“Journey to Hawk’s Peak” by MK McClintock

MK McClintock’s Montana Gallagher novels are very good reads.  I’m glad Ms. McClintock keeps the series alive with new stories about the inhabitants of Heart of the Mountain ranch.  In “Journey to Hawk’s Peak”, she writes about Amanda.  Amanda helped her father out in their mercantile in Iron City, until his murder and a fire destroyed her life.  She had to run for her life and hitched a ride with a wagon train going west.  Alone and scared, she made herself indispensable to the families of the train by cooking and watching their children.  She found work in a saloon when she was discovered there by the Gallaghers and offered a job on their ranch.

Even though she was happy and content with her new life, she was in constant fear that her past would be discovered and her happiness shattered.  Before escaping Iron City, she had been falsely arrested for setting the fire that stole her livelihood.  A sympathetic deputy helped her escape and she’d been on the run until she reached Montana.  This story becomes very involved and I enjoyed reading about the mishaps, troubles and the solutions that the Gallagher’s find for Amanda.

I enjoyed this book very much and hope to read more stories from this series.  I will also be looking for books in her other series.  I think Ms. McClintock has a wealth of plots left for us to enjoy.

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

“Sweetbriar Cottage” by Denise Hunter

I’m not usually one that likes to read contemporary romance novels because the plots seem to follow certain patterns and I get bored with them.  However, “Sweetbriar Cottage” by Denise Hunter was a surprise exception.  Noah Mitchell has given up his job to move to a horse ranch outside of town after a particularly painful divorce.  It has been three years and he has not gotten over his ex-wife’s deception, but is still trying.  Enter the IRS.  Noah receives a letter regarding his tax return and upon delving into the matter finds that the divorce was never finalized.  He blames his ex, Josephine, for not following through and making sure all the “t’s” were crossed and the “i’s” dotted.

He confronts her in her place of business and she promises to take care of it.  He is not happy about the delay.  He wants it done with.  Josephine decides to help him out by delivering the court papers to his cottage in the mountains, not realizing that the weather is closing in.  She becomes stranded there for the duration of the storm, while Noah keeps his distance and his attitude surly.  Circumstances occur which cause them to venture out in the storm, where they become stranded in the freezing weather.  Their unwanted togetherness causes them to reconnect and they find that their attraction for one another has not diminished.  Josephine is on the verge of death from hypothermia and opens her heart to Noah.

Ms. Hunter does not sugar-coat the character or personality of either Noah or Josie.  She gives the reader a great insight to what can be solved if each party just listens to each other.

I received a Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com but no review was required.

“Marrying Jonah” by Amy Lillard

Amy Lillard has written six books in the series, The Wells Landing Series.  “Marrying Jonah” is the sixth book.  These stories written about the Wells Landing community and its Amish residents portray life within the confines of the Amish religion.  Sarah Yoder has been smitten with Jonah Miller for years, even as a young girl.  But Jonah only has eyes for Lorie, who is torn between the English and Amish worlds and finally makes her decision to leave the community.  Jonah still loves Lori and  is not ready to take on a new love.

Sarah happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when Jonah takes her to talk by the pond that they used to frequent as children.  Her loving heart and his grieving heart come together and in comforting each other, they go over the line of good sense.  After a few weeks, Sarah finds that she is pregnant and tells Jonah who reluctantly makes things right by marrying her.  They both go through the shunning and the public confession that will let them stay in the church’s good graces.  However, that does not mean that their marriage will be easy and happy.

Join Amy Lillard as she shows how doing the right thing isn’t always easy or rewarding.  I enjoyed the book and the other books in this series.

I received a print advance reader’s copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.

“In Farleigh Field” by Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen is one of my favorite authors.  She wrote the Royal Spyness Myusteries, the Constable Evans Mysteries, and the Molly Murphy Mysteries.  I have read most of these and you will fine reviews on my blog.

I have just read “In Farleigh Field”, which takes place in England during the Blitz.  At one of the fields on Lord and Lady Westerham’s estate, a man dressed as a soldier is found dead.  Apparently the man parachuted into the field, but the chute failed to open, plunging him to his death.  Although the man is dressed like a soldier from the same unit that is occupying part of the Westerham mansion, Farleigh, something is not quite right.

Ben, Jeremy, and Pamela have been friends since childhood.  Pamela is one of the daughters of the Westerhams and Jeremy is the son of another lord of the realm who lives nearby.  Ben Creswell is the son of the local vicar and definitely not in the same social set as his friends.  Pamela and Ben works for MI5 and Pamela is a code-breaker at Bletchley Park.  Neither one knows that the other is involved in the war effort.  Jeremy has been shot down over Germany and is languishing in a prison camp.

This book, even though fiction, gave me a thrill a minute.  The clandestine investigation kept promising and delivering.  The possibilities of betrayal by one of Britain’s own was extremely interesting, especially since I had heard of some British who supported Hitler’s regime and were prepared for Britain to surrender.  I love the way Ms. Bowen incorporates historical fact in her novels.  I’m sure much research goes into each and every word she writes.  Although I have read many of her books, this one, “In Farleigh Field” is my favorite to date.  I sincerely hope that she is working on another novel in this same vein.  I will be looking for it.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you are interested in stories about World War II.  I received a print copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com and was asked to do an honest review.

