Tuesday, June 4, 2019

THE KING'S MERCY, by Lori Benton

The King's Mercy grips the reader from the first scene, and doesn't let go until the conclusion of the book. Alex MacKinnon is a Scot whose punishment for participating in the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 is indenture to a plantation owner in the colony of North Carolina. The loss of his former life and the slavery surrounding him in the colony render his days unbearable.
    The only glimmer of brightness is the presence of the plantation owner's daughter, Joanna Carey. Joanna fights against the burden of being a slave holder's daughter, as well as dreading her expected wedding to the plantation's overseer, a man for whom she has no love.
    The King's Mercy takes the reader through both geographic and emotional twists and turns. At the same time, life in the colonies in the mid-1700's is expressed in such a way as to render the period and the obstacles therein completely authentic. I can't remember at what point I forgot I was reading fiction and started thinking of the characters as actual people. I found myself worrying about their lives even when I wasn't absorbed in the novel.
    Lori Benton is a masterful author, one of the best I've read. All of her novels are guaranteed to leave you remembering the story and the characters long after you finish the book. The King's Mercy may be one of her best. I highly recommend this novel!
My thanks to the author and Waterbook for my review copy.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


    Leisel Bachmann has her life all planned. She's completed her nurse's training with only the state boards still waiting for her. She and her English boyfriend, Nick, are dreaming of a happy future together.
    Then, in seemingly no time at all, the pieces of Leisel's plans lay scattered at her feet. If anything can possibly go wrong, it will. Her confidence is shattered, as are her dreams with Nick. As she struggles to get her bearings and make new plans, her aunt shares with her the story of Leisel's grandfather's experiences during World War II. At first Leisel is interested only in the account as a story, then she begins to see what her aunt is trying to tell her about the choices she faces.
    A Faithful Gathering is a fascinating novel. I enjoyed both the contemporary sections and the World War II story. Medical details and military history added an enlightening layer to Leisel's life.
    Leslie Gould is a wonderful writer. I felt I was right there with the characters' aspirations and struggles. I highly recommend this book!
    A Faithful Gathering is Book Three in the Sisters of Lancaster County series, but it isn't necessary to have read the earlier two books--although I recommend A Plain Leaving and A Simple Singing as well.    My thanks to the author and Bethany House for my review copy.

Monday, March 26, 2018

A BORROWED DREAM, by Amanda Cabot

Grace Whitfield is the schoolmarm in Cimarron Creek, Texas. She's grieving the loss of her mother due to the town's inept physician, although the youngsters she teaches bring joy to her aching heart. When Austin Goddard, a handsome outsider, buys ranch property in the area and brings his young daughter to the school, Grace senses a man hiding a secret.
            Grace and her mother had planned a trip to Paris and now Grace grieves the loss of that dream as well. However, the idea is never far from her thoughts or her dreams.
            A Borrowed Dream contains a cast of fully developed characters, from her friend who owns a candy store, to an abusive parent of one of the children in the school.
            I really enjoyed this book! With themes of secrets held, big-city gangsters, and a returning prodigal, A Borrowed Dream kept me reading in every spare moment.
            Cabot tells her stories with her heart on every page. Although this is the second book in a series, the storyline kept me informed at each turn of the plot. A map and a genealogical chart at the front of the book also helps readers to track the action.
            My thanks to the author and Baker Publishing Group for my review copy.