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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Dandelion Field...Review

About the book:
This handsome firefighter makes a living coming to the rescue, but Gin doesn't need a man to fight her battles.

After Raine's dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter's youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that's compromised when Raine reveals she's pregnant.

Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend's son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: "The baby is mine."

Knowing gossip of Raine's pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin's reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin's feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.

As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.

Single mom Ginevieve is not one to stay in any place too long. But, her teenage daughter wants to finish her senior year of high school. Wanting her daughter to have a future that includes college, Gin has done everything she could to ensure that. When Raine admits she pregnant, Gin sees that future swirling away. Raine's boyfriend Cody is the all-American good, Christian kid. He loves Raine and wants to marry her and raise their baby. His mom isn't all that supportive. His dad's best friend is more encouraging. Together, they all must navigate this new reality and, in the process, Dan and Gin must confront their feelings for each other.

I was not familiar with Kathryn Springer and I read The Dandelion Field more on a whim than anything else. I am so glad I did. I loved these characters. I ended up with a vested interest in them.

The perspectives alternate between Raine, Dan and Gin and it works. Their voices are authentic, their fears and frustrations genuine. The writing is descriptive and the story compelling. I couldn't put it down and I didn't want it to end.

The story is clean and Christian and I appreciated that these teenagers understood the consequences of their actions and took responsibility but, more importantly, I loved that their parents worked through everything with them. If I have any complaints, it's that the story ended too soon and without an epilogue! I wanted more.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Kathryn Springer here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/15

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mailbox Monday 1/26

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at To Be Continued.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

 I've missed posting the last couple of weeks, so this is a compilation.

A Heart Revealed (Proper Romance) by Josi Kilpack, for review from Shadow Mountain
Get Your Joy Back by Laurie Wallin, for review from Litfuse Publicity

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter: Seven Traditions to Lead Us Closer to the Savior by Emily Belle Freeman, for review from Shadow Mountain
Alan Turing: the Enigma by Andrew Hodges, purchased

The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons by Heather A. Slomski (giveaway win from BookSnob)

Med Free Bipolar: Thrive Naturally with the Med Free Method  by Aspen Morrow, for review from the author

What about you?


What new books did you receive?  Check out more Mailbox Monday posts here.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Cottage Park Puzzle...Review

About the book:
When two teenagers are found beaten in the quiet town of Cottage Park and another boy is standing over them holding a baseball bat, it seems like a simple task to convict the perpetrator. There’s just one problem: he’s severely autistic. This poignant tale of one town’s journey to forgiveness and love will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Having a child on the autistic spectrum, I am drawn to stories about individuals with autism. I thoroughly enjoyed The Cottage Park Puzzle. Corky is severely autistic and my son is high functioning, so there are few similarities, but I thought that Richard Siddoway's portrayal of Corky was incredibly accurate. As he has an autistic grandson, his personal experiences helped shape Corky's character, I'm sure.

I liked seeing different perspectives as it brought depth to the story. Some characters I liked more than others. I can understand how a parent would be angry and scared when their child is severely injured, but Edna's character was simply horrible. She was unlikeable on a good day and her behavior toward Corky was akin to an 18th century witch hunt. The contrast with the behavior of the other parents was like light and dark. I also didn't like Karen, the principal and her absolute conviction to find someone to blame for Corky's behavior and because I loved Mr. Calderwood, Corky's teacher, I really hated that she focused that unfounded blame on him!

I did appreciate that there were people in the community who rallied behind Corky and his family and questioned whether the boy could actually have committed this behavior.  His teacher, Mr. Calderwood was fantastic. Having an advocate for your child like Mr. Calderwood is every special needs parent's dream. Our son is mainstreamed, but has an extended resource room and teacher who is amazing. These teachers don't get enough recognition or acknowledgement for what they do, day in and day out.

The story moves quickly and the resolution isn't quite as surprising, but satisfactory and teaches us a great lesson about judgment and forgiveness.

Thanks to the author and Cedar Fort for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Richard Siddoway here.  You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/15

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ryder: American Treasure...Review

About the book:
During of the War of 1812, British troops ransacked the White House and made off with valuables that were never returned. Two centuries later, a British curator finds a vital clue to the long-vanished loot. Within hours, the curator is assassinated—and Ayesha Ryder, a Palestinian-born antiquities expert, is expertly framed for his murder.

Who could be behind such a conspiracy? And why do they want Ryder out of the way? To find out, she picks up a trail leading from a mysterious nineteenth-century letter to the upcoming presidential election. As Ryder dodges killers in the shadow of hidden alliances, sexual blackmail, and international power plays, she finds that all roads lead to the Middle East, where a fragile peace agreement threatens to unravel . . . and another mystery begs to be discovered.

