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Christian Fiction: Historical Romance


A Match Made In Texas

- A Novella Collection

by Asst


This book is basically 4 short stories set in 1893 in Dry Gulch, Texas where there is a matchmaker busying herself with hooking women up in dire straits with men of good character. I thought that this was a novel idea for a book and although written by 4 different authors, the style was continuous throughout and it hung together quite nicely. Each story has a connection of some sort with one of the other stories and it made for an interesting addition to the overall plot. 

Each novella was suitably short enough that it didn't cut the story short in order that it stayed a novella and all of them were easy to read and enjoyable too. Because of the shortness of each story and the chapters within each story it allowed you to read manageable chunks, if short for time and if not, they you could read a whole novella in one sitting.

Each leading lady from each of the stories were diverse in character that plots never seemed 'samey', however the strong, masculine, godly man did but that is part of the draw of the story, every woman wants to be rescued, protected, supported, we all want our knight and these stories give each of the women this without being sickly.

I hope you enjoy this book, and you will if you like American period drama. 



Review by Zoë Stevenson  (27/07/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: February 2014
ISBN: 978-0-764-21176-8
Paperback
Price: £9.99

When The Heart Heals

- (Sisters At Heart Series)

by Ann Shorey


What a lovely read. I could really identify with the main character of this book Rosemary Saxon. We are similar in many ways, I work in a male dominated occupation and have had to sometimes prove myself.

In addition I have also been the black sheep of the community just because I look elsewhere other than the drugs cabinet for medical aid after all, if it is natural I believe the God Lord put it there for our benefit.

And finally I can be blooming stubborn when it comes to doing things my way even at the detriment of the best for me leaving God to have to make the most of my messes.

If this sounds familiar to you then this story is just for you, and if you are not like this it will give you an insight to the kind of world I can sometimes put myself in.

Set in Noble Springs, Missouri, USA just after the American Civil War in 1867 we follow Saxon as she lives her very independent but frowned upon single life. This is the second book in the Sisters at Heart series and I hope that I can get my hands on book one Where Wildflowers Bloom, which introduces us to Noble Springs.



Review by Zoë Stevenson  (14/03/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-800-72073-5
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Sweet Mercy



by Ann Tatlock


What a charming read, set in the US in the time of the roaring 20s and 30s and the notorious Al Capone, Sweet Mercy is a novel about a naive and "good" girl called Eve Marryat. She is brought up in a loving Christian household in St Paul, Minnesota, until her father looses his job and they are forced to accept an invitation by a relative for work. So Eve and her parents move to Mercy to work for her Uncle Cyrus at the Marryat Island Ballroom and lodge. All is going well until Eve and her father discover that gangsters have made their way to Mercy and all is not well.

Sweet Mercy follows Eve as she grows up and experiences life through working, falling in love for the first time and then a second time and learning that the world is a not an honest and nice place sometimes and the people you thought you could trust are not who you wished they were.

I enjoyed this book, it is well written and easy to read. This is the second book by Tatlock that I have read and I would definitely read another. She has another eight for me to read, so I'll look out for those.



Visit the author's website:www.anntatlock.com/

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (07/10/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: June 2013
ISBN: 978-0-764-21046-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Taming the Wind

- Land of The Lone Star Book 3

by Tracie Petersen


If it's romance you enjoy, you will find plenty of it in award-winning author Tracie Peterson's new book, involving two emotionally wounded characters, a young widowed mother and a cowboy, who in fact had once saved her life. For suspense, there's a kidnapping and gripping chase. For sheer drama, there's a long distance cattle drove. It makes for an absorbing novel, which certainly reveals the "passion for history and flair for adventure" that are said to "resonate"ť in Tracie's work. The story is set in 1868, and Tracie does a good job of describing the lingering resentments left by the recent Civil War and what seem to be some unfair laws. Then there are tensions with those native tribes that were resisting the pressure to settle on official reservations. So a number of issues arise as the story proceeds. But at the heart of it all is the Christian faith of its main characters, and their prayers for God's guidance and protection. I felt that the author was expressing her own Christian values most clearly in the description of a wedding in Chapter 28 (pages 315 to 317).

Visit the author's website:www.traciepetersonbooks.com

Review by Barry Vendy  (04/09/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20617-7
Paperback
Price: £8.99

A Change of Fortune



by Jen Turano


I really enjoyed this period drama. This is Turano's debut novel set in 1880s New York where social class was everything. Lady Eliza Sumner poses as a governess as she uses her spare time to track down her missing fortune as well as challenged to search for her absent faith.

This is a sweet love story as Eliza grows closer to God and closer to her knight in shining armour. A real romantic novel. I liked the way that Turano gave Eliza a real relationship with God and showed the struggles that can hinder a free relationship with him and how God can speak to us in times of need, with such clarity, if only we are open to hear.

I hope that Turano will write more books, I liked her style, it flowed well with a good blend of characters.



Review by Zoë Stevenson  (21/05/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: December 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-21018-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

To Honor and Trust



by Judith Miller, Tracie Peterson


A simply told yet compelling story of a young girl searching for her future path in life and her encounter with a man whose previous path is clothed in mystery.

Set in Georgia, USA, just before the outbreak of World War 2, this book is co-written by two very sound authors, who, through 362 pages hold the reader's attention and vindicate those who believe that God’s timing is perfect.

To say more would run the risk of giving the game away. Do read it!

Review by Margaret Walker  (07/05/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0-764-20888-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Choices of the Heart



by Laurie Alice Eakes


This beautifully written book is set in the 1840s in Appalachia - the wild western mountains of Virginia. Esther Cherrett is on the run: from her parents, from a scandal not of her own making and from herself. Her feisty yet deeply wounded character is realistically described and I was drawn through the book because I liked her and wanted to know the end of her story. She had hoped that taking up a position as a teacher in a place far from home, would be a refuge and delight. However, she finds herself in the middle of a deadly family feud which makes her want to run away again. The twists and turns of the plot also kept me on my toes - romance, deception, tenderness and reconciliation - they are all movingly portrayed. A romantic page-turner well worth the read.

Review by Jackie Rowe  (25/04/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0-800-71986-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

A City Not Forsaken



by Lynn Morris


This is Book 3 in the Cheney Duvall M.D. series and the only one I have read. It stands alone nicely, so no need to have read Books 1 and 2.
This historical fiction follows the struggles and frustrations of a young female doctor who comes up against male chauvinism and cultural mistrust, even though she is more than qualified to treat people. Her headstrong personality whilst helping her to push on in a difficult time for career minded women does also get her into some scrapes.

There is a love triangle between the intended Dr Buchanan who is well matched because of his social status but Duvall's heart leans more towards her nurse assistant Shiloh an orphan boy who has grown up in a home and then joined the army medical corps.

Disappointingly, I would have liked to have seen romance blossom and the ending expanded instead of being what I felt was cut short. Overall I found the story engaging and there was plenty of food for thought and definitely not one to be missed if you like this kind of novel.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (02/04/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Hendrickson from Alban Books
Published: January 2012
ISBN: 978-1-598-56740-3
Paperback
Price: £9.99

A Hidden Truth (Home to Amana series)



by Judith Miller


A new romantic novel by prolific American author Judith Miller will give pleasure to her many keen fans. This one is set in East Amana, Iowa in 1892, and is one of several novels she has placed in that community. She clearly knows its customs and rules. The story revolves around two young women, who forge a deep friendship. One of them, Karlina, has grown up in the community. The other, Dovie, visits it, searching for the truth about her late mother, who used to live there. She eventually finds that truth, and both young women fall in love. Chapters alternate between the two of them, so we read of their experiences in turn. It makes for easy, pleasurable reading, with a few twists and turns along the way.

Review by Barry Vendy  (23/03/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-21000-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Heart's Safe Passage

- The Midwives, Book Two

by Laurie Alice Eakes


1813 and America is at war with Britain and privateers - licensed 'pirates’ (licensed by their respective governments), ply their plundering trade to and fro across the Atlantic. A young pregnant wife books passage on an English privateer to sail from Virginia to England and rescue her husband, an American privateer, from a prison hulk on the Thames. She coerces her sister-in-law, Phoebe to go with her, as she will be in need of a midwife before long - sooner than she has told Phoebe!
A complicated setting to begin with, but believe me it gets more so.
Although part of a series - and there is an overlap - this tale can be read on its own and thoroughly enjoyed. Exciting enough to keep the pages turning and predictable enough not to strain your brain; just pure entertainment with a dip into history included.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (15/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 23 March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-71985-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Joy Takes Flight



by Bonnie Leon


This is book three in the Alaskan Skies Series which follows the life of Kate Evans a female bush pilot. Based in Alaska in the 1930s, the last in the series Joy Takes Flight culminates with Kate marrying Paul a bush doctor. Kate finds herself struggling between being a strong and independent woman and being the wife of a loving man with a hidden secret that wants to keep Kate grounded.

