Archive | Book Reviews RSS feed for this section

Book Review: Present Danger

9 Apr

The first book in Elizabeth Goddard‘s Rocky Mountain Courage series, Present Danger, proved to be a fast-paced puzzler. Main characters Jack and Terra put aside their past history to join forces in this intriguing romantic suspense. Recommended!

Former FBI Special Agent Jack Tanner is working as a detective in Montana when he comes across a body in the national forest during a search and rescue mission. He’s committed to finding the killer, even if it means working alongside his old flame, US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors.

When Terra discovers that the murder victim had ties to a powerful and dangerous trafficker of archaeological artifacts, the investigation takes a deadly turn — one that hits too close to home. As Terra fears she lacks the courage to face what comes next, Jack is more determined than ever to protect her. But he’s failed her before. And if he fails this time, it will cost them far more than just their hearts.

With over one million books sold, Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling, award-winning author of over fifty romance novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies — a 2011 Carol Award winner. Four of her six Mountain Cove books have been contest finalists. BuriedBackfire and Deception are finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and Submerged is a Carol Award finalist. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.

To get book news sign up for her newsletter at her website: http://elizabethgoddard.com
Follow her on Bookbub! https://www.bookbub.com/authors/elizabeth-goddard
You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook: http://facebook.com/elizabethgoddardauthor
or Twitter: http://twitter.com/bethgoddard

My Impressions:

I was first introduced to Elizabeth Goddard’s romantic suspense novels with her Uncommon Justice series. I loved the rugged settings of those books and was excited to dig into Present Danger, the first book of a new series. Goddard has created another winner! I loved the main characters, the new-to-me Montana setting, and the twisting plot full of puzzling clues and serious bad guys. If you are looking for fast-paced suspense with a wonderful second-chance romance, this is the book for you.

Main characters Jack and Terra have a history. Their romance ended badly when Jack walked away to join the FBI. Now years have passed and they are both back in their home county — he is a sheriff’s deputy and she is a USFS special agent. Thrown together by a body found in the national forest, the two work hard to keep things professional. But those embers of romance refuse to die! The two have tried to live up to or live down their parents’ legacies. Always trying to prove themselves and feeling like they have missed the mark puts barriers up for their relationship to go forward. I think this aspect of the story is very real. Many people struggle with being good enough. The two are real and relatable — outstanding in their respective careers, but still vulnerable to doubts and regrets. Their relationship is a big part of the story, but the murder investigation kept me turning the pages. There are plane crashes, break-ins, murders, and trafficking of valuable artifacts. I needed to know whodunit now! LOL. Goddard kept me guessing to the very end. I seriously suspected everyone!

In Present Danger, Goddard introduced some characters that are sure to be the focus of future books in this series. I’m already intrigued! Can’t wait for more from this talented author.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: My Dear Miss Dupre´

2 Apr

Willow Dupré never thought she would have to marry, but with her father’s unexpected retirement from running the prosperous Dupré sugar refinery, she is forced into a different future. The shareholders are unwilling to allow a female to take over the company without a man at her side, so her parents devise a plan–find Willow a spokesman king in order for her to become queen of the business empire.

Willow is presented with thirty potential suitors from the families of New York society’s elite group called the Four Hundred. She has six months to court the group and is told to to eliminate men each month to narrow her beaus until she chooses one to marry, ending the competition with a wedding. Willow reluctantly agrees, knowing she must do what is best for the business. She doesn’t expect to find anything other than a proxy . . . until she meets a gentleman who captures her attention, and she must discover for herself if his motives are pure.

Grace Hitchcock is the author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in Baton Rouge with her husband, Dakota, son and daughter. Connect with her online at GraceHitchcock.com.

