A Note Yet Unsung

This book by Tamera Alexander is the third installment in her Belmont Mansion series. Rebekah Carringtion returns home to Nashville, Tennessee after a ten year stay in Vienna. As a master violinist, she desires to be in an orchestra even though it is rare for women to be allowed in orchestras no matter what their skill. Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is the new orchestra leader of the Nashville Philharmonic. He is tasked with composing his symphony and training his orchestra before opening day of the new opera hall. His time is split with his rigorous responsibilities and returning to his childhood home to care for his dying father; all while dealing with recurring headaches, buzzing, and dizziness. Even though he recognizes her skill and talent, Tait turns down Rebekah’s request to be in the orchestra due to public opinion. Rebekah takes a job tutoring Adelicia Cheatham’s daughter at the Belmont Mansion and secures room and board there. As Tait’s deadline gets closer, he asks Rebekah to assist him with his symphony.

This is the first book that I have read by this author and I am impressed and anxious to read more from her! I absolutely loved this book! Being that it was the third book in the series, I do not know what connections the storyline and characters have to the previous books. Even so, I easily read it as a stand alone book. I loved the musical content of the book. I have always loved music even though I am not at all talented when it comes to instruments! The author provides a link so that readers can look up and listen to all of the music numbers mentioned in the book. There is some adult content worth mentioning… Rebekah’s stepfather tried to rape her when she was younger which is why she was sent away to Vienna. When she returns, he repeatedly refers to the incident and eventually attempts to do it again. There are mentions of drinking and making moonshine, murder, slaves, and a few other things that may offend some people. The Christian content of trusting God, praying, scripture, etc. was strong throughout the story. It flowed well with the story. I feel that this book was very well written and I will be purchasing the previous two books in the series so that I can read them as well! I recommend it to anyone who loves music, instruments, and historical romance!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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A Note Yet Unsung #3
By Tamera Alexander / Bethany House

206230: A Beauty So Rare #2

A Beauty So Rare #2

By Tamera Alexander / Bethany House

206221: A Lasting Impression #1

A Lasting Impression #1

By Tamera Alexander / Bethany House

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Courageous

This book by Dina L. Sleiman is the 3rd installment of her Valiant Hearts series. Click here to read my review of book 1: Dauntless. [I have not read book 2: Chivalrous yet.]

Valiant Hearts features strong females in traditionally male roles. Courageous is about a group of men, woman, and children who travel to join the crusades with the mission to free prisoners inspired by a vision young Lady Sapphira had while praying. Rosalind of Ipsworth and Sir Randel Penigree join together to lead, train, and protect the group of children who join the mission. Both of them are haunted by past sins and seek to find redemption by joining the crusades. The group is faced with distractions that could lead their mission off course, battles and encounters with the enemy, sickness and death, and the betrayal of someone who is among their group.

This book has action, suspense, emotion, miracles, and a hint of romance just like Dauntless. The characters are believable and diverse. I recognized a few of the characters from Dauntless and I know several of the characters were also in Chivalrous. Eventually, I plan to go back and read Chivalrous when I have a chance. The author researched the time setting and culture and she explains some of her writing decisions in her historical notes at the end of the book. Although I have not studied the crusades extensively, I feel like the author portrayed a worthy cause for the mission in this book. There are interactions with friendly and enemy people of the Islamic faith. Spoiler Alert: The author addresses the topics of abortion and murder (accidental killing vs. intentional killing for a cause vs. intentional murder). I thought she covered both topics gracefully.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has read the first two books in the series (it could be read without any knowledge of the first books though). I really liked Dauntless but this one fell short for me. It was very slow and hard to catch my attention for the first several chapters. Eventually, towards the middle of the book, it picked up pace and was more engaging. I heard that this is the final book in the series and I feel like it resolved well if that is the case.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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#3: Courageous
By Dina L. Sleiman / Bethany House

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Dauntless, Valiant Hearts Series #1

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Chivalrous #2

 

 

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The Reluctant Duchess

This book by Roseanna M. White is the second in the Ladies of the Manor series. Lady Rowena Kinnaird is the heiress to a Highland earldom, but due to her father’s harshness and abuse she has never felt worthy of her future role. After the man she was intended to marry attacks her in the most vicious way, she finally has the courage to stand against her father’s wishes. In an effort to rescue a broken woman, Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, offers to marry her on impulse. Rowena accepts but after they are married she is reluctant to become intimate because of her fear of men. Faced with the possibility of carrying her attacker’s child, she is forced to rely on the good graces of her husband. When she finds that her husband has secrets involving precious jewelry and sketchy people, she is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery… even if it means betraying her husband’s trust.

