historical fiction

Book Review: Stagecoach to Liberty

I read this book in about 2 days. The first thing I have to say is be sure you have read the first two books first or you will have no idea what is going on. The author picks up the story and doesn’t slow down. Which you should read those books anyway because they’re great.

Again, Janalyn Voigt takes us on a journey through a snippet of a the past and I came away with a smile and feeling like I learned something. She gathers up the characters from the previous books and introduces a couple new ones, specifically a young German woman Elsa. Elsa came to America to better herself and send back money to her family and the contract that she signed isn’t what she thinks it is. She finds herself in a situation she needs to get out of asap and along the way encounters Con Walsh.

Con is just trying to get home, but he can’t sit by when a young woman is in trouble. And once he has decided he is going to do something, nothing is going to stop him. I will never tire of stories that are “yep, you’re one of us now” and that is what this is.

I feel like this overarching story is building to the end and the stage was set in Stagecoach to Liberty and I look forward to seeing how Janalyn Voigt ends this series.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

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Book Review: The Plum Blooms in Winter

Where do I even start. First things first, be sure to read the Author Note at the beginning and at the end of this one. Even if this book wasn’t exceptionally well done, I would give it a high rating just for the Authors Notes. Linda Thompson introduces her book with an explanation of why she did what she did and touching on what she is lifting from history and what is a fictional invention. And then at the end of the book, she takes a deep dive into dividing this is what happened in this time in history and this is a character she made up. And she goes into detail, I have such respect for this lady, everything is so deeply researched and has historical precedence.

Now to actually talk about The Plum Blooms in Winter. The story is split in two, half taking place shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the other half 6 years later in a Japan that is living in a post WWII world. The during WWII part follows a (fictional) pilot, Dave Delham, from the Doolittle Raid who was forced to bail out over occupied China and was captured by the Japanese and spent the rest of the war as a P.O.W. The post WWII part follows a (fictional) Japanese woman, Miyako Matsuura, who lived through the bombing of Osaka and became a prostitute to survive. She finds out that one of the pilots who bombed Osaka will be speaking near her and vows to kill him to avenge the death of her brother.

This book, is not an easy read. And not just because of the subject matter. Thompson has mastered the art of “fade to black” and not pulling punches. I was told she was really good at that, but you guys- she is really good at it. The story is relentless, she covers intense subject matter. The pilot is a prisoner of war in that time and place and it was a brutal reality. And she adds at the top of each chapter how many days he and his men have been captive and it goes on for years. Miyako Matsuura is near the bottom of the social ladder, and her life is tragic. Her entire world was shattered with Japan losing the war. (What blew me away the most was the author writing the character of Miyako in such a way that I completely believed western life was utterly foreign to her.)

So far I believe I’ve made this book out to sound like an excellent historical fiction to educate you and leave you wanting something to cheer you up. The first half is true, and go read it for that reason alone, but this is a story of faith. And a clash of world views. And it is powerful. I don’t use that lightly, go discover this new author and download her book to your kindle. And be prepared to stay up until almost 1AM reading and forget mostly everything you were supposed to bring the next day.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review and Blog Tour: Cheyenne Sunrise

This is something new and I’m super excited about it. Instead of a normal review, today I get to be part of the 2018 Romantic Reads Blog Tour.  What is a blog tour you ask? It’s like a progressive dinner, except with books and you don’t have to find parking for each stop. Now onto the introduction. (Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for the giveaway)

Hello Reader! Thank you for joining Homemade Mythology on Mountain Brook Ink’s “Romantic Reads Blog Tour.” Follow the tour schedule below from February 23 – March 2 for opportunities to win free e-books, Amazon gift cards, and the grand prize, a Kindle Fire HD.

Comment on this post and join the conversation for an opportunity to win a free e-book from Janalyn Voigt.

To enter for the Kindle Fire or a giftcard, enter the rafflecopter form below. We hope you’ll discover a new favorite author and make some new friends!

Review:

I turned on my Kindle and settled into reading this book and about five pages in I went, “oh…this book isn’t messing around.” And that assessment carried through until the end of the book. Each time I thought I had it figured that I knew where Janalyn Voigt was going with the story, that thread was resolved and I’m looking at the bottom of my Kindle and seeing I still have over half a book left. With about 100 pages left I finally just acknowledged to myself I wasn’t going to figure it out and went along for the story.

Bry Brennan’s life so far has been marked by trials. Escaping the slums only to enter an abusive marriage, when her brother suddenly appears in her life and asks her to join him out west, it can only mean things go up from there, right? Nick Laramie is also no stranger to trials, being of two worlds and not really belonging to either of them. The wagon train to the Montana Territory brings their stories together, but the world isn’t going to make it easy for them.

This is what I expected. They get thrown together and grow closer due to both experiencing racism against them (her Irish and him half-Cheyenne) and have to convince their loved ones of the merit of the other. There is so much more going on in this book.

Historical fiction is not my go to genre because often times it feels to me like it is romanticizing a “simpler time”. I’m sorry but I’m really fond of running water, women’s rights, and I don’t care how husky the guys voice is your life would have been very hard and you both probably would have died young. This book does not make light of the hardships of that time but it also shows the beauty. I loved how steeped in history it felt, it seemed like a window into another time, not making a declaration of value, simply look at what people did in a different time of history.

I loved this book, I would recommend it in heartbeat. Janalyn addresses loss, abuse, racism, and love with a masterful hand and is an excellent storyteller. I learned more about that time in history and look forward to reading the last book in the series.

Back Cover Blurb:

Can a woman with no faith in men learn to trust the half-Cheyenne trail guide determined to protect her?

Young Irish widow Bry Brennan doesn’t want another husband to break her spirit. When she and her brother Con join a wagon train headed to Montana Territory, Bry ignores her fascination with Nick Laramie, the handsome trail guide.

Nick lives in an uneasy truce between the settlers and his mother’s tribe without fully fitting in among either. With no intention of dragging a woman into his troubles, he stifles his attraction for Bry.

The perilous journey throws the two together, leaving Bry no choice but to trust Nick with her life. Can she also trust him with her heart? Answering that riddle forces Bry to confront her unresolved questions about God’s love.

Based on actual historical events during a time of unrest in America, Cheyenne Sunrise explores faith, love, and courage in the wild west.

About Janalyn Voigt:

Janalyn Voigt’s lifelong love of storytelling began in childhood when she dreamed up her own bedtime stories. She grew into a precocious reader, a pastime she credits with teaching her to write. Janalyn trained formally with Christian Writers Guild. Today she is a multi-genre author and literary judge. Janalyn is represented by Wordserve Literary.

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Book Review: Dreaming on Daisies

The fourth book in Miralee Ferrell’s Love Blossoms in Oregon series and the story swings back to a character touched on in the first book. Leah Carlson basically runs her family ranch while her father’s drinking spirals out of control. She desperately needs help and goes to the bank to ask for a loan, which is declined.

Steven Harding finds himself in a situation where he needs a place to stay. And he also would like to help Leah with her situation, so he presents an idea. Let him live in the ranch bunkhouse and he will help around the ranch. Everyone wins. While Leah is certain he won’t be cut out for the work, she is convicted to come let him try, and he is her friend’s brother after all.

I enjoyed that this book fleshed out a few of the sides characters from the previous stories and again presented a character who you would think would be the irredeemable one. But the greatest strength to this series is no one is irredeemable. This wasn’t my favorite book in the series, but I still enjoyed it. Both Leah and Steven learn how crucial forgiveness is, and how you can’t really move forward in your life until you no longer hold tight to that hurt.

Note: I received this book as a reviewer. 

Book Review: Wishing on Buttercups

Beth Roberts has secrets. Secrets that have defined her life and the parameters she is living by. She couldn’t dream that someone could see past her forgotten past.

Jeffrey Tucker is an aspiring writer who is just getting his feet under him when he realizes the inspiration living alongside him in the boardinghouse he calls home. And when he tries to get to know her better, wonders what he is doing wrong to get her to keep putting her walls up.

In this second book in Miralee Ferrell’s Love Blossoms in Oregon series, I figured out what I liked so much about this series. Each of our heroines aren’t just biding their time to be swept off their feet. They’re busy. They have businesses to run, careers to grow. And when they meet someone special? That person encourages them in their goals and builds them up. They don’t cast aside their personal goals and dreams just because they now have a significant other.

There is a secondary character in this book who completely out of the blue gets her happily ever after and I haven’t been that pleasantly surprised in a story in a while. I loved that little plot twist. I enjoyed this book and as of writing this have already started the last book.

Note: I received this book as a reviewer. 

Book Review: Blowing on Dandelions

Katherine Galloway is a widow in the 1880s who had her hands full running a boarding house and raising two girls before her mother moved in. Her mother, Frances Cooper, is a controlling, domineering woman who has zero respect for how her youngest daughter runs her business, or her family. Enter Micah Jacobs, a widower himself, and his son who move into the boarding house after their home and business burn down and tensions are near a boiling point.

Reading this book was dipping back into adventures into genres I don’t normally read. Blowing on Dandelions  is a historical romance novel, and a fine one at that. But it wasn’t the romance between Katherine and Micah that grabbed me, it was how Miralee Ferrell doesn’t take the easy way out. It would have been so easy to have Frances as only a source of tension and not seen as a person. But instead we get to see things from her perspective. Each of us are the hero in our own story, and this bitter old gradmother is no different. She honestly, truly, believes she is doing no wrong to those around her and watching her reason how she responds to the world made me want to read just one more page.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be reading more in this series.

Note: I received this book as a reviewer.