Up From The Sea

If you enjoy stories with a vintage feel, debut author Amanda Dykes is one to add to your list. The tone of this story reminded me of early twentieth century writers like Eleanor Porter and Maud Hart Lovelace, which is a very positive connotation!

The year is 1925 and Savannah Mae Thorpe comes to live with her wealthy aunt and uncle after the death of her parents. Though she is nearly old enough to claim her mother's land as an inheritance, her uncle threatens to sell it and invest the money. When Savannah declares she can find more value in the land, he insists that she prove it. With the help of a quiet young lumberjack, Savannah faces the mountain with a heart to discover her personal history and unravel a local legend that stretches back to the Revolutionary War.

Weaving in the true account of the King's pines, Amanda Dykes gives us a story about family, honor, and atonement. I only wished this prequel novella was longer, but that means it did its job! I eagerly await the release of Whose Waves These Are coming later this month.
The Sky Above Us 

Violet Lindstrom is committed to going to the mission field. A broken engagement and a world war have stalled her plans, but a heart to serve has led her to join the Red Cross and hopefully minister to British children who have been evacuated to the countryside. Dismayed to discover her plans are once again thwarted and she's been assigned to run an Aeroclub for American pilots, Violet struggles to see the men as more than a disruption and a poor substitute to her true calling.

Like his brother, whom we met in The Sea Before Us, Adler Paxton is estranged from his family. Having betrayed everyone he loves, Adler's personal ambition drives him to become an ace pilot. Assigned to be a wingman instead, he struggles to accept his place - just as he has his whole life. He's refused to acknowledge the pain that came with his fiancee's death and his subsequent actions towards his family, but caring friends and God's work in his heart prompt Adler to open up and wrestle with the Almighty just like Jacob of old.

There's a thief among the Aeroclub volunteers, and Violet may lose her job - and any hope of a mission board accepting her - if she can't prove that she's not the one selling Red Cross supplies on the black market. Meanwhile a tall Texas gentleman with a tortured past has caught her eye and become the friend she needs during this difficult assignment. If only she can help him as he confronts his personal demons and comes face to face with the consequences of his actions. Is there hope for a Paxton family reconciliation? Violet wants to see Adler become whole again.

Dreams, ambitions, failures, and faults are on full display in this second book in Sarah Sundin's Sunrise at Normandy series. You'll ache and cry with the heartaches faced, and worry about the safety of Violet, Adler, and the others at Leiston Army Airfield. This is another spectacularly written, well-researched WWII novel from one of my favorite authors. I can hardly wait to see how this series concludes when The Land Beneath Us releases next year!
 Shelter of the Most High

I recently read my first Connilyn Cosette book - and I was hooked! I was thrilled to read this second book in her Cities of Refuge series, and now eagerly await the third one coming out in July. 

Sofea was captured from her home across the Mediterranean Sea when marauders raided their coastal village. She, along with her cousin Prezi, are the only known survivors of the attack. The two girls manage to escape from the pirate ship and wash ashore a Canaanite beach, where they are found by Israelite spies and brought to the refuge city of Kedesh.

Unable to speak the Hebrew language, Sofea and Prezi make assumptions about the Israelites based on the lives they knew on the island of Sicily. Sofea's father was the priest of their people, which further shapes her thinking as she learns of the Hebrews' devotion to their One God. The ways they mistake or misunderstand customs adds a very natural feeling to the story.

Although he is not technically confined within the borders of Kedesh, Eitan is nevertheless bound by actions and promises made when he was a child. He wants to be a soldier and help Israel establish itself in these final years of leader Joshua's life, and eventually he is able to take part in training exercises. A need to be free of his past thunders through his veins.

Danger lurks in this city of refuge - some seen, some unseen. There are people wanting to destroy Eitan and his family, and they are willing to use his growing fondness for Sofea to get to him. Twists and turns mark their paths, and difficult decisions must be made. Cossette once again uses this unique time frame and setting to bring us a wonderful story of hope and redemption. 