Until now, I have not read anything from this author. This book was able to be read as a stand alone even though there is a previous book in the series. Many of the characters obviously have connections from the first book but it was easy to understand the limited explanations in this book. Rowena faces several dark plots including: childhood abuse from her father, rape from her suitor, threats and rage from her attacker, nightmares and fear following the trauma of her attack, etc. She is portrayed as a weak and fearful woman. The rape is explained but not too much detail (I have read much worse rape scenes in other books not from this author). I can understand why some people may be unable to handle this type of scene though. The patience and understanding that Brice has with Rowena is refreshing but I’m not sure is completely believable. He honestly seems way too good to be true. Since it is a fiction book, I can look past that. Brice also has a strong relationship with God. He seems to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and recognizes when he fails. He is a man who prays a lot. Rowena slowly comes out of her shell and recovers emotionally due to her husband’s love and security. One thing that I did not really like was the strong Gaelic accent and wording that Rowena and the other Highlanders have. It took me awhile to get used to it. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, romance, suspense, and intense plots.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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#2: The Reluctant Duchess
By Roseanna M. White / Bethany House

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Playing the Part

This book by Jen Turano is actually the third book in the “A Class Of Their Own” series. Lucetta Plum lives in New York City and works as an actress. She is well loved by fans but one of them takes their obsession too far and tries to blackmail her into becoming his mistress. Lucetta’s friend and self proclaimed matchmaker, Abigail Hart, takes her to the Ravenwood estate owned by her mysterious grandson, Bram Haverstein. Lucetta experiences strange happenings during her stay at Ravenwood. Bram has always admired Lucetta as an actress and is surprised to find that she is completely different in person than what he imagined her to be. She is independent and head strong… almost to a fault. However, when unfortunate events occur, she quickly learns that sometimes it is okay to rely on others.

Until now, I have never read any of Turano’s books and I enjoyed this book. I found myself laughing out loud at various humerous parts but the book still maintained a sense of mystery and seriousness. My favorite character was Bram. He has a kind and chivalrous, mysterious, and funny personality. There are several odd and interesting characters! This book is not labeled as being a part of a series so I did not realize that it was until I was reading it. There are characters in the book that obviously have had history explained in previous books. However, I was able to enjoy the storyline without having read the stories that came before it. I am planning to read them in the future though since I really liked this book! I would recommend Playing the Part to anyone who enjoys light hearted humor, romance, historical fiction, and mystery.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Playing the Part
By Jen Turano / Bethany House

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Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty

This book by Angela Hunt is a part of her Dangerous Beauty series. It alternates between the perspectives of Bathsheba and Nathan-the prophet. The Biblical story line is entwined with a fictional story line to help portray a picture of what may have taken place. The author uses culture, time, and history to enhance what we know from the Bible. Bathsheba plays an important role in history as her son falls in the line of Jesus. We see her family life, her interactions with David’s other wives and children, and over the course of the book we see her pain, humiliation, and bitterness turn to healing, forgiveness and love towards David. In the fictional story, Nathan has always been attracted to Bathsheba but after God makes it clear to him that she is not the woman who he will have as a wife, he follows the will of God. He is transported through visions and witnesses David’s lust and betrayal. Biblically, he plays an important role in the exposure of David’s sin.

I have always enjoyed reading Biblical historical fiction. I feel that knowing the culture, time, and history surrounding the stories that we read in the Bible adds understanding to scripture. However, this puts a burden on the author to carefully interweave Biblical truth with fiction assumptions and/or possibilities without distorting scripture. The author in this case, overall created a good story but I personally think that she went a little too far in some areas. I agree with her assertion that King David most likely raped Bathsheba. As a king, he could take who he wanted, when he wanted. As woman in that time, Bathsheba would have no choice but to submit to her king’s demands. We know from the Bible that David tried to cover up his sin, when Bathsheba gets pregnant, by bringing Uriah home and trying to convince him to go home to sleep with his wife. When Uriah did not do this, David had him carry his own death warrant to the General. After news of Uriah’s death, David brought Bathsheba to his household. The problem I have with the fiction in this book, is how the author portrayed Nathan. It is possible that Nathan and Bathsheba may have known each other when they were young and that he could have been attracted to her. However, there is no indication of this in scripture. Also, the author portrays Nathan as having visions where he is transported to the scenes that he is witnessing. This allows him to see the same scene that David saw on the roof as he gazed on Bathsheba and caused him to momentarily lust after her as well. I do not know how God gave the prophets of old visions but I have a hard time believing that He would purposely put Nathan in the position  that would cause him to sin (lust is equal to adultery according to Jesus in the gospel of Matthew). So for this reason, I do not care for part of Nathan’s story line that the author chose to portray. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Biblical historical fiction but only with the understanding that this as a whole is fiction and not to take the place of Biblical truths.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty
By Angela Hunt / Bethany House

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Dauntless

This book by: Dina L. Sleiman is the first book in the Valiant Hearts series. Valiant Hearts features strong females in traditionally male roles. In the case of this book, Lady Merry Ellison is somewhat of a Robin Hood figure. She leads protects a group of orphaned children who were forced from their homes and now live in the forest. Rumors spread and they become known as “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.” Her skills with a bow and arrow as well as secrecy allow her to provide for her friends. When she is captured by Timothy Grey, a childhood friend who thought she was dead, she realizes that her heart is torn between her life now and what it could have been. Timothy starts to question his loyalty to the throne when he encounters Merry and her “ghosts.” In an effort to try to protect them, he accidentally puts them in more danger.

