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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?
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It is a new month which means….
August 2017 New Releases – Wahoo!!!!!
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Imperfect Lies by Elizabeth Noyes — When another woman emerges from the past to claim Mallory Cameron’s happily ever after, she cuts her losses and sets out to find a headline-worthy story to launch her journalism career. She embarks on a whirlwind journey that takes her across the United States, to the blue-green waters of the Caribbean, on to sunny Mexico, and deep into the dangerous parts of Africa where terror reigns. James Evers turned his back on a life of power and privilege to carve a place in the world for himself. Now that he’s finally discovered his niche as a small-town sheriff and found the woman he wants in his future, a past indiscretion struts in on high heels and sends his newfound love fleeing headlong into peril. His mission: neutralize old enemies, defuse new threats, resolve past mistakes, settle family disputes, and—most importantly—find and rescue his woman from terrorists before the unthinkable happens. (Action/Adventure from Write Integrity Press)
The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter — Young widow Kristina Montgomery moves to Kiptohanock, Virginia, hoping it will give her and her teenage son, Gray, a fresh start. She longs for the peace and quiet only a small town can provide. But her plans are thwarted by her new neighbor, Canyon Collier, a former Coast Guard pilot and a crop duster. Gray is instantly drawn to the pilot and his teenage niece, Jade—and Kristina’s not far behind. She and Canyon are soon bonding over parenting their charges and their spark becomes undeniable. Could it be that the spirited pilot is just what Kristina needs to teach her heart to soar again? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Gift of the Magpie by Zoe M. McCarthy — Amanda Larrowe’s lack of trust sabotages her relationships. The English teacher and award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys has shut off communication with friends and family to meet her January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia, has experienced in years, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, Amanda’s heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high-school Valentine’s Day date. Camden may have transformed into a handsome, amiable man, but his likeability doesn’t instill trust in Amanda’s heart. When Cam doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
A Mother for Leah by Rachel L. Miller –It’s been ten years since Leah Fisher’s mother died in a buggy accident. But when Leah’s father shows interest in Naomi Yoder, Leah isn’t ready for a new mother. Will Leah be able to let go of her own ideas and realize that God truly does know best for her or will she allow love to slip through her fingers, destroying Samuel Fisher and Naomi Yoder’s happiness at the same time? (Contemporary from S & G Publishing)
Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli — An antique ring reunites a Boston Marathon bombing survivor with the man who saved her. Together they unearth the two-hundred-year- old history of a woman who suffered tremendous loss in the Boston Massacre, a woman torn between the love of two men – one a patriot, one a Redcoat. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)
Fresh Faith by Elise Phillips — Joy Abbott had been trying to start her life over for years — and failing. Then a letter summoned her to Texas and everything changed. (General Contemporary from Desert Breeze Publishing)
Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson — In the spring of 1958, Jenny Winter embarks on a two-month adventure to a quaint village in England’s magical Lake District. With a new camera and an eye for capturing the beauty others miss, she can’t wait to explore the heathery fells and mystical waters. Adrian Kemp, a handsome and enigmatic local, makes the sightseeing even more beguiling. When Adrian shows Jenny his late father’s abandoned dream, a deserted island amusement park, she glimpses a kindred spirit in this reckless, haunted young man. Yet as she opens her heart to Adrian, the two stumble into a mystery leading back a generation to an unforgettable romance and an unsolved murder. As long-held secrets come to light, it’s left to Jenny and Adrian to put the past to rest and restore a lost dream. (Historical from Waterfall Press)
Titus: The Aristocrat by Katheryn Maddox Haddad — Titus intends to become a famous lawyer in the Roman Empire. Instead, he is sent by Paul to arbitrate between arch enemies in wild Corinth, wilder Crete, and wildest Dalmatia. In each place he suffers. But, long before that, he suffers from guilt over the death of his mother when he was eleven years old. How does Titus survive it all? (Historical from Northern Lights Publishing House)
To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander — With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams – provided the truth doesn’t tear them apart first. (Historical Romance from Zondervan)
The Second Chance Brides Collection by Lauralee Bliss, Angela Breidenbach, Ramona K. Cecil, Pamela Griffin, Grace Hitchcock, Pam Hillman, Laura V. Hilton, Tiffany Amber Stockton, and Liz Tolsma — Meet nine women who each believe their chance for lifelong love has passed them by. From the girls who lost their beaus to war, to the wallflowers overshadowed by others, and the widows deeply hurt by their loss, the desire to love and be loved spans American history from 1777 to 1944. Experience the sweet pull of romance on each life and the blossom of faith that leads them to brighter futures. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
The Promise of Breeze Hill by Pam Hillman — Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady. The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage. Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe? (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)
Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason — When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan’s life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she’s made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her–and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he’s not about to let Haley fight this battle alone. In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories–and the depths of the heart–Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley’s past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won’t quit. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [Baker])
Plain Retribution by Dana R. Lynn — Ten years ago while on rumspringa, Rebecca Miller and her friends were kidnapped and held captive…and now, living in the English world, she’s nearly abducted again. One by one her friends who once helped send their abductor to jail are targeted, and she is next…unless police officer Miles Olsen can stop a killer. Deaf since birth, the only person on the force that Rebecca can communicate with is Miles, and he needs this case to redeem himself of past mistakes. When the relentless killer tracks them deep into the heart of Amish country, protecting Rebecca must be Miles’s sole focus. Because a mistake this time will cost something worth more to him than his job—the woman he’s falling for. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Cold Blooded by Anne Patrick — Detective Gwen Jamison has the highest closure rate in her division, but a string of armed robberies is about to take over her life. Not only will her job be on the line, but the troubling case also wreaks havoc on her personal life. Lieutenant Ian McKean knew he would have his hands full when he took over leadership of the detectives unit. He wasn’t prepared for the headstrong Detective Jamison, though, who quickly becomes a thorn in his side. If they can stop butting heads long enough they might realize they are more alike than either imagined. (Romantic Suspense from Anne Patrick)
The Patriot and the Loyalist by Angela Couch
In a time when loyalties are questioned, rebellion to the Crown punished, and families divided, can love be true? Or is love just a deceptive weapon used by the enemy?
