This month I have the great pleasure and honor to introduce to you author, Kimberly Duffy. I met Kimberly through a mutual friend just before her debut book came out. Kimberly is a wonderful mom, wife, and author. I hope you enjoy getting to know her better as much as I did.
Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn’t mind.
You can connect with her at:
Newsletter (free short story): http://kimberlyduffy.com/index.php/newsletter/
Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Kimberly with some rapid-fire.
CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?
KD: Neither. I’m allergic to caffeine.
CC: Ugh! That must be so hard! I stress eat chocolate way more than I should.
CC: Print or e-book?
CC: Cat or Dog Person?
KD: Allergic to those, too.
CC: You poor thing! I guess the best pet in those instances is a fish.
CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?
KD: Night Owl.
CC: The night seems to be when everything is finally quiet.
CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?
KD: Fall or spring. I love both seasons.
CC: They really are each pretty in their own rights. I could do without the tree pollen though. LOL
Before we dive into your book, let’s learn a bit more about you. What has been the biggest challenge for you on your writing journey??
KD: Not falling into the trap of comparing my journey with someone else’s. Especially with social media, it’s hard to resist that temptation. It’s in your face all the time and typically, you only see the very best parts of someone’s journey.
CC: Hugs. Comparision is so incredibly hard. I think it is a trap we can all be tempted to fall into, and often do.
Why do you write with settings in India?
KD: India is the most vibrant, colorful, energetic, warm place on the planet. It lends itself well to beautiful imagery and descriptive writing, as well as being so diverse which makes writing each book an opportunity to dive into new research. Though, only the first three books are set there. I’m looking forward to writing other places as well.
CC: I am looking forward to seeing India through your writing. It is such a unique location, although, any location you write is bound to be wonderful.
So let’s talk about A Tapestry of Light.
Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.
When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.
But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.
CC: If you could be any of your characters, which one would it be? Why?
KD: If I could be anyone from Tapestry, it would be Damaris who is my heroine’s closest friend. She has a larger-than-life personality, kindness tempered by a realistic outlook and sharp sense of humor, a stunning figure and mound of red hair, and purpose. She’s also loyal, lives with a wealthy, permissive aunt, and honestly deserves her own book. Maybe one day?
CC: She definitely deserves her own book! And I have a feeling you will have many readers clamoring to read it.
What drew you to this story?
KD: Initially it was the beetle-wing embroidery. I stumbled across a piece of 18th-century ruffle at an Indian fabric exhibit and was just fascinated by it. The Victorians were big fans of using things from the natural world in their fashions and elytra are the most beautiful green, iridescent, and have a long history of being used in embroidery. Then I was drawn to Ottilie’s fierce strength, her pursuit of truth, and her willingness to wade through hard things.
CC: That is so cool. For our readers, here an image of some beetle-wing embroidery to feast your eyes upon.
Dress fabric embroidered with beetle wing-cases, makers unknown, 1858, Hyderabad, India. Museum no. 4498:1/(IS). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London (https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/indian-embroidery)
Thank you so much for joining me today and providing us with a taste of you and your story. The last question is always my fun one:
If you could have any super power, which would it be?
KD: Teleportation definitely. I’ve actually seriously considered this question in case I’m ever offered the opportunity. I love to travel. I wish I could wake up in Paris, eat a croissant, then hop on over to India for lunch and a visit with friends, then be in Greece for dinner time and a walk along the ocean.
CC: I’d definitely jump on board with that one, but for a completely different reason. LOL It would be so nice to get my family where they need to be in seconds instead of taking all day. 🙂
Seriously, thank you again so much for the interview. It’s so neat to get to know you a bit more.
Readers, you can purchase Kimberly Duffy’s book at any of the following retailers or your favorite bookseller.
Amazon Baker Bookhouse Barnes and Noble Books-A-Million Bookshop.org Book Depository Christianbook.com Indiebound.org
Reader Question: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Welcome to the fourth month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focuses on the Civil War (and post-Civil War). At the request of one of my readers, I’m posting suggestions from my bookshelf at the beginning of each month. This month’s suggestions feature some books from my e-book shelves, as well as a section of books suggested to me by others. I’ve read a good number of these, but some are still waiting for free time. Add your suggestions in the comments, and/or tell me what you are reading. Have you read any of these below? Which one should I choose for this month? Let me know.
