Tag Archives: WWI

Northshire Heritage Series Blog Tour + Giveaway!

26 Jul

Northshire Heritage JustRead Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour for Northshire Heritage series by JP Robinson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOKS

In the Shadow of Your WingsTitle: In the Shadow of Your Wings
Series: Northshire Heritage #1
Author: JP Robinson
Publisher: Logos Publications, LLC
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

The shadow of the Great War looms over Europe, affecting everyone in its path.

Leila Durand, an elite German spy charged with infiltrating the home of British icon Thomas Steele, sees the war as a chance to move beyond the pain of her shattered past. But everything changes when she falls in love with Thomas’s son, Malcolm. Is there a way to reconcile her love for Germany and her love for the enemy?

Thomas Steele sees the war as an opportunity for his profligate son, Malcolm, to find a purpose greater than himself. But when Malcolm rebels, it falls to Thomas to make tough decisions.

The war’s reach extends to the heart. Eleanor Thompson finds her faith is pushed to the breaking point when her husband disappears on the battlefront and her daughter is killed in a German air raid. Where is God in the midst of her pain? In the Shadow of Your Wings presents inescapable truth that resonates across the past century. Then as now, the struggle for faith is real. Then as now, there is a refuge for all who will come beneath the shadow of God’s wings.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

EXCERPT

Leila slipped her shoes back on, held her breath to still her racing heart, then plastered  on a sedate smile. “Oh, there you are darling!” She minced toward him, eyes wide. “So, did you  conquer the old dragon?” 

He caught sight of her and paused, standing before the three paintings of his ancestors.  His face was worn, creased by lines that hadn’t been there only a few minutes earlier. Something  was wrong. Terribly wrong.  

“Malcolm?” Her voice quavered. “Malcolm, what is it?” His eyes had never been so dull.  Whatever had happened in that room seemed to have sucked the life out of his blood. 

“We… we have to leave, Leila. Now.” 

Her blood ran cold. “He’s done it, hasn’t he? He’s disinherited you.” 

Malcolm nodded, averting his eyes. “He’s kicked me out of my home.” 

“It’s my fault.” Leila touched his chest as guilt washed over her. “Malcolm, I’m to blame.  Were it not for me…” 

He stepped closer and cupped her cheek with his hand. 

“No, Leila.” His blue eyes roamed over her face. “I made my choice. I love you.” 

Tears stung the back of her eyelids and she looked away. What have I done? If he only  knew the truth… 

“You don’t understand.” 

“Shh…” He pressed her to him and she listened to the rhythm of his heart. She had been  sent to use him, not fall in love with him. But she did love him. And he loved her enough to walk  away from his father and all that he knew—for her. 

She took his hand. “Leave me Malcolm. Only your father knows about our marriage. Tell  him you’re sorry and you’ve made a mistake. Tell him—” 

He crushed her lips against his own. For a long moment, he just held her, ignoring the  tears that slipped down her cheeks. At length, he pulled away. “That’s a no, in case you were  wondering.” A faint smile touched his lips as he fingered a few strands of her blonde hair. 

She hesitated, her heart splitting with guilt and concern. “I have a flat in London,” she  said. “We’ll go there and sort out what we’ll do next.” 

In the Midst of the FlamesTitle: In the Midst of the Flames
Series: Northshire Heritage #2
Author: JP Robinson
Publisher: Logos Publications, LLC
Release Date: November 8, 2019
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Divided by a lie. Haunted by the past. Bonded by their love.

As the fires of the Great War rage across the European continent, the Steele family is caught in the midst of the inferno.

Estranged from his wife Malcolm wonders if he can ever find forgiveness for his betrayal as he begins the long journey home.

Leila desperately searches for a way to escape her past life as a spy—and the German agent who has been sent to kill her—as she struggles to prove her innocence.

Determined to save his family, Thomas risks everything in a high-stakes political gamble, bringing Britain to the brink of obliteration, as spymaster Robert Hughes plots his downfall.

Will everything be reduced to ashes?Or does God still walk with those who, through faith, step out into the midst of the flames?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

EXCERPT

Malcolm rolled onto his back, folded his hands behind his head, and stared up at the  brothel’s ceiling. So, Leila, I’ve kept my word.

His mind flitted to the last time he had seen his wife. After hearing about the severity of his  wounds, Leila had travelled with his father, Thomas Steele, to visit him at a hospital at Etaples.  The reunion had been anything but happy. 

