Archive for the 'Historical Fiction' Category

Daughter of the Regiment by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015


About the Book: Maggie Malone inevitably experiences the effects of war firsthand—first, with her brothers joining the Missouri Irish Brigade and again when a group of unknown bandits attack her farm. Desperate to hear news from her brothers, Maggie sets off to find them at the Federal Army camp. There, she quickly captures the admiration of Sergeant John “Colt” Coulter, who immediately notices her skill and dedication. When circumstances require that Maggie remain with the brigade, she discovers that there’s a lot a good woman can do to help the brave men she comes to think of as “her boys.”

As the hostess of an acclaimed Missouri plantation, Miss Libbie Blair has learned to play her part and remain uninvolved in the business affairs and political aspirations of her brother, Walker. When his endeavors lead him to organize the “Wildwood Guard,” a group of locals in support of the Confederacy, Libbie must gracefully manage the house with officers camped out on the lawn. With war drawing closer to her doorstep, she must find a way to protect those who depend on her.

When military maneuvers and a subsequent battle bring the Irish Brigade (and Maggie) to Wildwood Grove, Libbie’s home is commandeered as a field hospital. The two women whose brothers have fought on opposite sides of the same battle come face to face while tending the wounded in the aftermath of a battle won by Union troops.

MEET THE AUTHOR (especially for Nebraskans):

Saturday, April 11 at 2:00 p.m. @ Barnes & Noble Southpointe Pavilions (Lincoln, NE)

Friday, April 17 @ 11:00 a.m. @ Crete Public Library (Crete, NE)

Program lecture ‘Women in the Civil War: From Homefront to Battlefield’
April 24-25, Panel & keynote address @ Wordsowers Christian Writer’s Group Conference (Omaha, NE)

Tuesday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. @ Wisner Heritage Museum (Wisner, NE)

Program lecture ‘Women in the Civil War: From Homefront to Battlefield’

Saturday, May 2, time TBA @ Chapters Book Store (Seward, NE)

Thursday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m.  @ Lexington Public Library with Plum Creek Quilt Guild (Lexington, NE)

Program lecture ‘Women in the Civil War: From Homefront to Battlefield’

Additional events TBA.

DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT: A Novel by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Faithwords | Hachette Book Group

March 24, 2015 | 978-1-4555-2903-2

336 Pages | $15 | Trade Paperback Original

 About the Author: Stephanie Grace Whitson is the author of over twenty-seven titles. A frequent ECPA bestseller, Whitson is a RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Winner and a two-time Christy Award finalist. When she isn’t writing, speaking, or trying to keep up with her five grown children and perfect grandchildren, she loves to take long distance rides aboard her Honda Magna motorcycle named Kitty. Her church and the International Quilt Study Center and Museum take up the rest of her free time. She received her Master of Arts degree in history in 2012. Stephanie and her husband reside in southeastern Nebraska.

My Comments: I learned a lot from reading this book. I had interest because even though I’m not Irish, I have an Irish name from my husband of 42 years. I loved the character, Maggie Malone. She is strong and independent and way beyond her years and the time in which she lives. I didn’t know how badly the Irish were treated. The time in history is interesting to me. I didn’t get as attached to Libbie Blair. I couldn’t relate to her, and being a born and bred Yankee, I had little understanding of her life. This book also interested me because Whitson took two completely different characters and wove their lives together – fascinating!  This book has action, romance, and historical interest.  If you are interested in history and like reading about fascinating characters, this book needs to be on your TBR list!

E-mail links:

Indie Bound:

The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

the family of jesus

Through The Family of Jesus, listeners will develop an emotional connection to the family members of Jesus, learning about their lives and falling in love with Scripture along the way. Bible studies and devotionals abound, and in churches everywhere people gather to seek a deeper understanding of God’s word and its application to their lives. But too often these studies engage only the analytic approach to Bible learning.

In The Family of Jesus, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist Karen Kingsbury will make you laugh, cry, and ultimately care more deeply about the Bible by helping you grasp the truths in Scripture not just with your mind, but with your heart. The characters in these short stories were among those closest to Jesus—Mary, Joseph, Jesus’ brother James, John the Baptist, Zechariah, and Elizabeth. Each has a compelling tale to tell. Kingsbury intersperses fictional, emotionally gripping details anchored in Scripture with historical and theological insights and questions that will guide soul-searching and reflection.

The Family of Jesus not only provides a deeper understanding of the relatives of our Savior, but also helps listeners acquire tools that will draw them closer to Christ, to the Scriptures, and to each other.

My Thoughts: This audio book was so good. The reading by Kirby Heyborne and January LaVow is spot on. I would really recommend this to listen to or read around the Christmas holidays. Listening to this book really made the Scriptures it is based on come alive. I also like that there are studies on the people’s lives available on MP3. I did not listen to that yet, but will. Yes, true to Karen Kingsbury, I laughed and cried. The characters seem so real – just like people I know. Listening to this book made the Scriptures so real, also made the long boring ride to work more enjoyable. I especially liked that the females lives were read by a woman and the males were read by a male – both excellent, articulate readers.

I received a copy of this audio book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Saturday, May 31st, 2014


through the deep waters

A past filled with shame can be washed away with a love that conquers all…

Born to an unloving prostitute in a popular Chicago brothel, timid seventeen-year-old Dinah Hubley was raised amidst the secrets held in every dark, grimy room of her home. Anxious to escape, Dinah pursues her dream of becoming a Harvey Girl, waiting tables along the railroad in an upscale hotel. But when she finds out she isn’t old enough, her only option is to accept a job as a chambermaid at the Clifton Hotel in Florence, Kansas. Eager to put everything behind her, Dinah feels more worthless than ever, based on a single horrible decision she made to survive.

The Clifton offers a life Dinah has never known, but blinded to the love around her, Dinah remains buried in the shame of her past. When a handsome chicken farmer named Amos Ackerman starts to show interest, Dinah withdraws further, convinced no one could want a sullied woman like her.  Despite his self-consciousness about his handicapped leg and her strange behavior, Amos resolves to show Dinah Christ’s love. But can she ever accept a gift she so desperately needs?

My Comments:  The back cover of this book describes Kim Sawyer Vogel as a best-selling author highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope.  I would describe this story as just that – a gently story of hope. Dinah grew up in less than desirable circumstances which scarred her. Amos had a physical disability. Both were broken and deeply hurt.  Along comes sunny and rosy Ruthie, a strong Christian who just happens to also be a preacher’s kid. This story took me a little while to get into, but about halfway through I was hooked. I felt the pain of both Dinah and Amos. I felt the jealousy of Ruthie. The setting is factual, but the characters were fictional. Although I felt I could have known them. I cried with them. I cried often. I love the writing of Kim Vogel Sawyer – a woman who brings hope!

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and the Booksneeze program in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Deeanne Gist’s Fair Play – A Great Historical Fiction Novel!

Monday, May 5th, 2014

fair play

Saddled with a man’s name, the captivating Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for taking on a man’s profession. As a doctor at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice—until Hunter Scott asks her to give it all up to become his wife.

Hunter is one of the elite. A Texas Ranger and World’s Fairguard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character, and skill. Hailed as the toughest man west of any place east, he has no patience for big cities and women who think they belong anywhere but home…

Despite their difference of opinion on the role of women, Hunter and Billy find a growing attraction between them—until Hunter discovers an abandoned baby in the corner of a White City exhibit. He and Billy team up to make sure this foundling isn’t left in the slums of Chicago with only the flea-riddled, garbage-infested streets for a playground. As they fight for the underprivileged children in the Nineteenth Ward, an entire Playground Movement is birthed. But when the Fair comes to an end, one of them will have to give up their dream.

Will Billy exchange her doctor’s shingle for the domesticated role of a southern wife, or will Hunter abandon the wide open spaces of home for a life in the “gray city,” a woman who insists on being the wage earner, and a group of ragamuffins who need more than a playground for breathing space?

