Posts Tagged ‘Historical fiction’

Book Description

Sophia has her life all planned out—but her plan didn’t include being jilted or ending up in Dakota Territory. 

Sophia Makinoff is certain that 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim.

With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known—and never expected—and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve.

It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When U.S. policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.

My Review

I really liked this book. I confess I finished it at least a week ago, and am still thinking about it.

As you know, I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and this one is based loosely on the Ponca Indian tribe. Near the end of the book, there’s a speech by Standing Bear, which is one of the only sources of documentation of the tribe’s removal by a member of the Ponca tribe.  I also especially appreciate how the ‘substantial paper trail’ left by government employees was woven into the storyline.

The reality of the conditions these folks endured is humbling. It’s also a needed reminder of the treatment of the US government during this particularly dark time in our country’s history.

Character development was sound, and knowing the storyline was based on some factual evidence really makes this one that leaves you thinking long after you’ve put the book down. I am always so intrigued when the author gives background information. I love that this author gives additional sources to check out.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars, and will definitely make a point to seek out other titles by this author.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com http://BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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No one asked for war, but here it is. As Quakers, Hannah Sunderland and her family don’t choose sides, refusing to get caught in the middle. War is easily ignored- until it comes to them. 

Showing up on their doorstep, the Queen’s Rangers show no mercy to their possessions- even the window shutters are fair game! As any good Quaker does, Hannah invites Colonel Beckwith to dinner.

She had no idea he’d take over their house and move in with them. Imagine!

When he takes a woman to his bed- in their house- knowing Hannah and her younger siblings could hear- the die was cast. Hannah’s father took his family into town, to stay with her aunt’s family.

The only one missing is Robert. Hannah’s twin brother, with whom she shares a special link, has chosen sides because of the rape of their housemaid by a British soldier and the subsequent dismissal by their father when her pregnancy begins to show.

Hannah is desperate. She has to get to see Robert in prison. As a Quaker, though, she’s forbidden.

Jeremiah Jones, the local tavern owner, has an entirely different problem. He needs a new spy. Apparently, the local tailor has gotten cold feet and refuses to pass any more messages across the lines to General Washington. Jeremiah can’t do it himself, since his second arm was shot off at Devil’s Hole when he was a colonial in Gage’s Light Infantry.

He has to get someone inside the prison with messages, so William Addison and the other newly transferred prisoners can coordinate an escape. A chance meeting between Jeremiah and Hannah occurs, and he hatches a plan to get her inside to see her brother, using his British military contacts. Can he do it? Will she do it?

From the get-go, this book had my interest. It looked familiar, and I wasn’t sure I hadn’t already read it. Within the first few pages, I was able to settle in, knowing it was a new one for me. Historical fiction (particularly colonial fiction) is my absolute favorite genre, and this title did not disappoint. (As it turns out, I just read another fantastic book by this author, which is why her name felt familiar to me, even though that title was not historical fiction.)

This book has it all- spies, war, conflict of morals and faith- it was all here. I have to give this 4.5 stars, though, because the ending was too unresolved for my liking. We know how one part works out, but the other bigger issues are never resolved. I was hoping there would be an indication of a sequel, but as far as I know there isn’t one.

Although the author’s writing style feels a little bit unfinished for my personal taste (because her other book could have resolved differently, too, imo) absolutely do not miss reading this (and other) book(s)! I definitely will be making a point to get her other titles, and she goes on my favorite author’s list.

I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers (www.bethanyhouse.com) for this review.

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Is she out of her mind? New bride Marielle Bishop wonders if she made the right choice, moving to Holly Oak. 

Holly Oak. Home to her new husband and his two children. Home of her new husband’s tragically and unexpectedly deceased first wife’s childhood. Home where they lived as a family when she died; where her husband and two children continued to live in the years after her death.

Home to Adelaide, the grandmother of the deceased first wife, who raised Sara from infancy.

Home to rumor and superstition from the locals. Home to a long history from the Civil War. Home to a curse of the women who live in the house?

Susan Meissner is one of my absolute most favorite authors. Her storytelling has a way of sucking you in, while twining together the past and the present. In this case, I do think the characters each could have been a little more developed. This is one of those books that easily could have been twice as long without leaving the reader feeling fatigued.

When I got to the portion near the end (I won’t spoil it for you), it was so well written it gave me total appreciation of how Susan’s mind works. That little bit there gave huge insight into one character. At the end of the book, I found myself thinking the book might have been better had those bits been woven in throughout, so that both stories were being told at the same time.

That being said, I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I would definitely recommend this book (along with her others, some of which are out on loan) to friends.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


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A perfect ending for book 2 of this set!  While it’s not necessary to have read book 1, I am not sure this part of the story would be as good if you haven’t read the first part. My review of part 1 can be found here.  That being said, as a stand-alone novel, this was a book I could not put down.

Mine Is the Night continues the story of Elisabeth and Marjory, characters loosely based on Biblical figures Ruth and Naomi. Having lost sons Donald and Andrew fighting for the Jacobite Rebellion, widow Marjory flees with her two daughters-in-law, hoping to save all their lives after being stripped of title and land after her deceased sons are charged with treason.

The end of book 1 leaves us with Marjory and Elisabeth headed together to Marjory’s childhood home.  Having sent the trusted family manservant ahead with a letter to a cousin, uncertainty awaits the two destitute ladies.  Will they be received?  Will there be a home for them after years of estrangement?

This is a story of redemption, divine providence, and love.  Trusting in the Lord to guide and provide for them, Elisabeth and Marjory have no choice but to follow the only path they see available; a return to the former Lady Kerr’s hometown. With an uncertain future, can they make their way in the world and survive?

I was caught up in their struggle in the first book, but the characters are so well written that jumping into the story in book 2 should not leave a reader feeling disadvantaged in the least.  For anyone interested in historical fiction, this book is a must read!  I give it 5 stars out of 5.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Help me win stuff by clicking below and ranking my review! 

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I love historical fiction!  Set against a backdrop of 1745 Scotland, this book does not disappoint.  Secrets of the Kerr family abound during the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Rebellion.  Their quest was to claim the British throne for James Francis Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s father.  Supporting the Jacobites takes a huge toll on the Kerr women; with secrets revealed and results none of them anticipated. 

Characters are well-developed overall; leaving the reader feeling attached to them. I am, however, not a fan of skunky characters without real consequence from others, at least not without significant struggle and tangible thought process leading to the responses. The reaction to some offenses are too flippant for my personal taste, which led to a lack of complete character resonance with me.

That being said, there was character metamorphosis, on a variety of levels for many of the main players.  I found myself emotionally invested, but wished that certain scenarios had more depth, more time spent with internal thinking; more “something.”

I will definitely make a point to get the sequel, to see what happens next in the journey. If you like historical fiction, you will enjoy this book.  I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Click below to help me out by ranking my review!

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