Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher - blog tour and book review



This is the third book in the An Amish Beginnings Series.  The series focuses on the early Amish and the hardships they faced in their new and wild country in what we now call Pennsylvania.  This particular book begins in 1762.  Many of the characters are carried over from the other two books.  The author includes a list of characters and their relationships at the front of the book that was very helpful. 

The story begins with a love triangle. Tessa and Betsy both love Hans, but Hans only has eyes for Betsy.  Unfortunately, Betsy and her brother are taken captive by a tribe of Indians after her parents were brutally killed.  As the story unfolds we learn more of the details. The author does a good job of conveying the horrible brutality without being overly gruesome.

While the Amish community live a pacifist life, the neighboring Mennonite community does not.  One man stirs the emotions of many and encourages revenge.  So, while Betsy and her brother are battling with coming to terms with their situation, their friends and families are battling amongst themselves.  

This is from the publisher's website:

"In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans--but then she never had to. Not until the night she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she's developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.

Greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans's hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women."


This is a story filled with emotion, suspense, danger, sorrow, love and hope.  Through it all, the faith of the characters holds them and carries them through some seemingly impossible situations.

The author does a great job acquainting us with the customs and lifestyles of the early Amish, Mennonites and Native Americans.

I wish the author had included a map, showing the communities, towns and Indian settlements and camps.  That would have been helpful.




I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books and Baker Publishing Group 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.”








Friday, July 14, 2017

With You Always by Jody Hedlund - a book review



This book is part of a series that is very near to my heart and I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in the series.  This is the first story in Jody Hedlund’s Orphan Train series.  My grandmother and great uncles were orphan train riders so this book, while fictional, was very interesting to me.  My grandmother rarely spoke of her experience, and like so many children, lost touch with her siblings. She was fortunate in later years to be reunited with them.

The main character in this story, Elise, is a German immigrant whose family falls on hard times and becomes destitute. She ends up being responsible for not only her own siblings but children of a family friend.  She and the children take refuge in a mission house that provides them with a place to sleep and a job for Elise.  When the banks fail and the mission closes it’s sewing shop, she must look for employment elsewhere.  She makes the difficult decision to travel to Illinois as part of the Children’s Aid Society skilled workers program, and must leave the children until she can make enough money to send for them.  





This is from the publisher’s website:

Could Following the Opportunity of a Lifetime Cost Them the Love of Their Lives?
One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children's Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society's orphan trains is not all that it seems.
Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother's shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn't be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they've been working toward?”


This is another book that I would classify as a clean, historical romance with an underlying thread of faith.  It’s a story of desperation, hard choices, integrity, suspense, ethnic prejudices, rivalry, danger and love.
The author does a great job of putting the reader in the middle of the bank failure and ensuing gang riots.
I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the rest of the series!






I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and Baker Publishing Group 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.”

Monday, July 03, 2017

Freedom's Price by Christine Johnson - a book review and Blog Tour



This books begins in 1846, in England, when our main character, Catherine, is a young girl.  The events that occur at that time are the basis for the rest of the story.  The author then jumps ahead to 1856.  Catherine has lost her father and her unscrupulous cousin has inherited her estate. Rather than face an arranged marriage she decides to look for her mother’s family in America.  This is where the adventure starts! Taking a leap of faith, she sets sail for Louisiana.
This is from the publisher’s website:
Sometimes the hardest step to take is the first step forward

When Englishwoman Catherine Haynes loses both her father and her home in 1856, she decides to cross the Atlantic to find her American mother's family in Louisiana. She enlists the help of Tom Worthington, a dashing Key West man who makes his living salvaging wrecked ships.

When Catherine arrives at the plantation, she finds that her family has left it in the care of a manager--who's let it fall into disrepair. Torn between returning to Key West with Tom and beginning the hard work of restoring the plantation, Catherine soon finds herself snared in a plot to steal her inheritance. When an incredible secret comes to light, both she and Tom will face a choice: grip their dreams ever tighter or step forward in faith--even if it costs them everything.”
The author does a good job of integrating the character’s faith into the story without being overwhelming.  There is no doubt about their reliance on their faith
This is a story about love, mystery, betrayal, deceit and secrets.  The author puts the characters in exciting dangerous situations. 
While slavery was the basis for the deep south economy, the author deals with it in a respectful manner without downplaying the horrors of it.
This is the third book in the Keys of promise series.  While it is helpful to have read the first two, it isn’t necessary.  It is a stand alone book.
I really enjoyed this book.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books and Baker Publishing Group 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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