Tag Archives: Liz Tolsma

Book Review + Giveaway! — The Pink Bonnet

2 Jul

About The Book

Book: The Pink Bonnet

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical, Suspense

Release date: June, 2019

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child
Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Impressions:

The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma continues the true crime series that really exemplifies that fact is stranger than fiction. In the second book of the True Colors series, Tolsma presents a very personal look at the corruption and pure evil that dominated the adoption scene in Memphis from the 1920s right up to the 1950s. The infamous Georgia Tann and her Tennessee Children’s Home Society are at the center of the novel. Greed and power are two motivators for those who stole and sold children. But it is an unrelenting love that wins the day in this fictional account. Tolmsa uses historical touches — dress, setting, culture — to set the stage of this mystery/suspense set in the 1930s. A child is stolen, and mother Cecile Dowd never gives up on finding her daughter. Swept into the drama is lawyer and assistant to Tann, Percy Vance. The two are great complimentary characters — dogged in determination and set on seeing that evil does not win. While The Pink Bonnet is pure fiction, it is a good representation of the subject matter. I had heard of Georgia Tann, but did not truly know how she preyed on the desperate and vulnerable, with seemingly no opposition. While primarily a mystery/suspense novel, this quick read also features a budding romance — it really offers something for everyone.

For a glimpse into an historical true crime story, The Pink Bonnet is a good choice and receives a recommended rating from me.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit and Barbour Publishing for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

About The Author

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

More from Liz

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.

In book two, The Pink Bonnet, Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child? Find out in The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma.

The True Crime Behind the Story

Georgia Tann was a woman who ran an adoption agency in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1924 until 1950. It is estimated that, in that time, she kidnapped over five thousand children and sold them to the highest bidder. She even advertised the children in the newspaper, especially around the holidays. Some of the nation’s biggest celebrities adopted through Miss Tann, including Joan Crawford, Dick Powell, and June Allyson. Learn more about Georgia Tann HERE and visit www.TrueColorsCrime.com for more exclusive content.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, June 20

The Becca Files, June 20

Livin’ Lit, June 20

The Power of Words, June 21

Christian Bookaholic, June 21

Godly Book Reviews, June 21

Spoken from the Heart, June 22

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 22

For HIm and my Family, June 22

Blossoms and Blessings, June 23

Inspired by fiction, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

Connie’s History Classroom, June 24

Moments, June 24

Simple Harvest Reads, June 24

Daysong Reflections, June 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

For the Love of Literature, June 25

Remembrancy, June 26

As He Leads is Joy, June 26

Emily Yager, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Carla Loves to Read, June 27

Inklings and notions, June 28

Changed by Him, June 28

Bigreadersite, June 28

Through the Fire Blogs, June 28

Inspiration Clothesline, June 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 29

Hallie Reads, June 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, June 30

For the Love of Books, June 30

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 1

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

janicesbookreviews, July 2

Older & Smarter?, July 2

By The Book, July 2

A Reader’s Brain, July 3

amandainpa, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away a grand prize that includes a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Pink Bonnet!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/e331/the-pink-bonnet-celebration-tour-giveaway

If You Liked The Sky Above Us …

30 Apr

My book club loved The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin. It has a unique perspective — the Army Air Force pilots who aided the Allied effort before and during D Day and the mission of the American Red Cross in England. So, for today’s If You Liked post I decided to recommend WWII novels also with a unique perspective. Two focus on incidents early in the war — Dunkirk and the Blitz. The other novel explores the end of the Reich from the perspective of an American caught in Nazi Germany. All three are great reads — enjoy!

Direct Hit by Mike Hollow

The jagged blast of high explosives rips through the evening air. In the sky over East London the searchlights criss-cross in search of the enemy.

On the first night of the Blitz, a corpse is discovered in a van in the back streets of West Ham. Detective Inspector John Jago recognizes the dead man as local Justice of the Peace Charles Villiers. But then a German bomb obliterates all evidence.

Villiers, not a popular man, was both powerful and feared. As the sirens wail, the detective must start matching motive to opportunity – and it doesn’t help when his boss foists an intrusive American journalist on him.

