Tag Archives: historical romance

An Ivy Hill Christmas Review and GIVEAWAY!

2lBLNZkQ

About the Book

hCTy1Smg

Book: An Ivy Hill Christmas

Author: Julie Klassen

Genre: Christmas Historical Romance

Release Date: September, 2020

Richard Brockwell, the younger son of Ivy Hill’s most prominent family, hasn’t been home for Christmas in years. He prefers to live in the London townhouse, far away from Brockwell Court, the old family secret that haunts him, and the shadows of his past mistakes. But then his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life–unless he comes home for Christmas. Out of options, he sets out for Ivy Hill, planning to be back on a coach bound for London and his unencumbered bachelor life as soon as the festivities are over.

But Christmas in the country presents many surprises, including encounters with an orphaned apprentice, the first love he disappointed years ago, and Arabella Awdry, a young lady who is far more appealing than he recalled–and determined to have nothing to do with him.

Will Christmastime in Ivy Hill, with its village charm, kissing boughs, and joyous songs, change his heart . . . and hers as well?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

WfWh7xQQ

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for 16 years and now writes full-time. Her novels have sold over 1 million copies, and three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and a Christian Retailing’s Best Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

More from Julie

My fascination with England began as a girl when I read The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre, and watched A Christmas Carol. I have now been to Great Britain several times, and my affection for the place has only grown. I love the country villages with their stone buildings and thatched roofs, the narrow, winding roads (though not driving on them), the ancient churches, friendly people, plummy accents, and history. Writing fifteen novels set there has been a real pleasure.

An Ivy Hill Christmas includes all the elements of an idyllic Olde English yuletide: A charming village setting, snowfall, mistletoe, caroling, gifts for less fortunate neighbors, and festive gatherings of friends and family. I thoroughly enjoyed researching 19th century Christmas traditions and weaving them into this novella.

In the story, a confirmed bachelor is determined to remain aloof from the celebrations going on around him—and from his mother’s matchmaking schemes. But divine hope, friendship, and unexpected romance change his heart…and his mind. I love a transformation story; don’t you?

If you’ve read the TALES FROM IVY HILL series, you will enjoy returning to the village and spending time with favorite characters. But rest assured, the novella is a standalone, meaning you can enjoy it whether or not you’ve read the other books, as these reviews attest:

“[A] standalone novella that not only beautifully captures the kindness, hope, love, and faith of Christmas but also skillfully evokes the period holiday atmosphere of Regency England.” —Booklist

“This feel-good tale of love and redemption will delight Klassen’s fans and new readers alike.” Publishers Weekly

And if you like the novella, I think you will like the other books as well. An Ivy Hill Christmas would also make a lovely gift for a reading friend.

Finally, if you want to add a British flair to your own modern-day celebrations, buy (or make) mince tarts or Christmas pudding, place Christmas “crackers” (pull-apart gift tubes) on your table and wear the included paper crowns. Refer to Father Christmas instead of Santa; and instead of “Merry,” wish everyone a hearty, “Happy Christmas.”

Happy Christmas!

My Review

Not only is this the first book I’ve read in the Tales from Ivy Hill series, it also appears to be the first novel I’ve read by Julie Klassen, although I have definite plans to read more of her work in the near future. It should be noted that this book can be read as a standalone, with no difficulty in understanding the plot or identifying the characters, since Klassen tactfully introduces them. In many cases, Regency stories are usually a turn-off for me, particularly if they are romances, and I am numbered among the seemingly rare few who is not a great fan of Jane Austen’s books. They are just not, personally, my cup of tea. However, I did love this novella!

With the perfect blend of social concern and spiritual well-being, An Ivy Hill Christmas makes a wonderful book for a snowy afternoon. On the frontispiece, there is a black-and-white map of Ivy Hill to give readers a mental image of where some of the story’s main locations are in relationship to one another. But as the village remains close-knit, the residents of Brockwell Court do not. Most notably, Richard Brockwell is nearly 30 years old and lives as a rakish bachelor in London, enjoying himself and fitting into an archetype of a young Ebenezer Scrooge who thinks of no one but himself. “Richard was, he knew, a selfish creature. A person could not change his nature, his very heart, could he? He thought not.” Coerced into returning to Brockwell Court for the Christmas holidays, he vows to remain firm against his mother’s desire for him to marry and settle down into a respectable life. Until the Christmas guests arrive, and Arabella Awdry steps through the door.

This is a character-driven novel, and it is the secondary characters whom I find to be the most entertaining and insightful. Wally, the little terrier, stole my heart immediately, particularly with how Richard dresses him up each day. Pickering, Richard’s steward, has a dry sort of humor that I find surprising and at times hilarious. Richard’s brother and sister-in-law manage Brockwell Court compassionately and efficiently, a task Richard has no desire to become responsible for as the second son. However, the more he sees acts of kindness performed toward the less fortunate in conjunction with the fate of a childhood friend, the more he begins to look beyond himself to see the world of need that exists. He is struck by the thought “That the heavenly Father would willingly send His Son into a harsh, fallen, and dangerous world? Astounding.” From that launching point, he finds the motivation and inspiration to confront and seek to rectify injustice, surprising himself along the way and prodding us, too, into action. No gift of kindness is too small when it comes from a heart reflecting the Savior’s love.

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

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 30

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 30

Christian Bookaholic, November 30

Andrea Christenson, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 1

KarenSueHadley, December 1

Robin’s Nest, December 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 1

Blessed & Bookish, December 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 2

Mia Reads, December 2

Wishful Endings, December 3

lakesidelivingsite, December 3

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3

For Him and My Family, December 3

Just Your Average reviews, December 3

She Lives To Read, December 4

Remembrancy, December 4

deb’s Book Review, December 4

Writing from the Heart Land, December 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 5

Quiet Workings, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Spoken from the Heart, December 5

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 6

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 6

Connect in Fiction, December 6

Artistic Nobody, December 6 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Worthy2Read, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 7

Life of Literature, December 7

For the Love of Literature, December 8

Connie’s History Classroom, December 8

Batya’s Bits, December 8

Labor Not in Vain, December 8

Hallie Reads, December 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

Older & Smarter?, December 9

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 9

Betti Mace, December 9

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Faery Tales Are Real, December 10

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 10

Mary Hake, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bigreadersite, December 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 11

Splashes of Joy, December 11

Vicky Sluiter, December 12

To Everything There Is A Season, December 12

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 12

Blossoms and Blessings, December 12

The Write Escape, December 12

A Baker’s Perspective, December 13

Bizwings Blog, December 13

Simple Harvest Reads, December 13 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, December 13

Giveaway

M8NZ7Hdw

To celebrate her tour, Julie is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of An Ivy Hill Christmas and the other three books in the Ivy Hill series, plus the winner’s choice of Bingley’s Tea!!

