A Passionate Hope by Jull Eileen Smith

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Hannah and Elkanah are devoted to God and His tabernacle at Shiloh. They are therefore both distressed over the corruption they see of the priests and long for restoration. Hannah is also desperate for a child. But prayers for her nation and her womb go unanswered and Elkanah takes another wife to carry on his family name. Feeling alone and abandoned, Hannah relies more heavily on communication with God to endure the trials she faces.

Powerful emotion and fascinating Biblical history collide in this tale about Samuel’s mother. I enjoyed the fictional account of possible trials and feelings that Hannah may have felt and found myself drawn into her struggle. The storytelling is captivating and the book beautiful in its heart wrenching retelling of one mother’s struggle for acceptance and love. Hannah may only be briefly mentioned in the Bible, but her role in Israel’s history is important and I appreciate this author’s ability to bring her alive. I have enjoyed all the stories in this series and look forward to more by this author! Recommended to lovers of Biblical fiction.

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

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The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

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Wyatt Paxton joins the Navy to escape from his mistakes in Texas and arrives in London in time to prepare for D Day in 1944. He is hoping that his work will help to assuage his guilt from past actions and help repay his family for what he has done. He is tasked with working “Wrens,” females in the Navy service who are responsible for putting together pieces of France to assist with the invasion. Dorothy Fairfax, one of the Wrens, particularly intrigues Wyatt as she uses her steadfast determination to do her part for her family and her country. Wyatt and Dorothy soon find themselves spending more and more time together as they work together to turn the war in the favor of the Allied forces.

I am always impressed with the historical research and military knowledge of Sarah Sundin’s novels and this book is chalked full of both! I enjoyed the setting of the novel and the events and details leading up to a pivotal event in World War II. I liked seeing Wyatt’s growth and transformation throughout the story. There was a surprising part in the story that I did not see coming! I also enjoyed the pieces of different characters coming together to create a central theme of forgiveness. The romance was tastefully done. I look forward to the other books in the series and recommend this first installment to lovers of historical fiction.

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

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Hearts Entwined by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears

Hearts Entwined Novella book cover

The Love Knot—Claire is expecting a much different package when her sister insists on sending her a gift by rail. She is even more surprised by the man who delivers the package. Claire has to sort through new challenges and her life is suddenly changed forever.

The Tangled Ties That Bind—Maggie is determined to move past rejection when Conner left her in her small town. She is thrilled with an opportunity to become a doctor and help others. Conner returns home just as her career is taking off and Maggie is suddenly faced with a decision between her job and her first love.

Bound and Determined—Bradley Willis is forced to endure a trip across the desert on the oddest form of transportation, all because he was attempting to fight off a gang of outlaws. He is not expecting to have to also manage the headstrong Ambrosia, who is equally determined to stop the herd from making it to Texas.

Tied and True—Marianne is in love with Calvin. The only problem is that he refuses to marry her because of her wealth. Stubborn and tenacious, Marianne turns away from all that is familiar and takes a job at a mill to prove to Calvin that she will do anything for their love.

 

What a charming set of four novellas! I love the strong, independent nature of all the women. If you have read other novels by these authors, you will also note that many of these characters are familiar. It was fun to see them all get their own happy endings. There were moments that made me laugh of loud (who ever heard of crossing camels across the United States) and moments that touched my heart (welcoming a young baby into their home). There is enough variety that appeals to all sorts of different audiences but also a central theme that allows the novellas to easily flow from one to the next. I hope these authors collaborate again! I definitely recommend this delightful book.

 

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

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A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

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Vivienne Rivard is a lacemaker in revolutionary France, a craft that threatens her very life. She escapes to Philadelphia only to have the danger follow her to the French Quarter in America. Still feeling unsettled, Vivienne tries to blend into a new culture as unrest among Americans begins to rumble. Liam Delaney was proud to have served his new country in the American Revolution, but when citizens start taking sides for the new whiskey tax, he finds himself caught between his country and his family. He forms an unlikely friendship with Vivienne, both of them drawn together as they seek a peaceful home and refuge.

From stunning emotional depth to exquisite depicted scenes, this book has it all! I fell in love with the characters from the first page. They have such incredible struggles that caused me to immediately connect with them and feel their emotions throughout the story. Vivienne is strong and tenacious and Liam is compassionate and hardworking—a great set of characters and the perfect heroine and hero. The history was very well researched and interesting to read, the historical details clearly communicating the difficulties facing a new America. There were a few twists and turns that create a complex plot. I very much enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more by this author! Highly recommended!

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

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Why I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray

Why I Hate Green Beans book cover

Lincee Ray details a hilarious memoir about the realistic trials woman face every day. She demonstrates that embracing our imperfections allows us to see how God can use us in the way that he made us. So if you’ve every felt alone in your struggles, her hilarious self-reflection may be enough to give you a laugh on your bad days.

This book is hilarious and relatable! It was an easy read and flowed seamlessly from the first page to the last. I found myself wishing I had a friend like the author and was able to connect with her scenarios and descriptions very easily. She made me laugh, she made me think, and she made me tear up! I especially loved her ability to bring faith into the struggles that women face every single day. I certainly recommend this novel!

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

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A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White

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Willa Forsythe exchanged a family that abandoned her for a hodge-podge family that is all bonded together by their skills of thievery. When she is offered a big payday to perform a single job for a mysterious man during the height of World War I, she accepts without hesitation, knowing the cash will help her family. And the job does not seem difficult, as she will be required to spend time with a famous violinist. Lukas De Wilde fled war-torn Belgium and is raising money through his violin playing to earn his way back to save his mother and sister. Intrigued by the talented and mysterious Willa, he sets aside his worry for his family to focus on music. But soon Willa must make the choice to betray Lukas to save her own family, perhaps sacrificing her growing friendship in the process.

I really enjoyed this book. I was drawn into the story from page one and was intrigued during the entire plot. The author has such a creative writing style that pulled me in and allowed me to visualize the scenes with ease. I really liked the playful flirtation of the characters. I love strong women and this story has lots of talented, independent women who are revealed to be heroines during the novel. The history was thoroughly researched, the characters were complex, the spiritual content was deep, and the romance was charming. I think these books are best read in order so you can get background for all the characters, but that should be no hardship as the first book is also great! I highly recommend this novel and this series.

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

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Coldwater by Samuel Parker

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Michael is finally out of jail but is facing a hometown that hates him. There are men who tried to kill him before and will not hesitate to do so now. Even more than the physical men that are chasing him, however, is the powerful inner force that is trying to destroy him as well. Michael must race against time and dimension in order to emerge victorious and changed.

This novel definitely packs action after action into its pages. It starts with chilling suspense and the adrenaline keeps pulsating with each scene. The haunting narrative leaves a chilling effect. The topic and plot were not to my taste, but that does not detract from the skill of this author. I also found the content a bit dark for Christian fiction. I am not certain I would read this book again and I think it takes a unique audience to appreciate it. Nonetheless, if this is your kind of genre, I think you would enjoy this book!

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

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