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!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart


When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It's meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique--and lonely--position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This new book by Ann H. Gabhart shares a lot of the history of the Shakers, a religious community that was prominent in Kentucky in the 1800s but best of all, she gives readers a wonderful love story. Yes, there is a hint of a romantic love that might develop but the true love story involves parental love. Much of the plot revolves around the influence that the Sisters and Brothers of the Shaker community have on Darcie Goodwin's and Flynn Keller's commitment to their children. Darcie's love for her unborn baby and her determination to provide for it until she can find a real home after her husband's sudden death exemplifies the ultimate mother/child bond. There is also the love that widower Flynn Keller has for his young daughter. Flynn and his father-in-law are trying to raise Leatrice as she should be raised but this young girl definitely needs a woman's influence in her life. Choosing to join the Shakers may seem to to be answers for both of these parents but Darcie knows that she will never want to become a permanent member of this community; Flynn understands that Leatrice needs supervision but he also rejects the idea of choosing this way of life forever.

I really liked Darcie Goodwin and I enjoyed watching the friendship that developed between her and a few of the Sisters. I also liked how the author chose to share all of Darcie's thoughts and readers can see how she grows in confidence and in her faith in God. Flynn Keller is a worthy hero and I found myself hoping that his daughter's need for a mother would somehow lead to a relationship between him and Darcie.

The Refuge is a heartwarming story and it proves once again Gabhart's expertise in understanding and explaining the Shakers. Yes, I find it hard to understand their belief in celibacy and their forbiddance of marriage that ultimately led to their extinction but I have to admire their commitment to helping those in need and their "hands to work, hearts to God" motto.

*I received a copy of this book from the author and the publisher. These thoughts are mine alone.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Imagine...The Giant's Fall by Matt Koceich

Imagine... The Giant's FallABOUT THE BOOK

The Fourth Release in an Epic Bible Adventure Series for Kids

The last thing fourth-grader Wren Evans remembers (before the world as she knew it disappeared) is getting off the school bus to discover her house engulfed in flames. What happens next can't be explained as Wren finds herself in a beautiful valley with a shepherd named David—in ancient Israel! Imagine. . .The Giant's Fall is the fourth release in an exciting epic adventure series for kids ages 8 to 12 written by schoolteacher Matt Koceich. The Imagine series brings the Bible to life for today's kids as they ponder what it would be like to live through a monumental biblical event.

Don't miss Book 1 in the Imagine Series--The Great Flood. . .Book 2--The Ten Plagues. . .or Book 3--The Fall of Jericho!


Imagine... The Giant's Fall by Matt Koceich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the fourth book of the Imagine... series and this time author Matthew Koceich focuses on the classic Bible story of the battle between shepherd boy David and a nine-foot giant named Goliath. Wren Evans is a fourth-grade student from Mulvane, Kansas and she feels overwhelmed dealing with her mother's death, the feelings that she and her father are growing apart and then, getting off the school bus to find her house on fire. As Wren runs away from her overwhelming feelings of loss she finds herself transported to the time leading up to the famous battle mentioned in 1 Samuel 17: 33-51. Suddenly Wren is witness to all of the excitement surrounding this event and she is rescued more than once by an angel named Josephine during some of the action and danger that occurred in Israel in 1020 BC.

I must admit that The Giant's Fall is not my favorite of these four books and I believe most of it relates to the fact that David and the battle aren't featured more. David meets Wren and there is a little interaction but I would have liked for him to have given her more advice and encouragement. I do, however, appreciate that this book often mentions Matthew 19:26. "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible". Wren is obviously familiar with God's Word because she already knows the outcome of David's battle with Goliath and this makes her a good role model for young readers.

Matt Koceich has an excellent understanding of his reading audience and he is able to creatively mix fantasy and popular culture with actual events from the Bible. His use of easy to understand text and the short length of this book both make The Giant's Fall an enjoyable book for readers age 8-12; it is also refreshing that he uses both boys and girls as his main characters because young girls enjoy adventures also!

