Tag Archives: Christian Fiction

The Cumberland Bride

The Cumberland Bride

By Shannon McNear

The Story

Thomas Bledsoe and Kate Gruener are traveling the Wilderness Road when conflicts between natives and settlers reach a peak that will require each of them to tap into a well of courage.

A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

Love and Adventure Are Discovered on the Wilderness Road

In 1794, when Kate Gruener’s father is ready to move the family farther west into the wilderness to farm untouched land, Kate is eager to live out her own story of adventure like he did during the War for Independence and to see untamed lands. And she sets her sights on learning more about their scout, Thomas Bledsoe. Thomas’s job is to get settlers safely across the Kentucky Wilderness Road to their destination while keeping an ear open for news of Shawnee unrest. But naïve Kate’s inquisitive nature could put them both in the middle of a rising tide of conflict. Is there more to Thomas’s story than he is willing to tell? Is there an untapped courage in Kate that can thwart a coming disaster?

(Back cover summary from Amazon)

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Oooh, The Daughters of the Mayflower series just keeps getting better! When I saw that Shannon McNear’s book was going to be set in the Cumberland area, I knew I had to read it. I now live in that uniquely beautiful location, so I was eager to see what this book would consist of.

I loved the back story to this branch of the family. Kate’s father was a Hessian soldier fighting for the British, but his life took an unexpected turn. Kate’s love for other’s stories can—and does—get her in trouble, but it’s that fascination with other’s lives on a relational level that first draws her to Thomas Bledsoe.

Thomas is everything that Kate is not. He’s quiet, toughened by life, and far from God. As these two characters get to know each other, there’s an undeniable chemistry there. But with danger present nearly every step of their journey, it’s perilous to get involved with anyone else.

Shannon McNear is such a great story teller. I couldn’t help but get drawn into the story. Her writing style draws one back into the time period and resurfacing to modern times was no easy thing.

The characters in this story are so compelling, the historical period fascinating, and the romance spot-on. The faith element, as Thomas understands more about God and His ways, as much as man can, and Kate being put to the test to see what her faith is really made of, was so organic, that I felt I was taking that journey myself.

Either as a part of the series or as a stand-alone, The Cumberland Bride is a novel you do not want to miss. I couldn’t put it down and cannot recommend it heartily enough.

About the Author

Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. A Midwestern farm girl who lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for more than two decades before being transplanted to North Dakota, she’s a military wife, mother of 8, and a member of ACFW and RWA. When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies.

(Biography from Amazon)

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.

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An Hour Unspent

An Hour Unspent

By Roseanna M. White

The Story

With Danger Creeping Ever Closer, Do Their Dreams Still Matter?

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war, including keeping an eye on a talented engineer working as a clockmaker. But not until he rescues the man’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly dreamed and worked for independence, but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end their engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clock repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges deeper into war, the race is on for any technological edge, and Evelina’s father’s ideas have captured the attention of many–perhaps too many. As danger seems to encroach from every side, it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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The Shadows Over England series has been so much fun to read, and the conclusion does not disappoint. An Hour Unspent finally gets to Barclay’s story, and I loved getting to know more about this caring man.

Barclay has given up thieving, at least for his own needs. He’s experienced a heart-change, but he struggles to know how he fits into that change. When Jesus saves us and changes our hearts, it’s something that changes everything, and Barclay learns in this story what that means in his life. I loved watching his fledgling faith grow.

I really enjoyed Evelina’s character, as she navigated the times in which she lived. She’s strong in some ways, and vulnerable in others. I liked seeing how she learned, and her viewpoint was changed on various things. The romance between the two characters is strong and sweet.

I like how Roseanna always weaves in various themes into her novels, and this one with clockmaking was an excellent one. It’s prevalent in Evelina’s life as she realizes God isn’t a clockmaker who sits back and watched the world unwind. Instead, He’s intricately and intimately involved in it all.

A page-turning conclusion to the series, An Hour Unspent left me satisfied, but longing for more maybe (hopefully!) someday from this unusual family.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White (www.roseannamwhite.com) 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, designing book covers, editing, 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 www.RoseannaMWhite.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.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain

Sons of Blackbird Mountain

By Joanne Bischof

The Story

A Tale of Family, Brotherhood, and the Healing Power of Love

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of nineteenth-century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred-acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

(Back cover summary from Thomas Nelson)

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I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of Sons of Blackbird Mountain, and absolutely fell in love with this book. At the time of writing this review, I have already read it a second time, this time, taking the time to savor the story.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain first appealed to me because of the brothers’ Norwegian heritage. One of my great-great-greats…came over on the boat from Norway, so I’ve always been fascinated with that culture. Then the fact that Thor is deaf was ultra-intriguing. I’ve taken some sign language classes, so I was curious as to how Joanne would portray this character.

This story is as sweet and tangy by turns as the cider that Thor makes, and I think the effort put into this book was just as painstaking and loving. Sons of Blackbird Mountain really took my breath away. The description of the Appalachian mountain area (where I currently live) caught the beauty of this place. The romance made my heart sing, and I didn’t want to put this book down. Ever. It’s a cruel thing for an author to make a reader want to read as fast as possible, and yet savor for as long as she can. I wondered how Joanne would portray a hearing woman and a deaf man falling in love. I didn’t need to wonder, because I feel as if I’ve fallen for Thor just as hard. 😉 His struggle with his addiction felt real, and I felt the pain along with him.

This book is at the top of my best of 2018 reads. It’s real and raw in a way that I long for in the fiction I read. I am so ecstatic that there will be a second book following this one! I don’t think my heart could take it, leaving it as it is.

About the Author

Joanne Bischof is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon conference. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children. Visit her online at JoanneBischof.com; Facebook: Author, JoanneBischof; Instagram: @JoanneBischof.

(Biography from Thomas Nelson)

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.

A Rumored Fortune

A Rumored Fortune

By Joanna Davidson Politano

The Story

Welcome to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England

Tressa Harlowe’s father kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Now Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it.

It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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Joanna Davidson Politano once again swept me away on an intriguing and insightful adventure, this time departing from the city streets to a country estate.

I love, love, love how unique this author’s writing style is! There is a vast array of books out there, and somehow she is able to stand apart from all the rest.

I will admit, it did take me a few pages to get into this story. I had to submerse myself into their world, and then I was hooked. Tressa and Donegan are compelling characters. Tressa’s lack is that of her father’s presence in her life. It’s something she longs—yearns—for, and it marks her life indelibly. Donegan is harnessed by guilt to past mistakes, he’s blunt and gruff, but somehow turns out to be the sweetest hero. I loved how Ms. Politano brought some of her own love story into this novel.

The search for the hidden treasure in this book also kept me going, but at the end, I found the true treasure was this novel. Somehow Ms. Politano spoke to me where I was at, and beckoned me closer with her subtle analogies to the Vine and the Branches (which I LOVED), her exploration of our fathers and the Father, and the connection we all long for that is only truly fulfilled in One.

If you’re willing to take the plunge, I promise you, you will not go away unchanged from A Rumored Fortune.

About the Author

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com .

(Biography from Revell)

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 Defense of Honor

A Defense of Honor

By Kristi Ann Hunter

The Story

When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and to raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. But as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, the risk of revealing the truth may come at too high a price for those she loves.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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A Defense of Honor is a refreshing breath of air to the Regency genre. It’s very different from any other novel I’ve read set in that era—and I loved it!

Kristi Ann Hunter’s Hawthorne House series hooked me first, but now I’m a forever-fan. Her characters are unforgettable. Kit is not your average lady of the period. She’s strong, to the point of weakness, and she’s driven. Graham is searching for an aim, a purpose, before he even knows it. I loved how he pursued Kit, with a desire to know her, not an easy task to achieve. The secondary characters, from Kit’s fellow workers and charges, to Graham’s friends and Priscilla, are all stellar as well. I am so looking forward to the next book in this series!

The faith element of this book is boots-on-the-ground Christianity. It is easy to say one is trusting Christ, but it is another thing entirely to live like it. I appreciated that Kristi didn’t skirt around this, but faced it head-on in an honest, and sometimes painful, way.

If you’re looking for a story that’s a bit out of the norm, yet still has a strong plot, excellent historical detail, and an engaging romance, all in the genre you love (Regency) then you MUST try A Defense of Honor. If any of the above qualities in fiction appeal to you, then this story is for you too.

About the Author

Kristi Ann Hunter is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.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.

Falling for You

Falling For You

By Becky Wade

The Story

Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family’s small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin–and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.

Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he’s never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he’s determined to make her give him a second chance.

When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they’re forced to confront their past and who they’ve become–and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

(Back cover summary from Amazon)

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Becky Wade’s storytelling just keeps getting stronger.

In Falling For You, Willow is a character I could identify with. She’s cautious and a rule-follower. She strives for perfection, but knows she’s fallen woefully short. Corbin is everything Willow is not. He’s wild and bold. A man who knows what he wants and is used to getting it. Their story is equal parts sweet and grounded as it plays out.

The theme of forgiveness, trust, and grace is so beautifully woven throughout this story. Willow is so used to striving for perfection, that accepting Jesus’ forgiveness for her mistakes as a Christian is difficult. I could identify with her struggle, and I loved how Becky resolved this. Then Corbin’s struggle of not really knowing if God was present in his life, and seeing how He was there, in all the moments, quietly working, was a great reminder that God does work. He may work slowly (from our point of view) or silently, but He is always, always at work in our lives.

I loved the mystery aspect of this story. Charlotte was a great character, and I definitely want to see more of her in the future.

This story ended with a hint at what was coming next—Britt’s story, which I am beyond excited for! What I love about Becky Wade’s books is that she’s able to bring it all. A great plot, unique characters, sweet romance, and a grounding in spiritual truths.

About the Author

Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and now lives in Dallas. A favorite among readers of Christian contemporary romance, Becky has won a Christy Award, a Carol Award, an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and an INSPY Award. Learn more at www.beckywade.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.

Together Forever

Together Forever

By Jody Hedlund

The Story

Will the Mistakes of Their Past Cost Them a Chance at Love?

Determined to find her lost younger sister, Marianne Neumann takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York. She not only hopes to offer children a better life, but prays she’ll be able to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train so they can finally be reunited.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing-out trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children, firm but tender and friendly. Underneath his charm and handsome looks, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden.

As the two team up, placing orphans in the small railroad towns of Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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Jody Hedlund has long been outstanding in her field of historical romance, and she just keeps delivering over and over again. Her latest, Together Forever, is part of her Orphan Train Series. The series follows the Neumann sisters. It explores the difficulty and disillusionment some immigrants experienced and the enormous problem of children who could no longer be cared for, were unwanted, or abandoned during this era in history.

This time, it’s Marianne’s turn. Marianne is still swamped by guilt over losing her sister, Sophie. This leads her to take a job with Children’s Aid Society in placing out orphans with willing families in Illinois. Marianne feels deeply, and I loved how this played into the story. It was so fun to see her interacting with Drew and the children. Her journey leads her to come into her own and realize that she needs to let go of the past and realize the forgiveness God has already given her.

Drew is a strong, funny character. But he’s a flirt. At times, this got to be too much (which was probably the author’s intent). I liked seeing more of his true self, not the persona he’s crafted for others to see.

Marianne and Drew have a strong attraction, but as they grow closer, they start to learn what love is really all about: sacrifice and pouring oneself out for another’s good. Jody Hedlund goes beyond the surface to really explore what this means between these two characters.

I liked the first book in this series better, but I did enjoy this second installment. It was a good, sweet, informative read, and has earned a spot on my bookshelf.

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love Unexpected, Captured by Love, Unending Devotion, The 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 at www.jodyhedlund.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.