With the threat of a cholera epidemic at their heels, Darcie and Walter Goodwin join the Shakers, whose villages seem immune to the disease. It’s meat to be temporary, but when Walter is killed in a riverboat accident, destitute Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique — and lonely — position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness?
I came into this book not knowing anything about who the Shakers were. By looking at the cover I assumed they were similar to the Amish. I learned so much reading this book! The wealth of information presented in a loving fictional way was amazing. The author writes with such poise. Beautiful descriptions filled each page. I could see the people, see their lifestyle, see their homes, see everything in my mind while reading this book. The story flowed smoothly and I was drawn into the characters and their stories. By the end of the book I felt like I had been on a time travel journey and had came back missing the people I had met and the places I had visited. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read Ann Gabhart’s work. I am looking forward to reading her other books. I suspect they will be filled with similar lovely writing and stories you just want to devour!
I love that this book is written about a time period of history that isn’t totally overused. It’s unique. The amount of research that must have had to happen to write this book is incredible. The author did a marvelous job. I would recommend this book and give it 4 stars.
I received a copy of this book from the Revell Blogger program. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Get swept away by a story of love, loss and longing…
King Solomon could — and did — have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all of his wealth and wisdom, did he or the women he loved ever find what they were searching for?
In this engrossing novel, find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you’ll meet four remarkable women: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and theirs, you’ll grapple with whether this king’s storied wisdom ultimately benefited him and those he loved … or betrayed them.
Another Biblical fiction book from Jill Eileen Smith? Why of course I want to read it. Her books are always so well written and educationally entertaining. This book follows suit. She has such a way of making history fun and bringing Bible stories we are so used to hearing come alive in new and vibrant ways. I loved this story of Solomon and his wives. The book reads quickly. You float from sentence to sentence, page to page, and you look down and all of a sudden you’ve read 50 pages in no time. I love it when books just float like that. It’s not a struggle to read and understand. You don’t find yourself going back to reread. I loved section 1 especially. I loved the little bit of back and forth between Naamah and Abishag. It was exactly how I would expect it to be between wife 1 and wife 2. I loved how there was this underlying jealous, suspicion, but intrigue between wife 1 and 2. I love how she didn’t just write it as wife 1 accepting wife 2 blindly without emotion. It made it more real.
When it got to section 2, I was curious how the wives would respond to wife 3. I was disappointed when I hardly read anything about Naamah and Abishag in section 2. Where did they go? It’s like they fell off the planet. I was disappointed about that. I felt like Section 1 was a great pace and then things sped up considerably in Section 2. Detail was lost and the story became more big picture instead of deep into the lives of the characters. I felt like there was a shift from being close with the characters to being more far removed. I didn’t like this shift and found myself less interested in the story. I understand that there is a lot of information to cover in a short time but I felt like there was an imbalance.
There were also moments where the timing seemed off. Adonijah came and talked to Bathsheba. Then in the next scene Naamah is having her baby. When the baby is 3 months old it is written that Adonijah came to talk to Bathsheba again. Why the back and forth? It seemed like it could have been written in a better timeline.
Overall I liked the story and learned a lot. I gave it 3.5 stars. I can’t wait for Ms. Smith’s next book. I received a copy of this book as a part of Revell’s Blogger program. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Amid literature and lattes, three women come together and find that sharing one’s journey with best friends makes life richer.
When attorney Madeline Carter inherits her aunt’s bookstore in a small town north of Chicago, she plans to sell it and add the proceeds to her nonexistent “investment portfolio.” But plans change when Madeline discovers the store isn’t making money and she gets passed over for promotion at her firm. She quits in protest, takes the train north, and decides to work at the store to prep it for sale. Madeline soon finds herself at odds with employees Jessica and Courtney; when she also finds herself attracted to an affianced man, it only confuses the entire situation.
After blowing up her marriage two years earlier, Jessica has found solace working at the bookstore and a kindred spirit within its owner, Maddie Cullen. But when Maddie dies and her niece, Madeline, barges in like a bulldozer, Jessica pushes at the new owner in every way-until she trips over common ground. Soon the women are delving into online dating and fashion makeovers, and Jessica feels the pull to rediscover her art, a love she thought long behind her.