Malcom’s lips curled back in a sneer. At that fateful encounter, Leila had revealed that she  was a former German spy, recruited by Abteilung 3B to elicit secrets from the son of Sir Thomas  Steele. As a personal friend to both the Prime Minister of England and the head of British  Intelligence, Thomas was too tempting a target for Germany to ignore.  

And I was the gullible errand boy.  

He slammed his eyelids shut. Eight months after he had learned the truth, he was still unsure  of what hurt worse—the fact that he had just been a necessary tool to get to Thomas, or the fact  that Leila had deceived him at all.  

With a groan, Malcolm buried his face in his sweaty palms. After learning of their marriage,  Thomas had banished the pair from his home at Northshire. Too late, Malcolm had discovered  a duplicitous side to his golden-haired beauty. Furious at her betrayal, he had fled to the Front  where the battles were physical and not of the heart.  

Leila betrayed me. She deserves no better.  

Why then did he feel sick with shame? 

In the Dead of NightTitle: In the Dead of Night
Series: Northshire Heritage #3
Author: JP Robinson
Publisher: Logos Publications, LLC
Release Date: March 9, 2021
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

The smallest flame can conquer the darkest night

Darkness gathers in the final days of the Great War as the Germans plot to unleash a weapon that will plunge the Allied world into obscurity.

For the Steele family, the stakes have never been higher.

Leila is forced back into the shadows when the leader of a German spy ring kidnaps her child, jeopardizing Europe’s fragile bid for peace.

Meanwhile, Malcolm fights to keep Northshire Estate as his father stands trial for treason against the British empire.

Confronted with overwhelming circumstances from their past, the Steeles must rely on their grit and faith to conquer the night.

But will it be enough?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | BookBub

EXCERPT

Bending down, Leila scooped her son into a protective embrace and kissed the fuzz on top  of his head. His tufts of hair were a mixture of her own mane of gold and Malcolm’s shaggy  brown, but his eyes were the same shade of green as her own.  

He’s perfect, Malcolm. I want you to see him. To hold him. To love him as I love him. 

Leila let out a deep sigh. “Did I make a mistake, Jenny? Am I wrong to love Malcolm as I  do?” Life was complicated. God had forgiven her past, but it seemed that those made in His  image would not. One mistake had spawned a litany of consequences that she couldn’t outrun  no matter how hard she tried. 

Leila rubbed her cheek against the soft top of her son’s head, savoring the fragrant mixture  of life, hope, and new beginnings. She would not—could not—allow him to pay for her sins.  Which had led her to this point. 

“Against all odds, I became a mother. Against all odds, I’ll ensure my son has a future.” “What will you do?” Jenny took a step back as though she feared the next words that would  leave her mistress’s lips. 

Lifting her chin, Leila met her gaze. “Change everything.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JP Robinson

JP Robinson is an award-winning author of historical/political suspense, a full-time minister, and the president of Lancaster Christian Writers Association. With a tagline of “Unforgettable drama, Undeniable Truth, ” JP’s high-adrenaline novels often mesh real-world marriage and parenting scenarios with vivid fiction. His books have been praised by industry leaders such as Publishers Weekly.

JP often speaks to writers and church groups within the United States and internationally. He has been happily married for over fifteen years to his high school sweetheart.

CONNECT WITH JP: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a Grand Prize of a signed complete set of the Northshire Heritage series (all three books)

PLUS (5) additional winners of digital copies of the complete Northshire Heritage set (PDFs)!

Northshire Heritage JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight July 26, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on August 2, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Print copy US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

If You Liked . . . When Twilight Breaks

30 Jun

My book club unanimously approved of When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin. Sundin is one of our favorite authors, and she hit it out of the park with this novel. There was so much to talk about — the historical aspects of the book, the parallels with today’s world, and of course the lovely characters. 🙂 If you liked this book too, I have a few more recommendations for you.

Woman Doing A Man’s Job

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network–field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but how can he convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amid biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

Biographical Fiction of Real Life Journalist, Spy, And Resistance Fighter

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon

In 1936 Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.

Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names Nancy used during the war, Code Name Hélène follows Nancy’s transformation from journalist into one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance, known for her ferocious wit, her signature red lipstick, and her ability to summon weapons straight from the Allied Forces. But with power comes notoriety, and no matter how careful Nancy is to protect her identity, the risk of exposure is great — for herself and for those she loves.

Nazi Sympathizer

The Queen of Paris by Pamela Binnings Ewen

Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style — the iconic little black dress — and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumors. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life of Chanel during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII — as discovered in recently unearthed wartime files.