Ryder’s rarefied academic career and her violent past are about to collide. And her only hope of survival is to confront a powerful secret agent who has been waiting for one thing: the chance to kill Ayesha Ryder with his own two hands.

Ayesha Ryder wants nothing more than to recover from the events of Ryder and search for the Ark of the Covenant. She soon finds herself drawn into another mystery involving the British attack on the White House during the War of 1812. Rumors abound that the British stole valuable artifacts and when proof of the theft surfaces, America understandably wants them back as one of those treasures could be proof that there was a British spy, high up in the fledgling American government. Against her will, Ayesha finds herself pulled into the conflict and search for treasure. She discovers those who opposed the creation of the joint Holy Land are also not only involved in the hunt for the American treasure, but on a mission to kill her.

I have no idea how much of this is fact or how much is fiction. I do know that it's fast-paced and edgy. The profanity is more prolific and I could have done without the moderately explicit non-marital sex which also included a same sex relationship. If not for that, this would have been a 4 star book.

That said, however. I like Ayesha Ryder and I like this series. A lot. Ayesha is a tough, no-nonsense woman who can hold her own against pretty much anyone or anything, even while suffering the effects of PTSD. Nick writes strong female characters and I loved that he included a female British prime minister and a female American Secretary of State. It was great seeing Dame Imogen and Lady Madrigal have strong roles here.

Second in the Ryder series, the book could stand alone, but I would suggest reading them in order, simply for background and depth. Political thrillers are not my normal genre, but I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Nick Pengelley here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/15

* * *
3/5 Stars

Friday, January 16, 2015

At Bluebonnet Lake...Review

About the book:
Marketing maven Kate Sherwood’s world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is slow down to a crawl at Rainbow’s End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. But she cannot deny her ailing grandmother’s request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week (albeit fifty years ago). There Kate meets Greg Vange, the resort’s handyman. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye–billions more, in fact, as he recently sold his successful software company and is at the resort in search of what’s next for his life.

Kate isn’t looking for romance, but she can’t deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. She even starts to see potential in the rundown resort. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate’s long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

Spending a month in a run-down and dilapidated old resort isn't her idea of a good time and Kate Sherwood finds the slow pace and lack of internet access at the resort frustrating. Greg Vange, on the other hand, loves the change of pace and getting away from the fast-paced workaholic life that once consumed him. I loved Kate and Greg and watching their relationship unfold. These characters were strong and well developed and I enjoyed that they were a bit more mature in age. Their conflicts and dilemmas were believable and real. Grandma Sally was such a spit-fire and I adored most of the secondary characters.

Like the fictional Rainbow's End resort, a place of reflection and relaxation, this is a slower-paced story, but we're allowed to get to know these characters and see their growth and progression. The Christian elements are light, but significant.

This languished in my TBR pile and I'm sorry it took my so long to get to it. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Rainbow's End. First in the Texas Crossroads series, I am looking forward to more.

Thanks to Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Amanda Cabot here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/15

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Like a Flower in Bloom...Review

About the book:
For years Charlotte Withersby has worked as an assistant to her father, an eminent English botanist. As she approaches the old age of twenty-four, her father pushes her out into society, swayed by an uncle who believes God's only two roles for women are marriage and motherhood. When one of the Withersbys' colonial correspondents, Edward Trimble, returns to England, he's drafted as the new assistant so Charlotte is free to marry. This suits Edward's plans quite well, since the last thing he wants to do is reunite with the family he is ashamed to call his own.

Though Edward proves himself vexingly capable on the job, Charlotte won't surrender the job without a fight, and schemes with her best friend to regain her position. Perhaps if a proposal seems imminent, Charlotte's father will see his error and ask her to return. Charlotte tries to make headway in her town's social life, but reveals herself to be unaware of all the intricacies of polite society. Though Edward pitches in, tutoring her in society's expectations, she just seems to make things worse. And the more she comes to know of her father's assistant, the more trouble she has imagining life without him. Caught in a trap of her own making and seeing the hopelessness of her prospects, will Charlotte get to keep her work or will she have to cede her heart?

Wanting nothing more than to work with her father in botany research, Charlotte Withersby is angry and frustrated when he brings in a new assistant and sends her off with her uncle to move in society and gain a husband. As much as I liked Charlotte, I grew frustrated with her. She was brilliant, but literal to the point that I wondered if Siri had purposely given her Asperger's Syndrome as her previous book had a character with ADD. Having a child on the spectrum, I could recognize many signs of ASD. Although, Charlotte's social awkwardness was very nearly overdone in the extreme. However, the exploration of social mores and expectations was interesting and there were some funny moments. I loved that Charlotte finally came into her own. I appreciated Miss Templeton and her friendship and influence to Charlotte and Edward kind of grew on me towards the end.

