Keturah (The Sugar Baron's Daughters #1) by Lisa T. Bergren | Historical Fiction Review

Keturah (The Sugar Baron's Daughters #1) by Lisa T. Bergren

The Sugar Baron's Daughters #1
Historical Fiction

In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father's estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.

Although it flies against all the conventions, they're determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined--and that's just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world.

Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.

To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

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My Thoughts

I'm a devourer of books. When one arrives in my mailbox I just want to dive in. When this book arrived I wound up placing it on the table and leaving it for about a week. I think it was the title that put me off. It just didn't appeal to me. Once I started reading my opinion changed completely. This is a very captivating story.

Keturah is the oldest sister's name but she goes by Ket. She is who the story revolves around. If you like to read about women of strength you're going to enjoy this one. The time frame is the late 1700s and Ket goes completely against convention and advise and sets out with her two sisters for the Carribean island of Nevis.

Ket's bravery and determination in the face of danger and hardship is inspiring. The voyage to the island was precarious enough but it winds up being tame compared with what she faces once she arrives at her late father's estate. To say that she and her sisters are unprepared is an understatement.

There are some adult themes in this story particularly that of slavery. It's actually one of the things that I appreciated the most about the book. Ms. Bergren doesn't shy away from the atrocities that happened during that time in history. It's an ugly thing but it happened. It would be easy to leave it out or sugarcoat it but that isn't what the author chose. I applaud her for that. 

I enjoyed this book and look forward to the rest of the series. It looks like there will be at least two more that focus on the other sisters. If the following books are anything like this one they are going to be worthy reads. I can't wait.

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Lisa T Bergren



Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.







A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason | Historical Fiction Review

A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason


Historical Fiction

Will Gaining the World Cost Him Everything He Holds Most Dear?

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl's heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope--believing once their marriage is sanctioned by God that Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between his dreams for tomorrow and his father's demanding expectations.

Forces work to keep the couple apart at every turn, and a solution to remain together seems farther and farther away. With Nolan's new life pulling him irrevocably away from Hannah, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

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My Thoughts

I adore a good rags to riches story and that's exactly what I got with A Most Noble Heir. Nolan Price has been employed as a stable hand at Stainsby Hall in Derbyshire, England for years. He loves the work and fellow employees, especially the lovely kitchen maid Hannah Burnham.

Nolan has dreams of a farm of his own and making Hannah his wife. He's been saving and planning for years and he's on the cusp of  all that happening when his mother takes ill. Nolan's mom has been keeping something very important from him for his entire life and now that she's dying she must confess. The news is shocking and devastating and changes not only Nolan's life but the lives of all those around him.

I enjoyed reading about the struggle of instant fortune. It's something we all dream about but rarely let ourselves think about the repercussions of what it would really be like. Every aspect of Nolan's life changed and he had to learn to navigate and balance what used to be with what is. 

The learning curve wasn't steep for Nolan alone. It was also hard for Hannah and Nolan's new family. It was equal parts blessing and curse. What I really enjoyed about the story was the suspense of the sinister plot that was going on during this time of transition. 

This is definitely a book for historical romance lovers. The rural manor house setting and all the British complexities make for a delightful read. 

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Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.








The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas | Historical Fiction Review

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Book review disclosure.

Historical Fiction

In the Dark of the Mine, In the Face of Rising Water, 
In the Shadows of the Hills, Faith Will See Them Through

Judd Markley knows he can never set foot underground again. The mine collapse that nearly killed him and claimed his brother's life means leaving West Virginia forever. Although that hard Appalachian world is all he knows, he puts it behind him and heads for the open sky of the thriving town of 1954 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Larkin Heyward's life in the beach town is uncomplicated, mostly volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more and being more--maybe moving to the hills and hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she's never even met someone who's lived there--until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father's timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a hurricane that changes Myrtle Beach forever, Judd's and Larkin's dreams pull them in divergent directions. It will take a significant sacrifice to keep them together--or maybe, it will take a miracle.

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My Thoughts

I have been reading and enjoying Sarah Loudin Thomas' books from the beginning. When I saw that The Sound of Rain was available I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. If you've read her works you know that the stories are mostly set in West Virginia. Through her words I've fallen in love with West Virginia even though I've never set foot in that state.

The Sound of Rain begins deep in a coal mine of West Virginia. The opening scene made me catch my breath. I'm not going to spoil the effect by talking about it but let's just say that my admiration of coal miners and the risks they encounter every day has gone up considerably. 

Judd Markley is our main character and after a life-changing event he chooses to leave the mountains of West Virginia and make his way to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I love South Carolina and Sarah's descriptive words capture the essence of the place perfectly. 

