Tag Archives: Kate Breslin

Book Review: Far Side of The Sea

1 Apr

In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life — a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel’s half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives.

Former bookseller-turned-author Kate Breslin enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family. A writer of travel articles and award-winning poetry, Kate received Christian Retailing’s 2015 Best Award for First Time Author and her debut novel, For Such A Time, was shortlisted for both the Christy and RITA awards and received the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 Carol Award for Debut Novel. Kate’s fourth novel, Far Side of the Sea, released March, 2019. When she’s not writing inspirational fiction, Kate enjoys reading or taking long walks in Washington’s beautiful woodlands. She also likes traveling to new places, within the U.S. and abroad, having toured Greece, Rome, and much of Western Europe. New destinations make for fresh story ideas. Please visit her at http://www.katebreslin.com.

My Impressions:

I haven’t read many books set in WWI so my frame of reference for Kate Breslin’s newest novel, Far Side of The Sea, was very much limited. But the author’s meticulous research filled the gaps and opened my imagination to the turbulent time. Set in England, France, and Spain, this romantic historical novel is all about spies! With agents and double agents, the main characters (and the reader) don’t know whom to trust. It is an adventure back to a time of romance, danger, and courage. Recommended.

The two main characters, Colin and Johanna, struggle with the circumstances life has handed them. Colin’s war wounds are both physical and emotional, and Johanna’s past impacts her present identity. I loved how the two together learned to face their demons, as they banded together to search for Johanna’s sister and father. Their romance begins tentatively, yet strengthens as they face adversity. The historical setting is very interesting, and I found myself saying I didn’t know that! over and over. This book sent me to Google for info on carrier pigeons and Mata Hari, two fascinating rabbit trails. The book certainly made me want to broaden my scant knowledge of WWI. The book started somewhat slowly for me, but as Colin and Johanna’s search heated up, so did my reading pace. I found myself unwilling to put the book down until I found out just what was going on. As you can guess with a book heavily populated with spies there was plenty of mystery and intrigue woven throughout. Faith is also an important part of the characters’ lives and growth and was presented naturally.

Far Side of The Sea is a good choice for fans of historical romance. And if you like an adventure fraught with danger, you’ll enjoy this novel even more.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR

19 Mar

I am very excited about the books I have coming up this Spring — lots of favorite authors with new releases! There’s a little something for everyone on my list — romance, suspense, history, women’s fiction. All are new releases and have the loveliest, Spring-y covers. I hope you find a new book you can add to your Spring TBR List!

For more of what bloggers are reading in the coming months, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Books on My Spring TBR

Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon

After tragedy upends her world, Jeannette Mason retreats to the tiny Oregon seaside town of Hope Harbor to create a new life. Vowing to avoid emotional attachments, she focuses on running her lavender farm and tea-room — until a new neighbor with a destructive dog and a forlorn little girl invades her turf. But she needn’t worry. Dr. Logan West is too busy coping with an unexpected family, a radical lifestyle change, and an unruly pup to have any interest in his aloof and disagreeable neighbor.

Yet when both Jeanette and Logan find themselves pulled into the life of a tattered Christian family fleeing persecution in war-torn Syria, might they discover that love sometimes comes calling when it’s least expected?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites readers back to the charming seaside town of Hope Harbor, where they are sure to find peace, healing, and a second chance at happiness.

The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli

Two women, three hundred years apart, must face the devastation of all they hold dear…

Suspecting her husband is having an affair, Sarah Rodrigues fights to appear unbroken while attempting to salvage her family. Though distracted by her own troubles, Sarah is summoned to an elderly friend’s deathbed for an unusual request—find a long-lost daughter and relay a centuries-old family story.

Determined not to fail her friend, Sarah pieces together the story of her neighbor’s ancestor, Elizabeth Baker, a young colonist forced into an unwanted betrothal but drawn to a man forbidden by society.

While Sarah’s family teeters on the edge of collapse, her world is further shaken by the interest of a caring doctor and a terrible accident that threatens a life more precious than her own.

Inspired by the unconditional love she uncovers in Elizabeth’s story, Sarah strives to forgive those who’ve wounded her soul. But when light shines on the dark secrets of her neighbor’s past and the full extent of her husband’s sins, will looking to a power greater than herself rekindle lost hope?

The Far Side of The Sea by Kate Breslin

In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life–a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel’s half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

Nearly a decade after her husband’s affair drove her back home to South Alabama, Jessie McBride has the stable life she wants — operating her garden shop, Twig, next door to her house on Glory Road, and keeping up with her teenage daughter and spunky mother. But the unexpected arrival of two men makes Jessie question whether she’s really happy with the status quo.

When handsome, wealthy businessman Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter’s lavish wedding, Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. Then Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school, moves back to the red dirt road, and she feels her heart pulled in directions she never expected.

Meanwhile, Jessie’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and navigating a new world of emotions — particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who’s moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie’s mother, Gus, is suffering increasingly frequent memory lapses and faces a frightening, uncertain future.

In one summer, everything will change. But for these three strong Southern women, the roots they’ve planted on Glory Road will give life to the adventures waiting just around the curve.

The Governess of Penwythe Hall by Sarah A. Ladd

Cornwall, England, 1811

Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she tries desperately to forget.

Jac Trethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced at Penwythe Hall, he battles both grief of this brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess — and the mystery shrouding her past — proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall Novels series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

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. 