The first Siri Mitchell book I read was She Walks in Beauty and it was amazing. Nearly every other book of hers has paled in comparison, which is a shame. I do love the historical aspects of Siri's books. They're well researched and historically rich.

Thanks to Bethany House for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Siri Mitchell here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/14

* * *
3/5 Stars

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Highland Pearl...Review

About the book:
A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the 16th century Highlands of Scotland.

Maidie is summoned to Fàrdach Castle of Easter Ross-shire to assist in caring for the wounded of Clan Munro after a battle with Clans MacKenzie and Cameron. She dreads the task since her husband, Kenneth Munro, was killed in an earlier battle. Maidie is a healer, taught by her mother, with the skills and knowledge needed to tend the wounds of Chief Andrew Dubh Munro who is seriously wounded.

People in the castle and those in the village of Drumainn turn against Maidie. Angus, the castle physician, resents her for taking his job in caring for the chief. She is hated by some, because she is a member of the enemy Clan Cameron and came to live in Ferindonald, the Munro lands, with her husband.

Maidie considers returning to the land of her birth in Clan Cameron with her young son, Sven, but falls in love with Andrew while caring for his wounds. Although her neighbors now call her a witch, she wishes to stay in Drumainn because of her love for the chief.

Against an effort to guard his hardened heart from another hurtful encounter with a woman, Andrew falls in love with the tender, caring healer, Maidie. He wants her to stay in Drumainn, but his enemies, the Camerons and MacKenzies, have other plans.

I love historical fiction, but I struggled with this one and nearly didn't finish it. I didn't love the characters and I wanted to. However, the story moved too fast for me to get to know them or truly understand their situations. I also found it difficult to believe that Andrew could be up on a horse so soon after a terrible abdominal injury that required surgery. The ending was a bit too neat as well. There are many Gaelic phrases and while I was familiar with many, I didn't discover that the glossary was at the end until I finished the ebook. I think that putting it in the front so the reader knew it was available would have been more helpful. Still, the descriptions are rich, and Scotland is one of my most favorite settings for a novel.

This is the first in a series and mine is only one review and there are other, more positive reviews on Amazon and at other tour stops here.

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book! for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Brenda B. Taylor here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/15

* *
2/5 Stars

This post has been edited.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mailbox Monday 1/12

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at To Be Continued.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

My mailbox was empty this week. Not a bad thing, considering the state of my TBR stack.

What about you?

What new books did you receive?  Check out more Mailbox Monday posts here.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Nightingale Christmas Wish...Review

About the book:
As Christmas 1938 approaches, the staff at the Nightingale Hospital have their own wishes for the festive season.

Ward Sister Frannie Wallace is hoping she won't have to live through another war like the one that claimed her beloved fiance. But with bomb defences going up all around London, it seems as if her hopes are in vain.

Staff Nurse Helen Dawson wants to find happiness again after the death of her husband Charlie. A handsome stranger seems to offer the chance she wants. But is she looking for love in the wrong place?

Matron Kathleen Fox struggles to keep up morale amongst her nurses as the hospital faces the threat of evacuation. But while everyone else worries about the future of the Nightingale, it's for her own future that Kathleen truly fears.

As the country prepares itself for war, one thing is for sure - by the time next Christmas comes, nothing at the Nightingale Hospital will be the same again.

Helen Dawson is my favorite Nightingale. I have loved her story from the beginning. Now, as she has graduated from the nursing program, she is promoted to head nurse in the Casualty Ward or Emergency Room as we would know it. Feeling out of place and young, she strives to move forward with courage and faith, but finds herself at odds with Dr. McKay, the casualty doctor.

Helen has always felt more in common with her husband Charlie's family than her own and at a family Christmas party meets Charlie's cousin Christopher. Finding herself drawn to him, she soon discovers he's nothing like Charlie and she realizes her heart belongs to a doctor.

I loved getting to know Frannie and her story, and getting to know Matron and learning her story really enriched this one. Effie is trouble waiting to happen, Dora and Nick are expecting a baby and war looms. With the threat of war, also comes a risk of the Nightingale hospital closing for good. Helen's meddling mother strives to bring this about, but the nurses and their Matron realize the hospital brings more to the community than simply medical reasons.

This is my favorite of the Nightingale books. These characters have grown and learned and become remarkable women over the course of this series.

