Tag Archives: Siri Mitchell

Top 10 Tuesday — Cover Love

8 May

Favorite color is the theme of Top 10 Tuesday this week, either in title or cover. While looking at covers, I found so many lovely gowns in a rainbow of colors that I couldn’t resist featuring them. So this post goes in a slightly different direction, but don’t you love the dresses featured on these historical romances?! Make sure you visit That Artsy Reader Girl to discover the color favorites of other bloggers.

All The Pretty Dresses!

 

 

Which cover is your favorite?

If You Liked The House on Foster Hill . . .

30 Mar

By The Book’s March selection, The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright, was a BIG hit! It is definitely book club approved! So if you read it and want more like it, I have a few suggestions. These books contain common elements –secrets long kept and past influences on present events. (Their covers also share similar color palettes!)  Check them out for your next great read!

 

Chateau of Echoes by Siri Mitchell

Suddenly widowed in a foreign country, Frederique Farmer did what any girl would do: She bought a castle. She just never imagined that its mysterious fifteenth-century owner would hold the keys to her second chance at life. When an extensive, painstaking restoration of the chateau reveals an ancient treasure, Frederique kisses her reclusive life good-bye. She opens an exclusive bed-and-breakfast, hires a capricious graduate student, and gets talked into hosting a handsome American for an extended stay. Little does the gourmand know, she’s unwittingly concocted a recipe for intrigue, romance, and possibly disaster.

 

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?

(This book is the first of a 3-part series, so you have a lot of great reading ahead.)

Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson

Jobless, homeless, and broke, Camden Bristow decides to visit the grandmother she hasn’t seen in years. But when Camden arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away, leaving her the 150-year-old mansion on Crescent Hill. The site of her happiest summers as a child, the run-down mansion is now her only refuge.

When Camden finds evidence that she may not be the mansion’s only occupant, memories of Grandma Rosalie’s bedtime stories about secret passageways and runaway slaves fuel her imagination. What really happened at Crescent Hill? Who can she turn to for answers in this town full of strangers? And what motivates the handsome local Alex Yates to offer his help? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden uncovers deep family secrets within the mansion’s walls that could change her life — and the entire town — forever.

A Sound among The Trees by Susan Meissner

A house shrouded in time. A line of women with a heritage of loss. As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.

With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak — and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

 

 

First Line Friday — Valentine’s Day Edition

16 Feb

I am sharing a book that has been on my TBR shelf a long time — A Heart Most Worthy. It really fits the Valentine’s theme with its beautiful pink and lacy cover. I love Siri Mitchell‘s books, and really need to find time to read this novel. The line isn’t actually the first, but the first to introduce one of the main characters. Have you read this book? I’d love to know why I should move it to the top of the pile.

Meanwhile share your first line in the comments, then head over to Hoarding Books to find out what other Valentine’s goodies await.

 

 

The elegance of Madame Forza’s gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times. Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star crossed encounter with the grocer’s son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza’s most important client. Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?

 

Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

Top 10 Tuesday — Revolutionary Reading!

4 Jul

The folks at The Broke And The Bookish are taking a well-deserved break until the middle of August. They all have lots on their plates, including new additions to their families. 🙂 So bloggers are on their own creating weekly Top 10 Tuesday memes. In honor of the 4th of July, I’ve decided to share some great books set in the years surrounding the Revolutionary War — 7 novels and 1 non-fiction title, plus 1 that is on my TBR list. Have a great 4th, y’all!

 

 

Top Books to Read for The 4th of July!

Book of Ages: The Life And Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore

From one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians—a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister, Jane, whose obscurity and poverty were matched only by her brother’s fame and wealth but who, like him, was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator.

Making use of an astonishing cache of little-studied material, including documents, objects, and portraits only just discovered, Jill Lepore brings Jane Franklin to life in a way that illuminates not only this one extraordinary woman but an entire world.

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage–the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

The Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson

An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution. As the British and Continental armies wage war in 1781, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia plantation owner feels conflict raging in her own heart. Lydia Caswell comes from a family of staunch Loyalists, but she cares only about peace. Her friend Sarah Hammond, however, longs to join the fight. Both women’s families have already been divided by a costly war that sets father against son and neighbor against neighbor; a war that makes it impossible to guess who can be trusted. One snowy night Lydia discovers a wounded man on the riverbank near Caswell Hall, and her decision to save him will change her life. Nathan introduces her to a secret network of spies, couriers, disguises, and coded messages—a network that may be the Patriots’ only hope for winning the war. When British officers take over Caswell Hall and wreak havoc on neighboring plantations, Lydia will have to choose between loyalty and freedom; between her family’s protection and her own heart’s desires. As both armies gather near Williamsburg for a pivotal battle, both Lydia and Sarah must decide how high a price they are willing to pay to help the men they love.

