Tag Archives: historical romance

On This Foundation

On This Foundation (The Restoration Chronicles Book #3)Title: On This Foundation
Author: Lynn Austin
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0900-0

“It’s time to rebuild the foundations of our faith and renew our covenant with God,” Nehemiah declares in Lynn Austin’s novel, On This Foundation.

~ What ~
Part of the Restoration Chronicles series, this four-hundred-and-eighty-one-page paperback targets those interested in historical fiction about Biblical Nehemiah’s time when Jerusalem was being built after the Babylonian captivity. With no profanity, topics of abuse, attempted rape, and death would not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this novel, Persian king’s cupbearer, Nehemiah, is allowed to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the demolished walls after the Jewish enslavement. Upon arriving, he fears others will do all they can to advert and destroy his commitment to rebuild.

Including a wealthy nobleman wanting to remarry, a young bondservant girl resentful of her position, and a widow wanting to be happy, romances and family disagreements shadow Nehemiah’s governorship and rebuilding of the city’s walls. By learning to trust God and shed bitterness and hatred toward others, the city’s residents must work together for security and safety.

~ Why ~
Knowing the book of Nehemiah explains how Jews struggled with their commitment to God, I found Austin’s writing engaging as she weaved the Almighty’s direction and purpose in the lives of those living during the period.

~ Why Not ~
If you do not like fictionalized stories of the Bible that take some liberties as far as characters are involved, you may not like this rendition of Nehemiah with its love stories blended into the storyline.

~ Who ~
Eight-time Christy Award-winner, Austin has sold more than one million of her historical fiction novels. Having raised three children, her husband and she live in Michigan.

~ Wish ~
It would be helpful to have a list of characters, including those that are fictional or not.

~ Want ~
If you like historical retelling of the Old Testament and the Jews returning to Jerusalem to rebuild it, this is an in-depth read that will give you a better appreciation of the society, traditions, and customs of the time.

Thanks to Baker Books and the author for offering this book to review for my honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Baker Books, Book Club Network, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Harvest of Gold

Harvest of Gold: (Book 2)Title: Harvest of Gold
Author: Tessa Afshar
Publisher: River North
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0559-3

“I do not believe in your Lord, Sarah. These things were mere coincidences, not God’s intervention,” Darius tells his wife in Tessa Afshar’s novel, Harvest of Gold.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page paperback targets those who enjoy romantic historical fiction based on the Bible. With this one focusing on the book of Nehemiah, its love story that contains abuse and a murder plot along with references to sexual relations may not be appropriate to immature readers. The ending includes the author’s notes, fifteen discussion questions, acknowledgments, and advertisements.

In the 400s B.C., the Jewish scribe, Sarah, has been married by arrangement less than a year to Daris, the Persian aristocrat and defender of King Artaxerxes. Told not to share her belief in her God, she questions every move she makes versus every response her husband gives to try to win his love, affection, and acceptance.

When a plot to assassinate the king is uncovered, Daris is called to search out the perpetrators, taking his wife and him from Susa to Damascus and Jerusalem. With the king’s cupbearer and Sarah’s cousin, Nehemiah, they uncover who was behind the attempted murder as Jerusalem’s walls are rebuilt.

As Sarah’s love for her husband grows in spite of her deceptions, both spouses’ emotions falter and stumble, especially as Darius wonders if his heart has hardened to love.

~ Why ~
Using the backdrop of the Jews struggling to rebuild the Temple under the Persian Empire, the love story shows how trusting God and knowing He is in control are the keys to happiness and love.

~ Why Not ~
Having not read the prior book in the series, I found it took a while to understand the characters. Some may not like the romantic bantering and teasing emphasized in a fictional story about the sobering Old Testament book.

~ Who ~
Author Afshar was born in Iran and moved to the United States as a teenager. Having written two prior novels, this is the second one in a series.

~ Wish ~
Without realizing there was a first book in the series, I wish this one stated it so I would know to read the other one first. I already feel disappointed that I know what happens when I read the first one next.
It would be helpful if the reader knew who was speaking in some conversations where it is unclear.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a romantic addendum to reading the book of Nehemiah in the Bible, this historical romance may bring to life the traditions and circumstances surrounding rebuilding Jerusalem and its Temple.

