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Everything She Didn’t Say by Jane Kirkpatrick; Revell ISBN 9780800727017

Everything She Didn’t Say is a work of fiction based on a true story. It tells the story Carrie Strahorn who, along with her husband Robert, played a large role in promoting and traveling the American West. While this is a story about their experiences, it is also about finding one’s self in a marriage.

From the beginning, it was obvious theirs was not to be a conventional marriage. Robert didn’t call Carrie by her name as he found it painful since his first fiancĂ©e, who died, was also named Carrie. He decided to abbreviate her middle name and call her Dell. She accepted this and a great deal more as the years went by. Perhaps she wouldn’t have the adventures and experiences had she married another man, but there were trade offs being married to a man like Robert. While she loved him deeply and truly believed they were partners in this union and in his work, we begin to see that she may not have been a true partner. Robert was not often forthcoming and withheld information that had a huge impact on her life. Carrie, a deep thinker and a realist, searched for ways to find purpose and a sense of self. Through their time together there was much Carrie did and didn’t say and this made her an extraordinary woman.

This is a beautifully told and well crafted story. Readers are placed into the time when pioneers moved west to forge new lives and when railroads changed this country. It is an engrossing and enlightening story about a very special woman. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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First Impressions- A Contemporary Retelling of Pride & Prejudice by Debra White Smith; Bethany House ISBN978-0-7642-3067-7

Eddi Boswick and Dave Davidson had different reasons for choosing London, Texas as the place to call home. While their paths might have eventually crossed anyways, it was a local theater group’s production of Pride and Prejudice that brings them into contact with each other. To say that their first meeting didn’t go well is an understatement. When they were cast in the leading rolls, things became worse. In spite of an obvious and growing attraction between them, complications and misunderstandings abound. Can they resolve their issues?

This is a richly layered story which is populated with expertly developed characters. It is told with wit and wisdom. There is strong emphasis on family and values. First Impressions is well written and easy to read. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton Thomas Nelson ISBN 9780718084257

Hurricane Season, a novel by Lauren K. Denton, is the story of two sisters who were close when young. Now as adults, their lives had taken different paths. Betsy, the eldest, and her husband own a dairy farm in Alabama. She embraces her life, but there is something missing and that is a child of her own. She struggles to cope. Her younger sister, Jenna, is the single parent to her two young daughters. Her aspirations of being a photographer have been pushed to the back burner as she works in a coffee shop in order to support her family. When a totally unexpected opportunity to renew her passion for photography arises, she leaves her children with her sister and brother-in-law. What was supposed to be a two week arrangement stretches into a longer stay resulting in complications and change.

Each chapter is told in the voice of Jenna or Betsy, with the exception of one which is in the voice of Betsy’s husband Ty. The characters are three dimensional and interesting. The mixture of personalities adds depth to the story. Relationships, bonds and personal growth are important aspects of the story line.

I found this to be an absorbing and well crafted story. Highly recommended.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green Bethany House ISBN 9780764219078

A Refuge Assured, a novel by Jocelyn Green, is a work of historical fiction which opens in Paris in 1792. Vivienne, a lacemaker, knows much in her world is changing. By 1794 she has lost her beloved aunt who had raised her and the mother who had given her up. Just being a lacemaker put her life in danger and her only hope of survival is to leave Paris. She manages to escape and makes her way to Philadelphia where she faces different dangers. She meets Liam Delaney, a man who has faced his own challenges, and over time their lives intersect. Can two people with such different backgrounds find a way to share a future?

The novel presents an impeccably detailed slice of history. The story is filled with intrigue, mystery, and fascinating characters. There are twists and turns when least expected, making this an engrossing read. I found this to be an exciting story. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse Revell ISBN 9780800728786

Missing Isaac, a novel by Valerie Fraser Luesse, opens in 1962 in Glory, Alabama. That summer young Pete McLean suffered two losses. His father died and then his friend, Isaac, went missing. Pete needed to find out what happened to Isaac and set out to do so. During his quest, he met a young girl and both their lives changed.

While bad things happen in this beautifully presented story, there is much good that occurs as well. Racial lines intersect and come together. Secrets are revealed and human strengths are tested. A small Southern town and its memorable characters come alive in this compelling story about love, legacy and doing the right thing.

Missing Isaac is Southern fiction at its best. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Life in a Box by JoDeNeathery ISBN 978-1-5323-4644-6

In Life in a Box, a novel by JoDee Neathery, readers meet two families, the Smiths and the Browns. Their names might be common, but their stories are anything but. Both families gave birth to twins born on the same day. Whether by coincidence, fate or circumstances, the families became inextricably linked to each other. After a tragedy, a daughter was requested to write a novel about her family. She received a box filled with family documents and eventually a shocking secret was uncovered. Where will it lead?

This book is a literary masterpiece. There is a large group of precisely crafted and fascinating characters, some weak, some mean, some strong and some vulnerable. They are all memorable and certainly not stereotypical. The novel is infused with lush descriptions of food, place and feelings. This is an intensely vibrant and multilayered story. Slowly we are shown what a baffled daughter discovers from her research and that is the power of this beautifully written story. I was totally engrossed in this story to the very end. Life in a Box is a must read. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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All She Left Behind by Jane Kirkpatrick Revell ISBN 978-0-8007-2700-0

On March 27, 1860, seventeen year old Jane “Jennie” Lichtenthaler married Charles Pickett. Also on that day, Charles suffered a head injury from a fall. Perhaps that injury played a large part in the unpredictable and often abusive man he became during their marriage. Jennie had dreamed of becoming a physician, but what she wanted and what she had were quite different. Unexpectedly she found herself divorced, poor, and a single parent. She took a job as a caregiver and as a result her life changed in ways she could not have foreseen.

Based on a true story, the author takes the reader into the life of a remarkable woman who overcame loss and hardships and who went on to be the best healer she could be. This is a memorable story about memorable people. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.