Tag: Historical Fiction

Book Review: Trusting Grace by Maggie Brendan

Trusting Grace

About-

All of her life, Grace Bidwell has longed for children, but now the chances of her dreams coming true are looking slim. Widowed and caring for her elderly father, she struggles to maintain her late husband’s farm until she places an ad for a hired hand.

Robert Frasier arrives in town with three pitiful, bedraggled children who have nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs and a load of hurt, pride, and anger. Believing this is divine intervention in her life, Grace welcomes them with open arms. As feelings grow between her and Robert, Grace will have to convince him that she is a woman who can be trusted with his heart.

My Review-

Ahhh, yet another Sterotypical Christian Novel™! Honestly, I’m getting rather annoyed by these Christian Novels! I’ll write a blogpost on this someday (I Promise™).

Instead of focusing on how Trusting Grace is the same as Every Book Ever, I’m going to review on the unique parts of the book, because, again, it’s literally THE SAME IN EVERY BOOK.

First off, this was the third book in a series, but I couldn’t really tell (I wasn’t confused or anything), so it could work as a standalone book.

The characters in the book were great as well. While yes, it was a girl (named Grace, surprise, surprise) with a marred past, and a guy wanting to forget his past (as usual), the characters themselves were developed pretty well and the children were a nice addition. (Grace’s father, in particular, was AWESOME to read :)).

I can’t say much for the plot: it’s the basic girl with troubled past meets guy that she doesn’t like, but then somehow finds out she’s missing him, and then there’s a beautifully descriptive scene of his muscles or something, and then they eventually get married.

I will have to say, though, that the children gave the story a nice little twist; it was different from the strictly guy+girl stories.

My Rating-

6/10

The author, Maggie Brendan’s website||Amazon|| Barnes and Noble || ChristianBook Distributers|| Goodreads

Thanks to Revell Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review. 

 

Book Review: A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

A Note Yet Unsung.jpg

About the Book-

A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor–determined to make his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’ new employer, agrees with him.

Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathanial Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse–and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head–he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city’s new opera hall. But further pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music–his father, who is dying. As Tate’s ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony.

As music moves us to tears yet makes our hearts soar, A Note Yet Unsung captures the splendor of classical music at a time when women’s hard-won strides in cultural issues changed not only world history–but the hearts of men.

My Review-

Okay so this book. MY GOODNESS.

So if you know me, you know that I’m a musician who plays too many instruments to get really good at one. So, this book about the entry of women into the world of music was really really close to my heart.

When I first saw this book, I wondered what I’d gotten myself into. Judging the book by it’s cover, I wasn’t really a fan. Neither was the 422 pages that it is. But…I finished it

As a female musician, I know that women can be as good of a musician as any man, and are not “far too fragile,” so I was able to sympathize with Rebekah from the start. Also, she plays violin, oboe, piano, and sings, and does them all brilliantly well, so she has my respect and honor. XD ALSO BY GOODNESS IF YOU REFUSE ME BECAUSE IM A WOMAN? *thinks of threats but fails*

Her story is so beautiful (and probably out of the normal for her setting, which makes it a bit weird, but hey, I’ll take it). She does some questionable things (like bottles…not a spoiler), but overall, she is really sweet. I found myself wondering sometimes though, where she got some parts of her character. While they were there, I was left wondering where they had developed from, because with the background portrayed, it didn’t really look like she had an opportunity to establish some of the traits that she did. (does that even make sense omw)

As for Tate, I can’t imagine composing. The description of composing, though, are just so good and made me want to compose. Like the morning after I read the book (aka finished it at 3am XD), I sat down and started arranging a piece for piano, flute, bassoon, and violin. (also I suck at bassoon and violin soooooooo).

In Tate’s story, there’s also a plot twist (actually, multiple), and it’s so unexpected and beautiful and heart warming. LIKE AAASDLJGFDHLKJ ID WRITE THEM ALL HERE BUT THAT’D SPOIL THEM AND THATS NOT THE POINT OF A BOOK REVIEW

Also can we just say Rebekah has THE. IDEAL. JOB? She teaches music to a rich lady’s daughter, and also helps Tate in his composing.

Personally, I wasn’t really a fan of the romance in the book. It felt a little rushed, and it was at times a little too…um….vividly portrayed…? (not inappropriately, but I just didn’t like it). That’s the only reason there’s points taken off.

As a smallish sidenote, this book is apparently the third in a series, but I would never have guessed. It would work great as a standalone.

My Rating-

8/10

(not counting the romance, rating: 10/10)

Thank you to Bethany House Publishing Group for sending me a free print copy for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher|| Historical Fiction

the-newcomer

About the Book-

A fresh start in the New World will test Anna’s resolve . . . and her heart.

In 1737, Anna Konig staggers off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. It’s a time of new beginnings, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to bloom.

But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World, his enthusiasm evaporates. When a ship captain offers him a first mate position, he grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?

As a newcomer joins the church, Anna is torn. This man is everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And he is here. Bairn is not.

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves the lives of Bairn, Anna, and the newcomer together. When the secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

My Review-

First of all, this is most certainly an Amish book that breaks several stereotypes! First, it’s set in the 1730’s, which is far from the standard modern-ish feel. Second, as a result of this, there is none of the buggy-riding, courting, singings, and all that. Instead, it’s a travelling-westward kind of story, which is really cool.

I appreciated this book much more than most other Amish fiction (though admittedly I don’t read much Amish fiction as a rule) because it’s much more realistic.

While yes, there still are some touches of romance, it’s not the main focus of the book. There is not only love between a guy and a girl, there is also love between a man and his wife, and the siblings within a family, and people and God. This was really refreshing.

Overall, the Amish portrayed in this book were much more realistic than the other Amish novels that I’ve read, which makes me want to read more by Suzanne Woods Fisher . . . not sure how her other novels are like though. These Christians are much more authentic, not the pure, unblemished, but-under-the-surface-there’s-problems, kind of book that most books portray.

Apparently this was the second book in a series, but I didn’t know at the time. The characters were all pretty well introduced, and I didn’t feel like I was starting in the middle of a series too much (although I was confuzed with a couple characters in the beginning, but that’s just because I’m bad at character names in books in general).

As for the characters, I really liked how they were developed. As I’ve mentioned, I’m pretty bad at actually identifying and differentiating between characters as I read: they all become mashed together in my mind, but these characters each had their own personality: Anna, Bairn, Felix, the awful dog, and Dorothea (as well as many more).

Overall, this was a great book! It was a bit on the slower side, but that didn’t bother me much. I know I’ve already said it about 143980437 times above, but it was really good simply because it wasn’t the typical Amish romance novel. It was more of a Christian Laura Ingalls Wilder Amish book, and I really appreciated that.

My Rating-

9/10

Thank you to Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for sending me a free print copy in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick

Book-Cover-The-Road-We-Traveled.jpg

About the Book-

Tabitha Brown refuses to be left behind in Missouri when her sone makes the decision to strike out for Oregon–even if she has to hire her own wagon to join the party. After all, family ties are stronger than fear.

Along with the reluctant daughter and her ever-hopeful granddaughter, the intrepid Tabitha has her misgivings. The trials they face along the way will severely test her faith, courage, and ability to hope. With her family’s survival on the line, she must make the ultimate sacrifice, plunging deeper into the wilderness to seek aid. What she couldn’t know was how this frightening journey would impact how she understood her own life–and the greater part she had to play in history.

With her signature attention to detail and epic style, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick invites you to travel the deadly and enticing Oregon Trail. Based on actual events, This Road We Traveled inspires the pioneer in all of us.

My Review-

So I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and this is yet another historical fiction book that I’m reviewing! (duh)

But seriously, the blurb thing for this book said “based on actual events.” Like seriously, BASED! All the characters (well, all but one) were actual people that Kirkpatrick did research and added life to. I really love when I find books written like this that bring life to historical characters.

This book is written from multiple third-person perspectives, and is written in an almost journal-like form. As with many multiple perspective books, this did tend to become slightly confusing at places.

