Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Heart on the Line

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/heart-on-the-line/352750

Back Cover

When danger arrives, it's more than just her heart on the line...

Grace Mallory is tired of hiding.  She hungers for a normal life, perhaps even a suitor like two of her friends in Harper's Station have found.  But when the man she believes responsible for her father's death discovers her whereabouts, survival takes priority.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity.  His fellow telegrapher, the mysterious Miss G, has been the ideal companion.  For months, their friendship - dare he believe, courtship? - over the wire has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intends for him.  However, when he intercepts an ominous message and discovers her life is in peril, Amos must shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

Review

Heart on the Line is a lighthearted read, with very tongue-in-cheek similarities to the modern world of online dating.  But in the case of Grace and Amos, the computer has been traded for a telegraph machine and emails for dots and dashes.  As I myself have been one of the many who have braved the scary realm of online dating, I found the inferences (whether intended or not) rather amusing in the "I totally understand" way - right down to the main worry of whether the person you come to know "online" is who they say they are in real life.  Their personality could be completely different in person - and are they really the age they say they are??

Online dating similarities aside, the characters of Grace and Amos were just wonderful.  Grace has pluck, determination, cleverness, and is a very classy lady.  Amos is incredibly endearing with his chivalry and protective nature towards Grace, preferring to use his wits rather than his fists in tense situations.  They were the perfect couple to navigate the dangerous scenarios that are encountered in the book. 

I greatly enjoyed returning to Karen's series, "Ladies of Harper's Station".  I wasn't even a chapter in when I paused my reading and came to the realization that it is novels like Heart on the Line that fostered my passion for reading wonderful fiction.  This novel had all the right elements with spot-on characters held together by some terrific writing.  I really, really cannot wait for the next instalment!!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

One Dominion

https://www.grafmartin.com/one-dominion-bible-league-canada/



Back Cover

Canada is not a nation of one story alone, but of many stories, from ordinary people, and often ordinary people of faith, who helped form the foundations of our wonderful country.

This book takes time to pause and reflect on the stories of these ordinary men and women of God who contributed to the fabric of our nation.

Let us not just celebrate the blessings we enjoy today because of them, but learn from their example and, as we look to the future of our country, perhaps be inspired to action as well.

Review

With beautiful large photographs, One Dominion tells the story of Canada, and how our country was built on Biblical truths and morals.  It is evident from the beginning of our great nation that the founding fathers intended that Canada be a nation under God, governed by His precepts, for all citizens to follow.  In determining the name for Canada, the founding fathers decided upon "The Dominion of Canada" in reference to Psalm 72:8, "He (God) shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth".  Even our Peace Tower, built in 1917 is etched with Scriptures pointing people to our Father in heaven for wisdom and guidance.

It was eye-opening the many different influences Christianity had in the formation of Canada.  From our laws, to education, work place rights, eradication of child labour, and healthcare, it was professing Christians who were instrumental in all the social reforms.  It is a very encouraging thing to read as there is always the hope and prayer that someday Canada will return to its Christian roots. 

One Dominion is a well-written history of Canada that is meant to be shared.  I will be passing around this book to many of my friends and family and re-reading it many, many times.

Book has been provided courtesy of Bible League Canada and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Name Unknown

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/a-name-unknown/383300

Back Cover

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London.  Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets - instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class coeity.  Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she's offered the challenge of a lifetime - determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany.  After all, how does one steal a family's history, their very name?
As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein.  Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence.  But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown - so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels.  When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth - about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

Review

Set in 1914 with the world on the brink of war, A Name Unknown follows recluse, Peter Holstein, and thief for hire, Rosemary Gresham.  Peter is a quiet man who simply wants to continue writing his adventure stories in peace.  I found it highly amusing how Peter would get so caught up in his characters and the story he was writing that he would blank out in the middle of conversation as a new idea would come to mind - particularly because it was something I could easily relate to!  Rosemary is definitely the more exuberant personality, full of grit and determination and finds herself caught between loyalty to her family, employer, and a newfound friendship with Peter.  Their differing personalities caused many moments of frustration between the two, but also provided for some entertaining interactions to read that were full of wit and teasing humour!  

The World War(s) have provided many a backdrop to historical novels.  I recently just read another novel, High as the Heavens, that was also set during the tumultuous times of World War I.  Yet even with the high number of novels set in and around WWI, Roseanna White was able to shed light on another angle to British war efforts during WWI that I had never even heard of before. I won't say exactly what angle it is (you have to read the book to find out!), but after finishing the story, be sure to read the "Note from the Author" located at the back of the book for further fascinating historical background on this particular effort. 

A Name Unknown is a wonderfully story whereby the author has expertly woven in some favourite genres -  history, romance, intrigue - into a tale of faith, redemption, and courage.  It is first in a new series (yay!) "Shadows over England", and I will be eagerly awaiting the next novel!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

An Uncommon Courtship

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/an-uncommon-courtship/376610

Back Cover

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier he is not the duke in the family.  Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice.  When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.
Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister's shadow - which worked until her sister got married.  But even with her socially ambitious mother's focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she's been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide's marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?

Review

In An Uncommon Courtship Kristin Hunter tells the story of Lord Trent Hawthorne, the younger brother in the Hawthorne family.  Trent is an affable, easy-going athletic fellow who loves his family, and is happy to have two new brother-in-laws.  His life is thrown into a tailspin when he is forced to marry Lady Adelaide Bell in order to preserve her honour.  What follows is his rather bumbling but heartfelt journey to win her heart.  He has the best of intentions, but sometimes the execution doesn't come out exactly as planned!  

NOTE:  This is a Christian romance, and it is evident throughout the story.  However, I felt that there was some romantic content that went a little "too far", which was disappointing as it was such a good story otherwise.  While nothing is too graphic, there was a certain aspect of the story that I found unwarranted, and certainly wouldn't be suitable for younger audiences.  Reader discretion is advised!

Aside from the above, this was a sweet, well-written novel.  I really, really, really can't wait for the next instalment - Griffith's story.  I have a feeling that one will be the best yet...

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


The Mark of the King

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-mark-of-the-king/382560

Back Cover

After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption.  Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana.  The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict.

New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects.  The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin.  When tragedy strikes, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit?

With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace - and love - can overcome the stigma of the king's mark on her shoulder.

Review

My goodness, was this one an incredible tale!  The Mark of the King brings readers back in time to early 1700s where North America was very slowly being colonized by various European countries.  One of the ways of colonization that was used, was (force) marrying men and women prisoners (!!!), shipping them off to the New World, and plunking them into a small, starving village to make a life for themselves all the while trying to stay safe from warring Native tribes.  Sounds rather dream-worthy, eh?  In reading this story, I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelief that this was all TRUE and had actually happened!  

In addition to the eye-opening history lesson, The Mark of the King had a fascinating plot that had me turning the pages as fast as I could.  The author surprised me with her various twists and turns and kept me thoroughly intrigued with Julianne's story.  It was an amazing historical piece of fiction and I will definitely be checking out other books by the author!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

On Love's Gentle Shore

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/on-love-s-gentle-shore/355150

Back Cover

Natalie O'Ryan had no plans to return to Prince Edward Island.  But when her fiance books their wedding in her hometown and schedules a summer at Rose's Red Door Inn, she sets out to plan the perfect wedding.  Yet she can't possibly plan for a run-in with Justin Kane - the best friend she left behind all thos eyears ago after promising to stay.

Justin has never forgotten Natalie.  He'd been prepared to follow her off the island until tragedy struck, leaving him to run the family dairy farm.  He's done the best he can with the life that was thrust upon him - but with Natalie back in the picture, he begins to realize just how much joy he's been missing.

After Natalie's reception venue falls through, she must scramble to find an alternative, and the only option seems to be a barn on Justin's property.  As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin may discover that there is more between them than broken promises and an old friendship.

Review

Sigh.  Stories generate many different emotions in a reader, including great shouts of excitement, groans of disappointment, outright laughter, tears of sadness, or that "sigh" of complete satisfaction.  On Love's Gentle Shore elicited the warm, fuzzy feelings and sweet sigh of "wow, that was so good!"  It held themes of grace, mercy, unending love, reconciliation, and forgiveness (it packs a wallop!)  Stories of reconciliation impact me more and more these days as I find it one of the most poignant signs of Christ working in a person to love without restrictions and forgive without conditions - just as God loves us.  

On Love's Gentle Shore was simply a beautifully written story that will go on my favourites shelf.  

NOTE: It is third in the series, "Prince Edward Island Dreams".  I have not read the first two novels, but will definitely do so now!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

High as the Heavens

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/high-as-the-heavens/379460

Back Cover

A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a cafe...or so it seems.  Eve's most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group.

When a plan crashes as she's en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester.  She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgium alive?

Review

As High as the Heavens reads as the title implies: a sweeping drama that pulls on the heartstrings, infused with hope and love.  Set in war-torn Brussels, Evelyn Marche, a competent and brave nurse, is doing everything she can to provide for her family and assist the resistance at the same time.  But of course, being a spy is incredibly dangerous, and she opens herself up to more and more risks.  One such risk comes in the form of pilot, Simon Forrester.  However, just as it was never a option not to assist with the war efforts, Evelyn doesn't think twice to shelter Simon from the Germans.  From the moment she makes that decision, it becomes increasingly harder for her to hide her double life from the Germans and those she loves.  With this steady undercurrent of drama and danger, As High as the Heavens takes the reader on a ride filled with highs and lows, joy and sorrow, danger and peace, faith and despair - all to culminate into a journey one will still remember even long after the last page is read.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.