Everything She Didn’t Say by Jane Kirkpatrick

Everything She Didn_t Say book cover.

Carrie Strahorn marries an adventurer, somewhat expecting but never truly imagining that their lives would be spent exploring a greater part of the West and writing articles to people in the East to encourage them to populate the wilder part of America in the late nineteenth century.  She initially finds the moving about frequently exciting but soon her heart desires something more—a permanent home and family.  Feeling alone in her thoughts, she turns to journaling to express her feelings.  And as she writes, she discovers more about herself.

This book gives readers an interesting and unique perspective into the life of a pioneer lady at the turn of the twentieth century as she explores the Wild West with her husband. It is set up almost like a memoir within a memoir and expresses her deepest desires among the pages.  The novel is an excellent story of history, full of details that are interesting and thought provoking.  I very much liked Carrie and found myself connecting with her. I thought the chapters felt detached from each other.  I did not find an overarching plot or theme but rather felt as if I was reading a historical journal.  However, it is well written and if readers like novels heavy in history, this is for you!

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

A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

A Christmas by the Sea book cover

Recently discovering that she had inherited her family’s beachside cottage, Wendy Harper and her son, Jackson, travel to Seaside, Maine, during the Christmas season to fix up the house.  Faced with debts and responsibilities, Wendy plans to sell the cottage in order to pay off medical bills and give her son hope for the future.  What Wendy does not plan for is the pull on her heart from both the enchanting town and one local handsome craftsman.

This short story has a charming setting with its picturesque seaside small town during the Christmas holidays.  The characters face real-life struggles of financial difficulties and costly house renovations as well as pasts of love lost, but there is hope infused throughout the book.  Sprinkled with enchanting cottages, romantic settings, and threads of faith, this book is the perfect afternoon read on a blustery winter evening with your favorite hot beverage. The ending works out a bit too perfectly, but that does not detract from the overall charming theme.  It has lovable and spunky characters and realistic conflict and heartbreak—not to mention a fun furry friend to bring joy at just the right time!  A great short book for the Christmas season.

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

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond book cover

Annalise Forsythe has painful secrets, just like everyone else does in Gossamer Grove.  But when mysterious events and dangerous things begin to happen, she begins the brutal task of unburying secrets, which only serves to uncover more suspicious pasts in Gossamer Grove.  She is not pleased when an old flame arrives in town during this vulnerable point of her life.  As she begins to let God help her forgive and start fresh, she learns that the past can actually help her heal her future.  Her search for answers digs up the unusual story of Libby Sheffield, a young lady at the turn of the century working at her father’s newspaper company during a spiritual revival in the town.  Libby is facing her own demons from her past.  These two ladies, though separated by time, have similar goals to heal and move on.

I very much enjoyed the first novel by Jaime Jo Wright and was looking forward to her next book.  I did not typically like split-time plots, but now this author has turned me around to them by crafting stories that connect is such unique and interesting ways.  I very much liked both of the main protagonists in this book and found the overarching theme of forgiveness and moving on from painful pasts something that any reader can relate to.  The plots are interesting with the twists and turns and I did not anticipate the villains. My favorite part is seeing how all the details fit together at the end.  I very much recommend this book!

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

Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano

Caught by Surprise book cover

Miss Temperance Flowerdew is used to being a wallflower and going unnoticed but when she gets kidnapped and swept off to Chicago, suddenly her life becomes much more interesting.  Mr. Gilbert Cavendish is asked to pursue a missing woman, but the lady he finds in Chicago is not who he expected.  He is, however, delighted to restore a friendship with an old childhood friend.  He is surprised when their trip turns into a complicated adventure that begins to drag up old painful pasts.  As Temperance and Gilbert attempt to find the answers before it is too late, they discover that things may not be as they seem.

I always really love Jen Turano’s books because they incorporate the best humor into everyday events. This particular book once again introduced laughter among each scene.  I enjoyed the added element of danger and mystery in the plot.  And it was fun to see Temperance, previously shy and reserved, come out of her shell and let her fun personality shine.  I liked the romance that started out as restoring a good friendship and then blossoming into something more.  I think the ending worked out a little too perfectly, but nonetheless, I enjoyed the book overall.  I definitely recommend this book!

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