PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Category: Christian Historical (Page 1 of 2)

Book Review: When The Meadow Blooms

 

When The Meadow Blooms

– Ann H Gabhart –

Revell

Published 3 May 2022

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Ann Gabhart has crafted a heartwarming story of overcoming loss and grief and finding a place to truly live and love in When The Meadow Blooms.

Calla and her younger sister have been living in the Home for Girls for two years while their mother recovers from Tuberculosis in an sanitarium. For two years they have endured abuse, waiting for the day they can go home. Scared they will be separated, Calla is lead to reach out to her uncle, rumoured to live in isolation on the family farm, Meadowland. When Dirk receives a letter from his niece asking for rescue, he throws caution away and hurries to retrieve the two girls and their mother. Taking them back to Meadowland requires a change in his habits, it might even mean opening his heart to the women, big and small, who have entered his world. But secrets from the past bring up grief and hurt he’s never let go. If he can’t heal, will he risk losing his new family?

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Book Review: A Time to Bloom

 

A Time To Bloom

– Lauraine Snelling –

Leah’s Garden #2

Bethany House Publishers

Published 7 June 2022

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A Time To Bloom is the delightful second book in the Leah’s Garden series. It picks up where book one left off, with the story of the Nielsen sisters. Forsythia and Dr Adam are now married and living in town while Lark, Del and Lilac continue to work to build their homestead and dreams of a garden, farm and boardinghouse. Del is also teaching school for the town.

By gosh, these are busy women. I don’t know how they do it. Thankfully, they have gathered around them a wonderful community. Forsythia, Adam, his nephew Jesse, their three children, and now Del’s school children and their families. The sisters’ brother Anders also comes to visit, bringing his friend RJ. There are also new challenges for the sisters and their growing family to face. Plagues of grasshoppers, families damaged by violence, and a schoolhouse destroyed by a twister. With the amount of work to do, especially with the harvest and wanting to start on their boardinghouse, the Nielsen sisters need all the help they can get, but they also know that if they want to achieve their dreams it’s up to them to make it a reality.

Each of these books features all the sisters, but while Lark and Forsythia took more of the focus in book one, Del takes the spotlight in this second book. She is starting the school year without a school house. Worse the towns people, even her sisters, don’t seem to realise how important it is to her. New in town, RJ battles both memories and pain from the war. The injury that cost him his eye continues to bring him debilitating pain, causing him to offend Del right from the start. As Del continues to strive hard for her students and their families, she finds an unexpected ally in RJ and her own work helps to bring him peace and a place in of belonging in this little town he finds himself in. Their romance is slow to develop and we only really get anything more than friendship right at the very end of the book, but I enjoyed the friendship they build, as well as all the details of the lives of these busy sisters and their community.

I’m looking forward to continuing the story of these incredible sisters and the people they bring together around them.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Adult fiction.

Genre: Christian historical

Themes: Romance, teaching, homesteading, farming, sisters, family.

Advisory: References to domestic violence.

Published: 7 June 2022 by Bethany House Publishers

Format: Paperback, ebook. 352 pages.

ISBN: 9780764235726

Find it on Goodreads

Book Review: To Tame a Cowboy

 

To Tame a Cowboy

– Jody Hedlund –

Colorado Cowboys #3

Bethany House Publishers

Published 3 May 2022

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I’ve enjoyed four historical romance novels this week and To Tame A Cowboy is by far my favourite. The romance is off the charts!! My goodness, it is as sexy and swoony as a Christian novel would dare. A story of new hope and lives rekindled. Horses, freedom and romance (have I mentioned the romance yet?)

Savannah’s future is set – marry a man who will bring fortunes to her father and allow her grieving parents the lives they want. On the eve of her wedding, Savannah decides she needs more time to face her future and she flees. She finds work at the Healing Springs ranch as their veterinarian. She spends most of her time with Brody as he works to tame the wild mustangs that roam the area. The two are drawn to each other, but Savannah is conflicted about her future and Brody is haunted by his memories of his time in the war. With a fiancé awaiting her return, Savannah must decide between her duty to her family and her growing feelings for Brody.

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Book Review: The Element of Love

 

The Element of Love

– Mary Connealy –

The Lumber Baron’s Daughters #1

Bethany House Publishers

Published 1 March 2022

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Need a historical romance featuring heroines with a difference? The Element of Love begins a new series from author Mary Connealy.

The Lumber Baron’s Daughters series features the three Stiles sisters. They have been raised to take over their father’s company and each have been highly educated. They are headstrong and fiercely intelligent, each with a different passion – from chemicals and explosions to engineering and building. But since their father’s death and their mother’s remarriage, their idyllic lives has been shattered. Their stepfather is abusive, their company falling apart under their stepfather’s mismanagement and they have each been promised to horrid men in business deals. Their only plan is escape.

