The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz | Book Review

Laura Frantz is a go to historical author for many and there’s very good reasons why this is the case. She has a writing style that captivates, she brings to life eras long past, and she creates characters you become completely invested in. So was I shocked when her newest release followed this exact same pattern and maybe even be her best yet?

Not at all friends. Not at all.

The American Revolution is finally over and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her closest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe and sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general’s past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the point of breaking. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

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I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into the life of Americans right after the Revolutionary War. What a time that must have been – years of war and suddenly they were they’re own country. That was no easy task bringing about a new nation. Along with the intriguing era, I really enjoyed the whole story line – from learning what happened with those who were Tories and those who remained loyal to the new nation to the relationship of Sophie and Seamus.

Another fantastic aspect? The characters. Sophie has an amazing strength to her, not only for surviving the war, but all that was against her during and after the British surrender. Then there’s Seamus, with such heavy burdens of war and dealing with the aftermath and trying to do what’s best for his sweet little girl, Lily Cate (who you’ll love!).

When I read the back cover, I thought this was going to be a “marriage of convenience” type plot line, but I’d say it’s much different and I really liked that. Finally, I loved the additional mystery weaved within the plot. This made for some fast turning of the pages! If you’re wondering if Laura Frantz’s books are for you, I most definitely suggest starting with this one.

If you’ve read Laura’s book, what’s one of your favorites?

(Thank you to Revell for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

Meet Blogger Karen | KarenCollier.com

As always, I love these posts of introducing blogging friends to my other blogging friends! I don’t remember when I first connected with Karen, but so glad I did. She writes insightful reviews, great collections of discussion posts and all other fun bookish things, so I hope you enjoy meeting Karen!

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Fast 5

1. How long have you blogged?
I started book blogging in November 2013, so we’re coming up on my second blogiversary (however you spell that) pretty soon. I’m enjoying the chance to meet fellow bloggers, authors, and readers, and to discover some great books!

2. What’s your favorite genre (or at least one of them)?
I love a wide variety of genres in Christian fiction. Everything from contemporary romance (my first love) to speculative fiction (some of my absolute favorites fall in this category).

3. What are you currently reading?
I typically have one audiobook and one print book going at any given time. At the moment, I’m listening to The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund in audio format and reading Seek and Hide by Amanda G. Stevens on my Kindle. Both are lovely reads so far.

4. What’s another blog you enjoy? 
I’m a big fan of The GROVE, a blog written by a fabulous group of Christian fiction authors. Posts feature inspiring and encouraging faith-based real-life stories. It’s more a ministry and a community than anything directly to do with their books, and the blog is fairly new, but I’m excited to see what they make of it.

5. What’s something you enjoy outside of reading?
Writing, photography, cooking, spending time with my family, and relaxing on the beach.

4 Questions

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never have imagined 5 years ago?
That I’d have two novels written, and be preparing to attend my first American Christian Fiction Writers Conference this fall! Since I was a teenager, devouring every book and magazine on writing that I could get my hands on, I’ve dreamed of one day becoming a published novelist. To be taking purposeful steps toward that goal is incredibly exciting.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
There will always be something I could’ve done better, or avoided doing, or spent more time on, or said differently. But as far as the big picture goes? I can’t think of much that I’d do differently, other than, maybe to worry less and trust God more.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Only one? I think I’ll have to name three, because I can’t bring myself to narrow it down. The first ones to come to mind are my wedding day and the births of my son and daughter. Just a side note, my daughter’s birth also happens to be among the scariest moments of my life because she was born in the front seat of our SUV on the way to the hospital. Literally, her head emerged while we were still careening along the road at breakneck speed.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Second babies can come much more quickly than first babies. If you live half an hour or more from the nearest hospital, don’t wait any longer than you have to! Lesson learned (see above). 😉

Where can we find you on the world wide web?
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google + | Goodreads

Thank you so much for joining in Karen! Loved having you on the blog and hope you, dear readers, enjoyed!

Not by Sight by Kate Breslin | Book Review

The more I learn about WWI, the more I become fascinated by it; all of the first half of the 20th century really. I’m happy to see more historical fiction come about (or maybe I’m simply finally noticing), so I was excited when this one finally released.

With Britain caught up in WWI, Jack Benningham, heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, has declared himself a conscientious objector. Instead, he secretly works for the Crown by tracking down German spies on British soil, his wild reputation and society status serving as a foolproof cover.

