Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

This is Morton's 2nd novel and the 1st one I have read by her. If her other work is even half this good, she will go on my must read list. I absolutely loved The Forgotten Garden! I am not even sure where to begin in describing it.... for it is a bit like 3 stories in 1 that twine together to create the truth.

Once upon a time there was a little girl. She was placed on a ship headed to Australia and then abandoned. After a long voyage, she was discovered by the port master who took her home for one night... or so he thought. Nell became the child he and his wife longed for and enjoyed life as the oldest of a household full of girls. That is until her mother's death.. when her father told her the truth... she wasn't who she thought she was.

Eliza was always running... from whom or what she wasn't sure... and then one day she was caught and thrust into a fairy land where she was allowed to visit and watch, but never to really belong. Her heart ached for to be needed and loved and in time, that ache was eased but at great cost.

Cassie feels a bit unwanted and a bit unpurposeful. Unsure of what life holds for her, she sets off to England to unravel a mystery only to discover herself along the way.

Morton's writing is a delight to read... her descriptions are like paint strokes on canvas... clear and vivid... creating a masterpiece in the mind's eye. Her characters are round and full and so real. I could see them.. hear them.. it was truly like being with them.

I know a lot of you read Christian Fiction only, so I need to tell you that this is a secular work. But I also have to add that it is clean and just too good to miss!

I am waiting for her first novel to be free at my library and looking forward to future works!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

This is the third and final book in Lessman's Daughter of Boston series. If you enjoy Historic Romances, then you will like this series. The books center on the O'Connor girls and their family and are set in early 1900's Boston around the first World War.

A Passion Denied is Elizabeth's story. Beth has been in love with John Brady as long as she can remember, but sadly he has always seen her as a little sister. She wants more and believes he does too, but he refuses to be more than friends. Finally Beth, now called Lizzie, turns her attentions elsewhere only to find herself caught in a web of deceit and hurt... and to her shock she finds Brady right in the center.
Can love truly conquer all? When trust is destroyed, can it be rebuilt? Does forgiveness extend to everyone and every circumstance?

A Passion Denied takes a love sick romantic girl and opens her eyes and heart to the realities of real life love.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

A Passion Redeemed is Lessman's 2nd book in The Daughters of Boston series. (set in Boston and Ireland, early 1900s) This is most definitely a series that needs to be read in order! And one I highly recommend any lover of Christian Historic Fiction to read! Even if you aren't a fan of Christian Fiction, read this series... it might change your mind!

Charity O'Connor was born beautiful and early on became aware of the sway she held over people. She is use to getting whatever she wants... that is until she sets her sights on Mitch Dennehy. Mitch is far from immune from Charity's beguiling ways, but he is determined to not fall prey to them. So Charity turns things up a notch and enters into a dangerous partnership that almost costs her life.

While this is a lovely romantic tale with a bit of adventure woven in, there is a deeper story... one of a young girl so broken and hurt that she creates a wall around her heart and refuses to let real love in... of a girl who sees her worth only through the eyes on men who admire and desire her beauty... of a girl who feels unloved by her earthly father and her heavenly Father and at a loss to rectify either relationship... it is at its heart a story about a heart that needs Jesus.

SPOILER ALERT... this next part gives part of the storyline away and a bit of the ending, so if you plan to read the book you may want to stop here.


I was very intrigued at the "why" behind Charity's hard heart and her anger at God and her father. I actually liked how Lessman worked in the childhood abuse of a relative. Not that I like the idea of that happening! But for whatever reason it caught me off guard. I think because I wouldn't expect that subject matter in a book set in 1919. I believe it was handled very well. While Lessman didn't sugar coat the situation, she also didn't provide gory details that we all can conjure up with our imaginations.

My one "complaint" came with the ending. I wasn't sure I really liked the ending. Didn't really like with whom Charity ended up. BUT I have started book 3 and it works! LOL!

I do love this series.... the settings... the characters... the conflicts... all of it!

The Secret by Beverly Lewis

I had no idea Lewis had started a new series until I saw The Secret sitting in the New Fiction area of my library. The Secret is book 1 of her Seasons of Grace series. Lewis is, by far, the queen of Amish Fiction. There are elements that seem to be repeated throughout a number of her books and yet she is able to spin her tale in such a way that the reader doesn't feel it is a rehash of the same ole story again and again.

Grace Byler has known something wasn't right with her mother for some time. She weeps and wander off in the night when she thinks no one is watching. She often seems to be far off in her thoughts as if she is reliving another time and place. Grace so wants to know what and why, but questions are not encouraged in her Amish family. And even when their lives are turned upside down by the unthinkable, they do not discuss it.

The title refers not only to the secret in Grace's mother's life, but also to the secret each member of her family holds in their heart and the secret they seem to guard from the watchful eyes of others in the order.

As always a wunderful gut story from Lewis!