Tag Archives: historical romance

Daughters of the Mayflower Series Review

12 Feb

I ran across this series while perusing the Christianbook site for more novels by Michelle Griep, and the first three were such a good deal that I decided to give them a try. Now, this series is rather unique as it is written by six different authors – and covers the stories of Americans from the Mayflower through World War 2. There are at least twelve books in total. I just found the site for the series here.

The first one is The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse- set in 1620. Mary Elizabeth joins her family and small community of Seperatists aboard the Mayflower in search of a better world. William Lytton is also seeking a fresh start. As a carpenter aboard the ship, he hopes to succeed in this venture. When he’s asked to look out for the interests of the Virginia Company as the community settles in exchange for a goodly sum, he agrees. But the season is late for sailing and even when they do reach land, the people are weak from the journey and building a settlement is a challenge. Will Mary Elizabeth and William survive the natives and the innumerable losses as spring comes? Will William be branded a traitor just when things seem to be turning for the better?

Next is The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’barbo – set in New Orleans, 1725. Maribel Cordova clings to the little she has left of her mother- a shawl that has been passed down through the family since they came to the New World. But she’s lost something else – her father’s treasure. And the one man who can help her find it is attorney Jean-Luc Valmont. When he accepts a position on the governor’s staff, he is certain that he’s buried his past deep enough that it will never see the light of day. But then Maribel walks into his life, and as the daughter of a notorious pirate, she could ruin everything. Will they both be able to find what they seek, and hold onto what they hold most dear?

And last but not least, is The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep- set in  Upper Fort Wilderness in Upstate New York, 1760. Mercy Lytton straddles two cultures that are united in their cause- to defeat the French. Mercy was raised among the Mohawks and has keen sight that makes her invaluable as a scout for the English military. When she is chosen for a mission with three men, she is expecting the physical danger. But the real danger is to her heart. Elias Dubois is condemned as a traitor and awaiting the gallows. At the last moment, he is offered the chance to live a little longer and help guard a shipment of gold. The gold that he stole in the first place. As he sets off with Mercy, an old ranger and a whiny soldier, Elias realizes that Mercy is far more intriguing than any woman he’s met. Will they be able to deliver the gold on time – and will they find common ground amidst the divided loyalties that split the country?

My Review: I enjoyed the first novel but felt that it was quite slow moving in the first half (or even longer) I would have liked to see more of their time in the New World than was shared. Nothing faulting the author here though, personal preference. I also felt that the characters could have jumped off the page more – while I liked both Mary Elizabeth and William, I wasn’t gripped with needing to know how their story ended. A good book but could have been even better, in my opinion. I am not sure that I’ll read it again but give it a try, it’s worth a one-time read!

As for the Pirate Bride, I had only read some short stories of hers in collections (you know, where there’s a handful of similar short stories in one book?). But I was excited about it as it was a book centered on PIRATES. And yes, I needed to capitalize that whole word to get across just how excited I was about it. The above synopsis doesn’t tell you near enough about what actually happens in this novel! I really enjoyed it and had a hard time putting it down. I’ve not read a novel quite like it before, which was so refreshing! I will definitely be looking out for more books by her. But, back to this one – Maribel is a spunky kid- and young woman. Yes, we get to see her in two different stages in her life which really brought her to life. If we had only seen her grown, we wouldn’t have understood her struggles and stubbornness and love for ships. Y’Barbo didn’t overdo it on the information on the details (rigging, masts, starboard, etc) about the ships which I appreciated. But I did revel in what she included. Danger and intrigue; family devotion and betrayal; faith being put to the test; sweet, clean, lovely romance – all are covered in this one, folks. The characters were real and jumping off the page. In other words, give this one a try!

As for The Captured Bride by Griep – I absolutely loved it! I was sucked into the story right from the beginning, and couldn’t stop thinking about it whenever I had to put it down to do things..like life. Mercy was such a great character – her skills and knowledge were believable; her weaknesses true to life and her being willing to learn and live made it so that you could identify with her. I really liked Elias as well- the intrigue behind his story was so good and while, after finishing it, I wondered how I didn’t see ‘that’ coming –the truth is that it’s written so well that I just didn’t! Griep wove so many twists and turns into the story that it’s sure to keep you intrigued, just like it did me! This one is definitely on my Favorite Reads of 2021!

So, as a summary, each book that I read, I enjoyed more than the last one. I look forward to slowly reading more of this series but I’ll probably be trying to get them through the library before buying any more, penny pincher that I am.

Kathleen Y’Barbo’s website is here.

Kimberley Woodhouse’s website is here.

Michelle Griep’s website is here.

My review of Griep’s House at The End of the Moors is here.

Have you read any of this series?

