My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley, by Andrea Boeshaar

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Journey into the Shenandoah Valley of 1816 where…
With Very Little Left of the Family Farm, Lily May be Forced into a Loveless Marriage.

Captain McAlister “Mac” Albright has purchased land in the Shenandoah Valley. However, the land belongs to Lillyanna Laughlin—or so she erroneously thinks. Mac sets her straight and despite a poor start, the two become friends. . .if only he were financially stable to offer her more.

When Lily’s life is threatened and his whole future goes up in flames, Mac truly becomes a man without means, and Lily is forced to make the impossible choice between a loveless marriage with a man twice her age or the man who has shown her what true love could be. How can she choose between love and economic security? Her family is depending on her. Is her heart destined to break?

Journey into Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley of 1816 where a woman’s dreams and future happiness are on the line.

First Thoughts:

I’m currently reading Andrea Boeshaar’s Civil War series which is also set in the Shenandoah Valley. It’ll be interesting to read something by her set in the same place but over 30 years earlier.

My Take:

If you’re looking for a light-ish historical romance, please allow me recommend the My Heart Belongs series from Barbour. New books in the series are released every other month, and each is set in a different state. The latest offering takes place in Virginia, shortly after the end of the War of 1812. Mac is a veteran of the war and probably has what we would now call PTSD. When he meets Lily’s younger brothers who have romanticized the idea of seafaring, Mac must temper their dreams while facing his nightmares. Lily, meanwhile, is faced with the reality that the land she’s been tending has been sold out from under her feet and that she could also become homeless if she doesn’t acquiesce to the wishes of a local businessman.

The initial plot point regarding the land ownership is resolved early on and from there the plot focuses mainly on Lily and Mac trying not to be attracted to each other. They are joined on the pages by Lily’s brothers and spinster aunt, and Mac’s former shipmate who’s still trying to find his land legs. There’s a villain in the form of the businessman and class-conscious family members. There is some darkness within, with discussions about slavery and impressment (which could be considered a form of slavery carried out by the Royal Navy.) Despite these difficult subjects, however, I still found this to be an easy read.

Actually, I found this installment of the My Heart Belongs series to be shorter than what I’m used to reading. The story left me wanting more. I especially wanted to know about two characters whose futures were left somewhat up in the air. I could envision a Shenandoah Valley family saga except Boeshaar already has one in progress, albeit one set during the Civil War.

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

Have you read My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.


Publisher: Barbour Books

Publication Date: 01 September 2017

Page Count: 256

Read more on:   Andrea Boeshaar’s Website   Barbour Books’ Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million


Egypt’s Sister, by Angela Hunt

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

You Don’t Know Her Name. The World Remembers Only Her Greatest Friend: Cleopatra.

Raised together in the Alexandrian palace, Chava, the Hebrew daughter of the royal tutor, and Urbi, an Egyptian princess, become as close as sisters–and rivals with their dreams of greatness. When Urbi unexpectedly ascends the throne as Queen Cleopatra, Chava believes their bond is strong enough to survive. But absolute power has a way of changing everything. 

The ultimate betrayal rips Chava from everything she’s ever known and sends her to the lowest rung of Roman society where she must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will for her life, if she hopes to rise again.

First Thoughts:

This is my first Angela Hunt novel, although I’ve heard good things about her writing. I’m curious about Chava: I doubt she’s real, but how will she fit into history?

My Take:

I love history, but some of it is so confusing that I tend to stay away from it. That includes the Roman era, with its duplicate names and multiple marriages. The era of Egypt’s pharaohs and kings is no better: only now we have incestuous marriage to add to the mix. Kudos, therefore, to Angela Hunt, who brought these people to life in a way that wasn’t only entertaining but easy to understand.

Chava leads a life of privilege in Alexandria. The daughter of an educator to the king’s children, she forms a powerful friendship with the girl who will become queen. Naively, she believes their friendship will last forever and that she will be called to live at the palace as an advisor. But Chava is Jewish, which means she isn’t a citizen of Alexandria, and it’s this fact that will prove to be the tipping point for the relationship. Chava’s life takes a turn I hadn’t expected, even though a clue is given on the book’s back cover copy.

Egypt’s Sister is a fascinating look at a woman’s life in Roman-occupied lands. It’s set approximately 50 years before the birth of Jesus, in what has been termed ‘The Silent Years’ – the time between Malachi and Matthew in the Bible. Chava is an observant Jewess, and holds steadfast to her faith even when it’s to her detriment. I grew tired of Chava’s persistence of putting her friend ahead of everything; it’s a sign of her maturation that this changed to absolute devotion to God. I didn’t like Cleopatra, for her murdering and indulgent ways, but it’s a credit to Hunt that I had tears in my eyes at her end. I loved reading Egypt’s Sister, and was only disappointed that it had to end.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of Egypt’s Sister, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Egypt’s Sister? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.


Author Q and A

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 04 July 2017

Page Count: 384

Read more on:   Angela Hunt’s Website   Revell’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million

The Road to Paradise, by Karen Barnett

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

An ideal sanctuary and a dream come true–that’s what Margaret Lane feels as she takes in God’s gorgeous handiwork in Mount Rainier National Park. It’s 1927 and the National Park Service is in its youth when Margie, an avid naturalist, lands a coveted position alongside the park rangers living and working in the unrivaled splendor of Mount Rainier’s long shadow. 

But Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is still haunted by his father’s death on the mountain, and the ranger takes his work managing the park and its crowd of visitors seriously. The job of watching over an idealistic senator’s daughter with few practical survival skills seems a waste of resources.

When Margie’s former fiancé sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, the plans might put more than the park’s pristine beauty in danger. What will Margie and Ford sacrifice to preserve the splendor and simplicity of the wilderness they both love?

Karen Barnett’s vintage national parks novels bring to vivid life President Theodore Roosevelt’s vision for protected lands, when he wrote in Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter: “There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.”

First Thoughts:

This is the first in a new historical series set around America’s national parks. I love the cover style, representative of the era in which the book is set.

My Take:

In 1927, most women of a certain status are concerned with parties, clothes, and finding a suitable husband, but not Margie Lane. This senator’s daughter has long-harbored aspirations of living and working in Mount Rainier National Park. Her dream come true becomes hard reality when she can’t light a fire in her drafty cabin and comes face to face with some of the local wildlife.

Former park ranger Karen Barnett draws in readers from the very first line. Her personal knowledge of Mount Rainier National Park shines through in the beautifully detailed descriptions of locations within the federal property. Tidbits of information about Margie and Ford’s pasts are gradually revealed, leaving the reader wanting to know more with each turn of the page. Each character experiences periods as a ‘fish out of water’ as they spend time in both the city and the wilderness. Some of the book’s pivotal scenes take place toward the end on Mount Rainier itself, as Margie and Ford let go of the past in order to have a future. I thought these were the best parts of the book and found myself staying up late to finish it because of them.

The Road to Paradise (an actual location within Mount Rainier National Park) is billed as the first in a series of “Vintage National Parks” novels. Neither Barnett’s nor her publisher’s website has any additional information. As someone who loves our national parks (I even have the NPS Passport for recording visits), I’m looking forward to seeing which location is the subject of the next book in the series.

Thank you to WaterBrook and Blogging for Books for my complimentary copy of The Road to Paradise, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read The Road to Paradise? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.


Publisher: WaterBrook (an imprint of Penguin Random House)

Publication Date: 06 June 2017

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Karen Barnett’s Website   WaterBrook’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million