This book has mystery, action, and adventure and it also touches on some of the emotions that today's youth often experience. Wren's feelings of hopelessness are often felt by young people and her acceptance and belief that God can do anything is a message that they need to hear!

I hope that Koceich will continue to write more books for this series and I recommend The Giant's Fall to adults who are searching for good reading material for the children in their lives.

I received a complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to write a review.

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Moments We Forget by Beth Vogt : Review Tour & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Moments We Forget  
Author: Beth Vogt  
Genre: Contemporary fiction, woman’s fiction  
Release Date: May 7, 2019

Jillian Thatcher has spent most of her life playing the family peacemaker, caught in the middle between her driven, talented older sister and her younger, spotlight-stealing twin sisters. Then on the night of her engagement party, a cancer diagnosis threatens to once again steal her chance to shine. Now, Jillian’s on the road to recovery after finally finishing chemo and radiation, but residual effects of the treatment keep her from reclaiming her life as she’d hoped. And just when her dreams might be falling into place, a life-altering revelation from her husband sends her reeling again. Will Jillian ever achieve her own dreams, or will she always be “just Jillian,” the less-than Thatcher sister? Can she count on her sisters as she tries to step into a stronger place, or are they stuck in their childhood roles forever?

Click here to purchase your copy.


When I began reading this book it was apparent that there was a lot of tension in the relationships of the three sisters in Moments We Forget. Jillian is the middle Thatcher sister and she considers herself the peacemaker between her older and younger sister but she also feels like she is a little overlooked. She feels like she has been branded "just Jillian" and that she has worn this brand most of her life! Jillian is now fighting the after effects of her cancer diagnosis.The chemo and radiation treatments have zapped her energy, messed with her memory and her ability to complete her daily tasks, and she is currently unable to have a baby. Jillian also senses a distance developing between her and her biggest champion, her husband Geoff. 

As I read this story, I realized that having a sister (or sisters) may not always be as perfect as some would have you believe. Family dynamics don't always make for a perfect sibling relationship and these Thatcher sisters are also missing the comfort that faith can offer. The Thatchers are non-believers during much of Moments We Forget but Beth K. Vogt does show two of the sisters reaching out to God. I was especially touched as Jillian contemplates her problems and her family's lack of belief in God. As she wondered about God loving someone as insignificant as her, Jillian realized that if she could find her way to a big, loving God who could fix all of her problems she would run straight to Him! Vogt allows readers to witness how God has a way of turning the coldest hearts warm and drawing the most reluctant people closer to Him.

Moments We Forget is the second book of The Thatchers series and I didn't feel like I needed to have read the first book. I do, however, hope to read Things I Never Told You because I believe I would have an even deeper understanding of these three sisters. I look forward to learning more of their story!

This is a contemporary fiction novel and it focuses on some of the issues that many of us have encountered: death. grief, infertility, adoption and unfaithfulness. It isn't, however, all doom and gloom because the author also reminds us of the importance of family, of moments to remember and moments to forget, and the ever-present hope that comes from believing and trusting in God!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author via Celebrate Lit and Net Galley but I wasn't obligated to write a positive review

Moments We Forget by Beth K. Vogt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Author

Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A women’s fiction novelist, Beth’s first novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018.

Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding series by Zondervan. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us.
An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and also enjoys speaking to writers’ groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at bethvogt.com.

More from Beth

“A sister is like yourself in a different movie, a movie that stars you in a different life.”
Deborah Tannen (1945-), sociologist
I’m launching Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters series, and I’ve just turned in the final book in the series. I’d love to share book three’s title with you, but I don’t know what it is. (Of course, book three might have a final title by the time you read this—that’s part of the fun of prerelease deadlines.)
One thing I do know: the theme of “Little Women gone wrong” is woven through all of the books . . . thanks to the Thatcher sisters: Payton, Pepper, Jillian, and Johanna.
Sisters, be they real or imaginary, can be complicated.
Of course, there are sisters who have close relationships. They “get” each other and love doing life together.
But then there are the sister relationships that are like mismatched socks. Or those expensive jeans you loved in the store, but when you bring them home, they never quite live up to those moments in the dressing room.
Such are the Thatcher sisters. Johanna, Jillian, Payton, and Pepper grew up in the same family. They’re all tall. They love Broncos football and board games. But in so many ways their lives are like different movies because they each made different choices. Choices that changed and separated them. Moments We Forget continues to explore whether the Thatcher sisters can find a way to understand each other enough to bridge the distance between them.

