My Review – Love at First Laugh

My Review - Love at First Laugh

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Dive into eight brand new contemporary Christian romantic comedies from some of your favorite inspirational authors.

From light-hearted romance to laugh-out-loud love, this set will put a smile on your face and keep you reading long into the night.

Second Impressions by award-winning author Pepper Basham
He likes streamline. She prefers embellishments. His forte is business. Hers is atmosphere. Will they realize each has what the other needs most to create the perfect romance with a touch of Jane Austin flair?

Mowed Over by USA Today bestselling author Christina Coryell
A tiny, chatty fairy artist with multicolored pastel hair. A burly, bearded landscaper who can’t get a word in edgewise. They have nothing in common, but is that enough to keep them apart?

An Informal Affair by award-winning author Heather Gray
She’s tired of waiting for happily-ever-after, so she takes matters into her own hands…with online dating. He has the worst bad-date streak ever. How will God show two people who are determined to do things their own way that He’s had a perfect plan all along?

A Heart Restored by Elizabeth Maddrey
She renovates old houses. Can he restore her heart?

Unleashing Love by Jessica R. Patch
She’s a dog walker who agrees to a full-time position caring for a puppy. In total shock, she’s handed a precious baby girl. He’s a construction mogul who’s taken his infant niece into temporary relative placement — keyword: temporary. Unless the sassy southern nanny can change his mind…and his heart.

A (nearly) Normal Nanny by Krista Phillips
Normal is highly overrated…

That’s When I Knew by award-winning author Laurie Tomlinson
When two childhood sweethearts find themselves thrown together on the road to a trade show that could save her career, past mistakes threaten to ruin her chances—and the possibility of rekindling a romance. Will the end of the summer find them apart once again?

A Time to Laugh by USA Today bestselling author Marion Ueckermann
When an unexpected inheritance and a lung disease diagnosis coincide, a missionary couple realizes God is telling them it’s time to retire. But sometimes retirement comes with strings attached. Will their life-long dream be a blessing or a curse?

Why This Book:

Well there were several reasons, actually:

  1. I enjoy novellas.
  2. Pepper Basham is one of the included authors.
  3. Romantic Comedy may be my favorite kind of anything – book, movie, song, ice cream.  (Is there a romantic comedy ice cream? Because if there is, I’d probably love it.)

Opening Line(s):

Second Impressions:  Birthdays were not her happy place.

Mowed Over:  With the magnifying glass dangling from the contraption atop her head, Willow Sharpe barely touched the tip of her toothpick into the black ink and made one more slight adjustment to the book that measured only an inch in height.

An Informal Affair:  Lia Promise stared at eh man across the table from her. 

A Heart Restored:  “You did what?”

Unleashing Love:  Just once Emma Kate Lambert wanted to be the center of the sandwich and not the crust. 

A (nearly) Normal Nanny:  “… eighteen-one-thousand, nineteen-one-thousand, twenty-one-thousand! Ready or not, here I come!”

That’s when I knew:  Bless her heart.

A Time to Laugh:  Arms still extended on the Vortex Spin Bike’s handles, Elizabeth Dunham sat back down on the narrow seat.

First Impressions:

Since the first novella in the Love at First Laugh collection was Pepper’s, I’ll use her beginning for my “first impression.” Now you know I’m a major Pepper Basham fan, but I have to admit, I just wasn’t feeling it at the start of Second Impressions. Knowing Pepper, though, I kept reading and eventually I warmed to the story.

Love At First Laugh - Intelligence Quote Image

Characters:

The characters in these stories ran the gamut from a popular fairy artist to a retired missionary. Yet they each held their own when it came to keeping my attention and engaging my heart. Although you can’t typically flesh out any character in a novella to the same depth that you can in a full-length novel, these characters came across as three-dimensional and real.

Love At First Laugh - Overthinking Quote

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

Some of the novellas were page turners while others kept me reading at a steady pace, but none of them bored me. There were some I related to more than others, but I was rooting for each and every relationship to succeed.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

My favorite novella in this collection would have to be Mowed Over by Christina Coryell, because I felt her characters were the most unique. Perhaps it’s because I have a crafty side and three active young boys at home so I could relate to her angst over her little fairy village being threatened by the big nasty mower. Whatever it the reason, Mowed Over is the story that made me smile the most.

However, I have to add that I enjoyed the surprise of the final novella in the collection being very different from the rest. I’m not sure you can call it a romance in the classic sense (the couple is already married and very much in love at the start of the story and that never changes), but the story very much reflects true love in action both through the couple themselves and through their relationship with God.

Ending:

I was very satisfied with each of the endings in this collection. Some I enjoyed more than others, but that’s inevitable.

Overall Rating:

I always have a difficult time reviewing novella collections because it’s like reviewing a box of chocolates. They’re usually all pretty good. Some are amazing. Some are just okay. In the end, you just wanted chocolate and chocolate is what you got. So you’re happy.

I would say the same could be said about this collection (although I’m having trouble thinking of any of them as “just okay”).  I would definitely read more work by any of these authors.

4 out of 5 stars

(none of the links in this review are affiliate links)

Material Note:  I purchased my own copy of this book, for my own reading pleasure.

What do you think of including a non-romance in a romantic comedy collection?

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My Review – A Twist of Faith

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Will a wager against her future steal her chance at true love?

Dr. Adelina Roseland has worked ten years in research as an accent reduction specialist to attain her dream job. But a secret wager to transform Appalachian cattle farmer Reese Mitchell into corporate material challenges Adelina in ways she never expected, threatening her new position.

For one, Adelina didn’t plan for the faith and friction of Reese, or the unexpected influence of his chaotic family. Now, drawn into a culture she’d tried to forget, Adelina finds the warmth of family, the hope of faith, and the joy of love melting away the deep wounds of her past.

But when Reese discovers that he’s a pawn in her climb up the academic ladder, will he forgive Adelina’s deceit or will their miscommunication end in two broken lives?

Why This Book:

As with my last review, this choice was all about the author. If you have been following my blog you know that I absolutely adore Pepper’s Penned in Time historical romance series. So when I heard she was releasing a contemporary romance, I knew I had to give A Twist of Faith a chance.

Opening Line:

PHD was not supposed to smell like this.

First Impressions:

Above is the actual first line of Pepper’s novel. However, the book opens with a quote from Pygmalion, Act 1:

“Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech:  that your native language is the language of Shakespear and Milton and The Bible; and don’t sit there crooning like a bilious pigeon.”

In fact, each of the chapters in this novel begins with a Pygmalion quote. The quotes appropriately set the stage for what is to come and add a unique element of fun and familiarity to the reading.

The first paragraph continues from the first line to describe the contrast between her perceived prestigious new title – Ph.D. – and her less-than-prestigious new surroundings – namely farmland aromas.  Living not so far from farmlands myself I could instantly smell the particular odors Pepper is referring to and it made me chuckle when she concluded her second paragraph with “Country charm it was.”

Characters:

Adelina Roseland – (First, can I just say how much I love this name in a contemporary romance?) She is less than happy to have returned to her home region of the Appalachians. Her entire focus has been to educate and work her way out of this area and into the big city, but life has thrown her a detour she couldn’t avoid. She’s determined to make it the briefest detour possible until the unexpected warmth and acceptance of the people in her new home force her to reconsider not only her career and life goals, but the very lens through which she has always viewed life and God. She is a well-developed character with layers and depth. She isn’t perfect, but I was definitely in her corner and sympathetic to her flaws.

Reese Mitchell – Loaded with baggage of his own, widower Reese must find his way around and through his emotional scars to follow the incredible pull of his attraction to Adelina. Adding to the complexity is his love and concern for his two young children who are growing attached to the new lady in their lives. This is no two-sided hero, but a richly written man you’ll cheer on through the end.

Rounding out the cast are:  Adelina’s colleague, Dr. Alex Murdock, and Reese’s family, which includes his spunky widowed mother, a few meddling sisters, a big brother battling cancer, and a young niece. None of these characters fall flat and each has their own personality, strengths, and struggles which add to the story.

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

This isn’t an edge-of-your-seat page turner, but it does keep you reading. There is a gentle but persistent tug to the story which makes you want to know what happens next without making you feel breathless. Though there is some predictability to the plot given its Pygmalion references and the fact that it is a romance, there is nothing boring or disappointing about it. Instead, those elements are received with a sense of enjoyable familiarity. Like cuddling up in your favorite blanket.

Although I struggled to really like Adelina in the very beginning, by the end of the first chapter I was emotionally engaged with the characters and I wanted to see how the story played out. I laughed out loud. I held my breath. My heart ached for them. I grin that silly grin of a romantic ending well earned.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

I quite enjoyed the Pygmalion quotes along the way. It made for a unique reading experience.

