The best and worst collide in The Seamstress

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The Seamstress

“In one night the best and worst of fate collide” in the life of a penniless seamstress. Just as the sewing skills of the main character Renee bring beauty to the most mundane of colours and fabrics so does the writing of Allison Pittman bring richness and power to the pages of her novel.

Take an old classic and weave a new tale

I have not read a Tale of Two Cities, but having read The Seamstress, I am eager to delve into the original story that inspired Allison Pittman to scoop out a minor character and bring flesh to the bones of this talented young lady. “I do not know the idleness of a moment. (Who) when not engulfed in silk, is running through the endless passages of Versailles on one errand or another.”

A must read

I just loved this book. From the moment I started reading the first line, I became hooked. The descriptions hurled me into another century where I hungered alongside the destitute and swished my flowing gown in the Royal Court where opulence ruled.

Wisdom abounds through the pages, and bad choices fuel a rebel heart.

“You must never, Laurette, find your esteem in the eyes of anyone other than our heavenly Father who loves you. The way men determine the value of others means nothing.” But does Laurette heed her mentor’s words?

Desperate times

And the book is about the desperate, “Desperate men take desperate action.” I could feel that desperation. “The women carry weapons in their hands, but they carry hunger in their bellies, dead children in their hearts, broken men in their arms.”

And contradictions

The Seamstress is a powerful book with many contradictions. And Allison Pittman seamlessly sews each chapter together to create a story that had me crying. I do not usually shed tears when reading books, but this tale got to me. Not just The Seamstress but the whole tragic situation of a country divided, by poverty and wealth. Not unlike our world today. But the author does her best to show both sides of the story, and I felt torn like a shirt ripped in half from the back of an innocent child.

Would I recommend The Seamstress?

This story is just brilliant. There are no surplus characters as all carry the tale along, all are important and engaging. Even the scoundrel has a place in my heart. And I didn’t want it to end, but it had to because I needed to dry my eyes.

Therefore if you get a chance grab yourself a copy and emerge yourself in this classic.

It definitely deserves 5* if not more.

Thank you Allison Pittman for writing such a clever extension to the orginal Tale of Two Cities.

Don’t forget the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post.

*I was given this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

Click here to purchase your copy!


This book review was brought to you by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

About the Book

The seamstress cover

Title: The Seamstress

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities.

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

About the Author

allison Pittman

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

Guest Post from Allison

Putting flesh on neglected characters

My dream of being an author began by “finishing” other author’s works, fleshing out the stories of neglected characters. When I read the final books in the Little House series, I was far more interested in Cap Garland than I was in Almonzo Wilder, and I imagined all kinds of stories in which he was the hero.

One of those characters – The Seamstress

This, The Seamstress, is one of those stories that came to me in a single burst of thought. I was teaching my sophomore English class, discussing through the final scenes in A Tale of Two Cities, when the little seamstress in those final pages reached out to me. She is a nameless character, seemingly more symbolic than anything. Dickens, however, gives her an entire backstory in a single phrase: I have a cousin who lives in the country. How will she ever know what became of me? I remember pausing right then and there in front of my students and saying, “Now, there’s the story I want to write.”

Now, years later, I have.

While every word of every Charles Dickens novel is a master class in writing, what he gave to me for The Seamstress is the kind of stuff that brings life and breath to fiction. I have to convey the fact that any character on my pages—no matter how much story space he or she is allotted—has a life between them. Every man was once a child; every woman a vulnerable young girl.

So, Dickens gave me the bones of the story. A seamstress. A cousin in the country. A country ripped apart; family torn from family. I did my very best to put flesh on those bones, but no writer can ever bring the life and breath. Only a reader can do that.

Blog Stops

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Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

Giveaway

Finished

Blind to the love in front of you

How blind would you say you are? As blind as the expression “can’t see the wood for the trees?” Well, I’d say that is me. So often in all the chaos, I can’t see the good things in my life, even though they are right in front of me. Instead, all I see are barriers, barbwire, and negativity. All this leads to is frustration, powerlessness, and depression.

Texas my Texas by Caryl McAdoo is a story that incorporates this blindness. But there is a solution, one which is revealed in her book.

