It feels so great to be able to relax with a good book and to not have upcoming exams or assignments due. I can certainly get use to this! We took a road trip this weekend and I was able to read a whole book in less than two days. It was GLORIOUS!
With you always by Jody Hedlund
Set in the 1850’s Hedlund tells the story of Elise Neuman and her sisters and Thorton Quincy. Elise Neuman and her sisters parents have died and are desperate for food and shelter. As a last resort Elise leaves her sisters in New York City and goes West to Illinois for work. Her goal is to send enough to New York to provide for her siblings and hopefully bring them to her. Thorton Quincy is a wealthy businessman’s son. He was given a challenge by his father in order to inherit the company. Desperate to gain his father’s approval and come out from under his brother’s shadow he begins the construction of an Illinois community.
This is a charming love story of two people from completely different worlds who find they have more in common than not. Hedlund provides just enough romance, heartache, and challenges to capture her audience. It is evident she researched this era and the backdrop of her story. I like the added information at the end of the book which provides additional information on the orphan trains. Her characters have depth and growth throughout the story. I enjoyed the depth she added to her secondary characters.
This book is a Christian novel. However, it is not filled with consistent Christian quotes or scriptures. There is mention of thanking God and general references to God. This is heavier toward the end, but not overwhelming. The book does clearly follow Christian themes such as kindness, charity, honesty, etc.
I look forward to additional Orphan Train stories.
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy historical romances and/or novels and Christian novels. I would recommend it to a young adult. The book does reference prostitution but only as a backdrop to the story. There is one instance of post attack, but no actual details were provided.
I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.
I did receive this book from the publisher as part of the blogging for books program in exchange for an honest review.
I’m taking a break from certification studying to review a couple of books. I graduated from Nurse Practitioner school two weeks ago. Since graduating, I’ve traveled every week and was able to get some reading done. Yaay! I also took some time off studying since one of the trips was to attend an intensive review for certification. I figured no reason focusing all my time studying until after that class. So, now, here I am studying since about 9 am this morning (its now almost 3PM) and I’m going get started on this review before leaving in to pick the kids up from school.
The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller
Miller tells the story of Hope and her father as they live out of a train car and ministering to a mining town. He is a preacher and she assists with the music and children’s ministries. Miller also tells the story of a coal miner, Luke, and the mine owner’s son, Kirby. Hope and her father settle into life in Finch, West Virginia. Hope uses many opportunities to spread God’s word throughout the West Virginia countryside. Her trusting disposition has her trusting Kirby despite Luke’s cautions.
This story is a great Christian read. It was an easy and quick read. I think it took me only a little over a day to read. I felt several of the characters were fleshed out well. The character Kirby was nicely done. I felt I had him pegged pretty quickly and my opinion didn’t change much. Hope was the typical preacher’s daughter in the sense she was kind, naive and loved children. Luke seemed to have swaying emotions and also seemed pretty realistic. I’ll address him below. I enjoyed reading about life on a rail car and life during prohibition. I also quite enjoyed reading about the inner conflict Luke had regarding his thoughts and anger toward the mining company and Kirby. These feelings are ones many Christians deal with daily and I like when authors address them in their writing. Finally, I really love the history the author adds into her books. In this case the chapel car, mining history, and prohibition.
Downfalls to the book, the first is a bit into the characters. I feel like it would’ve been nice to learn more about the preacher. He played a pivotal role in the story, yet there was little fleshing out of his character. Luke’s sister plays a relatively large role in the frustrating ending, but very little fleshing out occurred with her as well. I think adding just a bit to those characters could’ve really added to the story. This, however, didn’t ruin the story for me. Its just worth noting there more depth could’ve been added to the story.
A second down fall is the ending. I was a bit frustrated with the ending. The conflict was picking-up nicely and I was envisioning a BIG ending. And then, it was wrapped up nicely with a little bow and then the ending romance drug out for another couple of chapters. It wasn’t bad, but such a big change in where the story was going and how the characters were acting. It was a bit of a distraction and I would’ve appreciated a more direct route to happily ever after.
Over all, this was a good read! It was quick and enjoyable. It had Christian components in the story with the Christian premise. Very little scripture was quoted through out the story, but it had very obvious Christian themes.
I would recommend this story to any adult or young adult who enjoys historical novels, Christian reading, or just looking for a quick and light read.
I would give this book a 4 out of 5 bookends.
Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Book Review: Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman
Merry has become an enemy of the throne due to her father’s failed assassination attempt. Merry is skilled and bold and has taken on the task of caring for the village orphans. As with the classic Robin Hood tale, the group have been given a name: “the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest”.
Personally I love the Robin Hood story and was excited and nervous all at once to read a female version of my beloved story. I must say I was not disappointed!This was my first book from Sleiman. I found this one to be well-written and a quick read. The main character was a delightful woman who is capable and intelligent. I enjoyed reading a strong female character who was equally compassionate.
I truly enjoyed this novel. I recommend this book to any young adult who enjoy historical novels.
