“Hope on the Plains” by Linda Byler

“Hope on the Plains” is the second book in The Dakota Series by Linda Byler. I did not read the first book in the series, but if I had I might have a different slant on this book.  The story takes place on the plains of North Dakota during the 1930’s and the Great Depression.  Those who tried to eke out a living during this time of drought and hard times had to have the constitution of an ox.

The Detweiler family, an Amish family who lost the father to a maddened cow a few months before, are trying to make a go of the cattle ranch they want to build.  Fighting fire, blizzards, wolves, floods, and dust storms, it is not easy to keep the faith.  Some in the region are going back home to Pennsylvania.  Sarah, the mom, is trying to believe that God will provide even though at times her children are near starvation.  Hannah and Manny are working themselves to death to keep the herd of cattle they have from starving.

I believe in hard work, but I have issues with Hannah and her attitude.  She is a loner.  Hates people, hates to be told no and hates for someone to question her ideas.  She also is determined not to marry and holds men at arm’s length.  Actually, she really got on my nerves to the point that I wished her mother would smack her.  This really colored my thoughts on the book as a whole.  Also, the ending left me wanting.  Hannah was the reason for this also.

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“The Tory” by T. J. London

“The Tory” by T. J. London was very intriguing and insightful.  I enjoyed the book, but had a hard time deciding who was on which side of the conflict.  During a war, some men act honorably and some are beasts who take the opportunity to act with extreme savagery.  Lieutenant John Carlisle is a Tory who is sent into upstate New York to try to induce the Ojibwa and Oneida tribes of the Iroquois to join their side against the patriot rebels.  He is to establish himself as a trader willing to trade with the Indians.  His headquarters is at the inn of a half-breed woman, Dellis McKesson.  Dellis is trying to make the inn profitable and also try to rein in her schitzophrenic brother, who hates the British because of what they did to his family.

It was difficult for me to keep all the players straight.  At one point, I didn’t know if the Lieutenant’s men were Tories or Patriots.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed the book until I came to the end and realized that the book was not a stand- alone book and that I would have to read the subsequent novel in the series.  I was not happy reading only to find that the story was not resolved in this book.

I received a complimentary Kindle of this book from NetGalley.com., and was not required to write a review.

“The Cactus Creek Challenge” by Erica Vetsch

“The Cactus Creek Challenge” by Erica Vetsch was a delightful read.  The premise is that every year Cactus Creek sponsors a challenge in which two town members switch occupations for one month.  Then the townsmen vote with money to choose who is doing the better job.  This year, however, it is decided that two women will switch jobs with two men.  The school teacher switches with the sheriff, the baker switches with the livery owner.  The rest of the book provides a hilarious look at what these teams can accomplish, not to mention that it brings the couples ever closer to seeing each other for what they really are.

Each job is not without its problems for the challenger, some are funny, some are quite serious and dangerous.  I think you will find that this book is a great respite from the demands of your days.  Enjoy!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publisher and was not required to write a review.

“The Prisoner in the Castle” by Susan Elia MacNeal

Susan Elia MacNeal writes the Maggie Hope Mystery series.  I have tried to keep up with her writing by reading every book that comes out under that series title.  I love her books.  The latest book I have read is the eighth book in the series, “The Prisoner in the Castle”.

The book opens with the training of an SOE spy, who has gone overboard with her training and killed a fellow trainee during a dummy mission.  She is sent to Killoch Castle where surprisingly other SOE agents are being held.  They can have no outside communication, visitors, mail, or calls.  They are allowed to walk the grounds and are otherwise provided for materially.  Imagine my surprise to find that Maggie Hope is one of the “prisoners” instead of the other way around.  It seems that Maggie knows a bit too much information and in order to prevent the possible spread of that information to the Nazis, she is being held indefinitely on the Isle of Scarra.  Scarra is almost inaccessible.  The island is ringed with tidal pools which make it impossible to escape by boat or otherwise.