My Impressions:

My Dear Miss Dupre´ is something of a Gilded Age Bachelorette. Author Grace Hitchcock takes a modern idea and gives it a historical twist. While the premise sounded good, I just don’t think it came off on the page. I did like main character Willow Dupre´ and her marriage dilemma — find a husband to help her run her family’s business empire, since women of the day were seen as emotional and fit only to raise children. Turning those notions on their heads was a good thing, but I felt the way the suitor competition was carried out was a bit far-fetched. I found the various competitors endearing and annoying, just as I was supposed to. But the whole competition didn’t ring true to me. Not a fan of the modern-day TV version, I am probably not the target audience for this book anyway. 😉 Besides the romance, there is a bit of suspense as one character changes his mind on his motive for marrying Willow. Please note that reviews are very subjective and based on the reviewer’s likes and sometimes biases. My Dear Miss Dupre´ has 76% 4 and 5-star reviews, so I urge you to find out for yourself. I have enjoyed other books by Hitchcock, and my experience with this one will not keep me from picking up more books by her.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review And Giveaway: A Tapestry of Light

29 Mar
A Tapestry of Light

About The Book

Book:  A Tapestry of Light

Author: Kimberly Duffy

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: March 16, 2021

TapestryofLight-cover final

Calcutta, 1886.

Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions:

Wow! I was totally blown away by A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy. This book has EVERYTHING! This 5-star historical novel is a must-read — put it at the top of your TBR now!

So I loved A Tapestry of Light — let me count the ways. 😉 First, the characters are complex and very, very real. Although I have very little in common with main character Otillie, she is Ango-Indian and very much a bound by the conventions of her day, she is a character that struggled and grew in ways that I could definitely relate to. And relatable is probably the best word to describe all of the characters. Even one character in particular who was not very nice and very easy not to like AT ALL, I found to mirror some of my more unlikable character traits as well. Talk about uncomfortable. But Duffy writes her characters in such a way that they become friends and you can learn from each of them. Second, the setting of the first half of the book is amazing. India, and in particular, Calcutta of the late 1880s, becomes something of a character on its own. It plays such a big role in who Otillie is. Duffy engages all of the senses in her vivid descriptions. I also really liked that the setting for the second half of the book — England — mirrors Otillie’s emotional state. As winter turns to spring, Otillie begins to thaw and see new growth as well. Duffy explains her connection to Otillie in the Author’s Note. Otillie’s story is very personal — this reader felt that and it again makes real the strong spiritual threads in the book.

A Tapestry of Light gets a Very Highly Recommended rating from me. It will definitely be on my best of the best list for 2021.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

4

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn’t mind.

More from Kimberly

When I set out to write a new novel, I plan the entire thing from start to finish. I write down each scene on an index card and know exactly what’s going to happen when I sit down for the day’s work. I’m meticulous that way.

But I never plan my characters’ spiritual arcs. Because I want their faith journey to be organic to the story. I want it to feel authentic. It’s such an important part of each of my books and I recognize that some things just refuse plotting and need to develop in a more natural way.

My debut novel, A Mosaic of Wings, features a heroine steeped in science. Nora loves the natural world and so her faith was encouraged by studying the wings of a butterfly or examining an interesting plant. She’s not particularly sentimental or emotive so the faith element of that story had to be presented in a way that made sense for her. Nora’s faith arc is subtle.

Not so for A Tapestry of Light. I had no intention of writing a book that delved into my own struggle with doubt. But that’s what Ottilie required. And it wrung me dry.

Then built me back up.

My faith story is a twisted kind of one. Raised a Christian, I went into ministry, firmly attached myself to the faith of my childhood, and thought it would never waver.

I was wrong.

Oh, how it wavered. For whatever reason, when I hit about 30, it seemed everything I had always believed no longer made sense. It was devastating. Terrifying. And it broke me.

But brokenness is its own sort of beauty and when you recognize there is no way for you to pick up the pieces yourself, God can come in and fill those cracks and shattered places.

Those five years of doubt and questioning and facing the reality that even though I’d always loved Christ, I didn’t really know Him (and didn’t really know why I believed in Him), were some of the most painful I’ve experienced. But I believe with every bit of my being that God is in the business of redemption. Of restoration. Of filling up so that we can pour out.

And he took my own very personal struggle and helped me turn it into a story that, I hope and pray, might encourage others. I gave Ottilie my questions. I gave her my doubt. I gave her my fear and desperation and, in the end, I gave her my hope.