Thanks to Moody Publishers for offering this book to read and review for my honest opinion.

This review will be posted on the Moody Publishers, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, Godinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

Grammarly was used to check for errors in this review.

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Guardians of the Heart

Guardians Of The Heart (Secrets of Sterling Street)Title: Guardians of the Heart
Author: Loree Lough
Publisher: Whitaker House
ISBN: 978-1-62911-565-8

“I declare, I’ve never met a woman like you, Nell Holstrom. You’re not the least bit interested in his past, are you?” the young woman is asked in Loree Lough’s novel, Guardians of the Heart.

Second in the Secrets on Sterling Street series, this two hundred and seventy-two page paperback targets those who like romantic Christian fiction based in the late nineteenth century. With no profanity or sexual scenes, topics of murder and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book includes acknowledgments, author’s notes, eleven discussion questions, author’s biography, and a gift offer.

In this tale set in Colorado in 1864, twenty-five-year-old Nell Holstrom has shut out the past when her parents and brother were killed at their gold mine. With no place to go and little possessions, she takes a housekeeping job at the Old Stone Inn that Asa Stone is restoring.

Similar to Nell, Asa has fled from his past in a different way. Dealing with guilt and feeling unforgiven for what transpired when he was a teen, he spent ten years wandering. Back in Colorado to take care of his grandparents, he inherits the hotel when they pass away.

As Nell helps him rebuild, change, and improve the residence, she is the protagonist that can do no wrong. When disaster hits, she once again picks up her skirts and gets to work by trusting in God’s will, offering a way for Asa and her to survive by reclaiming her parents’ barren gold mine. Meanwhile, feeling unworthy and ashamed, Asa must deal with the past to move on in his life that he believes is not good enough to include her.

Although predictable with the main character solving the challenges put in front of her, the story shows how one deals with his faults and failures through forgiveness to overcome the secrets of his past.

Author of over a hundred books, Lough is a storyteller that focuses on inspirational faith-based fiction. She lives in Maryland with her husband and enjoys spending time with her daughters and grandchildren.

Thanks to The Book Club Network for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reviewer’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Book Fun Network, Deeper Shopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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The Memory Weaver

The Memory Weaver: A NovelTitle: The Memory Weaver
Author: Jane Kirkpatrick
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2232-6

“I had returned to a time, a reunion, that didn’t happen where I’d thought. I was discovering that the past I remembered wasn’t always the past that was,” Eliza considers in Jane Kirkpatrick’s novel,  The Memory Weaver.

This three hundred and fifty-two page paperback targets those who enjoy Christian historical fiction with romance in the Wild West during the mid-eighteen hundreds. With no profanity, topics of drinking, gambling, abuse, and death may not be apropos for immature readers. The beginning has a helpful list of characters and map while the ending includes the author’s notes with acknowledgments and an interview along with fifteen discussion questions, biography, and advertisements. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

Based on a true story in the Oregon Territory in 1847, nine-year-old Eliza Spalding witnesses a horrific massacre while her parents are Christian missionaries to an Indian tribe. She is held hostage and released unharmed physically but deeply scarred emotionally.

Four years later, her sickly mother passes away and, as the eldest daughter, she is to take care of her siblings while her preacher father spreads God’s Word. When she meets nineteen-year-old Andrew Warren, she sees an escape to live her life, even if it includes a man that likes to drink and gamble to accomplish his big dreams.

Reading her mother’s diary, Eliza tries to overcome her nightmares and dark memories of the past by understanding her mother’s viewpoint during the event that changed so many lives. Married to Andrew and a parent, she tries ardently to overcome the bitterness and fear.

As the book mentions the growing towns in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, and parts of Washington, the story explains a woman’s dedication to her husband and family as she is forced to return a dozen years later to the scene of her horrors. Only by learning about love and forgiveness, can she find the clarity of what happened and why when she was a child.

Offering the reader a historical and geographical landscape of the West, the writer blends the true story with some fiction to show survival, fortitude, and respect in marriage.

Having won several writing awards, author Kirkpatrick has written twenty-seven books. She and her husband live in Central Oregon.