I think I would have enjoyed this book more had I read the first two in the series which would maybe have embedded Kate's 1930s character in my mind's eye. I love nature and have been to Alaska and so I could take pleasure in this great wilderness setting. For me it took me a while to really get into the book and I felt a little frustrated with Kate, but maybe that was because I could recognise her flaws in me and I just wanted her to stop trying to achieve perfection. Overall I liked it.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (21/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 24 August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-73361-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Sweeter Than Birdsong

- The Saddler’s Legacy

by Rosslyn Elliott


The book centres around two characters from history, Kate Winter and Ben Hanby who did indeed marry, and who were caught up in the abolitionist movement and the ‘Underground Railroad’ freeing slaves in the south from the tyranny of their masters. The song Darling Nelly Gray was written by Ben Hanby and became universally popular and an anthem for the abolitionist movement.
Using these facts and other proven historical information, Rosslyn Elliott has woven an absorbing story of a dysfunctional family stifling a gifted daughter and a loving Christian family doing their utmost to help their fellow men and women.
My attention was held from the first pages of this book and it finished too soon for my liking. We get a real feeling of the way life was lived in those times by the wealthy, and at the other extreme what it was like to be black, a slave, and torn apart from your family at the whim of an uncaring ‘owner’. It feels unreal, surely just fiction, but as I say at the beginning it is based on stark truth. I can’t wait to read others of this series.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (27/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Thomas Nelson From TMD or Joining the Dots
Published: 07 February 2012
ISBN: 978-1-595-54786-6
Paperback
Price: £9.99

A Love Forbidden

- Heart of the Rockies Book Two

by Kathleen Morgan


1879 and Shiloh Wainwright, 21 years of age, has grown into a beautiful and independent women. Nine years before, her relationship with her sister Jordan, never good, worsened to near hatred when Jordan who had enticed their half-breed Indian worker, Jesse, into a barn, lied about what had happened there and did nothing to prevent his cruel flogging. All these years later Shiloh’s memory of Jesse has grown into love which she knows cannot be. Now a qualified teacher, she has chosen to travel to the White River territory of the Ute Indians, to teach their children. She had learnt their language, culture and traditions from her Ute nursemaid all those years ago, and felt called to serve them.
As you would expect in a historical romantic novel she meets up with Jesse and that is where the tale really takes off.
I learnt a lot about the attitudes of ordinary people towards the original inhabitants of their land, how the Indians lived and thought, how change was being forced upon them with heart-rending results. The story goes through many twists and turns before the happy ending you would expect. It kept me enthralled to the last page.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (07/09/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 22 June 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-71971-5
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Song of My Heart



by Kim Vogel Sawyer


1895 and Sadie Wagner sets out to Goldtree, Kansas, to work as Clerk for sisters Melva and Shelva Baxter at their Mercantile, (traditional department store to UK readers.) Her beloved step-father has been injured in an accident and can’t work, and Sadie as the oldest child, needs to earn some money to help her family. Sid her cousin, has procured this job for her and the real enticement is the promise of the chance to sing in the local ‘Opera’ House
Thaddeus Mckane (Thad) is also a newcomer to Goldtree and is immediately a thorn in the side of Sid, who has loved Sadie from a child.
As the story develops we learn about life in small town America back then, the hopes and dreams of the people, good and bad. The sisters Melva and Shelva come alive in all their eccentric lovability, their brother Asa in his evilness. Sadie blossoms in her job and in her singing but things turn nasty and what could be a tragic end for her life in Goldtree turns into joy – as you would expect!

Visit the author's website:www.kimvogelswayer.com

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (07/09/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 23 March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20786-0
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Where Wild Flowers Bloom

- Sisters at Heart Book One

by Ann Shorey


A light read for a weekend or a holiday. Nothing specifically ‘Christian’ apart from the main character being a believer and at the last remembering to pray!
The civil war in the states has ended, leaving bereaved families, injured ex-soldiers and an unsettled populace. Many in the affected areas are wanting to leave on the Oregon Trail to find pastures new in the west, Faith Lindberg among them.
Faith is a young woman with heavy responsibilities. Her grandmother and mother died when she was young, now her father and brother have been killed in the war and she is left with no-one but her grandfather, Judge Lindberg, who is getting very forgetful and unable to cope with the running of the store which has been a central feature of their little town of Noble Springs, Missouri.
When her grandfather agrees to Faith taking over the running of the store, she devises a plan to sell up and move them both to the west, to leave their sad memories behind. But what about the man she thinks she loves and the man who obviously loves her?
There is more to this story than this outline tells, and it’s a good read!