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews texas my texas by Caryl McAdoo

My Penny’s Worth

Gabrielle is full of mixed feelings, allowing them to pull her off the path to love. The more bullish she gets, the more she is loved, showing that love is stronger. However, can Gabrielle embrace such love or will she remain blind to it? Her jealousy tinged each day and made me want to say, “Be thankful for what you have.” A lesson I need to learn myself!

I thought all I had to do was break the bands of sadness that held you prisoner.

Is it a page-turner?

Caryl McAdoo carefully constructed her novel keeping me dangling on the fishing line. She teased me making me want to read more. And it wasn’t only Gabrielle; there were many characters who pushed the story on around the campfire. Because I had read the first book in this series, everyone has a place in my heart. I wanted to know what happened to them and their families. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Their smiles all helped her to put more truth into hers.

I enjoyed the lessons this book teaches

There are lessons of forgiveness, trust, overcoming, and love. It gives a flavour of how life on the frontier would have been like for those Americans brave enough to venture forth. And they needed to be brave, and perhaps that is something we lack today. That pioneering spirit that in a way is blind to the full extent of what a ground-breaking move towards total trust is all about. We rely on the world instead of the great power of God.

Isn’t God good?

Was He? Was there really a giant spirit up there in the sky looking out for a fool like him?

I love this book and would like to give it 5 stars.

Thank you, Caryl, for writing Texas my Texas and putting such a strong message into story form. May it open readers eyes and banish their blind sight.

Caryl has a great GIVEAWAY at the bottom of my post, don’t forget to enter.

Click here to purchase your copy.

*I was given this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

This book review was brought to you by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews texas my texas by Caryl McAdoo

Title: Texas my Texas

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: February 11, 2019

He who puts his trust in God will possess the land and inherit the blessings.

Scripture tells a husband to love his wife, but what if she loves the memory of a dead man? Lured to the Texas frontier by more free land than they could ever buy, four families struggle to carve a home and a living out of the wilderness. And though love isn’t always easy coming, like bees to sweet flowers, a neighbor and his partner swoop in hoping to steal the hearts of the clan’s two young beauties. Will their infants spoil the ointment? Wild animals, Indians on the warpath, and living hand-to-mouth never make it easy, but my oh my—Texas my Texas! What a land!

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews texas my texas by Caryl McAdooCaryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory which is what she lives to do. Her award-winning, best-selling novels enjoy a lion’s share of 5-Star ratings from Christian readers around the world. With thirty-eight titles, it’s obvious she loves writing almost as much as singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen to a few at YouTube. She and high school sweetheart Ron celebrated fifty years of marriage in June 2018; they share four children and eighteen grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

Guest Post from Caryl

It’s always good to give thanks. And I’m thankful for you! I appreciate you stopping by my awesome Celebrate Lit Blog Tour! I’m thankful for each of the bloggers who signed up to participate in the tour for my January release Texas My Texas, book two in my new Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga series! And I’m so thankful the Lord is blessing Celebrate Lit as Sandy Barela blesses so many Christian authors! She is deserving of all God’s best!

Quick preview of Book One – Gone to Texas

In Book One, Gone to Texas, I got seventeen souls to their new home in the Republic. Texas My Texas has all the same pioneers with a few new added as they establish hearth and home in the wooly, untamed Trinity River Bottoms of North Central Texas—which later in history, becomes the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. They’re settling in what now is Irving—my home for fifty-plus years.

Hot on the heals

Only a few months has passed for my characters, Book One ends in November, Book Two picks up in March, 1841. In real life, it’s been just that long since Book One launched, too! It debuted in September and Book Two launching now is also four months! Isn’t that fun? Originally, I’d planned a different January title but pushed it back a couple of months to release Texas My Texas on the heels of Gone to Texas.

Gone to Texas

In this new story, the two young women—Gabrielle and Isabel Harrell—elicit the attention of suiters who come calling even in the wild west territory. Thomas Baldwin (a neighbor introduced in Gone To Texas) has an eye for Gabrielle and uses many excuses to visit, including taking his friend Monroe Humble to the clan’s little settlement to meet the lovey, hardworking Isabel.

But Gabrielle is pining hard for her love back home and deals with pretty severe melancholy—what they called depression back in those days. In Texas My Texas, readers will spend time with the characters they came to love in Gone To Texas. As always, I pray my story gives God glory! And that readers will enjoy the new even better than the old! BLESSINGS!

Blog Stops

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Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 19

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Bibliophile Reviews, January 20

Texas Book-aholic, January 21

Janices book reviewsJanuary 22

Margaret Kazmierczak, January 23

Carpe Diem, January 24

A Baker’s Perspective, January 25

Giveaway

Finished

Unlock how to steal time. An Hour Unspent is exciting.

How do you steal an hour in today’s busy world? I am always complaining that I don’t have enough time as it is. Well, dear reader, the answer is in An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M White. Oh, you thought I had come up with an actual answer to this worldwide problem. All I can offer you as a solution is, switch off that mobile, breathe, pause, and allow yourself an hour break from the madness and be still. You deserve it.

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M White

My Penny’s Worth

Did this book steal my imagination?

With sentences like “A smile appeared out of the web of wrinkles she called a face, revealing gums with only half their teeth” I’d say so. Again, Rosanna M White produces a book filled with beautiful descriptions.

There are pearls of wisdom

Barclay, finally we get to read his story. In this third book, the greatest thief in England comes to life. Stealing my heart. The head of the family, who is warm, flawed, and honest – yes a paradox, runs through the pages. His necessity to steal to put food on the table for his family may not have been what his father meant when giving this advice:

“There is no shame in working with your hands. In crafting or fixing. We use our minds; we use our words – if God did not want us to use our hands, too, He would not have given us such capable ones.”

However, Barclay uses all these gifts to help those living under the breadline. His heart is pure gold.

A great double act

Evelina, a polio victim, comes crashing into Barclay’s world. A young woman who wants to make a difference to those less fortunate. Hurt and betrayed, browbeaten and different. Evelina is determined, strong but vulnerable. A thorn in the side for Barclay at times. And her character works to drive the story forward. But will Barclay be able to steal and tame her?

The supporting characters are brilliant

Ms. White’s characters bring another level to the story. They are horrid snobs with typical attitudes of the day. I loved Barclay’s thoughts of Evelina’s mother.

“Perhaps the Admiralty could just unleash her on the unsuspecting Germans. The war would be over in hours.”

The winner’s cup, in my opinion, goes to Aunt Beatrice with her snide comments and brilliant timing. Oh how you just want to shake her, but instead you are left with an open mouth thinking, did she really say that?

He’d come to realize, how the Lord worked. At least for him. He didn’t remove the bad – He just lent him the strength to face it.” An Hour Unspent Click To Tweet

I had a few niggles

There wasn’t a lot I didn’t like, yes I am afraid there is a but – Sorry. But there were some minor mistakes with terminology that many authors make about railway terms. My hubby is always correcting people over this so it must have rubbed off onto me!

Another sorry, yes I know, I felt the book stretched reality a bit towards the end. Don’t get me wrong it all tied in well, though I am not sure the final chapters were plausible in 1915. Without a spoiler is it hard to be specific so dear reader, you will have to read the book and come back to me to have this conversation.

But don’t let these niggles put you off, I’ll just go and take something for them!

“When it came down to it, all you ever had forever was what you carried inside. Memories. Faith. Love.”

Would I recommend An Hour Unspent.

Yes. Getting to know Barclay and the family better is well worth it and a fitting finale to the series. He will tell you how to steal an hour.

If you haven’t read the previous books, then I suggest you do. See my reviews for A Name Unknown and A Song Unheard.

Passion meant suffering - An Hour Unspent @RoseannaMWhite #book on tour with @Celebrate_Lit read #bookreview & enter #free #giveaway #amreading Click To Tweet

I would like to give An Hour Spent 4****

I received a complimentary copy of this book via CelebrateLit. A favourable review was not required, and the opinions are my own.

Click here to purchase your copy!

This book review was brought to you by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M WhiteBarclay Pearce

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

The clockmaker

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M WhiteRoseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Guest Post from Roseanna

Last year, as I finished up the writing of An Hour Unspent, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 103. As I sat at her funeral service and listened to the heartfelt memorial raised up to her by her kids and grandkids, I realized anew that this woman had been a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. She’d taught my family for generations how to love the Lord and each other, how to serve the Lord and each other, and how to trust the Lord and each other. Grandma Seward was, in so many ways, the one who instilled in me my idea of what family really is.