Also, if a title is linked, it goes to a review I’ve written on that book. Just in case you are interested in learning more.
*If you read a book for March, don’t forget to go to yesterday’s post (RCR: Trail of Fear) to comment and get your name entered for your chance to win a print copy. (You’ll also earn your entry for the end of the year giveaway.)
*You can also join the Facebook Group. for more interaction and suggestions, or if you’d like a bookmark to remind you of the monthly challenges, fill out this Google Form.
(Honest confession: I love these posts because it almost feels like I’m browsing a book store with lots more CHR selections than brick and mortar stores and easier to find what I look than a general online store… and it makes me realize how many books I own that I still need to read.)
From My Shelf
The Abolitionist’s Daughter by Kathleen L. Maher
The crusading daughter of a Washington politician, Marietta Hamilton comes between twin brothers as the country plunges toward Civil War. Horse traders from Virginia, Ethan Sharpe and his brother Devon would defend their livelihood from her interfering kind. When love ignites, friends become enemies separated over the course of a long and brutal conflict. Can the very influences which carved a chasm unite a torn family against all odds?
Other titles in the series: The Chaplain’s Daughter, No Man’s Daughter
Captured and mistaken as a spy, can she unravel a conspiracy before her secrets cost a man his life?
Some secrets change the world…
Once a privileged heiress, Annabelle Ross is now struggling to hold her home and her life together through the devastation of the War Between the States. But with a forced marriage and a desolate future on the horizon, her hopes are beginning to dwindle. When she discovers an encrypted note on a dying soldier, she seizes the opportunity to use it to deliver a message of her own. Instead, she’s mistaken for a spy and captured. Now her only chance to escape is the handsome soldier in charge of discovering her secrets.
After his brother is captured by enemy soldiers, Matthew Daniels vows to rescue him at any cost. When a secret society offers him a chance for retribution, Matthew must decide between his loyalties and his convictions. To prove himself, he’ll have to first unmask the spirited spy holding the key to their plans or risk losing his brother forever.
This is book one of a trilogy. Each book has a complete storyline but you need to read all through to get the whole, overarching story. Other titles are: A Dangerous Performance, A Daring Pursuit
Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin
Caroline Fletcher is caught in a nation split apart and torn between the ones she loves and a truth she can’t deny
The daughter of a wealthy slave-holding family from Richmond, Virginia, Caroline Fletcher is raised to believe slavery is God-ordained and acceptable. But on awakening to its cruelty and injustice, her eyes are opened to the men and women who have cared tirelessly for her. At the same time, her father and her fiance, Charles St. John, are fighting for the Confederacy and their beloved way of life and traditions.
Where does Caroline’s loyalty lie? Emboldened by her passion to make a difference and her growing faith, will she risk everything she holds dear?
Other titles in the series: Fire by Night, A Light to My Path
1865—Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy, but the family legacy of espionage is thrust upon her as the War Between the States rolls on. Unknown to her, the Knights of the Golden Circle—a Confederate secret society bent on destroying the Union her brother died for—has been meeting in a hidden lair beneath her home. Faced with the secrets of her late husband and his brother, whom she thought she could trust with anything, Marietta’s world tilts out of control. Can she right it by protecting a Union agent infiltrating the KGC?
Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to end the conflict between the North and the South. When he infiltrates this secret cell, it isn’t just their inner workings that baffle him—it’s the beautiful woman who seems to be a puppet for the new leader and yet…so much more.
Do they dare trust each other in this circle of intrigue? Will their shared faith sustain them? And can Mari and Slade stymie the enemy long enough to see their beloved country reunited?
Book 3 in The Culper Ring Series. Each takes place in a different time period.
Daughter of Twin Oaks by Lauraine Snelling
Will the Wounded Soldier She Rescues From Certain Death be Able to Break Down the Walls of Bitterness That Surround Her Heart?
Seeking to fulfill the promise she made to her dying father, eighteen-year-old Jesselynn Highwood determines to take her little brother and the family’s remaining Thoroughbreds from Twin Oaks plantation in Kentucky to her uncle’s farm in Missouri, where they will be safe for the remainder of the Civil War.
Jesselynn is also fleeing a cruel man in Confederate uniform who has pledged to take revenge against her for refusing his hand in marriage. No longer safe at Twin Oaks, she embarks on a perilous journey, taking on the momentous responsibility for the lives and welfare of all who go with her.
