Saturday, July 22, 2017

Review of "High as the Heavens" by Kate Breslin

In this sweeping and comprehensive novel primarily set in German-occupied Belgium in 1917, the author focuses on the complicated wartime relationships between British Nurse Evelyn Marche, her family, and Captain Simon Forrester.

Eve is a nurse by day but a spy always, working with the resistance organization La Dame Blanche (The White Lady). Even though their work is very dangerous -and they even have German soldiers billeted under their very roof - most of her family is also involved. Eve's role as a nurse allows her a unique access to important information that can help the Allies, and she works diligently to pass along what she learns.

One night, Eve goes to meet "a package" (not knowing that the package is actually her long-believed-dead husband) - and when his plane crashes, he is wounded. She takes steps to conceal his identity and their relationship, but Simon is now suspicious of Eve's motives as he is unaware of her role in the resistance. Her risks to keep his true identity and their relationship hidden go deep, and to further complicate things, there is a double agent in the mix.

We also bounce back and forth between memories of Simon and Eve's courtship, as well as the great emotional burden Eve still carries from war crimes several years prior.

This book reads as very well researched and clearly illustrates some of the conflicts and difficulties experienced in this time period. Eve and Simon's struggle to reunite all of the family, keep their loved ones safe, and learn to trust each other again are well done. The author also paints a lovely picture of redemption. I am happy to recommend this book!

This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Review of "A Name Unknown" by Roseanna M. White

Roseanna M. White's first book in her latest series, "Shadows over England", is truly a gem. Featuring a high end female thief and a wealthy (secret) author of a fiction adventure series, she has created a beautiful story of redemption and well illustrates that what is seen is not always the truth of the matter.

Rosemary Gresham was orphaned at eight and forced to steal to eat. Over the years she has managed to create a large family - one not related in any way by blood, but of their shared need for survival. When she is 'hired' to find out where the loyalties of Peter Holstein lie - is it with England, or Germany? - she poses as a librarian to gain access to his house and life.

Peter Holstein actually has dual citizenship, but chose England when he turned 18. As the country is on the brink of WWI, the questions and accusations against him grow louder, and Peter must locate the documents that prove his citizenship. He hires Rosemary to organize his library and family history, and find the items he needs - and in the process of this job, things begin to change for both of them.

The plot points are layered without being tedious or clunky; the humor and mysteries are equally well done; and this is easily one of the best novels I've read lately. I can enthusiastically recommend this book!

This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Review of "The Divide" by Jolina Petersheim

In the conclusion of the story that began in "The Alliance", we pick up some time after the Mennonite community has become established in their new location, in the mountains. Leora Ebersole is beginning to grow very weary under the combined pressure of caring for her family and her worries about what has happened to Moses Hughes, the pilot who crashed in their original commune. Meawhile, Jabil is happy to step into the gap Moses' absence has created, and he and Leora grow closer.

As the world continues to shift based on the new "rules", the divide between previous loyalties and relationships become even more tenuous. It's almost impossible to know who to trust, and Leora makes serious choices about things she never thought she'd have to face. And, who will she finally choose - Jabil, or Moses? Will the new community survive? Can Leora live with her secrets?

This two book series was enjoyable and interesting. I have found that as a reviewer it's challenging to expand too much more on the storylines in this book, without giving any spoilers! Also, please note that this is definitely a sequel that you will want to read the books in order; I didn't feel this was a standalone novel. So if you haven't already, make sure to pick up "The Alliance" first!

This book was given to me by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

The Divide