The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis

tinderbox

Pages: 310

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Published: April 2, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: With her Amish parents’ twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller stumbles across a surprise–the old brass tinderbox her clockmaker father keeps in his Lancaster County shop has been left unlocked. Against her better judgment, Sylvia opens the cherished heirloom, not realizing that what she is about to discover will splinter apart her happy life.

Sylvia’s bewilderment grows when her father confronts her about snooping in the box. To her amazement, the respected convert to the Old Order reacts as if he has something to hide.

Burdened by the weight of his deception, Earnest Miller decides he must reveal the details about his past to his beloved wife, Rhoda. The long-kept secret alters everything for the close-knit family, jeopardizing Earnest and Rhoda’s relationship, as well as threatening Sylvia’s recent engagement to the preacher’s grandson.

Can the Millers find a way forward through the turmoil to a place of forgiveness and acceptance?

My review: I have been reading Beverly Lewis for I know twenty years and each book she releases keeps getting better and better. The Tinderbox is going to be one of my favorites. I am already eagerly anticipating the sequel due out later this year.

The shock at the end had my jaw dropping to the floor. What a surprise.

I admire Rhoda and her strength and faith in God to work through the secret her husband, Earnest, kept from her. I don’t think I could have been as calm and understanding as she. As always Lewis shows how our belief in God can help us with forgiveness but she doesn’t preach it. I like that.

A solid four star read.

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Mending by Susan Lantz Simpson

mending

Pages: 288 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: August 28, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Malinda is happy to be out of the hospital in Ohio and heading back home to Maryland. As she settles back in the swing of home life she wonders if she will ever share the joy her friend Phoebe has with her boyfriend soon to be fiancé. Malinda has Chron’s disease and feels she is a burden to everyone around her, especially her family.

Timothy has been in Malinda’s life for as long as anyone can remember as he is her older brother, Sam’s, best friend. Timothy has waited patiently for years for Malinda to grow up and be ready to accept suitors. Now that the time has come can he convince Melinda that she will never be a burden to him?

What a beautiful love story between Malinda and Timothy. The love and patience he has for Malinda would make any girl swoon, young or old, English or Amish. Both of them have a strong faith in God and the way it is portrayed is great. The author uses real life experiences to show how God is in each of our lives. The author writes with such knowledge that one would think you were reading a true story and not one of fiction.

This is the second book by Susan Lantz Simpson I have read and I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Book through NetGalley and any all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison

every time

Pages: 304 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: July 24, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is the first Beth Harbison book I have read and I was pleased with the book. I am not a huge fan of ghosts or spirits but she did it very tastefully. By the end of the book I was almost wishing my Papaw would come visit me so I could tell him I love him one more time.

Willa’s husband died three years ago of a heart attack while working at their Ocean City, Maryland beach house. This summer she has decided it is time to put the beach house up for sale. She gets there and realizes a lot of work needs to be done on the inside and outside before she can put it up for sale. Not long after she arrives her husband’s spirit visits her. At first she thinks she is cracking up but the more she visits the more she realizes he is there for a reason. As the summer progresses her son, best friend and best friend’s daughter come to help her get the house in order and help her finally deal with her husband’s death. It is a summer of change for everyone.

I am not 100% sure that Willa’s husband’s spirit actually came to visit or her. I think in her grief she wished for a connection to him and conjured him up in her subconscious when she needed the connection to him. I believe there is a bit of Willa in all of us when we lose someone close to us. We want that person to be here with us and look for any sign to show is that they are here with us.

They relationship between Willa and her son Jamie is very believable. I was impressed with how much he grew in a few weeks at the shore with his mom especially when he got rid of the psycho girlfriend. The scary idea is the psycho girlfriend was so real. Sad to say my own son had one of those for a while. I was glad to read a story where the someone was strong enough to break it off and not keep dragging the relationship out continuously.

Every Time You Go Away is a tender, heart wrenching book that will make you think about how short life is and how quickly it can change.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Murder at the Mansion (Victorian Village Mystery #1) by Sheila Connolly

murder at the mansion

Pages: 328 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: June 26, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kate left her hometown of Asheford, MD after high school graduation and never really looked back until she received a call from her high school best friend asking her to help save the town. The only thing the town has going for it is the Victorian mansion owed by Henry Barton. One town council member, Cordelia “Cordy” Walker wants to rip everything out and turn it into an upscale hotel and run it herself. As Kate tours the mansion and starts putting together a plan, she finds Cordy dead on the mansion’s front steps. Who would want Cordy dead or maybe the question should be who doesn’t want Cordy dead? Can Kate solve the murder and save the town?