Blog Stops

Livin’ Lit, May 7
Carpe Diem, May 8
Simple Harvest Reads, May 10 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Remembrancy, May 10
Genesis 5020, May 13
By The Book, May 13
Bigreadersite, May 14
Moments, May 15
Hallie Reads, May 19


To celebrate her tour, Beth is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card plus a softcover copy of Moments We Forget!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e26d/moments-we-forget-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Cards of Kindness for Courageous Girls: Shareable Devotions and Inspiration / Compiled by Barbour Staff

Cards of Kindness for Courageous Girls: Shareable Devotions and Inspiration

Courageous Girls Are Kind!

Your heart will delight in spreading kindness and inspiration wherever you go with these shareable Cards of Kindness!

Flip each page to discover a positive life message that will both uplift and inspire your heart—and the hearts of other courageous girls just like you. Once you’ve read through the devotion and pondered the message of loving-kindness, tear out the card and pass it on to another girl . . who will then be encouraged to keep the "Courageous Girls Are Kind" movement going. . .by passing the card along to yet another courageous girl!

Each Card of Kindness will spark positive, faith-building discussions with other likeminded girls. You’ll enjoy spreading kindness and God's love, page by delightful page! 



Cards of Kindness for Courageous Girls: Shareable Devotions and Inspiration by Compiled by Barbour Staff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The description of this book says that girls ages 8-12 are the target audience but I myself have fallen in love with this devotional. It is a sturdy book with pages made of card stock and each card has a devotion on one side and a key thought on the other. I like that there is Bible scripture for each entry and I found the colorful illustrations on each card to be very attractive and appealing. The cards in Cards of Kindness for Courageous Girls are meant to be given away and girls are encouraged to read the cards, tear them out, and share them with others. I have a feeling, however, that many will be tempted to keep the cards so that they can re-read them again!

This is a book that girls and teens will enjoy having and it is a book that parents and grandparents will be comfortable giving! There are 45 inspiring cards in the 96 pages but two of the last cards are especially motivational. 'Courageous Girl, nothing can separate you from God's love. Nothing!' and 'Courageous Girl, you're no stranger to God. He knows you, He adores you, He loves you!' Aren't these words perfect for girls? Don't women of all ages sometimes need to be reminded of this?

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

View all my reviews

What If? by Melody Carlson


What if I were a ladybug? Or a polar bear? Or a creature from outer space? This fun, whimsical story takes us through some of the amazing creations in our world, and how wonderful it is to be who God made us to be.


What If? by Melody Carlson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I truly enjoyed this new picture book What If? and I believe that the targeted audience will enjoy it also. My granddaughter is a five year old who loves rhyming words and Carlson has chosen to write her book in easy to understand rhyming text to ask the question What If?; she also uses repetition and this is another great way to keep a child's attention. The illustrations are colorful and fun and illustrator Bethany Harris pairs them perfectly with the animals and insects that are being discussed. What If? is fun while it educates and best of all, it is a book of affirmation. In her final two pages Melody Carlson reminds young readers that they are just who they are supposed to be. Carlson writes 'But thank you, God, that I'm the one---The one you planned for me to be! I'm so glad you made me...ME!'

I am giving What If? 5 stars and I can't wait to share this book with my granddaughter!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book and I have chosen to share my honest thoughts in this review.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree & When God Made Color – Book Reviews, Tour & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit

About the Books

WhiteSpark Publishing is thrilled to bring readers young and old two delightful stories all about color!

Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree
Isaac loves the sugar maple in his yard, and he can’t help but feel bad for it when its branches are winter-bare. He decides to give it a gift…and is surprised when the tree returns the favor in the new morning snow, presenting him with balls of…ice cream!
But how long can this magic last with spring on the horizon? A magical exploration through the colors of the rainbow, the days of the week, and some of our favorite fruits that is sure to delight.

