Tag: Iola Goulton

Quote from The View from Rainshadow Bay

Book Review | The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

Fast-paced Romantic Suspense

Colleen Coble is the master of Christian romantic suspense, and The View from Rainshadow Bay is no exception. It starts with a murder in the Prologue, and the pace never lets up.

It’s been a year, but Shauna McDade still blames Zach Bannister for the death of her husband. Unfortunately, she needs his help as a father-substitute for her son’s class trip. Two murders and a mysterious box later, she needs Zach’s help for more than just the class trip.

One of the items in the box is a unique necklace that belonged to Shauna’s mother—one that was supposed to have been buried with her. Shauna and Zach chase clues together, but there are no easy answers. It’s a detailed plot, with lots of seemingly insignificant events coming together in an unexpected end twist (no spoilers, but I really hope this is fiction!).

And that makes it kind of hard to review—pretty much anything I might want to say could be giving away a significant plot point. So I’ll keep it simple and say that if you’re a fan of Colleen Coble, Christian romantic suspense, or both, then you’ll want to read this book.

The View from Rainshadow Bay is the first in the new Lavender Tides series from Colleen Coble, so it’s a great place to start if you’ve never read her books before. Recommended.

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 The View From Rainshadow Bay

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

In The View from Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State.

Find The View from Rainshadow Bay online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 23 | The View from Rainshadow Bay

It’s First Line Friday—our first for 2018, so Happy New Year!

Now it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble:

View from Rainshadow Bay
Colleen Coble’s books are always a mix of romance and suspense, and this looks to be no exception.

About the Book

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

In The View from Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State.

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click on the link which will take you to the master page, which holds all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

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

#Throwback Thursday | Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

It’s Throwback Thursday!

My Monday book reviews are of new releases. Throwback Thursday is my opportunity to reshare my older reviews of some of my favourite books, or to share a new review for an older book.

Today I’m resharing my review of Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke, a dual timeline story originally published in August 2015. Cathy Gohlke is releasing her latest World War Two-era novel this month, Until We Find Home, and I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing that!

Here’s the book description for Until We Find Home:

For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing—spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends—has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she’s ever known.

Set in England’s lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms.

In the meantime, Cathy has some great books you can check out while you wait, including Secrets She Kept.

About Secrets She Kept

All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of her mother’s mysterious past and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany.

Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father is quickly ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter could help advance his career. Lieselotte is in love—but her beloved Lukas is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Reich. Yet Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation.

Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who is hiding wartimes secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past and how their legacy will shape her future.

My Review

I was a little apprehensive about reading Secrets She Kept, because I was one of the three judges who awarded Cathy Gohlke the 2015 Inspy Award for General Fiction, for her novel Saving Amelie. After reading a book as good as Saving Amelie, I’m always a little worried that the author’s next book won’t meet the high expectations set by the earlier title.

Well, Secrets She Kept blew Saving Amelie out of the water. Yes, it was that good. Goosebump good.

It’s a split timeline story—the modern story is set in 1972, where Hannah Sterling’s mother has just died, and Hannah finds her mother was never entirely honest with her. For starters, Lieselotte wasn’t Austrian . . . No. She was German, living in Germany during the rise of Hitler and during World War II. The past story is Lieselotte’s, during those life-changing war years. It’s not a happy story, but as we journey with both Hannah and Lieselotte, we discover what made Lieselotte the distant mother she was: the secrets she kept.

The writing, the research, the characters, the plot—all were outstanding, and it’s one of the few split timeline stories I’ve read where the past and the present stories were equally compelling. Recommended.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Cathy Gohlke

Cathy GohlkeCathy Gohlke is the three-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels Secrets She Kept (winner of the 2016 Carol and INSPY Awards), Saving Amelie (winner of the 2015 INSPY Award), Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), William Henry Is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008), which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award.

Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their children and granddaughters.

You can find Cathy Gohlke online at:

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You can find Secrets she kept at:

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Read the introduction to Secrets She Kept below:

Quote from A Song Unheard

Book Review | A Song Unheard by Roseanna M White

Happy New Year! May 2018 be full of wonderful books to read! I’m starting out with a good one: A Song Unheard by Roseanna M White. I’ve read most of her books, and this is definitely the best yet.

An Excellent WWI Romance with Suspense Elements

Violin virtuoso Lukas De Wilde has escaped war-torn Belgium with his life and his Stradivarius, but without his family. He has to find Mamman and Margot and get them safely to England before the Germans find them … and the valuable cypher key.

Willa Forsythe is one of London’s best thieves, and her latest assignment from the mysterious Mr V is to befriend Lukas De Wilde and find the cypher key. Which means a trip to Wales and playing best friends with the wealthy Davies sisters, benefactors to De Wilde and his fellow musicians.

It soon becomes apparent that Willa and V aren’t the only people interested in the cypher key … and that finding it isn’t going to be as easy as Willa first thought. Especially when Lukas begins to express his interest in her as a fellow musician, and romantically.

