Friday, May 31, 2013

The Quote Book // May 2013

/ / T H E   QUOTE   BOOK / / 
Dear Reader,
Welcome to TLM's The Quote Book" for May 2013!

Unfortunately, Bethany will be unable to join us for this month's post of quotes that we have gotten from the books that we have read this month. She has a lot going on. But, never fear! I'm still going to share mine! I hope you enjoy them and get a chuckle or two.

 / / M a d i ' s Q u o t e s / / 
  • "Reuben smirked. He must have thought that he made her cry. And truth be told for the first time she did weep for him and for all those like him who were so smug in their religious convictions. People who could not see that the pleasures of stirring up gossip and spreading lies would be short lived." - Pg 67 of "The Winnowing Season" By Cindy Woodsmall
  • "If love can move mountains, it should be able to move a mattress through a too small opening, right?" "It's worth a try." -Pg 116 of "The Winnowing Season" By Cindy Woodsmall
  • "A woman who tries to be like a man is a waste of a good woman." -Pg 272 of "The Winnowing Season" By Cindy Woodsmall
  • "I don't believe the purpose of life is to be happy. It's to serve. It's to be useful." -Pg 125 of "A Voice In The Wind" By Francine Rivers
  • "You'll never know what you'll accomplish if you don't take the first step." -Pg 57 of "The Secret" By Beverly Lewis
  • "Time to rise and shine." She moved away. "I've risen . . . just not shinin' yet." -Pg 87 of "The Secret" By Beverly Lewis
  • "It wasn't what you intended to do in life that mattered, but what you actually did." -Pg 113 of "The Secret" By Beverly Lewis
  • "A closed door is closed for a reason." -Pg 150 of "The Secret" By Beverly Lewis
  • "Sometimes innocent things done in a spirit of kindness - even out of intended care - came back to bite you." -Pg 213 of "The Secret" By Beverly Lewis
  • "She smiled at Yonnie's unique - even peculiar - approach to finding a life mate. Curious as it seemed to some, there was something to be said for taking one's time in the matter." -Pg 222 of "The Secret" By Beverly Lewis
  • "Makes no sense to fret over what can't be changed." -Pg 21 of "The Missing" By Beverly Lewis
  • "Sophie almost wished the duchess would scream instead. A dark feeling of oppression, of an evil presence in the room, came over her, as it often did when the duchess was interrogating her. Jesus, help me. Take away my anger. The oppressive feeling subsided." -Pg 10 of "The Fairest Beauty" By Melanie Dickerson
  • "As Sophie paced the dungeon cell, she prayed for Duchess Ermengard, since the book of Saint Luke told her to love her enemies. It was a difficult task, she had to admit. But the verses also said that God would someday put her enemies under her feet. She supposed she needed to be righteous for God to do that, so she continued praying for her enemy." -Pg 23 of "The Fairest Beauty" By Melanie Dickerson
  • "God, please save me from this place," she rasped. But she refused to pity herself. Pity would only make her cry, and crying was worse than useless; it would give her a headache." -Pg 35 of "The Fairest Beauty" By Melanie Dickerson
  • "The man had nearly been killed protecting her - she still could hardly believe what he had done - and she shouldn't be ogling him. She was behaving like Darla, who ogled every man under fifty who still had most of his teeth." -Pg 153-154 of "The Fairest Beauty" By Melanie Dickerson
  • "The work of God cannot be rushed. The young are impulsive, eager to take action, but the wise man waits for God's direction." -Pg 280 of "The Fairest Beauty" By Melanie Dickerson
  • "I don't think his heart will be broken, but his pride may be bruised. And sometimes, it's worse to hurt a man's pride than to break his heart." -Pg 309 of "The Fairest Beauty" By Melanie Dickerson
  • "Ethan looked like six full feet of stubborn and another few inches of dumb. He hadn't grinned in a while though." -Pg 34 of "In Too Deep" By Mary Connealy
  • "God's strength is made perfect in weakness." -Pg 309 of "In Too Deep" By Mary Connealy
  • "Life was precious, and each day should be lived to the fullest." -Pg 34 of "Lydia's Charm" By Wanda E. Brunstetter
  • "Laziness is the habit of resting before you get tired, you know." -Pg 43 of "Lydia's Charm" By Wanda E. Brunstetter
  • "Keep your temper; nobody wants it." -Pg 51 of "Lydia's Charm" By Wand E. Brunstetter
  • "Lydia feared it might rain. But then as quickly as the sun vanished, it reappeared. Josh tipped his head back and squinted his eyes. "I like it when God turns on his light." -Pg 57 of "Lydia's Charm" By Wanda E. Brunstetter
  • "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you've forgotten the words." -Pg 166 of "Lydia's Charm" By Wanda E. Brunstetter
  • "You have God. And when you feel as if you have nothing left, then you'll realize that God is enough." -Pg 168 of "Lydia's Charm" By Wanda E. Brunstetter
  • "It's better to burp and be in shame, than not to burp and" Monno held up his hand. "That's enough." -Pg 192 of "Lydia's Charm" By Wanda E. Brunstetter
  • "He snores real loud when he's sleeping. He also picks his teeth with the end of a paperclip." -Pg 221 of "Lydia's Charm" By Wanda E. Brunstetter
  • "That's no excuse! Nobodies life is perfect. We can rise above our circumstances and love everyone the way the Bible says we should." -Pg 253 of "Lydia's Charm" By Wanda E. Brunstetter
  • "It's better to work too hard than not hard enough." -Pg 351 of "Lydia's Charm" By Wanda E. Brunstetter
  • "A woman making her own way in the world had to toughen up quickly or get squashed." -Pg 9 of "A Tailor-Made Bride" By Karen Witemeyer
  • "He may have crawled under her skin and set her temper to itching, but she didn't have to scratch it." -Pg 61 of "A Tailor-Made Bride" By Karen Witemeyer
  • "There is nothing wrong with bright colors and beautiful lines. If God had wanted the world to be a somber, colorless place, He would have made everything in black and gray. But He didn't. He filled his creation with color and beauty." -Pg 145 of "A Tailor-Made Bride" By Karen Witemeyer
  • "Being afoot in Texas was a good way to end up dead." - Pg 10 of "Swept Away" By Mary Connealy
  • "Idle hands are the devil's playground, you know." -Pg 75 of "Swept Away" By Mary Connealy
  • "God has given us the answers we need, if we will only discover them and apply them to our lives." -Pg 15 of "Nearing Home" By Billy Graham
  • "Dear, the most inexpensive and lasting face-lift is just to smile; it draws your features upward, and that draws people to you." -Pg 19 of "Nearing Home" By Billy Graham
  • "We should never get too old to learn or to smile." -Pg 19 of "Nearing Home" By Billy Graham
  • "There is much the young can learn from those that have traveled the distance." -Pg 20 of "Nearing Home" By Billy Graham
  • "We can reject the opportunity to be used of God, or we can seize opportunities to impact others as a testimony to Him." -Pg 38 of "Nearing Home" By Billy Graham
  • "God forbid that we should ever retire from prayer, the sweetest work of the soul." -Pg 40 of "Nearing Home" By Billy Graham

