Tag Archives: Bethany House

More Than Words Can Say

More Than Words Can Say

By Karen Witemeyer

The Story

An Impossible Situation. An Unlikely Couple.

A Recipe for Love?

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.

Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him.

Once vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. As trust grows between Zach and Abby, she finds she wants more than his rescue. She wants his heart.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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What I love about Karen Witemeyer is that, though the storylines are different every time, she can be counted on to provide humorous stories that leave me grinning, with a romance and plot sure to keep me engaged.

More Than Words Can Say has all of that and more. I do enjoy a good thrown-together story, and this is just that. Abigail is determined to keep her independence, and Zach is just as determined to hold on to his freedom. And sparks fly. The romance in this story is a bit different from Karen’s usual, as they are in this marriage of convenience.

The danger that is alluded towards with her sister, to me, seemed a bit played-up. Perhaps that will follow in her own story.

I liked that life wasn’t easy for either of these characters. They had to fight for what they wanted, and were often misunderstood in the midst of it.

The main theme of this book is trust. As Abigail and Zach learn to trust each other, they also learn that God is worth trusting too, with all aspects of our lives. Life isn’t meant to be partitioned, with only certain things given to God. And this is the lesson they learn, a timely one for us all.

This is another solid read by Karen Witemeyer, even with the confusion that I mentioned. Long-time and new fans alike will enjoy this marriage-of-convenience story.

About the Author

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

(Biography from Bethany House)

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

Whose Waves These Are

Whose Waves These Are

By Amanda Dykes

The Story

In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Its message? Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss’s humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the harbor village on the coast of Maine, and he sets his callused hands to work.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when GrandBob, the man who gave her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is the one in need of help. But what greets her is a mystery: a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Memories of stone ruins on a nearby island ignite a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

Together with the handsome and enigmatic town postman, Annie uncovers the story layer by layer, yearning to resurrect the hope GrandBob once held so dear and to know the truth behind the chasm in her family’s past. But mending what has been broken for so long may require more of her and those she loves than they are prepared to give.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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Whose Waves These Are is a story to savor. This I knew from the moment I read the back-cover copy. Then as I delved into the story, it became even more apparent. Amanda Dykes writes in a literary style that pulls you in and invites you to soak in the thought-out and deep-rooted words. That alone made this a novel worth reading, but as I progressed deeper into the story, I fell in love with it even more.

I loved that this was a time-split novel. Part of it is told from Robert’s point of view, and part from Annie’s. Both are such strong, interesting characters. Their individual struggles and longings for courage were profound. Their journeys of faith as they came to understand who God is, and His loving, oh-so-dear presence through every storm, is one that resonates deeply. I rarely cry when it comes to a story, whether movies or books, but this one had tears falling at one point.

There is a bit of romance in this book, but it’s not the central theme. Whose Waves These Are reminded me of a Russian Nesting Doll. Stories within stories, waves upon waves, this book was multi-layered and richly done. This is a don’t-miss novel, in my opinion.

About the Author

Amanda Dykes (www.amandadykes.com) is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. Give her a rainy day, a candle to read by, an obscure corner of history to dig in, and she’ll be happy for hours. She’s a former English teacher, and her novella, Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, was met with critical acclaim from Publishers Weekly, Readers’ Favorite, and more. She is also the author of a novella in The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection. Whose Waves These Are is her debut novel.

(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 Cloud by Day, A Fire by Night

A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night

Finding and Following God’s Will for You

By A.W. Tozer

Compiled and Edited by James L. Snyder

The Story

Discover Where God is Leading You!

How can I know God’s will for me, personally? It’s a question that haunts us all at times–maybe when we’re looking for the right job, thinking about moving to a new city, or deciding whether or not to get married. At every stage we have difficult decisions to make, and we long for God’s direction and His warm reassurance that we’re heading the right way.

A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night captures A.W. Tozer’s teaching on the will of God. Taken from sermons he preached just before he left his successful church in Chicago, the title comes from the story of God leading His people out of Egypt and into the promised land.

