Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly

Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly

Sing in the Sunlight

by Kathleen Denly

Have you ever been in a season where everything is so wonky you’re afraid to pick up a book and read? I feel like I must be weird, but January, February, and March flew by with a ton of stress. In theory, I wanted to read, but I just couldn’t get my mind to settle into wanting to read. No story appealed, even my tried-and-true friends. Knowing I needed to write a book review for this month aside from the challenge review, I finally bit the bullet and opened the e-book of the newest release on my kindle evening before bed.

Big mistake.

The book I chose ended up being Kathleen Denly’s Sing in the Sunlight. I didn’t stop reading until 12:30, and when hubby graciously said he’d take the boys to school the next morning so I could rest and get work done, I stayed in bed and read until the entire book was done instead of cleaning or anything else productive. But hey, we all need a mental day, right?

Sing in the Sunlight was a wonderful book to get back into reading with. I loved the depth and realistic portrayal of all the characters’ struggles, especially Clarinda’s. There were some pretty tough subjects touched including unwanted pregnancy, strained parental relationships, trauma, physical scarring, and some of the emotional ramifications. All were dealt with a soft, but truthful touch. The marriage of convenience was a spin I hadn’t seen before, and I enjoyed watching Richard and Clarinda learn to love each other and face the challenges their pasts brought into their marriage.

I recommend this book to readers who love historical romance, marriage of convenience stories, stories with characters who face difficult challenges with real-life consequences, and stories where the hero pursues the heroine.

Genre: Historical Romance, 1858, California

Plot Overview:

Richard Stevens isn’t who he thinks he is. Neither is the woman who now claims his last name.

Disfiguring scars stole Clarinda Humphrey’s singing career, her home, and her family, but she refuses to let her appearance steal her future. While attending The Young Ladies Seminary in 1858 Benicia, California, she finds a man who promises to love and cherish her. Instead, he betrays her, leaving her with child, and Clarinda must take drastic measures to ensure her child doesn’t suffer for her foolishness.

Richard Stevens’s life hasn’t turned out as he expected, and when a shocking letter turns even his past into a mystery, he travels to San Francisco in search of guidance. On the way, he encounters a mysterious young woman hiding beneath a veil. That night he experiences a dream that sends him on a quest to find the bride God has chosen for him. He never imagines she’s already told everyone they’re married.

Unwilling to lie, nor accept a marriage of mere convenience, Richard wants the real thing. Yet Clarinda’s not interested in love, only a chance to save her child. Can he help her rise above the pain that runs deeper than her scars to accept a love worth every risk?

What I loved: The gentle, but real-life, approach to hard topics. I appreciated especially the struggle with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy and the struggle to decide what is best for the child in her situation. The note at the back from the author also was something I recommend reading, especially if you have been touched by any of the hard topics she addresses in the book.

Favorite Character and Why: I really liked Richard. He really helps Clarinda to see her situation, parents, and scars in a whole new way. He seems to have a deeper understanding of who she is in Christ, and he does his best the be the husband she needs while also pushing her to see hard truths. I really appreciated his persistence and endurance. 

Who would like this? Readers who love historical romance, marriage of convenience stories, stories with characters who face difficult challenges with real-life consequences, and stories where the hero pursues the heroine.

Rating and Why: Four and a half stars. There were a couple of possible subplots that felt hinted at and then dropped. I’m not sure if that is set up for the third book in the series, but didn’t seem like it from the third book blurb. I’m sort of left wondering about some things. The story as a whole was amazing, and again the soft touch of hard topics is something I really enjoyed.


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What books have you read that deal well with tough topics?

Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly

Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly

Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly

Waltz in the Wilderness is Kathleen Denly’s debut novel set in California during the 1850’s. This story is a fresh take on the wild west aspect of California’s history with a dash of adventure, romance, and danger. I particularly enjoyed seeing the early days of San Fransico and San Diego, traveling between the two via steamer, and experiencing the wilds between the two. It is an exciting view of history with lots of wonderful details. The characters were relatable and fun to watch as they maneuvered physical dangers, forbidden love, and family conflict. I would recommend this book to readers of sweet romances.

Genre: Historical Romance, California Gold Rush, 1854

Plot Overview:

She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help. 

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancée is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?

What I loved: The adventure of the story as well as the inner strength, loyalty, and honor of the hero, Daniel.

Favorite Character and Why: Eliza was a character I could really connect to, as I too struggle to be in control of everything. Her fear for her father drives her to dangerous things, and it is an emotion I can completely understand. Honestly, I could see my self behaving in the same manner as she.

Who would like this? Those who love sweet romances, rich in historical details, unique settings, and wilderness settings. It was a fun read which will have you turning pages.

Rating and Why: Four stars. It is a book I enjoyed and will likely read again.

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