In this second installation of Hearts at War, we follow jilted and heartbroken Daniel Ried into the swamps of the Carolinas. Driven by his need to escape the pain of Rachel’s rejection and the need to prove himself to his family, he is drawn into the covert operations of the Contential Army’s Swap Fox.
Lydia Reynolds is a woman so pained by loss, she has drawn herself away from everyone and hopes to escape her pain aboard a boat bound for England. The only problem? He brother-in-law refuses to help her. When a possible rebel spy crosses her path, Lydia takes matters into her own hands.
In a dance of loyalties and spy versus spy, love enters and complicates the best-laid plans. Throw in a few unexpected plot twists and there is no clean escape from the web of deception.
The Patriot and the Loyalist is a masterful depiction of real people in the clutches of war, struggling with trust, pain, and loyalty.
I loved the continuing saga of Daniel Reid from the first book, The Scarlet Coat. It was a pleasure to better get to know him and watch his journey. Angela, once again, put my beloved characters through the wringer – and thus me as a reader. I loved the action, the emotional struggle of the characters, and personal connection I made to their lives. I may not have endured the American Revolution, but I can understand betrayal, the risk of trusting someone with my broken heart, and the struggle between what I think I want and what is actually best.
I highly recommend this book to others who love real characters struggling with a backdrop of war. It was a great mixture of action and emotional angst. Purchase your own copy in the links below or go to your library and request they purchase it. Then everyone can enjoy this book.
*I received this e-book as an advanced reader’s copy and have given my honest opinion above.
“Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home—not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain—so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.
Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope—if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes.
Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded, and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.”
– Amazon Blurb
For the next bit, you will find a number of Mary Connealy books reviewed. One of my assignments to grow as a writer is to study the writing of a writer I admire, and she is one whose books have been lining my shelves long before God called me out of my four walls.
So here we go, Book # 1 in the Lassoed in Texas series.
Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy
“Sophie Edwards is doing just fine, until a strange-yet oddly familiar-man rides into her life, insisting on rescuing her and her four daughters. Can she find a way to love a headstrong mountain man? When Clay McClellan discovers his brother has been murdered, he’s bent on finding the killers and seeing them properly hung. But first his Christian duty demands that he marry his sister-in-law. After all, Sophie needs someone to protect her – right? Faith and love help unruly wed newlyweds find common ground and a chance at love on the Texas frontier.”
– Amazon.com Blurb
The book starts right off the bat with action and suspense, making it a difficult task to lay down the book when your children start asking, “When’s dinner?”
There were lots of twists and turns in the book that I didn’t expect and although there were instances of what seemed to be coincidence, they were put together in a very believable way. Even a miracle of God appeared throughout the story, one I particularly loved and believe is plausible even in today’s world.
I loved how strong and independent Sophie and her girls were, and especially in how sweet she was in letting Clay think that he was teaching her and the girls new skills when, in fact, they had already mastered them years ago. As a reader, I wanted to be Sophie and think that I could defend my family the way she did.
Clay was a hoot, too! Mr. Macho had no idea how to deal with women, but he was all too willing to step in and fulfill his Biblical brotherly duties to marry his brother’s widow. His take charge attitude was met with some hilarious results. Some parts of the romance seemed to happen too quick for me, but it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story.
The plot was not straight-forward either. Mrs. Connealy did a marvelous job of bringing in all sorts of ties from unexpected places. Every single detail had its place and even when things seemed part of a different plot they all came together to make one cohesive story. I really marvel at how she did that and am specifically breaking down each chapter to discover just exactly how she did that.
I would recommend anything she writes, but I would definitely recommend reading this series first. So many of the people in this first series appear in later series. Mrs. Connealy does a magnificent job of creating a cohesive story world across series. So meet the characters first in this series.
It seems as if this book is no longer in print, but you can find it through third-party sellers at Amazon.com. You can visit her website at http://maryconnealy.com/.
The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
I have finally reached Melanie’s The Merchant’s Daughter in my TBR pile and all I can say is, why did I wait so long? I will readily admit that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale of all time, and Melanie did an amazing job with the story.
For those hardcore fairy tale fans – the ones who read the original versions by Anderson and the Grimm brothers – you will not be disappointed. Melanie did a fantastic job of sticking to the core elements but fleshing them out into a real life scenario that is just as magical as the fantasy presented to us through the historical renditions.
Even though I was very familiar with all the different variations of Beauty and the Beast, I was still wonderfully surprised and held in suspense throughout the story. It is easy to fall in love with kind, sweet Annabell who has her own wounds and broken past.Lord Ranulf le Wyse is an amazing beast who is all at once ferocious and yet gentle. My heart went out to him almost immediately.
Spiritual truth was woven masterfully and naturally throughout the story. I found myself transported and looking at the Holy Writ, as Annabell calls it, in a whole new light and with an excitement that I sometimes forget.
I highly recommend this book and would sum up this review with The Merchant’s Daughter is a fairy tale that reaches down to the soul and brings joy just by reading it. You simply must read this, and heart be still, Melanie has written a whole Fairy Tale Romance series.
The newest book Silent Songbird comes out in November.
Check out the links to purchase and connect with Melanie Dickerson below:
Amazon.com Barnes and Noble Melanie’s Website
“An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf’s bailiff—a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff’s vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.”
– Blurb by from Amazon