Visit the author's website:www.annshorey.com/

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (03/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 17 February 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-72074-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Prize of My Heart



by Lisa Norato


This was quite a gentle historical romance with a bit of a difference. Normally, the reader (presumed female) is supposed to fall headlong for the dashing hero. However, I found myself really liking Lorena, the godly young lady with a strong faith who took a youngster under her wing. I won't tell anymore than that, because I don't want to give away the story, but suffice to say that she gets her man, a Captain with a tortured past, in the end. I felt that Lorena's strong faith shone out from the beginning of the book, when she had been praying out on the rocks and meets her destiny. They have a lot of obstacles in the way though, including one of Lorena's lovestruck childhood friends, who tries to poison her. Finally, they return home, but the Captain receives such gobsmacking news and rather like Jonah, he takes sail.
I often felt that I was reading from the distant past. The immediacy was taken out of the novel, perhaps because of the constant use of the third person. The narrative felt a little contrived, and at the end the plot was all quite convenient. However, I enjoyed this novel, particularly the story of David and Goliath, which is retold in a very original fashion.

Review by Alice Collins  (21/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 20 April 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20942-0
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall



by Julie Klassen


Oh how I needed that! A light read with a story that kept you reading and wondering how things were going to turn out. No time to think about other things.
Margaret Macy is soon to inherit her Great Aunt’s money. Her ‘wicked’ stepfather has designs on it, and an evil plan to get it. She runs away and becomes a maid in the house of her rejected suitor. All pretty predictable but with some surprising twists and turns.
Julie Klassen has set other books in England, and I have enjoyed them too but sometimes have hesitated over some hint of Americanism. Not so here. Her research into background information has enabled her to write a very believable and heart-warming story.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (14/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 February 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20709-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning



by Olivia Newport


Set in Chicago in 1893 this period drama seemed to struggle with keeping an authenticity about it. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed the story, I found Lucy a pleasant character to follow but I think that the author would have done better to have made her a modern girl. That saying it was really nice to watch her grow as a woman deciding for herself what she wanted out of her life rather than what her family expected.
Whilst God doesn’t feature predominantly in the book, the author does portray a sense of God at work in Lucy’s life to get the relationship that was the best for her and for the maid Charlotte to be blessed.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (10/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 22 June 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-72038-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Messenger



by Siri Mitchell


I enjoyed this novel from many aspects. The author, Siri Mitchell, made very clear the contrast between politics and religion, and I was left wondering if the two could ever fully be interwoven. The character the author used to explore Quakerism during the Colonial war was a young lady called Hannah; for 'lady' Hannah certainly was. For the most part, I loved the way she stuck to her beliefs, even if I did question her point blank way of refusing to lie.
I liked the fact that Siri Mitchell had obviously spent a lot of time researching so closely a cause that seemed very dear to her heart. I was also frequently reminded of the fact that early Quakerism seemed much more extreme in many ways. For example, when Hannah's family home became invaded by soldiers, they had to go and stay with their cousins, whom they considered ‘enslaved’. Hannah's aunt had left the faith to marry a non-Quaker, and the differences between Hannah and her cousin Polly are painted vividly by the different dresses and colours they preferred, even in their lifestyle and tastes. Polly frequently cajoled Hannah to go dancing and out to the theatre, and of course Hannah felt inclined to do neither. As much as I admired reading about Hannah, I did find myself wondering if she would be slightly too moral for me to be friends with. In the end though, Hannah's high moral standards had her questioning some of her Quaker beliefs, particularly regarding pacifism, but she had to leave her family nest in order to get justice done properly.
I haven't yet mentioned the irascible Jeremiah, whom in many ways is also an a-typical historical romantic hero. I loved the fact that he was disabled, but was able to persuade a Quaker girl to help rescue prisoners from a fate worse than death. I thought Siri Mitchell portrayed extremely well the ultimate heartbreaking destruction of war.