There’s a little piece of me in each of my books, but this one contains my heart.

Blog Stops

To celebrate her tour, Kimberly is giving away the grand prize $25 Amazon gift card along with a signed copy of either A Mosaic of Wings or A Tapestry of Light!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Children’s Corner — Near

25 Mar

I am excited to share a wonderfully engaging children’s board book based on Psalm 139. With Sally Lloyd-Jones‘ verse and Jago’s illustrations, Near is sure to become a favorite in your family.

From Sally Lloyd-Jones, the author of the bestselling The Jesus Storybook Bible, comes an uplifting new board book in a soft padded format that is a perfect fit for little hands. Inspired by Psalm 139—which begins, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me — Nears lyrical text reminds little ones that God is with them anywhere they go in God’s wide world.

God is my Father who made everything.

And I am a little explorer of the wide world.

He is near me

And he protects me.

He sees me

And he knows me.

He is strong

And he looks after me.

He is with me—always!

Sally Lloyd-Jones is a Brit who came to the US in 1989 “just for a year.” She’s still here.

Born in Kampala, Uganda, raised in East, and West Africa and at a boarding school in the New Forest, the first book she ever remembers reading all the way through was THE COMPLETE NONSENSE by Edward Lear. Things have not been the same since.

She lives in Manhattan and enjoys dividing her time between the front half of her apartment and the back.

http://www.sallylloyd-jones.com

My Impressions:

I loved Near by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The author takes the beloved Psalm 139 and presents it in a way that even the littlest of readers can understand. The verse shows God as creator, provider, and sustainer in all situations and in all places. The accompanying illustrations by Jago are wonderful. Not only are they vivid, but they help a child visualize what the Psalm means to them. I am looking forward to sharing this one with my granddaughter! Highly recommended!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: preschoolers

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Audiobook Mini-Review: More Than Meets The Eye

22 Mar

The past month has been tough emotionally, so I really needed an easy read for my morning walk. So how do I define easy? — a book with engaging characters, perhaps a little (or a lot) of romance, some humor, and no heavy topics. While More Than Meets The Eye by Karen Witemeyer checked all the boxes, is was not fluffy. There is a great message about not judging people’s appearances or limitations, but looking at them how God does. This book was really what I needed!

Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warm-hearted historical romances with a flair of humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home. 

Winner of the HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website. To learn more about Karen and her books, or to join her subscriber list, please visit http://www.karenwitemeyer.com.

My Impressions:

I admit I read The Patchwork Family series out of order. I learned about the Hamilton family in More Than Words Can Say which features oldest brother Zach. I found the book charming, so I was eager to learn more about this patched together family. More Than Meets The Eye, book 1 in the series, starts with the main characters as children riding an orphan train to find new families. They are not successful for a number of reasons, and tragedy and a promise cause them to form a family of their own. The book follows Zach, Seth, and Evangeline in their early adulthood. Although they are prospering, they still haven’t found a place in the surrounding community. Differences seen and unseen from the townspeople of Pecan Gap keep the siblings aloof. Two strangers enter their circle, and the dynamics change quickly. I really liked all of the characters in the book. Each has a unique story that many can identify with. The plot moves at a brisk pace, and besides romance, there is mystery and suspense. I loved how God changed hearts and minds as well.

If you are a fan of historical romance set in the western America, I think you will really enjoy More Than Meets The Eye. I found it to be a great way to keep on track with my morning walks.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: The Earl’s Lady Geologist

11 Mar

Cassandra Linfield is a lady fossil collector who declares she will never marry as no man will ever take her studies seriously. When circumstances force her to travel to Town for the Season, Cassy infiltrates the hallowed portals of the Geological Society from which she has been banned. She is horrified when she comes face to face with her nemesis, the infuriating Earl of Rothbury.

Lord Rothbury is a gentleman-geologist with a turbulent romantic past. After a youthful disappointment he vows never to fall in love again, and makes the decision, instead, to seek out a convenient wife when he returns to England from his geological travels abroad.

Brought together by their close family ties, Cassy and Rothbury collaborate on a geological paper and discover a powerful attraction. Marriage, however, is the one subject they cannot agree upon. But when Cassy’s life is threatened, the two realize that love matters more than their objections.

