Tag: 2017 Release

The Space Between Words 2

Throwback Thursday | The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix, an amazing dual timeline novel set in France in 1695 and 2015. Have you read it?

About The Space Between Words

“There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned.”

When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.

“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered.

“Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”

During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.

“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”

Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.

Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?

Find The Space Between Words online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

My Review

The Space Between Words starts in Gatingy, France, with Adeline Baillard as the narrator.

It’s 1695, the time of the persecution of the Huguenots, those Protestants who refused the King’s orders to convert to Catholicism. The story then skips forward to 2015, to a first-person account from thirty-four year-old Jessica. Jessica is living in Paris with her friends Patrick and Vonda.

They are about to leave Paris to go touring around Southern France. First, they decide to celebrate with one last night of fun. Vonda suggests a concert at the Bataclan nightclub.

On 14 November 2015, the night of the real-life massacre.

I read The Space Between Words in June 2017, in the week after the London Bridge attack and the benefit concert for the victims of the Manchester attack. That brought home all the more the horror and confusion of the Bataclan bloodbath.

I don’t’ want to say any more about the plot because *spoilers*.

Instead I’ll say this is Jessica’s story. It’s about searching for what has been lost. About finding hope in the midst of  loss. It’s also a story of struggle and courage and faith, especially Adeline’s faith and that of her fellow Huguenots. It’s inspiring.

The story has a strong spiritual thread. This is mostly in the past words of Adeline Baillard, but also in the present conversations between Jessica and her companions. It’s not a “traditional” Christian novel in that the main characters aren’t Christians

But there is a definite faith journey.

 

It reminds me of The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck, The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser, and The Five Times I Met Myself by James L Rubart. The writing was strong, and the story unpredictable (in a good way).

I recommend The Space Between Words for those looking for a novel with depth.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Michele Phoenix

Author Photo: Michele PhoenixBorn in France to a Canadian father and an American mother, Michèle is a consultant, writer and speaker with an international perspective. She taught for 20 years at Black Forest Academy (Germany) before launching her own venture advocating for Third Culture Kids. Michèle travels globally to consult and teach on topics related to this unique people group. She loves good conversations, mischievous students, French pastry, and paths to healing.

Find Michele Phoenix online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Read the introduction to The Space Between Words below:

#ThrowbackThursday | The Boy in the Hoodie by Catriona McKeown

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my review of The Boy in the Hoodie, the 2016 debut novel from Australian author Catriona McKeown. This review previously appeared at Australasian Christian Writers.

The Boy in the Hoodie was the winner of the 2016 Omega Writers CALEB Prize for an unpublished manuscript. It was a well-deserved win, because it’s a great coming of age novel about making mistakes, paying the price, and becoming a better person through the experience.

I enjoyed everything about The Boy in the Hoodie. Aussie setting, strong characters, solid plot, and excellent writing with enough humour to offset the often-serious nature of the story. Like this line, where Kat is wishing she could leave her current high school and go to a private school:

Quote from The Boy in the Hoodie by Catriona McKeown

Well, I thought it was funny.

The set-up could have come across as contrived, but it didn’t. I think this was because the story was told in first person from Kat’s point of view, so we could see both why she lied for her friends, and what she thought about it. It was also interesting watching her get to know the boy in the hoodie and find out more about what the adults thought about her misdemeanor.

The boy was also an interesting character, and first person worked well in that I (as the reader) didn’t know any more about him than Kat did, and got to know him as she did—for better and for worse.

I almost read The Boy in the Hoodie in one sitting—yes, it was that good. The ‘almost’ is because the tension got too much towards the end, so I had to take a break. I definitely recommend The Boy in the Hoodie for young adult and not-so-young adult readers.

Any chance of a sequel? I see Paige had issues and I want to know more …

About Catriona McKeown

Catriona McKeown lives on the Fraser Coast in Queensland, Australia, with her husband of 20+ years and three daughters.

​She is passionate about issues of social justice and often writes with such ideals in mind. Her current studies are in Inclusive Education; she is passionate about education that allows every child to reach their full potential and has a particular heart for gifted children as well as those with autism.

​She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. Catriona has completed a writing course at The Writers’ Studio and continues to study the art of writing as time affords her.

Catriona hails from country Victoria, lived a short stint in Western Australia, and has now settled on Queensland as her home state.

Find Catriona McKeown online at:

Website | Facebook

About The Boy in the Hoodie

One girl. One boy. And a friendship that could save them both. Good-girl Kat knew drinking alcohol at school would have serious consequences. But to protect her friend from being expelled, Kat lands herself a term’s worth of detentions. Inside the detention room, she meets a strange boy who obsessively draws dark pictures and covers his head with a grey hoodie. Little does she know, the hoodie hides a dark past … An unlikely friendship forms between Kat and the boy in the hoodie. When she discovers a sinister truth he’s been hiding, she somehow feels compelled to help him—but at what cost? And how much is she willing to risk in order to keep him safe? The Boy in the Hoodie is a real, unforgettable story about past scars and how the ones we love can sometimes heal them.

Find The Boy in the Hoodie online at:

Amazon | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to The Boy in the Hoodie below:

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 53 | Liana’s Dance by Rosanne Hawke

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from Liana’s Dance by Australian author Rosanne Hawke, which has been on my to-read pile since it released last September:

First line from Liana's Dance by Rosanne Hawke: Ramadan had ended and the upper bazaar of Murree was busier than usual.

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About Liana’s Dance

Sixteen-year-old Liana Bedford lives in constant fear. Political tensions in Pakistan are rising and terrorist attacks are becoming an everyday norm. As a Pakistani-Australian, she could be the next target. When her school friends are taken hostage by terrorists, Liana’s world disappears overnight.

Alongside her new teacher, Mr Kimberley, she must journey through rural Pakistan in a bid to find them and bring them home. But Mr Kimberley has a secret, and to save him and her friends, Liana must overcome her fears. And dance for her life. An unforgettable story about one Pakistani-Australian’s will to survive.

You can find Liana’s Dance online at:

Amazon | Goodreads | Koorong

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Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

Quote from Fort Point: Lending moral support to a depressed genius was exhausting. He had a pessimistic answer to everything.

Book Review | Fort Point (Maine Justice #2) by Susan Page Davis

Fort Point is the second book in the Maine Justice series.

I described Priority Unit, the first book in the series, as an almost-perfect blend of Christian fiction, romance, and suspense. Fort Point has a different feel.

We’ve already seen Detective Harvey Larson and Jennifer Wainthrop fall in love and become Christians in Priority Unit. Fort Point (and, I assume, the later books in the series) are more suspense. The romance and the faith aspects are still there, but they definitely take second place to the suspense plot.

And the suspense is excellent.

Fort Point is a police procedural mystery that begins with the discovery of the body of Maine’s most famous novelist. (Personally, I’ve read enough novels about people who write novels. Perhaps Davis has as well, given her novelist is the victim.)

Detective Larson is part of Maine’s Priority Unit, a special force, so is tasked with investigating the murder. But it’s not easy. The victim wasn’t just a novelist. He was also an investigative journalist, and Larson wonders if one of his investigations may have attracted attention from the wrong people. Soon a second body is discovered, and evidence that suggests corruption in high places …

I didn’t think the writing was as strong in Fort Point (although that could just be that it’s been about a year since I read Priority Unit, and I was so impressed by the three strands of the plot that I didn’t pay much attention to the writing). It wasn’t that the writing is poor. It’s more that it felt a little unpolished in comparison with Davis’s other books.

Overall, Fort Point is a solid suspense novel.

But does have a different flavour than Priority Unit and Susan Page Davis’s earlier romantic suspense novels. If you’re looking for a lightweight romantic suspense novel, Fort Point isn’t what you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a well-plotted police procedural suspense with plenty of twists and strong characters, Fort Point might be just what you are looking for.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About Susan Page Davis

Author Photo: Susan Page Davis

Susan Page Davis writes romantic suspense, historical romance, and mystery. She is a Maine native now living in Kentucky, and a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and KenTen Writers. Her books have won several awards including the Carol Award for her novel The Prisoners Wife; the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for The Prisoner’s Wife and The Lumberjack’s Lady (Maine Brides series); and the Will Rogers Medallion Award for her novels Captive Trail (Texas Trails series, 2012) and The Outlaw Takes a Bride (2016).

