Tag Archives: Bethany House Publishers

First Impressions

First Impressions

A Contemporary Retelling of Pride and Prejudice

By Debra White Smith

The Story

In an attempt to get to know the people of London, Texas–the small town that lawyer Eddi Boswick now calls home–she tries out for a local theater group’s production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. She’s thrilled to get the role of lively Elizabeth Bennet . . . until she meets the arrogant–and eligible–rancher playing her leading man.

Dave Davidson chose London, Texas, as the perfect place to live under the radar. Here, no one knows his past, and he can live a quiet, peaceful life with his elderly aunt, who also happens to own the local theater. Dave doesn’t even try out for the play, but suddenly he is thrust into the role of Mr. Darcy and forced to spend the entire summer with Eddi, who clearly despises him.

Sparks fly every time Eddi and Dave meet, whether on the stage or off. But when Eddi discovers Dave’s secret, she has to admit there might be more to him than she thought. Maybe even enough to change her mind . . . and win her heart.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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I’ve long been a fan of Pride and Prejudice—the movies at least. I’m sad to say that I have not yet finished the original novel, but I’m working on it! Now, I won’t get started on which movie version I like the best, but I will say that length is a big factor for me. 😉

First Impressions is a sweet retelling of this classic story, this time set in London, Texas. The characters that Ms. Smith creates harken back to the original story, but each has a bit of a twist. I loved getting to know these beloved characters in new ways, and I felt that Ms. Smith did justice to the story.

I enjoyed watching as Eddi and Dave got to know each other better, and seeing the sparks fly as misunderstandings arose. There were times where I felt the story lagged a bit, but I did appreciate that Ms. Smith stayed true to the major plot points key to the book. I definitely would have been disappointed to see any missing. I liked the portrayal of the sisters in particular.

Overall, I enjoyed First Impressions, but it didn’t grip my attention as much as I would have liked. If you’re a fan of Jane Austen or Pride and Prejudice and looking for something a little different, I would definitely suggest First Impressions.

About the Author

Debra White Smith is a seasoned author, speaker, and media personality who has fifty-four books to her credit, both fiction and nonfiction, with more than one million copies in print. Her work has appeared on various bestseller lists, and she has repeatedly been voted a reader favorite. She holds a BA and MA in English and lives in Texas. Visit her at http://www.debrawhitesmith.com for more information.

(Biography from Bethany House)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

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The Heart’s Appeal

Cover ArtThe Heart’s Appeal

By Jennifer Delamere

The Story

London, 1881

He Never Expected to See Her Again. Then She Appeared with a Most Unexpected Request. . . .

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House Publishers)

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A sweet story that explores an interesting piece of history, The Heart’s Appeal was a good read.

What I most enjoyed about this story was the look into what it would have been like for women trying to become doctors at the time. Jennifer Delamere knows her history, and I felt like I was riding the Underground right along with Julia. I had also never heard of the Contagious Diseases Act. It was interesting to see how these characters and the people who lived during that time might view the law.

The characters were interesting and engaging, and I loved how much of a part Julia’s faith played into her character.

However, I found it difficult at times to get into the story. This author’s writing style didn’t resonate as much with me. That being said, if you enjoy historical novels with strong characters and sweet romance, then you should definitely try The Heart’s Appeal for yourself.

About the Author

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

(Biography from Bethany House Publishers)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

A Refuge Assured

A Refuge Assured

By Jocelyn Green

The Story

Fleeing One Revolution to the Aftermath of Another, She Seeks and Dreams of Peace

Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia, but danger lurks in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers begin to suspect a young boy left in her care might be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement Asylum offer permanent refuge?

Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate his hard-won farm near Asylum, but he soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they are drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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A Refuge Assured is as intricate as the lace that Vivienne creates. This book truly gives insight into what the French Revolution could have been like for those who lived through it. I never knew that lacemaking was a profession that you could be sent to the guillotine for. Nor did I know that many of those who fled France sought refuge in Philadelphia.

