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.
Julie Klassen’s latest release is full of twists and turns, making it a challenge, if not impossible, to solve the mystery of who killed Percival Norris. The majority of the time, I felt like I was reading a drawn out game of Clue that had me guessing and regrouping several times until the end.
All characters are likely suspects, with powerful motivations to see the crotchety former barrister dead. With the introduction of secondary characters scattered throughout the first few chapters, each one is highly suspect and hiding something. What is revealed in later pages may have readers stunned to learn their secrets.
There is something to love, and forgive, about each character. Ms. Klassen spins a tale so intriguing that one can’t help but to root for the innocence of the full cast. In the end, the culprit is not the most likely suspect.
When it comes to issues of faith, main characters struggle with their relationship with God. It’s not heavy into the faith journey, but there is a bit of it throughout the pages.
This was such an enjoyable read that it’s going in my TBRA pile (To Be Read Again).
Next time, I’ll be sure to study the red herrings more closely and congratulate the author on her obvious cleverness.
I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
It’s getting close to the end of the year and the buzz around some book lovers’ social media posts are the 2019 or 2020 reading challenge. Readers have asked for recommended books to add to their lists for the upcoming year or their recommendations for others.
Recently, I was chatting with some friends who lamented on not knowing which books to choose as their next read or audio listen.
I thought it’d be fun to give you the titles to books I’ve enjoyed reading over the past year or two. Many of these books I’ve reviewed and posted to this site or Good Reads. Ones I haven’t reviewed on this site or elsewhere are starred*.
Without further introduction, here are my top book choices in various categories, and in no particular order:
The Sierra Mountain Sweethearts by Mary Conneally – Humour, adventure, action and a bit of romance sprinkled in. Historical Fiction. Three books: The Accidental Guardian, The Reluctant Warrior, The Unexpected Champion.
The Tinderbox and The Timepiece* by Beverly Lewis – Amish duology. The second book takes place a mere day or two after the first one ends.
The Saturday Night Supper Club Series by Carla Laureano – Three book series, third to be released in 2020: The Saturday Night Supper Club*, Brunch at the Bittersweet Café, Solid Grounds Coffee Company. Warning: Food alert! Must have snacks while reading these.
Things I Never Told You – by Beth Vogt. Tissue alert! A twin deals with the loss of her sister.
Reason to Breathe – by Debra Raney. The death of a loved parent brings three very different sisters home. This is book one to the series, book 2 releases in November 2019.
Wooing Cadie MacCaffrey – by Bethany Turner.
The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck* – by Bethany Turner.
The Heart Between Us – by Lindsay Harrell. Tissue alert!
Lethal Target – by Janice Cantore
Cold Aim – by Janice Cantore
Stormy Haven – by Elizabeth Goddard
Synapse – by Steven James. This one is more sci-fi and gives you lots of food for thought!
Catching Christmas – by Terri Blackstock. Humorous Christmas tale and lots of laugh out loud moments. This one is an award winner.
Merry and Bright* – by Debbie Macomber
TIME SLIP (2 parallel, connected stories)
Hidden Among the Stars – by Melanie Dobson.
*The Writing Desk – by Rachel Hauck
The Noble Guardian – by Michelle Griep
The Reluctant Bride – by Jody Hedlund. Lots of tame romance in this one. Tissue alert. Canadian connection.
Diamond in the Rough – by Jen Turano. This is the second book of a series, but it does well as a stand alone. Too many funny moments to count.
The Spice King – by Elizabeth Camden
The Number of Love – by Roseanna White
I Can’t Believe You Just Said That – by Ginger Hubbard. A parenting book that addresses heart issues and how to discuss it with your kids.
Lies Girls Believe – by Dannah Gresh. Based on the non-fiction book by Nancy Lee DeMoss for women, Lies Women Believe.
Julie Klassen – historical Christian fiction with a bit of intrigue
Beverly Lewis – Amish Christian fiction, contemporary and historical
Debbie Macomber – her work is not considered Christian Fiction, but she’s a professed believer and threads of faith, hope, and God’s forgiveness are found in many of her books. Always clean.
John Grisham – definitely not Christian Fiction, but again, he’s a professed Christian. Legal thrillers and sometimes surprise endings.
Jody Hedlund – historical Christian fiction. Some of the book series are heavy romance, but others are based heavily on historical figures like Martin Luther, John Bunyan, Newton.