June 2021 ACFW New Release

June 2021 ACFW New Release

Unfortunately, with some significant family stuff going on (I’d appreciate your prayers), I don’t have this week’s post ready, so I fell back on the one provided to me every month by ACFW. I hope you find some amazing books to add to your TBR pile. I know I have. 🙂 Let me know if you know of other books being released this month not on this list.

June 2021 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website


Contemporary Romance:

A Chance for the Newcomer by Lisa Carter — She’s stirring things up…A big-city chef. A small-town single dad. And matchmakers with marriage in mind… Chef Kara Lockwood didn’t think changing a small-town diner’s menu would cause a boycott, but the locals sure do love their apple pie—especially fire chief Will MacKenzie. Kara’s not sure she and the single father can ever learn to live peacefully as neighbors. But even as they clash over pastries, local matchmakers and Will’s little boy are determined to bring their stubborn hearts together. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))


His Secret Daughter
by Laurie Larsen — he had the perfect life all on her own …Alyssa Stark works hard to make her life’s dreams come true … all on her own. She built her reputation as New York City’s top advertising executive, client by client. And when her ill-advised marriage didn’t work out, she knew she had to make her dream of becoming a mother happen by untraditional means. Now, she and her eight-year-old daughter Caroline are living the dream life in the Big Apple.

He’d lost everything that meant anything until he made a discovery …Grant Fontaine is the widowed president of his father-in-law’s electronics company. Since the tragic death of his pregnant wife a decade ago, he’s become a high achieving businessman, but a social hermit. Several years ago, his lonely life took on new meaning when he discovered that the donation he’d made to a reproductive clinic long ago had sired a child. Through the services of a discreet private eye unafraid to push legal limits, he identifies his “daughter,” Caroline, and her mother, Alyssa. Could it be time to reveal his secret? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


Always a Wedding Planner
by Davalynn Spencer, R.L. Ashely, LeeAnn Betts, Toni Shiloh — Love Is Only Business for 4 Wedding Planners Discover how keeping secrets from each other threatens four women’s friendships, wedding business, and their own ability to find love in Loveland, Colorado. Business partners Felicity Anderson, the cake baker; Kiki Bell, the seamstress; Cassie Blackthorn, the coordinator; and Chef Saffron Delarosa are best of friends in a town that is a romantic wedding destination for many couples—who work together at Weddings by Design to make every bride’s special day perfect. Could each falling into their own romance be the key to working out their differences and learning to trust each other—and God—with their futures? (Contemporary Romance from Barbour Publishing)


Matched Hearts
by Cathe Swanson — She’s looking for a “Plus One” for her parents’ anniversary party. He’s looking for “Happily Ever After.” When a matchmaking agency pairs them up, is it a computer error or a match made in heaven?Eleanor Nielson always wanted to follow in her distinguished parents’ footsteps, becoming a teacher and living a life of selfless community service – until she tried it. Now, she’s run away to find herself and decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life, but she can’t skip her parents’ anniversary party, and she needs a date. Can a matchmaking agency find her a fake boyfriend who will impress her parents? Mechanical engineer David Reid has his life all planned out, and he’s ready for the next phase: a loving wife who will share his faith and work at his side when he becomes a pastor. But a good woman is hard to find, so like any good engineer, David turns the project over to experts: an online matchmaking agency. The pretty, blond teacher with denim blue eyes seems like a match made in heaven. Or is she too good to be true? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


Plot Twist by Bethany Turner — February 4, 2003, is just another day for Olivia Ross—a greeting card writer whose passion project is a screenplay of her own. After she and a handsome, struggling actor have a near-magic encounter in a coffee shop, they make a spontaneous pact: in ten years, after they’ve found the success they’re just sure they’re going to achieve, they’ll return to the coffeehouse to partner up and make a film together. The only problem? Olivia neglected to get the stranger’s name. But she doesn’t forget the date. For the next ten years, every February 4, Olivia has an exceptional day, full of coincidences and ironies. As men come and go and return to her life, and as she continues to write her screenplay, she still wonders about the guy from the coffee shop—the nameless actor she’s almost certain was Hamish MacDougal, now a famous member of the Hollywood elite. But a lot can happen in ten years, and while waiting for the curtain to rise on her fate, the true story of Olivia’s life is being written—and if she’s not careful, she’ll completely miss the epic romance playing out right before her eyes. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))


