When eleven year old Theresa “Tessie” Finley watches her father drown, she determines to redeem herself and to honor her father’s memory by becoming the emotional caretaker and guardian of her younger mentally handicapped sister Birdie. Their mother hides her grief and immediately starts dating a man with hopes of marrying him but Tessie does not trust her mother and detests her new boyfriend.
She also names herself president of The Mutual Admiration Society, a group consisting of herself, Birdie and Tessie’s wannabe boyfriend Charlie. The group’s purpose is to either solve crime or use it to blackmail others as a way of earning money in case Tessie must take Birdie and run away from home for their own safety.
When Tessie witnesses what she believes is a murder in the cemetery behind her home, she must use all of her wiles to solve the crime while also dodging her mother and their evil next door neighbor lady.
Since historical (romance) fiction is my favorite genre, today I’m sharing a list of my favorite series in this genre. Some of these are long-time favorites some are newer. The list may seem a bit long, but believe me, I got it as short as I could. I can’t help that there are so many good stories out there. So without further ado…
The Reluctant Demon Diaries by Linda Rios Brooks -tells the events of the Bible from the perspective of a demon longing for redemption.
With dual story lines, The Ringmaster’s Wife, gives a fictional account of historical characters, John and Mable Ringling . Right before the start of the twentieth century, young Armilda leaves her small Ohio home to pursue dreams she cannot even articulate. Soon she has renamed herself Mable and meets Mr. Ringling at the Chicago State Fair. In Chicago she makes a friend who will inspire her to be courageous and kind enough, not just to pursue her own dreams, but to encourage others to pursue theirs. This friendship, though brief, plays an important part in helping the reader to understand Mable’s motivations going forth and is the foundation for all that is to come. Continue reading “Book Review -The Ringmaster’s Wife”
A School for Unusual Girls is set in 1814, while Napoleon is exiled to the island of Elba. Georgiana Fitzwilliam is the youngest child and only daughter in her family. After one of her scientific experiments goes awry and burns down her father’s stables, her exasperated parents enroll her at Stranje House and wipe their hands of her care. Despite the tense relationships Georgie has with her parents she would rather return home or run away than to stay at this mysterious school for girls. The dark rumors which swirl around the school and the scenes she witnesses upon her introduction to the staff and students convince her that Stranje house is a dangerous place to remain.
When privileged Egyptian Kiya is sold into slavery by her own father, it is to save the rest of her family including her crippled brother. She finds herself in the household of a family friend, but the shame of serving in a home she once frequented as a guest and the vengeful behavior of her master’s wife leaves her feeling humiliated and hopeless. During her time of service she meets fellow slave Shira, a Hebrew, who makes a great sacrifice on Kiya’s behalf winning her loyalty and friendship. Through Shira, she also meets Eben, Shira’s brother who seems to despise her, but she also begins to learn of the rumors of a Deliverer spreading through the Hebrew households. Things go from bad to worse for Kiya, as her former fiance deserts her and all of the Egyptians are terrorized by strange plagues. Kiya wrestles with her lack of faith in her own gods and her terror of the Hebrew God, while also being strangely drawn to both the enslaved people and the one they call Yahweh. Eventually, in order to save her mother and brother, she casts her lot in with this strange people and flees Egypt. Continue reading “Book Review -Counted With the Stars”
When Charlie Lionheart burst into the hospital with a sick baby, nurse Ella Beckley is immediately drawn into the plight of this mysterious young man and his sick but precious charge. His presence instigates immediate changes in her safe, ordered life and lures her into the unfamiliar life of the circus.
Charlie is quickly drawn to the sweet but curious Ella, but the secrets he harbors make him hesitant to expose her to his life. As they jointly care for baby Holland, they each find their perceptions challenged and must find the love and courage to reveal their traumatic pasts.
I have been a fan of Jody Hedlund’s historical romances since her debut release back in 2010. But she particularly excels in this genre when she writes about or is inspired by actual historical figures. From her very first novel which was inspired by John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, to her faithful historical renderings based on American missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, founding father John Adams and wife Abigail, to her more recent depiction of Martin Luther and his bride Katharina, she never fails to paint a vivid and well researched picture of their lives. And now, with her recent release Newton and Polly she continues her streak of excellence.
Newton and Polly introduces us to a young John Newton, just as he himself is introduced to Polly Catlett, the woman who becomes the love of his life and who is also instrumental in his eventual salvation and transformation. For those who are unfamiliar with John Newton, he is the author of many hymns, including the famous Amazing Grace, as well as being an important figure in the fight to abolish slavery in Britain. Newton lived his younger years in rebellion to his father and in defiance of most authority and found himself involved in some despicable things, including the slave trade. Continue reading “Book Review -Newton and Polly”
As an avid reader I have an exorbitantly large TBR pile of books which have already been released that I plan to read. I think this list is now in the hundreds, but I don’t let that stop me from also having a list of as yet unreleased books which I desperately want to add to that pile.
This has been a very busy year for me as a reader.
Although my Goodreads account says otherwise, according to my personal count I read around one hundred books. One hundred! While I claim to be a voracious reader I even shocked myself with that number. This is even more surprising when I realized that I also watched about the same number of films. I obviously had more free time than I realized.
So without further ado and in no particular order, here are my top ten favorites this year:
The Lady and the Lionheart -This is not only my favorite read this year, but is going on my top ten favorite books that I’ve ever read. The compelling and redemptive story of a tender hearted lion tamer and the sweet nurse with a tragic past who helps him care for an orphaned infant is one which has haunted me in a good way even months after I finished the book. I’m not the only one who loves their story. It’s getting rave reviews, so do yourself a favor and buy it.