For me, this book had a slow start. It took me a while to become invested in the characters, but when that occurred, I was all in.

Vivienne is a different sort of heroine. She is self-sufficient to the extreme, with a strong sense of duty and love for those around her.

Liam is a man caught in a world opposed. A former soldier, he is confronted with the matter of conscience and duty. I appreciated that this was a struggle for him, as it is a very realistic problem.

As this story unfolds, it took me in directions I didn’t expect. It is rich in history and in detail. A Refuge Assured isn’t rushed, but takes its time exploring each new relationship that comes along.

While it didn’t draw me in quite as much as The Mark of the King, I did enjoy A Refuge Assured, and would recommend it to my fellow reading friends.

About the Author

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King, Wedded to War, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. Jocelyn lives with her husband, Rob, and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com .

(Biography from Bethany House)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

A Light on the Hill

A Light on the Hill

By Connilyn Cossette

The Story

Though Israel has found relative peace, Moriyah has yet to find her own. Attempting to avoid the scorn of her community, she’s spent the last seven years hiding behind the veil she wears. Underneath her covering, her face is branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, a shameful reminder of her past captivity in Jericho and an assurance that no man will ever want to marry her.

When her father finds a widower who needs a mother for his two sons, her hopes rise. But when their introduction goes horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.

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From the first word that I read from Connilyn Cossette, I knew that this was an author I needed to watch. Her new Cities of Refuge series starts off with A Light on the Hill, and I was not disappointed!

 

This book kept me up at night. Literally. I could not put it down, as one trial after another fell into Moriyah’s path. I had already come to love this character when she made her debut in Wings of the Wind, and I loved her even more in this book. Her struggle with her disfigurement is heart-rending, and the healing she experiences is so poignant, it made me think of my own less-seen scars and the goodness of God to heal those.

 

The romance in this book, as usual, is so good! I really wasn’t sure how she would pull it off, but she did it so well. Each character, each scene, is so multi-layered and colorful, I felt as if I was walking through the lands of Israel and Canaan with them.

 

It was fascinating, seeing the history of this time period. I knew quite a bit about it already, but Connilyn made it come alive.

 

Listening to God’s voice, trusting Him with our lives, with ourselves, is a huge theme of this book. Connilyn handles it so well, and it will be a theme that will linger in my heart and thoughts for some time.

 

In summary, if you’ve read any of Connilyn’s books before, you’ll love A Light on the Hill. If you love fiction set during the times of the Bible, you’ll love Connilyn’s books. If you like to read and enjoy quality fiction, you need to read A Light on the Hill!

 

About the Author

When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), bestselling author Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure, out-of-print history books. There is nothing she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus. Her novel Counted With the Stars won the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semifinalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives near Dallas, Texas. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com .

 

(Biography from Bethany House)

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

The Sound of Rain

The Sound of Rain

By Sarah Loudin Thomas

The Story

In the Dark of the Mine, In the Face of Rising Water,

In the Shadows of the Hills, Faith Will See Them Through

Judd Markley knows he can never set foot underground again. The mine collapse that nearly killed him and claimed his brother’s life means leaving West Virginia forever. Although that hard Appalachian world is all he knows, he puts it behind him and heads for the open sky of the thriving town of 1954 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Larkin Heyward’s life in the beach town is uncomplicated, mostly volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more and being more–maybe moving to the hills and hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she’s never even met someone who’s lived there–until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father’s timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a hurricane that changes Myrtle Beach forever, Judd’s and Larkin’s dreams pull them in divergent directions. It will take a significant sacrifice to keep them together–or maybe, it will take a miracle.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House.)

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This is a sweet story about living your life the way God designed for you, not the way you’ve designed for yourself or others have designed for you. This book traverses the mines of West Virginia, the beaches of South Carolina, and the mountains of Kentucky. It opens with a bang and it kept me turning pages! I enjoyed the historical aspect of this book. I felt as if I was living there as Larkin visited the hospital as a candy striper, then learned how to live in an altogether different culture in Kentucky.

