Tag Archives: dual timelines

Top 10 Tuesday — Thankful for Family

23 Nov

Last Thanksgiving I had the pleasure and blessing of having all of my immediate family together. This year, due to law school exams, conferences, and other family obligations we will not be all together on the same day. But . . . we have already had one small gathering and will be headed to another on Turkey Day. And FaceTime is a winner! I’ll be able to see my granddaughter though we are separated by a lot of miles. These thoughts led me to a Thankful for Family TTT post. No, it’s not the theme for today, but I wanted to do it anyway. LOL! So today my list is all about families. Whatever your favorite genre, I have a book(s) for you!

For more TTT fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Book Series Featuring Families

Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey — Romantic Suspense

Bucklin Family Reunion series by Debby Mayne — Southern/Chick Lit

Chicory Inn series by Deborah Raney — Family Drama

Cousins of The Dove series by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould — Time Split

Bradford Sisters Romance series by Becky Wade — Romance

Top 10 Tuesday — If You Liked . . .

16 Nov

Every month I come up with a If You Liked post for the novel my book club read. I try to list at least 3 books that have something in common with our monthly selection — setting, theme, historical elements, etc. I have shared this before on TTT, but I have some new recommendations. My list includes several genres — something for everyone. I hope you find a book to love! 🙂

Top Books to Read if You Liked . . .

If you liked Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan, a time-slip novel set in the South with an historical mystery, then try . . .

The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark

Hope Between The Pages by Pepper Basham

The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

***********************

If you liked Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson, a book set during WWII, which features those who heroically saved the Jewish people, then try . . .

Defy The Night by Heather And Lydia Munn

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma

***********************

If you liked The Cedar Key by Stephenia McGee, a novel with a small town setting that focuses on second chances, then try . . .

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

Secrets Over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones

Star Rising by Janet W. Ferguson

***********************

If you liked Everywhere to Hide by Siri Mitchell, a suspense novel with an unusual main character who is not in law enforcement, then try . . .

Formula for Deception by Carrie Stuart Parks

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin

Taken by Dee Henderson

First Line Friday — Out of The Water

22 Oct

Happy Friday! This week I am featuring Out of The Water by Christy Award-winner Ann Marie Stewart. This book is so good! Multi-generational and featuring thought-provoking themes, you will not want to miss this one.

Here’s the first line:

Siobhan Mason stepped out into the cold March air and headed for the barn to gather the few eggs her hens still laid.

Irish immigrant Siobhan Kildea’s impetuous flight from a Boston lover in 1919 leads her to a new family in an unfamiliar Montana prison town. After a horrific tragedy impacts her children, her land, and her livelihood, Siobhan makes a heart wrenching decision – with consequences that ripple for decades to come.

Mysteriously linked to Siobhan is Genevieve Marchard, a battlefront nurse in France who returns stateside to find the absence of a certain soldier is her greatest loss; Anna Hanson, a music teacher who tucks herself away in a small Washington town, assuming her secrets are safe; and Erin Ellis, who thinks she and her husband won the lottery when they adopted their daughter, Claire. 

These interconnected stories, spanning three continents and five generations, begin to unravel in 1981 when Claire Ellis sets out to find her biological mother.

With puzzling suspense, unforgettable characters and uncanny insight, Out of the Water is an intoxicating novel of motherhood, secrets, and the profound ramifications our decisions have. Readers will be left wondering: ultimately, is it always better to know the truth?

Ann Marie Stewart grew up in Seattle, Washington and is a die-hard UW Husky (and Wolverine) after earning a Masters in Film/Television from University of Michigan. She originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes the column “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. With two recent UVA grads, she’s now a huge HOO basketball fan. When not writing, Ann teaches voice or takes care of the many sheep of Skyemoor Farm.

Book Review: Out of The Water

20 Oct

When I saw that Christy Award-winning author Ann Marie Stewart had a new novel out, I knew I had to read it. Her debut, Stars in The Grass, was excellent. Out of The Water is another outstanding book. The multi-generational story explores the complex subject matter of adoption. With carefully drawn characters, rich historical context, and a complex narrative, this is one book not to be missed. Recommended.

Irish immigrant Siobhan Kildea’s impetuous flight from a Boston lover in 1919 leads her to a new family in an unfamiliar Montana prison town. After a horrific tragedy impacts her children, her land, and her livelihood, Siobhan makes a heart wrenching decision – with consequences that ripple for decades to come.