The Christmas elements are light here, this isn't solely a Christmas story. Rather, it's a story of discovering one's strength. As always, the books should be read in order. I truly hope that this isn't the last Nightingale story, but if it is, it has ended on a fantastic note.

Amazon Kindle Purchase. You can learn more about Donna Douglas here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 12/14

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Booking Through Thursday...Weeding

Do you ever weed out unwanted books from your library? And if so, what do you do with them?

My husband likes to joke that he came to our marriage with two suitcases and I came with a UHaul. That's not too far from the truth. When we moved to Idaho, I had broken the laws of physics packing our moving van, but it was too loaded down and we needed a second one. The main reason? My books.

I used to keep every book that came into my house. Over the years though, I have gotten to the point where I only keep books that I know I will re-read or that I really liked. I just don't have the room for books I don't love or won't re-read.

I also work at not accepting or buying books I probably won't like. I can usually get a good idea before I accept a book for review if I will like it or not and I just don't accept books I know I will probably hate. Life is too short to read books I don't enjoy.

I loan a lot of books to friends. I've given some away. I have taken some to a used bookstore for credit. Now that I have an e-reader as well, I don't have as many print copies coming in, but it's hard to loan ebooks to friends!

Go here for more BTT posts.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chocolate Beach..Review

About the book:
Bri Stone loves life as a laid-back beach girl with a distinguished attorney husband, a surf-ridin' teenage son, and a kicky job as a coastal tour bus host. Still, her mother-in-law and a know-it-all friend think her marriage is lacking. She brushes aside their wayward opinion and focuses her energy on helping her best pal, Gaby, find romance. But when she discovers evidence that maybe her husband has grown tired of her laid-back ways, Bri sets out to win him back--by reinventing herself--and their home! In the midst of her makeover, she vows to uncover the truth about her marriage, her family, and ultimately, about herself.

This popped up as a Kindle freebie and I loved the title and the premise sounded promising. I finished it, but it dragged on and on.

I have such a hard time with limp female characters. I can't even call her the heroine of the story, because there is no story. Bri has a pretty cushy life, but like a toddler, she moves from thing to thing. The minutiae of her life was trite and tiresome. Her husband is busy with his job and because of suggestions and hints from jealous friends, she assumes he doesn't love her anymore. Seriously? It's called, "communication in marriage". Perhaps if she wasn't running around with silly girlfriends and letting herself be pushed into unnecessary redecorating, she'd be available to talk with her husband.

The Christian elements were light and the characterizations shallow. The resolution, and I use the term loosely, came too late. Maybe I'm too old. I'm certainly not trendy and up on pop culture. This book just made me tired. I did appreciate the inclusion of the recipes. Some of those will be fun to try.

Thanks to Amazon for the Kindle freebie. You can learn more about Julie Carobini here. You can grab your own copy here.

Read 12/14

1/5 Stars

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nightingales On Call...Review

About the book:
1937 sees new challenges for the trainee nurses.

Dora and her old enemy Lucy are paired up on the children’s ward for the final three months of their training. The two nurses couldn’t seem more different, but they may have more in common than they think, as each hides a secret heartache.

… and new faces at the Nightingale

Jess is the feisty eldest daughter of a notorious East End family and determined to prove herself as a ward maid.

And new trainee nurse Effie can’t wait to escape her small Irish village, and make her way as a nurse in London. But Effie’s sister Katie soon begins to worry that Effie’s behaviour is out of control.

Nightingales on call and in crisis: have they got what it takes?

As the nurses enter their final year of training, new faces appear and an old nemesis finds herself taken down a notch or two.

Dora and Lucy find themselves roommates and working together on the children's ward. Still proud and arrogant, Lucy is hiding the fact that her father has lost his fortune and she and her mother are nearly destitute. Dora and Nick are working to find the money to be able to be married and the last thing Dora needs is Lucy as her roommate. But, as often happens with trial and suffering, hearts are softened and friendships formed. I enjoyed Lucy's path to redemption.

And Jess? Jess was awesome. Loved her role as maid in the nurses house and seeing that side of the hospital and her interactions with grumpy Nurse Sutton, the old House Sister. I look forward to seeing more of Jess.

Picking up after The Nightingale Nurses leaves off, the story could stand alone, but these should be read in order. I love these girls. I love this soap opera called Nightingale. Seriously.

Amazon Kindle Purchase. You can learn more about Donna Douglas here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 12/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mailbox Monday 1/5

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at To Be Continued.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

My mailbox has been kind of slow over the past couple of weeks.

A Highland Pearl by Brenda B. Taylor, for review from Pump Up Your Book!
Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell, for review from Bethany House

What about you?

What new books did you receive?  Check out more Mailbox Monday posts here.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Weekend Reflections 1/3

Looking outside....it's cold, but sunny. It's been in the teens or lower all week.

Listening...to blissful silence.

Loving...a warm home, a fireplace and people to share it with.

Thinking...that 2015 is building on 2014. I'm emotionally and physically spent and the year has barely begun. 

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate. Always. Today, I am enjoying Boudin sourdough toast with it though. It's a treat. We can't get good sourdough in Idaho, we must ship it in from San Francisco. My sister did just that last week. 

Wearing...red penguin pajamas and a black turtleneck, because that is my standard winter lounge wear. Today my fuzzy socks are blue though...

Needing...motivation and hope.

Reading...I finished Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund. Not sure what to start next.

Today...some canceled plans. Probably some errands. 

Hoping...for a miracle. Our 16 year old van is dead and we need to find a means of replacing it. 

Planning...school starts next week and it's The Artist's birthday as well. 

Gratitude...it's so hard to find things to be grateful for in the midst of trial and adversity, isn't it? But, that's when it's even more important to express gratitude. So today, I'm grateful for my family. Because without them, I would have nothing. 

From my world... 

I love Christmas cards. They're a wonderful affirmation that someone is thinking of you. Today that is very comforting to me.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Child is Born: A Nightingales Christmas Story...Review

About the book:
Christmas Eve, 1936

On a foggy December night, a pregnant woman walks out in front of a trolley bus and is knocked unconscious. She is rushed to the Nightingale hospital, and a healthy baby is delivered. But the mother claims to have lost her memory, and cannot believe that the child is hers. It seems that the Nightingale nurses may need to perform a Christmas miracle.

When a pregnant woman is hit by a bus and rushed to the hospital, she gives birth to little boy. When she awakens, she seems to have amnesia and the nurses name her child Gabriel. As they fall in love with the baby, they work to help the mother discover who she is. In the meantime, a man is admitted to the hospital because was injured the the same bus accident. Wondering where his wife is, the nurses work to help him discover her whereabouts. As their two stories come together, it appears a Christmas miracle may be needed.

Set between the Nightingale books 3 and 4. This little novella can stand alone, but it was lovely to see Helen, Millie and Dora again. A charming little story about love, Christmas and forgiveness.

Amazon Kindle Purchase. You can learn more about Donna Douglas here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 12/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Love Unexpected...Review

About the book:
All she's ever wanted was a home. But stranded at Presque Isle port after their steamboat sank, Emma Chambers and her brother, Ryan, couldn't be farther away from security. While Ryan at least can find work, Emma can't even find a place to stay. An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper, who recently lost his wife and is struggling to raise his young son, arrives in town. A traveling preacher believes they might be the answer to each others' problems, and after a hasty marriage, Emma is headed back to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger.

But nothing in her wandering life has prepared her for suddenly being asked to raise a child and keep a house. Struggling at every turn, Emma also suspects Patrick may be keeping something hidden from her. In town she hears whispers about strange circumstances surrounding his previous wife's death, and it seems as though Emma's answered prayer for a home and family may actually be something much more dangerous.

Emma and her brother are shipwrecked at remote Presque Island on Lake Huron when their steamboat is attacked by pirates. Patrick Garratty has just lost his wife, and as keeper of the lighthouse is in need of someone to help care for his son. Penniless, Emma and Ryan must find work which Ryan is able to do. When that proves difficult for Emma, a well-meaning preacher steps in and suggests Emma and Patrick marry and be the solution to each others' dilemma.

Emma suddenly finds herself married to a man she doesn't know. Having never learned how to cook or keep house and having no experience with children, she is thrust into a unique situation. As she and Patrick learn to live and work together, she discovers that he has secrets.

Emma is sweet and wants so badly to please Patrick and be a good mother to Josiah. Patrick has worked hard to overcome his criminal past and begins falling in love with Emma.

I found myself frustrated with the supporting cast, especially Bertha. What a seriously unlikable woman. I wanted to shake Emma for confiding in Bertha, but I also realized that Emma had no other woman with whom to be friends and even an antagonistic person like Bertha is welcome when there are no others.

I've never been to Michigan and it still surprises me at the size of the Great Lakes. That they are big enough to need lighthouses is fascinating. Jody's gift for history is terrific. I love her author's notes at the end and the historical accuracy with which she tells her stories.

When I know a new Jody Hedlund book is being published, I get a little giddy. I adored Love Unexpected.

Thanks to Bethany House for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Jody Hedlund here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 12/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars