Love Held Captive by Shelley Shepard Gray


Love Held Captive, by Shelley Shepard Gray, is book three in A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story series. This story takes place after the Civil War. Soldiers often raided homes and left the owners with nothing. Lizabeth was one of these owners. She was forced to turn to her cousin for employment. She is a maid at a hotel when she is cleaning Adam’s room, he comes and and makes advances at her. This is the man that raided her homes first and left her injured. She ran from his room, thinking Major Ethan Kelly’s rooms were vacant she ran to those to hide. When her cousin finds out, she is fired. When Ethan finds out what happened, he fears for Lizabeth’s safety and moves her to a home of a friend of his.

During the war Julianne met Adam, thinking he was single and about to propose, she had a relationship with him. She was caring for her grandmother who was very ill and both were starving. She became Adams mistress to provide for her and her grandmother. After the war, he ended the relationship to return to his wife. He returned to visit Julianne and Captain Devin Monroe is also showing an interest in Julianne. He shots Devin in the back as he rides home from visiting Julianne. Devin’s horse takes him to the hotel where Ethan is staying.

As Devin heals from his injury, Lizabeth and Julianne confess their pasts with Adam. Ethan and Devin call in a couple friends from their war years and together the men go after Adam.

This is a good story. The characters are well introduced and a lot of back ground information was given. It was very easy to follow along, however it felt like it also made the story move to slow. The story bounces between 1865 and 1867 to give additional background as the story moves on. The story is one of brotherhood that is formed between the soldiers that were held as prisoners. The story also shows us how Lizabeth and Julianne were forced to do things they didn’t want, as a way to survive, and the guilt they carried with them because of it. It also shows us how while Lizabeth was working just to survive, she as not able to get past the pain of hat happened to her and move on with her life.

Once I got into the story I really enjoyed it. I think anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction that contains romance as well as some suspense will enjoy this book. Even though it is part of a series, this is also a stand alone book.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers, this is my honest review.

Series: A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story book 3

320 pages

Publisher: Zondervan

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Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander


Christmas at Carnton is a novella written by Tamera Alexander that takes place in Franklin, Tennessee during the Civil War. Aletta Prescott’s husband was recently killed in the war and she is left to take care of herself, her six year old son and her unborn child. She lost her job and has been notified the bank is taking her house. She has just two weeks to find someplace to live. She takes a job at Carnton Plantation to work for the Women’s Relief Society.

Captain Jake Winston is shot in the shoulder and suffers a head injury that affects his vision. He wants to return to the war but cannot focus to do his job as a sharpshooter. Jake has been ordered to go to Carnton Plantation to represent the soldiers at the Women Relief Society auction. Jake also assists Aletta with making the nativity for the event.

This is a wonderful story. The story is based on a real plantation and the cook is based on the real life cook at the plantation. The story also focuses on the Women’s Relief Society that was active during the Civil War. I really enjoyed reading about the work the women were doing to help the soldiers. This story is a reminder to us of how lives were changed with the Civil War. Part of the story that I really likes was when Jake realized that even though the women were not out fighting the was, the war was changing their lives. Many soldiers lost their lives and their wives were left behind to support themselves and their families. This is a story of hope and faith that God will provide when there is a need. Another thing I really enjoy about this book is the author shares the recipes of items mentioned in the book and also shares with us her plans for upcoming books based on characters from this book.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers. This is my honest review.

224 pages

ISBN: 9780310293248

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

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Cherished Mercy by Tracie Peterson


Cherished Mercy is the third and final book in the Heart of the Frontier series written by Tracie Peterson. Though out this series we have followed the Flanagan sisters as they made their way to the Oregon Territory. The older two sisters have married and started their families but Mercy has yet to find the man for her. Mercy receives a request from a friend, Eletta, to travel to the Browning Mission in the Rogue River Valley. Eletta is having problems with her pregnancy and has taken to her bed. Mercy helps with Eletta’s home and young adopted daughter, Faith, as well as helps Eletta’s brother-in-law, Adam, teach the Indian children.