The “fun” begins when people start dying, murdered by an unknown hand.  One by one they are being picked off.  Of course it could be any of them as all of them have been taught to kill quietly and quickly and by various methods.  It is up to Maggie to ferret out the murdered before there is no one left.

Because she is needed to testify in an upcoming murder trial her friend or “more than friend” Detective Inspector James Durgin searches for her and goes through channels and around channels to find her.  Thankfully, he comes to her aid just in time.  So Maggie lives on to go on another adventure and I am faithfully waiting to read about it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.com in order to be able to post a review.

“The Weaver’s Daughter” by Sarah E. Ladd

“The Weaver’s Daughter” by Sarah E. Ladd tells the story of the past versus the future.  This novel takes place in Yorkshire, England where sheep, wool, and mills dominate.  Those who are weavers raise the sheep, card the wool, make cloth and sell it.  The mills are trying to be more progressive and economical by bringing in machinery that will do the job more cheaply and faster.  This sets up a war of sorts between the weavers and the mill owners.

Kate Dearborne is the loyal daughter of a weaver and as such follows her father’s wishes on the war against the mills.  Henry Stockton is the grandson of a mill owner and has been away from Yorkshire for his education.  Coming back into the community pits him against the weavers even though he is not comfortable with what his grandfather is doing.  There ought to be a compromise.

Matters become heated, death and destruction follow the raids the weavers make on the mills.  The millers defend themselves and neither side is willing to work together.  The climax comes when Kate has to make a decision.  Does she keep quiet and perhaps cause lives to be lost, or does she do what she thinks is right and try to stop the conflict.

I enjoyed this book and thought the author’s research had to have been extensive to have written such a good novel.  I would recommend this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.com in order to be able to post a review.

“Going Home by James Shipman

“Going Home by James Shipman is a book about growing up and going home.  It wasn’t until I finished this book that I realized that it was written by the author about his family ancestors.  Poor Joseph Forsyth has been used and abused from the beginning.  First he and his family leave Ireland to find peace and prosperity.  On the voyage to America, Joseph’s drunkard father loses all his money in a card game and sells Joseph into bondage.  Joseph is taken to Quebec and after his indenture is determined to find his father and mother.  He actually does find his father in northern New York State and stays to help his wayward father, new wife and half-sister keep their farm.  He is hard-working, determined and loyal – to his detriment.

His father has not stopped his drinking nor his gambling and in order to pay off a debt, Joseph enlists in the Northern Army during the Civil War.  He is wounded in battle and would have died except for the care and concern of a nurse in the Union hospital.

Eventually recovering, he returns home to marry a hometown girl and tries to make something of himself.  His wife Lucy’s father is a manipulating man who always gets what he wants and only if it profits him.  Joseph endures years of being under another’s thumb until he’s had enough.  What ensues next is uplifting, yet sad.

The author did a fine job of writing about his ancestors.  The book was hard to read in spots and it seemed as though Joseph took a long time to stand up to what he wanted.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.com in order to be able to post a review.

“A Most Noble Heir” by Susan Anne Mason

“A Most Noble Heir” by Susan Anne Mason is set in the late 1800’s in Derbyshire, England.  The hero and heroine are servants in the home of the Earl of Stainsby, who is not a very nice man.  Servants are not permitted to be familiar with each other, so it is with stealth and determination that Nolan Price and Hannah Burnham have found each other and plan a life together.

Nolan’s mother is also a servant in this house and has come to the end of her life.  Before she breathes her last, she tells Nolan that he is actually the legitimate son of the Earl.  After the Earl is made aware of this fact and has accepted it, he decides to educate Nolan into the world of the aristocracy.  Of course, this puts a whole new outlook on the wedding plans with Hannah.

After a series of misinformation, the demands of his father and expectations for his future, Nolan and Hannah are separated.  What comes to pass later and how that happened is the rest of the story.

I enjoyed the characters in the book.  I also thought that the author did a great job of leading the reader through the happiness and then the sadness that befalls the two beloveds.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity.com in order to be able to post a review.