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/103f5/an-ivy-hill-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

How Do I Love Thee: A Book Review of Joanna Davidson Politano’s “The Love Note”

51272900

I’ll be honest. I almost didn’t request this title. The vintage cover drew me in, though, and a fleeting glimpse at the synopsis made it sound promising, so even though I’m not much of a romance reader, I decided to give it a chance. Oh my word. I am fairly certain that this is going to be my favorite new release of 2020, and most likely the best fictional romance (historical or otherwise) that I’ve read to date. Very rarely, if ever, do I use the word “swoon-worthy,” but I have to say, this book fits that description perfectly, while also being tempestuous and haunting.

The Love Note is the first of Joanna Politano’s novels that I’ve read, despite her previous works being on my to-read list, and I now find myself wondering why I waited so long! From the first chapter, I was engaged in the story, and unlike so many others, this is one that does not lag at any point. Politano seamlessly blends an assortment of genres that keeps readers on their toes: romance, mystery, history, spirituality. As the final third of the story unfolds, the twists are so beautifully executed for maximum impact, right through the final chapter. Willa Duvall herself proclaims early on: “I had been right all along—the letter I’d found in that desk was a piece of something much larger, a story more epic than mere romance.” Nothing is clear-cut until the ending, and I love that! What’s more, Politano meaningfully brings all of the storylines together into one glorious whole.

With echoes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, The Love Note reads like a classic. Politano’s writing style reflects that of the nineteenth century but is free of antiquated words or phrases, thereby making this an easy-to-read book. That is not to say, however, that no hard issues arise within the story. On the contrary, for all of the romance, there is also a fair share of tragedy, as Willa notes immediately: “but I couldn’t shake the tenor of underlying romance lurking in the shadows of this house. It was there, pulsing and sweeping through like a ghost, even if everyone attempted to stifle and deny it.” Through characters such as Celeste, Willa, and Aunt Maisie (a personal favorite), the importance of using one’s voice for encouraging others and the significance of women’s rights is subtly explored. Pithy epigraphs called “A scientist’s observations on love” open each chapter, and a shifting narrative voice allows for the exploration of multiple points of view. The majority of the narrative is comprised of Willa’s story as told by the character herself in the first person, and occasionally another character with whom her story intersects provides a third-person account of something happening to them. Even as readers privileged with this omniscience, though, the surprises are astounding.

As with any Christian-based novel, the best attribute is transformation, and The Love Note achieves this remarkably well. Remarkably because the characters change their hearts and attitudes in spite of their fear and in spite of the leap of faith needed to do so. Willa realizes this in her own quest, remarking, “What makes the past so intriguing, anyway? Perhaps because understanding those stories that so enchant us, those ghostly echoes of long-ago mistakes and passions, means untangling the present and changing the future.” May we glean wisdom from the past as we all strive toward the bright future that awaits us as believers in Christ.

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

A Home Where the Buffalo Roam: A Book Review of Regina Scott’s “Nothing Short of Wondrous”

51272814

She laid her head against his chest, as if listening to the sound of his heart. And his heart, the heart he’d buried eight years ago in Oregon, beat harder. For her.

Wyoming is one state that I’ve always wanted to visit. In my mind I always picture it as a place of forested wilderness because my grandpap worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps there in the 1930s. Reading about Yellowstone National Park and the incredible terrain of the surrounding area somewhat surprised me. It isn’t a place that I would feel comfortable living in, at least not as it is in the novel, but I do think that it would make for an unforgettable visit, and I certainly enjoyed the time I spent there with the characters in this story.

Aptly named Nothing Short of Wondrous, this second book in Regina Scott’s American Wonders Collection, which can be read as a standalone, plunges readers into life at Yellowstone about 14 years after it has been recognized as a national park. Featuring a young, widowed proprietor named Kate Tremaine, Scott brings to light the challenges of maintaining the integrity and purity of the land and wildlife, particularly the bison, a task given to the U.S. Cavalry. Determined to protect her home and her son through her livelihood, Kate agrees to serve as a guide to the soldiers, including Lieutenant William Prescott, whose past haunts him. As they work together through several harrowing situations, they both begin to heal from the guilt that has caused each to shutter their heart.

As much as I admire and love the main characters, the story would not be as fun or as complete without the secondary cast. There is seven-year-old Danny, of course, and the selectively mute but courageous Caleb. My personal favorites are Mrs. Pettijohn and Miss Pringle, spirited sisters who encourage and add light humor to just about every situation. There are a few characters whose motives I questioned, and I will leave it to fellow readers to tease out their own theories about these.

Within the pages of this novel lies a message that resounds clearly in these chaotic days: that God alone is in control. No matter how much we plan and prepare, the unexpected is an inevitability. That is why we need to mature in our faith, spend time with God in His Word, and truly come to know Him, because when we do, we can rest assured that He knows the end from the beginning and that nothing will ever happen outside of His will. As Kate remarks, “I’m learning that God wants to hear from us. He wants to hear from you too.

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

Divide and Conquer: A Book Review of Bryan Litfin’s “The Conqueror”

51jfexbDECL._SY445_QL70_ML2_

From the moment I saw this book, I knew I wanted to read it, and not only because the cover is beautiful and very well done. Despite being an avid historical fiction devotee, I have read precious few books about the early Roman Empire. In all honesty, it was not a time period that drew my interest until I took Latin in college; my immediate love of the language planted a seed of interest in the ancient culture that dominated the landscape of the early Christian church. Not often do I have the opportunity to review a book based on this era, after the Diocletian persecutions. As Bryan Litfin remarks in his Historical Note section at the beginning of the book, The Conqueror is not a biblical novel, but rather a historical one, which sets the scene for the entire story.

Perhaps because it is intended to be primarily historical, The Conqueror leaves me feeling conflicted and struggling to tease out my thoughts. Amazon does not list it among Christian fiction, but because it is published by Revell, that is what I would expect, and the book summary lends credence to this. My issue is that it reads like a secular novel, with too much focus on “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Flavia is a devoted Christian, yet she seems unable to truly defend her faith and answer Rex’s questions; granted, she is a teenager, but given her privileged upbringing and the amount of time she spends engaged in helping the church, this seems implausible. Similarly, I would have liked to see more dynamic characters. Here, evil is evil and it seems like a missed opportunity at times to test the characters’ ability to change in more deliberate ways. I do, however, appreciate how Flavia and Rex’s stories converge, leading to more integrations as the story progresses.

