Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer – Book Review

Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Published by Waterbrook and Multnomah Publishers March 21, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian, Romance

Pages: 331

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Mistaken identity leads to romance, laughter, and second chances in this inspirational historical romance.

At the age of twenty-three, postmistress Grace Cristler has all but given up hope of finding a husband among the narrowing group of eligible men in her town of Fairland, Kansas. But when her uncle decides to retire from the pulpit, Grace is responsible for corresponding with the new preacher set to take his place. She can’t deny the affection growing in her heart for Reverend Rufus Dille—a man she deeply admires but has only met through his letters.

Theophil Garrison is on the run from his past. Ten years ago his outlaw cousins convinced him to take part in a train robbery, but Theo fled the scene, leaving his cousins to face imprisonment. Now they’ve finished their sentences, but the plan for vengeance has just begun. Branded a coward and running for his life, Theo has aa chance encounter that could provide him with the escape he needs.

But the young man’s desperate con might come at an enormous price for the tenderhearted Grace—and the entire town. Will Grace’s undeserved affection and God’s mercy make something beautiful from the ashes of Theo’s past?

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Story Notes

Kim Vogel Sawyer brings to her readers a sweet story of assumed identity that leads to unexpected love and forgiveness in the small town of Fairland, Kansas.

Kim Vogel Sawyer has long be a favorite of mine as she writes such good stories with characters that you would love to know in real life. This story was another such story that made me wish for small town life and someone to cook all the delicious foods that were described within the pages. I won’t say that this was my most favorite book I’ve read lately as it was a little slow in its plot progression and didn’t have as much of the humor I had expected to see but it really was a well written story that will touch the heart of every person who reads it. Ms. Sawyer begins her story with a man named Theophil Garrison who has left his home with his aunt and uncle as his cousins are coming back home. This isn’t normally a reason for leaving your home but Theophil’s cousins are out for revenge since he refused to help them in their attempt to rob a gold shipment 10 years earlier, leading to their arrest and subsequent time in jail. So he’s headed to the only other home he remembers in Iowa to hide out until he can plan his next move. But God has other plans for Theophil and they are brought about by a dying preacher on his way to Fairland, Kansas. The preacher’s name is Rufus Dille and he is expected by the people of Fairland to take the place of their long time pastor and friend, Philemon Cristler, who is retiring at the end of the month. Theophil comes across Rufus and takes him as quickly as possible to the nearest town doctor, but it is too late as Rufus is dying from cholera. Charged with Rufus Dille’s possessions and a message for the people of Fairland, Theophil will make a detour into Fairland to relay the news of Rufus Dille’s death. But when he arrives and they all assume he is their new pastor, Theophil finds something that he was looking for all his life: a place to belong with people that like him. And all it will take to remain in Fairland is for Theophil to become Reverend Rufus Dille. Grace Cristler has been anticipating the arrival of Reverend Dille for more than a month. What began as communication for her uncle Philemon to the new pastor has become a close friendship through letters – a friendship that has Grace hoping it will develop into something much more.  When the new pastor arrives, he is very handsome and kind but not exactly who Grace was expecting. For one thing, he is not as eloquent in his speech as his letters had been, and for another, he doesn’t seem to be very comfortable with his ministerial duties. But Grace’s friend Bess Kirby reminds her that he had much time to write out his letters and make them sound just right and he is still a very young pastor who simply lacks the experience that leading a church of his own will bring. As Theophil works to become the pastor the town needs, he will find himself learning more and more of the Bible and how it applies to people’s lives. And as both he and Grace spend time together they will find that the love and acceptance they have both been looking for is right in front of them. They will need this love to carry them through when one of Theophil’s cousins comes to town to reveal his duplicity. Grace will have to decide if she will hold the hurt she feels closer to her heart than the love that she has for Theophil or if she will offer the forgiveness she has been taught her whole life to give. Her decision will be what will either bring them together or keep them apart. Ms. Sawyer’s characters are given such real and relatable personalities that I would have loved to have known them as actual people and not fictional characters. And not just her main characters either, the supporting characters are just as funny and apt to teach a lesson as those who are the main focus. The lessons are taught with a dose of humor which makes the faith challenges a bit round-a-bout but still readily understood. I really loved the character of Theophil who was seeking a place to belong and although he assumed Rufus Dille’s identity he truly sought to learn and live a life that would be pleasing to God. His bumbling first attempts at preaching sermon and doing pastoral duties made me laugh and feel a bit sorry for him. I’m not one for giving speeches either and to know that I was supposed to be teaching all those people the Word of God and be responsible for their Spiritual well-being would be daunting indeed. But this situation was good for Theophil to be able to study and learn what God expected of him both as a pastor and as a man. The relatively quick forgiveness of the town’s people was a good lesson too as we should all be so willing to offer forgiveness when it is sincerely sought. So while it was not the most in depth or exciting book, the story was one I would certainly recommend to others as it was a very nice read. I will also be looking forward to Ms. Sawyer’s next works as I know they will be good stories with both humor and heart.

I received this E-book free of charge from Waterbrook and Multnomah Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either of these companies for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

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First Impressions by Debra White Smith – Book Review

First Impressions by Debra White Smith

Published by Bethany House Publishers April 17, 2018

Genre: Romance, Christian

Pages: 336

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

In an attempt to get to know the people of London, Texas–the small town that lawyer Eddi Boswick now calls home–she tries out for a local theater group’s production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. She’s thrilled to get the role of lively Elizabeth Bennet . . . until she meets the arrogant–and eligible–rancher playing her leading man.