If you enjoyed "A Light on the Hill," you'll be happy to know the characters of Moriyah and Darek play large secondary roles in this novel. That was a fun bonus for this reader. I would highly recommend this author to anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction, or would like to add Biblical fiction to their reading repertoire.
When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams 

Jill Eileen Smith is a well-known writer of Biblical fiction, though somehow I have missed reading her books thus far. Unmatched dreams, though -- now that's something I'm more familiar with. Like most Christian women, I've read plenty about the ladies in the Bible, but something about this book seemed a little different. For one, Smith picks women from early in the Old Testament -- all these women come from either Genesis or Exodus. I don't know about you, but for all I've seen on the more popular Biblical women, I've never read anything that included an in-depth look at the wives of Lot or Potiphar. Hmm!

In another unique twist, Smith includes portions in each chapter when she dives into first-person fictional slices of that woman's life. This really sets the scene and gets you thinking about these stories in ways you might not have before. How willing a participant was Leah in tricking Jacob to marry her? What went through the mind of Lot's wife as she hosted the men who predicted the destruction of her city? These are questions for which we'll never know the answer, but Smith does an excellent job drawing out each woman's voice and perspective on the way things might have been.

I hadn't even reached the end of the first chapter before I began collecting quotes form this book. The first one I wrote down? "The details of our hurts don't matter so much as the fact that we have them." Ooh, that is good! I kept writing them down all throughout the book. Another of my favorites came from Chapter 8: "Never be afraid to ask for grace."

Two chapters in this book that really spoke to me were the ones on Hagar and Leah, women who went through a great deal of pain and were despised for various reasons. All the chapters were really good, and the truths on display are applicable to today's world. I'd recommend this for women everywhere, especially those in need of knowing they are not alone in whatever they may be facing. The women of the Bible were just as real as you and me, and the God who was involved in their lives is the One who cares for us even now.

I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
Castle on the Rise

Kristy Cambron's Lost Castle series continues with this Ireland-inspired tale. Like the first book in the series, this is a split-time novel featuring three separate timelines, characters, and plots. In the late 1700s our heroine is Maeve, largely running her family's estate and trying to be a generous mistress, including rescuing strangers who are found wounded in nearby fields. The middle storyline focuses on the 1916 Easter Rising, with young photographer Issy wanting to join the fight for freedom. Our current day setting brings us Laine, a hurting divorcee with a small daughter whose unplanned visit to Ireland may end up bringing hope and healing to both of them.

Having found the timeline in "The Lost Castle" confusing to follow, "Castle on the Rise" is truly refreshing in its straightforward chronology. The historical stories grabbed me right away, and I also felt for Laine and the burden of the secrets she was keeping.

However, much like the first book, I felt too much was lost trying to pack three stories into one. I love learning history through fiction, but it seemed the rebellions of 1798 and 1916 as Cambron tried to describe them lacked context, and the real life people and places lacked impact because they were not developed enough on the page. I felt Issy's story was the strongest and that I could have gathered so much more of Ireland's struggle if only it had a chance to truly grow and blossom here.

My other main complaint was that even basic conversations were difficult to follow because none of the characters' motivations were very clear. I often had no idea why any two characters would be having the conversations as presented in the story.

It is clear that Cambron loves Ireland and wished to honor this country and its fight for freedom. Her description of the location were beautifully done. Perhaps other readers would be able to enjoy the split-time approach more than I this time.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Stray Drop of Blood 

I have so enjoyed Roseanna M. White's recent releases that I've slowly been making my way through her earlier works. I was not entirely sure what to expect with "A Stray Drop of Blood," but that was okay - once I got into the novel, every time I thought I had figured out what would happen next I was always wrong! That's some strong storytelling right there.

Our heroine is Abigail, a young Hebrew slave who lives in Jerusalem. Her mistress is also Hebrew, while the master is a Roman soldier who believes in the One True God. Despite being a slave, Abigail is treated more like a daughter, loved and educated throughout her upbringing.

Things shift drastically when the master's son Jason returns from Rome, having been away for several years. Seeing Abigail's beauty, he believes he must have her for himself, no matter the cost to Abigail or his parents.

Tensions run high in Jerusalem as the words of the teacher Jesus are much reported, and Barabbas wreaks havoc in the streets as he leads an uprising. From the fateful Passover day that changed the course of the world to the beginning of the church in Rome, Abigail's tumultuous journey will keep you glued to the pages.