Tozer was no stranger to facing difficult decisions. His wisdom and biblical insight will help guide you in decisions of your own and reassure you of God’s presence every step of the way.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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I’ve enjoyed A.W. Tozer’s insight and easy-to-follow style in previous books, so I jumped at the opportunity to review one that had been compiled from sermons and writings of his.

The premise of this book is based on how God led the Israelites through the wilderness, and the lessons and trials they faced along the way. Each chapter looks at their experience in a different way, while constantly moving forward in that journey.

I like to use a highlighter while reading Christian living books like this and had it handy every time I opened this book. There were many good points that I highlighted, some convicting, others encouraging. This quote really sums up much of what the book deals with:

“If we let God lead us and give up on our own wisdom, He will lead us on a path that we never imagined we would be on.”

While there is much to be gleaned from this book, there were some things that made it difficult for me to engage as a reader. Some chapters felt like repetitions of previous ones. I’m sure there was an enormous amount of material to condense and include in this book, but there were parts that seemed like mere restatements of previous chapters. It also felt vague at times, like uncollected thoughts, not the well-thought out works that I’d read from him before.

There is plenty to glean and learn from in A Cloud by Day and A Fire by Night, there were just a few things that I personally struggled to get past.

About the Author

A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) was a self-taught theologian, pastor, and writer whose powerful words continue to grip the intellect and stir the soul of today’s believer. He authored more than forty books. The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy are considered modern devotional classics. Get Tozer information and quotes at www.twitter.com/TozerAW.

Reverend James L. Snyder (www.jamessnyderministries.com) is an award-winning author whose writings have appeared in more than 80 periodicals and 15 books. He is recognized as an authority on the life and ministry of A.W. Tozer. His first book, In Pursuit of God: The Life of A.W. Tozer, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Because of his thorough knowledge of Tozer, James was given the rights from the A.W. Tozer estate to produce new books derived from over 400 never-before-published audio tapes. James and his wife live in Ocala, Florida.

(Biography from Bethany House’s site)

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.

Far Side of the Sea

Far Side of the Sea

By Kate Breslin

The Story

In 1918 England, Lieutenant Colin Mabry spends his days decoding messages for MI8 after suffering injuries at the front. When he receives an urgent summons by carrier pigeon from Jewel Reyer–a woman who saved his life and whom he believed to be dead–he can only hope he’ll regain the courage he lost on the front lines as he’s driven back into war-torn France.

But Jewel isn’t the one waiting for him in Paris. Instead, it is a stranger who claims to be her half sister, Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence. She found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive and in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is at first skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust grows.

That trust is quickly put to the test, however, when their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot and their search for answers quickly turns into a battle for their lives.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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Kate Breslin is a master at taking little-known events and details from WWI and weaving them into high-stakes adventures with compelling characters and just the right amount of romance. I think Far Side of the Sea is now my second favorite of her books, surpassed only by Not By Sight, which is connected to this novel.

Far Side of the Sea is complicated by characters who are guarded for many reasons, not the least being that a war is going on and spies abound. I love that this story is written in such a way that I had to keep guessing who the true allies were and who were enemies in disguise.

Though Colin is a wounded veteran of WWI, the struggles he deals with surpass the boundaries of time. I thought Kate handled his struggles with PTSD with grace, as Colin figured out the man he had become. Johanna’s own journey was compelling and timeless as she fought to find those who loved her, and in the end, was blessed with more than she could have imagined.

Both of their journeys of faith were real and honest, which always resonates with me. The romance that develops as the book went on was sweet and avoided the tropes that so often can weasel their way into romance fiction.

I would certainly recommend this book to the reader who enjoys learning as they are entertained by a good story.

About the Author

A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and Christy Award finalist and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at www.katebreslin.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.

Between Two Shores

Between Two Shores

By Jocelyn Green

The Story

She Has Always Moved Between Worlds,

But Now She Must Choose a Side

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years’ War against her wishes when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.

Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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This novel was enthralling. I knew that it was going to be a different sort of tale Jocelyn Green told this time, but I wasn’t prepared for this. Between Two Shores is not a historical romance like Jocelyn’s last few novels. This time, she explores the bonds of family and a love that can be stretched beyond empires and difficult choices.

