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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Freedom's Price by Christine Johnson - A Book Review

Product DetailsChristine Johnson

     I carried my Kindle around with me, room to room, in the car, almost everywhere I went, reading every spare minute, compelled to find out what was going to happen to Catherine Haynes as she traveled from England to Louisiana to meet the family who had disowned her mother following her marriage to an Englishman. An adult, but orphaned nonetheless, Miss Haynes seeks to reconnect with her mother’s family, only to find that her mother’s beloved plantation, Chêne Noir, has been left in the hands of an unscrupulous property manager. Will she have the strength of mind and body to reclaim her place within the family and her rights to her share of the plantation, or will she fall prey to the villainous DeMornay? The answer seems to lie within her budding relationship with a Key West sailor, Tom Worthington, but things are not always what they seem.
     The title of this book holds the key to its theme. I read this book following Memorial Day when our nation focuses on the price of freedom, and the heroes who pay that price. John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends,” tells us the price of freedom. Readers of Freedom’s Price will witness someone willing to pay that price. Who will it be?

    I recommend Freedom’s Price; it is even better than the previous books in this series, and I had given them quite positive reviews. I thank Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing a copy of Freedom’s Price in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for writing this review.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher - A Book Review

The Return (Amish Beginnings Book #3) by [Fisher, Suzanne Woods]   Suzanne Woods Fisher

     I first met Anna in Anna’s Crossing, a story of one of the first groups of Amish to leave Germany to settle in the New World. The Return is largely the story of Anna’s daughter, Tessa, although many others play major roles in the story’s development. The story is one of finding one’s self and one’s place in the world. Some discoveries are made quite by surprise, some grow out of tragedy, and some are slowly revealed. Not all those seeking to know themselves and the direction of their future are as young as you might anticipate.
     While this book, in my opinion, got off to a slow start, by the end of the book, I was lost in the story, unable to put it down. Fisher develops the characters in a way that causes her readers to care about what happens to them, both those they have a strong compassion for, and those they find a bit irritating. The scenario they find themselves in during the last third of the book compels the reader to read on to find out how things work out. For some the ending is tragic, while others discover possibilities that didn’t exist before.

     I would encourage readers of The Return to hang in there if they too feel like the book is a little slow at the beginning. It is well worth reading to the end. There is enjoyment to be had and lessons to be learned. I thank Revell publishing and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for providing a review of this book. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - A Book Review

Before We Were Yours: A Novel by [Wingate, Lisa]      Lisa Wingate

     No work of fiction has touched my heart as deeply as Before We Were Yours, not even The Memory Keeper’s Daughter or The Secret Life of Bees. I would definitely put this book in the league with those titles and To Kill A Mockingbird. That is high praise indeed in my book.
     About halfway through Before We Were Yours, I felt compelled to do a little online research of The Tennessee Children’s Home Society and Georgia Tann. How I had not heard of Tann and the Memphis branch of this society that operated from the 1920s through the 1950s, I cannot imagine. Tann arranged thousands of questionable adoptions. She and her network of informants tricked uneducated parents, poor parents, and single parents into surrendering their children, others were simply stolen off porches, on their way to school, and other places children might be found without adult supervision. In addition to the thousands that were adopted out, often to the crème of society, hundreds did not survive the life they were forced to live within the wall of homes run by Tann and the society. Most biological parents never knew what had happened to their children.
     While the sons and daughters of Queenie and Briny Foss were fictional characters. Their experience with the Tennessee Children’s Home Society mirrored those of real life victims. Wingate tells their story in such a way that the reader is fully engrossed and completely overwhelmed with the raw emotion evoked by the tale. I found myself praying for those real-life children and families who were victimized in this decades-long tragedy. While this book is no fluffy beach read, I would suggest that if you don’t read any other book this summer, read this one.

