Monday, 23 November 2020

The Way of Love


Back Cover

Newly arrived in Portland to finish her studies as a doctor at Willamette University's medical college, thirty-year-old Faith Kenner is glad to be near family again at her cousin Nancy's boardinghouse.  But the proximity is bittersweet, stirring up the desire for a family of her own - a longing that the secrets she harbors will never permit.

When she stumbles into handsome riverboat captain Andrew Gratton, who has been injured defending a Native working on his ship, she surprises him by expertly tending his wound and praising his conviction.  A fast friendship forms, but Faith is careful to quell her hopes for something more.

Instead, she joins her fellow students in putting together lectures to speak out against Oregon's racist laws and policies - actions that garner the dangerous attention of powerful men who have other plans for their state.  Soon Faith is caught in the middle of a plot to push the local Indian tribes to rebel, and her family is threatened.  Will the harm these men intend be her undoing or is it simply the mysterious path God has her on to bring the truth - and her heart's desires - to light?


With over one hundred novels to her credit, Tracie Peterson has established herself as one of the leading Christian historical romance authors.  I have read and enjoyed many of her books over the years, and her new Willamette Brides series is no exception (see my review of the first novel, Secrets of My Heart).

Brimming with historical tidbits and events, such as the "Storm King", a Pacific Northwest storm of 1880, The Way of Love pulls the reader in, and I finished the book in no less than two days (a record for me with a busy work/life schedule!).  The plot is rather engaging with Faith's internal character conflict as she harbors tragic family secrets which have the potential to prevent her dream of becoming an accredited physician.  The Way of Love is also an eyeopener into some of the prejudices and terrible treatment the Native Americans and African-Americans suffered.  I had no idea that African-Americans were, at multiple time, excluded from living in the Oregon state, and further, were not allowed to vote until the mid-1900s. 

The world needs more Faith Kenners.  With her solid faith in God undergirding her, she is portrayed as a godly, self-assured, independent woman who speaks her mind and doesn't hesitate to stand up for her fellow man.  Faith doesn't step down from her passion for helping the Native Americans, even when it puts herself in dangerous situations and public ridicule.  Her convictions are inspiring, and may it spur many on to fight the numerous injustices in the world today.

There is a threading over of a storyline from Secrets of My Heart that is not fully resolved in The Way of Love, making me eager for the next novel in the series, Forever by Your Side.  Thank you, Tracie Peterson, for another well-written historical novel!

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

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Set the Stars Alight


Back Cover

In an aged brick cottage in London, the magic of the past comes alive each night for the family of a humble watchmaker.  In her father's fireside stories, Lucy Claremount's fascination with the high seas begins, leading her to devote her life's work to discovering the whereabouts of a legendary lots ship.  But when tragedy strikes, it's childhood friend Dashel and his knowledge of the stars that may help her solve the puzzle.

Two hundred years earlier, three young lives are altered forever when a shepherd rescues the son of a powerful admiral.  As the children grow, war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, deep love, and a story of betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption that fades into obscurity as centuries pass.

As Lucy and Dash explore mysterious ruins on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers - and the healing - they so desperately seek.


The words written on the pages of Amanda Dykes' novel are, quite simply, beautiful poetry in story form.  Her choice of words and descriptors conjures images of Ms. Dykes sitting behind an old, wooden roll-top desk with a quill and ink pot in hand, her written lines likened to calligraphy as opposed to printed format.  Her words carry a reader to a magical place of true story-telling that teases all the senses for an awe-inducing experience.  I fell in love with Amanda Dyke's writing with her first book, Whose Waves These Are, and she has quickly cemented me as an avid follower of her works with her second novel, Set the Stars Alight.

The reader follows along Dash and Lucy as they traverse the skies and seas for clues to the final resting place of the HMS Jubilee. In a split time format, the reader also travels back to the time HMS Jubilee was in action, to learn firsthand the story behind the ship and those connected to it. I greatly enjoyed connecting the dots alongside Dash and Lucy as they unearth the grand mystery, spurred on by Lucy's father and his passion for story-telling.  

