Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Secret of Pembrooke Park – Julie Klassen

Mystery, murder, treasure and romance. All of which can be found in Julie Klassen’s most recent book, The Secret of Pembrooke Park. This book will have you turning pages until the wee hours of morning.

England, 1817, Abigail Foster and her family are in the midst of a financial crisis that could ruin them forever, when an offer to let Pembrooke Park is brought before them. The house has been vacant for almost 20 years, and there is a lot of clean up needed before they can move in, but the terms seem too good to be true. This is just the opportunity the Foster’s need so they can begin to rebuild their lives. Abigail and her father travel to the village of Caldwell to begin fixing up the property. It is not long before whispers and rumors make it to Abigail’s ears regarding the previous inhabitants. Whispers of treasure and murder and ghosts. What happened here so many years ago? Will Abigail be able to uncover the truth? Clues are found and mysterious letters are sent to Abigail from what appears to be someone who lived at Pembrooke Park. Does the miniature doll’s house hold the key to where the treasure was hidden? Abigail befriends the previous steward’s

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Apothecary's Daughter - Julie Klassen

   The Apothecary’s Daughter is a wonderful story beginning in 1810, England. Within the pages you will find heartbreak and romance, hope and despair, sorrow and joy. But above all, Faith.

   Lillian (Lilly) Haswell is the daughter of the village apothecary in Wiltshire, England. However, she longs for adventure and a life outside of her father’s shop. Her mother left when she was younger and Lilly dreams of the adventures she is having and longs to follow after her and find her. But she is devoted to her father and her brother, Charlie. When Lilly is whisked away to London by her Aunt and Uncle Elliot, she believes all of her dreams are about to come true. Balls, admirers, the chance to marry a wealthy man and settle in London, but also the chance to look for her mother. Although, following a sad series of events, she has to return home to help her father run his shop, or risk having it closed. One of her admirers, Dr. Graves, follows her home and becomes partnered with the local physician (who dislikes Lilly Haswell and her family). But finds that he is not the only one interested in Miss Haswell. His competition is none other than, Francis Baylor, Mr. Haswell’s former apothecary apprentice. While women were allowed to assist and work in

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope - Book 1) - Jody Hedlund

Lighthouses are a thing of beauty. Yet they are also to be feared and respected. The dangers of being a lightkeeper are known all too well to Patrick Garraty.

Emma Chambers has longed for nothing more than to settle down and have a home and a family. When her and her brother Ryan are stranded in Burnham's Landing, a little fishing village on Lake Huron, her dream becomes reality. Patrick Garraty, the head keeper at the Presque Isle Lighthouse, has recently lost his wife and is need of someone to help run the lighthouse as well as raise his son Josiah. Circumstances couldn't have worked out better, except when Patrick's past literally comes knocking at the door. Will his past crimes and sins destroy all that Emma has come to love? Will she be able to forgive him for his mistakes? Will they ever be able to cherish the unexpected love that has come into their lives?

Jody Hedlund has done it again! She sucked me into this story until all I could think about was what was going to happen next? I have to admit I was quite anxious the whole time I was reading Love Unexpected. Not only because I was constantly hoping that Emma

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Out of the Storm (Beacons of Hope - A Novella) - Jody Hedlund

Out of the Storm is a wonderful novella written by Jody Hedlund. This is the prequel to her new series, Beacons of Hope, that is releasing later this year.

Isabelle Thornton is faced with a tragic future and her father only wants to protect her. But will his protecting hand cause her to miss out on a full life, filled with love and happiness? It is 1854 and Isabelle and her father, Captain Thornton, are the keepers at the Presque Isle Lighthouse in Michigan. When Henry Cole, a wealthy business man, washes up on their shore the unexpected happens. Will she choose a life of loneliness to protect Henry? Or will she allow herself to be happy?

I do not want to give away too much of this short story. But I enjoyed reading this novella. The romance was tasteful, if slightly unbelievable. I couldn't put it down till I knew what was going to happen next. I thought I knew how this was going to end, but was very surprised (and pleased) when I finished. I have already started the first book of the series Love Unexpected. Looking forward to continuing this series.

Out of the Storm is free:
Barnes & Noble

Bethany House Publishers

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lone Star Trail; A Morgan Family Series - Texas Trails Book 1 - Darlene Franklin

  What happens when two families, who have experienced tragedy and loss, and are from very different backgrounds are thrown together?

  It is 1845, the Morgans are Texans through and through. They raise the famous Morgan Horses on their ranch, the Running M Ranch and have fought hard and sacrificed much to be the successful ranchers that they are. The Fleischer family have traveled from Germany and just arrived in Texas. This foreign land has taken much from them in the short time they have been here. Jud Morgan carries bitterness and distrust for the Germans who have begun to overtake "his" Texas. But his eyes are opened to the Lord's love for all people when he accepts the friendship of the Fleischers. Especially when the eldest daughter, Wande, catches his eye. It becomes apparent that the Lord brought these two families together. To work and live side by side to survive the untamed land of the "Lone Star State".

I couldn't put this book down! Depending on the personal events of our family, it usually takes me a little while to complete a book, no matter how interesting it is. But with this book, I couldn't help it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Buttermilk Sky - Jan Watson

From the moment I opened the pages of Buttermilk Sky I was transported to 1913, and I didn't want to leave.

We follow the story of Mazy Pelfrey and her journey of discovering not only who she is, but what is truly important in life. Mazy is from a small town in the mountains of Kentucky. We begin the book with her attending secretarial school in Lexington. She is swept off her feet by wealthy Loyal Chambers who expresses interest in her. Chanis Clay is the local sheriff back home in Skip Rock and even though they are not formally engaged, he is preparing a home for Mazy. She is unsure of the direction that she wants her life to lead. Mazy encounters many people. From high strung, snobby Eva who is jealous of Mazy and determined to always have her own way; to Cinnamon Spicer, a girl with next to nothing that works day in and day out to support her father who is ill. The choices Mazy makes will determine the rest of her life. Sometimes our path in life is not always obvious at first. Even through prayer and relying on wisdom from the Lord, there are times that we need to step out in faith even if we can't see where the road leads. Trusting that the Lord will cover and protect us, even if it means having to turn around and start again.

Jan Watson did a fabulous job of making me feel like I was experiencing life in Kentucky in the year 1913. The entire book encompasses the feel and effect of the era. The title is mentioned more than

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In the Company of Secrets - Postcards from Pullman Book 1 - Judith Miller

(There are some spoilers in this review)

What happens when you build an entire life on a foundation of lies? Consequences!

Olivia travels to Pullman, Illinois from England with the Lady Charlotte. Charlotte is unmarried and pregnant. In order to be hired for a position as the assistant chef at the Hotel and to protect Charlotte's honor, they fabricate a pack of lies and stories about who they are. As time progresses, Olivia's closest friends Fred and his mother, Mrs. DeVault, as well as her cousin Albert and his girlfriend Martha are all deceived by who they are. In the end Olivia realizes the importance of honesty and seeks the Lord's forgiveness for what she has done. She tries to begin a fresh in her walk with the Lord. However, she keeps the truth about the lies hidden. She is eventually found out and has to face the consequences.

I am very baffled by this book. It drove me crazy at parts and I wanted to stop reading it, but I was also intrigued to see how it would all play out. I was disappointed in the end that the loose ends were

Friday, September 12, 2014

Night Song: A Story of Sacrifice - Tricia Goyer

 Compelling and heart wrenching, Tricia Goyer tells the story of the orchestra of Mauthausen. This orchestra, composed of famous Jewish musicians, was forced to play for their lives in the concentration camp.

We see the war through many different views in Night Song. Evie, a young Viennese woman who is involved with the resistance and witnesses the liberation of Mauthausen. Nick, an American medic who is in love with Evie and will travel to the ends of the earth to find her. Otto, an SS Soldier whose thirst for power and riches overwhelms him. Finally, Jakub, a young Jewish prisoner whose magnificent talent brings hope and joy to those he is around.

