Wildflowers from Winter

Although Bethany is more interested in her career than her family and friends she left 10 years previously, she is compelled to return to her hometown to care for her grandfather as he recovers from a heart attack.  Also bidding her home, is her childhood friend, Robin, whose husband is dying.  Whatever happened in Bethany’s earlier life has affected her relationships in her small hometown.  She dispises her mother and fears letting her feelings come out of the controlled status she has kept them under.  Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert is a story of hurting, fleeing, returning and healing.  Ganshert’s characters are well described and you will find yourself becoming part of their lives and situations.

A Seeking Heart

Sam was on the run.  Little money and a starving belly.  When the clothesline revealed a large family with many children and the mailbox sported the family name, Sam figured it would be a cinch to get some food at the mercantile by charging it to the Klaassen family.   When the mercantile owner turned out to be the uncle of all those kids, Sam hightailed it out with the food, but not fast enough to avoid being tackled by Adam one of the Klaassen brothers.

With the sheriff away, Adam volunteered to take Sam home with him until he returns.  When the family questioned her, she knew she couldn’t reveal her real name or her father would find her.  The family’s kindness is something Samantha has experienced very little of in her seventeen years.  She is torn with living a lie and telling them the truth in fear of having to go back to her father.  A Seeking Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a heartwarming family story of kindness and love.

 

 

Thunder and Rain

Tyler Steele, Texas Ranger first, husband and father second.  His wife, Andie, couldn’t handle the stress and finally after wiping out his funds ended up in a drug detox center.   After Tyler, also known as Cowboy, left the center he literally ran into a young mother, Sam and her daughter, Hope.  They needed help and that was his life, helping those in trouble.  A horrible crime had been committed, and the man who committed it would hunt them down no matter how long it took.  Tyler took them to his home town where they could get a fresh start and he could look after them.  Thunder and Rain by Charles Martin is written in a backward story telling way with Tyler doing most of the telling.   But we also get Hopes point of view with her letters to God.  Some of the information is giving out right, with details and circumstances coming later in natural dialogue.  This is a fast moving read making it hard to put down.

Ruby’s Slippers

>by Leanna Ellis
Dottie and Abby’s Grandmother worked on set with Judy Garland in the making of The Wizard of Oz.  Dottie is happy keeping the family’s Kansas farm going, but Abby has her heart set on becoming a “star”. 

When Dottie suffers from a head injury during a tornado, Abby moves her to a nursing home in California.  With a bit of amnesia, Dottie takes awhile to realize that Abby is going to or has already sold the family farm. Then a pair of rubby slippers are left for her by her father, whom she hasn’t seen since childhood.  Sophie, one of the residents at the home, encourages Dottie to search for her father.  The two of them take off on an adventure with Sophie behind the wheel.  As they travel, they soon realize someone is after the shoes, which are believed to have been worn by Judy in the movie.  When Sophie’s son joins the group, there is trouble around every corner, but there is romance in the air.  Ruby’s Slippers by Leanna Ellis is a fun story of adventure and love.

The Wedding Kiss by Hanna Alexander

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A Wedding Kiss can be life-changing.  Keara’s father has just gambled their farm away and gone to jail accused of murder.  In desperation, she approached Elam Jensen with an offer of marriage.  Elam’s wife died of smallpox a year ago, and Keara has been helping take care of his children.  A marriage of convenience becomes much less convenient when Keara and Elam share their first kiss on their wedding day! It becomes more than they expected when  God Shows them what He really  has in store for their lives.  A mysteriously injured visitor shows up unexpectedly on their wedding day.  Will her private battle draw them into deadly danger?
Visit Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in 1901 and discover what excitement and romance await along the White River Hollow.

Song of My Heart

>by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Song of My Heart takes us to Kansas in the day of prohibition.  Sadie needs to provide for her family while her step-father is recovering from a mining accident in Indiana.  Cousin Sid encourages Sadie to come to Goldtree, Kansas, to accept a job at the local mercantile.  But, it’s the added bonus of being able to sing in the Opera House that convinces Sadie to take the offer.  Sadie is happy with her new positions in Goldtree until, Asa, the opera house owner, wants her to sing questionable tunes for a new crowd.   Because Sadie doesn’t want to let her family down she feels pressed to do a Asa says.