At the end of the book, Ms. Dykes writes in her notes to the reader how she has doubted whether her words, her stories make a difference.  She can certainly put those fears to rest.  Set the Stars Alight sets a reader's heart soaring with awe and wonder in a way that only a beautiful story can do.  Don't stop, Ms. Dykes.  The world needs you and your amazing stories.

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

Thursday, 5 November 2020

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus


Welcome to Bonaventure Circus,
where misfits go to hide.

In 1928, the Bonaventure Circus has become a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby and is no longer content to leave the reason for that rejection unquestioned. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the "Watchman," she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa's search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Decades later, an old circus train depot's future hangs in the balance--it will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its fate rests on Realtor Chandler Faulk's shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot's history, she's also balancing a newly diagnosed disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend. 


Jaime Jo Wright has done it again!  The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus is another creepy thrill ride certain to keep your eyes glued to the pages whilst huddled in a safe place in your home (preferably with an e-reader under the covers...).  With a clever plot straddling two timelines held together by in-depth characters, this is a story that will not soon be forgotten.  I greatly enjoyed Jaime Jo Wright's style of writing as she infused enough "teasers" and twists through the novel to keep you guessing until the very end.  And, at the end, when things are most climatic in both timelines, the point of view switches back and forth rapidly between timelines for back-to-back cliffhanger moments, rendering it near impossible to put the book down.  Jaime Jo Wright has quickly become one of my favourite authors, and I look forward to each new release with great expectations.  Suspense and mystery lovers will LOVE The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus for its keep-you-guessing plot and unique story-telling.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for a copy of this book to read and provide my true and honest opinion thereof.

Monday, 26 October 2020

Don't Keep Silent



Justice comes easy for these two. But forgiveness? That's another matter altogether.

Investigative reporter Rae Burke will do anything to find her missing sister-in-law, even if it means facing Liam McKade, a man who almost lost his life saving hers. A former DEA agent, Liam thought he could find peace at his Wyoming ranch, but he doesn't feel at home anywhere anymore. When the reporter who blew his cover on an important investigation inserts herself back into his life, he's less than thrilled. But Rae's keen investigative skills have led her down the right path--and directly into the dragon's mouth--leaving Liam no choice but to protect her.

As the danger increases, the past they both tried to flee catches up to them, along with the feelings they once had for each other . . .


Don't Keep Silent is a fast-paced thrill ride set in the snowy mountains of Wyoming.  From the first to the last chapter, Elizabeth Goddard's third novel in the "Uncommon Justice" series is full of suspense, detailing a mountaintop car chase, kidnapping, drugging, secret past, and a spider web of deception and crime.  While it did take me a few chapters to really connect with the characters, the story itself was quite intriguing as Rae and Liam searched for the truth, peeling back one layer of the mystery at a time.  With precious little to go on, the story took me on quite a journey with red herrings and random flying bits of the puzzle until coming together with a satisfying (albeit, climatic!) conclusion.

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

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Line by Line


Back Cover

Since she was young, Alice McNeil has seen a career as a telegrapher as the best use for her keen and curious mind.  Years later, she doesn't regret her freedom in foregoing marriage, especially when she acquires a coveted position at an important trading firm.  But when the company's ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined.

For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty.  He's now determined to marry into high society - a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past.

He immediately earns Alice's respect by judging her based on her skills and not her gender, and a fast camaraderie forms.  However, when Alice accidentally angers a jealous coworker and his revenge threatens both their reputations, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives.  Will their growing bond give them the courage to see the future in a different light?


I have a soft spot for historical dramas  Our society has a way of romanticizing times past from Biblical times, the Roman Empire, the Age of Revolution, to the Western days, and everything in between.  Opening a historical novel can be likened to entering a time machine, whereby the traveler has the opportunity to explore eras gone by, and, in that way, Line by Line is no exception.

The setting for this story is London, England, 1880.  More women are in the workforce, but not without some prejudice and stigma levied against them.  One of the areas that accepted female workers was telegraphy.  Having a father and brother both telegraphers, it was a simple decision for Alice McNeil to enter that area of work as well. Alice is a strong-minded and independent woman who thrives on challenges and making her own way in the world.  A self-described spinster, Alice is career-driven and most definitely not husband-minded.  She is very content with her situation in life, believing circumstances couldn't be better upon landing a prestigious position at a trading firm.  If only her family would agree with her perceived eternal single status, then everything would be just fine and dandy.

