Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Something New

Something New

By Joanne Bischof

The Story

Virginia, 1895

After waiting four years for her best friend to return from sea, Wren Cromwell’s dream of building a life with Tate Kennedy has wilted during his unexpected absence. Then, just as suddenly as he departed the mountain of their childhood, he returns, bringing with him tales of Norway’s icy fjords and his time aboard ship on the North Sea. As spring unfurls around them, so unfolds a new hope in Wren’s heart, and a new chance at love on the horizon. But with Tate’s longing for exciting voyages still alive, will he vanish to the high seas again, or will this land he’s returned to, and Wren’s steadfast love, be enough to nurture his adventurous spirit?

From Christy and Carol Award-winning author, Joanne Bischof, comes a newly repackaged novella once featured in the historical compilation, Heirloom Brides.

(Back cover summary from Joanne’s Website)

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At long last! We get Tate’s story! In Daughters of Northern Shores, the story wasn’t really about Tate, but I longed to see his resolved. Joanne did a good job of that with Something New.

Because of misunderstanding and miscommunication, the relationship of trust that Tate and Wren enjoyed has been largely broken down. I loved how that was reestablished through simple, everyday acts of kindness and love.

Both of these characters were so likable, yet also humanly flawed. I couldn’t help but cheer for them to reach their own happy ending.

If you, like me, have yearned for more from Joanne Bischof in the flavor of the Sons of Blackbird Mountain series, then this novella is what you’ve been waiting for.

About the Author

A Christy and Carol Award-winning author, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. To Get to You, her 2015 release, was the second. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from Romantic Times Book Reviews among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children and is currently working on a new 2-book series for Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian (releasing 2018).

(Biography from Joanne’s Website)

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.

Finding Lady Enderly

Finding Lady Enderly

By Joanna Davidson Politano

The Story

Raina’s dreams are all about to come true.

But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s East End when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley, offering her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

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Finding Lady Enderly is yet another engrossing read from Joanna Davidson Politano. I love how each book is so distinct from the others, and yet they all carry the same feel to them.

Raina is such an interesting character and one that I found myself relating to as the book went on, sometimes in surprising ways. The lessons she learns about identity and where that’s rooted are timeless and timely.

I really liked how, at first, the reader is just as in the dark as Raina as to who the villain is exactly. The mystery that shrouds this book is done so well, too. I couldn’t even begin to guess where Lady Enderly was and what tragic thing had happened to her for most of the book.

The other character’s point of view in this book was also well done and one that I really liked.

The romance in this book is very well written and done in such a sweet, and clever way.

In all, I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t easy to unravel the secrets of Lady Enderly, and by the end of the tale, I felt satisfied with the resolution to it all. Another go-to from Joanna Davidson Politano.

About the Author

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears and A Rumored Fortune. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. 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.

The Spice King

The Spice King

By Elizabeth Camden

The Story

Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building an acclaimed global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before they spiral out of control, he returns to his ancestral home for good after years of traveling the world.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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The Spice King showcases Elizabeth Camden’s ability to dig up history and bring it to the page, just like in her other novels. It’s always interesting for me to read one of her books, as there is so much history woven throughout.

Unfortunately, I felt bogged down in the details of this book. While I love reading about characters who are smart and excel at their professions—as Camden is known to bring to life so well—in this novel the workings of those professions felt a little dry for me.

I liked the contrast between Annabelle and Gray, and it certainly made for some entertaining conflict. Luke and Caroline are also characters who I think readers will look forward to getting to know better in the future.

Overall, this book just didn’t do it for me. I felt like the main conflict fizzled out too early, and then I didn’t have much incentive to keep reading. This is certainly just my opinion, and I’m sure there are many who will enjoy The Spice King. But for me, it just didn’t hit home.

About the Author

Elizabeth Camden (www.elizabethcamden.com) is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America, featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.

(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.

King’s Shadow

King’s Shadow

By Angela Hunt

The Story

Their Lives Couldn’t Be More Different, but Their Goal Is the Same: Survive King Herod’s Rule.

Two women occupy a place in Herod’s court. The first, Salome, is the king’s only sister, a resentful woman who has been told she’s from an inferior race, a people whom God will never accept or approve of.

The second woman, Zara, is a lowly handmaid who serves Salome, but where Salome spies conspiracies and treachery, Zara sees hurting people in need of understanding and compassion.

Powerful and powerless, Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless–both women struggle to reach their goals and survive each day within Herod the Great’s tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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This is the first novel I’ve read by Angela Hunt and I was immediately drawn into this time during the Silent Years.