Dave Davidson chose London, Texas, as the perfect place to live under the radar. Here, no one knows his past, and he can live a quiet, peaceful life with his elderly aunt, who also happens to own the local theater. Dave doesn’t even try out for the play, but suddenly he is thrust into the role of Mr. Darcy and forced to spend the entire summer with Eddi, who clearly despises him.

Sparks fly every time Eddi and Dave meet, whether on the stage or off. But when Eddi discovers Dave’s secret, she has to admit there might be more to him than she thought. Maybe even enough to change her mind . . . and win her heart.

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Story Notes

Debra White Smith retells Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice with a modern setting and the results are simply delightful and hilariously smart.

All avid female readers have read the classic tale of misunderstanding and the majority of them would say it is one they favor highly, if not higher than any other book they’ve read. I am certainly among them and having grown up around men who speak freely only with those closest to them I am firmly entrenched in the Mr Darcy camp when it come to romantic relationships. How excited I was to be offered this modern telling of this literary favorite to read and review! I was hopeful it would be an accurate and engaging retelling that had all the essentials but was thoroughly new in its expansion of the plot. I was not disappointed at all and will certainly be keeping the copy I received to reread very soon. William Fitzgerald “Dave” Davidson is our hero and Eddi Boswick is our heroine, and are a couple with as much sharp wit between them as their classic predecessors. They are citizens of small town London, Texas and each is trying to make their way quietly in life. Both of them come from a deal of money but neither is wanting to depend on that to get through life. Dave’s Aunt Maddy is putting on a large dramatic play and has selected members of the community to try out for the various roles. Each assignment is ideal for the person chosen and will allow for more than the play to progress throughout the summer. Dave agrees to the role of Darcy in deference to his Aunt alone and while he learns his lines to perfection, there is little life in his acting until challenged by Eddi to be the best in the show. Eddi, on the other hand is thrilled to be playing a favorite literary character and is somewhat disappointed that the role of Darcy is to be played by one who seems to care so little. But as they challenge each other to memorize both lines and characteristics of their given roles they will find there is more that meets the eye in their fellow actors. Dave has finally found a haven in London, Texas that allows him to pursue his ideas of ministering to at-risk kids in a safe but challenging environment. The early death of his brother has sparked the idea and he is seeking to work out the details totally before revealing his plans. Eddi Boswick is the daughter of Oil Magnet Edward Boswick but she has come to London to distance herself from her family’s reach and build her law practice on her own merit. She has no real interest in the arrogant Dave but still admires his rugged appearance. Eddi knows Dave is carrying a secret but isn’t sure she wants to know what it is given his surly attitude. In spite of all their intentions, both Dave and Eddi will find themselves drawn to each other romantically. But they will have to move beyond their secrets and presumptions before they can have a real chance at being together. And with the arrival of all of Eddi’s family for the rehearsals and play production there will be ample opportunity for both of them to prove their worth and likability to the other. The conclusion brings about the same results as the original story but the actual play-out of the plot is a bit more romantic and sweet. I was pleasantly surprised at how Ms. Smith was able to keep the wonderful details of Jane Austen’s scenes but give them fresh life and humor. Ms. Smith has definitely landed herself on my “to read” author list. I greatly enjoyed her retelling of a favorite story and loved that she added in faith elements as well. It was a natural addition to the story given the characters and the setting but it was nice that she made the faith of each character real and relevant to their situation. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone so I will refrain from telling any more and simply urge readers to pick up a copy of this wonderful book. I have seen that Ms. White is also retelling other of Jane Austen’s stories and I hope I will be able to read those very soon. I will be highly recommending this book to others as it was very well done and very enjoyable.

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer – Book Review

More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

Published by Bethany House Publishers June 05, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Christian

Pages:  354

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

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Story Notes

Karen Witemeyer’s latest book brings the beginning of a new series that will tell the stories of a family that is created by choice rather than birth – a true “Patchwork Family”.

Karen Witemeyer’s trademark humor is delightfully evident in her first book in her new series but I had a little trouble connecting with all of the characters. I know the problems that affected one of her main characters Evangeline Hamilton came from superstitions and just plain meanness, which I can understand totally, but when it came to Logan Fowler, I had a hard time really believing in his angst. Ms. Witemeyer begins her story several years before the bulk of the plot with three orphan children who have not been selected by families at any town along the railroad line. Afraid they will be separated if they behave properly, Evangeline, Zach and Seth strive to make themselves unlikable. When the train that is taking them from place to place derails and injures many, the children take the opportunity to get away from their guardians and make their own way in life. Fast forward several years and the three siblings have a home and property to care for and are doing well in their endeavors. They only go to town rarely since the townsfolk view Eva as cursed and treat her badly (due to her different colored eyes) but they are all fine with the arrangement. Eva has known her whole life that no one wants a child or wife with such unusual eyes, and she is content to live with her brothers the rest of her life. She has all she ever wanted as a child and has come to accept that God doesn’t have marriage in store for one such as her. That is until the arrival of Logan Fowler, the new owner of the property next door and a man with an unusual desire to get to know the Hamiltons. Logan is on the hunt for the man who stole his childhood home from his father in a card game. He has tracked Zach Hamilton to the farm and is determined to find a way to get it back. He didn’t count on Zach’s sister being the first family member he would meet and his attraction to her is quick if unwanted. But as Logan gets to know the Hamiltons, especially Eva, he will learn that although the farm was won unfairly it has become the haven the unwanted children needed so desperately. It will also become home to another young woman whom Logan and Eva rescue from death by purposeful drowning. As Logan struggles to hold onto his anger and bitterness in the face of the kindness and love that Eva gives to all, he will have to make the hardest decision of his life – and on it hangs any future he might have with Eva. I love the way in which Ms. Witemeyer showed that family is what you make it to be. It is not always possible to have one or both parents to care for a child and it was so good to see that in spite of their hurts these three children banded together to become the family they always wanted. And for Eva to have come through everything with such a joyful, loving attitude was a perfect foil for Logan, who had both parents until one decided to take their own life and yet carried such bitter resentment. I completely believed that Eva could be this way given her brother’s care and protection but I really had a hard time connecting with Logan. Logan seemed to be so childishly defiant against the idea that his father had any fault in the loss of his family’s fortunes. But I also felt it was like he wanted someone to prove him wrong, and it wouldn’t take much to do so. He just seemed a little flat when it came to his “need for revenge” that I basically ignored that part of the story and moved on to the better parts. It was too distracting to try to reconcile the two side of Logan that I chose to focus more on his kindness to Eva rather than his apparent revenge plot. It would have been better to make him more angry and resentful if Ms. Witemeyer intended him to convey the true since of loss that he was to have experienced. I also felt that the spiritual parts of the story had elements of excellence but were a bit lacking in the usual punch that Ms. Witemeyer delivered with her past stories. Also, Eva seemed to have been very well developed but the other characters were a bit one dimensional in their makeup – a bit off-putting when it comes to enjoying a story. I am hopeful that the next stories in the series will be better as there were some really interesting secondary characters introduced in this story. Ms. Witemeyer has long been a favorite of mine and I know she will bring out another book that is much better soon. I will recommend this book as an okay read but it will not be one that will be added to my shelves. On to the next read!!

