Tag Archives: historical fiction

A Giant Murder Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book

Book: A Giant Murder

Author: Marji Laine

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: August 3, 2021

Would you like a shot of… death with that, sir?

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving at an exclusive party, so why is she now being accused of shooting TG Taggert?

At a party full of suspects in the murder of Taggert, Josie served the food giant everything but an eternally “parting shot.” Who really killed TG Taggert? His wife? His son, Jack? What about Harper Davis? Rumor has it, she was having an affair with him—motive for her or Taggert’s wife! The list of those who seemed to hate him keeps growing, including a chemist and a chef!

With her long-time friend, Office Porter O’Brien, Josie sets out to find out who really killed “the giant,” and clear her name.

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. A Giant Murder offers a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” with enough clues and suspects to keep you looking over your shoulder. We’d recommend Kevlar… but it hasn’t been invented yet!

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

Marji Laine is a graduated home-schooling mom of four with two college students staying in the nest for a little longer. She and her hubby of 34 years also share their North Texas home with a rescue pup named Rosie. When Marji isn’t editing or publishing the books for her authors at Write Integrity Press, she indulges in penning her own mystery, suspense, and romance novels. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, leads a high school Bible study and sings in her church choir. She prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, NASCAR to football, Magnolia pie, white roses, green, and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. You can find her at her website: MarjiLaine.com

More from Marji

I so enjoyed researching the history of downtown Dallas as I crafted my story, A GIANT MURDER. The house that I chose for Josie and her mom is actually still there on Haskell Avenue. The photo with the wrought iron is about twenty years old, but the house was built circa 1914. The photo with the wooden fence is from last year, after a big remodel. This house was also the setting of another of my books. It and the field that used to be next to it was an after-school child care center in AIN’T MISBEHAVING.

Thinking about what life might have been like in this house in the twenties, I can’t
help but think about my grandparents. They were teenagers at the time of my story – 1926 – and while my grandfather grew up in, what was then, a little farming town called Paris, Texas, my grandmother grew up in Oak Cliff, just across the bridge over the Trinity River from this house in downtown Dallas.

Makes the research that I did on this era even that much more special. Having come through COVID, I realize that my great-grandparents had to nurture their preteens and teenagers through the Spanish Flu that devastated whole communities. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

All of this reminiscing sent me to an old recipe book that had been a wedding present for me from my mom almost thirty-five years ago. In the dessert section near the back, I found a precious recipe for Date Candy that had come by way of my great-grandmother, Carrie Ethel Leatherwood Morin. I never met her, but I do remember hearing from my mom that she was a woman of faith, and I have a poem she wrote late in life, about growing up in the country.

I would say this is a 1920s recipe, but who could tell? She was a middle-aged mom at that point, so it’s a good bet.

Date Candy

1 box – light brown sugar

4 T – corn syrup

½ pt – whipping cream

1 cup – dates

1 cup – pecans

1 t – vanilla

Mix sugar, syrup, and cream. Cook until almost a hard ball. Just before removing from pan, put in dates and stir until they melt. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until almost hard – then add pecans. Wet a cup towel. Pour mixture onto cup towel and roll into a roll. Let it cool – firm – then slice.

Let me know if you decide to make my great-grandmother’s candy. I’d love to find out how it turned out!

My Review

My review will be appearing in the September issue of #BecauseFiction magazine, and when it does, I will post the direct link to it here. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and get a copy of A Giant Murder!

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

For the Love of Literature, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 19

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 19 (Author Interview)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 20

For Him and My Family, September 20

deb’s Book Review, September 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 22

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 23

Connie’s History Classroom, September 24

Simple Harvest Reads, September 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 25

Mary Hake, September 25

Rebecca Tews, September 26

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 27

Connect in Fiction, September 28

Bigreadersite, September 28

Through the fire blogs, September 29

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Back Porch Reads, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marji is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/119f5/a-giant-murder-celebration-tour-giveaway

Reflecting Gold Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Reflecting Gold

Author: Cynthia L. Simmons

Genre: Mystery

Release date: June 2021

Peter and Mary Beth Chandler kept their Confederate bank on the gold standard. However, a Confederate officer asked for a loan. He insisted he should be able to repay in Confederate bank notes not backed by gold. If they refuse, he will label them traitors. Should the Chandlers change their loan requirements and risk losing the bank? The entire town questioned their loyalty, especially when the officer turned up dead. Will the Chandlers be court martialed or lose the bank? While facing an impossible situation, they seek God’s guidance and learn to reflect his love.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Cynthia L Simmons is the mother of five grown children, imperfect and down-to-earth, she uses her experience to model grace for all and speaks from the heart of a spiritual mom. Fond of times past, she writes both fiction and nonfiction while combining history and scripture to minister to moms of all ages. However, she has a special place in her heart for young moms and homeschool moms. While she loves writing—books, articles, devotions, and notes—Cynthia also enjoys traveling around the nation speaking to homeschool events, bookstores, libraries, and churches. Plus, conducts writing workshops, and leads retreats. She’s a huge fan of sugar, tea, orchids, purple, re-enactments, friends, and ballroom dancing with her husband. https://clsimmons.com

More from Cynthia

The same year my first book came out, my husband came down with encephalitis. In simple terms, his brain was infected. He’d been sick for several days with a mild headache and temperature, and our doctor thought he had the flu. One morning I watched him slide into the floor as a grand mal seizure ravaged his body. I remember thinking this couldn’t be happening. I’m a nurse, and I was reviewing his medical history in my mind. Seizures didn’t fit with anything on either side of his family, and I wanted to deny what I saw. Needless to say, our life changed dramatically for several years as we walked through dark times. My husband spent 11 days in intermediate intensive care and came home on IV medications. For several weeks he had partial seizures the doctors couldn’t control. However, I learned so much during that time, and I’ve shared lessons from that time. In Reflecting Gold, I demonstrate how we can reflect the beauty of God even in the middle of heartbreak.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I have always loved words and hated numbers. At about ten or eleven, I tried to write a novel, but my brother laughed at me. Embarrassed, I stopped and planned never to write again. Years later, I homeschooled my five children and taught them to write. As I taught grammar, I explained how everything I taught was really a tool for writing. Once my kids started to leave home, I started writing and using those tools I’d been teaching.

