Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall (Giveaway!!!)

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About the book:

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks; but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance;Vance Everstone. As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust; and who to leave behind.

My Review:

I was privileged to read “The Cautious Maiden” before publication and since I am a big fan of the previous three books, I was excited to see where this story went.

It is not often that an author can truly bring about the reformation of a villain in a believable way. I will say, if you have not read the previous three books, don’t read this one yet. Read the other three and then you will have to get this one.

This is Vance Everstone’s story. We have had all the other family member’s get their spotlights in the sun, and this one you will delve deep into his heart and mind.

 

Once again, Dawn Crandall has set aside the norms when it comes to romantic historical fiction, to wow us with this beautifully written novel. I find I am never disappointed to pick up a copy of one of her books. What appears on the cover as another romantic novel, the depth of the work is so much more.

What makes this title unique, as with her others, is the first person format, that doesn’t feel like first person. I thoroughly savored each page, hoping that it would not come to an end too soon.

 

I found myself stopping to reflect on the true beauty of repentance and how even those that are redeemed, struggle at times throughout. Ms. Crandall gives us, without being overdone, a beautiful lesson in the value of Christ’s love and forgiveness.

 

I was provided this book for review by the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.

You can purchase a copy here as well as the rest of the Everstone Series.

The Hesitant Heiress #1

Bound Heart #2

Captive Imposter #3

The Cautious Maiden #4

If you would like to enter for a giveaway of a copy of the Cautious Maiden, which I highly recommend you do, please comment here on the blog page with an answer to this question and an email address to reach you by.

“Do you like to see villains from previous books redeemed? Or would you rather they stay “bad”?”

If you skip answering the question, you will not be entered for the drawing!  Thank you!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Romance

The Power of Story

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What makes a story come alive? Is it the author? The genre? If the facts are true or false?

What is the power of story?

For me, the power of story is whether or not you can place yourself inside that story and live it. It doesn’t matter it is fiction or non-fiction, but the power of the author to draw you in and make you live it.

Were you there?

 

History is full of people’s stories. It is the story of the human race. We have long relegated it to textbooks, that detail the facts in a matter of fact way. But take those same facts, give the people a name, create a picture of the place they lived and we live it.

One of the most powerful tools in our possession is well-written, accurate historical fiction. Non-fiction is essential as well, but fiction has the power of story. It gives us the ability to place ourselves in the place of the main character and we live it with them. Instead of being told what someone else experienced, we live it.

We call this “Living History Books”. It is one of the most incredible tools at our disposal as homeschool parents and teachers. Schoolteachers have been using this for years, but over time, it took a lot of time and effort. When time is a commodity this often falls to the wayside. Historical fiction is used, but the textbooks replace it for the majority of the teaching.

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Hands-on learning is wonderful, but it takes times as well. For mothers that even are homeschooling, they find that they just don’t have the time to create that. Teachers in classrooms can do it somewhat, but then also, they run out of time to do it all the time.

The key here is they do not have to. They can give the students the tools to experience it themselves. If you give a child a stack of living books, historical fiction that makes the eras come alive to them, along with the history books, the biographies, and documentaries each one will be like they are living it themselves.

They will see themselves traveling the Oregon Trail with the Donner Party, because they have lived it with the Whitman’s, The Sager’s, and the Singing Boones. They know that some of them are fictional characters, but they also know who were the real ones. They feel like they walked through the desert, lacking water, their eyelids swelling, and feeling the taste of sand on their skin.

Their bodies know the pain that they suffered because they connected with a character, whom they lived and walked the trail with.

When the power of story is used in a positive way, it can give our children the heart to learn the stories of the past. When we teach our children the stories of the past, they will learn from it and want to prevent the suffering of the future.

So many times I have seen people, with good intentions scoff at the reading of historical fiction. They insist that too much of it will confuse the facts.

I have never found that while reading a fiction story, that I am confused about the facts. Instead, when I finish, I love reading the authors notes about what was real, where she researched, how he found this story, and what documents they went to while writing.

I end up finding myself researching the history, and looking for the tidbits on the trail of knowledge.

I remember after reading a book by Elizabeth Camden, Against the Tide, coming across an ad for syrup that was mentioned in the book. I ended up researching the facts told in the story. It was based on the facts of how orphans, in order to keep them docile, were given a cough and headache medicine commonly available at that time. What was not widely known was that it contained opium. It kept the orphans weak and docile, but also made them drug addicts. The story is well written and you see the other side of drug addiction, from an orphan, as she is grown.

Historical fiction, which is well written, teaches history in a way that no textbook alone can ever do.

Here are a couple of ways you can get the most out of your reading time for learning and loving history:

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  • Always check your facts.
  • Read several stories and opinions on the time period
  • Don’t isolate yourself to one author, explore several.
  • Certainly do not restrict yourself to encyclopedias and biographies. While a great way to learn, you need to live the story.
  • Find out the characters in the book were based on real people. Learn more about those people and how well the author did telling their story.
  • Talk to others about the story, the time period and explore if you can get them excited about it as well. If you can live the story and retell it to someone else, the book has done its job.

 
If you would like lists of books that are great historical fiction without worrying about content, check out my book list option links. I will send you lists of books that will meet your needs and help your students get excited about history.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Homeschooling

The Artisan’s Wife by Judith Miller

 

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book:

Ainslee McKay’s world is shaken when she discovers her twin sister has not only eloped with a man she barely knows but now Ainslee must fulfill their obligation at a tile works in Weston, West Virginia. Ainslee must learn the ropes and, if she can keep the tile works profitable, her brother will help her sell the business.

When Levi Judson arrives and shows Ainslee his designs for new tiles, she’s impressed by his skill and passion for the business. But he’s hiding his true reason for coming to Weston. And Ainslee knows he’d be crushed to learn his plans for a long career at McKay Tile Works are in vain since she intends to sell. Can the growing feelings between them survive if the truth comes to light–or is a future together as untenable as the future of the tile works itself?

My Review:

I have been reading Judith Miller’s books for awhile and I will say that I think this was one of her better books. I really loved the history of the mental institution that she put in here. The fear from the local people against the inmates, as well as how many of them were women put there by abusive spouses, brothers etc. as well as those that suffered from depression.
The woman that read and wrote novels was one of my favorite secondary characters. The unique history of tile making was also fascinating. I loved how the history was throughout, but the story was not forced.
If you enjoy a sweet story with great history interwoven into this third book in the series, you will enjoy this one.

You can purchase it here

The Artisan’s Wife

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Filed under Historical Romance