I also enjoyed how unintentionally poor word choices and believable emotional reactions played out in the story with real impact.

Additionally, I appreciated how Pepper showed that grief is not a linear path but one that ebbs and flows and sometimes surprises us with how it pops back into our lives even after we think it has passed.

Themes:

Don’t judge a book by its cover could be part of the theme, but I think it goes deeper than that. I think the true theme for this book deals with judging an entire group of people based on an experience with one or two of them.

The book also deals with the parent-child bond, as well as the struggle of forgiveness and how the granting or withholding of it affects a person’s life.

Finally, there is an ongoing consideration of what true love really looks like, as well as whether and how dreams can change.

Ending:

I was very pleased with how the twists near the end brought things full circle and even pushed the characters to overcome final emotional hurdles. There is a heart-warming depth and truth to the love the two main characters develop in the end. Nothing shallow in this story.

(none of the links in this review are affiliate links)

Overall Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Materials Note:  I purchased my own copy of this book, for my own reading pleasure.

What do you think of Pepper’s contemporary romance? Do you have a preference between historical or contemporary romance in general?

TWEETABLES:

A talented historical author conquers contemporary romance with depth and humor. – Click to Tweet!

Don’t miss Pepper Basham’s Pygmalion in the Appalachians. – Click to Tweet!

Like cuddling up with a favorite blanket, this romance will warm your heart. – Click to Tweet!

Psst! Feel free to borrow any of the photos in this post for sharing on social media and remember to tag me @KathleenDenly !

My Review – The Thorn Healer

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Jessica Ross’ scars run much deeper than the wounds of war. Determined to escape the ghosts of her past and the German influence on her nightmares, she returns home to the sleepy Appalachian town of Hot Springs, NC, only to find the renowned Mountain Park Hotel has been converted into a ‘prison’ for displaced Germans. To Jessica’s dismay, her grandparents have befriended one of the treacherous internees.

August Reinhold has not only found kinship with Jessica’s grandparents but as they share their granddaughter’s letters from the Front, he discovers a surprising bond drawing him toward the independent and beautiful woman. Displaced by a war and a painful history, he finds Hot Springs and the intriguing Jessica Ross a tempting place to start over. Determined to scale the heights of her bitterness and show her the power of love, August faces more than just Jessica’s resistance but a more devious design to harm the civilian sailors housed in Hot Springs.

Will August’s tender pursuit bring Jessica the healing and hope she needs, or will bitterness force her into the hands of a “true” enemy waiting to destroy much more than her heart?

Why This Book:

Well, if you have read either of my reviews for the first two books in this series, you’ll know exactly why I wanted to read and review The Thorn Healer, the third installment in the Penned in Time series by the talented Pepper D. Basham. (I loved the first two books and couldn’t wait to read another book by this very talented author!)

Opening Line:

Wounded soldiers returned from war as heroes. Wounded nurses returned as old maids.

First Impressions:

I’ll be honest. While I love the opening line, the beginning of this book didn’t wow me nearly as much as the openings for the first two books did. I just didn’t feel hooked by the first chapter. That’s not to say the writing was dull by any means. It simply didn’t invoke the compulsion to turn pages which I have come to expect from a Pepper Basham novel.

Nevertheless, I kept reading because 1) the story truly was an interesting one and 2) I knew Pepper wouldn’t let me down. Sure enough, by the fifth chapter I was having trouble making myself put the book down to sleep at night.book-quotes-thorn-healer-empty-hand

Characters:

Jessica Ross has been a star on the sidelines in each of the first two books and it is wonderful to see her take center stage in this book. She is, of course, a well-rounded and compelling character who truly engages your heart as she struggles to overcome the wounds, both physical and emotional, which have followed her home from the war.

August Reinhold is a character new to the series. He is German and an internee in a camp in Jessica’s hometown nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains. How he handles the challenges he faces as a German stuck in America during the first World War can’t help but endear him to the reader and you find yourself rooting for him.

Additional characters include:

Dr. and Mrs. Carter – Jessica’s grandparents

Cliff Carter – Jessica’s cousin and a guard at the camp

Eliza Larson – war widow, mother of 7-year-old Jude Larson, & pregnant

Jasper Little – a wounded newcomer who arrives in town with anger to spare

As well as several other townspeople who all add to the story in their own way. Including some important characters which I won’t name here or it would give away surprises. No one character blends into another. They each stand out as unique and authentic.

For those of you who have enjoyed the previous two books in the Penned In Time series, you’ll be pleased to know that some of the characters from those books make an appearance in this one and you do get updates on their lives.book-quotes-thorn-healer-steadfast

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

Once this story got ahold of your heart, it didn’t let go. It made me laugh out loud, audibly gasp, and even cry. Real. Tears. I can’t remember the last time I actually cried over a book. Choked up? Sure. But I don’t remember actually crying. This book made me cry. I had to wipe my face because my tears were going to drip on my Kindle. And I loved it! I was crying because I was so wrapped up in what the characters were going through. It was so real.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

This book had several elements which served as an introduction to the unique culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains during the first World War. I enjoyed feeling like a visitor with a backstage pass in the small, remote town of Hot Springs. The elements of history introduced by the author, whether Blue Ridge, World War, or medically related,  all felt very well researched and authentic.

The elements of history introduced by the author, whether Blue Ridge, World War, or medically related,  all felt very well researched and authentic.

Themes:

The primary themes are prejudice, forgiveness, and the cost of hate.

book-quotes-thorn-healer-thoughts-write-lettersEnding (mild spoiler):

If the idea that this book made me cry has you worried, do not fear. This book has the happy ending requisite of its genre. And it is perfect. I am completely satisfied with how the book ended. And yeah. I closed the book with a smile on my face.

Overall Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Material Note:  I purchased my own copy of this book, for my own reading pleasure.

Have you read any of Pepper’s books? What do you think?

TWEETABLES:

Once this story got ahold of your heart, it didn’t let go.#bookreview – Click to Tweet!

Check out this #bookreview of The Thorn Healer! – Click to Tweet!

Psst! Feel free to borrow any of the photos in this post for sharing on social media and remember to tag me @KathleenDenly !

Top Ten MUST READ Historical Romance Novels for 2017

Top 10 Historical Romance Novels KathleenDenly.com

At the beginning of this month, I shared with you the Top Ten Best Historical Romance Novels I read during the year 2016. Today, I share with you my Top Ten MUST READ Historical Romance Novels for 2017.

1. Currency of the Heart by Loree LoughCurrency of the Heart by Loree Lough

Well, really it’s Healing of the Heart that I feel I MUST READ, but once I realized it was book #3 in the Secrets of Sterling Stree series, I knew I needed to start with book one. I’m kind of persnickety that way. So really, this entry represents three books, but if I listed out each book in the series I’d only have 7 spaces left and, well, how could I possibly fit my list into that?

Also, with Reading Is My SuperPower giving this kind of review for book #2, Guardians of the Heart, how can I resist reading them all?

“A sweet heartfelt romance that reminds us of the importance of forgiveness – of other people and especially of ourselves. With true, likable characters and a plot brimming with all the great elements of a story, Guardians of the Heart will gently refresh your soul.”

2. Stealing Jake by Pam HillmanStealing Jake by Pam Hillman

Speaking of Reading Is My SuperPower:  Carrie listed Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman as one of the Best Historical Books of 2015. I have yet to read anything by Pam Hillman and I am always looking for new authors to add to my shelf. Add to that a setting of late 1800s Illinois and this comment by Carrie:

“If you like books by Melissa Jagears or Mary Connealy, then you need to read Stealing Jake.  Trust me, it will steal your heart.”

I mean, hello. Have you seen my Top Ten Historical Romance Novels of 2016 list? This clearly needed to be on my MUST READ list.

3. The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen HakeThe Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake

This is Kelly Eileen Hake’s debut novel which always intrigues me. Plus I just love the premise of this book and want to see where the author takes it. Not to mention this rave review by Laura Hilton in Christian Bookworm Reviews:

“A huge family feud that includes many of the townspeople, an ornery ox, a sweet young lady, and multiple storylines combine to make this a book that I couldn’t put down. The historical details are accurate, down to names of hoax “medicines” available at the time, harvest activities, and social gatherings. The story was hilariously funny and serious by turns, and is a hit by Kelly Eileen Hake. I’m recommending this book to everyone who loves historical fiction.”

4. Bittersweet by Cathy Marie HakeBittersweet by Cathy Marie Hake

I thoroughly enjoyed Letter Perfect, the first in Cathy Marie Hake’s California Historical Series and am eager to find time to move the second book from my “To Read” shelf to my “Read” shelf.