Covering somewhat less than four years, from October 309 A.D to May 313, The Conqueror is an epic novel of the fight between the authorities of the day and between polytheism and Christianity. I think that it is safe to say that politics haven’t changed much over the years. Power grabbing, scandals, affairs, assassinations. Let’s just hope that we never see a return of the amphitheaters! As for the Roman army, I find the thorough training of the speculators such as Rex and his best friend Geta both interesting and disturbing, because they are taught to kill without compunction if necessary. I understand this concept in a war environment, but it can be taken to excess in less dire situations. I will say, though, that Litfin excels at keeping the plot moving with plenty of action, adventure, and drama. I enjoyed learning about the catholic (universal) church at this time in history, and about the Empire’s journey toward Christianity. In the opening indices, Litfin includes a list of the major characters in his story who were actual historical figures, a Gazetteer of Ancient and Modern Place Names, and a glossary of terms, all of which enrich and inform the reading experience.

My overall impressions are that if you enjoy historical fiction set in the ancient world and are not disturbed by violence or sensuality, you may enjoy this book.

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: 3 stars ♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

The Red Ribbon Review and GIVEAWAY!

Jv3A2L90

About the Book

hDoGkdu4

Book: The Red Ribbon

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian historical/suspense

Release Date: October, 2020

An Appalachian Feud Blows Up in 1912

Book 8 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

In Carroll County, a corn shucking is the social event of the season, until a mischievous kiss leads to one of the biggest tragedies in Virginia history. Ava Burcham isn’t your typical Blue Ridge Mountain girl. She has a bad habit of courtin’ trouble, and her curiosity has opened a rift in the middle of a feud between politicians and would-be outlaws, the Allen family. Ava’s tenacious desire to find a story worth reporting may land her and her best friend, Jeremiah Sutphin, into more trouble than either of them planned. The end result? The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

UbcNi0xA

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains where her family have lived for generations. She’s the mom of five kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at the award winning Writer’s Alley blog. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015, and the second in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuted in April 2016.

More from Pepper

Feuds, Moonshine, and Family Loyalties by Pepper Basham

My upcoming release for Barbour’s True Colors series is really close to my heart…and pretty close to my house.

The Red Ribbon, my first foray into a historical suspense novel, takes place in the county where I grew up. Carroll County, Virginia, is a county on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, not too far from Mt. Airy (Mayberry). Nestled in the foothills and mountains of the Blue Ridge, it is a part of the Appalachian Mountains, and with that comes similar histories as other backwoods Appalachian communities: feuds, moonshine, and family loyalties.

One thing I love most about my Appalachian upbringing is the intense closeness of family – and when I say ‘family’ I mean, of course, my mom, dad, and brother, but also my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…the whole “gang”, as my granny used to say.

The closeness of family, and the protection of the family name, is a big deal in Appalachia. There’s a lot of pride in the way your ‘name’ is thought of throughout the community, so when someone insults your name, there’s a good chance the repercussions aren’t going to be pleasant. Especially back in the early 1900s, when The Red Ribbon takes place. In fact, insulting someone by “stealing a kiss” is one of the events that leads to The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre/Tragedy.

A long-time feud between the Allen family and the “Courthouse Clan” came to a head inside the Hillsville Courthouse in March 1912 and this event resulted in the largest shootout within a courthouse in Virginia history. The story followed with a nationwide manhunt and made national news until the sinking of the Titanic the following month.

Growing up in Carroll County, I knew a few things about this story. Rumors and whispers, really. Most folks didn’t talk about it because it still caused a stir among those who were descendants (because another thing about Appalachia is that families tend to stay on or around family land for generations). People still took “sides”. So, when I decided to write this book, I knew I was stepping into precarious territory. Not that anyone would start up a shootout nowadays because of a book, but because people still have some deep feelings about how their ancestors are portrayed in history, and since many of my family members still live in Carroll County, I wanted to tread carefully into the events of “The Allen Tragedy”.

What I discovered was a story that still held a whole lot of mystery even one hundred years later. Bullet holes still mark the courthouse steps from that fateful day, rumors still circulate about who was to blame, and no one knows who fired the first gunshot that began the tragic shooting.

I’m not a “scary” book writer or reader, but I love a good adventure, so this book takes the reader on an adventure into Appalachia to my neck of the woods, and follows the journey of Ava Burcham and Jeremiah Sutphin as they live among the illegal moonshiners, dirty cops, and mountain gunslingers of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

(To learn more about the true events of the Courthouse Tragedy, you can read about it here: https://roanoke.com/news/virginia/the-courthouse-tragedy-gunfight-in-hillsville-in-1912/article_45d0d7f3-6e1f-57c4-83be-fceb3d98dafd.html)

Have you ever read a book set in Appalachia? If so, what was the title and what did you learn about the Appalachian culture? Have you ever visited the Blue Ridge Mountains?

Let’s chat mountain people, mountain ways, and mountain books 😊

My Review

Of the eight True Colors books published by Barbour thus far, this latest one by Pepper Basham is my favorite. The Red Ribbon is based on the 1912 Hillsville Courthouse Massacre in Carroll County, Virginia, an event unknown to me before reading this book. Nothing says historic Appalachia like a feud, and this story illustrates how deeply grudges run through generations and how it takes only one small spark to set them ablaze: “A terrible foreboding rife with long-held anger and blind rage breathed out from the crowd, with fingers from the past twisting half truths and hard hearts.” As a resident of northern Appalachia myself, I have always loved the rural and the rustic, preferring the backwoods over the city any day. Therefore, I was fairly certain that I was going to enjoy this book, and having no foreknowledge of the crime was an added bonus in the suspense department!

With skilled authenticity, Basham interlaces the historical record with fictional characters to create a tragic and inspirational tale complete with wholesome romance. As much as I love language, usually thick dialect distracts and even outright bothers me because it slows my pace and causes me to have to translate, but in this case it didn’t. None of the dialogue is at all difficult to figure out, and much of it reflects what I’ve grown up hearing, which lends it a comfortable familiarity. In this way and so many others, I feel a special connection with this book. I can easily connect with Ava Burcham and her fondness for writing, and with Jeremiah Sutphin’s bond with his dog, Wolf. The strength of family ties, whether biological or chosen, continues to be a mainstay for many in the Appalachian and other rural regions today.

Because the main characters are fictional, The Red Ribbon has an intriguing sense of unpredictability. Up until the final chapter or two, how the ending will play out is largely a mystery, which makes me appreciate it all the more. Basham explores the dynamics of mountain life, including tragedy and trauma and how they shape the characters in both the past and the present. The subject of faith comes up mostly with regard to Ava, for whom “God had always seemed so far away, so distant, from the shadows waving a sinister hand over the works of the world. She’d asked Him into her heart as a little girl, but with so much brokenness in her past, could she really trust Him with her future?” A struggle with which we all contend sometimes, trusting God comes more naturally when we go through difficult circumstances and, with each one, see how He provides for us and cares for us.