A Song Unheard is a brilliant combination of romance and suspense in a unique historical setting.

It is set in London and Aberystwyth. I lived in London for ten years, so I love reading books set there (perhaps this is why I like Regency romance, because most are set in and around central London). I haven’t read any other books set in Aberystwyth, which is where I was born (although I’ve never lived there). It was great to see the city through the eyes of Willa and Lukas.

I was especially impressed by the research. I’d never heard of the Davies sisters and their World War One Belgian orchestra, so this was a fascinating plot device (yes, they were a real thing. I wonder if any of my Welsh relatives attended their concerts?). I’ve always been fascinated by codes and cyphers, so this element intrigued me, especially the connection with mathematics. And who knew that Mozart encoded messages into his music with cyphers?

Overall, A Song Unheard was brilliant—Roseanna M White’s best book yet.

That’s saying something, because A Name Unknown, the first book in this Shadows Over England series, was excellent, as were her earlier books (especially The Culper Ring series). Recommended for fans of Edwardian romance, and romantic suspense.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Roseanna M White

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna has a slew of historical novels available, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia.

Find Roseanna M White online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | YouTube 

About A Song Unheard

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

Find A Song Unheard online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 22 | All is Bright

It’s First Line Friday, which means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from All is Bright by Australian author Andrea Grigg:

All is Bright

I know most of my #FirstLineFriday friends are choosing Christmas novels or novellas this week. Mine is also a Christmas novella, but it’s set in Australia, which means it’s the kind of Christmas I know and love: a summer Christmas. Sun, sand, beaches and barbecues.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

About All Is Bright

Amy Kirkwood is resigned to accept her destiny as a single woman. No one can measure up to Josh McMillan, her secret crush of fourteen years, and the man who was married to her late sister. But when Josh spends the weekend with Amy and her family on the anniversary of Tess’s death, everything changes.

A widower for five years, Josh McMillan is ready to love again, but he never expected to fall so fast for his sister-in-law, Amy Kirkwood. Then Josh receives a letter that rocks his world, and he knows he must show the letter to Amy, even though it may shatter their growing relationship.

Is their love strong enough to weather the storm unleashed from the secrets in their past?

A contemporary Christian romance novella, a spin-off story from ‘A Simple Mistake’.

Amazon | Goodreads

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click on the link which will take you to the master page, which holds all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

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

The Blacksmith's Heart

Book Review | The Blacksmith’s Heart by Nerys Leigh

The Blacksmith’s Heart is the first book in Nerys Leigh’s Back to the West series, so you don’t need to have read any of her other books in order to enjoy this one. Having said that, if you have read any of her earlier Escape to the West mail order bride stories, you will recognise some of the characters in The Blacksmith’s Heart (even though the Escape to the West books are set around 15 years later than The Blacksmith’s Heart).

The Blacksmith’s Heart is the story of widower Peter Johnson, the blacksmith in Green Hill Creek, and father to ten-year-old Jesse. He’d never planned to marry again, but that was before Miss Malinda Wilson moved into town with her sister and brother, the new doctor. (I’m guessing they are the hero and heroine of the next two novels in the series, The Doctor’s Courtship and The Spinster’s Hope, both apparently coming in 2018).

Anyway, Peter isn’t looking for a wife, which is good because Malinda isn’t looking for a husband. Although Peter is handsome and smart and interesting and funny, with broad shoulders and brilliant blue eyes …

Okay, so this is a romance novel, which means we all know how it’s going to end. But the fun part is the journey, and it’s definitely fun. Peter has a disabled son, Jesse (who we later see in An Unexpected Groom). But right now Jesse is a mischievous ten-year-old who wants to ride and fish and pick blackberries … all the things a normal child would want to do.

It’s a great story, perfect for long summer days (if you’re Down Under, like me) or long winter nights (for the rest of you). Recommended for fans of Christian romance from authors such as Regina Jennings and Karen Witemeyer.

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

About Nerys Leigh

Nerys LeighNerys Leigh writes thoroughly romantic Christian historical love stories. She loves heroes who are strong but sweet and heroines who are willing to fight for the life they want.

She’s from the UK, which you would think puts her in a unique position to not write about mail order brides in the American west, but the old adage of writing what you know has never appealed to her. She has an actual American read each book before publishing to make sure she hasn’t gone all English on it.

No One’s Bride is the first in the Escape to the West series which tells the stories of a group of women willing to travel across America to find happiness, and the men determined to win their hearts.

You can find Nerys Leigh online at:

Website | Facebook

About The Blacksmith’s Heart

Can true love strike twice in a lifetime?

Peter Johnson met the love of his life when he was nineteen. Three years later, she was gone, leaving him to raise their son alone. Knowing he would never love another woman the way he loved his wife.

But when a new doctor arrives in town ten years later, bringing with him his smart, beautiful, funny, opinionated sister, desires Peter never dreamed he’d feel again begin to surface.

