Wednesday, December 16, 2020

"A Castaway in Cornwall," by Julie Klassen

 "A Castaway in Cornwall," by Julie Klassen


Set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers, Laura Callaway now lives with her uncle and his disapproving wife in North Cornwall. There she feels like a castaway, always viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong.

While wreckers search for valuables along the windswept Cornwall coast--known for its many shipwrecks but few survivors--Laura searches for clues to the lives lost so she can write letters to next of kin and return keepsakes to rightful owners. When a man is washed ashore after a wreck, Laura acts quickly to protect him from a local smuggler determined to destroy him.

As Laura and a neighbor care for the survivor, they discover he has curious wounds and, although he speaks in careful, educated English, his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Despite the evidence against him, the mysterious man might provide her only chance to discover the truth about her parents' fate. With danger pursuing them from every side, and an unexpected attraction growing between them, will Laura ever find the answers she seeks?

If you like Poldark, you'll love this book.  It had plenty of mysteries and twists and turns in it to keep you interested, with an added helping of romance!  Love how little clues are dropped into the pages, that make no sense to start with but as they keep piling up and you start to put two and two together it all then falls into place.

Laura and Alexander are perfect lead characters, but I have to admit my favourite character was Treeve.  The way the author described him, made he a cheeky chap that everyone would love regardless.  I also had a soft spot for Jago, you just wanted to protect him. All the characters in this book were well thought out in my opinion.

I am not overly familiar with the Cornish coast, but after reading this book, it's on my to do list to visit.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 Great book, read it in one day (all day mind you!) and it kept me interested, which is always a good thing.  I enjoy Julie Klassen's book and this is one of her best one's yet.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Friday, October 30, 2020

"A Haven for Her Heart," by Susan Anne Mason

"A Haven for Her Heart," by Susan Anne Mason


Upon her release from a woman's reformatory in 1941 Toronto, Olivia Rosetti wants nothing more than to forget the horrors of her time there and return to normal. But with her family unwilling to forgive and employers wary of hiring her, she quickly ends up desperate and homeless--until a chance encounter with well-to-do widow Ruth Bennington. The two discover they share a painful history and together decide to open a maternity home for troubled women.

Greek widower Darius Reed is determined to protect his daughter from the prejudice that killed her mother and hopes to marry into a prominent Toronto family. But when his employer orders him to persuade Ruth Bennington to sell them her property, Darius soon becomes conflicted over his feelings about the home and his attraction to Olivia.

Despite finding fulfilment in her work, Olivia must fight not only bitter memories and the community's negative reaction to their mission, but also feelings for the man who is trying to close her home. Can love prove stronger than prejudice and societal pressures, or will past mistakes destroy her chance at true happiness?

The inspiration for this book is as interesting as the book itself.  The lead character in the book is released from a woman's reformatory called the Mercer Reformatory for Women.  I added a link as you will not believe what happened there.  Although I live in Ontario, I had never heard of it.  This book although a work of fiction, highlight's the injustices that happened with women who were incarcerated there.  It shocked me to think there was a law that could be used to incarcerate women for being pregnant out of wedlock, while there was no same law for men from 1896 - 1964.

The story itself of Olivia and Darius was a rollercoaster of emotions.  You feel the sadness and pain that Olivia is going through. The part with Olivia and Abigail, will pull at your heart for sure. Although this story has a happy ending, getting to that point means going through many trials and tribulations.  It's a well thought out book.

Stars out of 5 : 4 I enjoyed this book and it is well worth the read.  The Note from the Author at the beginning of the book sets the tone for this book and I am glad this was added to the front of the book and not at the back like a lot of books.  This book is the first in a series.  I look forward to reading the other's in the series.

 "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"Point of Danger,' By Irene Hannon

 "Point of Danger,' By Irene Hannon

Radio talk show host Eve Reilly is used to backlash from her pot-stirring on-air commentary and interviews. But now it seems a disgruntled listener is resorting to more than angry words to express their displeasure. When a suspicious package arrives on her doorstep, Eve turns to law enforcement for help.

Police detective Brent Lange can't find any evidence to link the string of unsettling incidents that follows, but he's convinced they're connected. As the harassment grows more menacing, it becomes clear someone wants Eve's voice silenced--permanently. 

But unless he can track down her elusive foe, the gutsy woman who is willing to take risks for what she believes--and who is swiftly winning his heart--may not survive.

I have to say I am a huge Irene Hannon fan, and this book was a great read.  I read it in a day, as I couldn't put it down.  I HAD to know what happened next.  The story sucked you in right from the start.  Each character that was introduced (and there were many) made you think that they were the one that was threatening Eve.  The way the story built up throughout the book, made it a page turner.  She is such a great story teller Irene.

I loved the main character's Eve and Brent.  I was cheering them on from the sidelines.  The way their friendship blossomed in the book made it all so believable.

Stars out of 5 : 5 This book and the story it told was perfect to my mind.  I had no idea "whodunit" and was very surprised when that was revealed.  This is a prefect mystery book, with a bit of everything mixed in with it.  Well worth the read.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell , a division of Baker Publishing Group".



"Something Worth Doing," by Jane Kirkpatrick

 "Something Worth Doing," by Jane Kirkpatrick


In 1853, Abigail Scott was a nineteen-year-old school teacher in Oregon Territory when she married Ben Duniway. Marriage meant giving up on teaching, but Abigail always believed she was meant to be more than a good wife and mother. When Abigail becomes the primary breadwinner for her growing family, what she sees as a working woman appalls her--and prompts her to devote her life to fighting for the rights of women, including the right to vote.

Based on a true story, Something Worth Doing will resonate with modern women who still grapple with the pull between career and family, finding their place in the public sphere, and dealing with frustrations and prejudices when competing in male-dominated spaces.

As a fan of Jane Kirkpatrick's novels I was looking forward to reading this book.  When I finished this book, it left an "after taste" in my mind that didn't sit well.  Abigail was not a person I would befriend.  However, what she did throughout her lifetime justifies why she is admired and is one of only six women whose names are written in the halls of Oregon's Government chambers.

I can also see that this story would resonate with working women in this day and age, trying to juggle a family and career.  It is sad to think that despite all the changes to the laws, there is still a divide between the sexes when it comes to compensation in the workplace, and why women have to work harder to get the same recognition.

Stars out of 5 : 3 I didn't hate this book, but I didn't really like it either.  I have read better books by Jane.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell , a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Monday, April 27, 2020

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green
Meg Townsend and her sister, Sylvie, seek a quiet existence managing the family bookshop. Meg feels responsible for caring for their father, Stephen, whose spirit and health are both damaged from his time as a prisoner during the Civil War. Her one escape is the paintings she creates and sells in the bookshop.

Then the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago's business district. The fiery explosions and chaos stir up memories of war for Stephen as he runs from the blaze and becomes separated from his daughters. Days later, when the smoke has cleared, Meg and Sylvie manage to reunite with him. Their home and shop are lost, and what's left among the ashes may be even more threatening than the flames, for they learn that a close friend was murdered the night of the fire--and Stephen has been charged with the crime. After he is committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum, where they cannot visit him, Stephen feels as lost to them as the shop that now lies in rubble.

Though homeless and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life but prove the truth of what happened that night, before the asylum truly drives her father mad.


This story is has many historical facts written into it, but the actual main characters are works of fiction.  From the historical point of view this story was interesting.  However I struggled to read this book, as it seemed to be all bad news for this family.  It just wouldn't capture my imagination and I will admit to putting the book down a few times.

However I perservered and I found that by the last third of the book I was starting to enjoy the book a bit more.   The love story between Meg and Nate was the only uplifting thing to me in this book. This is the first book in The Windy City Saga, and I hate to say this I don't think I will be reading the rest in the series.

Star out of 5 : 2.5  When reading a book it shouldn't be hard work; this was hard work.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".


"More Than We Remember," by Christina Suzann Nelson

"More Than We Remember," by Christina Suzann Nelson

When Addison Kilbourn's husband is involved in a car accident that leaves a woman dead, her perfectly constructed life crumbles apart. With her husband's memory of that night gone and the revelation of a potentially life-altering secret, Addison has to reevaluate all she thought she knew.

Emilia Cruz is a deputy bearing a heavy burden far beyond the weight of her job. After a traumatic brain injury, her husband is no longer the man she married, and Emilia's determined to prevent others from facing the same hardship. When she's called to the scene of an accident pointing to everything she's fighting against, she's determined to see justice for those wronged.

Brianne Demanno is hiding from reality. She once thrived as a counselor, but when tragedy struck a beloved client, she lost faith in herself and her purpose. When her neighbors, the Kilbourns, are thrown into crisis, Brianne's solitary life is disrupted and she finds herself needed in a way she hasn't been for too long.

As the lives of these women intersect, they can no longer dwell in the memory of who they've been. Can they rise from the wreck of the worst moments of their lives to become who they were meant to be?


This book was interesting, but a bit too complicated at times for me.  It took too long for everything to knit together in the story with the three main characters.  You knew their stories were intertwined pretty early on, but I personally found the back story lengthy.

Each woman has been hit hard with problems in their lives, and this book show's you how they deal with those problems and come though the other side of them, stronger women.

Stars out of 5 : 3.5  Too long to weave the story together for me.  Bit depressing of a story also to read during these times.  However I think when reading this book a lot of people will be able to relate.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 



Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Library at the Edge of the World, by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

The Library at the Edge of the World, by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

In the bestselling tradition of Fannie Flagg and Jenny Colgan comes Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s U.S. debut about a local librarian who must find a way to rebuild her community and her own life in this touching, enchanting novel set on Ireland’s stunning West Coast.
As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip.

With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off traveling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community. And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’d always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined.
I purchased this book at our local bookstore in the clearance section.  You know the ones where you pay $10 for three paperbacks?

I thought it was a bit slow to start with this book.  It took a while for me to warm up to the story.  I found Hanna a hard person to like.  Her standoffishness (is that such a word?) was very off putting.  However when the story got to the part of the threatened closure of the library, her personality became more appealing.

One thing I did enjoy though was the descriptions of the area.  You could visualize the wind sweeping in off the sea and how green everything was...….they do get a lot of rain in Ireland!!  The restoration of the cottage was a good part of the story as well as that was where the character Fury came into play and he truly was a "right character."  Again I found him easy to visualize thanks to the author's great description of him.

Stars out of 5 : 4 If you can hang in there through the first few chapters, this book becomes more and more interesting, and is well worth the read.

This is my own review, I purchased the book myself.

"A Castaway in Cornwall," by Julie Klassen

  "A Castaway in Cornwall," by Julie Klassen Set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers...