Thursday, February 23, 2023

Captivating WWII History -- The Sound of Light

In The Sound of Light Sarah Sundin has given us another captivating story from WWII. As always, she does a superb job of mixing well-researched factual history with characters and details from her own creative mind.

This book is set in Denmark, where the occupation by the Nazis takes a route that is a little different in some ways than that of some of the other nations. Efforts to save their homeland, though, require a variety of intense and dangerous means on the part of the Danish people. Henrik (Hemming) and Else find themselves caught in a very difficult struggle to do their parts in the resistance movement, while determining how to handle personal feelings and responsibilities. 

Both Henrik and Else (as well as many others) are fascinating characters vividly brought to life in the pages of this story. From beginning to end I felt deeply involved with them and invested in their outcomes. Elements of faith, love (in many forms), sacrifice, self-realization, and forgiveness are naturally and beautifully woven throughout the story.

I highly recommend The Sound of Light to fans of great inspirational historical romance.

Thanks to Revell Reads for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.


About the Book

Copenhagen, 1940

When the Germans march into Denmark, Baron Henrik Ahlefeldt exchanges his nobility for anonymity, assuming a new identity so he can secretly row messages for the Danish Resistance across the waters to Sweden. American physicist Dr. Else Jensen refuses to leave Copenhagen and abandon her research--her life's dream--and makes the dangerous decision to print resistance newspapers.

As Else hears rumors of the movement's legendary Havmand--the merman--she also becomes intrigued by the mysterious and silent shipyard worker living in the same boardinghouse. Henrik makes every effort to conceal his noble upbringing, but he is torn between the fa├žade he must maintain and the woman he is beginning to fall in love with.

When the Occupation cracks down on the Danes, these two passionate people will discover if there is more power in speech . . . or in silence.


About the Author

Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of When Twilight BreaksUntil Leaves Fall in Paris, and the popular WWII series Sunrise at Normandy, among others. She is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award winner, and her novels have received starred reviews from BooklistLibrary Journal, and Publishers Weekly, and have appeared on Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." Sarah lives in California. Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Back to Promise Lodge -- Family Gatherings at Promise Lodge (with EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY)


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Charlotte Hubbard will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


About the Book

In the year since he lost his wife in a tragic accident, Lester Lehman has found healing and purpose—helping construct Dale Kraybill’s new bulk store, enjoying the Kuhn sisters’ hearty meals, and settling in a tiny, built-for-one lakeside house. Falling in love again is surely not on Lester’s mind. Yet despite his firm “no,” two available ladies have set their kapps on the handsome widower—in a boisterous rivalry that weaves mayhem among Gloria’s wedding festivities.

A welcome escape comes from a fresh-faced newcomer. Marlene Fisher disarms Lester with her witty quips on his romantic predicament, while her sparkling eyes inspire surprising thoughts of a shared future. But the heartbreak that brought Marlene to Promise Lodge runs deep, and the pretty maidel believes she’s not meant to marry. In a season of vows to love and honor, scripture holds the key to building their happiness together: love is kind, and above all patient.


My Thoughts

When you visit Charlotte Hubbard's fictional Missouri Amish community of Promise Lodge, there are certain things you can expect -- fun, family, friends, strong women, romance and . . . trouble. Family Gatherings at Promise Lodge doesn't disappoint in any of those areas.

If you've read the other books in the series (and you really should read them), you will revisit this unique community where Amish, Mennonite and English friends have built a settlement not quite like any other. You will revisit "old" friends from previous stories and meet a few newcomers as well. The special wedding occasion and relocation of a new business in the community open up lots of opportunities for a great story.

I highly recommend Family Gatherings at Promise Lodge to fans of Amish fiction that takes you a little outside the typical box. This is the sixth book in the series. It could easily be read as a stand alone, but is much more enjoyable if you know the backstories of the community and its residents.

Thanks to Charlotte Hubbard for providing a copy of the book. I am glad to be a part of this book tour and am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.  

Read an Excerpt

Out-of-town families would start arriving today to attend his niece Gloria’s wedding on Wednesday as well as Laura Hershberger’s wedding on Thursday, when they married the Helmuth brothers, Cyrus and Jonathan—but for now, Lester could revel in the hush of a solitary sunny afternoon. Living alone in his tidy house all winter had taught him a sense of self-reliance that had cleared his soul—had given him an unencumbered sense of freedom he’d never expected. His bobbing dock rocked him like a cradle. He felt far, far removed from the grief and despair that had followed the loss of his wife, his son, and his brother last spring, and as Lester eased into a state of semi-sleep, he knew the true meaning of inner peace.

At long last, all was well with his life. With the help of his family and friends here at Promise Lodge, he was moving forward . . . floating on the fluffy clouds of a nap . . .

“Yoo-hoo! Lester, honey! Thanks to Delores, I’ve found you!”

Lester jerked awake. Whose voice was that? nd why had she implied that his dear, deceased wife had led her here?

When he opened one eye, he saw a pudgy little woman starting across the expanse of grass that surrounded Rainbow Lake. Her brown cape dress fluttered around her thick legs as she hurried toward him. Clutching her kapp with one hand to keep it from flying off her head, Lester’s uninvited guest appeared so excited—and in such a state of overexertion—that he feared she might be bringing on a heart attack. He remained absolutely still, hoping she’d believe he was asleep.

“My stars, here you are at long last!” she blurted out, huffing between phrases. “I’ve ridden all the way from Sugarcreek—for Gloria’s wedding—because with my Harvey gone—Delores has been telling me—for quite some time now—that she wants me to take care of you, Lester! So here I am! Because I know better than to—to ignore heavenly guidance.”

