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Serena B. Miller’s Fearless Hope‏

About

When an Amish woman falls for the New York crime writer who buys her family farm, she must decide whether to follow the longings of her heart or the rules of her faith.

When Hope Yoder loses her husband, she is left trying to support her two small children—and one on the way—however she can. She ends up taking a job as a part-time housekeeper for the Englisch man who has bought the farm that once belonged to her family.

Logan Parker is a bestselling crime fiction writer from New York City who accompanies his fiancée on a trip to Holmes County, Ohio, but the trip takes a strange turn when he sees an Amish farmhouse for sale. Intrigued by a strong sense of familiarity, he enters the house and is overcome with a feeling of deep peace. He’s never been to Ohio before, but something in this house feels right, and he purchases the farm to use as a retreat. Something about the peacefulness of the house frees him from the crippling writer’s block that threatens to ruin his career, and something about the quiet Amish woman who comes to clean his home makes him less and less excited about returning to New York and the woman he is supposed to marry.

Slowly, Logan and Hope are drawn together, and when they discover that they share a strange past, they must decide how that affects their future. Will Hope overcome her fear of embracing love again?

 
Review
Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know I don’t often read Amish Fiction. But, I love Serena Miller and if Serena Miller wants to write Amish fiction then I’m going to read it. So this novel continues in the same town as the other novels in this series with two new people. Here’s what I thought:
 
What I liked:
 
The character development. Hope and Logan are such well developed characters that they could have stepped off of the pages. I really enjoyed the chemistry between them. It was slow and subtle, and it worked really well (especially because they come from two very different backgrounds).
 
The novel managed to pull me in right away and I couldn’t put it down. I was totally invested in Hope and Logan and everyone around them. You get to see Grace and Levi, and Tom and Claire in this novel (and I especially like Grace and Levi’s updates).
 
The little mystery in this book. It completely blew me away! I loved it!
 
Spiritually, I love the theme of forgiveness and Ms. Miller does a beautiful job of showing what that looks like. I also liked watching Logan realize that he needed God.
 
What I didn’t like:
 
Okay, so this is a personal pet peeve (for which I did not take away any points), but why does the widow always have to have so many children? There I said it. Maybe it’s because I’m (relatively) young, but the thought of marrying someone with a ready-made family would not having me jumping for joy.

 Romantic Scale: 8.7
 
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I know it may not seem as though I have a lot to say, but sometimes less is more! It’s a great book!
**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Ruth Axtell’s A Heart’s Rebellion

About

Dutiful Jessamine Barry is tired of waiting patiently for a man to decide her future. So even though Lancelot Marfleet, second son of an aristocrat, is taking an interest in her during the London season, she refuses to consider him as a suitor. Instead, she’s ready to take fashionable society by storm–and finds a rakish young man all too willing to help her do it. When things go too far, Jessamine will learn that the man who is faithful through thick and thin is more worthy than the one who speaks pretty words. But will her disgrace keep Lance from reconsidering her as a wife? And when tragedy strikes and Lance becomes his father’s heir and a titled gentleman, will he think she only wants him now because of his title?

Fans old and new will love this lush Regency London story of discovering one’s true self and finding one’s true love.

Review

Because Ms. Axtell has written some of my favorite novels, when I saw she had a new one out, I immediately downloaded it. Then I looked to see what it was about and I became nervous. I’m not a huge fan of reading novels where you know the main character is going to fall. I would much rather read about them after the fall, when they’re on their way to becoming a better person. So, to say I was nervous would be an understatement. Without further ado:

What I liked:

The style of writing. This novel is a regency. It’s got that beautiful slow pace, where just the minute of things can be complete game changers. There are class issues, Napoleon issues, ton parties. Ms. Axtell does a beautiful job of really capturing the era and is one of the few authors I read who can remind me of Georgette Heyer (there styles are very different, but both are definite regencies).

Lancelot. He’s pretty wonderful. He’s not your average outgoing male, but quiet, introspective, and yet has this wonderful spirit of adventure and serving the Lord. As you meet him, you cannot help but like him.

From reading what this novel is about, you become aware that Jessamine falls into disgrace. I was dreading it the whole time. And I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it wasn’t what I thought it would be exactly. And not as bad as I had anticipated. And that makes me happy.

Spiritually, there is a beautiful theme of grace. Jessamine has been good most of her life and she expected her “good works” to open doors for her. I like the way in which Ms. Axtell handles the issue.

What I didn’t like:

The problem with Jessamine is that when you create a hero as wonderful as Lancelot, you begin to wonder if a woman as unsure of herself as Jessamine deserves him. And it’s easy to blame her. Sometimes she was hard to like even if I understood where she was coming from.

I think the “back of this novel” doesn’t quite give this book justice. If you asked me what it was about, I would not stress the things that it stressed because it had me anticipating things that were fairly minute.

Romantically, while I saw Jessamine and Lancelot fall in love, something was missing a bit, and I’m not sure what it was.

Romantic Scale:8

Overall, a very good read and I’m excited about the next one in the series (dare I hope Lancelot’s sister?)

**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Liz Tolsma’s Daisies Are Forever‏

About

Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.

Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.

However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch’s identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her “marriage.”

Their journey to Gisela’s mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella’s daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.

In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.


Review
Lately, WWII novels have become quite popular, and I for one cannot complain. WWII is rich with so many stories, I’m sure there is no way to tell them all. 
 
What I liked:
This novel presents a different aspect of WWII that I don’t usually read about. You have Gisela who, though raised in America, is German and Mitch, who is British.  Unlike most WWII novels, the Germans are not the only bad guys. Here you have the Russians. It’s an interesting and unique viewpoint to look through and I enjoyed seeing through Gisela’s eyes what that time must have been like.
Spiritually, there is this great message that you can’t save anything; only Jesus came to save the world.
The novel starts off with you on the edge of your seat. I was completely worried for Gisela and Mitch. 
What I didn’t like:
The novel kind of slows down in the middle. Even though there is still danger and uncertainty, somehow I managed to slowly disconnect from Gisela. She has a lot of burdens to bear, but I think she slipped into a feeling-sorry-for-herself zone. And don’t get me wrong, she has a lot to feel sorry about. It’s just that it’s hard to read sometimes. I kind of wished that there had been comic relief or something. Also, she really lets the drama of “he likes me, he likes me not” take over the story when really I felt like she should be focused on survival. 
 
Audra. Audra confused me. I didn’t know what that girl wanted or what she hoped to accomplish (aside from Hollywood) and I’m fairly certain she didn’t either. Her role in creating drama fell a bit flat to me. I couldn’t understand why anyone believed a word out of her mouth.
 
To a certain degree, though bombs were dropping and people were being threatened, the novel lost that edge-of-your-seat feel to it. 
Lastly, Mitch is a bit of a beta male. Fine. I love beta males, but aside from his past, there’s not much I could tell you about him. He came across as a forgettable.
Overall, the novel is not bad and it’s completely original. However, though it drew me in, it failed to keep me there. 
 
Romantic Scale: 7
**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**