Tag Archives: historical romance

Calm in the Mountain Storm Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Calm in the Mountain Storm

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: September 13, 2022

This epic journey will test his strength and ability to protect his children—and they’re all he has left.

When Elise Lane and her brother set out as missionaries to the native tribes in the Rocky Mountains, she knew the work would be challenging. But nothing fully prepared her for the hardships, nor the joys of getting to know the people. And even more so when some of them decide to accept God’s grace. When they discover the entire village where they’ve been working has been massacred, the mysterious brave standing at the edge of the devastation appears to be part of the danger. Especially when Elise realizes he’s holding a baby she recognizes as the daughter of one of the women who now lies dead.

Gone far too long on a mission to return his son who’d been taken by an enemy war party, Goes Ahead is relieved to return home with the boy. Until they reach their village, and the death they find there ignites his fury. His wife has been killed, along with all their friends and neighbors. No one is left alive—except their infant daughter. It can’t be coincidence that both his children have survived such evils. Now he must keep them alive and cross the mountains to return to his family, people who can help protect his family from further danger.

Traveling with an infant not yet four moons old—and no mother to feed her—is more than even Goes Ahead can overcome. Allowing the white strangers to accompany him seems the only choice since one in their party is already nursing a babe of her own. As winter closes in and the mountains prove treacherous beyond anything Goes Ahead can control, only a strength and love greater than his own can save his children—and the woman he’s come to love.

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.

Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.

More from Misty

Early Missionaries to the Rocky Mountain Native American Tribes

One of the things I love about writing stories set in the 1830s Rocky Mountains is that Eastern civilization hadn’t yet touched the frontier. The only people who lived in or visited the Rockies during that were Native Americans and mountain men (usually trappers, but sometimes just explorers).

From that limited experience with white people, two of the native tribes realized they wanted to learn more about the white man’s God and his “Book of Heaven” (the Bible). In 1831, a delegation of four Native Americans—two Nez Perce and two Flathead—showed up in St. Louis, Missouri, asking for someone to come and teach their people about God.

Over the next several years, a number of people went west as missionaries, and this was the real-life inspiration for the heroine in Calm in the Mountain Storm. Though the characters in this story are fictional, the events certainly could have happened!

When Elise Lane heard that the Indians actually wanted to learn about God and simply needed someone to come tell them, she knew she had to answer that call. Of course, her brother Benjamin couldn’t let her go into that danger alone, so together, they set out on an expedition they knew would likely change them forever. Elise doesn’t have any idea exactly how much!

I pray you enjoy reading the story of Elise and Goes Ahead, the brave she meets who’s desperate for help getting his young children across the mountains. As with our hero and heroine in the story, I pray your faith is inspired!

Blessings!

Misty

My Review

This series just keeps getting better, and each title that releases becomes my new favorite! Even as an historical fiction aficionada, I am always impressed by Misty Beller’s ability to create new plotlines set in the Rocky Mountains with the same general cast of characters without any redundancy ever marring the narrative. Add to that the thrill of wilderness adventure and a sweet romance, and the Call of the Rockies series always exceeds my expectations! Calm in the Mountain Storm, book nine, appealed to me by the title alone, and I appreciate how the storm reflects both the natural phenomenon as well as that which occurs within us at times.

From the first heartrending chapter, Calm in the Mountain Storm dives headfirst into the grittiness and reality of frontier life in the early 1830s, as experienced by a group of missionaries. Elise Lane and her brother, Ben, joined by Lola and her husband, White Owl (a couple whose story is told in Grace on the Mountain Trail), travel to various tribal villages to introduce them to the God of the Bible: “In every village where they stopped to share the gospel, the people there would be resistant until a single person finally softened. Then one by one, others would come to meet the Lord for themselves.” Beller does not shy away from the challenges of this lifestyle, presenting it authentically yet without graphic details, even when the opening scene reveals the aftermath of a massacre survived by a single infant, whose warrior father returns with his young son to find the mother of his children dead with the rest of her tribe. Despite his deep distrust and disdain for the missionary party, he has no choice but to travel with them on his way to his own home village. The Lord works in mysterious ways, indeed.

One of the facets of Beller’s novels that I appreciate the most is the dual perspective that provides readers insight into both the Native American and white viewpoints. Realizing and recognizing such differences between people groups is just as important today, too, but can be easy to overlook. In Calm in the Mountain Storm, it becomes evident that Christianity is countercultural to the Native American way of life in general, and to that of Goes Away in particular. No matter how strong or capable we are, we will never be enough on our own because we all fall short and need the Savior, Jesus, who also provides strength in our weakness. The most incredible part is how, when the Lord is actively made a part of the equation, the two contrasting perspectives are brought together and reconciled, without either being cast aside. In the midst of prejudice, Elise’s frustration is no less apropos today: “Why couldn’t everyone let a person’s character stand for itself without worrying over their race or how they lived?” Then, as now, our faith must be demonstrated and lived out through our actions and not merely through words, because that is how we will reach people for Christ. Scripture is essential, yes, but only if we apply it to our lives.

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

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 16

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Holly’s Book Corner, September 17

Inklings and notions, September 18

Pause for Tales, September 19

Betti Mace, September 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 20

For Him and My Family, September 21

Blossoms and Blessings, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 24

Connie’s History Classroom, September 25

For the Love of Literature, September 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 27

Mary Hake, September 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 28

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/21812/calm-in-the-mountain-storm-celebration-tour-giveaway

Laura’s Shadow Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Laura’s Shadow

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Christian/Historical/Romance

Release date: August 1, 2022

Family Secrets Spill One Conversation at a Time

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

De Smet, South Dakota—1890
Young women growing up in DeSmet live by two rules: don’t go out in a snowstorm and don’t give your heart to Cap Garland. Young Mariah Patterson only managed to obey one. Orphaned and having devoted her youth to scrapping out a life with her brother Charles, Mariah finds herself with no interesting suitors or means of support. Throwing caution to the wind, she seizes an opportunity to lay her feelings at Cap’s feet, even though she knows Cap sees the world through the torch he carries for Laura Ingalls. Mariah is certain her love for Cap will be strong enough to break both bonds, and she’s willing to risk everything to prove it.

