Tag Archives: historical

A Cup of Dust

Title: A Cup of Dust
Author: Susie Finkbeiner
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4388-6

“We ain’t strangers, are we? You and me’s thick as thieves. Pearl and Eddie. Eddie and Pearl. Gonna take over the world, you and me,” the young girl is told in Susie Finkbeiner’s novel, A Cup of Dust.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and twenty-page paperback targets those who like suspenseful fiction set in the Dust Bowl of America during the 1930s. With slang words, hell, and a couple of racial slurs from the era, topics of abuse, murder, and death would not be appropriate for young readers.

In this story written in first person, ten-year-old Pearl Spence knows no other life living in the dusty plains of Red River, Oklahoma, with her sheriff father, stay-at-home-mom, Bible-believing grandmom, and mentally-challenged older sister.

When a hobo jumps from a train, she is piqued he immediately recognizes her, calling her by name. Pearl would rather live in a make-believe world of playing an Indian princess than be stalked by the vagrant who frightens her. When she learns the truth about the past, she is more confused on God’s protection and her position in life.

~ Why ~
More of a mystery novel than a historical one of the Dust Bowl days, the book conveys how love conquers all fears when dealing with the truth. I enjoyed the roles of the girl’s grandmother and mother in how children were brought up eighty years ago.

~ Why Not ~
In my opinion, the book has a slow start and does not go deep into the dirt and grime of the pathetic way of living in the Midwest during the relentless dust storms. With only a few storms mentioned, they were the backdrop not the focal point of the story. Some may be offended by the slang and ethnic slurs, but it is apropos and not over-exaggerated.

~ Who ~
Having written two other novels, Finkbeiner is a fiction editor, magazine article writer, conference leader, and avid blogger who is a stay-at-home mom in Michigan.

~ Wish ~
With the book’s locale being Oklahoma during the well-known dust storms, I wish there was more content of the dealings and damage done. Being a mystery that was predictable half-way through, it would be more engaging if the storms impacted the storyline more vividly.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for tale told from a ten-year-old girl’s perspective of how she views life during the Dust Bowl years and learns about herself, this one will keep your attention if you get past the first fifty pages.

Thanks to Kregel Publications for offering this book to read and review for my honest opinion.

This review will be posted on the Kregel Publications, 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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Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer

Title: Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Stan Namer
Author: Peggy Miracle Consolver
Publisher: Carpenter’s Son Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-942587-09-5

“We trust the Star Namer is watching over us and that good will triumph over evil. We choose to live our lives on the side of good, not evil,” Keshub’s father explains to his son in Peggy Miracle Consolver’s novel,  Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Tamer.

This three hundred and twenty page paperback targets those that enjoy Biblical historical fiction from the Old Testament. Topics of bullying and war may not be appropriate for immature readers. With a dedication, acknowledgments, list of characters and relationships, and prologue, there are forty-six chapters, ending with a letter to the readers and ten discussion questions. The New International Version of the Holy Bible is referenced.

In this historical fiction based on Joshua and the Hebrews entering into the land of Canaan, almost thirteen year old Keshub is not thrilled about being the fifth son of a well-known potter’s family. He would rather use his slingshot to ward off bears and lions as he protects the sheep in Gibeon.

When the ruthless Amorite king of Jerusalem, Adoni-Zedek, announces all young men are to enlist in his army to attack the Hebrews, his son, Bin-Zedek, befriends Keshub when the Gibeonite protects him as well as one of the king’s harem.

From Moses dying on Mount Nebo and the Israelites spying the land of milk and honey, the author includes the Jews’ “what-is-it” manna, Tabernacle, God’s cloud, march on Jericho, crossing the Jordan, making a treaty with the Gibeonites, and having the sun stand still. Interjections are also included from one Jewish teen’s viewpoint throughout the story.

Told mainly from the perspective of a young Gibeon who is picked on by a bully, witnesses a sibling’ marriage, meets the king, becomes a slave to Joshua, and wonders if the Star Namer is the same as Israeli’s God, the book has a plethora of both historical and fictional characters. Although somewhat slow at times and a myriad of characters to remember, it follows Biblical accuracy with some liberties taken.

Sunday school teacher for over thirty-five years, author Consolver was born and raised in Oklahoma. She and her husband have been married for forty-eight years, and they have two children and five grandchildren.

Thanks to the Book Club Network and Carpenter’s Son Publishing 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, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, Godinterest, Pinterest, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.


Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Day of Atonement

Day of AtonementTitle: Day of Atonement
Author: David A. deSilva
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-2471-7

“Whether under a Ptolemy or an Antiochus, whether under Honiah or his brother, we will still follow the law of Moses and traditions of our ancestors,” Binyamin is reminded in David A. deSilva’s novel, Day of Atonement: A Novel of the Maccabean Revolt.

