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This story is set in pre-revolutionary New England. It is apparent right from the start that the author paid special attention to be historically accurate. The story opens with a trial but it varies greatly from our modern day trials. Apparently in those days if the defense lawyer could prove his client was able to be taught to read, they could be spared the harshest sentence. And although, that is what occurs in this story, the punishment is still, what we would think, barbaric. Susanna, one of the main characters is a spunky, inquisitive, generous and impulsive girl. Her family, the Quincy’s, are one of the more affluent families in the area. The other main character is Ben, the son of the local shoemaker. He has become a lawyer and has a strong sense of right and wrong. He is an idealist and is not influenced by wealth. Susanna’s cousin, Elbridge, wants to marry Susanna but she isn’t interested. This leads to a degree of conflict and makes the story more interesting. This is a story with a strong historical foundation. There is mystery, treachery, suspense, and romance. There is not a lot of humor so if you’re looking for a little levity, you’ll have to look elsewhere. I really liked this book and the fact that the author obviously studied the time and customs of the era made it much more believable. The author includes a section with some of the historical background at the end of the book. I recommend this book if you like historical romances with a spiritually faith based theme. This is what the publisher says about it: "Massachusetts, 1763 A Love That Would Shape History Forever Because she's a woman, higher learning was always closed to Susanna Smith. But her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. And she's determined to marry well, so she'll be able to continue her work with the less fortunate. Growing up with little to his name, poor country lawyer Benjamin Ross dreams of impacting the world for the better. When introduced to the Smiths he's taken by Susanna's intelligence and independent spirit, but her parents refuse to see him as a suitor for their daughter. When the life of a runaway indentured servant is threatened, Susanna is forced to choose between justice and mercy, and Ben becomes her unlikely advisor. But drawing closer to this man of principle and intellect lands her in a dangerous, secret world of rebellion and revolution against everything she once held dear.” I received a complimentary copy of this book from BethanyHouse through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Go HERE to read an excerpt Meet Jody Hedlund on her website at
This is the second book in the Lancaster Countyseries. I had a hard time writing this review because I like to write as positive a review as I honestly can. I read this book a while ago. It seemed like it lacked something. I decided that maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind so I put it away for a while. I have since tried to re-read it 3 times and I just can’t get interested in it. I’m not going to go into details because I think that would be unkind. You should judge for yourself. After all, we don’t all like the same cup of tea! Here’s what the publisher says about it: “Not Since Romeo and Juliet Has a Couple Faced Odds This Long The Cramers and Mosiers have been angry with each other for as long as anyone can remember. Things had cooled to a simmer...until Addie Cramer and Jonathan Mosier fell head over heels for each other. Now old tensions are renewed, and Addie's parents insist she marry stolid and uninspiring Phillip Eicher. Distraught at a future apart, the two decide their best hope is to reconcile the two families...but that means digging into the past to see what tore them apart. Will their love be enough to keep them together or will long-held secrets ruin their chance at happiness?” You can read an excerpt here: I encourage you to make your own judgement. I received a complimentary copy of this book from BethanyHouse through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Wow ! I haven't posted anything for a while so I figured I'd better get back at it. We've had some changes around here lately. My husband has recently become semi-retired. He still works part time at a job he loves and he has an assistant to pick up the slack. He spends his 'retired' time taking care of his Mom and Aunt, running errands, and doing crossword puzzles. I keep busy babysitting for our 2 year old grand baby. What fun she is!! We've been doing some of the little jobs around the house that we've put off for a while. And, after 25 years, I have finally repainted our kitchen. It is now a lovely shade of light blue and I love it! It used to be a cream colored wallpaper with little pink and blue flowers...I know.....80's country ! Now the walls are solid light blue and the trim is bright white. I also put some white metal 'ceiling' tiles behind the stove as a back splash. LOVE IT ! I've had a stack of framed hand painted (by my Mom) Christmas cards sitting around for a while so I finally got those hung up. There is still alot to do, mainly painting and wallpapering but that's all going to have to wait until after Christmas. The biggest job we tackled was putting beadboard on our bedroom ceiling. We're still not quite finished with it. Over Thanksgiving, our son-in-law, a friend, our daughter's boyfriend and my husband all worked at taking the old ceiling down (what a mess!) and then putting the beadboard up. The last few days my husband and his friend have been putting up the trim to cover the seams. Tonight I helped my husband put up most of what was left to do...there's one board left to hang. It really needed doing. I'm ashamed to tell you what is was like before we fixed it. There were two spots where the plaster had fallen down. The smaller one was covered with a piece of plywood. The bigger one had... a black trash bag, cut open and duct taped to the ceiling. Yep. I wish I had thought to take a before picture but to be honest I probably would have been too embarrassed to post it. If fact, I can't believe I'm even telling you now. I thank God everyday for a roof over our heads because I know so many people don't have one. And sometimes I wonder if it's so important that it looks nice, but I think God wants us to at least take care of what He has given us. I am perfectly satisfied to have an old house with uneven walls and creaky floors. I don't like it when older homes are made modern. Our house is about 100 years old but I think it was remodeled sometime in the 1940's. When we bought it it was in the process of being upgraded so we just papered and painted before moving in. That was 25 years ago. It's time to update things again. I don't have to have the nicest, prettiest, or even the neatest house around. I'm just really grateful that it keeps us warm and dry. Oh, and by the way, what is the big hub-bub about granite counter tops? Give me a good butcher block any day! So, that's what has been taking up our time lately. I have several book reviews to post so the next several posts with be catching up with them..I want to live up to my commitment and do as I promised so I'll be posting those over the next several days. Christmas is coming and with it all the business and stress that seems to come with it. Every year I hope that it will be less stressful than the one before. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. I'm praying that we all can keep it in perspective and remember what the true reason for Christmas is. The birth of Jesus, God's son and our way of salvation. He is the Prince of Peace so I going to try to make this Christmas a little more peaceful. Over the course of the holiday, we'll have a houseful with all our children home. I can't wait! I'm trying not to stress over the preparations. I'll let you know how that works out.
