Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review of "The Promise of Jesse Woods" by Chris Fabry

A coming-of-age story that bounces back and forth between the 70's and 80's, baseball aficionado Matt Plumley is challenged to find the depth of strength to stand up for what he believe in - and that life will not always turn out as expected.

The book opens with Matt and his family having just moved to Dogwood, West Virginia, where his dad (who grew up there) has been recently hired as the pastor of the local church. Matt quickly learns that not everyone in Dogwood is considered an "appropriate" candidate for his friendship. He also discovers that there are some severely prejudiced folks with a serious agenda that exert their control, not only over the area but eventually his father; and there will be some long term consequences rooted in that issue.

Dealing with some serious social and justice issues that still resonate today, The Promise of Jesse Woods is well-written and thought provoking. I am very glad to have read it and can definitely recommend it.

I was given a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Review of "They Danced On" by Carre Armstrong Gardner

The third book in the Darling Family series, this installment focuses on Jane Darling and her husband Leander, in their valiant struggle against his diagnosis of ALS. Laura Darling also is featured prominently in this book, as she comes to grips with the real depth of her addictions. As before, the author bounces back and forth between the perspectives of multiple family members, yet still weaves the entire story together in a way that is both cohesive and beautiful.

One of Jane's biggest challenges is meshing her belief that God can and WILL heal her husband with his conviction that although he is sure that God can, he believes he won't....and he wants to move forward in faith, as best they can. Compounding Jane's life is her difficult relationship with her sister; the youngest child moves out and Jane feels at loose ends and without purpose; and, she has a long-held secret she must make some decisions about.

This entire series has been a bright spot in my fiction world, as the author is a wonderful storyteller. The characters seem real and people you would want to know and have as friends. I was delighted to be a part of their world for these three books. More, please.

I was given a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Cover: They Danced On

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review of "An Elegant Facade" By Kristi Ann Hunter

Book two in the Hawthorne House series, here we are given the back story on Miranda's challenging sister, Lady Georgiana. Told with a method I haven't seen before (and I read A LOT), a fair portion of this book overlaps with the author's debut book (and first in the series, "A Noble Masquerade"). I actually loved it! The author provides a note of explanation, and truly, being written in this way crated an extra layer of depth. You can easily read and understand this book independently of the first one, but it does provide a unique perspective - one that I appreciated.

Lady Georgiana, on the surface, appears to be extremely vain and conniving. Her single focus is to make the perfect match in her debut season, which she has worked tirelessly for years to prepare for-all so she can feel safe.

A friend of the family, investment manager Colin McRae, is successful-but not titled-and although Georgiana initially intrigues him, he is convinced she is too shallow. However, he soon begins to see glimpses of the real Georgiana behind the mask...and once he inadvertently learns her secret, realizes she is in his heart. And he isn't sure he wants her to get out.

I greatly enjoyed both of the books in this series and it is easy to recommend them highly. In no way do they "read" like they are from a new author! The characters are interesting and believable. Both books are incredibly well-written and a wonderful take on this time period of history.

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