An excellent first book in a new series by Shelia Connolly. I am very excited to see how the series progesses. The premise of building the town into a Victorian Village is very interesting. Normally I am not a huge fan of American Victorian literature, classic or modern, but this series may just change my mind. The history that is woven in throughout the book is given to the reader in a knowledgeable way but so filled with boring facts that you get lost. I learned a lot about Clara Barton and her work outside of the Red Cross that I had no clue about. I want to read more about it but at the same time I don’t want to ruin any future plot lines of the series.

There is a little bit of a romance but it plays very lightly in the background. It in no way distracts from the murder mystery. I hope it stays that way for a couple more books in the series so we can continue to build up the characters.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

jack

Pages: 544 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: May 29, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A historical fiction account of a love affair between JFK and Alicia Corning Clark which may have resulted in a love child.

Alicia is a Polish refugee who arrives in Hyannisport via Oklahoma to work as a maid for the Kennedys. Jack (a young JFK) becomes dazzled by her beauty and starts a romance that leads to an engagement. Jack’s father, Joe, has other ideas of who Jack should marry and it is not a maid from Poland. Over the years Alicia and Jack continue to see each other on the side but they each marry other people.

Alicia tries to become someone important but winds up rich in money but poor in family and friends as her life comes to a close.

I found this book fascinating as I have always enjoyed reading about JFK. This book sure has me rethinking what a great guy he was as he is portrayed as a playboy, slob and rude person his entire life. I believe I had my head buried in the sand as to his true character.

I felt sorry for Alicia as I cannot imagine being separated from my parents to go into hiding and then learning my father was killed in a concentration camp and my mother was only a shell of herself. I thought she was a strong person to leave her mother to try and get them a better life. She did the best she could. Money to her was important and that is how she saw a way to get her mom what she needed and later in life she used the money to make herself happy in the moment. She did one of the most selfless acts in letting someone else raise her baby as their own. She thought she was protecting the baby.

Does Alicia’s story have truth? I believe it does.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel through NetGalley from St. Martin’s Press. Any opinions expressed in the review are entirely my own.

The Promise by Susan Lantz Simpson

promise

Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Nineteen year old Phoebe wants to raise alpacas and takes every opportunity to learn about their sweet tender nature. Her mom, sisters and her attend a Saturday market in town and while learning about the alpacas her baby sister, Naomi, is kidnapped. Both her and her younger sister, Martha, feel responsible. Phoebe has struck a deal with God that if her sister is returned she will marry Micah Graber even if she doesn’t love him and he does not share her dream of owning alpacas.

Ben has moved to the area to help his aging grandparents run their farm and is excited to learn about the alpacas at a neighboring farm. He hopes to be able to convince his grandfather to add the sweet animals to his menagerie of animals. Ben meets Phoebe at the alpaca exhibit at the market and falls in love. Can he help Phoebe during this difficult time and save her from making a lifelong mistake?

I was very excited to read an Amish book set in Maryland as I have visited the area and that makes books even more interesting to me. I can recall the smells and feel the weather like I am right there with the characters.

Phoebe – You have a sweet love story going on in the background while a terrible tragedy is unfolding. Phoebe is trying to come to terms with her part in the kidnapping of her baby sister. She keeps herself busy with chores around the house to the point of exhaustion. You really get a sense of how strong the Amish are physically and mentally. I admire Phoebe’s mental strength as I am not sure I could keep it together one little bit.

Micah – JERK. The nicest term I can use. I have never disliked an Amish character as much I do Micah. He is arrogant, cruel, and a bully. He treats others like the dirt on the bottom of his show. I cringed every time I read his name.

Martha – Phoebe’s 13 year old sister who Phoebe asked to watch the younger two sisters and decided being with her friends was more important. You make think 13 years old is too young to be in charge of the younger siblings in such a public place but we have to remember that the Amish teach their children to responsible from a very young age. Martha is a very spoiled brat and tends to be extra whiney when she should be helping around the house. At one point I wanted to have Micah court her just to teach her a lesson but he was way too old for her. I do think she learned from mistake by the end of the book.

Ben – He is the main every little girl dreams of marrying one day. Patient, kind, soft spoken and caring. He would do anything to make Phoebe happy.

I can’t wait for The Mending to be released in August of this year.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for a copy of the book to read in exchange for my honest review in my own words.