They ride at night and hide during the day, dodging both Confederate and Union troops along the way. Encountering hunger, sickness, and the devastation of war, they finally arrive in Missouri only to discover that the situation there puts them in even greater danger. Discouraged, disillusioned, and facing a severe testing of her faith, Jesselynn will stop at nothing to save her family, the horses, and whatever remains of Twin Oaks.
Edge of Honor by Gilbert Morris
Quentin Larribee is a surgeon–one of the best. But in the confusion of one of the Civil War’s last, desperate skirmishes, the hands devoted to healing bring death to William Breckenridge, an enemy soldier in the act of surrendering. Now the deed haunts Quentin.A bright future lies before him, with marriage to the lovely Irene Chambers and eventual ownership of her father’s prosperous medical practice. But it cannot ease Quentin’s troubled conscience. Honor compels him to see to the welfare of the dead man’s family.Quentin moves from New York City to the little town of Helena, Arkansas, where he attempts to save the wife of Breckenridge and her children from financial ruin. But in trying to solve one problem, he creates another, falling in love with the widow of the man he killed–a woman who knows nothing of his terrible secret.Two women beckon Quentin–one to a life where his gift as a healer can prosper beyond his wildest dreams, the other to a truer but impossible love.Edge of Honor is an unforgettable novel of redemption and honor, where good is found in the unlikeliest places and God’s unseen hand weaves a masterful tapestry of human hearts and lives.
Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines—until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.
Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.
Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.
His Steadfast Love by Golden Keyes Parsons
It isn’t until the Civil War comes to her doorstep that Amanda Bell must choose between love and family.
It’s the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Amanda never thought she would marry because of a promise she made to her dying mother, but her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable.
When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel aligns with the Confederate States, while Kent remains with the Union troops.
Her heart is torn between the two men she is closest to and the two sides of the conflict. Amanda prays to God for direction and support, but hears only silence. Where is God in the atrocities of war—and whose side is He on?
Amanda senses her life is at a turning point. She must trust God to deliver her family through the chaos of war with her heart and her faith intact.
A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander
To create something that will last is Claire Laurent’s most fervent desire as an artist. It’s also her greatest weakness. When her fraud of a father deals her an unexpected hand, Claire is forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville, only a year after the War Between the States has ended. Claire’s path collides with that of Sutton Monroe, and she considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But when they meet again and he refuses to come to her aid, she realizes she’s sorely misjudged the man. Trading an unwanted destiny for an unknown future, Claire finds herself in the middle of Nashville’s elite society and believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art may finally be within reach.
All that Sutton Monroe holds dear lies in ruin. He’s determined to reclaim his heritage and to make the men who murdered his father pay. But what he discovers on his quest for vengeance reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined.
Set at Nashville’s historic 1850s Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America in the 1860s, A Lasting Impression showcases the deep, poignant, unforgettable characters that set Tamera’s stories apart and provides an inspiring love story that will capture readers’ hearts and leave them eager for more.
Other titles in the series: A Beauty So Rare, A Note Yet Unsung
With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to Society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.
Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earns him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect he craves.
After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality. When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?
The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shephard Gray
Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn’t expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.
Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.
After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda’s home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip’s name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.
Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He’s mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.
He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn’t prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.
Other titles in the series: An Uncommon Protector, Love Held Captive
Can Love Form Amidst Tensions of War?
During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.
A Stranger on my Land by Sandra Merville Hart (Clean Romance)
Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find a wounded soldier on their land after a battle which later became known as “The Battle Above the Clouds.” Adam, a Union soldier, has been shot twice in the arm. Though Carrie is reluctant to take Adam to their cave where her family hides their livestock from both armies, she cannot turn her back on him.
But her Aunt Lavinia, bitter over what Yankees have done to their land, urges Carrie to allow Adam to die. Carrie refuses, but cannot remove the bullets. Adam’s friendship with Jay softens her heart toward him. It’s not long until his gratitude and teasing manner spark a friendship between the young couple. Even though Carrie’s father fights for the Confederacy in far-off Virginia, her feelings for the handsome young soldier begin to blossom into love.
When Adam’s condition worsens, Carrie knows a Union surgeon is needed to save his life. But how can she save him and keep her family safe from Yankee forces?