De Smet, South Dakota—1974
Trixie Gowan is the fourth generation of living Gowan women residing in the sprawling farmhouse on the outskirts of De Smet. Well, former resident. She’s recently moved to Minneapolis, where she writes ads for a neighborhood paper edited by Ron Tumble. She might live and work in the city, but her co-workers still call her Prairie Girl. Thus the inspiration for her comic strip—“Lost Laura”—in which a bespectacled girl in a calico dress tries to make her way in the city. The name is a quiet rebellion having grown up in a household where she’d been forbidden to mention the name, Laura Ingalls. But when her great-grandmother Mariah’s declining health brings Trixie home for a visit, two things might just keep her there: the bedside manner of Dr. Campbell Carter and the family secret that seems to be spilling from GG’s lips one conversation at a time.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a four-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series, once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties and most recently for the critically acclaimed The Seamstress which takes a cameo character from the Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities and flourishes her to life amidst the French Revolution. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

More from Allison

I can credit Laura Ingalls Wilder for just about every aspect of my identity. I’m a reader because I read her books over and over and over again, checking them out from my little elementary school library. I can still see them—last bookcase, bottom shelf. During the summer, I checked them out from the Bookmobile, and one magical Christmas, I received my own set. The well-worn, yellow paperbacks have a place of honor in my office: top shelf, center stage. It was amazing to my eight-year-old self that I could pick up Little House in the Big Woods, skip the dull parts, and jump straight to These Happy Golden Years in a single afternoon.

Looking at Laura’s writing now (as I often do), I realize I spent my childhood absorbing the art of telling a story. Her books masterfully string meaningful vignettes within an over-arching conflict. She creates stories-within-a-story-within-a-story whenever Pa launches into a tall tale, and minor characters come to life no matter how brief their appearance. (Aunt Docia, anyone?)

When I first came up with the concept of writing a story set in the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I knew I couldn’t bring Laura herself in as a character. There’s a sacredness to her story, and I wouldn’t dream of inserting myself into the cannon of her pages. But—I thought—surely she had peers who grew up alongside her, classmates who also hated Miss Wilder, young men who might have set their own cap for her, townsfolk who remembered the vibrant young woman with the button-brown eyes and dark curls. And then I pondered further: maybe there was another side to Laura—a side that she kept from the romanticized ideal skipping through the pages of her books. My first thought was to create a fictional De Smet town girl, but then…

In researching and reading Pioneer Girl, The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I came across a bit of information that brought the story to life for me. In These Happy Golden Years, Laura teaches her first class: five students, two families. And while the “Brewster” children are documented in other sources, the Harrison children are not. There are no census records, land deeds, or any official documents to support the identity of Charles and Martha as they are depicted in the novel. And so, it clicked. If Laura could fictionalize these people, well, then, so could I. Thus Martha Harrison was lifted from those pages, renamed Mariah, and given a new life and a new story in mine.

Writing Laura’s Shadow allowed me to indulge in a few favorite directions. First, I’m fascinated with the idea of extreme longevity (showcased in my novel All for a Song), and creating a character whose lifespan stretches from homesteading to disco was delightful. My Mariah chafes at the romanticized depiction of pioneer life, telling us in her old age that it was really more of a daily struggle for survival. I also enjoyed exploring the family dynamic of four generations of women and how each generation faced the same battles and fought them so, so differently. Finally—and this is what truly speaks to my fourth-grade self…

You know that Elton John song, “Your Song” with the lyrics, “I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words…” Well, I got to put down in words my lifelong crush on Cap Garland. Sure, Almonzo is great and everything, but I always thought Cap was more exciting. More fun. More…more. Bringing him to life in this book set my old heart racing. My research for this novel took me to De Smet, and to his gravesite, where I spoke this story to his stone. I like to think he’d approve, and I hope all of the Laura fans will join me in this tale and let their imaginations run wild.

My Review

Even if I had not already committed myself to reading each of the Doors to the Past books (not out of obligation, but simply because it is another superb series by Barbour), I would not have been able to pass this one up. You see, the Laura in Laura’s Shadow refers to that Laura, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and like so many others, I too was enamored with the world of Little House on the Prairie as a child; I just never outgrew it. So when I realized that this ninth installment, penned by Allison Pittman, had a connection to that legacy, I was thrilled. Having read countless renditions of the pioneer story and of the Ingalls family in particular over the years, I went into this novel with a somewhat jaded curiosity, not expecting anything truly distinctive but ready to just enjoy a good story. Thus I was pleasantly surprised by how different this narrative proved to be.

Despite the link with Laura Ingalls, she is not the focal point. Rather, Laura’s Shadow is a character unto itself, always lurking in the background and serving as a reminder of the shadowed secrets of the past. Two timelines and four generations converge near De Smet, South Dakota in 1974 when Trixie Gowan gradually learns more about her 104-year-old great-grandmother Mariah’s life as a young woman in 1891. This provides a unique perspective on how an outsider may have seen Laura Ingalls, and it offers a speculative glimpse into Cap Garland, who had a crush on Laura and for whom Mariah developed feelings. Generational trauma and keen humor demonstrate that the line of unconventional Gowan women are as inspirational as they are tragic. As Trixie’s grandmother says, “Was there sin? Yes, but sin can be forgiven. Shame you drag around with you.” Coming to terms with the past and making peace with it are necessary regardless of the circumstances, and it is never too late to do so.

