©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Austen Escape

Isabel wants to go to Bath, England, to experience two weeks of living like a character in a Jane Austen novel.  Not only does she want to do this experience, she also wants her best friend, Mary, to go with her. Mary's work is somewhat at a standstill and her immediate supervisor is trying to get her fired. In Mary's mind, there is no better time to make the Austen Escape.

After they reach Bath, something happens to turn Isabel's world upside down, and she reacts the only way she knows how. She retreats into a world only she knows, and confuses the others who are on the escape. 

Katherine Reay has written a soul-tugging book that grips the reader from the very first words. There is a bit of darkness to the plot, but it is not overwhelming, and it does have its lighter moments.

Katherine creates characters whose struggles mimic real life struggles every reader can relate to.  By setting this book in Bath, the reader gets a peek into another well-loved author's life and works, as well as a look into the life and times of the beloved author.  Some of the customs included changing clothes multiple times a day to suit the various activities of the day. 

The book is a deep read, but it is completely intriguing.  Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a custom-made dress befitting Jane Austen herself. 

My thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty

Kristi Ann Hunter has written quite a series of historical romances.  An Inconvenient Beauty is the final book of the series. 

Isabella Breckenridge is living with her Uncle Percy for the London Season to help him pass a bill through Parliament.  He wants her to use her beauty to lure peers of the realm to consider courting her so he can talk to them about his Apothecary Act and convince them to vote for it.  In exchange for her acting her part, Uncle Percy will pay off her father's debt and help him get back on his feet. What she doesn't know is that if she doesn't fulfill her part of the agreement, he will frame her father and have him transported. 

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, has finally decided to settle down and look for a wife.  He decides that Frederica St Claire will be his choice.  She's not an incomparable--her nose is too large and offsets  the rest of her features.  But instead Griffith keeps running into Isabella, and then becomes fascinated by her beauty, her open personality, and her reluctance to fully engage in society's functions.  She doesn't gossip, she doesn't play flirting games, she'd rather just blend in to the background and it attracted him like no other.  What bothers him is that she doesn't want to engage in a relationship with him either.  If only he could figure out her secrets.

I meant to read only a little bit of the book last night before I went to sleep, but I got caught up in the way the story was ending and read it to the end.  I didn't have that much to read, close to two hours of reading, but I really didn't mean to read all that. 

This is a Five Star Book, Two Thumbs Up, and a little bit of mystery to keep you interested.

My thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Simple Wish

Charlotte Hubbard writes interesting Amish fiction with complex characters and equally complex plots. First, there's Loretta Riehl, once engaged, but now she's trying to make the young man understand she just doesn't feel for him the way she used to. 

Drew Detweiller is Asa's twin brother and finds himself intrigued by Loretta.

Edith Detweiller is Asa's wife and Loretta's sister.

Rosalyn is the other sister in the Riehl household. Cornelius is their father and he's in a perpetual bad mood. His demands that he be obeyed and his every whim catered to makes for quite a bit of angst and drama in the book. 

A Simple Wish is Loretta's wish that she find love that will last her life and that her life will be filled with peace.  Cornelius causes trouble with his daughters and then with the bishop and the other leadership of the local congregation. He's got the idea he doesn't answer to anyone but requires his family to answer to him.

Loretta's and Drew's relationship grows in spite of Cornelius' behavior, and in fact, Drew steps in to speak for Loretta with her father and make himself understood as far as how Cornelius should treat his daughters. 

In the review of the previous book in this series, I was wishing that more of Cornelius' secrets would have been revealed.  They were in this book, but not entirely.  Charlotte has set this book up for another sequel.  This is like reading the Mitford series by Jan Karon.  The more books you read, the more you find out about the people who populate Willow Ridge.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a wish come true.