I give this book 5 out of 5 bookends.
I did receive this book from Bethany House Publishers as part of the blogging for books.
Book Review: Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan
This is the second book in the Canadian West book series by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. Beth Thatcher has returned home from teaching in the Canadian West. Although she is ready to rest and relax her family has planned a lengthy trip. While on her trip, Beth discovers one of her family members trusted the wrong person.
As with the first book in the series, I truly enjoyed this book. This book is a wonderful follow-up story. This book did not take place in coal valley. I enjoyed reading about the different ports and the experience of cruising. I also enjoyed the love story between Beth and Jarrick.
This was a great read. I truly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical novels.
I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.
I did receive this book for an honest review from Baker Publishing Group for the blogging for books program.
I’m chipping away on my backlog of books! My life will get a bit more complicated in a couple of months, so I must finish my reading list soon! But, how does one finish a reading list when it keeps getting longer! I seriously think I have a problem. 😉
Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Anna O’brien is one of the few female librarians working at the Library of Congress. she leads a quiet life and has no desire to change. She grew-up an orphan and was raised by her aunt. Due to a childhood injury her voice is unique. Luke is a congressman with career intertwined with scandal. The two begin working together to solve the mystery of the Culpepper.
I really enjoyed the book. The characters are beautifully flawed which gives them depth and makes them more realistic. Luke’s love for his family despite their flaws is refreshing. Anna’s determination to solve the mystery of her father’s ship is commendable. The main underlining themes in this book are the following: forgiveness, friendship, and determination. Christian themes of God’s love and forgiveness is also an ongoing theme.
This historical novel was quite enjoyable filled with lovable characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian or historical novels. The book would be appropriate for anyone in highschool up.
On a scale of 1-5 bookends, I give this book a 4.
I received this book from Bethany House Publishing for an honest review.
It’s been a busy holiday season here! I’ve got a back load of books so hopefully there will be a review a week in order to get caught up. I also need to get my New Year’s resolutions written out. I’ve started that post but didn’t get back to you.
The Brickmaker’s Bride by: Judith Miller
Ewan McKay immigrated to the US with his uncle in search of a better life. Uncle Hugh purchases the brickyard from a Civil War widow and her daughter, Laura. Laura helps Ewan with the initial operations of the brickyard. The two feel connected but Laura is being courted by a lawyer with political aspirations. Unfortunately when Uncle Hugh makes a poor business deal, Ewan faces losing everything he’s worked hard to achieve.
I truly enjoyed this book. It wasn’t particularly fast paced but it kept me interested. The story is filled with rich characters who draw you in. I will admit that I’m sucker for a book that helps teach you as you read. In this book, the reader get’s insights to the brickmaking process. In my opinion, this demonstrates the author’s research and understanding of the book’s premise and also adds depth to the book.
This book had several recurring themes. One of those being ethical business practices. Uncle Hugh was a difficult man who didn’t think through to the future and rushed into business. He tended to be quick to anger and quicker to push-off blame. Another theme was trusting in God and God’s timing. Ewan practiced patience and waiting when dealing with Uncle Hugh and becoming partner in the business. Laura waiting on God’s timing in waiting on the right husband. This book also looked at the discrimination immigrants, especially Irish immigrants, faced when first coming to this country.
I have very little negative to say about the book. The writing style is easy to follow and enjoyable, the research added richness to the book, and the characters added authenticity. The length of the book was good, maybe a touch on the longer side but I don’t think there was anyway to shorten it. The end change in Uncle Hugh’s personality was a bit to quick. It felt a bit unbelievable. I think that could’ve been handled a bit differently.
Overall this book was very good and quite enjoyable.
I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 bookends.
I did receive this book for free from Bethany House Publishing for an honest review.
When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall
When the Heart Cries tells the story of Hannah who has fallen in love outside of her old order Amish community. That act alone can cause rejection from her community. Unfortunately that is just the beginning of her heartache. Life is changing, crisis is coming. Her life is never going to be the same.
This book is wonderfully written. I’ve only read a couple of Amish books for fear that they’d be the same story wrapped-up a bit different. This book is not what I imagine as the traditional Amish novels. I enjoyed the writing style and the author’s talent with story telling. The book did a great job exploring the social issues with the Amish and the approach to medical care. This book is so much more than a tragic love story. It transports you into the Amish a way I’d not been yet.
This book is a Christian novel. However, the mention of gospel, Christianity themes are all indirect and presented solely in regards to the Amish order. That does make this book very light-handed and on a superficial note could seem less Christian. However, if you are new to Christian novels, this would be a good start or if you just like a good Amish book but don’t want to feel preached to, it’s a good book. When I read a Christian novel, I do prefer more direct Bible references.
I do think the book is excellent. I recommend it to any adult reader who has an interest in the Amish, Amish novels, or Christian themed books. Due to the themes, I would not recommend to immature readers.
This is the first book in a series and I’m hoping to read the future books.
I give this book a 4.5 out 5 Bookends.
If you’d like more information on this book check out this site.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review