25 June 2013

Gone South by Meg Moseley

Take a peek into chapter one of Gone South here.
Goodreads | Amazon
The charm of the South drew her back to her family’s roots. But when the town’s old resentments turn the sweet tea bitter, can Tish find a welcome anywhere?
Leaving frosty Michigan for the Deep South was never a blip in the simple plans Tish McComb imagined for her life, dreams of marriage and family that were dashed five years earlier in a tragic accident. Now an opportunity to buy her great-great-great-grandparents’ Civil War era home beckons Tish to Noble, Alabama, a Southern town in every sense of the word. She wonders if God has given her a new dream – the old house filled with friends, her vintage percolator bubbling on the sideboard.
When Tish discovers that McCombs aren’t welcome in town, she feels like a Yankee behind enemy lines. Only local antiques dealer George Zorbas seems willing to give her a chance. What’s a lonely outcast to do but take in Noble’s resident prodigal, Melanie Hamilton, and hope that the two can find some much needed acceptance in each other.
Problem is, old habits die hard, and Mel is quite set in her destructive ways. With Melanie blocked from going home, Tish must try to manage her incorrigible houseguest as she attempts to prove her own worth in a town that seems to have forgotten that every sinner needs God-given mercy, love and forgiveness.

Meg Moseley’s Gone South had me intrigued from the beginning. Intertwining the McCombs’ double-edged family legacy with Tish’s tragic history, Mel’s desperate pursuit of truth and redemption, and a bit of unplanned romance, Moseley kept me flipping page after page until I reached the end. Upon completion of the novel, my only complaint was that the narrative of Nathan and Letitia seemed a little incomplete to me. However, as a whole, the novel – with its multitude of situational problems and complications – leads to a satisfying conclusion, leaving me content. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who has an interest in Christian fiction and enjoys rooting for the underdog.

As usual, I would like to thank WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this novel. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and honestly review it, and I always enjoy a fresh, new book experience.

20 June 2013

A Bride for All Seasons by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy & Robin Lee Hatcher

"It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue..."

Goodreads | Amazon

It's 1870. Reminders of the Civil War remain littered throughout the country. Scarred by the past, like the slowly healing land, four women seek a better future. Turning to the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue and its altruistically scheming editor, Melvin Hitchcock, to facilitate a new beginning, each woman finds herself headed West, full of happiness and hope for a fresh start with her unfamiliar groom-to-be. As the couples meet for the first time, they find that behind-the-scenes embellishments and purposeful miscommunications have left them unprepared, and sometimes unwilling, for what lies ahead. As the four individual novellas, each written by one of the authors and then compiled in A Bride for All Seasons, follow the both humorous and heartbreaking moments that result, each woman discovers that love and second chances often come in ways unplanned and unexpected.

"And Then Came Spring" by Margaret Brownley: When mail order bride Mary-Jo Parker arrives in town she receives the shock of her life; not only is her fiancé dead, he left behind an eight-year-old son he neglected to mention. But the biggest challenge of all is the boy's way-too-handsome uncle.

"An Ever-After Summer" by Debra Clopton: Widower Matt McConnell wrote his ad with no room for misunderstanding – Bible believers need not apply. But then Bible-thumping Ellie shows up on his doorstep. Matt's so desperate for her help that he accepts.

"Autumn's Angel" by Robin Lee Hatcher: Luvena Abbott's privileged childhood didn't prepare her for the hardship she now faces as an adult, especially when it comes to being the guardian of her nieces and nephew. Marriage seems the only answer to her dilemma. Clay Birch hopes to change the hurdy-gurdy house he won in a poker game into the finest opera house in the Northwest, but he'll need help to do it. Could this unlikely couple actually be the perfect match?

"Winter Wedding Bells" by Mary Connealy:
David Laramie is looking for a woman to care for his children. In exchange he'll make her financially comfortable for life. But no woman wants to marry a dying man. Then Megan responds to his ad. It seems his "edited" letter contained no mention of him dying.

In this nostalgically whimsical approach to mail-order brides, A Bride for All Seasons did not disappoint. At first, I was a bit wary of its novella format, as I am a lover of long novels, full of engaging characters, dramatic histories and unexpected turns of events. But once I started reading, my wariness faded. The form of the novella did not preclude all of this things I have grown to love about novels - it simply condensed them into a shorter amount of pages, making each story all the most addicting and hard to put down. Story after story, I was hooked from the get-go, lost in the unique style of each author, and found myself reaching the end sooner than I was ready. Needless to say, I would recommend this collection to anyone looking for a quick and compelling read, with an interest in historical romance. I am truly grateful to BookSneeze for providing me with a free copy of this novel and the opportunity to review it honestly.