Friday, September 11, 2015

Review - "Not by Sight" by Kate Breslin

Not by Sight
by Kate Breslin
Published by Bethany House Publishers
384 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
About this book:
"In the spring of 1917, all of Britain's attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.

A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country's cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.

But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death."
Earlier this year I read Kate Breslin's For Such a Time novel and I liked it and found it to be an interesting historical story, so months ago, when I saw that she had written this book and that it was going to be published this year, I put it on my reading list. I thought Not By Sight was a good historical fiction novel as well. I can't say much about the story for fear of giving away spoilers, but this novel did have an interesting storyline with some unexpected twists and a crew of characters with their own unique personalities. One thing I like about Breslin's stories is the way she describes things and brings you into the story through her descriptions. Her descriptions of the places in the book could make me feel like I was there.

This book takes place in England during World War I and includes the subject of spies and espionage during that time. It also gives us an idea of what the Women's Forage Corp was and what work the women who were a part of the WFC did to help with the war effort. Grace is a suffragette in the story so women's suffrage is also a historical subject in the book. There is an Author's Note in the back of the book that talks about these subjects that I thought was interesting too.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel. I think it's another great historical fiction novel by this author and I'm interested to see what she might write about next.

Notes on the content: There are mentions of a character once being a prostitute, and also mentions of a child that was born out of wedlock. Jack is also rumored to be / have been a playboy and gambler.

*I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review - "Through Waters Deep" by Sarah Sundin

Through Waters Deep
by Sarah Sundin
Waves of Freedom series, Book #1
Published by Revell
384 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
About this book:
"War is coming. Can love carry them through the rough waters that lie ahead?

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Handsome and outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. On shore, Jim encounters Mary Stirling, a childhood friend who is now an astute and beautiful Boston Navy Yard secretary.

When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is discovered, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them."
The story begins in March 1941 at the Boston Navy yard, where Mary Stirling, a secretary at the navy yard, is making sure that everything is ready for a ship-launching ceremony. While checking things, she notices that the bottle of champagne she had decorated the day before appears to have been tampered with. When she mentions this to her boss, he doesn't think anything is amiss. However, when the bottle is smashed in the christening of the ship, it is discovered that someone sabotaged the bottle and refilled it with gasoline so that things would catch on fire at the ceremony. The question is, who did it?

While at the ceremony, Mary runs into Jim Avery, a guy she knows from high school. Jim is now a naval officer and has just been assigned to a ship in Boston. Being new in town, Jim and his navy friend Arch have been wanting someone to show them around Boston and Mary ends up being the perfect person to do it. While out on their excursions together, a friendship develops between Mary and Jim.

While a lot of suspicion is going around about who might be a sabotager and as the tension between the men working at the navy yard grows, Mary decides to work on the mystery herself and uses her skills as a secretary to record everything that's going on at the navy yard. As more sabotage is discovered, both Mary and Jim find themselves in dangerous situations. Can they figure out who the sabotager is?

Through Waters Deep is the first full length novel I've read by author Sarah Sundin and I thought it was a great historical fiction novel. The author's writing and the details included in the story made me feel like I was in the time period. This story takes place before the United States officially entered World War II and throughout the story we see how much tension there was between the isolationists and the interventionists and how arguments and fights broke out between them. Through Jim's side of the story we also see the danger that the navy ships faced when they went out to sea, never knowing if they would be attacked by German vessels.

I thought the characters were well done. The main characters, Mary and Jim, were likable and realistic. They both have fears that they struggle with that they must trust in God to help them overcome.

The mystery aspect of the novel was wonderfully done. It kept me guessing about who the sabotager was until the end.

I did appreciate how the romance between the characters started out as a friendship before turning to romance instead of being an insta-love type of romance. I do, however, think there was a bit to much detail and focus on the physical appearance of the characters.

Overall, as someone who loves to read books based around the World War II time period, I really enjoyed this novel. The action and mystery had me enthralled in the story until the end. I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the Waves of Freedom series when it is released next year.

*I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Review - "In Good Company" by Jen Turano

In Good Company
by Jen Turano
A Class of Their Own series, Book #2
Published by Bethany House Publishers
352 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
About this book:
"After growing up as an orphan, Millie Longfellow is determined to become the best nanny the East Coast has ever seen. Unfortunately, her playfulness and enthusiasm aren't always well-received and she finds herself dismissed from yet another position.

Everett Mulberry has quite unexpectedly become guardian to three children that scare off every nanny he hires. About to depart for Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer, he's desperate for competent childcare.

At wit's end with both Millie and Everett, the employment agency gives them one last chance--with each other. As Millie falls in love with her mischievous charges, Everett focuses on achieving the coveted societal status of the upper echelons. But as he investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the children's parents, will it take the loss of those he loves to learn whose company he truly wants for the rest of his life?"
In Good Company is the first book I have read by author Jen Turano, and I found it to be an enjoyable and funny story. While this book can be read as a stand alone novel (the way I have read it), I think it would be best to read these books in order as people and events from the first book are mentioned in this book.

I really liked Millie's character and her personality. A spunky bookworm who carries around a pocket dictionary and who is always trying to improve her vocabulary by using words she learned from it (although sometimes incorrectly), Millie is misunderstood as a nanny by her employers. Although the children she takes care of love her, her employers always find her nannying methods improper causing her to be dismissed from her position as a nanny quite often. Having run out of options of nanny positions, Millie's only choice is to be hired by a man who doesn't believe in her skills as a nanny. However, with her wit, determination, and unconventional methods of looking after children, Millie proves to be just the right match for the children she is hired to look after.

With three mischievous kids, some high jinks, a flock of shrieking peacocks, a meddling woman who wants to play a matchmaker in Millie's life (to Millie's dismay), romance, and a mystery, this was an interesting and delightful story that had me laughing quite a lot! I plan on reading the first book in this series when I can to find out more about the characters in the series and I'm looking forward to reading the third book when it is published. I would recommend this book to those who like to read historical Christian romances.

*I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.