This book does not shy away from the debauchery of the times, so I would not recommend it for readers under 18 years of age. If sexual assault or abuse is a trigger I would also caution readers to look elsewhere. For a technical note on the writing, I found the vast number of point of view characters to be a different approach. In general I do not prefer to have so many come and go, though it helped with the suspense of never knowing which direction this story would turn. Overall this book was quite reminiscent of a classic story I loved as a teenager: "The Robe" by Lloyd C. Douglas. I would recommend "A Stray Drop of Blood" for adult readers who enjoy Biblical fiction or looking into life as it might have been at the time of Jesus.
 A Desperate Hope

Eloise Drake is one of the few female CPAs in 1908. She's sought all her life to belong, and finally in the ordered world of numbers and figures she can earn her own rightful place. Unfortunately, her competence has landed her in the path of the one man who could undo everything - Alex Duval,  whom she loved wholeheartedly when they were teenagers.

Now mayor of Duval Springs, Alex has been fighting for his town's survival. New York City needs water, and the State Water Board has declared eminent domain on the entire valley, intending to remove all structures and build a reservoir to meet their needs. When the experts and accounts descend upon the town to begin evaluating property and distributing payouts, Alex is shocked to see Eloise again. He has never stopped caring for her, despite the way her guardian forced an end to their relationship.

Alex is determined to save Duval Springs despite whatever the state may say, and Eloise is the only one who can help him. For her part, she always loved his big dreams and risk-taking personality. But is his wild idea truly something that can be accomplished, or merely a desperate hope that will end with the disillusionment of the entire community? Is it foolish to work closely with the man who stirs up so many feelings from the past?

Determination, inspiration, and a large dash of intrigue lead the way in Elizabeth Camden's new release. I love how she found three truly fascinating water-related tales and wove them together in this Empire State series. I would recommend this story to all historical fiction fans! Click for my reviews of Book One and Book Two.

I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts in this review are my own.
 Between Two Shores

Catherine Duval is the daughter of a French father and Mohawk mother. Her Indian name is Stands-Apart, for she has always tried to straddle both worlds. Now in 1759, in the middle of what we know now as the French and Indian War, Catherine must take a side - and her actions may change the fate of a nation.

Near Montreal, Catherine and her father run a trading post. Because of Catherine’s connections she often uses Mohawk traders to smuggle goods into and out of New England, an advantage not shared by many around them. People are starving all throughout New France as the war has taken away all the able-bodied men.

The return of Samuel Crane, now a ransomed British captive but formerly Catherine’s fiance, drastically changes things. Samuel insists he has information that can turn the tides of the war, though he needs Catherine’s help in getting to Quebec, and she may not be willing to give it. Choosing to help Samuel would mean potentially losing everything if she is caught and branded a traitor, but at the same time it might actually help her country if they can bring an end to the conflict.

This book is as deep and wide as the St. Lawrence river, which the story often revolves around. To tell you much about the plot would give away the secrets locked within. Jocelyn Green always presents the reality of historical life - the tragedies may outnumber the triumphs by far, but there is still joy to be found. There’s no fluff here, and the story itself takes a while to launch due to backstory needing to be covered, yet within the pages a lot of beauty can be found as characters draw strength from the Creator God while facing incredible hardship.

My favorite quote from the book came from Chapter 30. Catherine has been asked who she is now after all that has transpired in the previous pages. She responds: “[We’re] two people trying to bring order from chaos, yet held steadfast by a God who loved us before we loved Him.” I don’t know about you, but as someone who is currently going through some uncertain waters, there’s great peace in knowing we are held by God’s love.

I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts in this review are my own.

 A Light on the Hill

In recent years I’ve heard great things about Connilyn Cossette’s Biblical fiction, and she was on my list of authors I hoped to try in 2019. I was thrilled to pick up this first book in her Cities of Refuge series, and it did not disappoint.

Our story opens with Moriyah, an Israelite woman who lives a fairly solitary life due to an event in the past having left her face with a horrible scar. Moriyah wears a veil whenever she is in public and mostly keeps to herself. Now that her father is getting older he has decided it’s time to find a husband for Moriyah, and she will need to be brave and vulnerable in building the relationship.

Things quickly become complicated when she meets the man who has agreed to the betrothal, and furthermore when an accident claims the lives of two young boys.

This book’s setting is fascinating. Not just the focus on the Cities of Refuge, but the look at how things might have been for Israel under the leadership of Joshua as the tribes went in to conquer the Promised Land. This book is post-Jericho but before the Israelites were fully settled in Canaan.

Although this was the first book in a new series, it frequently referenced people and events from Cossette’s previous series. I did not have trouble following along, but I feel it might be even more enjoyable if you have read her Out From Egypt books. Overall I’d recommend this for anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction, and look forward to reading more from this author myself.

 Atoning for Ashes

On the Cornwall coast in Regency England, Josie Chadwick wants nothing more than a peaceful life where her family is happy and in harmony. When bad decisions by her father and sister force Josie to consider a marriage of convenience in order to preserve their social standing, she hopes for the best. Her new husband has a troubled past that haunts him, making the beginning of their marriage very difficult indeed. Secrets abound and danger seems to lurk in every corner, denying Josie the peace she desires.

The level of drama in this book is off the charts. I lost count of the number of secret marriages, disowned offspring, and illegitimate children that were found within these pages. I did feel that some of the turns of plot were hard to follow in a rational manner, such as Josie having never once met the man who lived on a neighboring estate and had for a year been openly courting her sister. Even if she had never seen him around town, she and her sister were close and lived together, so surely she would have met him during their courtship.

One thing I would caution other readers about is the fact that this book contains more violence than I expected. The relationship between Josie and her new husband is quite contentious, and I actually had to stop reading the book for a while after an attempted marital rape. That really bothered me, as I have dear friends and family members who have suffered in abusive marriages, and I'm not sure this is the right kind of conflict to drive the message that the author wanted to bring to the story. There are also other instances of sexual violence in the book, so if that is triggering for you, please be aware this is one you might need to skip.

Kaitlin Covel is a very expressive author who has a lot to offer with her stories. If anything, I would encourage her to develop a subtlety to her writing, as I believe that would only increase the impact her words have on the page. If you missed my recent interview with her, please click here to read it. 

I received an advance reading copy of the book from the author. All opinions in this review are my own.
Where the Fire Falls
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Olivia Rutherford has done everything in her power to shed the past and her old identity. She's changed her hair, her style, and her name. She has assumed a socialite persona and is trying to move in the right circles to allow her art career to take off. No one must ever truly get to know her. Her hard work might be beginning to pay off, but then she's commissioned to capture artwork for the one place she believes she must wholeheartedly avoid: Yosemite National Park.

Despite her protestations, her manager Frank insists that this Yosemite gig will set her on a fast track towards success and fame. While all Olivia really wants is to find a way to provide for the needs of herself and her teenage sisters, she feels like she has no choice but to follow through on the opportunity.

Having spent nearly three years trying to recover from the gossip that forced him to leave the ministry, Clark Johnson loves his work as a trail guide. He might not have a congregation, but he still communes with God every day through His beautiful creation. When he's tasked with escorting an artist who looks like nothing more than a shallow flapper and a small entourage of her friends, Clark realizes he's going to need all his faith and plenty of patience to put up with the citified group.

As we all know, the past often refuses to stay buried, especially if you're treading on familiar paths. Olivia comes to recognize the call of real beauty, real authenticity as she explores the grandeur of Yosemite. She's never been in more danger of being exposed, and quickly realizes that more than financial harm may come her way if her secret becomes known.

I enjoyed everything about this book. It's set in 1929 at a beautiful location, so it's got all the right points for this reader. I loved Clark's sustaining faith despite his own questions, and Olivia's strength in the midst of her brokenness had me cheering for her right away. This book has compelling characters, a fair amount of action, and a mystery that will keep you guessing. I'd recommend it for all historical fiction fans.

Check out the video below for a view of the natural Firefall at Yosemite, or click here if you're interested in purchasing this book.

Tailor-Made Bride

Hannah Richards has dreamed of the day she could open her own dress shop. She arrives in Coventry, TX, with great joy and anticipation. She'll have to live frugally until she's accepted in the community, but she is ready to to give it a go.