Moments We Forget by Beth Vogt

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?

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans — but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans’ home before Laura is notified about her family’s unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God”.

The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.

Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.

Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past — and the most fearsome battle of his life.

When He Found Me by Victoria Bylin

Once a strong Christian, third baseman Shane Riley lost his faith the night he injured his knee in a freak car accident. Determined to return to professional baseball and to find the sister he treated badly, Shane retreats to Refuge, Wyoming. There he meets Melissa June “MJ” Townsend, a single mom battling the virus that causes cervical cancer.

MJ wants nothing to do with the handsome athlete — no doubt a womanizer considering the stories in the news. But when a mistake results in Shane renting her garage apartment, they become friends. That friendship blossoms into something deep and pure, leaving MJ with a painful secret to tell. Even more complicated, she discovers an unexpected tie to Shane’s missing sister — a wounded woman who wants nothing to do with the perfect brother who scorned her.

 

What are you reading this Spring?

 

 

 

November Book Club Picks

1 Nov

The temps are going lower here in middle Georgia, and my book clubs have a couple of great books to snuggle with! By The Book is reading A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow (one of our all-time favorite authors), and Page Turners is reading For Such A Time by Kate Breslin.

Have you read either book?

We’d love to know your thoughts.

In a small Georgia town where racial tensions run high and lives are at stake, can one lawyer stand up for justice against the tide of prejudice on every side?

Adisa Johnson, a young African-American attorney, is living her dream of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta. Then a split-second mistake changes the course of her career.

Left with no other options, Adisa returns to her hometown where a few days earlier a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen who is now lying comatose in the hospital.

Adisa is itching to jump into the fight as a special prosecutor, but feels pulled to do what she considers unthinkable — defend the officer.

As the court case unfolds, everyone in the small community must confront their own prejudices. Caught in the middle, Adisa also tries to chart her way along a path complicated by her budding relationship with a charismatic young preacher who leads the local movement demanding the police officer answer for his crime.

This highly relevant and gripping novel challenges us to ask what it means to forgive while seeking justice and to pursue reconciliation while loving others as ourselves.

 

Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther

In 1944, blond and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric’s compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy.

Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp’s prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?

Book Review: For Such A Time

16 May

211607In 1944, blond and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric’s compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy.

Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp’s prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?

 

Breslin_Kate1-300x225A Florida girl who migrated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin lives with her husband, John, and a very spoiled cat named Coco. Kate has written several travel articles, published award-winning poetry, and her first manuscript, a Scottish historical romance, was finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest. These days, when she’s not writing inspirational fiction or spending time with her author friends, she’s avidly reading books, watching anything Jane Austen on BBC, or following John’s musical career as his #1 fan. An avid “tree-hugger” she often enjoys long walks in the forests and playing in the garden–growing all kinds of flowers and herbs, especially those that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Kate’s also a traveler – she and John have toured most of Washington state and many places in the U.S. With her intrepid mom as traveling companion, Kate’s also been abroad – Paris, Munich, Rome, Pompeii, Athens, even a day trip to Turkey. Her next story takes place in Western Europe. Could another “research trip” be in the offing . . . ?

 

 

 

My Impressions:

I have read a lot of books this year that have been set in Europe during WWII. Most have been good, but Kate Breslin’s novel, For Such A Time, ranks as one of the best. While the degradation and abuses of the concentration camps are highlighted, Breslin manages to infuse enough hope to make the story sing with the love and faithfulness of God. Certainly a must read for those who love historical novels, I will heartily recommend For Such A Time to all who want a moving read.

Aric Von Schmidt, a camp commandant on his way to Theresienstadt, rescues Stella Muller from execution at Dachau. Her indomitable spirit and beauty touch him in a way that he believed nothing could again. Bitter and hardened to the atrocities of war, he nevertheless reaches out to save her. Stella, though, has a very dangerous secret. Her false papers and her Aryan features label her as a true German. She maintains her identity in order to survive and hopefully to be the salvation of those who have no hope. The ghetto of Theresienstadt holds terror, abuse and despair for all those who enter and only certain death to those who leave. Through Stella’s daring, her uncle’s vision and Aric’s sacrifice, many might be saved from extermination.

For Such A Time is a beautifully written account of the dark history of murder, terror and abuse that the Jews and others deemed undesirable had to endure at the hands of the Nazis. And while I knew the history well, it was still a startling and heartbreaking story that unfolded in the pages of this book. Difficult to read, it was also a wonderful testament to the will to survive and the deep faith in a good and gracious God in the midst of trial. I found the characters well-developed with poignant backstories that, while not lessening their crimes, made them seem terribly human in their motivations. Based on the biblical book of Esther, the novel portrays great courage and faith in God’s deliverance. Unfortunately, the story is fictional. The great escape never occurred. The author shares the facts in the Afterword, making the story all the more tragic.

My favorite part of the book is the verses that Stella finds in her mysteriously appearing Bible. Speaking directly to her plight, she finds comfort where none seems to exist. And her memories of best friend Marta sharing the gospel will encourage the reader in his/her own encounters with those who need to know God’s love.

A wonderful novel that transcends the historical genre, I highly recommend For Such A Time.

Highly Recommended.

Great For Book Clubs.

For more reviews, click HERE.

(Thanks to Bethany House Publishing and TLC Tours for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.