Missouri Bride by Eugenia Riley

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Amazon Link:    http://amzn.to/29cHy0K

I loved reading this story.  It has been awhile since I read a historical romance that was set near the 1800’s which held my attention so well.  Most of the books of this time period I have read lately I haven’t even reviewed because I just don’t know what to write because there isn’t enough “meat” to the story.  I didn’t find that with Eugenia Riley’s, Missouri Bride

Missouri Bride follows the Civil War by about 10 years so we are ensconced in a story that brings the heartache, emotional and mental traumas of the destruction that war brings.  Matt Kendall and Amy Harris both suffered tragedy during the war and each survived but not without lasting impressions that cause problems in forming relationships.  Matt, at 17, watched his uncle and father killed and then joined the Confederate Army seeing death and desolation, but in an added twist he joins with Quantrill’s Raiders where he is exposed to much more cruelty and brutality.  His life is spared through the influence of Abel Harris, Amy’s father.

Amy last seen her father while he was on leave from the war and what she witnessed between her father and her mother has left her with the wrong impression of marriage and the relationship between a husband and wife.  Her father leaves and never comes back but Amy is left wishing he did.  Amy’s mother is cruel and mentally unstable leaving Amy and her younger sister, Hannah, living in abuse and fear.  Their only hope lies in two men….their father and his return and Lacy Garrett, Amy’s fiancé.

Matt Kendall, believes his life is set for a particular course but takes a side trip back to St. Louis to see his friend Abel Harris.  He is surprised by the news he hasn’t been around in years and feels compelled to help Amy and Hannah.  Matt and Amy decide to marry but both are unsure how to trust and open themselves to each other to make their marriage work. Through several trials they begin to forge a bond, when Lacy Garrett comes to town.  This love triangle is filled with anger, revenge, love, loyalty and sacrifice. When the dust settles, the question is who is Amy going to choose?

This is definitely a story filled with layers of dynamics to keep the readers interest.  There is war and the changes that result in both people and places; there is young love; lawlessness; domestic abuse; child abuse; mental instability and finally there is the happy ending for the characters.

I highly recommend this historical romance and believe it will capture your interest.

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Whisper of Magic by Patricia Rice

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Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/25FBBRb

The newest book in the Malcolm-Ives family saga reached the shelves just this week, with the release of Whisper of Magic.  In the previous book, Magic in the Stars, we were introduced to Erran Ives, the barrister of the family.  It was during our introduction that Erran’s behavior was becoming a bit withdrawn but the reasons behind those actions were not explained until now.

Erran Ives, a barrister by trade, was trying to protect his client, a family that had been wrongfully evicted from their home.  During the impressive court room arguments, Erran is bewildered by everyone’s actions when he lets loose his own forceful emotions through his booming voice.  When all is returned to normal, the ruination of his career and his own defeated self-esteem is his shadow.  With his brother, the Marquis of Ashford, in need of the family’s townhouse, Erran must ask the tenants to relocate but is having difficulty in connecting with the Baron or his representative.

Celeste Malcolm Rochester has lost her father and now as the eldest child of Baron Rochester, a distant relative of the Ives-Malcolm’s through the lineage of Sir Trevelyan Rochester and Lady Lucinda Malcolm.  For those of you familiar with the previous Ives-Malcolm series, Lady Lucinda Malcolm had a gift of prophetic visions within her paintings and had at one time painted a questionable portrait of Sir Trevelyan.  Celeste, her siblings and a few loyal friends and servants are struggling to do what they can to combat their father’s cousin who is trying to illegally take over his estate.

Erran, Lady Azenor, and several other Ives family members join forces to aid their Rochester family in the race to prove Lord Lansdowne’s claim to the estate is fraudulent.  As Lord Erran and Lady Celeste band together, they find themselves facing magic, fertility ceremonies and a common magical gift they share.

It is wonderful to read these newest Ives-Malcolm relatives.  I also enjoy how the author, Patricia Rice does make references to the past Ives-Malcolm pairings as the ancestors of the current characters. Ms. Rice also employs her characters and interweaves them so that you are treated to reading of the characters from previous books, such as Lady Azenor.    I find this always enjoyable and believe it pulls the story together.  Lady Azenor played a large role in this story and having her stand out against the stoic Ives men is richly entertaining with her magical oddities and sense of style. There is always fun, strange magic, a budding romance and of course the bad guys to defeat.  Patricia Rice is an author that will intrigue, captivate and in the end keep you breathlessly anticipating the next story.  You just can’t get enough of her magical romances.

 

The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White

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Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1TO1vOI

Beth White writes a story that is intriguing in its complexity.  She writes of a family in Florida that has no ties to England as the Revolutionary War moves forward. This is a family of brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles that will hold onto that familial bond through generations and separation.

Fiona lives in Florida with her Aunt, Uncle, cousin and brothers after her parent’s death.  She is close to her cousin Maddy who is a widow thanks to the war and to her very distant cousin Sehoy. Upon hearing the devastating news that her twin brother, has been taken as prisoner by the British Fiona is shocked to discover a British soldier washed upon the shore.  What is more shocking is this soldier is a childhood friend and secret love of hers.  What to do with a British soldier, friend or not, is a dilemma as ill feelings toward the British escalate.

Charlie has no memory of why is there and what he may have been sent to do.  Is he a British soldier with ties of allegiance or is he actually a spy. As the intrigue builds and the romances for three of the women in the family blossom where will they end up?

The war comes to their door with suspicions rising of happenings on each side, but this family will hold strong to their faith in God and in one another. Men and women will fight together to protect their home and each other.

The war and its intrigue fought in Florida with a family of mixed heritage…French, Creek, Spanish and African is a very interesting story.  Throw in spies, corrupt leaders, pirates and plain American spunk and your attention is caught. You will no doubt enjoy this book and the strong characters who will hold on to God and will do what they believe to be right when confronted with war.  The characters are written with depth to their personalities which add to the enjoyment of this book.  This is the third book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles.

 

 

Chakana:Encounter in the Sacred Valley by W.E. Lawrence

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Chakana is sure to ignite a thrill seeking, page turning adventure for any history buff or Indiana Jones enthusiast.  A story that is very similar to the treasure seeking Indiana Jones in which the enemies are those of the Nazi regime and ruthless art smugglers.

Our hero is James Fleming a British spy trying to infiltrate the art smuggling ring near Peru in order to find how the Nazi are gaining treasure used to fund their movement.   While undercover James finds himself rescuing a young woman from his past…..one he owes his own life to.  She also happens to be the one he never forgot!

Kate Rhodes is a policewoman from Ohio who is suspended from the force just about the time she receives a mystery package from her brother, Nicholas Rhodes, who is leading an archeological dig in Peru.  Following her brothers directions, she takes the artifact to a local professor and friend, Dr. Charlie.  Kate and Dr. Charlie decide to go to Peru and when they get there they are soon immersed into the world of art smugglers and corrupt police. As Kate is being chased by the bad guys, she is rescued by a man that seems familiar and is shocked when his identity is revealed.

When James and his new allies (Kate, Nick and Dr. Charlie) decide to locate the lost treasure before the enemies get it, they never knew they would be challenged with such danger and intrigue from a society long dead.  As Kate and James follow the clues they find themselves wishing they could be together but knowing their lives are meant to go in different directions.  Knowing they must sacrifice their own dreams for the sake of thousands of lives, Kate and James race against time to find the treasure in order to keep the Nazi’s from winning.

I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly with this story as I have never read anything by this author. I was captivated by the adventure and quickly associated it with Indiana Jones but British style!  It was interesting to read such a strong female character from a male writer….points to the author!  I also noticed the author placed emphasis on the psychological issues for the characters.  By this I mean he explains the emotional reasoning behind some of the actions portrayed or perhaps those not taken.  The characters were all well done and enjoyed.  The story kept my attention until I finished the last page.  I am looking forward to reading more books by the author.

I received my copy through Netgalley in exchange for my review.

Amazon Link:   http://amzn.to/1R9Gec0

Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

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Other than Francine Rivers trilogy, The Mark of the Lion, I have not been drawn in to a Biblical historical fiction, as I have with Counted With the Stars, by Connilyn Cossette. When a writer weaves a story that makes me feel as if I am there with the characters, that I can imagine with vivid clarity the picture that the author is creating then I know I have a book that will remain with me long after the last page. When I have found a book that makes me think of my relationship with God because I see in these characters something that I wish I had and feel such a pull to find then I know I have found a writer,a book and a story that I will re-read many times over and will be in my thoughts for some time to come. Counted With the Stars is a story that fits all of this.

Kiya is a young Egyptian girl who is thrust into a world she had taken for granted all her life. When her father is financially destitute he sells her into slavery to a man she once considered a family friend, but will now serve his wife in defeat. Raised to worship the gods of Egypt she has no idea that the Hebrew God, Yahweh, has a plan for her that will take her from the lands of her birth, from her father and from the life she knows. When faced with slavery beneath those she considered her equals and living alongside those who where once beneath her, Kiya finds herself alone and not a part of either group. When a Hebrew slave girl, Shira befriends her, Kiya is exposed for the first time to Yahweh. Not ready to forsake her gods, Kiya is stricken with the same pain as the other Egyptians as Yahweh pours down his wrath with plague after plague. With the last plague set to fall upon them, Shefu, a man once her friend now her master, sets her on the path to follow the Hebrews while taking her Mother and handicapped brother with her. As she follows the Hebrews, she learns that she has been set upon this path not by Shefu but by the hand of Yahweh.

This amazing story will make you realize the power of God and how even in our lowest times, He will protect you, that he will love you and he will accept you. I love these characters and the journey they traveled. Shira’s story is due out in October and I am very excited to read it as well.

I truly recommend this book as one to read this year. It is a moving telling of those who experienced the Exodus in seeking their freedom from oppression and the ability to follow Yahweh. The story doesn’t focus on the kings or priests of Egypt, but that of the Hebrews and those Egyptians such as Kiya, her Mother Nailah, and her brother Jumo.

One of the last questions the author asks in her enclosed study guide is which characters you wish to know more about. My answer to that is see closure between Kiya and Shefu. Kiya found her answers with her Mother and Father, but there is a sadness that Shefu must live with and answers Kiya must know. This is of course my opinion, but my answer all the same to the author’s question.

 

 

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/208i3RM

A Light Upon My Heart…

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A Light Upon My Heart is coming out April 30th. It’s on preorder now. Here’s a little about this Christian Historical Romance.

Naomi Harris, a poor farm girl from Georgia, stepped off the stagecoach as a mail order bride, not sure what her new life would hold. Joseph Walsh, a wealthy Montana rancher, needed a bride and with few women in the northern territory he was forced to pay for one. The moment he slid the gold band on her finger, she decided to be the best wife she could, but she had a secret, one that could make him change his mind. But she couldn’t go back home, ever.  It’s a true test of their faith as they set out to make their marriage work, but things stand in their way. They have to work to push the obstacles away.

This book is a sweet, quirky Christian Historical Romance that will have you smiling one minute and holding your breath the next.

 

The Replacement Bride (Hope’s Crossing Book 2) by Cynthia Woolf

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Hope’s Crossing is a series that Cynthia Woolf began with The Hunter Bride and continues with this second book, The Replacement Bride.  In each of these books, set in the Western States, the men find women scarce and opt for a mail order bride.

In a previous review of The Hunter Bride, I wrote of Sam Longworth a sheriff who ordered a bride and wasn’t about to actually fall in love with her after being hurt previously.    That same theme is used in The Replacement Bride.  In this story we have Jesse Donovan a man who left home for New York City, made a good living and found a woman he wanted to marry.  When the gold mines called him, he promised to strike it rich and marry Rebecca Jane and keep her living in luxury.  Jesse did leave New York and did make good strike, but Rebecca Jane wouldn’t come out to Montana which left Jesse closed off to love ever again.  With political aspirations Jesse needed a wife to serve as hostess so he ordered himself a mail order bride like his friend Sam.  He ordered a replacement bride.

Clare Griggs is from Colorado and is a farmer’s daughter, his eldest daughter and not the son wanted.  After living with the fact she would never live down the disappointment her father has because she was a girl and not a boy, Clare finds her way to becoming a mail order bride where she can find love and not more disappointment.  She agrees to become Jesse’s bride with hope for the future.  She didn’t know she was only a replacement bride.

Jesse is content with Clare as a wife and sees that she is going to be the perfect hostess for when he runs for office.  But stubbornly he refuses to let himself love Clare and open himself up to being hurt once again.  What he doesn’t seem to understand is that his referring to Clare as his replacement bride has in fact hurt her deeply.  It doesn’t seem to matter what she tries, Jesse doesn’t love her.  When Clare has an accident and may be permanently hurt, Jesse pulls away instead of closer to her.

Clare must make a decision to stay and remain a disappointment in her father’s eyes as well as her husbands, or fight for what she wants until Jesse’s stubborn heart finally cracks.  Will Jesse’s heart welcome Clare or will he face loosing yet another woman in his life?

I do enjoy the simple story lines of Cynthia Woolf’s books.  I also like how she has the continuing theme throughout her series…the men are tough, fair and good men but once hurt they turn very stubborn.  The women have to be wily and patient until their men finally figure out what is going on!

 

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1U0jMnA