I hope that you enjoyed my quotes, and we look forward to hearing your feedback. If you decide to do your own rendition of "The Quote Book" we would love for you to share it with us!
 ~The Literary Maidens (Madi & Bethany)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ray Of Light By Shelley Shepard Gray Blog Tour

                  / / R ay   O f   L i g h t / /                      

{R e v i e w  B y  M a d i }

Title: Ray Of Light
Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 262
ISBN: 978-0-06-220442-4
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars
D e s c r i p t i o n ( T a k e n F r o m GoodReads ) ::
"When two hearts connect on a beach in Florida, is it a brief romance . . . or the start of a lasting love?

After family secrets come to light, causing an uproar, Roman Keim is taking a much-needed vacation to Pinecraft, the Amish snowbird community in Florida. The warm weather is a welcome break from the bleak Ohio winter, as is a week off from all his family's drama. But Roman's own drama begins when he meets his next-door neighbors: Amanda Yoder, a beautiful young widow, and her adorable daughter, Regina.

In the two years since her husband died, Amanda has never looked at another man. She certainly doesn't intend to get married again. But she can't deny that there's something special between her and Roman. As his week in Pinecraft comes to a close, Amanda knows that, in spite of her attempt to remain distant, she's given Roman a piece of her heart. And her daughter seems to have fallen in love, too.

Is there hope for a second chance at love for Amanda? Or will duty call Roman home first, far from the two women who have captured his heart?"

// M a d i ' s R e v i e w //
When I got "Ray Of Light" by Shelley Shepard Gray in the mail to review, I was a little surprised. Not because I dislike the author or because the cover was appalling, nooooo. I just didn't remember requesting it! Haha! I'm sure that I did, I just don't remember doing so. But I'm glad that I did. It was a good, quick read, and I read it in less than a day. And, hey, you'll never hear me complain about another book to add to my shelves!

So, once I got past my joy in receiving an unexpected blessing, I dove right in!

 First off, I would like to start off with how much I like the lead male characters name.
I think Roman is such a unique and masculine name. The first thing that came to mind was a Roman soldier from way back when. Gives ya the shivers, doesn't it? Prince Charming took a stroll through my head when I read it. Anyhow . . .

I thought this book would have been perfect for a relaxing day at the beach under the shade of an umbrella. And not only because most of the book was placed on sunny California beaches. It was a light hearted story, and it put me in a good mood. I loved how despite Amanda's loss of her husband Wesley two years prior, she did her best to be content with her current situation. She still misses Wesley, but the ache in her heart was starting to fade.

Roman and Amanda meet when they are both vacationing and are staying in neighboring condos. Roman is instantly enchanted, and Amanda just wishes that he would stop ogling her. It's actually super cute to see how Roman treats not only Amanda, but her young daughter (Regina) also. It's so refreshing to see a real gentleman (even if it is only in a book). I certainly wish there were more guys like Roman in this world. Although they are rare, I'm quite sure that they really are out there somewhere. Because if I don't find my Gilbert Blithe I'm never gonna marry. But that's a little off subject.
The only thing that I wasn't overly fond of was the lack of "wow". It was kind of a bland and predictable story. I really like things that keep me on the edge of my reading chair. Something that takes my heart through the wringer. This book didn't really do that for me. But you might dislike that kind of thing. To each his own. :)
N o t e :: I received a free copy of Ray of Light from Litfuse and the publisher to read and review. I was not paid to do this review. All thoughts expressed in the book review are my own and completely honest and unbiased.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nearing Home By Billy Graham Book Review

N e a r i n g   H o m e:  T h o u g h t s   O n   L i f e ,   F a i t h ,   

A n d   F i n i s h i n g   W e l l

 { R e v i e w  B y  M a d i }

Title: Nearing Home
Author: Billy Graham
Source: Review Book From Booksneeze
Number Of Pages: 260
ISBN: 9781594154461
Publisher: Christian Large Print
Publication Date: 2011
My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

 / / D e s c r i p t i o n / / :
"I never thought I would live to be this old."
/ /  M a d i ' s   R e v i e w  / /
Billy Graham is such a remarkable man, and God has used him in ways that very few have the opportunity to experience. If you haven't read his biography Just As I Am then I encourage you to do so. I have grown up listening to Graham's sermons and reading his books, and his story has made such a huge impact on me. This man is, in my opinion, is a modern day prophet. God has used his sermons and crusades to bring millions to Jesus. If you are thinking of reading or purchasing anything by Billy, you won't regret it. Even if you think the discussion topic doesn't apply to you or your circumstances, he always puts something in his books that makes them beneficial to anyone who takes the time to read them.
This book, was about Billy's journey through accepting old age and all that comes along with it with grace, patience and faith. Though I don't have to worry about this certain trial for quite some time, I still found great encouragement in Graham's words. There are little bits and pieces that anyone, young or old could apply to their lives. I wish more people of my generation would turn to people like Billy Graham; people who have already traveled the road that we are on. Adults used to be treated with respect, and were often looked to when they were in need of wisdom. Now our elderly are often cast aside, told that they are senile and disregarded because people think they are talking just to talk. The way I see people treating their elders nowadays makes my blood boil. They obviously know something about life that we don't. Anyway, this book is a great book for anyone to read. It is pretty short, I read it in a couple of hours. I love the way the author got his points across. The way he made a point by telling  stories reminds me of how Jesus used to teach in parables, and everything that he says has scripture to back it up. I highly recommend Nearing Home to anyone and everyone.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
~The Literary Maidens

Review + Giveaway // Roses Have Thorns By Sandra Byrd

Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I (Ladies in Waiting #3)// R o s e s    H a v e   T h o r n s //
A   N o v e l   o f   E l i z a b e t h    I
L a d i e s   I  n   W a i t i n g   B o o k   # 3
B y   S a n d r a   B y r d
{ R e v i e w    B y   B e t h a n y }
Title: Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I
Author: Sandra Byrd
Source: Review copy from the author
Number of Pages: 336
Publisher: Howard Publishing
Publication Date: April 9th, 2013
 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Bethany's Age Recommendation : 15+

// Book Synopsis //

"From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court.
Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage—or your life?

In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiance has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between an unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.

Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart."
// Bethany's Book Review //
I have read both To Die For, and The Secret Keeper, the first two books in the Ladies In Waiting series. So when I heard that there was a third book on Queen Elizabeth I, I was very eager to read it and looked forward to it's publication for several months. While this book wasn't my favorite book in the series, I certainly enjoyed it and loved how it was very rich in history and historical facts, along with a good amount of fictitious additions to liven up the story.

The biggest pro for me, with this book is the amount of history! I love learning about great women of the past, especially those of high importance that placed a huge role in history; so I really enjoyed learning more about Queen Elizabeth I and her ladies maids. I like how this story was written from Helena's view (Queen Elizabeth's highest ranking ladies maid) and it not only gave a behind the scenes view at Queen Elizabeth's life, but also provided a interesting view in court that is from a lesser known position: the ladies maids and women who tended to Queen Elizabeth I. I think that reading this series has definitely helped me become more aware of the great Kings and Queens of our past, and sparked an interest in learning as much as I could about them! Anyone who enjoys history would be sure to enjoy and benefit from reading these books, as the amount of research Sandra did for this novel is obvious in the rich historical facts in the story.

There were two big cons for me though. The first was probably the difficulty I had with keeping all the characters in line and remembering how they are related. =) I've always had a difficult time with the whole family relations deal, and sometimes it can be confusing! However the four family trees that Sandra provided in the book were very helpful. But even then sometimes I would get a little lost and that was the biggest con for me as sometimes I'd just give up trying to remember how a lesser seen character is related and what they are to the Queen, etc. But overall I did still learn a lot through the history and was able to at least remember all the main characters.

The other con for me was the marital intimacy details and descriptions. I felt like it got a little too detailed during some scenes with Helena and her husband on several occasions, and it overstepped my comfort line. So for this reason would recommend the book for ages 15+. Other than this though I enjoyed the book, even it though it took me a while to read. At first I was planning on giving it 3 or 3.5 stars, but in the end I decided on 4 since I loved all the history.

For those that are new to Sandra's Tudor fiction series, who have an interest in reading Roses Have Thorns, there is good news. This series is not one that has to be read in order, and aside from a few tiny details, there is no overlapping of the books, and they would easily be read out of order without needing to worry if you hadn't read the previous books in the series. I'd like to thank Sandra for providing me with a review copy of Roses Have Thorns, and for sponsoring today's giveaway!

// The Giveaway //
Today Sandra has been so generous to allow us to giveaway a copy of Roses Have Thorns to one of you! To enter this giveaway, please use the RaffleCopter form below. Giveaway is open to the U.S. and will run until June 10th 2013. After this the winner will be contacted via email with a request to email us their mailing address so we can forward that to Sandra. The winner's name will also be announced on the RaffleCopter widget below after the giveaway ends and a winner is drawn at random using provided through RaffleCopter. As always, if you have any questions just leave a comment! Have a lovely day! =)
~The Literary Maidens

a Rafflecopter giveaway

N o t e :: Bethany was not paid to review Roses Have Thorns or giveaway a copy on this blog, and received a free copy of the book to read and review from the author.  All thoughts expressed in the review is my own and completely honest and unbiased.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Forsaken Dreams Book Giveaway Winner!

Forsaken Dreams (Escape to Paradise, #1)Our very first book giveaway for a signed copy of MaryLu Tyndall's book Forsaken Dreams has ended! Before telling you guys the exciting news, which I'm sure you are anxious for; as to who won, I would like to thank each and every lady who entered! You guys are so awesome and we were surprised at how many of you entered! I'd also like to extend a HUGE thanks to MaryLu who graciously provided a review copy for Bethany to review as well as a copy to giveaway to one of you! So I'm sure you want to know who won, right? *Drum roll please...............*
The winner of a signed paperback copy of Forsaken Dreams by MaryLu Tyndall is.........

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations, Michelle! I've already emailed you with info on reeeming your prize, so check your inbox! As for all of you who didn't win, be sure and check out our other book giveaway that ends on the 31st for a copy of The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson over HERE! Thanks again to MaryLu as well as all who entered! It was a lot of fun and we plan on hosting more book giveaways in the near future (In fact we already have two lined up to be posted soon, so keep an eye out). You ladies has a most blessed weekend!
~The Literary Maidens

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oh How Pinteresting Wednesday {#1} Book Quotes

Today we are linking up with The Vintage Apple for the fun Oh How Pinteresting link up, where we share recent pins from our Pinterest boards! Sounds fun right? Since this is a book blog, we have decided to primarily focus on book related pins, from both Bethany and Madi's Pinterest boards. Today Bethany will be sharing some of her pins from her pinterest board Confessions of A Book Worm. Today I'm making the pin theme book quotes, so I'll be sharing some favorite book quote pins!
// Bethany's Confessions of A Book Worm Pinterest Board //

Sunday, May 19, 2013

In Too Deep By Mary Connealy Book Review

   / / I n   T o o   D e e p / /

{ R e v i e w   B y   M a d i}
Title: In Too Deep
Author: Mary Connealy
Source: The Author Provided Me With A Review Copy
Number Of Pages: 331
ISBN: 978-1-62090-531-9
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2012
My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / /
He casually agrees to a marriage of convenience... never expecting to fall in love with his bride.