With every sentence of this book, it was apparent just how much history and truth the novel was steeped in. I felt like I was living among the characters, trying to keep out of the spotlight of Herod’s court. The people who populated this novel were fascinating in their motivations and actions. Salome is a woman loyal to her brother, which definitely had my sympathy, but Angela also didn’t pull back from the woman’s many flaws either.

I enjoyed how she brought in Zara, a fictional character, but one who could have been like any number of Jewish people during that time.

This novel was interesting, especially in that the main character was a well-documented person from history, with actions already set. So, any change in her character or character development had to follow who she truly was. The change in Salome at times seemed minor, but by the end, there was definitely something there.

In all, I enjoyed this novel, and certainly look to Angela Hunt as a leading historical fiction writer.

About the Author

The author of more than 100 published books and with more than 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in Biblical Studies in Theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at www.angelahuntbooks.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.

Until the Mountains Fall

Until the Mountains Fall

By Connilyn Cossette

The Story

Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband’s brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protection of her father, Kedesh’s head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother’s death would mean wedding her. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with war looming over Israel, Rivkah’s father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from within and without Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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Until the Mountains Fall is another stellar novel from Connilyn Cossette. I love how she brings the Bible times to life, sticking as close as she can to what we know of that time period.

Rivkah is a rebel at heart, and that displays itself in different ways throughout the book. It really reminded me that all of us have rebel hearts. None of us want to submit, and show it in our own subtle or not so subtle ways. Reading this novel challenged me to look at my own life and consider my own heart.

I love how Connilyn tied this story with that of the prodigal son. She uses subtle undertones, but it painted such a beautiful picture, and astounded me again at God’s love and grace for us, and His heart to have us home with Him.

Rivkah and Malakhi are both deeply flawed and broken people, but as they give that brokenness to God, they see how He works out their lives for good, even those parts they are deeply ashamed of.

Yet again, Connilyn delivered a novel that pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go. It touched my heart, challenged me, and certainly left me entertained.

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 in North Carolina. 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 Number of Love

The Number of Love

By Roseanna M. White

The Story

The Toughest Puzzle She’ll Have to Solve

Might Be the Wishes of Her Own Heart

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

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the quick and brainy Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to team up to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

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At long last, we get a book about Margot! After getting a glimpse into her unique character in previous books, I was eager to read her story. And as usual with Roseanna White, I was not disappointed.

This story, like her most recent series, is set during World War 1. It was fascinating getting a glimpse inside what it was like for the codebreakers and spies during that time period. I’d only recently heard about the women who worked as codebreakers, so this novel was timely for my curiosity. Margot’s unique way of thinking was fascinating to me, as I am not a numbers person at all. I liked that she stood apart from any other character I had read about in that way.

Margot and Drake are both very interesting characters whose stories kept me engaged throughout the whole book. Their struggles, some obvious, some subtle, were relevant for all people in all eras. I appreciated how Roseanna explored the effects of grief, especially as it relates to our relationship with God.

I think this was a good opening to another series I’ll be keeping close tabs on. Roseanna White always delivers it all, high-quality historical fiction with characters and plots that keep me engaged to the very end.

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.

(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.

Ever Faithful

Ever Faithful

By Karen Barnett

The Story

Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more–and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.

Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

(Back cover summary from Penguin Random House)

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I had the pleasure of meeting Karen Barnett at a conference last year, and so enjoyed chatting with her, that I knew I had to try one of her novels. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to dive into one of her Vintage National Parks novels!

The history in Ever Faithful is astounding. It felt like a step back in time, to a place as real and alive as the present. I loved being able to learn about the park’s early years and experience the good, the bad, and the strange.

The characters of this book were compelling as well. Elsie knows the power of fear and the past and how it can grab hold of you. Her growth as she faces those fears was moving, and I really enjoyed reading about it. Nate is a great hero. Unsure of himself, definitely, but his qualities of leadership, loyalty, and love for others are ones to be admired.

The plot and the mystery that begins to spin out as the book progresses were both great. It kept me second guessing almost all the way to the end, which I really enjoyed.

In all, I liked Ever Faithful. The theme of faith and God’s work in our lives was subtle but powerful. This book made me want to pick up the others and go on a road trip to our other national wonders, which I think was exactly what Ms. Barnett wanted.

About the Author

KAREN BARNETT, author of Mistaken, Out of the Ruins, and Beyond the Ashes, is a former park ranger. She worked as a ranger naturalist and outdoor educator at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Silver Falls State Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. When not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, and public speaking. She lives in Oregon with her family.

(Biography from Penguin Random House)

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