The Creole Princess by Beth White

All along the eastern seaboard, the American struggle for independence rages. In the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is quieter–though no less deadly. The lovely Frenchwoman Lyse Lanier is best friends with the daughter of the British commander. Rafael Gonzalez is a charming young Spanish merchant with a secret mission and a shipment of gold to support General Washington. As their paths cross and their destinies become increasingly tangled, Lyse and Rafael must decide where their true loyalties lie–and somehow keep Lyse’s family from being executed as traitors to the British Crown.

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith until her twin brother ran off and joined the army and ended up captured and in jail. Suddenly Hannah’s world turns on end. She longs to bring her brother some measure of comfort in the squalid, frigid prison where he remains. But the Quakers believe they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. Can she sit by and do nothing while he suffers?

Jeremiah Jones has an enormous task before him. Responsibility for a spy ring is now his, and he desperately needs access to the men in prison, whom they are seeking to free. A possible solution is to garner a pass for Hannah. But while she is fine to the eye, she holds only disdain for him–and agreeing would mean disobeying those she loves and abandoning a bedrock of her faith.

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki

Everyone knows Benedict Arnold — the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British — as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John André, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John André. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.

Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.

Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser

Known for moving first-person novels of Nannerl Mozart, Jane Austen, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Nancy Moser now brings to life the loves and trials of the first First Lady of the United States. When a dapper, young George Washington comes into her life, Martha Custis is a young widow with two young children. Their love and loyalty toward each other—and the new nation they fight for, lasts a lifetime and is an inspiration even now, after 250 years. Washington’s Lady was a Christy Awards finalist.

 

The Wood’s Edge by Lori Benton

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.
 
On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.
 
When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both — Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

TBR:

A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton

Twenty years past, in 1757, a young Redcoat, Reginald Aubrey stole a newborn boy — the lighter-skinned of Oneida twins —  during the devastating fall of Fort William Henry and raised him as his own.
 
No one connected to Reginald escaped unscathed from this crime. Not his adopted daughter Anna. Not Stone Thrower, the Native American father determined to get his son back. Not Two Hawks, William’s twin brother separated since birth, living in the shadow of his absence and hoping to build a future with Anna. Nor Lydia, who longs for Reginald to be free from his self-imposed emotional prison and embrace God’s forgiveness— and her love.
 
Now William, whose identity has been shattered after discovering the truth of his birth, hides in the ranks of an increasingly aggressive British army. The Redcoats prepare to attack frontier New York and the Continentals, aided by Oneida warriors including Two Hawks, rally to defend it. As the Revolutionary War penetrates the Mohawk Valley, two families separated by culture, united by love and faith, must find a way to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies.

 

Do you have any suggestions for 4th of July reading?

 

 

Mini-Reviews from My Friend Carrie

19 Jan

Books are beginning to overtake my house! So I have enlisted my friend Carrie to help me with the enormous reading backlog. Here are her thoughts on four historical novels from Bethany House Publishers.

unknownThe Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund

Priscilla White has known that she wants to be a missionary since she was fifteen. Her plan is to go to India. Dr. Eli Ernest is about to travel back to Oregon to begin ministering to the Nez Perce Indians. What neither one of them anticipated was the missionary board declaring that they can’t go to their respective missions unless they are married. Circumstances dictate them to marry in name only and begin the long journey across the country. The Doctor’s Lady will remind you that God’s ways are better than our own and that even in our mistakes He can work miracles. This historical fiction novel is inspired by the true story of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. After reading this book, you will want to read about this amazing couple who journeyed into the unknown to go on mission to the Nez Perce.

unknown-2A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell

Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana are seamstresses for the popular and coveted dressmaker Madame Fortier in Boston in 1918. These three girls although very talented seamstresses are very different. Julietta is carelessly adventurous in chasing after love. Annamaria is quiet and reserved but longs for love and a family of her own, but is stuck taking care of her family as the oldest daughter instead of finding love. Luciana keeps her past and who she is a secret. If people discover who she really is many people will be would be in danger. Love still finds her though even in her secrecy. A Heart Most Worthy weaves together three women’s stories beautifully. This book will keep you thinking with romance, adventure, and danger around every corner.

unknown-1Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist

Tillie Reese has dreamed her entire life of becoming a lady’s maid. As head parlor maid at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, Tillie realizes her dream may come true when the lady of the house Mrs. Edith Vanderbilt’s lady’s maid is planning to return to her home country of France. Mack Danvers, a mountain man who is not inclined to work long at the Biltmore, comes and challenges Tillie’s dreams with his aggressive behavior and strong beliefs. She is left to question everything she ever thought she wanted. Maid to Match is a delightful story of how the servant class was in the late 1800’s. It is full of lovable characters who you can’t help but care for and want to meet. It will leave you to ponder your life and what your dreams really are. By the end of the book you will want to plan a trip to North Carolina to see the Biltmore Mansion where this story takes place. (The Kindle version is currently 99 cents!)

unknown-3Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

Alice Grace Ripley lives the perfect life. She has a job she loves as a librarian. She gets to read all the time. She has a wonderful boyfriend. Life couldn’t be better; until she loses her job due to the Great Depression and her boyfriend breaks up with her. In a day’s time Alice’s world is turned upside down, and she feels like her life is spinning out of control. To get away from her circumstances, she leaves for Kentucky to drop off a donation of books to a small town very different from her own. No cars, no running water, no libraries. Suddenly Alice sees a purpose for herself: join the librarians for this coal-mining town and ride on horseback to homes to deliver books. What Alice discovers is life can give just as much adventure as a book. She discovers excitement, mystery, friendship, and even romance that she never experienced before. Wonderland Creek shows what life in the backwoods of Kentucky was like during the Great Depression. It portrays how some were able to read through the adventures of the traveling librarians.