Alissa Baxter wrote her first Regency romance, The Dashing Debutante, during her long university holidays. After travelling the world, she settled down to write her second Regency romance, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which was inspired by her time living on a country estate in England. A Marchioness Below Stairs, her third Regency romance, is the sequel to Lord Fenmore’s Wager.

Alissa’s Regency romance, The Earl’s Lady Geologist (#1 in the Linfield Ladies Series) was released by Vinspire Publishing in February 2021.

Also the author of two chick lit novels, The Truth About Clicking Send and Receive (previously published as Send and Receive) and The Truth About Cats and Bees (previously published as The Blog Affair), Alissa currently lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two sons.

 

My Impressions:

The Earl’s Lady Geologist, book 1 in the Linfield Ladies series, combines all you’ve come to expect from a Regency romance — debutante balls, fine ladies and gentlemen, and grand country estates — with something a bit unique. Alissa Baxter’s heroine is not your run-of-the mill deb looking to hook a husband. She is well-educated, decidedly independent, and definitely not looking to marry, and a geologist to boot! Geology was a man’s field in those days, reserved for the wealthy class to study and report on. Cassy is a fun character with fears, doubts, and a good awareness of her own shortcomings. Paired with the handsome and sometimes arrogant Lord Rothbury, she comes into her own. The settings of Lyme Regis and London provide a good contrast between country and city society and expectations of the time. The position of women in early 19th century is eye-opening. I found all of the women in the novel to be engaging and enterprising in each of their social stations. Baxter also mixes in some mystery and danger — a good way to add depth to the romance. The faith thread is developed in a natural way, as well, highlighting the struggles we all face.

If you are a fan of the Regency genre, then give The Earl’s Lady Geologist a try. More books are promised in this series, and I am anxious to see where Baxter will take the other Linfield ladies.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I received a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: Dead of Winter

8 Mar

How far will he go to have his revenge?

When the fingers of dead women start showing up in the Supreme Court’s mail, ex-FBI Agent Jeremy Winter is brought back to the Bureau to aid in the investigation. Agent Maggie Keeley, his girlfriend and now boss, leads the search for the serial killer. Together, Jeremy and Maggie learn the five remaining cities on the murderer’s list, but they have no idea when the killer will strike or whom he will target.

When they stumble upon a clue at the scene of a young woman’s death, the case focuses on an abandoned ramshackle home in sparsely populated west Texas. As the FBI closes in, the ante is upped in ways no one could have imagined, forcing Jeremy to choose between justice and revenge.

 

Tom Threadgill turned his love of a good tale into a full-time profession. His books have a distinct focus on clean, suspenseful action with strong character development. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In his downtime, Tom enjoys woodworking, riding his Harley, and chasing the elusive Yard of the Month award. He currently resides with his wife in the Dallas area and can be reached through his website at TomThreadgill.com.

 

My Impressions:

Dead of Winter is the second book in Tom Threadgill’s Jeremy Winter Thriller series. After the dramatic conclusion to his last FBI case, Jeremy Winter is trying to figure out what to do with his retirement. But a serial killer starts to send dismembered fingers to Supreme Court justices, and Jeremy is called back as a consultant on the case. Along with his girlfriend, FBI agent Maggie Keeley, Jeremy is trying to get one step ahead of an illusive killer. Dead of Winter is again a creep-inducing thriller. The author does a great job of getting inside the murderer’s head. This time religion is mixed up in the motivations. Jeremy is not a believer and Maggie has just a basic understanding of Christian thoughts. It was interesting to see Jeremy puzzling out what the killer was trying to accomplish. While that is the main plot, a subplot introduced in book 1 continues to follow Jeremy and complicate his life. Revenge is a predominant theme, and Jeremy comes to the brink of exacting it without regard to justice. It will be interesting to see this character’s development in the third book of the series, Winter’s Fury.

Dead of Winter is a dark look into what motivates people. If you are a fan of Steven James or Criminal Minds, I think you will like this book. Be sure to read book 1, Coming of Winter, first though.