That idea—that it’s those knit together by love more than blood, and that faith is the strongest foundation—is what I built my unusual family of thieves upon in the Shadows Over England series. And strange as it is to liken my twenty-something reformed-thief hero to my 103-year-old-grandmother, Barclay Pearce is very much to his family what Maxine Seward was to mine.

The founder. The caregiver. The leader.

I knew as I began the series that I would write about Barclay in book three, and as I got to know him better throughout the series, I grew so excited to share his story! This is a man who led his family first into and then out of a life a crime, always for the right reasons—so he could provide for the children under his care. All he ever wanted to do was give them what he himself had lost. To show them love. To prove to them that they were worth any sacrifice.

It was truly a blessing for me to get to write the story in which Barclay found someone to come alongside him, to appreciate and learn to understand him. To finally share what started him down this path. I loved the idea that only a reformed thief could steal the time another family needed to overcome their own trials.

Fun research

There are many historical items in the book that were such fun to explore—watchmaking of the era, the suffrage movement in England, technological advancements of the war—but at the heart, this isn’t a story about any of those.

It’s a story about how far people should go for love. I hope you enjoy Barclay’s story as much as I did!

Blog Stops

October

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November

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Real World Bible StudyNovember 2

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Blogging With Carol , November 4

D’S QUILTS & BOOKSNovember 4

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Simple Harvest ReadsNovember 5 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

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Faery Tales Are RealNovember 6

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Carpe DiemNovember 6

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Locks, Hooks and BooksNovember 7

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Blossoms and Blessings , November 7

Maureen’s Musings , November 8

Connie’s History Classroom , November 8

Book by BookNovember 8

Just CommonlyNovember 8

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The Christian Fiction GirlNovember 9

Have A Wonderful Day , November 9

With a Joyful NoiseNovember 9

KarenSueHadley , November 10

Tell Tale Book ReviewsNovember 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book ImpressionsNovember 10

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Bibliophile ReviewsNovember 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly KissesNovember 11

Inklings and Notions , November 11

Two Points of InterestNovember 11

Inspiration ClotheslineNovember 11

A Baker’s PerspectiveNovember 11

Henry HappensNovember 12

Proud to Be an Autism MomNovember 12

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Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsNovember 12

Giveaway

Finished

Friendship, marriage and love – life on the trail

Have you been blessed with a long friendship? My longest one has lasted since I was eleven and no I am not going to tell you how old I am now! Figure it out if you can. She is seventeen years older than me and into her seventies.  I had the privilege of being her bridesmaid, and she talked me into wearing a dress. Horror of horrors as I only ever wore skirts to school and just under pain of death. Dresses/shirts got in the way of climbing trees, playing football and generally rummaging around.

I reckon I would have been suited to life on the trail with the pilgrims in Caryl McAdoo’s book Gone to Texas.  Knowing how to make and light a fire, change a wheel on my bicycle, make things out of junk. Skills I enjoyed along with improvising. But I never improvised with friendship.

In Gone to Texas seventeen souls “joined by blood and friendship” travel together to the promised land, will their friendship survive? Continue reading below for my review.

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Gone to Texas by Caryl McAdoo - Friendship

My Penny’s Worth

“Wagons roll” a blast from my childhood past that blared out from the television. So different from the history of England with our Kings, Queens and Knights in shining armour. I love the simplicity of the American Wild West. Caryl McAdoo’s book Gone to Texas reminded me of that past era. The pilgrimages made by ordinary people to find the promise land.

The Characters make the book

Throw a few families together add a widower and slave, mix it up with secrets and sins, and you have a journey of revelations, forgiveness and redemption. As the wagons roll friendship, marriage and love vie for centre stage.  I felt each character’s vulnerability at times as well as their great strength.

Yes I chuckled at one point

There is a scene: “The ladies gasped in unison, including Alicia. Uncle Laud spoke up, ‘Shot him dead? Mercy!’ ‘Over politics?’ I had to smile.

#amreading Gone to Texas @CarylMcAdoo #book on tour with @Celebrate_Lit read #bookreview & enter #free #giveaway Click To Tweet

The skill of the writer

Caryl McAdoo had me walking alongside the wagons listening into the conversations, holding hands with anticipation. Travelling with these souls as they journeyed onwards to the land of hope. Within the pages, you will find secrets and sins, forgiveness and redemption. These pilgrims walk the path of pain and sorrow while trying to hold onto their friendships.