A few aspects of Laura’s Shadow that I most enjoyed include a witty romance that I won’t spoil by detailing and the Lost Laura cartoon, which epitomizes the struggles of both Mariah and Trixie, in my opinion. I found this latter to be such an interesting addition to the story, as well as a reminder of perseverance. The one thing that I wish had been more prominent is the Christian element, especially given the subject matter, which highlights the need for and beauty of redemption.

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

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 30

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , August 31

Texas Book-aholic, August 31

Genesis 5020, September 1

Inklings and notions, September 1

The Avid Reader, September 2

For Him and My Family, September 2

deb’s Book Review, September 3

Simple Harvest Reads, September 3 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 4

Blogging With Carol, September 4

Betti Mace, September 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 5

Blossoms and Blessings, September 6

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 6

lakesidelivingsite, September 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 7

Connie’s History Classroom, September 8

Mary Hake, September 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 9

Through the Fire Blogs, September 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 10

Bigreadersite, September 11

Pause for Tales, September 11

For the Love of Literature, September 12

Labor Not in Vain, September 12

Remembrancy, September 13

To Everything There Is A Season, September 13

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Allison is gicing away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon E-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/210cb/laura-s-shadow-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Heart of the Mountains Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Heart of the Mountains

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance

Release date: July 1, 2022

Can their hearts overcome the darkness of the mountains?

To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.

Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.

Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?

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.

You can learn more about Pepper at her website http://www.pepperdbasham.com or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter.

More from Pepper

It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.

The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.

The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.

I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.

Because my great grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).

I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.

Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.

My Review

Pepper Basham is one of those rare authors whose work I pick up without question, knowing that it will end up being one of the best books I’ll read that year. What makes it more remarkable is that I mostly steer away from romance-driven novels, yet here I sit after finishing The Heart of the Mountains, thinking that if another author had attempted this story, I likely would have found it overdone, but as it is, I feel a sense of fulfillment. It occurred to me that while some of the circumstances in the story seemed almost too providential or too sweet at times, there is a reason that our hearts ultimately long for these outcomes, and a reason to include them in Christian fiction. Just as the stories of some characters will reflect the fallen, broken nature of humanity, some may also point to the love Christ has for each of us. After all, happily-ever-after IS real for born-again followers of Jesus!

With its 1919 Appalachian Blue Ridge Mountains setting, The Heart of the Mountains is primarily a romance, complete with the inherent challenges, dangers, and customs therein. Cora Taylor arrives in Maple Springs after fleeing her family’s upper-class home in England to avoid being forced into an unwanted marriage, following the earlier path of her brother, who teaches at a local mission school. In spite of her experience on the war front over the past year, she still finds herself overwhelmed by how primitive her new surroundings are, and determined to prove herself, she considers that “Surely, she couldn’t just entrust everything to God. She’d had to fight so hard to make her place in a world where people thought she was too young to manage the devastation of nursing in war and too ‘female’ to do anything but end up as the wife of a rich man.” Even today, the struggle lives on, whether it’s based on gender bias or any other form of preconception. It is so much easier to try to take matters into our own hands than it is to trust the One who is truly in control. However, as the longsuffering Caroline McAdams wisely tells Cora, “But prayin’ is where we admit we ain’t the lords of our own lives, nor of any lives, to be true. And, as I study on it, God uses prayin’ to change my heart into what He’s wantin’ it to be in sun or rain, ‘cause I’m trustin’ His love and His plan.” This profound statement speaks to the place where our will and God’s will come into alignment, which is when mountains are moved and miracles happen.

There are a myriad of life lessons contained within The Heart of the Mountains, all gently stemming from the truth of Scripture. As Cora observes and experiences more of the mountain life, she begins to realize the beauty and goodness amidst the hardship. Having less doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is worse off. Cora herself admits to local resident Jeb McAdams: “But I’ve felt more alive and more myself in the middle of the hardest days, than I ever felt in the easiest. There was purpose and this…this joy in making a difference, in offering even the smallest hope to those who were hurting or heartbroken. I don’t think I would have seen it before in my gilded world, but I do now. And I don’t wish to go back to what I was before.” Likewise, as is the case with life today, most of those in bad situations do not want to stay there and did not land there intentionally. Acting with kindness and love will always accomplish more, and as we live out the gospel, we will find more ways to share it with those who need it the most.

While a sequel to Laurel’s Dream, which offers more backstory on the secondary characters, The Heart of the Mountains can be read as a standalone. It is such an inspirational, uplifting story that will touch every reader regardless of background. On a personal note, I love that Basham included a dulcimer in one of the scenes; my mom, who passed away last year, played the mountain dulcimer, and it’s rare to find it in a novel. Speaking of loss, Cora’s statement to Jeb resonated with me as well: “We trust that God’s love for us and the people we’ve lost is even bigger than ours for them. And so, whatever He’s chosen for their lives is a much better plan than one we can imagine.” Our relationship with the Lord is based on trust and our eternal hope in Him, and as with her other novels, Pepper Basham perfectly exemplifies this with The Heart of the Mountains.

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

Bizwings Blog, July 28

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 30

Boondock Ramblings, July 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 31

Reading With Emily, July 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 31 (Author Interview)

lakesidelivingsite, August 1

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 1

Daysong Reflections, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Live. Love. Read., August 2

Betti Mace, August 3

Book Looks by Lisa, August 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 3

Remembrancy, August 4

For Him and My Family, August 4

Blossoms and Blessings, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

By the Book, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

For the Love of Literature, August 6

Books, Books and More Books, August 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 6

Connie’s History Classroom, August 7

SodbusterLiving, August 7

Splashes of Joy, August 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

Back Porch Reads, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 9

Labor Not in Vain, August 10

Miriam Jacob, August 10

To Everything There Is A Season, August 10

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e- gift card and a paperback 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/20389/the-heart-of-the-mountains-celebration-tour-giveaway

A Promise Engraved Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: A Promise Engraved

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction/Romance

Release date: May, 2022

Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years?