One cool thing about this book was the names of all the interesting characters: Pherne (pronounced the same way as Fern), Orus, Virgil, and Virgilia (this name is really pretty, in my opinion).

I’ll have to admit, I was a little turned off from the book initially, because of it’s size, and its writing style was a little dry and hard to get through. However, once I got into it, I finished it all in one night (aka I stayed up until ungodly hours of the night reading, as always :P)

Overall, I really liked this book: although it was a little dry at first, it was a really interesting book that documented the Oregon Trail very well.

RockandMinerals4Him rating-

9/10

Thank you to Revell Publishers for sending me a free print copy of This Road We Traveled for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review, nor did I receive any other form of compensation.

 

Book Review: Ben Hur by Carol Wallace

BenHur-HC-SC-CVR-FINALBen Hur has been a really well known book for years decades centuries. However, I’ve never actually read it, considering to be one of those dusty antique classic books, like….err…I don’t know. Oh well. But you know what I mean.

However, when I saw this book, I thought I might as well give it a try, if only to say I’ve read it.

This copy/edition of Ben Hur  is a rewritten edition–the original author, Lew Wallace, wrote the original edition in archaic form, and his great-great-granddaughter, Carol Wallace, rewrote it in ‘modern’ language. I really really appreciated that, and as a result, I love this book.

Ben Hur is such as well known book that, despite not having read it before, I know some parts of the story. I don’t usually like historical fiction set during Jesus’ time (having had a bad experience with The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare), but this one was really good.

Ben Hur is a Jew living during the time of Jesus in Jerusalem, and he hates the Romans who have taken over with a passion. Eventually Romans arrest him and his family, he gets sent to a galley ship, and becomes a slave. After rescuing a commander, he gets adopted by the commander, gains innumerable riches, and attempts to search for his family.

And…I won’t spoil any more.

I loved the story line, I loved the characters, the book was amazing. One thing I didn’t like, though, is how Judah Ben-Hur (the main character), at one point kills a man just to show his power. Although he regretted it further on, it was just..ehh for me. The only turn off for me for this book was the amount of killing/injury in the book.

I liked how Jesus was set into the story, and he’s just portrayed as so…Christ like. The author never had Jesus say anything not in the Bible, keeping the authenticity of Christ, and I appreciated that a lot.

Also, can I just say…I never know Ben Hur was SO BIG! I absolutely loved that fact that I was able to read it in TWO DAYS (usually I finish books within a day).

All in all, I rate Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ a-

RockandMinerals4Him rating- 9/10

Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a free print copy for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

cropped-screenshot-25.png

P.S. I’m linking up with Sarah at Bows and Clothes!

link-up-image

Book Review: Snow Treasure

Book Review: Snow Treasure

Snow_treasure

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan, is one of my all-time favorite books. (Never mind the fact that my all-time favorite book list is like 100+ books long) :P. A tale of courage, resourcefulness, and danger, this historical fiction book is a wonderful book to read. Although the characters and the places in the book are fictitious, the book is based on a true story. The main character, Peter, is a thirteen year old boy who lives in Norway around 1940. The Nazis are about to invade their peaceful country and there is a very large amount of gold stored in their little village. Peter’s uncle and father, as well as a few other men, decide that rather than letting the Germans get the gold (and then using against them!), they would try to get the gold unto Peter’s uncle’s ship, which he would then sail to America to keep safe until the war ended. However, adults lugging sleds down a mountain (past the Nazi camp) would attract attention. They instead chose to appoint the children to sled the gold down the mountain. The plan seemed to work…..for a while. After the children have been sledding the gold down the mountain (a distance of around 8 miles in the book, which was actually closer to 15 miles in real life) for a few weeks, the German commander decrees that the children had to return to school. The people of the village come up with a solution that bypassed the decree, and the gold kept flying down the hill, in around 75 pound increments. On their last day down the hill, they were discovered by a Nazi!

I really loved this adventure story. I “had to” read this book around 3 years ago for school, and I’ve always kept rereading it ever since. The plot line is really really intriguing, and the plot twists are super unpredictable. Although it is a really short book (around 200 pages), it is really action-packed and fun to read.

Screenshot (25)