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Copyright by Pegg Thomas 2009-2015

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Jul 1, 2015
The InnocentThe Innocent by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ann Gabhart once again immerses us in the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. The Shakers were governed by a theology that valued peace and work ethic above all. While these are admirable goals for anyone's life, they took it to the extreme. Marriage was considered a sin and individually was discouraged. Like other cults and communes, there was both good and bad in their culture. Ann Gabhart does an excellent job of presenting her Shaker characters in an understandable, and even sympathetic, way.

Carlyn Kearney's husband doesn't return from the Civil War. He's listed as missing. Two years after the war, she must admit the truth. He's not coming home.

Mitchell Brodie is the town's sheriff. Unpleasant duty is part of his job. Evicting a widow from her home ranks at the top of that list. A beautiful young widow who tugs at his heart.

With no family and nowhere to go, Carlyn turns to the Shaker village for a roof over her head and food on her plate. She's content to work for her keep, even if the Shaker teaching doesn't match the Bible teaching of her youth. But there are dark corners within the village. Can Carlyn fit in and find her own peace? Or will she get caught up in the darkness?
Jun 23, 2015
Masterpiece Marriage (Quilts of Love)Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love quilting and history, so I knew I couldn't go wrong with this one. The creation of the crazy quilt, as they were done back in the day, was beautifully embedded in the story. The rich color and textures came alive under the characters clever fingers. Very well done!

Mary Varrs has a mission she needs to complete and a deadline looming in front of her. Zenus Dane has a flooded textile mill full of partially damaged bolts of fabric. Mary's neighbor - also Zenus's aunt - holds the key to both of them getting what they want. But will either get what they think in the end?

Truly a fun romance between the main characters and some very strong secondary characters (I love those!). I'm dinging it one star because the dialogue was very modern and I quite often forgot I was reading a historical piece. It doesn't harm the story, but if you're a history geek at all, it was a bit disconcerting. If you love quilts - read it for that alone!
Jun 18, 2015
The Meeting Place (Song of Acadia, #1)The Meeting Place by Janette Oke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in the Canadian frontier during the turbulent years when France and Great Britain fought for control of the territory. Catherine Price was married to her British office on the same day Louise Robichaud married her French farmer. The two women met by accident in a forest meadow. Could their blooming friendship span a cultural divide steeped in hatred and suspicion?

Wonderful setting and history background to this story. Loved the rich descriptions of the area during this time. The characters are strong and likable, having missions the reader clearly understands and sympathizes with.

This is the first book in a series and it doesn't really end, it stops. The action, presumably, picks up with the next book. It is not a book to read as a stand alone novel. If you're not willing to invest in the series, this is probably not the best book for you. If you enjoy the saga of a full series, dig in!
Jun 9, 2015
A Place Called Bliss (Saskatchewan Saga, #1)A Place Called Bliss by Ruth Glover
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A saga of a two families who leave Scotland to make their way in the growing territories of Canada. Sophia and Hugh Galloway, being of noble lines with deep pockets, settle in Toronto and build a mansion to rival what they left behind. Mary and Angus Morrison left Scotland for a better life, a chance to be successful away from the hierarchy of the old country. They settled in the western bush territory, where land was free if one was tough enough to prove it out. But through the years, the two families remained connected.

From the hardship of crossing the Atlantic to the struggle to survive on frontier, the reader is treated to numerous historical insights. Delightful details about how the upper class would dress, their mannerisms, their outings, all combine to give the reader a look back in time.

The story is good and the plot is engaging, but the it meanders quite a bit and drags on in places. Told in the omniscient point of view, the book reads more like a classic of old. The characters lack the intimate depth modern readers are accustom to.

If you like epic stories that cover more than one generation with excellent historical references, this might be the book for you.
Jun 5, 2015
The Preacher's BrideThe Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another gripping story from Jody Hedlund. I loved that I guessed which historical figure the story was inspired by early in the book. No spoiler here. You'll have to read it and see if you can figure it out.

Puritan maiden Elizabeth Whitbread wants to serve Christ by helping others. When the town's tinker and lay preacher, John Costin, is left a widower with four small children, Elizabeth knows she's been called to help. Elizabeth defies the town matron and even her betrothed to become the housekeeper Brother Costin needs.

The political winds of England are changing and the Puritans have fallen out of favor. John Costin has powerful enemies who resent his preaching. Enemies who aren't afraid to strike at those near him. Elizabeth is threatened and attacked by one such enemy. Despite the danger, she knows God wants her to continue to care for the children she's grown to love. And their father who occupies too many of her thoughts. But will the cost of her service be more than she's willing to pay?

Jun 2, 2015
Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope, #1)Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Could not put it down! Fascinating story, beautifully told, more than worth every minute of reading. Characters so real you'll think of them as old friends by the end of the book. My favorite Jody Hedlund book so far.

Emma Chambers wants a home of her own with a husband and a family to care for. But she's moving once again with her brother until their ship sinks into Lake Huron off the coast of Presque Isle. Pulled from the waters by handsome lighthouse keeper Patrick Garraty, Emma finds herself the unwelcome and unwanted guest of the only other woman at Burnham's Landing. When the circuit preacher suggests she marry the newly widowed Patrick Garraty and become mother to his young son Josiah, she agrees.

In spite of the fact that she can't cook and has absolutely no idea how to raise a child, Emma is thrilled with her new home. She's even getting used to the idea of being married to the taciturn stranger who spends most of his time either fishing or tending the light. His kindness stirs feelings she barely understands. But then she hears things - disturbing things - about his past. Just who did she marry? Is he the man she thinks he is? Or is he the man the rumors say?

May 30, 2015
Out of the Storm (Beacons of Hope, #0.5)Out of the Storm by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story is set in my back yard - well - almost. It's always fun to read about a place that you've visited.

Isabelle Thornton watched her father pull the bodies from the frigid waters of Lake Huron. Another ship wrecked, in spite of her father's diligent tending of the lighthouse in Presque Isle, Michigan. Only one of those who washed ashore was still alive. Isabelle knew she'd have to tend his injuries while her father buried the dead. But she never expected to fall for Henry Cole. She never expected to fall for any man, much less the son of a wealthy lumber baron. She knew her future could never include a husband and family.

This is a novella, so it's shorter than a full-length novel. I prefer a longer story in general. Not a bad story, but not as good as the other Jody Hedlund books I've read.