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

I can’t brag on just one. Cec Murphy got me started with his classes and critique groups. Jennifer Slattery and I worked together for a year or so, and I learned a lot from her. Fay Lamb taught at a writing conference I hosted here in Atlanta, and she influenced me a lot. Sandra Byrd coached me as I wrote my first novel. She gave me confidence that I could write for publication. I still use her techniques.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Both. I tend to structure the entire book before I start. However, once I get started, things happen I didn’t expect. Sometimes a new idea occurs to me, and I like it better than what I intended. On some occasions, I get bored with what I planned and go off in a different direction.

Is there a particular literary period that you’re drawn to (Regency, Victorian, Romantic, Modernism, etc.)? Why?

I love the Victorian period. I grow orchids, which men discovered in that era, and I adore the hooped skirts and fancy dresses. If you peeked into my closet, you’d see several dresses from that period that I wear to events. I often pose for photos with fans or their children.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I have used all three. Traditional books are wonderful. I enjoy holding a book in my hand and turning pages. However, your house can only hold so many. So, if I interview an author for my podcast, I usually ask for an ebook or pdf. I also enjoy listening to my kindle when I clean house.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, September 9 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 9

Texas Book-aholic, September 10

Inklings and notions, September 11

For Him and My Family, September 12

deb’s Book Review, September 13

For the Love of Literature, September 14 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 17

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 18

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living, September 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 22

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away the grand prize package of a $30 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11818/reflecting-gold-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Last Gasp Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Last Gasp

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: July 6, 2021

At the pinnacle of his Hollywood career, Garrison Prince’s reign ends tonight.

As plain old Gary Prinz, he can pursue his Bible education, buy a bungalow in Pasadena, acquire a few chickens, and marry the girl of his dreams. He just never imagined trading the silver screen for a pulpit would wreak such havoc.

A cigarillo girl, Lucinda Ashton spends her days with her boyfriend, Gary, and her evenings selling candy and “gaspers” to the Hollywood elite at the Taj Mahal Theater.

However, when gunshots ring out just as intermission begins, Lucinda finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a brouhaha that leaves three dead, and no one has a clue why.

All the police know is that the evidence points to Lucinda as the killer and Gary as the intended target.

Four new friends, one young orphan, and a potluck of clues that don’t seem to fit anywhere leave the police baffled, Lucinda in fear for her freedom, and Gary ready to trade in his acting shoes for gumshoes if it’ll save his “Cinda.”

The first book in the Ever After Mysteries combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries, The Last Gasp. This Cinderella retelling blends a murder with enough crime and story clues to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

What Beautiful, Unexpected Parallel Did I Find Writing this Mystery?

I bought it at Pic-n-Save when I was eleven—an 8.5×11 paperback book of traditional fairy tales. I learned another side of the age-old stories that you don’t see from Disney. Rapunzel? Yeah. That was the story about the queen who was craving rampion (a salad vegetable) so much that she promised to give up her child for it. Rampion—Rapunzel. It’s a thing.

It’s also where I learned Cinderella’s name as “Aschenputtel.” Look, those Brothers Grimm were… well, they were German and that should explain everything. “Puttel” just sings of German, doesn’t it? That tale was also a bit gruesome. The one sister cut off her big toe to make the shoe fit because her mother said, “You won’t have to walk anywhere if you’re a queen. Who needs it!” So the idiotic girl did. Same for the other sister and her heel. Seriously, didn’t she learn from her older sister?

Oh, and it’s the one where mother and stepsisters get their eyes picked out by birds. It reminded me of Proverbs 30:17. “The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.”

Talk about bringing Scripture to life for kids there. *Gulp*

True confession, our kids used to sing that verse to the tune of “All Hail the Pow’r of Jesus’ Name.” You should have heard the lusty voices of our children in our Grand Marquis station wagon (may the wonderful beast rest in peace) singing, “The ravens shall pick out his eyes and eeee-agles eeee-eeaat the saaaammmme!”

I digress.

Cinderella—I mean, Aschenputtel—really wasn’t my favorite story, though. I liked other stories from other books. Like the Ten Brothers—a Chinese folk tale. You know. Fairy tale.

Know which fairy tale I liked even less than Cinderella?

The Little Mermaid. Seriously, I didn’t like the original (Sorry Mr. Andersen… I just didn’t), and I can’t stand Disney’s. But when we first began planning the Ever After Mysteries, I knew which one I wanted to do. The Little Mermaid had everything going for it. Houdini and a water tank. Can’t you just see it? It would have been great. But a friend asked who was writing about the “cigarillo girl” (as I mention in THIS post), and well… the rest is history. Or at least, it’s set back in history.

But there’s one truth I discovered as I wrote this mystery.

Mystery… that’s a good word for this truth, actually. Cinderella is a beautiful picture of Jesus as our prince. We can be His bride and put on the shoe He has fashioned only to fit us, or we can try to snatch it up and make it suit our wills and hold our overgrown egos (work with me here). He takes us out of our ragged, dirty lives and brings us home… to Him. To His Father.

Is there anything more beautiful? I don’t think so.

In The Last Gasp, Gary knows Cinda long before she knows him—truly knows him. He loves her just as she is. Is it a perfect retelling of the beauty of Christ’s love for his church? Not hardly. It wasn’t intended to demonstrate that relationship at all. But there are tiny nuances that do. And that’s pretty cool.

My Review

As a child, I was never really enamored with princesses and fairy tales the way that other girls were. Romance just isn’t my cup of tea. Unless, of course, the subject is Belle: secluded castle, grand library with a sliding book ladder…but I digress. With the exception of wearing a rather glitzy Cinderella dress for my first piano recital in second grade (a harbinger, perhaps, since I quit a few years later), I have been staunchly in the pioneer, historical-fiction camp. I do, however, love mysteries, and that is what caught my eye with Celebrate Lit’s new series, “Ever After Mysteries.” Intrigued by the amalgamation of fairy tale adaption, historical fiction, and mystery, I had to check it out.

Chautona Havig kicks off the Ever After Mysteries with The Last Gasp, a 1920s adaptation of Cinderella. I know little about this time period, particularly in regard to theater and film, which made it fun to read about. The main character, Lucinda “Cinda” Ashton, works as a cigarillo girl, selling candy and cigarettes at the Taj Mahal Theater, until a night of chaos and murder points to her as the prime suspect. Her boyfriend, Gary Prinz, a charming little orphan boy named Herbie, and a cast of others band together to figure out who is behind the curtain of this crime spree.

Humor adds just enough lightheartedness to bring a smile to readers without detracting from the mystery, and the literary nods that Havig includes amuse those who look for them. I noticed, for instance, an homage to Snoopy early on in the narrative. The names used in The Last Gasp are, of course, very apropos, and several other parallels between the famous story that most know and cherish pop up throughout the narrative. Because of the combination of romantic and alarming elements, The Last Gasp does seem like an admirable merging of the Disney and Brothers Grimm versions! For anyone with concerns, however, this adaptation is clean and does not contain graphic details beyond a few brief mentions of blood.

There were times when the story execution reminded me of the movie Clue due to the wit and comical nature of some of the scenes, but there is also a deep undercurrent of faith and love. My favorite scene is when Gary witnesses to a wondering Mrs. Cohen, explaining “As for my reward, I have it already—salvation. I know it isn’t the done thing to talk about in society, but you asked. Some men are eager to share how to receive the Lord’s gift. I wish to teach those who already have it how to live in a way that reflects their gratitude for it.” To me, this speaks to the ultimate message of The Last Gasp: jealousy never cultivates contentment, and no matter how much or how little anyone has here on earth, the greatest possession of all is a relationship not with Prince Charming, but with King Jesus.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, August 2

For Him and My Family, August 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 3 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, August 4

Inklings and notions, August 4

deb’s Book Review, August 5

CarpeDiem, August 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 6

Connect in Fiction, August 6

Texas Book-aholic, August 7

Blogging With Carol, August 7

She Lives To Read, August 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 8

Connie’s History Classroom, August 9

Simple Harvest Reads, August 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 11

The Meanderings of a Bookworm , August 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 12

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 12

Splashes of Joy, August 13

Mary Hake, August 13

For the Love of Literature, August 14

Back Porch Reads, August 14

Through the Fire Blogs, August 15

Mamma loves books, August 15

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of copy of the book and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11420/the-last-gasp-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Scarlet Pen Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Scarlet Pen

Author: Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release date: July 2021

Engaged to a Monster

Book 12 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Enjoy a tale of true but forgotten history of a 19th century serial killer whose silver-tongued ways almost trap a young woman into a nightmarish marriage.

In 1876, Emma Draycott is charmed into a quick engagement with childhood friend Stephen Dee Richards after reconnecting with him at a church event in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. But within the week, Stephen leaves to “make his fame and fortune.” The heartbroken Emma gives him a special pen to write to her, and he does with tales of grand adventures. Secret Service agent Clay Timmons arrives in Mount Pleasant to track purchases made with fake currency. Every trail leads back to Stephen—and therefore, Emma. Can he convince the naive woman she is engaged to a charlatan who is being linked a string of deaths in Nebraska?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a preteen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a BA in writing, she has won five writing competitions and was a finalist in two others. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenage son, and four fur children.

More from Jennifer

Hello, Readers! For all who might never have read one of my stories or come across me, it’s great to meet you! I’m a wife, a mom, a (young!) grandma, and an author—among many other things. My author tagline is “Where Grit Meets Grace.” If you’re familiar with my writing at all, you’ll know that most of my stories at least touch on a bit of the difficult side of life. Death, abandonment, war, addiction, or who knows what else you might find. The Scarlet Pen is no different.

Given that this novel is the final installment in Barbour’s True Colors series, the story revolves around a true crime from history—in this case, the murders of serial killer Stephen Dee Richards—AKA the Nebraska Fiend. Anytime you’re dealing with someone so depraved as he, you’ll find plenty of “grit” to write about. But that’s only half of my tagline. Remember, it’s “Where Grit Meets Grace.

While I love a story that delves into difficult topics and, in some cases, pushes the characters right to the edge of what they can handle, I also love a truly redemptive story. When I was asked to write for this series, the ideas that drew me the most were the ones that had something redeeming in the actual history. There were plenty of interesting historical killers I could’ve chosen where I could have manufactured a positive, even happy ending through the fictional characters in the book. In the case of Stephen Dee Richards, there was no manufacturing needed. The “grace” part was already written. The end of Stephen’s story is precisely why I chose to write about him. I hope you’ll find it as though-provoking and compelling as I did. Happy reading!

My Review

Review coming soon!

My rating:

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, July 29

Genesis 5020, July 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29

For Him and My Family, July 30

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 30 (Author Interview)

Christian Bookaholic, July 30

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 31

Inklings and notions, July 31

Britt Reads Fiction, July 31

Remembrancy, August 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1

Betti Mace, August 2

Rebecca Tews, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 3

Blogging With Carol , August 3

Older & Smarter?, August 4

Connie’s History Classroom, August 4

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 5

Bigreadersite, August 5

Godly Book Reviews, August 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 7

Back Porch Reads, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

Through the fire blogs, August 8

sodbuster living, August 8

Connect in Fiction, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 9

Texas Book-aholic, August 9

KarenSueHadley, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 10

For the Love of Literature, August 10

Blossoms and Blessings, August 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, August 11

Spoken from the Heart, August 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Scarlet Pen!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/110e0/the-scarlet-pen-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Lady in Attendance Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: A Lady in Attendance

Author: Rachel Fordham

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: June 1, 2021

Will the Past Destroy Her Future?

Ada, Mi.—Rachel Fordham’s historical novels have received high praise for their warm and engaging story lines filled with romance, adventure, and happy endings. In A Lady in Attendance, Fordham beautifully blends these same great features in a novel about overcoming obstacles in the past to make room for a better future.

After spending the last five years in a New York state reformatory, Hazel is desperate to begin life anew, but she knows that a tarnished name could ruin her chances. She accepts a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’ lady in attendance but does so under an alias so she can hide her shameful past.

Dr. Watts has come to enjoy the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, but he senses her sadness and wonders if there is more to her story than she’s shared with him. As their friendship deepens, Hazel must grapple with her desire to trust him.

Can Dr. Watts and Hazel’s friends help expunge her record? And can Hazel possibly find hope and love along the way?

Click HERE to get your copy! 

About the Author

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Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs, Yours Truly, Thomas, and A Life Once Dreamed. Fans expect stories with heart, and she delivers, diving deep into the human experience and tugging at reader emotions. She loves connecting with people, traveling to new places, and daydreaming about future projects that will have sigh-worthy endings and memorable characters. She is a busy mom, raising both biological and foster children (a cause she feels passionate about). She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.