Other titles in the series: A Rebel in My House, A Musket in My Hands
Swept into Destiny by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield
Forced to call each other enemies, can their love survive?
Maggie Gatlan may be a Southern belle on the outside, but inside she’s a rebel. Then she meets the handsome, strong Irish immigrant Ben McConnell who captures her heart.
Ben is enchanted by Maggie’s beauty and fiery spirit, but for him the South she so dearly loves represents the injustice and deprivation he left behind in Ireland.
As the country divides and Ben joins the Union, Maggie and Ben are forced to call each other enemies. Will their love survive or die on the battlefield of South against North?
Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon, Jr. & Cindy Kelley
From Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley, authors of The Silent Gift and creators of the hit television film Love Comes Softly, comes an exciting historical romance set in post-Civil War, and filled with suspense and faith-building values. At the war’s end, a young woman suffers an accident that leaves her unconscious and alone. Waking with amnesia, she takes the name Mercy and wants more than anything to find out the truth of her past. But then a handsome stranger arrives, who may hold the key to everything she has forgotten. What he knows could devastate her future, and even end her life. Written by two proven storytellers, Traces of Mercy is perfect for anyone who loves historical fiction, prairie-based tales, or just a good romance.
Tried & True by Mary Connealy (Slightly after the Civil War but still connected. Probably my favorite series from Mary.)
Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!
Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister–and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk–they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”–but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.
Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?
Other titles in the series: Now and Forever, Fire and Ice
Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.
Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.
Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?
Books Recommended to Me:
All Through the Night by Tara Johnson
With her stammering tongue and quiet ways, Cadence Piper has always struggled to be accepted. After the death of her mother, Cadence sets her heart on becoming a nurse, both to erase the stain her brother has left on the family’s honor and to find long-sought approval in the eyes of her father. When Dorothea Dix turns her away due to her young age and pretty face, Cadence finds another way to serve . . . singing to the soldiers in Judiciary Square Hospital. Only one stubborn doctor stands in her way.
Joshua Ivy is an intense man with a compassionate heart for the hurting and downtrodden. The one thing he can’t have is an idealistic woman destroying the plans he’s so carefully laid. When the chaos of war thrusts Cadence into the middle of his clandestine activities, he must decide if the lives at stake, and his own heart, are worth the risk of letting Cadence inside.
Everything changes when Joshua and Cadence unearth the workings of a secret society so vile, the course of their lives, and the war, could be altered forever. If they fight an enemy they cannot see, will the One who sees all show them the way in the darkest night?
In His Eyes by Stephenia H. McGee
She pretends to be a Yankee officer’s widow in order to survive. But what will she do when he returns home to a wife he didn’t marry?
Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer’s widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child. But now she must work even harder to hide her Scottish immigrant roots and play the part of a refined Southern lady or risk losing her only hope to keep her new son.
Union Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War divided his family, tore his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home to settle his father’s estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his house is being run by a fiery and independent woman—one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he’s never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.
A reconstruction ear romance with a fiesty herione and a love to overcome the odds.
Other titles in the series: Eternity Between Us
The Whistle Walk by Stephenia H. McGee
In a time where unity seems impossible, two women will forge a friendship in the fires of redemption and thrust Ironwood into a new future—where the battle for freedom has merely begun.
Mississippi – 1862
Stolen from her home and forced into the disgrace of being sold, Ruth refuses to let go of the faith that holds her heart together. Determined to survive in her new role at Ironwood, Ruth never expects to find any common ground with the plantation owner’s wife. But when God keeps nudging her to speak up for her race and forge an unlikely friendship, she makes a dangerous choice that could cost more than she’s ready to give.
Bride to a man she barely knows and bound by her secrets, Lydia is struggling to step into her new title as the mistress of Ironwood. Inspired by the fiery spirit and quiet dignity of an enslaved woman, Lydia’s eyes begin to open to the harsh realities of the world around her. But if there is ever going to be a new future for Ironwood, she will have to start with shedding her own pretenses.
Other titles in the series: Heir of Hope, Missing Mercy
Return to Shirley Plantation by Carrie Fancett Pagel
Theater manager Matthew Scott is abducted and conscripted into the Confederate army because of his Copperhead senator father’s political leanings. Injured at Malvern Hill, Matthew is taken by the Union army to Shirley Plantation in Virginia where he is tended by seamstress Angelina Rose, a beautiful woman who unbeknownst to him is a freed slave. Given an opportunity to leave the South and start a new life for herself, Angelina remained for the sake of her sister’s orphaned twins who are still enslaved. Matthew must use his acting skills to remain safe, not realizing Angelina is merely playing the role of being a member of the Carter family, owners of the plantation. Will Matthew’s return to Shirley Plantation settle a mystery concerning his father’s past? And will he and Angelina find the family they long for?