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

Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and forbidden love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love?

Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hernandez takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Shuman, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to Kayleigh’s work end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love?

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

The Story of Susannah Dickinson, Alamo Survivor

When asked how many died at the Alamo, many would answer that everyone did. While it’s true that all fighting on the side of Texas independence perished, there were survivors, all women and children and one slave. The only white woman (the rest were of Mexican descent) was Susannah Dickinson, along with her daughter Angelina. Susannah had followed her husband, Almaron, to Mexican Texas in 1831. They had married two years before when Susannah was just fifteen. She never learned to read or write.

She and the other women hid in the sacristy of the church, one of the surviving buildings in the mission and what we now think of as the Alamo. Her husband died, but Mexican General Santa Anna found them and spared their lives, sending them to Sam Houston with $2 each and a blanket.

She married again the following year but divorced him almost immediately on the grounds of cruelty. She married a third time the following year and was married for five years until her husband died of alcoholism. A fourth marriage occurred in 1847, but she divorced again in 1857, this time allegedly because she was having an affair. That same year, she married for a fifth time. This marriage lasted until her death in 1883.

The ring in A Promise Engraved is based on a cat’s eye ring supposedly given to Angelina by William Travis before the battle. Angelina was Susannah’s only child. She married and had three children, but that marriage ended in divorce. She gave the ring to a man she’d become involved with in New Orleans. She married again and had one more child but died in 1869 from a uterine hemorrhage.

Today there are many descendants of Susannah Dickinson. If you visit the Susannah Dickinson house in Austin, you’ll see a quilt that is signed by many of her living descendants.

My Review

Being largely unfamiliar with the Texas Revolution, I found this eighth standalone book in Barbour’s historic Doors to the Past series particularly intriguing. Liz Tolsma crafts A Promise Engraved, her first split-time novel, seamlessly, intertwining historic and contemporary events to demonstrate the truths of Scripture. The genealogical journey forming part of the present-day storyline is relevant to so many investigating their own ancestry amidst the range of tools available, and the issue of illegal immigration and refugees, especially as it applies to young children caught in the middle, is straight from the headlines. The historical segment of the narrative proves to be just as pertinent, dealing with issues such as assault, murder, and trauma. Exploring the echoes of history informs the present and guides the future. As Brandon tells Kayleigh, “There’s always an important story to learn at the end. Along the way, we might discover something about ourselves.

Beginning in 1835 but taking place mostly in 1836, the story of 18-year-old Josie Wilkins and Protestant pastor John Gilbert in San Antonio plays out during the determining battles of the Texas Revolution, and Tolsma offers insight into the motivations and strategies of those involved. Josie has a very unique position and a tragic past that isolates her in many ways, but John reminds her that “true joy is only found in the Lord” and urges her to “Give everything over to God. All your sins, all your hurts, all your trials and pains. He will heal and restore and bring you everlasting peace that surpasses all understanding. Place your trust and faith in Him. He will carry you through.” What might seem like trite platitudes becomes demonstrably true despite the horrors of war and loss, creating a legacy that connects to refugee coordinator Kayleigh Hewland nearly two centuries later. Kayleigh, her own past marred by tragedy, happens upon a special ring in a flea market and teams up with appraiser Brandon Mullins to discover how its history might shed light upon her own. From one survivor’s story to another, A Promise Engraved attests that, as Brandon assures Kayleigh, “With faith, you can endure anything, because there’s the hope that God is working out everything, even when you can’t see it.” And even when the good that God is working develops over centuries!

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, May 28

Bigreadersite, May 28

The Write Escape, May 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 29

Christina’s Corner, May 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 29

lakesidelivingsite, May 30

Texas Book-aholic, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

Inklings and notions, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Splashes of Joy, May 31

Betti Mace, June 1

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 1

Genesis 5020, June 2

Daysong Reflections, June 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 2

Remembrancy, June 3

Books, Books, and More Books, June 3

For Him and My Family, June 3

Older & Smarter?, June 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 5

deb’s Book Review, June 5

Mary Hake, June 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 6

Blossoms and Blessings, June 6

Connie’s History Classroom, June 7

Life of Literature, June 7

Back Porch Reads , June 7

Bizwings Blog, June 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 8

For the Love of Literature, June 8

Through the Fire blogs, June 9

Pause for Tales, June 9

Labor Not in Vain, June 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, June 10

Melissa’s Bookshelf, June 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 10

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Liz 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/1e37a/a-promise-engraved-celebration-tour-giveaway

Taming Julia Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Taming Julia

Author: Jodie Wolfe

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: November 2011

In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.

Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers, and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania.

More from Jodie

I love mail-order bride stories, so I wondered what would happen if a pastor advertised for a genteel woman and the opposite showed up instead. I thought I could further complicate things by having the couple marry by proxy before she even arrives. Just that scenario alone made for a fun story to write.

My heroine, Jules Walker moved to Kansas from Texas to be a mail-order bride, even though she didn’t know what that was at the time. For most of her adult life, she’s helped her brother track outlaws in Texas as part of his job as a deputy US Marshal.

As part of the story, she has to come to terms with a traumatic event in her past. I won’t share more so I don’t spoil it for you, but I needed somewhere in Texas for this incident to take place. Because my husband’s aunt and uncle live in Texas, they were a wealth of resources when it came to accurately describing the area. One place in particular is called the Narrows and it’s situated close to them, but it’s on private property.

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to travel and visit them. We received special permission to go on the private ranch and see the Narrows. It’s an unexpected area with sharp limestone rocks, and a deep cavern carved out by the Blanco River. Most times, it’s a sleepy waterway, but when the area has a flash flood, water rushes through the cavern and often to the top. When this happens, you can hear the water gushing from far away.