More from Rachel

Ten behind the scenes extras from A Lady in Attendance:

  1. This book takes place in Amherst and Buffalo New York, places I lived for four years. Buffalo has had some rough years but if you ever visit the area you will see gorgeous old buildings, beautiful parks and cemeteries and understand why it was once a booming and prosperous city (and why I love it still). Gilbert and Hazel both grew up in the area (though, they did not know each other until the story begins). Two of my children were born in Buffalo and though they aren’t being raised there, I tell them stories.
  2. Hazel spent five years in a New York State reformatory. Reformatories were basically the first juvenile delinquent facilities (the ages of who could be sentenced there was different from today). Reformatories were a new idea. There were still a lot of people who believed in “bad blood” and that a criminal could never be anything but a criminal. There were some heroes who fought hard to convince the public, that people could change. Because of this book’s storyline, I could not go too deeply into this subject, but it is fascinating!
  3. Gilbert Watts is this book’s leading man. I gave up on being able to use the name Gilbert on one of my own kids and instead gave it to a character. I adore the name Gilbert and everything about this character, hope you do too!
  4. There is a joke at the end of the book about a graveyard (don’t worry, it’s not scary) and it’s a nod to my mom who used to use this joke on us every time we passed a cemetery. I really love sneaking in things into my stories that will make my kids, family and friends smile when they read it. I often think of my books as love letters from me to others and the best kind of love letters are personal.
  5. My husband is a dentist and as a result, we tend to notice dentist in media. They are often portrayed as villains or comic relief. I decided it would be my goal to write a romantic dentist that would change the image in readers minds.
  6. Gilbert tells Hazel that being a dentist is really being an artist. When my husband was first trying to decide on a career path, he shadowed a dentist. He didn’t really think it would be for him, but he was open to exploring options. He came home and told me that the cool thing about dentistry was that you were essentially making art that was functional, every day. Little sculptures that helped people eat and smile better. Gilbert from the book is very different from my husband, but it was fun sneaking in little pieces of him in there.
  7. One of my favorite scenes from this book take place at a corn husking. There is a tradition that says, if a red ear of corn is found, the finder gets a kiss. Sigh, I love that scene!
  8. Without always meaning to, my books end up having messages woven into them. I believe one of the messages in A Lady in Attendance is forgiveness. In this case, it’s forgiving of one’s self. I believe this message is one that we all need at some point in our lives (or many points!).
  9. My books are coming out in a different order than they were written in. I actually wrote this book before Yours Truly, Thomas and after A Life Once Dreamed. This story has been waiting a long time to be in print! During that time, it has been reshaped in little ways. It gained a prologue and lost an epilogue, it was tamed down in places and intensified in others, but the heart of it has always been the same!
  10. One last piece of A Lady in Attendance trivia—several of my books have had their titles changed. It’s part of the writing process. The books get a working title and later a title that the rest of the world knows it by. The Hope of Azure Springs was originally just Azure Springs. Yours Truly, Thomas was originally Dear, Azure Springs. A Life Once Dreamed was originally The Belle of Penance. A Lady in Attendance began as A Lady in Attendance and stayed A Lady in Attendance. Not only is this title fitting because dental assistants were knowns by this or as an attending lady, but also because Hazel wrestles with her worth. In a society that believes a mistake made once can leave a mark forever, it takes the right eyes and open heart to realize that there truly is a lady in attendance.

My Review

Her sentence might always mar her record, but was there a way to escape the fear, to live free and honestly?

Set primarily in Amherst, New York in 1898, A Lady in Attendance is the latest standalone novel by Rachel Fordham. I would say that it’s my favorite, but to my embarrassment, it’s the only one that I’ve had a chance to read so far, although her other three novels are on my to-read list, and I can definitely say that I’ve been missing out! A woman with a past, a mystery, a sweet romance or two…this story is both unique and familiar, and it is one that you will not want to put down until the last page is turned.

To begin with, the subject matter itself is intriguing. A Lady in Attendance being a foreign term to me, I learned something new right from the start; in 1885, ladies in attendance began to be employed in order for women to see dentists unaccompanied without the risk of tarnishing their reputations. Hazel Bradshaw, using the pseudonym McDowell due to her former criminal status, takes the only job she can find, as a lady in attendance to dentist Gilbert Watts, who quickly became my favorite character. His shy innocence and goodness endeared him to me, and I love how Fordham connects dentistry with art, which is an entirely new concept to me. Gilbert tells Hazel that “Every day I get to build dentures and bridges. Tiny sculptures that may never be appreciated, but I know they make life better and easier for the receiver…I consider myself quite blessed to use my hands to make such important art.” Finding such purpose in our work is an important aspect of using our skills to glorify God.

As the past continues to haunt Hazel, Fordham skillfully constructs a narrative that demonstrates the power of faith and forgiveness while establishing the truth that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Spending five years in a reformatory “had taught [Hazel] to persevere, to keep going when she wanted to quit, and above all else, to find solace in prayer.” Now, with the possibility of having an opportunity to set the record straight, Hazel realizes that hope may yet have a fighting chance. As Gilbert reminds her, “I told you once that I was a Christian man who believed it my duty to help. I even offered to help you if you were ever in need, and I see no reason to take that offer back. Either I am a man of my word or I am a fraud. I don’t believe any verse of Scripture says to help only those who are perfect when none of us are.” Forgiveness may not be as clear-cut, particularly when facing the past means confronting those who have been hurt the most and perhaps even some who set into motion the events of two long-ago fateful nights with echoing repercussions.

For anyone who enjoys a heartfelt redemption story, proving that “No one is unredeemable,” and for those who believe in the power of love and second chances, Rachel Fordham’s A Lady in Attendance is a match made in heaven!  

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Girls in White Dresses, June 30

The Sacred Line, June 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 30

lakesidelivingsite, July 1

Inklings and notions, July 1

For Him and My Family, July 2

Reflections From My Bookshelves, July 2

Mary Hake, July 2

deb’s Book Review, July 3

Remembrancy, July 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 4

Reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 5

Breny and Books, July 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 6

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 7

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 7

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 8

Simple Harvest Reads, July 8 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 8

Older & Smarter?, July 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 9

Connie’s History Classroom, July 10

For the Love of Literature, July 10

Pause for Tales, July 10

Splashes of Joy, July 11

Life of Literature, July 11

Daysong Reflections, July 12

Bliss, Books & Jewels, July 12

Labor Not in Vain, July 12

Through the fire blogs, July 13

Texas Book-aholic, July 13

Blossoms and Blessings, July 13

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of A Lady in Attendance as well as A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham, a signed bookplate, book swag, and a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10e71/a-lady-in-attendance-celebration-tour-giveaway

Oh the Places You’ll Go as A Packhorse Librarian: A Book Review of Ann Gabhart’s “Along a Storied Trail”

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While this is not the first time I’ve heard about the packhorse librarians, it is the first book that I’ve read featuring them, and what a grand initiation! Along a Storied Trail may be a fictional tale, but Ann Gabhart incorporates the intrepid spirit of the women who promoted literacy among the Appalachian Mountain communities during the Great Depression while offering readers a glimpse into life in the hills. Women, both married and single, become the heroines as they accept paying jobs to follow the postal service’s creed to travel through all forms of inclement weather to keep to their schedules—an early bookmobile! “A packhorse librarian had to be tough and ready for anything,” Tansy Calhoun asserts. I was interested to learn that they received payment for this job, and that it was a full-time commitment that involved traveling to different areas daily, returning to each location every two weeks. I also love that these women had a weekly meeting at the Booneville Library to swap out books, choosing ones that they knew would suit their readers, and to repair books and use magazines to make their own books and write their own stories for the children on their routes.

Gabhart creates a satisfying cast of characters that provide a kaleidoscopic portrait of life in the Eastern Kentucky hills in 1937. Tansy Calhoun is a girl after my own heart, with her unabashed love of the written word and her dedication to bringing books to her neighbors in Owsley County. I can’t think of a more perfect occupation: “A day chin-deep in words and stories seemed the next thing to heaven to Tansy.” Being able to share, and in some cases introduce, literature to those who would otherwise go without it, and doing so on horseback through the mountains sounds like a dream come true to me, as well. I also felt a connection with Tansy in the way that she stood out from the majority of the mountain folk due to her pastimes, and just reading about the decline of the American chestnut saddened me while at the same time bringing a smile to my face, particularly given that she did share this interest with Caleb Barton. Gabhart does not give readers much detail about Caleb’s work with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) because the story begins after his time there, but that aspect drew me in also because my grandpap worked with the CCC in the 1930s, too.

As with any story from this era, Along a Storied Trail has its share of heartache and romance. Unexpected death, the loss of one’s home, unrequited love, and the challenges of everyday survival pepper the narrative. I appreciate that the author does not sugarcoat the lives of her characters, but instead portrays them as realistic individuals. Damien Felding represents the outsider who does not understand the mountain way of life but sees it as something to escape from, while Jenny Sue and Junie prove that grieving has no geographical or time limits. Nevertheless, Tansy sagely notes that “While there were some things a book couldn’t heal, a story could give you some minutes to escape from what was to what a person could imagine.” And it is through the pages of a fire-tested Bible that healing comes to these Appalachian hills.

Reminiscent of such beloved classics as Christy while also possessing its own unique Appalachian flair, Ann Gabhart’s Along a Storied Trail is a must-read for fans of the genre and for anyone who enjoys an inspiring story of love, books, and family—both the one we’re born into and the one we create for ourselves, or as Perdita Sweet would say, a “family born of need.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Bridge of Gold Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Bridge of Gold

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: June 2021

Repairs on the Golden Gate Bridge Uncover a Century-Old Murder

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson is called to the Golden Gate Bridge where repairs to one of the towers uncovers two human remains from the late 1800s and the 1930s. The head of the bridge restoration is Steven Michaels, who dives with Kayla, and a friendship develops between them. But as the investigation heats up and gold is found that dates back to the gold rush, more complications come into play that threaten them both. Could clues leading to a Gold Rush era mystery that was first discovered during the building of the bridge still ignite an obsession worth killing for?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she’s shared her theme of “Joy Through Trials” with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She’s passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story.
You can connect with Kimberley at: www.kimberleywoodhouse.com and www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAuthor

More from Kimberley

BRIDGE OF GOLD was a blast for me to write. Not only do I love writing dual-timeline stories, but the present-day hero and heroine are named after my daughter and her husband. Steven and Kayla in the book are fictitious, but there are a few things in the book that do mimic their real-life namesakes.

One of them is food.

My son-in-law Steven in real life is six-foot-four and active military. The man can eat. It’s amazing to me how many calories it takes just for him to survive! Then there’s my daughter, Kayla. She was an elite swimmer for many years along with her brother. I could never keep them fed when they were at the height of their swimming careers. In fact, I joked that all I did was cook and load the dishwasher during those years.

To celebrate the release of BRIDGE OF GOLD, I’m going to give out a recipe that I created almost thirty years ago. It went through many revisions the first few months as I perfected it and now you get a special treat because I do not give this recipe out. In fact, one of my dearest friends begged for it when our kids were little. I gave in but made her promise to close her eyes while she made it (LOL) and to never, ever give it to anyone else.

Enjoy! And thanks for joining us on the tour for BRIDGE OF GOLD. I hope you love it.

Kim’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies – recipe by Kimberley Woodhouse

2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. kosher salt

¾ cup melted/browned butter (this is important! Don’t skip this step)

2 Tb. Hot chocolate mix

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 – 12 ounce package mega morsels (I use Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips)

Directions: combine the first three dry ingredients and mix well. In a small saucepan on the stove, melt and brown the butter. Medium heat is recommended but you’ve got to watch it so it doesn’t burn. You want a beautiful caramel color. Set aside and allow to cool to around 100 degrees F before continuing. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Once the browned butter is cool, add the hot chocolate mix to it. Transfer to a stand mixer and blend the butter mixture with the sugar. Whip it until well combined and frothy about 2 mins. Gradually add eggs and flour mixture, beating on low just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, drop heaping TB scoops 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes, watching carefully. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks. Enjoy!

For other fun tidbits about BRIDGE OF GOLD make sure you check out my blog at – kimberleywoodhouse.com

My Review

Barbour has been knocking it out of the park lately with their historical series, including Doors to the Past. Each book is noteworthy in its own right, and unique due to the variety of authors. Because the uniting theme is historical monuments, each story provides a journey between the past and the present, combining fact and fiction amidst a backdrop of romance. This most recent addition, Bridge of Gold by Kimberley Woodhouse, proves to be the most suspenseful thus far, and I often found myself holding my breath in anticipation, which I did not expect but which thrilled me!

