July Reading Challenge Suggestions

July Reading Challenge Suggestions

Welcome to the seventh month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focuses on the Progressive Era. The Progressive Age has some cross-over with the Gilded Age and is a period the 1890s and 1920s. This is the time period in which we think of progressive thought, labor changes, the fight for women’s rights, and other social movements.

You’ll see a lot of recommendations that cross over from last month, but also a few new ones. A big thanks to Inspirational Historical Fiction for making it easier for me to pull these lists together.

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 June, don’t forget to go to yesterday’s post (RCR: The White City) 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.


223Orchardstreet1905 – New York

Irish immigrant Katie O’Connor and her younger sister, Shannon, risk everything to journey to America at the turn of the twentieth century. As each woman passes into an intimidating, stirring, and unpredictable New York City, she is forced to rethink her dream of a better life. It isn’t until Katie begins serving the sick in the depressed slums of the Bowery alongside Dr. Titus Brentwood that she discovers her true calling. Meanwhile, fate directs the vulnerable Shannon down an unsettling path that could put her life at risk.

As Katie’s and Ty’s selflessness and devotion turn into something deeper, Ty must make a choice that could save one O’Connor sister at the expense of losing the other. But Katie hasn’t come this far to let go now. She’ll do anything to save Shannon and hold on to the man she’s come to love.

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

curseofmistywayfair1908/Present Day – Wisconsin

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

adaringadventure1908 – New York

As a biochemist in early 1900s New York, Doctor Rosalind Werner has dedicated her life to the crusade against waterborne diseases. She is at the forefront of a groundbreaking technology that will change the way water is delivered to every household in the city–but only if she can get people to believe in her work.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Water for New York, Nicholas Drake is highly skeptical of Rosalind and her team’s techniques. When a brewing court case throws him into direct confrontation with her, he is surprised by his reaction to the lovely scientist.

While Rosalind and Nick wage a private war against their own attraction, they stand firmly on opposite sides of a battle that will impact far more than just their own lives. As the controversy grows more public and inflammatory and Rosalind becomes the target of an unknown enemy, the odds stacked against these two rivals swiftly grow more insurmountable with every passing day.

Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer

echoesofmercy1904 – Kansas

Sometimes a secret must be kept for the truth to be revealed.

When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education. Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?

 

The Gold Digger by Liz Tolsma

 1907 – Indiana

In 1907, shy but loyal Ingrid Storset travels from Norway to support her grieving sister, Belle Gunness, who owns a farm in LaPorte, Indiana. Well-to-do widow Belle, who has lost two husbands and several children, provides Ingrid with enough money to start a small business. But Ingrid is confused by the string of men Belle claims to be interviewing for her next husband. When Nils Lindherud comes to town looking for his missing brother, who said he was going to marry Belle, Ingrid has a sinking feeling her sister is up to no good.

Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers

hermothershope1900 to WWII – Switzerland/California

Near the turn of the twentieth century, fiery Marta Schneider leaves Switzerland for a better life, determined to fulfill her mother’s hope. Her formative journey takes her through Europe and eventually to Canada, where she meets handsome Niclas Waltert. But nothing has prepared her for the sacrifices she must make for marriage and motherhood as she travels to the Canadian wilderness and then to the dusty Central Valley of California to raise her family. Marta’s hope is to give her children a better life, but experience has taught her that only the strong survive. Her tough love is often misunderstood, especially by her oldest daughter, Hildemara Rose, who craves her mother’s acceptance. Amid the drama of World War II, Hildie falls in love and begins a family of her own. But unexpected and tragic events force mother and daughter to face their own shortcomings and the ever-widening chasm that threatens to separate them forever.

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist

loveontheline

1900s – Texas

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man’s world … which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though.  He’s a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers.  Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do.  But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

reckoningofgossamerpond1907/Present Day – Wisconcin

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant faade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls.

The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad

therideofherlife1906 – Iowa

The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws’ home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. However, her in-laws find that life utterly unsuitable for their grandson, and when a row ensues, a handsome stranger–who designs roller coasters, of all things–intercedes on her behalf. Still, Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky (though charismatic) gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.

Filled with delightful characters and the romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life is another supremely entertaining story from the witty Lorna Seilstad. Readers will laugh out loud and sigh contentedly as they spend the summer of 1906 in Lake Manawa.

The Silver Shadow by Liz Tolsma

1900 – Colorado

Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before he strikes too close for comfort?

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

spiceking1900 – Washington DC

Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it’s too late.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

surprisedbylove1904 – California

Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the district attorney’s office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a boy who mercilessly mocked her at school–and with whom she was hopelessly enamored. She turns to her dear friend Bram Hughes for support and advice. But Bram’s vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a kid sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man? Fan favorite Julie Lessman draws a romantic triangle that will have readers in a tizzy in this glittering Gilded Age tale of transforming love.

Through the Shadows by Karen Barnett

Through the Shadows1908 – California

The devastating earthquake is just two years past, but the city of San Francisco is still trying to recover. Destruction of this magnitude is not so easy to overcome-and neither are the past regrets shadowing Elizabeth King’s hopeful future.

Hoping to right her wrongs, Elizabeth dedicates herself to helping girls rescued from slavery in Chinatown brothels, even if it means putting her own life at risk to sneak through the gloomy alleys and rooftops where dangers lurk.

