A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

A Daring Venture book cover

After her parents died tragically of cholera when she was young, Doctor Rosalind Werner is dedicated and determined to promote a new method of making water safe to millions in New York so that no one else has to suffer that horrific fate.  However, her method is yet untested on large populations and her new ideas are not well received by the public, especially Nicholas Drake.  Nick has been recently appointed as the Commissioner of Water for New York but his past life as a plumber makes his skeptical of any new method for clean water. Yet he cannot resist the beautiful Doctor Werner and despite continual debates about what to do for the city of New York, he finds himself drawn to her tenacious and lovely personality.

Elizabeth Camden does a fantastic job of writing stories with characters that have conflict, which makes them complex and interesting.  This story started with instant attraction that was soon confronted with trials that were realistic for the relationship.  I really loved the romance in this novel.  It gave a depth to the characters as they struggled with each other and with common enemies.  There are great spiritual themes of forgiveness and honesty with which any reader can connect.  It is not necessary to read the first book in this series, but it does give more background on Nick and adds to the story.  I also very much enjoyed the history and topic of this book; I learned a lot about water and science in early 1900s New York.  I highly recommend this historical fiction book!

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

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Sons of Blackbird Mountain book cover

Aven Norgaard is forced to leave all that she knows in Norway after the tragic death of her husband and move to rustic America.  She finds sanctuary in the home of her husband’s cousins, helping to run the three-hundred-acre farm.  Soon, however, her heart begins to stir for not one but two of the cousins, putting herself in a predicament when both men return her regard.  Aven is stick with a choice—one that could forever change the lives of two wonderful men.

I fell in love with Joanne Bischof’s writing when I read her book, The Lady and the Lionheart, and was greatly anticipating this new release.  She possesses such a wonderful ability to craft characters with depth and emotion that reaches across the pages and touches the reader’s soul.  I loved the deaf and mute Thor and appreciated the insight this author gave into his struggles.  The author’s writing style allows the reader to be transported to a different time and world.  The spiritual themes are woven seamlessly.  I greatly enjoyed this novel and truly cannot say enough good things about it.  I cannot wait for the next one in the series!

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart.jpg

Adria Starr was cared for by a slave, Louis, after her family perished in the cholera epidemic in 1833, leaving her alone and afraid at the tender age of seven.  Louis cares for Adria at a great cost to himself, choosing instead to help the whites of his community over the chance to become free. Now twelve years later, Louis is being sold after his master dies, despite his heroic actions all those years ago.  However, Adria has not forgotten and is willing to risk everything in order to save the man who once saved her.

I enjoyed the time period and history in this novel.  The author did a great job of crafting a story with depth that allowed me to get a glimpse into what life may have been like in the mid-nineteenth century, including tackling difficult social issues.  I liked Louis a lot and appreciated the way his story ended.  I also enjoyed the romance that Adria encountered and ultimately her decision, although her ending is unsettled and I do hope that she gets a second book!  This novel demonstrates that no matter the shape or size or color of your family, love conquers every situation.  The spiritual themes are gently woven among the storyline.  I liked this book a lot and recommend it to lovers of historical fiction.

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

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

The Hope of Azure Springs book cover

Em first arrived to Iowa seven years ago, alone, on the orphan train heading west.  Now she is once again orphaned after her guardian is shot and killed, leaving her abandoned in Azure Springs.  She is determined to find her sister that she lost seven years ago, but the mystery surrounding her guardian’s recent death makes searching for her sibling dangerous.  Sheriff Caleb Reynolds is motivated to secure the safety of his town, and find the men responsible for the attack on the quiet and withdrawn Em.  But her past secrets only seem to complicate his mission, drawing himself closer to Em in spite of his attempt to remain distant from the waifish girl.

I very much enjoyed this debut novel of Rachel Fordham.  The author has a gift that allows her to craft a story that flows well and is easy to read.  The characters come alive with depth and emotion, allowing me to connect with them in a unique manner.  The storyline was creative and contained a few surprises.  The history was fascinating and woven among depictions of scenery and life in 1880s Iowa.  I shared tears and frustrations with Em and I only wish I could have seen her grow just a bit more as a character in the book.  I did, however, like this book very much.  I recommend this novel to lovers of historical fiction!

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

Minding the Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Minding the Light book cover

Captain Reynolds Macy returns to Nantucket Island six years after sailing away to find whale oil only to discover that things are very different from the life that he left behind. And tragedy strikes soon, forcing him to accept change quicker than he would like.  Bold and spirited, Daphne Coffin does not see Ren as aloof as he wishes to appear, but instead looks beneath the surface to his lonely and aching heart.  However, she is yet promised to another, causing turmoil in her head and in her heart.

This author does a good job of transporting her readers back in time.  I enjoyed the descriptive plot that allowed me to learn more about an interesting era.  The dialogue between characters flowed well and allowed the storyline to read seamlessly. Despite the story taking place hundreds of years ago, the trials between the relationships of the characters are applicable to today.  It was also fun to read more about persons from the last book.  I recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction.

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

The Edge of Over There by Shawn Smucker

The Edge of Over There book cover

Abra Miller’s life forever changes when she discovers the Tree of Life, but as the years pass and she cannot find the next Tree, she begins to think the experience was nothing but a dream.  That is, until an ominous woman encourages Abra to travel to New Orleans to find one of seven gateways between this world and Over There.  Abra encounters another traveler as she enters the Edge of Over There and must attempt to discern whom to trust before it is too late.

Once again this author has crafted a creative plot with descriptive imagery.  The storyline is interesting and contains imaginative twists and turns.  The writing draws in the reader from the first page and effortlessly allows the reader to become a part of the fictional world.  The story explores heavy concepts of life and depth with an ease that is unique and thought provoking.  I enjoyed the first book by this author and find this story equally enjoyable.  A YA read great for any age!

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