Yes, there are disasters, it is the 1840’s and travelling by wagon takes months to get to a destination. There are no fast trains to catch back then. Just as I am getting comfortable by the fire with my friends, Ms McAdoo takes the mat from right under my feet.

“The thunder rolled over her heart, and the lightning flashed in her mind, and the rain wet her cheeks every time she found herself alone.”

The life of a pilgrim is tough. And it gets tougher.

“He slumped down to the base of the tree. Her lantern snuffed out, just like his life would be without her. There’d be no light. Tears filled his eyes.”

What are you doing to me?

“He looked skyward. ‘Please, Father, give me the desires of my heart.’”

Does God? My emotions are rung, I want to know what Caryl McAdoo has in store for them all.  But like you dear reader you will have to wait, you to read the book and me for the next in the series.

Does their friendship survive? He he, I can’t tell you 🙂

I am sore from the hardwood of the wagon seat, but I hope you will get on board and read this book.

Thank you, Caryl, for writing this book. I’d like to give it 4****

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

If you liked my book review please comment and don’t forget to enter the giveaway.

This book review was brought to you today by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Gone to Texas by Caryl McAdoo - Friendship

Book Title: Gone to Texas

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: September 6, 2018

Can beauty truly come from ashes?

Deception drives seventeen souls to hard choices. Either stay on the land they thought they’d bought or heed the lure of free land in the faraway wilderness of a new Republic. Rife with peril and hardship, three families knit together by blood and friendship head out with a widowed man, daughter, and his slave, gambling everything they own on the prospect of land ownership and working it together. Does friendship pave a way to marriage? Can puppy-love survive through a harrowing journey to blossom into a forever lover? With duress at every turn, can the clan stay together all the way to Texas and accomplish their goals?

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Gone to Texas by Caryl McAdoo - FriendshipTop priority is God’s glory, and that’s exactly what Caryl McAdoo prays her stories will bring. To entertain and draw readers into a closer walk with Him is next. A quick check of stars and reviews attest to the success of this award-winning, best-selling author—all by the Father’s faithfulness. Besides writing, she loves singing praises, including the new songs He gives her! Visit her YouTube channel. Ron, her high school sweetheart husband won her heart fifty-two years ago, and they share four children and seventeen grandsugars. Ron and Caryl live on thirty-four acres ‘The Peaceable’ in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas and wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

Northeast Texas and wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

Guest Post from Caryl

As much as I hated leaving the Buckmeyers, Baylors, and Nightingales and the Red River Valley, I loved starting this fresh Family Saga series with all new characters! GONE TO TEXAS is Book One of the Cross Timber Romances and features three families—the O’Neals, Van Zandts, and Worleys—joined by blood and friendship through Liberty O’Neal. Laud Worley is her little brother and Mallory Van Zandt, her best friend since school days.

Together, they’d traveled south to settle in Tennessee and were about to harvest their first cotton crop that fall in 1840 when they discovered the deed to their land—the land they’d spent all their pooled savings on—was forged and no-good.

New horizons

The legal owner graciously allows them to stay through harvest, taking his portion of their labor and cottonseed. At the gin, Seve Van Zandt hears rumors of Texas, a new Rebublic out west, offering free land to pioneers willing to tame its wildlands. This first story—book one—is all about their journey to the new country filled with hope and dreams.

A hired widower who with his daughter and slave helped harvest the clan’s cotton asked to join them on their journey, and so, on that faithful September morn, seventeen souls set out after they hung a hand painted sign on one of the cabins they left behind. “Gone to Texas”!

A book amongst books

Another very special thing about this novel, one hundred twelve thousand words—about three hundred fifty pages, is that it is also book one in a brand new collection! The Thanksgiving Books and Blessings Collection that includes stories from eight other authors besides me: Lena Nelson Dooly, Heather Blanton, Kristin Holt, Kit Morgan, Suzette Williams, Pauline Creeden, George McVey, and Lynette Sowell!

All nine books will have Thanksgiving Dinner with family around the table, giving thanks to God for all his blessings. I’ve noticed many series launched in December, but Thanksgiving is my favorite. I love giving thanks to the Lord!

And as always, I pray my story gives God glory, and that its readers will be drawn closer to Him through it. He blesses and highly favors me daily. I cannot thank or praise Him enough!

