Tag Archives: Brandy Vallance

Top 10 Tuesday: Another Time, Another Place

27 Mar

This week’s prompt for Top 10 TuesdayBooks Set in Other Countries — could go a lot of different ways. I decided to feature historical fiction because even if time travel was a thing, I wouldn’t want to take the risks involved in traveling to foreign countries as they experience turmoil, war, disease, persecution, etc. You get the picture. 😉 Books, in this case, really are the only safe and realistic way to visit another time and another place! There’s a little something for everyone in these books — history, romance, suspense, and mystery. I hope you enjoy the trip!

Make sure you travel over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bloggers and their favorite books.

 

Top Historical Novels Set in Another Country

 

Canada, 1910s

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever — if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

 

Czechoslovakia, WWII

Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe—a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.

Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.

 

Ancient Egypt

The Pharaoh’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt’s good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment which awakens in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to be become the bride of Sebak, a kind but quick-tempered Captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives — women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile.

When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt’s gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.

As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan — for them all?

 

France, 1600s

My Brother’s Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

France, 1685. Catherine Gillet knows her brother, Jules, wants to protect her from the sinister threats of the French crown. But Jules is involved in a potentially deadly enterprise, one connected with an encoded document. When his actions put the whole family at risk, will Catherine find a way to save them?

Virginia, present day. Renee Talbot, a direct descendant of Catherine’s, is fascinated by the document that’s been part of her family legacy for more than three centuries. Certain its pages hold hidden secrets, she takes a closer look — and makes a shocking discovery. But when memories of a childhood trauma are rekindled, she’s forced to seek answers of a different kind. Inspired by the faith and bravery of Catherine, can Renee find the truth and face her deepest fears at last?

From the authors of the Christy Award-winning The Amish Midwife comes an epic story of two women, centuries apart, each discovering her own hidden bravery, standing for what she believes in, and finding love in unexpected places.

 

The Galilee, Palestine, 1st Century AD

Madman by Tracy Groot

If there is a way into madness, logic says there is a way out. Logic says. Tallis, a philosopher’s servant, is sent to a Greek academy in Palestine only to discover that it has silently, ominously, disappeared. No one will tell him what happened, but he learns what has become of four of its scholars. One was murdered. One committed suicide. One worships in the temple of Dionysus. And one . . . one is a madman.

From Christy Award–winning author Tracy Groot comes a tale of mystery, horror, and hope in the midst of unimaginable darkness: the story behind the Gerasene demoniac of the Gospels of Mark and Luke.

 

Greenland And Iceland, 900-1000s 

Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert

Viking warrior. Dauntless leader. Protective mother. Determined to rise above her rank as the illegitimate “forest child” of Eirik the Red, Freydis launches a second voyage to Vinland to solidify her power and to demand the respect she deserves. She will return home with enough plunder to force her brother, Leif, to sell her the family farm in Greenland. But nothing can prepare her for the horrors she must confront in Vinland . . . and nothing can stand in her way when her family is threatened. In her race to outrun the truths that might destroy her, Freydis ultimately collides with the only enemy she cannot silence — her own heart. Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life.

 

 

Nevis, 1770s

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.

Although it flies against all the conventions, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined–and that’s just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world.

Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.

To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

 

Scotland, 1800s

Within The Veil by Brandy Vallance

Feya Broon, a Scottish half Gypsy, knows what it is to go hungry. Trapped in the Edinburgh tenements with a father lost to his past and only the faded memory of her mother’s faith, Feya is desperate to provide for her siblings. When an ill-conceived plan leads to thievery, she finds herself in the last place she’d ever want to be–captured by a palace guard. But there’s something about this man that tears at every preconceived notion she’s ever had about the haughty English.

Alasdair Cairncross never dreamed he’d be forced to transport a Gypsy woman halfway across the wilds of Scotland. The timing is disastrous, considering his fiancée’s imminent arrival and his father’s political goals. Not only that, but the fiery young woman threatens to lay bare secrets Alasdair would rather keep hidden. And yet the farther they travel together, the less concerned he finds himself with duty–both to the crown and to the plans his family has for him.

As their walls begin to crumble, Feya and Alasdair must fight to survive a decades-old feud, a Highland kidnapping, and the awakening of their own hearts.

 

South Africa, post-WWII

The Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

 

Ukraine, WWII

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little—known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer’s plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Top 10 Tuesday — Unique Books

11 Apr

 

This week bloggers have been challenged by the folks at The Broke And The Bookish to identify books we find unique. Hmmm. This took a bit of thinking on my part, but I came up with some books that are unique in characters, setting, and perspective. The most unique feature of these books is that they are all Christian. I often hear people say they don’t read CF because the books are all alike — well here are some that will challenge that presumption.

