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.


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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?

February RCR: The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

February RCR: The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

Welcome to the second month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focused on the Revolutionary War Period, and my choice of story was The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment on what you read to be entered for your chance to win a copy.

Last month’s winner was Kathy A. You can see a picture of her with her book on the Challenge Page.

*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 Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

With over half of my February being either filled with edits or travel, I opted for a quicker read this month. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Kimberley Woodhouse’s books that I decided it was time for me to check into a new-to-me author.

The American Revolution was one of my favorite time periods in high school. I lived, breathed, and researched it probably more than any other typical teen that I know. Even as an adult, my bucket list includes visiting the entire Freedom Trail. I’ve done a decent portion now, but I’d still love to go back. Reading The Patriot Bride was a little thrill to this history nerd’s heart. The characters, the history, the plot were beautifully intertwined so that I didn’t just discover a personal view of the Revolutionary War, but I discovered a wonderful story that I will likely reread again. I loved bright, spunky, independent Faith; steadfast, brave Matthew; the realistic, human aspect of George Washington, hilarious and always fascinating, Benjamin Franklin, and the wonderful butler, Claton. The cast of characters really made the story, and everything felt like it progressed in a realistic way. And who can turn away a story of spies?

Overall, it is a story I would recommend to lovers of historical fiction (especially the Revolutionary War), readers who love strong, independent heroines, and stories that have romance but are light on the sappy.

Genre: Historical Romance, Revolutionary War, Boston, MA

Plot Overview:

Spies Work Together for the Patriot Cause
Faith Jackson is a wealthy widow, friend of George Washington, and staunch supporter of the Patriot cause. Matthew Weber is friends with both Ben Franklin and his son William, who increasingly differ in their political views; and Matthew finds himself privy to information on both sides of the conflict. When a message needs to get to a spy among the Loyalists, Faith bravely steps up and in turn meets Matthew Weber. Suddenly she believes she could love again. But someone else has his eye on the Faith she portrays in elite social circles. What will Matthew and Faith have to sacrifice for the sake of their fledgling country?

What I loved: The characters and history were magnificently woven together. Part of this story was taken from the POV of George Washington. I loved how it brought him to life in a realistic way. You also got to meet Benjamin Franklin, and he was as odd and humorous as always. The amount of research that went into this book must have been staggering.

Favorite Character and Why: This is a hard pick for me because so many of the characters were amazing. Faith was spunky, independent, but real. Matthew also had his own realistic struggles. The butler was amazing.

Who would like this? Lovers of historical fiction (especially the Revolutionary War), readers who love strong, independent heroines, and stories that have romance but are light on the sappy.

Rating and Why: Five stars. She did a great job with interweaving real historical characters with a  fictional story that kept me engaged the whole time I read.


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To be entered to win your own copy of The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse, comment or email me at Crystal Caudill Writes (At) Gmail (dot) Com with what YOU read for the challenge this month. (My isn’t working right now.) For extra entries, visit the rafflecopter below. Opens on February 28th and ends at 11:59 pm on March 7th. Print copy open to all legally eligible U.S. Residents. International residents will receive a $10 Amazon gift card as Book Depository doesn’t have copies available at this time.

What did YOU read for the February challenge?

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