I received this E-book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden – Book Review

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

Published by Bethany House Publishers June 05, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Drama, Christian

Pages: 209

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

As a biochemist in early 1900s New York, Doctor Rosalind Werner has dedicated her life to the crusade against waterborne diseases. She is at the forefront of a groundbreaking technology that will change the way water is delivered to every household in the city–but only if she can get people to believe in her work.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Water for New York, Nicholas Drake is highly skeptical of Rosalind and her team’s techniques. When a brewing court case throws him into direct confrontation with her, he is surprised by his reaction to the lovely scientist.

While Rosalind and Nick wage a private war against their own attraction, they stand firmly on opposite sides of a battle that will impact far more than just their own lives. As the controversy grows more public and inflammatory and Rosalind becomes the target of an unknown enemy, the odds stacked against these two rivals swiftly grow more insurmountable with every passing day.

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Story Notes

Elizabeth Camden’s second installment of her Empire State series is one that explores the incredibly difficult work of those who endeavored to bring truly clean water to the citizens of New York while also telling of a challenging romance right in the middle of the fight for improvement.

I’m going to tell everyone right up front that although I enjoyed this story for the most part, these might be my least favorite fictional characters of whom I’ve ever read. It wasn’t that they were one-dimensional or uninteresting, rather it was that they both seemed certain that they were right and were willing to do whatever it took to prove their point. And while one might expect this from non-Christians, it was very disappointing to see so much deceit used by both main characters who claimed to be Christians. I understand that this offered Ms. Camden a chance to show how wrong this thinking is, but I don’t feel she was able to completely deal with all the problems that come from the multitudinous lies and secrets presented in the story. Ms. Camden begins her story with a court case in progress that is to decide whether Chlorine can safely be added to the water filtration system for the state of New York. On one side are those advocating the long used water filtering houses remain in place without help and on the other are biochemists and those of newer thinking who are advocating a new safe chemical system to ensure clean water – even when the filtration systems are overloaded during heavy rains. Dr. Rosalind Werner is one such biochemist who has made water-borne illnesses her life’s study. Having seen the devastating damage diseases such as typhoid wreak on a population as well as her own family, Rosalind is determined to find a way to eliminate their growth and transmission in the New York water supply. The problem is, no one is willing to let her and her colleagues introduce safe levels of chlorination into the water supply to prove its ability to destroy germs. When the judge in the case rules against Rosalind and her team but allows three months for deferment if they can gather enough evidence, Rosalind determines to prove her research in whatever way necessary. Her quest for chlorination will take her down the road of deceit that she will find nearly impossible to return from and will make her possible romance  a fight like she has never before faced.  Nicholas Drake, new Water Commissioner, is on the opposing side, who spent many years working in the water/sewer systems of New York. He is fully in support of new ways of making life easier and safer for everyone but is not convinced that adding chlorine to water is safe. Nick has spent years trying to climb the societal ladders that will let him give his daughter everything she will ever need. She is his whole world since the death of his wife and he would do anything to ensure she is cared for and loved. Fearing what the introduction of Chlorine to the water system will do to his daughter, Nick determines to fight whatever and whomever necessary to keep it from happening. But he is so focused on being right that he will find it almost impossible to let the idea of “safe chlorination” be proved helpful and safe, which leads to his hope of a relationship with Rosalind to fall totally apart. As both of them fight for what they believe is right, they will come face to face with the hardest challenges to both their faith and person they have ever endured. And it will be how they handle the challenges presented that will decide whether they will come through together or apart. As I said before, these characters are pretty awful “Christians”. They have some okay principles behind their actions but their willingness to engage in deceit and secrecy discredited those principles fast. And even when they were shown they were wrong, there was little said and done that said they were sorry for what happened. I was disappointed to find so little spiritual accountability in this book as Ms. Camden’s other works are usually much more direct and honest about wrongs. And I was also sad to see that there was no punishment for Nick’s Aunt Margaret given her incredibly evil actions. She was almost Satan incarnate and yet Ms. Camden allowed her to end her own life with no consequences for the damage she caused to several people’s lives. However, I did enjoy the history that was behind the story and how those who sought change worked daily to ensure the health and safety of those they served. I also like that Colin and Lucy were given voice in this story; theirs was a story I loved reading so it was good to read how their family had grown. The passages that included them had some of the best funny/snarky lines which is always a good addition in my opinion. So while there were some things to like about this story I don’t believe it will be one I will add to my shelves. I will recommend the story to those interested in reading the complete series but I will have to tell them I greatly disliked the main characters themselves. Hopefully Eloise Drake’s story (third book in the series)will be much better in content and she will be a likable character.

