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!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Women Who Met Jesus: New Testament Stories of Lives Transformed by the Savior by Dorothy Valcarcel

ABOUT THE BOOK

Just like us, the women of New Testament times were ambitious, worried, broken, lonely, insecure, and unfulfilled. Discover the powerful stories of their encounters with the perfect, unconditional love of the Savior. Rather than trivializing their problems or ignoring women, Jesus responded to their deepest needs with compassion, reminding them of their value and transforming their past, present, and future. Let this engaging book introduce you to the man who loves women like no other.




MY THOUGHTS.....

The Women Who Met Jesus: New Testament Stories of Lives Transformed by the Savior by Dorothy Valcarcel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an easy book to read but be prepared to devote a lot of time to it because you will often feel the urge to return to a previous chapter. There is so much wonderful information in The Women Who Met Jesus and there are so many sections that deserve a second reading. You may also find youself highlighting paragraphs and even full pages and the margins will probably also be filled with thoughts that you don't want to forget!

Author Dorothy Valcarcel devotes twenty chapters to eighteen women of the New Testament who experienced life changes because they met Jesus and she shares how today's women can experience the same transformation. Those women experienced feelings just like ours: feelings of being broken, flawed, empty, rejected, unfulfilled, insecure, isolated, hungry, worried, ignored, labeled, hopeless, guilty, stressed, misunderstood, ambitious, worthless, compromised, lonely, and hopefully, transformed! I like that she opens each of these chapters with Bible scripture and she then compares present-day accounts with stories taken from the New Testament. Each chapter also has A Time for Reflection, Exploration, Inspiration, and Affirmation. So much food for thought in these 269 pages!

The Women Who Met Jesus is a wonderful resource for personal devotion time but I can also see it being used in a women's Bible Study at church. I highly recommend this book.

I received a copy as part of the Revell Reads blog tour but I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dorothy Valcárcel has a 35-year career working with charitable organizations worldwide. That work, along with her own personal struggle to overcome challenging disabilities, is the catalyst for TransformationGarden.com--a global website designed to encourage women in their walk with Jesus. Her daily devotionals are also featured on Crosswalk.com.

You can also connect with Dorothy at www.transformationgarden.com.


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The Brides of the Big Valley: 3 Romances by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Brides of the Big Valley: 3 Romances from a Unique Pennsylvania Amish CommunityABOUT THE BOOK

 In an area of Pennsylvania called The Big Valley, a uniquely blended Amish community thrives in which 3 distinct groups of Amish identify themselves by the colors of their buggy’s top—white, black, or yellow. Join New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in experiencing the stories of three young women who search for faith and love within this special place. Deanna is a widow who sees her second chance of love slipping away. Rose Mary is at a point in life where she must choose the path of her faith and the right man to walk with her on it. Leila is burdened with family responsibilities and wonders when she will ever start a family of her own.


Deanna’s Determination by Wanda E. Brunstetter:
Deanna Speicher belongs to the very plain, white-top buggy community, known as the Nebraska Amish.  Deanna’s husband died, leaving her and her six-year-old son.  Could a love once buried resurface to bring joy to mother and child, or will time and tragedy get in the way?
Rose Mary’s Resolve by Jean Brunstetter:
Rose Mary Renno belongs to the conservative black top community and is being courted by Tom Yoder, who wants to leave the Amish faith.  Rose Mary can’t imagine leaving the life she knows – but then she meets an English pilot who befriends her.  Suddenly she is faced with choosing the path of her faith or her heart.
Leila’s Longing by Richelle Brunstetter:
Leila Fisher is a young Amish woman from the yellow top buggy community who is burdened with family responsibilities and wondering when she will ever start a family of her own.  But when she meets someone from the black top community, could she ever consider crossing the invisible line drawn between faiths to find love?
 MY THOUGHTS..... 

