Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lovelier Than Daylight by Rossyln Elliot

Susanna is a lady of principles who values family above all. Johann seems to represent all she despises . . . but appearances can be deceiving.

In 1875, Susanna Hanby is headed off to college in Westerville, Ohio, when she discovers her sister Rachel and Rachel’s children have disappeared. Susanna suspects that Rachel’s alcoholic husband knows more than he’s saying and she vows to uncover the truth.

Johann Giere is heir to a successful German-American brewery in Columbus, but longs for a career in journalism in New York City. When Johann signs on as the supplier for a new saloon in Westerville, his and Susanna’s paths cross and sparks fly. A fiery temperance crusader, Susanna despises Johann’s profession, but she cannot deny the attraction.

When Susanna learns that Rachel’s children have been indentured to orphanages in the city, she despairs that her family will be fractured forever. But Johann makes Susanna an offer she can’t refuse—pitting her passion and her principles against one another.

If she can find a way for her head and her heart to be in harmony, a future lovelier than daylight awaits her.

Lovelier than Daylight is a story of love and faith based on the Westerville Whiskey War of 1875, a dramatic real historical event featured in the 2011 documentary Prohibition by Ken Burns.

Lovelier than Daylight by Rosslyn Elliot is a well written story that was a neat mix of romance, intrigue, truth and fiction. It is the third book in the The Saddler Legacy Series, but it is not imperative that you read the other two first in order to enjoy this novel. The plot line was interesting and held my attention throughout. The plot started quickly, but then went into a lull as more background information was given about the situation and characters. However, after a few chapters I was captured by the storyline and the characters, and I read well into the night in order to finish the novel. The plot contained a good mesh of themes such as love, overcoming prejudice, suspense, and intrigue. I was completely satisfied with the ending, and I enjoyed how the novel alternated between the perspective of Susanna and Johann.

The characters were well developed, realistic, and captured my affection. Susanna was a character that had her share of both strengths and flaws. She started out extremely prejudiced against Johann and his trade, but the words of Johann, his family, and her aunt caused her to have a better understanding of what God can do with any business and any people. Johann was a truly admirable character whom I really liked. He was kind, compassionate, gentle, and he trusted God and His leading even when he felt like his heart was leading him somewhere else. The supporting characters of Will and Ann Hanby were exceptional, and I was convicted over and over by their wise words.

Overall, I truly enjoyed Lovelier than Daylight, and I would highly recommend that anyone who enjoys historical fiction/romance read the Saddler Legacy Series.

I received this novel for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers and

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Kingsbury Collection by Karen Kingsbury

Read Chapter one here

Three Page-Turning Novels in One Volume!

Where Yesterday Lives

Ellen Barrett is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist with an uncertain marriage, a forgotten faith, and haunting memories of her picturesque hometown and the love she left behind. The eldest of five siblings, she longs for the time, long ago, when they were a happy family. Now Ellen’s beloved father is dead, and she returns to her childhood home to make peace–with the people who still live there, with the losses and changes that time has wrought, and with the future God has set before her.

When Joy Came to Stay

Maggie Stovall is one of the golden people. She has it all least on the surface. Ben Stovall is a godly husband and successful attorney. He has no idea of the darkness about to overtake his life. Amanda Joy is a child of society–abused, broken, thrown away. But her trust in God is still alive. When Joy Came to Stay is the heart-wrenching story of one woman’s descent into the shadows of depression, her husband’s search for understanding, and a precious child’s unwavering faith.

On Every Side

Faith Evans is an up-and-coming newscaster, a woman of honor and integrity who must take a stand against the one man she never imagined would be her enemy. A beloved, hundred-year-old statue of Jesus stands in a small-town park–but some say it’s a clear violation of separation of church and state that must come down. Jordan Riley is a powerful attorney fighting for human rights and against God, but still reckoning with bitter boyhood losses. Amid political intrigue, social injustice, and personal conflicts, will love be enough when the battle rages on every side?
All three of the novels in this collection by Karen Kingsbury were excellent. All three novels addressed different issues that both women and men face in their struggles in life and with their beliefs in God, but all three novels clearly portrayed the importance of prayer and having a prayer life. The plots were all rich and contained elements that were either unexpected, tear jerking, or suspenseful.

Where Yesterday Lives was an excellent novel that displayed the importance of family, forgiveness, and fidelity particularly in marriage. Ellen and her sisters Jane, Amy and Megan and her brother Aaron were realistic characters, each with an exaggerated but still realistic character flaw. Ellen was completely self focused, Jane embittered and angry, Aaron felt unable to communicate so he blew up at people, Megan used to be rebel and had abandoned her family, and Amy was overly quiet, ignored, and gave in easily to her siblings. However, despite all of these attributes that pushed the family apart, as the book progressed, it was beautiful to see them beginning to work through their issues and actually begin to understand one another. The book was written so that at points in the story events that occurred in the characters' past was revealed in order that the reader would have a better understanding as to why the characters were acting and feeling a certain way.

When Joy Came to Stay was a compelling story that revealed the pain that secrets, lies, and bad choices can have on a person's mental health and their marriage or relationships with others. Maggie had a secret that she never told her husband that caused her to start having mental issues. She had stopped, or never really started, trusting God and relying on Him for answers, and it caused her to make some not so great decisions and become severely depressed. Ben, her husband, was an excellent character who stuck by his wife in the midst of it all and went to extreme lengths to discover the truth, get his wife back, and redeem their mistakes and their relationship with God and each other. I was truly inspired by his perseverance, and I was touched and moved watching Maggie's growth and her revitalization as she revealed her story and worked through her issues with the Lord. Amanda Joy was my favorite character because she always had an overwhelming faith in God even in the midst of some truly frightening circumstances. Despite these events, she never once stopped trusting and praying to her Savior.

On Every Side was a beautiful tale of one man's battle against God even as countless people in his life were praying for Him and as God was working on his heart. Jordan was very interesting to watch as he struggled against his feelings of rejection and hatred towards God for the death of his mother and loss of his sister. Faith Evans, his old childhood sweetheart, was an inspiring character who never stopped believing in Jordan and at the same time discovered that she had begun to trust in her own abilities instead of putting her faith in God and acting out in obedience and trust. There were several other minor characters that helped pull the novel together, and it was lovely to watch the story and characters begin to connect and to see how God was working out the events in their lives for good.

Overall, I really enjoyed all three novels, and I would highly recommend this collection of novels to any Karen Kinsgbury fans or readers that want to try out a Karen Kingsbury book for the first time.

I received this collection for free from the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.