I received this E-book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer – Book Review

Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Published by Waterbrook and Multnomah Publishers March 20, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian, Romance

Pages: 333

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Abigail Brantley grew up in affluence and knows exactly how to behave in high society. But when she is cast from the social registers due to her father’s illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in the subjects of manners and morals so they can “marry up” with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose father was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he’s put off by the snooty airs and fastidious behavior of the “little city gal” in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out to the teacher who tries so diligently to smooth the rough edges from the down-to-earth men. How can he teach her that perfection won’t bring happiness?

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Story Notes

Kim Vogel Sawyer’s latest story is one that will teach lessons of grace, kindness and acceptance while also including a little suspense to keep the story interesting.

There is so much more to this story than the description provided by the publisher allows, which is both good and bad. Good in that the best parts of the story are kept within the pages but bad because the description is somewhat misleading, given the lack of full disclosure. Ms. Sawyer does a wonderful job of drawing readers in with her first chapter – the men of Spiveyville Kansas have banded together to request mail order brides for all interested unmarried men in town. With so few visitors it has become clear that if they are to each build a family they will have to send off for wives willing to come to them. Mack Cleveland, however, is firmly against the idea as his uncle was fully taken advantage of by a woman who came to town claiming to be his mail order bride. But with everyone so determined, Mack sees there is little he can do to sway them. He only agrees to help with the transporting of the brides to the town, but after that the men will be on their own. Helena Bingham is the proprietor and administrator of Bingham’s Bevy of Brides, a mail order bride service in Newton, Massachusetts,which matches willing ladies with appropriate seeking husbands. When she receives the large request of brides from the men of Spiveyville she has much to consider before she decides to send anyone to the requesters. While she is pondering what is needed, Abigail Brantley returns to her home with tales of woe from her latest placement. Abigail is Helena’s hardest client to date and seems to have an over inflated sense of self. Helena knows Abigail has the ability to be kind, sweet and charming but she cannot seem to bring herself to marry a poor, if hardworking, man. Given the amount of money Helena has spent trying to place Abigail, she will not place her again until Abigail reimburses Helena or agrees to help with the Spiveyville bachelors. Helena decides the best way to handle the situation is to travel to Spiveyville and help the men prepare for their wives. Given the letters she received it is clear they lack much when it comes to social graces and she will not sent her prospective brides to a man who will make them miserable. Abigail sees no other choice than to accompany Helena but determines she will not allow this “backwards” town to remove all her learned manners and decorum. Helena and Abigail’s arrival in Spiveyville without the brides causes an uproar that is quickly quieted by the Sheriff and Paster Doan. The men grudgingly agree to Helena’s proposed “lessons” to teach them how to behave around a lady, but are determined to start as soon as possible. What follows will be an exercise in patience for Helena and Abigail, but will be extremely helpful to the men who have never considered the correct ways to behave. And even though Mack was against the idea of mail order brides, he’s fully supportive of helping the men develop manners and social graces. As the lessons progress, both Abigail and Mack will come to appreciate each other for the impact they each make on the “students”. Mack begins to soften to the idea that women from big cities are not all looking to steal from others and further will see that in spite of Abigail’s initial prickliness, she is a very kind person. Abigail will have her life and mindset changed dramatically by the people of Spiveyville who teach her that just because someone is “poor” that doesn’t make them a lesser person. God will reach inside her heart and make it new, thanks to the faith challenges she faces on a daily basis in Spiveyville. And both Mack and Abigail will need all the knowledge they’ve acquired when Helena is kidnapped by a man determined to find a new wife – and it will be during this time that they both see how very much they’ve come to depend on the other for strength and spiritual encouragement. The end of the story brings about all necessary conclusions with a few joyful surprises thrown in for good measure. Ms. Sawyer did such a good job of making her characters come alive in the pages of the story. I could very easily imagine what each person described looked like as well as the actions they employed. I loved how strongly adverse to those who are poor Ms. Sawyer made Abigail, not that Abigail was right in her beliefs but that it gave an eye-opening view of what it looks like when we think we are better than others because of what we have. I truly disliked Abigail as much as Mack did when she first came to town, she was honestly rude and demeaning to everyone she deemed “beneath” her. But she was a perfect foil for Mack, who accepted all around him with grace and kindness and despite his dislike for Abigail’s snottiness, he sought to be her friend and protector. Ms. Sawyer gave plenty of page time to each of her prominent characters and thus allowed me to see how each of them grew and changed based on the situations they encountered. I could also see her faith in Jesus was evident in the way that she filled the pages with quiet reminders of how grace and mercy are extended to all regardless of social status. This wasn’t a truly daring book when it came to the action but there was enough to keep me reading the pages fairly quickly and wanting to know the ending. I will most certainly recommend this book to others as an enjoyable read, perfect for a trip or weekend at the beach. I look forward to Ms. Sawyer’s next book as I’m sure it will be just as wonderful.

I received this E-Book free of charge from Waterbrook and Multnomah Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter – Book Review

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

Published by Bethany House Publishers June 05, 2018

Genre: Drama, Christian, Romance

Pages: 246

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

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 raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn’t worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.

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Story Notes

Kristi Ann Hunter delivers the first book in her new Recency series Haven Manor with a story filled with witty conversations and a challenge to one’s idea of real trust in God.