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Book Review: Heart of a Cowboy

The Heart of a Cowboy

– Jody Hedlund –

Colorado Cowboys #2

Bethany House Publishers

Published 5 October 2021

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I read the first book in this series at the start of a holiday break and once again I found myself at the end of a big and exhausting term and I picked up the second book in the series. Perfect timing indeed, because once again, slipping into a Jody Hedlund historical romance was exactly the way I needed to start my school holidays.

The second book in the Colorado Cowboys series can be read as a standalone novel, so if you haven’t read the first book don’t hesitate to read this one.

I love when historical romances give me the taste of the past with all the comfort of today’s views and opinions. The Heart of a Cowboy does just that. Linnea is a botanist and an excellent scientist. She is travelling with her grandfather and a group of scientists on a botanical expedition to Colorado. Despite her excellent scientific discoveries and abilities, she had to twist her grandfather’s arm to allow her to accompany the expedition and he worries greatly about her safety – and not just because she’s a woman. Linnea can become so distracted by her work she wanders off and finds herself in all sorts of danger. Like when she falls off the wagon during a river crossing and needs to be rescued by Flynn McQuaid. Continue reading

Book Review: The Heart’s Charge

The Heart’s Charge – Karen Witemeyer – Hanger’s Horsemen #2 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 1 June 2021

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Synopsis

Members of Hanger’s Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they’d deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he’d nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. From mixed ancestry, illegitimate, and female, Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society’s mold. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her with his courage and kindness, but there are secrets behind his eyes–ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

However, when a handful of urchin children from the area go missing, a pair of Horsemen are exactly what the women need. Working together to find the children, will these two couples find love as well?

My thoughts

It is impossible to resist Karen Witemeyer’s writing. Once again she absorbed me into this story of adventure, romance, strong female characters and the men of integrity who love them.

The Heart’s Charge provides us two stories in one. We readers first met the Hanger’s Horsemen in the first book in the series and in this second book we join up with two members of the group, Mark and Jonah. Together, Mark and Jonah stumble upon a pregnant woman in labour. They, reluctantly, assist in the birth and find themselves responsible for the care of the young infant. This then leads them to Harmony House, a place where children of any race or background can find a home. A surprise awaits them both. Mark finds the woman he once wanted to marry and who broke his heart. Jonah finds a strong and resilient Eliza who might just be the one woman who can work her way past his tough exterior.

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Book Review: ‘Til I Want No More

‘Til I Want No More – Robin W. Pearson – Tyndale House Publishers – Published 2 February 2021

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Synopsis

If Maxine could put her finger on the moment when her life went into a tailspin, she would point back twenty years to the day her daddy died. She tells herself he’s the only person who ever really knew and loved her, and if he hadn’t left her behind, her future would’ve taken a different path. No absentee mother, no stepfather, no rebellious ripping and running during her teenage years. And no JD, who gave her wandering young heart a home, at least for a time.

But that’s over and done with. All grown-up now, Maxine’s heart and ring finger belong to Theodore Charles, the man she’ll pledge to love, honor, and obey in front of God and everybody. At least that’s what she’s telling anybody who will listen. The only folks buying it are the dog and the readers of her column, however. Her best friend and family aren’t having it–not even Celeste, the double bass-playing thirteen-year-old the community of Mount Laurel, North Carolina, believes is Maxine’s adopted sister. And apparently, neither is the newly returned JD, who seems intent on toppling Maxine’s reconstructed life. As her wedding day marches ever closer, Maxine confronts what it means to be really known and loved by examining what’s buried in her own heart and exposing truth that has never seen the light of day.

My thoughts

’Til I Want No More is a story to settle in with and enjoy. This is perfect for readers who like a slow read, a story that develops with care and love over time. As we learn more about these characters, especially our main character, Maxine, we learn that the secrets she is keeping run far deeper than first expected. As these secrets are slowly and agonisingly revealed, I was glued to the pages to learn how she would handle the unveiling of the things she had worked so hard to keep hidden. 

Maxine is getting married and the countdown to her big day is ever present in this book. Maxine is also a writer and her columns are included in the book, giving the reader a deeper insight into her turmoil. She carries hurt from her childhood, the death of her father and her mother leaving her in her grandparents’ care while she left to deal with her own grief. She carries hurt from her older childhood, being reunited with her mother and her new stepfather. She carries hurt from her teen years, a failed romance and a baby that she handed over to her mother and stepfather to raise. All this pain simmers below the surface, recently brought to light thanks to her engagement and dreams that are preventing her from sleeping. 