My Comments:  When I began this book, I didn’t think I would like it, but I did indeed like it quite a bit.  The historical setting, the fight for a woman to survive in a man’s “world” with a Man’s “occupation” was fascinating and completely believable, as was Billy’s struggle with marriage and motherhood.  Wow, so many issues to consider.  I love the struggle between living in Texas and living in Chicago. This book was completely entertaining and engaging.  I recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction, women’s rights, and last, but not least, an different type of romance.   I would give this book 4.5 stars!

I received a review copy of this book from Howard Publishing in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Echoes of Mercy

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014


echoes of mercy
Sometimes a secret must be kept for the truth to be revealed.When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education.

Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?

My Comments:  Echoes of Mercy was an interesting, engaging book.  I love Kim Vogel Sawyer’s writing! I feel like I look at history in a different way – as if I were really there.  Caroline, “Carrie,” came from a difficult background, a child laborer with abusive parents, and was “saved” by a wonderful Christian couple, Noble and his wife.  Oliver “Ollie” Dinsmore and Carrie fell for each other while acting as someone other than themselves.  It sounds confusing, but it is not. The story has everything – romance, mystery, suspense, and Christianity. The Christianity was woven in well through Oliver wanting to learn how to pray.  I will be looking for more books by Kim Vogel Sawyer to read!


Emma of Aurora by Jane Kirkpatrick

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

emma of aurora

Three books in One Volume:

A Clearing in the Wild
When Emma’s outspoken ways and growing skepticism lead to a clash with the 1850s Bethel, Missouri colony’s beloved leader, she finds new opportunities to pursue her dreams of independence. But as she clears a pathway West to her truest and deepest self, she discovers something she never expected: a yearning for the warm embrace of community.

A Tendering in the Storm
Determined to raise her children on her own terms, Emma suddenly finds herself alone and pregnant with her third child, struggling to keep her family secure in the remote coastal forest of the Washington Territory. As clouds of despair close in, she must decide whether to continue in her own waning strength or to humble herself and accept help from the very people she once so eagerly left behind.

A Mending at the Edge
As a mother, daughter, sister, and estranged wife, Emma struggles to find her place inside—and outside—the confines of her religious community. Emma reaches out to others on the fringe, searching for healing and purpose. By blending her unique talents with service to others, she creates renewed hope as she weaves together the threads of family, friends, and faith.

My Comments:  It was a little daunting to receive this book from this publisher – I usually like to read books of about 300 pages.  This book has 1146 pages – way too many for this reading chick!  BUT, when you consider it is three books in one, not so bad.  I usually enjoy historical fiction and this had such a different flavor – colony/cultish.  Emma, such a strong character and great woman, was an engaging read!  I always learn so much from historical fiction and this book is no exception.  I enjoyed learning about the early days of the northwest, Washington state being one of my favorite states (my husband was born and raised there) and I always love reading about strong women.  I love that this story was based on some true stories.

If you like historical fiction, if you like series, and if you like to read about strong women, you will enjoy this series of books!

I received a copy of the book from the publisher for my honest review which I have given.  Thank you Waterbrook Multnomah.

When Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

When Courage Calls

Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected…

Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father’s wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way.

But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she’d feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don’t even speak English. There isn’t even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth’s heart is torn between two young men–both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once.

Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she’s had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?

My Comments:  I enjoyed this book, and I was surprised how closely it followed the new Hallmark show When Calls the Heart.  The books seem to follow the women in the Thatcher family with the first name of Elizabeth.  I related to this book for two reasons:  I am a teacher and I have been sickly just as Elizabeth.  We only have so much to give and then when we outlive that we get sick.  Right now, I’m going through a long bout of bronchitis.  Elizabeth got sick whenever she did more than she was able.  Elizabeth, or Beth, had a huge heart.  She fell in love with her new home and the families.  She saw past the poverty to the people.  She wanted everyone treated equally.  As far as romance goes, its a little confusing.  Which man is the one for Beth?  She goes back and forth between a couple of them.

I remember when Janette Oke began writing her fiction books in the 1970s.  She is/was a trailblazer in the historical Christian fiction genre.  She knows how to write a rest story!  I am glad to see she continues to write.

Thank you NetGalley for the advanced reading e-copy.  This opinions are strictly my own.

What Once was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Friday, December 27th, 2013



A woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, a man standing apart—can these three souls embrace a God with new plans for them?