At three hundred and twenty pages, this paperback targets those who enjoy historical fiction of the Maccabean period between the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible. Using one profane word several times, topics of abuse, torture, and murder may not be acceptable to immature readers. With a topical map of Israel and an author’s note at the beginning of the three-part book, acknowledgments, a helpful list of characters, and the author’s biography are at the end.This reader wishes there was consistency in capitalizing all pronouns of God for reverence.

In this story based in Judea leading up to the Maccabean Revolt, one man pines for his brother’s position as the high priest while another brother is tempted to shed his Jewish upbringings. Wanting to shape the future of Jerusalem, both are determined to enhance the Temple Mount by blending Jewish and Greek traditions.

As more than one set of siblings deals with the Hellenizing of the new city to be named Antioch-at-Jerusalem, religious sides are chosen as Greek gods and idols are merged into sacred Jewish sacrifices. For political reasons, King Antiochus has to often intervene to enforce necessary changes as the Temple is further desecrated.

Questioning if God has rejected His people, each Jew must decide his or her loyalty to His covenant as Greek soldiers plan to overtake the city. With the Jews realizing they need to turn back to the Almighty, the results offer a possibility for a sequel to the story.

Having over seventy characters and a third of them relevant to the story, the sometimes complicated plot may be overwhelming to some readers. As this reader knows little about the period portrayed, the story’s detailed historical account is fictionally engaging. A map of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount during that time would be helpful.

With this being his first novel, author deSilva has written over twenty non-fictional books. His yearning to understand the Apocrypha at a young age led him to serve as trustees’ distinguished professor at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio. He lives in Florida with his wife and three sons.

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

This review will be posted on Kregel Publications, the Book Club Network, 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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Queen of the Waves

Queen of the Waves

Title: Queen of the Waves
Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Summerside Press
ISBN: 978-1-60936-686-5

In the Bible, Psalms 103:12 it states “As far as the east if from the west, so far that He removed our transgressions from us.” In award-winning author Janice Thompson’s novel, the American Tapestries series Queen of the Waves, the writer shows how God is forgiving, loving and always directing our paths, even if on board a famous, doomed ship.

This three hundred and thirty-three page paperback novel depicts a young lady dressed in the early nineteen hundreds high society apparel, standing on a ship deck looking at the ocean. After the story, there is a short author biography along with four books by other authors in the series. With no profanity or explicit sex scenes, the book can be read by young adult and older and is obviously targeted toward females.

This Christian historical romance starts in England, when the Titanic makes its maiden voyage across the ocean to America. Only child Jacqueline Abingdon is from a wealthy family whose father has arranged for her to be married to a handsome but rather boring older man who plans on merging their businesses. But Jacquie is in love with Peter, the manor’s groundskeeper and will do anything in her power to be with him. Since Jacquie’s mother does not want her daughter involved with either suitor, behind her husband’s back she sneakily arranges boarding passes for Jacquie and her maid Iris to sail on the Titanic to avoid both relationships. With Peter’s sister, Tessa, subserviently at home with a drunken task-master father who forces her to brutal “prayer” confessions for supposedly being lazy at keeping up their minimal farm, Jacquie and Peter come up with an even more deceitful plan to make all three of them supposedly happy.

The unrefined, unsophisticated Tessa switches places with Jacquie and boards the Titanic without any problem but has issues with Iris, who resents her deception and lowly status as she pretends to be aristocratic and rich. Tessa, uncomfortable in her new role of expensive clothing, quarters and society, notices Nathan, who is traveling with his mother and a family friend, as he finds her just as intriguing. Back in England, Jacquie must deal with Peter’s true feelings toward her and how he purposed to save his sister Tessa from their abusive father.

When the Titanic starts its deathly voyage, all is opulent, cultured and almost superficial at the top deck of the ship. While Tessa is trying to tell Nathan the truth about her ruse and he learns about his father, the magnificent ship strikes the ice berg. Thomson writes compassionately how one learns that God loves and forgives each and every one of us unfathomably, in spite of our deceit, lies and sins.

This is a fresh angle about one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters with over fifteen hundred deaths and a little more than seven hundred survivors. Without giving away the ending, every one of the main characters have hope and endurance facing their own destinies.

This review will also be posted at http://www.bookpleasures.com and http://www.amazon.com

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction

Where the Trail Ends

Where the Trail Ends: The Oregon Trail (An American Tapestry)Title: Where the Trail Ends
Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Summerside Press
ISBN: 978-1-60936-685-8

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11 “… for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” In Melanie Dobson’s eleventh novel, the American Tapestries series Where the Trail Ends shows one woman’s path to contentment as she traveled the Oregon Trail.

This three hundred and thirty-three page paperback novel depicts a young lady dressed in the mid-eighteen hundred’s colonial costume with the Columbia Gorge in the background. After the story, there are author’s notes about real and fictional characters and the time period’s culture and social nuances along with four books by other authors in the series. There were no typographical or grammatical errors. With no profanity or explicit sex scenes, the book can be read by young adult and older and is obviously targeted toward females.

The trip from the Midwest to the Oregon Trail covers around two thousand miles and was traveled by more than nine hundred sojourners in 1843, some mostly by foot. Usually caravans of wagons, horses, cattle and humans would cross the country, loosing most of their worldly possessions along the way to get to the fertile Willamette Valley. With no written diaries, Dobson does a wonderful job weaving the story of hardship, sacrifice and long-suffering of the travelers.

The tome encircles Samantha Waldron, a young, spirited woman coming of age who travels with her father, young brother and dog in a caravan from Ohio to Oregon. En route, they deal with inclement weather, lack of water, illness and death. Convinced she is in love with Jack, one of the leader’s helpers, Samantha and family separate from the group when the leader insists on killing all dogs. Jack departs with them and other families as they trudge across the land, only to deal with her father dying from a bear attack and her brother injured. When Jack leads the remaining group onward, Samantha stoically and almost obsessively protects her brother as they fend for themselves.

While capsizing in the Columbia River during downpour, the two are rescued by a British gentleman who runs a fur company at Fort Vancouver. When Samantha learns the man is engaged to be married and Jack is not the one for her, she must come to terms with what true love and being content really mean.

Dobson does an excellent job keeping the reader informed and engaged as they travel along their perilous journey that so much of us today take for granted. With the underlying Biblical references to God being in control and helping us along our daily walk, the writer is compassionate and understanding when showing He has us where we are for a specific reason. This is a great educational read about the history, land, people, and culture during the “Great Migration” but also a good lesson to learn about a real loving relationship and contentment.

This review will also be posted on http://www.bookpleasures.com and http://www.amazon.com.

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The Treasure of the Celtic Triangle

Title: The Treasure of the Celtic Triangle
Author: Michael Phillips
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-61626-586-1

In the Bible, Proverbs 3:6 states “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.” In Michael Phillips, A Treasure of the Celtic Triangle, the author hones in on this wise truism in his novel about a family going through heartbreaks, change and acceptance of God being in control and directing those who acknowledge Him.

This four hundred and thirty-seven page paperback has a young couple in nineteenth century clothing standing in front of a massive Celtic landscape on the front cover. Besides a geographical map in the beginning of the book, the conclusion has explanatory notes from the author about its factual characters along with an autobiography and insightful book club discussion questions. With no profanity or explicit sexual scenes, this book is perfectly targeted to young Christian women but could be enjoyed by men also. This reader wishes pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

The excellent writing style and in-depth story-telling of Michael Phillips comes out clearly and concisely in this historical romance starting in 1872 in Northern Wales. Weaved in and out of the storyline are the famous George MacDonald’s spiritual writings and novels along with references of D.L. Moody of the time period which are the fiber behind the well-written romantic creation.

When young twenty-something Percy Drummond is summoned to his uncle’s death bed at the large Westbrooke manor in Gwynedd, he is told of the viscount’s prior youthful past and asked to locate a particular person dear to his uncle. After the uncle dies, his daughter, Florilyn, calls off her marriage engagement to Percy as she is convinced the two of them mimic characters in one of MacDonald’s novels. Percy, confused but wanting to know God’s will too, starts an ardent search per the uncle’s last wishes and realizes Florilyn’s astuteness about their potential marriage, so considers another woman from his childhood who has disappeared. Meanwhile, Florilyn’s ruckus brother Courtenay, soon to be heir of the estate, tries to take the Westbrooke family land away from his mother and into his own, uncontrollable hands.

From beautifully describing the Welsh landscape, exploring the Celtic history and explaining every-day living and hierarchy of personal status, the book’s consistent reminder of God’s love, forgiveness and truth plays a precious part in reconnecting broken relationships among the characters. With many twists of events, introduction of several interesting, unassuming and heart-felt characters, Phillips intertwines the lives of the Westbrooke manor into a wonderful love story of mercy, compassion and spiritual growth. One is kept guessing if Percy finds his true love, if Florilyn actually marries a man who wants her money, if the dead uncle’s wishes are followed through or is the true treasure the triangle between God and specific people and not a place.

Without a doubt, this author should be added to the bookshelf of exceptional, understanding and wonderful novels where all loose ends are concluded yet there is a yearning for more and more.

This review will also be posted on http://www.bookpleasures.com and http://www.amazon.com

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Christian, Fiction