“Love on the Prairie” by Ciara Knight

In “Love on the Prairie” by Ciara Knight, we see the destruction that the war left on the citizens, the communities, and those who bravely fought in this war.  Abigail McKinnie and her sisters are left with nothing after Sherman’s march to the sea during the Civil War.  Because they will starve if they don’t think of something to help, the sisters decide to offer themselves as mail-order brides.  Although with seven young women looking not for love, but for security, the pickings in their community are slim to none.  Abigail, as the oldest, decides that she will accept the offer of marriage from their cousin and travel to their cousin’s ranch.  Her intention is to convince him to bring all her sisters to the ranch establish their home there.  Upon her arrival she finds that her cousin has died and his friend now lives in the dugout home the cousin inhabited.  She is determined to take over the property since she and her sisters are the only living relatives of the deceased.

Owen Baker has just finished burying his friend and finds letters to cousin, Willy, from Abigail regarding her travels to marry him.  Owen is too late to stop her journey and prepares to send her right back to Georgia when she arrives.  And THAT is the gist of this story.  Abigail is determined to stay and Owen is just as determined that she go.  What happens in between the beginning of the story and its ending will keep you up late reading.  I enjoyed this book and would not hesitate to read other works from this author.

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

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“Kitty’s War” by Barbara Whitaker

“Kitty’s War” by Barbara Whitaker begins on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia when Katherine spies something in the water.  Upon investigation, she finds a very handsome man in a raft, obviously having been at sea before something terrible happened to him.  A naïve young girl, she finds herself thinking of him constantly as the months pass.  Against her family’s wishes, Katherine (Kitty) volunteers for the WACs for duty overseas as a nurse.  She runs into the man again and this time he is an airman on duty in England, but he doesn’t recognize her as his savior.  Kitty’s friend, Madge is a forward flirt and captures Ted Kruger’s attention.  When Ted realizes who Kitty is, they begin a romance.  However, Ted is shot down over Germany and languishes in a prison camp until his escape.  Can he and Kitty get back together?  Is Madge the one Ted wants?

I thought this novel was well thought out and I enjoyed the descriptive way that Ms. Whitaker moves the story along.  Every time I wanted to put the book down to get something else done, I just couldn’t do it.  I love war-time romances set during WW II, and I loved this book.

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

“The Lost Sisters” by Lindsey Hutchinson

I was very anxious to read “The Lost Sisters” by Lindsey Hutchinson.  The story begins with Orpha Buchanan’s mother physically and verbally abusing her, finally throwing her out of the house.  Albert, Orpha’s father, obviously has no idea that this treatment is happening to his daughter and she is afraid to tell him.  Not only that, but previously and infant daughter was “stolen by Gypsies” as an infant, never to be found.  After roaming the countryside, Orpha meets up with Peg and is taken in by her.  Lo, and behold, they find that they are sisters.  Peg is the long lost infant.  Although I admired the ability of the author to conjure up these instances, the longer I read, the more inconceivable it became.  Hortense Buchanan was an evil woman and how she got away with all she did, abuse, arson, murder…is beyond me.  Although I read the book in its entirety, I questioned every new coincidence that occurred.  Albert’s inability to see the truth, his apathy in bringing his wife to justice, his “other’ life that was brought to light… just really irritated me.  And through it all Orpha becomes a successful entrepreneur.  The ending was unbelievable.  I’m sorry, but I would not recommend this book.

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

“Gathering the Threads” by Cindy Woodsmall

The third book in Cindy Woodsmall’s The Amish of Summer Grove series, “Gathering the Threads” continues the story of Skylar and Ariana as they come to terms with the fact that they were switched at birth and brought up in totally different ways.  Ariana comes back to her Amish family, but with different ideas that cause discord with her Amish parents and siblings.  She is trying to determine just who she is after knowing she comes from Englisher parents and brought up in an Amish home with their plain and strict ways.  The bishop of her community is determined to make her knuckle under and conform to the way Amish women are treated.  She is resisting and the subsequent dramas that follow make up the story.