Blinded by patriotism and concern for her brother on the front lines, wealthy suffragette Grace Mabry will do whatever it takes to assist her country’s cause. When she sneaks into a posh London masquerade ball to hand out white feathers of cowardice, she never imagines the chain of events she’ll set off when she hands a feather to Jack.

And neither of them could anticipate the extent of the danger and betrayal that follows them–or the faith they’ll need to maintain hope.

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Overall I enjoyed this story. As I mentioned, the time period is one I’m always intrigued with and there were some unexpected plot lines early on and not the way I thought the novel was going to go, but in a good way. I thought it picked up quite a bit more in the second half of the book (as well as more mystery and intrigue) too.

“Fear tends to breed hatred and dissention, Miss Mabry. It can exacerbate the imagination to the point of becoming ludicrous.” A favorite quote

Some pieces in the end were convenient, but it by no means ruins the whole story. As far as war novels, this one wasn’t as gritty and intense – understandably since the focus was on the British home front and not, say trench warfare or in the middle of the Battle of Verdun.

I think I liked the women of the Women’s Forage Corps best – I loved the idea of people from all backgrounds coming together for the good of one cause.

If you enjoyed her debut, I think you’ll enjoy this one as well.

Have you read any of Kate’s books? What have you thought of them?

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry | Book Review/Discussion

I need to let the world wide web know something:

I’m a fake fan.

Y’all know how much I talk this and that about The Giver and how it’s one of my all time favorites (please see above blog header)? Well, it was only last year I found out there were THREE OTHERS BOOKS to make up the series. I mean WHA? I’m so embarrassed at my “fandom.” So I sought to remedy it.

Reading this series later with the all books complete allowed me to fully enjoy and embrace the world Lowry created it. I can only imagine what my thoughts would have been if, after waiting nearly 10 years, grabbing Gathering Blue and wondering what in the what kind of sequel is this? But having them all at once was a definite advantage. It was a creative task Lowry took on and I enjoyed the journey. The Giver is still my favorite and holds a special place in my heart, but I’m glad I read the three other books.

Now onto the discussion part, which is code for there’s going to be all the spoilers below as I share a few thoughts about each book. To be extra safe: SPOILERS ahead!

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The Giver
What more can I say about this? So here’s to quotes:
“He had seen a birthday party, with one child singled out and celebrated on his day, so that now he understood the joy of being an individual, special and unique and proud. He slowed the bike again and again to look with wonder at wildflowers, to enjoy the throaty warble of a new bird nearby, or merely to watch the way wind shifted the leaves in the trees. During his twelve years in the community, he had never felt such simple moments of exquisite happiness.”

“His thoughts continued. If he had stayed, he would have starved in other ways. He would have lived a life hungry for feelings, for color, for love. And Gabriel? For Gabriel there would have been no life at all. So there had not really been a choice.”

Gathering Blue
“Take pride in your pain,” her mother said. “You are stronger than those who have none.”

I loved this quote and Kira is such a great character. Her development as a person was done really well. I really liked Matt, he was one of my favorite characters in the whole series.

Messenger
Break my heart why don’t you! Poor Matty 😭😭😭. That is all.

Son
This was a different vibe from the rest of them, but I liked seeing all the characters finally come together. Although I thought there was quite a few pages dedicated to her training and after that? Love was murdered because she didn’t end up with Einar. Couldn’t that have worked out a bit better??? Especially after the Trademaster was taken care of – oh and I also thought it was creative how he was destroyed.

I would have liked to know more of what happened to Jonas’ community after he left. What happened to all of them and maybe even a bigger picture of the world they were in, like how do these communities just ignore each other? One more thing I wanted was to get more of the in between years. Each book jumps a few years and understandably so (otherwise the series would have been much longer), but I wanted to know all the details! How did the Village change? What brought on the changes? Whatever happened to the little girl singer and other folks? I wanted to know so much more!

So yep, I enjoyed the series because they were each so different and I had no idea what to expect.

Have you read The Giver and/or the rest of the series?

…to rouse a deaf world…

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
The Problem With Pain by C.S. Lewis

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I haven’t read this one from Lewis yet, but it’s waiting for me on my shelf. With a quote like this, I can only imagine the amazing words that await. This quote hits deep though, not only when I think of my personal pain I’ve gone through, but the pain that is constantly around us. It truly does draw us closer and in need of Him.