 

Top Unique Books

Vikings! Heather Day Gilbert writes books about Vikings. Strong female Vikings! Her Vikings of The New World series is currently 2 books strong, but there are more on the way promising great storytelling. The saga begins with God’s Daughter.

 

Gypsies! Brandy Vallance’s novel, Within The Veil, takes a look at the gypsy culture against the backdrop of Victorian England. There are some other unique elements that make this novel not your run of the mill CF historical romance.

The Circus! I know there have been other books with the circus as their setting, but The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof goes much deeper. The two main characters are unique as well.

Judas. Tosca Lee‘s novel, Iscariot, is a powerful look at Jesus through the eyes of the disciple who betrayed him. With Easter around the corner, you cannot go wrong with this book.

LOTS of Jesus. In Imaginary Jesus, Matt Mikalatos looks at the question Jesus asks His disciples: Who do you say I am?

Werewolves, Zombies and Vampires, oh my! Matt Mikalatos is back with another novel looking at the Christian life. Night of the Living Dead Christian is a very unique read.

Witches and a very unique narrator. All of Billy Coffey‘s novels can be categorized as unique, but The Curse of Crow Hollow takes the designation up a notch. There is a witch, but it is the narrator that provides the most unique feature.

Island Destination. Ok, everyone likes a book with an island setting, but Uncharted by Angela Hunt offers a destination most would do anything to avoid.

Travel through space and time. Perhaps the most unique series of books I have read comes from the very talented Stephen Lawhead. The adventure in this 5-book series starts in The Skin Map. This one has it all — unique settings, characters, and mind-bending themes.

What unique books have you read?

Top 10 Tuesday — Hidden Gems

17 Jan

The folks at The Broke And The Bookish have challenged us to list those books we term underrated/hidden gems. I really hate the term underrated. It has such a negative feel to it. So I am choosing to focus on books that I consider hidden gems — books that many people may not know about, but would love if they gave them a chance. The last time I tackled a list like this was back in July when the Top 10 Tuesday theme was books with less than 2000 ratings on Goodreads. Well, most of the books I read fit in this category! Why? Perhaps readers are just not motivated to rate books. But ratings mean a lot to authors — it helps with visibility and ultimately sales of their books. If you love a book I encourage you to rate it!

So here is a list of books I read in the last half of 2016 with not a lot of stars following their titles. Many of them made my Best of 2016 list too. To find out what other bloggers consider hidden gems, click HERE.

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Top 10 Hidden Gems

(Books with under 200 ratings on Goodreads)

The Cantaloupe Thief by Deb Richardson-Moore

A Day And A Life by Penelope Wilcock

The Fifth Column by Mike Hollow

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Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert

The Name I Call Myself by Beth Moran

Of Stillness And Storm by Michele Phoenix

The Raven by Mike Nappa

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

Within The Veil by Brandy Vallance

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Have you read any of these books?

If you haven’t already, head over to Goodreads and rate them!

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2016

27 Dec

2016 was a whirlwind of activity for my family. Several weddings, a couple of bucket list trips, and relocations led to a very busy year. Amid it all I did manage to read some great books — some new releases and some new to me. So, I am supposed to narrow my list to just 10. Hmm . . . can’t do it. 😉 So I have come up with two lists — Contemporary Fiction and Historical Fiction. No matter your preference of genre, there is something for you on these lists. To see what other bloggers consider their best of the best, please visit The Broke And The Bookish.

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Top Contemporary Fiction of 2016

 

Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix

Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon

Seeing Things by Patti Hill

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti

Sycamore Row by John Grisham

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Water From My Heart by Charles Martin

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Witnesses by Robert Whitlow

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Top Historical Fiction of 2016

 

Anchor in The Storm by Sarah Sundin

AD 30 by Ted Dekker

A Day And A Life by Penelope Wilcock

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Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert

The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Like A River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart

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The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin

Within The Veil by Brandy Valance

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Best of The Best of 2106

There were two books that I gave Very Highly Recommended ratings to in 2016. Both were from author Mike Nappa. These are great books I would recommend to everyone!

unknown2Annabel Lee

Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl–before it’s too late.

41jklpz8chl-_sx322_bo1204203200_The Raven 

As part of his regular street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience’s pockets while they watch. It’s harmless fun — until he decides to keep the spare wallet a city councilman doesn’t seem to miss, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds not money but compromising photos of the councilman and his “personal assistants”, The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named, “Nevermore”.

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues — and their complicated feelings for each other — to rescue The Raven and save hundreds of lives from a wildcard bent on revenge.

 

Book Review: Within The Veil

1 Sep

51qjZMe3LcL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_They never should have met. But they might be made for each other.