Epigraphs for each chapter consist of Appalachian aphorisms from either Granny Burcham or Granddaddy Sutphin; they set the scene for the chapter and impart mountain wisdom. A cast of characters appears at the front of the book, which can be very helpful but which does have some spoilers for the story’s outcome (particularly for those with no prior knowledge of this historical event), so read it with caution! Given how reactive some of the characters are, it is easy to draw parallels between the early twentieth century and the present. As Ava realizes, though, we all have a choice: “She could focus on the losses and pain, allowing those dark thoughts to color the filter of every other scene in her life, or she could choose thankfulness, gratitude, and the belief that God touched it all with hope—held it all—and never took His attention away from her.” Which will you choose?

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, October 29

Fiction Aficionado, October 29

deb’s Book Review, October 29

Blossoms and Blessings, October 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 30

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Blogging With Carol, October 30

Inklings and notions, October 31

Emily Yager, October 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 31

Hallie Reads, October 31

For Him and My Family, November 1

reviewingbooksplusmore, November 1

Christian Bookaholic, November 1

Betti Mace, November 2

Genesis 5020, November 2

For the Love of Literature, November 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , November 2

Rebecca Tews, November 3

Robin’s Nest, November 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 3

Connect in Fiction, November 4

Older & Smarter?, November 4

To Everything There Is A Season, November 4

Artistic Nobody, November 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 5

By The Book, November 5

Remembrancy, November 5

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 6

Britt Reads Fiction, November 6

Life of Literature, November 6

Connie’s History Classroom, November 7

Splashes of Joy, November 7

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 7

A Reader’s Brain, November 8

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 8

Through the Fire Blogs, November 8

Godly Book Reviews, November 8

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, November 9

Bigreadersite, November 9

Where Faith and books Meet, November 9

Books I’ve Read, November 10

Just the Write Escape, November 10

Adventures of a Travelers Life, November 10

Amanda Tero, blog, November 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 11

Pause for Tales, November 11

Giveaway

tVuST-zQ

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/1032d/the-red-ribbon-celebration-tour-giveaway

Light in the Mountain Sky Review and GIVEAWAY!

ts2R1jl8

About the Author

pUerUr_w

Book: Light in the Mountain Sky

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: September 29 , 2020

This epic journey may seal her fate forever.

Determined to prove her worth, Meksem fiercely fought to earn her place among the warriors in her Nez Perce camp. When her half-sister is captured by an enemy tribe, she refuses to trust the rescue to anyone else. But her new friends insist on joining her mission, and she battles between relief and frustration at their presence. Especially the white man who peers at her as if he can see through the face of the warrior she struggles so hard to maintain.

Spaniard Adam Vargas thrives on adventure wherever his travels take him. He’s fallen in love with this Rocky Mountain wilderness, as well as the spotted horses the Nez Perce tribe raise. His fascination with this Indian maiden-turned-warrior catches him off guard though, including the way she seems to be fighting for more than her sister’s safe return.

The journey proves more perilous than any of the group expects, and the secret Meksem hides becomes impossible to conceal. If they live through this mission, the life they knew will never be the same again.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and intense adventure.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

ioq4JPr0

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.

More from Misty

Early Nez Perce Business Women

As I’ve been researching for my current Call of the Rockies series, I’ve had the pleasure of diving deep into the culture of the Nez Perce tribe. I found it interesting that one of the primary food sources of The People (as they called themselves) was camas roots.

But what really drew my notice was how the women would cultivate entire fields of camas root, store what they needed for their family through the winter, then use the extras for bartering. Some savvy women would become quite wealthy from their business dealings!

Picture1

The bulbs of the camas plant are full of calories and nutrients, and each fall, Nez Perce families would travel to their particular camas meadow (a section of land whose camas rights had probably been passed down from generation to generation within their family). Many of these meadows were located near present-day Weippe, Moscow or Grangeville, where the onion-shaped bulbs grew thickly.

Picture2

Women used pointed wooden tools to harvest the bulbs, and could often gather over 50 pounds a day, satisfying their full winter’s supply within just a few days.

Native American peoples who ate camas include the Nez Perce (Nimíipuu), Cree, Coast Salish, Kalapuya, and Blackfoot, and Yakama, among many others. Not all of these people groups harvested camas themselves. Instead, many relied on trade in order to procure it. Trade networks were established all the way from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean, and a shrewd businesswoman who tended her camas meadows well could provide everything her family needed and more!

My Review

Once again, Misty Beller pens a heartwarming historical romance novel, Light in the Mountain Sky, book 3 in her Call of the Rockies series. While it can stand alone, I would highly recommend reading these books in order; doing so will provide background information about and connections between the characters. This third book takes place in 1831, in future Idaho territory, and it highlights the conflict and warring amongst the Native American tribes. In this story, some of the Blackfoot have stolen several women and a child, among them a young woman named Telipe, whose sister Meksem is determined to rescue her.

Often it seems difficult to believe that an author can write an entire story about a desolate wilderness trip and still make it interesting enough to keep the reader engaged, yet Beller always accomplishes this with aplomb. There are enough action scenes to increase a reader’s heart rate, but they are not overdone and seem plausible given the circumstances. Tesoro stole my heart from the start! Descriptions of the Rocky Mountains, through which the group in this story travel in their quest, demonstrate its natural beauty while also warning of its pitfalls. Given that the setting is during winter, these hazards with the weather will continue throughout the narrative, and I now have a deeper respect for those taught to read the land.

Unsurprisingly, the best part of Light in the Mountain Sky is the characters, who are familiar from the previous book in the series. Primarily focusing on Meksem, a Nez Perce and formerly Salish woman who will not rest until she brings back her sister, safe and sound, this novel is a fascinating character study. In an effort to insulate herself against the pain of relationships and lost loved ones, Meksem has trained herself to become a warrior and has disavowed romance, but she begins questioning that decision around Adam Vargas. I think that Adam is my favorite character, largely due to his special way with animals but also because he is very intuitive when it comes to Meksem. “But something more was missing. A purpose she’d been created for. Maybe, if she sought hard enough, she would finally find that missing piece.” They both experience a spiritual metanoia during their journey, and while this could be very cliched and melodramatic, Beller crafts it skillfully to be both meaningful and natural. “Hope slipped into her chest. She’d heard of the white man’s Bible but hadn’t realized the book contained directions from God Himself. This way she could learn about the One she’d committed her life to.” Just as with Meksem, God yearns for us to draw close to Him, and when we do, we truly experience our heart’s desire (Psalm 27:4).

