Borne by Love

Borne by LoveBorne by Love by Jericha Kingston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was able to read an early copy of this Jericha Kington novel. It’s romantic suspense with a huge twist – a surrogate pregnancy. Something I knew nothing about that until I read this book. Beautiful story, wonderful characters, and enough suspense to keep you flipping the pages.

The Rose Keeper

The Rose Keeper (Windy City Hearts, #2)The Rose Keeper by Jennifer Lamont Leo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s no secret… I’m a huge Jennifer Lamont Leo fan! Her books always take me deep into the characters and introduce me to an era in American history that I’m not overly familiar with. The Rose Keeper is no exception. It’s a beautiful study of how a tragedy can influence someone for a lifetime. The story is set in 1945 Chicago, but with trips back to the Eastland disaster in 1915 via Clara’s memories. Clara is a heroine you’ll root for, want to slap, want to shake, will tear up for, and will certainly not forget once you close the book.

One Thousand White Women

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (One Thousand White Women, #1)One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The premise of this book is very interesting, it’s a “what if” story playing on an event in history that didn’t happen, but what if it had? The characters were well-defined – not a small feat with such a large cast. And they were very appropriate to the era and logically could have been in their situation. I thought the author handled that very well. I wanted to love the book, but it didn’t quite get there for me. Not appropriate for younger readers due to sexual content.

As Silent as the Night

As Silent as the Night (Strike to the Heart, #1.5)As Silent as the Night by Danielle Grandinetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first time reading something by author Danielle Grandinetti, and I would definitely read more by her. This novella is well-written and engaging. It showcases a historical period I’m not very familiar with, the end of prohibition in 1933 and the heyday of organized crime. Grandinetti does a good job of bringing the time period to life, including plenty of suspenseful moments to balance the sweet romance. Well worth reading.

The Founders’ Speech to a Nation in Crisis

The Founders' Speech to a Nation in Crisis: What the Founders would say to America today.The Founders’ Speech to a Nation in Crisis: What the Founders would say to America today. by Steven Rabb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been a little lax this year in reviewing books here on the blog that weren’t new releases. No excuse other than laziness, I guess. But not today! I received this book as a gift – yesterday. I’d never heard of it. But … wow! … it’s packed with so much wisdom and clarity. I devoured it. I will be rereading this one many times and likely finding more wisdom with each pass.

Between Two Shores

Between Two ShoresBetween Two Shores by Jocelyn Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! An honest – often harsh – look at the impact of the French and Indian War. Divided families, divided loyalties, and heart-wrenching losses, but through it all, a beautiful exploration of the human spirit and the ability to adapt and overcome. Well worth reading.

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Beneath the Bending Skies

Beneath the Bending SkiesBeneath the Bending Skies by Jane Kirkpatrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Classic Jane Kirkpatrick story with an in-depth look into life as it used to be. Jane brings history alive as few can. Beneath the Bending Skies adds an extra layer. It digs into the relationships – both family and interracial – and how expectations can hinder or help how we relate to each other. Well worth reading.

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A Cord of Three Strands

A Cord of Three StrandsA Cord of Three Strands by Christy Distler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stories set in Colonial America are few and far between anymore, and books featuring Quakers are even rarer. If you enjoy either or both, you’ll need to read this book! The author immerses readers into the time and culture while weaving a story with a strong faith element (they are – after all – Quakers) that illustrates the importance of family. I’m not a big fan of first-person point of view, but Distler writes it so well that I barely noticed it. I was involved with the characters from the start and intrigued by their Quaker standards and adherence to them. The romance was gentle and sweet, in line with their beliefs, the setting very authentic, and the secondary characters rounded the story out very well. Good read!

Under the Tulip Tree

Under the Tulip TreeUnder the Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book a while ago knowing that I enjoyed this author’s writing. However, I’m not a huge fan of 1st person point-of-view OR dual timeline novels. So it just mulled around in my TBR pile for a while. Boy am I glad I finally cracked it open!

This is a dual timeline – but both timelines are historical – and maybe that’s why I enjoyed it so much. Rena Leland is hired in 1936 to interview and write down the stories of elderly slaves who still survive. Frustrated at losing her newspaper job, she’s thrilled about the opportunity. Frankie Washington is intrigued by the young white woman who knocks on her door. In the days that follow, they form a fast friendship that defies the cultural norms of the day as Frankie remembers and shares her years growing up and living as a slave. But neither of them is prepared for what might come of unleashing the truth.

An Uncommon Woman

An Uncommon WomanAn Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book right after it came out – two years ago! It was the beginning of the Covid shutdown, and I’d stocked up on a stack of paperbacks I wanted to read. And I always enjoy Laura Frantz’s books! But when I started reading it, I realized it was a little too close to the book I was writing at that time, Maggie’s Strength. Both deal with a settler girl taken captive and raised by Native Americans. So I stopped reading and shelved the book.

I can’t tell you how many times I looked at it, wanted to get back into it, and yet had other commitments I needed to read for my own research, endorsing books for others, or editing. It was actually frustrating. But – at last – I carved out a few days to indulge myself.

And I wasn’t disappointed! This is easily in my top 4 of Laura Frantz’s books. Tessa is a complex and somewhat contrary heroine who fits her surroundings and earns the respect of the readers. Clay is a hero of legend – but not without his flaws – who also fits into his world in a comfortable and believable way. There is a large cast of secondary characters who – I’m convinced – deserve their own stories! I hope Frantz returns to the backcountry and picks up some of these threads to fill them out. 🙂