Lester sighed. Agnes Plank, his wife’s best friend, had never known the meaning of silence. She barely drew a breath at the end of one sentence before she shot headlong into her next burst of words. There would be no ignoring her now that she’d almost reached his dock, so Lester reluctantly raised the back of his chaise. All hope for a nap was gone. He felt a headache prickling around his temples.


About the Author

In 1983, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. She wrote around 70 of those confession stories, and she’s sold more than 50 books to traditional or online publishers. A longtime resident of Missouri, she’s currently writing Amish romances set in imaginary Missouri towns for Kensington. She now lives in Omaha, NE with her husband and their Border collie, Vera.

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Friday, February 10, 2023

Inspirational Dual Timeline Story from WWII -- What I Would Tell You

About the Book

Book: What I Would Tell You

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance / Historical Fiction

Release date: January 1, 2023

DNA Test Unlocks a Family Mystery

Sephardic Jew Mathilda Nissim watches in horror as the Germans invade her beloved city of Salonika, Greece. What angers her most is the lack of resistance her people put up to their captors. In secret and at great risk to her life, she continues to publish her newspaper, calling her people to action. She doesn’t trust God to help them. When she and her husband find out they are expecting a child, Mathilda may have to resort to desperate measures to ensure her daughter’s survival.

Three generations later, college student Riley Payson and her cousin take a popular DNA test only to discover they don’t share any common ancestors. In fact, the test shows Riley is a Sephardic Jew from Greece. This revelation shakes Riley’s tenuous faith and sends her on a journey to discover what happened to her great-grandmother and how all this relates to her faith and her life today.

Click here to get your copy! 

My Thoughts

What I Would Tell You is another great WWII novel by Liz Tolsma. It is a very interesting story on multiple levels. It is a story with a dual timeline. The contemporary timeline involves Tessa, a college student who has just discovered that she is a Greek Sephardic Jew, something she had no idea about before taking a DNA test. As she decides to explore that heritage, she finds herself thrust into the story of Mathilda, a Greek Jewish woman who is caught in the horrors of WWII. This setting in Greece is not one commonly found in WWII stories, and I enjoyed the different look into the history of that time. As she has fascinating experiences of her own in Greece and discovers so much history there, Tessa learns much about herself, and especially her faith.

The characters and their stories are deep and rich and drew me in from the start. The range of experiences and the feelings that went along with them kept me very engaged throughout the pages of the book. And the connections from one generation to another come together in beautiful form with important messages through the ages.

I highly recommend What I Would Tell You to anyone who enjoys inspirational stories about individuals involved in the events of WWII. Thank you to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast. 

More from Liz

Take a Trip to Greece with Me

I was privileged to travel to Greece last year to research my upcoming WWII novel, What I Would Tell You. God orchestrated it so beautifully. Because of Covid, we weren’t sure my daughter would be able to travel there for the summer internship she had applied for. Eight weeks before her scheduled departure, Greece reopened to foreign visitors. Around that same time, I sold What I Would Tell You, which is set in Thessaloniki, Greece, to Barbour Publishing. I had to go and visit!

Greece is a beautiful country. The pictures you see don’t do it justice. And to someone like me, the history is one of the best parts. My daughter and I explored the old city wall, built in the 1400s, many churches that predated the Ottoman Empire, and many excavated Roman ruins that have been dug up in the city’s process of putting in a subway system.

Because this is a WWII book, we also spent a great deal of time learning about the history of the Jews in the city. The Kapani Market, just down the street from our apartment, was a vibrant mix of colorful fruits, fragrant spices, and a cacophony of languages. I could well imagine what this old Jewish market was like prior to the war with people hawking olives, fish, and oregano.

We wasted no time in visiting the Jewish museum. I was shocked by the heavy security presence with armed guards outside of the building. Once inside, we had to show our IDs and were required to turn in our phones. Antisemitism is alive and well in Greece. But what a place. There were displays after displays tracing the history of the Jewish people in Thessaloniki from 1492 until WWII. The most breathtaking was the room with stone-covered walls, the names of all 48,000 Salonikan Jews killed in the Holocaust carved into the marble. There’s an entire scene in the book that deals with this room.

What saddened me most was what we saw when we visited the trainyard where the Jews were herded into cattle cars and shipped to Auschwitz. Before we got to where the station once stood, there was a wall on which someone had pained a mural covered with black-and-white figures in their striped uniforms, their eyes and mouths wide in horror. As if that weren’t difficult enough to view, what sickened me was the blue swastikas someone had painted over them. 

We also trekked to the other side of the city to visit what had once been the Jewish cemetery, now the grounds of Aristotle University. All that remains to testify that half a million people were once buried here is a small, ill-kept memorial. There were two dead Christmas wreaths placed there. We visited in August.

In addition to a moving and thought-provoking story, I hope to also introduce you to the amazing city of Thessaloniki and give you a peek into the people and the culture of this amazing place. If you ever find yourself in Greece, plan some time in Thessaloniki. Many Americans miss this gem, but it’s packed with charm and history.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 29

Blogging With Carol, January 29

Genesis 5020, January 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 30

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 30

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 31

For Him and My Family, January 31

Cover Lover Book Review, February 1

Lily’s Book Reviews, February 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 2

deb’s Book Review, February 2

Betti Mace, February 3

Connie’s History Classroom, February 3

Paula’s Pad of Inspriation, February 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 5

Books You Can Feel Good About, February 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 6

Holly’s Book Corner, February 6

Bigreadersite, February 7

Blossoms and Blessings, February 7

Mary Hake, February 7

Bizwings Blog, February 8

Labor Not in Vain, February 8

Pause for Tales, February 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, February 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 10

Southern Gal Loves to Read, February 10

Lights in a Dark World, February 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/23ccb/what-i-would-tell-you-celebration-tour-giveaway