Malinda Wilson, however, is fiercely independent and doesn’t want a husband. Which is good, because Peter doesn’t want another wife.

He’s almost sure of that.

Christian historical romance The Blacksmith’s Heart is the first in a prequel trilogy to the bestselling Escape to the West series. Lose yourself in the romance of the old west with this heart-warming, uplifting novella!

You can find The Blacksmith’s Heart online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon UK | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to The Blacksmith’s Heart below. If you like it, pop over to www.nerysleigh.com and download your free copy!

Quote from Ladies of Ivy Cottage

Book Recommendation | The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage is the second book in the Tales From Ivy Hill series by beloved Christian Regency author Julie Klassen. There are a lot of characters to keep straight, so while this is a standalone story, it might help if you’ve read the first book in the series, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. And recently. I’ve read it, but it was over a year ago. I remembered the main plot points, but had forgotten some of the minor characters who are now major characters.

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage is historical romance but only to a degree. Ivy Hill has plenty of single ladies (and single gentlemen), but it’s less a romance and more a gentle ongoing story of everyday village life, complete with village intrigues. It’s not a fast-paced novel, but neither does it drag.

I enjoyed the slower pace, the reminder of a time when life wasn’t ruled by phone notifications but by the arrival of the Mail coach. I enjoyed the slow getting-to-know new characters, and being reintroduced to familiar characters. As always, I enjoyed the subtle-but-there presentation of Christianity (although The Ladies of Ivy Cottage certainly has even less of a faith message than some of her previous works).

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage was a delightful step back into another time.

Recommended for fans of village tales such as Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, Lawanna Blackwell’s Gresham Chronicles, or Jan Karon’s Mitford. And fans of Jane Austen. Of course.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Julie Klassen

Julie KlassenJulie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her novels have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. Her book, The Silent Governess, was also a finalist in the Minnesota Book Awards, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.

Find Julie Klassen online at:

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About The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?
Rachel’s friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls’ school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what–or who–has captured each man’s attention? The truth may surprise them all.
Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return–but where is he?
As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?

Find The Ladies of Ivy Cottage online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to The Ladies of Ivy Cottage below:

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 21 | A Song Unheard

It’s Friday, which means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from A Song Unheard by Roseanna M White:

A Song Unheard

I love it! It’s atmospheric, and takes us straight into the setting.

About the Book

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I–to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

A Song Unheard releases in paperback and ebook on 2 January 2018.

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bday loggers are sharing today:

You can then click on the link which will take you to the master page, which holds all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

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

Quote from Holding the Fort

Book Recommendation | Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings

Lovely Lola Bell was raised in a saloon, but her singing voice has meant she’s managed to keep from working upstairs. Except now she’s been fired, and no one in town is going to give a saloon girl a respectable job. Then she hears her brother—her only family—is in trouble. She has no choice but to become Miss Louisa Bell, find Bradley at Fort Reno, find a respectable job, and hope her past never catches up with her.

Major Daniel Adams is a widower with two daughters. When Miss Louisa Bell arrives at the Fort to teach his daughters, he’s so grateful he doesn’t bother to check her details. The girls like her, and anything to keep them out of trouble in a fort filled with soldiers and surrounded by potentally hostile Indians …

In some ways, Holding the Fort was a typical Western romance. Beautiful heroine meets handsome hero, fall in love, and so on.

But that would be missing the best parts: the comedy, and the Christian element.

Regina Jennings writes comedy. Well, this had a lot of comedy—awkwardly comedic situations, similar to Karen Witemeyer or Jen Turano. There can be a fine line between comedy and cringefest, but I definitely found Holding the Fort was comedy (especially a couple of the riding scenes).

It was also Christian. Lola aka Louisa was not a Christian. She’d been raised in a saloon, hardly the kind of place you’d find a preacher. She does a so-so job of pretending, but when it comes out that she’s not a Christian, Daniel has a dilemma. He’s attracted to her, but … Anyway, that ended up being one of the strengths for me.

Overall, I loved Holding the Fort. Recommended for fans of romantic comedy, especially historical Westerns.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Regina Jennings

Regina JenningsRegina Jennings is the winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. A graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history, Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children when not traveling the world.

Find Regina Jennings online at:

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About Holding the Fort

Louisa Bell never wanted to be a dance-hall singer, but dire circumstances force her hand. With a little help from her brother in the cavalry, she’s able to make ends meet, but lately he’s run afoul of his commanding officer, so she undertakes a visit to straighten him out.
Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno. He can barely control his rowdy troops, much less his two adolescent daughters. If Daniel doesn’t find someone respectable to guide his children, his mother-in-law insists she’ll take them.
When Louisa arrives with some reading materials, she’s mistaken for the governess who never appeared. Major Adams is skeptical. She bears little resemblance to his idea of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he’s left without recourse. His mother-in-law must be satisfied, which leaves him turning a blind eye to his unconventional governess’s methods. Louisa’s never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough?

Find Holding the Fort online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to Holding the Fort below: