Melody Carlson has written a western historic adventure romance with Delia and the Drifter. This delightful tale is one full of surprises and will keep readers turning pages until the end. I was invested early in the story.
This is the story of Delia, a young woman who loves her family very much and is a good hearted person. Unfortunately, she has had some rather important information kept from her. When these secrets come to light, they will affect her for the rest of her life. She is a character that has many layers and is very realistic. I was able to feel her emotions and wanted to give her advice.
This is also the story of Wyatt. He is a great hero. Delia needs him but thinks she does well enough on her own. Sparks fly when they meet. I enjoyed their journey and watching their relationship grow.
Author Carlson is a talented wordsmith. With her vivid descriptions and smooth style of writing, she took me back in time to the days of cowboys. I loved reading this story. It was full of mystery, drama, romance and timeless life lessons on greed, keeping secrets, family, forgiveness, and love.
I highly recommend this page turning novel. It receives a 5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate but these are my honest opinions.
About the Book
Book: Delia and the Drifter
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Historical Romance (Western)
Release date: February 15, 2021
An arranged marriage to save the family from ruin?
Delia Blackstone knows what her mother is up to—she intends to marry her off to an older man who is all fortune and no future. And Delia’s having none of it.
When a mysterious visitor appears on the family doorstep and offers an opportunity for Delia to travel from Pennsylvania to Colorado, Delia knows it is time for her to strike out on her own and discover a new life. Along the way she encounters a handsome drifter who captures her heart. But is he interested in trading his exciting life of adventure for love?
Two murders, a missing will, and a number of puzzling relationships are enough to unsettle anyone—even smart, capable Delia. Who can she trust? And can she trust her heart in matters of love?
Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.
More from Melody
I love historical stories about women. Particularly ones in the American frontier and old west. Probably because I grew up hearing pioneer stories from my grandparents, whose parents arrived in covered wagons. But contributions made by pioneering females is often overshadowed by their male counterparts. That’s why I enjoy researching and telling these fictional yet reality-based stories of women who lived and loved and did their part to settle the frontier. To me they are the unsung heroes of the West.
The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman is a time slip romantic mystery based on a true story. This book was unlike any I have read. About a third of the way through it, I almost put it down. I am so glad that I did not.
This is the story of Hedda Krause in the early 1900’s and Dini, Marilyn Houdini Blackstone, of present day. How cute is it for a fifth generation magician to be named Dini, short for Houdini? It is set in San Antonio, Texas and based on the murder of Sallie White. The characters are intriguing. Hedda reminded me of an old movie actress. I loved her spunk and attitude. Dini was a different character with a lot of issues. She was obsessed with Hedda. I had difficulty relating to her.
Dini works various jobs, most of them in the magic field. She also narrates ghost tours at the Menger hotel. This gives her a chance to talk about poor Hedda and Sallie. Gil, the bartender at the hotel, is a friend and shares this interest.
This is where I almost quit reading. Granted, there is not a lot of Christian messages or lessons in this novel. There are some, but they are lightly sprinkled. It seemed odd to have a Christian book about ghosts, bars, cigarette smoking, and common-law marriages. It is based on a real life happening, so perhaps that is why it is gritty.
I felt better about reading this book after seeing the author note at the back of the book. It says, “A confession. I love a good ghost story. Do I believe in ghosts? No, at least not in the restless spirit of the dead variety. Ghosts are memories. Stories. When I hear stories about a haunted house, I don’t care about the current bumps in the night; I want to know the story of the person behind those bumps and why the story has lived long after the soul.” She even had in the story that we are not supposed to believe in ghosts.
Author Pittman has an inviting style of writing. Her stories grab the attention of readers quickly and retain it. This was no exception, I have long finished the book and am still pondering it. There are many twists and turns to make it exciting. The mystery begs for solving. I found myself going back to reread certain sections after I had finished the book wondering why I did not catch a certain thing. Everything get tied up nicely at the end of the book.
I recommend this is adult readers that enjoy gothic, mysteries, and time slip novels. There is a light Christian message. I enjoyed both story lines. They are extremely well connected. This would make a great selection for a book club, although there are no discussion questions. It would be fun to talk about this in a group.
I rated it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: The Lady in Residence
Author: Allison Pittman
Genre: Christian Historical
Release date: February 2021
Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?
Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.
Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.
In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?
Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a four-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series, once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties and most recently for the critically acclaimed The Seamstress which takes a cameo character from the Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities and flourishes her to life amidst the French Revolution. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.
More from Allison
From Haunting to Healing: How Stories Bring New Life to Old Ghosts
If you really think about it, every story is a ghost story. Not the floating spirits of the dearly departed kind, not bumps in the night or mysterious howling in the darkness—but the best stories come from examining a haunted heart. Memories that pursue the present.
A few years ago I took the walking tour of haunted San Antonio. It was a lark, a fun tourist-y thing to do with some visiting friends. I’m not a believer in ghosts, but I am a collector of stories. The tour opens at the Alamo—sacred ground of slain soldiers. The second stop is the Menger Hotel, listed as one of the most haunted hotels in the United States by those who measure and evaluate such things. And while the tour guide waxed on about the guests’ litany of haunted experiences (including Teddy Roosevelt raging through the lobby), my mind stuck with the story of Sallie White. Sallie White is the Menger Hotel’s most famous ghost—a chambermaid whose apparition is reported to be seen walking the halls, towels draped over her arm, or to be heard as an efficient two-rap knock on your door late at night. My mind, however, didn’t dwell on Sallie the ghost, but Sallie the woman—just a normal, hard-working, poor woman, murdered in the street by a man who claimed to love her. But for that, she would have passed into history unknown. Instead, her story is told every night as strangers gather on the very sidewalk where the crime took place.
Years after first hearing the story of Sallie white, I stayed in the Menger for a few days to gather details for The Lady in Residence. I booked what they call a “Petite” room—meaning it is a room that maintains its original structure. Read: tiny. Exposed pipes, creaky wooden floors, antique furniture—the only update, the bathroom fixtures. As it turned out, my room was directly above the place where Sallie White was murdered. One night I pressed my ear against the glass and listened to the ghost tour guide tell her story. The next morning, I stood in the exact spot with a fancy Starbucks drink, thinking about her. She lives on, not because people claim to see her walking and hear her knocking in the dead of night, but because she is a woman remembered.
So, is that beautiful? Is it ghoulish? Maybe it’s both, but when I was given the chance to write a story set in and around the Menger Hotel, I was determined to make Sallie White’s story a part of it. I didn’t want to write her story—that would have required embellishment beyond those few historic, factual tid-bits that such a woman left behind. Sallie White didn’t have correspondence to catalog or a journal to give us insight to her thoughts. Instead, I wanted to tell it to readers everywhere who might never make it to San Antonio to hear it for themselves. When you read The Lady in Residence, you are going to hear the true story of Sallie White, all of it taken from a newspaper account of the time. And then, I did what all historical writers do…I folded it into my own tale and folded that tale into another.
That’s really the joy of writing a split-time novel—being able to draw back and shoot a narrative-arrow straight through the hearts of two stories, threading them together, to bring a haunting to a place of healing.
Winning Miss Winthrop by author Carolyn Miller is a Christian Regency Historical Romance novel. It is the first book in the author’s new Regency Brides Series, The Promise of Hope. I found it delightful and a wonderful start for the series.
This is the story of Catherine Winthrop. She is a beautiful, caring young woman with a heart for others. Life has not been kind to her. Catherine’s father died leaving financial difficulties for Catherine and her mother. Not only that, but a very distant relative, Jonathan Carlew, is the male heir to inherit his title and things. He and Catherine have a bit of history and now must try to work together.
The author has done exemplary research on this time period. Her detailed writing whirled me back in time to the Regency Age. I could imagine the homes and attire. The dialog sounded authentic. Everything in this novel was perfect.
Ms. Miller has an inviting style of writing. The story was interesting and flowed evenly. Characters were multi-layered and believable. I loved Catherine and thought she would make a nice friend. Some characters were familiar from another book, but it is not required to read that book first.
I adore that the author includes many life and spiritual lessons in her books. In this one I found forgiveness, trusting God, grace, charity, healing, and growing in faith. There is mention of prayer, reading scripture, and devotions. It is so nice to read about Christians in a Christian novel.
I highly recommend this beautiful, sweet regency novel by gifted author Carolyn Miller. It would make all fans of Jane Austen happy as well as any historical fiction buff. It gets a 4 out of 5 star rating from me. A cop was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: Winning Miss Winthrop
Author: Carolyn Miller
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Release date: March 2018
Catherine Winthrop is almost at her last prayers, rejected years ago by the man who stole her heart. When tragedy brings him back into her life, she must suffer further grief in silence, amid her family’s pain and hostility, which eventually sends her to seek solace in Bath. Jonathan Carlew might be wealthy, but the mystery surrounding his birth has shadowed his life, bringing fresh challenges as he takes on the Barony. Caught between appeasing the Winthrop family’s concerns and doing what he could to salvage their failing estate, he must also weigh the echoes of the past with the demands of his new responsibilities.Two hearts must decide whether present speculation will condemn them to the dust of their memories, or if the whispers of forgiveness can provide freedom for the future.
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena’s Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, Underestimating Miss Cecilia, and Misleading Miss Verity, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc.
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In 2015 I was fortunate enough to visit England and see my sister who was living there at the time. What followed was three weeks of visiting parts of England, Ireland and Scotland in a whistle-stop tour of some of the places I’d long dreamed about visiting, but never thought I’d get the chance: London, Brighton, the Blarney stone in an Irish castle, Chatsworth in the Peak District, Loch Ness and Culloden in the Scottish Highlands, the gorgeous grounds of Dunrobin Castle, and the beautiful Cotswolds of England, which includes World Heritage-listed Bath.
I’ve used many of the places I’ve visited as inspiration behind my historical stories, but none as much as the places I visited while in Bath. Pretty much every place I visited – Sydney Gardens, Bath Abbey, the Pump Room, The Assembly Rooms and more – were mentioned in my story Winning Miss Winthrop, which I view as my homage to Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which vies with Pride and Prejudice as my favorite Austen novel.
I loved my all-too-brief time in Bath, and I love this story, with its depiction of two people learning to overcome the misunderstandings of the past in order to find a future. Winning Miss Winthrop is the first book in the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series, and has the attention to period detail, romance, banter, and faith threads that readers in the Regency Brides series have come to expect. I hope readers enjoy Catherine and Jon’s story.
