Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr

Ellie's story is somewhat predictable, but it was one I really enjoyed.  Ellie is a spinster at 31-years-old and finds herself almost entirely alone in the world.  The only relatives she has left are two male cousins who are not really the nicest folks around.  She has been sent to keep house for free for a widower with two young sons as "punishment" for her actions.  Ellie makes the two-hour journey by foot hoping beyond hope that the man will give a recommendation so that she might find a position somewhere and no longer be dependent on her Cousin Mark.  As the tale unfolds, Ellie finds herself in a situation she's always dreamed of but never thought it would be the way that it is.  Along her journey she comes to care deeply for her young charges and their father as well as the island she now calls home.  Can God cause a miracle to happen?  Can a man truly love a woman as plain as Ellie?  Can circumstances so change that true love flows on both sides?  A story half full of sadness and half full of joy.  I enjoyed journeying through this tale with Ellie as she came to a place she truly felt God wanted her to be.  She is a woman of great character and depth and insight.  She has a heart for her Father.  I found the male lead in the story to be rough around the edges and moody and somewhat dense at times, but I think he had a lot of growing to do and heartache to work through.  A good historical read from Delia Parr set in Pennsylvania!  Enjoy!

This book was provided free for review by Bethany House Publishers.

Links to check out:
Hearts Awakening Book
Hearts Awakening Excerpt
Delia Parr's Website

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

I learned a lot about governesses from this book.  This was my first time reading a novel by Julie Klassen and I was drawn in quickly to the story, setting, etc.  I am, admittedly, a huge Jane Austen fan so that may have something to do with my quick interest in this particular book.  Ms. Klassen tells the story of Olivia Keene - a young woman who goes through several trials of sorts throughout the tale.  She is thrust into a situation beyond her control and finds herself in unexpected circumstances in the home of an earl.  During her time in that place she befriends many individuals and eventually becomes the governess.  Olivia's story is full of hurts, heartaches, assumptions, and so much more.  In the end, everything is as it should be.  God's plan is worked out.  The true heart of each of the characters comes to light by the end of the book, but I felt that this story was somewhat lacking in sharing faith openly.  There were not many obviously Christian characters.  There were many moral issues throughout the book, but then I suppose those even (if we were honest) occur in the life of a Christian on occasion.  Overall, I found this story of Olivia, Lord Bradley, Lord Brightwell, Mr. Croome, Andrew, Audrey, and so many others to be a delightful tale with some twists and turns.  I certainly, after reading this novel, want to find and read more of Ms. Klassen's books.  She seems to have a real taste for the era of Jane Austen and her contemporaries.  If you enjoy a good historical read, check out The Silent Governess.  It's a real delight and hopefully a quick read!

This book provided free for review by Bethany House Publishers.

Links to check out:
Julie Klassen's website
The Silent Governess book
The Silent Governess excerpt

Friday, March 4, 2011

Divine Appointments by Charlene Ann Baumbich

At first I had trouble getting into this story, mostly because of the main character's attitude and behavior.  I also thought this book would be like the first book in the series, but it really didn't have the same feel at all.  After reading more of the book, I discovered that the story is rich with great characters (even Josie - the main character).  Josie is an analyst experiencing hot flashes and dealing with ideas that have been drilled into her since her childhood with a military father.  She is a woman who knows how to get things done and does it with little emotion and feeling, but what she doesn't realize is that her life is about to change.  Not only does her life change, but the lives of others at the company where she is a consultant.  They are changed in ways only God can orchestrate as He does so well.  I enjoyed getting to know divorced Marsha and pleasant, friendly, encouraging Beth.  Quirky Frank.  Kind, charitable Lyle. And others as well.  The story is one of Divine Appointments - events only God can bring about for His purposes.  I found the book very enjoyable and one I'd highly recommend.  I'm also hoping that somehow there will be a third book in the series.  I still continue to enjoy Ms. Baumbich's writing, especially her Dearest Dorothy books.  She is a wonderful writer!  Hope you all get a chance to have your own Divine Appointments.

This book was provided free for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Links to check out:
Divine Appointments Book
Charlene Ann Baumbich's Page