Tag Archives: historical fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Fancy Fonts!

27 Sep

Today’s TTT is all about typography — book covers where the title takes center stage. I went with fancy fonts as my focus. I have a mix of those I have read and some on my TBR list. There are a lot of great books on the list; hope you find one to love!

For more, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Fancy Fonts!

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin

Dangerous Beauty by Melissa Koslin

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

Healing Skye by Janet W. Ferguson

In Search of A Prince by Toni Shiloh

Jane And The Year Without A Summer by Stephanie Baron

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

The Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

To Love A Viking by Heather Day Gilbert and Jen Cudmore

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Mini-Book Review: The Souls of Lost Lake

21 Sep

Jaime Jo Wright is the queen of spooky, and The Souls of Lost Lake is no exception! The dual timeline features a young woman who everyone suspects of murdering her family, yet there’s no evidence and plenty of skepticism that a child could carry out such a heinous crime. Years later Ava Coons has become a campfire story to scare the daylights out of kids! Wren grew up with the stories, but now suspects that a missing child is somehow tied to the legend. I loved both stories as told by Wright. To get the scoop on what really happened decades before, and have a modern mystery to solve, was a treat for this reader. And when I say spooky, I mean it! Especially a creepy porcelain doll that shows up in unexpected places — shiver-y goodness. The title is appropriate as people can be lost in so many ways. While throughout their lives, Wren and Ava feel disconnected from others, they find a sense of place and acceptance. Wright kept me guessing until the very end of the book. I didn’t see either ending coming!

The Souls of Lost Lake is perhaps my favorite of all of Wright’s books, and that is saying a lot. It definitely is a highly recommended read. Just make sure you keep the light on. 😉

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

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

To save the innocent, they must face an insidious evil.

Wren Blythe has long enjoyed living in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, helping her father with ministry at a youth camp. But when a little girl in the area goes missing, an all-out search ensues, reviving the decades-old campfire story of Ava Coons, the murderess who is believed to still roam the forest. Joining the search, Wren stumbles upon the Coonses’ cabin ruins and a sinister mystery she is determined to unearth.

In 1930, Ava Coons has spent the last several years carrying the mantle of mystery since the day she emerged from the woods as a thirteen-year-old girl, spattered with blood, dragging a logger’s ax. She has accepted she will never remember what happened to her family, whose bodies were never found, and that the people of Tempter’s Creek will always blame her for their violent deaths. And after a member of the town is murdered, and another goes missing, rumors spread that Ava’s secret is perhaps more malicious than previously imagined.

Two women, separated by time, must confront a wickedness that not only challenges who they are but also threatens their lives, and the lives of those they love.

Daphne du Maurier and Christy Award-Winning author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful, mysteries stained with history’s secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimewrightbooks.com!

Top 10 Tuesday — Fall TBR

20 Sep

I can’t wait until it is Fall here in the sunny South. High temperatures are still in the mid-80s where I live, but we have had a hint of cool-ish air in the mornings. Not enough to declare it is sweater weather, but it’s promising. 😉 I have a lot of great books on my TBR list spanning a number of genres. There should be something on my list to pique everyone’s interest!

For more Fall TBR Lists, head to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Fall TBR List

Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills

Crossfire by Lynette Eason

Dangerous Beauty by Melissa Koslin

Deception by Patricia Bradley

The Lady’s Mine by Francine Rivers

A Night to Remember by Danny and Wanda Pelfrey

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

A Stranger’s Game by Colleen Coble

Turn to Me by Becky Wade

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Audiobook Review — Every Word Unsaid

15 Sep

I recently listened to the third of Kimberly Duffy‘s books set in India. I loved the exotic feel of Every Word Unsaid and the appreciation that main character Augusta Travers had of the uniqueness of India. This is an historical novel that features a woman’s place both in American and Indian society. If you like traveling to foreign lands, even from an armchair, then I highly recommend trying this book out.

Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape. 

Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her. 

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes readers back in time and across oceans. Her books feature ahead-of-their-time heroines, evocative settings, and real-life faith. Kimberly loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind. 

You can find Kimberly at:

http://www.kimberlyduffy.com 

My Impressions:

Kimberly Duffy has ignited my imagination in her books. Every Word Unsaid is just the latest to bring another place and time to life for me. Augusta Travers, or Gussie, is a main character to love. Her need to find a place in the world, to do something important, is at odds with her family and societal expectations. But as she runs to India to photograph and document its wonders for her magazine’s readers, Gussie grows in her understanding of the world and herself. India was not all she expected, and neither is her renewed relationship with her childhood friends. Every Word Unsaid seems like a coming of age story for Augusta as she discovers the beautiful, the tragic, and the horrific world of early 1900s India. Readers will discover the tenuous place women had in society, the domination of colonial rule in everyday life, and the necessity to see people as they are — unique and valued. There’s adventure, suspense, and romance all wrapped up in a beautifully written story. (I am in awe of Duffy’s facility for creating a wonderfully crafted narrative.) You’ll fall in love with all of the characters, not just Gussie. The audiobook was excellently narrated, and I was immediately swept up in the story.

For those seeking an immersive reading experience, I highly recommend Every Word Unsaid.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Geographical Titles

13 Sep

Happy Tuesday! Surprise, surprise! I am actually sticking to the topic today. It was fun looking back at the books I’ve read to find titles (and covers!) that could be found on a map, albeit a fictional one. 😉 Many genres are represented. I hope you find a book to love!

For more geographical titles, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Geographical Titles

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Bookshop by The Sea by Denise Hunter

Bride of A Distant Isle by Sandra Byrd

The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey

The House at The End of The Moor by Michelle Griep

A Light on A Hill by Connilyn Cossette

On The Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright

A Silver Willow by The Shore by Kelli Stuart

Under The Bayou Moon by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

First Line Friday — The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

9 Sep

Happy Friday! My book club read The Christie Affair a few months ago. This fictional account that speculates on what happened during the weeks Agatha Christie went missing in 1926 was very interesting, but focused more on other characters than Christie herself. I picked up The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict at my local indie book store to get yet another take on the mystery surrounding the Queen of Mysteries! Now to find time to actually read it. 😉

Here’s the first line:

The letter flutters on the desk, almost keeping time with the footsteps thundering across the floor.

In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car—strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.

What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?

Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie’s masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.

Author, Author! — Kathleen D. Bailey And Redemption’s Hope

7 Sep

About The Book

Book: Redemption’s Hope

Author: Kathleen D. Bailey

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: July 22, 2022

Two distinct sets of villains. Two orphaned children. A man without a country and a woman with too much past . . . . All in a rambunctious young country where anything goes, especially in the West. Seriously. What can go wrong?

In this latest installment of the best-selling series, “Western Dreams”, join Jenny and White Bear as they cross the historic West in an epic story peppered with grit, guns, and glory that award-winning author Kelly Goshorn calls “a sweeping tale of faith, dedication, and perseverance set in the American west.”

Click here to get your copy!

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About The Author

Kathleen D. Bailey was a child in the 50s, a teen in the 60s, a young adult in the 70s, and a young mom in the 80s. It’s been a turbulent, colorful time to grow up, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and written about most of it.

More from Kathleen

The “Western Dreams” series

The Oregon Trail was one of the premier events in American history, with people giving up everything to see what waited on the other side of the continent. Some had nothing to give up, and they joined a wagon train simply to survive. That was the case with Caroline Pierce O’Leary, a gently-bred widow whose young husband died before they could make a go of their farm. What would happen, I mused, if Caroline took the skimpy proceeds from selling her farm, signed on as a cook for a wagon master, and worked her way West? And what would happen if the scout on that particular wagon train was the man who had betrayed her years before, and they had to work together to cross the prairie? What if, what if, what if?

Everyone who hopped on a wagon for the Western Migration had a story, and I knew I’d found mine. As Caroline and Michael Moriarty struggled to rebuild their relationship, a host of other characters formed around them like a snowball. The loving Harkness family, who befriended Caroline on the way down from Ohio. Pious matrons who looked down on her and their harried husbands. Jenny Thatcher, the saloon girl who breaks from that life to save Michael’s. And Pace Williams, the wagon master, a man who had seen too much of life before he even took to the trail. The first book in the Western Dreams series, “Westward Hope,” debuted in September 2019.

I fell in love with Jenny and I fell in love with Pace. Jenny followed her new friends to the muddy Oregon hamlet where they settled, and Pace gave up the trail to make a life in the Oregon woods. But I wasn’t done with either of them – they had their own stories to tell. Pace battled his own demons and his love for Michael’s sister Oona, and it was enough to give them their own book, “Settlers Hope,” published in July 2020. I also spun off two novellas, “The Logger’s Christmas Bride” and “The Widow’s Christmas Miracle,” from the bigger books, and these were published with Pelican Book Group’s Christmas Extravaganza.