I so enjoyed being able to see the area first-hand. There are places where the water is shallow and others that are extremely deep pools. It has such a distinct beauty. At some point I hope to use this setting in another book.

That’s a small snapshot into how Taming Julia came to life. I hope you’ll enjoy the story of two unlikely people who are thrown together.

Author Interview

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl. I wrote a poem in second grade as a school writing assignment. Soon after I was writing little stories and stapling them together to make a ‘book’. I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

That’s too hard to pinpoint. Although I can say that my love of historical fiction began as a child watching and reading Little House on the Prairie series.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Good question. I don’t know that it’s a quirk, but I try and finish my writing for the day by ending in the middle of a scene where things are still unresolved, so I have a place that’s easy to get back into writing the next day.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I don’t know that I have a standard schedule other than I try and write Monday through Friday during the day while my husband is working. I finish up before I know he’ll be heading home and take weekends off so we can spend time together unless I’m under a deadline.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I consider myself a plotster. 🙂 I often have a general idea of where the plot is going to head, but I allow my characters to lead. They often take me where I didn’t think they would go.

Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

Most times it’s at home, in my office. Although I’ve had some time this spring where I was helping out with the grandchildren which meant taking my computer with me and squeezing writing time in between naps.

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

For me, it’s the Victorian Era. I think it’s because of reading those Little House on the Prairie books.

Describe your book in five words.

Quirky, poignant, feisty character, faith-filled.

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

Definitely Jules from Taming Julia. She’s different than any other female character I’ve ever written. She’s naïve because she hasn’t been exposed to much in her life, but she has a heart for others.

Do you ever hide things in your stories for readers to find?

Not so much, although I do try to have a thread of mystery in each of them that I hope the reader doesn’t figure out right away. 🙂

What are your hobbies?

Reading, knitting, walking, and spending time with my husband.

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

My husband. He’s my hero. He’s the one who is always encouraging me and my writing.

What is your favorite book?

I can’t pick just one. I do have some favorite authors – Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, and Kristi Ann Hunter.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

Definitely traditional books. There’s nothing like the feel of the pages and the smell of a new book. 🙂

Do you have a favorite Bible verse, or is there a particular Bible story that really resonates with you?

It’s changed through the years. Right now, the one I keep going to is John 14:27 (NIV) which says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

If you could live inside a book, which one would it be?

There’s no way I can choose, sorry. 🙂

If you could meet one author, living or passed, who would it be?

Perhaps Laura Ingalls Wilder since her works impacted my life.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Trust God and His timing. He’ll bring about publication in His way and His timing.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, May 25 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 25

Texas Book-aholic, May 26

Simple Harvest Reads, May 27 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, May 28

deb’s Book Review, May 29

For the Love of Literature, May 30 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, May 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 2

Connie’s History Classroom, June 3

Inklings and notions, June 4

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 5

Blossoms and Blessings, June 6 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living, June 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jodie is giving away the grand prize of an audio CD of 12 historical novels and novellas. Stories of chivalry, adventure and romance!!

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/1e36a/taming-julia-celebration-tour-giveaway

Peace in the Mountain Haven Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Peace in the Mountain Haven

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian historical romance

Release date: March 15, 2022

This epic journey is her best chance to find the family she and her daughter long for.

Watkuese is desperate to return across the Rocky Mountains before winter sets in. Time is running out for her to get her adopted daughter back to the familiar surroundings of the Shoshone village before the grief of her parents’ death causes irreparable damage.

Hugh Charpentier has spent his life watching over his siblings, which meant also ensuring his brother’s widow and babe are settled well into their new life. Now he’s asked to help shepherd a woman and child he barely knows across the mountains. As hard as it is to keep up with a six-year-old in the treacherous Rockies, it’s not nearly as dangerous as risking his heart to a woman and child who may not ever be his.

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! $3, $15, $30

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.

Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.

More from Misty

What do you love most about this genre?

I tend to be a bit of a sentimentalist, so Historical Romance is perfect for me! My favorite period is between 1800 – 1880, when the west was still an extreme frontier. I love the simpler life, where there’s no rat race. Just hard work, plenty of alone time (can you tell I’m an introvert?), and a strong family unit.

Are readers always promised a “happily ever after” in your novels? Why or why not?

Absolutely! I read as an escape, so that happily ever after is important to me. I know my characters will face challenges after the story ends, but I want to finish the book knowing they’ve grown through the story and will be able to meet future struggles with God’s strength and the support of each other—as well as family and friends!

How can readers connect with you?

I love to connect with readers! One of my favorite ways is through my newsletter, and readers can get a free copy of my book, A Pony Express Romance, when they sign up for the newsletter. Here’s the link for that: https://mistymbeller.com/freebook

My Review

In the current politically-charged, divisive culture that has seemingly permeated every aspect of society, it is a great relief to be able to escape into a novel for a breath of fresh air. How much more so when the characters are diverse and their conflicts acknowledged without sugarcoating, yet also without propagandized dogma. This is just one of the many reasons that Misty Beller is one of my favorite historical fiction authors, as her “Call of the Rockies” series continues with book seven, Peace in the Mountain Haven. As I often observe with regard to series, this one can be read as standalones, but it is most thoroughly enjoyed in chronological order.

Set in the Clearwater River Valley in 1831 in what will later become the Idaho Territory, Peace in the Mountain Haven tells Watkuese and Hugh Charpentier’s stories. A feature of this tale that I found especially interesting is the fact that neither main character is a practicing Christian at the beginning; in my opinion, this makes things more challenging for the author, but Beller still infuses the Christian element into the narrative in a believable manner. Despite the ethnic differences between them, both characters share similar struggles and are outliers of a sort amongst their own people. Watkuese possesses a fiercely independent nature that has led her to forge her own path in life and to resist being cowed by any man. When this comes to a head, she exclaims, “I am so weary of everyone thinking they know what’s best for me. My entire life, men think they know what’s best for me…I have a mind of my own, and I know what I want.” Much the same can be said of her adopted daughter, six-year-old Pop-pank, who has not come to terms with her grief over the death of her parents.