Historical:

More Than Honor
by Carol Ashby — Devotion to duty and dogged determination make Tribune Titianus the most feared investigator of the Urban Cohort. Honor drives him to hunt down anyone who breaks Roman law, but it becomes personal when Lenaeus, his old tutor, is murdered in his own classroom. Why kill a respected teacher of the noble sons of Rome, a man who has nothing worth stealing and no known enemies? Had he learned something too dangerous to let him live? Pompeia was only a girl when Titianus studied with Father before her family became Christians. She and her brother Kaeso can’t move their school from the house where their father was killed. But what if the one who killed Father comes to kill again? Kaeso’s friend Septimus insists they spend nights at his father’s well-guarded home. But danger lurks there as well. As Titianus hunts for the murderer, will he discover their secret faith and arrest them as enemies of the Empire? (Historical from Cerrillo Press)


The Dream Weaver’s Bride: Asenath’s Story by Janelle Hovde — As the daughter of the high priest of On, Asenath has a solid vision of her future. Her education with the royal scribe is a luxury not usually afforded to women, and even though she is betrothed to the pharaoh’s half-brother, she has dreams of something more. But everything changes when the pharaoh has troubling nightmares that only a prisoner named Joseph can interpret. Suddenly, Asenath finds herself married to this foreigner, who demands that no god but his own be worshipped in his house. Despite her fears, Asenath is touched by Joseph’s kindness and humility, even as he steps into his newfound power. Can Asenath trust the God of Joseph and forsake her old deities? Can she learn to love this stranger from another land, a stranger with scars from a painful past? As a famine sweeps across Egypt and the surrounding lands, Asenath and Joseph find themselves face-to-face with the men who caused Joseph’s suffering. Can Asenath embrace the power of El Shaddai and help her husband forgive? (Historical from Guideposts Publications)


Historical Romance:

Faith in the Mountain Valley by Misty M. Beller — After eleven years spent looking for the girl who stole his heart, Jean-Jacques Baptiste-better known as French to his friends-is tempted to give up. Until the day he spotted the flaxen-haired stranger traveling the wooded path with Blackfoot Indians. He never imagined he’d find his childhood friend masquerading as a man in this Rocky Mountain wilderness, hundreds of miles from the Canadian town where he last saw her. No matter her reasons, he can’t let her go this time. From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.
(Historical Romance, Independently Published)


The Captain’s Quest by Lorri Dudley — Pricilla Middleton only attended the Lemoore house party to keep her friend out of trouble. Now, her only chance to keep from becoming a gossip column headline is to sneak aboard her brother’s ship and pretend she’d been visiting him instead of taking part in the debacle. Before she can speak to her brother, the ship sets sail, and the man in charge is not at all who she expects. Captain Tobias Prescott, son of an infamous war hero, has been assigned on a critical mission to deploy warships in St. Kitts for battle in New Orleans. Unfortunately, his orders require him to assume command of a friend’s ship, and he must weigh anchor the instant the former captain is escorted down the gangplank. When they reach open waters, the last thing he expects is to find a woman hiding in the captain’s cabin, yet his mission is too urgent to return her to England. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)


Along a Storied Trail by Ann H. Gabhart — Kentucky packhorse librarian Tansy Calhoun doesn’t mind the rough trails and long hours as she serves her Appalachian mountain community during the Great Depression. Yet she longs to find love like the heroines in the books she loves. When a charming writer comes to town, she thinks she might have found it—or is the perfect man actually closer than she thinks? Perdita Sweet has called these mountains home for so long that she’s nearly as rocky as the soil around her small cabin. Long ago she thought she could love, but when the object of her affection up and married someone else, she stopped giving too much of herself away to others. As is so often the case, it’s easier to see what’s best for others than to see what’s best for oneself. Perdita knows who Tansy should choose, but why would anyone listen to the romantic advice of an old spinster? (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