The story of Robin Hood is one of my favorite legends (Robin Hood Prince of Thieves has been my favorite movie since I was 13 years old). I was drawn to this book first by the beautiful and unique cover. Then when I realized it had a Robin Hood type theme I knew I had to read it! It has action, suspense, emotion, miracles, and a hint of romance. The characters are believable and diverse. Merry is conflicted about whether or not God truly exists. Her spiritual struggle is apparent throughout the book yet her faith is deepened as the storyline continues. While reading, you can tell that the author researched the time setting and culture. She explains some of her writing decisions in her historical notes at the end of the book. The book is marketed as teen fiction but I am 32 and absolutely loved it! I think any teen or adult who like medieval settings will fall in love with this book!

I am really looking forward to book 2 in the Valiant Hearts series: Chivalrous. It will feature Gwendolyn Barnes, who wants to be a knight, in a Camelot setting! It is due to be released in September 2015!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Dauntless, Valiant Hearts Series #1
By Dina Sleiman / Bethany House

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Price of Privilege

This book by: Jessica Dotta is the third and final book in the Price of Privilege Trilogy. Julia Elliston is in the midst of the biggest scandal of the century. As the runaway bride of Chance Macy (who vows to get revenge) and the heiress of an emerald empire, she marries her childhood sweetheart; a local vicar. Edward is now rejected by his parents and community for marrying a scandalous woman. In an attempt to regain control of their lives, they return to Julia’s father’s estate for refuge. There she is forced to face Lord Isaac Dalry; the man who she was engaged to less than a month ago. She has to face her father who is disappointed in her life choices, including marrying her new husband. She has to face public opinion as well as the Victorian court system and is caught in a web of deceit and lies. This book is full of suspense and tension, romance and friendship, pain and redemption.

This is the first book in the trilogy that I have read. Being that it is the third book, I found myself missing a lot of information that I am sure was already explained in books 1 and 2. I was still captivated by the story line and have already added books 1 and 2 to my reading list so that I can catch up! I loved this book! It had me laughing and crying. I find that books that pull these kind of emotions always end up on my list of favorites. The ending was completely shocking to me as I am sure it will be to most readers. I did not expect the outcome at all! I would highly recommend this book (and trilogy) to anyone who likes the settings of the Victorian era. I would recommend reading the trilogy in order though!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Tyndale House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Price of Privilege

By Jessica Dotta / Tyndale House

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The Secret Of Pembrooke Park

This book by: Julie Klassen is a historical fiction romance that tells the story of Abigail Foster, the eldest daughter of a family who loses their fortune. With no future prospects for marriage, she gives up her dowry so that her sister, Louisa, can have her season. While helping her father find a new home, they were given a mysterious offer for the family to use an abandoned manor called Pembrooke Park. As Abigail oversees the cleaning and preparation of the home, she starts to meet new friends and hears rumors of old secrets.

There are rumors of murder, a secret room, and hidden treasure. What really happened to the Lord of the manor Robert Pembrooke and his valet 20 years ago? Why did the town hate the Pembrooke family who moved into the manor after Robert’s death? Why did they leave suddenly with no trace 2 years later?Abigail receives clues within letters written by an anonymous friend, a distant relative shows up, and mysterious noises, footprints, and visions keep her awake at night.

Abigail also battles with emotions as she is torn between the affection of different men. Gilbert, an up and coming architect, was a childhood friend who started showing interest in Abigail’s more beautiful sister. When Louisa lost interest in him, he set his interest on Abigail, regretting that he did not understand their connection sooner. William, Pembrooke Park’s curate and son of the manor’s steward, proves to be a good friend and confidant. His sermons are convicting. His affections toward Abigail are strong and real but he knows that he could never support a family on his meagar salary.

I loved this book! If I didn’t have children and other obligations, I would have had this book read within a day but it took me 3 days instead. I loved the twists and turns and guessing the secrets right along with Abigail. I also really loved the historical setting. Having read other books by Julie Klassen, I am not disappointed and look forward to reading more of her books in the future!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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The Secret of Pembrooke Park

By Julie Klassen / Bethany House

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