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Book Review: A Cowboy For Keeps

A Cowboy for Keeps – Jody Hedlund – Colorado Cowboys #1 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 5 January 2021

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Synopsis

Greta Nilsson’s trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.

Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He’ll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt’s ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family. And the mayor, who has promised to try to help Greta, has just the candidate in mind for Wyatt to marry.

My thoughts

This was exactly the book I needed to start my holidays with. It is extremely romantic, relaxing, exciting and so warming. It was also really easy to read – both a rest for my brain but also something that kept me eager to keep picking it back up. A Cowboy For Keeps is a charming historical romance and another fantastic offering from Jody Hedlund.

Greta and her younger sister have traveled west. As a mail-order bride, Greta hopes to finally be able to provide for herself and hopes the change will be good for her sister’s ailing health. But, when the stage is robbed, her savings stolen and she discovers that her intended is dead, Greta is scared about their prospects. Wyatt is working hard to build up his ranch, but with no funds and a competitor that is buying up many of the available livestock, he fears he will never be able to send for his mother and younger siblings. Then the town mayor proposes a deal – he’ll fund Wyatt’s herd if he marries Greta. What starts as a marriage of convenience has the chance to bloom into something real, if Greta and Wyatt can work past their hurts and fears.

Greta and Wyatt have a wonderful relationship. What starts as a slightly awkward arrangement that benefits them both slowly grows into a strong partnership. Neither of them are very good at communicating their feelings, but the chemistry between them is very sweet.

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Book Review: An Appalachian Summer

An Appalachian Summer – Ann H. Gabhart – Revell – Published 30 June 2020

♥♥♥/♥

 

Synopsis

In 1933, most people are focused on the Great Depression but all Piper Danson can think about is how to get out of being a debutante and marrying Braxton Crandall. In an act of defiance, Piper volunteers as a frontier nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains where adventure awaits.

My thoughts

An Appalachian Summer is an atmospheric novel about the frontier nurses of the Appalachian Mountains, women couriers, and life and love in the in 1930s. With romance aplenty, adventure and lighthearted moments, An Appalachian Summer is a light and easy book to enjoy.

Piper is grateful her family has weathered the crash of the economy so well, even if it means she must go ahead with her Debut Ball. Being pressured by her father to accept an engagement to Braxton Crandall and heartbroken over the silence she is receiving from her best friend and keeper of her heart Jamie Russel, Piper seizes upon the opportunity to join the frontier nursing courier service in the Appalachian Mountains. From the journey there, to the surprises in store for her, it is all a great adventure. She just wants to forget men and romance for a summer, which is fine until a mystery man from her aunt’s past re-emerges, Jamie follows her all the way to the mountains and she must decide where her heart and future will lay.

Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, this is a novel that mixes the past with more modern ideas of women’s liberation and a changing society. I sometimes forgot the time setting and had to do a double take at some of the more casual language and use of jeans and such.

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Book Review: At Love’s Command

At Love’s Command – Karen Witemeyer – Hanger’s Horsemen #1 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 2 June 2020

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Synopsis

Ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries who defend the innocent, but when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they seek out help from Dr. Josephine Burkett. When Josephine’s brother is abducted and she is caught in the crossfire, Matthew may have to sacrifice everything–even his team–to save her.

My thoughts

Every time I read a Karen Witemeyer book I am surprised all over again at how much I love her writing style, characters and the romance that just leaps off the page. Either I’ve got a bad memory or every book she writes just gets better and better.

I was a little worried by the first chapter. Would the heroes of the book be made heroic at the expense of Native Americans and a white-washed history? I need not have worried. Horrified by the events and massacre he and his men are commanded to be involved in, Matthew Hanger and his three men leave the cavalry and create Hanger’s Horsemen. They are hired guns, working to arrest criminals and help those needing protection from gangs and bad guys. During one such job, one of Matt’s men is injured and he races to find the nearest doctor. He is surprised to find Dr Jo is actually Dr Josephine Burkett. Josephine is a good doctor and striving to prove that women make excellent health practitioners. When Jo’s brother is taken captive and held for ransom, she turns to Matt and his men for help.

As always, the love story Karen Witemeyer has penned comes to life off the page. It’s romantic, and the chemistry between Josephine and Matt is off the charts. But there is also a shared understanding between them. Even though there isn’t a lot of time for them to connect between pulling bullets out of shoulders and riding after the gang who hold her brother hostage, Josephine and Matt do get some time to share their past hurts, something the other can relate to, and a shared respect for each other. There is also lots of time for kisses, which I am pleased to report.

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