You can find Susan Page Davis online at:

Website | Facebook | Google+ | Twitter

About Fort Point

An ill-fated class reunion at Fort Point. . .

Maine’s most famous author is murdered the night after the reunion. A classmate turns up dead a few days later, apparently drowned at Fort Point. What does a cold case burglary have to do with the deaths? And did a third classmate really commit suicide?

The Priority Unit solves its most challenging case, relying on wits, hard work, and faith. Meanwhile, Jennifer Wainthrop plans her wedding but manages to hand the detectives some important clues.

Detective Harvey Larson is offered a job he doesn’t want, until he learns the police chief has had a tragic accident. Captain Mike Browning is on vacation in Maine’s far north, and proves a difficult man to track down. Harvey and Jennifer continue their faith journey and romance while untangling the evidence.

Despite many obstacles, the Priority Unit is once again serving up Maine Justice.

You can find Fort Point online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to Fort Point below:

#ThrowbackThursday | Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my review of Beneath Copper Falls, another nailbiting romantic suspense novel from Colleen Coble. This review was first published at Suspense Sisters Reviews.

A woman is murdered—drowned—in the Prologue. Another woman is almost drowned in the first chapter. Is that creepy or what?

Dana, the almost-victim, escapes from her fiance and returns home to Rock Harbor.

She knows Garrett might track her home, but figures she’ll be surrounded by friends, and he’ll stick out in the small town. He’s determined to get her back—and she’s just as determined to stay away from him, to stay safe.

She has decided she doesn’t need a man to take care of her, but then she meets Boone Carter. That’s a first meeting that doesn’t go well! But they reconcile, and … but that would be telling. Suffice to say this is romantic suspense, and although the emphasis is largely on the suspense, there is still enough romance to keep romance lovers happy.

This was a great story, full of suspense and misdirection.

I thought I’d figured out the identity of the murderer, then something happened which meant I had to be wrong (and I was). We also saw more of the evildoer’s MO as the story progressed, and this just ramped up the tension as we saw him working to ensnare his next victim—another Rock Harbor woman.

At this point I hadn’t guessed the evildoer’s true identity, but that didn’t stop me yelling at the character to get away from the creep. I did eventually work out the real murderer (long before Dana, Bree and co worked it out), but that only added to the suspense. He’s behind you! Get out now!

This is the sixth novel in Colleen Coble’s Rock Harbor series. I think I’ve read one or two of the previous novels—Bree rang a bell, but that was all. It didn’t matter. Beneath Copper Falls can easily be read without having read the previous books. I’m sure fans of the series will be thrilled to read a new installment.

Recommended for thriller fans. Best read the day before your manicure appointment, not the day after.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Colleen Coble

Colleen CobleBest-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

 

Find Colleen Coble online at:

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About Beneath Copper Falls

Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

Find Beneath Copper Falls online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to Beneath Copper Falls below:

Quote from Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

#Throwback Thursday | Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

It’s Throwback Thursday, where I share a review of an older book, or reshare a review. Today I’m resharing my review of Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter, a wonderful Christian novel of the power of unconditional love. It’s a standalone novel, but it’s set in the same community as Hunter’s Blue Ridge Romance series. I’ve already reviewed Blue Ridge Sunrise, and Honeysuckle Dreams releases on 1 May 2018. I’ll post my review in a couple of weeks.

About Sweetbriar Cottage

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage–and okay, the botched divorce–was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife–still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone–including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

You can find Sweetbriar Cottage online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

My Review

Noah Mitchell is less than impressed when he finds his ex-wife is actually still his wife.

She forgot to file their divorce papers, so the divorce was never final. Oops. Now he has to get those papers filed to get the IRS off his back. But getting them filed means visiting Josephine Dupree Mitchell again—not something he’s looking forward to.

Josie knows how much Nate doesn’t want to spend time with her.

And why would he, after what she did? So she decides to be helpful and save Nate a trip into town by driving out to his ranch to deliver the signed papers. She can get his signature, file the papers with the judge, and the divorce will be done. At last.