Jago soon discovers the dead man held many secrets, some reaching back to World War I. A lot of people wished Villiers dead – and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder.

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright―a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.

Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call―piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.

The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

Daises Are Forever by Liz Tolsma

In the final days of Nazi Germany, the strength of one woman’s heart will determine the fate of a family.

Prussia, 1945

The fall of the Third Reich is imminent. As the merciless Red Army advances from the East, the German people of Prussia await the worst.
Among them is twenty-year-old Gisela Cramer, an American living in Heiligenbeil with her cousin Ella and their ailing grandfather. When word arrives that the Russians will invade overnight, Ella urges Gisela to escape to Berlin—and take Ella’s two small daughters with her.

The journey is miserable and relentless. But when Gisela hears the British accent of a phony SS officer, she poses as his wife to keep him safe among the indignant German refugees. In the blink of an eye, Mitch Edwards and Gisela are Herr and Frau Joseph Cramer.

Through their tragic and difficult journey, the fabricated couple strives to protect Ella’s daughters, hoping against hope for a reunion. But even as Gisela and Mitch develop feelings beyond the make–believe, the reality of war terrorizes their makeshift family.

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Traveling Back In Time

26 Feb

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday. This week we were charged with sharing the various book locations we would love to visit. I decided to share places I have journeyed to recently that are best suited for book travel. Each well-researched book brought a new perspective to a time and place in history. And while a time machine would be required to visit the places I have listed, it is my affection for flush toilets, antibiotics, and the safety of my own home, that prompts a book-only adventure! 😉

For more bookish travel, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Book Locations I Liked Visiting (But Only In A Book! 😉 )

 

Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon (early 1800 Florida)

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson (WWII Austria)

The Liberty Bride by Marylu Tyndall (War of 1812)

The Patriot Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse (Revolutionary War)

Prince Edward’s Warrant by Mel Starr (14th century England)

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton (early 1800s Tennessee)

The Seamstress by Allison Pittman (French Revolution)

Searching for You by Jody Hedlund (1850s orphan trains)

Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette (OT Israel)

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma (WWII Poland)

 

Where would you like to travel?

Top 10 Tuesday — Married Couples

12 Feb

Today is the Valentine’s edition of Top 10 Tuesday — favorite couples. While there are plenty of books that feature the romantic beginnings for couples, there are fewer that detail the good and the bad of marriage relationships. So instead of featuring my favorite young lovers, I am sharing books with old married couples. Old is in italics because that’s how many see a couple who has settled in, but the books I share today show the trials and victories of married life no matter how long the couple has been blissfully wed. A variety of genres are shared to appeal to all reading preferences. I’ve even included a Christmas novella.

For more favorite couples, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books Featuring Married Couples

The Breath of Peace by Penelope Wilcock

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

Emergency Case by Richard Mabry

Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

No One to Trust by Lynette Eason

The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson

When Sings The Heart by Liz Tolsma

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2018

1 Jan

I am bowled over by the number of excellent books I read in 2018! It was very, very, very hard to come up with a list of the best, let alone trying to limit it to just 10! So I cheated (of course) and made two Top 10 Lists — one contemporary and one historical. And before you say but, but . . . I know that three of the books on the historical list are dual timelines, but without the historical component, the book would not have existed. There is also plenty of suspense and romance — really something for everyone on this list. Those with an asterisk were book club books that got unanimous thumbs up! I hope you find one or two (or all) that will pique your interest.

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bloggers’ best of the best lists.

 

Top 10 Contemporary Novels of 2018

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

*The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay

Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

 

Top 10 Historical Novels of 2018

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

*The House of Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

*Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano 

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma

 

What book was your favorite in 2018?

Book Review (+Giveaway): When The Heart Sings

29 Nov

Banner_WhenHeartSings_Blog

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for When the Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

When the Heart Sings-FINAL-front_cover_020518a-HRTitle: When the Heart Sings
Series: Music of Hope #2
Author: Liz Tolsma
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Natia has a secret, and she’s hiding him right beneath her captor’s nose…

The Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their Polish farm to a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia is chosen to be the housekeeper for the camp’s overseer, and Teodor is sent to work in the factory. Despite the strict camp rules—and the consequences for disobeying them—Natia finds a way to communicate with Teodor by sending messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory.

