Monday, July 25, 2016

To Follow Her Heart

When news reaches the Southold settlement that Captain Jeremy Horton's ship has crashed off the coast of Barbados, his devastated family and friends gravely accept the report of his death.  But Patience Terry has waited and prayed for years that Jeremy would eventually return and make her his wife, and can't bring herself to believe that Jeremy has actually died.  In a twist that no one-- except Patience-- expected, a British Naval gunship rescues Jeremy from the ocean and returns him to New England the very day of his memorial service.  

Without a ship to command, Jeremy finally seems ready to move home and settle down with the woman who has waited for him for so long.  Jeremy believes God has spared him for a particular reason, but can't seem to find contentment among the friends and family he has always loved.  Will Jeremy's reluctance to plan their wedding, and the delays he constantly produces finally force Patience to give up on her dreams?  

In To Follow Her Heart, Rebecca DeMarino concludes her Southold Chronicles series based on her own ninth great-grandmother's story.  DeMarino includes truly fascinating historical details and vividly portrays life in the New England of the 1660s.  While intriguing, the novel does not stand well on its own.  The relationships between the large cast of characters are well developed, but difficult to understand without having read the series' previous 2 novels.  

Jeremy's reluctance to actually marry the woman he professes to have loved for years is truly aggravating, and the reader can't help but feel deeply for poor Patience.  Unfortunately, DeMarino never sufficiently explains his reluctance-- at least in this novel-- which makes it difficult to root for Jeremy as a romantic lead.  His status as a dashing and dreamy ship captain just couldn't quite make up for his infuriating inconstancy.  This reader was ready for Patience to kick him to the curb and move on.

That said, the story of Jeremy's brother Barnabas and his wife Mary is beautiful and compelling.  As the subjects of A Place in His Heart, they surely make for a much more satisfying story.  Additionally, perhaps knowing more about Jeremy's history would help explain his otherwise frustrating behavior.  The conclusion, then, is that the Southold Chronicles is most likely only worth reading as a set.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 18, 2016

No Way Up

When a rockslide crushes ranch owner Chance Boden's leg, hired hand Heath Kincaid steps in an manages to save his boss's life.  Severely injured and bound for a hospital in Denver, Chance demands that his three grown children read his recently revised will.  The document-- Cole, Justin, and Sadie Boden soon discover-- requires each of them to live and work from their home for an entire year, or forfeit the beloved ranch to a despised cousin.  

Having read the will's contents, Heath suddenly finds himself in the middle of a host of complicated family squabbles... and increasingly drawn to his boss's daughter.  When Heath and the Bodens begin receiving threats and uncover evidence suggesting Chance's injury was no accident, the group must learn to trust one another to save the ranch.  Will these newly forged bonds be enough to overcome the obstacles keeping Sadie and Heath apart, or will they go their separate ways once Sadie's safety is assured? 

In No Way Up, Mary Connealy takes readers on another entertaining adventure.  This first novel of The Cimarron Legacy series picks up years after her Kincaid Bride's series ends and follow's Heath-- the youngest Kincaid brother-- to the New Mexico territory.  While Connealy's characters can often be a bit one dimensional, Heath, Sadie, Justin and Cole definitely have some depth.  But though their character development is interesting, it's also somewhat obvious and heavy-handed.  The struggles of belonging to such a tight-knit family, however, come across as real and believable.  The bits of New Mexican history, along with Connealy's trademark humor, make for a fast-paced, action-packed adventure in the Wild West.  

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  


I just happened to spend a few days camping in Cimarron Canyon, New Mexico earlier this month, so here's a look at the book's setting: 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Honor Redeemed

When her mother dies after a long illness, Prosperity Jones finds herself unable to remain in Nantucket long enough to send word to her fiancĂ© serving as an army engineer.  Despite their separation of two years, Prosperity has never doubted David Latham's love for her, and decides to use her remaining funds to meet him in far away Key West.  

When she arrives in the South, however, Prosperity discovers that the steadfast love of her youth has recently married another woman, and is expecting a child.  With help from some new friends, Prosperity finds work at the local hospital and attempts to rebuild her life.  When she discovers the circumstances surrounding David's hasty marriage, will Prosperity's path to forgiveness and healing lead her to accept the attentions of the kind Dr. Goodenow, or will tragic events force her back into David's life again?  

In Honor Redeemed, Christine Johnson tells a heart-wrenching story of honor, duty, and forgiveness. With a true knack for story-telling and character development, Johnson delves into the pain and bitterness that accompany a broken heart.  Without overly obvious preaching, Johnson shows readers how forgiveness is simultaneously difficult and necessary.  While the story had some pacing issues, and this reader wished Prosperity would make up her mind a little more quickly, Honor Redeemed is still a page-turning delight.  

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

An Elegant Facade

Selfish and socially ambitious Lady Georgina Hawthorne has planned for and practiced every aspect of her upcoming social debut.  Despite a few earlier missteps, Georgina has no reason to doubt she will successfully catch a rich and powerful husband.  Unfortunately, the only man's company she seems to enjoy is the charming and rich-- but title-less-- Colin McCrae.  While fighting his unexplainable attraction to the vain debutante, Colin begins to discover a hidden depth in Georgina's character that he never would have imagined.  Will Colin manage to convince Georgina to set aside her carefully sculpted facade and share her true self with those she loves?  

In the second novel of her Hawthorne House series, Kristi Ann Hunter takes readers on a heart-warming journey in An Elegant Facade.  This second installment actually begins before the conclusion of Hunter's previous work: A Noble Masquerade.  The opportunity to relive important events from differing perspectives and apply them to a new story-line is both interesting and entertaining.  While readers don't necessarily need to read the first book in the series to enjoy the second, they should anyway!  

Hunter's characters and plots are complex, compelling, and thoroughly enjoyable.  This powerful story of vulnerability, trust, and true love is much more believable than A Noble Masquerade, and is definitely Hunter's best thus far.  

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.