take an emotional journey through time–from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to Michigan’s Underground Railroad during the Civil War–to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.
Purchase a copy HERE.
Read an excerpt HERE.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In the eagerly anticipated return to Rock Harbor, “Beneath Copper Falls”, Colleen Coble has proven once again that she is a master of suspense. This dark tale of a stalker and murders should have readers attempting to decide if the same person is guilty of both crimes. Definitely a page-turner, this novel had me holding my breath at times while the pages never stopped turning. It was one of those books that made me have to know what would happen yet I did not want it to end.
“Beneath Copper Falls” took me with Dana and Boone along a tangled web of danger and mystery. I enjoyed watching their relationship develop and admired how Dana was able to overlook Boone’s physical appearance to see the beauty of his inner person. It was fun to touch base with Rock Harbor residents I met in the earlier books. Funny how they seem so real!
Although this book is technically part of the Rock Harbor series, it can easily stand alone and would be a good place to try one of Colleen Coble’s books if you haven’t done so already. Take it from me, once you read one of her novels, you will probably want to read them all.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Amazon Vine. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?
As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.
But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written numerous romantic suspense novels including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and Beneath Copper Falls. Visit her website at ColleenCoble.com, Twitter: @colleencoble, Facebook: colleencoblebooks.
I always find it interesting to read a sequel to a book I previously read that features a character I did not particularly like in the other book. I feel certain that it is because that character is seen through the eyes of the primary character of the other book and usually has some negative interaction of some sort with that character. Tessa Taylor is one such character. She caused untold grief for her sister Caroline in “Hearts Made Whole” and I did not expect to like her as much as I did in “Undaunted Hope”.
I was reminded of a sermon I once heard about how the vows and judgements we make sometimes come back to haunt us. Tessa has taken a job as schoolteacher in Eagle Harbor, Michigan because she is determined to keep as far away from a lighthouse as she possibly can. So what does she quickly encounter? Two brothers who are lighthouse keepers and two adorable children who desperately want Tessa to be their new mother. Naturally she finds herself embroiled in their lives and spending more time than intended at the lighthouse. Then there is Percival Updegraff, the man who seems to run the town. Because Tessa refuses his advances, he takes it upon himself to punish her by hurting those she cares about. At times it looks as if the town itself cannot possibly survive the long winter. I liked the Tessa in this book much better than in “Hearts Made Whole”. She has definitely matured and regrets the bad choices she made. Her true caring nature is revealed through the sacrifices she makes for others throughout the story.
The plot moved along at a steady pace with plenty of action, drama, romance, and even a touch of humor. As always, this author’s characters are well-rounded and realistic. I particularly liked Tessa and hero Alex. Even Percival was well-developed. I enjoyed each book in this series and look forward to Jody Hedlund’s next book. I hope it will be soon!
This book was provided for review by
Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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Eagle Harbor, Michigan
In a Town Mired in Darkness,
She May Shine the Light They Need
Running from the mistakes of her past, Tessa Taylor heads to the uppermost reaches of Michigan, planning to serve as the new teacher to the children of miners. She quickly learns the town had requested a male teacher, but Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since it’s too late to replace her. Tessa can’t help but thank him and say she is in his debt.
Determined to make herself irreplaceable once spring thaw arrives, Tessa throws herself into her work, and soon two students have decided Miss Taylor is the right match for their grieving father. At the same time, charming assistant lightkeeper Alex Bjorklund makes his interest known, surprising Tessa, who has never had men fight for her hand before. But not all is well as she feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love Unexpected, Captured by Love, Unending Devotion, The Preacher’s Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at www.jodyhedlund.com.
“Hearts Made Whole” is the second book in Hedund’s Beacons of Hope historical romance series about lighthouse keepers in Michigan. Featuring Ryan Chambers who had a small role in “Love Unexpected” and Caroline Taylor who has almost single-handedly run the Windmill Point Lighthouse for some time. After her father’s death, Caroline and her siblings are notified that they must leave their home because only a man is allowed to be a lighthouse keeper and Ryan just happens to be her replacement. Could anyone less qualified have been hired?
Returning from the war, Ryan is a broken man – dirty, smelly, hairy, and addicted to the alcohol and opium he uses to escape the physical pain and the guilt. This man is the most unlikely hero for a love story that I have run across and I really did not like him for awhile. But somehow, even with all her problems and responsibilities, Caroline was able to see the gentle, kind-hearted man of integrity hidden beneath his visible appearance.
“Hearts Made Whole” is sometimes just a little gritty due to the author’s courageous decision to deal with some difficult issues. I have read enough book reviews to realize that some readers will be offended by certain scenes but the author handled everything so well that there is really nothing inappropriate for Christian readers. After all, none of us have led perfect lives.
Strong characters are painted with a bold and realistic brush. The plot moves along at a good pace with plenty of action, drama, danger, and mystery to keep it interesting. Family dynamics are not all sweetness and light but exhibit some tension, conflict, and even betrayal. There are moments when all hope seems to be lost but both Caroline and Ryan are able to grow in their faith and realize that God has everything in His hands.
Each book in the Beacons of Hope series can stand on its own but I would recommend reading both of them just because they are so good.
This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Can she forgive the hurting man who costs her the role she loves?
After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.
Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation–the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he’s unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?
Learn more and purchase a copy.
Read an excerpt from “Hearts Made Whole” Here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of nine novels, including “Captured By Love,” “Rebellious Heart,” and “A Noble Groom,” winner of the 2014 Carol Award and INSPYs Award. She received a bachelor’s from Taylor University and a master’s from University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.
Find out more about Jody at http://jodyhedlund.com/.
Jody Hedlund’s ‘Hearts Made Whole’ Prize Pack Giveaway and Facebook Party
Don’t miss Jody Hedlund’s new book, Hearts Made Whole, a story of loss, forgiveness, hope, and true love set in 1865 Michigan. When Ryan’s failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he’s unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Can Caroline forgive the hurting man who costs her the role she loves?
Celebrate the release of Hearts Made Whole by entering to win an Afternoon at the Beach prize pack and RSVPing to Jody’s June 23rd author chat party!
One grand prize winner will receive:
One second-place winner will receive:
One third-place winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 23rd.Winner will be announced June 23rd at Jody’s Facebook party. RSVP here!