This was a particularly fun read for me because I managed to get my mother-in-law hooked. My MIL is legally blind, and doesn’t read for leisure as it is very difficult on her. However, while baking for Thanksgiving, I had this book playing over the speaker while she sat nearby. Friends, she became so engrossed, I wasn’t allowed to listen to it without her. Which led to me showing her how to download my account to her phone and me purchasing an e-book copy so I could continue at my own pace. We ended up having a reading race, and it was one of the greatest joys I’ve shared with her this year.
Whispers from the Shadows is the second book in the Culper Ring series, but you don’t necessarily have to read the first one to enjoy the second. (As proved by my MIL.) However, you will enjoy seeing the characters from the first book reappear and have a stronger understanding of the backstory if you do.
I really enjoyed taking a look at the War of 1812. I had a vague recollection of the war from my long ago studies, but I always just viewed it as the wrap up of the American Revolution. In a way it was, but it was so much more than I remembered. The way Roseanna M. White brought it to light was exciting, enlightening, and engaging. Whispers from the Shadows is a book I will reread and recommend to others.
Genre: Historical Romance, War of 1812 – Baltimore
Treachery causes Gwyneth Fairchild’s world to crumble. The daughter of a British general, she barely saves her life by fleeing London aboard a ship to America. Her goal is to find refuge with the Lane family in Maryland, having been told by her father she could implicitly trust Winter and Bennet Lane, even though their nations are once again at war. After meeting their son, Thad, she wonders how safe she truly is when she discovers that the Lanes trade in a dangerous commodity – espionage.
Not long after Gwyneth finds refuge in his city, Thad Lane experiences the tug of love, though he fears it may blur lines of loyalty. With family playing the part of enemies and enemies proving themselves friends, a future with Gwyn is uncertain. But at this moment, with the British advancing on Washington and Baltimore, they have only their shared faith in God as a shield about them.
What I loved: Besides the history, which is always a go-to for me, I really loved the connection between Gwyneth and Thad. There was just something so unique and special about it. Their relationship drew me in.
Favorite Character and Why: Thad. Without a doubt. He was a man with convictions who followed the Lord’s leading. He was brave, compassionate, a leader, and intelligent. Thad was a hero I could respect.
Who would like this? Anyone who enjoy American history, especially time periods not heavily focused on in writing or in the history books. Readers who enjoy sweet romance, strong natural spiritual threads, and danger-filled stories will want to pick this book up.
Rating and Why: Five stars. This history, the danger, the love, and the hope shared through this book make it one I will reread again.
As has often been the case for me of late, I’ve been so busy that reading fiction has fallen to audiobooks while driving. In desperation for something I could download quickly from my library I reached out the Facebook group Avid Christian Fiction Readers and asked for suggestions. Roseanna White’s books was one of the first to pop up on the responses. Since the library didn’t have the one suggested I went with A Ring of Secrets because of two words: Culper Ring.
For those of you who aren’t aware, the Culper Ring was a network of spies used by General George Washington during the American Revolution, and who doesn’t love a good story of espionage and intrigue. This history buff/danger-craving reader downloaded it in a heartbeat.
Ring of Secrets is the first in a series of three dealing with this Culper Ring, so don’t be surprised if more reviews for the following books pop up. As always, the thing that drew me in was the immense amount of historical accuracy in this story. It was absolutely jaw-dropping the amount of information I learned (and then verified) while reading this book.
The plot line was exciting, while realistic, and the romance one that was well developed. While multiple people vied for Winter’s hand, I never once felt the anger I usually feel with love triangles. Roseanna White handled it in a wonderful believable way that felt right and not like someone got the short end of the stick just because. So Roseanna White, if you’re reading this, kudos! That is an amazing undertaking in my opinion, and your research? AMAZING.
If you like books with espionage, tension, danger, as well as love and a wonderful spiritual thread, you definitely need to pick this book up.
Genre: Historical Romance, American Revolution – New York
Winter Reeves is an aristocratic Patriot forced to hide her heart amid the Loyalists of the City of New York. She has learned to keep her ears open so she can pass information on British movements to Robbie Townsend, her childhood friend, and his spy ring. If she’s caught, if she’s hung for espionage…well, she won’t be. Robbie has taught her the tools of the trade: the wonders of invisible ink, drop locations and, most importantly, a good cover.
