The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick

Eliza Spalding Warren struggles with feelings of displacement after her captivity by the Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847 and the death of her mother a few years later. Wanting to find love and acceptance, she impulsively makes a decision that forever changes her family dynamic. But this choice has consequences. Now she is facing a move back to the territory where she spent her captivity. Desperate for comfort, she finds her mother’s diary in the attic and spends time reading of her mother’s struggles in a new land, surprised to find similarities in their circumstances. As Eliza learns to trust and grow despite her surroundings, she finds peace and healing in her past and her future.

This novel is full of interesting history. It is especially fascinating because the author based much of the facts on real events. I appreciated the author’s ability to tell the story without romanticizing the plot in any way, making it as realistic as possible. One part of the novel that made the plot a little choppier was the chapters of Eliza’s mother’s diary interspersed among Eliza’s story, despite the fact that it was interesting to read about the parallels in both of their lives. Overall, I really liked the characters, especially Eliza. I also enjoyed the author’s writing style, which flowed well. The story moves quickly as it occurs over many years, but the development of the characters does not make this feel rushed. A novel recommended for its great historical depth!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Last Chance Hero by Cathleen Armstrong

Dr. Jessica MacLeod is excited to move to Last Chance, New Mexico, to practice rural medicine, a dream of hers since she was a little girl. She arrives amidst another excitement, however, that of Andrew Ryan, pro-football star, coming home to coach the high school football team. Not a huge fan of football, she offends a few people with her inability to appreciate the way football is a center of this town. Despite not having this in common, Andy and Jess are drawn to each other. Their friendship, however, is put to test when they argue over a key player, placing perhaps their blooming relationship in jeopardy.

The author paints Last Chance well, its charming open fields and distant mountains easy to imagine and enjoy. Readers of earlier novels in this series will appreciate the return of a few favorite characters. I did like Jessica; however, Andy never really made a good impression on me. There were even a few instances in which I became frustrated at the way the townspeople, Andy included, treated Jessica. In addition, the ending was a bit too abrupt for me. Overall, however, the story flowed fairly well and may be enjoyable to those who like small town romances.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Lady Miranda Hawthorne tires of the lady lessons from her genteel born mother, instead desiring to allow her inner thoughts and emotions run free. In order to appease her mother but still have an outlet, Miranda writes a journal of sorts. Only instead of a leather bound book, it’s a series of letters to a childhood friend of her older brother, a man she believes has a similar opinion of high society despite his being a duke. Since she has never actually met the man, she merely stores the letters in a trunk under her bed. But when her brother’s new valet mistakenly mails a letter, she is horrified. She is even more surprised when the duke actually responds and they strike up a lively correspondence. Yet as the strange events occurring at her home escalate, Miranda must turn to an unlikely source to solve the mysteries before it is too late.

This novel has a creative and interesting plot. Although the letters were disappointingly less of a cornerstone of the plot than I expected, I enjoyed the banter of the characters and their relationships throughout the book. I particularly liked the romance as it was not forced nor developed too quickly. Portions of the dialogue and plot were a little choppy at times, but overall the myriad of events makes for a pleasant read. A recommended regency novel!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz

Sophie Menzies is relieved the American Revolution is finally over. Facing the shame of having a Tory father on American soil, she wants nothing more than to welcome her brother home from war and move on with managing the family estate. Noticing the return of her neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, the officer in command of her brother’s unit and the master of Tall Acre, she hopes for good news. But when Sophie’s brother remains missing and General Ogilvy also has no information, she spends her days connecting with the General’s small daughter, the bond between them soon strongly forming. Yet as Sophie slowly becomes aware her affections extend to more than the widowed General’s daughter, she decides to risk it all, only to have a woman from the General’s past arrive – a woman who may ruin her newfound happiness forever.

If I had one word to describe this book it would be captivating. The scenery was painted with vivid and descriptive words, drawing me into its setting. The characters were troubled, realistic, and lovable, inviting me into their story. And the tension and romance of their relationships, the tenuous hope, the suspense from dangers not yet past, all flowed into a plot that was so well written it was easy to spend hours engrossed in the details. There were plenty of surprises to keep the reader guessing, including one shocking secret I personally never anticipated, adding to the complexity and interest of the novel. In addition, I particularly enjoyed the heart-wrenching aspects and emotional turmoil of the characters, which made their story that much more alive and believable. A most highly recommend historical novel!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.