“The Runaway Wife” by Rosie Clarke

“The Runaway Wife” by Rosie Clarke is a story set in 1920’s London amidst the angst of The Great Depression.  Annabelle Tarleton’s family desperately needs money to keep their estate soluble.  The Tarleton matriarch is an unfeeling, selfish woman more enamored by her status in the gentry than in the happiness of her children.  Annabelle’s brother Ben is expected to marry a bitchy woman for her money.  Annabelle is being coerced into marrying an up and coming Member of Parliament…with lots of money.  Hetty, their younger sister, is determined to escape her mother’s tyrannical moods and find her own way.

Annabelle finds her love, but she knows that her mother will not see that he is good enough for her and sends him away.  She then marries the pompous ass with the money and is sorry from the first day of their marriage.  Richard is a brutal man who loves to hurt women.  After one too many beatings, Annabelle flees, and must hide herself because of his obsession with her.  She knows that he will kill her eventually.

Given the story line of this novel, I kept reading to see if all would be well with Annabelle and her loved ones.  I must say that I think the story plodded along in too many places.  The main character was so indecisive in the face of fear of her husband, that I felt irritated with her.  In fact, I was irritated with many of the characters and their seemingly helplessness in the control of their own lives.  If you want a possibly true depiction of what life among the upper crust in London was during the depressive years, then you might like this book.  Though I do enjoy novels giving glimpses of the past, this one was not my favorite.

I downloaded a Kindle copy of this novel from NetGalley.com in return for my honest review.

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“The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Chip and Joanna Gaines have developed unique and successful businesses in Waco Texas.  Their show on HGTV, Fixer Upper is one of my favorite shows.  Their obvious love for each other and their family warms my heart.  When “The Magnolia Story” by them was published, I knew I had to read it and find out their secret.

What I learned is that these two people are just ordinary people, just like me.  However, their faith and love for God and each other shines through on each and every page.  Even is the face of financial ruin, their spirit together is a joy to see.  They are trustworthy wonderful people who always make sure their workers and friends are taken care of.  No matter the problems, one or the other will figure a way to make it.

I am happy for them and their children that they can be both successful entrepreneurs and devoted parents to their four children.  They are sturdy of heart and steadfast in their beliefs.  Chip is a “nut” and so lovable and Joanna is his anchor and helpmate.  They both are blessed with brains and vision.

I feel blessed that they have let me into their lives by writing this book and giving me the inspiration and blessings that go along with it.  I wish they were our best friends.

“A Higher Call” by Adam Makos with Larry Alexander

“A Higher Call” by Adam Makos with Larry Alexander is a non-fiction account of an extraordinary encounter between enemies during World War II.  Charlie Brown is flying one of his early missions to bomb Germany.  On his return route the B-17 bomber was hit with flak and attacked by Messerschmitts.  The plane was badly damaged; one airman was dead, one critically wounded, and more wounded less severely.  In reality, the plane should not have been in the air because of the severity of its wounds.  It was all Charlie could do to keep the plane airborne.  Knowing that flying over the border between German territory and the North Sea, they would encounter heavy flak which would most certainly be their demise, Charlie tells his crew to bail out.  He will try to keep the bird in the air while they escape.  He will ride the plane down because he will not leave a fellow airman.  His crew all decide to stay with the plane no matter what.

Incredibly German pilot Franz Stigler sees the injured bomber and comes alongside.  The Allied crew is certain that this enemy pilot will be the end of them.  However, contradictory to German rules, Franz is amazed at the audacity of the American pilot who is flying the plane against all odds.  Taking a risk that he would face a firing squad if found out, Franz Stigler escorts the damaged B-17 over the flak field and out over the sea.  Saluting each other, both pilots continue to fly.  Charlie’s plane limps to England and the crew, save one, is alive.  Franz continues to defy the odds as Germany is increasingly overcome and the war ends.

Both pilots are haunted by this incredible encounter over Germany and each wonders about the other.  Finally, forty years later, Franz and Charlie meet up and the legend of heroes comes to fruition.  This is an extraordinary story of two extraordinary men and their missions.  I thought the book was riveting, extremely hard to put down until the end.

 

“My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York” by Amanda Barratt

“My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York” by Amanda Barratt is another novel in the My Heart Belongs In series.  Although I enjoyed reading this novel, it was not on my list of favorites.  The story of Adele Linley coming to America to find a rich husband to secure her family’s estate in England just didn’t ring true to me.

Niagara Falls was always a place where daredevils could put themselves in danger in many ways just to make a buck.  I was not sympathetic to Drew Dawson, a daredevil who falls in love with Adele.  First of all, he is not rich husband material, although he does have compassion and strength to do what he does to try to make enough money for his sister to have a operation which will help her walk again.

I’m sorry, but I could not get into this novel and could not be swayed by the characters themselves.  Perhaps another reader would be more accepting.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

“Holding the Fort” by Regina Jennings

“Holding the Fort” by Regina Jennings is a spirited novel, very humorous at times, which kept my interest throughout.  Louisa Bell is a songstress at the Cat-Eye Saloon, or was until she was replaced by a younger, blonder warbler.  She is desperate to find work, but she really isn’t prepared to do anything but sing.  She and her brother were always destitute and had to scrounge for a living.  Now her brother is a cavalry soldier in Indian Territory and she decides to find him.

When she finds her brother at Fort Reno, he has gotten into trouble with his commander.  Major Daniel Adams is having trouble with this soldier, with his motherless girls, with his mother-in-law and just about everything.  He thinks that Louisa is the governess that he has hired to tend his precocious daughters, but Louisa knows nothing about being a governess and having never gone to school herself is in a quandary about how to teach school subjects to these girls at the Major’s request.  All Louisa wants is to be respectable and to help her wayward brother.  Can she accomplish this while working for Daniel?

I enjoy reading Ms. Jennings’ works and found that this novel was entertaining and inviting as are her other offerings.

 

I was sent a complimentary print copy of this book by Bethany House in return for my honest review.

“The Runway” by Melanie Dobson

I have read many of Melanie Dobson’s works, the latest being, “The Runway” one in the Legacy of Love series.  Anna Brent and her father live in Liberty, Indiana during the time before the Civil War.  Indiana was a viable link in the Underground Railroad system that helped thousands of runaway slaves find freedom in Canada.  Anna and her father were part of the system and their home was a station on the railway.  They court danger constantly as they go against most of their neighbors in harboring the fugitives.  After the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, it was against the law to have anything to do with helping those poor souls find freedom.  Neighbors were pitted against neighbors and being caught could mean a large fine and imprisonment.   Some were even lynched or worse if found to have helped rescue a slave.

Anna writes a column in a local abolitionist newspaper under a pseudonym.  The local editor and noted abolitionist, Daniel Stanton is enamored by this “man’s” writings and risks everything to denounce those who support slavery.  When Anna’s work in the Underground is threatened, can she trust Daniel to keep her secrets and help her?  Ms. Dobson writes a very stimulating novel about the political climate at this time in history and the part ordinary people played in thwarting the system.

“The Brass Compass” by Ellen Butler

I was totally absorbed in reading “The Brass Compass” by Ellen Butler.  Lily St. James is an American who has been recruited to join the civilian OSS as a spy during World War II in Germany.  Since she is fluent in French, German and English, she is a natural for that role.  However when her position is compromised and her resistance links are discovered, she must escape to the Allied lines.  The Allies are in Paris and are headed to Berlin and she must join up with them as she has vital information about troop movements and air fields.  We follow Lily as she flees on foot into the Black Forest and over the countryside in the midst of enemy territory trying to find the safe lines.  I guarantee that the reader will be reading far into the night as Lily meets danger at every turn and finds both help and betrayal at the hands of some of the characters that she meets during her flight.

I enjoyed this book because it kept me on the edge of my seat as the heroine faced one danger after another.  The author is a gifted writer and her plots and sub-plots were realistic and engrossing.