The story begins in December 1941, Evie and her family must return to Vienna due to the German occupation. The following 3 1/2 years are a combination of sorrow, pain and loss for all of our characters. But where Nick, Evie, and eventually Jakub, find their strength in the Lord, Otto finds his through the "Ancients", the mystical power supposedly behind Hitler's reign. Otto is never satisfied, he always wants more. Our other characters have to sacrifice so

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tried & True (Wild at Heart Book #1) - Mary Connealy

Idaho Territory, 1866: The Civil War has ended, but the charade has not. Kylie Wilde and her sisters Shannon and Bailey lived as men throughout the War. And at their father's command, are now homesteading as men.

Tried & True is a gripping journey about forgiveness and finding true identity. Kylie's demanding Pa is sick with grief over the loss of his son and does not know how to take care of, or love his daughters for who they are. Powerful cattleman, Gage Coulter, would like nothing better than to reclaim Kylie's land as his own. Aaron Masterson is captivated by Kylie from the moment they meet. But Aaron wants to live a life in the mountains and Kylie longs for the civilization of the East. Attempts to scare her off her land by persons unknown, opens doors Kylie never dreamed of. Throughout her journey, her faith is tested and tried. But she stands strong and remains true to herself.

It was next to impossible for me to put this book down. I was transported to the mountains of Idaho in

Friday, August 15, 2014

From Dust and Ashes: A Story of Liberation - Tricia Goyer

 It is 1945, Europe is war torn and broken. But there is hope among the dust and ashes.

Tricia Goyer approaches World War II in a new light (for me at least). Beginning with the end of the war in Europe, we see the repercussions of the last 6 years of fighting.

Our three main characters include an American Sergeant, a wife of an SS guard and a prisoner freed from the concentration camp Gusen. Sergeant Peter Scott is with the group of soldiers that liberated Gusen and the main camp Mauthausen. He finds friends and love in the least likely of places. Helen is struggling to make up for the wrongs her husband committed as a guard at the camp. Can she bring herself to forgive him for what he did? Michaela is on the road to recovery after spending years in the camps. Although it would seem that she has every right to hold on to bitterness and hate for all that she has been through, she chooses to trust in the Lord and forgive those that did her wrong.

I could not put this book down! This is by far one of the best books I have ever read. Tricia Goyer

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Making Waves: A Novel (Lake Manawa Summers Book #1) - Lorna Seilstad

Set in 1895 on the shores of Lake Manawa, Marguerite Westing has a summer she will never forget.

Her beau, Roger Gordon, is not just the boring, uninteresting man she thought he was. And her loving and caring father has a secret as well that could destroy his family. In a time when women were practically forbidden to sail...Marguerite falls in love with sailing...and the sailing instructor Trip Andrews. Her fiery spirit gets her into trouble on more than one occasion. And she has a tendency for making waves wherever she goes.

A difficult choice lays before her, will she give up all of her hopes and dreams to save her family? Or will she follow her heart and put her trust in the Lord to work things out.

This book is a very easy quick read. Has some surprises and twists
although some were fairly predictable. I enjoy the use of scripture, as well as the lessons of trusting the Lord. I enjoy the time period and the fact that Marguerite tends to go against the flow of what is normal and expected for women in this era.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Dancing Master - Julie Klassen

The Dancing Master
by Julie Klassen
Baker Publishing Group
Review by Rachel Dixon

Very good book!!!

This is the first book I have read by Julie Klassen. I found The Dancing Master to be intriguing, suspenseful, romantic and full of God's love and grace.

Alec Valcourt is a young dancing and fencing master that has moved to Devonshire with his mother and sister. Unbeknownst to him that there is an unspoken law that prohibits dancing. Julia Midwinter is a young woman stifled by her over protective mother, Amelia Midwinter. Despite the warnings he receives, Alec decides to open a dancing academy. Julia supports his decision in defiance of her mother's rule against dancing. Everyone seems to have secrets they are trying to hide, but slowly all is revealed. The past comes back to haunt our characters,