Never having visited anywhere west of the Mississippi, Bridge of Gold introduced me to life in San Francisco and to the Golden Gate Bridge. As a bona fide country girl with no interest in cities of any size, I honestly did not expect to enjoy this book nearly as much as I did, but I can say without hesitation that it is the most suspenseful novel that I’ve read in the first half of this year. Better yet, Woodhouse employs a creeping sense of dread rather than gruesome horror, evoking a psychological response that resonates with me more than would a visceral one. Although I did have the opportunity of riding in a submarine once, I have never been diving, and it is incredibly fascinating to read about the more primitive techniques utilized in the 1930s and to wonder how anyone survived in such tricky waters as those in the area of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Woodhouse deftly relates this dual-timeline narrative in the third-person, through the perspectives of six different characters. Yet not once did I find myself confused or wondering which character I was reading about, which is a genuine testimony to the author’s skill because I am terrible at remembering names and keeping track of storylines with multiple main characters. The two stories, one occurring in 1933 and one in the present day, synchronize beautifully and retain the plot resolutions to the end. The romance is sweet and tender, but to my delight, the mystery and suspense receive most of the spotlight. Foreshadowing plays heavily into the narrative from the opening chapter, and I could sense the turbulence coming as soon as Margo thought that “It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. The first day of the rest of their lives.” As events unfold for Luke and Margo in the midst of the Great Depression in 1933, Luke tells Margo, “Let us make a promise to one another at this moment that we will seek to keep God first, our marriage relationship next, then our children and family—all of those above the priority of job or money or anything else.” To which Margo agrees that “As long as they kept God first, the rest would fall into place.

Indeed, the Bible verse that echoes throughout the generations of this story is 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Nearly 90 years later, underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson and head of restoration Steven Michaels find themselves entangled in the same legend, brought to light during repairs to the Bridge’s south tower, and Kayla points out an issue that has become prominent today: the loss of our history. She tells Steven: “History has always been a love of mine. That’s what got me into the field in the first place. I know a lot of people are purely after making a buck. But to me, I think we need to save as much of our history as possible so that future generations can learn about it and from it.” There is so much more at stake than financial gain. In the words of Jesus, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:26) Regardless of the time period, these words remain true. Our witness to others about the Lord is a treasure with benefits reaped both here and in eternity.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 24

The Sacred Line, June 24

The Write Escape, June 24

lakesidelivingsite, June 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 25

HappyWhenReading, June 25

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 26

Bigreadersite, June 26

Pause for Tales, June 26

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, June 26 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 27

Christian Bookaholic , June 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 27

For the Love of Literature, June 28

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, June 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Bliss Books and Jewels, June 29

Lis Loves Reading, June 29

For Him and My Family, June 29

deb’s Book Review, June 30

Simple Harvest Reads, June 30 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Livin’ Lit, June 30

Remembrancy, June 30

Older & Smarter?, July 1

Lighthouse-Academy, July 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 1

Genesis 5020, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Betti Mace, July 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 3

Inspiration Clothesline, July 3

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, July 3

Live.Love.Read., July 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 4

Mamma Loves Books, July 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Mary Hake, July 4

Blossoms and Blessings, July 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 5

Blogging With Carol, July 5

Connie’s History Classroom, July 6

Life of Literature, July 6

A Baker’s Perspective, July 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 7

To Everything There Is A Season , July 7

KarenSueHadley, July 7

Splashes of Joy, July 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kimberley is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10e03/bridge-of-gold-celebration-tour-giveaway

Faith in the Mountain Valley Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Faith in the Mountain Valley

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: June 15, 2021

This epic journey is the only way to leave her secrets behind.

After eleven years spent looking for the girl who stole his heart, Jean-Jacques Baptiste—better known as French to his friends—is tempted to give up. Until the day he spotted the flaxen-haired stranger traveling the wooded path with Blackfoot Indians. He never imagined he’d find his childhood friend masquerading as a man in this Rocky Mountain wilderness, hundreds of miles from the Canadian town where he last saw her. No matter her reasons, he can’t let her go this time.

Colette Mignon’s life has become a cacophony of lies, including the fact that her Blackfoot Indian companions believe she’s a man. She’s willing to live the taxing life of a trapper in these desolate mountains as long as it keeps her secrets hidden. When her childhood friend and first love discovers her, his determination to help might put everything at risk.

As the worst of her past threatens to catch up with her, the hope for Colette’s new life shatters. But no matter what, she must protect the one good thing that came from all her mistakes. Though French is determined to stay at her side, she can’t let him become entangled in the perilous consequences of her actions. If only it wasn’t so painful to push him away. The danger pressing in may leave her only one choice—leave everything behind…again.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Click HERE to get your copy!

More from Misty

Ever Played Dress-up?

I’ll bet most of us played “Let’s Pretend” when we were kids. Maybe you dressed up as a princess, or a knight, or a soldier. When we were little, my grandmother had a secondhand wedding dress she let us play with. It had the long train and veil that dragged several feet behind a grown woman. We spent so many fun hours dressing up and pretending. And of course, there were all the times my older brother and I played cowboys as we rode our horses.

With so much experience playing dress-up and “let’s pretend,” I thoroughly enjoyed writing the story of a heroine who pretended to be a man! And not just a fellow around town. She joined up with a group of five Blackfoot braves and attempted to pass herself off as a man for weeks while she lived in their camp, trapping alongside them!

She had a good reason for attempting the ruse, and you can find out if she pulls it off in Faith in the Mountain Valley. This might be my favorite of all the books in the Call of the Rockies series. I pray you enjoy it too!

My Review

Book five in Misty Beller’s Call of the Rockies series, Faith in the Mountain Valley takes readers on a journey through future Idaho Territory that is both poignant and inspiring. I am always impressed by this author’s ability to craft a multiplicity of stories with the same general setting and genre without them becoming repetitious or formulaic. Even though I would not consider myself much of a romance fan, I do love this series; it is undeniably romantic, but in a gentle manner, entwined within the Christian message and the adventure of the nineteenth-century wilderness. The stories can be easily transplanted into a contemporary context because the issues that the characters face are relevant across time periods.

Those familiar with the series will recall the group’s storyteller and entertainer, Jean-Jacques Baptiste (nicknamed French), and Faith in the Mountain Valley gives us his story. As such, while these books can be read as standalones, I would recommend reading them in chronological order; doing so will provide insight into the characters and nuances of the tales that would otherwise be overlooked. Of the five books in this series thus far, this one is my favorite. French is one of the characters to whom I’ve been the most drawn, and I was glad to find out more of his story, which dovetails with that of Colette Mignon. Interestingly enough, I will admit that she is not my favorite character, but even so, Beller makes her sympathetic by explaining her past, from the time she and her family moved away from Jean-Jacques. One aspect of the characters Beller employs in her novels that I appreciate the most is the inclusion of both whites and Native Americans as both primary and secondary characters. I enjoy learning by observing how their cultures interact with one another, including the various tribes.