The Brides of the Big Valley: 3 Romances from a Unique Pennsylvania Amish Community by Wanda E. Brunstetter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law Jean, and her granddaughter Richelle have each written a short story about a young woman from a different district in the Big Valley who finds herself destined to become a bride. None of the three women are the same age and their lives and circumstances have nothing in common but they all find themselves facing issues and conflicts that threaten their chance at happiness. I was especially interested in Wanda Brunstetter's contribution because she centers her story around a widow with a young child with Down Syndrome and I admired the way Brunstetter describes her situation. Each of these authors has a different approach to storytelling but they each captured my attention and they all stress the deep religious commitment of the Amish.

At the beginning of The Brides of the Big Valley, there is an explanation of the history of this area and I enjoyed learning about the Lancaster County families who purchased land in the Big Valley in 1791 and eventually divided into three districts. Big Valley is so special because of these three unique horse-and-buggy Amish groups who live there. It is true that they all share the same deep religious beliefs and dedication to living a simple and peaceful life but some of their practices vary from being lenient to being very strict. I was especially intrigued with the unique difference in the color of their buggies. Black buggies are commonly seen among the Amish in our area of Kentucky but each district of The Big Valley Amish has its own special color of buggy; either black, yellow, or white.

Wanda E. Brunstetter is known for her ability to entertain as she shares her extensive knowledge of the Amish way of life and this book is certainly no different. The Brides of the Big Valley is an enjoyable book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Amish stories and Christian fiction.

I received a complimentary copy from the author but I was under no obligation to write a favorable review.


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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Cross My Heart (Legacy of Faith #2) by Robin Lee Hatcher

Cross My Heart (A Legacy of Faith #2)ABOUT THE BOOK

Two broken paths lead toward God’s redemption in the next installment of Robin Lee Hatcher’s Legacy of Faith series.

Ashley Showalter and Ben Henning have so much in common. Both were raised by single moms. Both want to help where they see a need. And both work with horses in the Boise valley. Ashley runs a horse rescue operation, while Ben has started an equine therapy barn on his great-great grandfather’s farm—and both Ashley and Ben have the feeling that there could be something more between them.

But they share something else that may drive them apart if the truth is ever revealed. Ben is a recovering alcoholic with ten years of sobriety behind him, while Ashley’s brother, Dylan, is an opioid addict, currently residing in court-ordered rehab. Ashley has promised herself she would never walk knowingly into the chaos created by addiction—because in her mind, addicts can never be fully cured. But with God, all things are possible. Will Ashley find it within herself to give love a chance, or will her brother’s mistakes jeopardize her future with Ben?




MY THOUGHTS..... 

Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This new book by Robin Lee Hatcher features a dual timeline with present day Ben Henning and his great-great grandfather Andrew Henning. As I alternated between Ben and Andrew's stories, I was reminded that even as we face struggles and heartaches there is always the hope that our future will be better. There is mention of both alcohol and drug addiction and the ability to overcome them is explored, along with forgiveness and redemption. A Bible that belonged to Andrew Henning is a part of this faith-filled story and I love how God's Word is shared through this family heirloom.

Horse lovers will appreciate that Ben Henning and Ashley Showalter are involved with horse rescues and an Equine therapy program and the budding romance between the two of them will definitely appeal to romance fans. Cross My Heart is an enjoyable book and I recommend it to all who like Christian themed novels.

I received a complimentary copy from the author and I have chosen to share my honest opinions in this review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of 80 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love.
Her numerous awards include the RITA® Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. Robin is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America®.
When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. Robin makes her home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.
CONNECT WITH ROBIN:  Website | Facebook Twitter



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No Ocean Too Wide (McAlister Family #1) by Carrie Turansky

No Ocean Too Wide (McAlister Family #1)ABOUT THE BOOK

Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans–but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans’ home before Laura is notified about her family’s unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God”.
 


MY THOUGHTS.....

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can you imagine being a little seven-year-old girl and wondering when you will see your mommy again? How about fourteen-year-old twins who are separated from each other and feel like they are missing half of themselves? What does a young woman do when she discovers that her two younger sisters and brother have been sent to another country and now appear to be lost to her? These are the situations that the four siblings of the McAlister family encounter in No Ocean Too Wide  and it is a story that will remain with you long after you've finished reading it.