Ethan Kincaid proposes marriage with the same detachment he gives every decision. Audra Gilliland accepts his proposal so she can stop being a burden to her newly married stepdaughter.

But Ethan never expected Audra to affect him so profoundly, and it terrifies him. Someone he loved was once seriously injured on his watch, and he won't let that happen again. If Audra will just do as he says, he can keep her safe from the dangers that lurk on the ranch.

Audra has been cared for all her life by one man or another—and they've done a poor job of it. Now she's planning to stand up for herself. And her new husband had better agree or get out of her way!

Can two fearful hearts—wary of getting in too deep—become two trusting hearts, willing to let go and fall in love?
 / / M a d i ' s   R e v i e w / /
 I hated this book. JUST KIDDING. It was fantastic. I read the first book in this series on my kindle, and it was so great I thought that Mary would be hard pressed to trump Rafe and Julia's story. She did. In Too Deep was suspenseful, and had something new happening on every page. The cave was one of this series best aspects, and it's not something that you read everyday. Not to mention the comedy. Mary has a sense of humor that could make one of those London guards with the silly hats cackle. There was one line in there that totally made my day: "Ethan looked like six full feet of stubborn and another few inches of dumb." Mary, you don't know how often I think that about my brothers ;) . Of course, that wasn't the only quote I got from this book, but y'all will have to wait for this months The Quote Book post to see the rest, because if I added them all in the review it would make for one super long post ;) .
Ethan Kincaid was the middle kid of the Kincaid boys, and he wasn't used to giving orders. Rafe ordered, he obeyed. That's how their family had worked for most of his life. But when he goes from being a bachelor to a husband and father all in one day, he is forced to take some responsibilities. And, turns out, he doesn't mind one bit.
Audra's last husband was a low-down polecat, and he didn't treat her and her two children the way he ought. But now that he's dead, she has to do something. Her children aren't safe where they are, and she can't stay at the main house with two single men. She may have to agree to a marriage of convenience, but she'll be darned if she lets THIS husband push her around, or anyone else for that matter.
Watching Ethan and Audra fight their battles and triumph over trials was such a treat. I loved how Ethan always treated Audra with the utmost respect. The gentlemen of my generation could most definitely learn a thing or two from Ethan Kincaid. I can't wait to see how this story ends in the next book in this series (which is about the third Kincaid brother, Seth). Well done Mary! Another amazing piece of literature.  
~The Literary Maidens
N o t e :: I was not paid to review In Too Deep by Mary Connealy. After contacting the author with a request to host a review, Madi was sent a free copy of In Too Deep from the author to read and review, and was not paid to do so. All thoughts expressed in the review are my own and completely honest and unbiased.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review + Giveaway // The Fairest Beauty By Melanie Dickerson

The Fairest Beauty// T h e   F a i r e s t   B e a u t y //
B y   M e l a n i e   D i c k e r s o n
{B o o k   R e v i e w   B y  B e t h a n y  &  M a d i}
Title: The Fairest Beauty
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Source: Both ladies received a review copy from the publisher to review
Number of Pages: 323
ISBN: 0310724392
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing
Publication Date: January 2013
Bethany's Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Madi's Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
// Book Synopsis //
"A daring rescue. A difficult choice."

Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother's jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie's one chance at freedom—but can she trust another person to keep her safe?

Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl's inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible—she is his brother's future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else—he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what.

When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help—but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them—they must also protect their hearts."
// Book Trailer //

// Bethany's Book Review //
Wow. Just wow. I LOVED this book! There were so many aspects of this book - so many little things that really added up - I just can't believe how wonderful this book was! Melanie has done it again and left a lasting mark on the classic Snow White fairytale, writing a novel even better than the original!
First off, I think it's super cool how Melanie re-writes well known fairytales and makes them even more amazing than the originals! I loved how The Fairest Beauty was heavily based on Snow White, yet it had some unique aspects that were very original and made this classical story even better. I liked how she kept the "evil" stepmother, knight in shining armor, and the seven dwarfs in the story but added the unique parts like the cross necklace and it's life saving scene, and how Lady Rose from The Healers Apprentice was incorporated at the end of the book.
Second of all, I just loved Sophie. Like a lot. I loved her sweet character and her unwavering faith in Jesus Christ even when she didn't know what He was doing or why she was going through hardships. My second favorite character was Gabe. What a hero. He was so respectful of Sophie and a true gentleman. Another note I'd like to add while I'm talking about the characters, is I liked how Melanie handled the evil witch in the original Snow White. I liked how she was actually a stepmother in the book, and how even though it was quite obvious that she was less than kind and very cruel, I liked how she wasn't made out to be a scary or spirit-filled witch. It was very obvious that she was the "bad girl" but we were spared nasty details and all that.
Another thing I adored about this book was how Christ was a part of the story. I loved all the Bible verses that characters brought up or quoted as well as the prayer and emphasis on making sure the marriage was according to God's will. I also loved how there was an emphasis on the family's blessing on the marriage, as that is something I see lacking in our culture today.
This book was so excited and a real adventure! I actually started it at 10 p.m. thinking I'd just start it and wasn't really planning on staying up late or reading a lot. Ha! Long story made short, I was up until midnight where I finally stopped after completing half of the book, and then it was only because my eyes were giving up on me! I just could not put it down! I kept telling myself "I'll just finish this last chapter" but it ended up being more like " I'll just hit the half-way mark." :) A total page-turner -  the pages just flew by and I found it very easy to read and a great enjoyment. I would highly recommend this book to all fairytale lovers, as it's full of action, and has the essential Snow White details with a few nice extra touches, and has a nice Christian view and is in my opinion, a wonderful teen-fiction. Bravo, Melanie! I simply cannot wait for your next book The Captive Maiden to come out later this year!!

