About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock: Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Gray Chamber
Author: Grace Hitchcock
Genre:  Christian Historical / Suspense
Release Date: January, 2020

Will Edyth prove her sanity before it is too late?

Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

On Blackwell’s Island, New York, a hospital was built to keep its patients from ever leaving.

With her late parents’ fortune under her uncle’s care until her twenty-fifth birthday in the year 1887, Edyth Foster does not feel pressured to marry or to bow to society’s demands. She freely indulges in eccentric hobbies like fencing and riding her velocipede in her cycling costume about the city for all to see. Finding a loophole in the will, though, her uncle whisks Edyth off to the women’s lunatic asylum just weeks before her birthday. And Edyth fears she will never be found.

At the asylum she meets another inmate, who upon discovering Edyth’s plight, confesses that she is Nellie Bly, an undercover journalist for The World. Will either woman find a way to leave the terrifying island and reclaim her true self?

Click here to get your copy!  


This is a tale of the evil that can be caused by greed but in the end, it is a story of love and faith. As I read all of the horrors that Edyth and so many others endured who were banished to Blackwell Island, I learned that it was very easy to have someone committed to an insane asylum in 1887. "All it took was a dishonarable man's word against an unwanted female to get her committed and a bribe to silence the staff of her fate." (P. 125)

The Gray Chamber relates some of the treatment the patients were subjected to that was enough to truly send them into madness. It is apparent that author Grace Hitchcock did a lot of research and I found myself checking many of the happenings to see what was true and what was fictional. Nellie Brown is one of the young women that Edyth meets but she is unaware of Nellie's true identity. She is really Nellie Bly, a reporter for The World newspaper who is there to uncover what truly is occuring in this hospital. Bly really did spend ten days there and it is her expose that brought about changes at Blackwell Asylum.

Grace Hitchcock has created some memorable characters in The Gray Chamber. Colorful and eccentric Edyth Foster and her antics made it easy to label her unstable; even her best friend had moments of doubt when she suddenly disappeared. I really liked Raoul "Bane" Banebridge and his determination to find out where Edyth was and I was also drawn to Poppy, the young tormented girl who found solace in reading her Bible and adamantly believed that she would be reunited with her martyred parents.

The Gray Chamber is the fourth book of the True Colors series that is devoted to true stories of American crime and it certainly maintains the momentum of the previous books. I found myself unable to put it down, even when I found descriptions of the cruel treatments so disturbing. I was eager to discover if Edyth would be rescued before she truly suffered a breakdown and I was shocked to think that many of these events were based on true happenings. Watching Edyth's faith flourish and strengthen was very inspring and I can certainly recommend The Gray Chamber to anyone who enjoys historical Christian fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a favorable review.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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About the Author

Grace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.  

More from Grace

I am thrilled to share with you my second novel in the True Colors series, The Gray Chamber, which is set in New York City in 1887. I loved writing about Edyth Foster, our cat-rescuing, spunky heroine who spends her days painting, fencing with her dreamy instructor, and avoiding society at all costs, which as you can imagine, comes back to haunt her before the end. I’ve never written about a character who despised reading, so that was a new one for me. Edyth just doesn’t like to sit still long enough to finish a book, but you’ll find out why later.

 I am pretty certain the librarians at my local branch are wondering what in the world my hobbies are, judging from the stacks of fencing books for beginners, histories of New York crime in the 19th century, and Nellie Bly’s Ten Days in a Mad-House, and more that I have continuously checked out since moving back to Louisiana.

The inspiration for this book came from Nellie Bly’s scandalous exposé for Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, The World. In reading Nellie’s articles, I was shocked at the grounds by which the asylum would commit women and that’s when I discovered a tiny mention about an heiress with family members who had her tucked away so they could have her fortune. . .and Edyth Foster was born.

 I hope you will enjoy reading about our eccentric leading lady and her fencing master hero, Raoul “Bane” Banebridge. If you are interested in seeing pictures of the asylum and to see what I pictured the characters looking like, check out my Pinterest board here.

Thank you for joining the fun for the Celebrate Lit tour! Join my author newsletter for more bookish news and to find out what is coming next! Just enter your e-mail address and name here. Happy Reading!  