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

Through the Fire Blogs, October 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

Splashes of Joy, October 13

A Baker’s Perspective, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 14

Blessed & Bookish, October 15

Connect in Fiction, October 15

lakesidelivingsite, October 15

For the Love of Literature, October 16

Betti Mace, October 16

Texas Book-aholic, October 17

21st Century Keeper at Home, October 17

Inklings and notions, October 18

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 18

jeanette’s Thoughts, October 18

Older & Smarter?, October 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 19

For Him and My Family, October 20

Mary Hake, October 20

She Lives To Read, October 21

Writing from the Heart Land, October 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 22

Simple Harvest Reads, October 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Artistic Nobody, October 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Blossoms and Blessings, October 23

Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 24

reviewingbooksplusmore, October 24

Bizwings Blog, October 24

Connie’s History Classroom, October 25

Book Love, October 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 26

Bigreadersite, October 26

Giveaway

7JV__snk

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/101f7/light-in-the-mountain-sky-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Black Midnight Review and GIVEAWAY!

O55sYmls

About the Book

SSKTRtYs

Book: The Black Midnight

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release Date: August 2020

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 7 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, women were dying in their beds as The Midnight Assassin terrorized the citizens of Austin, Texas. Now, with suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter.

The prospect of a second chance to work with Annie just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer. If his theories are right, they’ll find the The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the feisty female left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.

Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author


I0GMZz48

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than sixty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad.

More from Kathleen Y’Barbo

I am a tenth generation Texan, but London has held a place in my heart for over ten years. You see, I have a son who has lived there for more than a decade. Thanks to him and his family of three—my granddaughter was born there on New Year’s Eve 2019—the city will always be special to me. There is absolutely nothing like walking those streets with a thousand years of history close enough to touch.

It was on a walk with my son through this great city that the stories of nineteenth century London came alive. With fog shrouding the rooftops of buildings that were hundreds of years old and our footsteps echoing on the cobblestones, I could imagine a time when lack of electricity and CCTV would make this place less than charming on a dark night. What reminded me of my favorite childhood movie, Mary Poppins, quickly became more reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. And then a story was born.

Only I just had half the story.

The other half came to me several years later when I stumbled across an article in Texas Monthly magazine about a serial killer who rampaged through Austin, Texas in 1884 and 1885 and was never caught. Some surmised this madman, called “The Midnight Assassin” by some, might have been Jack the Ripper honing his skills before he crossed the Atlantic to begin his famous crime spree in Great Britain.

But Austin? Ironically, my other two sons lived in Austin. So while part of my heart was in London, two more parts of that same heart resided in the Texas capital. I thought I knew Austin inside out. Between one of my sons getting not one but two degrees from the University of Texas (this Aggie grad is still proud of him in spite of what I jokingly call his burnt orange rebellion) and my other son living there and managing a restaurant at the time (and who just graduated from Texas A&M Galveston last month!), I had spent many years in the city. And yet I had never heard of the Midnight Assassin.

Research turned up a tale that sounds so close to fiction I had to write about it. Discovering the theory that the Austin killer might also be the Ripper just added to my interest—neither had been caught. And I like to write about Pinkerton detectives.

From there the story unfolded. If you’ve read any of my historical romances, you know that I love incorporating actual history into my stories. As you’ll see when you read The Black Midnight, this book is no exception. While I will continue writing the historical romances I love to bring to you, I will confess that writing this book has me itching to research another one like it.

What’s next in my foray into true crime novels? Maybe Houston. You see, I have a daughter who lives there…

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Black Midnight as much as I enjoyed writing it!

My Review

Reading another installment in Barbour’s True Colors series never fails to be an exciting experience. In recent years, I haven’t read much true crime, although the investigations and forensics have always interested me, so this series has rounded out my reading in a sense. What I appreciate most, though, is that it is Christian-based. While I do not recall any specific mention of God in this story, it is a clean read, which is quite an achievement given the subject matter. It’s refreshing to be able to read an (albeit fictionalized) account of historical crimes that includes enough detail to get the point across without devolving into vulgarity. The fact that this segment of the story is built around a personal connection between the fictional main characters ups the ante.

Because the focus of this series is American crime, almost 70% of Kathleen Y’Barbo’s The Black Midnight centers on the serial killer active in Austin, Texas from December 1884-December 1885 and known to history as the Midnight Assassin or the Servant Girl Annihilator. This part of the narrative is told as a flashback, flanked by an investigation into the infamous Whitechapel murders of 1888. Usually I am not fond of this technique, but Y’Barbo makes it work here. She drops enough hints in the beginning to raise interest in the backstory of Alice Anne (Annie) von Wettin and Isaiah Joplin, both former Pinkerton detectives. At the behest of Queen Victoria herself, they investigate the Jack the Ripper killings, taking the reader first back to their initial partnership in Texas. There is enough suspense to intrigue without delving into the realm of horror, at least in my opinion, and with such unique character backgrounds, Y’Barbo explores a range of possibilities regarding the crimes themselves.

Not being very familiar with the Midnight Assassin case, learning about the speculated connection between it and the Whitechapel murders captured my interest. Y’Barbo does a fine job of weaving together fact and fiction in a compelling narrative about two intelligent individuals with a complicated past, one which involves the British monarchy and a mysterious secret society. I will not give away whether or not a culprit is discovered, but I did enjoy reading the author’s notes at the end of the book, in which she discusses how and where she twisted the historical record for the purpose of the story. These are found in each book of this enthralling series, and I always greatly appreciate them. As long as the true identity of the perpetrators (or perpetrator) remains a real-life mystery, there will be plenty of material for series such as this one, just as there will always be a light of faith shining in the darkness.

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, August 27

Genesis 5020, August 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Inklings and notions, August 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 28

Older & Smarter?, August 29

Texas Book-aholic, August 29

Artistic Nobody, August 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For the Love of Literature, August 30

Connie’s History Classroom, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 31

Betti Mace, September 1

Robin’s Nest, September 1

Bigreadersite, September 1

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Splashes of Joy, September 2

Just Your Average reviews, September 2

Rebecca Tews, September 3

Just the Write Escape, September 3

Emily Yager, September 3

Christian Bookaholic, September 4

reviewingbooksplusmore, September 4

KarenSueHadley, September 4

Remembrancy, September 5

Through the Fire Blogs, September 5

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 6

Blogging With Carol, September 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 7

Life of Literature, September 7

Mary Hake, September 7

Godly Book Reviews, September 8

Back Porch Reads, September 8

Daysong Reflections, September 8

Pause for Tales, September 9

Blossoms and Blessings, September 9

Hallie Reads, September 9

Giveaway


83B5jy20

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen 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/ffb7/the-black-midnight-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Sinner in Mississippi Review and GIVEAWAY!

BAa6cr1o

About the Book

ZF_yki6M

Book: The Sinner in Mississippi

Author: D.L. Lane

Genre: Historical Fiction, Inspirational Romance

Release Date: May 1, 2020

Not expecting me to live, the midwife cleaned me up, wrapped me in an old tea towel, and placed me in a knitting basket beside the wood-burning stove. According to Mama, the storm raged until morning, but I never made one sound. So, hours later, when they peeked in at me, they were surprised to see me sucking my thumb, staring up at them with eyes the color of bluebells.