     I thank Ballantine Books a division of Random House and NetGalley for making this book available in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review.  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer - A Book Review

Product DetailsKim Vogel Sawyer

     This is not a new book to the market, the copyright date on this book is 2008, but it is one I would highly recommend. I was unaware that 150,000 homeless, orphaned and abandoned children were sent from crowded cities in the Eastern states out West between the years of 1854 and 1929 on trains that became known as “orphan trains.” In the early 1900s the practice of child labor was called into question. Advocates for children sought to improve the education and safety of our country’s young ones. The plight of children is the focus of My Heart Remembers, a story of three fictional siblings who rode an orphan train only to be separated, and the children they longed to aid and protect.
    Recent immigrants, Maelle, Mattie, and Molly Gallagher lost their parents in a New York City tenement fire. Maelle took to heart her father’s admonishment to watch out for the wee ones, the wee siblings whom she lost track of after arriving in Missouri, and the wee ones she met along the way as she grew up and sought after her long lost siblings. Mattie never forgot his older sister’s promise to find him, but was unsure how that could happen as life kept him constantly on the move; how he longed for home and family. Molly appeared to live a life of luxury, doted on by loving parents, unaware that she was not their biological child, that is until she was orphaned yet again. Might she really have siblings somewhere, siblings that loved and wanted her? My Heart Remembers tells the story of how God used all things for good in the lives of these three siblings, and how they came to know Him as a trusted Father.

     I purchased this book a number of years ago, and it waited upon my bookshelf until May of 2017. God’s timing is always perfect in big and little things. I did not receive this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Rather I offer it to those who are looking for a truly touching read, filled with important life lessons. 

Life After by Katie Ganshert - A Book Review

Product DetailsKatie Ganshert
     Every American thirty years of age or older should be able to relate to Life After, as they recall life after 9/11/2001. Many younger Americans may also be able to relate to life after a number of subsequent national tragedies or life after any personal tragedy. Unfortunately, life means sometimes searching for life after. Fortunately, we have a Lord and Savior who weeps with us and who leads us forward.
     One year later, Autumn Manning, the sole survivor of a train bombing that took the lives of twenty-two others in Chicago, has become obsessed with the lives of those left behind as well as the lives cut short. Her family is concerned that she may never find her way out of all that plagues her, but they cannot understand the guilt that is mounting in Autumn’s core. While her family tries their own intervention, they could never imagine the form in which help would arrive.
     Kate Ganshert tackles the difficult themes of evil that brings pain and loss to people who have done nothing to bring them upon themselves and coping with false, undeserved guilt. She does so with understanding, compassion, and by helping readers gain a more accurate view of God and a more accurate view of themselves.

     Thank you, Waterbrook and NetGalley for providing me a copy of Life After in exchange for my honest opinion, I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

War Party, a Short Story by Marsha Ward - A Review

War Party by [Ward, Marsha]     Marsha Ward

     I appreciate Marsha Ward sharing this story with me, and hope those reading this will appreciate my honest review.
     I have recently read several books and viewed several movies focused on the history of the Cherokee. I found it very interesting to have this peek into the 1872 Battle of Salt River Canyon involving the Apache. Modern day Americans are so aware of the impact of our encroachment on the creatures with whom we share our environment, that it is somewhat beyond comprehension that we were once so callous to the impact of our encroachment on other humans who preceded us into that environment. War Party gives us a glimpse into the impact on both pioneers and those native to the land. While I typically read novels in which the author has time and space to develop characters, I found Ms Ward to be able to engage the reader with her characters within the limited time and space of the short story.

     To be honest, I have not read short stories since I left college. I had my Kindle read this one to me while I ironed, and enjoyed being able to hear a story from start to finish within that period of time. I may look for more short stories in the future as I can see they would nicely help pass the time while doing household chores as my Kindle reads, or time in a waiting room or the school pick up line as I read them to myself. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron – A Book Review

Product Details   Kristy Cambron

     If you loved Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key or Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief you will likely love Kristy Cambron’s The Butterfly and the Violin. Cambron tells the story of Sera James, who runs a Manhattan art gallery, and her quest for an elusive painting that she had viewed as a child. The quest turns into an obsessive search not only for the painting, but for the story of its subject, Adele Von Bron, Austria’s sweetheart, an accomplished violinist. While Sera’s story is lived out in modern day New York City, Adele’s takes place during the Second World War with circumstances that find her transported to Auschwitz. In an effort to heal her own heart, Sera feels compelled to learn whether Adele’s love story ends with life lived with her love Vladimir or with tragedy behind the gates of the concentration camp. This story of picking up the pieces, trusting God, and moving forward following betrayal and loss will wrap it’s arms around the reader’s heart long after the last page is turned.