Bennet Lane returns to New York from his Yale professorship with one goal: to find General Washington’s spy hidden among the ranks of the elite. Searching for a wife was supposed to be nothing more than a convenient cover story for his mission, but when he meets Winter, with her too-intelligent eyes in her too-blank face, he finds a mystery that can’t be ignored.
Both believers…and both committed to a separate cause. Will their faith in God lead them to a shared destiny or lives lived apart?
What I loved: The history! I love all the historical details and true look into spying during the American Revolution.
Favorite Character and Why: I really did love Winter. Her struggle with her place in her family, what she felt called to do, and the courage she had really drew me in. She made a few decisions I would never had made, but I thoroughly admire her for them.
Who would like this? Anyone who enjoys a thorough reimagining of the American Revolution, its relational difficulties, and the brave men and women who participated in it will find this a refreshing and exciting story. Also, anyone who enjoys sweet romance, strong spiritual threads that are preachy but natural, and danger filled tension, this book is for you.
Rating and Why: Five stars. This history, the danger, the love, and the hope shared through this book make it one I will reread again.
This is the emotional conclusion of Angela Couch’s Hearts at War Series, one which definitely had me crying happy tears at the end. I’ve never seen a series wrapped up so well and so honestly. Post American Revolution culture didn’t immediately let bygones be bygones. And honestly, even in today’s culture it isn’t realistic, even if it is painted as such in so many books. That is what I love about this story. You see a realistic look at relationships of people who lived and fought on opposite sides. The struggle to come to terms with each other. The struggle to love someone who believes differently than you. Beliefs so different, it was possible to have fought on opposite sides of the battle line. If you haven’t read the other three stories, it is possible to read this one as a stand alone, but you’ll have a great more appreciation for the story if you have. You can check out my review for the other books here: The Scarlet Coat, The Patriot and the Loyalist, and The Tory’s Daughter.
Genre: Historical Romance – Post American Revolution, Mohawk Valley
Overview of Plot:
The war for American freedom is over, and the British have gone back to England. Not knowing what has become of his family since he was forced into the Continental Army nine years earlier, Myles Cunningham wants to go home as well. He returns to the Mohawk Valley with the understanding that he is believed to have been shot for deserting—fiction that might be made real if anyone recognizes him as the son of a Tory and a King’s Ranger.
Everything is wonderful in the growing community along the Mohawk River, except Nora Reid is still alone. With her brother happily settled and both her younger sisters starting families of their own, Nora feels the weight of her twenty-four years. A long walk leads her to the overgrown rubble of the Cunningham homestead where a bearded stranger begins to awaken feelings she’d lost hope of ever experiencing.
With secrets abounding—including whether Myles even cares for her—Nora must determine what she is ready to give up and how far she will go to secure his affections. She begins to break through his defenses, but Myles can’t risk staying. Not if he loves her.
Favorite Character and Why:
I really loved Myles. His strong adherence to his beliefs, desire to find his family, and struggle to do what’s “right” by Nora really just made him into such a real character.
What I liked:
As always, I love the complex relationships. People who stood on opposite sides of the war (literally) had to come to terms with how they moved forward in this new country. Some decisions were hard but great, others had you yelling at Angela Couch for allowing to happen, but acknowledging the truth of that part of history. (Sorry no spoilers.)
Who would like this:
Those who love the complexities of relationships borne out wartime divisions, stories of hidden identities, and love stories which undergo tension and growth, developing both people into better characters.
*I was provided a copy of this book by the author/publisher. The above opinion is my own and by no means was influenced.*
Fascinated by history and in love with creating fiction, Angela K Couch has been lost in writing novels most of her life. As a passionate believer in Christ, she can’t help her faith from permeating the stories she tells. Often her martial arts training, love of horses, and appreciation for good romance sneaks in there as well.
Join the Discussion: Check out the Community Question below and comment.
The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz
In high school, I was obsessed with the American Revolution. I lived, breathed, and dreamed every detail I could find about the American Revolution. Stories that (thankfully) will never see the light of day were written.
As terrible as those amateur stories were, I am happy to report that The Lacemaker is no amateur story. Laura Frantz crafted a wonderful story that draws you so completely into the complexities of those first days that it is a shock to your system when someone *ahem – children I’m referring to you* interrupt your reading for something as trivial as being fed.
Who can eat when the balance of a nation is hanging on a lacemaker’s thread?