To Find Her Place by Susan Anne Mason — In the midst of WWII, Jane Linder, a childless divorcée, puts all her energy into her career at the Toronto Children’s Aid Society. As acting directress, Jane hopes to be awarded the position permanently so she can continue making a difference in the lives of troubled children. Garrett Wilder has been hired to overhaul operations at the Children’s Aid Society. He hopes to impress the board members with his findings and earn the vacant director’s position. A war injury ended his dream of taking over his parents’ farm, but with the security of the director’s job, he’d be able to contribute financially and help save the family business. As Garrett works closely with Jane, he comes to admire her tenacity and her dedication to the children. Just as feelings begin to blossom between them, her ex-husband returns from overseas with an unexpected proposition that could fulfill Jane’s deepest desires. With the odds stacked against them, can Garrett and Jane navigate the obstacles to their relationship and find lasting love? (Historical Romance from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)

A Bride for Keegan by Linda Shenton Matchett — Fiona Quigley’s parents came to America for a better life, but illness and the Civil War took them from her. Now, she’s barely scraping by as a seamstress to Boston’s elite. A chance for a new start arises in the form of being a mail-order bride, but to her dismay she must marry the man by proxy. Once they’re wed, there will be no turning back. After being jailed one too many times for protesting against the Unionists in Ireland, Keegan O’Rourke heads for America—land of the free. He takes advantage of the Homestead Act to create a farm in his new country, but he has no one to share his success, so he advertises for a mail-order bride. They wed by proxy, but after she arrives, he discovers his Irish lass hails from the northern reaches of the Emerald Isle – the very area he fled. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

On Sugar Hill by Ane Mulligan — She traded Sugar Hill for Vaudeville. Now she’s back. The day Cora Fitzgerald turned sixteen, she fled Sugar Hill for the bright lights of Vaudeville, leaving behind her senator-father’s verbal abuse. But just as her career takes off, she’s summoned back home. And everything changes. The stock market crashes. The senator is dead. Her mother is delusional, and her mute Aunt Clara pens novels that have people talking. Then there’s Boone Robertson, who never knew she was alive back in high school, but now manages to be around whenever she needs help. Will the people of her past keep her from a brilliant future?
(Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

No Journey Too Far by Carrie Turansky — In 1909, Grace McAlister set sail for Canada as one of the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families and their homeland. Though she is fortunate enough to be adopted by wealthy parents, the secrets of her past are kept hidden for ten years until someone from her long-buried childhood arrives on her doorstep. With this new connection to her birth family, will she be brave enough to leave her sheltered life in Toronto and uncover the truth? After enduring hardship as an indentured British Home Child, Garth McAlister left Canada to serve in World War I. His sweetheart, Emma Lafferty, promised to wait for his return, but after three long years apart, her letters suddenly stopped. When Garth arrives home from the war to unexpected news, he is determined to return to Canada once more on a daunting mission to find the two women he refuses to abandon—his long-lost sister and his mysteriously missing sweetheart. (Historical Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah (Random House))


A Life Redeemed
by Olivia Rae — Upon Queen Elizabeth’s order, Audrey Hayes travels to the borderlands of Scotland to learn where the fierce Laird Armstrong’s loyalties lie. Is he aligned with his mother’s English roots in support of the queen, or does he hold with the beliefs of his father, who wishes to see Mary of Scots on the English throne? The fate of Audrey’s family rests on her success in finding the answer. After losing his lands in a wager and being betrayed by his kin, Gavin Armstrong entered a loveless marriage to obtain the funds to buy back his family home, Warring Tower. Now a widower, struggling against countless border wars, he is on the verge of losing his home and lands again. With few resources, he reluctantly makes another risky wager, one he cannot hope to win without trusting the secretive Audrey Hayes, a woman he suspects is an English spy. (Historical Romance from HopeKnight Press)


Speculative/Science Fiction:

The Chase by Bradley Caffee — in the Chase. Be the hero. Or die trying. The chaos and anarchy following the Great Collapse nearly brought the world to its knees until the unchanging Law brought order and peace. Generations later, the twelve alliances of the World Coalition come together once a year to allow their best and brightest young people to compete in the Chase. The prize? A chance to pass exactly one new law. The son of two former Chase runners, Willis Thomson is the top trainee in the Western Alliance. With the expectations of the world and his heritage driving him, he leads his elite Red Team as they prepare for his moment to become a coveted law-changer. Perryn Davis, the new leader of the Blue Team, struggles to survive as she competes as one of the designated losers. She knows that losing means genetic recoding, a process that cannot go on indefinitely, and longs to age out of the program before it kills her. When a mysterious new racer with knowledge of the outside shows up at their orbiting training center, the natural order of the Western Alliance trainees is upended. In a world where too much knowledge is dangerous, Willis and Perryn find themselves in a race to save their lives and uncover the hidden underbelly of the peaceful World Coalition. (Speculative/Science Fiction from Mountain Brook Fire)


Thriller/Suspense/Romance:

Cold Case Trail
by Sharee Stover — Following the clues could be the last thing they do…
Temporarily working in the cold case division was supposed to mean less danger for state trooper Trey Jackson and his injured K-9 partner, Magnum—until they thwart an abduction. Now he must protect profiler Justine Stark, even as she blames him for her friend’s death ten years ago. Can he right past wrongs by finally solving the murder…and making sure Justine lives to find closure? (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic from Love Inspired (Harlequin))


Young Adult:

Aslan: Running Joy
by Kristin Kaldahl — For fourteen-year-old Krissy, her new life maxim is pretty sad: First choices out. Second choices in. It’s been that way since dialysis left her disabled. Her limitations went from none to a ton, and now they stand in the way of her dream―to compete in dog agility with her runty sheltie pup, Aslan. (Young Adult from CrossLink Publishing)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

 

 

Love & Adventure by Elise Davis, What do baseball and true love have in common besides a diamond? Is that a trick question? (Contemporary)

 

 

Miracle in Milan by MaryAnn Diorio, When a young, female auditor discovers evidence that the man she loves is an embezzler, she must choose between ruining herself or ruining him. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)

 

 

Finding Home by Candee Fick, Two hearts longing for home. (Contemporary Romance)

 

 

Love Found in Cranberry Cover by June Foster, Can Blake and Gracie learn who’s behind the danger that threatens them? Will a small-town girl and big-city boy find a life together? (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)

 

 

A Night Divine by Dawn Kinzer, One chilly December night, a tragedy connects Camryn and Trace, and the devastating experience spurs her into volunteering with his team. But as Christmas Eve approaches and the two grow closer, secrets have the potential to break someone’s heart. (Contemporary Romance)

 

 
Let It Be Me by Becky Wade, The one woman he wants is the one he cannot have.
(Contemporary Romance)
May RCR: The Bounty Hunter’s Bargain

May RCR: The Bounty Hunter’s Bargain

CONGRATULATIONS Winnie on winning a copy of The Bounty Hunter’s Bargain. (Entry via Rafflecopter)

Welcome to the fifth month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focused on the Wild West Period, and I chose a reread. The Bounty Hunter’s Bargain by Lucette Nel is such a fun read, and I enjoy mixing up the reading challenge with traditionally published and indie published (self-published) authors of good quality.

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.*

THE BOUNTY HUNTER’S BARGAIN BY LUCETTE NEL

The Bounty Hunter’s Bargain is part of a wider series written by multiple authors which are all read as stand-alone novels. As is par for the course with Lucette Nel, her book is filled with laughter, tough relationships, redemption, and a hint of danger. The characters have individual problems that contribute to a wider picture and draw them closer to one another as they learn forgiveness of each other and the past. The romance is sweet and humorous, and there is a twist I didn’t see coming. I fell in love with the unique characters, from the boarders and Emily to Annabelle and Jack. I need Annabelle to come to my house when she is stressed though. I am not a stress cleaner and that woman can really make a place shine. 😉 You’ll just have to read it to find out what I mean.

This quick read would be great for anyone who loves stories of redemption, second chance love, and western settings.