The last thing Coventry needs, according to one J.T. Tucker, is a newcomer selling fancy goods that will entice women to discontentment and a desire to live above their means. Having watched his mother leave his father for a wealthier man, J.T. wants to avoid that kind of heartbreak and humiliation for other families. He has nothing against Miss Richards, and in fact he can't quite match his preconceived prejudices with her open manner and the way she can make friends with anyone, but he has every objection to her chosen profession.

The community is slow to do business with a newcomer, but Hannah is determined to win them over. She develops a close friendship with J.T.'s sister Cordelia, which frustrates the liveryman even more. She can't figure him out - he's helpful and conscientious but they also seem to fall into an argument each time they meet.

Soon it becomes clear that someone with more nefarious motives wants Hannah out of town. Can she keep herself safe and find acceptance in the community even with all the challenges?

I enjoyed the interplay between the two main characters a lot, their differing viewpoints offering a lot of room to explore the issue of enjoying everyday beauty versus being strictly practical in all things. Both Hannah and J.T. have a lot of strengths, including a dedicated faith and shows itself in the way they live their lives. This was an excellent debut novel for Karen Witemeyer in 2010, and I'm glad I had the chance to go back and read it here in 2019!
 Bride For Keeps

Everett Cline has tried this mail-order bride thing more times than he cares to admit. Each time something happens that prevents the women from actually marrying him, and he's done. No matter how much it would help to have a wife as he continues establishing his Kansas homestead, he's not going to go that route again. When a good friend goes behind his back and orders one for him, Everett must decide if he's going to give it a shot or pass on her the way the other women have always passed on him.

Fleeing bad memories and the ache of an assault, beautiful Julia Lockwood hopes to find a fresh start in Kansas. Because of her family's medical history and her own personal experiences, she hopes she can find a man who will agree to a marriage in name only. She catches plenty of attention when she arrives in town, but the one man who seems most disinterested is the only one she came that great distance to meet.

Both Everett and Julia try to hide the things they are most ashamed of from their past, but things that have happened to us have a way of butting into the present until we take the time to deal with them. 

I appreciated that both of these characters are dealing with a great deal of shame, but the way they failed at basic communication really bothered me. Also the way Everett became rather obsessed with developing the physical side of their relationship despite their agreement made me uncomfortable - that's the kind of behavior that sends up red flags. There's not a whole lot of action in this novel aside from the unnecessary tension of two people who won't talk to each other, so it was rather disappointing on many levels. I'm willing to give this author another try, but as someone for whom communication is a really big deal, the lack of it is really grating to me.

I recently read three stories from this novella collection, being on a western kick to end 2018, and thought I'd share my thoughts with you.


"A Cowboy Unmatched" by Karen Witemeyer
Neill Archer left his home two years ago on a quest to prove himself. Now he's almost ready to return, but his trip is delayed when he is hired by an anonymous benefactor to repair the roof of a widow's house. He isn't prepared when the widow is young, very pregnant, part Comanche, and in a heated long-standing battle that may be more than she can win without his help.


"An Unforeseen Match" by Regina Jennings

Grace O'Malley's world is disappearing - literally. With blindness encroaching, Grace has had to give up teaching and is trying to settle into the cabin that has been provided for her. Things sure would be easier if she didn't have to live by herself. When a passing cowboy agrees to help with a few things around the cabin, the two find they share a lot in common - including some surprising things that may drive them apart.


"Meeting Her Match" by Mary Connealy
Life keeps jerking the rug out from under schoolmarm Hannah Taylor's feet. Hannah has taken great pride in being a discreet behind-the-scenes matchmaker, but now that she's in such a vulnerable place herself, the women of the town turn the tables and try to make sure Hannah is taken care of by someone who has long loved her from afar.
 Bride of Ivy Green

The Tales From Ivy Hill series concludes with this new release from Julie Klassen. Once upon a time we met Jane, a young widow who was stepping up to the challenge of being an innkeeper, and Mercy, a schoolteacher whose life took an unexpected turn. Will Jane and Mercy both find the happy endings their hearts long for?

Still trying to deal with her body's limitations, Jane hesitates to accept the offer of marriage that has been given to her. With the unexpected arrival of someone from her past, Jane ponders if it will change her future.

Now in reduced circumstances, Mercy considers becoming a governess in order to find a measure of freedom. She pines for the man who has caught her heart, but meanwhile she's caught the eye of a man who could give her every comfort.

Alongside the other Ivy Hill residents we've come to know and love, a new seamstress comes to town with the hope of making a fresh start. Her mysterious background becomes a source of much curiosity, and it turns out she may have more ties to the village than she even knows.

A wonderful wrap-up to a delightful series, The Bride of Ivy Green had me laughing, cheering, and crying by turns. If you enjoy stories reminiscent of Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell, you'll want to add these to your reading list.

I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts in this review are my own.
Novellas offer us a chance to see different sides of authors we enjoy. While occasionally I find the short form holds some drawbacks, there are other stories that rise to the top and leave their mark with the depth they are able to achieve. Here are three such that I read this year.

Click on any title for more information on each story.

Bound and Determined

 Bound and Determined by Regina Jennings

She's determined to stop her father from bringing home a train of camels, but the Army officer assigned to assist her father has a lot at stake if the job is not accomplished. Two stubborn people and a group of unique animals - what a great cast of characters!

Unlucky in Love and Lyrics

Unlucky in Love & Lyrics by Tracy Joy Jones

Amelia Mayberry has been gifted with a beautiful singing voice, but the moment she steps on stage she cannot remember song lyrics. Can help come from an unlikely source? A fun story with a St. Patrick's Day theme.

Then Came You

Then Came You by Becky Wade

This was a very different kind of read, as it was written in epistolary form. Containing no traditional dialogue, interaction, or narration, it still captivates one's attention. Though not for young readers due to content, it really stood out for its uncommon approach.

Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has found himself thriving as he serves the Indian nations surrounding Fort Reno. He's learning their languages, earning their trust, and helping build bridges between the tribes and the troopers. Though his heart has always pined for his childhood friend Hattie Walker, he knows she has never really taken him seriously.

Pursuing her career as an artist has always been important to Hattie, and when her parents begin insisting it is time for her to leave it behind and find a suitable man to marry, Hattie decides to venture west to improve her scope of experience. Though one might mistake her determination for stubbornness, deep down Hattie is sweet and vulnerable. She is shattered when misfortune befalls her travels, and her only ray of sunshine is the man who is able to come to her rescue - her former schoolmate Jack.

Surprised to see her, Jack senses a chance to make a favorable impression on Hattie, but things go sideways when he finds out that the celebration he initiated ended with an Indian marriage ceremony to which neither of them consented! When he tries to untangle the mess, Jack is dismayed when his commanding officer says that due to his work with the tribes, it would be damaging and disrespectful to annul the vows spoken over them. How can he possibly break the news to Hattie that they are married, and even worse, that there will be no easy release from their union?

The predicament these two find themselves in is quite intriguing, and Regina writes with such a fun style that I often found myself laughing out loud. I liked the fact that Jack and Hattie had grown up together, giving an air of depth to their relationship when they must make a bargain about their unusual marriage. There are threads of mystery and danger woven in, and it was interesting to read about Jack's work with the Indians. I would highly recommend this story to all fans of historical romance. I could hardly wait to find out how it would come together in the end!

I received my copy of this book from the author. All opinions in this review are my own.

 Jody Hedlund's Orphan Train series comes to a close with the story of the youngest Neumann sister, Sophie. We first learned about eldest sister Elise and how she traveled on the orphan train to find employment as a cook along the railroad, then followed Marianne as she worked as a placing agent for the Children's Aid Society. The last we knew anything of Sophie, she had run away to try to save two young orphans whom she had been caring for. Though her sisters had long been looking for her, Sophie was nowhere to be found. 

In "Searching For You," we learn that Sophie managed to rescue Olivia and Nicholas and has been raising them with whatever means she could find. The streets of New York City in 1859 are not kind to orphans, and Sophie is barely old enough to pass herself off as an adult. When she gets mixed up with some of the Bowery Boys, she feels they may have found a home within the gang. Gangs come with violence, though, and soon Sophie realizes that she must run again if she wants to keep everyone safe.

Sophie decides they will take their chances with the orphan train, though she's determined that nothing will tear her apart from the children. If need be they can live on the streets again, as long as they are far away from New York City.