Holding people at arm’s length is Hugh’s approach to life after his childhood experiences, and his younger brother Louis is the only person he feels comfortable around. After all, “When it came to other people, he never could get it right.” His aloof disposition puts him in the ideal place to serve the Lord’s purposes, even if he hasn’t given God much thought over the years. Because of what he believes about himself and the ensuing gulf in his spiritual life, “He’d worked so hard not to let himself care or get too close to others. He was saving them from himself and making things easier on everyone when he left. Keeping his distance was necessary.” However, while God does not always heal by removing the pain, sometimes he uses our broken pieces to join us together with others who also need restoration, like a puzzle that only comes together when He is the builder. The best part of both Watkuese and Hugh’s journeys is when they come to the end of themselves and recognize that peace ultimately comes from the “Creator Father,” who is the only One who can be our true safe haven.

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

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 8

Miriam Jacob, April 8

Texas Book-aholic, April 9

Inklings and notions, April 10

Mary Hake, April 10

For Him and My Family, April 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 12

deb’s Book Review, April 12

Betti Mace, April 13

Bizwings Blog, April 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 15

Connie’s History Classroom, April 16

For the Love of Literature, April 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 17

Splashes of Joy, April 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 18

Blossoms and Blessings, April 19

Pause for Tales, April 20

Jeanette’s Thoughts, April 20

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/1c94c/peace-in-the-mountain-haven-celebration-tour-giveaway

O Captain! My Captain!: A Book Review of Laura Frantz’s “A Heart Adrift”

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How did one let go of the past and risk love again?

Laura Frantz never fails to deliver an emotional, profound historical tale fortified with unique characters, as her latest novel, A Heart Adrift, attests. Colonial life in York, Virginia at the beginning of the French and Indian War proves to be a seminal time period, with many apt parallels to current events. Frantz deftly captures the social climate of the time and how multiple factors contributed to both public sentiment and political strategy, without ever sounding like a textbook. Because it seems that the vast majority of Colonial American fiction is set during or after the Revolutionary War, it is an interesting variation for the colonies to still belong to Britain and to be fighting against the French. This offers a new perspective, as well as insight into how the War for Independence came about.

Unconventional women are a hallmark of Laura Frantz’s fiction, and A Heart Adrift features Esmée Shaw, a chocolatier who has resigned herself to a life of spinsterhood after the man she loved walked out of her life a decade ago. A successful businesswoman, she seeks out the less fortunate to offer what she can rather than joining in the high society that her sister Eliza so enjoys, but both prove to be more intrepid than they seem. Eliza, in particular, demonstrates fascinating character development. Captain Henri Lennox, a privateer who may be the colonial government’s greatest asset, is a steadfast character whose role is more traditional, but he and the other main male figures in the story demonstrate the results of the social structure.

With a somber tone throughout much of the narrative, A Heart Adrift underscores the fact that no one is shielded from life’s hardships and heartaches, regardless of status. While fiction often provides an escape from the less pleasant aspects of life, there is so much value in works such as this one that address the suffering and those who have been blessed with the gifts to help. The Lord will always show up and put the right people in our lives at the right time. As Esmée reflects, “The only certainty about life was its uncertainty. Only God stayed steadfast. Only the Almighty could walk her through life’s many changes. And when she felt overwhelmed, like now, she simply had to look back to see how faithful God had been, did she not? The heartaches and closed doors of the past had made the present more beloved.” None of the trials that we face today are new. The smallpox outbreak, the glimpses into the inhumanity yet widespread acceptance of the slave trade, and the encroaching war in A Heart Adrift all have their direct parallels to today’s headlines. The lighthouse in the novel seems to serve as a beacon for not only Chesapeake Bay and colonial Virginia, but also for contemporary readers who may feel as if their own hearts are adrift. Coming home to the One who loves us, the true Light of the World, is the only way that we can truly live with our hearts firmly anchored amidst life’s storms.

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Love’s Fortress Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Love’s Fortress

Author: Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical fiction / Romance

Release date: March, 2022

Upon receiving word that her long-estranged father has passed away, Dani Sango inherits the former art forger’s entire estate. Among his many pieces of artwork are a series of obviously Native American drawings and paintings, which lead her to research St. Augustine of 1875. White Elk is transported to Florida to join other Cheyenne braves already being held in Fort Marion. Sally Jo Harris is at the fort teaching the Indians. When a friendship develops between them and false accusations fly, it could cost them their lives. Can Dani discover how their story ends and how it shaped her own father’s life?

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

Florida has been my home since I was ten, and I’ve visited the city of St. Augustine several times in my many years here. There, I stumbled across the fact that the Castillo de San Marcos, the town’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, was home to several groups of Native Americans in the 1800s. Ever since learning this fact, I’ve considered writing a story about the three-year period from 1875-1878 when seventy-three Plains Indians from various tribes called the fort (known then as Fort Marion) their home. However, since I’m mainly a western and western romance author, all of my story settings to date have been west of the Mississippi—not in Florida. So this interesting historical factoid remained dormant in my imagination for years, waiting for the right opportunity.

That opportunity came last year when I was asked to submit an idea for Barbour’s dual-timeline Doors to the Past series. These stories must be set in or around a major landmark, the plot must focus on a newsworthy event, and there must be a bit of a mystery that connects the historical timeline to the contemporary plot. Obviously, as the oldest masonry fort in the United States, Castillo de San Marcos is an important and interesting landmark. Originally built by the Spanish, it later became a British possession, reverted again to the Spanish, and eventually became part of the United States’ holdings. With such a long and varied history, I’m sure you can see why this unique structure would make an interesting landmark around which to base a story.