On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house uninhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”

With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she’s dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?

My Comments:  I loved this book and could hardly put it down.  The characters were likable and somewhat true to life.  I love the change in people’s lives that God brought forth due to other people and circumstances.  It was a great book to read right after Christmas because there was an element of the miraculous within.  Levi started out one way and completely changed.  I loved Tommy and the struggles he went through.  I was so amazed at the way he persevered despite his limitations.  There was hope throughout and even though somewhat predictable.  I needed that right now 🙂  I never really knew poor farms existed although my mother would always tease about us sending them to the poor house.  It makes sense that these would be run by Christians, but again the way women were treated is hard to fathom and take.  Interesting, entertaining, and engaging are three words I would use to describe this story.  I look forward to reading the sequels!

I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher, Watermark Multnomah in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

The Cadence of Grace – My Hope is Found by Joanne Bischof

Friday, October 11th, 2013

my hope is found

Gideon O’Riley has been given another chance at a life with Lonnie. But will the fight for her heart risk it all over again?

After finally finding love with his sweet bride Lonnie, Gideon’s heart was torn when a woman from his past claimed to be his true and rightful wife, forcing him away from his family. God’s merciful hand saw Gideon through the heartache, and with Cassie’s blessing, he is able to return home. But his journey back through the Blue Ridge Mountains will hold a trial he never anticipated.

Meanwhile, Lonnie determines to seal off her heart from Gideon, convinced he is lost to her forever. Strengthening her resolve to move on is her growing fondness for the handsome Scotsman, Toby McKee—the young reverend she has come to care for deeply. His proposal of marriage offers a bright future for her and her young son.

Yearning to allow joy back into her life, Lonnie must put aside the broken pieces of her heart that still love Gideon. When he returns to find her betrothed to another, he has to place his hope in God, trusting that the One who redeemed their love once can do it again.

My Comments:  I enjoyed this series of books and the last book is absolutely no exception.  Lonnie – what a life – as well as Gideon’s – wow – full of meat and thought provoking.  The story weaves in and out and all around.  I love it!  The book gives lots of food for thought about God, relationships, and life in general.  I guess the whole idea of true love and finding that one person is intrinsic in this series of  stories.  Forgiveness is another huge theme as well as the dangers of the idle tongue and gossip.  This story helps us walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – someone’s whose life looks totally different on the outside than it really is.  Great book, great series, great author!

Thank you to Multnomah Books and the Blogging for Books program for an advanced reading copy of this book.  I have posted my honest opinion.

Though My Heart is Torn by Joanne Bischof

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013


Gideon O’Riley has two wives—but he doesn’t know it.

Settling into a simple life in the majestic Blue Ridge mountains, Lonnie and Gideon O’Riley have finally found happiness after the rocky start to their marriage. The roguish bluegrass musician has fallen in love with his gentle wife and the God she serves, and Lonnie rests secure in his tenderness for her and their young son. A heartless ruse interupts their peace, bringing them back to Rocky Knob—and forces them to face the claims of Cassie Allan, a woman who says she is Gideon’s rightful wife.

As Gideon wades into the depths of his past choices, Lonnie is stunned by the revelations. She has no choice but to navigate this new path, knowing that surviving the devastating blow will take every ounce of strength  she has.

While Gideon’s guilt  and his bitterness towards Cassie threatens to burn up his fledgling faith, Lonnie wrestles to find the courage to trust the God who brought them together in the first place. Will their hard-earned love be able to conquer all?

Lonnie only wanted her husband’s love. Now that he belongs to another, can she surrender Gideon to a God with a bigger plan?

My Comments:  This was another difficult book to get into.  I had to go back and restart it because it did not capture my interest immediately.  However, it got better as it went along.  I preferred the first book, Be Still My Soul.  This book just seemed unreal to me.  It was hard to buy into the characters actions completely.  That may be because it is historical fiction, but I’m not sure.  I will read the third book in this series to see how everything plays out.  We are left on somewhat of a cliffhanger at the end and I will need closure to completely judge this series.
I received this book free from the publisher for the purpose of honest review.