Only things never work out as planned, because a snowstorm hits as Josie arrives at the ranch. She’s trapped with Nate, the ex-husband she still has feelings for.

Then things get worse …

Sweetbriar Cottage is a sweet (!) yet powerful exploration of the nature of unconditional love. It starts in the present, but has multiple flashbacks. Flashbacks to three and a half years ago, when Nate and Josie first met. And flashbacks to Josie’s childhood—the childhood she never discussed with Nate. The flashbacks gradually reveal what she did—and why.

It was always obvious Nate was the one who had instigated the divorce, and this got me wondering . How can you meet, marry, and divorce in just three years? (This seems unbelievably fast. I live in New Zealand, where it takes at least two years to get a divorce.) What had she done that he couldn’t forgive? And why did he marry a non-Christian in the first place?

It was also obvious that Josie was one emotionally messed up woman, and that whatever she’d done was the result of her messed up teenage years (triggers!) and her subsequent belief that there is no such thing as unconditional love.

Spoiler: there is. But that’s something Nate and Josie both need to learn.

I’d been a little apprehensive about reading Sweetwater Cottage, but it captured me from the beginning and never let up. A great second chance romance with some deep Christian themes.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Denise Hunter

Denise HunterDenise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 30 books, including “The Convenient Groom” and “A December Bride” which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.

In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking good coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are currently enjoying an empty nest.

Find Denise Hunter online at:

Website | Facebook

You can read the introduction to Sweetbriar Cottage below:

#ThrowbackThursday | A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

It’s Throwback Thursday, and today I’m sharing my review of A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti. She is known for her emotional and exceptional writing, and A Fragile Hope proves both points. Even though I didn’t like the hero.

One of my ‘rules’ for reading and reviewing is that I have to like the main character—it’s hard to like a book (especially a romance) if you can’t stand the hero.

A Fragile Hope is the exception to that rule.

Josiah Chamberlain is one of the most self-absorbed men you could ever hope to meet. He’s a Christian relationship counsellor who has given up counselling in favour of writing best-selling self-help books while his wife dabbles in some little hobby ‘business’, selling home-made greeting cards.

But he’s forced to re-evaluate his life when Karin is involved in a fatal car accident. She ends up in ICU, unconscious. And she’s apparently pregnant … after they’ve been told Josiah can’t have children. This is the slightly frustrating cause of the Big Misunderstanding, something that could have been sorted out early in the novel. But Josiah is the man who always has the right answer so it never occurs to him that he hasn’t.

I didn’t like Josiah, but I kept reading out of some kind of macabre fascination. Would Mr Intelligent get a clue? And when?

The other reason I kept reading was because of the writing. There were so much great writing, so many great lines. I appreciated the way the Christian themes were woven in, strong but not overwhelming or out of place.

Overall, recommended for the outstanding writing, thought-provoking Christian themes, and a great character-driven story. Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Cynthia Ruchti

Author photo: Cynthia RuchtiCynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed-in-Hope through her novels and novellas, nonfiction books and devotionals, and through speaking for women’s and writers’ events. Her books have been recognized by many top industry readers’, reviewers’, library, retailer, and other honors.
Cynthia is the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management. She and her plot-tweaking husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five (to date) grandchildren.

You can find Cynthia online at:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

About A Fragile Hope

Josiah Chamberlain’s life’s work revolves around repairing other people’s marriages. When his own is threatened by his wife’s unexplained distance, and then threatened further when she’s unexpectedly plunged into an unending fog, Josiah finds his expertise, quick wit and clever quips are no match for a relationship that is clearly broken.

Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what’s left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

You can find A Fragile Hope online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to A Fragile Hope below:

#ThrowbackThursday | Pursued by Lisa Harris (Nikki Boyd #3)

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing a review I originally wrote for Suspense Sisters Reviews in May 2017, the third book in the Nikki Boyd series by Lisa Harris. Spoiler: if you like suspense novels, you should read the whole series, starting with Vendetta.

Pursued starts with a bang, literally, as Nikki Boyd’s plane crashes. No one notices the woman she was sitting beside disappear in the confusion following the crash, and when Nikki questions investigators, they seem to think she is traumatised and hallucinating, because the flight manifest says the seat next to her was empty.

