Tag: historical fiction

Echoes in the Glass should be on your To Be Read list

Sometimes the books you win from on online Facebook event are worth what you paid for them. Other times, you discover a gem.

For me, the gem was an author, Cheri Lasota. I attended an event introducing a science fiction universe, the Paradisi Chronicles, and won a copy of a historical paranormal fantasy.

I read the book. I didn’t care for the story or the characters all that much, but I adored her writing style. Since it might have been the mythology behind the book’s setting that tainted my enjoyment, I decided to give Lasota another try.

Boy, am I ever glad I did.

The paranormal (historical) romance Echoes in the Glass is the title I selected. (Yes, I’m pretty sure it was on sale for a buck. You know me and deals.)

Summary

While the book begins with Finnegan in a nearly present day situation, there are two story lines running in this book.

The present day story is about two teenagers facing the ugliness of their pasts. It involves the restoration of a lighthouse on the Oregon coast. Of course, there’s a romance. And poor Finnegan, the one he wants is the boss’ daughter.

While none of those story threads are original, the weaving of this story is highly unique and executed with professional finesse.

The historical story is set at the same lighthouse (or vicinity) in 1935. You meet a daughter struggling for independence from a father who treats her like a servant. Add in the fact she has a younger sister to protect, and you’ve got a tense situation.

Morgan Graves comes along and upsets the apple cart further. Rumors about the death of his mother abound. When the secret comes out, so does the nurturing nature of the heroine.

My Review

This book earns five stars from me. The writing was compelling, the characters complex and the story masterfully told.

I’m generally not a fan of stories with a past and present storyline. I tend to gravitate toward one set of characters more than the other. This keeps me from fully immersing in the story because while I’m with the characters I love, I’m dreading the return to the alternate time.

As I read about the characters who mean nothing, I’m wishing I was with the ones I love.

So much for “love the one you’re with.”

Ms. Lasota wrapped me up in all of her characters’ hearts and lives. I was as eager to read about the present as I was the past.

The further I got into the story, the more the historical line hinted about what they would find in the future. Or explained the things they found in the hidden room.

The present day characters rang true. Their problems were harsh, and not common, but still they won my heart. These are 17 and 18-year-olds, and I would recommend this book to older, mature teenagers. Some of the content would be disturbing for those under the age of fourteen, I think.

Sometimes, I find historical writers make their characters too “modern.” That thought never crossed my mind as I read about Carina and Morgan. They fit the times. I could picture my grandmother and grandfather in their youth acting and reacting like these two did.

This story touched my heart. It explores the family dynamics that torture and empower us. Not everyone had a happy ending. But all the story questions were answered.

My Recommendation

In my opinion, this story holds a wide appeal for female readers.

If you like historical romance written in the depression era, you’ll like this book. If you like American settings, this is for you.

Sassy heroines who have a mind of their own? You’ll definitely find that here – times two. Handsome heroes whose gallant nature makes you forget about their face? Yep, he’s in this story – times two.

Perhaps you’re not a huge fan of paranormal stories (like me). The ghost element plays a role in the character development and plot for sure. However, it didn’t make or break the story for me. There was enough tension and conflict from other sources that the ghosts could have been written out, and the story still worked.

If you enjoy a well-written romance with complex characters that will make you smile and bring tears to your eyes, read Echoes in the Glass.

Maybe you’re not a big romance reader. The character evolution and dual timeline, with it’s inherent mystery, will engage you.

An Uncertain Choice: A Review

As you know, I follow many author blogs. One of the ones I’ve followed for several years is written by Jody Hedlund, a Christian historical romance writer. I recently read her first YA book, An Uncertain Choice.

I’m not much of a historical fiction reader. The only other Hedlund book I’ve read is a novella introducing her series about lighthouse keepers.

Why did I pick up this book then? Two reasons: 1) it’s young adult and 2) it’s set in one of my favorite historical periods, the middle ages. Who doesn’t love knights and tournaments?

Yes, you will get your share of both of those in this book. You’ll also get a story that builds your faith while entertaining you. Oh, and it makes you sigh in the end.

My Summary

Lady Rosemarie is nearing her eighteenth birthday when she will enter a convent, pledging her life to God. All this is because of a vow her parents made. (I highly recommend reading the free novella telling this story: The Vow).

The Noblest Knight, a friend of her deceased father, arrives with a solution to her vow – if she wants to get out of it. Can she fall in love with one of the three chivalrous knights he brings, marrying before her birthday? If so, the vow will be annulled.

She agrees to the attempt, much to the chagrin of her most trusted and beloved adviser, the abbot. The men begin wooing her. She enjoys all of their attentions, but finds herself strangely drawn to the one who refuses to compete with his best friends.

Strange accidents occur. One of the young men is injured and another evades an attempt against him, at peril to a bystander. Meanwhile, the local sheriff tries to undermine Rosemarie’s authority with her people.

Will she be strong enough to resist his pressure? Can she fall in love with one of the knights? In the end, someone wants to control her badly enough that no one is safe – not even our lady.

My Review

With a solid suspense plot undergirding the romance, this book earned four out of five stars from me.

Lady Rosemarie evolves from a pliable woman to one who thinks independently. Unfortunately, her open and harsh resistance to torture at the beginning of this book made me wonder why she had been naive for so long. Her strong convictions about torture seemed contradictory to her overall compliance.

Each of the knights is well-drawn. Each has his own strengths and weaknesses. Her attraction to all of them made sense given her sheltered existence. Still, I like my romance heroine to have a more definite attachment to the hero.

This story was predictable. I called the villain from the first scene, and I was slightly discouraged that this individual was chosen. It seemed anti-thesis to the strong Christian themes, as well as conforming to long-held stereotypes.

My Recommendation

I enjoyed this book more because I read The Vow first. I don’t think I would have understood the significance of the vow as well if I hadn’t. So I suggest readers claim the free novella.

This is a clean read with compelling characters and realistic reactions. The plot moves along steadily. I never felt bored or like I wanted to stop reading.

Parents searching for something to entices their daughters with should pick up a copy of Hedlund’s book. It’s a story that encourages a personal relationship with the Lord.

This is Me … Begging

Logo GradientI am amazed and thrilled that nearly 300 people in a world of seven billion subscribe to my blog. And yet, I’m going to beg all of you for a small favor.

Before you delete this email, I promise to make my plead short and sweet.

I would love for you to subscribe to my infrequent update mailing list. At the moment, less than seven percent (7%) of the incredible readers of this blog do.

All you have to do is click here and fill in three short blanks and hit the “submit” button. Easy – peasy.

Why I ask

Being able to contact people interested in reading what I write is essential to building a writing career. The number one way marketing gurus everywhere agree to do this is to have a list of email addresses of people who WANT to read your stuff.

Is that you? If so, I promise not to fill your email inbox with junk. In six months, I have sent exactly THREE newsletters.

Think you might be interested? Sign up here.

What You’re Signing up For

newsletterIf you complete this form, you’re telling me it’s OK with you if I send you information about upcoming book releases. I also might send information about personal appearances (but I don’t have any of these on my immediate horizon).

This isn’t a weekly newsletter. It probably won’t even wing its way to you on a monthly basis.

I will give you a hint, though. This fall, I have two exciting new releases on the schedule. Once I have specific details, people signed up for my newsletter will get all the details.

I’m also offering access to a subscriber-only short story. When you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get access to the story.

The newsletters will offer special promotional prices and easy links for purchasing from your favorite retailer.

I appreciate you reading to the end of this post.

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End of this begging session. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog reading.