Mama told me, that’s when she cried.

See, she hadn’t shed a single tear during the harsh pain of giving birth or out of fear of the horrible storm taking the house and her with it, but she sobbed when she saw me. To her, it would have been better for all of us if I’d passed on in the night, carried off on the wings of angels, never to suffer the evils of this world. And sometimes, I wondered if she hadn’t been right.

Mississippi Singleton

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

znm8tlx8

D.L. Lane is a wife, musician, a graduate of Liberty University, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. In 2010 she walked away from the day job and started a writing career using a pen name. As far as the world was concerned, she was very successful writing romances, however, success aside, she knew she wasn’t on the right path but stubbornly kept on going for nine years. Although a Christian and raised in a religious home, D.L went her own way, leaving God out of her choices until He said, “Enough.”

Weary and seeking guidance, she finally listened and left the course she was on as an established novelist to take a new path—putting God first in her life where He always should have been.

More from D.L.

I love writing, and I love to challenge myself as an author, and so I thought, why not write a fictional historical piece. This was a test for me since there are many things to research when writing during a different era, especially when I wasn’t around at that time. But I prayed about it, grabbed my laptop, and started writing about a poor, uneducated girl who grew up in Louisiana during the Great Depression in a motherless home with a group of reprobate males.

Not unlike the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis, a boy despised by his brothers who plotted against him, later rose from the depths to become one of the most powerful men in Egypt, facing the very men who had been responsible for the atrocities he’d suffered. Joseph had a choice. Let them die or help the ones who never helped him? This story weaves some of that same treachery with truth, teaching not only the heroine but the hero the ultimate meaning of love.

I wanted to give readers a book demonstrating the fact God will never leave us, even if we have left him for a time. That a personal relationship with Christ is our ultimate source of strength, and with His help, we can be pulled out of the depths of great sorrow, rising to heights we never imagined possible.

My Review

This is the most difficult book that I’ve read this year. To be honest, had I not signed up to review it, I probably would have put it down after the first 30 pages because the subject material is difficult. BUT I am glad that I persevered and gave it a chance because the story reeled me in and I ended up not wanting to pause in my reading. It reminded me somewhat of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and although it is fictional, it has a very authentic ambiance that sets it apart as unique.

The Sinner in Mississippi by D.L. Lane is a transformative novel, a journey through the evils of the world to the grace of God. The title itself is polysemous; it can mean and refer to several different things within the story. Most of the story is narrated by Mississippi Singleton, with a few interludes by Thayer Drayton King. Mississippi is an underprivileged 17-year-old girl who lives with her abusive father and likewise violent brothers and whose future seems predictable until an encounter with tycoon Thayer King. While this is not a suspense novel, Lane has a way of writing that clutches the reader and doesn’t let go until the final page. There is a trigger warning by the author for violence and sexual assault, which are not graphic but are still disturbing and would be traumatic for sensitive readers. There is, I think, one instance of cursing toward the beginning of the story. However, there are welcome respites between the more painful scenes, and Lane draws it all together to demonstrate the impact and reason of the bigger picture.

What is most intriguing about The Sinner in Mississippi is the faith aspect. In the beginning, this does not seem like a Christian novel, and I would venture to say that this is intentional on the author’s part, which is also why I would encourage potential readers to press on. There is a slow, mostly subtle faith build throughout the narrative, and to depict it otherwise would ruin the work, in my opinion. This story features two people who are not Christians, although one acts as the Good Samaritan, and the series of events which befall them, ultimately leading them to Christ. Thayer’s metanoia begins slightly earlier, at a turning point in the novel: “How arrogant had I been to believe, for one single moment, there wasn’t a much higher power than me? God was real, and he heard my plea. He’d saved her. Mississippi was alive.” Whereas Mississippi has a moment of revelation while reading the Bible: “I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back, I know what it was—God’s love. It started small, pushing back against the walls I’d built around me, until one day they cracked and a trickle ran down them, then a drip, drip, drip.” Because they each work out their faith both separately and together, it comes across as natural and genuine, a result of healing, love, and even pain, too.

In the end, I think that Mississippi’s words from a bit earlier in the text epitomize this eye-opening novel: “There are moments in our lives that seemed to leave everlasting impressions—memories, either good or bad, that will stay forever with us.” I, for one, know that The Sinner in Mississippi and its lessons in compassion, faith, and endurance will stay with me for years to come. Love never fails because God never fails.

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

Texas Book-aholic, August 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 23

Inklings and notions, August 24

Genesis 5020, August 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 25

For the Love of Literature, August 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 27

Maureen’s Musings, August 27

For Him and My Family, August 28

Godly Book Reviews, August 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 30

Labor Not in Vain, August 30

deb’s Book Review, August 31

Pause for Tales, September 1

Betti Mace, September 2

Rebecca Tews, September 2

Daysong Reflections, September 3

Connie’s History Classroom, September 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 4

Giveaway

-oQpj69c

To celebrate her tour, D.L. is giving away the grand prize package of a $10 Amazon eGift Card and a free Audiobook of The Sinner in Mississippi!!

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/ffa5/the-sinner-in-mississippi-celebration-tour-giveaway

Lady Airell’s Choice Review and GIVEAWAY!

36JONHPk

About the Book

P2bDVj8c

Book: Lady Airell’s Choice

Author: Rachel Skatvold

Genre: Christian Medieval Romance

Release Date: January, 2019

Will one choice save her kingdom from destruction?

During a time of peace and prosperity, Princess Airell of Daireann is given the rare privilege of choosing her own suitor. As eligible rulers from all over Ardena vie for her hand, a betrothal to Prince Tristan of Órlaith seems to be the clear choice. Yet, in the midst of Lady Airell’s happiness, the winds of change are coming.

When an evil usurper from the north rises to power and his forces attack the southern kingdoms, peace in Ardena is shattered. With Daireann under siege, the princess must find the courage to protect her people. Will Lady Airell choose to sacrifice her own happiness in order to save her kingdom?

Get swept up in an epic adventure while reading this Christian medieval romance filled with themes of faith, redemption and forgiveness.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

MeBdfG0k

Rachel Skatvold is a Christian author and stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. She enjoys writing inspirational romance and encouraging blogs. Rachel completed her first series, the Riley Family Legacy Novellas in 2014 and is now working on the Hart Ranch Series, set in the Montana wilderness and the Ladies of Ardena Series, set in medieval times. She is also a contributing author in the Whispers in Wyoming, Brides of Pelican Rapids and Independence Island Series. Other than writing, some of her hobbies include singing, reading and camping in the great outdoors with her husband and two young sons. You can find more information about Rachel and her books on her website: www.rachelskatvold.com.