Recommended.

Audience: adults

(This audiobook was included in my Audible subscription. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: Coming of Winter

3 Mar

Catherine Mae Blackston is missing. She is not the first.

While investigating Blackston’s recent activities, FBI Agent Jeremy Winter stumbles upon a string of missing persons within state parks. Unable to convince his boss that Blackston’s disappearance is anything other than a lost hiker, Winter joins forces with a local police officer to continue the search.

As the clues mount, a dark figure from Jeremy’s past emerges with an ultimatum — one that could force him out of the Bureau. Afraid that his girlfriend, fellow agent Maggie Keeley, will be dragged into a high-stakes political game, he delays his decision. But as the tally of missing persons increases, Winter closes in on the unlikeliest of suspects.

The bodies are out there.

He just has to find them before his past catches up with him.

Tom Threadgill turned his love of a good tale into a full-time profession. His books have a distinct focus on clean, suspenseful action with strong character development. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In his downtime, Tom enjoys woodworking, riding his Harley, and chasing the elusive Yard of the Month award. He currently resides with his wife in the Dallas area and can be reached through his website at TomThreadgill.com.

 

My Impressions:

I read Tom Threadgill’s books that feature homicide detective Amara Alvarez and was hooked. When I learned that he had several previous novels and two were included in my Audible subscription, I couldn’t pass them up. Coming of Winter is the first book in the Jeremey Winter Thriller series. Darker than the other two books I had read by Threadgill, this novel focuses on a serial killer. The reader knows who the murderer is early on, and the author really gets into his head. It is a fascinating and decidedly disturbing look into motivations and justifications. FBI agent Jeremy Winter stumbles onto the case and a kind of cat and mouse game begins. Jeremy is an interesting character. FBI for years, he had a traumatic experience in Afghanistan that affects him physically and emotionally. A figure from his past arrives on the scene complicating his forward journey to normal. That loose end continues into book 2. Jeremy’s relationship with fellow FBI agent, Maggie Keeley, is also a great subplot. I listened to the audiobook which I think increased the creep-factor for me. Hearing the killer’s voice made me shiver a bit.

I liked Coming of Winter and jumped right into book 2 of the series, Dead of Winter. If you are a fan of Steven James’ novels or the TV show Criminal Minds, give this one a go.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(This audiobook was included in my Audible subscription. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Book Review: When Twilight Breaks

22 Feb

Sarah Sundin is a go-to author for me. Her WWII-era novels are always well-researched and filled with relatable characters. When Twilight Breaks is an exceptionally good book — I found the pre-war Germany setting to be a chilling reminder to modern-day readers. It is highly recommended!

 

Munich, 1938. Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent as determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession as she is to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country — or worse. If she fails to truthfully report on major stories, she’ll never be able to give a voice to the oppressed–and wake up the folks back home.

In another part of the city, American graduate student Peter Lang is working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party–to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can’t get off his mind.

This electric standalone novel from fan-favorite Sarah Sundin puts you right at the intersection of pulse-pounding suspense and heart-stopping romance.

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the bestselling author of When Twilight Breaks (February 2, 2021), The Land Beneath Us (2020), The Sky Above Us (2019) and The Sea Before Us (2018), as well as the Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory series.

A mother of three, Sundin lives in northern California and enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers’ groups. Her novel The Land Beneath Us was a finalist for the 2020 Christy Award, The Sky Above Us won the 2020 Carol Award, The Sea Before Uswon the 2019 Reader’s Choice Award from Faith, Hope, and Love, and When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were both named to Booklist’s 101 Best Romance Novels of the Past 10 Years. Sarah serves as Co-Director for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference. Please visit Sarah at http://www.sarahsundin.com, on Facebook at SarahSundinAuthor, on Twitter at @sarahsundin, and on Instagram at @sarahsundinauthor.

 

My Impressions:

When Twilight Breaks, Sarah Sundin’s newest historical novel, is a page-turner! Sundin does an excellent job of creating characters that you not only come to love, but hold your breath and bite your nails over as they navigate the dangers of pre-WWII Germany! Well-researched, this book will get you thinking as you experience the race to war by Hitler and his regime. I could not put this one down!