These characters learn and grow and face difficult decisions, just like any of us. Their personal journeys were fraught with difficult choices. The romance was sweet and gradual, and it all worked together so well.

This laid-back story even has a bit of mystery to it, which I enjoyed. Fans of Sarah Loudin Thomas will enjoy this most recent book, The Sound of Rain.

About the Author

Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fundraiser for a children’s ministry and has written for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as The Asheville Citizen-Times. She is the author of Miracle in a Dry Season, Until the Harvest, and A Tapestry of Secrets. She holds a BA in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina. She can be found online at www.sarahloudinthomas.com.

(Biography from Bethany House.)

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Blind Spot

Blind Spot

By Dani Pettrey

The Story

The Wrath is Coming. But They Don’t Know Where–Or When.

“The wrath is coming” were the final words that FBI agent Declan Grey heard the suicide bomber say. Now Declan is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after or when the threat will be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation’s best clue leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw for assistance. She’s sought justice for refugees and the displaced around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. As they work together to uncover the mounting threat, the tension between them also includes a spark she can’t deny–and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything more can develop, they find themselves in a race against time to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House Publishers)

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Any-current-crime-thriller-on-TV, you’ve got nothing on the Chesapeake Valor series! I have been closely following Dani Pettrey’s releases for a while now, because they are not something you would want to miss!

Dani combines suspense, espionage, terrorists, and near-death experiences in a way that reminds of the latest crime thriller on T.V., minus the immorality, language, and gore. I love how she keeps me reading, keeps me guessing as she weaves the plot. The side plot that continues throughout the book, bringing in different points of view from previous characters is also a part that I really enjoy. Dani is able to do this without detracting from the main plot.

I also love the romance element. Because this is a series, the groundwork for Declan and Tanner has already been laid, but comes to a head in Blind Spot, and it’s not something you want to miss!

What I admire most, is the outspoken faith element. These characters rely on each other, as friends, but rely on God more. It’s refreshing and energizing when compared to the many crime shows and novels available these days with nothing more to offer than entertainment.

I am eagerly anticipating the next release in this series, and I have a feeling it’s only getting better from here!

About the Author

Dani’s adventure-focused Alaskan Courage series climbed the CBA bestseller lists, with Submerged staying in the top twenty for five consecutive months. The five-book series also won multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, among others. She turns her attention to crime and law enforcement in her home state of Maryland in her new Chesapeake Valor series, starting with Cold Shot, which Library Journal called, “a harrowing and thrilling ride.” For more information about her novels, visit danipettrey.com.

(Biography from Bethany House Publishers)

I was provided a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed are my own.

A Name Unknown

A Name Unknown

By Roseanna M. White

The Story

She’s Out to Steal His Name. Will He Steal Her Heart Instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets–instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she’s offered the challenge of a lifetime–determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. After all how does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown–so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth–about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House Publishers)

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            This is such a unique book! I absolutely fell in love with the characters, and though I flew through it, I am ready to jump back in and start the journey again.

Rosemary Gresham isn’t your normal romance-novel heroine. She’s sassy and street-smart and a thief. Her motives aren’t for Peter’s good, but as she learns that he doesn’t live up to his stereotype, her heart starts to change. The changes wrought in Rosemary are gradual and realistic, and the struggles she faces as she understands God’s love for her were moving. Going from always being told that she’s trash, to comprehending the great love and value she has in Christ was beautiful to read.

Peter is a hero to look up to. He reaches out to Rosemary, writing to her about faith and Christ and what it means to be a Christian. His limitations, a speech impediment, do hold him back, but he learns to fight past those. He’s not perfect, not by any means, but how he responds to his own failures as well as those of others made him even more endearing.

This story is jam-packed with characters that come alive, their motives unclear, their secrets many. It’s filled with danger, suspense, history, faith, and romance. In fact, I would say that it’s everything I enjoy reading in a book.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of nine novels, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Roseanna lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.RoseannaMWhite.com .

(Biography from Bethany House Publishers)

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.