Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Review: Loving Luther by Allison Pittman


Blurb (from Amazon):

In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows―a choice more practical than pious―but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.



My Review:

Loving Luther is the newest release by Allison Pittman. This book was just okay to me. I love to read about the love story between Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther. However, this version was a little too slow for me. The first two-thirds of the book was hard to get through but it finally picked up about the last third of it. I am glad I pushed myself to keep reading on as I did enjoy the ending.

Three stars.

I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.



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Friday, August 18, 2017

Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway: That Spring in Paris by Ciji Ware

Ciji Ware

on Tour August 15-28 with

 
That Spring in Paris

That Spring in Paris

(women’s fiction / romance) Release date: May 25, 2017 at Lion’s Paw Publishing 
ISBN: 978-0988940871 ebook: 978-0988940864 468 pages Website Goodreads


SYNOPSIS

Two Americans literally collide at the entrance to a Paris hospital, each desperately searching for friends felled in the same unspeakable tragedy. Patrick Finley Deschanel, an expatriate former U.S. Air Force pilot, quit the military after a career flying helicopter rescue missions in the Middle East. Now resident on a classic barge moored on the Seine, Finn is a man with both physical battle scars and psychic wounds that overshadow his day-to-day encounters at every turn. Juliet Thayer is a fledgling landscape painter who seeks escape from a tyrannical older brother and her job at his violent video war games company in San Francisco. Her emergency trip to Paris also raises doubts as to her impending engagement to a colleague where she serves as packaging design director and “Chief Branding Officer” of GatherGames, a highly speculative enterprise in which her parents are heavily invested. As Finn and Juliet form a tenuous attachment in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that traumatized the French capital November 13, 2015, they wonder if the “City of Light” can provide a path out of the darkness for two emotional exiles who fear–along with the world at large—that their universe has descended into a permanent state of chaos and that the renewal of spring might never come. New York Times bestselling novelist and Emmy-award winning news producer Ciji Ware displays her formidable skill at weaving fact and fiction–delivering a gripping story about the discovery of love and regained serenity in the wake of horrifying events.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

That Spring in Paris - Ciji Ware Ciji Ware, a graduate of Harvard University in History, is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical and contemporary fiction, and two works of nonfiction. An Emmy-award winning former radio and TV broadcaster for 23 years in Los Angeles, her numerous writing accolades include a Dorothy Parker Award of excellence, and being short-listed for the Willa [Cather] Literary Award. Her family circle includes a husband of many decades, a grown son and daughter-in-law, and now two grandsons under four, along with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Cholly Knickerbocker. Ware lives in a cottage by the sea on San Francisco Bay. 
Visit her website Follow her on Facebook and Twitter 
Buy the book: Amazon | B&N Nook | iBook | Kobo

***

GIVEAWAY



Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form]
Global giveaway open to all 2 winners


***


CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS AND GUEST-POST


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MY REVIEW

That Spring in Paris is the fourth installment from Ciji Ware's series, Four Seasons Quartet. Since I have not read a book by this author before, I believe the book can be read as a standalone. At least, I did not feel like I was lost, confused, or missing anything.

I thought That Spring in Paris was a pretty good read. Ciji Ware perfectly captures the sights and sounds of the setting, as well as, the emotions and feelings of the main characters. The story fits right in with the current events and tragedies that have been happening around the world recently, making it more believable and more relatable for many. Even though the story has many heartbreaking scenes, they are sweet romantic scenes, as well, that helped break away from the seriousness of the situation the characters were in.

I would give this book four stars and I hope to read more of series and books by Ciji Ware in the near future.

Great read!

I received this book from the author. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.






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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: The Promise of a Letter (Amish Letter #2) by Kathleen Fuller




The Promise of a Letter is the fabulous second installment from the Amish Letter series. Roman has left his Amish home and has been thinking about going English. However, he receives word that his grandmother has passed away. She has left him a letter with her dying wish for Roman to come back home to Birch Creek and find a way to reconcile with his brother, Daniel. Reluctantly, he goes and hopes he will not be there for long. Daniel's female employee, Leanna, is not what most would think of when they think of a young Amish woman. She does find herself among the gossip and untrue rumors from the community because of her unconventional ways. When tragedy strikes, Roman and Leanna are forced to work with one another and find themselves at odds. Will this drive Roman further away from his Amish faith or will it keep him in Birch Creek forever?

I loved The Promise of a Letter. I was not sure what I thought of the main characters, Roman and Leanna, at first. Leanna is not the average Amish woman I am used to reading about in Amish Fiction. But I did come to love her and found it to be quite refreshing to find a unique character like her. Roman grew, too, grew on me quickly once I started to get to know him. The two learned important lessons: Forgiveness, Redemption, and Faith. Just a beautiful story with several scenes that brought tears to my eyes. I cannot wait to read the third book in the series.


Highly recommended.


5 plus stars.


I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.





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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt and Giveaway: the Secret of the Abbey by Kathleen C Perrin

Kathleen C. Perrin

on tour August 14-25, 2017 

the secret-of-the-abbey cover

  The Secret of the Abbey   (historical fiction)  

Release date: June 3, 2017 

Self-published at Langon House 565 pages ISBN: 978-0692877975 Website | Goodreads



SYNOPSIS

After unwillingly leaving a comatose Nicolas behind on Mont Saint Michel in 1429, Katelyn Michaels is distraught to be back in the United States in modern times. When a series of remarkable events facilitates her taking up residence on the Mount and reveals why Katelyn was called as a Watchman, her fondest hope is to be reunited with Nicolas, regardless of the circumstances. However, when Nicolas unexpectedly arrives with a new mission for her, Katelyn is devastated to learn that his head injury has deprived him of any memories of their relationship. Nonetheless, she is determined to once again save the Mount—this time in sixteenth-century France amidst violent religious turmoil—and rekindle Nicolas’s feelings for her. The couple’s love and loyalty is tested as she and Nicolas attempt to unmask the true source of the threat¬—their adversary Abdon—sort out their conflicting emotions, and deal with the consequences of an astounding age-old secret.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathleen C. Perrin
  Kathleen C. Perrin holds bachelor’s degrees in French and Humanities from Brigham Young University and is a certified French translator. Besides being the author of The Watchmen Saga, she has published several non-fiction articles, academic papers, and a religious history about Tahiti. Kathleen has lived in Utah, New York City, France, and French Polynesia. She and her French husband have spent years investigating the mysteries and beauties of his native country —where they have a cottage—and have taken tourist groups to France. The Perrins have three children and currently reside in Utah.
Visit her website. See here gorgeous pictures related to the book Follow her on Facebook, Twitter
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Buy the book on Amazon

***



GIVEAWAY


Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form]
Global giveaway open to all 8 winners

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS, GUEST-POST AND EXCERPT

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Excerpt from The Secret of the Abbey

By Kathleen C. Perrin



SUFFOCATING BLACKNESS. It’s almost impossible to describe the horrific pressure threatening to snuff out my life. I can’t see, and I can’t breathe. I don’t know where I am or what’s happening to me. I do know that the thing I want most in the world is to breathe, but it’s the one thing I can’t do. The blackness engulfs my toes and legs, my chest, my fingers and arms, and then it starts to invade my mind with its swirls of perfidy. I fight to keep one corner of my consciousness in the light. I can’t give in to the darkness, for I know if I do, I will cease to exist.
Then one tiny pinpoint of light breaks through the obscurity and grows until I can see an image drenched in brightness. Jean. Jean le Vieux. He comes to me in the darkness and tells me to lie still, to make my body go limp. Immediately, the pressure over my mouth and nose diminishes, but Jean tells me not to gasp for air. Instead, he breathes for me and allows me to focus on the words I hear whispered into my ear.
“I’m sorry I had to resort to these measures,” a voice says to me, “but I could hardly have you screaming out, now could I, what with your mother and Jackson right next door. That’s unfortunate. It makes it so much harder than last time, but so be it. Besides, I’m not too worried. I put a little something in their desserts at dinner, so they should be sleeping soundly. I know you’ve been with him, Katelyn. I know you went to the abbey with Nicolas. I’m going to find out if he told you, if you finally learned the source of the power.”
I want to move, I want to push my assailant off me. He’s sitting on my torso, with my arms trapped at my sides, but Jean tells me to lie still. Do not move, Katelyn, Jean’s voice speaks to my mind. Not yet. …
Then he stretches out over me, reaching for something. I hear his hand knock the lamp on my bedside table. He’s trying to find something, but he can’t locate it in the darkness. He finally shifts his weight off of me and onto his knees on either side of my torso.  

Now, Jean’s voice speaks to my mind. Now, Katelyn, and I know what he means. I gulp in a lungful of air and simultaneously whip my right hand up and make contact with the second handle. … It’s a good thing my assailant has chosen to work in the darkness, because he does not see me whip the garrote around his neck. But neither do I see him bring the hypodermic needle to my neck. No matter. Just as I feel the pinprick on my skin, I not only pull with all of my strength, but I scream at the top of my lungs.





MY REVIEW

The Secret of the Abbey is the third and final book from The Watchmen Saga. I have not read the first two books from the series, but the author did a good job summarizing what had happened previously to the point where I did not feel too lost or confused. Right from the start, I was hooked and was drawn into Katelynn and Nicholas's story. It was fascinating how Kathleen C Perrin was able to weave such a tale. I loved how she used actual historical events and included footnotes on the bottom of the pages to note those events.

I was a little intimidated at first by the size of the book but had no problem turning the pages and was sad when it ended. I found it to be a fabulous and clean novel full of intrigue, action, and adventure. One of the best time travel stories I have read - right behind The Outlander. I have added the first two books to my wish list and hope to read them very soon. I cannot wait to see what Kathleen C Perrin comes up with next.

Great book!

5 plus stars.

I received this book from the author but was not required to write a positive review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.





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Monday, August 14, 2017

Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway: A Very French Christmas: The Greatest French Holiday Stories of All Time

A Very French Christmas: 
The Greatest French Holiday Stories of All Time
on Tour August 8-14
Very French Christmas Cover

A Very French Christmas: 
The Greatest French Holiday Stories of All Time

(short story collection) Release date: October 10, 2017 at New Vessel Press 
ISBN: 978-1939931504 142 pages Website Goodreads  


SYNOPSIS

A continuation of the very popular Very Christmas Series from New Vessel Press, this collection brings together the best French Christmas stories of all time in an elegant and vibrant collection featuring classics by Guy de Maupassant and Alphonse Daudet, plus stories by the esteemed twentieth century author Irène Némirovsky and contemporary writers Dominique Fabre and Jean-Philippe Blondel. With a holiday spirit conveyed through sparkling Paris streets, opulent feasts, wandering orphans, kindly monks, homesick soldiers, oysters, crayfish, ham, bonbons, flickering desire, and more than a little wine, this collection encapsulates the holiday spirit and proves that the French have mastered Christmas. This is Christmas à la française—delicious, intense and unexpected, proving that nobody does Christmas like the French.


THE AUTHORS

Alphonse Daudet, Guy de Maupassant, Anatole France Irène Némirovsky, Jean-Philippe Blondel, Dominique Fabre, Paul Arene, Francois Coppee, Antoine Gustave Droz, Anatole La Braz
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Buy the book: on Amazon

***

You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.


Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway open to US residents 5 winners

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS 

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MY REVIEW

A Very French Christmas: The Greatest French Holiday Stories of All Time is a collection of fourteen short stories from various authors. These stories include:
The Gift by Jean-Philippe Blondel
St. Anthony and His Pig by Paul Arène
The Louis D'Or by François Coppée 
Christmas in Algiers by Anatole Le Braz 
The Wooden Shoes of Little Wolff by François Coppée 
Christmas Eve by Guy de Maupassant 
Christmas at the Boarding School by Dominique Fabre 
Salivate and Bernadou by Alphonse Daudet
A Christmas Supper in the Marais by Alphonse Daudet 
A Miracle by Guy de Maupassant 
I Take Supper With My Wife by Antoine Gustave Droz 
The Lost Child by François Coppée 
The Juggler of Notre Dame by Anatole France
NOËL by Irène Némirovsky 

 A Very French Christmas: The Greatest French Holiday Stories of All Time is quite different from other Christmas books I have read. Each story is only about to 5-15 pages long, making it easy to continue on to the next story, and hard to put the book down. There were a couple of the stories I did not care for but enjoyed most of them. They are fun, interesting, heartwarming, inspiring, delightful, magical, compelling, and even sometimes funny. I loved learning more about French culture during Christmas time.

My favorite story of the collection is I Take Supper With My Wife by Antoine Gustave Droz. I thought it was a cute and charming little story. I found myself chuckling a couple of times reading it. 

If a reader is looking for a quick and different Christmas read, I think A Very French Christmas would be a perfect addition to their to read or wish list.

I give this book 4 stars. 

I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.



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Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: Gathering the Threads (The Amish of Summer Grove #3) by Cindy Woodsmall




Blurb (from Amazon):

Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family? 

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart. 



My Review:

Gathering the Threads is the final and third book from Cindy Woodsmall's series, The Amish of Summer Grove. I was completely surprised how the series ended. There were some twists I did not see coming at all. I have enjoyed the series, but did not enjoy this one as much as the first. I was confused with a few things and felt like the storyline was being rushed. However, as I continue to read it, it all came together in the end. A wonderful ending to a great series. 

Four stars.

I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.



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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review: To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation #3) by Tamera Alexander


Blurb (From Amazon):

From #1 CBA Bestselling Author Tamera Alexander . . .  Impeccable historical research woven with heart-gripping fiction!
  
With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society's expectations must work together to achieve their dreams - provided the truth doesn't tear them apart first.
  