Catherine Stands-Between has always longed to be loved. She returned to help her father with the hope that she could bring him back from his dark places, and that he would love her in turn.  A fair trade. In her youth, her romance was built upon a similar idea. But as her story unwinds, neither of those two loves are enough. This novel explores the love of family, and the love that will ultimately meet our loneliest places.

Between Two Shores explores a period of the Seven Years War that I was unfamiliar with, since the little I knew covered only the French and Indian War from the American colonists’ perspective. It truly is a breathtaking historical masterpiece, that incredibly walks between, as the novel spans nations: the Kahnawake Mohawks, the French, and the British. Jocelyn Green strikes the balance in this novel of not painting any of the nations as the villain or the hero, as so often we do looking back through history.

As this novel sped to a conclusion, there were times when my eyes were filled with tears. Like life, the end of an adventure does not always look as one would like, and it does not leave one unmarked. But I loved how Jocelyn resolved it all, with a love highlighted from our Creator that meets our every need, exactly where we are.

About the Author

Jocelyn Green (www.jocelyngreen.com) 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 BA 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.

The Curse of Misty Wayfair

The Curse of Misty Wayfair

By Jaime Jo Wright

The Story

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to turn-of-the-century Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin. When the clues she finds lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a postmortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman haunting the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, they must overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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Known for her deliciously creepy mysteries that have the reputation of keeping readers up at night, Jaime Jo Wright delivers again with her latest, The Curse of Misty Wayfair.

What I really love about Wright’s novels is that she creates characters that are so different. Heidi deals with sometimes crippling anxiety, and a childhood that has left her feeling anything but wanted. Rhett, a friend she makes while in Pleasant Valley, is abrupt, sometimes coming off as rude, but ends up being such an intriguing character. I so wanted to find the answers Thea sought for herself, but I think Simeon is the one who stole the show for me. Both Heidi and Thea are set on journeys of self-discovery, but it doesn’t end like you expect. The answers they find are relevant and timeless, creating a seamless tale, though separated by decades. All this wrapped up in a mystery so tangled that I had trouble figuring out exactly how it all could end with any resolution.

Wright approaches a tricky topic in this novel, and one that I don’t think has been addressed as much in Christian fiction. Mental illness, the stigmas around it, and the ways people have tried to address it, wrong and right, are key factors in this book.

This novel breaks some molds and will keep you reading long past your bedtime.

About the Author

Jaime Jo Wright is the Christy Award-Winning author of The House on Foster Hill. She’s also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children. To learn more, visit www.jaimewrightbooks.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.

Searching for You

Searching for You

By Jody Hedlund

The Story

Her Search for a Place to Call Home
Leads Her to the Last Place She Ever Expected

For years, Sophie Neumann has been running from the orphanages of 1850s New York City. Tasked with caring for two younger children, she’s determined not to let them be taken from her, and not to abandon them the same way her older sisters did her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing the state is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. But when the train stops in Illinois, she faces an agonizing decision as the orphans will be placed in new homes. Afraid she’ll lose them forever, she finds help in a familiar face she never expected to see so far from New York.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm in Illinois. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that still haunt him, Reinhold is in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby farm pleading for his help?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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At long last, Reinhold gets his own story! I’ve felt for this poor guy throughout this series. He’s tangled up with the Neumann sisters, but can’t quite find the right place to be.

Both Reinhold and Sophie are driven by fear. For him, it’s fear of becoming the angry, out-of-control man his father was. Her’s is fear of losing her two young charges and in some way, losing her purpose and meaning in life. This fear logically works itself out in some not-so-great choices.

I liked seeing the orphan train from this perspective, as Sophie and the two children are placed out into homes.

It was so fun to see this gripping series come to a close and see these siblings finally find restoration and healing. The romance in this book is—as usual—right on. I think what I most enjoyed in this book were the supporting characters. The Duffs are such a wonderful family, and the various characters that color this book make it that much more fun.

As usual, Jody Hedlund left me wanting more, but also satisfied with this sweet, historical read.

About the Author

Jody Hedlund (www.jodyhedlund.com) is the author of over 20 novels, including Love UnexpectedCaptured by LoveUnending DevotionThe Preacher’s Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog.

(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.