More from Rachel

The Ladies of Ardena Series has been by far my favorite series to write because the stories are adventurous fast-paced tales with themes of faith, hope and redemption. While I am more well-known for my contemporary western and small-town romance series, I have always been interested in history and fascinated with the medieval time period. Although Ardena is a fictional land, it is inspired by Irish and Scottish culture, in honor of my ancestors. Each book is also inspired by one of my six nieces and is dedicated to them. For that reason, these stories have a special place in my heart.

Lady Airell’s Choice follows the eldest daughter in the Daireann royal family who has come of age. Since it is a time of peace in the land, her father allows Airell to choose her own suitor. She is excited to start a new chapter in her life, but her dreams for the future are shattered when a usurper from the north kills her father and wages war against Daireann. Princess Airell is forced to choose between her own happiness and the survival of her kingdom.

Lady Airell’s story is inspired by Psalms 23 1-3 NLT which says: “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” This verse is relevant during Airell’s time and in our lives today as well. We may not face the same perilous circumstances with evil kings and perilous voyages across the sea. Our battles are a little different these days, but God is still the same. He can help us through any trials and lead us down the correct path if we put our faith in Him.

Thank you for following this Celebration Tour for Lady Airell’s choice. To learn more about this book and the others in the series, please read the summary below and visit the series page on Amazon. Also, don’t’ forget to sign up for the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Blessings.

My Review

“She would have to make sacrifices for her family and her kingdom. No more would she dream of having choices and being free. Serving her kingdom was her duty as Princess Airell of Daireann.”

An avid historical fiction fan, I nonetheless admit that the Middle Ages has never held much appeal for me, nor does royal life. That seems like a much too stifled and public existence for my taste, and I never had dreams of becoming a princess or a queen. Therefore it would seem odd that this book caught my attention, but between the cover and the author’s mention of basing the fictional setting on Ireland and Scotland, I was compelled to find out more, and I’m glad that I did.

Rachel Skatvold has created a charming yet ominous world in the country of Ardena, in which an idyllic life is suddenly destroyed and peril strikes the hitherto peaceful kingdom of Daireann. Lady Airell’s Choice opens with a drastic contrast between the prologue and the first chapter, which seems disconcerting at first but matches the characters’ emotional turmoil and also allows readers to vicariously experience the confusion that the characters themselves are facing. Written in the third-person, Lady Airell is the character with whom we become the most familiar, but we are also given insight into various other characters. Some do follow the stereotypes of good and evil, but there are enough complex characters to balance the scales. The effects of the influence that some people can have on others is clearly demonstrated and is a point that is particularly relevant today. There is romance, but these scenes are clean and do not dominate the book, which I always appreciate.

Lady Airell’s Choice is not a lighthearted, feel-good story, but there are moments of levity, and it is worth reading for its thematic values alone. There are battle scenes and mild descriptions of wounds and the like, but these can be skipped over by readers who find them disturbing. The story is full of treachery, heartbreak, and sacrifice, a stark reminder that “in this world you will have trouble”, but thanks to the Lord’s own sacrifice, we can add “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Vengeance and redemption both feature heavily in the story in unexpected ways, challenging readers to examine their own hearts and truly love others and to forgive offenses. As Peadar asks Airelle, “I believe anyone can find redemption. Don’t you?”

At the end of the book, there is a set of discussion questions, as well as family trees detailing Ardena’s royal lineages and a list of pronunciations and meanings. The latter, particularly, I think is invaluable. I would not otherwise know how to pronounce most of the people and place names, which always bothers me when it happens, and understanding what the names mean offers special insight into the story. Aside from grammatical errors, I think that this first book in the Ladies of Ardena series is an intriguing opening, and I look forward to further exploring the other women in the remaining three books of the series.

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

Texas Book-aholic, August 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 21

For the Love of Literature, August 22

Inklings and notions, August 23

Novels Corner, August 24

deb’s Book Review, August 24

For Him and My Family, August 25

Older & Smarter?, August 26

Connect in Fiction, August 27

Labor Not in Vain, August 27

Blossoms and Blessings, August 28

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 30

Pause for Tales, August 31

Emily Yager, September 1

Artistic Nobody, September 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

7JV__snk

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a $25 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/ffa1/lady-airell-s-choice-celebration-tour-giveaway

Rahab Review and GIVEAWAY!

LvJ0y-mk

 

About the Book

 

SDZ9IAaw

Book: Rahab

Author: Diana Wallis Taylor

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Some biblical scholars maintain that the woman in Jericho who hid Joshua’s two spies was a harlot or a prostitute. But if that was the case, how did this woman, Rahab, become one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ? Wouldn’t the Father ensure a pure lineage for His Son?

In this historical fiction, author Diana Wallis Taylor offers a beautiful story of intrigue that explains how Rahab came to be the mother of Boaz, grandmother of Obed, and great-grandmother of Jesse, the father of King David.

In Rahab, Woman of Jericho, readers discover a Rahab who is a descendent of the tribe of Ephraim, one of the ten lost tribes of Israel. Her clan left Egypt and settled in Canaan before the Hebrews were enslaved. Although they did not wander in the desert with Moses for forty years, nor did they hear the laws that the Lord gave to His people, they still worshipped the one true God.

Rahab marries Radames, a young Egyptian officer, who is to become the new governor of Jericho. They live in the Egyptian embassy set in the city wall. When the Israelites approach Canaan with their army, pharaoh sends word that he is withdrawing his troops. Radames fabricates a story to tell Jericho’s king, but Hammurabi doesn’t believe it…and he has his eye on the beautiful Rahab.

What will happen to Rahab after the lecherous king poisons her husband? How can she save her family from the invading Israelites? God parted the waters of the Jordan River for them—will He likewise provide miracles and blessings to her Ephraimite clan if they can rejoin their people?

Click HERE to get your copy!

 

About the Author

KjkSAEtk

Diana Wallis Taylor is an award-winning author of more than a dozen books, including such novels as Hadassah, Queen Esther of Persia; Lydia, Woman of Philippi; Mary, Chosen of God; Ruth, Mother of Kings; Mary Magdalene; and Journey to the Well. She is also the author of Halloween: Harmless Fun or Risky Business?

Diana’s additional published works include a collection of poetry, Wings of the Wind; an Easter cantata, “Glorious,” written with a musical collaborator and available on Sheet Music Plus; and contributions to various magazines and compilations.

She received her B.A. in Elementary Education at San Diego State University and was an elementary school teacher for twenty-two years. She operated two coffeehouse/used bookstores and later retired from a private Christian college as Director of Conference Services.

Diana makes her home in San Diego, California. Readers are welcome to reach out to her and read her blog at www.dianawallistaylor.com.