Coco Chanel could be cheerful, lighthearted, and generous; she also could be ruthless, manipulative, even cruel. Against the winds of war, with the Wehrmacht marching down the Champs-Élysées, Chanel finds herself residing alongside the Reich’s High Command in the Hotel Ritz. Surrounded by the enemy, Chanel wages a private war of her own to wrestle full control of her perfume company from the hands of her Jewish business partner, Pierre Wertheimer. With anti-Semitism on the rise, he has escaped to the United States with the confidential formula for Chanel No. 5. Distrustful of his intentions to set up production on the outskirts of New York City, Chanel fights to seize ownership. The House of Chanel shall not fall.

While Chanel struggles to keep her livelihood intact, Paris sinks under the iron fist of German rule. Chanel — a woman made of sparkling granite — will do anything to survive. She will even agree to collaborate with the Nazis in order to protect her darkest secrets. When she is covertly recruited by Germany to spy for the Reich, she becomes Agent F-7124, code name: Westminster. But why? And to what lengths will she go to keep her stormy past from haunting her future?

Historical Parallels for Today

The Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner

From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and As Bright as Heaven comes a novel about a German American teenager whose life changes forever when her immigrant family is sent to an internment camp during World War II.
 
In 1943, Elise Sontag is a typical American teenager from Iowa — aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.
 
The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.
 
But when the Sontag family is exchanged for American prisoners behind enemy lines in Germany, Elise will face head-on the person the war desires to make of her. In that devastating crucible she must discover if she has the will to rise above prejudice and hatred and re-claim her own destiny, or disappear into the image others have cast upon her.
 
The Last Year of the War tells a little-known story of World War II with great resonance for our own times and challenges the very notion of who we are when who we’ve always been is called into question.

Audiobook Mini-Review: The Number of Love

4 Nov

I decided to do a little Christy Award reading in anticipation to the announcement of the winners on November 12 and chose The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White, a finalist in the historical romance category. This is the first book I have read by White, but it certainly will not be the last. A book well-deserving of the nomination, I give it a highly recommended rating.

 

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network–field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but how can he convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amid biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at http://www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

 

My Impressions:

The Number of Love is the first book in The Codebreakers series, an historical romance set during WWI. That is its first recommendation — a time period I do not often read in. Historical detail is key. I found the information on the war fascinating, especially the work of spies and analysts ferreting out information on the other side. Characters are well-developed and are very likable. They also do not fit into stereotypes — main character Margot is very unconventional for her time in that she is a woman of reason and mathematics, not relying on feelings, but on logic. Drake, a great hero, is more about the emotional side of things. The juxtaposition of their personalities from the norm is wonderful. As I said spies play a big part in the novel, and the suspense kept me listening (I downloaded the audiobook) and on the edge of my seat. The faith message is very strong. I loved that the author had the characters examine not just the why of their experiences, but also for what purpose. And the way God communicates with Margot is an excellent portrayal of how He gifts us and uses us.

All 3 books in The Codebreakers series are now available — I cannot wait to get back to London during WWI. And some of the secondary characters have a series all their own! The 3 books in the Shadows Over England series are also all available. I have the promise of some great reading ahead of me.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

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

 

 

Book Review: Far Side of The Sea

1 Apr

In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life — a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel’s half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives.

Former bookseller-turned-author Kate Breslin enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family. A writer of travel articles and award-winning poetry, Kate received Christian Retailing’s 2015 Best Award for First Time Author and her debut novel, For Such A Time, was shortlisted for both the Christy and RITA awards and received the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 Carol Award for Debut Novel. Kate’s fourth novel, Far Side of the Sea, released March, 2019. When she’s not writing inspirational fiction, Kate enjoys reading or taking long walks in Washington’s beautiful woodlands. She also likes traveling to new places, within the U.S. and abroad, having toured Greece, Rome, and much of Western Europe. New destinations make for fresh story ideas. Please visit her at http://www.katebreslin.com.

My Impressions:

I haven’t read many books set in WWI so my frame of reference for Kate Breslin’s newest novel, Far Side of The Sea, was very much limited. But the author’s meticulous research filled the gaps and opened my imagination to the turbulent time. Set in England, France, and Spain, this romantic historical novel is all about spies! With agents and double agents, the main characters (and the reader) don’t know whom to trust. It is an adventure back to a time of romance, danger, and courage. Recommended.

