A Stranger at Fellsworth, by Sarah E. Ladd

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Could losing everything be the best thing to happen to Annabelle Thorley?

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, where her estranged uncle serves as the school’s superintendent. Upon arrival, Annabelle learns that she must shed her life of high society and work for her wages for the first time in her life.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to purchase land he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s death, Owen begins to consider a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.

First Thoughts:

This is the third in the Treasures of Surrey series. But why does the character’s background sound familiar?

My Take:

I feel that, lately, I’ve come across a couple of books where the female lead character has been abandoned after by her fiancé after her family has lost its fortune. Before starting A Stranger at Fellsworth I was certain I’d read about Annabelle before in one of Sarah Ladd’s novels. A quick search revealed that it was similar to what happened to minor character Penelope Gilchrist in The Curiosity Keeper, book one of Ladd’s current series. In this third novel, we also get a glimpse of a more desperate existence when Annabelle discovers a former family friend in similar financial difficulties.

Determined to avoid an unenviable fate, Annabelle schemes with a stranger to get away from London to start a new life at her uncle’s school. Her maid accompanies her, but she soon learns she will need to do without the girl who is given a new position. Annabelle must now fend for herself, which she seems to do very easily. But throughout the pages, it’s apparent that she feels inadequate to her assignment. How can she teach the practical skills her students need when she doesn’t herself possess them?

Much of the novel portrays Annabelle’s adjustment to her new role and her budding relationship with Owen. But you know something is building, especially when all the main characters come together in one place. The great thing was not knowing or expecting how Annabelle’s situation would ultimately be resolved. While there is a happy ending for our lovebirds, however, I did wonder what would happen to the book’s ‘bad guys.’

A Stranger at Fellsworth concludes Sarah Ladd’s second trilogy. While the series is called Treasures of Surrey, the only connection between the three books is Fellsworth School. As a result, the Superintendent of the school, Annabelle’s uncle, is the only common character. Each book in this enjoyable series, therefore, can be enjoyed without having to read the other two.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary copy of A Stranger at Fellsworth, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read A Stranger at Fellsworth? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (a division of HarperCollins Christian)

Publication Date: 16 May 2017

Page Count: 336

Read more on:   Sarah Ladd’s Website   Thomas Nelson’s Website

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

Grounded Hearts, by Jeanne M. Dickson

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

 

First Thoughts:

I’m unfamiliar with Ireland’s role in World War 2, so I’m hoping for a novel that’s informative as well as entertaining.

My Take:

When Dutch Whitney parachutes into an Irish bog, he has two thoughts on his mind: the fate of his crew, and getting back to the fight. But County Clare is a long way from safety, and he’s injured. He’s fortunate to stop at the isolated cottage of a nurse and midwife who can tend to his wounds and who has a car he can “borrow” – if he can get it running.

Grounded Hearts Jeanne M. DicksonI have mixed feelings about Grounded Hearts. I felt the plot plodded for the first two-thirds and I didn’t feel the rising tension I expected. I was waiting for Dutch to be discovered, but nothing in my emotions screamed “Danger!” I did grow increasingly annoyed with each appearance of the lecherous – and ambitious – army reserve officer investigating Whitney’s whereabouts. I couldn’t connect with Nan: her Catholic beliefs left her feeling guilty for much of what she did, while my opinion of her republican background was colored by my own experiences of growing up in England during a time of IRA bombs.

One aspect I did make note of was how Nan and Dutch changed. Nan was a lonely woman who eventually found herself surrounded by friends eager to help her. Dutch saw how his military actions could impact innocent civilians just trying to get on with their lives. While helping her ‘flyboy’ escape north, Nan was able to escape from her recent, tragic, past. The title might be Grounded Hearts, but these were two hearts that took flight.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Waterfall Press for my complimentary copy of Grounded Hearts, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity Book Tour

Have you read Grounded Hearts? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Waterfall Press (an imprint of Amazon Publishing)

Publication Date: 13 June 2017

Page Count: 348

Read more on:   Jeanne M. Dickson Website

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

Wings of the Wind, by Connilyn Cossette

book cover Wings of the WindPublisher’s Overview:

Can vengeance give way to forgiveness when one woman’s destiny becomes entangled with the very enemies she sought to destroy?

Motherless and raised alongside her brothers, Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting. When her father and brothers are killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, has spent his share of time on the battlefield and is shocked to find an unconscious woman among the casualties. Compelled to bring her to a healer back at the Hebrew camp, he’s unprepared for the consequences of what he intended as an act of compassion.

In order to survive, Alanah must unite with her enemy. But will a terrible revelation drive her toward an even greater danger?

First Thoughts:

I chose to read this book because it followed on from Counted With the Stars and Shadow of the Storm. It does, however, appear to be set much later in the Exodus, and I’m wondering how much commonality there will be between the books.

My Take:

Wings of the Wind is one of those Biblically-based novels that reminds me how little I really know the Old Testament. I didn’t know about many of the battles they faced, and my eyes have often glazed over the various rules by which they were expected to abide. The premise of this novel is that Tobiah is compelled to marry the female warrior he captures on the battlefield. On the one hand, marrying a captured woman was permissible according to Deuteronomy 21 but, on the other, it would’ve been forbidden according to Deuteronomy 7 since Alanah was a Canaanite. I’m still slightly confused, but Connilyn Cossette seems to have taken a middle ground by describing Alanah as a Canaanite who had no faith in the Canaanite gods and hated the pagan rituals of her people.

This is the final book in the Out From Egypt series and takes place approximately 37 years after the previous two. The majority of characters are new, but it was good to see at least one familiar figure. It isn’t necessary to read the series in chronological order, but I’d suggest doing so anyway. It does follow the Biblical narrative of the Israelites’ time in the wilderness, as described in Numbers 21 and Joshua chapters two through six. There are mentions of God providing fresh water and manna, of their growing boredom of His provision, of Korah’s rebellion and fate, the various battles fought, and the vital action around the walls of Jericho. And, not to spoil things too much, but I was surprised to see Cossette weave another important Biblical figure into the story. It isn’t so much that the character appears, but how they feature.

While I don’t think Wings of the Wind is the best book in this trilogy it is, nevertheless, a good read. The young Hebrew woman, Moriyah, becomes a sympathetic character in the novel and I closed the book wanting to know what happened to her. The good news for me is that it looks as though she’ll appear as the main character in a new book by Cossette next year.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of Wings of the Wind, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Wings of the Wind? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 02 May 2017

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Connilyn Cossette’s Website  Bethany House’s Website

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