Until We All Find Home by Heather Wood
When Justin Young is reunited with his orphaned siblings during the American Civil War, he decides to bring his widowed sister and younger brothers to live with him in Chicago, desiring to give them a home and a family. But he soon discovers that sometimes love is more painful than it is healing as he faces his own inadequacies. Along their journey towards reconciliation with God and each other, the siblings and their friends learn that real love often looks like the hard work of granting grace and second chances to other hurting, imperfect people with whom they have nothing in common. In the end, they each find that when they come home to God, He gives them the courage, freedom and grace to come home to the people they’ve come to love. ~~~
As Irish American orphans raised in different circumstances in Kentucky, North Carolina and Maryland, the Young siblings could not be more different from each other, but they are determined that the ties of the same blood are strong enough to bring them together despite the secrets they each carry from their pasts. In this emotional story filled with humor and love, Yankee siblings come head to head with Confederate ones, Christian siblings with atheists, educated siblings with those raised on the street, and extroverted siblings with introverts. Set in the backdrop of Civil War Chicago, with its labor strikes and the Union prison camp at Camp Douglas, you will find characters you’ve come to love and won’t soon forget.
Other titles in the series: Until We All Run Free
Check out these alternatives to Amazon: Baker Bookhouse Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million Book Depository Bookshop.org Christianbook.com Get It Local Indiebound.org
Leave Your Comments:
If you have a favorite book or author who writes in this time, put it in the comments so other readers can know who to go search out for options. Old or new, it doesn’t matter. 🙂
Welcome to the third month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focused on the Westward Expansion Period, and my choice of story was Trail of Fears by Sara R. Turnquist. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.
*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form.*
Trail of Fears by Sara R. Turnquist
Y’all, this book. I chose it because it covers a topic not often written about in fiction, nor is it often talked about in history more than a brief mention. While my family didn’t participate in the first Trail of Tears, they did the second during the latter half of the 19th century. It’s part of the reason why I don’t do the genealogy stuff. I could do parts of my family, but my mom’s family can only go so far back before much of our history becomes shrouded like some dark secret. Reading this book was like reclaiming a piece of my history that no one is willing to talk about. This book should seriously be required reading for every history class in America.
I am not an emotional reader. It takes A LOT for me to cry over a storyline. If an author can squeeze a few silent tears out of me, that is amazing. Y’all, I literally sobbed through the last quarter of this book. Trail of Fears did not shirk away from the hard truths of the Indian Removal Act. Through the story you walk through this pivotal point of history through the eyes of many crucial players: a senator and his aide, the captain of the group leading the Cherokees, the chief, the missionary’s parents, and of course the Cherokee heroine and white missionary hero. I have never seen such an even-hand, realistic portrayal of the struggles of all those involved and even the naivety of the real plight of all the Native Americans by the country at large. It was truly a book that brought a little talked about piece of history to life. This is one of those rare books that I want to shove into people’s hands and force them to read.
The romance story itself is not the usual story either. There are sweet moments, but it is definitely a love grown and tried through circumstances no one would wish to face. You know when you close the book, Thomas and Adsila will be able to survive anything because they survived the Trail of Fears together. I said it once, but I am saying it again, EVERYONE needs to read this book.
Genre: Historical Romance, 1850’s, Georgia
He’s a steadfast missionary. She’s a proud Cherokee. Can their love survive the brutal Trail of Tears?
Thomas Greyson believes God had called him to spread the gospel. He leaves his sheltered world behind to live among the native peoples and teach in their school. But as the government tightens its grip, not everyone is ready to listen to the gospel’s message of love… least of all the stubborn beauty who stole his heart. Adsila resists bending her knee to the white man’s God when Thomas seemingly tries to steal away the last remaining shreds of her heritage. Is she prepared to fight him tooth and nail? But when he stands with her people in the face of hardship, her soul begins to long for the curious stranger and his unshakeable faith. Against impossible odds and staggering loss, can Thomas and Adsila find the strength to follow their hearts’ true path? Trail of Fears is a stirring historical romance that captures the heartbreaking reality of the Trail of Tears. If you like spirited characters, personal journeys of faith, and enduring love stories, then you’ll adore Sara R. Turnquist’s gripping tale of survival and salvation.