// Madi's Book Review //
I just finished this book a few minutes ago, so I'm still recovering. This book was FABULOUS. Melanie Dickerson is most definitely one of my top 5 favorite authors of all time. I loved how when Gabe was nursing Sophie's wound in the woods he mentioned the same healer from The Healers Apprentice. I love how there is always some small link between her princess spin-offs that connect them to each other. In fact, I believe her next book, which is a Cinderella spin-off, is about Gabe's brother, Valten. I really can't wait for The Captive Maiden to release. I've read all of Melanie's books so far, and they are all 6 out of 5 stars (but seriously). So far, all of Melanie's books are medieval times renditions of well known classical fairytales. The Merchants Daughter is a Beauty and the Beast spin-off, The Healers Apprentice covered Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and The Fairest Beauty was Snow White. I don't know why someone didn't think of doing this sooner, but in my humble opinion, Melanie is a stinking genius. What better way to grip a teenage girls heart than with princes and princesses?! There is none.
Sophie doesn't know it, but she is a Duke's daughter. Born for wealth and prestige, she was raised as a kitchen maid. As if that wasn't bad enough, she is always being found guilty for some small transgression or another by Duchess Ermengard, the lady of the castle and Sophie's stepmother (though she doesn't know that at first). All her fellow servants adore her, and the only time she gets in trouble is when she is helping someone else. Sophie is the kind of woman that we should all strive to be: loving, kind, caring and forgiving of her enemies. But she is treated so cruelly that all she wants to do is to escape the walls that confine her. And through Gabeheart, she gets that chance.
Gabe, the second eldest son of his family, is known for being a bit irresponsible and flighty. He can only imagine the fame and respect he will get from rescuing his brothers betrothed while Valten lies in bed with a broken leg. He never expected to fall for Sophie . . .
I loved watching Gabe grow from a boy to a man, and Sophia from a mistreated maid to a lady of wealth and family. This story will tear your heart apart, so beware. It's so neat to watch Gabe go from young and irresponsible to trying his hardest to be the kind of man Sophie deserves. I love the respect and integrity that comes so naturally with the times of Sophie and Gabe, and I love being reminded how lucky I am to have the family that I have, and the things that I am blessed with. I love everything about this book. I couldn't find a single fault in it, and I'm not gonna try. If you have read any of my other book reviews here on TLM, you know that I'm a pretty tough critic when it comes to the the books that I read and the stuff that I put into my head, so this is saying a lot for Melanie's work. I HIGHLY recommend not only this book, but anything written by Melanie. She is a wonderful author, and she has quite a way with words. I hope that y'all will take our advice and go to your local library or bookstore and get one of Melanie's books. You won't regret it.

// The Giveaway //
 Today we are so excited to be able to giveaway a copy of The Fairest Beauty, thanks to the wonderful team at Zondervan! To enter this giveaway, please use the RaffleCopter form below. Giveaway is open to the U.S. {Please no P.O. addresses} and will run until May 31st 2013. After this the winner will be contacted via email with a request to email us their mailing address so we can forward that to the Zondervan team to get the prize sent out. The winners name will also be announced on the RaffleCopter widget below after the giveaway ends and a winner is drawn at random using provided through RaffleCopter. As always, if you have any questions just leave a comment! We would like to sincerely thank Melanie Dickerson for writing this wonderful novel, as well as Charleen, Candice, and the rest of the Zondervan team for providing the giveaway copy! You guys have a great remainder of the weekend, and happy entering! =)
~The Literary Maidens

N o t e :: We were not paid to review The Fairest Beauty or giveaway a copy on this blog, and received a free copy of the book to read and review.  All thoughts expressed in the reviews are our own and completely honest and unbiased.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Season Of Change By Lisa Williams Kline Book Review

/ / S e a s o n    O f    C h a n g e / /


Title: Season Of Change
Author: Lisa Williams Kline                                                            
Source: Review Book From Zonderkidz
Number Of Pages: 239
ISBN: 9780310740070
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / D e s c r i p t i o n (Taken from back cover): / /
Stephanie and Diana face what could be their greatest fear: another divorce in their family.
Diana and Stephanie find a hidden brochure for a marriage counseling retreat, and their suspicions flare when they're dropped off at Lake Norman for a "long weekend" with Diana's grandparents. Things go from bad to worse when Diana hits a deer while driving. Then Stephanie unexpectedly leaves with her mother, and the girls are separated. Is it for good? Isn't this what they wanted? As the girls ponder a life without each other, Diana discovers something in the woods that gives the girls a whole new perspective on their relationship. This final book in the Sisters in All Seasons series brings the story of Stephanie and Diana to a close, and shows what happens when two opposites become sisters, and eventually, unlikely friends.
/ / M a d i ' s    R e v i e w: / /

Sometimes I just need to take a break from some of the books that I'm reading and go back to the simplistic writing that made me love reading in the first place, and this book was just the ticket. "Season Of Change" is a book aimed for mainly tweens and young teens, so even though I've become accustomed to a little bit more intense kind of writing, I still enjoyed Season of Change immensely.

Season Of Change is the fifth and last book in the "Sisters In All Seasons" series, and even though it was the last book in the series, I had no trouble jumping right into the story. Some series you really need to start from the beginning and work your way forward, but not with this one. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything really important or like any major factors were left unexplained, which is definitely a plus. That has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves. Maybe I should stop reading books out of order ;) .

Diana and Stephanie are step-sisters, who, at first, didn't get along great. But I love this conclusion. I love how they come together as a true family. It just goes to show how easily God can turn our broken and messed up life in to something wonderful that honors him (something I know first hand). But this book also goes to show that divorce can not only hurt the couple involved, but any kids that they may have had. Also something that I have witnessed with people that are very close to me. I wish that people would realize that marriage is a forever thing, and it's not something to be discarded when the going gets hard. But I'm rambling.These two sisters go through a lot together, and at the end of the day, they are always there for each other. Like all siblings, they have their disagreements, but they love each other none the less.

