Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Small Town Girl

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How long can two people stand on the brink of love without plunging in headfirst?
In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner.  The town practically vibrates with apprehension, as if it is holding its breath.  But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh.  As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking.  And even the attentions of Jay Tanner, the handsome best man, can’t draw her interest.
Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything and Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways.  Could she truly be in love with him?  And if he enlists, will she ever see him again?
In her gentle and textured style, Ann H. Gabhart tells a timeless story of love, sacrifice, and longing that will grip your heart and stir your spirit.  Fans of Gabhart’s Angel Sister will love seeing Kate Merritt all grown-up, as well as other characters they have come to love.
This story captured my attention from the beginning.  It starts with Kate, helping her sister get ready to marry a man that Kate had loved for a long time.  Feeling as if all was lost, and trying her best to be happy for her sister, Kate puts her best foot forward, and finds herself drawn to the best man, Jay Tanner.  He is all that she never thought she would fall for.  Jay is like an unpredictable hurricane, blowing into each place for a short while, stirring up emotions, before moving on.  There is seemingly no stability with Jay and so much mystery.  Yet Kate makes the choice to throw caution to the wind and take a chance with Jay, for the excitement that he brings and the joy that takes over her heart every time she sees him. 
Throughout the story, Kate learns that love comes at you when you least expect it, and often from the most unlikely of persons.  Even while your heart is seemingly fixed on another, as Kate’s was, one can quickly realize that what you think is love, is not love at all.  Jay shows Kate what love is all about.
Love is the music in the air, the song in your heart.  Love is the stolen looks and the small touches.  Love is the kisses that make your toes curl and your heart dance.  Love lifts you up inside, even while the world is on the cusp of war.  Love gives you dreams about tomorrow and that unquenchable happiness throughout the day.
Love is also beautiful and moving, everything that this story is.  Wonderfully written, Ms. Gabhart has penned another great story that will capture many hearts in the years to come.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

A Most Peculiar Circumstance

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Miss Arabella Beckett, defender of the downtrodden women of America, is returning from her travels in support of the women’s suffrage movement when she suddenly finds herself in a spot of trouble.  Arabella, always loath to accept help, is particularly reluctant to receive assistance from the arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor who shows up just in time.
Private investigator extraordinaire Mr. Theodore Wilder is on an assignment that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country.  When he finally locates Hamilton’s sister, and she turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he’s at his wit’s end.
Much to their chagrin, Theodore and Arabella’s paths continue to cross when they return to New York.  When the trouble Arabella accidentally stirred up in her travels follows her home and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all:  love.
Like oil and water.  Or fire and gasoline.  Arabella and Theodore simply do not mix.  When they are together, barbs are traded, fireworks explode, and their conversations are like warring armies leveling their full artillery at each other.  It is simply impossible that these two stubborn people could have an even civil conversation.
Much less fall in love.
She is an outspoken suffragette intent on giving women the right to vote, and he is an obstinate man who still believes that women’s purpose in life is to make their husbands happy, clean house, and raise children.  While their snide remarks and sharp snippets lofted at each other make their interactions highly amusing, it had me wondering, how on earth would these two ever get along?  But as Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy had to lay aside their own initial judgments of each other in the classic Pride and Prejudice, so do Arabella and Theodore have to learn to compromise, and do it without sacrificing their individuality.
While some couples find love in a storybook fashion, where everything is sugary sweet, others, like Arabella and Theodore, find it in a fiery chemistry, and in what soon becomes friendly sparring. They learn to recognize the other’s strengths and weaknesses, and support each other accordingly.  As Jen Turano displays so aptly in her novel, there is nothing wrong with general disagreements between couples.  It’s how you handle those disagreements that makes or breaks you.  And of course, with God’s help, nothing is impossible.
A Most Peculiar Circumstance is another delightfully witty novel by Jen Turano that will be going on my “favourites” list.  It is chock full of fun and laughter and some dangerous intrigues to make a really well-rounded novel.  I have an inkling of who the next “couple” will be, and I cannot wait to read their story!   
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Stealing the Preacher

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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.
Stealing the Preacher is another humorous and fun novel by Karen Witemeyer.  I’m so happy that she is doing a continuation of the Archer brothers, who were first introduced in her novel, Short-Straw Bride (you can read my review of that one here).  Just as in the previous story, Stealing the Preacher has awesome characters, a great story, and wonderful spiritual messages throughout.  There are also quite a few plot twists to keep you on your toes!   The humour that Karen intersperses throughout the story is absolutely priceless and sure to keep every reader entertained. 
Having read all of Karen’s novels, I’m convinced that she cannot write a bad story; each one is a winner in its own unique way.  If you enjoy romance involving a swoon-worthy, honourable man, humour, and a good ole’ Western story, you’re bound to love this one!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.