When Twilight Breaks revolves around two main characters — Evelyn Brand, an American journalist assigned to Munich in 1938 and Peter Lang, an American doctoral candidate doing research at the university in the same city. At the beginning of the novel the two have very decidedly different views of Nazi Germany. They are repeatedly thrown together and become somewhat of a team, as Evelyn seeks to report on the true happenings in the Nazi regime. I was fascinated by the contrasting views Americans had of what was happening in Europe. While most readers are familiar with the war years, this perspective on how Hitler achieved power and exerted control over the citizens is eye-opening. There are a great many parallels to modern events, and the novel will make you think. You’ll also want to talk about it — When Twilight Breaks is an excellent choice for book clubs. (I can’t wait to discuss it with my book club later this year.) Concepts of justice, order, mercy, and freedom become concrete in the scenes depicted by Sundin. The book builds slowly as it prepares the characters and the readers for what is to come, but towards the end, I could not read fast enough. No spoilers, but this one will keep you on the edge of your seat. Romance also grows slowly, but when the two finally admit their true feelings? — there’s an awe moment. 😉

When Twilight Breaks has it all and has gone to the top of my favorites by Sarah Sundin. Grab a copy and some friends and jump in! You will love it too!

Highly recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Book Review: The Cedar Key

18 Feb

My book club read The Cedar Key, Stephenia McGee‘s contemporary small-town novel, for our February meeting. This combination women’s fiction/light romance by a new-to-us author was just what we needed! We liked it!

 

Could the key to Casey’s future be hidden in someone else’s past?

Casey Adams unexpectedly inherits an old Victorian house full of other people’s memories. Stuck in a quirky little Mississippi town, Casey’s hope for a fresh start died as soon she had to lay the grandmother she’d just met to rest

But Grandma Ida carried secrets beyond the grave.

Before her death Ida carefully planned a trail of clues to help Casey unlock the Macintyre family secrets and finally explain why they abandoned her. But each of Ida’s letters will only come from Casey’s handsome — and often frustrating — new neighbor. As Casey pieces together the stories behind the objects filling her grandmother’s house, she embarks on a heart-stirring journey that rattles her foundations, ignites her faith, and leads her to a startling discovery that will reshape her future. But only if she can face the lies that have been slowly tearing her apart.

 

 

Best-selling author of Christian novels, Stephenia H. McGee writes stories of faith, hope, and healing set in the Deep South. When she’s not twirling around in hoop skirts, reading, or sipping sweet tea on the front porch, she’s a homeschool mom of two boys, writer, dreamer, and husband spoiler. Visit her at http://www.StepheniaMcGee.comfor books and updates.

 

My Impressions:

I have to admit that I had no preconceived notions before beginning The Cedar Key. I knew McGee’s reputation for quality historical fiction, but had never read anything by her. I discovered a true gem. This novel combines women’s fiction and romance with a small southern town setting. I really liked it — recommended!

Main character Casey has had a difficult life full of abandonment. Shortly after finding her biological grandmother, she is again hit with loss. Desperate for some stories of the family she never knew, she prepares for a short stay in Maryvillle, MS and a bit of discovery of where she came from. What she finds is a new sense of who she is in God’s eyes. I loved this message — no matter who people say you are, you are loved and valuable to God. I read an interview by McGee in which she said that her target audience is Christian women and she desires to tell stories that reinforce their worth in Jesus. The Cedar Key achieves this in a natural way — no preachiness here. I found Casey very relatable and many of the other characters charming. All except one. McGee is good at making a reader dislike the bad guy. LOL! Of course the author also had me feeling sorry for that person and desiring a little redemption for them as well. The main story centers on Casey and her journey of discovery, but there is some sweet romance as well. Casey and next-door neighbor, Ryan, have a relationship that develops naturally. My book club wanted more after the final page was turned. Could there be a return visit to Maryville? We all hope so.

Endearing characters, a wonderful setting, a bit of humor, and a thoughtful message make The Cedar Key a recommended read!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)