For all Austen enthusiasts Syrie James has written a novel in the essence and style of Jane. It begins with a contemporary story of American librarian, Samantha McDonough, discovering a hidden letter written by Jane Austen in the back of a book of poetry while vacationing in London She gains enough insight from the letter to begin to believe that Jane has written and lost another manuscript while visiting friends at Greenbrier in Devonshire. Pursuing this exciting possibility, Samantha meets handsome owner of Greenbrier, Anthony Whtaker and begins the search within his home. Now the story within the story begins when the manuscript is found and the two begin reading it to each other. We walk the streets of Bath with Austen characters in a story with all the atmosphere, romance and charm found in a Jane Austen novel.
by Lori Copeland
Rebecca just knew Jesse Montgomery would join the Amish life in Apple Grove, Kansas, if she could just find him. When she hears of his whereabouts, she decides to take off to Lawrence, Kansas to find him. Leaving home at age 17 by herself probably wasn’t the smartest thing she ever did, but finding Jesse was worth any trouble she might face.
Little did she realize that trouble would be time in a jail cell for disturbing the peace. The women, all of whom are marching for temperance, help Rebecca. But her ninety day sentence may just get the best of Sheriff Colin Maddox. Colin only has a few more weeks before the new sheriff arrives and he is free to pursue his calling of becoming a minister. But with a woman in his jail cell and wanted men being sighted in town, that few weeks seems like an eternity. I actually read A Plain and Simple Heart from Sunflower eLibrary on my tablet, but it is available in hard copy. Highly recommended to those that enjoy this genre!
Who remembers Girl with a Pearl Earring? Tracy Chevalier wrote that international bestseller in 1999 which was adapted into a movie in 2003 with three Academy Award nominations. Her newest novel is again historical fiction but for the first time has ventured into pioneer America. A major focus of the abolitionist movement, Oberlin, Ohio is the setting for Honor Bright’s story of arriving in America from England after a very difficult ocean crossing. Knowing she can never survive the incapacitating seasickness again, Honor must make the best of life in the harsh landscape of this backward land. Grace, her restless sister, corresponded with and agreed to marry an older man who had started a new life in America. Honor decided to accompany her after suffering the heartache of being released from her engagement to a local Quaker man who found another to love. Grace dies suddenly from yellow fever and Honor must find her way among the Friends believers in Ohio. Much of the story deals with the Underground Railroad and how it affected families. We feel compassion for the runaway slaves and how lives were put in jeopardy for helping to move them to safety in Canada. The austere life of a rough existence in this new land with few friends is felt by the reader as Honor remembers the comforts of home. The Last Runaway is an experience of heartache and hope as we live life through the mind of a Quaker looking for the Light in all, even the slave catchers.
Tuberculous is a dreadful diagnosis any time but especially before antibiotics existed during the first half of the twentieth century. Queen of Hearts is a realistic and heartwrenching story of how this disease touched lives in a Canadian sanitarium at the beginning of World War II. This young adult book hooked me and kept me emotionally charged as I followed the story of Marie Claire and her family as they battled this disease. People of all ages and all stations in life spent months to years in TB sanitariums. This historical novel does what I love in any good novel set in a prior time; it made me want to find out more about the history of tuberculosis. In the nineteenth century it was named the romantic disease because people suffering from tuberculosis were thought to have been bestowed with heightened sensitivity. The slow progress of the disease allowed for a “good death” as sufferers could arrange their affairs. It wasn’t until the development of streptomycin in 1944 that cures became the norm. Now with multidrug resistant strains there has been a resurgence of the disease. Every year, nearly half a million new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis are estimated to occur worldwide.
by Donna Mabry
Donna Mabry wrote an endearing book set in the late 1800′s about the Manhattan, KS area. The story starts with Emma, age 9, stumbling into Pillsbury Crossing and Akecheta, age 12, rescuing her. A bond is set between the two as they grow up. Akecheta, alias Isaac Matthew, heads to College in New York City and leaves Emma behind to finish her high school years. While in New York, Akecheta is exposed to a whole new world and falls in love with a beautiful woman there. Emma has her heart set on marrying Akecheta, so when she finds out he intends to marry another she is heart broken. Pillsbury Crossing tells the story of a country boy who is given the chance to see and be a part of a totally different world.
When Frankie Pratt graduates from high school in 1920, she receives a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona typewriter. She can’t wait to leave her small New Hampshire home town and take on the world as a writer, but of course complications ensue. Frankie’s experiences include education, heartbreak, encouragement, and decisions both misguided and brave. We get to be there every step of the way as she types up her journal entries for her scrapbook and includes letters, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, and ticket stubs for our archival pleasure. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a quick and delightful read with images that bring her and her era to life.
Maureen O’Rielly and her younger sister flee Ireland in hopes of connecting with Colonel Wakefield in America, who had promised their father, 20 years previously via a letter, to help them any time they were in need. When they arrived in Ellis Island, Maureen’s sister had to stay in the hospital on the island. Maureen was torn, she didn’t want to leave her sister, but she had to find the Wakefield’s and a job.
As it turns out the Colonel was dead, and the son-in-law threw Maureen out without consulting his sister-in-law, Olivia. Olivia discovers evidence that Maureen O’Rielly’s father was truly connected to her father and sets out to find Maureen. In the mean time, Maureen finds a job where her co-workers start mysteriously disappearing. Maureen has suspicions and goes to great lengths to find out what has happened to them. Band of Sisters tells of the mistreatment of newly immigrated women and of an American group of women banded together to help them.
In the town of Wall, there is a stone wall with a gap that leads to a meadow where the Faerie Realm begins. Every 9 years, there is a fair in the meadow where once Dunstan Thorn fell in love with a beautiful woman from the other side of the wall. 9 months later, a baby, Tristan Thorn, is left at the wall. Dunstan raises the boy and Tristan falls in love with Victoria Foster. As they walk hand in hand , they spot a falling star and Victoria agrees to marry Tristan if he brings her the star. Tristan crosses through the wall and his adventures begin. He encounters deadly trees, a unicorn, talking animals, faerie sprites and he finds the fallen star, who turns out to be the daughter of the moon, Yvaine. As they make their way back to Wall, they are pursued by the Lords of Stormhelm, who want a jewel that Yvaine is carrying, and by an evil witch who wants Yvain’s heart to find eternal youth. When they reach Wall, Tristan realizes that what he thought he wanted isn’t what his heart wants, and that he is not who he always thought he was.
Stardust is a charming story, filled with wonderful images, good and evil characters and a very likeable main character who learns about life and himself on his quest for love–a terrific fairy tale for adults!!!
The Butterfly Cabinet is set in Ireland, telling a long kept secret from the castle back in 1893. Maddie McGlade, now in her nineties, the year 1968, begins the story of her life and the things she witnessed as a servant under Harriet Ormond. Harriet also tells her end of the story through her prison diaries.
Harriet never put up with any nonsense from her children. They had to learn a lesson, if she didn’t punish them they would never become the obedient children they should. Maddie, and other servants in the house, thought Harriet went too far in her discipline. The sevants risked Harriet’s ire by sneaking food and drink to the children during long durations of learning how to behave. When the youngest child is found dead, Harriet is accused and thrown in prison. It seems that Maddie has a guilty conscious and must tell her story to someone before she dies. This book was inspired by a true story of the death of the daughter of an aristocratic Irish family at the end of the nineteenth century.
City of Women is a deeply wrenching story set in Berlin during World War II. Most of the men have been shipped off to fight on one of the fronts, including the husband of Sigrid Schroder. She tries to maintain a normal life going to work at the patent office and coming home to a meager existence in an apartment with her impossible mother-in-law. Sigrid, as many other Germans, tries to ignore the atrocities that are happening all around her. She hides her involvement with a Jewish lover and then becomes friends with and helps a young woman who is hiding a group of desperate people.
This is not an easy book to read. Sigrid is not a likeable character even with her involvement against Hitler’s movement. The setting of Berlin during bombing raids is very bleak and disturbing. It is a very interesting perspective of war as we are taken inside the minds of people caught up in an ugly, desperate situation. The theme captures you as it plays out during a very real moment in history.
Balthazar and Hebe Jones were very happily married and parents of a small son, Milo,when Balthazar accepted a new job in a very unique place. The family moved to the Tower of London so Balthazar could serve the Queen as a Beefeater.. The adjustments were many, such as adjusting to living in rooms with no square corners only rounded walls with ancient markings left by the centuries of prisoners who were held there while imprisoned. Balthazar is nominated to become the Keeper of the Royal Menagerie. Gift animals given to the Queen by heads of state had been kept in the Tower from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries when they were transferred to the London Zoo. Now they are being returned to the Tower to attract more visitors. Hebe and Bazlthazar are upset over the new responsibilities, but their most difficult problem is learning to deal with their grief over the loss of their son. The curious setting and unique, zany and funny story is actually a very charming love story with much historical interest. Like most historical fiction there is some truth to the story of the Royal Menagerie explained in this link.
Uncle Sam wants Deputy U.S. Marshall Matt Battles …to be an outlaw! Battles is blackmailed by President Chester A. Arthur who needs an undercover agent to discover why Hatfield J. Warful is gathering every notorious gunslinger to his home in Slaughter Canyon. Thanks to a false news report planted by the Secret Service, Battles is wanted for robbery and murder, leaving him no choice but to infiltrate Warful’s gang–but the trigger happy gunfighters share unpleasant history with the supposed ex-marshall. A target from both the law and the outlaws, Battles faces the challenge of his life. If his particular mission fails, the result could be a second Civil War.
Louise Brooks was a beautiful silent-film star from Wichita, Kansas who began her career in New York City studying dance at the tender age of 15. Her mother arranged a chaperone to accompany Louise to the glitzy, cosmopolitan city. Laura Moriarty’s latest book, The Chaperone, tells the story of Louise Brooks, but centers on the secret life behind Cora Carlisle, her chaperone. Cora leaves her husband to accompany the troubled and talented Louise for one purpose, to find out more about her background and her first memories of a dark-haired women in a red shawl at ‘The Home for Friendless Girls’. Cora was one of the lucky orphans who came west on an orphan train as she was chosen by a loving Kansas farm couple. Now as a proper, society wife her secret is tugging at her very being.
The history of the war years in Wichita when the city was doubling in population at an amazing rate as the center of the air industry is a fascinating part of the story
What if Abraham Lincoln, our beloved Civil War president, did not die when John Wilkes Booth attempted to kill him at Ford’s Theatre on Good Friday in 1865? What if he recovered from his wounds and within a short time was once again facing the criticisms of how he handled the war and the reconstruction of the south? Stephen Carter has written an intricately plotted, historically detailed story that captures the time period and weaves a fascinating alternate history.
A young black woman joins the law firm that is representing Lincoln in the impeachment suit. Abigail Canner hopes to clerk at the firm and work toward a law degree but she faces the obstacles of race, age and sex. Nevertheless her brilliant mind begins to impress the firms partners and she is soon embroiled in the court proceedings and sleuthing a murder. Try this alternate history thriller and you will learn much about life in the 1860′s in Washington City and how divided the country was after the Civil War.
Sometimes nothing will do but a classic. Listed as one of the top 100 romances of all time on the All About Romance web site, The Bride by Julie Garwood is the sweet, passionate, and witty story of Alec Kincaid, Scottish laird and Jaime, the youngest daughter of an English baron. Both of them forced into marriage, they struggle to find common ground between her healing strength and his domineering warrior ways. A delightful journey back to historic Scotland is classic romance.