The two main characters, Colin and Johanna, struggle with the circumstances life has handed them. Colin’s war wounds are both physical and emotional, and Johanna’s past impacts her present identity. I loved how the two together learned to face their demons, as they banded together to search for Johanna’s sister and father. Their romance begins tentatively, yet strengthens as they face adversity. The historical setting is very interesting, and I found myself saying I didn’t know that! over and over. This book sent me to Google for info on carrier pigeons and Mata Hari, two fascinating rabbit trails. The book certainly made me want to broaden my scant knowledge of WWI. The book started somewhat slowly for me, but as Colin and Johanna’s search heated up, so did my reading pace. I found myself unwilling to put the book down until I found out just what was going on. As you can guess with a book heavily populated with spies there was plenty of mystery and intrigue woven throughout. Faith is also an important part of the characters’ lives and growth and was presented naturally.

Far Side of The Sea is a good choice for fans of historical romance. And if you like an adventure fraught with danger, you’ll enjoy this novel even more.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR

19 Mar

I am very excited about the books I have coming up this Spring — lots of favorite authors with new releases! There’s a little something for everyone on my list — romance, suspense, history, women’s fiction. All are new releases and have the loveliest, Spring-y covers. I hope you find a new book you can add to your Spring TBR List!

For more of what bloggers are reading in the coming months, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Books on My Spring TBR

Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon

After tragedy upends her world, Jeannette Mason retreats to the tiny Oregon seaside town of Hope Harbor to create a new life. Vowing to avoid emotional attachments, she focuses on running her lavender farm and tea-room — until a new neighbor with a destructive dog and a forlorn little girl invades her turf. But she needn’t worry. Dr. Logan West is too busy coping with an unexpected family, a radical lifestyle change, and an unruly pup to have any interest in his aloof and disagreeable neighbor.

Yet when both Jeanette and Logan find themselves pulled into the life of a tattered Christian family fleeing persecution in war-torn Syria, might they discover that love sometimes comes calling when it’s least expected?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites readers back to the charming seaside town of Hope Harbor, where they are sure to find peace, healing, and a second chance at happiness.

The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli

Two women, three hundred years apart, must face the devastation of all they hold dear…

Suspecting her husband is having an affair, Sarah Rodrigues fights to appear unbroken while attempting to salvage her family. Though distracted by her own troubles, Sarah is summoned to an elderly friend’s deathbed for an unusual request—find a long-lost daughter and relay a centuries-old family story.

Determined not to fail her friend, Sarah pieces together the story of her neighbor’s ancestor, Elizabeth Baker, a young colonist forced into an unwanted betrothal but drawn to a man forbidden by society.

While Sarah’s family teeters on the edge of collapse, her world is further shaken by the interest of a caring doctor and a terrible accident that threatens a life more precious than her own.

Inspired by the unconditional love she uncovers in Elizabeth’s story, Sarah strives to forgive those who’ve wounded her soul. But when light shines on the dark secrets of her neighbor’s past and the full extent of her husband’s sins, will looking to a power greater than herself rekindle lost hope?

The Far Side of The Sea by Kate Breslin

In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life–a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel’s half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

Nearly a decade after her husband’s affair drove her back home to South Alabama, Jessie McBride has the stable life she wants — operating her garden shop, Twig, next door to her house on Glory Road, and keeping up with her teenage daughter and spunky mother. But the unexpected arrival of two men makes Jessie question whether she’s really happy with the status quo.

When handsome, wealthy businessman Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter’s lavish wedding, Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. Then Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school, moves back to the red dirt road, and she feels her heart pulled in directions she never expected.

Meanwhile, Jessie’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and navigating a new world of emotions — particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who’s moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie’s mother, Gus, is suffering increasingly frequent memory lapses and faces a frightening, uncertain future.

In one summer, everything will change. But for these three strong Southern women, the roots they’ve planted on Glory Road will give life to the adventures waiting just around the curve.

The Governess of Penwythe Hall by Sarah A. Ladd

Cornwall, England, 1811

Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she tries desperately to forget.

Jac Trethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced at Penwythe Hall, he battles both grief of this brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess — and the mystery shrouding her past — proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall Novels series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either.

Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House. 

Moments We Forget by Beth Vogt

Jillian Thatcher has spent most of her life playing the family peacemaker, caught in the middle between her driven, talented older sister and her younger, spotlight-stealing twin sisters. Then on the night of her engagement party, a cancer diagnosis threatens to once again steal her chance to shine.

Now, Jillian’s on the road to recovery after finally finishing chemo and radiation, but residual effects of the treatment keep her from reclaiming her life as she’d hoped. And just when her dreams might be falling into place, a life-altering revelation from her husband sends her reeling again.

Will Jillian ever achieve her own dreams, or will she always be “just Jillian,” the less-than Thatcher sister? Can she count on her sisters as she tries to step into a stronger place, or are they stuck in their childhood roles forever?