Seeking justice . . . 
   
Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success--General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. 
   
Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fiancé--and has shattered her world. 
   
Struggling to restore honor . . . 
   
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family--and Nashville society--do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.
   
Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor? 
   
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager her heart to do it. 
   
Set against the real history of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a powerful love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in American history when both were tenuous and hard-won. It's Tamera Alexander - impeccable historical research and heart-gripping fiction - at her best! 


My Review:

To Wager Her Heart is the third and final installment to Tamera Alexander's Belle Meade Plantation series. I love how the actual real life, historical events surrounds the story. The author really did her research. I just love the characters, Alexandra and Sylas. The scenes with those two were my favorite. So much fun to "see" them together.

Any reader that is looking for a fun, great, clean, and full of historical details in a book, then To Wager Her Heart is one for them. I cannot wait to see what the author is releasing next.

Highly recommended.

5+ stars.

I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.





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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Guest Post, Review and Giveaway: The Return (Amish Beginnings #3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher



Click here to purchase your copy. 
About the Book
Book title: The Return
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Release date: Sept 1, 2017
Genre: Amish
In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear
Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans—but then she never had to. Not until the night she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she’s developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.
Greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?
Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Three Sisters’ Garden: Corn, Squash & Beans!

Corn was a new food to the immigrants to the New World, introduced to them by Native Americans. Soon, it became an essential part of their daily diet, in one form or another. Growing it brought yet another new discovery: companion planting in the form of the Three Sisters’ Garden.
According to Iroquois legend, corn, squash and beans were three inseparable sisters who only grew and thrived together. 18th century Native Americans wouldn’t have understood the science behind why companion planting worked, but they knew it did. Beans, like all legumes, have bacteria living on their roots that help them absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form that plants can use. Corn, which requires a lot of nitrogen to grow, benefits from the legumes and provides a pole support for the beans to climb. Low growing squash leaves shade the soil and prevent weed growth. Their sharp and prickly leaves deter pests. This tradition, of planting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, became a sustainable system to provide long-term soil fertility among Native American tribes that farmed.
The wisdom of planting Three Sisters’ Garden was adopted by the immigrants, including our own Betsy Zook from The Return. Betsy learned of the technique while a captive among a tribe of Indians and later, after she had been returned to the Amish, shared her knowledge with Anna and Bairn.
Have you ever considered growing a Three Sisters’ garden? All you need is the right kind of seeds, a mound of dirt in a sunny spot, and to not forget to water. Mother Nature will do the rest.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling, award-winning author of novels about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, who was raised as a Dunkard (German Baptist) on a farm in Pennsylvania. Suzanne loves to connect with readers! You can find her on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.
*Images courtesy of Dream Home Improvement and Technology Exchange Lab

Blog Stops

August 1: Quiet Quilter
August 1: Remembrancy
August 2: Bigreadersite
August 2: lighthouse academy
August 3: Genesis 5020
August 3: Book by Book
August 4: Carpe Diem
August 7: A Reader’s Brain
August 7: Pause for Tales
August 7: Splashes of Joy
August 8: Live.Love.Read.
August 9: Mary Hake
August 9: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)
August 11: The Power of Words
August 11: Karen Sue Hadley
August 11: Neverending Stories
August 12: Cafinated Reads
August 12: TinaTruelove
August 14: Vicky Sluiter
August 14: By The Book

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is doing an amazing giveaway from August 1 through 14! Check it out:
Four winners will receive one of the prizes below:
An Amish Gift Basket and a copy of The Return
Amish popcorn sampler and a copy of The Return
The Amish Beginning 3 book set series
One grand prize winner will receive:
An iPad Mini
You can enter at Suzanne’s website (http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/contests/)
or on her Facebook page (http://gvwy.io/q1kb9u4)

My Review

The Return is part three from Suzanne Woods Fisher's Amish Beginnings series. When historical fiction and Amish fiction collide, it makes a perfect read for me. The story is based on real events, making it an even more fascinating read. I loved the first two books of the series, Anna's Crossing and The Newcomer, and The Return is a perfect addition to the series. It is written so well, that I felt like I was transported back in time and living among the Amish settlers in Pennsylvania. I felt like I was right there experiencing the fear, struggles, and turmoil the community and kidnapped Betsy must have had gone through. There are several elements of the story I liked. Some mystery and suspense, lessons of forgiveness, redemption, faith, love, following your heart, and learning to turn to God to overcome tragedy.

I highly recommend this book, especially for those who love Amish stories and those set during Colonial America. I, also, recommend to the reader to begin with Anna's Crossing, book one of the series.

100 stars

I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.



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