Genre: Historical Romance, 1868

Plot Overview:

Can love withstand new betrayals and old hurts?

Jack Sullivan has a runaway wife to return and a bounty to collect. A gunshot lands him at the feet of Annabelle Lawson and jeopardizes a promise he can’t afford to break. Can he set aside his heart and focus on what he came to do?

Annabelle Lawson had finally picked up the fragments of her heart. Why did Jack have to crash back into her world? She may have to care for the injured bounty hunter, but she refuses to help him cash in on his professed ‘easy money’. Nor will there be a second chance at claiming her heart.

What I loved: I really enjoyed the relationship and tension between Annabelle and Jack. They knew each other well, yet still managed to misread each other as any real couple does. The struggle between moving forward and clinging to past hurts permeated multiple relationships.

Favorite Character and Why: I love ALL the characters, but I really loved Annabelle. She was a mix of strong woman and vulnerability. I could see quite a bit of myself in her because she always did what needed to be done while trying to shield her heart and failing miserably.

Rating and Why: Four and a half stars. The story was well-developed and well-written. There were a couple of things I would have loved to see more of, but everything was completely satisfactory.

Purchase Link: Amazon


Reading Challenge Giveaway

Comment with what you read for this month’s challenge to be entered to win a print copy of The Bounty Hunter’s Bargain by Lucette Nel. This giveaway is open to U.S. and International Residents who are legally able to enter. If an international winner is picked, they will get a $10 Amazon Gift Card. I’m sorry. Book Depository does not carry this book. Comment or use Rafflecopter for extra entries by 11:59 pm on June 7th to be eligible to win. Happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May Reading Challenge Suggestions

May Reading Challenge Suggestions

Welcome to the fifth month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focuses on the Wild West. The Wild West technically was a short period between the 1870s and 1890s. This is the time period in which we think of cowboys and outlaws. For the reading challenge, I’m opening it up to a broader time frame–as long as it fits with the Wild West. Didn’t get to read that book about the Gold Rush of 1849? Go ahead and read it. Want a praire story? Go for it! My suggestions below will mostly fit the cowboy feel, but feel free to grab whatever Wild West story grabs your attention.

Due to it being my anniversary weekend and needing to prepare to leave for our trip, these are not ALL the books of my collection, or even all I would recommend. I have quite the collection when it comes to this time period.

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 has (read and reviewed), clicking on that takes you to a review I’ve written on that book. Just in case you are interested in learning more.

Monthly Reminders:

*If you read a book for April, don’t forget to go to yesterday’s post (RCR: The Sentinels of Andersonville) 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 Christmas Husband by Lucette Nel (Read and Reviewed)

It was one little lie told only to protect impoverished Naomi Stuart and her daughter. But when Benedict Ramsay — a man she met fleetingly years before who should be in England — arrives in town, all she’d carefully constructed threatens to crumble.

Benedict arrives a stranger in Noelle, hoping to confront the father who’d abandoned him. What he did not expect was to discover he was a married man … to a woman he didn’t even remember meeting. And against his will, Benedict warms to the idea of a ready-made family.

 

Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake

Humorous Romance From a Bestselling Author

When Britisher Lady Sydney Hathwell’s father dies, the American who planned to wed her suddenly reneges. Stranded in America and penniless, Sydney contacts a relative in Texas who, mistaking her male-sounding name, invites his “nephew” to join him on his ranch.

“Big Tim” Creighton, however, is appalled when this mincing fop arrives at Forsaken. He determines he’ll turn Fancy Pants Hathwell into a man before the boss returns home. From the get-go, he has “the kid” mucking stalls, clearing and plowing a field, and assisting with a difficult calving. But when Sydney’s true identity is uncovered, Tim resents being deceived. Yet in time, he also finds that he doesn’t like all the attention Sydney garners now that she’s wearing pretty gowns…

Together Sydney and Tim will discover the importance of family and what it means to be a man–and a woman–of God.

 

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham (Read and Reviewed)

Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.

Debut author Rachel Fordham invites historical romance readers to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where the people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.

 

Last Chance Wife by Janette Foreman (Read and Reviewed)

When six-time mail-order bride Winifred Sattler is stranded in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, she’s grateful to find a temporary position at Mr. Ewan Burke’s business until she can return home. Ewan is handsome, but stuffy and serious—her complete opposite. Unlike her new anonymous correspondent, Mr. Businessman, who appreciates her bubbly optimism.

To keep his mining company afloat, Ewan can’t be distracted by Winifred’s vivacious beauty. He needs a no-nonsense wife. Someone like Miss Thoroughly Disgruntled, the only respondent to his recent ad with whom he truly connected. In person, Winifred and Ewan don’t get along, but in their letters they’re falling in love. Will they discover a perfect match in each other?

 

Seven Brides for Seven Texans by Erica Vetsch and others

Seven brothers must marry within 1874 or lose their inheritance.

Meet the seven Hart brothers of the 7-Heart ranch in central Texas. Each man is content in his independent life, without the responsibilities of a wife and children—until their father decides 1874 will be the year his grown sons finally marry, or they will be cut from his will. How will each man who values his freedom respond to the ultimatum? Can love develop on a timeline, or will it be sacrificed for the sake of an inheritance?

First Comes Love by Gabrielle Meyer
As the youngest Hart, Hays has never been first at anything—so he’s determined to be the first to marry. He sets his sights on the new teacher, Miss Emma Longley, but he soon discovers Emma wants nothing to do with marriage, ranching, or Texas and plans to leave Hartville in two short months. Will Hays’ charm be enough to convince her to stay?

The Heart of Texas by Lorna Seilstad
With Texas awash in outlaws, Ranger Chisholm Hart takes his oath to protect the citizens and their property seriously. When he meets feisty, independent Caro Cardova who can face a band of vigilantes, ride as well as a man, and shoot from the hip, he must decide if he can make room in his heart for both the state he loves and the woman who’s stolen his heart.

The Truest Heart by Amanda Barratt
Despite his father’s edict, Travis Hart is determined never to marry. The one woman he cares for is a distant memory, and he won’t settle for a loveless union with anyone else. Yet when Annie Lawrence re-enters his life, the spark of romance he thought extinguished, bursts into flame anew. But guilt binds Annie to her past, and Travis fears that once again, he will have to watch the woman he loves walk out of his life—this time forever.

A Love Returned by Keli Gwyn
When Coralee Culpepper declined his proposal, Houston Hart left Texas for the gold fields of California. But when his father’s edict brings him home, will Coralee—the only woman to ever claim his heart—accept him for the man he is, or will she cling to the stubborn notion that she must marry a rancher in order to be happy?

For Love or Money by Susan Page Davis
Burned out of their house, Jane and her family move into a cave, where she discovers some hidden money. Crockett Hart comes to help them rebuild, and she asks for his help. When he learns where the money came from, he hopes it won’t keep their two families apart, because he’s falling for Jane.

Mail-Order Mayhem by Vickie McDonough
Austin’s best hope to marry quickly is a mail-order bride. But the bride who arrived seems more interested in one of the ranch hands. Her sister Rebekah, who is chaperoning, keeps apologizing. Austin is ready to send his bride packing. Could God have other ideas for a wife for him?

Love at Last by Erica Vetsch
When her former patient, Confederate officer Bowie Hart, shows up on her doorstep, Elise Rivers agrees to his marriage-of-convenience proposal. But as she gets to know her scarred and taciturn new husband, she realizes she has a chance to turn a marriage-of-convenience into the love of a lifetime, if only she can convince Bowie that he is worthy to be loved.

 

Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers by Erica Vetsch and others (Read and Reviewed)

No One Is Too Tough to be Loved
Join seven Texas Rangers on the hunt for a menacing gang, who run straight into romances with women who foil their plans for both the job and their futures.

The Ranger’s Reward by Gabrielle Meyer
Texas Ranger, Griffin Sommer stops to check on the young widow, Evelyn Prentis minutes before the Markham gang arrives at her farm needing a place to hide. Griff and Evelyn are forced to pretend they’re married to keep Griff’s identity a secret, but will Evelyn’s young son let the truth out before Griff can bring the gang to justice?

More Precious than Rubies by Lorna Seilstad
Fun-loving, charismatic Texas Ranger Whit Murray is restless for an adventure. When bandits attack the train he is on and steal jewels Violet Tatienne is transporting home to her father’s jewelry store, the two of them must work together to find the thieves. Will each one’s individual goals keep them from discovering the real treasure is in each other?

Jesse’s Sparrow by Amanda Barratt
Former soiled dove, Sara Byrne longs for escape. . .and rides straight into danger. Ranger Jesse Rawlings wants only to defend and protect.  . .no love involved. But when Sara’s stagecoach is robbed and her possessions stolen, can she find the strength to aid a man she deems anything but trustworthy in bringing justice to the perpetrators?

The Countess and the Cowboy by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Ava Becker is furious that her brother sold her favorite stallion to the irritating Texas Ranger Ezra Creed. When the horse goes missing, Ezra blames Ava, who sets out to find the horse, landing in an outlaw’s camp instead. Can Ezra protect the persistent Ava without falling in love, or will love make for a dangerous chase?

Simple Interest by Susan Page Davis
While making his monthly deposit, Ranger O’Neal Brewster is forced to watch robbers escape with the prim and pretty bank teller as their hostage. Augusta Ferris quickly makes the outlaws regret kidnapping her, but she is determined to get back the bank’s money—whether the Ranger helps her or not.

Partners in Crime by Vickie McDonough
Micah McCullough, a Texas Ranger working undercover in the Markham gang, is tasked with guarding Laurel Underwood, a silversmith, who was kidnapped to create plates for printing counterfeit money. Laurel knows she doesn’t have the expertise. Her only option is to stall and seek escape. What will the outlaws do when they learn her secret?

Guard Your Heart by Erica Vetsch
When Constance Spanner witnesses a murder, Branch Kilborn is tasked with protecting her until she can testify against Cass Markham. This is the Ranger squad’s chance to abolish the Markham gang once and for all, but Branch soon finds that protecting Constance has become about more than just the job.

 

Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can’t bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?

 

 

Tried & True by Mary Connealy

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

 

The Unlikely Wife by Debra Ullrick

The arrival of Michael Bowen’s bride, married sight unseen by proxy, sends the rancher reeling. With her trousers, cowboy hat and rifle, she looks like a female outlaw—not the genteel lady he corresponded with for months. He’s been hoodwinked into marriage with the wrong woman!

Selina Farleigh Bowen loved Michael’s letters, even if she couldn’t read them herself. A friend read them to her, and wrote her replies—but apparently that “friend” left things out, like Michael’s dream of a wife who was nothing like her. Selina won’t change who she is, not even for the man she loves. Yet time might show Michael the true value of his unlikely wife.


Books Recommended to Me:

A Bride for Seamus by Linda Shenton Matchett

Can two people set aside presumptions, prejudices, and pain to find love?

When her father dies after a lengthy illness, Madeline Winthrop is horrified to discover his will bequeaths their home to his business partner, a cruel and dishonest man, leaving her destitute. With no job or marriage prospects, she seeks help from her pastor who suggests she considers becoming a mail-order bride. There’s just one catch. She’s to marry the man by proxy before ever meeting him.

After three mail-order brides refuse to stay and marry Seamus Fitzpatrick because of his brother’s mental issues and two rambunctious children, Seamus decides a proxy marriage is the only way he’s going to secure a wife. When the Boston-bred socialite arrives with few practical skills, he wonders if he made the biggest mistake of his life.

 


Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen (Split Time)

This historic home holds the keys to their destiny . . .and their hearts

Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact . . .until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary.Now she’s on the hunt to find out more.

Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.

A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love–and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.

This warm, beautifully written split-time novel will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God’s plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations.