Children separated from their parents isn't a new theme in fiction but the story that Carrie Turansky shares is based on true happenings that weren't familiar to me. It is very apparent that she did extensive research to share about these poor or orphaned children in England  who were sent to Canada to be placed in what was supposed to be safe havens. Instead, they often encountered abuse and No Ocean Too Wide relates the trauma that these children must have experienced as they were forced to work as indentured servants.

My heart broke for these three younger McAlister children who were removed from their home when their mother was hospitalized and sent by ship to Canada. Fear, longing, and homesickness...so much for young children to handle.  I could feel their older sister Laura's determination to somehow find them and her fear that the man who was offering to help her was expecting something in return. I liked and admired the young British lawyer who wanted to help and I could see how he began to realize the faults in this system that was supposed to be helping needy children.

 This is a sad story but it is also a story of hope, faith, and determination.  The McAlister's  and Andrew Fraser were all believers and even though there were times when they wondered why God was allowing this to happen, they still believed in the power of prayer.  One of the prayers is especially beautiful as Andrew petitions God to help this family.

"Please help us, Lord. Watch over Garth and see that he is released at the right time. Take care of Grace , wherever she is, and help us find her. Restore Katie's health and spirit and give her a bright future when she returns home to England. Most of all, comfort Laura, take care of her every need, and give her all her heart desires."

I do believe that solicitor Andrew Fraser is a keeper!

Even though this book is set in 1909 it will surely cause today's readers to think about the children who are currently in foster care or awaiting adoption.  I recommend No Ocean Too Wide to anyone who enjoys historical Christian fiction and I am looking forward to the next book of the McAlister Family series to learn if this family can finally be reunited!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and I was under no obligation to write a positive review. These are my own opinions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR         

My first book was published in 2005, and I’ve had eighteen novels and novellas published since then. Before that, I wrote several articles, short stories, devotions, and essays. Writing fiction is my passion, and I thank the Lord for the creative ideas and characters He puts in my mind and heart. I am very grateful for friends and family who believed in me and encouraged me on my writing journey.
When I’m not writing you will find me enjoying time with my family, working outside in my flower gardens, cooking healthy meals for family and friends, or walking around the lake near our home.
If you'd like to learn more about the British Children's Home, you can find it at http://carrieturansky.com/index.php/blog/



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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer: Review Tour & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit



About the Book


 Book: More Than Words Can Say  
Author: Karen Witemeyer  
Genre: Historical Romance  
Release Date: May 7, 2019

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples. Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him. Once vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.

Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS.....

Abigail Kemp is an excellent baker but she can't have her own business because of a city council ruling that says that only a man can own a business in Honey Grove, Texas in 1896. She realizes that the only solution is to find a husband and she finds the perfect candidate.  Marriage is the farthest thing from her perfect candidate's mind but suddenly, Zacharias Hamilton finds himself married to Abigail Kemp!

As we read Abby and Zach's story we see how their initial liking of each other turns to something more and we see how their individual faith offers them an amazing chance to share a Christian walk together.  Zach is such a special person and I loved how he continually encourages Abby. She doesn't believe that she is attractive but Zach convinces her that she is very attractive indeed. Abby truly loves running a business and as she thinks about being married she doesn't see why she can't do both. It is after reading the story of Mary and Martha in the New Testament that Abigail realizes that she is "a Martha" and that she has allowed her work to take precedence over family matters. In a tender and poignant moment Zach reassures her with his advice. "We can't change the past," he said, stroking the side of her face. "All we can do is strive not  to make the same mistakes in the future." 

And, by the way, did I mention the incredible chemistry between the two of them? You can just feel Abigail's struggle as she considers if this marriage could be so much more than just a marriage of convenience and you can imagine Zach's frustration as he shares a platonic relationship with such a beautiful woman!

I appreciate it when an author can subtly share the message of God's love and mercy in an enjoyable story and  this is exactly what happens in More Than Words Can Say.  Abby's tells Zach that "None of us deserve absolution, Zach. It is a gift freely given. A gift that is waiting for you. All you have to do is accept it." Her comment is a reminder that forgiveness is a key factor in any successful relationship and that we all must be willing to extend forgiveness to others just as God has extended forgiveness to each of us.