“With beautiful description and shiver-worthy scenes, Grace Hitchcock has penned an incredible fiction story based on true history. The Gray Chamber was a fascinating and chilling read. Edyth’s story had me glued to the pages. But as I journeyed with the heiress and her eccentricities, the greed of her family which saw her locked up in an asylum against her will made me grateful for the freedoms I have today. And made me pray that my voice would never be silenced. The nightmare was brought to life so vividly that I found myself holding my breath and then cheering on Bane as he never gave up on Edyth. This is a story that will stick with me for a long time…”   ~Kimberley Woodhouse – Carol-Award winning and Best-Selling Author of more than twenty books, including: MissTaken Identity, The Express Bride, The Golden Bride, The Patriot Bride, and The Mayflower Bride.

Blog Stops

A Reader’s Brain, January 20
Texas Book-aholic, January 20
Emily Yager, January 21
All-of-a-kind Mom, January 21
Older & Smarter?, January 21
Bigreadersite, January 22
Genesis 5020, January 23
deb’s Book Review, January 23
Blogging with Carol, January 23
KarenSueHadley , January 24
Mary Hake, January 24
Godly Book Reviews, January 26
The Becca Files, January 26
Daysong Reflections, January 27
Back Porch Reads, January 28
Robin’s Nest, January 28
Betti Mace, January 29
Rebecca Tews, January 29
Vicky Sluiter, January 29
By The Book, January 30
Hallie Reads, January 30
Remembrancy, February 1
With a Joyful Noise, February 1
Pause for Tales , February 2


To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of The Gray Chamber!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Seconds to Live (Homeland Heroes #1) by Susan Sleeman

Seconds to Live (Homeland Heroes, #1)ABOUT THE BOOK

When cybercriminals hack into the U.S. Marshal's Witness Protection database and auction off personal details to the highest bidder, FBI Agent Sean Nichols begins a high-stakes chase to find the hacker. Trouble is, he has to work with U.S. Marshal Taylor Mills, who knows the secrets of his past, and the seconds are ticking down before someone dies.


ONE MISTAKE. That was all it took to put Dustee's life on the line---death right on her heels.

This is the opening sentence of the first book in Susan Sleeman's new series and the danger and intrigue never let up. As I read about the efforts of a special FBI team to save people enrolled in the Witness Protection Program I found myself amazed with just what these witnesses are forced to surrender and I was also astounded to learn about the "dark web", a part of the Internet that most of us never see. Seconds to Live centers around the feverish efforts of the RED Team to find the person who has hacked into the Witness Protection Program database and stolen all of the witnesses' personal information. Their new identities and new locations are now known and they're all in danger unless 'Phantom' can be found.

Susan Sleeman masterfully relates the tension, the fear, and the helplessness that is felt as the cat-and-mouse game continues between this team and 'Phantom'. We also see the inner struggles of the two main characters. FBI agent Sean Nichols, the head of the RED Team, doesn't trust anyone after being lied to by the two most important women in his life and U.S. Marshall Taylor Mills experiences overwhelming guilt every day of her life. Even as they grow to respect each other professionally, it is very doubtful that they can ever put their past hurts behind them. Will Sean ever trust again and can Taylor finally forgive herself? Is it possible for one wounded soul to help another who is just as needy as they are?

Yes, this is a fictional story but Seconds to Live shows the danger of professional hackers in today's society and our need to be ever diligent against cyber crimes. It also has a great faith message and as Sean and Taylor both face their individual struggles, we are reminded that "God didn't betray. Didn't turn His back. He was always the same loving God. Always wanting the best for His children."

This is an enjoyable contemporary suspense novel that has a surprising villian, a little romance, and a whole lot of faith! I'm looking forward to the next book in the Homeland Heroes series.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. I wasn't required to give a favorable review and all opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


SUSAN SLEEMAN is the bestselling author of over thirty-five novels with more than one million books sold. She writes romantic suspense novels that are clean with inspiring messages of faith. Readers love her series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police citizen academies, so her research is spot-on and her characters are real.

In addition to writing, Susan also hosts TheSuspenseZone.com. She has lived in nine states but now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.

To learn more about Susan   Website    Facebook    Twitter    Review Site

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