Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Review: Once Upon a Prince

Oh! Oh! Oh! Will Avery win Colin's heart next?

Wait. That’s hopeful speculation about the next book, not a review of the first. I just finished reading Rachel Hauck’s new book, Once Upon a Prince, the first book in The Royal Wedding Series. I’m ready for Book 2. And since there are only so many actual, factual princes in this world, I think it’s kind of fun that Hauck is making up her own for her characters to marry. (The only time I had trouble suspending disbelief was in the few scenes where Hauck had her pretend people hobnobbing with real royalty. That kind of broke the fairy tale spell for me.)

The strengths of this book were the characters and the settings. St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, where our heroine, Susanna, and her family are from, is a real place—one I’ve enjoyed visiting and loved finding in a story. Prince Nathaniel is from Brighton, a fictional country somewhere near England. Nate and Susannah meet the day her boyfriend of 12 years breaks up with her. On vacation on St. Simon’s Island, Nate comes to Susannah’s rescue when she gets a flat tire. He chooses to keep his royal standing a secret.

Scattered throughout the book are thoughts on trusting God’s plan instead of always clinging to your own and believing that He knows what He’s doing when He places you somewhere you’re not sure you want to be. The dominant theme is total surrender to God’s Will and, perhaps, remaking that choice daily.

Fans of happily ever after will enjoy this story. I thank Zondervan for sending it through BookSneeze for this honest review.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Book Review: A Noble Groom

Jody Hedlund’s most recent novel opens with a woman finding her husband murdered only to be told by her community that she’ll have to marry again—just as soon as they can import a groom from their home country. At the same time, a baron’s son sits in his father’s dungeon in Germany praying he won’t be beheaded for a crime he didn’t commit.

And from this intense beginning, things only get worse.

Annalisa Werner is the ever popular widow whose land is being threatened by a powerful landowner. Carl Richards is the man who longs to be her hero, but finds himself restrained by his past. And Gretchen, my personal favorite, is the precious little girl who only wants a new daddy and to hear another story by the Brothers Grimm.

I’m looking forward to the next story by Jody Hedlund.

Hedlund’s equal strengths are her storytelling ability and historical presentation. I was especially fascinated by this particular setting in time because it sheds some light on why so many German people came to America in the mid-1800’s: the time my Bavarian ancestors came. I’d never thought to ask why, but now, maybe I know. And I learned through the perils of a fictional group of German settlers. Hedlund’s book provided a story to enjoy with a history lesson of personal significance. I’m happy to recommend it to you.

Bethany House Publishers sent a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: The Winnowing Season

In Book 2 of Cindy Woodsmall’s Amish Vines and Orchards series, The Winnowing Season, everything is changing for Rhoda Byler as she, with the King family, attempts to start a new Amish settlement in Maine. This book is full of obstacles for this group of determined young people to overcome, obstacles that go far beyond those that naturally come with merging and relocating two businesses and the people involved in this. Rhoda must convince her superstitious and fearful church leaders that they can trust her and her brother’s family to go. Jacob must overcome the mysterious past that is catching up with him at the worst time ever. Samuel, out of loyalty to his brother, must keep a professional distance from Rhoda, denying his own feelings for her. All must work to get along with each other—and with the Englischers they now live among, people who are curious, but know little about the Amish or their ways. Hardest of all, Rhoda must make peace with her gift, the intuition and visions that she’d hoped to leave behind. Will her new community come to fear her as her old one did? Or will she learn to hear God’s voice in her gift and follow wherever He leads?

I enjoyed reading the second part of this on-going story and am now eagerly waiting for the conclusion to be released. I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending a complimentary copy for this honest review.