Thank you, too, for reading my stories, reviewing my stories, and participating in the most AWESOME CELEBRATE LIT‘s Blog Tour!!

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, September 11

Captive Dreams Window, September 12

proud to be an autism mom, September 12

Inklings and notionsSeptember 13

Luv’N Lambert Life, September 13

cherylbbookblog, September 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15

Janices book reviewsSeptember 16

Abba’s prayer warrior princess, September 17

Carpe Diem, September 17

Creating Romance, September 18

Madeline Clark, September 18

Margaret Kazmierczak, September 19

The Mimosa Blossom, September 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 20

Back Porch Reads, September 21

Bibliophile Reviews, September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 23

Godly Book Reviews, September 24

BigreadersiteSeptember 24

Giveaway

Finshed

Isn’t it great when you hate the bad guy?

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Minding the Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Bad characters, bad writing, poor plot – not a bit of it. Minding the Light had me riveted. Read my book review below.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My penny’s worth

I have been eagerly waiting for the 2nd book in the Nantucket Legacy Series, after reading Phoebe’s Light. Would Minding the Light proved to be just as good? Well, my friends, I ate up the pages!

Why?

The bad character

Oh, my word, I disliked Lillian Swain Coffin, she is everything I loathe in a Christian. My heckles began to rise at the mention of her name. I mourned for Jane and Daphne having a mother like Lillian. Yes, I wept. Suzanne Woods Fisher did a commendable job with her bad guy (well woman in this case!). How I wanted to shake her. Now calm down Margaret, she is only a character in a book. I know, I know, but you see how she affected me. And it is great to hate a bad character in a book, it shows powerful writing.

Great Mary

Yes, Great Mary is back with her wisdom, and there is one particular quote from the book that will stay with me. It is referring to the story of Elisha from the Bible. A native Indian is talking to Great Mary, “God has a great and good future for you. Can you not see? God surrounds with his protection, with his presence. (Mary is) Like Elisha. Eyes closed. (If Great Mary opened her eyes…)

“What might shift in my heart if God were to unveil my eyes and show me that despite my fears and uncertainties, I’m surrounded by his powerful protection and presence. This Wampanoag had given me a great blessing. He reminded me not to fear the future, but to embrace it. To welcome whatever will come with open arms. For we are not alone on this journey.”

This is what I needed to hear. I am thankful that God has used Minding the Light to reveal to me what I need to do, just like Mary, I need to open my eyes and embrace the future.

So if it isn’t a bad book what is so great about it?

Let’s just say that within its pages there are secrets, loss, love, guilt, awakenings, transformations, hypocrisy, risk, reconciliation and regrets. Is that enough? Oh and the question of slavery, both religious and actual.

And the writing is just beautiful.

“A frown darkened Patience’s brown eyes, and she gave a nod. Such an economy of words out of this woman, and yet they clattered into the room like stones down a dry well.”

All of the characters are strong and powerful. Do I need to say more?

There are times to ponder.

“Tis all about the keystone, Mary. Think on that.”

And situations that melt your heart. I cried too, oh have I said that already!

Would I recommend Minding the Light.

Just go out and get a copy, is that recommendation enough? But read Phoebe’s Light first.

I have to give this book 5*****

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

Remember there is a GIVEAWAY at the bottom of the page, please enter for a chance to win.

If you liked my review let me know in the comments. Many thanks 🙂

#amreading Minding the Light @suzannewfisher #book on tour with @Celebrate_Lit read #bookreview & enter #free #giveaway Click To Tweet

About the Book

FIsher_MindingtheLight(2)

Book Title: Minding the Light

Author: Suzanne  Woods Fisher

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: July 3, 2018

Six long years ago, Captain Reynolds Macy sailed away from his bride, looking forward to the day when he would return to Nantucket Island with a ship’s hold full of whale oil. But when that momentous day finally arrives, Ren soon discovers that everything has changed in his absence. Everything. “Is nothing on this island as it appears to be?” he whispers in despair.

Unlike most islanders, bold and spirited Daphne Coffin doesn’t defer to Ren as an authoritative whalemaster, but sees through his aloofness to the aching heart beneath. She encourages him to return to his Quaker roots and “mind the Light,” finding solace in God and community. As Ren becomes the man she believes him to be–honorable, wise, faithful–she finds herself falling in love with him.