The only thing that I disliked about this book was the obvious rebellion from the girls at times. They were always remorseful, but teenagers already have a bad name. Give us a break! We aren't all hoodlums. Pinkie promise.

I would definitely recommend this book for tweens/early teens for a rainy day. I read it in a day, and I enjoyed it's freshness.

~ T h e   L i t e r a r y  M a i d e n s

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Review + Giveaway // Forsaken Dreams by MaryLu Tyndall

H e l l o    L i t e r a r y    M a i d e n s !  Today in addition to a book review, we are so very excited to be able to giveaway a copy of MaryLu Tyndall's newest book, Forsaken Dreams, which is the first book in a fabulous series, Escape To Paradise!! We are so honored to be able to bring you our thoughts on this book, and giveaway away a singed copy of Forsaken Dreams to one of you ladies! :D
// F o r s a k e n    D r e a m s //
E s c a p e    T o    P a r a d i s e  # 1
B y    M a r y L u    T y n d a l l

//Facebook Page//
Title: Forsaken Dreams
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Source: Received a review a copy from MaryLu
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 1616265965
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Publication Date: March 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Book Description :: {Taken From MaryLu's website}
"Colonel Blake Wallace has seen enough death to last a lifetime. Weary and disillusioned, he slumps beneath the weight of defeat and loss. With his entire family murdered by the North and his name appearing on a list of officers wanted for war crimes, Blake organizes a shipload of southerners who, like him, long to escape the horrors of war and start a new life in a verdant land called Brazil.
Eliza Crawford can barely remember the days of her youth spent in opulence and comfort at her Georgian home. She can’t help but wonder how different her life would be had she not met her late husband, Stanton Watts, a general in the Northern army. Now a war widow, Eliza is rejected by both North and South. Desperate to keep her marriage a secret and escape her past and pain, she hopes to start over again in Brazil.

But once the voyage begins, troubles abound. Dangers at sea and enemies from within threaten to keep Blake and Eliza from the new life—and love—they long for."

// B o o k    T r a i l e r //
Meet the main characters HERE!
// T h e    B o o k   R e v i e w //
Bethany's Review ::
Forsaken Dreams is the first book in the Escape To Paradise series, and the first book I've read by MaryLu, but it certainly won't be the last! At first, I didn't really think a story set out at sea could be very interesting. I mean, your on board a ship at all times, how much action could possibly be going on with such a limited confinement? So I wasn't sure if Forsaken Dreams would be a book that has lots of action and was a real page-turner. However MaryLu totally proved me wrong as Forsaken Dreams is one of the most action-packed books I've ever read! This book was so full of adventure that I changed my mind about how boring I thought a novel set at sea could be, and left me eager for book number two in the series, Elusive Hope which comes out later this year!
It was a very well-written story, with a strong moral of forgiveness, peace and fresh-starts. It was very interesting to see all the people that came on board the New Hope, and see their backgrounds. I found that  most everyone on board was hiding something, and running away from something, with hopes of peace and a clean slate, to start over again in Brazil, where they were sailing. It was interesting how all the characters were in similar positions as far as hiding from something or running from someone, etc. but how they were all from such different backgrounds; the things causing them to be in this position so different from the rest. I enjoyed getting to see how the characters grew as the story progressed, and especially liked, how at the end, the two main characters had a time where they got close to the Lord and re-straightened their faith before moving on in the relationship, though it happened more because they were in a desperate place with no other options.
I loved how from the very first chapter the character is in a life-or-death situation that grips you and gets you turning pages. I love how MaryLu planned that out to start the story in one of the most exciting and heart pounding scenes to start out the book, and then go back and learn about all the characters and how they all came to come on board the New Hope. But yes, this book had so much going on! I loved it! I would be reading late at night, and think "I really need to go to sleep, tomorrow I've got I'm going to stop after I finish this chapter." But then in the last page of the chapter, you learn that some big question is about to be answered, or some exciting or interesting event is on the verge of hitting it's climax. So, you could definitely say that this book is for sure a page-turner. :) I loved how the action didn't stop with the first chapter, it kept going very steadily until the last page - and even then there is the unanswered question about the mysterious shadow in the woods that I have to wait for book number two, to find out what it's all about!
One of the things that I think greatly contributed to all the adventure and excitement, was the amount of characters that you get to know well, instead of just two main characters and a bunch of "side" characters that you hear about a few times, but never really get to know. This story really lets you get to know some of the other characters, and I think there were just enough to make it exciting, but not so many that you get confused with who is who. The list of main characters in the front of the book, that gives a short description of each of the characters really helped to keep everyone straight as well. I have read many books where I'd be confused with the characters and wish that the author would include a short description of each character besides their name, and found this part very helpful in Forsaken Dreams.
Another thing I adored about this book is the beautifully sculpted descriptions that accompanied the action packed adventure! MaryLu would write such luscious descriptions that I could practically feel the wind in my hair, and the salty sea water spray my face, as I stood on the ship, looking out into the unending abyss of blue.
The only thing that I found to be a little over my comfort-zone was the romance side of this novel. Now, I understand that this is a historical romance, however at times I felt like the romance was a bit too passionate for my taste. While this may not be a big deal for some, I realize it may be for others, it just depends on what you are used to. I just felt like at times the passion was too intense and the characters were thinking thoughts they probably shouldn't have, at that time in the relationship, and some of the kissing scenes were described a bit more passionate than I am used to. However, it just totally depends on what you are used to. There were only two parts that got me a bit uncomfortable, and other than this, I really enjoyed the story.
Due to a few mature scenes, I'd recommend this book for mature readers. This is a story set out in the sea, so with it comes the occasional character/s that have a compromising past, and little-to-no moral values, who drinks and like to cause trouble. Plus there was a scenes were a character unsuccessfully attempted to drown, and a lot of the characters had some play in the previous war, so there is some remembrances  from the battle that include violence and blood. I didn't find these things to be too much, besides the romance at times, but again, it's totally a matter of opinion. In mine, I really liked this book and found it to be a very exciting action-packed adventure that will leave you in eager anticipation of book number two...I know I am!
I'd like to sincerely thank MaryLu for providing me to with a review copy of Forsaken Dreams to read and review. I really appreciate that, MaryLu and really enjoyed reading Forsaken Dreams! I can't wait for book two, Elusive Hope to come out! :)
// T h e    G i v e a w a y //
Today we are so very excited and honored to be able to giveaway a signed paperback copy of Forsaken Dreams to one of you! This giveaway is for a signed paperback copy of Forsaken Dreams is open to the U.S., however for those of you who live outside the U.S. MaryLu has offered to e-mail you a e-version of Forsaken Dreams if you win, so that you all may enter. A BIG thank you goes to MaryLu who was so sweet to send us a copy to review and is sponsoring this giveaway!