Author Karen Witemeyer has written a historical romance story filled with humor and faith and she has succeeded in making me want to read the next book in the Patchwork Family series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and I have chosen to share my own opinions in this review.

About the Author



Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.


More from Karen

Settings – Real or Imagined?

One of the key decisions an author has to make before she begins to write is selecting the setting for her story. And the first choice she faces is the question of whether to use a real or imagined location. Roughly half the stories I have written are set in fictional towns. The use of a fictional setting allows an author greater freedom to manipulate the environment of her characters to fit her plot. This provides a great deal of flexibility. However, there is something special about setting a story in a real place. First, readers who are familiar with that place never fail to get excited about seeing a town they recognize in print. Second, if an author can find historical photos and documents, she can add a wonderful layer of authenticity to her setting that might otherwise be missing. Third, an author may turn up fascinating tidbits when studying the history of her setting that find their way into the story and bring a flavor the author never could have supplied on her own. This was the case as I wrote More Than Words Can Say. All of the stories in my Patchwork Family series have been set in real places. Pecan Gap, Texas for More Than Meets the Eye, Honey Grove, Texas for More Than Words Can Say, and coming this fall we’ll travel to Gainesville, Texas for the concluding novella, More Than a Pretty Face. Researching each location brought its own unique discoveries, but I have to admit that researching the small town of Honey Grove brought this history-loving girl a special level of joy. For example, there is a legend about how the town got its name that I knew needed to be incorporated into my story. Legend has it that when Davy Crockett was on his way to join the fight at the Alamo, he stopped in a grove of trees and set up camp. There were so many bees in that in letters to family and friends, he called the place a “Honey Grove.” He carved his initials into one of the trees and intended to return and settle there after the war. Unfortunately, as we know, Crockett did not survive the Alamo and therefore did not return. One of his friends, Samuel A. Erwin, later found the grove and became the first settler in 1839. Many people recall seeing the initials carved into Crockett’s bee tree even into the early 1900s, which led me to believe that this legend was based in truth. It doesn’t play a pivotal role in my story, but if you watch for it, you’ll find it mentioned. Discovering the Honey Grove Preservation League’s website proved a tremendous boon. Their online historical resources are some of the best I have ever come across. Historical photos, newspaper articles, government records—it was like stepping through a time portal every time I visited. And I visited often. Thanks to the Preservation League, I was able to mention real people and places in my novel. Places like the Commercial Hotel, the home of James Gilmer that was built during my time period, Wilkins, Wood & Patteson Dry Goods, and Dora Galbraith Patteson’s millinery shop on the east side of the town square. While Zacharias Hamilton and Reuben Sinclair are completely fictitious characters, there really was a lumberyard located on the corner of Sixth Street and Rail Road. As fiction authors are wont to do, I did take a few liberties with Honey Grove’s history. To my knowledge, there was never any city ordinance banning women from owning businesses in town, which was a key plot point in More Than Words Can Say. In addition, Mayor Chester Longfellow was a complete invention of my imagination. The true mayor of Honey Grove during this time period was J.H. Smith, a man who served in that capacity from 1888-1897. He must have been a well-loved city official to hold office for nearly a decade. I paid brief homage to him by having him step back into office when my fictitious mayor resigned. I hope you enjoy stepping back in time with me into historic Honey Grove, Texas. Zach and Abigail might not have lived there in truth, but I like to believe their tale is a representation of the many amazing love stories have taken place in that sweet little town through the years.