The government is trying to take all the Indians to a reservation and has hired men to help. Some of the men take it upon themselves to kill the Indians instead. Browning Mission is attacked and the white people are forced to flee. Eletta’s husband was killed prior to the attack and Eletta passes away when they reach the new town. It is now up to Mercy and Adam to take care of Faith.

This is such a good series, it should be read in order as the three sisters are the focal point in each story. This series covers some tough topics, such as racism, greed, war and rape. This book is a reminder the importance of prayer, showing mercy to others and keeping our faith even in the worst of times. The characters are well developed and the writing is so clear it is easy to envision the fear of the white man’s attack at Browning Mission as well and the Indian’s retaliation and the hunger at Fort Miner. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction based on the settling of our country.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. This is my honest review.

Series: Heart of the Frontier

310 pages

ISBN: 9780764213298

Publisher: Bethany House

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My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley by Andrea Boeshaar


Who can really possess land? God is supreme owner of all the earth.”

Lily and her two brothers have recently lost their father. One day after bathing in the river, Lily runs into Captain Albright, Mac, and is informed he has purchased her family’s orchards and fields. Her father’s friend, Mr. Everett is suppose to be taking care of them. He is now telling them he had to sell the property to pay for their upkeep and he has purchased their home. Mr. Everett has also made it plain that he determines to have Lily as his wife. Lily and her family have not been able to find her father’s will, but they believed they would not have to worry about money.

Mac and his partner, Mr. Blake have been invited to Lily’s home for meals. Lily and Mac both develop feeling for each other, but since they both lost significant others, neither want to get into a serious relationship. However, that is not the case for Mr. Blake and Lily’s aunt. Their friendship turns into a serious relationship very quickly.

My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily’s Dilemma is a good story that takes place in 1816. This is one of those stories that is easy to get caught up in. Andrea Boeshaar has done a good job of building the characters as well as the story. While this is a Christian romance, this story has a lot of twists and turns in it that will keep the reading wondering what will happen next. I enjoyed reading of the mischief Lily’s brothers got into. Even though Lily intended to stay on the family property, when she sees the sale contract, she admits that she will miss the property but also feels that God is the owner of all the earth. The author has shown us how it was for women at that time with not being in charge of their own family finances. I think anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction and romance will enjoy this story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Series: My Heart Belongs

254 pages

Publisher: Barbour Publishing

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Band of Sister’s by Cathy Gohlke


Band of Sisters, but Cathy Gohlke takes place in 1910 in New York City. When their mother dies, Maureen O’Reilly’s aunt makes Maureen and her sister Katie Rose leave Ireland to travel to Ellis Island. Their father has a friend that sent a letter and money years ago for him to move there. Katie Rose is ill when they reach the USA and is hospitalized. Maureen goes to her father’s friends home to find out he has past away and his family is not honoring his debt. Maureen accepts money from a man and uses that to set up an apartment for them. She gives false recommendations to obtain a job at a local department store. Maureen quickly realizes the department store is a front for a totally different type of business.

Women began disappearing from the store and Maureen eventually tells others. She works together with a man who also traveled from Ireland and his employer to try to find the women.

This is a great adventure to read. I really enjoyed the suspense that is written in the story. I wanted to just keep reading this story to see what was going to happen next. The parts in the story that really stand out for me are what it was like for immigrants who arrived in the United States and how the women from church got together to try to help the women immigrants.

I feel anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction based on immigration will really enjoy this story.

422 pages

ISBN: 9781414353081

Publisher: Tyndale House

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All She Left Behind by Jane Kirkpatrick


All She Left Behind is a fictional story written by Jan Kirkpatrick based Jennie Pickett Parrish, one of the first doctors in Portland working with women and children. Jennie and Charles Pickett were married in 1860 and lived with her sister’s family. They had a young son, Douglas, and Charles worked for their brother-in-law. Charles started drinking and became addicted to alcohol. They borrowed money from Josiah Parrish to start a real estate business. But Charles used the money for other things. He divorced Jennie so she and their son are not pulled in to his life. With no way to support herself and Douglas, Jennie moved home to her parents. Josiah offered Jennie a job caring her his ill wife, Elizabeth, to work of the debt. When Elizabeth passed away, Jennie stayed to help Josiah go through their home and prepare for him to move to Portland. During this time, they got to know each other and developed a relationship. They eventually married and Josiah convinced Jennie to go to school to become a doctor, a dream she pushed aside to raise her family.