When God Made Color
The wonders of creation spread out before us in all the glories of the rainbow…the deep purples and blues of night, the bright yellows of day, the pinks and oranges of flowers. And of course, the colors of all the creatures…including us! These sumptuous fine art illustrations will thrill parent and child alike!

Click here to purchase Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree.
Click here to purchase When God Made Color


Isaac's Ice Cream Tree is a fun story that lets a child imagine the fun of finding  ice cream on a tree and having different flavors of ice cream every day! Isaac finds a different color of ice cream each day of the week and they all taste delicious. He enjoys this all winter but changes occur when the temperatures warm and Spring arrives.  The ice cream begins to melt and then, a rainbow appears. Isaac realizes that the melted colors have now created a rainbow and he is reminded that 'Even when the magic seems gone, always remember to look for the rainbow!'

The colorful illustrations and the easy to read text make Isaac's Ice Cream Tree very appealing to children and it is a great book for children and adults to read together.

When God Made Color is truly a book of colors and the vivid artwork creatively illustrates how God created the world and everything in it. His creation of day and night,  the sun, moon, and stars, and all of the living creatures are shown in vivid detail. And then, as the story explains,

'It was time to make His most marvelous creation—His Children!  …And what did God’s children look like? Yes, they were all different colors also.'

This is a picture book that would be a great way to teach your child about The Creation and it is also a wonderful way to stress that even though there are people with many different skin colors, they all are alike because they were all created by the same God.

I received a digital ARC of both of these books from WhiteSpark Publishing and Celebrate Lit and a favorable review was not required. The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Authors

Angela Henderson resides in Dallas, Texas, where she teaches middle school English Language Arts & Reading and is a mother of three. Exploring children’s books for twelve years with her own children during numerous “story times” at the local library and reading hundreds of books to her children, her passion for quality children’s literature led her to write her own work. After creating her blog and Facebook page, Kidsbook Friends, and her Instagram, Instabooks, she’s been able to share her love of literature with over a thousand followers by featuring authors and books. She’s thrilled to introduce her own creative story where magical moments lead to positive perspectives.

Sheri Carmon seeks to incorporate the beauty of the Lord’s heart, His ways and His love in her writing for children. As an author, her goal is to shine His light through stories. In the past she has published poetry and inspirational compositions with both Blue Mountain Arts and The Group Publishing. Sheri has always cared for the individual needs of families and spent fifteen marvelous, fast-paced years in real estate, specializing in family friendly homes. She and her husband have helped facilitate whole church Bible-reading programs in Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota. They make their home in Colorado, on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, where they’re surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation every day.

More from Angela

Why children’s books? After all, I teach young teens. Well, my reasons:
  1. I love art, and reading children’s books is like looking at an artist’s showcase of creativity! * Shout out to my amazing illustrator, Rachael Koppendrayer!
  2. I love to dream up the impossible, and you can make anything happen in a children’s book!
  3. I love togetherness and nothing brings a family together like a good book.
As I read picture books with my kiddos, the teacher in me wanted to instruct too. I created a blog (www.kidsbookfriends.com) so teachers, librarians and parents could have little lessons to help them “make friends” with the characters in the stories I featured. Surrounded by such inspiration from these books and my kiddos, I started writing my own manuscripts when my kids were all under age five, mainly sketches of thoughts until I had segments of time where I could construct stories. After several years of attending SCBWI conferences; connecting with writers; creating manuscripts & editing and revising, editing and revising (you see a pattern?!); and submitting them to publishers, Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree was accepted for publication and was released January 15, 2019, by Whitefire Publishing! (It’s a process!!!) The message embedded in this colorful, magical story expresses a very real part of my heart as it’s our family motto: “Always remember to look for the rainbow.” My kids and I both literally and figuratively practice this principle, rushing out after every rain to see if the sky is painted with a bow as well as trying to find the good that comes through the storms of life. Through my journey, I’ve experienced much loss through moving many times, caring for my mother during her dying days, and losing my husband through divorce. Yet in it all, God redeems and uses each pain and joy like brush strokes on a canvass, reminding us of His unfailing promises while creating a masterpiece. Creativity, imagination, inspiration . . . make magical moments. Gather together. Dream the impossible. Embrace the colors. . . as I introduce you to a new friend, Isaac! Excited to share this story with you. . . and my next one . . . and the one after that. . . until we have many new kindred spirits . . .together.