In South Carolina Judd trades in his minor's hat for a logger's chainsaw. Another fascinating job with a lot of risk involved. Shortly after arriving in Myrtle Beach Judd meets Larkin Heyward who just happens to be the daughter of the logging company's owner. The Heyward family appears to be a pillar of the community but underneath the surface are hurts that have torn the family apart. 

The stories of Judd and Larkin continue to intersect in ways that Judd never intended but the draw of Larkin continues to bring him back again and again. I enjoyed going on this journey with them. Sarah's writing is very emotional which takes the story beyond the surface and goes deep to the root of the situation. 

At the end of the book I wasn't ready for the story to be over. To me that's the sign of a good book. I'm hoping that we'll get to travel back in time and revisit this beautiful place and these interesting people again in a future book.

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Sarah Loudin Thomas
Photo Credit: © Kristen Delliveniri




The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck | Contemporary Romance Review

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck

Book review disclosure.

Contemporary Romance

According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious--serious science, that is. But science can't always account for life's anomalies, like why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie's friends book her as a speaker on a "New Year, New You" cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she's qualified to teach others about happiness when she can't muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can't ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with unforgettable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile--because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

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My Thoughts

Kristin Billerbeck is an author that you can count on for a lighthearted story that also contains a fair amount of depth. Her stories are the perfect accompaniment to a lazy afternoon and a cold glass of iced tea.

The Theory of Happily Ever After is both funny and sad. I know funny and sad don't seem to go together but in this case they do. The opening scene finds Dr. Maggie Maguire drowning her sorrows in way too much ice cream and Hallmark Channel movies. She's just been dumped by her fiancĂ© in a very humiliating way. To add insult to injury she's written a best-selling book on happiness and she's anything but.

Maggie's two best friends, Haley and Kathleen, have decided she needs an intervention. But their idea of an intervention isn't what a normal person would expect. Haley also functions as Maggie's publicist so she booked them all on a singles cruise to promote Maggie's new book. Her rational is that it gets Maggie back on her feet and also helps book sales. To say that Maggie is less than enthusiastic is an understatement. Did I mention that her friends were well meaning? They are, but a singles cruise is probably not the best idea for a recently dumped girl. 

The cruise is anything but smooth sailing for Maggie. One mess after another seems to follow her. But in the midst of the mess is Sam Wellington. At first he appears to be just another irritant but before long he becomes the balm that Maggie's hurting soul needs.

As Maggie and Sam's relationship deepens so does the story. At first I wasn't sure that I was going to like this book but the farther I got into it the more I liked it. There was a vulnerability to both Sam and Maggie that was easy to relate to.

If contemporary romance is your genre of choice I would definitely recommend this book. It's a light read but not loaded with fluff. I think you'll enjoy the characters and sympathize with the crazy situation. Treat yourself and go pick it up!

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Kristin Billerbeck



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Coldwater by Samuel Parker | Suspense Book Review

Coldwater by Samuel Parker

Book review disclosure.

Suspense

The vigilantes behind him are nothing compared to the enemy within.

Having forfeited his youth to the state prison system, Michael moved back to the still vacant house of his parents in a town with one stoplight. A town that hated him. Had always hated him. And was ready to pick up where the prison system had left off.

Now he's on the run from men who've tried to kill him once; but Michael is more than an ex-con. A powerful, sinister force skulks within him, threatening and destructive. What--and who--it will destroy next is the only real question.

From the bold voice that brought readers down Purgatory Road comes a new pulse-pounding, spine-rattling tale of vengeance and justice.

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My Thoughts

If you are a fan of Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, or Alton Gansky this book is going to be right up your alley. The opening scene has the main character being buried alive. Yes . . . buried alive! Everyone's worst nightmare. 

That opening scene was so intense that I just couldn't put the book down. And the intensity continued throughout the entire novel. The classification that the publisher gave it is suspense and it does contain that but there are also aspects of supernatural and thriller mixed in. I'm going to be honest and say that supernatural just isn't my thing but this story was so well written I couldn't help but keep going.

Have you ever wondered if redemption is possible for someone that has committed a heinous act? What does it look like in a practical sense? How does one go on after serving their time? Mr. Parker takes us on a journey that explores this. I found myself having an inner dialog while I was reading the story. How would I react? Where does my faith come in? This isn't a novel to make you comfortable but I guarantee it will make you think.

If you like a book that pushes the boundaries and leaves you a little uncomfortable while making you think then this book is for you. It does have intense themes so I would recommend it for older teens and up.

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Samuel Parker



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