Feya Broon, a Scottish half Gypsy, knows what it is to go hungry. Trapped in the Edinburgh tenements with a father lost to his past and only the faded memory of her mother’s faith, Feya is desperate to provide for her siblings. When an ill-conceived plan leads to thievery, she finds herself in the last place she’d ever want to be–captured by a palace guard. But there’s something about this man that tears at every preconceived notion she’s ever had about the haughty English.

Alasdair Cairncross never dreamed he’d be forced to transport a Gypsy woman halfway across the wilds of Scotland. The timing is disastrous, considering his fiancée’s imminent arrival and his father’s political goals. Not only that, but the fiery young woman threatens to lay bare secrets Alasdair would rather keep hidden. And yet the farther they travel together, the less concerned he finds himself with duty–both to the crown and to the plans his family has for him.

As their walls begin to crumble, Feya and Alasdair must fight to survive a decades-old feud, a Highland kidnapping, and the awakening of their own hearts.

81ysurEvtnL._UX250_Brandy Vallance fell in love with the Victorian time period at a young age, loving the customs, manners, and especially the intricate rules of love. Since time travel is theoretically impossible, she lives in the nineteenth century vicariously through her novels. Unaccountable amounts of black tea have fueled this ambition. Brandy’s love of tea can only be paralleled by her love of Masterpiece Theater Classics, deep conversations, and a good book. Brandy is the 2013 Operation First Novel winner and the 2012 winner of the ACFW Genesis Contest for historical romance. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Covered Deep, has been featured in USA TODAY and Writer’s Digest. You can connect with Brandy via her website http://www.brandyvallance.com, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, YouTube, or Twitter @BrandyVallance.

 

My Impressions:

Brandy Vallance is an author to be reckoned with. Her outstanding debut novel, The Covered Deep, announced that she was one to watch. In her sophomore offering, Within The Veil, Vallance proves that she will be a permanent fixture in the historical romance genre of Christian Fiction. With multi-dimensional characters, a plot that will appeal to those who love adventure and intrigue, rich historical detail, a uniquely fresh story, and a romance for the ages, this novel is a welcome addition to any book shelf. I highly recommend this one!

Feya Broon is a young woman of the tenements in Victorian-era Edinburgh. She is desperate to save her siblings from sure starvation and death, so desperate that she is willing to risk her honor and her life to save them. Alisdair Cairncross, Queen’s Guard and recipient of the Victoria Cross, knows only honor and duty. When their paths cross all they have come to know and expect is thrown to the wind.

First let me say that Vallance’s writing is lyrical. She gives her reader depth and texture as she relates the rough streets of Edinburgh, the rugged terrain of rural Scotland and the opulence of the seats of the wealthy. The poverty and disease of the poorest is contrasted with the sensibilities of the upper class. Characters’ motives and emotions are slowly revealed as the story progresses forcing the reader to reassess her feelings toward them. I know that I, like Feya and Alisdair, had to change my position on the worthiness of various characters. And worth is a powerful theme. Prejudice and pre-conceived notions had to be dealt with by all the characters. And while a modern reader may be tempted to be judgmental about Victorian beliefs, they are not so different from the prejudices held today. The spiritual journey of the characters was poignant and powerful. Alisdair must come to terms with God’s purpose for his life versus what society and family want. Feya has to overcome the sense that no one cares, let alone, loves her. As she soon finds, God is closer than her own skin

This God she didn’t know.  . . . This was personal. And raw. And terrifying.

Alisdair explains the nature of belief in a beautiful way —

He put his hand over his heart. ‘Felt Him here.’ He moved his finger to his forehead. ‘And I knew things here.’ He slid his finger to his temple . . . .  I also recognize Him in the things I see.’

Feya and Alisdair fight off brigands, societal expectations, prejudice and temptation to achieve an ending any hopeless romantic will love. Within The Veil is a great read. I’m looking forward to more of the same from this talented author.

Note: Alisdair has an unusual gift that Vallance explains in her afterword. I loved that she incorporated something very personal within the context of her novel.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to the author for a review copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Book Spotlight — Within The Veil

25 Jul

If you like historical fiction, you really need to check out Brandy Vallance’s newest book, Within The Veil. Brandy brings a fresh and unique voice to the historical genre. I loved her debut novel, The Covered Deep. I am currently reading Within The Veil and am impressed by Brandy’s research and character development. And don’t you just love the cover?! I’ll post my review in the coming weeks. In the meantime, read the blurb and visit Brandy’s website.

 

51qjZMe3LcL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_They never should have met. But they might be made for each other.

Feya Broon, a Scottish half Gypsy, knows what it is to go hungry. Trapped in the Edinburgh tenements with a father lost to his past and only the faded memory of her mother’s faith, Feya is desperate to provide for her siblings. When an ill-conceived plan leads to thievery, she finds herself in the last place she’d ever want to be–captured by a palace guard. But there’s something about this man that tears at every preconceived notion she’s ever had about the haughty English.