Click here for a fee printable coloring page.

Click here to learn the story behind the story.

More from Sheri

A child asks, “Who am I?” Creation Vs. Evolution – The big battle. Many public schools are presenting Evolution as fact and not theory. They leave no room for the concept of Creation. Our little ones are not creatures descended from animals, they are Children of God, created in His image. This is our identity and our children’s Identity and it makes all the difference in how we see ourselves, how we see others and how we engage in the world. Our identity is made clear in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27 NIV. As Christian parents and grandparents, we are charged with teaching, encouraging and bringing forth our family line for the LORD. The new picture book When God Made Color, with its awe inspiring illustrations, is about our true identity and about the joyful, loving God who created us and the whole universe – a universe that is still expanding – Isn’t He just amazing?

Click here to view a special video

Blog Stops

By The Book, May 2
Mary Hake, May 5


To celebrate their tour, Angela and Sheri is giving away a grand prize of The Great Color Giveaway Package that includes a$25 gift card from Amazon, Rainbow ice-cream cups with colored spoons, a paperback copy of Issacs’s Ice Cream Tree, a $25 gift card from Barnes and Noble, Crayola Washable Kids’ Paint – 12 count original and glitter paint (see attached image), and a paperback copy of When God Made Color!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e2a9/the-great-color-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli

The Edge of Mercy


Two women, three hundred years apart, must face the devastation of all they hold dear...

Suspecting her husband is having an affair, Sarah Rodrigues fights to appear unbroken while attempting to salvage her family. Though distracted by her own troubles, Sarah is summoned to an elderly friend’s deathbed for an unusual request—find a long-lost daughter and relay a centuries-old family story.

Determined not to fail her friend, Sarah pieces together the story of her neighbor’s ancestor, Elizabeth Baker, a young colonist forced into an unwanted betrothal but drawn to a man forbidden by society.

While Sarah’s family teeters on the edge of collapse, her world is further shaken by the interest of a caring doctor and a terrible accident that threatens a life more precious than her own.

Inspired by the unconditional love she uncovers in Elizabeth’s story, Sarah strives to forgive those who’ve wounded her soul. But when light shines on the dark secrets of her neighbor’s past and the full extent of her husband’s sins, will looking to a power greater than herself rekindle lost hope?


The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Edge of Mercy is a time-slip novel with the stories of Sarah and Matt Rodrigues set in our current time and Elizabeth Baker, Abram, and Caleb Tanner living in the late 1600s. The first nine chapters of this book relate to the contemporary setting and I had a hard time getting into Sarah's reactions to her husband telling her that he wants to live away from the house for the summer. Her reaction that it is a separation is met with his assertion that it is a break but Sarah, of course, is devastated and wonders if he might be having an affair. As she grapples with the feelings of hurt and betrayal she also becomes involved in granting the request of her dying neighbor to deliver a family journal that was written in the late 1600s to the neighbor's estranged daughter.

I admit to enjoying historical fiction and it is this story of an historical journal that really drew me in. It is 1675 and Elizabeth Baker is promised to one man but she feels an immense attraction to another. It is Elizabeth's story that grabbed my attention and I fell in love with this young woman who must deal with loving a man who is Native American and thus considered unacceptable. As Sarah reads Elizabeth's written thoughts she is compelled to compare their similarities. Yes, their lives were centuries apart but they both have been forced to deal with circumstances out of their control. This journal reveals Elizabeth's realization that her intense physical attraction for Abram overshadowed the deep and abiding love that Caleb offered her and she finally understands that Caleb's love demonstrated the ultimate sacrifice. Elizabeth's words tell of both her human loves and her deepening love for God. As Sarah continues to read she is prompted to examine her own life, her marriage and her personal faith. And finally, Sarah understands!