When I receive a book by Kristi Ann Hunter I can be assured of two inclusions: that I will laugh a lot and I will find myself pondering her faith challenge even after I finish the last page. It takes a special talent to be able to write humor well into a story that could very easily be dark given the subject matter, and Ms. Hunter proves once again that she absolutely possesses this talent. She begins the story perfectly with a scene taking place in the ballroom of one of London’s Ton. Graham, Lord Wharton, has tired of the never ending balls that fill the typical London season just as he has tired of the same eligible, yet lacking personality, debutantes vying for the richest men. He has almost convinced himself to leave when a strange sight catches his eye, sparking laughter and curiosity. A hand reaches from a gathering of potted plants to snag passing drinks and delicacies, a hand belonging to a woman Graham has never before seen. Kit FitzGilbert is in London to secure the future of a woman and child under her care and has taken a moment before she attends to business to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of a ballroom once again. Never intending to be noticed, she is surprised when a very handsome gentleman speaks to her from the area behind her hiding spot. Lord Wharton is everything Kit used to admire in the peers of the Ton and his unexpected kindness and humorous conversation are a welcome respite from her daily battle to ensure the care of those under her roof. But this pleasant interlude is not to last, given Kit must quickly do as she came to do and leave London before anyone can follow her home. Graham was intrigued by Kit and her straightforward way of speaking and determines to find out more about her. But first he must help his friend locate his “missing” sister, Priscilla, that no one is willing to share information about. As Graham sets out on his mission to bring Priscilla home, he stumbles upon Kit’s hidden residence on the outskirts of the village of Marlborough, Wiltshire. Kit has spent the past decade housing the illegitimate children of London’s society while also seeking to help their mothers find solace and hope through their situation. She views her work as a mercy mission and as a way to pay penance for her past mistakes. When Graham appears at her home after helping two of the children in her care, she is hard pressed not to throw him out immediately, regardless of the pouring rain. But as the rain refuses to quit for several hours, Graham will be trapped at Haven Manor for the next couple days. The forced time together gives both Kit and Graham a chance to get to know each other better, but Kit is unwilling to let herself fall for another man, no matter how honorable or handsome. Graham, meanwhile, learns that Kit may have the information on Priscilla he needs and although he is angry at her unwillingness to help him locate her, he does admire her tenacity and protectiveness. When Graham sets off to follow a lead when the water recedes, he will carry with him his deep admiration of Kit and her work and vows to return soon. But their journey towards love will be put to the test when Graham finds out how Kit is financing the care of the orphans and he will give her an ultimatum if she wants them to have a future. Kit will have to decide if she is going to live the words she teaches the children about trusting God or if she is going to keep doing things her own way. And her decision will have to be made quickly if she is going to salvage both her relationship with Graham and a home for the orphans. Ms. Hunter does a wonderful job of drawing readers into the world she has written and creates a connection with her characters that readers will truly enjoy. While each character epitomizes the phrasing and actions of someone belonging to the Regency era, there is no mistaking the real faith challenges that are just as prevalent in people today. Ms. Hunter describes a world that has little care for those who don’t “fit in” the box of acceptable society and shows the incredible compassion that must be employed to extend help to those deemed “illegitimate” through no fault of their own. She rightly places the blame on those who carelessly created the lives which are now seen as worthless while illustrating that these little ones are of the same worth to God as children born inside a marriage. I was pleased to see as well that Ms. Hunter did not allow Kit to continue in her well-meaning but incorrect approach to the care of the orphans. While making those responsible for their conception pay for their care is an admirable goal, blackmail is not the way to ensure this happens. How good it was to see that Ms. Hunter had her character learn the important lesson of trusting God for our needs rather than seeking sinful ways of meeting them. I was further pleased with the quiet but amusing romance between the main characters. Their conversations often carried such hilarious phrases that I found myself laughing out loud as I read. I’ve no idea which excellent character Ms. Hunter will turn her pen focus to next but I am excited to find out. She has begun her series well and I am certain she will continue will her wonderful writing in the next stories to come. I will certainly be recommending this book to others as I’m sure they will find it as enjoyable as I have. I will also be keeping a close eye out for the next book in the Haven Manor series as I know it will be another engaging story.

I received this E-Book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh – Book Review

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

Published by Tyndale House Publishers  June 05, 2018

Genre: Drama, Romance, Christian

Pages: 400

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out―and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town―and Quinn’s life―possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

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Story Notes

Let me begin this review by telling everyone how thankful I am that the situations included in this story are not my own. The hurt that is carried by the two main characters is a reality for so many and I sympathize with you if this mirrors your life in any way. I pray this book will either show you that your hurts do not define you or that having moved beyond those hurts is the best move you’ve ever made.

Courtney Walsh brings to her readers a complex and challenging read that looks at the deep hurts that are caused by a parent’s abandonment and another parent’s inability to forgive a terrible mistake.