Review by Alice Collins  (10/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 20 April 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20796-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Ride of Her Life

- Lake Manawa Summers

by Lorna Seilstad


We’ve moved on to 1906 beside Lake Manawa. Much has happened since we last met the group of friends and this book homes in on the story of Lilly (now widowed) and her young son Levi. Her wealthy and influential in-laws want Levi brought up in the manner they consider suitable for a grandson of theirs and this is most definitely not what Lilly and her husband had planned for him.
Having moved out of the in-law’s home to escape their overpowering behaviour, Lilly is now working as cook at a Lakeside diner and she and Levi are sleeping in a tent. You can imagine the in-law’s reaction to that!
Enter a new character Nick who is supervising the building of a roller coaster of his own design. Roller coasters being the ‘in’ thing at American parks at this time.
There develops a delightful story of a young women desperately seeking to have a proper stable and fixed home for herself and her son, and her growing feelings for a man who by the very nature of his work will move from place to place. Much else beside woven in very readably. Enjoy!

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (05/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 22 June 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-73447-3
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Doctor’s Lady



by Jody Hedlund


Jody Hedlund first captivated me with her debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride. What struck me most about Jody’s writing was her ability to take a short page from history and reconstruct it with passionate creativity and insightful prose. Her second publication, The Doctor’s Lady, met the same level of ingenuity as it brought to life a missionary tale from the early 19th Century of the first white woman to cross the US Continental Divide.
Set initially in Angelica, New York, the story follows a young, single woman – Priscilla White (any English reader will be amused at the name, but will soon forgive Jody for not realising the celebrity connection) – whose strong faith has given her a determination to enter into the mission field. With her heart set on serving in India, Priscilla’s dreams are shattered when she is rejected by the Mission Board for her single status.
Simultaneously, we are introduced to Dr. Eli Ernest who is unable to fulfil his dream of reaching the Nez Perce tribe of the American West for the same reason. With much persuasion, and despite Priscilla’s naivety and petite frame, Eli agrees to a marriage of convenience and allows her to accompany him on the long, arduous journey to Oregon Country. We are then swept up in a journey of physical hardships, emotional struggles and faith-sharpening trials, as well as the joy of witnessing gentle tugs on their heartstrings along the way.
Based on the true story of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman – with a few imaginative plot lines thrown in for good measure – The Doctor’s Lady is all-in-all a fascinating read.
Jody’s third book is due for release in September, and I’m looking forward to seeing what other literary and historical surprises she has in store for us.

Review by Sarah Broady  (28/06/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-764-20833-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Colonel’s Lady



by Laura Frantz


I didn’t think I’d like this book because of the setting but I was so captivated I was really sad when I got to the end. I had spent a week being submerged in this fairly long book wanting to know more. The epilogue was a nice addition to the book which pacified my curiosity.
I know so little about American settlement history but Frantz makes it effortless as she combines this love story with the Kentucky frontier territory battles of 1779 and the cultures of that time.
The main female character Roxanna Rowan has real spunk but is also genteel and feminine through and through which for her is an asset in the outnumbered male environment she finds herself in, and her qualities I envied as I think about myself working in a male dominated role. Although just a story, I felt challenged by Rowan as a character and found myself wanting to be more like her. A charming happily ever after story.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (28/05/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 September 2011
ISBN: 978-0-800-73341-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Blue Moon Promise



by Colleen Coble


There is a lot of well-written fiction out these days with a Christian message and this is one of those books. I love it when the authors include the character’s relationship with God and how they handle the ups and downs of life.
When Lucy and Nate marry under strange circumstances, you know in life that a miracle would have to happen in order for that marriage to last or even be happy. As a family they start by placing God at the centre of their relationship and watch as God reveals to each of them their role in the marriage.
This story was a reminder that it is good to read the bible together as a family and to rely on God for his provision in all things and the restoration that can be done especially for families that are broken. And before I forget to mention it is quite romantic too – always a winner for me.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (28/05/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Thomas Nelson From TMD or Joining the Dots
Published: 14 February 2012
ISBN: 978-1-595-54915-0
Paperback

The First Gardener



by Denise Hildreth Jones


This novel covered the delicate subject of grief. Written in a very charming way it the story follows a Governor and his wife trying to overcome bereavement and how it is much easier to do it with God than without. Beautifully narrated in parts by Jeremiah; the black southern gardener who through his own learnt experience of true forgiveness, he helps the couple to save their marriage and their lives. There are some unexpected twists and revelations in this book that really kept me entertained and page turning. I finished the book totally enthralled and wanting more even though the story had come to an end, I was also reminded of how grateful I am that I have a relationship with a God who will never let me down and I’m now minus some tissues. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Review by Zoë Stevenson  (30/04/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers from TMD
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978-1-414-33558-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Daughter of Twin Oaks

- A Secret Refuge Book One

by Lauraine Snelling


Originally published in 2000
Seeking to fulfil the promise she made to her dying father, eighteen-year-old Jesselynn Highwood determines to take her little brother and the family's remaining thoroughbreds from Twin Oaks plantation in Kentucky to her uncle's farm in Missouri, where they will be safe for the remainder of the Civil War. Dodging Confederate and Union troops, they ride at night and hide during the day. Finally, after encountering hunger, sickness, and the devastation of war, they arrive in Missouri only to discover the situation there puts them in even greater danger. But Jesselynn will stop at nothing to save her family, the horses, and whatever remains of Twin Oaks. Publisher
That really does sum up Daughter of Twin Oaks, but if you read this book you will find so much more in the detail. There is the extremely violent and unpleasant character Dinlivey, who has a grudge against Jesselynn’s family and whose threat hangs over the whole journey. Then what about the waifs they find starving by the wayside and the injured soldier they save from certain death, not to mention the parallel story of Jesselynn’s sisters safe with their aunt in Richmond, Virginia. So much to get your head round. Just as I like it!

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (19/04/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: Spring 2012
ISBN: 978-1-556-61839-0
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Seeker



by Ann H. Gabhart


Set in the 1860's, The Seeker tells a story of disappointment, love and war. Charlotte Vance is engaged to Edwin who has decided to join the Shakers. The problem being that the Shakers don't believe in marriage.
Her father has also returned home with a young bride who does not hesitate to make changes to her home at Grayson. However when she hears of her stepmother’s plans to sell her slave, who was more a sister to her than a slave, she sets a plan in action - to free her slave Mellie and to win back Edwin from the Shakers.
On joining the Shakers however she learns a lot more than she bargained for and while she had hoped to win Edwin's heart someone was hoping to win her heart too.
This is the first book I have read from Ann H Gabhart and can say that I was not disappointed. Not knowing much about the civil war, the book was an interesting read which captured what the war was about without it being tedious. It portrayed the characters well and kept me turning pages.

Review by Charmaine Hill  (10/04/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-800-73363-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Valley of Dreams

- Wild West Wind, Book One

by Lauraine Snelling


Cassie Lockwood grew up in a travelling Wild West Show and became with her parents a star attraction as a trick rider and sharpshooter. Even when first her mother then her father died life seemed as if it would go on in just the same way: travelling as a group, eating together, reliant on each other, with her father’s partner ‘Uncle’ Jason in charge. But Jason is not a good manager and one day announces out of the blue that they are all to be laid off, the animals and props, everything but their personal possessions now belong to someone else and they need to leave quickly before even those are re-possessed to pay his debts. Jason is the first to leave, taking with him Cassie’s savings and any money he had been able to squirrel away. Cassie is left with a few dollar bills he ‘kindly’ gives her, her father’s wagon, her horse, dog and two faithful friends an elderly Indian known as Chief, and Micah a simple young man who has spent most of his life with the show looking after the animals and willingly doing anything Cassie asked of him.
Gathering together all that they can salvage, horses for the two men, George the buffalo bull and a small herd of cattle, food for themselves and the animals, ammunition, cooking utensils and other tools, they set out westward towards Chief’s old reservation and the valley Cassie’s father always talked about, the Valley of Dreams. Understandably the journey is not without incident, and a parallel story is told of the Engstrom family who have a ranch in this same valley. It is not uninhabited as Cassie has always believed. This book ends with Cassie’s arrival in the valley and being welcomed by Mrs Engstrom who seems to know Chief from of old. There is obviously much more to tell – and I for one can’t wait!

