Tag Archives: historical fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Colorful Book Titles

4 Aug

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is to list books with colors in their titles. There are a lot more than I expected! I limited my list to books I have read or that reside on my TBR shelf (Kindle or actual), but the list is still really long 😉 .

Have you read any of these colorful titles?

 

For more Top 10 Tuesday fun, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Colorful Titles

 

Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Colins

 

The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear

Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate

Why The Sky Is Blue by Susan Meissner

 

Under A Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter

 

Always Green by Patti Hill

Downtown Green by Judy Christie

The Woman in The Green Dress by Tea Cooper

 

The Yellow Packard by Ace Collins

\

Coral Moon by Brandilyn Collins

 

The Crimson Cord by Jill Eileen Smith

Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins

My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay

The Red Ribbon by Pepper Basham

 

The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma

 

Chasing The White Lion by James R. Hannibal

The White City by Grace Hitchcock

White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner

The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt

 

The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock

 

The Black Madonna By Davis Bunn

The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo

The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

 

 

August Book Club Selection — The Woman in The Green Dress

3 Aug

This month’s book club selection is The Woman in The Green Dress by Australian author Tea Cooper. This novel full of mystery and history has a dual timeline — 1853 and 1919 — and is set almost entirely in Australia. I have already read the book (I listened to the excellent audiobook edition) and will be reviewing it soon. Although I usually can judge these things, I am really not sure how my group will like this book. All I will say right now, is that it has a lot of interesting elements.

Have you read it? We would love to know your thoughts.

 

 

A cursed opal, a gnarled family tree, and a sinister woman in a green dress emerge in the aftermath of World War I.

After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.

In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.

This romantic mystery from award-winning Australian novelist Tea Cooper will keep readers guessing until the astonishing conclusion.

 

Tea Cooper is an Australian author of historical and contemporary fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling.

Website: http://www.teacooperauthor.com
Blog: http://www.teacooperauthor.com/blog.html
Twitter: @TeaCooper1
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TeaCooper
Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/LtrSn

 

First Line Friday — Far on The Ringing Plains

24 Jul

I hit a home run with the purchase of a book for my husband. While we sometimes love the same books, more often than not the books I read my husband would not pick up. When I saw a blurb for Far on The Ringing Plains by Murray Pura and Patrick E. Craig, I took a shot and ordered. My husband loved this book set in the early days of WWII in the Pacific theater. I am featuring the first line in the hopes that you too (or a friend or spouse) may also find this book intriguing. It is the first of a planned three part Islands series. My husband is eagerly awaiting the next release.

 

When I first saw the Islands, it was August 7, 1942, at 0400 hours . . .

 

In the spirit of The Thin Red Line, Hacksaw Ridge, Flags of our Fathers, and Pearl Harbor.

Realistic. Gritty. Gutsy. Without taking it too far, Craig and Pura take it far enough to bring war home to your heart, mind, and soul. The rough edge of combat is here. And the rough edge of language, human passion, and our flawed humanity. If you can handle the ruggedness and honesty of Saving Private Ryan, 1917 or Dunkirk, you can handle the power and authenticity of ISLANDS: Far on the Ringing Plains.

For the beauty and the honor is here too. Just like the Bible, in all its roughness and realism and truthfulness about life, reaching out for God is ever-present in ISLANDS. So are hope and faith and self-sacrifice. Prayer. Christ. Courage. An indomitable spirit. And the best of human nature, triumphing over the worst.

Bud Parmalee, Johnny Strange, Billy Martens — three men that had each other’s backs and the backs of every Marine in their company and platoon. All three were raised never to fight. All three saw no other choice but to enlist and try to make a difference. All three would never be the same again. Never. And neither would their world.

Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next twenty-six years as a worship leader, pastor, and seminar speaker in churches and at retreats, seminars, and conferences all across the Western United States.

After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches in Northern California, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books.

Murray Andrew Pura was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and has traveled extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Ordained as a Baptist minister in 1986, Pura has served five churches in Canada and headlined numerous speaking engagements in Canada and the United States. He has five books published, was a contributor to the Life With God Bible, has been a finalist for The Paraclete Fiction Award, The Dartmouth Book Award, and The John Spencer Hill Literary Award, and has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2010 Kobzar Literary Award of Canada.

 

For more first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

Audiobook Review: A Bridge Across The Ocean

23 Jul

Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women — past and present — in this emotional novel from the acclaimed author of The Last Year of the War.
 
February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Résistance spy.
 
Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark . . . 
 
Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides — and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

 

Susan Meissner is the USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction with more than half a million books in print in fifteen languages. Her novels include The Last Year of the War, a Library Reads and Real Simple top pick; As Bright as Heaven, which received a starred review from Library Journal; Secrets of a Charmed Life, a 2015 Goodreads Choice award finalist; and A Fall of Marigolds, named to Booklist’s Top Ten women’s fiction titles for 2014. She is also RITA finalist and Christy Award and Carol Award winner. A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University and is also a writing workshop volunteer for Words Alive, a San Diego non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth foster a love for reading and writing.
Visit Susan at her website: http://susanmeissner.com and on Twitter at @SusanMeissner or at http://www.facebook.com/susan.meissner.

 

My Impressions:

Susan Meissner is one of my must-read authors. Her books are skillfully crafted with complex characters and plots that speak to the heart. Unfortunately, I am woefully behind on reading her books. Determined to do better, I chose A Bridge Across The Ocean to accompany me on my morning walks. I should have known better. Instead of turning off the audiobook to continue my day, it remained on as I looked for chores that would allow me to keep listening. 😉 This novel, which has a dual timeline, would not let me go. If you are looking for an unputdownable read, then this one is for you!

The HMS Queen Mary is the link to the three stories that are presented in A Bridge Across The Ocean. Modern-day Brette sees ghosts or drifters as she calls them. She sees this as more of a curse than a gift and has endeavored to ignore the sight for much of her life. While doing a favor for a friend she is introduced to the tragic story of Anneliese Lange and is determined to discover the truth of the fateful war brides crossing. The reader is introduced to Anneliese, a German, and Simone, a Frenchwoman, long before Brette knows their names. Their stories run parallel during the days of WWII. I was drawn to each woman’s story. Heartbreaking and heroic both describe their experiences. There are also some ghosts we meet along the way. The first person voice of one in particular provided moving insight into the life of the Queen Mary cruise ship. While Meissner has written for the Christian fiction market in the past, A Bridge Across The Ocean is general market fiction. But the reader can definitely find a Christian worldview if she/he looks for it. The spirits Brette encounters are great metaphors for all the lost people we meet along the way — those looking for purpose or direction. Her gift of seeing and communicating with them sheds light on all the giftedness we possess and the ways we choose to utilize or ignore it. If you don’t mind the inclusion of ghosts, you will find a riveting story of grace. Specific to the audiobook: the narrator did an excellent job of portraying the many accents — French, American, Belgian, and German — of the characters.

A Bridge Across The Ocean is now my favorite book by Meissner. Really a hard feat since all her books are excellent. It gets the rare very highly recommended rating from me.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

This Book Is Making Me Hungry! The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

13 Jul

Some books just make you hungry! Some for more from an author or genre. And some for the enticing food that has been described. The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz made me hungry for more of her books plus some of the Welsh bread that Noble Rynalt’s housekeeper served for breakfast and tea. Bara Brith or speckled bread is a traditional bread made in Wales. It is filled with raisins, hence the speckled name, and spices. As in the novel, it is served with butter. Below is the recipe from Allrecipes. I really need to make this one!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot brewed tea
  • ¾ cup dried currants
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • ¾ cup demerara sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups self-rising flour
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions

  • Step 1

    Pour hot tea over currants and raisins in a bowl; soak 8 hours to overnight.

  • Step 2

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  • Step 3

    Grease a sheet of parchment paper and use it to line a 2-pound loaf pan.

  • Step 4

    Stir demerara sugar into tea and fruit mixture until dissolved completely.

  • Step 5

    Mix flour and egg into the tea and fruit mixture until completely integrated into a batter.

  • Step 6

    Spread batter evenly into the prepared bread pan.

  • Step 7

    Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown, about 40 minutes. Cool in the bread pan 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

    ******************

    When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson is abandoned by her fiancé and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

    Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

     

    Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. When she’s not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

    According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.

    Readers can find Laura Frantz athttp://www.laurafrantz.net.

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: The Lacemaker

9 Jul

When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson is abandoned by her fiancé and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

 

Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. When she’s not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.

Readers can find Laura Frantz at http://www.laurafrantz.net.

 

My Impressions:

After years of hearing praise for historical novelist Laura Frantz, I finally took the plunge with An Uncommon Woman. I liked it so much that I immediately downloaded the audiobook of The Lacemaker, a book I knew would be great for my 4th of July reading. I was right! Set in 1775-1776 Williamsburg, the book encompasses the earliest days of rebellion. Main characters, Liberty Lawson and Noble Rynalt are fictional, but Frantz includes historical figures like Patrick Henry to give this book authenticity. Liberty, formerly known as Lady Elizabeth Lawson, daughter of the Lt. Governor of the colony, has definite Tory roots. But her mother’s sense of justice and her own desire for freedom, set her on a course counter to her father’s beliefs and her own place in society. Liberty and Noble will capture your heart as they negotiate the perils of the fight for independence and their own personal journey towards love. Yes, there is romance mixed in with spying and sedition — a great combo for fans who want a love story blended into their history. I listened to the audiobook in the days leading up to the July 4th holiday — a great choice to remember what the day is all about. The narrator did an admirable job capturing the rich mixture of voices that made up Virginia colony.