(Thanks to Bethany House for complimentary copies of these books. All opinions are Carrie’s alone.)

 

Thanks so much, Carrie, for sharing your thoughts!

cfjijvbwiaa_nch-jpg-smallCarrie McNair is wife to Terry and mother to two active boys, Caden and Noah. Carrie is a Model Teacher. That means people from far and wide come to find out about excellence in the classroom by observing her and her students. A committed bookworm, Carrie makes sure her students develop a love of reading.

Book Review: Unrivaled

12 Dec

207976Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe’s best confections, she’s sure she’ll come up with a recipe that will save her father’s struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager–a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy’s skin. 

Charlie Clarke’s new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he’s never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She’s making his work life miserable…and making herself impossible for him to forget.

Siri_2011Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a speaker and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

My Impressions:

Siri Mitchell consistently creates well-researched and beautifully told historical novels. Unrivaled is another winner from this talented author. If you like historically accurate books with realistic characters and a story like no other, then you need to check out this book. The romance is a sweet addition too!

The world of St. Louis in the early 1900s comes to life in Unrivaled. There is so much change occuring — new modes of transportation and innovation in manufacturing. Yet some things need never change, like faith and love and family. Told from the first person perspective of the two main characters, Unrivaled explores the world of candy making and the sometimes shady business practices of the day. It is also a wonderful and sometimes humorous love story between two endearingly flawed characters. Charlie and Lucy have grown up in two very different worlds, yet have the same insecurity — not knowing just where they fit in among high society, business and their families. They also have a faulty perception of God and their standing with Him. And although candy is the subject at hand, their is nothing fluffy or insubstantial in Mitchell’s message.

For the history buff, Mitchell’s afterword sheds a lot of light on what is fiction and what is factual in Unrivaled — a not to be missed part of this book. I am always amazed at how much research goes into the writing of historical fiction, and Mitchell is a pro!

Recommended.

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

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

Book Review: Chateau of Echoes

1 Mar

Chateau of Echoes_mockup_small1Suddenly widowed in a foreign country, Frederique Farmer did what any girl would do: She bought a castle. She just never imagined that its mysterious fifteenth-century owner would hold the keys to her second chance at life. When an extensive, painstaking restoration of the chateau reveals an ancient treasure, Frederique kisses her reclusive life good-bye. She opens an exclusive bed-and-breakfast, hires a capricious graduate student, and gets talked into hosting a handsome American for an extended stay. Little does the gourmand know, she’s unwittingly concocted a recipe for intrigue, romance, and possibly disaster.

Q&A about the stories behind Chateau of Echoes.

Siri_2011Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a speaker and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

My Impressions:

In the afterword, Siri Mitchell states that Chateau of Echoes is her favorite novel. I have to concur. I have read several by Mitchell, all I loved, but there is just something about Chateau of Echoes that makes it stand out from the rest. This novel is complex: it has a story within a story and that story includes stories as well!

Frederique Farmer is the owner of a chateau in Brittany that was once the home to Alix, a medieval chatelaine. Frederique chose the remote location to hide from the world and God. It is a wonder her inn is in such demand, since she turns down more reservations than she actually agrees to. But the rare diaries of a medieval noblewoman found on the estate, thrust Frederique’s life into the world of academics, tourists and, in particular, one famous author. Alix’s journal entries are introduced between the scenes of Frederique’s life. The two are very different women, yet the growth of their characters are paralleled.

The characters are well-developed and the setting itself, the chateau and the surrounding estate, also becomes somewhat of a character allowing the reader to be a part of both Frederique and Alix’s worlds. Mitchell is adept in presenting the present day French culture as well as life in medieval Brittany. There is also an element of mystery surrounding Alix and the Arthurian legends Alix’s husband shares that maintains a wonderful tension to the story. But it is the developing relationship between Frederique and her guest, author Robert Cranwell, that will leave those who favor romance quite satisfied.

While all of Mitchell’s novels are excellent, if you can only read one, choose Chateau of Echoes. But be sure not to stop there — Siri Mitchell is an author you don’t want to miss.

Highly Recommended.

(I purchased Chateau of Echoes for my Kindle. The opinions are mine alone.)

If you would like to purchase a copy of this novel, click on the image below.