Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Name Unknown

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/a-name-unknown/383300

Back Cover

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London.  Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets - instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class coeity.  Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she's offered the challenge of a lifetime - determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany.  After all, how does one steal a family's history, their very name?
As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein.  Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence.  But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown - so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels.  When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth - about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

Review

Set in 1914 with the world on the brink of war, A Name Unknown follows recluse, Peter Holstein, and thief for hire, Rosemary Gresham.  Peter is a quiet man who simply wants to continue writing his adventure stories in peace.  I found it highly amusing how Peter would get so caught up in his characters and the story he was writing that he would blank out in the middle of conversation as a new idea would come to mind - particularly because it was something I could easily relate to!  Rosemary is definitely the more exuberant personality, full of grit and determination and finds herself caught between loyalty to her family, employer, and a newfound friendship with Peter.  Their differing personalities caused many moments of frustration between the two, but also provided for some entertaining interactions to read that were full of wit and teasing humour!  

The World War(s) have provided many a backdrop to historical novels.  I recently just read another novel, High as the Heavens, that was also set during the tumultuous times of World War I.  Yet even with the high number of novels set in and around WWI, Roseanna White was able to shed light on another angle to British war efforts during WWI that I had never even heard of before. I won't say exactly what angle it is (you have to read the book to find out!), but after finishing the story, be sure to read the "Note from the Author" located at the back of the book for further fascinating historical background on this particular effort. 

A Name Unknown is a wonderfully story whereby the author has expertly woven in some favourite genres -  history, romance, intrigue - into a tale of faith, redemption, and courage.  It is first in a new series (yay!) "Shadows over England", and I will be eagerly awaiting the next novel!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

An Uncommon Courtship

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/an-uncommon-courtship/376610

Back Cover

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier he is not the duke in the family.  Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice.  When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.
Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister's shadow - which worked until her sister got married.  But even with her socially ambitious mother's focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she's been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide's marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?

Review

In An Uncommon Courtship Kristin Hunter tells the story of Lord Trent Hawthorne, the younger brother in the Hawthorne family.  Trent is an affable, easy-going athletic fellow who loves his family, and is happy to have two new brother-in-laws.  His life is thrown into a tailspin when he is forced to marry Lady Adelaide Bell in order to preserve her honour.  What follows is his rather bumbling but heartfelt journey to win her heart.  He has the best of intentions, but sometimes the execution doesn't come out exactly as planned!  

NOTE:  This is a Christian romance, and it is evident throughout the story.  However, I felt that there was some romantic content that went a little "too far", which was disappointing as it was such a good story otherwise.  While nothing is too graphic, there was a certain aspect of the story that I found unwarranted, and certainly wouldn't be suitable for younger audiences.  Reader discretion is advised!

Aside from the above, this was a sweet, well-written novel.  I really, really, really can't wait for the next instalment - Griffith's story.  I have a feeling that one will be the best yet...

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


The Mark of the King

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-mark-of-the-king/382560

Back Cover

After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption.  Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana.  The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict.

New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects.  The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin.  When tragedy strikes, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit?

With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace - and love - can overcome the stigma of the king's mark on her shoulder.

Review

My goodness, was this one an incredible tale!  The Mark of the King brings readers back in time to early 1700s where North America was very slowly being colonized by various European countries.  One of the ways of colonization that was used, was (force) marrying men and women prisoners (!!!), shipping them off to the New World, and plunking them into a small, starving village to make a life for themselves all the while trying to stay safe from warring Native tribes.  Sounds rather dream-worthy, eh?  In reading this story, I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelief that this was all TRUE and had actually happened!  

In addition to the eye-opening history lesson, The Mark of the King had a fascinating plot that had me turning the pages as fast as I could.  The author surprised me with her various twists and turns and kept me thoroughly intrigued with Julianne's story.  It was an amazing historical piece of fiction and I will definitely be checking out other books by the author!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

On Love's Gentle Shore

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/on-love-s-gentle-shore/355150

Back Cover

Natalie O'Ryan had no plans to return to Prince Edward Island.  But when her fiance books their wedding in her hometown and schedules a summer at Rose's Red Door Inn, she sets out to plan the perfect wedding.  Yet she can't possibly plan for a run-in with Justin Kane - the best friend she left behind all thos eyears ago after promising to stay.

Justin has never forgotten Natalie.  He'd been prepared to follow her off the island until tragedy struck, leaving him to run the family dairy farm.  He's done the best he can with the life that was thrust upon him - but with Natalie back in the picture, he begins to realize just how much joy he's been missing.