In the meantime Mayor Hanaman hires Thad, a wanna be preacher, to rouse out the moonshiners before the growing town is brought to ruin.  Of course, Sadie and Thad are attracted to one another, but when Thad hears Sadie practicing bawdy tunes and also appears to be involved in the moonshining business, all romancing is cancelled.

Kim Sawyer brings us another good read you won’t want to miss.

A Sound Among the Trees

>by Susan Meissner

Marielle married a wonderful man, Carson, a widower of five years with two young children.  She agreed to live in his previous wife’s family home, along with Adelaide the matriarch, “for the children’s sake” and to take care of Sara’s grandmother.  It may not be the most comfortable of conditions but, Marielle did love the children and cared very much for Adelaide.

Holly Oak was an historical mansion in Fredricksburg, Virgina, that had survived the Civil War.  It was rumored that Adelaide’s Great Grandmother, Susannah, was a spy for the Union Army and that Holly Oak was haunted.  The truth of the stately mansion is told through Susannah’s letters written to her cousin in Maine during the war.  Susan Meissner brings her characters alive and there is evidence that she has done much research before the telling of A Sound Among the Trees.

The Measure of Katie Calloway

>by Serena Miller
Katie Calloway flees her Georgia home with her 8 year old brother, Ned.  Harlan, Katie’s husband, wants her dead so that he can marry a rich widow and rebuild his war torn plantation.  He blames Katie for letting the Union soldiers burn down the home that his grandfather had built.  While Harlan is gone, Katie takes his horse and his money to get as far away from him as possible. 
In Bay City, Michigan, Robert Foster is looking for a cook for his lumber camp.  When he tastes Katie’s apple pie, he offers her the job.  Katie believes the lumber camp deep in the Michigan forest is the best place to hide from Harlan.  Although the work is hard, the accomodations are sparse, and the injured camp cook, Jigger, doesn’t want her there, Katie gets to do something she loves.  The lumbermen greatly appreciate her cooking, which is something Harlan never did.
While Katie’s boss is a perfect gentleman and extremely handsome, Katie is still married.  She is determined to keep her place as cook for the seven months as she agreed.  But then she must find another place to work, because it is just too hard to be near Robert.
This was a fast read, maybe because I just couldn’t put it down.  The lumbercamp was a new experience and the extra’s that Serena Miller added, a starving sqaw & infant, Roberts sister & kids, made the journey with Katie fun.  If you like Kim Sawyer, Lauraine Snelling, Mary Connealy, or Karen Witemeyer you’ll like The Measure of Katie Calloway.

Waking Hours

>by Lis Wiehl

Tommy Gunderson, former NFL linebacker, is taken down by the seemingly supernatural strength of an elderly woman who he finds trespassing on his property.  The woman appears to be a little crazy as she is gutting a frog and yelling at him in what sounds like Latin.  Later that night, Tommy is informed that a teen he’s been mentoring, is suspect of maliciously murdering a teenage girl.  Dani Harris, a forensic psychologist, is called to investigate the case.  Many of the East Salem’s teens were at the same party as the victim that night.  When the teens are questioned, none of them can remember what happened.  Tommy’s new passion is being a PI and he works with Dani to help solve the crime.  They both start having haunting nightmares, strangely wake at 2:13, and find items moved around when they awake.  There is definitely something sinister happening in New Salem, NY.  Waking Hours is the first book in the East Salem Trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Lis Wiehl.

The Colonel’s Lady by Laura Frantz

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With the death of her mother, spinster Roxanna Rowan finds herself alone in Revolutionary War Virginia without prospects, suitors, or a home.  She escapes to her beloved father, a soldier on the Kentucky frontier, arriving just in time to hear of his death.  When the dashing but cold Colonel Cassius McLinn offers her a position as his scrivener, she has little choice but to take it.  Rumors circulate of McLinn’s questionable family and past, but Roxanna begins to learn of his true character as a man with many regrets, but a steadfast and caring nature.  In the midst of the desolate and cruel landscape of war, Roxanna provides Cassius with light, hope, and a reason to reexamine his faith. 

Based loosely on the life of George Rogers Clark, The Colonel’s Lady is a fascinating look at the Kentucky frontier, military life during the Revolutionary period, and the work lives of women.  Frantz has created a story that touches both the heart and the mind.

