Thursday, January 4, 2018

Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke



ABOUT THE BOOK:
For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help.

MY THOUGHTS:
I have really enjoyed Cathy's past books. I also love anything set in WWII. So, I jumped at the chance to read the story of Claire and her little French refugees.

Any avid reader knows that not all books written by a favorite author or set in a favorite era 'hit the spot.' Unfortunately, that was the case for me with Until We Find Home. That's not to say there weren't parts I enjoyed. The end accelerated into some excitement with the escaped Nazi soldier and some of the children. It was interesting to learn aspects of the Britain homefront I had not previously known.

But for me, the problem was Claire. I just couldn't relate or connect with her. And, again, any reader knows that if you don't like the main character...well, that makes it pretty difficult to like the book. I tried to like her. I tried by restarting the book three different times!! I got 1/3 of the way through the book, and just did not like her. Even Aunt Miranda didn't endear herself to me.

Ack!

So, the book is definitely worth a try. Just because Claire wasn't easy for me to understand, doesn't mean you won't love her. ;-) Especially if you already enjoy Cathy's books or WWII settings.

Thank you to Cathy and Tyndale through Tyndale Blog Network for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

MY THOUGHTS:
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole Hawthorne House series. I've been waiting for this fourth book to see who would be good enough for Griffith, the Duke of Riverton, to marry.

It was refreshing that Frederica was not awed enough by a very eligible, pursuing duke to give up true love. I know that times were different back then, with such focus for young ladies to make worthy matches for financial and familial security, but I still felt badly for Isabella. Because of her uncle's intimidation, I had a difficult time connecting with her at first. But, by the time Bella 'visits the trees,' I liked her and could see a little more of the real Miss Breckenridge.

I was a little surprised at the manipulation by Griffith's family. Then again, I've seen close families do all they can to matchmake – with the best of intentions, of course! Obviously, in the fictitious Hawthorne House, it all worked to their advantage and showed Griffith just what they wanted to show him! That the other girls were wrong...and true love is the only right!

The book includes the rest of the family from the first three books: Miranda, Trent, Georgina and their spouses. Though you could probably read this book as a stand-a-lone, it is best if you read the entire series in order.

A satisfying conclusion to the series!

Thank you to Kristi and Bethany House through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions.
That's the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister's daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won't take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia's pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother-who stole the most important person in Livvie's world.
Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he's just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there's already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect.
That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn't the only heart that needs to change.
These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society's opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.
Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister's daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God's grace and the true strength of love.
MY THOUGHTS:
There is something that draws me in about the many Regency and Edwardian era books that seem to be popular now. I love the romanticized period of time, though I'm sure reality was much less so.

The Elusive Miss Ellison reads like a slightly different, yet strangely familiar, version of Pride and Prejudice. Nicholas definitely comes off as proud and aloof, whereas Lavinia, though sweet to her friends, seems much more brusque than Austen's Lizzy.

Unfortunately, the writing dragged and did not draw me in to the story. I actually put the book down and restarted from the beginning three different times! Yes, three. No matter how hard I tried to get into the story, I just couldn't get past the twelfth chapter. Lavinia's harshness to Nicholas was off-putting, and though I understood her pain over her mother's death, I just couldn't connect with her (though I admit that nasty pride is a big struggle for me, too). I was also pained to see the Lord's name taken in vain (page 74). Nicholas' thought while seeing his friend's interest in Lavinia was not one of prayer or worship...it was flippant and disrespectful. I have been saddened to see this type of language occurring more and more from Christian authors.

Due to these two issues, Miss Ellison's tale was truly elusive for me.

That's what I thought! Click HERE to see what other reviewers are saying!

Thank you to Carolyn and Kregel through Litfuse for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.

MY THOUGHTS:
I thought the idea behind this story was a great one -- single girl with a ranch in danger hires a jailbird to protect the property. Obviously, her surrounding neighbors and townspeople think this is a bad idea.

Lots of other things happen in the story: irritable step siblings who want Laurel to sell, a neighbor intent on marrying Laurel, sinister sabotage of the ranch and its animals... all make for a great story.

However, An Uncommon Protector read kind of slow for me. I also found it odd that for that time period, both Laurel and Thomas were ok with him sleeping in a guest room. The book was ok...it just wasn't a 'couldn't put down' kind of read for me, unfortunately.


Thank you to Shelley and Zondervan through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
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