After a night of bad decisions leaves the store in peril, Courtney arrives and tries to save the day. While she, too, found sanctuary in the little bookstore, she knows it’s under-insured, in the red, and will never survive. When she discovers her teenage daughter has played a part in vandalizing the store, Courtney taps into strength she didn’t know existed-or had long forgotten. The quietest of the three, she steps up and finds a way to save her family, the store, and the precious friendships that have grown within it.
The Printed Letter Bookshop is the story of friends who find each other-and themselves-in a place none of them ever expected.
A book about books? Perfect! Yes! Must read. That was my initial thought when I read the description and saw the cover of this book. What a more quaint setting than a small business bookstore? What’s not to love, right?! I admit I may have had high expectations of this book. I had never read anything by Katherine Reay before. I was intrigued. The book started out pretty good. The writing was well thought out. I quickly anticipated what would happen next and then got a rather deja vu feeling as I kept reading. I feel like I’ve read a story very similar to this recently. Someone dies and someone inherits something they don’t want in a place they don’t want to live in. They begrudgingly go and find lots of need. Yes I think I’ve read something similar. But I kept reading… maybe this will be different.
I love the themes of friendship, loyalty and forgiveness. They are great themes that we all need more of in life. What I did not love so much was how the story didn’t grab me. I was disappointed about this. This is where my high expectations came in I suppose. I didn’t want to keep reading. I didn’t mind putting it down. It didn’t grab me and take me on a journey. It was kind of slow like a lullaby. It was a lovely story but it wasn’t enough to keep me interested for the long haul. I wanted more depth. I wanted characters that I fell in love with. I wanted some fresh air and I felt like the story became kind of stale for me. I so wanted to love this story. It was just meh. I will read another book by Katherine Reay in the future. This one just wasn’t for me. I give it 2.5 stars.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
About the Author
Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and isa wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL. You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com; Facebook: KatherineReayBooks; Twitter: @katherine_reay; or Instagram: @katherinereay.
More from Katherine
Don’t you love bookshops?
Every time I walk into a bookstore, it feels like a rainbow cracked open and rained a kaleidoscope of light, life and possibilities before me. I find worlds within the world and a call to adventure.
Each bookshop tells a different story. It tells of its loyal beloved customer base. It reflects the personality of its owner and staff. It carries the aura of the stories it offers to us.
And it was the perfect place to dig into lives, hearts and book loves of Janet, Claire and Madeline. These three women, at different stages in life, meet at the Printed Letter Bookshop, with all the romance and wonder it holds, and learn to work through their challenges together. They become the friends that each didn’t know she was missing.
There is also a fourth woman I loved spending time with in the Printed Letter Bookshop — its original owner, Maddie Carter. Maddie doesn’t step onto the stage even once, but her presence, her love and her guiding hand are apparent from page one as Janet, Claire, and Madeline grow in friendship and in faith.
The Printed Letter Bookshop is a love letter to books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship. I hope you savor your time with these three women — And, book lovers rejoice, there is a list of all the books they allude to in the back of the book!
Jillian Thatcher has spent most of her life playing the family peacemaker, caught in the middle between her driven, talented older sister and her younger, spotlight-stealing twin sisters. Then on the night of her engagement party, a cancer diagnosis threatens to once again steal her chance to shine. Now, Jillian’s on the road to recovery after finally finishing chemo and radiation, but residual effects of the treatment keep her from reclaiming her life as she’d hoped. And just when her dreams might be falling into place, a life-altering revelation from her husband sends her reeling again. Will Jillian ever achieve her own dreams, or will she always be “just Jillian,” the less-than Thatcher sister? Can she count on her sisters as she tries to step into a stronger place, or are they stuck in their childhood roles forever?
What a calming yet incredibly thought provoking read! This is the first book by Beth K. Vogt I’ve ever read. Let me tell you it won’t be the last. Ms. Vogt has this incredible way of writing characters that everyone knows. I can see my friends in this story. I can see my life story and the life stories of those around me in this book. Just hints… but that’s what makes the story so relatable, so powerful, so memorable. The characters are real people. They aren’t these fake people that get what they want out of life. They have hardship, they have failures, they have grumpy messy moments that we want to forget, they love and laugh and get angry, sisters fight, couples break up, but they trust and hope. I love the simple thread of the gospel through the story. It’s so light but so powerful. Our hope doesn’t come from within us. Our hope comes from the Lord. That message doesn’t need to be hammered at the reader. Vogt does a great job of intertwining it into the story in a soft way that makes the reader think deeply.
I laughed at moments in this book. I cried at moments in this book. I wanted to throw the book at the wall at certain times. I was irritated at the older sister, Johanna, just like she was my own annoying sister. I was mad for Jillian. I was excited when things changed for Payton. As a mom of 3 girls, I can only hope my girls will grow into adults whose relationships might not be perfect but they find ways to connect and love each other and support each other through thick and thin.
This book wasn’t fast moving by any means. It was a rather slow story… one that was like reading into someones life. Not all moments are big and box office crushers. And I think that’s what kept me coming back, unable to put it down. It wasn’t flashy and fancy. It was real life. I loved this book. I can’t wait to go back and read the first book in the series and definitely can’t wait for a book 3! Hopefully that will be coming in the future. I gave this book 4 stars. I’m glad I chose to review it.
I received a copy of this book from CelebrateLit. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
About the Author
Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A women’s fiction novelist, Beth’s first novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018.
Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly‘s Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding series by Zondervan. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us.
An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and also enjoys speaking to writers’ groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at bethvogt.com.
More from Beth
“A sister is like yourself in a different movie, a movie that stars you in a different life.”
Deborah Tannen (1945-), sociologist
I’m launching Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters series, and I’ve just turned in the final book in the series. I’d love to share book three’s title with you, but I don’t know what it is. (Of course, book three might have a final title by the time you read this—that’s part of the fun of prerelease deadlines.)
One thing I do know: the theme of “Little Women gone wrong” is woven through all of the books . . . thanks to the Thatcher sisters: Payton, Pepper, Jillian, and Johanna.
Sisters, be they real or imaginary, can be complicated.
Of course, there are sisters who have close relationships. They “get” each other and love doing life together.
But then there are the sister relationships that are like mismatched socks. Or those expensive jeans you loved in the store, but when you bring them home, they never quite live up to those moments in the dressing room.
Such are the Thatcher sisters. Johanna, Jillian, Payton, and Pepper grew up in the same family. They’re all tall. They love Broncos football and board games. But in so many ways their lives are like different movies because they each made different choices. Choices that changed and separated them. Moments We Forgetcontinues to explore whether the Thatcher sisters can find a way to understand each other enough to bridge the distance between them.
Kim Walk-Smith’s passionate performance of “How He Loves” helped transform Jesus Culture into a global worship movement and brought millions into encounters with God’s love. Brave Surrender tells of the personal journey that led Kim to that moment, and still leads her to this day.
After surviving a painful childhood, Kim Walker-Smith struggled to believe that God could bring any sense out of her past. Yet when she chose to give her struggles to God and receive His love in return, she realized that only God could rewrite her story. On the other side of surrender, Kim began a journey of looking at one painful memory at a time with God and exchanging her perspective for His healing truth.
