Ann Brodeur

Author of Sweet Hope and Happy Endings

A Joyful Christmas (6 Historical Stories): Book Review

BOOK BY: Cynthia Hickey; Liz Johnson; Vickie McDonough; Liz Tolsma; Carrie Turansky; Erica Vetsch

A lovely collection of inspirational Christmas stories just in time for the season!

As always, Barbour Publishing brings talented authors together to create a delightful collection of stories that will leave readers with a smile on their faces. Feel-good holiday stories with just enough tension and more than enough romance to satisfy an appetite for light, Christmas reads.

Each author brings her own voice and own spin to Christmas tales of faith, hardship and Christmas joy from the 1800s. Some stories have been published before and others are brand new.

You’ll be in for a treat if you pick up this collection.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

A Castaway in Cornwall: A Book Review

BOOK REVIEW

BOOK BY: Julie Klassen

Another long-awaited Julie Klassen tale at last!

As usual, Julie Klassen delivers a poignant regency that tells of love lost and the mystery that surrounds it.

Laura Callaway has lost everyone who loves her and struggles to find a place with a distant relative in Cornwall. She spends her days scouring the beaches for lost treasure she can return to the rightful owners, or to sell the unclaimed items. She assists her uncle who is a minister in recording the deaths of those washed up on shore from the shipwrecks that plague their small community.

Alexander Caraway is caught between a political shift in history, his loyalties lying with the crown of France though the throne has been stolen by Napoleon. A captain of a French military ship, he loses the battle and finds himself a prisoner of war and accused of crimes he has not committed. Caught in a storm, Alexander is one of two survivors to wash up on shore and the one Laura nurses back to health.

There is a whole slew of cast members that bring the story to life. Characters a reader can’t help but to love, hate and wish a better outcome for. Many characters have their own hardships which end satisfactorily, even some happily. It’s hard to pick a favourite secondary character from this bunch – so I won’t.

The connection between Laura and Alexander is seamlessly woven through the pages of this novel. A beautiful story of loving a neighbour – even when he or she is considered the enemy. It’s a story of overcoming the past, forgiveness and looking to God to provide.

And I have to admit, I’m thrilled to read a novel where the French guy gets the English gal (although I might be a biased when it comes to that).

In the beginning of the novel, I found there were quite a few spots with a lot of information – historical details that were significant to the time and geography but a bit jarring. It seemed quite out of the ordinary for a Julie Klassen novel. After about the third chapter the pertinent facts had been recalled and the story flowed from there.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

A Portrait of Loyalty (The Codebreakers #3)

BOOK REVIEW

BOOK BY: Roseanna M White

https://www.roseannamwhite.com/books
https://www.roseannamwhite.com/books/codebreakers-series/3-a-portrait-of-loyalty

This is the final book of The Codebreakers Trilogy which ties up all the loose ends from the previous two books into a nice neat bow at the end.

As always, Roseanna White’s books are well researched, rich with description and full of characters readers can fall in love with. This book is no different. It’s pleasant to be re-introduced to previous characters who have had their own stories throughout this series and other ones that take place during World War 1.

The questions of loyalty, trustworthiness, and art as a means to an end are addressed throughout the pages. There are some interesting arguments presented for the use of art in propaganda, and a question our heroine struggles with as she uses her photography talents to help end the war for Britain.

Our newest cast member was introduced in the final pages of the previous novel so it was a delight to read Zivon’s story. He is one of those guys you love and can see that his struggle to share information is real. Can he trust the allies? Can he trust anyone? Can they trust him? It’s an interesting conundrum that plays throughout the novel.

Lily is a likeable character, if not conflicted. She works secretly with her father for Whitehall, but must keep her true job a secret from her artistic – and very opinionated – mother. When Lily meets Zivon, there is attraction but keeping her job a secret brings strain. Theirs is a slow romance, one that is challenged, but of course – there’s a happily ever after for them and everyone else around them.

A PORTRAIT OF LOYALTY is probably the least favourite of the whole series. I found the pace a lot slower than the other ones and quite a bit less action, but no less tension.

A reader could likely read this one as a stand alone, but to get the full appreciation of the series one should start with book one. Even better, start with the previous series Shadows Over England (or even Ladies of the Manor since they all make cameos throughout Shadows Over England).

I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

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