Among the most prominent themes in this story are trust of other people and of God, and not running ahead of God and His plan for your life. Jumping to conclusions, while easy to do, rarely brings right assumptions and often results in unnecessary pain. French’s eleven years of searching for Colette reminded me of the Biblical figures who also had to wait, only receiving what they prayed for and were promised when it seemed that all hope was lost. Sometimes we need to be forced to wait in order to understand that ultimately God is the One who provides, and that we are incapable of doing anything without Him. Not only that, but it is in the trials that our faith develops, as Colette reflects: “At first, I was thinking of how much pain we could have missed if we’d reached this point sooner. But then God reminded me how much I’ve grown through the hard times. This moment is so much better for who I’ve become. Who we both are now.” This statement sums up Faith in the Mountain Valley, pointing to the blessed Scriptural promise of Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all thing God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, June 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 8

Texas Book-aholic, June 9

Blessed & Bookish, June 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 10

Inklings and notions, June 11

Betti Mace, June 12

For Him and My Family, June 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 13

Connie’s History Classroom, June 14

cats in the cradle blog, June 14

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 15

deb’s Book Review, June 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 16

Mary Hake, June 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 17

Reviewingbooksplusmore, June 17

For the Love of Literature, June 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 19

Blossoms and Blessings, June 19

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, June 20

Splashes of Joy, June 21

Jeanette’sThoughts, June 21

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10d0a/faith-in-the-mountain-valley-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Silver Shadow Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Silver Shadow

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release date: May 2021

A Shadowy Figure Is Intent on Harming Denver’s Women

Book 11 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before he strikes too close for comfort?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

One of the most popular questions I’ve gotten from many readers of the True Colors Crime series is how do I come up with the ideas for the books? For the first two, Becky Germany, acquisitions editor at Barbour Publishing, had the ideas. That made my life easy. I just had to fictionalize it, and I had a book. But when I was putting together the proposals for The Gold Digger and The Silver Shadow, it was up to me to find the true crimes I wanted to use.

I went online and scoured historical crime blogs and books for ideas. I wanted crimes that I could work easily with, that made for compelling stories. As I was doing this, my husband and two daughters and I were driving home from Georgia. We were somewhere in Indiana. Don’t ask me why I remember this when I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I do.

And then on Google Books, I discovered a book about crimes the world had forgotten. The first one in there sounded so good. Not too grisly, something that no one would be able to guess the culprit very easily. It was perfect. Imagine my excitement when Becky told me they would be publishing The Silver Shadow.

Then I sat down to research it more. And I could hardly find anything! What? Where was all the information on this? There had to be more. That chapter in the one book couldn’t be all there was. He had to get his information from somewhere.

Eventually I did come across some articles from various Colorado newspapers with a few details. Not many at all. None from any of the Denver papers, even though that’s where the crimes were committed.

In the end, that’s all the information I discovered. In a way, it was freeing. I could write whatever I wanted, and no one would be the wiser. Even if they did some research and some digging, there wasn’t much to find. I was able to take the facts that I did have, combine that with what I found out about Denver in 1900, and put it together in a story. I tried to use historical details wherever I could, but of my four True Colors Crimes books, this is the most fictional of them all.

My Review

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

This is the most unusual book of the True Colors series thus far, in my opinion, which only makes it all the more intriguing. I purposely avoid book summaries, except for perhaps a very bare-bones version, when choosing which books to read, and in the case of this series, I usually recognize the case very early on. As The Silver Shadow progressed, however, and I still remained clueless, I really had to fight the urge to peek ahead!

Something that struck me from the beginning is that this case reminded me of Jack the Ripper, albeit less gruesome, due to the female targets and the nocturnal timing of the crimes, as well as the fact that the perpetrator was able to strike and escape each time. Liz Tolsma, as she details in her author’s note, takes artistic liberty with The Silver Shadow because little is known about the crimes themselves. So little, in fact, that only one text appears to mention them: Famous Crimes the World Forgot by Jason Lucky Morrow. A quick Internet search of my own turned up only one article, which also references this text. I won’t spoil the story by revealing the ultimate outcome; suffice it to say that this historic crime spree offers plenty of fodder for the imagination.

Tolsma provides some of the specifics of the crimes of The Silver Shadow committed between August 1900 and March 1901 in Denver, Colorado, crafting a fictionalized storyline around a young female reporter named Polly Blythe and police detective Edwin Price. Tapping into the mindset of the time period, Tolsma writes Polly as a burgeoning careerwoman fighting against the patriarchy in order to prove herself and achieve success. Polly opines: “It’s not that I’m after fame and fortune. I want recognition of hard work. Acceptance as a capable, intelligent reporter. That’s what I would like.” Which puts her directly at odds with the Silver Shadow, who believes that women “had to learn how to stay home and put their husbands and their families first.” Polly’s dogged determination challenges Detective Price to not only solve the case and protect the women of Denver, but also to come to terms with an old burden.

An absorbing combination of psychology, romance, and mystery make The Silver Shadow a must-read for fans of the genre while simultaneously demonstrating the emergence and subsequent repercussions of women’s rights in society. The insights into the perpetrator’s mind keep readers guessing and offer a speculated motive. A summary of the victims in the author’s note at the end of the story is very helpful for gaining perspective on the case as a whole. I do wonder about one of the fictional characters in the novel, whose story I don’t feel is fully resolved. Also, a pedantic point that is very likely no fault of the author but has niggled my senses: on the back cover, the detective’s name is given as Edwin Timmer, but his surname throughout the book is Price.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 25

lakesidelivingsite, May 25

Reviewingbooksplusmore, May 25

For the Love of Literature, May 26

Bigreadersite, May 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 26

Texas Book-aholic, May 27

Genesis 5020, May 27

Christian Bookaholic, May 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 28

Vicky Sluiter, May 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 28

The Write Escape, May 29

Betti Mace, May 29

Inklings and notions, May 29

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 30

For Him and My Family, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

Older & Smarter?, May 31

deb’s Book Review, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 1

Remembrancy, June 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 2

Pick a Good Book, June 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 2

Connie’s History Classroom, June 3

Godly Book Reviews, June 3

Mary Hake, June 3

Through the Fire Blogs, June 4

Melissa Wardwells Back Porch Reads, June 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 4

KarenSueHadley, June 5

Amanda Tero, Blog, June 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 6

Grace-Filled Writer, June 6

Pause for Tales, June 6

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 7

Blossoms and Blessings, June 7

Daysong Reflections, June 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of The Silver Shadow!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10c96/the-silver-shadow-celebration-tour-giveaway

Hope Between the Pages Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Hope Between the Pages

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: April, 2021

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

More from Pepper

Books are a uniquely portable magic – Stephen King

Appalachia is known for having a high illiteracy rate. A place of beautiful scenery and rugged landscapes, the people of the mountains developed stories through oral storytelling much more than “book learning”. As a young girl growing up in this world, I loved hearing my granny share tales from up to five generations ago, filling in the narrative gaps between a birth date and a death date on a tombstone – giving flesh and breath to the stone-etched names.