My thanks to Zebra books for allowing me to read and review this book.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Cherished Mercy

I absolutely adored this series by Tracie Peterson, and she capped it off with a wonderful tale about Mercy, the Flanagan's youngest sister.  All three Flanagans lived through the Whitman Massacre, but Mercy lived through another Indian uprising.  The missionary friends of the Flanagans, Isaac and Eletta Browning have asked that Mercy come to them to help Eletta with a difficult pregnancy.  While she was with the Brownings, many people were taking a vigilante approach to the Indians in the area--the only good Indian is a dead Indian kind of thinking. 

Mercy's name always seemed to fit her.  She was the most merciful of the sisters, quick to forgive and long-suffering in patience.  She also had many friends among the local Indians when she was living with the Brownings, she wanted them protected because they posed no threat.

This is also the story of Mercy falling in love with Adam, Isaac's brother; and the story of all they have overcome to get to where they are.  I was confused by the geography Tracie was describing.  She mentioned towns that I know but I couldn't figure out where they were in connection to the other towns she was describing.  That is my only criticism. 

It would be helpful to read Cherished Mercy after the other two books in the series, it's helpful to know the characters and what happened to them along the way.  Those experiences make the characters into who they are.

This is a five star book, two thumbs up, and a friend to walk with you along the way.

My thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Amish Christmas Candle

I am of two minds about this book.  I read the first novella by Kelly Long and did not like it at all.  I read the second one by Jennifer Beckstrand and liked it better but not as much as I thought I would. I was discouraged enough that I just would not read the third one at all.  This is at best a two star collection. 

I am still very appreciative of Kensington Books for allowing me to read and review this book.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

These Healing Hills

Ann H Gabhart writes soul-wrenching novels that grab the reader on the very first page and shakes her around, then lets her go, wrung out, and exhausted at the very last page. 

These Healing Hills begins toward the end of World War II and covers about a year of Francine's and Ben's life. 

Francine has joined the Frontier Nurses in the hills of Kentucky, coming from Cincinnati. In joining the Frontier Nurses, she is taught midwifery and signs on for a full year of service to the hill people of Kentucky. 

One of the first families she works with is the Locke family.  The youngest child, Sadie, is feeling porely (you have to say this aloud in your head to get the full gist of the jargon of the hill people) and Francine is treating her.  Sadie's brother, Woody, was the first of the Lockes to meet Francine because she got lost getting to the medical center up in the hills.  He helped her find her way and often came to the center and ended up going with her to many of her calls, just to make sure she finds her way to her patients.  Woody is also a fount of knowledge of the people of the hills and doesn't mind sharing his knowledge. 

Woody's brother, Ben, is serving as a medic in the army in France and is waiting to come home.  The only problem is that Ben doesn't know what he wants to do when he gets home.

Ben and Francine's worlds collide almost as soon as he gets home and then they repeatedly run into each other.  Each time, something grows between them. 

Ann has left the ending open a bit so that a sequel could be written to this book. It is a five star book, with two thumbs up, and a guide through the hills of Kentucky.  (And I really relate to Francine, I can get lost at the drop of a hat).

My thanks to Revell Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book.

The Return

Suzanne Woods Fisher is one of the best Amish fiction writers I've come across. The Return is but another book in this genre.  Not that it's "just another," but it's a high quality read that embraces the reader and holds on until the final page.  The way Suzanne has written this book, she's got two choices to make--either leave it as is, or write a sequel.

Included in this narrative are hatred, racism, violence, and unrequited love. 

Betsy's family is decimated by an Indian raid on their village, and Betsy and her brother, Johnny, are taken captive.  Betsy's other brother, Willie, escapes but is mute because of the devastation he's seen.

Tessa's family takes in Willie to try to help him heal.  Tessa has always been in love with Hans but Hans is in love with Betsy.  The other thing about Hans is he's bent on revenge for what Betsy and her family went through.  His actions cause a raid on a friendly tribe and eventually wipes them out. 

Woven throughout this story is the history of a new Amish settlement in the pre-Revolutionary days and the history of the Indian relationships in the New World. This is a five-star book with two thumbs up, and a daring rescue from an Indian camp.

My thanks to Revell Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book .