But how can she, when her heart is spoken for? Tristram Macy is Ren’s business partner, cousin, and best friend–and Daphne’s fiancé. Love always comes at a cost, but when is the price too high?

Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes readers back to the Quaker community on Nantucket Island for this riveting love story, full of unexpected moments.

About the Author

suzanne woods fisherCarol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.

Guest Post from Suzanne

Eight Curious Facts You Probably Didn’t Know about Nantucket Island

This beautiful island, thirty miles off Cape Cod, is steeped in history. Here are just a few interesting reasons to add a visit to Nantucket to your bucket list.

One

During the first half of the nineteenth century, Nantucket was considered to be the wealthiest port in the world…all because of whale oil.

Two

Petticoat Row is a 19th century nickname for a portion of Centre Street between Main Street and Broad Street. Many shops on Nantucket were run by women while the men were off to sea in whaling ships for years at a time. Quakerism, with its emphasis on equality, provided working women with community respect, value and esteem. The next time you’re visiting Nantucket, be sure to stop by the Petticoat Row Bakery for a morning glory muffin.

Three

The use of laudanum (opium) was described by a visiting French as prevalent among the women of Nantucket. Loyal Nantucketers vehemently denied his claim. However, in the 1980s, construction workers digging to Nantucket’s sewer lines found heaps of opium bottles buried in the ground.

For centuries, laudanum was considered to be not only harmless but beneficial. Its very name in Latin is landare, which means to praise. Other names for it: Mother’s Helper (to sedate children), Sea Calm (for seasickness). It was used for all kinds of ailments, from sleeplessness to menstrual cramps to treatment of chronic pain, and available without prescription up until the twentieth century, when it was found to be highly addictive.

Four

Nantucket Cent Schools were a carryover from England and the cost was exactly what the name implied. In New England they were kept by refined, thrifty women who often taught their own or their neighbors’ children until they were old enough to enter schools of a higher grade. I came across a story of a boy whose mother stuck a penny in his mouth each day so that he would remember to pay the teacher.

Five

Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville in 1851, was based on a true-life event that occurred in 1820 to the Nantucket whaleship Essex and her crew. You can find out more about this ill-fated voyage if you visit Nantucket’s awesome whaling museum.

Six

Speaking of…the whaling museum on Nantucket Island is called the Peter Foulger Whaling Museum. Peter Foulger was one of the early settlers to the island, and could be considered a Renaissance Man: inventor, surveyor, teacher, missionary to the Wampanoag Indians. And his grandson was none other than Benjamin Franklin.

Seven

Nantucketers were, for the most part, related to each other in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The prosperous island was settled by a small group of families, with less than a dozen surnames: Coffin, Macy, Starbuck, Bunker, Hussey, Gardner, Mayhew, Swain, Barnard, Coleman, Worth, Mitchell. Those names are still common on the island.

Eight

There’s a good reason those surnames sound familiar to you—many of those early settlers had descendants who started business empires. Recognize these? Macy (retailer) and Folger (coffee).

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, July 3

Livin Lit, July 3

midnightbookaholic, July 3

The Avid Reader, July 4

Margaret Kazmierczak, July 4

The Power of Words, July 4

A Baker’s Perspective, July 5

Blossoms and Blessings, July 5

A Reader’s Brain, July 5

Just the Write Escape, July 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 6

Bibliophile Reviews, July 7

Mary Hake, July 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 7

Texas Book-aholic, July 8

Simple Harvest Reads, July 8 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Janices book reviews, July 9

Captive Dreams Window, July 9

Book by Book, July 9

Back Porch Reads, July 10

Reading Is My SuperPower, July 10

Splashes of Joy, July 10

The Morning Chapter, July 11

Vicky Sluiter, July 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 11

Among the Reads, July 12

proud to be an autism mom, July 12

Two Points of Interest, July 12

Abbas Prayer Warrior Princess, July 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 13

Blogging With Carol, July 13

Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching, July 14

Maureen’s Musings, July 14

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 14

Godly Book Reviews, July 15

Inklings and notions, July 15

Bigreadersite, July 15

Connie’s History Classroom , July 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 16

Pause for Tales, July 16

Have A Wonderful Day, July 16

Giveaway

Finished

Emotions trap a captured heart, can love free it?

