A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

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Rosemary Gresham is a talented thief in 1914 London, but she has moved past picking pockets and instead targets high value items among the upper-class society. Her family and closet friends consist of a group of former urchins, so when she receives the opportunity to provide for them by determining whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or Germany, she accepts. Peter Holstein is awkward and solitary but his influence stretches far as he is a close friend of the king. His German last name, however, is causing strife during the rumbling of World War I. He hires Rosemary to investigate his family name and dig into his family’s past. As Peter and Rosemary each attempt to accomplish their own goals, danger in the background brings them together.

A great book to start a new series! I love the imperfections of the two main characters, particularly Peter’s stutter, a realistic characteristic that makes him more relatable. I liked the diverse group of Rosemary’s family and am looking forward to reading more about them. The Christian themes are also artfully and wonderfully intertwined without being preachy or obnoxious. I thought the beginning of the story was a little slow but the pace eventually picked up and became more interesting. This novel has romance, mystery, history, and faith. I recommend this book and am looking forward to the rest of the series!

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

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With You Always by Jody Hedlund

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Elise Neumann is tired of being a poor immigrant in New York City—she is tired of starving daily and tired of being worked to the bone to care for her sisters. When she is presented with the opportunity to travel west in order to secure her future, she reluctantly leaves behind her family so she can provide for them. Along the rails, she reconnects with Thornton Quincy, a man she ran into in the middle of a gang scuffle several months ago in New York. Elise is cautiously thrilled to meet a friend, but she is uncertain why Mr. Quincy is also moving west and what his intentions might be for their friendship. But when someone threatens Elise’s new livelihood and the business of Mr. Quincy, their friendship takes a deadly turn.

What a wonderful start to a new series by a beloved author! I recommend reading the free novella before starting this book as it gives even more background to the characters in this first installment. The time period and events in this novel are very interesting to read about, and I appreciated that the author did not shy away from giving vivid descriptions of the deplorable conditions poor immigrants found themselves in upon arriving to America in the 1850s. The characters face certain difficulties, which make them realistic and relatable. I love the way the romance develops between the two main characters and that it does not feel rushed. I also enjoyed the surprises near the end of the book that were not altogether predictable. I am greatly looking forward to the rest of the series and highly recommend this novel!

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

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Freedom’s Price by Christine Johnson

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After her father’s death, Catherine Haynes risks everything to travel from England to America in order to seek her mother’s family in Louisiana. But first the ship is delayed and then Catherine arrives to her family’s plantation only to find the plantation in disarray and the family scattered. She enlists the help of Tom Worthington, a wrecker she met in Key West, to help her discover the truth about the strange events surrounding her mother’s beloved home. As they dig deeper, they find that danger lurks at every corner.

I was initially drawn into the plot of this novel and was excited to see where the events would lead. It was good to connect with old characters as well. However, as the story unfolded, the circumstances became very dark. I appreciate that the author is willing to shed light on the painful events of slavery in America’s past, but I found the villain in this novel to be even more sinister than I think the story required. I especially was frustrated that Catherine was initially painted as intelligent and courageous but she walked right into the trap, which did not really fit with her character. Combined with choppy writing, I must say I liked the first two books in this series much more than this third installment. The story is improved by a good ending, but I would have much more appreciated a slightly different turn of events. Nonetheless, I do recommend this series.

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

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Naomi’s Hope by Jan Drexler

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Naomi Schrock has never considered herself beautiful or deserving of a husband or family. But when she and her family rescue orphaned Davey from a burned out building, she finally feels a loving connection as mother. She is content raising Davey among the 1846 Amish community in Indiana, and yet something is missing—a father for Davey and husband with which to share life. Cap Stoltzfus is new to the community but he is immediately drawn to Naomi’s quiet strength. Yet he is not certain he has recovered from losing his lovely wife and young son. But when someone attempts to take Davey from Naomi, a loving fatherly instinct rises in him and he finds himself desiring to protect the young family from danger.

I am not usually a lover of Amish fiction, but I have immensely enjoyed this series by Jan Drexler. She weaves such deep characters full of broken pasts and regrettable mistakes among the interesting backdrop of simple Amish life. It was wonderful to read about previous characters while also getting to know Noami better. The plot has some twists and turns that are not altogether predictable and the romance is clean and sweet. The beginning is a little slow although it picks up by the end of the book. I greatly enjoyed this third installment and wish I did not have to say goodbye to these lovely characters. A highly recommended novel and a wonderful ending to this series!

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

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True to You by Becky Wade

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Nora Bradford is dedicated to her work as a genealogist and historian, hoping that her career can help her forget her heartbreak three years ago. She is thrilled when a former Navy SEAL and attractive man John Lawson enlists her help to research his ancestry. But John is focused on the present whereas Nora likes to dwell on the past. As Nora and John work through their differences towards a common goal, Nora finds herself drawn to John. However, their lives may be too complicated for them to enjoy a future together.

This novel is a good introduction to the Bradford sisters. Nora is quirky and unique but adorably passionate about her job; I did not love her at first but learning more about her throughout the story, I came to enjoy her character. John is a hero but he’s not without struggles, the most pressing of which involves his health, which is why he’s determined to find his birth parents. There is a complexity to the characters that serves as a good backdrop for their romance, which has surprising twists and turns. I am excited to read more about the other sisters, especially Willow, and look forward to the next books. A good start to a new series!

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

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Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

Behind the Scenes book cover

Miss Permilia Griswold grew up travelling with her father on his business trips, so when her stepmother wishes her to simply attend balls and snag a worthy suitor, Permilia’s odd upbringing forces hers to be banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom. Nevertheless, Permilia uses her anonymity in society to write gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill,” filled with tidbits she hears from mingling on the fringes of parties. During one of her evenings, Permilia is shocked to hear a threat against none other than the irritatingly handsome Mr. Asher Rutherford. When she attempts to warn Asher, however, he does not believe her, and she must set out to prove her suspicions correct before it is too late.

One of my favorite aspects of Jen Turano’s writing is her ability to craft such hilarious escapades with tenacious, independent, interesting characters, and this novel delivers yet again! I particularly liked Permilia as she is practical and down to earth, content with her wallflower position in society but also determined to make the best of her situation. The witty banter between characters provides the perfect contrast to the bits of mystery and suspense sprinkled in the story. Add humorous romantic tension and more serious spiritual developments and you have another fantastic book by this well-loved author. I highly recommend this novel and cannot wait for book two in the series!

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

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When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

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Quintessa Beaumont decides to help out with the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) to do her part for World War II. As she is working to prove herself, she is forced to work with Dan Avery, who is more concerned with his goal to make admiral than helping her. But when Quintessa discovers a possible spy link in the Navy, she tries to enlist Dan’s help, hoping he can set aside his career advancement to assist her in a dangerous mission.

I have enjoyed the first two novels in this series and was excited to read more about Tess. She is determined to prove she is more than a pretty face and I admired her gumption and tenacity in this book. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and appreciated the depth the author invested into their personalities. The passion of the characters combined with the interesting detailed history makes for a fascinating read. I also liked the suspense and mystery interspersed in the story. Combined with hidden romance and true spiritual struggles, this novel is a great read. Recommended to all lovers of historical fiction!

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

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