'What if I chose to believe these ancient words. What if I chose to believe in God's strength and not my own? That only by reaching the end of myself could I see what God was capable of?'

This is a book packed with emotional themes. The doubts and deep hurts that infidelity causes are explored but there is also the promise of forgiveness, redemption and being restored. I loved how the author has been able to weave these two stories, over three hundred years apart, into a memorable novel of love, hope and unconditional love. I especially enjoyed the historical details and the legend of Abram's rock being used in the plotline. I found The Edge of Mercy to be a compelling novel and I will be reading more of Heidi Chiavaroli!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book but I am voluntarily sharing my thoughts in this review.


Heidi Chiavaroli began writing twelve years ago, just after Jesus had grabbed hold of her heart. She used her two small boys’ nap times to pursue what she thought at the time was a foolish dream. Despite a long road to publication, she hasn’t stopped writing since! Heidi won the 2018 ACFW Carol Award for Debut Novel and is a 2018 Christy Finalist. Both her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, and her sophomore novel, The Hidden Side, are 4½-star Romantic Times Top Picks. Freedom’s Ring was also a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. Heidi loves exploring places that whisper of historical secrets, especially with her family. She loves running, hiking, baking, and dates with her high-school sweetheart and husband of fifteen years. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.
CONNECT WITH HEIDI: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
View all my reviews

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens -- Tour, Review, & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Shadow Among Sheaves
Author: Naomi Stephens  
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction  
Release Date: April, 2019  

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death. Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.
Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Naomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and now lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock.

More from Naomi

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death. Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own. Which will he choose? Find out in Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens.

Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Shadow Among Sheaves

She smiled, stepping closer and placing her hand on the horse’s wet snout. Samson was a pretty beast with wide, ponderous eyes and a few splotches of gray around his nose. The soft puff of air Samson snorted into her palm brought a delighted smile to her lips, and she gasped as he bowed his neck to nuzzle his nose against her stomach. She felt her smile leap into a grin. It was a delightful change, to feel joy so deep it finally showed.
Barric circled around Samson to stand beside her, his hands never leaving the reins. “He’s fond of you,” he remarked as Samson dropped his snout against her hip.
“Unsurprising, I suppose. Though he could also be searching you for a carrot.”
Surprised to hear Lord Barric speak so teasingly, and pleased by the gentle light she found in his otherwise tired eyes, Rena laughed her faint agreement. “That will teach me to come empty-handed, won’t it?”
Their smiles both dropped as a young, lanky stable hand came rushing out to take Samson, and Barric relinquished his hold on the reins, nodding his silent thanks.
As soon as the stable boy had disappeared with Samson, Bar¬ric glanced back at Rena. “Are you going home?” he asked, nodding toward the dusty road looping down the hill to William’s house.
She stepped back, realizing she had dawdled longer than she’d first intended. “Yes,” she answered. “I often come this way to avoid the other workers.”
“Might I walk with you?” He turned to hang his whip on a peg. “Just a short stretch of the road?”
Stunned by his request, and a bit suspicious of his motive, she nonetheless nodded. “Yes, of course.”
Barric drew up beside her, his even strides betraying no unease, though he was silent for some time as they made their way down the golden-colored hill.
“You have seemed tired these past few days,” he observed. Rena did not bother to deny it. She’d been working hard to keep up with the others, as Barric had told her she must, and felt wearier for it. She had tried to split her days in half, the mornings spent binding sheaves with the women and the afternoons spent picking for her own stores, but the work was backbreaking, and, as he had already pointed out once before, she was not used to hard labor. “I realize I haven’t really asked you how you are settling in,” he went on.
“Perhaps you’ve been too busy provoking me,” she answered before she could stop herself.
Barric’s eyebrow inched up as he slanted an approving smirk down at her. “Perhaps.”
Rena cursed her honest tongue. She must have been more tired than she thought, to speak so freely to a man of title. “I have been well,” she tried again, a bit more diplomatically. “The house suits us, if that is what you are asking.”
“The people here do not speak to you unkindly?”
“The people do not speak to me at all.” She had meant to sound casual, unaffected, but heard the hurt in her own voice she hadn’t been able to weed out. As Barric’s expression tightened, she hastened to amend, “Except for you, my lord. Of course. And the Wilmots.”
“They are good people,” he agreed quietly. “And will you be coming with them to the festival this evening?”
She hesitated. According to Alice, harvest home was a yearly tra¬dition, a night of raucous drinking and dancing to celebrate the close of the harvest. All of Abbotsville would be there—landowners, stew-ards, even tenant farmers and common laborers. But Rena was none of those things, and she and Barric both knew it.
“Come,” Barric teased, “do not tell me you are afraid to go. I would never have thought it of you.”
“I am not afraid,” she insisted. “I just had not thought about it.”
At her defensive tone, he smiled—a true smile—one that pinched the corners of his eyes and pressed grooves along the outer edges of his mouth. “You ought to come,” he decided. “Everyone in Abbotsville is welcome, and many are the men who would feel lucky to dance with you.”
But, of course, Lord Barric knew this was not true. The men in his fields regarded her mostly with contempt and made no secret of it— they would not count themselves at all lucky to dance with her. Was Lord Barric trying to offer her words of comfort? Or was he trying to convey a message?
Did he want to dance with her?
This was hardly a safe question, and so she asked another. “Do you dance, Lord Barric?”
When he met her gaze, so direct, she was all the more glad she had not stammered in her reply. The man walked a dangerous line whenever he deigned to speak to her. Far too close, she’d think, and then stern enough to cool her blood with a word.
He surprised her with another smile, this one a faint twist at the corner of his lips. “Perhaps you would have to come to find out.”


The story of Ruth's love and devotion for her mother-in-law Naomi is one of my favorite stories in the Bible so I was thrilled to see this new book that is loosely based on The Book of Ruth.  Rena Hawley is a young widow from India who has lost her British husband and she has committed herself to supporting her widowed mother-in-law as they both try to rebuild their lives by creating a new home in Abbotsville, England, Nell Hawley's birthplace.

As I read Shadow Among Sheaves I was touched by Rena's efforts to provide for her mother-in-law and I shuddered at some of the situations that she was forced to endure. Rena's life of privilege that she enjoyed in India no longer existed and she was harshly judged because of her Indian heritage.  Rena was proud buts she was also realisic and she doubted that her mother-in-law  would survive the deplorable conditions they were now facing in Abbottsville.  Her determination to provide for Nell soon gained the attention of Lord Barric and, even though he worried that his reputation might suffer, he finally agreed to allow this beautiful Indian widow to pick up grain that had fallen on the ground as the wheat was being harvested. Lord Barric observed Rena as she diligently worked to gather food and, just as Boaz admired Ruth's devotion to Naomi, Rena managed to capture the heart of Lord Barric with her devotion to her own mother-in-law.

Shadow Among Sheaves isn't always a pretty story because it touches on poverty, extreme hunger, prejudice, and the often unforgiving nature of humans. Rena witnesses the goodness of some Christian believers but she also is the victim of many heartless people and she struggles with a society that allows such cruelty. As she listens to Parson Richardson's sermons she begins to question this God that he speaks of; this God that her mother-in-law and Lord Barric both worship.  After one Sunday service she ponders what she has heard. "God dwelled within her. Could that really be true? How could she ever know for certain that such a God really loved her?" (p. 250)  It is soon after this that Rena seeks answers from the parson and finally understands the peace that comes from knowing the one true God!

As I read this book I was prompted to refer back to The Book of Ruth and isn't that what biblical fiction should do? Send the reader back to the true source of the story? If so, then debut author Naomi Stephens has certainly accomplished her goal. Shadow Among Sheaves is a book that will appeal to fans of both historical and Christian fiction.

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

Blog Stops

Mary Hake, April 30
Worthy2Read, April 30
BigreadersiteMay 3
Hallie Reads, May 8


To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a finished paperback copy of Shadow Among Sheaves!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/deb9/shadow-among-sheaves-celebration-tour-giveaway