Liar’s Winter, by Cindy Sproles

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Lochiel Ogle was born with a red-wine birthmark–and it put her life in jeopardy from the moment she entered the world. Mountain folks called it “the mark of the devil,” and for all the evil that has plagued her nineteen-year existence, Lochiel is ready to believe that is true. And the evil surely took control of the mind of the boy who stole her as an infant, bringing her home for his mother to raise.

Abused and abandoned by the only people she knows as family, Lochiel is rescued by a peddler and given the first glimpse of love she has ever known. The truth of her past is gradually revealed as is the fact that she is still hunted by a brother driven to see her dead. Unsure if there’s anyone she can truly trust, Lochiel is faced with a series of choices: Will she continue to run for escape or will she face her past and accept the heartbreaking secrets it reveals? Which will truly free her?

Set in the wild and beautiful Appalachian Mountains of nineteenth-century East Tennessee, Liar’s Winter is an unflinching yet inspirational exploration of prejudice and choice. 

First Thoughts:

This novel sounds like it’ll be difficult to read. But I read Sprole’s debut novel a couple of years ago and it turned out to be amazing.

My Take:

When I read Cindy Sproles’ debut novel a couple of years ago I found it easy to give it five stars. Second novels are either equally as brilliant or fall flat in comparison. I wasn’t sure which I’d get with the next of Sproles’ Appalachian novels, but I’m happy to say I was not disappointed. Lochiel (pronounced Low-Kill) has encountered very few people in her 19 years, having been kept hidden away by her adoptive parents. She thinks their treatment of her is normal and, therefore, something she should expect from others; that’s if they don’t run screaming from her first. When she’s rescued by strangers – and continues to be helped by them – she wonders what they want in return. Instead, they introduce her to a loving and trustworthy God, one she’ll turn to when all seems lost.

Liar’s Winter was an engrossing read from the beginning. It’s written in the first person, and Lochiel’s ‘voice’ came through clearly. She was heartbreakingly ignorant of the world around her and I recognized a form of Stockholm Syndrome every time she said that the Ogle family had treated her well and that she felt guilty for “leaving them.” There were moments in this book that left me momentarily stunned, breathless with the turn the narrative had taken. The tears were streaming down my cheeks as I finished the final page.

Thank you to Kregel for my complimentary copy of Liar’s Winter, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

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

Excerpt

Publisher: Kregel Publications

Publication Date: 27 June 2017

Page Count: 264

Read more on:   Cindy Sproles’ Website   Kregel’s Website

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

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The Captivating Lady Charlotte, by Carolyn Miller

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Her heart is her own–but her hand in marriage is another matter

Lady Charlotte Featherington is destined for great things on the marriage market. After all, as the beautiful daughter of a marquess, she should have her pick of the eligible nobility when she debuts. She, however, has love at the top of her list of marriageable attributes. And her romantic heart falls hard for one particularly dashing, attentive suitor. Sadly for Charlotte, her noble father intends her betrothed to be someone far more dull.

William Hartwell may be a duke, but he knows he was Charlotte’s father’s pick, not the young lady’s own choice. And the captivating Lady Charlotte does not strike him as a woman who will be wooed by his wealth or title. While she has captured his heart, he has no idea how to win hers in return–and the betrayal and scandal his first wife put him through makes it difficult for him to believe that love can ever be trusted. His only hope is that Charlotte’s sense of responsibility will win out over her romantic notions.

Can a widowed duke and a romantically inclined lady negotiate a future and discover love beyond duty? Will they be able to find healing and hope from the legacy of grace? Poignant and charming, this is another beautifully written, clean, and wholesome Regency romance from Carolyn Miller.

First Thoughts:

Having previously read The Elusive Miss Ellison, I’m guessing the Charlotte of the title is Lavinia’s cousin from that book.

My Take:

Having read The Elusive Miss Ellison just a few short months ago, it’s delightful to once again meet that book’s namesake on the opening page of Carolyn Miller’s newest Regency romance. The venue is St James’ Palace no less, and the occasion is Lavinia’s cousin’s court debut. And although this novel is centered on Charlotte and William, Lavinia and her husband appear frequently and have a major storyline.

