Saturday, July 24, 2010

Prodigal Patriot by Darlene Franklin

I just finished this book in one sitting. Not because the story lacked depth, or even due to the fact that this is a short book. I have read novellas that dragged. . . No, this was a quick read because the characters invited me into their world of Revolutionary War Vermont, and drew me with their hardships, ingenuity, and pluck. The writing disappeared and allowed a vivid story world to emerge. I was invested.

Sally Reid lives next door to Josiah Tuttle, the handsome, attentive son of a Tory. Sally's brother and Father are Patriots and serve with Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys. Tragedy strikes both families, and their worlds will never be the same. How can new love survive grief, violence and suspicion?

This is a story about faith, endurance and prevailing love. Hero and heroine discover the depth of their grit and find that affection between friends, neighbors and sweethearts can indeed overcome insurmountable obstacles in this beautiful portrait of our country's historical and spiritual roots.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In the Manor of the Ghost by Tina Pinson

Few books have had this effect on me: I finished in three days, and most of the time, I was reading past midnight to find out what would happen next. The story questions were beyond compelling; they were insistent. Who is the ghost? What are the mysteries lurking in the secret passageways of the manor, and why so much grief and guilt in the eyes of those who live In the Manor of the Ghost?

When Devlin Clayborne arranges to have Kaitlyn Dupree marry him, he has no intention of personal interaction with his beautiful, loving bride. Instead, he writes a business arrangement wherein she serves as "mother" to his child, and in turn, she becomes lady of the manor. Her reputation for kindness and her love for his son precedes her, and when she comes to stay, he does not account for the way her compassion and tenderness affect him. But will it be enough to dispell the shroud of gloom from the home, or from his soul?

Kaitlyn comes to the Manor with reluctance. The master of Clayborne Manor gives her the creeps. She has heard the ugly rumors about him, and she wants no part of him until her brother-in-law talks her into accepting the contract. She loves his son, but she also feels responsible for the womens shelter from which he threatens to withhold funding if she does not agree to wed. But she has something that Clayborne needs more than all of his wealth and land and titles. God's grace. Will it prove enough to go around?

Clever writing, a twisting plot, and many slowly unraveling mysteries await in this gothic-feeling romance. Secrets, rumors, and a sparking romance pulled me onward to see if a happily ever after ending would win out as two stubborn souls with painful pasts find solace in one anothers' arms. For a debut novel, Ms. Pinson has proven herself with a riveting tale and characters that will keep you guessing.

In teh

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Seasons in the Mist by Deborah Kinnard

OH, MY! This was hands-down the best book I've read in a while. Deborah Kinnard has made me an instant fan of Medieval romance. The element of time travel would not have been my first choice of story material, to be honest. And the cover didn't quite catch my attention. For me, this was a book that sneaked up on me and seized my heart almost against my willful skepticism and doubt. And it accomplished this through the following ways.

First of all, Kinnard's masterful writing skill. She has a very distinct, enjoyable voice. She created a story world so tangible and inviting that I totally suspended my initial disbelief. In fact, she managed to get this non-sci-fi/fantasy reader to feel cascading chills in the description of her time-travel portal. And to make this writer fall in love with language all over again. And to infect me so deeply that I found myself thinking in her quaint middle English patterns of speech.

The second reason this book resonated with me is Kinnard's historical detail. Images, sights, sounds, names, customs and places became so real to me I feel a loss now that my journey to Fourteenth Century England is over. I experienced castles, the King's court, fabrics, feasts, and falcons so real that I could smell, feel and taste them. Music, hearth-baked bread, lover's kisses, the majesty of lords and ladies. . . I didn't want the living history to end.

Third and last, what made this such a fantastic read was the love story which defied space and time. I felt Bethany Lindstrom's conflict as she placed her future in God's hands, letting His sovereign will choose whether she pursue an intellectual understanding of history in the present age, or live history with all of her heart, her soul and her mind, and to offer her deepest affection to the man who had stolen her heart, only to risk her promise to marry if God should send her back to her original life. I agonized to the last pages to see what would become of her and Lord Veryan. I didn't just fall in love with the characters, I felt I had become part of their tapestry.

I really can't say enough about the book. Except to say I cannot wait for Kinnard's next. If this novel indicates her consistent skill to weave a fine tale of sweeping romance full of historical inspiration, I am her biggest fan. Bravo!