This book was a wonderful faith challenge for me as I stepped into the world of Quinn Collins and Grady Benson. Ms. Walsh begins her story with professional skier Grady Benson’s stop in the town of Harbor Pointe for lunch. He is on a cross-country drive to clear his mind before the next set of ski competitions that will decide if he will qualify for the next winter Olympics. A year ago he was the top competitor but lately he has become the bottom, due to several blatant mistakes and falls. Grady is still smarting from his latest failure that has his Twitter feed blowing up with discouraging comments. Enter a smart-mouthed kid and his friends and Grady’s quiet lunch turns into a fight and subsequent night in jail. Hoping to pay his fine and get back on the road, Grady is shocked when the judge demands restitution in the form of community service rather than monetary compensation. Fuming at his continued misfortune Grady calls every person he knows to get him out of this mess; unfortunately for him no one is willing to bail him out after all his past mistakes have cost so much. But this stint of community service will bring more for Grady than he ever imagined and just might help him face the past that has kept him from living a life of true freedom. Quinn Collins is a Harbor Pointe native who wants nothing to do with this arrogant intruder into her town. She has finally purchased the flower shop in town and her long-held dreams are finally within reach. Now if she can only get her entry ready for the Michigan Floral Expo and pull off a first place win she might just have all she ever wanted. But there is a lot of work to do before Quinn can prepare for that competition and the first item on her list is a complete revamp of her new purchase. The problems is, Judge Harrison has assigned Grady Benson community service which includes helping out with renovations in her shop. Thinking she knows exactly what kind of man Grady is, Quinn resolves to stay away from him as much as possible. But Quinn’s nephew Jaden has other plans as he’s been trying to find someone local to coach him in his skiing. Having a top skier in town provides just what Jaden is looking for and Grady convinces Quinn to go along for the first day to “loosen up”. Taking the day for fun starts out as a good idea but soon reality comes crashing in as Quinn notices the Media that begins to accumulate at the ski area the longer they are there. Still not comfortable with the idea of befriending a celebrity, Quinn pulls back and puts more distance between her and Grady after that day. But she will have to let go of her preconceptions and fears if she ever plans to open herself up to the idea of real love. She will also have to work out her problems with her mother’s abandonment of their family when she was a child, which is where her deepest fears are coming from. Grady too, will have to find a way to let go of his mistakes in the past if he is to become the great skier everyone always thought he could be. As he finds new friends in Harbor Pointe and gets to know Quinn better, he will see that there is much to be gained by turning the reins over to God and His omnipotence. Grady will get the chance to find real freedom and joy in the sport he has loved forever and he just might get a chance at real love he didn’t know he wanted. Ms. Walsh’s ability to get the the heart of what is really wrong is exemplified here in this story as she tackles the idea of abandonment. Her female protagonist Quinn is insecure with much in her life as the result of her mother’s abandonment of her as a child. She views the world through jaded eyes and is wary of allowing anyone too close in case they decide to leave her too. Her exceptions seem to be her father, sister and nephew but even they are held at a bit of a distance. Quinn personifies what happens when we let others tell us how worthy we are of time, love and attention. And her hidden resentment is what happens when we don’t let God have what is hurting us and redeem it for His glory. How interesting that Ms. Walsh used the non-Christian Grady to point out these issues in Quinn’s life – that was a well done passage. With Grady, Ms. Walsh takes on the idea that the mistakes of our past, even the most tragic of them, do not define who we are and who we could be. Grady has spent his time trying to make up for the dreams he believes he stole from his brother because of a serious accident and has yet to find any contentment. Hurting deeply over the fact that his father blames him for everything that happened, Grady is trying to be the best to prove he’s got what it takes to win for his brother. Ms. Walsh uses him to show how freeing it can be to let go of the resentment and blame that we don’t need to carry and find ourselves becoming even better at our accomplishments than we ever dreamed possible. There was so much about this book to challenge my faith and my heart that I was sad to come to the last pages. I will be highly recommending this book to others as an excellent read that is not to be missed. I am hopeful Ms. Walsh will be putting out another Harbor Pointe book very soon as I know she will create a wonderful story for either of Quinn’s friends Hailey or Lucy. Harbor Pointe is a town you will want to come back and visit very soon!!

 

I received this book free of charge from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from Tyndale House Publishers for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado by Rebecca Jepson – Book Review

My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado by Rebecca Jepson

Published by Barbour Books/Barbour Publishing May 01, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Christian

Pages: 256

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Where the past and present collide and a woman is on the precipice of unexpected love.

Millie Cooper, fisherman’s-daughter-turned-nurse, flees a painful entanglement with the wealthy Drexel family who summered near her childhood home in Nantucket, only to encounter them again six years later in Glenwood Springs. The serenity of her mountain hideaway in a town with healing springs is disrupted when she faces caring for the elderly mother and the expectant wife of Stephen Drexel, the man she’d once loved—at the request of his brother John, the man who’d kept them apart. Will Millie forgive the wrongs she feels were done to her, or will she come to see them as a blessing in disguise that leads her to greater joys?

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Story Notes

Rebecca Jepson delivers a quiet story of healing and forgiveness in the picturesque town of Glenwood Springs that readers will find delightful.