Mysteriously linked to Siobhan is Genevieve Marchard, a battlefront nurse in France who returns stateside to find the absence of a certain soldier is her greatest loss; Anna Hanson, a music teacher who tucks herself away in a small Washington town, assuming her secrets are safe; and Erin Ellis, who thinks she and her husband won the lottery when they adopted their daughter, Claire. 

These interconnected stories, spanning three continents and five generations, begin to unravel in 1981 when Claire Ellis sets out to find her biological mother.

With puzzling suspense, unforgettable characters and uncanny insight, Out of the Water is an intoxicating novel of motherhood, secrets, and the profound ramifications our decisions have. Readers will be left wondering: ultimately, is it always better to know the truth?

Ann Marie Stewart grew up in Seattle, Washington and is a die-hard UW Husky (and Wolverine) after earning a Masters in Film/Television from University of Michigan. She originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes the column “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. With two recent UVA grads, she’s now a huge HOO basketball fan. When not writing, Ann teaches voice or takes care of the many sheep of Skyemoor Farm.

My Impressions:

Out of The Water features a diverse cast of characters from across the decades. While it took me a bit to get my bearings with the various threads and timeframes, this novel was worth the extra concentration. Stewart tells the tale of several women who struggled with hard choices. Siobhan is a young Irish immigrant who longs for family, Genevieve seems to have everything in her life and marriage, yet desperately wants a child, Erin and Claire, mother and daughter, face the uncertainties of Claire’s search for her birth mother, and Anna struggles with guilt and shame as she attempts to build a life. Added to the women’s stories are the backdrops of WWI, the immigrant experience of early 20th century America, the Great Depression, and 1950/60’s America. The historic details are naturally added to each story thread providing important context to the choices that are made. All the women share lost hopes and dreams and the feelings of rejection and abandonment. What is unique about Out of The Water, aside from the complex narrative and the varying timelines, is the way Stewart addresses all sides of adoption — those who choose to give up their child, those who give those children a home, and the adoptees themselves. I became engrossed in each woman’s story — they all became very real to me. And if you are book nerd like me, you will love how Siobhan stays in contact with a friend from the past. The book’s ending was beautiful — yes, I shed a few tears!

Filled with heartbreak, sacrifice, hope, and redemption, Out of The Water is a novel you will not want to miss. There is so much to contemplate, making this book a great choice for book clubs. I guarantee after reading it you will want to talk about it!

Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

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

Happy Release Day! — Out of The Water

19 Oct

Wishing Ann Marie Stewart a very happy release day for Out of The Water. This multi-generational novel explores the complexities of adoption from the viewpoints of adoptive parents, biological parents, and adoptees. The unique situations gave this reader a lot to consider. Find out all the details below.

Irish immigrant Siobhan Kildea’s impetuous flight from a Boston lover in 1919 leads her to a new family in an unfamiliar Montana prison town. After a horrific tragedy impacts her children, her land, and her livelihood, Siobhan makes a heart wrenching decision – with consequences that ripple for decades to come.

Mysteriously linked to Siobhan is Genevieve Marchard, a battlefront nurse in France who returns stateside to find the absence of a certain soldier is her greatest loss; Anna Hanson, a music teacher who tucks herself away in a small Washington town, assuming her secrets are safe; and Erin Ellis, who thinks she and her husband won the lottery when they adopted their daughter, Claire. 

These interconnected stories, spanning three continents and five generations, begin to unravel in 1981 when Claire Ellis sets out to find her biological mother.

With puzzling suspense, unforgettable characters and uncanny insight, Out of the Water is an intoxicating novel of motherhood, secrets, and the profound ramifications our decisions have. Readers will be left wondering: ultimately, is it always better to know the truth?

Ann Marie Stewart grew up in Seattle, Washington and is a die-hard UW Husky (and Wolverine) after earning a Masters in Film/Television from University of Michigan. She originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes the column “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. With two recent UVA grads, she’s now a huge HOO basketball fan. When not writing, Ann teaches voice or takes care of the many sheep of Skyemoor Farm.

Book Review: The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery

7 Oct

Amanda Cox is a new-to-me author. I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery, other than the buzz I had read from other reviewers. The blurb was intriguing and the cover called to me. I’m thankful I took the time to read it, because it is now one of my favorites from this year — very highly recommended.

Present Day. After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons–but she’ll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she’s pregnant with her deceased fiancé’s baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-timeline story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of a mother-daughter dynamic, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth.

