Phoebe’s Secret by author Sydney Tooman Betts is Book One in her Phoebe’s Mystery series. This is a Christian historical fiction mystery set in the early mid-1800’s. It deals with some tough issues, including slavery, from pre-civil war era.
Phoebe and her family are moving to the Shenandoah Valley. Her father is a minister. As they travel they hear about a murder which happens to be at a plantation in the area of her father’s new church. Phoebe is inquisitive and friendly. She wants to find out the details of this crime and in doing so finds even more.
The author did her research well in this historical novel. It is a tough subject to read. I hate slavery and what was done to human beings then. This is a well written mystery that has some twists and turns that kept me guessing. The characters were spot on for the South. The dialog flowed smoothly. I loved that the author had woven scriptural and timeless life lessons into this book. She clearly states how wrong slavery is.
I would recommend this book to historical and mystery readers. Don’t be put off by the slow start because it gets better. I give it a 4 out of 5 star rating. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: Phoebe’s Secret
Author: Sydney Tooman Betts
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Mystery
Release Date: June 20, 2020
In April of 1843, Phoebe’s family hears about a murder while they are traveling to their new home in the Shenandoah Valley. They arrive to learn the victim attended the church her father has agreed to pastor and the crime took place on a leading church member’s plantation.
Eager to make new friends, Phoebe forms a unique relationship that propels her into the middle of the mystery, and she begins to question several acquaintances’ motives. Will she uncover their secrets before the plantation owner’s charming son discovers hers?
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About the Author
Sydney Tooman Betts resides with her husband near the extensive cavern system that inspired the setting for several chapters in her series The People of the Book.
While single, Ms. Betts (B.S. Bible/Missiology, M.Ed) took part in a variety of cross-cultural adventures in North and Central America. After marrying, she and her husband lived in Europe and the Middle East where he served in various mission-support capacities. Her teaching experiences span preschool to guest lecturing at the graduate level.
Before penning her first novel, A River too Deep, she ghost-wrote several stories for an adult literacy program.
More from Sydney
Proverbs 25:11 says, “Words spoken fitly are like apples of gold in settings of silver.” I was not a great reader as a child, but I loved stories. We remember stories, whether told through movies, good sermon illustrations, parables, or simple novels.
Think of something you’ve read in the Bible. Did an instructional verse, a narrative, or a parable leap to mind? Stories have power because we can relate to them. We see ourselves in the shoes of the main character and ask what we might do in the situation. Mysteries, a new genre for me to write, are a little different. You are in the puzzle with the main character, working out the solution as you both come across the clues. I hope you will enjoy joining Phoebe in her first mystery as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Sally Lunn Bread
1 cup water
1 cup milk
¼ pound unsalted butter
8 cups of high-gluten or bread flour
⅔ cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
¼ cup yeast
In a saucepan, combine water, milk and butter. Heat until the butter is very soft.
In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients with half the flour. Add the warm liquid, and mix well to form a smooth batter.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Add another cup of the flour, and mix well. Add the second 3 eggs, one at a time. Add the remaining flour, and mix until the flour has been incorporated and the batter has formed a smooth ball. The dough should be less firm than bread and more firm than a batter.
Put the dough in a clear bowl with a little oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Proof until double in volume. Divide the dough between two bund pans or two loaf pans, or one of each. Proof again until risen and doubled in volume. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. Makes 20 servings.
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To celebrate her tour, Sydney is giving away the grand prize package of $25 Amazon gift card and a softback copy of Phoebe’s Secret!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.