That’s soon cleared up, and now Nikki has two days to find the missing Erika Hamilton. The race is on, and the pace never lets up. There are constant twists and turns as Nikki and her partner follow a trail of clues to find Nikki … and realise she’s not the only person they need to find. It’s a great plot, and a great read.

Pursued is the third book in The Nikki Boyd Files, and I hope it’s not the last! The series has an overall storyline of Nikki joining the police force to find her younger sister, who went missing ten years ago. There is also the romantic element, with her developing relationship with Tyler, the husband of Nikki’s dead best friend. I’d like to see these storylines resolved before I say goodbye to Nikki.

Pursued is a standalone novel and you don’t have to have read the earlier books in the series to understand it. But if you’re a suspense fan, you’ll want to read them all and it would be best to read them in order: Vendetta, then Missing, then Pursued. Recommended for all Christian suspense fans.

Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Lisa Harris

Lisa HarrisI’m a wife, mom, teacher, author, dreamer, photographer, world explorer, but most importantly a follower of Christ Jesus.

I currently live with my husband near the Indian Ocean in Mozambique where we work as church-planting missionaries. We’ve started the empty next stage with two children spread around the globe and a third—thankfully—still at home.

As a homeschooling mom, life is busy, but I see my writing as an extension of my ministry which also includes running a non-profit organization.

The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for us to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

When I’m not working l love hanging out with my family at the beach, playing games, cooking different ethnic dishes, and heading into the African bush on safari.

Find Lisa Harris online at:

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About Pursued

Nikki Boyd’s flight into Nashville was routine–up until the crash landing at the airport. When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing–and no one will admit she was ever there. Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. When she flees from the crash, is she running from trouble or straight into it? Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris has planted danger around every turn in this can’t-put-it-down thrill ride that will leave readers stunned.

You can find Pursued online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to Pursued below:

Book Review | Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

I’m not the biggest fan of writers writing novels about writers—it seems to take the advice to “write what you know” a little too literally for my taste. But Lady Jayne Disappears worked in spite of this, perhaps because Aurelie Harcourt is the transcriber for author Nathaniel Droll rather than the author himself … although that changes as the story moves forward.

Aurelie is trying to find the identity of her mother, who disappeared from her ancestral home of Lyndhurst Manor when she was a baby. Mr Rotherham is trying to find the identity of Nathaniel Droll (great name, by the way). And various members of the Harcourt household are keeping their own secrets as well …

Lady Jayne Disappears has a strong plot with an intriguing mystery and more than a hint of romance. The characters are strong and likeable, and many have their own secrets which adds to the overall mystery. The writing was excellent. I especially liked the many lines about reading and writing. Here are a few of my favourite:

Fiction was not always a lie, but a truth told in parallel to real life. A pill of advice disguised in an easy-to-swallow tale.

Reading is the perfect way to engage and excite your mind while appearing to merely pass the time.

There were also some excellent lines about human nature, such as:

Every girl is born with the ability to be herself. Many simply unlearn it because they do not like who that is, and they thing no one else will either.

I also liked the strong Christian thread, and the distinction between religion and true Christianity:

This house simply oozes religion, but has precious little of God.

My one problem with Lady Jayne Disappears was the number of anachronisms. I’m a history fan and a marketing major, and a character discussing book marketing in Victorian England isn’t right (my dictionary confirms my marketing lecturer was right: “marketing” in Victorian England was the activity of going to the market). Victorian English residents were also unlikely to “schlep”, and didn’t write checks (okay, that’s an Americanism rather than an anachronism). I also suspect they were more likely to eat French pastries than Danish.

I know, I know. Most people won’t notice these things, and they certainly shouldn’t allow them to detract from a solid debut novel with a unique twist. I hope to see more of Aurelie and Nathaniel Droll in future.

Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Joanna Davidson Politano

Author Photo - Joanna Davidson PolitanoJoanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives.

Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence.

She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.

You can find Joanna online at:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Twitter

About Lady Jayne Disappears

Book Cover - Lady Jayne DIsappearsWhen Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

You can find Lady Jayne Disappears online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Or click here to find Lady Jayne Disappears in my Amazon shop!