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans — but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans’ home before Laura is notified about her family’s unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God”.

The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.

Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.

Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past — and the most fearsome battle of his life.

When He Found Me by Victoria Bylin

Once a strong Christian, third baseman Shane Riley lost his faith the night he injured his knee in a freak car accident. Determined to return to professional baseball and to find the sister he treated badly, Shane retreats to Refuge, Wyoming. There he meets Melissa June “MJ” Townsend, a single mom battling the virus that causes cervical cancer.

MJ wants nothing to do with the handsome athlete — no doubt a womanizer considering the stories in the news. But when a mistake results in Shane renting her garage apartment, they become friends. That friendship blossoms into something deep and pure, leaving MJ with a painful secret to tell. Even more complicated, she discovers an unexpected tie to Shane’s missing sister — a wounded woman who wants nothing to do with the perfect brother who scorned her.

 

What are you reading this Spring?

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Red, White, and Blue Books!

3 Jul

Happy Top 10 Tuesday — Colors of America! What a better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with a bevy of red, white, and blue books — all with a connection to America’s history. Featuring the settling of a new nation, wars, Civil Rights, etc., these novels connect readers with pivotal times in our nation. I hope you find a new-to-you book to enjoy this holiday week!

 

For more patriotic offerings, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Red, White, And Blue Books!

 

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli

Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green

 

The Pelican Bride by Beth White

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

Snapshot by Lis Wiehl

 

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

 

What are some of your favorite red, white, and blue books?

 

Book Review: The Lost Garden

22 Jul

51qMnO66npL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Present and past residents of a countryside English vicarage search for love.

Marin Ellis is in search of a new start after her father and his second wife die in a car accident leaving her the guardian of her fifteen-year-old half-sister, Rebecca. They choose the picturesque village of Goswell on the Cumbrian coast and settle into Bower House, the former vicarage, on the edge of the church property. When a door to a walled garden captures Rebecca’s interest, Marin becomes determined to open it and discover what is hidden beneath the bramble inside. She enlists the help of local gardener Joss Fowler, and together the three of them begin to uncover the garden’s secrets.

In 1919, nineteen-year-old Eleanor Sanderson, daughter of Goswell’s vicar, is grieving the loss of her beloved brother Walter, who was killed just days before the Armistice was signed. Eleanor retreats into herself and her father starts to notice how unhappy she is. As spring arrives, he decides to hire someone to make a garden for Eleanor, and draw her out of―or at least distract her from―her grief and sorrow. Jack Taylor is in his early twenties, a Yorkshire man who has been doing odd jobs in the village, and when Eleanor’s father hires him to work on the vicarage gardens, a surprising―and unsuitable―friendship unfolds.

 

291535719After spending three years as a diehard New Yorker, Katharine Swartz now lives in the Lake District with her husband, an Anglican minister, their five children, and a Golden Retriever. She enjoys such novel things as long country walks and chatting with people in the street, and her children love the freedom of village life—although she often has to ring four or five people to figure out where they’ve gone off to!

She writes women’s fiction as well as contemporary romance for Mills & Boon Modern under the name Kate Hewitt, and whatever the genre she enjoys delivering a compelling and intensely emotional story.

 

My Impressions:

Katharine Swartz takes her readers back to the small Cumbrian village of Goswell in her novel The Lost Garden. Contemporary and historical story lines intersect in this tale of love, grief and forgiveness. This novel is very British and will appeal to the Anglophile reader.

Marin finds herself the guardian of her 15-year old sister following the deaths of her father and step-mother. Awkward with relationships, Marin bravely faces making a home and life for Rebecca. After moving to Cumbria, Marin finds herself intrigued with a walled garden at the back of her property. She becomes determined to discover the secrets it and a photograph taken almost 100 years previous hold. Eleanor is the subject of the photograph, and her story of lost innocence and enduring love captures Marin and the reader’s imaginations.

Swartz’s characters are very realistic and relatable. Their hopes and fears, flaws and triumphs are well-written. She also does a great job making the setting an important part of the story. As Marin clears away the brambles that have overtaken the walled garden, suppressed emotions are exposed, griefs are revealed and forgiveness is offered. The grief expressed is more of what could have been rather than what has actually been lost — regrets over lost opportunities. The freedom found in taking responsibility is also expressed.

A rather quiet novel — there isn’t a lot of action — The Lost Garden will make the reader think. And in my case, want to hop on a plane and head to the windy coast of Cumbria!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(I received this book courtesy of Lion Hudson and Kregel. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)