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Category Archives: New Release

My Dearest Dietrich

My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost LoveMy Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love by Amanda Barratt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No history geek worth his or her salt hasn’t heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Including me. I knew the bare bones of his story, but there was a lot I didn’t know. I knew nothing about Maria von Wedemeyer. Now I do!

I’d been looking forward to this story since I first heard that it was going to release. I’ve read several of Amanda Barratt’s historical romance novellas and enjoyed them. This book did not disappoint. Barratt did a great job of putting the flesh on these historical figures. She shows a side of Bonhoeffer that the history books never could.

You don’t have to be a WWII buff, or even that much of a history buff, to enjoy this novel. This story is about the people – not the history. If you know history, then you know the ending, but the getting there is a very good read.

 

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A Reluctant Belle

Reluctant Belle (Daughtry House #2)Reluctant Belle by Beth White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Beth White’s first trilogy. Somehow, I missed book one of this new series, but I’ll be picking up my copy soon! This is a post-Civil War series set in an area – Mississippi – that I haven’t read much about before. While I knew some of the history, I learned a lot more.

The Daughtry House is an old Southern plantation being made over into a resort following the Civil War. The place is populated with delightful characters who will seem like old friends before the story is over. They struggle against the evil of that time period. No spoilers, of course, but this one will keep you turning the pages!

 

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Mail-Order Refuge

Mail-Order RefugeMail-Order Refuge by Cindy Regnier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was one of those who thought that the mail-order bride story had been done to death – but! – then came “Mail-Order Refuge” and changed my mind. I loved the humor, the spunkiness, and the bit of suspense that all rolled together in this story. The author kept tossing things in the characters’ paths that kept me turning the pages and rooting for them to win. This is the author’s first published book, but I’ll be watching for her next one.

 

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Cameo Courtships

Cameo Courtships: 4 Stories of Women Whose Lives Are Touched by a Legendary GiftCameo Courtships: 4 Stories of Women Whose Lives Are Touched by a Legendary Gift by Susanne Dietze
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first Barbour historical romance collection I’ve read since they’ve changed the format to just four novellas per book. While the collections have always been written around a theme, “Cameo Courtships” takes that to a whole new level. All four stories are about a single family and a special cameo that gets handed down through the generations. The authors did a bang-up job of coordinating their stories and it reads almost like one long novel. It was hard to pick a favorite, but since I always do, I’ll go with “Taming Petra” by Jennifer Uhlarik because I loved “Buckskin Pete.”

 

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Stars of Alabama

Stars of AlabamaStars of Alabama by Sean Dietrich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Sean Dietrich’s blog posts. They are insightful, touching, and well worth reading, so I was excited to be able to preview this upcoming release. It’s typical for his style of writing. While it is a full book, it reads a lot like his blog posts. It’s written from the omniscient point of view, which works for this type of book. It holds with the realism one expects from Mr. Dietrich. Not everything wraps up into a happy ending. Not everyone gets a trophy. It’s a little gritty in some areas, a little tear-jerking in some, and suspends belief in a couple of places, but that’s all good. It works.

 

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The Refuge

The RefugeThe Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a huge fan of Ann Gabhart’s Shaker books. I’ve liked them all. This one, however, might be my favorite. Ann does a great job of making the Shakers real in her stories. It would be so easy to make them cartoonish with their odd beliefs and odder ways, but she handles them with dignity and delicacy while showcasing their stories realistically.

This is historical fiction – not historical romance – but there is an undercurrent of a romantic thread in it which is touching. The Shakers believed that marriage was a sin. Yeah, I know, but they did. So the romance is all the sweeter for that background.

I enjoyed the movement and flow of the different points of view, including the young girl, Leatrice. It takes talent and attention to detail to write a child’s point of view well. Ann does. Her characters aren’t perfect (but then, who is?), but they are so realistic that you’ll be comfortable with them in minutes and involved in their lives before you even realize it.

You don’t need to have read any of Ann’s other Shaker stories to enjoy this one. But you may want to read them after!

 

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Lord of Her Heart

Lord of Her HeartLord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love a good medieval read! What’s more romantic than knights, fair ladies, and castles? Sherrinda Ketchersid nails all of that, plus a bit of mystery, a dash of danger, and a hearty sprinkling of humor. This is not a dark, gothic read. It’s an engaging story with characters who’ll stay with you long after you’ve closed the book. If you’re new to the medieval time period, this is a great book to start with! (Beware: this time period can be addicting.)

 

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