Genre: Historical Romance, American Revolution
Plot Overview: Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson is days away from her arranged marriage taking place when she is abandoned by her fiancé and family. As daughter of a prominent British leader, she is suspected to be a spy and struggles to survive in her hometown of Independence Men. No one is willing to come to her aid, save the Welsh Independence man, Noble Rynallt. An enemy to the crown, he has his own struggles to contend with, but the former-lady-turned-lacemaker cannot be ignored. As tensions grow, Liberty must make a choice – join the Independence Men or turn her back on her father and country? Whatever the choice, the cost could be her life.
What I loved: I will say my absolute favorite part of any story that takes place during the American Revolution or Civil War is the complexities of how families were affected. The relationship between Elisabeth “Liberty” and her family is so complex that I just relish every detail. Her father so wonderfully reflected the Independence Men’s view of England while her mother was the independent spirit that refused to be broken. The broken family was such a wonderful symbol of Britain’s relationship with it’s colonies. I don’t know if she meant that symbolism or not, but I absolutely loved it.
Favorite Character: It is such a hard toss up between Liberty and Noble. Liberty is such an amazing young woman who really grows from the submissive daughter to a woman who learns to fend for herself without compromising her morals. She is brave, kind-hearted, and the woman I hope I would be under such circumstances.
Noble is the swoon worthy hero every romance needs. He is a man who watches out for the needs of others, has a strong sense of obligation and duty to bring this nation to independence, and Welsh heritage makes you want to cuddle up next to him in real life. I won’t give away the details, but he is a great leader and a man who will do anything for those he loves. Such a brave man.
Who would like this: Anyone who love historically accurate stories with love, romance, danger, and self-sacrifice (no one dies). Those who especially love the American Revolution and the complex relationships between the British and those seeking independence.
Rating and Why: I give this story 5 stars. I loved the complexities of the story, the romance that was exciting but clean, and all the historical characters. It was masterfully created and a pure joy to read.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this story on #netgalley through the publisher for review purposes. The opinions above are completely my own and not influenced in any way.
Join the Discussion: What is your favorite aspect of reading books set in the American Revolution? Do you like the battles? Espionage? Relationships? Love between opposite sides? Romance against all odds?
If you read the book: Which character did you identify with most?
SQUEE!!!! I just finished reading Angela’s latest and I have to shout, I LOVED IT!!!!! SQUEE!!! (Imagine Crystal dancing in circles with the book clutched to her chest.)
If you made it past all my squealing, then it will come as no surprise that The Scarlet Coat is my absolute favorite book from Angela Couch so far!
My favorite part of studying the Revolutionary and Civil Wars is the relationship struggles caused by family, friends, and neighbors taking opposing sides. The Scarlet Coat was the best representation I have seen of the relational side of war.
You immediately become attached to the characters, rooting Rachel on in her disagreements with her brother. Swooning at the restrained moments of affection and love. Shouting “No!” at all the twists and turns.
I loved how I didn’t believe the troubles Rachel, Andrew, Joseph, and Daniel could get any worse but they DID! Talk about throwing your characters under the bus! I held my breath for the entire last half of the book! Wow, I just used way too many exclamation points. I promise to calm down… some. There were so many unexpected plot twists that I didn’t see coming.
The Scarlet Coat releases on February 1st, but you can go ahead and preorder it at the links below. I highly recommend doing it. I received and Advanced Reader Copy, and boy am I glad I didn’t have to wait! Now I must wait with baited breath to follow the next journey in April.
Come back tomorrow for an interview with the amazing Angela!
“Surrounded by the musket fire of the American Revolution, Rachel Garnet prays for her family to be safe. When the British invade the Mohawk Valley and her father and brother don’t return from the battle, she goes in pursuit of them. She finds her brother alive but her father has been killed at the hand of the enemy. Amidst the death, how can she ignore a cry for help? Rachel reluctantly takes in a badly wounded British officer. But how long can her sense of Christian duty repress her hatred for his scarlet coat? Passages of Scripture and fleeting images of society are all Andrew Wyndham recalls after he awakens to the log walls of his gentle prison. Even his name eludes him. Rachel Garnet insists he is a captain in the British army. He mourns the loss of his memory, but how can he hope to remember war when his “enemy” is capturing his heart? Andrew’s injuries are severe, his memory slow to return, and the secret of his existence too perilous to ignore. As Rachel nurses him back to health, his hidden scarlet coat threatens to expose the deeds of her merciful heart, and Andrew is forced to face a harrowing decision-Stay hidden and risk losing the woman he loves or turn himself in and risk losing his life.”