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Friday, July 17, 2015

To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino – A Book Review

To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino, available July 2015           Image of Rebecca DeMarino

In this second book in The Southold Chronicles we once again enter the lives of the Horton family and their many friends, this time during the year of 1653.  Benjamin Horton, the second oldest son, is in love with his childhood friend, Heather Flower. Heather Flower, princess of the Montaukett tribe, struggles with her emotions following the rescue from her kidnappers who killed her groom on their wedding day.  Benjamin understands her need for time to heal, but worries about the intentions of her rescuer, Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren who also has eyes for the lovely princess.
     Through the telling of Benjamin’s story, DeMarino reveals the bond between the members of the Horton family and their dearest friends. She opens a window for her readers to see how the English and their native neighbors learned from, supported and depended upon one another. I found the descriptions of how daily chores and winter preparations were accomplished fascinating, and how bits of free time were spent inspirational. I am anxious to try Mrs. Horton’s recipe for pippin [apple] pie. 
     The story moves at a slow, relaxed pace, and will appeal to readers who like characters to be fully developed.  It will be less appealing to those who prefer being kept in suspense, steep climaxes and lots of action. The author was inspired by her own family’s history in the settling of what would become Long Island, and fans of historical fiction will appreciate the research behind her writing.
     While I don’t always read an author’s acknowledgements section, this time I did.  When reading the author’s comments about her father, Howard M. Worley, who authored his first book at the age of eighty-nine, I was reminded of an article I had recently read in Guideposts magazine.  Sure enough I flipped through and found Rebecca DeMarino’s article about her father’s writing and how it was impacted by a heart attack in the May, 2015 issue! The article demonstrates that Rebecca’s own family has a strong support system, maybe being what inspired the same among her fictional Horton family.

     I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing To Capture Her Heart for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.      

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Gone Without a Trace by Patricia Bradley - A Book Review

           Patricia Bradley
     Forgiving someone and accepting someone for who they are, even when that someone is you, those are the themes behind the story of Livy Reynolds and her cousin Robyn Martin. It had been almost three years since Robyn Martin had disappeared, leaving behind a husband and young daughter. Livy Reynolds, her cousin and a detective on the Memphis police force, had not been able to solve the mystery of Robyn’s disappearance. Livy now had her own problems as she struggled with having killed a robber armed with a very realistic toy gun. Could delving back into Robyn’s case along with private detective Alex Jennings, who was working on another case involving a missing woman, help heal her aching soul? 

     Patricia Bradley has filled Gone Without a Trace, book three in the Logan Point series, with a number of likely suspects. Mystery lovers will thoroughly enjoy sorting through carefully presented and timed clues, and attempting to narrow the list of suspects. Those who enjoy romance will not be disappointed either as new love blooms and dying embers of love are rekindled. While not romantic love, readers will also be moved by the difficulties as well as the ease with which family members express love for one another, and the horrors resulting from love withheld. 

     I enjoyed meeting Logan Point’s new characters and spending time with characters from the previous two books in the series. I must admit though, I did feel rather sorry for Charlie Martin, Robyn’s father,  who seemed to be a bit neglected and unappreciated, and am hoping he has the opportunity to come forth as a strong character in any future books in this series. I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Gone Without a Trace for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.           

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Innocent by Ann H. Gabhart - A Book Review

     Page 140, that is where this book came alive for me. Prior to that point, it was a pleasant read, but not compelling in any way. From that point, and through the remaining 242 pages, I could not put the book down. I am so glad that I had agreed to review the novel, otherwise I may not have continued reading, and I truly would have missed out. 
     While I have read a number of Amish fiction novels, this is the first Shaker novel I have read. I will be looking for other Shaker novels by Gabhart. I know that there are at least five more from which to choose. While I have visited the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill near Danville, Kentucky several times, I learned a great deal more about the Shakers while reading The Innocent. I did do an internet search on some of the information included in the text, and found it to be accurate every time.
     Carlyn Kearney, Gabhart’s main character, grew up under her pastor father’s legalistic thumb, cushioned only slightly by her mother’s teaching of God’s grace and love. After marrying Ambrose, Carlyn blossomed as she came to understand the joy of the Lord. That joy was difficult to sustain, however, due to Ambrose’s uncertain fate two years after the end of the Civil War. Being unable to support herself, let alone pay her debts, Carlyn seeks shelter and peace within the boundaries of the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. While thankful for food and shelter, Carlyn does not readily fit into the Shaker way of life.  Sheriff Mitchell Brodie cannot deny his attraction to Carlyn, but respects her faithfulness to her husband even though the townsfolk assume that she is indeed a widow. He longs to insure her safety as every instinct within him is on alert to something being very wrong in the Shaker village. It is at that page 140 mark that Carlyn herself becomes aware of dangerous undercurrents among the sisters and brethren. 
     One thing I really appreciate about Christian fiction is the lessons that one can take away. I hope that in the darkest and most difficult times, the times when hope seems lost or when my body is exhausted, I will remember the echo of Carlyn’s mother’s admonishment to, “Pray anyway.” When looking for the answers I desire, the good I want to come, I hope I recall her saying, “Assuredly. God is love. But he sees the whole woven fabric of our lives and not simply the few threads we are trying to twine together at the moment.  Good and bad weave into the pattern of our lives.  Together they make us strong and able to endure whatever must be endured.” God equips us in many ways, some easier than others.  

     I recommend this book to those who have the time and patience to allow the author to develop her characters before increasing the tension that drives the reader forward. It is my belief that readers will find it worth the wait; I certainly did.  I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing The Innocent for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.