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist

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Georgie Gail is less than thrilled when the telephonecompany sends out Luke Palmer to help her run the switchboard and phone linesin her rural Texastown.  He’s not too happy about it,either; having to put away his fancy Texas Ranger duds and go undercoverwearing overalls to investigate a local train robber.  He carries out his investigation whilerepairing phone lines and getting constantly distracted by his coworker’s abilityto stir up controversy and everything else about her as well.  With Love on the Line Deeanne Gist comesthrough with another delightful Christian historical romance.

Secrets by Kristen Heitzmann

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Lance Michelli has always been the wanderer of the family, periodically coming home to his grandmother’s kitchen for her cooking lessons and her undying affection. But now she is lying in the hospital and concerned that her time is running short. She sends him on a mission to Italy and California on a mission to right the wrongs of the past. It is up to him to uncover the secrets at the family homestead in the Sonoma Valley, but the owner, Rese Barret, will accept his presence only with reluctance. While he stealthily researches his family history, his cooking slowly melts her reserve and his open nature and faith help Rese to face her own past. With a compelling mystery and characters that one can’t help but cheer on, Secrets by Kristen Heitzmann is an example of Christian fiction at its best.

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

>Levi, the new blacksmith in town, is just that, new. No one knows anything about him, except Parson Cranford. Levi’s past is safe with the Parson. Levi came to town highly recommended by a friend of David Cranford. The Parson’s recommendation to Mr. Spencer, the town’s founder, along with the fact that spring was around the corner and they had been without a blacksmith for four long months, was in Levi’s favor in obtaining the job in Spencer.

Eden Spencer, the beautiful town founder’s daughter, catches Levi’s eye. Then when he finds out there is a library in town, which Miss Spencer happens to run, he longs for Jules Verne’s book “Around the World in Eighty Days.” Miss Spencer didn’t know how to react to his request when he came into the library. The new blacksmith horded his words, she didn’t even know if he could read. What did he really want? Eden Spencer was suspicious of all men, after being jilted by her betrothed just days before their wedding day. How could she trust her inner most feelings when it came to men, after all she had thought she had been in love and he in love with her. But now, she knew it was best to trust no man. To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer, is a fun read with a few unexpected turns.

Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper

>With a variety of characters to help keep the conversation flowing, and a myriad of surprises to keep the story going, who wouldn’t enjoy this book? Carrie Carter is the main character of Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper. She owns and runs the small town café in Seaside along with her sister & baker, Lindsey. Her employees consist of Ricky the cook, Jase the dishwasher, and Andi her waitress. Many customers of interest visit the cafe daily. One of the interesting customers is Mr. Perkins, an old man that doesn’t say much but when he does you better pull in your toes. Then there is Andi’s boyfriend, Bill, who comes across as a little too rough. How about Clooney, Andi’s uncle, who spends his time looking for treasures in the sand? We can’t leave out Cilla, the lady that keeps an eye on every one and every thing going on in Seaside. Mary P is the wise one and former owner of the café. There are other locals, plus the outsiders that come in to take part in this great story.

Now, on to Carrie’s favorite customer, Greg Barnes, a very handsome man who makes Carrie’s heart do the “Snoopy Dance” every time she sees him. All Carrie really wants is for Greg to notice her, to let her know that he knows she is alive. But after three years of their daily encounter, is there really any hope? It takes a murder to get their romance on the move. When Jase is found murdered and Andi is missing, Greg and Carrie are pushed together to solve the mystery and that’s when Greg realizes, Carrie is definitely alive. That doesn’t mean the romance is in the bag though. They both have pasts that haunt them, keeping them in and out of each others reach. There are several unexpected twists to keep your mind engaged even when you reluctantly have to put this book down.

The Perfect Blend by Trish Perry

>Steph Vandergrift is floundering. She burned some bridges in Baltimore when she quit her job and left her friends and family to move to Middleburg and elope with Rick Manfred, the young attorney who stood her up at the altar. Now she needs to find a job and a place to live until she can get herself back on her feet. When Milly, the kind woman who owns Millicent’s Tea Shop offers her a short-term position, it’s the answer to her prayers.

Kendall James, a handsome Middleburg business owner, meets and begins pursuing Steph, a source of great confusion for her. Just when she starts feeling ready to consider a relationship with Kendall, her A.W.O.L. fiance turns back up looking for a second chance.

With wonderful secondary characters, a cozy small town setting, and a sweet romance, Trish Perry has written a winner in The Perfect Blend. The second book in the Tea Shop series, Tea for Two, is already out and available at the library.