I got this amazing email with all these wonderful suggestions below:

  • A Home for the Heart by Katherine St. Clair
  • Tamera Alexander Rekindled, Revealed, Redeemed
  • Aall of Rachel Fordham’s published books qualify:
    • The Hope of Azure Springs
    • Yours Truly Thomas
    • A Life Once Dreamed (waiting to read when Rachel does a read-a-long)
  • The Chisholm Trail Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo
  • The Major’s Daughter by Regina Jennings
  • A Glimmer of Hope by Julia Ridgmont

Other authors that have penned qualifying books:

  • Linda Ford
  • Regina Jennings
  • Rachel Fordham
  • Davalynn Spencer
  • Melissa Jagears
  • Mary Connealy
  • Kim Vogel Sawyer
  • Amanda Cabot
  • Naomi Rawlings
  • Julie Lessman
  • Jane Kirkpatrick
  • Erica Vetsch
  • Sherri Shackleford
  • Kerri Kirst
  • Penny Richards
  • Karen Witemeyer
  • Kathleen Y’Barbo
  • Lori Copeland
  • Debra Ullrick
  • Jody Hedlund
  • Lena Nelson Dooley
  • Robin Lee Hatcher
  • Lori Wick

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. 🙂

April RCR: The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

April RCR: The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

It’s time for my April review of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focused on the Civil War and Reconstruction Period. . . and I’ll be 100% honest. I didn’t get around to reading this month’s book! Between reading some unpublished books for critique partners, finishing edits, and trying to make progress on a 96,000 word rough draft, I just never made it.

By God’s blessing, one of the challenge participants in our Facebook HAD read the book and was willing to allow me to use her review for this month. I hope you weren’t like me and was able to get your book read. Don’t forget to comment on this post with what YOU read for the challenge. Would you recommend it? Details for the connected giveaway are below.

Without further ado, here is this month’s review of The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot.

*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form.*


The Sentinels of Andersonville

by Tracy Groot

Today’s review is provided by Staci, who can be found on Instagram @genreadblog. THANK YOU, STACI FOR SAVING THIS MONTH’S POST FROM DISASTER!!!

This is a very well-done novel about Andersonville and the citizens of nearby Americus.

The main female character, Violet, demonstrates what it is like to be fervent for a cause with blinders on. It’s something easy to do. Watching her blinders be removed was one of the many bright spots. Violet didn’t become any less a Southern supporter but did become more human.

There was quite a bit of dry humor throughout which very much appealed to me. I also enjoyed the way characters spoke to each other in literary ways. Meanings had to be discerned rather than given freely. This is definitely a novel that could be read a second time with much more picked up with each read.

The entire novel was thought-provoking. What amount of care and concern should be shown to prisoners? There is a whole lot of gray between none and Four Seasons treatment. Finding one’s own answer to that may be more difficult than you’d first think.

This is my second Tracy Groot novel and I look forward to reading others. I recommend The Sentinels of Andersonville for those that enjoy historical fiction.


Genre: Historical Fiction, Civil War, Andersonville

Plot Overview:

Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war―little knowing what that promise will cost him.

As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor?

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon     Barnes & Noble      Books-a-Million      Book Depository     Christianbook.com


Unlocking the Past Giveaway

Comment with what you ready by May 7th, 11:59 pm to be entered to win a print copy of The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot. Open to all US and International residents, where allowed. 🙂 Fill out the Rafflecopter for extra entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

April Reading Challenge Suggestions

April Reading Challenge Suggestions

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.

Monthly Reminders:

*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

 

 

An Accidental Spy by Stephenia H. McGee (Previously Titled: Leveraging Lincoln, Read and Reviewed)

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

 

Circle of Spies by Roseanna M. White (Read and Reviewed)

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.

 

Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson (Read and Reviewed)

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 

 

A Love Restored by Kelly Goshorn (Read and Reviewed)

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

 

The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear (Read and Reviewed)

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

 

Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson (MY FAVORITE FROM HER, Read and Reviewed)

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

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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. 🙂

March RCR: Trail of Fears by Sara Turnquist

March RCR: Trail of Fears by Sara Turnquist

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.

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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

Plot Overview:

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.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon    Books-a-Million      Book Depository      Bookshop.org.     Indiebound.org


Giveaway Time

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?

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