It’s no surprise then, with a heart cultivated from rich oral stories, I fell in love with reading. Books became that “portable magic” that took me places my little Appalachian community couldn’t provide. I fell in love with the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. Wept through the end of Bridge to Terabithia and Old Yeller. Traveled to the plains with Sarah Plain and Tall and fell in love with horses with The Black Stallion. But when I was in seventh grade, I read my very first “British” novel, The Secret Garden. In that one introduction, my world expanded into mysterious English manor houses and British classics. Before long, I’d consumed Jane Eyre, Austen’s classics, some Dickens, Dracula, Frankenstein…and the list goes on! And then…I found Tolkien and Lewis – and the ‘real’ world swelled into OTHER worlds.

I’m grateful for true stories of book-loving pioneers traveling into the world of Appalachia to provide books and literacy training to “my people”, because I know some of those books made their way to my tiny elementary school library…and not only brought me the chance to discover stories, but to write them too!

Isn’t it amazing how books can do that?

In Hope Between the Pages, I wanted to bring the same awe and discovery I felt as a child (and continue to feel as an adult reader) to the story of two people whose words had seemed small. Stories stretched their worlds, but the stories also gave them wonderful imaginations and positive perspectives. It’s still amazing to me that ink-and-paper words can make such a lasting impact on hearts and minds. They can lead us to dream, teach us new things, encourage our hearts, help us to think outside the box, swell our imaginations, broaden our horizons, and encourage our hope.

Books are not a replacement for real adventures and relationships, but they certainly provide a beautiful “door” into other lives and worlds that we may never have a chance to experience in real life. Sadie, my historical heroine, and Clara, my contemporary heroine, both have kept close to home but traveled greatly through books…and BOTH are given the opportunity to reach beyond the bindings to discover real-life adventures. I’d like to think that their love for stories helped them have the courage to step away from the page and into their own tales even more prepared than they would have been without stories.

What are some of your favorite books you read as a child? Did any of them influence you to become a more avid reader?

My Review

Historical fiction is my go-to genre, and in the interest of total honesty, romance and contemporaries are probably my least favorite most of the time. What can I say, I have never been normal! Split-time novels, therefore, are on the fence for me, and I have only dipped my toes into this genre, which makes me all the more glad for the opportunity to read Barbour’s Doors to the Past series. I was wholly unprepared for this book, though; it blew me out of the water and is by far the best I’ve read so far this year. Prior to this, I read the author’s contribution to the True Colors series, The Red Ribbon, and found it to be my favorite installment to date, so I now know without a doubt that I need to look into her other works, as well.

Stories held power and everyone told one, whether the characters within the story knew it or not.

There is so much to love about Pepper Basham’s Hope Between the Pages, from the complex characters to the swoon-worthy romance to the delightful appreciation for literature. Rarely have I felt so connected to the characters, and never in a dual-timeline story. In fact, some of the more tragic circumstances hit so close to home that I had to set it aside at times. I am glad that Clara Blackwell’s contemporary story is told alongside her ancestor Sadie Blackwell’s from 1915, because it provides a fascinating study of how our past impacts our present in ways that we may not realize. As much as I admire Sadie, I see more of myself in Clara, and it reminds me of Oliver Camden’s advice to his sister, Victoria: “It’s not often that you find kindred spirits, so when you do, you make certain to keep them if you can.” Indeed, this concept plays into the lives of all of the main characters. I love that Clara is a vintage type with a fondness for books and security, and that this does not make her a hopeless case: “Was there a place for mysteries, adventure, and even romance in her life? Could she release her hold on her fear long enough to try and find out? She drew in a deep breath and for the first time in a long time prayed that she’d be hopeful enough to search for everyday magic, and brave enough to step into her own story.

Part of what makes this novel so enigmatic is the fact that the primary plot threads are relatively predictable, yet Hope Between the Pages still reads like suspense, and Basham is truly gifted in writing lyrical prose. The stories of both Sadie and Clara, separated by a century, dovetail perfectly, exploring similar tales of solitude, heartache, tragedy, romance, and even fairy tales because the Christian life is a mixture of all of these, but fulfilled to perfection. “No fairy tale in all the world painted love as beautifully as this. No novel touched my heart with such an odd combination of visceral weightiness and sheer joy. Only in the pages of scripture had I found anything so beautiful, showcasing what it meant to be so loved for exactly who I was,” Sadie marvels, and 100 years later, Clara echoes this sentiment. While this is not the immediate meaning of the title, which is disclosed at the end of the book, this is what it symbolized to me. The hope of being loved and accepted just as one is, whether lowborn or high, in vogue or quirky, and the steadfast promise that the Lord is the One who will always love us unconditionally, a promise and hope found between the pages of the book that never goes out of style, the Holy Bible.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 24

Worthy2Read, April 24

Texas Book-aholic, April 25

Reviewingbooksplusmore, April 25

Christian Bookaholic, April 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 25

She Lives To Read, April 26

Books and Everyday Life, April 26

For the Love of Literature, April 26

For Him and My Family, April 26

Wishful Endings, April 27

Bigreadersite, April 27

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 27

deb’s Book Review, April 27

Inklings and notions, April 28

Connect in Fiction, April 28

Writing from the Heart Land, April 28

Blogging With Carol, April 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 29

Life of Literature, April 29

Pick a good book, April 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 30

Betti Mace, April 30

Kathleen’s Blog, April 30

lakesidelivingsite, May 1

Connie’s History Classroom, May 1

Fiction Book Lover, May 1

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 2

Godly Book Reviews, May 2

Mary Hake, May 2

Older & Smarter?, May 3

Genesis 5020, May 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 4

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads , May 4

Blossoms and Blessings, May 4

sodbusterLiving, May 4

Splashes of Joy, May 5

Where Faith and Books Meet , May 5

Simple Harvest Reads, May 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Through the Fire Blogs, May 5

Pause for Tales, May 6

To Everything There Is A Season, May 6

Remembrancy, May 6

Lights in a Dark World, May 6

Live.Love.Read., May 7

Karen Sue Hadley, May 7

Amanda Tero, blog, May 7

The Write Escape, May 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10b27/hope-between-the-pages-celebration-tour-giveaway