Tag Archives: western

Faith in the Mountain Valley Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Faith in the Mountain Valley

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: June 15, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

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

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

Click HERE to get your copy!

More from Misty

Ever Played Dress-up?

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

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

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

My Review

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

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

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

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, June 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 8

Texas Book-aholic, June 9

Blessed & Bookish, June 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 10

Inklings and notions, June 11

Betti Mace, June 12

For Him and My Family, June 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 13

Connie’s History Classroom, June 14

cats in the cradle blog, June 14

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 15

deb’s Book Review, June 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 16

Mary Hake, June 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 17

Reviewingbooksplusmore, June 17

For the Love of Literature, June 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 19

Blossoms and Blessings, June 19

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, June 20

Splashes of Joy, June 21

Jeanette’sThoughts, June 21

Giveaway

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

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

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

Courage in the Mountain Wilderness Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Courage in the Mountain Wilderness

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: April 6, 2021

Keeping her son safe on this epic journey may be harder than she imagined.

Caleb Jackson is on a journey. And not just the mission he and his friends have embarked on to fetch the Nez Perce chief’s runaway daughter. Maybe someday, he could also find God’s plan for his life. He’d once thought being a small town minister was the Lord’s will for him, but he’d proved a failure at living under the scrutiny of his congregation. Yet the chief’s niece and her feisty toddler accompanying them on this expedition make him feel like he might be able to make a difference yet.

Otskai is eager to take on a challenge. She’s lived under the shelter of other’s choices her entire life, especially when she was betrothed to one of the village braves at the tender age of eight. Now with her husband dead, she’s finally found the freedom she always craved—even with a two-year-old to raise. She’s built her camas root harvest into a thriving trade to provide all she and her son need and more, yet she can’t seem to keep her active child safe. When she agrees to accompany her new friends on a trip to bring back her wayward cousin, she knows she’ll have her hands full managing her boy.

The journey turns out nothing like Otskai expects, and for the first time in her life, she’s thankful to have others around to help. Especially Caleb, whose gentle attentions captivate her son and occupy him for hours at a time. But as the danger escalates and her worst fears come to light, she must find the courage to choose between freedom and a love more liberating than she imagined possible.

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

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

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

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

More from Misty

Mom Guilt—it’s real, no matter what your race or tribe.

One of the things I love about writing the Call of the Rockies series is the cast of characters that covers almost more races than I can count on all my fingers! From Spaniards, to Frenchman, to Southern Americans, to Blackfoot, to Nez Perce, to Salish, to Shoshone. And let’s not talk about the various sectors within some of the tribes (Peigan Blackfoot, Blood Blackfoot, Pikunin of the Nez Perce…oops, we weren’t going to talk about those!).

But what I love the most about so many people groups represented is learning how much we really are alike, down deep in our cores! Sure, some are introverts, some are extroverts. Some like to swim, some hate to swim. Some like to cook, some like to play with the kids (okay, maybe most like to play with the kids!).

Yet there are common threads that connect us all. As I was writing Courage in the Mountain Wilderness, I discovered a new thread that I have in common with Otskai, the Nez Perce hero of the story.

Mom guilt.

Yep. Our situations are a little different—I’m married with four kiddos, and she’s widowed with one very energetic two-year-old son. But we both struggle with that same push and pull. That same set of conflicting longings. When I’m with my kiddos, sometimes I just desperately want time alone. Time to actually get things done. But then at night when they snuggle close at bedtime, wrapping their sweet arms around my neck and not just saying, but showing, how much they love me, I can’t imagine how I could ever want to do anything but spend time with these sweet little ones God has trusted me with.

Thus, the guilt.

Maybe Otskai and I are the only ones who’ve ever experienced that particular strain of Mom Guilt. But I’ll bet there are other ways you can relate—both to these very real fictional characters who may or may not be the same race as you. And also to the very real real-life characters you meet every day.

The great news is that God loves each and every one of us, Mom Guilt and all.

My Review

Misty Beller never fails to deliver an adventurous, romantic historical novel that takes readers on an uplifting journey through the mountains. One of the aspects of these stories that I most appreciate is the fact that they are not sensationalized; I personally prefer a more realistic approach, with some danger and excitement written in but not belabored. My experience with Beller’s writing so far has been thoroughly satisfying: a gratifying mixture of both the serenity of nature and its inherent peril.