5. Stuck Together by Mary ConnealyStuck Together by Mary Connealy

Another entry which is really representative of a series I want to read. Having already read and enjoyed the first book in Connealy’s Trouble in Texas series, I happily look forward to reading the last two books in the coming months.

6. The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection: 9 Historical Romances Begin After Saying “I Do”The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection

I love a well-written collection of historical romance novellas. They fit just perfectly on those days when I *know* better than to start something that’s going to keep me up long enough to see the dawn. You know the books I’m talking about. The wonderful thing about novellas is no matter how compelling the read, their inherent brevity ensures that I get at least a little sleep the night before an important event.

7. The Thorn Healer by Pepper D. BashamThe Thorn Healer by Pepper D Basham

The first two books in this trilogy made my list of Top Ten Historical Romance from 2016. (Just realized I actually read them in the fall of 2015 for the first time, but I loved them so much I read them again in 2016 so they still count!) I have been eagerly awaiting the release of The Thorn Healer from the moment I closed The Thorn Keeper. You can be sure I’ll be posting a review of this one once I’ve read it.

UPDATE: You can now read my full review of The Thorn Healer HERE.

8. The Captive Heart by Michelle GriepThe Captive Heart by Michelle Griep

This is another author new to me, but the premise intrigues me and the reviews I’ve read have convinced me I need to give this book a try. I especially appreciated the review by Leah at GoodBooksForTheJourney.com in which she included this intriguing detail:

” It also included a story line that illustrated how the division between England and the settlers affected the American Indian tribes.”

That’s an angle I haven’t read before.

9. Love’s Story by Dianne Christner and Strong as the Redwood by Kristin BillerbeckLove's Story by Dianne Christner with Bonus Story of Strong as the Redwood by Kristin Billerbeck

This is a two for one deal! Both books come together and both are set in the historical northern California redwoods! Hopefully, you’ve noticed by now that I’m a sucker for California history.

10. At Love’s Bidding by Regina JenningsAt Love's Bidding by Regina Jennings

Okay, you’ve caught me. This is yet another entry representing an entire series. The first book, A Most Inconvenient Marriage, made my list of Top Ten Historical Romance from 2016. So it only makes sense that I plan to read the rest of the series.

Top 10 Historical Romance Novels of 2016

Top 10 Historical Romance Novels KathleenDenly.com

Picking a Top Ten from a year’s worth of reading is almost like trying to choose a favorite among your children (the one not currently screaming or dropping food on the floor). The task is nearly impossible because they are each special in their own way, but if I had a friend who absolutely could not possibly find any way to read more than 10 books in the next year… well, first we’d have to sit down and have a serious conversation about priorities, but then I’d hand her the list of books below (in no particular order):

  1. The Thorn Bearer by Pepper D. Basham **See My Review HERE Cover Image of
  2. The Thorn Keeper by Pepper D. Basham  **See My Review HERECover image of
  3. A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jenningsa-most-inconvenient-marriage-cover
  4. The Trouble With Patience by Maggie Brendanthe-trouble-with-patience-cover
  5. From A Distance by Tamera Alexander **My Review Coming Soon!from-a-distance-cover
  6. No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyerno-other-will-do-cover
  7. Tried and True by Mary Connealytried-true-cover
  8. For Love or Loyalty by Jennifer Hudson Taylorfor-love-or-loyalty-cover
  9. A Bride For Keeps by Melissa Jagearsa-bride-for-keeps-cover
  10. A Claim of Her Own by Stephanie Grace Whitsona-claim-of-her-own-cover

And no, none of the above are affiliate links. I just love sharing fantastic books! If there are any titles listed above that haven’t made it to your “Read” shelf yet, I hope you pick one up today. Each of these books is well worth your time and money.

To see how I ranked other books I read this year, you can visit my Goodreads profile.

Soon I’ll be picking my Top Ten MUST READ books for the coming year and I’d love some input!

What books are on your MUST READ list for the coming year? Which books should I add to my list? Let me know in the comments below!

My Review: The Thorn Keeper

Thorn Keeper Review Image

If you read my review of The Thorn Bearer, you know that I first learned of Pepper Basham through RachaelReadsFiction‘s Instagram and Blog posts. I was inspired by Rachael’s enthusiasm and commented on her post. As a result, I was blessed to win (no strings attached) an Digital Advanced Reader’s Copy of The Thorn Keeper, scheduled to release on February 28th.

In The Thorn Bearer we followed the story of Ashleigh Dougall and were introduced to her sister, Catherine Dougall. The Thorn Keeper moves Catherine to center stage where we watch her transform into a new creature in Christ and learn how to lean on Him through all the hurdles and turns that life throws at her.  The skill with which Pepper grows Catherine from a self-absorbed, social-ladder-climbing, destructively selfish young woman, into an others-focused, humbly grateful, aid-to-the-poor-and-downtrodden, generous young woman, is something to be truly admired.

As with her first book, the characters in this book are all so richly written they feel real and true. Of course her descriptions again leave you feeling you’ve truly spent time in the nineteenth century town of Edensbury and witnessed the effects of the first World War, the struggles of adapting to changing societal rules, and the ability of just one person to profoundly affect the lives of those around her.

Although there is one plot twist near the end which happens to be a particular pet peeve of mine, Pepper used it in such an organic way and handled the ramifications with such finesse, I couldn’t work up my usual annoyance. Well done, Pepper.

I only have two negative comments which are so nitpicky they almost aren’t worth mentioning, but in the interest of balance, I will tell you that there was one moment where I rolled my eyes a tad over the wording choice of one of the characters. I felt it was a bit too flowery and not something someone would actually say. Secondly, I found the spiritual side of things to be just a touch more heavy handed (or maybe just a couple sentences too lengthy) than I would like during some brief sections of the novel. For the most part, however, it was still very organic and nicely done.

Having said that, I have to confess that I lost several hours of sleep over this book, owing to the fact that I couldn’t make myself put it down! I kept thinking, “I’ll go to sleep after I figure out ____” but by then there would be another question I just had to find the answer to and the next thing I know it’s 4 in the morning!!!

Although I did receive this book for free, had I purchased it I would feel completely satisfied that it was well worth my time and money. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in a Christian Historical Romantic Adventure. Additionally, I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Downton Abbey as I thought to myself a few times that this novel felt a bit like someone had picked out many of the best points of the first two or three seasons and combined them together into a wonderful new creation.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

REMEMBER:

The Thorn Keeper releases February 28, 2016, but you can preorder your copy now! 😀

(I am not in any way being compensated for my review or recommendation. I won the D.A.R.C. just by commenting on Rachael’s post and I was under no obligation to post a review, let alone required to post a positive one. All opinions are my own and 100% sincere. This is just a truly great book!)

My Review: The Thorn Bearer

Thorn Bearer Review Image

I discovered The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham via an Instagram post by RachaelReadsFiction. I followed the link to her blog where she was so enthusiastic about The Thorn Bearer and its upcoming sequel, The Thorn Keeper, that I was compelled to add The Thorn Bearer to my TBR list.

The Story

English born, American raised, nurse Ashleigh has plans to return to her home country and serve in a hospital treating wounded soldiers in war ravaged England. Already harboring a soul-crushing secret, she suffers personal loss and heartbreaking betrayal before setting off across the Atlantic on the doomed Lusitania.

Much to her consternation, she is joined on this journey by her best friend, Sam Miller, who is traveling to England to reunite with his fiancé, Ashleigh’s sister.  “As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship.”

When Ashleigh’s secret is thrown into the light, she is forced to deal with the aftermath and struggles to find her hope in God.

The Experience

Most of you will be familiar with the famous poem about God carrying us through our darkest times. As the reader, I could truly see this happening for Ashleigh. The spiritual aspect of this novel is completely organic and seamlessly woven into the story. Wonderfully written, this book has an almost poetic feel to it. The characters are so rich and the setting so real you’ll question whether you’ve actually lived through these significant events in history.

Having said that, I do feel compelled to issue one warning:  If you have a history of abuse, please be aware this book may contain triggers for you.

Whether you’re looking for a true love story, a strong character arc, a page-turning plot, a taste of history, spiritual encouragement, or a sensory feast, The Thorn Bearer has what you’re looking for.  I highly recommend this book!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

As if reading a fantastic book isn’t awesome enough, I was blessed to win an Advance Reading Copy of the upcoming sequel, The Thorn Keeper! Come back soon to read my review!

Materials Note:  I purchased my own copy of this book, for my own reading pleasure.