To enter, use the RaffleCopter form below. To sign in you can ether use your Facebook account or your name and email. Once you sign in there will be actions you can complete to gain entries. The giveaway will end on Saturday May 25th, 2013 and the winner will be notified by email requesting the winners mailing address so MaryLu can mail out the book {If winner lives outside the U.S. she will email the winner an e-version of the book}. The winner's name will also be posted on the blog and announced on the RaffleCopter widget below. If you have any questions about entering then just leave a comment and we will reply back as soon as possible. Before you begin entering this fabulous giveaway, I'd like to thank MaryLu again for offering this lovely giveaway! We sincerely appreciate it, MaryLu! Okay, now you may enter! Have a blessed day!

~ The Literary Maidens {Bethany & Madi}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

N o t e :: I was not paid to review Forsaken Dreams or giveaway a copy on this blog. After contacting the author with a request to host a review and giveaway, Bethany was sent a free copy of Forsaken Dreams from the author to read and review, and was not paid to do so. All thoughts expressed in the review are my own and completely honest and unbiased.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Secret By Beverly Lewis Book Review

/ /  T h e   S e c r e t  / /

S e a s o n s    o f    G r a c e   B o o k  #  1 
B y   B e v e r l y   L e w i s

{ R e v i e w   B y   M a d i }

Title: The Secret
Author: Beverly Lewis
Source: Purchased From Local Bookstore
Number Of Pages: 364
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0571-2
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2009
My Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

/ / B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n / / 
"In the seemingly ordinary Amish home of Grace Byler, secrets abound. Why does her mother weep in the night? Why does her father refuse to admit something is dreadfully wrong? Then, in one startling moment, everything Grace assumed she knew is shattered. Her mother's disappearance leaves Grace reeling and unable to keep her betrothal promise to her long-time beau. Left to pick up the pieces of her life, Grace questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment.
Heather Nelson is an English grad student, stunned by a doctor's diagnosis. Surely fate would not allow her father to lose his only daughter after the death of his wife a few years before. In denial and telling no one she is terminally ill, Heather travels to Lancaster County--the last place she and her mother had visited together. Will Heather find healing for body and spirit?

As the lives of four wounded souls begin to weave together like an Amish patchwork quilt, they each discover missing pieces of their life puzzles--and glimpse the merciful and loving hand of God."
/ /  M a d i ' s   R e v i e w  / / 
Beverly Lewis is one of my favorite "go-to" authors. If I'm on a "bad book" streak and I just can't seem to get into any of the stories that I'm reading, I always scan my shelves for one of Beverly's titles. They never fail to draw me in (drag me really), take my heart through the wringer, then leave me feeling like I lost a dear friend after a I finish the book a few short hours later. I have yet to find one of Beverly Lewis's books that I did not thoroughly enjoy, and I have read several. I actually must sheepishly admit that I have an entire shelf in my bookcase dedicated to her books. I highly recommend this author. Doesn't matter which book, just get one. I promise, you won't regret it. She will have you oblivious to the world in a Mississippi-Minute.
The way Beverly crafted this story was marvelous. The plot was original, the characters seemed real, and the story-line was perfection. She described everything in such believable detail that I felt like I was right there with Grace and her family through their struggle. This one definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. 
Grace Byler has noticed that her mother has been acting mighty strange lately, and she didn't know what to do about it. Her mother is drawing further and further away from her family, when suddenly, she's gone. Grace finds a note on her dresser one morning and opens it to find a farewell from her mother. She runs down the dirt lane and sees her mother entering a van, and despite her screams for her to remain where she belongs with her family, she is out of her life indefinitely. Way to put a damper on her engagement (as of the night before). Grace and her family look for her mother to no avail. None of their neighbors or family has seen her, and they just have to accept her departure and face the community of close knit Amish people with all the grace that they can muster.
This trial it pushing Grace to her breaking point. She is torn between love for her mother and not wanting to become bitter towards her and wondering why she would see fit to leave her family. Between working at the local general store, the extra chores at home left to her by her mother, her father's lack of participation in family affairs, and her sisters depression, Grace doesn't even know what to do anymore. Maybe she should just postpone her wedding . . . She could wait for the next wedding season. Her wedding wasn't set to happen for seven months, but she wanted to make sure she had it after her mothers return.
Like all of Beverly's novels, I highly recommend this one. It's a tear jerker for sure, and it is never inappropriate in any way. If you like clean, mysterious Amish Fiction, then you would love this series! Or any of this authors books for that matter. She mainly rights Amish Fiction. I hope that you found this review helpful, and if you know of and authors like Beverly, please share! 
 ~ T h e    L i t e r a r y    M a i d e n s

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

W e l c o m e   to The Literary Maiden's Waiting On Wednesday blog post! Waiting On Wednesday is a blog post where you share books that will release this year that you are very excited for! So here is a list of the Literary Maiden's top 5 most anticipated books that are scheduled to release this year! Books are listed in order of anticipation and all book descriptions are taken from GoodReads. Hope you guys enjoy seeing what books we are excited about and we would love to hear your list of books that you are "waiting for" down in the comments! As always, we love hearing from you, and it would make our day to hear from you! :)

~The Literary Maidens {Bethany & Madi}

P.S. Be sure and stick around because we have a book giveaway planned for either late this week or early next week! We are so excited about hosting this talented Christian Fiction author here on our blog, so keep an eye out! :)

{ 1 }
Stealing the Preacher
Stealing The Preacher
By Karen Witemeyer
June 1st, 2013

"On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the person is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?"
{ 2 }

Glittering Promises (Grand Tour Series, #3)

Glittering Promises
The Grand Tour Series # 3
By Lisa T. Bergren
October 1st, 2013
No book synopsis available at this time.
{ 3 }
The Captive Maiden
The Captive Maiden
By Melanie Dickerson
October 22nd, 2013
"Happily Ever After ...Or Happily Nevermore? Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela learns the duke's son, Valten---the boy she has daydreamed about for years---is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have.