Thanks to Revell for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.

This review will be posted on Revell, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty

Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty (A Dangerous Beauty Novel)Title: Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty
Author: Angela Hunt
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1696-1

“Though I knew I held the son of the prophecy in my arms, I would not consider him to be something I deserved, but an unmerited blessing from the Almighty,” the forgiving woman admits in Angela Hunt’s novel, Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty.

Part of A Dangerous Beauty Novel series, this three hundred and eighty-four page paperback targets those who enjoy fictional rewriting of Old Testament Biblical stories. Using the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible, three chapters contain the Complete Jewish Bible version. With no profanity, topics of rape, childbirth, and murder may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book includes twelve discussion questions, author’s notes, references, the author’s biography, and advertisements for other books. This reader wishes pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

Written in first person by two people, sixteen-year-old Bathsheba first witnesses King David dancing to HaShem, the name in Hebrew for Jehovah. With the incident buried in her memory, she marries Uriah at the age of eighteen and focuses on having a son that would become great per the prophecy Samuel had fictitiously spoken.

When eleven-years-old, the prophet Nathan knew of Samuel’s prediction and at age twenty-seven wished to marry Bathsheba as she was “tob” or sensually appealing. Knowing the Almighty Adonai had other plans for him, Nathan married another yet kept tabs on the beautiful woman.

As the Biblical story unfolds, Bathsheba learns to deal with her hatred of David for taking another man’s wife both sexually and by murder, but also she has to forgive and love when one son dies and another is to be a future king. With Nathan’s prophetic visions, she is thankful the man of God repeatedly warns her of the bloodshed cursed upon the king’s house.

With some liberties taken to enhance the Biblical story, the author has provided a different but realistic viewpoint of the famous story from two perspectives of a once-scorned woman, having been unwillingly forced to become one of King David’s many wives and produce the heir to his throne.

Author Angela Hunt has written over one hundred books, mostly novels focusing on the Bible’s characters. Having won several prestigious awards, she lives with her husband and dogs in Florida.

Thanks to Bethany House for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping, Bethany House, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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The Daughters of Jim Farrell

The Daughters of Jim FarrellTitle: The Daughters of Jim Farrell
Author: Sylvia Bambola
Publisher: Heritage Publishing House
ISBN: 978-0-9899707-8-5

“Have you forgiven? Have you forgiven the sins of the past? Forgiven the people of this town for what they did to Father?” Kate is asked in Sylvia Bambola’s novel,  The Daughters of Jim Farrell.

This two hundred and eighty-six page paperback targets those who enjoy romantic historical fiction set in America at the end of the nineteenth century. With no profanity or sexual content, topics of coal mining injuries, death, and murder may not be appropriate for immature readers. Using the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the book has a glossary, author’s note, and group discussion questions at its ending.

In this story that takes place in 1873 in Pennsylvania, the three daughters of Jim Farrell as well as his wife are devasted when the man is hung for murder in the small town of Sweet Air. Each girl handles their father’s death differently as the Schuylkill County community shuns them.

The eldest daughter, Kate, is full of bitterness and unforgiveness when she hires a Pinkerton agent to find out who killed the man her father supposedly murdered. Virginia, the middle child, wants to take a stand for woman’s rights, equality, and human suffering by writing newspaper articles while the youngest, Charlotte, feels she is a “fallen woman” from society since she and her siblings have become social lepers.

While Kate meets Joshua Adams, the detective assigned to the case, she is reckless and rash, always jumping to conclusions. Getting the attention of a Molly Maguires coal miner, Virginia keeps the relationship secret as she feels her family would not be pleased. Charlotte dreams of becoming the wife of a high-society man of means but feels beneath his family’s expectations.

As lies and deceptions from each girl are told, the quest to uncover the truth behind their father’s death is challenged. Coming to terms with shame, pride, and forgiveness, each sibling must shed their self-centeredness to find true love.

Although predictable regarding some of the relationships, the tale blends historical details of coal mining, small town living, and society’s norm with romance and tenderness.

Having written eight novels, the award-winning author who has two adult children lives in Florida where she teaches women’s Bible studies and loves gardening and playing the guitar.

Thanks to The Book Club Network for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reviewer’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Book Fun Network and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Stealing Jake

Stealing JakeTitle: Stealing Jake
Author: Pam Hillman
Publisher: Tyndale Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0126-7

“Livy hadn’t wanted her past to follow her to Chestnut, but now it had caught up with her full force, and there wasn’t a thing she could do about it,” Pam Hillman writes in her novel, Stealing Jake.

This three hundred and eighty four page book targets readers who enjoy historical fiction during the late nineteenth century in America’s West. With no profanity, little violence, and wholesome romance, topics of misuse and abuse of children may not be appropriate for immature readers. The end of the book includes acknowledgments, fourteen discussion questions, a chapter of the author’s next book, and her biography. Scripture verses are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

Set in 1874, “Light-fingered Livy” O’Brien has escaped her past of pickpocketing and living on the streets of Chicago and now finds herself helping Mrs. Brooks at the struggling, yet growing orphanage in the small town of Chestnut, Illinois.

Hoping the past is behind her and God has forgiven her sins, she is still skittish whenever she meets someone in authority, especially when it is the good-looking Jake Russell, a sheriff’s deputy who also takes care of his mother, siblings, and the family farm.

When a rash of burglaries occur in the booming town, everyone blames the influx of untrusting street kids. Knowing of their plight, Livy watches one of them steal Jake’s pocket watch, only to confiscate it and return it to its unaware owner.

As more robberies happen and the young ones are accused, Livy learns of a sweatshop of underaged, overworked children being held against their will. With no one else in the town believing the kids’ innocence, she must overcome her fears of the past to stand up for them.

Jake, aware of this newcomer’s beauty and fortitude in carrying for those in need, has trouble accepting the young hoodlums are not to blame. Dealing with the family’s farm faltering and owning a closed coal mine, he often gets sidetracked by Livy’s good intentions.

Although romantically predictable, the tale shows how misconception and misconstruing hides the truth and that God truly forgives those that turn to Him. With a heart for the homeless, the main character learns love covers a multitude of sins.

Focusing on writing inspirational fiction set in the American West and the Gilded Age, author Hillman lives in Mississippi with her husband and family.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Tyndale, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Lightning on a Quiet Night

Lightning on a Quiet NightTitle: Lightning on a Quiet Night
Author: Donn Taylor
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
ISBN: 978-1-941103-31-9

“Somewhere out there the evils of this world still strike like lightning. But here in this blessed place all things are quiet, the air washed cold and pure,” Jack believes of his beloved town in Donn Taylor’s novel,  Lightning on a Quiet Night.

This three hundred and thirty page paperback targets those who enjoy a historical mystery set in America’s South in the late 1940s. Using the word heck, topics of alcoholism, promiscuity, and murder may not be appropriate for immature readers. Reviews, a dedication, and acknowledgments are included at the beginning of the book.

In this tale set in Beneficent, Mississippi, after World War II, college-age Lisa Kemper finds herself in the small town where she knows no one as she tries to help her father acclimate to her mother’s passing while he builds a chemical plant nearby. Lonely and feeling isolated, she questions where her life is headed and if graduate school and a college guy are still in the picture.

A soldier in the Army, Jack has been back for two years, working hard on his deceased parents’ farm, trying to pay off its debt and turn it into something important. Known as the guy who solves everything, he firmly believes the town is reputable, virtuous, and godly.

However, when he finds a local teenage cheerleader dead in a ditch one dark night, he is not the only one viewed as the murderer. When newcomer Lisa meets Jack, she questions everything and everyone, wondering if he and the town will come to terms they are not so perfect.

With a predictable romance in the gossip-driven town, the residents sweep their pride and arrogance under the church-going rug as they learn about prayer, true worship, and forgiveness.

Complete with Southern talk, hospitality, and traditions, the story blends two lives seeking answers to finding out God is watching over them and has His purpose in their lives.
Having served in the Korean War and Vietnam in addition to working with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia, author Taylor has written three suspense novels and a poetry book. Living in Texas, he has taught literature at two liberal arts colleges.

Thanks to the Book Club Network and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on the Book Club Network and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, Godinterest, Pinterest, and Twitter.
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Irish Meadows

Irish Meadows (Courage to Dream)Title: Irish Meadows
Author: Susan Anne Mason
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-1-4143-7561-8

“Unfortunately, Daddy thinks educationis a waste of time and money for a girl. In his mind, the only thing a woman needs is to get married and start a family,” Brianna tells Gil in Susan Anne Mason’s novel, Irish Meadows.

First in the Courage to Dream series, this three hundred and eighty-four page paperback targets those who enjoy historical romance. With topics suggesting sexual abuse, it may not be appropriate for immature readers. After the story are a note from the author, acknowledgments, author’s biography, and advertisements for other books.

In this tale set in 1911 in Long Island, New York, almost eighteen-year-old Brianna O’Leary is ready to graduate high school and wishes to go to college. However, her controlling father who owns the horse farm, Irish Meadows, wants no part of furthering her education as he looks to get her immediately betrothed.

It has been three years since twenty-one-year-old Gilbert Whelan has been to the farm where Bree’s father raised him as a son. With Mr. O’Leary’s instructions and demanding guidance, he suggests Gil become engaged to a banker’s daughter mainly to save the farm from bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Bree’s older sister, Colleen, would love to be married but enjoys teasing every man that looks her way. When reverend-in-training, Rylan Montgomery, comes to Irish Meadows, her marital and spiritual beliefs are challenged.

As each young person deals with trying to make others happy, they handle their circumstances often based on the wrong reasons and much apologizing. Mentioning a relationship with God is the key to contentment, there is no explanation of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and resurrected the third day for eternal salvation.

Although predictable as far as the main characters evolve romantically, the book focuses on learning to be true to oneself and not subject to other’s wishes. With a dominating father figure who plays the villain, two sisters find love on their own on their terms. Since it is the first book in the series, there are plenty of characters and options to continue the saga.

Having written her first historical novel, Mason won an award by the Mid-American Romance Authors chapter of RWA. She lives with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada.

Thanks to the Book Club Network and Bethany House for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.

This review will be posted on the Book Club Network, Baker Publishing, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Googlwe+, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Not by Sight

Not by SightTitle: Not by Sight
Author: Kate Breslin
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1161-4

“I felt I was aiding my country and Colin. I didn’t know Jack would be at the ball, but he was a known pacifist who had dodged the conscription,” Grace confesses in Kate Breslin’s novel,  Not by Sight.

This three hundred and eighty-four page paperback targets those who enjoy historical fiction with a blend of romance. Using the word hell, topics of prostitution and espionage may not be appropriate for immature readers. At the end of the story, there are author’s note, a dozen discussion questions, acknowledgments, author’s biography, and advertisements.

In this tale set in 1917 in England, twenty-year-old Grace Mabry’s mantra is “For God, For King, and For Country” when her twin brother goes off to war. The woman who promotes patriotism and woman’s rights will stop at nothing to further the cause, even sneaking into a ritzy masquerade ball and passing out shameful white feathers to those she feels are cowards.

When Jack Benningham receives a feather by the beautiful woman dressed as Pandora, he cannot take his eyes off her; she is seared in his memory. Being the Viscount of Walenford, the Casanova who appears to be a ladies man and conscientious objector has secrets of his own.

When Grace’s father hears of her silly, disgraceful antics at the ball, he agrees to have her and her maid work with the Women’s Forage Corps at a farm near Jack’s his estate. Initially feeling like she cannot do any of her required tasks correctly, she slowly warms up to the other girls in the WFC as she keeps an eye on the mysterious man living nearby.

With spy accusations spreading across Europe such as Mata Hari’s trial, many get caught up in assuming and suggesting false information. With friction between Jack and Grace as well as other characters, the theme of forgiveness, courage, and honesty are weaved between their lives.

Including twists and turns in the plot, the ending is predictable as one learns to trust not by sight but by faith in regard to God and those they love.

Former bookseller and finalist of a Christy and RITA Award, author Breslin lives in Washington with her family.

Thanks to the Book Club Network and Bethany House for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on the Book Club Network, Baker Publishing, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, Godinterest, Pinterest, and Twitter.
GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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