I was in total agreement with Ariana throughout the book because I know that my stubbornness and independence would totally rebel at the condescending way women are treated as subjects, not individuals.  I thought this book gave much to think about and I was glad that I read it.

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

“The Return” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

We usually think of Indians in novel as being the western variety conflicting with settlers and cowboys.  Rarely do we think that when our nation was very young and during the westward settlement push in the east, the Native Americans were being pushed from their home territory and hunting grounds to accommodate the influx of farmers and entrepreneurs.

“The Return” by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a book about the German settlers in the state known as Pennsylvania and settled by William Penn.  Most of these settlers fled Europe to avoid religious prosecution and were content to forge their own simple lives in the New World.  Their relationship with the natives was mostly peaceful; but the conflict known as the French and Indian Wars caused havoc and terror among the settlers.

In “The Return”, Ms. Fisher addresses the problem of Indiana attacks and the terror of being taken captive.  Taking scalps and gruesome murders by the “savages” was a normal result of an Indian attack.  Betsy Zook’s mother and father were killed in a raid on their farm.  Betsy and one of her brothers were taken captive while the younger brother hid until the attack was over and he was able to go for help.  Her kidnapping caused a domino effect throughout the territory and caused some of the settlers to exact revenge on innocent natives.

I very much enjoyed this look into the history of the early years of our nation.  Ms. Fisher writes with much enthusiasm and historical knowledge.  It is evident in her portrayal of the settlers and Indians in this novel.

I received a complimentary print copy of this book from Revell Publishers and a Kindle copy from NetGalley.com and was under no obligation to post a review.

“Never Done” by Grace Dehlinger

“Never Done” by Grace Dehlinger, a book about settling in Colorado during westward expansion.  Albert Willin brought his wife and daughters to the San Luis Valley to start a cattle ranch and has prospered well.  The family lives in a beautiful home on the prairie. After the death of his wife and sons, Albert marries his first cousin, sixteen-year-old Geneva, the best friend of his daughter, Clara.  The story centers on his daughter Clara, who at the beginning of the book is a spunky fourteen-year-old, becomes a young woman, married to a cow-puncher, and living in a shack, finds life harder than she ever imagined.  Following her husband Vincent from job to job and taking her children with them becomes a way of life for Clara.  The animosity between Geneva and Clara makes living in harmony impossible.

After Vincent takes to the bottle to drown his sorrows at not being able to provide for his family causes he and Clara to separate and eventually divorce.  Clara works hard and steadily at different jobs to provide for her children.   Along the way she meets Jonas and after a year’s courtship, they marry.  However, tragedy follows Clara throughout her life and she becomes a stronger woman for it.

I enjoyed this book because I think it gave a perceptible view of what life in the west was like in those early years.  The work was back-breaking, the weather harsh, and the rewards few.  Very well written, this book kept my interest throughout.  I felt so much compassion and sorrow for Clara and her children and I kept wanting things to get better.

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

“The Promise of Breeze Hill” by Pam Hillman

I was delighted to read “The Promise of Breeze Hill” by Pam Hillman.  I loved this book because of the sweet romance, the mysteries surrounding the Natchez Trace, the intrigue and the way that life during that time period was described.

An indentured carpenter, Connor O’Shea is chosen by Isabella Bartholomew for his help on her father’s plantation.  There have been many tragedies in the Bartholomew family of late and at the beginning of the book, no one suspected that someone wanted the Bartholomews out.  The death of the son and heir, the fiery destruction of part of the plantation house, missing stock, mysterious trespassers, and other incidents really do not come to the surface until Connor comes to the plantation.  His presence puts a distinct kink in the works for the one person wanting to see the demise of Breeze Hill.

I loved the book and its fast pace kept me reading long into the night until I was finished.  I thought the characters in the story were well-described and their actions fit their characters.  I also like a good romance and this was that.  Well worth my time reading this book.

I received a complimentary print copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a review.