The newsworthy event the plot focuses on is the incarceration of those seventy-three Plains Indians, deemed some of the “worst of the worst” offenders in the Indians Wars of the West. Can you imagine the buzz such an event would create? Once the Indians fell into their routine inside the fort, they were given quite a bit of freedom to interact with the locals and tourists. People came from far and wide to see these men and their historic surroundings along the banks of the Matanzas River. With a simple day pass from the fort’s commander, outsiders could enter, walk among and talk with the prisoners, see the historic fort, and even watch cultural events like dances, powwows, mock buffalo hunts, and archery displays. The Native men could also leave the fort and venture into town to shop or sell handmade goods, from bows and arrows to hand-crafted items made from locally-sourced seashells and plants, to their original “ledger art.”

It’s the ledger art that comprises the mysterious puzzle piece connecting the historical timeline of Love’s Fortress to the present day. When Dani Sango learns her long-estranged father has died, she inherits his rundown St. Augustine house. Inside, she discovers a book of Native American art depicting events from one Indian’s daily life. But because her father was a convicted art forger, Dani questions why he would have the strange and rudimentary artwork. She suspects it was his latest scam, so she enlists the help of Brad Osgood, curator of a western art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, to help her discover where the art originated and how her father came to possess it. In the process, the pair digs deep into the history of the St. Augustine fort and its former residents.

I found it fascinating to research this brief period in the Castillo’s long history, and I hope you’ll enjoy the story that came from my efforts.

My Review

Love’s Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik is book seven in Barbour’s “Doors to the Past” series, and in many ways, I find it to be the most compelling thus far. I also commend both the author and the publisher for taking on this controversial subject, especially at such a divisive time in our country. The treatment of Native Americans is a source of much bitterness and anger, and understandably so, and to approach this from a Christian viewpoint both historically and currently offers a healing lens that can serve well going forward. One of the advantages of fiction is that it allows for the exploration of how current ideas could have changed the outcome of historical situations, or how historical methods could influence contemporary issues.

Uhlarik skillfully articulates several of the main obstacles involved in the three-year incarceration of the seventy-three Native American men from various tribes at the Castillo de San Marcos (later renamed Fort Marion) in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1875. They were detained due to their roles in the conflicts in the American West. Through the characters of Lieutenant Richard Henry Pratt and Broken Bow, primarily, the challenges of forced assimilation become evident, as well as the impact of Christianity. Broken Bow’s character demonstrates how difficult it was for the Native Americans to understand the foundation of the Christian faith, and how important effective communication is, not only in ministering to others, but in establishing the trust necessary to earn another’s respect. If we want someone to listen to us regarding personal matters and beliefs, we first need to demonstrate our care for them; other approaches likely seem condemnatory, be that the intention or not.

Relationships likewise constitute another major theme in Love’s Fortress. As a dual-timeline story set in 1875 and in the present day, generational trauma and moral tradition both inform the narrative through the characters’ actions and the resulting series of events. As surprising as some of the revelations were, they all serve as reminders to disregard rumors in favor of facts. So much tragedy stems from relying on the incorrect interpretation of another’s culture or lifestyle. As such, Matty Joie is an exemplary illustration of the joyful servants that the Lord calls us to be. Likewise, one observation by Sally Jo Harris particularly resonated with me: “Just as if they were on a mission field in some faraway country, she and the others must rely on God’s leading and His timing. If she and Luke would have made it to Liberia or another mission field, her experiences would have differed there too. And regardless of where they were called, no one held the power to bring true healing and change through their own wisdom. Only the Holy Spirit could break down those walls.” The mission field is often within our own communities, and sometimes all it takes is a wild goose chase to find the blessings God has planned for us!

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

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 26

Remembrancy, March 26

The Christian Fiction Girl, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

Inklings and notions, March 28

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 28

Bigreadersite, March 29

For Him and My Family, March 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 30

Betti Mace, March 30

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 31

deb’s Book Review, April 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 1

Older & Smarter?, April 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 3

Life of Literature, April 3

Genesis 5020, April 4

For the Love of Literature, April 4

Connie’s History Classroom, April 5

Blossoms and Blessings, April 5

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 6 (Spotlight)

Splashes of Joy, April 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 7

Through the Fire Blogs, April 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 8

Pause for Tales, April 9

Labor Not in Vain, April 9

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and paperback 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/1c10d/love-s-fortress-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Mechanic and the MD Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Mechanic & the MD

Author: Linda Shenton Matchett

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: May 15, 2020

All’s fair in love and war. Or so they say.

High school and college were a nightmare for Doris Strealer and being an adult isn’t much better. Men won’t date a woman of her height, and they don’t understand her desire to repair car engines rather than work as a nurse or a teacher. When her father’s garage closes, and no one will hire a female mechanic, she joins the Red Cross Motor Corps, finally feeling at home. Until she comes face to face with her past in the form of Ronald McCann, the most popular boy in school.

On the brink of a successful career as a surgeon, Ron’s plans crumble when he’s drafted and assigned to an evacuation hospital in England, the last place he expects to run into a former schoolmate. The gangly tomboy who was four years behind him in high school has transformed into a statuesque beauty, but a broken engagement in college leaves him with no desire to risk his heart ever again.

Will the hazards of war make or break a romance between this unlikely couple?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

More from Linda

As a former human resources professional I am fascinated by the history of women in the workplace. The WWII is especially intriguing because not only did women enter the workforce, but they took jobs previously only held by men. And they proved themselves up to the task.