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (04/04/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 December 2011
ISBN: 978-0-764-20415-9
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Heart of Gold



by Robin Lee Hatcher


Another light and enjoyable read telling of life in the gold rush town of Grand Coeur in the mid nineteenth century. Shannon’s father, has felt a strong call to leave war torn Virginia and his wealthy lifestyle, to come as minister at the church in this ‘back of beyond’ place, as Shannon sees it. She respects her father’s decision, but does not have to like it. Their money came from her mother’s inheritance, and she had enjoyed a very pleasant and privileged upbringing in a happy family until her mother’s death. On arrival in Grand Coeur she is horrified at what she sees around her, considers the stage coach driver who had brought them to this place as uncouth and definitely below her notice – little does she know what is in store for her.
This is a story of a brother caring for a widowed and sick sister and her child, of tensions arising from the not so distant civil war, of racial prejudice, and faith.
Of course Shannon ends up marrying the Wells Fargo driver, you can guess that from the beginning, but the story is absorbing and convoluted before we reach that point.

Visit the author's website:www.robinleehatcher.com/

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (29/03/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Thomas Nelson From TMD or Joining the Dots
Published: 14 February 2012
ISBN: 978-1-595-54488-9
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Sisters of the Confederacy

- A Secret Refuge - Book Two

by Lauraine Snelling


This series is being reissued during 2011/2012
If you are unfamiliar with the details of the American civil war between the slave owning south and the north of the country, the traumas that arose out of the conflict are shown here in all their stark reality.
Jesselynn’s family have always treated their slaves well, but nevertheless they were still slaves. Now they have been freed by Jesselynn’s father before his death, and along with some of them and others that have joined them along the way, the group having reached Missouri and found it nearly destroyed by the warfare, has no option than to press on along the Oregon Trail to look for a new life.
That takes a few words to write but in no way does it describe all that is in this book. There is Aunt Agatha, endeavouring to exist on her own in her friend’s ramshackle home, what happens to her? Jesselynn’s sister Louise pretending to be married to her brother, Zachary, to enable her to nurse wounded soldiers in her Aunt Sophia’s home, and her quest for morphine to ease the soldiers pain: and who is Wolf? I did not expect to get so involved with this story as I did. I now long to read the prequel and the sequel, both also being re-issued.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (21/03/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 October 2000
ISBN: 978-1-556-61840-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

A Lasting Impression

- A Belmont Mansion Novel

by Tamera Alexander


A story of art forgery, a beautiful young woman caught up in it through circumstances she found impossible to control, her eventual post with the exceedingly rich Mrs Adelicia Acklen in the wondrous Belmont Mansion, Nashville, Tennessee, shortly after the end of the American Civil War and a handsome young man (of course!) and you get the idea behind this book.
I was fascinated with the factual part of the story – well worth checking on line – and how Tamera Alexander has introduced her fictional characters into the scene without crossing the bounds of belief.
With slightly smaller font and a few more pages than many Christian novels, we have here a very satisfying book that keeps the level of anticipation alive to the very end.

Related website:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belmont_Mansion_(Tennessee)

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (08/03/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 December 2011
ISBN: 978-0-764-20622-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Separate Roads

- Ribbons West Book Two

by Judith Pella & Tracie Peterson


At the end of Book One, we left Jordana and her brother Brenton settling into a little house in Omaha with their brother-in law’s sister Caitlan. Caitlan has travelled from Ireland to escape the situation there and is planning to join her brother Kiernan and his wife Victoria in the West. Jordana has got herself a job in a local bank, Brenton is trying to make some money from his photography, and Caitlan who is fiercely independent has taken a job as a housekeeper for an affluent family in the town as well as keeping house for the brother and sister.
The civil war is still raging in the south, but far sighted men are working to bring about an East/West link by means of building the Central Pacific Railroad, hoping to bring prosperity to the land for when peace is restored.
Kiernan who was first attracted to the West by the gold rush, is now working on what he knows best, railroad construction, but it is a hard life with poor return and he and Victoria live in relative poverty, unknown to her parents. Her mother and father have already had a successful financial interest in railroad building, but they have been on a visit to Europe with the two youngest siblings and know not of the situations their older children have got themselves into.
After Jordana has received unwelcome advances from the son of her employer at the bank, Brenton at last agrees that the three of them will travel further West with a survey team that Brenton is accompanying to photograph the landscape on the way. For protection the expedition takes along a group of soldiers, lead by a Captain O’Brian, who Jordana has cause to remember
So much more is woven into this story and it is not finished yet, despite the satisfying climax to this book.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (06/03/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 December 2011
ISBN: 978-0-764-22072-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99