Before becoming a stay-at-home parent, Amanda Cox spent her time counseling children, families, and individuals through life’s challenging moments. Now she uses those same skills to develop layered characters and stories, bringing them on a journey of hope and healing. A journey she hopes her readers experience in their own lives as they read.

A few of her favorite things are the sanctuary of the great outdoors, the feeling of pen on paper, the sound of her children’s laughter, and exploring new places with her husband of 15 years. (Oh, let’s not forget good fiction and good coffee. She’s addicted to both.) You can stay connected with her latest writing updates at http://www.amandacoxwrites.com. You can find her on social media by searching Amanda Cox Writes.

My Impressions:

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery is the second book from new-to-me author Amanda Cox. Its complex and tight writing style kept me reading and wondering as the three main characters concealed and uncovered family secrets. A novel as good as this one is often the hardest to review. Bear with me as I try to convey its many strong points. The book is told from the viewpoints of three women — grandmother, mother, and daughter — across three time periods. The style was never confusing, because the women each have distinct voices and their particular eras are well-detailed. I loved all the women, though some took longer to embrace than others. You’ll know when you read it. 😉 And read it you should! You’ll laugh and you’ll cry as Sarah, Rosemary, and Glory Ann each try to protect one another from the hurts of the world. Mother-daughter relationships are front and center, as is the danger of secret-keeping. Instead of providing walls of protection, the secrets became barriers to healthy communication and relationships. And those barriers spilled over into the women’s interactions with others as well. While the bulk of the story surrounds the three women, I think my very favorite character was Clarence Clearwater, Glory Ann’s husband. He lived and loved so much like Christ. And then there is Old Depot Grocery, so much like a character in itself, as it symbolized the strengths of family and close community.

A perk of discovering another talented author is getting to read more of her books! Cox’s debut, The Edge of Belonging, is a 2021 Christy Award finalist for First Novel. It is now on my TBR wishlist — looking forward to some more great reading!

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults

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

Book Review — Memories of Glass

29 Sep

Melanie Dobson is a must-read author for me. I don’t even have to read the blurb to know that I will be reading her book. 😉 My book club chose Memories of Glass, and I now have a new favorite by this talented author. A split-time novel, this book explores how people react in the face of evil — acquiescence or rebellion, apathy or heroism. This one is very highly recommended.

Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, this stunning novel draws from true accounts to shine a light on a period of Holland’s darkest history and bravest heroes.

1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.

Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life―and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.

Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel.

Writing fiction is Melanie Dobson‘s excuse to explore abandoned houses, travel to unique places, and spend hours reading old books and journals. The award-winning author of almost thirty books, Melanie enjoys stitching together both time-slip and historical stories including The Curator’s DaughterMemories of Glass, and the Legacy of Love novels (legacyofloveseries.com). Five of her novels have received a Carol Award for historical fiction, Catching the Wind‘s audiobook won the 2018 Audie for Inspirational Novel, and The Black Cloister was ForeWord’s Book of the Year for Religious Fiction. Her next time-slip novel, The Winter Rose, comes out in January 2022. 

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with Jon’s work, the Dobson family has finally settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to travel and hike in both the mountains and the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn’t writing, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, dancing, and reading stories with her girls. 

More information about Melanie and her books is available at her website (melaniedobson.com) or at the following social media platforms: 

Facebook.com/MelanieDobsonFiction
Instagram/MelBDobson
Twitter.com/MelBDobson

My Impressions:

Memories of Glass was inspired by the heroics of the Dutch resistance in WWII. Because of their sacrifice, many Jewish children were saved from the Nazi death camps. The story is told from three points of view — Eliese, a young, privileged Jewish woman put in an impossible situation, Josie, a young Dutch woman who could not stand by and let children perish, and Ava, a young American woman who wants desperately to find her place in a family, but won’t compromise the faith shared by her mother. All three must make choices that will impact not just their own futures. I found each of their stories compelling. Ordinary women who have to face extraordinary circumstances. Each of their stories are intertwined and develop a complete whole.

The rich historical detail of Memories of Glass shows diligent research on the part of Dobson. She injects historical figures into the narrative, while also using inspiration of real figures to create her fictional characters. The contrast between those who are working for good and those who are working for evil is chilling. There really is no fence-sitting in the stories — all make their choices. The complex construction of the story and the vividly-drawn characters make this an unputdownable book. There were many anonymous heroes during WWII, and Memories of Glass pays homage to them. While we may never know their names, their actions count towards eternity.