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews The Captured Bride by Michelle GriepCaptured – My father in law loved to tell a story, especially about his heroic escape attempts during WW2. As he led me through the details, I vividly remember holding my breath as he described hiding under an upturned tree root inches away from the pursuing dogs. A drum crescendoed in his chest deafening his ears. Amazingly the dogs scampered off without finding Jan. Peering out cautiously with beads of sweat pouring down his back in a heightened state of flight, Jan ran for his life. Being captured the first time only made Jan want to escape again, his loyalty to his country provided the ammunition for two more attempts. Even a firing squad didn’t prevent this brave man; nothing would stop him from returning to his unit and fighting again.

Such bravery echoes throughout The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep. This book is a captive read in my opinion. For my penny’s worth scroll down to continue to peruse my book review.

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep

My Penny’s worth

Captured

Mercy Lytton and Elias Dubois are both quality characters whose lives intrigued me from the start. One has a captured heart tight in its denial, keeping love at a distance, and the other captured and in jail. Both weary that their emotions will get them caught by the enemy. What a brilliant combination by Michelle Griep.  I love these two as they travel together on a journey of knowledge and danger. Consequently, I sensed that fear in the writing as if it were I only inches away from being caught. I held my breath.

A complex character

My favourite person out of the two, however, is the complex, Elias Dubois. This passage sums him up for me,  “Yes despite his rugged exterior and the fact that he rode toward God knew how many years of imprisonment, he guided the horses as if he were on a Sunday drive. A strange contentedness flowed from him as if he’d lived and walked around in hunger and need, then strolled out the other side a more peaceful soul for the journey.”

A Gem

One of my favourite lines is “Outside; water dripped everywhere. Heaven’s tears, weeping life into the earth.” I love this image.

Other characters that found their way into my heart or not

Matthew the ranger, the dependable father-like figure who looks out for Mercy. He completes the triangle of love. And of course, you must have a fly in the ointment to keep you on your toes, Rufus. Yes, he annoyed me, but he plays an important role, and that is all I am saying!

Tension and distraction

There is plenty of tension and distraction to keep you captivated with Mercy blowing hot and cold, Matthew trying to keep them all on track and Elias trying to rule the roost by being in charge. The captured man knowing more than his jailors and Rufus disappearing when the jobs need to be done!

All in all, I enjoyed this book and would like to give it ***** stars as it kept me up long after my bedtime.

Thank you, Michelle Griep, for writing this gripping novel.

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

Click here to purchase your copy!

#amreading The Captured Bride @MichelleGriep #book on tour with @Celebrate_Lit & enter #free #giveaway #bookreview Click To Tweet

About the Book

The captured bride

Title: The Captured Bride

Author: Michelle Griep

Release Date: June 1, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

A war-torn countryside is no place for a lady—but Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause . . . to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart.

Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he’s offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he’s the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought.

Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

About the Author

unnamedMichelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent and Gallimore, but also leapt the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, June 9

Fiction Aficionado, June 9

Blossoms and Blessings, June 9

A Baker’s Perspective, June 9

History, Mystery & Faith, June 10

Inklings and notions, June 10

Just the Write Escape, June 10

Faithfully Bookish, June 11

The Power of Words, June 11

Genesis 5020, June 11

Bakerkella, June 11

My Writer’s Life, June 12

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 12

Luv’N Lambert Life, June 12

Among the Reads, June 13

Book by Book, June 13

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 13

Moments Dipped in Ink, June 14

Splashes of Joy,  June 14

Neverending Stories, June 14

Bibliophile Reviews, June 14

Pause for Tales, June 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 15

Mary Hake, June 15

Bigreadersite, June 15

Connie’s History Classroom, June 16

Simple Harvest Reads, June 16 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Two Points of Interest, June 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 17

Daysong Reflections, June 17

Novels corner, June 17

Kathleen Denly, June 18

A Reader’s Brain, June 18

Remembrancy, June 18

proud to be an autism mom, June 19

A Greater Yes, June 19

Texas Book-aholic, June 19

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, June 19

Reading Is My SuperPower, June 20

Red Headed Book Lady, June 20

Margaret Kazmierczak, June 20

Mommynificent, June 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 21

Janices book reviews, June 21

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 21

With a Joyful Noise, June 22

PInk Granny’s Journey, June 22

Carpe Diem, June 22

Giveaway

Finished