Tuesday, August 22, 2017

MANY SPARROWS, by Lori Benton

    Many Sparrows hits the ground (or the reader's eyes) running and doesn't stop. Set in 1774, it follows Clare Inglesby as her husband takes them through Indian country over an untested trail into an unknown destination. When his foolhardiness strands them far from civilization he rides off for help, leaving Clare, who is eight months pregnant, alone with their four-year-old son, Jacob. Her labor begins unexpectedly and she slips away into the woods to avoid disturbing Jacob as he sleeps. The next morning, Jacob has disappeared. She's utterly alone, in hard labor, and wild to find her missing son.
    Brilliant pacing characterizes Many Sparrows. Without a moment's rest, Lori Benton's prose draws the reader through page after unforgettable page. Her descriptions of frontier life in the months before the Revolutionary War are beautifully crafted as the story moves from one heart-stopping moment to the next. I particularly enjoyed the thread of people in extreme circumstances struggling to understand where God's promises fit into their lives. 
    Many Sparrows is an outstanding novel--the best book I've read in a very long time. I'm still thinking about the characters and wondering about their lives as though they were real people.
    Don't wait to read this one! You have a treat in store.

    My thanks to Waterbrook and the author for my review copy. My opinions are my own.

Monday, March 27, 2017

With Love, Wherever You Are, by Dandi Daley Mackall

    Helen Eberhart has aspired to be a nurse since she was a girl. When the attack on Pearl Harbor occurs, she decides to enlist as an Army nurse. While she is in training for a wartime assignment--she hopes in Europe, since she hates heat--she meets Frank Daley, a doctor who is undergoing basic training before being sent to a battlefield hospital--he hopes in the Pacific, because he hates being cold.
    After their memorable first encounter, they begin a friendship which quickly blossoms into love. Despite the almost unanimous disapproval of their family and friends, Frank and Helen marry after a whirlwind courtship. First Frank, then Helen, are sent to separate duty stations in the heart of the European conflict.
    Beginning a marriage by correspondence--"With love, wherever you are"--forms the basis of this gripping novel. But the hospital scenes and wartime conditions are fully as much a part of the story as their romance. The realism of the situations they encounter in their separate fields of medicine left me with images I won’t soon forget.
    Based on a true love story, With Love, Wherever You Are, is an outstanding novel. I couldn’t put it down. Readers who enjoy World War II-era fiction will want to put this one at the top of their list. It's not to be missed!

Saturday, June 25, 2016


    Professor Preston Barclay seems to have a talent for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Murder Mezzo Forte, he and Mara Thorn, another faculty member at Overton University, leave a reception to answer Professor Mitra Fortier's summons to her office. Mitra implies that something dire is taking place at the university. Despite the late hour, Preston and Mara cross the campus to Mitra's office--and find her dead.
    Notwithstanding his protests to the contrary, Preston is drawn into the investigation as rumors circulate that he and Mara are responsible for Professor Fortier's death.
    Murder Mezzo Forte is populated with eccentric characters. Preston is plagued with an internal orchestra that provides musical accompaniment in his head wherever he goes. Mara is a former Wiccan, now a Christian, who cannot seem to shake the Wiccan label. Toss into the mix a faculty and board of trustees as individual as they are quirky, stir them up with a corrupt police officer, and you have a hugely entertaining novel. 
    I've been looking forward to this book since reading Donn Taylor’s Rhapsody in Red, which also featured Preston Barclay and Mara Thorn. Murder Mezzo Forte does not disappoint.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it to all readers who love a tense mystery laced with a humorous point of view.