Relationships are a major element in The Captivating Lady Charlotte. We see how Charlotte is treated by a mother who doesn’t believe in love but does believe in outside appearances. We note how William is reluctant to trust any woman after a disastrous first marriage. We observe how Lavinia’s mother despises her son’s wife because of past events. One of my favorite moments is when it becomes Charlotte and William versus the world, or at least against her mother! Early on, Charlotte comes across as a spoiled brat, acting in a manner more suitable of a child. I didn’t think she was good marriage material at all. Thankfully, time spent in Lavinia’s company makes her realize that she does need to grow up and, in particular, stop acting on her emotions. As for her brother’s present behavior, however, I would be concerned for any woman who becomes his wife. Hopefully, he’ll also mature in short order.

The Captivating Lady Charlotte is the second in the series Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace. Each book in the series focuses on a particular romantic pairing, but the three leading ladies were all introduced in book one. It’s certainly worth reading The Elusive Miss Ellison to understand their backstory although, technically, I suppose each book could be read on its own as they are compartmentalized tales. After learning why Miss Ellison was so elusive and what made Lady Charlotte so captivating, I’m looking forward to learning the reason for Miss DeLancey’s dishonor this coming October.

Thank you to Kregel for my complimentary copy of The Captivating Lady Charlotte, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read The Captivating Lady Charlotte? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Kregel Publications

Publication Date: 27 June 2017

Page Count: 312

Read more on:   Carolyn Miller’s Website   Kregel’s Website

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

Too Deep for Words, by Andrea Boeshaar

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Carrie Ann Collier has been a newlywed for nineteen blissful days–as blissful as life can be in the midst of war, that is. Soon that war will take a toll she never expected. When her new husband, Peyton, goes missing during battle, she refuses to believe he is dead and must find a way to move forward with everyday life in the face of fear.

As Carrie struggles with how to welcome her estranged sister, Margaret, back into her life, another new arrival appears on her doorstep–her husband’s best friend, and rebel officer, Eli. Wounded and bitter, Eli is nonetheless committed to keeping his promise to Peyton: take care of the Collier women, no matter what. But to Carrie, he’s a painful reminder of her lost love.

Then unexpected news makes Carrie wonder if miracles do happen. If Carrie infiltrates the enemy once again, she might find out what really happened to the love of her life. Will Eli be able to keep his promise to keep her safe? Can they forgive each other if promises are broken?

First Thoughts:

This is a continuation of the story begun in A Thousand Shall Fall. From the premise, however, I’m wondering if the romantic hearts of readers will be happy or broken by the end.

My Take:

Andrea Boeshaar takes readers back to the latter half of the Civil War in the second title of her Shenandoah Valley Saga. I have a mixed view of middle books as I’ve felt some of them have merely been filler. I’m happy to say this is not the case with Too Deep for Words. The story of the Bell and Collier families continues with a look at life on the southern home front. What was it like to have your city continually change hands, as happened to Winchester, Virginia? What could you do when a man in uniform informed you that your home was being requisitioned as a field hospital? What if you were quiet supporters of the Union?

While Carrie and Peyton are still the major characters in the series, much of this book focuses on Margaret, Carrie’s sister, and Eli, Peyton’s friend. I wasn’t a fan of Margaret at first, but she grew on me as she attempted to find her place in her new environment. Meanwhile, although it looked like Eli was trying to do the right thing, I was never entirely sure of his motives. Was he to be believed or not? I do know, though, that I couldn’t stand his domineering mother!

Too Deep for Words is not a book you can read on its own. It starts just a matter of days after the events of A Thousand Shall Fall, and often refers to events in that book. And it finishes on a maddening cliffhanger! Like me, once you’ve finished reading, you’ll be eager for the next book in the series. According to Andrea Boeshaar’s website, it has a title but it won’t be out until next year!

Thank you to Kregel for my complimentary copy of Too Deep for Words, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Too Deep for Words? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Kregel Publications

Publication Date: 27 April 2017

Page Count: 320

Read more on:   Andrea Boeshaar’s Website   Kregel’s Website

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