Because of my background, one of the first things I do when devising a story is to determine the protagonist’s job, and I love putting her into an unusual situation. My heroines have been mercantile owners, gold prospectors, spies, war correspondents, photographers, and pilots. In The Mechanic & The MD, Doris Strealer is…you guessed it…a mechanic.

I learned early on that I am NOT mechanically inclined. Newly married with not a lot of extra cash, my husband and I decided we would perform our own car maintenance. My husband grew up helping his dad, so he had lots of experience. How hard could it be?

For me, apparently very difficult. My first (and only) attempt to change the oil ended with my face and hands covered in black muck and a hole in the filter (don’t ask!). I determined I’m better at holding the flashlight or performing other assistant-type duties.

As it turns out, that wasn’t the case for Britain’s future Queen Elizabeth who became the first female member of the British royal family to become an active duty member of the Armed Forces when she joined the Auxiliary Territory Service. She underwent a six-week auto mechanic training course and learned how to deconstruct, repair, and rebuild engines, change tires, and drive every type of vehicle she worked on including jeeps, trucks, and ambulances.

When I learned of her service, I was intrigued, and the idea for The Mechanic & The MD was born.

I hope you enjoy Doris’s story, my effort to honor the men and women who served during this difficult period in history.

Author Interview

Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

I am very blessed that I have an office dedicated to writing. It has two huge windows that look out into our backyard which is heavily wooded – beautiful any time of the year. I need quiet when I’m writing, not like those who are able to go to a café or public place. I use noise canceling headphones if my husband is home to keep myself in the story.

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

My absolute favorite era is WWII. It was a time when people pulled together like few times before or since to do what they had to do. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I also enjoy the post-Civil War/Westward Expansion time period for the same reason.

What is your favorite book?

The Lady & The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof. I read it when it first came out in 2016 and have read it several times since then. I hope I can be half the writer she is someday!

Do you have a favorite Bible verse, or is there a particular Bible story that really resonates with you?

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

Doris Strealer really speaks to me because she struggles to be accepted for who she is. Part of the issue is that she is not your typical gal of the 1940s, but part of the issue is that she sometimes sees judgment and criticism where there isn’t any. I struggled with bits of this through high school and my early adult years, until I realized I’m just the way God wanted to make me.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 10

Inklings and notions, March 11

For Him and My Family, March 12

Texas Book-aholic, March 13

deb’s Book Review, March 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 16

Connie’s History Classroom, March 17

Blossoms and Blessings, March 18 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 19

For the Love of Literature, March 20 (Author Interview)

Christina’s Corner, March 20

CarpeDiem, March 21

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, March 22 (Author Interview)

Miriam Jacob, March 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Visa Gift Card and signed 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/1b8b6/the-mechanic-the-md-celebration-tour-giveaway

Silencing the Siren Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Silencing the Siren

Author: Denise L. Barela

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale

Release date: January 4, 2022

Andrew Grayson thought he had everything… until he met her.

The indulged son of wealthy parents, Andrew has always gotten whatever he wanted almost before he knew he wanted it—clothes, gadgets… even a car! What more could a young man desire?

Enter Annabel Thompson. Freakshow mermaid extraordinaire… in a wheelchair!

Of course, her beauty attracts him. How could it not? Add to that a kind heart, and Andrew can’t help but fall for her.

Annabel’s connection with the freakshow repels his parents and their society friends. They want him to sever all ties with her and his new friends. Oh, and marry the “right” girl with the “right connections.” But he won’t do it. He’ll defy them and marry his little mermaid.

When Annabel turns up missing, declared dead, things don’t add up, Andrew begins asking some difficult questions, the most important being, “What happened to the little mermaid of the Coney Island freak show?”

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. Silencing the Siren offers a retelling of “The Little Mermaid” that will keep you gripped to the edge of your seat as you watch the story unfold.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Denise Barela’s passion for fiction, her faith, and general creativity define her life. In all things, she strives to glorify God, though especially in and through her writing. She has spent the past six years working for a publicity company and five years working as the head editor for a publishing company. With an MFA in Creative Writing and a Professional Writing certificate, Denise enjoys using her education and work experiences to help authors achieve their own writing dreams. When she’s not working away at her desk, you might find her reading a good book or following Alice down the rabbit hole…

More from Denise

Hello Readers!

I’m so excited to share Silencing the Siren with you! This book was so much fun to write and research. I learned so many fun facts about old cars, old New York, and even doorbells!

Yes, you read that correctly. Doorbells.

These noisy items were such a novelty in the 1920s that they were often given as Christmas gifts!

Crazy, right?

I wanted both Andrew and Annabel to represent that feeling we have all experienced at least once in our lives. That feeling of not belonging. It looks different for each person, but it’s a uniting feeling.

Annabel will never be accepted by those outside her family, but they more than make up for that. Andrew is popular and well-off in society, but as he comes to know the Lord, he starts to feel that rift with his superficial friends and family. It’s with other believers, Annabel’s family, that he finds that deep relationship he desires. They are more than willing to provide.

This is the beauty of the body of Christ. When we are sick or in need, the body of Christ comes together to support you in that time of need and extend Christ’s love to all corners of the globe.

I hope you enjoy reading Silencing the Siren as much as I enjoyed writing it!

My Review

Review to come!

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 7

A Baker’s Perspective, February 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 9

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 9 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, February 10

Genesis 5020, February 10

Inklings and notions, February 11

Connect in Fiction, February 11

For Him and My Family, February 12

Blossoms and Blessings, February 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 13

deb’s Book Review, February 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 14

For the Love of Literature, February 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 15

Blogging With Carol, February 15

Connie’s History Classroom, February 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 17 (Spotlight)

Sodbuster Living, February 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 18

Austen’s Angle, February 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 19

Simple Harvest Reads, February 19 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Back Porch Reads, February 20

Through the Fire blogs, February 20

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Denise 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/19bc6/silencing-the-siren-celebration-tour-giveaway