The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the overseer’s doorstep. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear— but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Christian Book | Book Depository


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

liz tolsma

Passionate might best describe Liz Tolsma. She loves writing, research, and editing. Her passion shone through in her first novel which was a double award finalist. On any given day, you might find her pulling weeds in her perennial garden, walking her hyperactive dog, or curled up with a good book. Nothing means more to her than her family. She’s married her high-school sweetheart twenty-eight years ago. Get her talking about international adoption, and you might never get her to stop. She and her husband adopted three children, including a son who is a U.S. Marine, and two daughters.

CONNECT WITH LIZ: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

MY IMPRESSIONS:

One of the highlights of this year was my trip to Poland in April. The experience was wonderful as we encountered beautiful cities, countryside and people. When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma brought all of that back to me, but through a different perspective. The novel set during WWII captures the beauty of the human spirit and its resilience in the face of extreme persecution. Just as my trip introduced me to a country with a strong cultural heritage in spite of the many hardships the people faced over the centuries, this book brought to life the ordinary people of Poland that survived the invasion of Nazi Germany. Powerful in its message and beautifully written, When The Heart Sings is a very highly recommended read.

When The Heart Sings is a small story — small in that it is set in a small town, with a small forced-labor factory, with a small cast of characters. But it certainly is not small in message. Everything about it seeks to put a face on what the people of Poland endured during the dark days of occupation. The characters could be you or me. A young couple displaced from their farm and forced to work under unimaginable circumstances, really slaves to the Nazis. A doctor who against all odds is left to live and practice medicine and do what he can to undermine the efforts of the regime. A young, naive German woman who despite indoctrination and abuse, knows deep down the right thing to do. And the cruel face of evil in the very real form of a Nazi officer. The book also examines the small actions that we can take that have big results.  And under, around, and through all of the drama of the novel, God is not only present, but in control. As one of the character states: “We look at our circumstances and see things as not good. But we don’t see the picture clearly, as the Lord does. He knows what is going on.. Things happen just the way he has planned they will.” (p. 258) A hard truth to accept sometimes, but truth nonetheless. Where is God? is a question asked repeatedly, and in the end the characters and the readers know.

As you can probably guess from the title, song has a large part in the narrative. The music and words of lullabies, love songs, classical works, and hymns encourage, comfort, and help to keep sane those who find themselves in impossible situations. There is an especially moving scene in which song softens the heart of a brutal captor. Even if you have a tin ear (like me 😉 ), you will love the way Tolsma incorporates music.

I absolutely loved When The Heart Sings. It is part of a series, but the books are only connected through theme and setting and can be read as standalones. It is definitely a book you are going to talk about — great for book clubs or friends/family who love to read together.

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

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

 


when the heart sings blog giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive (US only)

  • a print copy of When the Heart Sings
  • Just One More Chapter’ throw pillow seen HERE

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 26, 2018 and last through 11:59pm December 3, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

cropped-justread-logo.png

Top 10 Tuesday — Halloween Randomness

30 Oct

As a blogger/reviewer of Inspirational and Clean Fiction it is a challenge to come up with a Halloween theme each year. I’ve racked my brain this year and have come up with not much of anything. I have already done Halloween Cozies, Spooky Christian Fiction, and even Reformation Reading. Yes I was reaching with that one. 😉 So this year I am opting for Halloween Randomness — covers that remind me of October days, covers that are ominous, and some good old fashioned supernatural fiction. I have read a few of these books; others are at the top of my TBR. I hope you find one you will love!

Be sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl where I am sure you will find some Halloween fun much more clever than mine!

Halloween Randomness

 

Fall-ish Covers

The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear

The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher

When The Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma

 

Ominous Covers

Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon

Lethal Target by Janice Cantore

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

 

Good Old Fashioned Supernatural Thrillers

The Windy Ridge Legal Thriller Series by Rachel Dylan

 

If You Liked The Sea Before Us . . .