But then enters Douglas Shaw.  He tips her world upside down with his good looks, charm, keen mind, and bolstering acceptance of her as an equal in the office, and not just as another subservient female worker.  Their conversations together equally challenge and inspire her, pushing her to go higher in her career ambitions.  But as their discussions grow more lively, so does Alice's once-spinster heart.  Despite her best intentions, Alice finds herself falling for Douglas - but will she choose her career?  Or a chance at love?

Line by Line was a wonderful historical romance, brimming with fascinating tidbits about telegraphy.  The characters were delightful and the romance oh so sweet.  I will be looking forward to the next instalment in this "Love Along the Wires" series!

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

Love and a Little White Lie


Back Cover

After a heartbreak leaves her reeling, January Sanders is open to anything - including moving into a cabin on her aunt's wedding-venue property and accepting a temporary position at her aunt's church despite being a lifelong skeptic of faith.  Choosing to keep her doubts to herself, she's determined to give her all to supporting Grace Community's overworked staff while helping herself move on.

What she doesn't count on is meeting the church's handsome and charming guitarist.  It's a match set for disaster, and yet January has no ability to stay away, even if it means pretending to have faith in a God she doesn't believe in.

Only this time, keeping her secret isn't as easy as she thought it would be.  Especially when she's constantly running into her aunt's landscape architect, who seems to know everything about her past-and-present sins and makes no apologies about pushing her to deal with feelings she'd rather keep buried.

Torn between two worlds that can't coexist, can January find the healing that's eluded her, or will her resistance to the truth ruin any chance of happiness?


This novel read like a really great chick flick - and I  mean that in the highest form of praise!  A great chick flick is one that you watch over and over even after you have learned all the lines.  And no matter how many times you watch the movie, you still laugh at the same hilarious scenes and cry ugly tears at the sad moments.  In reading Love and a Little White Lie, I laughed and giggled my way through the story as the witty dialogue kept me in stitches.  This isn't just a comedy of a story, however.  There were plenty of sigh-worthy, emotional moments as well.  I love seeing the characters grow and develop, thereby adding an even greater richness to the story.

If this were a movie, I would place it proudly on my "classics" shelf alongside "Pride and Prejudice", "Ever After", "Nicholas Nickleby", and "A Walk to Remember".  But as it is a novel, it is destined to become dog-eared one day as it takes its spot in my "to be read over and over again" bookcase.  It is just that good.

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

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Secrets of My Heart


Back Cover

Portland, Oregon 1879

Nancy Pritchard finds herself widowed and with a world of problems when her deceased husband's shady business schemes start to come to light.  As she sifts through the shadowed memories of their loveless union, Nancy realizes ther eis a lot she didn't know about the man she married.

 Seth Carpenter, a chidlhood friend of Nancy's, has recently returend to Portland and is delighted to see her again.  As a lawyer, he offers to help her sort through the legal ramifications of her husband's death.  But there is more to Seth than meets the eye, and his job will take him into the dark side of Nancy's husband's life - a side she didn't even know existed.  

 As the two search for the truth behind her husband's death, a mutual attraction creates complications.  When Nancy's own life is threatened, can Seth be honest with her about who he really is and why he's come back to Portland?  And can Nancy bear another betrayal?


I really liked this story!  In Secrets of My Heart, Tracie Peterson proves why she has been a best-selling author with over 100 novels to her credit.  This isn't the "same old" western historical romance story.  The characters were well-developed, the dialogue was engaging, the romance was sweet, and the storyline intriguing.   I enjoyed the inclusion of a mystery as the main character delves into her husband's covert business deals, details of which come to light in an alarming - and dangerous - way.  

I also appreciated Nancy Pritchard's independent spirit, as her determination to make a life for herself after her husband's untimely death really shone through the story in an inspiring way.  

Overall, this was a really pleasant, refreshing read, and easily one of my favourite historical romances to date.  I'll be looking forward to the next instalment!


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