What I loved: The honest, raw experience of reading this book. I feel like history has come alive in a way it never has before and I have a better understanding of a piece of history often rushed through in history classes. It was an emotional read that shook me and made me really think.
Favorite Character and Why: It is so hard to pick. The cast of characters in this book all worked together to make an experience I won’t forget.
Who would like this? Those who want an honest, hard look at a piece of history swept under the rug. Those who are concerned about the plight of others, their rights, and mistreatment. Those who want to read a story of love and faith developed and tried through adversity. And in my personal opinion, every single person in America.
Rating and Why: Six stars. I don’t give these out willy nilly guys. Very few EVER get that distinction. This story is unforgettable, raw, and exactly what every American needs to read to better understand our history, and how the plays forward into the present.
Amazon Books-a-Million Book Depository Bookshop.org. Indiebound.org
To be entered to win a print copy of Trail of Fear by Sara R. Turnquist, comment with what book you read to meet this month’s reading challenge by midnight (EST) on April 7th. The winner will be emailed on the 8th and publically announced on the April 13th post. This giveaway is open to all legal participants locally and internationally. If the winner lives internationally, they will receive a copy through Book Depository where available. If not available, the winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card. For extra entries, participate in the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
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Comment: What did you read for this month’s reading challenge?
Sing in the Sunlight
by Kathleen Denly
Have you ever been in a season where everything is so wonky you’re afraid to pick up a book and read? I feel like I must be weird, but January, February, and March flew by with a ton of stress. In theory, I wanted to read, but I just couldn’t get my mind to settle into wanting to read. No story appealed, even my tried-and-true friends. Knowing I needed to write a book review for this month aside from the challenge review, I finally bit the bullet and opened the e-book of the newest release on my kindle evening before bed.
The book I chose ended up being Kathleen Denly’s Sing in the Sunlight. I didn’t stop reading until 12:30, and when hubby graciously said he’d take the boys to school the next morning so I could rest and get work done, I stayed in bed and read until the entire book was done instead of cleaning or anything else productive. But hey, we all need a mental day, right?
Sing in the Sunlight was a wonderful book to get back into reading with. I loved the depth and realistic portrayal of all the characters’ struggles, especially Clarinda’s. There were some pretty tough subjects touched including unwanted pregnancy, strained parental relationships, trauma, physical scarring, and some of the emotional ramifications. All were dealt with a soft, but truthful touch. The marriage of convenience was a spin I hadn’t seen before, and I enjoyed watching Richard and Clarinda learn to love each other and face the challenges their pasts brought into their marriage.
I recommend this book to readers who love historical romance, marriage of convenience stories, stories with characters who face difficult challenges with real-life consequences, and stories where the hero pursues the heroine.
Genre: Historical Romance, 1858, California
Richard Stevens isn’t who he thinks he is. Neither is the woman who now claims his last name.
Disfiguring scars stole Clarinda Humphrey’s singing career, her home, and her family, but she refuses to let her appearance steal her future. While attending The Young Ladies Seminary in 1858 Benicia, California, she finds a man who promises to love and cherish her. Instead, he betrays her, leaving her with child, and Clarinda must take drastic measures to ensure her child doesn’t suffer for her foolishness.
Richard Stevens’s life hasn’t turned out as he expected, and when a shocking letter turns even his past into a mystery, he travels to San Francisco in search of guidance. On the way, he encounters a mysterious young woman hiding beneath a veil. That night he experiences a dream that sends him on a quest to find the bride God has chosen for him. He never imagines she’s already told everyone they’re married.
Unwilling to lie, nor accept a marriage of mere convenience, Richard wants the real thing. Yet Clarinda’s not interested in love, only a chance to save her child. Can he help her rise above the pain that runs deeper than her scars to accept a love worth every risk?
What I loved: The gentle, but real-life, approach to hard topics. I appreciated especially the struggle with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy and the struggle to decide what is best for the child in her situation. The note at the back from the author also was something I recommend reading, especially if you have been touched by any of the hard topics she addresses in the book.