29 Jun

My book club was unanimous in its approval of The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin. Although many of us have enjoyed lots of great books by Sundin, this was the first time we have read as a group a novel by her. It won’t be the last! In fact the only thing we didn’t like about the book was the fact we have to wait until next year for the next installment of the Sunrise at Normandy series, The Sky Above Us. So what should we and you read in the meantime? The following are my recommendation for WWII novels that feature strong women actively engaged in the war, either in official capacities or as a part of an underground network. Hope you enjoy!

 

Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey.

It is August 1944 and Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country, stealing countless pieces of art. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all, the Mona Lisa, as a post-war bargaining chip to get him to South America. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue DaVinci’s masterpiece before it falls into German hands?

With nonstop action, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get readers’ adrenaline pumping as they join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh country chateau, the race is on – and the runners are playing for keeps.

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot.

Years of Nazi occupation have stolen much from Brigitte Durand. Family. Freedom. Hope for a future, especially for a woman with a past like hers. But that changes the day American fighter pilot Tom Jaeger is shot down over occupied France. Picked up by the Resistance, Tom becomes the linchpin in their plan to infiltrate a Germans-only brothel and get critical intel out through Brigitte, a prostitute rumored to be sympathetic to the Allied cause. D-day looms and everyone knows that invasion is imminent. But so is treachery, and the life of one American pilot unexpectedly jeopardizes everything. He becomes more important than the mission to a man who cannot bear to lose another agent and to a woman who is more than just a prostitute, who finally realizes that her actions could change the course of history.

Snow on The Tulips by Liz Tolsma.

A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their  lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.

Top 10 Tuesday — I’ve Only Just Begun

26 Jun

While this week’s Top 10 Tuesday theme is all about series readers decided not to finish, I am again bucking the system. It is officially Opposite Day here at By The Book. My list features series that I haven’t finished because, well, they have just begun! Book 1 of each series is read, and I am eagerly awaiting the publication of book 2. For some series the wait is short; others require a bit more patience. All are series that I know I will love, love, love! (The links are to the reviews of book 1 in series.)

To discover what other bloggers think about finishing series, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Series I Began This Year

Blue Justice by Lynette Eason

Called to Protect (release date 7/31/18)

 

Bucklin Family Reunion by Debby Mayne

Fit to Be Tied (release date 8/28/18)

 

Dive Team Investigations by Lynn H. Blackburn

In Too Deep (release date 11/6/18)

 

Lavender Tides by Colleen Coble

The House at Saltwater Point (release date 7/3/18)

 

Music of Hope by Liz Tolsma

When The Heart Sings (release date 10/9/18)

 

Nantucket Legacy by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Minding The Light (release date 7/3/18)

 

Sunrise at Normandy by Sarah Sundin

The Sky Above Us (release date 2/5/19)

 

The Sugar Baron’s Daughters by Lisa T. Bergren

Verity (release date 4/2/19)

What series have you just begun?

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — War Torn Worlds

29 May

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday theme is book worlds that readers do/do not want to live in. I love that authors take me away to times and places I could not and would not dare to visit. I want to know what actual people went through, but I would never wish to have those experiences first hand. My list is all about the sieges, battles, and internment camps of war time. The books on my list are rich in detail and capture the times perfectly. They authors created worlds I am so glad I visited from the safety and peace of my favorite reading spot.

Make sure to visit That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bookish worlds.

 

Top War Torn Book Worlds

The Civil War

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot (Andersonville Prison Camp)

Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green (Battle of Gettysburg)

Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green (Sherman’s March to Atlanta)

 

WWII

The Butterfly And The Violin by Kristy Cambron (Auschwitz)

Daisies Are Forever by Liz Tolsma (Fall of Berlin)

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart (Ukraine)

 

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot (Dunkirk)

Remember The Lilies by Liz Tolsma (Philippine Internment Camp)

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer (Dutch East Indies Internment Camp)