Jenny Thatcher demanded her own book, and she had a lot to offer. Saloon girl, wagon train scout, hotel cook and maid, horse breeder. Jenny could do anything, and she’d already proved it in the first two books. But Jenny had some unfinished business – the handsome Indian brave who’d saved her life, early in the westward journey. She’d never forgotten him, and White Bear had never forgotten her. What if she left the horse farm, and all she’d achieved in Oregon, to take to the trail again and find him? And what if he had the same idea? What if they crisscrossed the known world, picking up strays and meeting historical figures before coming together in New Orleans? (Honestly, what better place to reconnect with a lost love?) And what if the forces of evil split them up again, so they had to keep searching?

Though Jenny accepted Christ as her Savior sometime in the second book, her past continues to haunt her, and she wonders if she can ever be good enough for God. She’s physically given up the saloon life, but her inner doubts remain. White Bear struggles with a different facet of their union: can he sentence her to the criticism and censure of the white world if they marry?

The epic journey of two larger-than-life people formed the basis for the third Western Dreams book, “Redemption’s Hope,” out July 22, 2022.  Like Caroline and Michael, Pace and Oona, Jenny and White Bear find their answers in the Risen Christ.

Am I done with the West? Not likely. While I’m working on new novels set in other time periods, the West and my personal Western Dreams keep tugging at me. What happened to the Harkness family, Caroline’s friends, when they went to California? What happened to the ragged Smith children Caroline befriended? What happened to Jenny’s traveling companion, the would-be miner Noonday?
And how can I give this up when I haven’t written a cattle drive or a barroom brawl?

Q & A with Kathleen D. Bailey

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I was probably six and reading Maud Hart Lovelace’s “Betsy-Tacy” books. Always loved to tell stories. “Betsy” wanted to be a writer and I figured I could, too.

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

My fifth-grade teacher encouraged me and let me read my stories in front of the class.

Why did you choose the Western fiction genre?

I kind of “fell into” the Western genre. I had an idea for an Oregon Trail book, and when that was done, I had characters who demanded a sequel. And another sequel. And two related novellas. The West is so vast, and there’s so much I haven’t touched yet – the Land Rush, the Gold Rush, cattle drives and barroom brawls. 

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

The biggest obstacle was me. I had to learn to take criticism. Could have shaved years off my journey if I’d listened to more people.

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc. 

Internet research, now. Not so much in person, though I’m always open to it. 

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

Blocks of time Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the morning, then catch as catch can on the weekend if I have something left over. I live near a lake, and in the summer I’ll often go out and take a dip, then edit hard copy with my trusty red pen under a beach umbrella. 

How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits) 

It depends. Some “gel” for up to 10 years. “Redemption’s Hope” took about a year. The characters were set because Jenny was in the first two books, but I had a huge task with the plotting. She’s looking for him, he’s looking for her, so those are two separate epic journeys, and I had to make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be. Color-coding is my fallback for this kind of thing.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel.

Jenny Thatcher, the heroine of “Redemption’s Hope,” appeared in my first two Western Dreams novels, the saloon girl turned wagon train scout turned hotel cook. Jenny has accepted Jesus as her Savior, but finds it challenging to let go of her murky past. She wants to see White Bear again, the Native man she met on the Overland Trail, but she doesn’t think she’s good enough for him. And as a Native man with a foot in the White world, White Bear doesn’t know where he belongs, so he’s not sure he can take her there. She has to let go of her past, and he has to recognize that she’s strong enough to live the life he can offer her. I knew I wasn’t done with Jenny yet, so I gave her her own book. Of course that meant it had to be White Bear’s book too. I also wanted to do something in the “epic” format, with two characters criss-crossing the then-world to find each other. 

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

That God is more than conqueror to anything they are facing, Then and Now.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

I was going to step away from the Oregon Trail, and Westerns in general, to see if I could be good at anything else. But those pesky characters keep nagging at me. Right now it’s Michael Moriarty’s older brother Tom, stuck in Ireland during the Famine. What will it take for me to bring Tom to the Oregon Country, first in the steerage and then on the wagon train? I’m about to find out…

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, September 2

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 3 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, September 4

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 5 (Author Interview)

Lily’s Book Reviews, September 5

For Him and My Family, September 6

By The Book, September 7 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 9

deb’s Book Review, September 10

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, September 11 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 13

Through the Fire Blogs, September 14 (Author Interview)

Connie’s History Classroom, September 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of $50 Amazon card and copy of book!!