There is no doubt as to why The Lacemaker won a Christy award. Frantz’s wonderful storytelling, strong characters, and meaningful spiritual message make this one a must read.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Most Read Authors

7 Jul

The week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt is authors I have read the most books by. I am tweaking a bit with a list of the authors my book club loves — the ones we always read whenever they have a new book release. I have included two of my favorites from each author. I hope you find one to love from our list.

For more favorite author recommendations, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Book Club Favorite Authors

 

Terri Blackstock

 

Elizabeth Musser

 

Francine Rivers

 

Dan Walsh

 

Robert Whitlow

 

Cindy Woodsmall

 

 

Who is your favorite author?

 

 

 

 

 

First Line Friday — The Lacemaker

3 Jul

Happy Friday! To kick off my Independence Day celebration, I downloaded the audiobook of The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz about a week ago. Set in Williamsburg in 1775 with historical figures to compliment the fictional story, I thought it would be perfect to welcome the 4th of July.  I listen to audiobooks during my morning walks and while doing chores around the house. I still have 3 hours left — more ironing anyone?

 

 

Elizabeth took a breath, breaking an intense hour of concentration.

 

When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson is abandoned by her fiancé and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. When she’s not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.

Readers can find Laura Frantz at http://www.laurafrantz.net

 

Anyone else have some patriotic reading going on?

 

For more first line Friday fun, check out Hoarding Books.

 

 

Book Review: The Key to Everything

2 Jul

Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents’ devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams, Lisa Wallace.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle all the way to Key West, Florida. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined — namely, the key to his unknowable father, a reunion with Lisa, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

Through poignant prose and characters so real you’ll be sure you know them, Valerie Fraser Luesse transports you to the storied Atlantic coast for a unique coming-of-age story you won’t soon forget.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac and is an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently a senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana’s Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

 

My Impressions:

The first two books by Valerie Fraser Luesse were all I could hope for in novels that tell wonderful stories filled with engaging characters and a great sense of place and time. I chose The Key to Everything without even reading the blurb, that was how assured I was of liking it. And I did! In fact I loved it. I may even have a little book hangover — I just can’t let this book go. It gets my highly recommended rating.

The Key to Everything is a coming-of-age story set in 1947. This was a time of great hopes, but with the lingering aftereffects of war. I especially liked that Luesse set the novel as a journey in old Florida. While I grew up many years after this story is set, I did experience Florida before the advent of Disney. It was a time of small coastal towns, kitschy motels, and sometimes crusty fish camps. The book brought back those memories and more, with many things I didn’t know before. Peyton’s journey on the saddle of a bike allows the reader to experience the small things that made the Florida of that time special. The characters are wonderfully drawn — I came to love Peyton and all those he met along the way. Peyton is a remarkable character, fearless in his desire to find his own way. I loved how he learned about his father’s dreams and aspirations, along with his disappointments and compromises. This knowledge helped to determine Peyton’s own path. The Key to Everything is a quiet book, yet it has some very big moments that are not shouted, but seep into the reader’s heart. This beautifully told story will stay with me a very long time.  I also think that the novel would make a great choice for book clubs. I know I really want to talk about it!

I wish I could do more justice to this book. Just let me leave you with one more thought — read this book! You will be so glad you did.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Upcoming Anticipated Releases

30 Jun

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is all about the 2020 books bloggers are looking forward to that have yet to be released. I have a lot on my shelves to read, but I still cannot wait to get my hands on more books! I kept my list to the proscribed 10, but in reality there are many more. Hope my list piques your interest.

 

What new books are you looking forward to?

 

 

Top 10 Anticipated Releases

 

Acceptable Risk by Lynette Eason (8/4/20))

Backlash by Rachel Dylan (10/6/20)

The Escape by Lisa Harris (11/3/20)

 

Everywhere to Hide by Siri Mitchell (10/6/20)

The Haunting of Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright (9/1/120)

The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan (8/18/20)

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton (9/1/20)

 

Point of Danger by Irene Hannon (10/6/20)

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks (7/14/20)

Two Reasons to Run by Colleen Coble (9/8/20)