Reinhold Weiss grew up with the Neumanns, and now is working his own homestead in Illinois. He knows he inherited his father's explosive temper, and combined with the amount of work involved in running his farm, he is sure he could never subject a woman or family to this reality. He's shocked when his path crosses with Sophie, and faces a dilemma when she begs him not to tell her sisters her location. She promises that if he'll give her time she'll be able to get their lives straightened out so that she's worthy of a reunion.

Certain that she can handle anything life throws at her, Sophie schemes and plots. She'd rather hide than admit where she has failed. But a loving God and steadfast people won't leave her to her own inventions. Will Sophie ever learn to accept the loving help and guidance in her life, and will she ever agree to see her sisters again? You'll have to pick up this book yourself to find out!

Note: Please be aware that this story hints at child abuse and sexual assault, and there is a large portion of the book where the consummation of a marriage is discussed. I would urge caution for young or sensitive readers who may be bothered by this content.

I received my copy of the book from the author. All opinions in this review are my own.
With Every Breath

In another page-turning historical romance, Elizabeth Camden takes us to our nation's capitol in 1891. Kate Livingston is a savvy young widow who helps support her parents' boardinghouse. When she receives a job offer to work as an analyst in a research hospital, the last thing she expects to find is that the position comes to her by way of her old nemesis from school days, Trevor Kendall. She and Trevor battled their wits in the classroom for years, and he's the last person she ever wanted to see again.

Kate is intrigued by the research being done at the hospital and is anxious to get out of her current dead-end job. Even so, it's a bitter pill to see the emotionless, insufferable Trevor every day. As she begins to learn more about his work on curing and eradicating tuberculosis, Kate finds the work fascinating and the patients affable.

Things become unpredictable when they realize that someone is after Trevor, sending him reminders of failed medical experiments in the past and clearly wanting him to fail in the present. Kate becomes somewhat obsessed with finding out what Trevor has been doing in the twelve years since they graduated high school, and the way he keeps his personal life under a tight wrap only fuels her curiosity. When Trevor refuses to buckle under mounting pressure, the mysterious aggressor turns their attack on Kate and her family.

Tuberculosis research has never been so fascinating! I had a hard time putting this book down. At times Kate and Trevor both got under my skin, their dogged competitive natures and stubbornness far surpassing my own. Overall, however, I found this another thoroughly captivating and informative novel from an author I've come to trust as an authority in historical fiction.

We first fell in love with London's premier family of thieves in A Name Unknown, and continued following their adventures in A Song Unheard. Now oldest brother Barclay finally gets his turn to star on the pages, and he cuts quite a dashing figure as he tries to help Mr. V and the Admiralty with anything they need while the Great War rages.

Barclay has worked hard to build their family - a collection of orphans who have banded together to escape life on the streets. He is fiercely protective of each one of them, and even though he's now reformed from his life of stealing to earn bread, there is still an element of his background coming into play in his honest work for the British government. Barclay is assigned to attain the design of a gear that is being developed by a local clockmaker, and Barclay approaches him with honesty rather than the subterfuge that would once have marked his steps.

The clockmaker's daughter, Evelina Manning, has tried hard to fight for her independence, both personally with her recovery from a childhood bout of polio, and also politically as an active suffragette. She is passionate about issues close to her heart. Her world receives a serious setback, however, when her fiancee breaks their engagement and enlists in the war. She was on the cusp of attaining a higher place in society to better proclaim her social ideals, but now she's relegated to being at the mercy of her demanding mother and aunt once again.

Evelina's spark draws Barclay towards her, and for her part, the alluring and somewhat mysterious Barclay makes an excellent diversion from her current unpleasant reality. His family is also highly intriguing. Their friendship will be tested as it becomes apparent that the Admiralty isn't the only one interested in Mr. Manning's gear, and German zeppelins begin their bombing raids over London. It's a dangerous time to live and love, and Roseanna M. White brings it to life beautifully in this engrossing story.

I loved Barclay. His all-out passion for his siblings is something I understand, as well as his lonely musing about romance: "Maybe... Barclay [was] destined to spend his life with children aplenty but no wife by his side to care for them." As a sister and a teacher, that's a sentiment I relate to! I thoroughly enjoyed his story, and I hope Roseanna decides to write another series about this unusual family - there are enough of them to carry us readers through for quite a while!

I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts in this review are my own.



April 2019

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