~Laura

Only in Gooding Series Review

6 Sep

This series by Cathy Marie Hake is so much fun. Set in Texas in the 1890s, it follows the lives of the inhabitants of Gooding. Heartfelt and full of laughs, these christian, historical romance novels are easy to read and very enjoyable.

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~While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.~

 

Fancy Pants  – Stranded in America, Lady Sydney Hathwell reaches out to a relative in Texas. With a warm invite for his ‘nephew’ to join him on his ranch, Sydney knows her name has caused a mix up. But she decides that it just might be the best way to reach Texas -masquerading as a man. However, when she arrives, Tim Creighton is appalled at the wimpy, Eastern nephew that his boss and friend is going to come home to. He decides to make a man out of Fancy Pants – and right from the get-go he has the ‘kid’ hauling rocks, mucking stalls and assisting with a calving. When Sydney’s identity is eventually revealed, Tim doesn’t like how he’s been deceived. He also realizes he doesn’t like all the attention she’s getting now that she’s wearing ribbons and dresses.

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Forevermore – Hope Ladley goes from one farm to the next, helping those who need it during harvest time in exchange for a bit of essentials. She ends up at the Stauffer farm – where widower Jakob, his young daughter and the pregnant sister that he’s protecting from an abusive husband are struggling. While Hope’s methods often leave Jakob confused and frustrated, he can’t deny the difference that her optimism and hard work are having on all of them. Just when Jakob has realized his feelings for Hope, his brother-in-law arrives, intent on reclaiming his wife. Their new-found happiness is gone, lost in the worry and danger that now plagues them. Can Jakob protect his sister and convince Hope to stay on – as his wife?

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Whirlwind – Eager to start a new life in America, Millicent Fairweather boards the Opportunity with her family. When she’s taken from steerage to be a nanny for the voyage, she soon loses her heart to the sweet little boy. His father, widower Daniel Clark, is hesitant about such a young woman being his son’s nanny. But since it’s only a week, he relents. When tragedy strikes however, Daniel takes the opportunity to aid Millicent and her sister – by marrying Millicent herself. Both say it’s a marriage of convenience but Daniel quickly realizes he’s lost his heart to his new wife. How can he woo her when she’s completely oblivious?

That Certain Spark  – When a double blessing of veterinarian and doctor are found for Gooding, the town is overjoyed. Then they find out that the doctor is a woman. Soon they are up in arms over letting Taylor Bestman practice. Her brother Enoch supports her fully but she’s going to need a lot more in order to fulfill her dream of having her own practice. The town’s blacksmith, Karl Van der Vort, is unwillingly her first patient but is still upset by her chosen occupation. Though he does find himself protective of her as she goes about the town in her red waistcoat and drives around town on her own! Sparks soon fly as pride and attraction meet head-on.

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Serendipity  -Todd Valmer’s plan of fetching his mother and bringing her home to live with him on his farm in Texas hits a major snag when she suddenly keels over on the train. They are dropped off in a small mountain town where the only reliable medical assistance is a young woman who barters for a living. Maggie Rose loves the community of miners that she barters and trades with. As well as making the rose scented soaps and perfumes that have been passed down through several generations. The rose bushes carry a wealth of treasured memories for her. Marriage has never been on Maggie’s mind – until Todd shows up. So when he proposes marriage, she agrees and they marry quickly so Maggie can go to Texas with them. But life in Texas is far different from the one that Maggie had treasured before. Todd and Maggie quickly realize that infatuation is different from love. And that Todd’s mom doesn’t want Maggie for her son. Will they fight for their love and future before it’s too late?

 

~I appreciated the different take on the *’meet-cute’ in this series. And, if you’ve been following SGL for a while, you know that the 1890s are my favorite era. I love reading novels set in this time period, whether it’s fashionable London or down-home farming – like many of Hake’s novels! As I said at the beginning of this review, these are very easy to read, perfect for when you’ve got an afternoon to wile away – or just a few minutes while on your lunch break. They pull you in quickly with the sweet simplicity of the times and interesting characters.

I can highly recommend this series to anyone, with the statement that Forevermore (book #2) and Serendipity (book 5) do deal with some weightier and sensitive issues (physical abuse, learning disabilities, physical intimacy/closeness etc). Even these, though, Hake does it right, I think. Nothing blunt or intense.

~Just in case you noticed that Forevermore isn’t in the cover photo, that’s because I didn’t read it til last – having bought it after I’d returned the few from the library. I do want to own the whole set of these eventually, but for now, the library it is!

*an amusing or charming first encounter between two characters that leads to the development of a romantic relationship between them

Little Blossoms for Jesus

• Enjoying the old-fashioned & beautiful • • Thankful for grace • Growing in faith • • Learning life • Loving people •

Elaine Howlin

lost in the pages of books

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Navigating with Chronic Illness in a Self Absorbed World