If you’re a Jane Austin fan you are going to love this book. Jessica Dotta’s writing is very descriptive and thoughtful. You can tell she weighed every word before writing it down. It is a heartfelt, suspenseful, emotional tale of perseverance. The many plot twists keep you interested from cover to cover. This is what the publisher says about it: “The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland. With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.” The main characters comes across as very human, portraying a multitude of flaws, vulnerabilities and shortcomings, but also strengths and moral fortitude. While I liked the main characters, the character of the maid, Nancy, added a slightly comic touch to this very dramatic story. I highly recommend this book if you are a lover of Regency and Victorian novels. This book is publisized as a Christian novel but you won’t find it ‘preachy’. There is very little doctrine present so even if you’re not a fan of Christian novels, you will still like it. Go here to read an excerpt If you would like to learn more about Jessica Dotta, visit her website. This is the first of a planned trilogy. I can’t wait to read the others! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Her father is a reformed outlaw, her mother was a talented artist and she is looking for a preacher. Her heart's desire is to find a preacher so the local church can be reopened. Joanna's widowed father just wants his daughter to be happy, so he and his 'gang' decide to take matters into their own hands. They come out of retirement and rob the local train, only they don't take money of jewels or valuables...they take a preacher. Crockett Archer is on his way to interview for a job as a minister, something he's been dreaming of for many years. Joanna is shocked to find out what her father has done but secretly hopes that Crockett will stay. He doesn't. He continues on to his interview only to find that his kidnapping has delayed him too long, They hired another man. He returns to Joanna's farm and asks to reopen her church. In the meantime, he needs to find a job until the church is up and running.. Her father hires him to help on the farm. Of course, this leads to all kinds of interesting situations involving an overprotective band of former thieves, a conniving young church member and her father's arrest. This story is about submission to God's will and keeping faith when hope seems gone. It is told with humor and sensitivity. The author concentrates on the characters more than she does on the surroundings but there is no doubt that this is an historically accurate depiction of the old west. The publisher says this: "A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his mind. On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape--which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request. For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be? With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart." I really enjoyed this book. You can go here to read an excerpt and learn more about the author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group and BethanyHouse through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
As with many Christian romance novels, this one follows a predictable pattern. The heroine, Annalisa, is left widowed and penniless with a child to support and another on the way. In comes the handsome hero, Carl, ready to save the day. The difference with this book is how the author tells the story. She makes you feel like you’re a part of the story with her realistic descriptions of the surroundings and customs of the day. From the publisher’s website: “Michigan, 1880 Annalisa Werner's hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That’ll be enough. A marriage for love...that's something she's given up on. So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom. Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher--or so he says. He's looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives. With time running out, she accepts his help, but there's more to this man than he's admitting. He's also gentle, kind, charming--unlike any man she's ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.” This story has it’s twists and turns and secrets. The characters are plentiful but not hard to keep track of and you get to grow along with them. Annalisa’s daughter is completely charming and you can’t help but love her. However, she seems very advanced for a two year old. Not very believable but still cute! The other thing I found a little disconcerting was the amount of physical intimacy between Annalisa and Carl. It made me a little uncomfortable with them not being married. It was still clean but went a little farther than I was expecting. The characters rely deeply on their faith but the author isn’t ‘preachy’ about it. This is a story about history, customs, social issues like abuse and gambling, and Biblical principle of marriage. The author includes, at the end of the book, a historical look at the events that she uses in the story. Go HERE to read an excerpt and learn more bout Jody Hedlund. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I’ve always loved Cindy Woodsmall’s books. She has a unique understanding of the Amish that comes from her personal relationship with them. Go to her website and check out her other books. This book is the second in the series, Amish Vines and Orchards. Woodsmall includes a “the story so far” section at the beginning if the book in case you hadn’t read the first one. This was very helpful because without it you are kind of thrown into the story midstream. The main characters are portrayed very realistically, flaws and all. From the publisher: “The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them? On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God. Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally. Book 2 of the Amish Vines and Orchards series asks: can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?” This book is clearly written to be read in succession with the first and third books. As much as I love her books, I was disappointed in how Woodsmall ended this one, or rather, how it didn’t end. The reader is left hanging, with nothing much being resolved. We still don’t know who Rhoda really loves, what all of her ‘visions’ mean, if the new community will survive, or what will happen with Jacob and his troubles from his past. It does, however, leave you wanting to read the next one. Which, when you think about it, is probably the plan. To be continued......when I read book three. I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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A geometric handstamped design is featured on this leather watchband with scalloped edge detail. The open area in the center is where you would