Favorite Character and Why: I really liked Richard. He really helps Clarinda to see her situation, parents, and scars in a whole new way. He seems to have a deeper understanding of who she is in Christ, and he does his best the be the husband she needs while also pushing her to see hard truths. I really appreciated his persistence and endurance.
Who would like this? Readers who love historical romance, marriage of convenience stories, stories with characters who face difficult challenges with real-life consequences, and stories where the hero pursues the heroine.
Rating and Why: Four and a half stars. There were a couple of possible subplots that felt hinted at and then dropped. I’m not sure if that is set up for the third book in the series, but didn’t seem like it from the third book blurb. I’m sort of left wondering about some things. The story as a whole was amazing, and again the soft touch of hard topics is something I really enjoyed.
Amazon Barnes and Noble Books-a-Million Book Depository Bookshop.org Indiebound.org
QUESTION FOR YOU:
What books have you read that deal well with tough topics?
Hi, y’all. I’m doing a little housecleaning on my blog this month. My goal is to never overwhelm your inbox/feed with a ton of blog posts. Therefore, for April and moving forward, I’ve decided on the following schedule for my blog (always on Tuesdays unless I mess up like this week).
Last Day of the Month – Book Challenge Review & Giveaway
1st – Book Challenge Reading Suggestions
2nd Week – Author Interview
3rd Week – Book Review
4th Week – ACFW New Releases
5th Week – Either a break for me, or something related to my writing
And once a month my newsletter will come to your email if you are signed up. I’m really trying not to overwhelm anyone with anything. Alright, now that is all announced and cleaned up, onward ho to the March New Releases! Let me know what books are on your TBR pile!
March 2021 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website
Miriam’s Song by Jill Eileen Smith — In her eventful lifetime, Miriam was many things to many people: protective older sister, song leader, prophetess, leper. But between the highs and the lows, she was a girl who dreamed of freedom, a woman who longed for love, a leader who made mistakes, and a friend who valued connection. (Biblical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
Amish Midwives by Amy Clipston — From bestselling authors of Amish Fiction come three sweet stories about new life, hope, and romance. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
A Brother’s Promise by Mindy Obenhaus — He didn’t realize he wanted a family… Until he suddenly became a single dad. After his sister’s death, rancher Mick Ashford’s determined to ensure his orphaned niece, Sadie, feels at home. And accepting guidance from Christa Slocum is his first step. But just as Christa and Sadie begin to settle into Mick’s heart, Sadie’s paternal grandparents sue for custody. Now Mick must fight to keep them together…or risk losing the makeshift family he’s come to love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)
Facing the Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti — While her humanitarian husband Liam has been digging wells in Africa, Mara Jacobs has been struggling. She knows she’s supposed to feel a warm glow that her husband is nine time zones away, caring for widows and orphans. But the reality is that she is exhausted, working a demanding yet unrewarding job, trying to manage their three detention-prone kids, failing at her to-repair list, and fading like a garment left too long in the sun. (General Contemporary from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy — Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. (General Historical from Bethany House)
The Rose Keeper by Jennifer Lamont Leo — July 1944. Chicago nurse Clara Janacek has spent her whole life taking care of other people. Grumpy yet loveable, all she wants now is to live out her life in peace, tending her roses and protecting her heart. But beneath the gruff exterior lies a story, and when new neighbors move in and shake up her quiet world, Clara must grapple with long-buried realities. (General Historical, Independently Published)
In the Dead of the Night by JP Robinson — Leila is forced back into the shadows when the leader of a German spy ring kidnaps her child, jeopardizing Europe’s fragile bid for peace. (General Historical from Logos Publications)
Dreams Rekindled by Amanda Cabot — Though she hopes for a quiet, uncomplicated life for herself, Dorothy Clark wants nothing more than to stir others up. Specifically, she dreams of writing something that will challenge people as much as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin seems to have. But in 1850s Mesquite Springs, there are few opportunities for writers — until newspaperman Brandon Holloway arrives, that is. (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly — Richard Stevens isn’t who he thinks he is. Neither is the woman who now claims his last name. Disfiguring scars stole Clarinda Humphrey’s singing career, her home, and her family, but she refuses to let her appearance steal her future. While attending The Young Ladies Seminary in 1858 Benicia, California, she finds a man who promises to love and cherish her. Instead he betrays her, leaving her with child, and Clarinda must take drastic measures to ensure her child doesn’t suffer for her foolishness. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)
