“Rule of Law” by Randy Singer

Although I signed up to review “Rule of Law” by Randy Singer, I was not anxious to read it.  The genre is not one of my favorites, political intrigue and thriller.  However, the subject interested me because it is loosely based on actual facts.  The author introduces the question whether or not the president is above the law in matters of foreign policy.  Since recent diplomatic truths have been brought to light, I was intrigued by this story.

It is a rather lengthy book, but I was able to read it in two days.  I could not put the book down.  I was totally immersed in the courtroom drama, the political maneuvers, the question of guilt or innocence of the president and her advisor, and the legal ramifications of the findings.  Mr. Singer has written a provocative story looking into the dangerous and difficult world of foreign intrigue and questionable practices of the executive branch of our government.  It’s too bad that this fiction novel has roots in the actual events happening today.  It gives great cause for wonder and concern for the reader as he recognizes the parallels.

I received a print copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity and Tyndale publishers as part of a blog review program.

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“My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley” by Andrea Boeshaar

The Shenandoah Valley, Virginia in 1816 is the setting and time period of the novel, “My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley” by Andrea Boeshaar.  In this novel, we follow Captain McAlister Albright who has purchased land from Silas Everett.  His friend, John Blake has quit the sea temporarily to accompany his Cap’n to his new holdings.  Unfortunately, Miss Lilyanna Laughlin and her family have owned this land for as long as she can remember.  Upon her father’s death Mr. Everett, her father’s “dear” friend took over as guardian to her and her two young brothers, along with Aunt Hilda, who clearly despises Mr. Everett.  Is it legal that he sold their land out from under them?  Mr. Everett had designs on Lily.  She is aware of it, but would rather be snake-bitten then succumb to the likes of him.  Mac and Lily find a friendship together as they sort out the legalities of their land ownership.

I thought the interaction among the main characters of this story were engaging, funny, and lent the novel some substance.  Mac’s own family is hesitant to back him because of allegations that he fought for the British in the war past.  His patriotism is suspect along with his family’s opposition to his new profession.  This is a good, light read.

I was given a complimentary print copy of this book by Barbour publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

“All She Left Behind” by Jane Kirkpatrick

Jane Kirkpatrick’s “All She Left Behind” is based on the true story of Jennie Lictenthaler Pickett Parrish.  Jennie married the first time to Charles Pickett with the promise of a good life together.  They had a son, Douglas.  Charles became a less than wonderful husband because of addictions and they shortly parted ways.  She was a self-taught healer with visions of becoming a doctor at a time when women doctors were not welcome either in medical school or by the community.  She eventually married Josiah Parrish, many years her senior, after being his wife’s companion and nursemaid during her terminal illness.  Josiah encouraged her to follow her dreams, but she waited until their two girls were older before she became a student at Willamette College in Salem, Oregon, founded in 1842.  Jennie was a person of faith and perseverance.  She never let anything stop her, not the abuse from her first husband, her son’s addictions, following in his father’s footsteps, not the censure from the community, or her family’s misgivings about her second marriage.  The title of the story, it seems to me, lets the reader know that her life meant something and her becoming a doctor in that day and age was a symbol of courage, fortitude, and love for humanity.  I would recommend this book and others from Ms. Kirkpatrick’s works.  However, I will say that I had to refer to the list of characters and their place in the novel from time to time.

I received a print copy of this book from Revell, but was under no obligation to post a review.

“Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelly

“Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelly is one of those books that is hard to read because of some of the subject matter and riveting because of the subject matter.  The story begins in 1939 and tells the story of three women: Caroline, a society girl in New York and a Francophile, who loves all things French, Herta, a German doctor and supporter of Hitler, and Kasia, a Polish Catholic girl, trying to stay under the Nazi radar.

Caroline is desperately trying to help French immigrants as they flee before war starts.  She is hampered by the current immigrant quotas imposed by the American government, which is trying to stay neutral in the conflict.

Herta is a doctor when female doctors are not respected and finds that she is only available to help dermatological patients.  She is eventually sent by the regime to Ravensbrück “Reeducation Camp” for women.  Here, against her principles, she does things that are totally against the Hippocratic Oath.  As time moves on, she is desensitized to what she is doing, hardens her heart and ignores the plight of the prisoners she is in charge of.

Kasia, a young Polish girl, lives with her mother, father and older sister, a doctor in the Polish town of Lublin.  She knows some of her friends are in the resistance movement, since the Nazis have overrun her country, and she wants to help too.  Unfortunately on her second mission, she is noticed and she and her mother and sister and friend are arrested and sent to Ravensbrück.

This novel, based on true stories of the “Ravensbrück Girls”, combines the lives of these three women and their stories during this time of conflict and after.  Even though parts of this novel were very hard to read, I felt that the story needed to be told.  After all this time, man’s inhumanity to man is difficult to understand.  Because of the way the writer has treated this story and because of the in-depth research that preceded the writing of this story, I have to give it five stars.  Wonderful book!

I received a Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com, but was under no obligation to post a review.

“The Promise of Dawn” by Lauraine Snelling

Lauraine Snelling’s stories of Norwegians coming to America are always heartwarming and engaging.  “The Promise of Dawn” is no exception.  Rune and Signe Carlson receive a letter from Rune’s uncle, Einar Strand, offering to pay their way to American in return for working on his farm and caring for his ailing wife.  They along with their three sons take Einar up on his offer to work off the payment for the trip.

Rune and Signe and the boys find that Einar is a gruff, intimidating, unfeeling man.  He is only interested in cutting trees to send to logging companies.  His wife is a shrew who runs Signe ragged.  Signe is in charge of the cooking, cleaning, nursing, gardening, sewing, canning, preserving, carrying, hauling and everything else you can think of to make the farm work.  They finally have enough of Einar and each in their own way stands up to him.  This causes much friction in the house, but they also determine that they have paid their fares many times over by the work they have done for Einar.

I thought Ms. Snelling’s characters started out to be subservient and downtrodden.  As the story goes on, you can see each one’s backbone starting to straighten and their attitudes change.  They are not mean, but they finally see that they each have value too.  I enjoyed reading this story because I relished the time when they put Einar in his place.

I received a complimentary print copy from Bethany House  and was under no obligation to post a review

“These Healing Hills” by Ann H. Gabhart

“These Healing Hills” by Ann H. Gabhart was a delightful book.  Not only was this book set in the Appalachian Mountains, but it also described what it was like coming home after fighting in WW II.

Francine Howard waited patiently for her supposed fiancé to return from the war, however, his sister told Franny that he had found an English miss and married her.  Francine decided to seek a fresh start in the Frontier Nursing Service as a midwife.  She was accepted and after training, was sent to the rural Kentucky hills to help the mountain women with birthing and give medical assistance when needed by others..  Some are hesitant to seek help from outsiders, but most welcome the availability of having medical help when it’s needed.

Ben Locke has returned to his Kentucky mountain home from serving overseas.  The outlook is bleak from the standpoint of finding a job that is not in the mines.  He served as a medic in the army and is considering becoming a doctor.  But how can he walk away from his family who needs his help just to survive.  Times are hard and the people are harder.  Moonshine is the most valuable product to come out of the mountains besides coal.  This makes the hills and dales dangerous to the people who live there and to the outsiders.

Is it possible that Francine and Ben can find common ground in these hills?  This story is compelling to read and thrilling in another sense.  I fell in love with the mountains and the people who live there from reading this book.  I know that is a romanticized idea of reality, but I am comfortable living in that fantasy and would recommend Ms. Gabhart’s work.

The Frontier Nursing Service was a real program founded by Mary Breckinridge, a member of an influential Kentucky family who lost two young children.  She was determined to improve the health of the women in rural Kentucky.

I received a complimentary print copy from Revell as a member of the Blog Tour Team.

“Maggie’s War” by Terrie Todd

The war has touched Maggie Marshall’s life in more ways than one.  Maggie has received word that her husband Doug, fighting for the Canadian Army, has been declared dead.  Maggie experiences a deep sense of relief at this news because her husband was abusive and she wanted a way out.  Because of events in her past as a young girl, Maggie has taken it upon herself to help young girls who have found themselves in trouble.  She arranges for the girls to live with her, work in her restaurant, and then helps them give their babies up for adoption.  Her life has made her bitter and hard.

Reverend Reuben Fennel is a childhood friend of Maggie’s.  He has always had much affection for her, but has been too intimidated to do much about it.  Reuben steps in when Maggie needs help finding a runaway girl.  Their escapades result in some hard lessons for both of them.

In “Maggie’s War” by Terrie Todd, this story unfolds gradually and eventfully.  Although the reader may presume the ending, the meat of the sandwich, so to speak, is quite satisfying.

I received a complimentary Kindle copy from NetGalley.com and was under no obligation to post a review.