Courage in the Mountain Wilderness, book four in the “Call of the Rockies” series, weaves together the stories of former minister Caleb Jackson and Nez Perce widow Otskai, who has her hands full keeping her spirited two-year-old son, River Boy, out of trouble. Reading this series in order is not required, but I do recommend it for a more enriching experience; the main characters are part of a diverse group that travels together to accomplish missions, which in this case is bringing home the Nez Perce chief’s strong-willed daughter, Otskai’s cousin. I enjoy how they work together and take care of each other despite their ethnic differences. As Caleb thinks to himself when considering Otskai, “How hard it must be to travel with people who always spoke a foreign tongue.” The effort that they make to effectively communicate and learn each other’s language points to mutual respect and how people of different backgrounds can come together. This is a lesson that never becomes outdated!

Furthermore, the element of faith that Beller infuses into Courage in the Mountain Wilderness stems from recognizing and acknowledging different backgrounds. It is a gentle reminder to keep our testimony simple and to make sure that we are speaking in the hearer’s language. This doesn’t always just refer to someone’s mother tongue, but also to their level of knowledge about Christianity. People who are unfamiliar with the Bible and with church may well be intimidated if we use religious terms rather than speaking less formally. Otskai finds herself drawn to God through her struggles after Adam, another member of the group, talks to her: “He put is so simply, laid out a picture that called to her in its simplicity. In the image Adam painted, she wouldn’t have to find her own way in life. She worked so hard. And she accomplished much, yet it never seemed enough. There was always more. Always something she failed at, like protecting her son. Could God forgive those failures, put those bad things behind her? Could he show her a better way? She wasn’t sure she could stand putting her life under the control of another man who would be scrutinizing her every move. Expecting perfection. Was that what God would require?

Overcoming trauma also plays a large role in this heartwarming story. Due to being orphaned at a young age, Otskai has fears that are put to the test along the mountain trek. She also fears failure as a mother and as an overall tribe member as she strives to keep her energetic son safe while doing daily chores. Likewise, Caleb is determined to minister to those in need on an individual level. As situations arise, both have to examine their own hearts to decide what freedom means to them, and to find their Courage in the Mountain Wilderness.

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

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, April 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 6

Blossoms and Blessings, April 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 7

reviewingbooksplusmore, April 7

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 8

cats in the cradle blog, April 8

Betti Mace, April 9

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 9

For the Love of Literature, April 10

deb’s Book Review, April 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 11

Jeanette’s Thoughts, April 11

Texas Book-aholic, April 12

Maidens for Modesty, April 12

Inklings and notions, April 13

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 13

Older & Smarter?, April 14

Blessed & Bookish, April 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 15

Splashes of Joy, April 15

Wishful Endings, April 16

Mary Hake, April 16

For Him and My Family, April 16

She Lives To Read, April 17

Connie’s History Classroom, April 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 18

Adventures Of A Travelers Wife, April 19

Simple Harvest Reads, April 19 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

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/10a1f/courage-in-the-mountain-wilderness-celebration-tour-giveaway

Jack Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Jack

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Women are trouble—lying, cheating, untrustworthy bundles of trouble.

Jack Clausen doesn’t need anyone but his horse and a boss who won’t interfere in his personal life—or lack of one.

Sure, he’s a lonely cowboy, but better lonely than brokenhearted.

If only he hadn’t met a girl who made him hope that honest and true women do exist. Maybe he wouldn’t be riding off into a snowstorm with a fresh determination to avoid women—indefinitely.

When Hazel Meissner sees a cowboy risk life, limb, and horse to save a child, she knows he’s someone special. When he finally gives her his heart, she considers herself the most blessed woman alive.

However, when he rides off without a word, she wonders if her heart will survive the loss.

One broken man. One trusting woman. One orchestrated misunderstanding that tears them apart. What’ll it take to bring Jack home again?

It’s Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing mashed up with the old ballad, “Cowboy Jack.” Don’t miss a cast of characters inspired by the Bard himself—especially Dirk and Deborah (Benedick & Beatrice).

Jack: a lot of hullaballoo on the prairie.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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

More from Chautona

The Inspiration I Hate to Love

The plaintive notes of a ballad filled the living room. People sat on couches and chairs or stood in the doorway, listening. Three steps up the staircase, out of view of most of the room, a little girl sat, chin in her hands, listening.

If you looked close, you’d see freckles dotting her nose and crooked teeth that never were too large for her mouth like most children’s were. Just a bit closer, and you’d see wide, hazel eyes riveted to the man with the guitar seated on the hearth. To his right, a cup of coffee and sometimes a shot of whiskey.

With a voice like Jim Reeves (the non-twangy Reeves, mind you), the songs told stories, like all ballads do—a little blind girl praying for her father’s future happiness, a girl of thirteen who barely escaped a massacre in 19th century Wyoming. “Hazel eyes,” the man called her. California Joe—he was a real man, although not as good of one as the song made out.

Sometimes the man sang happier songs, but most of them were slow, western ballads that could keep Nicolas Sparks writing for decades.

And the little girl loved them all—especially California Joe and one about a cowboy who left his sweetheart alone on the prairie after a quarrel. One called “Cowboy Jack.”

As you’ve probably surmised, I was the little girl, and that man who sang and stirred the hearts of our family at nearly every gathering was my father.

How I miss those days.

For years, I wanted to give Jack a happier ending. See, the song goes like this. A lonely cowboy (with a heart so brave and true) meets and falls in love with a maiden (with eyes of heaven’s own blue). Alas, as with all good romances, the couple quarrel and Jack rides away. He finds a new band of cowboys and would have been just fine, but someone asks him to sing a song to “drive all cares away.” Alas, the song he devises is one about a “lonely maiden who waited for her Jack.”

Of course, he rides off to ask forgiveness. It’s all his fault. He arrives too late. She died of a broken heart on the “lonely prairie where skies are always blue.”

After I began writing, the idea came to me to turn those songs Dad sang—old ones that had been passed on and down through many different versions—into novels. I’d write all the subtext the songs left out.

I’d give them happy endings.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. One by one, I figured out how to do it, but Jack… well, I didn’t want to change the stories. I just wanted to leave on hope instead of despair.

Shakespeare to the rescue!

I was watching Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado about Nothing adaptation, and the answer came to me so clearly. It had the solution I needed. So, I smooshed the song and the play together. Inside, you’ll find the characters Shakespeare created (including Dirk and Deborah and their biting repartee—they steal the show!) in the setting and with the elements of the ballad, too.

Dad’s older now. His hands are gnarled with age, swollen with arthritis. His mind is slipping away. Today, you’ll find his guitar at my house. My son now owns it, but he doesn’t know the songs I heard played on the old Goya. Still, when I take it out of the case, tune it up, and pluck the strings, everything shifts. Suddenly, I’m nine years old again, sitting on my uncle’s stairs, just out of sight, watching. Listening. Heart breaking.

See, I’ll never hear my father play again, and I can’t play either. So, the songs will have to live on with stories of Mary, Jethro, Maggie… and of course, Jack.

My Review

Hearing the word ballad calls to mind images of Davy Crockett and of men sitting around a campfire. I love the author’s inspiration for this novel, basing it on a ballad she heard as a child and simultaneously remaining true to the original while also handling the ending a bit differently. In literature, a ballad and an epic poem can be very similar, so with that in mind it does not seem much of a stretch to go a step further to novel format. Although not necessarily a defining attribute, I tend to associate ballads with highly dramatized action and heroic feats, and with a subtitle of “a lot of hullabaloo on the prairie”, I figured that this book was going to fit the bill.

One aspect of the (too few) Chautona Havig books that I’ve read to date that I particularly enjoy is the combination of sincerity and humor, and Jack showcases this especially well. On the one hand, there is the cowboy Jack, a drifter of sorts with a checkered past that began on the streets of New York as a young boy and has caused him to keep his distance from women—until he meets Hazel Meissner, who could marry into high society but chooses a wary cowboy instead. However, the course of true love never did run smooth, and the same can be said for Dirk and Deborah, whose clever verbal jousting belies their mutual affection. The most amusing character, by far, is Sheriff Hawmutt, whose brief interlude offers a reprieve from an emotional section of the story and provides comic relief in the form of hilarious malapropisms.

