Category Archives: Historical Romance

Love’s Christmas Past by Susan M. Baganz, Jewell Tweedt, Rachel James

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Love's Christmas PastThree gifted women authors masterfully join their talents creating a collection of three short stories all in one cover in a historical setting all with realistic characters all hoping to find love this Christmas season.

Council Bluffs’ author, Jewell Tweedt created an entrancing novelette, Christmas Bells, with her protagonist, Connie Rose Simonson. Connie manages two cafes on in the frontier town of Omaha, Nebraska during November of 1878. Connie is a recent widow who is also raising her seven-year-old son, Andrew. She enjoys being extremely busy to the point of exhaustion.

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With an invitation to a birthday party where there happen to be puppies, the two look forward to Saturday.

Dr. James Connor also works until exhaustion. Being a lonely bachelor is easier if you are busy especially when you are the only doctor within a thirty-miles radius. For a booming frontier town, that is a lot of responsibility for one person.

Rachel James is the author of another story in this collection entitled, A Medieval Christmas.

Nola is experiencing morning sickness. Her mother, Lady Langley, logically has made this conclusion. As an unwed woman with a social standing, she realizes that she could marry a man beneath her station or become a member of a convent, hopefully, close enough to observe her child grow.

The Earl of Beauwater needs a wife. A man of distinction needs a companion and heirs. With his brother’s dying wish is for to marry, can he find a particular woman to fulfill his responsibilities and dreams?

In Fragile Blessings by Susan Baganz, Grant and Lily anticipate the birth of their first child. Unfortunately, the baby dies during its rough delivery. How does anyone heal from the death of a child?

Misfortune has company when there is a fire leaving three Catholic children orphans at a nearby farm.

Who would care for three children with an entirely different religion?
These three stories join in themes of Christmas and hope. All three have practical problems reflective of the time period and even today.

These three short novelettes have an intended audience of women who enjoy reading historical fiction, Christian novels, and romance. All are thoroughly engaging stories transporting the reader to another time and place.

Love’s Christmas Past is the perfect gift for any woman who enjoys historical Christian romances.

Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Flight of the Sparrow“We have both sold our souls to gain acceptance in this new and terrible world.”

Living as a Puritan woman in 1676 as a resident of Massachusetts Bay Colony is not easy, even for Mary Rowlandson, who is a local minister’s wife. Her daily life is always demanding with raising children and providing for her family. Her position is one of service, night, and day, to her loved ones and church. She does not have free time to reflect, think, or read.

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While her husband is away, her home is attacked by Indians. Unfortunately, there is not enough defense to protect her family and friends from the attacking natives. Very few men were left behind to defend them.

A Bride for the Sheriff by Jewell Tweedt

A Bride for the Sheriff

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Life seldom happens as expected.

A few years ago, Claire Secord never imagined herself in her present situation.

She lived on a farm with her parents and was betrothed to Cal Davidson. The Civil War changed her expectations. Caleb never returned after leaving to fight with the Union forces. After four years there was still no word of his death. It was as if he had disappeared.

Her parents died leaving her alone.

Now in April of 1868, Claire discovers herself at another life decision. A family in nearby Gettysburg, Pennsylvania have hired her to be nanny to their rambunctious sons as well as having the household duties such as housework, cooking, and tending the vegetable garden. The family feels that Claire should be indebted to them for providing for her.

The Book of Madness and Cures: A Novel by Regina O’Melveny

The Book of Madness and Cures

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Life in Venice, Italy in the year 1590, Gabriella Mondini is a well-respected doctor with many patients who appreciate her care as a female doctor. She was accepted as a physician in Venice because of the well-respected influence of her father who is also a physician. However brilliant, her father leaves the city, with his absence, Gabriella is no longer allowed to practice medicine.

Her father seems to be own personal quest. This might simply be an excuse for his mental illness. He frequently suffered from fits of manic behavior and times of withdrawal and depression. He views his travels as an opportunity to complete his resource book of maladies and cures.she is no longer allowed to practice medicine.

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Longbourn

Reviewed by Teri Davis

“Life was, Mrs. Hill had come to understand, a trial by endurance, which everybody, eventually, failed.”

In the memorable Jane Austen novel, *Pride and Prejudice*, we were introduced to characters of privilege who had servants who were to be agreeable and basically fulfill whatever their these people wished. Basically it was slavery of a sort where their opinions of the servants were not valued and being that jobs inside the houses were few and considered prestigious, the servants worked for low wages with their housing and meals were provided. In exchange, these same servants were granted little time-off or freedom to choose their own career. Granted that a few people who were servants became their own independent masters, that was unusual.

Love Finds You in Amana Iowa by Melanie Dobson

Love Finds You in Amana Iowa Reviewed by Teri Davis

Life with people known for their peaceful practices allows avoidance of war, but how does anyone attempt to handle a country’s civil war while still holding your values and beliefs.

The people from the Amana colonies are in the process of moving their entire colony from New York to settle in Iowa during our country’s Civil War. Even though the elders chose to pay for their young men not to be conscripted, they were still strongly influenced by the realities of the war.

The colony in New York sent many able-bodied men ahead to begin to build and prepare for the women, children, and the rest of their families who would eventually make the long trek overland to Iowa. Their advance team included Friedrich Vinzenz, clockmaker, and his adopted brother, Matthias, who was a builder. Their job was to start planting the fields and building the kitchens, shelters, and places of worship for those coming in the near future.

Friedrich has promised to marry Amalie Weise when she finally arrives at the colony. Their long relationship grew from their childhood while spending time with Friedrich’s family. Growing up with the Vinzenz family, their close relationship grew as well along with Matthias being promised to Friedrich’s sister.

The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia Holland

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia HollandtWhen someone lived almost a millennium ago, that is in the 1100s, how can we know what really happened in a person’s life? We know about their major events, but the actual details are left to the imagination.

THE SECRET ELEANOR begins with Eleanor of Aquitaine as being the Queen of France and being married to Louis VII. She is unhappy with this marital relationship even though they have two daughters. This novel is about what might have happened when she first met Henry of Anjou, her soon to be second husband and the future king of England.

Having read many books regarding Eleanor, this one took a slightly different approach. The involvement of Petronella, her younger sister, is interesting bys turning the divorce and marriage into a romance novel with hunky muscular males and curvaceously sultry females. While this drama is occurring, there are also the constant battles for more castles and land between Eleanor, her husband, her husband to be, and also his brother.

Shooting An Albatross by Steven R. Lundin

albatrossReviewed by Chris Phillips

This is historical fiction, in the sense that the main action of the book takes place in 1943. The world is at war. Everyone is gearing up to fight, and it feels like the fight of a lifetime. Due to circumstances only the Army can ascertain, the 107th Artillery is bivouacked at the El Rancho Golf Course in Los Angeles, CA. After staying there for just over two months they are reassigned, and eventually are involved in the Normandy Invasion. Those are the facts.

Lundin takes those facts and spins a tale about golf, about love, about jealousy and about revenge. He explains the title and in the process a lot about golf, not just as a sport, but as a philosophy and a pastime. Even if golf is an unknown, the reader cannot help but get caught up in the tale and the exquisite narrative of the author.

“The sounds are those that come without man, such as leaves rustling, birds singing, woodpeckers knocking, squirrels chattering, naturally-pruned twigs hitting the ground and little flying things flapping and buzzing in the air.”

“By the end of the first three holes, the big men had made so many hard bangs on the ground that they appeared to be knocking seismic energy into the earth—energy that would return in the future and rumble Los Angeles.”

These two quotes illustrate Lundin’s narrative style and explain what seems to be the most captivating aspect of the book. The illusions, the descriptions, and the narrative far outweigh the light characterization and two-dimensional figures in the book.

Finally the introduction and the book are tied together in the end, but as the author states through one of the main characters in the last paragraph.

“As I returned the journal to the shelf by slipping it between two dusty notebooks, I was stopped by the unexpected words scrawled on the corner of her next journal. I removed it from the shelf, sat and read in the library until the earliest hours of the morning. When I left home the next day, I went on my way to shoot one last albatross.”

There is a dissatisfied quality for the characters and finally for the reader. Somehow there should be more.


Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena

illuminationsReviewed by Jane Squires

I was truly surprised by this book. I thought my oldest daughter would love it because she loves Medieval stuff. I have never been a big fan of castles, kings, lords, etc. but this book blew me away.

I found myself enraptured within the pages. The book is full of faith, forgiveness, and spiritual insight too. You hold your breath over and over again hoping someone gets loose and other stuff. You finally reach a point where you know you aren’t going to sleep. So you shut the computer off early and read for 3 hours because you have to know how the book ends. You become like a cheering squad.

What I liked most about this book was the faith aspect woven in it. It showed how tough it was to be have faith during this period. So if you don’t like castles, knights, etc., you’ll still love this book.