To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined."
{ 4 }

Elusive Hope (Escape to Pradise, #2)

Elusive Hope
Escape To Paradise Series Book # 2
By MaryLu Tyndall
November 1st, 2013

"Falling in Love Was Never Part of Their Plans

On the shores of Brazil, their Confederate friends are seeking a Southern utopia. But Hayden Gale and Magnolia Scott have different plans. Hayden is out for revenge and vows to keep pursuing his father—at any cost—whom he blames for his mother’s death. Magnolia is looking for a way out. . .and a way back home after her father insists their family escape the South following the Civil War. As the fledgling colony of New Hope struggles to survive, they both seek to use the other for their own purposes. Falling in love was never part of their plans."

{ 5 }

Growing Up Duggar: The Duggar Girls Share Their View of Life Inside American's Most Well-Known Super-Sized Family

Growing Up Duggar
By Jana, Jill, Jessa & Jinger Duggar

In a rare look inside America’s favorite mega-sized family, the four eldest girls talk about their faith, their dreams for the future, and what it’s like growing up a Duggar. Airing weekly throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, 19 Kids and Counting has made the huge Duggar family into a media phenomenon. The Duggar children are frequently asked, “Tell the truth; do you really agree with the lifestyle your parents have created for you?” Now, the four eldest Duggar girls—Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger let us know how they feel.

With a backdrop of the key relationships in their lives—relationship with self, parents, siblings, friends, boys, and God—the four Duggar girls open up about their own personal beliefs and convictions, boys, dating, manners, living in a large family, politics, and much more. You’ll learn why Jessa has a reputation as a troublemaker, how the family navigates the difficult years between twelve and sixteen, and what the girls look for in a man, all in a frank and fun book that will inspire teens and adults alike. Including lighthearted stories about the younger kids’ antics, Growing Up Duggar is a wise and entertaining trip into a family like no other.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Heiress of Winterwood By Sarah Ladd Book Review

The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers on the Moors, # 1)// T h e   H e i r e s s   
o f   W i n t e r w o o d //
W h i s p e r s   o n   t h e   M o o r s   B o o k   # 1
B y   S a r a h   E .   L a d d
R e v i e w   B y   B e t h a n y
Title: The Heiress of Winterwood
Author: Sarah E. Ladd
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 320
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars 
Book Synopsis {Taken From GoodReads}:

"Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.

Tragedy strikes when the child vanishes with little more than a sketchy ransom note hinting to her whereabouts. Fear for the child’s safety drives Amelia and Graham to test the boundaries of their love for this infant.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.

Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them."
// B e t h a n y ' s   R e v i e w //
When I first heard about this new novel that is the first in a series, I was super excited about it since I just adore regency historical fiction. I just love that time period and have always been quite enamored by historical novels set during this time-to which The Heiress of Winterwood was no exception!
This is Sarah's debut novel, but let me tell you that I wouldn't not even tell as I was reading this enchanting story and was shocked at how wonderful descriptive and exciting this novel was even though it was Sarah's first. It left me very eager to get my hands on book 2 when it releases!
This story is set in the 1800's in Darbury, England, where we first meet Amelia, our main character. In the epilogue we see Amelia with her friend who has just given birth to a baby girl, and after Amelia's friend takes her last breath, Amelia takes care of the baby girl and treats her as though she were her own flesh and blood. The baby's father was away at sea while his wife died, and by the time he hears news that he is a widower, his daughter is months old.
Amelia lost her father when she was young and lives with her Uncle and his wife and daughter, with whom Amelia considers a close confidant. Amelia's father left her their estate, Winterwood when he died but she will only inherit it once she turns of age and only if she is married. So she is in a pickle as time dissolves with her birthday approaching, and she is still unmarried. And so she meets with her friends husband, the baby's father and the story takes off.
This story was so exciting! I loved how it had a bit of romance, as well as mystery and was very descriptive, making it easy to imaging the breath-taking images of Darbury England. I loved how this book was centered around the baby left in Amelia's care. I found this very interesting and loved it, as children are not valued as much as I think they should nowadays {which you will already know if you have read any of my other reviews}, and this story brought a lovely story-line involving the baby without overdoing it, but still adding a lovely motherly touch. Plus it really brought out Amelia's mothering and tender side and her character. I loved how she did everything within her reach to take care for the baby, even if it meant not marrying someone who did not want to continue to care for the baby after their marriage. I found this to be a very admirable trait in her character, and it made me respect her and relate to her choices.
One of the highlights for me of the book is the Epilogue - which was a fabulous start to this novel. I just loved how Sarah entwined Psalm 23 into her friends dying and going to Heaven, and found it very unique. It made me see this Psalm in a different light, and I loved it. I loved how Christ was a part of this story and really enjoyed seeing the character's faith grow throughout the story.
I mentioned earlier how I liked the mystery involved in this book. I think it came at just the right time and helped to keep things from growing dull, and took some very interesting turns that I didn't see coming! It also made me re-evaluate the characters as they were all "suspects" and found that my earliest impressions of the characters were true to their character in the end.
Overall this was a sweet novel that I thoroughly enjoyed and would consider a must-read for all regency fans. I think Sarah did an excellent job with her debut novel, and I simply cannot wait until book #2 is released!
N o t e :: I would like to sincerely thank Sarah E. Ladd, and Thomas Nelson publishers for providing me with a free Kindle version of The Heiress of Winterwood to read and review. I was not required to give a good review, if I didn't like the book and to give my honest thoughts, which is what I've done. All thoughts are my own and completely unbiased.