A strong Christian faith element suffuses the narrative, focusing on forgiveness and trust. One of my favorite quotations from the book sums it up so well: “You can’t have it both ways. Either the Lord is good and what He says is also good, or the Lord is a liar and a liar cannot be good.” While it is easy to become frustrated with Jack because he trusts someone he knows is dishonest over Hazel, who has never given him reason to doubt her, it’s the same thing that we do all too often. We listen to the lies of the enemy rather than the truth of God. Our reaction when hurt or wronged should be to forgive others and trust God, as Hazel does, but how often do we actually do that? For as implausibly perfect as I found Hazel to be, I have to admire her Christlike attitude throughout the story. As the apostle Paul implores us in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

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, September 21

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 21

Connie’s History Classroom, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 22

For the Love of Literature, September 23

Bigreadersite, September 23

Texas Book-aholic, September 24

lakesidelivingsite, September 24

Inklings and notions, September 25

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 25

For Him and My Family, September 26

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 27

Hookmeinabook, September 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 28

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

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 29

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 30

Lots of Helpers, September 30

She Lives To Read, October 1

Mary Hake, October 1

Daysong Reflections, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Spoken from the Heart, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of the book and 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/10101/jack-celebration-tour-giveaway

Two Rivers Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

 

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Book: Two Rivers

Author: Michael W. Henry

Genre: Fiction

Release Date: April 10, 2020

In 1840 Pastor Allen Hartman leaves behind his white-steepled church in New York, and the woman he hopes to marry, to serve as a missionary to Indians in the Oregon Territory. On his epic westward journey, he is plunged into the dark end of spiritual warfare and vital intercession. His mettle is further tested when he’s asked to stay in a village of Arapaho already contending with a malevolent witch doctor—where Allen has to draw upon courage he didn’t know he possessed and discovers ministering to Indians is not at all what he imagined.

Arapaho medicine man Two Rivers knows one thing—the Great Spirit is sending White Falcon to help his people defeat the malicious spiritual forces determined to overpower the tribe. But even as White Falcon teams up with Two Rivers, Allen finds himself enslaved in a cave and in a heaven-meets-earth clash of faith with an evil sorcerer. With his life at stake and his new friends unable to help, will Spirit-led prayers of believers lead to a complete victory, or will something be left undone?

Click HERE to get your copy!

 

About the Author

 

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Michael W. Henry’s ministry has spanned from serving as a missionary in Mexico, where he encountered intense spiritual warfare, to planting and pastoring churches in Washington state. A Christian counselor, Michael is certified through the American Association of Christian Counselors and offers spiritual-life coaching to believers searching for deep faith encounters with Jesus. Michael has long been fascinated by Native American spirituality and culture. He and his wife, also a certified counselor, live in Wenatchee, Washington, and enjoy hunting, hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor activities with their four adult children and two grandchildren.

 

 

More from Michael

Two Rivers is a story about courageous faith. I wrote it because as a missionary in Mexico, I had experienced spiritual encounters that I felt needed to be shared. A historical fiction seemed the perfect place to demonstrate the power of prayer and cross cultural respect in an authentic way.

 

My Review

If I had to choose only one word to describe Michael Henry’s Two Rivers, it would be intriguing. It is a story unlike any I’ve read, and one that will remain in my thoughts for a long time to come. What sets it apart in my mind is the unique combination of elements; it is a Western, a survival story, an Oregon Trail missionary journey, and a spiritual warfare novel. At times it takes on aspects of the supernatural, and there is an aura of suspense as well. Quite unusual for a work of Christian historical fiction, yet the author weaves it all together excellently. The title, too, shows forethought; at first blush, it seems to refer simply to one of the main characters, yet I surmise that it also symbolizes divergence from the mainstream course and, naturally, good vs. evil.

Set in 1840, Two Rivers demonstrates the prejudices of the time period. From Violet’s aversion to a life in the wilderness to the manner in which the Methodist Episcopal ministers in the missionary band avoid their fellow Negro pastors to the prevailing view of the Native Americans as ignorant heathens, the behavior of those who should know better and be more loving is made apparent. However, this serves to highlight the true light of Christ while acknowledging the uncomfortable truth about racism, which sadly still exists today. The fact that Henry took the time to include this rather than whitewashing the novel and portraying all of the missionaries as angels of mercy enhances my respect for and appreciation of this book. Part of a conversation between Gloria and Pastor Allen Hartman, both part of the missionary group to take the Gospel to Indians in the far-off Oregon Territory, indicates their awareness of the Native American culture. Gloria remarks: “We travel with a wagonload of material possessions, and they have just the essentials. We live such a complicated life. I can’t see them as savages anymore.” Allen follows this by saying: “How can we expect them to understand what our culture has developed over centuries? We have to walk in their shoes, not make them walk in our ours. The commissioning makes sense to me now.”