The Curator’s Daughter by Melanie Dobson — 1940. Hanna Tillich cherishes her work as an archaeologist for the Third Reich, searching for the Holy Grail and other artifacts to bolster evidence of a master Aryan race. But when she is reassigned to work as a museum curator in Nuremberg, then forced to marry an SS officer and adopt a young girl, Hanna begins to see behind the Nazi facade. A prayer labyrinth becomes a storehouse for Hanna’s secrets, but as she comes to love Lilly as her own daughter, she fears that what she’s hiding―and what she begins to uncover―could put them both in mortal danger. (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)
My Dear MISS DUPRÉ by Grace Hitchcock — Willow Dupré never thought she would have to marry, but with her father’s unexpected retirement from running the prosperous Dupré sugar refinery, plans changed. The shareholders are unwilling to allow a female to take over the company without a man at her side, so her parents devise a plan—find Willow a spokesman king in order for her to become queen of the empire. Willow is presented with thirty potential suitors from the families of New York society’s elite group called the Four Hundred. She has six months to court the group and is expected to eliminate men each month to narrow her beaus. (Historical Romance from Bethany House)
Rayne’s Redemption by Linda Shenton Matchett — Will she have to lose her identity to find true love? Twin sisters Rayne and Jessica Dalton have been swapping places their whole lives, so when Jessica dies on the eve of heading west to become a mail-order bride, Rayne decides to fill her sister’s shoes. The challenge will be faking Jessica’s faith in God. Can Rayne fool her prospective groom without losing her heart…or her soul? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)
Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn — US Secret Service Special Agent Luke Powell is lucky to be alive. Three of his fellow agents have died in unusual circumstances in the past ten weeks. Luke is devastated by the loss of his friends and colleagues, and his inability to locate the killer feels like a personal failure. He and his team are experts at shielding others, but now the protectors are in need of protection. (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
Hours to Kill by Susan Sleeman — Just as Homeland Security Agent Addison Leigh reaches the pinnacle of her cyber investigation into a firearms smuggling ring, she’s attacked and left for dead. Her estranged husband, ICE Agent Mack Jordan, is notified that she’s at the hospital in a coma. He may have let his past military trauma ruin their short marriage, but she never gave up on their relationship, and he remains her next of kin. hen a second attempt to take her life is made, it’s clear something very sinister is going on, and Mack and Addison are in for the ride of their lives. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House)
Abducted in Alaska by Darlene L. Turner — Saving a boy who has escaped his captors puts Canadian border patrol officer Hannah Morgan right into the path of a ruthless child-smuggling ring. Now with help from police constable Layke Jackson, she must keep the child safe. But can they rescue the other abducted children and bring down the gang…all while protecting a little boy and keeping themselves alive? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired/Harlequin)
Braced for Love by Mary Connealy — Left with little back in Missouri, Kevin Hunt takes his younger siblings on a journey to Wyoming when he receives news that he’s inheriting part of a ranch. The catch is that the ranch is also being given to a half-brother he never knew existed. Turns out, Kevin’s supposedly dead father led a secret and scandalous life. (Western from Bethany House)
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
Seasons of Love by Joan Deppa, The beautiful, western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, with snow covered hills in the winter; Lake Superior, as well as inland lakes and numerous waterfalls in the summer; and colorful leaves in Autumn, are the setting for three couples who discover new adventures and enjoy the nature that surrounds them. (Contemporary Romance)
Kate’s Quest by Seralynn Lewis, Sparks fly in this opposites attract journey when a my way or the highway soldier collides with a determined woman on a mission to find her family. (Contemporary Romance)
Starstruck in Willow Falls by Pat Nichols, Heartwarming, emotionally charged saga of a small Southern town’s struggle for survival and two women’s challenge to balance family and career. (General Contemporary)
Matched Hearts by Cathe Swanson, She’s looking for one date. He’s looking for “Happily Ever After.” Is it a computer error or a match made in heaven? (Contemporary Romance)
A Texas Bond by Shannon Taylor Vannatter, Learning he’s an uncle shocks Ross Lyles—but after years of handling his brother’s bombshells, at least this surprise is a blessing. A pair of five-year-old blessings Ross is determined to meet, if he can convince their aunt to give him a chance. (Contemporary Romance)