This is a great story. The story focuses on the topic of addictions and how they affect the family. The story also gives historical information concerning divorce and women’s place in school and business. I really enjoyed reading this story and seeing the strength that Jennie had to move forward with her life as a single mother. The struggles Jennie went through with Charles, her son and their addictions must have been really hard. I appreciate the research the author has done to write the story as well as the additional information she includes in the book, such as who the characters are and the different types of herbs Jennie used and what she used them for. I believe anyone who enjoys reading historical stories will enjoy reading this story.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing. This is my honest review.

352 Pages

ISBN: 9780800727000

Publisher: Revell Publishing

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These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart


The year is 1945 and the war has ended. The soldiers are now coming home and for Francine Howard that should mean having the man she loves coming home to her. But he is bringing home a girl from England. Francine is a nurse and signs up to go to the Appalachian Mountains to train to be a midwife with the Frontier Nursing Service. Her mother continues to pressure her to come home, but she now feels the Appalachian Mountains is her home.

Ben Locke is a medic returning home from the war and meets Francine. Francine visits the Locke home frequently to check up on Ben’s two sisters and his brother. Even though the Locke’s like Francine, the mother still feels she is an outsider. Despite their differences Ben and Francine develop a friendship.

These Healing Hills, by Ann H. Gabhart, is a really good book that blends history, friendship and a touch of romance. The story contains a good blend of characters and beliefs. I really enjoyed reading the beliefs that some of the mountain people had about how to cure their health issues. I enjoyed reading how Francine left the city and moved to an area where she had to learn how to grow and process the food she ate. The strength Francine displays and the love and caring ways she treats others is encouraging.

This is such a good book that I hope the author writes a sequel. I think anyone who enjoys reading books based after World War II would really enjoy this book.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing. This is my honest review.

368 Pages

ISBN: 9780800723637

Publisher: Revell Publishing

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A Groom for Christmas by Anne Greene


Oh, dear heavenly Father, please send the right man. Seems quite a few men want a wife as well as have their way paid to the Oregon Territory. How shall I ever find the right groom?”

A Groom for Christmas, written by Anne Greene takes place in 1850. Felicity Daniels is traveling with her father to homestead 640 acres in the Oregon Territory. Her father catches cholera and dies before he tells her why they left Missouri in such a hurry and why she must marry and change her name. Felicity and a family friend, Jed have been in Laramie and will be leaving with the wagon train in a few days. Felicity must marry so she can get her land when she gets to Oregon. She puts a sign up and is overwhelmed with the amount of men who show up. Felicity and Jed make a list of requirements to cut down on the amount of men to interview. She wants a man who is intelligent and can carry on a conversation as well as one who does not smoke, drink and is a Christian who regularly attend church.. The men who make the list must put $10 in a box. But the one man Felicity wishes would come, does not.

Ben Bonneville is working to earn money to go to California to pan for gold to pay off his mothers medical expenses and to witness to the gold miners. All of his things are stolen and he is forced to meet with Felicity. Ben is chosen but finds out it is a marriage in name only so Felicity can get the land.

While on the wagon train, Ben is constantly showing his love for Felicity, but she stands firm. It is only when Felicity is carried down stream on a mule does she soften and start to think more about Ben.

This is a fun little story, just perfect for reading in one evening. I really enjoyed reading his story. Even though Ben has less going for him during his interview, he is the one that is chosen. This story is so well written it is easy to see the line of men apply to be Felicity’s husband or to feel the cold during their travel. This book would be enjoyed by those who enjoy reading American historical fiction.

I received a copy of this book from the author through Book Club Network. I have written an honest review.

128 pages

ISBN: 9781547205431

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

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The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling


The Promise of Dawn is the first book in the Under Northern Skies series written by Lauraine Snelling. Lauraine Snelling is my all time favorite Christian historical fiction author. And I think this is one of the best books she has written. The story takes place in 1909 when Einar Strand sends his family in Norway a letter asking for Rune and his family to immigrate to Benson Corner, Minnesota. Einar and Gerd bought property in Minnesota and Einar has been logging the trees. Gerd took care of their animals until she developed a heart condition that now has her bedridden and in need of help. The agreement is that Einar will pay for Rune and his family to travel to Blackduck in exchange of helping them. When the passage is paid off, Rune and his family will receive a piece of land as their own in exchange of helping.

Rune, Signe and their three sons travel to help the Strands but when they get there they find a house that is mouse and rat infested and filthy and with no beds to sleep on. The Strands are very hard people to work for. Einar is only concerned about the trees and demanding help. Gerd is constantly yelling for Signe to help her. Rune and their oldest son are to help with the trees and one day the young boy is injured. Then the middle son has to help with the trees. Signe finds herself having to go against Einar to protect her children. When Rune starts to stand up to Einar, Einar contacts the sheriff to lock them up and deport them. Signe has kept records of how much the family has worked for the Strands and has received the cost of their passage to show that they have worked more than enough to repay the Strands. The sheriff finds the Strands guilty of de facto slavery.

This story is awesome! Even though parts of the story are hard to understand, such as Rune not standing up for his family, that was a different time and Rune was appreciative of being given the chance to start a new life in America. And Signe showed so much patience to Gerd with caring for her. With Signe’s insistence, Gerd is able to get out of bed. I like the change that slowly takes place in Gerd as she is able to do more things on her own. I also liked how the neighbors came to help Signe in her time of need, even though Einar has run them all off before. I can understand how Signe would start to lose her trust in God with the situation they are in. But I so appreciate Rune being the type of husband that would be gentle with her and help her to see that God is with them.

This is a great book. I cannot wait to read the next in the series. I think anyone who enjoys historical fiction will enjoy this story. With the research the author has done as well as having lived in Northern Minnesota as a child, this story is very true to the time.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing. This is my honest review.

Series: Under Norther Skies (Book 1)

379 pages

ISBN: 9780764218965

Publisher: Bethany House

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The Promise of Breeze Hill by Pam Hillman


The Promise of Breeze Hills, written by Pam Hillman, is set in Natchez, Mississippi in 1791. Connor O’Shea was indentured to a master craftsman who past away. He was to continue working to pay for passage for his brothers to come to the United States. He is being auctioned off and Isabella Bartholomew has purchased his papers.

The Bartholomew plantation has been struck by bad luck. The house caught fire along with their cotton fields. Her father was severely injured in the house fire. Shortly after, Isabella’s brother was killed by highwaymen.

Isabella is now responsible for the running of the family home. With the loss of the cotton, they were not able to keep on their employees and only a few have remained. Her family does not believe in having slaves and there are not enough employees to do all the work. Connor is to repair the house in exchange of the Bartholomew’s bringing his brothers to the area. Even though Connor reports to Mr. Bartholomew, he has to work with Isabella and at times this is a struggle as they both have feeling for each other that they are trying to ignore.

Connor finds out they have a sawmill as well. With the help of a few employees, he starts cutting trees to make lumber to rebuild the house. One day Pastor Horne and his family stop by and ask to work in exchange of a place to stay, as his wife is expecting another child. The entire Horne family pitch in to help, some working at the sawmill, some on the house and some in the fields.

As the family’s mourning period comes to an end, men from the surrounding area come to visit Isabella. A neighbor, Nolan Braxton, plans to marry her to get the plantation to carry out his business.

This is a good story. I enjoyed reading about the strength and determination that Isabella had to try to save her family’s home and plantation. As well as the sacrifice Connor is making to help bring all his brothers from Ireland. Connor also gives assistance to those he meets that are in need. He also finds little things Mr. Bartholomew can do to give him something to do besides sit in his room. I appreciate the faith that the characters have. Even though the family does not have extra to spare, they take on the pastor’s family.

This story is fast paced with mystery and suspense woven through out it. The romance is not so strong that it overwhelms the story. The story is so well written it is easy to imagine the storm as well as the dangers the characters face. There a a lot of characters, but they are well introduced and easy to follow. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading early American historical fiction.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishing. This is my honest review.

406 pages

ISBN: 9781496415929

Publisher: Tyndale Fiction

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