Lady Wynwood’s Spies, Archer, is a Christian regency thriller, adventure, romance book that is a penned by author Camille Elliot. Ms. Elliott is one exceptional storyteller with an imagination to match. This first offering in her Lady Wynwood’s Spies Series reads like a chart topping action adventure movie.
This is the story of sassy Phoebe Sauber. She is our rarcher from the book’s title. It is also the tale of feisty Lady Laura Wynwood. These are two colorful characters. Both of these ladies had me smiling all of the way throughout this action adventure tale.
The author has a pleasant style of writing. I was immediately invested in the story. The pace was even throughout the book. While there are “fight” scenes, there are no cringe-worthy ones that made me want to stop reading. All of the characters are multi-layered and easy to find interesting. This is not a boring book!
I found many life and faith lessons included in this story. It relates how God has His hand in everything. There are no coincidences because God knows what is happening as well as what will. His hand is upon all. What an important lesson for everyone.
This delightful action adventure historical story will keep you on your toes and have you begging for more. If you are looking for something different, this is it. I highly recommend it. It gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: Lady Wynwood’s Spies 1: Archer
Author: Camille Elliot
Genre: Christian Historical Romantic Suspense
Release date: December 8, 2020
A Christian Regency Romantic Adventure serial novel with a supernatural twist
Lady Wynwood’s Spies volume 1
She met him again by shooting him.
Part one in a Christian Regency Romantic Adventure epic serial novel with a supernatural twist. After four seasons and unmarried because she is taller than most of her dance partners, Miss Phoebe Sauber receives the shocking news that she is being callously banished from her father’s estate because he is remarrying. Feeling betrayed by her father and by God, and wanting to escape her family’s presence, she attends an archery tournament with her friends.
But her perfect aim fails her, and her arrow hits a piece of paper held by Mr. Michael Coulton-Jones, whom she hasn’t seen much in society in several years. But strangely, her arrow tears a section of the paper with a partial symbol that looks eerily familiar to her.
He met her again while searching for a killer.
Michael had quit his work as a spy for the Foreign Office when his brother was poisoned. His search for the murderer leads him to Apothecary Jack, a criminal underworld leader with a penchant for poisons, who is gathering a powerful army through an alchemical potion that can give men supernatural strength.
But his path unexpectedly crosses again with Miss Sauber, who saves him from a trap laid by Jack. She and her Aunt Laura, Lady Wynwood, have found a vital connection to Apothecary Jack and the mysterious group he works for.
Now Michael, who had vowed to never again allow civilians to come to harm, must work with a nobleman keeping dangerous secrets, a human lie detector, a chemist, a fellow former spy, and the one woman he’s never allowed himself to get close to.
And it is only this ragtag group that stands against a traitorous organization that could enable Napoleon to conquer the world.
Camy writes Christian contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Camy Tang and Regency romance as USA Today bestselling author Camille Elliot. She lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She was a staff worker for her church youth group for over 20 years and she currently plays on one of the Sunday worship teams. Visit her websites at http://www.camytang.com/ and http://www.camilleelliot.com/ to read free short stories and subscribe to her quarterly newsletter.
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I love Regency romances! I started reading them when I was 13 years old and haven’t stopped since.
There’s something about the Regency time period and culture that’s glamorous and decadent and the epitome of elegance. The resplendent dresses! The brooding, romantic Lord Byron and the distinguished Beau Brummell! Dashing naval captains and army lieutenants, glittering ballrooms and winsome debutantes!
The flip side of my personality loves romantic suspense and action adventure. I love seeing strong women face danger with courage and smarts, and strong men willing to do anything to protect their loved ones and fight for justice.
So, basically, the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series grew out of my desire to see Mission: Impossible in the Regency era!
My Regency “IMF” team is brought together when my spinster heroine, a botanist and a skilled archer, discovers that her late uncle had ties to a mysterious group. She goes to her aunt’s best friend, a gentleman who has secretly been a spy for decades, and he forms his team of ex-agents and uniquely gifted civilians to battle this group of alchemists who want to ensure that Napoleon wins the war with England. (Cue the Mission: Impossible theme music!)
I’ve also structured the series a little differently. It’s a very long serial novel, similar to a Japanese manga or light novel series, with 12 volumes that each have a completed story arc, but the main plot isn’t resolved until the end.
I hope you’ll join me on this epic Regency romantic adventure!
Duplicity at the Lowell House is a Christian historical romance mystery by beloved author Caryl McAdoo. To my knowledge this is the first mystery she has written, and it is a successful endeavor. This is a delightful cozy mystery with some familiar faces.
I do not normally read mysteries. If I have the answer in my hands it is too tempting to flip to the end of the book. Try not to do that this time. Enjoy the intriguing story and reunion with friends from past books.
Author McAdoo has an inviting style of writing. Her characters are multilayered and relatable. I love feisty Charity Lowell and her husband, Morgan. Together they sleuth about to solve the murder in their hotel. The descriptions throughout the story took me to the hotel in Dallas and back in time to the late 1860’s. There are some hints throughout the story for home detectives to play along and figure out this whodunnit.
I highly recommend this book. It was entertaining and contained inspirational messages as well as life lessons. God has blessed Mrs. McAdoo with the talent of storytelling. I love that she uses it to bring glory to Him. Her books keep getting better! A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my true words.
About the Book
Book: Duplicity at the Lowell House
Author: Caryl McAdoo
Genre: Christian Historical Mystery
Release date: January 20, 2021
There’s nothing covered that won’t be revealed. Greed weaves a tangled web at the Lowell House in downtown Dallas, 1866, but a murderer must get up pretty early in the morning to outfox the hotel’s proprietor. With the help of his friend and former sergeant, Morgan Lowell sees through the duplicity . . . but can he prove it? And will Charity, the love of his life, ever give up her matchmaking web? Enjoy an exciting mystery.
Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling stories—over fifty published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen at YouTube. Sharing four children and twenty-to-be grandsugars with Ron, high-school-sweetheart-husband of over fifty years, Caryl and Ron live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.
More from Caryl
Something new for this author! I call it a historical, romantic mystery! If you’ve read QUINCY & PRISCILLA At The Lowell House, then you know a favorite couple–Morgan and Charity Lowell (book four, LEAVING TEXAS) own the hotel.
In the twelve years since they opened the Dallas hotel, there had never been a murder until—of all people—a Mister John Smith is found dead in room three-thirteen, and his clandestine demise needs to be solved posthaste.
The chief deputy sheriff in town, Tatum McCarthy, served as sergeant alongside Captain Lowell under General Henry Buckmeyer during the war, and the men remain good friends. So guess who comes to Dallas as a character witness . . . Henry! Along with his beautiful wife May Meriwether (book three HOPE REBORN) Buckmeyer!
That’s right! The patriarch of my Texas Romance Family Saga series!
What fun to discover the wonderful connection of these Texas heroes! I’ve never enjoyed anything more in my writing career than to link these two series! Cross Timbers and Texas Romances make DUPLICUITY At The Lowell House a rip-roaring good time as Charity pulls out all the stops entertaining her favorite author—other than Morgan, that is!
This first mystery will be followed by others that Morgan and Charity will work on together. I’ll promise you now, there’s no telling who might pop up when there’s a murder to be unraveled! I pray you will all enjoy the fun and seeing these characters, natural friends in early Texas, come together for new stories!
Award winning storyteller extraordinaire Sharlene MacLaren has again penned a beautiful, page turning historical masterpiece. Her Steadfast Heart is Book Two in her Hearts of Honor Series. Book One was fabulous, and this was even better. Even though it is Book Two in the series, it could be read as a stand alone. After reading it you will want to read the first book though to read the story of two other characters.
This is the Story of Faith Haviland. Faith is a sweet, caring, woman of faith that works in the diner owned by her aunt. Due to some trouble in town, Faith applies for a temporary mail or bride position. It is basically for a housekeeper and nanny for the four children of Captain Joseph (Joey) Fuller.
Joey has been a widower for about three years. He has two sons and two daughters. They have been through nanny after nanny after nanny. At wits end, Joey decides to advertise for an in name only bride to care for his children until his term of service with the Union Army ends in a few months.
This is a delightful story. The author has a cast of believable characters that have merits and flaws. It is easy to become invested in them. It took me only a few pages to be captivated by the story. I fell in love with the characters, especially the children, as I read.
Author MacLaren has a beautiful style of writing. It is smooth and even. The pace is not rushed nor sluggish. Her vivid descriptions will take you from a Victorian parlor to a fishing fish with just a few carefully penned words. There are twists in the story, life and faith lessons, scripture, light romance, danger, and so much to keep your attention.
At the end of the story you will find discussion questions. This would be a great Book Club book. There is a plethora of material to keep conversations lively and learn things. I highly recommend this historical romance. It gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my own true words.
About the Book
Book: Her Steadfast Heart
Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release date: January 26, 2021
Joey Fuller is still mourning three years after his wife’s death, so much so that he leaves his four rambunctious young children to throw himself into the Civil War as a Union captain. But his kids are so ill-behaved that nannies keep quitting—and now, his mother has a broken leg and can’t handle them either. In desperation, Joey decides to advertise for a wife.
Faith Haviland is in a different kind of mourning. Not long ago, her fiancé left her to marry her best friend. Her customers at the diner where she works keep reminding her of that humiliating event and one of them, an older man, has been making aggressive advances. She’s desperate to flee the city—and Joey Fuller’s “Wife Needed” ad seems to be the answer to a prayer.
Will Faith live up to her name when Joey’s kids torment her with their mischief? Can she surrender this strange marriage to God while her new aloof husband is off fighting? And will a string of buttons convince her that he truly loves her?
Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating with an education degree in 1971, she taught second grade for two years, then accepted an invitation to travel internationally for a year with a singing ensemble. After traveling for a year, she returned to her teaching job, then in 1975, she reunited with her childhood sweetheart, and they married that very December. They have raised two lovely daughters, both of whom are now happily married and enjoying their own families. Retired in 2003 after thirty-one years of teaching, Shar loves to read, sing, travel, and spend time with her family—in particular, her adorable grandchildren!
Shar has always enjoyed writing, and her high school classmates eagerly read and passed around her short stories. In the early 2000s, Shar felt God’s call upon her heart to take her writing pleasures a step further, so in 2006, she signed a contract with Whitaker House for her first faith-based novel, Through Every Storm, thereby launching her professional writing career. With more than twenty published novels now gracing store shelves and being sold online, Shar gives God all the glory. Shar’s novels have won numerous awards. Her Steadfast Heart is her twenty-first novel and the second book in her Hearts of Honor series (after Her Rebel Heart). Shar has done numerous countrywide book signings and has participated in several interviews on television and radio. She loves to speak for community organizations, libraries, church groups, and women’s conferences. In her church, she is active in women’s ministries, regularly facilitating Bible studies and other events. Shar and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake, Michigan, with their beautiful white collie, Peyton.
Shar loves hearing from her readers. If you wish to contact her as a potential speaker or would simply like to chat with her, please send her an e-mail at SharleneMacLaren@Yahoo.com. She will do her best to answer in a timely manner.
More from Sharlene
Faith Haviland swept a few strands of damp hair off her forehead, irritated by how it had escaped the neat bun of this morning. She shoveled more dishes into the sink and set to washing them as fast as possible to prepare for the supper crowd that would soon descend upon Daybreak Diner. It wasn’t a fairytale job by any means, but, alas, it was a job, and many would clamor for it if her Aunt Martha ever hung up a “Help Wanted” sign in the window. Her aunt, who happened to be her father’s younger sister, owned and operated the establishment and often stated her wish for Faith to one day take it over. Faith shuddered at the prospect of telling Martha she’d been entertaining the idea of leaving Columbus. Martha wouldn’t like the news, but Faith couldn’t worry about that. Things had grown too tedious in her hometown, and too many found it their job to remind her of the unfortunate event of her canceled wedding. Add to that the troublesome, if not peculiarly obsessive, behavior of Stuart Porter, and tedious hardly described it. Ever since her fiancé’s departure with her best friend just two weeks before their April 15 wedding day, Mr. Porter had started closing in on her, insisting he would marry her in an instant if she’d simply agree. For as long as she could recall, the man had outwardly admired her, even though she had done nothing to encourage it. Nothing about him appealed to her. First, he didn’t serve the Lord; second, he was an obsessive drinker; third, he came off as pushy and persistent; and finally, he resembled a goose with his nose sticking out like a beak. Not that looks meant all that much—goodness, she didn’t consider herself any major prize—but it was all the other things thrown in. The man was almost twenty years older than she and widowed to boot. At least, that was the rumor anyway. No one had really known his wife, only that she was there one day and gone the next. Some said she’d died, and others said she’d left him for another man. Whatever the case, it’d been a mysterious event that few knew anything about, and if they did, no one discussed it much, probably mostly from lack of caring.
Even if you are not a fan of biblical fiction you will enjoy The Midwife’s Heart by author Brenda Ray. From the moment I started reading, I became invested in the story and the life of Hannah, the midwife. Even though it is Book Two in the Hebrew Midwives Trilogy, I had no trouble following the story or characters. It is a beautiful story.
This is the story of the Hebrew midwife, Hannah. She has sworn off men after a terrible marriage when she was young. Hannah has resigned herself to living without a husband or children. Her calling is to help women in childbirth. One day she meets Ze-ev Ben Judah, the mighty warrior and leader. He, too, has had a bad experience years ago and sworn off love. Their meeting is like cats and dogs, but sparks fly.
The author has done extensive research and it shows. With vivid descriptions her deft pen takes readers to the desert with the Israelites. I could almost see the tents, smell the herbs, and feel the warm, sun soaked boulders. Her characters were both historical and fictional. Readers will recognize Moses and Caleb as well as the city of Jericho. She has made the Bible come to life in this charming romance.
There are timeless lessons sprinkled throughout this fictional treasure. Scripture and lessons of faith are woven from beginning to end, making this an inspiring tale. It is a breathtaking love story.
This book was fascinating and taught me a few things. It helped me understand the life of the Israelites in their journey to the Promised Land. Women will relate to Tabitha, Kitra, and Hannah as well as the five sisters. They will swoon over Ze-ev.
I highly recommend this Jewish Historical Novel/Biblical Fiction. I was riveted and kept turning pages until it was finished. It would make a great book club choice. There is so much to discuss. A women’s group at church would find this to be a nice selection. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: The Midwife’s Heart
Author: Brenda Ray
As Abraham’s descendants prepare to cross into the Promised Land, led by Moses, Hannah, a disillusioned midwife will be tested in ways she cannot imagine. She wanted love, a home, and children, but gave up on that dream long ago. One heartbreak and humiliation was enough.
Ze-ev is a commander in the army, protecting his people. Busy doing what must be done, finding a wife is not his priority. Besides, when his childhood sweetheart marries another, he lost interest in securing a match to be his bride.
When he meets Hannah, they are both tested. Will either of them let down their guard long enough to trust again?
Set on the Plains of Moab, amidst attacks on the camp, spies, plague, and the unprecedented request of Zelophehad’s daughters, Ze-ev and Hannah must navigate the thorny path of the heart.
RWA award-winning author, Brenda Ray, grew up along the Emerald Coast of Northwest Florida. A University of Florida trained nurse-midwife, she traveled as a military wife and raised three remarkable sons. She is now retired and writing full time in Vero Beach, FL. A graduate of the University of Florida, as well, she is always confused during football season, but she is never confused about loving feedback from her readers. You may contact her at: www.wildwolfwomanwriter.com
More from Brenda
I didn’t set out to be a writer. In 1997, I was a practicing nurse-midwife, blessed to have delivered hundreds of babies. In one day, latex allergy abruptly ended my career, ended my job, and took my health. Seven years of college felt like a waste. At times the grief felt bottomless.
My strong faith in God got me through that dark time. My daily meditation and clinging to God’s Word were by lifelines. One morning, while reading the second chapter of Exodus, (which I had read many times before) the story of Puah and Shiphrah struck me in a new way.
I began asking myself how that came to be. Why would a pharaoh order his future workforce murdered? Did all the babies arrive before the midwives could arrive or did the midwives lie? With much research and study and my own experiences as a midwife, the answers to those questions became The Midwife’s Song: A Story of Moses’ Birth.
The book started a flood of writing that continues today. Writing is a creative process and as the Holy Scripture teach, “In the beginning, God created….” We are told we are made in God’s image. Thus, we ourselves are destines to create. For me, it has been quilting, sewing, cooking, and writing. I also write under the pen name of B. K. Ricotta. Two of a Kind is my first book under that name. A sweet novella will be released soon by Wild Rose Press entitled A Love So Sweet by B. K. Ricotta. Finally, the finishing touches are being done on a historical romance set in Northwest Florida when it was a new state.
Maryann’s Hope is Book Four in the four book series, The Amish Charm Bakery Series by author Molly Jebber. This is a delightful and heartwarming story that will take you into Amish Country. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Maryann’s Hope had my interest from. the beginning unto the end. I was immediately invested in the story and the characters. Author Jebber has a smooth writing style. Her words flow evenly over the pages and are easily understood. It is evident that she is very familiar with all things Amish. Her characters are authentic and believable.
This is the story of Maryann. She has come back home with her daughter after her husband dies. Maryann’s past has some heartaches, but Andrew has given her a relationship full of trust, love and faith. She is coming out of her shell and learning from live again. They have decided not to keep secrets from each other in their relationship. Secrets damaged their old relationships.
The story is filled with unexpected twists and turns as well as timeless spiritual and life lessons. Exploring grief, forgiveness, family responsibilities, and faith are just a few of the lessons readers will encounter. The problem with keeping secrets is also approached.
I love that author Molly Jebber’s books are filled with love for others and for God. She sprinkles her books with scripture and gives glory to God through her writing. I definitely recommend this book to all lovers of Amish fiction. It gets a 4 out of 5 star review. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these were my honest words.
About the Book
Book: Maryann’s Hope
Author: Molly Jebber
Genre: Amish Historical Romance
Release Date: January 26, 2021
The pleasing warmth of fresh-baked maple cookies…the sweet, buttery flakiness of a raspberry jam pastry. In 1913 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery is beloved by locals and visiting Englischer alike. And its understanding community always provides help, healing–and new chances for love…even for a widow faced with an impossible choice between her head and her heart.
Secrets devastated Maryanne Harding’s marriage to an Englischer–and took away her untrustworthy husband. Now the young Amish widow has found contentment cooking up treats at the bakery, raising her little girl, and comforting her ailing mother. And when Andrew Wittmer asks her to marry him, Maryanne is over the moon with happiness that she and the kind furniture maker will put down roots in her hometown…
Until Andrew’s uncle becomes ill, and Andrew must permanently take over his store in a town hours away. Though she would go anywhere to be Andrew’s fraa, Maryanne can’t abandon her mother–or the family that depends on her so much. And when she discovers Andrew harbors secrets of his own, Maryanne’s hard-won trust is shaken. Now, can she risk difficult choices and take a leap of faith into the loving, joyful future she longs for most?
Molly Jebber is a best-selling & award-winning Amish Historical Romance author whose books have made the Publisher’s Weekly Best Ten List, media worldwide, and in USA Today. She’s a national speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, and keynote and guest lecturer for many groups on writing, publishing, & marketing. She loves God, family, friends she is grateful for her readers.
More from Molly
You are the reason I write. Your inspiration and encouragement on social media posts brighten my mood and on those hard days of writing, keeps me going. Thank you!
I’ve been fortunate to have a close family. I hear so often, you can choose your friends but not your family. Maryann in MARYANN’S HOPE loves her mother, but finds her a challenge with her unpredictable moods. When she meets Andrew, they both must make difficult decisions throughout their courtship relating to family and seeking God’s will for their lives. Maryann’s toddler, Betsy, will make you laugh, as well as other children of her friends in the story. The bakery desserts will make your mouth water, and you’ll imagine the aroma of cinnamon, sugar, and warm bread.
The Amish Charm Bakery is where friends come to enjoy a break, share secrets, solve problems, and laugh and cry.
On a personal note, this year has been an exciting one for our family in spite of COVID-19. My daughter, Misty, is getting married, and we love our future son-in-law, Kevin. They are having a small wedding due to the virus, but it hasn’t dampened any of our enthusiasm for this special day. God has blessed all of us with making all the plans go smoothly, and they’ve enjoyed their marriage counseling with Pastor Roger.
Pastor Roger asked them to put their first name in the verses in Corinthians Chapter 13 of the Bible, as an example of how they should feel about each other. Such as Misty is patient, and Misty is kind. I thought about that in my marriage to Ed. He is all those wonderful things to me. But I need to be more patient! So I’m learning along with Misty and Kevin! LOL
I pray that MARYANN’S HOPE will bring you a fun escape into the small Amish town of Charm, Ohio during the period of 1913-1914!
Endless Mercy written by award winning, best selling authors Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse is Book Two in their Treasures of Nome Series. It is set in 1904 Nome, Alaska. If you haven’t read Book One, Forever Hidden, you will not have a problem following the story. This is a beautiful albeit gritty at times Christian historical romance.
This series is about the three Powell sisters. In book one we meet Havyn. In this book it is the story of Madysen. I love that they live on a farm and have animals. Havyn has chickens and Madysen has sheep. Their mother has died and a kindly neighbor lady from town, Granny Beaufort, fills in and listens with a loving heart. She is a charming character.
This is Madysen’s story. She is a talented, beautiful, feisty young red haired woman that dreams of entertaining on stage. She has issues she is working with on forgiveness and grief. Her dead father suddenly appears making her confused, angry, and cold. Thankfully she has her beloved sheep to calm her.
This is also the story of Daniel. He is angry at God because of the death of both of his parents. He wants to start a dairy. With his help, the girls farm has started making cheese. They needed this to sustain them. His relationship with Maddy is up against competition with the entertainment manager, Buddy.
The girls continue their regular worship of God and invite Daniel to join. They never force him. While he declines it seems he is listening and having a change of heart. Maddy is, too. It is refreshing to read a Christian fiction book that has so much spiritual content woven into it.
These two award winning authors make a fabulous writing team. The style is lovely. The story is smooth and flows with an even pace. All of the characters are well described and believable. The lessons presented in this novel are timeless. Twists and turns make it fun. This book, and series, is truly wonderful. It has historical fiction, romance, suspense, mystery, faith, and life lessons. I enjoyed the Christian message of forgiveness and mercy.
I highly recommend this captivating book. It gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.
About the Book
Book: Endless Mercy
Author: Tracie Peterson, Kimberley Woodhouse
Genre: Christian historical romance
Madysen Powell has always been a forgiving person, but when her supposedly dead father shows up in Nome, Alaska, her gift for forgiveness is tested. With the recent loss of her mother, she searches for answers, leaning on Granny Beaufort, a neighbor in town, who listens with a kind heart. Still, Madysen is restless and dreams of performing her music around the world. The arrival of a traveling show could prove just the chance she needs, and the manager promises more than she ever dreamed.
Daniel Beaufort arrives in Nome, searching for his own answers after the gold rush leaves him with only empty pockets. Still angry about the death of his loved ones, he longs to start fresh but doesn’t have high hopes until he ends up helping at the Powell dairy making cheese. Drawn to the beautiful redhead with big dreams, will deceptions from the past tear apart any hope for the future?
Tracie Peterson (www.traciepeterson.com) is the award-winning author of over 100 novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her many bestselling series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.
Kimberley Woodhouse (www.kimberleywoodhouse.com) is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than fifteen fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she’s shared her theme of “Joy Through Trials” with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She’s passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story.
More from Kim
It’s so exciting for book two in our Treasures of Nome series, Endless Mercy, to be heading out into the world! Tracie and I are so thrilled to bring you another story set in Nome, Alaska. And isn’t that cover gorgeous? Bethany House does such an amazing job with our books, it is an absolute joy to get to work with them.
In book one, Forever Hidden, we are introduced to three sisters and their family (and farm) in Nome. Forever Hidden is Havyn’s story. And did I mention there are chickens? Check out my blog for some interesting pictures and stories about how these chicken stories came to be…
Book two, Endless Mercy, is Madysen’s story. Madysen is the youngest sibling, and in our story, she’s a talented cello player. Oh, and there are some sheep, who just might help get her into mischief. (Are you seeing a pattern here?)
Book three will release January 2022 and will finish out the Powell girls’ stories with the eldest, Whitney.
This series is very near and dear to us because the Powell sisters in the books are actually named after three beautiful girls we adore. They were music students of mine in Colorado and when Tracie and I had a book signing for In the Shadow of Denali, the red-headed, musical sisters all came. Tracie made the comment that someone should write a book about them…so of course…we did!
I wish you could hear the girls play and sing in real life. They are such talented musicians, and I love them dearly. Huge thanks go to Monica and Merle Powell for allowing us to take their three girls and make fictional characters out of them.
Here’s a picture of Monica with me and Tracie at a book signing years ago. And then of course, I had to put in a picture of the real Powell girls.
We’d love for you to join us for The Treasures of Nome. Enjoy the blog tour!
It has often been said that it takes a village to raise a child. This is absolutely true. Between parents, grandparents, other family, and friends, children are nurtured in many ways. I was fortunate to have a large village caring for me. One of the leaders of my village was my aunt, Eva June Wilson. I affectionately called her Auntie June. I treasured her. A few days ago she was called home by Jesus. Yes, I am broken-hearted that we are now separated, but I know with certainty we will see each other again.