After Natalie's reception venue falls through, she must scramble to find an alternative, and the only option seems to be a barn on Justin's property.  As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin may discover that there is more between them than broken promises and an old friendship.

Review

Sigh.  Stories generate many different emotions in a reader, including great shouts of excitement, groans of disappointment, outright laughter, tears of sadness, or that "sigh" of complete satisfaction.  On Love's Gentle Shore elicited the warm, fuzzy feelings and sweet sigh of "wow, that was so good!"  It held themes of grace, mercy, unending love, reconciliation, and forgiveness (it packs a wallop!)  Stories of reconciliation impact me more and more these days as I find it one of the most poignant signs of Christ working in a person to love without restrictions and forgive without conditions - just as God loves us.  

On Love's Gentle Shore was simply a beautifully written story that will go on my favourites shelf.  

NOTE: It is third in the series, "Prince Edward Island Dreams".  I have not read the first two novels, but will definitely do so now!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

High as the Heavens

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/high-as-the-heavens/379460

Back Cover

A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a cafe...or so it seems.  Eve's most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group.

When a plan crashes as she's en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester.  She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgium alive?

Review

As High as the Heavens reads as the title implies: a sweeping drama that pulls on the heartstrings, infused with hope and love.  Set in war-torn Brussels, Evelyn Marche, a competent and brave nurse, is doing everything she can to provide for her family and assist the resistance at the same time.  But of course, being a spy is incredibly dangerous, and she opens herself up to more and more risks.  One such risk comes in the form of pilot, Simon Forrester.  However, just as it was never a option not to assist with the war efforts, Evelyn doesn't think twice to shelter Simon from the Germans.  From the moment she makes that decision, it becomes increasingly harder for her to hide her double life from the Germans and those she loves.  With this steady undercurrent of drama and danger, As High as the Heavens takes the reader on a ride filled with highs and lows, joy and sorrow, danger and peace, faith and despair - all to culminate into a journey one will still remember even long after the last page is read.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Captain's Daughter

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-captain-s-daughter/383320



Back Cover

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater putting on the most popular show in the city.  A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.  That is, as long as the shadows from her past don’t catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories.  He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment.  His future is decided – until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate years to leave behind.

Review

The historical novels that have been recently released from Bethany House have been fantastic so far!  The Captain’s Daughter is a wonderfully written story set in London in 1879 where family and jobs meant everything.  Without a respectable job, it was so easy to fall into poverty and hardship, and therefore being easily susceptible to persons with devious intentions.  Similarly to With You Always, after reading The Captain’s Daughter, it provided me with a newfound thankfulness for the blessings in my life…and more than one nudge to “pay it forward”.

One thing that also struck out to me in the novel was the wonderful cast of characters!  The friends that Rosalyn makes at the theater were all unique, eccentric, and highly entertaining.  Nate’s family was so warm and friendly, that you wished you could bring them to life.  I thoroughly enjoyed the engaging characters and hope many of them make appearances throughout the series.

The story had adventure, romance, intrigue, and a strong dose of drama.  It was a great well-rounded novel and I can’t wait for the next instalment!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

With You Always

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/with-you-always/379430


Back Cover

One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters.  She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children's Air Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west.  But the promise of the society's orphan trains is not all that it seems.
Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his bother's shadow.  When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance.  The conditions to win?  Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn't be from more different worlds.  The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they've been working toward?

Review

With You Always is a heartrending story surrounding the extreme poverty and horrible conditions that beset many people in America in the mid-late 1800s.  It is tragic that some families worried about the very things we take for granted: clothing, shelter, food, personal safety, work, and family.  It was a time where parents were forced to make such difficult decisions as giving up their own children to asylums just so they wouldn't have to worry about whether their children would be fed and clothed.  Some children were outright orphaned and took the long train ride out West in hopes of being adopted by a loving family.  Some families provided wonderful homes for the orphans.  Others viewed the children as a form of free slave labor on their farms.

For men and women alike, the downward spiraling economy was not their friend.  Driven by power and money-hungry businessman whose only concern was their bottom line, the working class sunk deeper into poverty.  Settlements out in the West provided some hope of new jobs, and it is on this thread of hope that men would board the trains to a new town, and hopefully, a promising future.  With You Always rides on the hopes of orphans desiring a better future and the wealthy businessmen looking to make their next million.  

The author, Jody Hedlund, has weaved a rich historical tale during this time that engages the reader from the first page.  I was drawn into Elise's story and appreciated the deep love she held for her sisters, and her determination to look after them.  The love story between her and Thornton is sweet and tender and was a real bright spot in the novel.  I look forward to reading the sequel!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.