Saturday, July 30, 2016

Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray Author: Dorothy Love





Title:  Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray
Author:  Dorothy Love
Pages:  400
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
My rating is 4 stars.
This story is based on a real friendship between Selina Gray, a slave and her owner, Mary Custis Lee.  The story begins when Mary is a teenager and finds the love of her life, Robert E. Lee.  They eventually marry, have children and live life.  Selina is a young girl when the story begins with Mary teaching her how to read.  Selina over time is put to work in the house, serving Mary’s mother and then Mary herself.  While Selina is grateful for Mary teaching her how to read, she yearns for Mary’s father to set her free.  Mary and her mother are members of a society that raises money to send former slaves to Liberia to start a new life.
As Selina and Mary age, Mary especially suffers heartache.  Her husband is gone for months and sometimes years at a time, serving in the military while leaving Mary to raise their seven children.  This novel portrays a loving relationship between Mary and Robert, even though Mary knows from early on in her marriage that duty comes first with Robert.  In this story, Mary is seen to always put his needs first and herself second something Selina also knows firsthand as she has to put the needs of her owner(s) first, then Selina’s family, then herself.

While this novel is not brimming with action, suspense and chase scenes, it does a fine job of chronicling a friendship spanning fifty years between a slave and her owner.  The two women in question were born and bred in the South with its attendant culture.  Selina has always longed to be free and never forgets that Mary owns her.  For me, the friendship aspect didn’t seem too obvious.  Mary always treated Selina as a servant, with maybe the exception of when they went sledding as young women.  The older Mary gets, the more heavily she depends on Selina.  When they are forced apart due to the Civil War, Mary entrusts her home to Selina.  This was not a book that really grabbed my attention and held it, but it was interesting to read this fictional account about a character from history that I knew nothing about and what her life might have been like.  The author really did her research, and I thought the depiction of Mary in a new, more positive light than other books was a different twist.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

No Way Up (The Cimarron Legacy #1)

Title:  No Way Up (The Cimarron Legacy #1)
Author:  Mary Connealy
Pages:  304
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5 stars.
One of the first words that drew my attention was the author’s words to her mother before I even began to read the story.  What mother hopes when her babies are born that they will follow the Lord have good marriages or fulfilled lives?  There is no way to pay mothers for all they give so sacrificially without the children even really being truly aware of the cost to a mom’s heart.  So I am sure Mary’s mother was touched by her daughter’s words.  I like to think it really blessed her heart!
A good western book is this new series that starts right off with someone apparently trying to rid the Borden of their land.  The attempt made on the father of the family almost cost him his life, but the ranch hand named Heath provided assistance that probably saved the father’s life.  Now, the father lets his daughter know about a change in his will before he leaves to see a doctor in Denver in case he doesn’t make it.  The cost of hearing it was one thing, but for her and her older brother Cole to return to the ranch from places where they established their lives took the cake!
So at first the three siblings Cole, Justin and Sadie wrestle through what this revelation and demand means to each of them.  It brings tension right to the forefront of the story and continues to grow as the story progressed.  However, what was really interesting was seeing the siblings draw closer together in order to fight whoever is attempting to get them off the ranch they have owned for almost three generations.
There is a sequel coming up early in 2017 titled, Long Time Gone that I cannot wait to read.  I want to see how the parents react when returning from their trip to find Sadie’s life changed and how Cole ends up healing from wounds he sustained in a fight.  Justin is the one who tends to disagree with Cole most at first until the story focus changes to Sadie and some of the decisions she is making regardless of what her brothers think!
Mary’s novel really is like the fast draw of a gun because of the speed at which the action and danger start right from the get-go.  I like Sadie’s spitfire personality and how she is learning to mature in some ways that help instead of causing more problems for her older brothers.  Heath is a good ranch hand more so a good man, and the lessons he is learning by watching how the family interacts really impact his heart and life.  So I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for her fictional family and the Cimarron Ranch coming next year!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

: Beyond the Narrows (A Novel)

Title:  Beyond the Narrows (A Novel)
Author:  M. R. Durbin
Pages:  304
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Covenant
My rating is 5 stars.
What an exciting novel with what looks like an ending left open for a sequel!  There is a mystery from ages ago along with racing for some supposed treasure left decades ago to be found if the clues and maps could be found.  I loved that some of the main characters were retired people from various jobs of expertise and ethnicities.  Two of the characters are a young man and a young woman who are related to one of the older gentlemen whose life is in constant danger!
Once I started the novel, it was hard to put down because the tension never lets up and there are twists in the plot that come up suddenly, grabbing my attention.  There is also archeology involved, native languages, and a bond these individuals have, especially the older gentlemen, that is very touching. 
There are a few references to Mormonism or terms I think are referring to something within the Mormon system of beliefs.  However, even though I am not Mormon, the novel was exceptionally well crafted and is a spell-binding, suspense-filled book that should be read and enjoyed.  The author I think did a great job to focus on the action, danger, mystery and other elements that just keep a person turning pages until they are finished reading.
I hope the author writes a sequel with these characters because the older gentlemen are very different, but their bond of friendship is deep.  One guy has such a dry sense of humor he made me laugh a lot throughout the book when he would pronounce a word is such a way just to throw people a curve.  Yet, at other times his knowledge was helpful in figuring out what was written so very long ago.
Grab a copy and have fun in the never ending danger to solve the mysteries within the pages!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Honor Redeemed

Title:  Honor Redeemed (Keys of Promise #2)
Author:  Christine Johnson
Pages:  352
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5 stars.
Prosperity Jones has left home to reunite with her fiancĂ©, David Latham, after a two-year separation.  Her mother has recently died, leaving Prosperity with no close family and no means to support herself.  She has to leave home, so she decides to go to her fiancĂ© in the hopes that he will support her at a boarding house or hotel and marry her earlier than they had intended.  Upon arrival in the Keys of Florida from Nantucket after a five-week journey, Prosperity makes an awful discovery.  She turns to her newfound friend for shelter and the means to support herself.  She can no longer count on David.
David Latham has loved Prosperity Jones for years.  He is an officer in the military working on an engineering project.  He has six more years in service and then he will have saved enough to marry Prosperity.  One night some of the other soldiers induce him into drinking liquor, which he is not used to doing.  He was raised by a very strict minister and is usually very thoughtful and cautious in his manner.  This one night leads to the ruin of his future with Prosperity.  When he unexpectedly sees her outside the garrison, his heart drops to his stomach.  He pleads for forgiveness, but Prosperity shuns him.  How did his life get so complicated?
I thought this was a wonderful story!  I was hooked from the beginning.  The story was compelling and drew me into the lives of the characters.  I was emotionally involved with the two main characters, which to me shows a talented author’s God-given skill.  This book is set in a time when a person’s honor and word meant something and was worth something.  It could be counted on to be true.  We don’t see as much of this in our day and age.  I definitely could identify with the maternal aspect shown in the story and the lengths a woman will go to in order to protect a child.  The hanging on to God in the midst of terrible situations was also portrayed.  I can’t wait for the third book in the series!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”