Putting her life on the line for a worthy cause is admirable. But opening her heart is even more terrifying. So when Elizabeth meets attorney, Charles McKinley—a man who dreams of reforming San Francisco’s crooked politics—Elizabeth begins to doubt: Can she maintain her pretense and hide her past? Or will her secret jeopardize both their futures?

When I Meet You by Olivia Newport

1909 – Colorado

A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Present to Past on Family Trees

A trunk abandoned at Denver’s Union Station more than a century ago leads Jillian and Nolan to untangle the mystery of its contents—including correspondence with the head of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency Denver office. While Nolan digs into the legalities of the findings, Jillian searches for the descendants of a stolen identity who might not be who they think they are on Colorado ranch land. When Drew seems anxious to hear what Jillian has to say but his Great Aunt Min slams the subject closed—twice—Jillian is all the more determined to find out what happened to the woman who never claimed her luggage, why Min doesn’t want to talk about it, and what will happen for Drew if he gets the answers he seeks.

 

What Comes My Way by Tracie Peterson

whatcomesmyway1902 – California

Ella Fleming is on the run from her past and the secrets that could tear her family apart. As a member of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza, a wild west show comprised of all-female performers, her uncanny talent for trick riding impresses the viewers. Only while performing can she forget the truth about who she really is–the daughter of a murderer.

Phillip DeShazer blames himself for his father’s death and has done his best to bury his guilt in work and drink. Realizing he needs something more, he seeks answers and finds support and kindness from the beautiful Ella Fleming. However, the more she comes to his rescue, the more his guilt grows. He’s fallen in love with her and feels confident that she returns his feelings, but until he can overcome the past and let God guide his future, Phillip knows he’s not worthy of Ella’s love.

Uncertain of what will come their way, Ella and Phillip must learn to trust God even when the road they travel takes them in different directions. Only then can love be a part of their journey.

Winning the Schoolmarm by Lacy Williams

1906 – Wyoming

Swirling rumors forced Cecilia White out of the teaching job she loved. She vowed not to get involved with a man again—no matter what. But when the term begins at a new schoolhouse in a new town, disaster strikes. No matter what she does, she can’t seem to escape the handsome, single chairman of the school board.

John Morgan has a secret. He’s not who he says he is. He’ll do anything to protect and provide for his young sister—including cozying up to the prickly schoolmarm.

Sparks fly and Cecilia must deny her heart if she hopes to keep her job. But what’s more important? Duty or love?


Suggestions offered from the Unlocking the Past Facebook Group: (THANK YOU, LADIES!!!!)

The Heart’s Charge by Karen Witemeyer
Wherever You Go by Tracie Peterson
Tracie Peterson’s Golden Gate Series
Rachel Scott McDaniel’s The Red Canary
A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham
All Elizabeth Camden books
A Heart Most Worthy By Siri Mitchell
She Walks In Beauty By Siri Mitchell
Behind the Scenes (1) by Jen Turano
Out of the Ordinary (2) by Jen Turano
Caught by Surprise (3) by Jen Turano
Maid to Match by Deanne Gist
Love at Any Cost (1) by Julie Lessman
Dare to Love Again (2) by Julie Lessman
Surprised by Love (3) by Julie Lessman
Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin


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. 🙂

June RCR: The White City by Grace Hitchcock

June RCR: The White City by Grace Hitchcock

It’s the SIXTH month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. We’re halfway there! Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment on what YOU read 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 White City by Grace Hitchcock

This month focused on the Gilded Age of America, and what better display of the Gilded Age than the World’s Fair in Chicago? Add in a bit of mystery, danger, and love, and I couldn’t resist the chance to read this book. I’ll fully admit this is a reread for me. I loved it so much the first round that when I saw I had the chance to share it with others and give copies away, I had to do it. I think in my original review of the book, I gave it six stars as it was one of the first books I’d read that was so wonderfully historically romantic suspense. Now that these types of books are coming out in droves, it is still an amazing book but not as unique as it once had been.


Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense, World’s Fair, Chicago, 1893 Plot Overview: While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as an exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as a secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for a bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim? What I loved: The danger, suspense, romance, AND history are combined in an utterly wonderful story. There’s even a serial killer on the loose and a woman determined to find the truth. It’s my favorite kind of story to read. Favorite Character and Why: It’s a tie between Winnifred and Jude. I love her spunk, determination, and bravery. Jude is absolutely swoon-worthy. A family man, caring, and protective. Who would like this? Absolutely anyone who loves romantic suspense, especially those who love historical romance but have been craving a little more danger and suspense in the writing. If you have any fascination with true crime stories, this is a GREAT story with one of my favorite true crimes in history. Rating and Why: The writing was great, the spiritual touch light but impactful, the historical details AMAZING, and the storyline something I crave. PURCHASE LINKS Amazon     Barnes & Noble      Books-a-Million      Book Depository      Bookshop.org      Christianbook.com   Indiebound.org


Reading Challenge Giveaway

Comment with what you read for this month’s challenge to be entered to win a print copy of The White City by Grace Hitchcock. 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 (EST) on July 7th to be eligible to win. Happy reading! a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!

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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.

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