Book Review – Together Forever (Jody Hedlund) by Mina R Raulston

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres because it is an interesting way to learn about history. Much more interesting than simply reading a history book. Stories about the orphan trains of the mid-1800’s give us a view of the challenges of people to survive during a time of great economic struggle. The first book in this series, With You Always, told about something new to me, that of single women going out on the same trains as orphans, but to obtain employment since there were no jobs left in New York City at that time. This second book tells about the actual orphan trains and the agents charged with placing out children who either had no families or whose families gave them up for one reason or another.

Hedlund uses the tale of the orphan trains to tell the story of two agents, Marianne Neumann, sister to Elise Neumann from Book 1, and Andrew Brady, a teacher, and pastor. Marianne is searching for her youngest sister Sophie while Andrew is escaping a painful past. As the two of them travel west on the train, attempting to find suitable homes for the children in their charge, they learn about each other and about God’s provision in their lives. Hedland tells a wonderful story about history and about God’s unconditional love for his children. I have already put Book 3 in this series, which tells the story of Sophie, on my wishlist for its release later this year.

I want to thank Bethany House for the opportunity to be one of their early readers and obtain books from them in return for posting honest book reviews. For an avid reader, this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

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In Hidden Places (Tracie Peterson) Book Review – By Mina R Raulston

In Hidden Places is the first book in Tracie Peterson’s new series, Golden Gate Secrets. Peterson never disappoints with her strong characters, both male and female. In this book, Camrianne Coulter comes to San Francisco to search for her brother Caleb who seems to have disappeared. While she and Caleb’s friend Patrick Murdock search seemingly endless dead ends, she learns more about the city than she desired. As they pursue their common goal of finding Caleb, these two opposites face unexpected danger from criminals, politicians, and their own hearts. Will they find Caleb in time? What lessons will they learn about themselves and the world around them? And, how will they come to terms with what they learn? Treat yourself and get a head start on this new series and meet Camrianne, Patrick, and Caleb.

Phoebe’s Light Book Review

Suzanne Woods Fisher tells a tale about America in its earliest years as the Quakers, or Friends settled Nantucket Island. The story tells about this group of religious settlers through the eyes of a young woman, Phoebe Starbuck, a descendant of Mary Coffin Starbuck (1645-1717). Phoebe lives a poor existence, caring for her father who is a landlubber as opposed to the rest of the family who were whalers. She hates her life and dreams of the sea. As she follows her husband, the captain of a whaling vessel, on a whale hunt, she learns about herself, her people, and the life of her people through the journal of her ancestor Mary. The story realistically tells of the hardships of these early people and how they survived very harsh conditions. It also tells about the women of Nantucket Island who became very entrepreneurial while the men of the village were gone on whale hunts for months at a time. Although there are a few happy moments in the book, as a whole it has a very subdued atmosphere. But, if you love history told through the eyes of characters rather than a history book, this will meet your need.

The Sea Before US

Sarah Sundin brings us her newest series from WWII, Sunrise at Normandy. Book one is The Sea Before Us which brings us Wyatt Paxton, U.S. Navy, from Texas and Dorothy Fairfax, a British WREN (Women’s Royal Naval Service). Learn how military reconnaissance was done before satellites and computer-generated information was available. I found it fascinating that they put out pleas for family photos of specific geographic locations, from different angles so they could put them together to compare to new photos taken and see what the enemy might have added or removed to make a position better militarily.

Each character has their own responsibilities in this military intelligence operation, and each character brings their own troubles and nightmares with them from home. But, both characters prove their resilience and tenacity as they put their personal demons aside to help the war effort. Wartime is always a life-changing experience, regardless of how and where it is fought. People learn they are stronger than they thought possible and can survive just about anything with God’s help.

This series tells the story of 3 brothers, Wyatt, Adler, and Clay Paxton as they meet their greatest challenges in the midst of a world war. Buy this first book and take the journey with them. Sarah Sundin tells stories that are realistic and engaging as a result of her personal history and a great deal of research and travel. Her characters are as real as fiction can get and her stories hold you captive until the end of the series. She’s one of the few authors from whom I’ll pre-order a book. I can’t wait until the next book is released.

Book Review for a Song Unheard

Roseanna M White is a new author me, but after reading her newest release, A Song Unheard, I’ll be looking at her other books. I love books about the period of the world wars and this story is unique. I haven’t heard anything remotely similar to it. It’s the story of two violinists who meet supposedly by chance. One is famous violinist Lukas De Wilde whose late father was a mathematics genius who worked with the government to translate code. The other is Willa Forsythe, a violin prodigy who earns a living as a thief to help support her makeshift family. This is a wild ride of intrigue, romance, and deception as these two talented people go to extreme lengths to accomplish their goals and save their families. You will not find a boring moment in this exciting tale of spies, musicians, and the military. I strongly encourage you to read this book and find a new favorite author.

I want to thank Bethany House Books for the opportunity to receive quality books such as this to read and then write an honest review.