Auntie June was my father’s elder sister by two years. She was a delightful, quaint, lovely woman. From my earliest memories of her, I knew that she loved me. I recall being rocked in a rocking chair and swung in a porch swing by her. She liked to be in motion and passed on that love to me. Her husband, my Uncle Sam, was a jokester and teased me relentlessly. Both of these relatives have special places in my heart. Everyone that knew my aunt loved her and sang her praises. She was one of a kind, the best kind.
I learned many things from my aunt. She had a sharp mind and gave sage advice:
a. Family is forever. Always be ready to help them. Never forget their stories.
b. Forgiveness is a requirement and not an option. Do not withhold it.
c. There are certain words a lady doesn’t say, and always remember you are a lady.
d. If you can’t say anything nice, then be quiet.
e. If you don’t know what to do, pray. You can’t go wrong talking to Jesus.
f. Don’t go where you aren’t invited. If they wanted you there, you would know.
g. If it’s not your story, don’t tell it. That is called gossip.
h. Be nice to everyone. You don’t know what they have been through in life.
i. Look for the silver lining in each situation. There is alway something good
j. Make sure your lipstick is fresh. Somebody might take your picture.
k. No one loves you like your family. Always tell them you love them.
There are many other things she taught me. She and Grandmother were skilled in the kitchen. They could cook, freeze, and can until the cows came home. Chicken tasted better fried in lard. The best thing to drink was iced tea. It was okay to use paper plates so you could spend more time with your guests. German tomatoes were fine raised besides the patio, and a yeast roll was better than a cookie anytime. Angel rolls were fluffy and great to have on hand for surprise company. If you had more than enough, share with someone. When you hug someone, close your eyes and savor it. Let your love seep through to them.
Auntie June was fun. She loved playing games and winning. When she lived on her farm she had peacocks. They were beautiful but squealed like a cat or baby. Since she had received a teaching degree, she was the best person to explain anything. Her patience was unmatched. She was a natural born story teller. We had no trouble talking for hours. I could call her and chat for an hour, unless her Kentucky Wildcats were playing ball. Then I needed to wait until after the game. She was frugal but not stingy. Things were cared for and lasted years. I remember the same family room loveseats, living room set, bedroom set, and even lamps at her house. Perhaps being content was her secret.
Auntie June grew up in Southern Indiana, but moved to Kentucky to live with family there after her sophomore year. She skipped her junior year of high school to graduate early with her cousin, Phyllis Ann. After graduation they attended college together. My grandmother was anxious that if she did not have a college buddy, my aunt might not go. She went and graduated with a bachelors degree in business. Like many others in her family, she became a teacher. Learning was important, and she continued to read and educate herself. I valued her opinion.
She was an animal lover. When she lived in Louisville, I remember her dog, Smoky. It was a black cocker spaniel, and I thought it was the most beautiful dog ever. A few years later they moved to the big farm house after her father-in-law died. She had a gorgeous collie. I remember cattle, a calf, a pony, kittens, a dog, and the peacocks at that stately place. I was certain the country estate had seen some civil war action and had many untold stories itself. Like my granddaddy, she was petrified of snakes and passed that right along to me. She had a few heart stopping stories of being trapped inside her house by a big, very big, snake.
My family lived in Clarksville, Indiana. Once when Auntie June had surgery she came to our house to recover. Grandmother stayed as her ever attentive nurse. I remember sneaking to chat with her. She would pat the side of the bed and wink. I quietly asked her if this surgery meant she could have babies or could not because she would be a wonderful mother. She told me that she was praying God had the right baby He would send just for her. Well, He did. In fact, in His generous way, He sent her three, twin sons and a daughter, my cousins: Kevin, Gavin, and Ruth Ann. She was devoted to her children, grandchildren, and greats.
Not only did I love her, but I respected her. Her life was full of trials, but she managed each one with a smile. The glass was always half full for her. She had a life full of hard work, but she also volunteered at church and other places. She was very giving. Others were more of a concern to her than herself. Mother and Auntie June remained close after my daddy died. Many times they chatted and laughed like schoolgirls. They shared precious memories.
I was the first grandchild on Daddy’s side so obviously I was spoiled rotten. Many nights and weekends were spent at my grandparents and later my aunt’s. I was like a sponge wanting to soak up every bit of information I could about the Winburn branch of my family tree. Now that Auntie June is gone I can no longer glean any more information.
Auntie June was a Woman of Faith. She walked her faith as well as talked about it. She loved church and her church family, too. There are many story of God’s blessings in her life. He healed her from breast cancer and various other maladies. He kept her safe during the many (many) storms in her life. She live a long life of 91 years. Auntie June worshipped and praised God for guiding her through them all. She told me that her deepest desire was that all of her family would know Jesus and be saved. She would laugh and say “you know there will be enough room in Heaven.”
During our last conversation she spoke to me a lot about our family: her parents, my parents and sister, her children, grandchildren, and greats. Family was important to her. She spoke a lot about her brother, my father. This was the first time she had talked about Daddy in a very long time. We talked of the goodness of God. She always told me she loved me before we hung up. I assured her of my love, too. The very next day she got sick and after a week went to Glory. People I tell me “I’m sorry you lost your aunt.” Dear friends, I did not lose her. I know exactly where she is. She has gone home and is happier than she has ever been. I miss her more than mere words could express, but I will see her again in Glory. Maybe our rooms will be close together.