Saturday, October 28, 2017

A PLAIN LEAVING, By Leslie Gould

When Jessica Bachmann left her Amish family, she made a new life for herself in the Englisch world. She knew she couldn't return after turning her back on her family and her faith. But life has a way of rearranging people's plans.
    Her father dies unexpectedly, and she decides to brave the shunning she knows she will face in order to mourn the man who has been a loving guide throughout her life. What she hadn't expected was the recurrence of feelings she once had for Silas Kemp.
    Fortunately, she has an ally amongst the cold shoulders she receives--her Aunt Suz. To pass the time, and to encourage Jessica, her aunt begins telling her a tale of early Bachmann history in the years prior to the American Revolution. The story of Rebecca Bachmann is woven into A Plain Leaving, so the novel moves between modern day Amish life and the early Amish settlers on their land. Leslie Gould has drawn these two stories together to build the framework for A Plain Leaving.
    I must confess a preference for historical fiction, and found the pre-Revolution sections fascinating. Not to say that Jessica's dilemma isn't equally interesting--I had no idea of the lengths the Amish would go to when they shun someone. Even Jessica's immediate family treat her coldly.
    You will have to read A Plain Leaving for yourself to learn how the story ends. I promise you, you'll be glad you did.

    My thanks to the author and Bethany House for my review copy.

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!