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Train Vibes

6 Sep

I am going way off script today in anticipation of my trip to the UK next week. We were supposed to have a planes, trains, and automobiles adventure, but learned that there will be an industrial action the days we were to get on board for two destinations. In the US that would be called a strike! At least they were polite about it and we were given a bit of a heads up. 😉 So it was to the car rental sites we went. We looked for a silver lining to having to drive on the wrong side of the road and navigate the roundabouts (on the wrong side), and found a few. Some train scenes from novels came to mind. You know the ones where orphans were transported across the country without their parent’s permission, the harrowing natural disasters, accidents, bombs, murders, and, of course, serial killers. Maybe planes and automobiles will be enough. 😉 Check out my list of novels with all the train vibes.

For those bloggers who kept to the script, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Novels with Train Vibes

Collison of Lies by Tom Threadgill

The Girl from The Train by Irene Joubert

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

Murder on The Orient Express by Agatha Christie

The Mystery of The Blue Train by Agatha Christie

Night Fall by Nancy Mehl

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

Book Review — A Lady’s Guide to Death And Deception

6 Sep

What is a spy willing to do when both her heart and her country are at risk?

Life changes once again for British spy Miss Mary Bennet when Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from the Isle of Elba. Mary quickly departs England for Brussels, the city where the Allied forces prepare for war against the French. But shortly after her arrival, one of the Duke of Wellington’s best officers is murdered, an event which threatens to break the delicate alliance between the Allies.

Investigating the murder forces Mary into precarious levels of espionage, role-playing, and deception with her new partner, Mr. Withrow-the nephew and heir of her prominent sponsor, and the spy with whom she’s often at odds. Together, they court danger and discovery as they play dual roles gathering intelligence for the British. But soon Mary realizes that her growing feelings towards Mr. Withrow put her heart in as much danger as her life. And then there’s another murder.

Mary will need to unmask the murderer before more people are killed, but can she do so and remain hidden in the background?

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

AUDIOBOOK PURCHASE LINKS

AUDIBLE | LIBRO.FM | CHIRP BOOKS | APPLE BOOKS

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Katherine Cowley read Pride and Prejudice for the first time when she was ten years old, which started a lifelong obsession with Jane Austen. Her debut novel, The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her Mary Bennet spy series continues with the novels The True Confessions of a London Spy and The Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception. Katherine loves history, chocolate, traveling, and playing the piano, and she has taught writing classes at Western Michigan University. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her husband and three daughters.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW

My Impressions:

I am a sucker for anything Jane Austen. I especially love the variations of her novels in which supporting characters become the stars. Fun spin-offs, if you will. Katherine Cowley has created the perfect role for younger sister Mary Bennet in her Secret Life of Mary Bennet series. Mary a spy? How unexpected and thoroughly charming! I listened to the audiobook of The Lady’s Guide to Death And Deception, book 3 in the series, and was immediately swept up in the intrigue and mystery. The combination of old favorites (and not so favorites) from Pride And Prejudice and historical figures of the day made this book unputdownable. While staying true to Austen’s depiction of Mary, Cowley has certainly created a very grown-up version of Mary. I loved her prim and proper manners as she dons disguises, practices her shooting, and finds romance. This book is a must-read for Janeites! Even though it was book 3 of the series, I had no trouble following the plot or adjusting to this new side of Mary. I do, however, HAVE to read books 1 and 2 now! Thanks to Cowley for adding more to my TBR stack. 😉 I very much enjoyed the audiobook. The narrator was spot-on. The Lady’s Guide to Death And Deception is a highly recommended read or listen!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Back to School

30 Aug

Don’t know much about history, don’t know much about biology . . . ? Well, I’ve got some books for you! This week’s TTT is Back to School Freebie. I love Sam Cooke‘s song, What A Wonderful World This Would Be and always think about it when I hear back to school. My list today features books that fit the lyrics of this old school song (see what I did there? 😉 ). There are 6 subjects listed in the lyrics, and I have come up with 2 books each. An even dozen of great books! Who cares if some of the books loosely fit the category — it’s all in fun! I hope you enjoy my list.

For more fun back to school lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top “Back To School” Books

History

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan (WWII, could also count as Home Ec 😉 )

To Love A Viking by Heather Day Gilbert and Jen Cudmore (Dark Ages Europe)

Biology

Healing Skye by Janet W. Ferguson (marine biology)

Sunrise by Susan May Warren (bear tracking in Alaska)

Science

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters (nuclear physics)

The Engineer’s Wife by Tracy Enerson Wood (bridge building)

French

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar (WWII France)

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin (WWII France)

Geography

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy (globe-trotting journalist)

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel (a bucket list trip)

Mathematics

Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini (early computing machine)

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White (WWI code breaking)