 

Read an Excerpt

At one large, ornate building that was obviously a temple, young women wearing flimsy garments, much jewelry, and elaborate make-up were lounging on the steps.

“Who are they, Radames?”

“Temple priestesses.”

“Women priests? They do not look like priests.”

He took a deep breath. “They are temple prostitutes who serve their god. By laying with a worshipper, they believe they assist him or her to honor their god.”

She put her hand on his arm. “I cannot judge others, but my people worship one God, Jehovah, who does not require that sort of worship.”

Radames seemed thoughtful and made no reply.

Her family had lived among the Canaanites for years, but she had never seen such a temple before. Beth-horon was so small—wouldn’t she have seen one if it was there? Perhaps her parents and their parents had endeavored to shield their children from the worst pagan practices.

Just before they returned home, she looked back at the palace, looming over the city like some evil monster. It sent a chill through her.

When they were safely in the embassy again, they sat in the dining hall and ate their mid-day meal: fresh bread, goat cheese, figs, and pomegranates, with a cup of beer for Radames and wine for Rahab.

Rahab turned to Radames. “My lord, the Canaanites have so many gods. You said you worshipped a fewer number. I am not familiar with Egyptian gods and would like to hear about them.”

He looked at her thoughtfully and took her hand in his. “Amon is the main one; he is considered the king of the gods and goddesses, and we believe he is father to the Pharaohs. His female counterpart is Amunet, called the Female Hidden One. They had a son, Khonsu, the moon god. Mut, which means ‘mother’ in Egyptian, is a deity who wears two crowns on her head. Osiris is considered the oldest child of the earth god, Zeb, and the sky goddess, Nut. He is the god of the afterlife. That is why many things are buried with the body when an Egyptian dies, so that he has what he needs in the life after death.”

She remained silent, listening, her thoughts twirling round about. She had married Radames out of love and her father had assured her that marrying an Egyptian was not forbidden because of their family heritage. But how was she to deal with a husband who worshipped idols? She smiled at him. “Tell me more.”

He sliced a piece of cheese and playfully fed it to her before continuing.

“Anubis is the divine embalmer. Before Osiris, Anubis patrolled the underworld. He is known for mummifying the dead and guiding their souls toward the afterlife. Horus is the god of vengeance and is the child of Osiris and Isis. He avenged his father’s death and ruled Egypt. Thoth is the god of knowledge and wisdom, who settles disputes between good and evil. He maintains the universe by his mastery of calculations. We believe him to be the author of science, philosophy, and magic. He is also the one who created our calendar. Sekhmet is the goddess of war and healing. She can destroy the enemies of her allies. Geb is the god of earth, who represents crops and healing. We believe he retains the souls of the wicked.”

It was a lot to digest. “Those are all your gods?”

He shook his head. “Only some of them, the most important ones.”

“And you worship all these gods?”

“When I am home with my family or with my soldiers, I profess to worship them. My father would be insulted and perhaps disown me if I even hinted that I did not.”

She stared at him, realizing what he had just revealed. Hope rose in her heart. “You say that as if there is something else you believe.”

Radames hesitated, as if uncertain how to proceed. “I don’t know,” he said finally. “I have grown up with all our gods, but prayers to them are not answered. I have not mentioned this before, beloved, but I was married years ago, at the age of eighteen. My wife was only fifteen. Both she and our infant son died in childbirth a year later. I made offering after offering to the gods, praying for her to live, but there was no answer—and no comfort. So I do not put my faith in any god.”

Rahab reached out to touch his arm. “Oh, Radames. I am so sorry about your wife and child. That must have been so hard to bear. Did my father know of this?”

“I told him that first night I came.”

“And what did he say?”

“He said that I may someday wish to speak to you about your God…when I am ready to do so.”

 

My Review

“Something in her heart longed to truly know the God of her people. He had made a way to save her when there seemed to be no way.”

Biblical fiction is often a hit-or-miss genre, and readers tend to either enjoy it or avoid it altogether. I can understand both sides of that case and tend to stick with trusted authors I’m either familiar with or who have been recommended to me by reliable sources. Last year I did take a chance with then new-to-me author Diana Wallis Taylor’s Hadassah and found it intriguing. As the author herself acknowledges, she likes to choose Biblical women who are generally not well-regarded and offer a different perspective of them. One requirement that I have for reading Biblical fiction is that it does not change fundamental truths about Scripture or promote anything that does not line up with God’s Word. Good Biblical fiction, in my opinion, causes readers to more deeply contemplate and connect with the Lord through His Word, the Bible.

In her most recent novel, Rahab: Woman of Jericho, Taylor explores this enigmatic figure from the book of Joshua. I will be honest and say that I do not think that this is truly plausible as Rahab’s backstory because I have always read among various translations that she was a prostitute, and I think that her being a redeemed prostitute in the lineage of Jesus makes more sense and demonstrates God’s grace and mercy, particularly considering that she is mentioned in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. Also, Taylor portrays Rahab and her family as Jewish, the only ones in Upper Beth-horon. That being said, though, I respect the author’s creative license and the reasons for her interpretation, and I appreciate that she addresses these at the end of the book.

The genealogy of Rahab is given several times throughout the novel, and I found this helpful in connecting her to the historical story itself and to the bigger picture of ultimately becoming part of the lineage of Jesus. It is interesting that her name means “remembering Egypt”, and that is a theme that plays out in a variety of ways as the story unfolds. There are also several elements that stood out to me as having very clear contemporary parallels. Just as, in this story, Rahab and her family are terrified when Jericho is attacked but are spared as followers of Jehovah, so are we living in frightening times amidst a global pandemic and increasing unrest and chaos, and so too will God spare us if we are truly devoted to Him. Trust is key. There is also an urgency to share God (and in the modern world, the Gospel) with others because the walls are falling down, literally in Rahab’s case and more metaphorically in ours. Another thing that struck me is the acknowledgement of the emotional and psychological impact of killing that the Israelite soldiers bore. The overall effect of everything that the Israelites went through on their journey became much more apparent to me than it had before, and I am so grateful to live in the time after Jesus’s sacrifice!

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

Inklings and notions, August 8

Novels Corner, August 8

A Reader’s Brain, August 9

Our Whiskey Lullaby, August 9

Texas Book-aholic, August 10

Hebrews 12 Endurance , August 11

lakesidelivingsite, August 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 12

For Him and My Family, August 13

Betti Mace, August 14

Splashes of Joy, August 15

deb’s Book Review, August 16

CarpeDiem, August 17

For the Love of Literature, August 18

Connect in Fiction, August 19

She Lives To Read, August 20

Mary Hake, August 20

Lights in a Dark World, August 21

 

Giveaway

PBU9WY-s

To celebrate her tour, Diana is giving away the grand prize of a $20 Starbucks 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/feba/rahab-celebration-tour-giveaway