Tag Archives: historical fictiion

2020 Inspy Award Nominees

13 May

Congratulations to the 2020 Inspy Award Nominees! What a great bunch of authors and books. So if you are wondering what to read next, here’s your list!

Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the INSPYs were created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith. (Inspy.com)


Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano 

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Just One Kiss by Courtney Walsh


Debut Fiction

Heart of a Royal by Hannah Currie 

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens 


General Fiction

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner 

How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim 

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay 


Historical Fiction

The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz


Literature for Young Adults

Evermore by Jody Hedlund

Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill

Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan



The Wind Will Howl by Sibella Giorello

Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright


Speculative Fiction

Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig

Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker


Book Review: Glittering Promises

19 Oct

764287_w185America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are tracking the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try…

LBegren-132Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.

My Impressions:

Glittering Promises is the concluding novel in Lisa T. Bergren’s sweeping The Grand Tour series. Cora Diehl Kensington has certainly matured since she was introduced as a humble Montana farm girl. Throughout the series Cora has had to wrestle with her identity and place in the world. In this final book Cora steps confidently into her future — a great conclusion to this grand saga.

Much has occurred during the Grand Tour that the Morgan and Kensington children have embarked upon. Cora has had to come to terms with the knowledge of her real identity along with sudden wealth. Finding her way among her family, new social status and love interests while visiting the great landmarks of Europe has proven daunting. But Cora relies not only on her upbringing but her faith in God to see her through.

Lisa Bergren has created a series fraught with danger, deception, and illusions amidst the backdrop of Europe of the early 1900s. Times certainly have changed — women’s rights, collapse of social barriers — but the truths of who we are in the world and God remain the same. Cora discovers the power of love and forgiveness as she embarks on the life she is carving out for herself.

If you like epic sagas, rich historical details, and a story to touch your heart, then check out The Grand Tour series. Be sure to start with Glamorous Illusions, then turn to Grave Consequences. Then you will be ready to begin Glittering Promises.


For other reviews, click HERE.

(Thanks to David C Cook for a review copy. All opinions are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.


Lisa is celebrating the release of Glittering Promises by giving away a $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma and hosting a fun Facebook party on October 29th. 

One winner will receive:

  • A $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma delivered to your door
  • The three-book Grand Tour set

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 29th. Winner will be announced at the “Glittering Promises” Facebook Author Chat Party on October 29th. Connect with Lisa for an evening of book chat, European trivia, and prizes, and get an exclusive look Lisa’s next book.

So grab your copies of the Grand Tour series and join Lisa on the evening of October 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books, don’t let that stop you from coming!)



Book Review: Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker

17 Apr

953616_w185In March 1861, Mrs. Lincoln chose Elizabeth Keckley from among a number of applicants to be her personal “modiste,” responsible not only for creating the First Lady’s gowns, but also for dressing Mrs. Lincoln in the beautiful attire Keckley had fashioned. The relationship between the two women quickly evolved, as Keckley was drawn into the intimate life of the Lincoln family, supporting Mary Todd Lincoln in the loss of first her son, and then her husband to the assassination that stunned the nation and the world.

Keckley saved scraps from the dozens of gowns she made for Mrs. Lincoln, eventually piecing together a tribute known as the Mary Todd Lincoln Quilt. She also saved memories, which she fashioned into a book, Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Upon its publication, Keckley’s memoir created a scandal that compelled Mary Todd Lincoln to sever all ties with her, but in the decades since, Keckley’s story has languished in the archives. In this impeccably researched, engrossing novel, Chiaverini brings history to life in rich, moving style.

jenniferJennifer Chiaverini is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as five collections of quilt patterns inspired by her novels. Her original quilt designs have been featured in Country WomanQuiltmakerQuiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volumes 3-5, and Quilt, and her short stories have appeared in Quiltmaker and Quilters Newsletter. She has taught writing at Penn State and Edgewood College and designs the Elm Creek Quilts fabric lines from Red Rooster Fabrics. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.

My Impressions:

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker is this month’s selection for my book club, Page Turners. So far word on the street has been mixed: some find it fascinating, others boring. I am in the first category. I knew absolutely nothing about Elizabeth Keckley and very little about Mary Todd Lincoln. What I did know about Mrs. Lincoln was rumor and innuendo — she seems to have been a very divisive force in the Lincoln presidency.

The book opens in Washington City a few months before the election of Abraham Lincoln. Rumors of secession are flying and Elizabeth Keckley, as seamstress to some of Washington’s elite ladies, hears bits and pieces of the political wrangling. Keckley is a freed slave, who bought both her and her son’s freedom. Her excellence as a seamstress provides entree into the homes and lives of the powerful, including the White House. Her unique role as modiste to Mrs. Lincoln, allows for her to become much more than a tradeswoman, she becomes part of the family. Keckley becomes a confidante and supporter that  bespoke the unlikely relationship that developed between the two women. The book treats Keckley in a most favorable light. Mrs. Lincoln is treated fairly — her foibles offset by the tragic circumstances of her life. I cannot help but think that Mary Todd Lincoln’s life could have been different with modern therapy and anti-depressants.

The book follows the historical record accurately and the fictionalized parts seem natural. If you are a fan of historical fiction or have an interest in the larger than life figures of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, I recommend you read Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker.


(I purchased this book for my Kindle. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, click on the image below.

Book Review: Unhallowed Ground

25 Jan

The fourth adventure of Hugh de Singleton, medieval surgeon and detective, finds Hugh investigating what seems to be a suicide of one of the town’s scoundrels and his longtime enemy. Though at first reluctant to pursue a mystery that no one else sees, Hugh and and his new wife Kate set out from the town of Bampton only to follow the clues back in order to discover which of their friends committed the murder.


Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1960, and Greenville College (Illinois) in 1964. He received an MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970. He taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School.

Mel married Susan Brock in 1965, and they have two daughters; Amy (Kevin) Kwilinski, of Naperville, IL, and Jennifer (Jeremy) Reivitt, of Portage, MI. Mel and Susan have seven grandchildren.

My Impressions:

Looking for a mystery that will keep you guessing to the end?  Like a historical novel that makes you feel like you are there?  Then pick up Mel Starr’s newest medieval mystery, Unhallowed Ground.  Hugh de Singleton is back in Bampton enjoying the first months of his new marriage to his beautiful and intelligent Kate when he is thrust into the mysterious death of Thomas atte Bridge.  Thomas is an old nemesis of Hugh’s and it seems the rest of the town. No one, save his widow, is mourning his death.  But what is ruled a suicide by the local coroner may not be what it seems.

The fourth book in the series, Unhallowed Ground can easily be read as a stand alone.  There is some back story involved, but not enough for the reader to feel at sea.  Hugh, the bailiff to the local gentry and Paris trained surgeon, turns his attention to detective work with a keen eye for clues, that although limited by the absence of technology and the addition of superstition, rivals any 21st century detective.  Starr brings us a thoughtful and thorough investigator who will satisfy any mystery reader out there.  And Starr’s wonderful research of the 14th century adds authenticity — from mealtimes to building techniques to the practice of medicine.  Here is a great way to visit Merry Old England without the worry of time travel or the Black Plague.

Again the character of Hugh is well developed.  He struggles with the conventional wisdom of the day as well as his role in seeking justice for a man most deem undeserving.  And Kate continues to be a wonderful helpmate to Hugh.  This is my second book to read in the series and I look forward to many more.  (Please see my review of A Trail of Ink HERE.)

Highly Recommended.

(I received Unhallowed Ground from Kregel Publishers in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)