Blog Stops

Baker kella, June 16
EmpowerMoms, June 16
Genesis 5020, June 17
Bigreadersite , June 17
Among the Reads, June 18
C Jane Read, June 19
Mary Hake, June 19
Hallie Reads, June 19
Splashes of Joy, June 21
Pause for Tales, June 21
Worthy2Read, June 22
Vicky Sluiter, June 23
Wishful Endings, June 24
Simple Harvest Reads, June 24 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
amandainpa , June 25
Quiet Quilter, June 26
Emily Yager, June 28
Lukewarm Tea, June 28
By The Book, June 28
The Becca Files, June 28

Giveaway




To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away a grand prize that includes More Than Words Can Say, More Than Meets the Eye, and a $20 Panera Bread gift card!!
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/e4f4/more-than-words-can-say-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, June 23, 2019

My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love by Amanda Barratt

My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost LoveABOUT THE BOOK

A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison
Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel.

Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn't always logical.

Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he's unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart.

With their deep love comes risk--and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes.

Based on detailed historical research and including photos from both Maria's and Dietrich's lives, this is a true love story at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.
 




MY THOUGHTS.....

My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love by Amanda Barratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When you begin reading this book, please be aware that you will need to pause often so that you can wipe your eyes and if you're like me, you may experience a tightness in your chest during some of the described events. No, it wasn't a heart attack but it was an attack on my heart strings!

I was aware of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his determination to keep the true gospel message alive during the nightmare of Adolf Hitler's evil regime but I didn't know about the deep love that he shared with Maria von Wedemeyer. My Dearest Dietrich is the account of their relationship that began as a friendship in June 1942, evolved into their engagement in 1943, and continued to his execution in 1945. Yes, this is a novel but Dietrich and his fiancee Maria actually experienced many of the events described in this book. They didn't have a "happily ever after" romance but Dietrich and Maria experienced a deep and beautiful love in those few years. And, as we read in the author's notes, even though Maria married two other men she never loved another man like she loved her 'dearest Dietrich'. There are many touching moments that are beautiful and bittersweet. Maria gets help from prison guards to drag a Christmas tree up three flights of stairs in her effort to provide Dietrich with a special Christmas while he is in prison; Maria gifting him with her late father's watch and telling him "Before I met you, it was owned by the man I loved best. It's only right you should have it now"; and in their last time together, Maria teaching Dietrich to dance.

Many people will say that Bonhoeffer's life didn't have a happy ending either but Christian believers will disagree. The extraordinary life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer certainly wasn't easy but it can never be labeled as wasted. He served His God, he was true to his convictions, and he never doubted where he would spend Eternity. "Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine."

Author Amanda Barratt devoted several years to researching and writing this book and it certainly shows. This is a book that will most certainly be on TBR (To Be Read) lists everywhere and I will be very surprised if it isn't named to award lists also. My Dearest Dietrich is not a book to be taken lightly and it is a book that you will never forget!

Historical fictions fans---Christian fiction fans---Romantic fiction fans: This book is for you!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Ever Faithful (Vintage National Parks, #3) by Karen Barnett

Ever Faithful (Vintage National Parks, #3)ABOUT THE BOOK

Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more--and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can't read will never amount to anything--or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain "requirements." Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.
Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger's daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park's hotels, she still hasn't saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate's secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?
 



MY THOUGHTS.....


Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elsie Brookes dreams of being a teacher and for the past four years she has worked as a maid during the tourist season at Yellowstone National Park to save money for her college tuition. It is now 1933 and the Depression has affected everything, including the tourist business, and Elsie fears that she may lose her job. If this happens she knows that this will cause another delay in her goal to become a teacher. And then, a group of young men arrive at Yellowstone as a part of President Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps. Along with their chance to work and earn money there is also the opportunity to receive educational instruction.

Elsie is chosen to teach these men and one of them is a young man from Brooklyn, New York. Nate Webber is a hard worker, very capable, and he shows a promising future but he has a secret. As Elsie teaches him and the others, she realizes that Nate can barely read and write so she decides to tutor him on the side. As they become better acquainted, it is plain that Nate is growing fond of Elsie but she resists any relationship because she has her own secret.

Ever Faithful is the story of two people who have each experienced tragedies that have left them scarred emotionally and physically. Elsie's physical scars have caused her to feel unattractive and unappealing; Nate's unfortunate youth and his lack of education make him feel unworthy. It is through their friendship that they learn to see themselves through the other's eyes and they begin to realize their self-worth.

