Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson



This is the second in the Heart of the Frontier series by Tracie Peterson
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Hope Flanagan is one of three sisters who survived the infamous Whitman Massacre where Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa, along with eleven others, were killed in Oregon territory by Cayuse Indians. Of the three sisters, Hope was the most scarred by the experience, because she was raped. She became pregnant by her rapist and considered abortion. But she gave the child up for adoption by a family who moved away from the area. Now she's living in Oregon City with her now-married older sister and near the uncle who took all the girls in after the massacre. She's resigned herself to that fact that she will never marry, that no man would want to marry her after what happened. She spends her time tending sheep and weaving.

Hope's "peace" is shattered when she's asked to testify against the Cayuse men being tried for the massacre. The stress of the trial drives her to attempt to murder her rapist. But, she's stopped by an Army officer in town to help keep the peace during the trial. Lt. Lance Kenner, touched by her suffering, befriends her. She insists they're just friends, but does she want more? Lance is determined to be her friend, but he definitely wants more.

The story sometimes moves slowly, but healing takes time. Misunderstandings between Lance and Hope endanger the budding romance. An interesting side story crops us when Lance realizes he has a past connection to Hope's brother-in-law, and it's not good. Can Lance get along with her brother-in-law? Can he win Hope over? I'll never tell. I encourage lovers of historical fiction to read this book. I learned a lot about frontier life in the Great Northwest, all the while enjoying a great story of persistence, forgiveness, and healing.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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.”

Image source: http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/beloved-hope/354660

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Most Misused Stories in the Bible by Eric J. Bargerhuff



Subtitle: Surprising Ways Popular Bible Stories Are Misunderstood, Bethany House, 2017.

Is it possible that we misunderstand the message of familiar Bible stories like David and Goliath or Jonah and the whale? Sure it is. This author takes the most popular Bible stories/situations and clarifies their intended message.

Besides those already mentioned, he addresses Gideon and the fleece, Cain and Abel, the three wise men, and several more. In each chapter, he begins with a Bible verse from the story. He presents how the story is commonly used and proceeds to show another perspective. For example, in David and Goliath, we often think of it as a motivational story to encourage us to "face our giants." But, the author maintains that it is about David's determination to fight for God's people. He points out that David was totally without fear, because he knew that God was his backup.

It is an interesting book, easy to read and understand. The chapters are short and could be used for daily Bible study. In my opinion, it is not meant for academics but for "regular people." I think I'm going to check out his other book, The Most Misused Verses in the Bible: Surprising Ways God’s Word Is Misunderstood.

Dr.Bargerhuff is a professor at Trinity College of Florida. He is director of the Honors Program and Associate Professor of Bible and Theology.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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.”

Image source: Bethany House

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Amish Widower by Virginia Smith



Seth Hostetler is an Amish man who has lost two wives, one in childbirth and the other in a buggy accident. Did I mention the second wife was pregnant when she died? Feeling that the accident was at least partly his fault, Seth vows never to marry again. He feels like an outsider in his own family because he is not married and never intends to be. Amish men are supposed to marry and get a place of their own. He befriends an Englisch (not Amish) man who offers his services to drive Seth or his family members to places that are too far to go in a buggy. He becomes interested in making pottery under the tutelage of an Amish man whose granddaughter works in the pottery shop. She has rejected Amish ways, but her grandparents hope that she will return to the fold someday.

This is different from any books I've read by Virginia Smith. The main theme is forgiveness. Seth needed to forgive himself for whatever role he had in his wife's death. He did not know who the rowdy teenagers were who whooshed by his buggy, causing the horse to panic and overturn the buggy. He need to forgive them, too. He is at odds with his family and his faith as he struggles with his emotions. Leah, the potter's granddaughter, plays a role in his healing, but I won't give away her method. She has an incident in her past that requires forgiveness, too.

If you like Amish fiction, you'll enjoy this. It is set in modern times, whereas most of the Amish fiction I've read was historical. Never read Amish fiction? Give this one a try. The story moves slowly at first, but I became more interested as I read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Harvest House Publishers. I did not request a review copy and was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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, March 27, 2017

Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson




Imagine being in a wagon train headed west on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s. Then, imagine yourself in Grace Martindale's position. She's a "healer" recently widowed and has responsibility for her two younger sisters. Grace married her minister husband because he had to have a wife in order to go west to Oregon territory to evangelize the natives.

The reverend dies en route, and Grace intends to go on to Oregon City, where her uncle lives. However, since the uncle is away on business, she decides to leave the wagon train at the Whitman Mission, where Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife welcome travelers needing respite from the journey and shelter for the winter. They also minister to the local tribes, the Nez Perce and the Cayuse.

While Grace and her sisters are wintering at the mission, a measles outbreak creates havoc among the mission residents as well as the neighboring communities. Many people die from the disease¸ despite the best efforts of Dr. Whitman and Grace.