Having not read Ms. Jepson’s earlier short story works I was interested to see how this new author would develop this well used plot in a new way. I’m pleased to say she did well although I would have put more page time into the evolution of the romance between the two main characters. Ms. Jepson begins her story with a young nurse named Millie Cooper who is enjoying her work alongside Dr. Murphy and his daughter Ann in the healing waters town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. She has had no time for romance and is loath to think of it given her heartbreak from six years earlier. But when the man who destroyed her dreams of marriage comes suddenly into her life again to beg her help with his mother, Millie will have to set aside her hurt and bitterness to be the nurse that God has called her to be. John Drexel has taken care of his family for years, doing whatever necessary to ensure they are provided with everything they need. It nearly broke him to tell Millie that his brother, Stephen, couldn’t possibly marry her but as his reasons for doing so involved others’ secrets he couldn’t tell her the truth of why they couldn’t be together. And as God has a way of doing, John is face to face with Millie once again, hoping she will agree to help his mother deal with the sudden onset of asthma. Millie still has not forgiven John for keeping her and Stephen apart in the past and is hard pressed to agree to work with the Drexel family, possibly coming in contact with Stephen daily. But as she begins her work, she will find small comforts in the care of her unexpected second patient, Stephen’s wife Florence, who is due to have a baby in a few months. Millie will need every kind word that Florence has to offer as she faces Katherine Drexel, her asthmatic and extremely critical main patient but will eventually find a way to love Katherine to a semi-friendship. But she is still carrying a bitterness and resentment in her heart that will have to be released if she is to have a chance at real, lasting love with another. John has admired Millie for years and would love to have a chance to show her he is not the cruel snob she believes him to be. As he works to ensure that his family and his business are both flourishing, Millie begins to see a kinder side of John that she was unaware of before now. And when tragedy strikes, it will take all of the strength and kindness they both posses to make it through the toughest days. But each challenge they face brings them closer together and gives the promise of a new love in the coming days. That is, until a former love threatens to tear them apart. Millie will have to make a tough decision of whether to embrace an old love that was safe or a new love that promises to bring her all her hearts deepest desires. I gave this story a lower rating that I usually would because I found the story to be good but not overly excellent. The lesson of letting go of bitterness and anger were well written and the pacing of the story was effective but I just felt a little shorted on the romance between John and Millie. As they had so much to work through I would have like to have seen more interactions between them to show how their love actually grew. And at the end when they finally got together I wish that had been more drawn out rather than rushed onto 5 pages. I would have also liked to have seen a bit more about Ann and Stephen’s romance after John and Millie got together. It would have made a very good next story for Ms. Jepson to write – although I know this book was part of a larger, over-arching series. So I will be recommending this book for others as a nice read for a vacation or weekend-at-home type of story. It was a pretty good first novel and I hope Ms. Jepson will continue to hone her craft and put out more stories soon.

I received this E-Book free of charge from Barbour Books/Barbour Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review and all opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

The Heart’s Appeal by Jennifer Delamere – Book Review

The Heart’s Appeal by Jennifer Delamere

Published by Bethany House Publishers March 06, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Drama, Romance, Christian

Pages: 385

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Strong-minded and independent Julia Bernay comes to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. She witnesses a serious accident, and through her quick actions saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its money and its respectability, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought was impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to rise above his family’s stigma and set him on the path to wealth and recognition. But his well-laid plans are upended when the accident brings Julia into his life.

Michael soon discovers he’s met a woman every bit as stubborn and determined to make her mark on the world as he is. Sparks fly–but will they find common ground?

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Story Notes

Jennifer Delamere brings her readers her second story in the London Beginnings series and it is one that contains good challenges to ideas of living out faith and letting God lead you to love and contentment. However, its the rest of the book that will be a whole other challenge with which readers must contend.

I’m going to go on record as I begin this review with saying that this book was very difficult for me to read. Not because it was particularly challenging in its material covered but between losing the book for a full week (it fell behind my “to read” stack of books), and all that was going on with the rest of my life, this poor book was quite neglected for a time. But I will not say that once I began it I wish I had read it earlier. Rather, when I finally started the book and was reading the first few chapters, my mind quickly began saying “Oh no, this book is not going to be a keeper.” And while the pace of the story did pick up and the plot became better developed, this will not be one of the books that I will re-read multiple times. Mainly, it was the overly drawn out happenings and conversations that made this book plod along. I don’t necessarily need a book to be packed with action, but I do require the conversations and actions that are taking place to be witty and commanding. Ms. Delamere begins her story right where she left off in The Captain’s Daughter with nurse Julia Bernay in the middle of her studies at Queens College for the physician entrance exam to the London School of Medicine for Women. As she is making her way to a medical lecture one afternoon on the London Underground, the train derails, causing mayhem as well as injury to many on board. Knowing time is of the essence, Julia quickly begins to assess those in her car for possible injuries. A well dressed man she had noticed earlier is lying on the floor bleeding profusely from his neck while his female companions shriek for help. As she works to slow the bleeding and keep the man alive, Julia prays her current knowledge will be enough. Rescuers soon come, and the man is taken quickly from the broken train car to the nearest hospital. Julia remains behind to help others and finds the business card of the man she helped lying on the floor  – Michael Stephenson, Barrister-at-Law. From this dramatic introduction, Julia and Michael’s lives will be forever changed. Michael is the second attorney on a lawsuit that could affect the closing of the London School of Medicine for Women. Doing only what he is told on such a case as this has never been a problem before, but after his accident and subsequent meeting of Julia, Michael begins to look deeper at what is the real reason for the lawsuit at hand. He is also hoping to repay Julia for her kindness and offers to help her in any way he can. Her first thought when she hears his offer is whether or not he was good at Latin while at his Law studies. When Michael responds positively, Julia praises God for having gifted her with such a solution to her most challenging subject of the medical exam. Still unsure of whether his tutoring her could become a conflict for the lawsuit, Michael agrees to help, believing her goal of becoming a doctor is laudable. As the weeks pass and the two discuss all Latin phrases and declination Michael can recall or find, they also begin discussing their personal lives. Discovering that they are both orphans brings them a commonality that produces a close friendship. But Julia brings a challenge to Michael he did not foresee – one of living out one’s faith. Michael has never seen the use of letting an un-attentive God have any say over his life, while Julia believes He is the one who orchestrates all that happens in life for her good. Skeptical of what he hears, Michael brushes her words aside at first but will soon come to see God in a new light because of Julia’s faithful witness. But there will be much to challenge them further in the weeks to come as the lawsuit comes about, bringing with it more problems. And they both will have to decide if they are going to let the love that is growing between them thrive or die, and that will depend on whether they let God lead them to the best life possible. As simplified as I have just made the plot sound it is not too far off what the essentials of the story are. I just wish that Ms. Delamere has supported the story with more witty dialogue and forward moving action. Random inserts of what happened at a party or event that had no bearing on the plot were uselessly added in what I guess was a way to make the book longer. This was disappointing as the first book was really well done and very interesting. Here’s hoping the third book the series will be much better written and developed. I will be recommending this book to others only because it will probably be necessary to the plot of the third book, I will not recommend it as one to purchase as I think it would be a poor buy. Please write a better third book, Ms Delamere, I really wanted to like this one!

