Monday, June 18, 2018

Fascinating History -- The Ringmaster's Wife

When I was in school, many years ago, history was one of my least favorite courses. But now it seems I just can't get enough of great historical accounts -- real or fictional. My favorite stories are those that are based on real characters and events, with the author's imagination filling in the rest of the details. That is exactly what Kristy Cambron provides for readers in The Ringmaster's Wife

The story is built around the life of Mable Ringling and her part in the fascinating history of the Ringling Brother's circus. In a time-hop style, separated by only a few decades, Kristy brings Lady Rosamund Easling, a fictional lady of privilege from England, into the captivating world of America's circus. The splendor and struggles of that life provide the backdrop for this captivating tale. 

At times, while Lady Rosamund seems to take center stage, it is easy to forget that Mable Ringling is the lead character of the title. But her influence is evident throughout the story as she shares valuable lessons from her own life with those she comes to care for deeply.

The Ringmaster's Wife is a great read for -- well, almost anyone!

About the Book:

An ounce of courage.
A leap of faith.
Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.
In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.
A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her arranged marriage. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.
When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, choosing instead the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.
A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the Greatest Show on Earth!
About the Author:

Kristy Cambron is an award-winning author of Christian fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She is a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at ministry events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named in Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations.
Kristy holds a degree in art history/research writing, and has fifteen years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.
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Intriguing Suspense -- Blind Betrayal

Blind Betrayal is the intriguing third installment in Nancy Mehl's Defenders of Justice series. 

The story is filled with plenty of suspense to keep you engaged from beginning to end. Sorting out the "good guys" from the "bad buys" is a full-time job, as it is almost impossible to decide who to trust. And there is just enough romance in the story to satisfy those of us who enjoy that element as well.

Thanks to Nancy and her publisher (Bethany House) for providing a copy of this book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

After two years at the St. Louis U.S. Marshals Office, Casey Sloane is tasked with escorting a reporter to Washington to testify before a grand jury. The reporter's research on an up-and-coming environmentalist who suddenly disappeared is now even more vital than anticipated.

At first, Casey's assignment seems routine. But a dangerous attack on the Marshals Office puts everyone on high alert. When Casey and two other Marshals--one a man from her past--are forced on the run with the reporter, they'll do whatever it takes to protect their witness and make it out alive.

About the Author:

Nancy Mehl ( is the author of more than thirty books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. She is part of The Suspense Sisters:, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.

Heartbreaking and Inspiring -- A Daring Escape

Tricia Goyer's A Daring Escape is the second in her London Chronicles series about World War II. The story is both heartbreaking and inspiring in its account of a very challenging aspect of the war's history -- the rescue of children from Czechoslovakia to England and other locations as Hitler's forces were overtaking their homeland.

Tricia's passion for World War II history and her in-depth research as she writes her books shine through in this story. While the characters and their stories might be fictional, they are based on and inspired by the courageous actions of real people who were willing to sacrifice for the well-being of so many. Tricia brings her story alive through her well-developed characters and their actions and feelings.

Fans of great historical fiction from the World War II era should be informed and inspired by this fascinating story.

About the Book:

Danger Closes In.
Can the Children be Rescued?
As the threat of World War II looms on the horizon, American Amity Mitchell is living a comfortable life abroad as a tutor in England. Life changes when an urgent telegram arrives from her brother, Andrew, summoning her to Prague. Nazi forces tighten their grip on the country, and Andrew’s efforts to help Jewish children escape Czechoslovakia grow desperate. Children’s lives are at risk. Amity knows she can’t ignore God’s call to join her brother’s cause.
Amity’s boss, Clark, arrives in Prague, urging her to return. Soon, he too finds himself helping prepare kindertransports bound for the safety of England. With the sound of German tanks rumbling over cobblestone streets, Amity and Clark race to save innocent lives. Will their prayers for deliverance be answered?
A Daring Escape is a gripping tale of hope, self-sacrifice, and the power of unrelenting love overcoming unspeakable hate.

About the Author:

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of ten, grandmother of two, and wife to John. A USA Today bestselling author, Tricia has published over 60 books and has written more than 500 articles. She's well-known for her Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Amish series. For more information visit Tricia at Tricia, along with a group of friends, also runs, sharing ideas about simplifying life.

Love and Second Chances -- Christmas at Carnton

OK, I realize that it is not anywhere near Christmas, but that has no bearing on how much I enjoyed reading Tamera Alexander's Christmas at Carnton. And what makes it even better is knowing that this novella is an introduction to her three-part, full-length Carnton novels series.

Tamera has written several awesome historical fiction stories set in and near Nashville, Tennesse, around the time of the Civil War. She is a pro at taking historical facts and characters and fleshing out their stories with others from her own imagination. And that is exactly what she has done again in this introduction to her new series.

The characters -- Aletta and her son Andrew, Jake, the McGavock family, their cook Tempy, and others -- bring alive the history of the Carnton Plantation and offer a personal glimpse into what life might have been like for many affected by the difficulties of war. But through all the struggles comes a beautiful story of love and second chances.

Don't wait until Christmas to read Christmas at Carnton. It is a fantastic read for any time of year!

About the Book:

Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas—and of sacrificial love.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son. With the bank threatening to evict, she discovers an advertisement for the Women's Relief Society auction and applies for a position—only to discover it's been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity—and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?
Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women's Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of "crinolines" isn't his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.

Set against the backdrop and history of the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored at Christmas.

About the Author:

Tamera Alexander is the USA Today bestselling author of numerous books, including A Lasting ImpressionA Note Yet UnsungTo Whisper Her Name, and To Wager Her Heart
Her richly drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide, as well as multiple industry awards.
These awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Bookseller’s Best Award, and being listed among Publishers Weekly and Library Journal’s Top Inspirational Fiction, among others.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Touching Story -- The Road Home

As any fan of Amish fiction knows, there are plenty of books available in that genre -- some great, some so-so, and some maybe not so great. But one of the things you can count on is a very worthwhile read if you pick up a book by one of the authors who started it all -- Beverly Lewis.

Beverly's latest, The Road Home, is a touching story filled with lovable characters. The strong bonds shared by the siblings in Lena Rose's family draw you in and keep you involved from beginning to end. (Little brother Chris was probably my favorite.) Lena's compassion for her own family, as well as family and friends she gets to know in her new setting, is one of the strongest elements in this very enjoyable story. While the story is beautifully told in the setting of an Amish family, the joys and struggles are very relatable for readers of any background.

I highly recommend The Road Home for fans of great Amish fiction or anyone interested in a sweet story of love and family.

Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy of this book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

As the sun began to rise, Lena Rose leaned against the cool pane of the bus window and gazed out at the familiar landscape of her life. I'm leaving my family and everything I know behind. She sighed, trying to keep her composure.

Grieving the death of her Amish parents and the separation from her nine close-knit siblings, Lena Rose Schwartz consoles herself that her new life in Lancaster County won't be forever. Surely someday soon she will return to her beloved Michigan settlement, including her beau. But even as she holds on to hope for a reunion with those she loves most, she discovers that Lancaster holds charms of its own. Will she find the courage to open her heart to other possibilities?

About the Author:

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, has more than 17 million books in print. Her stories have been published in 12 languages and have regularly appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today. Beverly and her husband, David, live in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, making music, and spending time with their family. Learn more at