This story is a romance but it has so much more. The history of Yellowstone National Park is sprinkled throughout the story and there is also a strong element of faith. The Golden Rule, grace and forgiveness are stressed and we are reminded that God judges the heart and not outward appearances.

Karen Barnett is a former Park Ranger and her knowledge of the National Park System is apparent in this book and the two previous books of her Vintage National Parks novels. Barnett offers a glimpse of the parks as they once were and encourages us to get out and enjoy these national treasures as they are today.

Ever Faithful is an enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian romance and historical fiction.

I received an Advanced Readers Copy from the author and all opinions in this review are my own.

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

ABOUT THE BOOK

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.
Click here to purchase your copy.

MY THOUGHTS..... 

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'The numbers marched across the page in a glory all their own.'

Margot De Wilde has a mind that most of us can't really comprehend and it is amazing to see how she can analyze and solve mathematical problems. Knowing that she has been blessed with such mathematical genius prompts Margot to volunteer to help break the codes that are being used in German telegrams during WWI and she spends long hours in a secret room, Room 40.

The Number of Love features spies, biological warfare and danger that lurks everywhere but there is also romance and Margot's eventual understanding that she needs to learn to wholly and completely trust God. Margot has never felt a need for love, marriage, or children and even though she believes in God, she finds herself often wondering just what God's Plan truly is as this dreadful war continues.

Drake Elton finds himself falling in love with 'the nameless young girl with the impossibly dark eyes' and he shows creativity and patience in his plan to win Margot's heart. A question is asked concerning how long two people should wait when they know that God has put them together for a reason and Drake simply replies "As long as it takes." And, still later, in a letter, he tells Margot "I want forever with you. I will wait a year, a decade, a century to make you my wife."

White certainly knows how to write words that made me swoon! She also knows how to write about faith and family; reading Margot's ability to finally trust completely is very heartwarming. The doubts that she once had are replaced with the knowledge that God can be trusted 'not just with her well-being, but with her dreams.'

Author Roseanna M. White has a knack for combining fiction with historical facts and she has succeeded in making The Number of Love another must-read for lovers of Christian historical fiction! It is very apparent that she devoted a great deal of time and effort in researching for this book and it is a fantastic way to begin a new series. I am looking forward to the next book in The Codebreakers series.

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher and all opinions in this review are my own.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.


MORE FROM ROSEANNA

When I told my best friend and critique partner what book I was pitching next to my publisher, her response was something along the lines of, “That sounds awesome. Also, you’re crazy, and I do not envy you writing that one.”
I laughed…and knew exactly what she meant. Because I was setting out to write a heroine who was a mathematician—which I am definitely not. A heroine who was utterly indifferent to love and marriage—which makes for a difficult story when one writes romance. A character who had an unshakeable faith—which has to be shaken at least a bit in order to make for growth throughout the story. And more, a character who has “issues,” let’s call it, that those familiar with such things will recognize…and which those who aren’t will probably think are quirks.
I was setting out to write a story that would be challenging for me, every step of the way. And the result is a book I’m incredibly in love with and so happy to share with the world.
The Number of Love is all about Margot, who thinks and even prays in numbers. Born and raised in Belgium, she and her family fled to England in 1914 when the Germans invaded her homeland. Thanks to her remarkable abilities with numbers and patterns, she’s now employed at Room 40, the Admiralty’s secret codebreaking branch. But as I was contemplating what sort of man could ever win Margot’s heart, I knew he had to be very different… someone active where she’s still. Someone outgoing where she turns inward. Someone who sees in her what she never can, and who believes she can grasp the dreams that society tells her are unbefitting a woman. This is how Drake was born—a field agent employed by Room 40.
I can honestly say this is the only book I’ve ever written that required me to borrow my daughter’s algebra book while I was writing it, LOL. And though every single scene was a challenge, it was one I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you’ll join me on the journey that Margot and Drake are on, which answer the question my husband cheekily asked more than once as I was writing it: what is the number of love?


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