Without a doubt, the spiritual warfare is what sets this book apart. Henry skillfully employs foreshadowing to alert readers to impending conflict. There are just enough chapters focused on the antipodal Arapaho men, one a malicious witch doctor and the other a medicine man, to build tension. As the missionary group and the Native Americans come closer to converging, the suspense likewise crescendos to a battle for survival. The way in which Christianity and Native American religion meet each other in this book is interesting and, again, distinguishes this from any number of other novels with similar settings or themes. A timely reminder of the apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Let’s remember to put on the armor of God daily as we follow His marching orders!

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, August 14

Inklings and notions, August 15

For Him and My Family, August 16

Texas Book-aholic, August 17

Joanne Markey, August 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 18

deb’s Book Review, August 19

For the Love of Literature, August 20

Rebecca Tews, August 21

Artistic Nobody, August 22 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 23

Connie’s History Classroom, August 24

Simple Harvest Reads, August 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Quiet Workings, August 26

To Everything There Is A Season, August 27

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Michael is giving away the grand prize package of an eBook copy of Two Rivers, a $50 Amazon gift card, and a 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/fec3/two-rivers-celebration-tour-giveaway

Survival, Love, and Faith in the Rocky Mountains: A Book Review of Angela Couch’s “Heart of a Warrior”

Heart of a Warrior

Nineteenth-century historical fiction is and always has been my favorite genre, one which I never tire of reading. While much of the subject matter may remain similar, skillful authors will develop unique sets of circumstances and create enough nuances to set their stories apart. Angela Couch accomplishes this with her novel Heart of a Warrior, which is a tale of survival, romance, and faith in the Rocky Mountains in 1859. This is the first of her works that I have read, and it won’t be the last. She draws readers in from the startling opening chapter and continues to pepper the novel with suspenseful scenes interspersed among the more domestic ones.

Rife with the struggles of the western frontier, Heart of a Warrior nevertheless remains a predominantly character-driven story. All of the primary events in the novel serve to promote interaction between the characters, especially Christina and Towan. Towan is the first to suspect that God made their paths cross for a purpose, and with him as the starting point, Couch goes on to overturn stereotypes from that era right up to the very last page. While it may seem an unnecessary and antiquated point at first glance, the firestorm of race relations this year suggests otherwise. Christina describes Towan as “A most peculiar mix of the Rocky Mountains and civilization. As refined as any gentlemen, yet as wild as nature itself. He was a living, breathing, walking paradox.” She is the one who had a Bible in her possession, but Towan is the one who reads and believes it, and he wrestles with the anger and bitterness he carries toward the white race.

Both Towan and Christina grow in unexpected ways as the story progresses. They each soften their erroneous views of the other’s culture while not abandoning their own. Their names, too, are noteworthy; Towan means black fox, which I researched and found to be a rare genetic variant of the red fox, and therefore a very apt title. He repeatedly exhibits a sacrificial, Christ-like love for which he seeks to gain nothing. On the other hand, I admittedly was not fond of Christina for the majority of the story due to her seeming lack of gratitude and trust and her prejudice. However, it occurred to me that we are all Christinas (and her name is, fittingly, an anagram of Christian) who fail daily. No matter how many times the Lord proves His goodness, we still distrust Him at times, and we still complain when we should be thankful.

For readers interested in Shoshone life, survival in the Rocky Mountains in the nineteenth century, historical romance, or inspirational historical fiction, I recommend Heart of a Warrior. The only issues I had were with Towan’s acknowledgement that “There is only one God. Only understanding of Him differs. Knowledge about Him. Where knowledge lacks, men form opinions, some true, some false.” I am a bit unclear on this because the views of his tribe were never mentioned, and from what little I know about Native American religion, they do not believe in the Christian God, so I wonder if he is trying to reconcile the Shoshone religion with Christianity when he speaks of having a different understanding of God, which I do not agree with. Also, I would have liked to see Christina’s moment of truly accepting Christ because as it is, I am unsure as to where exactly she stands. Overall, however, I truly enjoyed this novel, and I particularly loved the final scene.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Purchase your copy at Pelican or Amazon, or at your favorite Christian bookstore!