My book club chose Memories of Glass, and I cannot wait to discuss it with them. I anticipate a great conversation about the historical detail, the choices characters made, and the implications in our own lives. If you can, I recommend you read it with a friend or two — you are going to want to talk about this book!

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

First Line Friday — Memories of Glass

17 Sep

Happy Friday! Today I am featuring this month’s book club selection, Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson. Dobson is a must-read author for me. I love how she uses dual timeline stories to present a whole message. If you’ve read this book I’d love to know your thoughts.

Here’s the first line:

Brilliant color flickered across her canvas of wall.

Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, this stunning novel draws from true accounts to shine a light on a period of Holland’s darkest history and bravest heroes.

1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.

Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life―and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.

Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel.

Writing fiction is Melanie Dobson‘s excuse to explore abandoned houses, travel to unique places, and spend hours reading old books and journals. The award-winning author of almost thirty books, Melanie enjoys stitching together both time-slip and historical stories including The Curator’s DaughterMemories of Glass, and the Legacy of Love novels (legacyofloveseries.com). Five of her novels have received a Carol Award for historical fiction, Catching the Wind‘s audiobook won the 2018 Audie for Inspirational Novel, and The Black Cloister was ForeWord’s Book of the Year for Religious Fiction. Her next time-slip novel, The Winter Rose, comes out in January 2022. 

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with Jon’s work, the Dobson family has finally settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to travel and hike in both the mountains and the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn’t writing, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, dancing, and reading stories with her girls. 

More information about Melanie and her books is available at her website (melaniedobson.com) or at the following social media platforms: 

Facebook.com/MelanieDobsonFiction
Instagram/MelBDobson
Twitter.com/MelBDobson

First Line Friday — The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery

10 Sep

Happy Friday! Tonight I was supposed to be winging my way to a western vacation. Some health issues (not Covid) are causing a bit of a delay, but we will hopefully be in the air come Sunday night. I am all packed and ready, so what to do? Read! I am reading my book club’s selection, Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson, right now. After that comes The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery. Amanda Cox is a new-to-me author, and I look forward to reading this book.

Here’s the first line:

Sarah nudged aside last night’s puddle of clothes with her bare foot, the exposed designer label sticking out a bit too much.

Present Day.

After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons — but she’ll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965.

Glory Ann confesses to her family that she’s pregnant with her deceased fiancé’s baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-timeline story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of a mother-daughter dynamic, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth.

Before becoming a stay-at-home parent, Amanda Cox spent her time counseling children, families, and individuals through life’s challenging moments. Now she uses those same skills to develop layered characters and stories, bringing them on a journey of hope and healing. A journey she hopes her readers experience in their own lives as they read.

A few of her favorite things are the sanctuary of the great outdoors, the feeling of pen on paper, the sound of her children’s laughter, and exploring new places with her husband of 15 years. (Oh, let’s not forget good fiction and good coffee. She’s addicted to both.) You can stay connected with her latest writing updates at http://www.amandacoxwrites.com. You can find her on social media by searching Amanda Cox Writes.

September Book Club Pick — Memories of Glass

1 Sep

I cannot pass up a book by Melanie Dobson, so I am excited to share Memories of Glass with my book club (and you 😉 ). Find out all the details below.

Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, this stunning novel draws from true accounts to shine a light on a period of Holland’s darkest history and bravest heroes.

1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.

Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life―and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.

Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel.

Writing fiction is Melanie Dobson‘s excuse to explore abandoned houses, travel to unique places, and spend hours reading old books and journals. The award-winning author of almost thirty books, Melanie enjoys stitching together both time-slip and historical stories including The Curator’s Daughter, Memories of Glass, and the Legacy of Love novels (legacyofloveseries.com). Five of her novels have received a Carol Award for historical fiction, Catching the Wind‘s audiobook won the 2018 Audie for Inspirational Novel, and The Black Cloister was ForeWord’s Book of the Year for Religious Fiction. Her next time-slip novel, The Winter Rose, comes out in January 2022. 

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with Jon’s work, the Dobson family has finally settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to travel and hike in both the mountains and the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn’t writing, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, dancing, and reading stories with her girls. 

More information about Melanie and her books is available at her website (melaniedobson.com) or at the following social media platforms: 

Facebook.com/MelanieDobsonFiction
Instagram/MelBDobson
Twitter.com/MelBDobson