As a long time member of worship teams, I was initially attracted to this book because I had heard of Kim Walker-Smith many times through the last few years. I am very interested in what female worship leaders have to bring to the table so I knew I wanted to check out this book. When I first started reading I kind of felt like where is this going? I don’t really know what the point of this is. But I kept going. The writing was good. The story moved quickly and was easy and enjoyable to read. And I was just so curious what Brave Surrender was for Kim. I started to get to some of the more charismatic theology type ideas and had to push through those. (I do not follow or endorse charismatic ideas.) I kept reading. By that point I was hooked on her story and had to finish it out. I started to see the way God was transforming her life. One step at a time. One fear conquered at a time. Over and over, surrender. Over and over, repentance. Over and over, forgiveness. God was transforming her life from the inside out. I love how she writes very visually. You can picture things happening. She uses a lot of metaphors that help understand what was going on in her head. I started to feel like I wanted God to do something big like this in my life. I didn’t get a preachy feel from the book. There wasn’t much scripture (which was one thing I wish she would have included more of) but the whole book pointed the reader towards Christ. Forgiveness and transformation come from Him. And I want to experience the same type of freedom from fear that Kim experienced. The book pushed me to want to seek that out. I want to sit with the Lord and hash things out too. I love how the book pushes the reader towards Christlikeness in such a roundabout way. It’s not a hit you over the head with a bible type book. But it’s highly affective at pushing people towards the Lord. I really liked this book. I gave it 4 stars. I would recommend it but take the charismatic theology with a grain of salt.
I received a copy of this book from Booklookbloggers. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Embracing the future means remembering the past . . . When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either. Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share. Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.
Rachel Hauck is quickly becoming one of my favorite storytellers. Her stories never disappoint. They are live giving and real. She touches on deep emotional issues through her stories and does it with such grace and care. Infertility, loss, love, family, surprise pregnancy etc. The story took shape for me a little slowly to be honest. I struggled at the beginning. I didn’t feel like I was connecting with the story. But once I got about 20% in I fell in love with the characters and wanted them to be my real life people! I found myself crying as the story wrapped up. The way the characters dealt with their deeply rooted hurt and past and came out healed and full of life was just amazing. It gives the reader hope for their trials and urges them to push forward in the midst of the pain. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. Once I got into the story I didn’t want to put it down.
I received a copy of this book from CelebrateLit. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
About the Author
Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pet and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at RachelHauck.com; Facebook: RachelHauck; Twitter: @RachelHauck; Instagram: @rachelhauc
Excerpt from The Memory House
When Mama Applegate spoke as if Everleigh were a guest rather than a family member, she embraced it with grace. Because at the end of the day, she was Rhett’s wife. She alone shared his dreams, his heart, his life.
And at night, when she couldn’t sleep, his soft breathing was her lullaby.
“Listen, mister, I have to get back to work or I won’t make it home in time for our dinner.” She tugged at his shirt collar. “So are you going to tell me why you’re here?”
“I was going to wait until tonight, but I got so excited . . .” Rhett stepped over to the desk in front of Everleigh’s and retrieved a long white canister. “Here. Open it. I feel like a kid at Christmas.”
“Rhett, what have you done?” She pried away the cap and slipped out a set of drawings.
“Here, let me.” Rhett unrolled a rendering of a cozy house with a wraparound porch nestled between two cottonwoods. “Our house, Ev. I took those sketches you made after we were married and gave
them to the architect. What do you think?”
“Th-this is our house?” She wrapped her arms around his waist, leaning against his thick arm as she studied the drawing.
“It’s our house, darling.”
Everleigh studied the drawing. It was just like she imagined. “Are you sure?” She gazed up at her husband. “I didn’t think we’d saved enough money.”
“We’ve saved every penny of your salary, and I finally sold the stud bull to Jacob Marshall. He’s been after me for a year . . .” Rhett held her with one hand while flipping through the drawing with the other. “I bought the ten acres by the stream. You know, the one with the trees we loved. Dad wanted to give it to us, but I said no strings.
I wanted to buy it so he can’t hold it over me. Not that he would, but family business can get tricky.” Everleigh leaned to see the name of the road. Memory Lane.
“Darling, the section right off Memory Lane? The spot I wanted?”
Rhett’s grandmother had named the dirt road years ago, when she imagined a large family with lots of grandkids running around.
She envisioned an Applegate community.
But her sons, Melvin and Earl, went to war. Only Earl—nicknamed Spike—returned home the fall of 1918. He inherited the ranch, married Mama Applegate, and fathered Rhett, an only child. Grandma’s two daughters married and moved away.
“Your granny would be proud, darling,” Everleigh said. “We’re beginning her dream.”
“Sh-she would.” Rhett cleared his throat, pressing his fist over his cough. “So, w-what do you think?”
Tell him! The timing could not have been more perfect.
He jerked his wrist up, checking his watch. “Oh, Ev, sorry, darling, but I promised Dad I’d pick him up from the hardware store thirty minutes ago.” He gave her a quick, passing kiss. “I’d planned to show you these tonight, but I just couldn’t wait.” He rolled up the drawings and tucked them into the canister. “What is it you wanted to say?” On reflex, he checked his watch again.
“Nothing,” she said, smiling. “I’ll see you later. We can talk then. I have work to do anyway.”
Everleigh fell into him and pressed her cheek against his chest.
“You make my dreams come true, Rhett Applegate.”
He kissed her one more time, then held her at arm’s length.
“Distraction, girl, you are one beautiful distraction.”
Harper’s second chance at life will become a second stint in prison if anyone connects those two dead men to her.
Nutfield, New Hampshire, is as good a place as any to hide from the murderer Harper left behind in Maryland. All she has to do is lie low and make enough money to keep herself and Red alive until she can figure out who her enemies are.
Jack Rossi isn’t sure what to make of his beautiful new tenant and her confused grandfather. Something’s not right, but the love he sees between them and the care she takes of the old man convinces Jack they’re trustworthy. As drawn as he is to Harper, she’s his tenant, so she’s off limits.
Derrick, Harper’s ex-boyfriend and Red’s grandson, needs to find his grandfather and get his hands on the old man’s money before Derrick ends up with a bullet in the skull. And when he gets his hands on Harper, she’ll be sorry for what she’s put him through.
Harper and Jack grow closer, but so do her enemies. If Harper can’t trust Jack with the truth, she may lose more than just this glimpse of true love. She may lose her freedom—or her life.
What an adventure! This book takes the reader on a wild ride. The story is well thought through and flows nicely. The characters are written well and seem like someone you may have known or heard about. This is the first book by Robin Patchen I’ve ever read and I was not disappointed in the least! She writes a great story. I love how she included elderly mental health trouble. She writes it with such grace without glorifying it or demeaning it. One of my favorite lines from the book was something like “she covered every emotion with irritation.” I thought this was so profound… I’ve never read anything like this in another book. The depth of clarity of human emotion on the part of the author is so clear throughout the book. She has a great skill in writing emotion. I give this book 4 stars. I definitely want to go back and read the other books in the series.
I received a copy of this book from CelebrateLit. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.
About the Author
Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.
More from Robin
I was raised in a Christian home. Our parents took my sister, my brother, and me to church every Sunday. They taught us right from wrong, but eventually, kids have to make their own choices. In my case, I chose wrong for a long time.
Don’t misunderstand: I was always a pretty nice person. I wasn’t a thief, and I didn’t kill anybody, but I made a lot of bad decisions. Sinful decisions. I discovered that one bad choice often led to the next and the next until I was trapped in a life of my own making with no idea how to get out.
But God… two of my favorite words in the English language.
God had a different plan, and He pulled me out of the muck and changed my life. He showed me that I was not the person I’d been acting like. He showed me who I was, and He taught me to walk in the truth of my identity.
Harper Cloud isn’t me, not at all. First of all, she tall and blond and drop-dead gorgeous. More than that, her choices are nothing like mine were. But she’s in the same boat I was. Thanks to a series of bad decisions, Harper was in a hole, and she didn’t know how to get herself out of it. She used drugs to quiet the condemning voices and told herself lies to make herself feel better. Someday, she told herself, she’d get her life together enough to go home to her parents. Because she couldn’t go when she was a mess. She couldn’t go until she’d done something they could be proud of.
Thanks to a bad choice in boyfriend, Harper not only didn’t go home, she ended up in prison.
Harper’s story begins two years after she’s released. It’s the story of a woman desperate to be free of her past, clinging to hope when there’s every reason to despair, and desperate to believe what she’s been told about this Savior, Jesus Christ.
Harper will learn about love and redemption and salvation in the course of the three books that make up the Beauty in Flight series. That is, if she can survive the danger that seems to follow her wherever she goes.