Alasdair Cairncross never dreamed he’d be forced to transport a Gypsy woman halfway across the wilds of Scotland. The timing is disastrous, considering his fiancée’s imminent arrival and his father’s political goals. Not only that, but the fiery young woman threatens to lay bare secrets Alasdair would rather keep hidden. And yet the farther they travel together, the less concerned he finds himself with duty–both to the crown and to the plans his family has for him.

As their walls begin to crumble, Feya and Alasdair must fight to survive a decades-old feud, a Highland kidnapping, and the awakening of their own hearts.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

 

BrandyVallanceHeadshot1A completely incurable romantic, Brandy Vallance adores history and frequently has to be told at museums that it’s closing time. She loves to travel, plays the cello, and thinks all teacups should be bottomless. In 2011, she fulfilled a lifelong dream and went to England, Scotland, and Wales. Being a complete Anglophile, it was difficult to bring her home. Bribes may have been involved.

Brandy fell in love with the Victorian time period at a young age, loving the customs, manners, and especially the intricate rules of love. Since time travel is theoretically impossible, she lives in the nineteenth century vicariously through her novels. Unaccountable amounts of black tea have fueled this ambition. Brandy hopes to avoid a similar fate as the writer, Honoré de Balzac, who met his death via caffeine poisoning. At this point, the balance may not be tipped in her favor. Brandy’s love of tea can only be paralleled by her love of Masterpiece Theater Classics, deep conversations, and a good book.

(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: The Covered Deep

16 Oct

953750Bianca Marshal is holding out for the perfect husband. Finding a man that meets the requirements of her “must-have” list in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains has proven impossible. Bianca’s mama insists that there’s no such thing as a perfect true love, and that Bianca’s ideal man is pure fiction. On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Bianca discovers a devastating statistic: her chance of marrying is now only eighteen percent. Unwilling to accept spinsterhood, Bianca enters an essay contest that propels her into a whirlwind search for her soulmate. Via the opulence of London and the mysteries of the Holy Land, Bianca’s true love will be revealed, but not without a heavy price.

 

 

BrandyVallanceHeadshot1-199x300Brandy Vallance is a graduate of Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprenticeship. She has attended many CBA and ABA writing conferences across the country. Brandy has had fifty articles published in various magazines and newspapers and was on staff with a magazine focusing on the Victorian time period. During this time, Brandy traveled to Victorian balls and tea events, learning the ins and outs of Victorian etiquette and customs. Brandy has had Victorian fiction and non-fiction articles published.

Brandy is a member of the Christian Writers Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers. She is the 2013 winner of the Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel Contest which included a publishing contract for The Covered Deep by Worthy Publishing. In 2012, she won the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest for historical romance. In 2011, Brandy was a semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest. In 2009, Brandy won honorable mention at the Pikes Peak Writers American Icon contest.

Brandy has taught writing workshops covering The Business Side of Writing, The Novelist’s Life, Discovering the Depths of Your Creativity, and Unlocking Personification & Metaphor to Deepen Emotion. Brandy has been the main speaker at ladies retreats and was able to direct, design the set, and act in a play that she wrote. In June of 2011, Brandy took a research trip to England, Scotland, and Wales and fulfilled a lifelong dream, adding depth and reality to The Covered Deep as well as nourishing future novel ideas.

 

My Impressions:

A debut novel? Really?! The Covered Deep is Brandy Vallance’s first novel, but it sure didn’t feel that way. This well-researched historical novel has it all — a wonderful sense of place and time, well-developed characters, and a twisting plot that will keep the reader on her toes. If this is what you get with a first novel, I can’t wait to read more from Brandy Vallance.

Bianca Marshall knows what she wants. She just can’t find it in her small, southern Ohio town. Romance, love, adventure — she wants to experience it all and find her soul mate in the process. Urged by her father, Bianca enters and wins a contest that will whisk her away from small town life to sophisticated London society and the exotic locales of the Holy Land. But Bianca didn’t count on heartbreak, danger and God’s challenge of forgiveness.

As I said, The Covered Deep has it all. Vallance does a great job of capturing the life and times of not one but two locations — London and Jerusalem of the 1870s. I felt like I was traveling right along with Bianca as she left America for adventure and romance. Vallance’s characterizations are strong as well. The good characters, Bianca and Paul, were credible with real life flaws and faults. But it was the bad guys who I really loved. And while forgiveness and redemption were strong themes, not all the characters would accept the gift from God. The mysterious machinations of Sir Adrian had me guessing and kept me on the edge of my seat. There were plenty of times I held my breath along with Bianca.

I highly recommend this not just good, but excellent debut from Brandy Vallance.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults

(Thanks to Worthy Publishing for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.