 

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from Bethany House Publishers for this review and the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – Book Review

The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep

Published by Barbour Books/Barbour Publishing, Inc. June 01, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Drama, Romance

Pages: 257

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Mercy Lytton, a scout with keen eyesight raised among the Mohawks, and Elias Dubois, a condemned traitor working both sides of the conflict, must join together to get a shipment of gold safely into British hands.
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees. 

A War-Torn Countryside Is No Place for a Lady
Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause. . .to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart.  Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he is offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he is the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought.   Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep.

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Story Notes

Michelle Griep presents the third installment of the Daughters of the Mayflower series – a story that had a lot of potential and plot twists but fell a little flat in the action/adventure/danger department.

I had a lot of expectations for this story, not just because Michelle Griep wrote it, but because it is part of a series that, thus far, has been well done by all the authors creating the stories. And while I felt that there was adequate attention given to the spiritual and romantic sides of the story, the historical and adventure/danger sections seemed more of an afterthought. I realize this is in the genre of “Christian fiction” but there is a way to convey a great sense of danger and fear without being gory or gross. However, I will also share what I liked about the story as well. Ms. Griep begins her story with the arrival of Mercy Lytton at Fort Wilderness after a long journey scouting for the English/colonial army. Weary from her work and ready for a little time off, Mercy brings her reports to General Bragg, only to discover she is to be sent out right away as a scout with a captured shipment of French gold to Fort Edward. Mercy is glad to hear she will be traveling once again with her friend and mentor, Matthew Prinn but her gladness turns to anger when she hears she is to travel as a “married woman” – and her husband is to be the English traitor Elias Dubois. Determined to do her duty no matter what is asked of her, Mercy tells the General she will give the mission her very best effort, even if it makes her extremely uncomfortable to ride alongside a notorious prisoner. Elias Dubois is a “French agent” who was in command of a small group of French soldiers charged with delivering a shipment of gold to a New York fort. He and his men were captured and he is scheduled to hang for his crimes against the British crown at sunrise. However, a stay of execution has been sent for him, dependent on his cooperation to deliver the gold shipment to Fort Edward alongside Mercy, Matthew and the General’s son, Rufus. Elias agrees, and is soon ready to leave with the others. But what should be a relatively easy two week journey turns into much more as they pick their way through difficult terrain, hoping against hope they will avoid the warring Mohawks and Wyandot warriors hiding in all areas of the woods. They will face numerous problems including a broken wagon wheel,  helping a settler family whose wilderness guide isn’t worthy of the title, and capture by the Wyandot tribe. As they face the unending challenges that come upon them, both Mercy and Elias will have to find a way to trust each other or they will never make it through this journey alive. Mercy has been on her own for so long she is not used to having someone, besides Matthew, to depend on for anything. And she certainly doesn’t want to trust this traitor she believes will run at the first opportunity. But there is much more to Elias Dubois and his mission that meets the eye. Elias carries a secret that he cannot tell anyone or his life is forfeit, a fact that pains him greatly as he gets to know Mercy. She is the exact kind of woman he has always prayed for but has almost given up hope of finding. But her strong will and determination to do her job have pushed her away from her Biblical upbringing and Elias sees helping her conquer these traits as a challenge he has been given by God. As they make both the physical and spiritual journey together, they will come to find a love that they can both believe in – and one they can trust completely. And they will need all their faith and love to make it through to the end as each hour brings a new problem and danger to face. As I said before, this story had great potential. I was very pleased with the plot and the context of the story. And the handling of spiritual matters was well done, with no truth being withheld in order to be pleasant. The romance as well was very nice and clean with more than enough conversations and situations together to make it believably real. But when it came to the adventure/danger it was a bit lackluster. While the capture of Mercy by the Wyandots was a bit suspenseful, there seemed to be a lack of viciousness that was to be expected from the warriors. I know that it is prejudicial to portray the American Indian as a savage type of person, but Ms. Griep previously alluded to the fact that this particular tribe were a very vicious and vengeful people. Not of course that they didn’t have just cause but that they exacted their revenge in a brutal way. I did like that Ms. Griep showed how arguments were often settled by challenges to the death by the Wyandots – as was true to history. They considered it a matter of honor that when someone, or their family, was offended, the offended party would challenge the offender to a fight of choice to the death. But the way in which they simply let Elias spend time with Mercy after he mostly won without placing a guard over their prisoner was a little hard to believe. Native Americans were not know for letting their captives go easily and would often tie them to others to ensure they remained in camp. The chief even said she was not going to be allowed to leave and yet not one warrior was assigned to guard her. My other issue was the fast resolution at the end of the story. It seemed to me that more information was needed to explain Elias’s job and the reason for his long held secret. And if you are going to tell of a specialized weapon, more research and page time needs to be included to make it at all believable for this time period. But overall, I did find the story enjoyable and would recommend it to others for a good read. Not everyone cares to be as particular in the details about a story as I am and therefore I’m sure many will read this story and say it was very well done in its entirety. I’m hopeful that Ms. Griep’s next book will return to the excellence I have come to expect from her in her other works – perhaps this was a one off because she is trying to fit her story into a multi-author series and lacked page space to really delve down into the details. On to the next book!

I received this E-book free of charge from Barbour Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review and the opinions given here are entirely my own.