“The Kommandant’s Girl” by Pam Jenoff

I love Pam Jenoff’s books – all of them.  “The Kommandant’s Girl” is the latest that I have read.  Ms. Jenoff’s portrayal of the Jewish situation in World War II is fantastic.  She makes their plight known and their struggles to stay alive during this harrowing time so palpable that reading the story not-stop to the end is a necessity to the avid reader.

I this novel, Emma Bau has been married to a young Jewish man for only a few months when the Nazis invade Poland.  Jacob is very political and decides that he must be a part of the resistance movement, which means leaving Emma alone.  She finds her way to her parents in the Jewish ghetto in Krakow and stays with them for a time.  Friends of Jacob find her, get her out of the ghetto, give her false papers and take her to Jacob’s aunt, a Gentile.  She is there with a little Jewish toddler whose mother has been killed and whose father has been taken away by the Gestapo.  Hopefully, they will be safe there during the occupation.

Krysia, Jacob’s aunt, is also a part of the resistance, but also a known socialite in Krakow.  She had many links to the resistance along with seemingly accepting the Nazi regime.  At a party where she is presenting her “niece and her little brother” to the Gentile community, Emma (now known as Anna) is noticed by the Kommandant.  He asks her to work for him as his personal assistant.  She has to say yes.  The resistance leaders can now use her to ferret information from the Kommandant’s office and relay this to the resistance.  In becoming closer to the Georg, she must make a personal decision whether or not to compromise her marriage vows for the greater good of the movement.

Ms. Jenoff’s writing is addicting.  I was unable to put this book down and after I finished it I could not stop thinking about the story.  I was unable to help myself, but I found that I was sympathetic to the Kommandant and to Anna in her dilemma.  I wonder how I would have handled the situation were I in their shoes.  I felt that the horrors of war and the circumstances surrounding the occupiers and those fighting against them were almost understandable.  The Kommandant had to follow orders and Anna was bound to honor her husband and parents in finding out information that would save her people.  I read this book with mixed emotions which have really made me think about those times and the people who lived them.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you are interested in stories about World War II.  I purchased a Kindle copy of this book from Amazon.com and was under no obligation to post a review.

“The Seekers” by Wanda E. Brunstetter

In “The Seekers” by Wanda E. Brunstetter, we see how the Amish lifestyle can provide good experiences for those in the community.  Heidi Troyer has been married for a few years to Lyle.  They have no children, much to her dismay and Lyle is away quite a lot for his business.  Heidi tries to fill her days with housework and gardening, but you can only clean so much and hoe the weeds until the garden is well tended.  Then what is she to do?  Heidi is a wonderful cook and she hears from her aunt who has started a quilting class for any and all who sign up.  She decides to start a cooking class and advertises in the community.  Not thinking she will have too many takers, she is quite surprised when she finds that five people are interested.  Charlene is engaged, but can’t boil water.  Kendra is pregnant and alone because her parents ordered her out of their house.  Loretta is a widow with two children and wants her kids to grow up in a simple lifestyle.  Eli is a widower who is very lonely after the death of his wife and always hungry because he can’t cook a lick.  Ron is a Vietnam Vet whose reasons for being on the Troyer farm are nefarious and we see how being with these others transforms him.  This is an interesting group of people and we find that all have shortcomings, but under the tutelage of Heidi, not only do they learn to cook, but they find acceptance and solutions to the problems that beset them.

I always enjoy books by Mrs. Brunstetter.  She is a favorite voice of Amish novels and stories.  I received a print copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

“The Newcomer” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

One of my favorite authors, Suzanne Woods Fisher has written another good book, “The Newcomer”.  We are witness to the immigration of German Amish to the Pennsylvania frontier in 1737.  This group of people is ready to begin a new life in America and experience the bounty of the land.  Anna König and Bairn Bauer have begun a romance and Anna is hoping that Bairn is ready to give up the sea and settle down to homestead.

Problems arise from the beginning as the church’s members cannot agree on anything.  Land grants are in dispute and Bairn’s father Jacob, the Amish bishop, is stubborn in his leadership.  There are also problems among the church members.  Bairn is given a chance to be a first mate for “one last” ocean trip and accepts the offer, which makes Anna wonder if he is ever coming back and if she should wait for him.  Along comes another immigrant from another ship, the newcomer, Henrik Newman.  The newcomer radiates joy and happiness with every event.  He sees the work of God in every hardship.  He is interested in Anna and in Bairn’s absence convinces her that he is the one she should marry.

The whole series of events that make up this book serve to give a perspective on the immigrants who settled America before the Revolution.  There are many reasons why a people would leave their home country and travel an extreme distance to find a new life.  I thought that Ms. Fisher did a wonderful job of portraying the hardships and troubles that these people faced.

I received a print copy of this book from Revell in return for my honest review.