Misunderstandings about the extent of Dr. Whitman's healing efforts in the Cayuse community leads to the Whitman Massacre, where a number of the mission residents are killed. Dr. Whitman and his wife are among the dead. Others are held hostage for weeks. Grace is absent when the massacre happens. She had gone with Alex Armistead, a local trapper, to help sick people in another location. Her sisters, Hope and Mercy, ae hostages and are traumatized by the experience.

This is the first in the Heart of the Frontier series by multi-published author, Tracie Peterson. If you enjoy historical fiction, you'll like this book. There is a romance simmering between Grace and Alex, but it is not the primary focus of the story. Alex's best friend is a Nez Perce trapper who helps us understand the point of view of the Native Americans in the story. Grace is conflicted between her responsibility for her sisters and her budding love for Alex. The uncle from Oregon City takes the women in when he comes back from his business trip. I encourage you to read the book and get to know Grace and her sisters. I'm looking forward to the future books in the series, which will be about the sisters, Hope and Mercy.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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.”

Photo source: http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/treasured-grace/354650

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Murder Is No Accident by A. H. Gabhart

What's it like to be a deputy sheriff in a small Kentucky town where nothing exciting ever happens? Michael Keane, whose roots run deep in Hidden Springs, should know. But lately, unusual things are happening. New businesses have opened in town with newcomers running them. Then, a local real estate agent falls down the stairs on one of her showings and ends up dead. It was an accident. But was it? Michael tries to convince himself. His girlfriend is in town temporarily. She's a lawyer from Washington, DC, and he hopes to keep her from going back by convincing her to marry him.

But, first, was the recent death an accident? Maggie Greene, the daughter of the lady who cleans the vacant old home where the accident occurred, knows something about it. She was there when it happened, but she wasn't supposed to be there. She was hiding in the tower writing in her journal when she heard the noise of the accident. Miss Fonda, the older lady with dementia, who used to live in the house showed up just after the "accident." She is on the loose from the assisted living facility. She has no idea what happened.  Maggie calls 911 but leaves before Michael arrives.

Michael is about to decide it was an accident when another murder takes place in the same house, and he's no longer certain. Things get complicated, because Maggie is around the house again. She tells what she knows, which isn't much. But, she has never seen the killer. She's just heard voices. It seems that everyone in town contributes to the mystery, natives and newcomers alike. Who dunnit? Does Michael succeed in keeping the love of his life from returning to Washington? What happens to Maggie? Read it and find out. You'll enjoy every minute.

Ann H. Gabhart is a veteran writer, with numerous published books under her belt. But she had never written mysteries before the Hidden Springs Mysteries. Previous books in the series are Murder in the Courthouse and Murder Comes by Mail. .A. H. Gabhart is the pseudonym she uses for this new genre. I've read a number of her books, and they are always entertaining. Her characters come to life on the page. Her sense of humor shines through often. I highly recommend the entire series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free of charge from Revell, the publisher. The opinions I have expressed 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.

Photo source: http://www.annhgabhart.com/

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Back cover says, "Haunted by the unknowns of their pasts, two women search for answers along the shores of Lake Michigan." I wondered how the stories of a Chicago socialite who had broken her engagement to a wealthy man and an elderly Dutch immigrant who's been asked to write a memoir for the town's semi-centennial celebration would coincide.

Well, it's a masterful story. Lynn Austin skillfully weaves the struggle of Anna, the socialite as her family pressures her to reconsider her marriage to her former fiancé with the remembrances of Geesje de Jonge, who recalls her journey from the Netherlands as a young girl to the wilderness area that is now Holland, Michigan. Anna's new-found faith is part of the problem with the fiancé. And a recurring nightmare about a shipwreck troubles her until she realizes perhaps it really happened. Geesje's memoir writings take her far beyond what she intends to give the celebration committee, but they help her recall her deceased daughter who left home at a young age. Faith plays an important role in Geesje's story, too.

The characters are fascinating, and there's plenty of conflict and soul-searching. I won't be a spoiler, but I will say that you'll love how the story ends. I'd like to see Austin write a sequel to continue both women's stories.

Image source: http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/waves-of-mercy/377900

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Long Road Home by Dr. Earle L. Wilson & Lawrence W. Wilson

Full title: The Long Road Home: How God Forms Our Prodigal Souls, Wesleyan Publishing House.

I read this book straight through, but I am going to go back and take it a chapter at a time.

Both authors are pastors, and they present a thorough study of the parable of the prodigal son in easy-to-read style, organized in 30 readings. Using verses excerpted from the scripture story, the authors examine the roles and attitudes of the prodigal, the father, and the son that didn't leave home. Each reading includes questions for self-examination at the end. I recommend the book for either personal or group study. If I could give it six stars, I would.

You can order from Wesleyan Publishing House at this link. It's also available on Amazon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was offered a review copy via email, and I requested to review it. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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.”

Image Source: LawrenceWilson.com.