The Pattern Artist, by Nancy Moser

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Born into a life of hard work, English housemaid Annie Wood arrives in New York City in 1911 with her wealthy mistress. Wide-eyed with the possibilities America has to offer, Annie wonders if there’s more for her than a life of service.

Annie chooses to risk everything, taps into courage she never knew she had, and goes off on her own, finding employment in the sewing department at Macy’s. While at Macy’s Annie catches the eye of a salesman at the Butterick Pattern Company. Through determination, hard work, and God’s leading, Annie discovers a hidden gift: she is a talented fashion designer—a pattern artist of the highest degree.

As she runs from ghosts of the past and focuses on the future, Annie enters a creative world that takes her to the fashion houses of Paris and into a life of adventure, purpose, and love.

First Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed every historical novel by Nancy Moser that I’ve read. It’s great to have the opportunity to review her newest title.

My Take:

Nineteen year old Annie Wood arrives in New York on the trip of a lifetime. Although she’s a lowly housemaid who has to answer to other servants, her sewing skills have necessitated her inclusion and she’s determined to make the most of it. But after disillusionment sets in and she makes an enemy in her temporary household, Annie decides to go after the American dream. What follows is a fast paced story which, while it does comes across as improbable at times, is highly entertaining.

It’s easy to like Annie. She isn’t perfect, but she’s eager to learn and has a positive attitude. She surrounds herself with good people from various backgrounds and some, such as Maude, are interesting enough that I’d like to read more about them. Annie’s story isn’t all sunshine and flowers, however, and there are some sad moments. I waited for the proverbial shoe to drop as the narrative moved towards April 1912 in Paris, and drop it does.

The Pattern Artist is a story about God’s nudging and how He has grand plans for each of us. It actually ties in well with a Bible study I’m currently doing. Even when Annie’s life is touched by tragedy, we see how He can bring about something positive from it. It’s also an enjoyable historical romance that I couldn’t put down and consequently stayed up very late to finish.

Thank you to Barbour Publishing for my complimentary copy of The Pattern Artist, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Do you plan to read The Pattern Artist? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (an imprint of Barbour Publishing)

Publication Date: 01 December 2016

Page Count: 320

Read more on:   Nancy Moser’s Website   Barbour Publishing’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, by Colleen Coble

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Kate Mason has devoted herself to caring for her family’s blueberry barrens. But after her fields stop producing fruit, she’s forced to come up with alternative ways to make a living.

Renting out the small cottage on her property seems an obvious choice, but it won’t be enough. When entrepreneur Drake Newham shows up looking not only for a place to rent but also for a nanny for his two nieces, it’s almost too good to be true. And maybe it is—because Drake brings with him dangerous questions about who might be out to kill his family.

The more time Kate spends with Drake and the girls, the more difficult it becomes to hide her attraction to him. But a family crisis isn’t exactly the ideal time to pursue a romance.

Meanwhile, Kate learns that her uncle—in prison for murder—has escaped. Add to that a local stalker who won’t leave her alone, and Kate is looking over her shoulder at every turn. With threats swirling from multiple directions, she wonders if her blueberry fields will ever flourish again . . . or if this twilight is her last.

First Thoughts:

I have to admit that I didn’t know understand the title at first. It turns out barrens are a type of ecosystem.

My Take:

Life in Sunset Cove, Maine, used to be quiet. But lately, Kate’s had more than her share of drama. Her mother’s in prison for kidnapping and manslaughter, and she’s been left to look after the family business. The last thing she needs is for her and her sister to discover two dead bodies at the base of some local cliffs. Trying to get her life in order, she gets a job as a nanny but then learns her employer is investigating the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law. Could there be a connection to her grisly discovery?

Like other titles by Colleen Coble, the narrative is a mix of romance and drama and there’s a heavy emphasis on relationships and connections. I was hooked by the suspense element: I wasn’t sure if there was just one person targeting Kate and Drake or if there two unrelated situations. I identified a major player just over halfway through. Coble’s writing gave few clues, so I had to follow it through to see if I was right. I was wrong on other plot elements, however.

This is the third and final book in Coble’s Sunset Cove series and you definitely need to have read the previous two novels before reading. It’s a separate tale, but involves the same group of characters. There are references to events in those books, but little detail is given. I’d read each book when it was released, but even I had difficulty remembering everything that had happened in them. The final chapter of the book wraps up the series at an important event, with an indication that life is going to be changing for everyone.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for my complimentary copy of Twilight at Blueberry Barrens.

Have you read Twilight at Blueberry Barrens? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (a division of HarperCollins Christian)

Publication Date: 20 October 2016

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Colleen Coble’s Website   TNZFiction’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

Tangled Webs, by Irene Hannon

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Finn has packed away his combat instincts–but he may need them again when danger begins to stalk his quiet hideaway . . .

After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn’t on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana’s foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action–ready or not.

First Thoughts:

I chose to read Tangled Webs because I’ve read the previous two books in the series.

My Take:

A faithful but desperate man is plagued by temptation, and is blackmailed by a criminal.  Two people trying to get over traumatic situations find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are the major players in the third book of Irene Hannon’s Men of Valor series.

I almost always find Irene Hannon’s books entertaining and easy to read. They’re a nice balance of romance and suspense with likable characters and happy endings. Tangled Webs looks at two issues relevant to today: the production and distribution of crystal meth, and also the mental health issues our military face upon their return from the front lines. (I hasten to add that our hero is NOT making the meth!).

One feature of Hannon’s novels is that the villain is revealed near the start of the book. I’m in two minds whether or not that’s a good thing. While the villain’s perspective is interesting, in this case I felt it lessened the suspense. I knew exactly who was responsible for the incidents on Dana’s property and why. It then just became a matter of time before Finn and Dana solved the mystery.

Thank you to Revell for my complimentary copy of Tangled Webs.

Have you read Tangled Webs? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 04 October 2016

Page Count: 368

Read more on:   Irene Hannon’s Website   Revell’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com