Monday, April 27, 2015

Year of Jubilee ~ Peggy Trotter

Orphaned and widowed, eighteen-year-old Jubilee Stallings clings to her southern Indiana farm as her only refuge. The wilds of Gibson County are just being tamed in the year of 1850, and Jubilee ekes a meager existence. But when Rafe Tanner, a cousin of her abusive dead husband, shows up with the deed to her property, Jubilee’s dream of her own home dissolves.

Rafe, stinging from his ex-fiancée’s rejection, offers a business marriage, throwing him and Jubilee together in an effort to make the farm successful. But scars from the past keep her in constant fear of her new husband. The pair masquerades as a love-struck couple at Rafe’s family farm, enduring the romantic notions of his family, and the jealousy of his ex-fiancée.

Once home, Rafe realizes his new found love for Jubilee, and sets out to court her. Meanwhile, Jubilee fights demons from her past as her husband reveals his interest. Can Jubilee let go of her distrust and pain to embrace God’s plan of true love and finally find a place to belong?

My Review:  When Jubilee’s abusive husband Colvin disappears, she’s left on her own to survive with little food and her resources are dwindling. In the 1800’s she’s a woman with no one to turn to and nowhere to go.
Rafe, who is Colvin’s cousin, shows up to claim the farm and tells Jubilee of her husband’s death. She runs to her favorite tree to hide. Rafe doesn’t know what to make of the woman who is so afraid of him. When he learns of her circumstances, he can’t turn her out, and he decides they should marry for appearances and run the farm as a business partnership.
When they visit his large family and cross paths with Rafe’s former girlfriend, Rosemary, Jubilee’s life and hope begins to unravel.
Ms. Trotter has written a delightful novel with interesting characters and situations. The unusual relationship between Jubilee and Rafe creates a thought provoking backdrop establishing their trust in God against what may seem as insurmountable odds.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Acres of Dreams ~ Sharon McGregor

Nineteen-year-old Katy is sent  to Canada by her family in the late 1890's to find a suitable husband. Katy has other plans, however - she wants a career, not marriage.
During the round of social activities arranged by her sister, she is drawn against her will towards her distant cousin Robert, who loves Katy on sight. She has also attracted the attention of her brother-in-law's boss, Martin, who doesn't take rejection easily, evens the score by destroying Katy's reputation.

Facing a return home in disgrace, Katy tries another way out. She accepts the offer of marriage from Robert, who is on his way west to set up a homestead on the prairies.

Katy is not prepared for the loneliness and hardships she is about to face. She has a difficult journey ahead, learning to become a woman and a wife and discovering how to love.

My Review:  Katy Anne arrives from Ireland to the Toronto, home of her sister, Maggie, in 1899. Katy knows she’s been sent by her parents to find a suitable husband, but she has bigger dreams. She wants a career before she settles down.

Due to an unfortunate incident, Katy’s reputation is unjustly ruined, but her cousin, Robert, comes to her rescue. Katy feels her only choice is to go home and humiliate her parents or to agree to Robert’s marriage proposal.

They find themselves in new and unsettled land and Katy comes to realize that her misfortune turns into what she’d always dreamed for.

Ms. McGregor tells a beautiful story painted against the Canadian wilderness. Her character development and writing skills holds the reader’s interest well beyond the last page. I enjoyed Acres of Dreams along with Autumn Dreams which introduces Katy’s sister, Maggie. I’m looking forward to more stories in this series.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Ugly Paradise ~ Lindsey Paley

Beneath beauty, evil lurks...

Katie Anderson has no idea who she is, or why she was abandoned to her fate after an attack by an escaped Sumatran tiger — the pet of a local Californian scriptwriter. Who was she with when she was attacked? Why was there a severed goat's head secreted in her rucksack? In the five years since the attack, Katie has grown accustomed to the indelible paw print etched on her cheek, which draws sympathetic glances and repulsed stares in equal measure. That is, until the cruelty of a casual comment from a wrinkle-free diner at The Alice Garden restaurant in Sanur Beach sparks her quest for answers, launching Katie on a painful path to discover the truth. Will Katie find the spiritual and emotional serenity she craves? Or will society's obsession with physical perfection defeat her progress?

My Review:  Sandy beaches, crystal clear, waters and balmy breezes can’t bring back Katie’s first nineteen years. She loves her life on Bali and the family that took her in after the incident with the tiger that almost killed her and left her beautiful face scarred.

Todd had planned to go with Katie to the UK to try to piece together her life and find the family she longs for, but a chance customer at the restaurant where they both work  hands Katie a business card from a plastic surgeon. Her life takes a drastic turn.

She leaves with the doctor, and Todd, hurt by her actions, goes to Australian to work for the summer taking along a new girlfriend. With new friends and old helping Katie in the UK and Bali, her past begins to unfold and she discovers something very sinister happened to her at a young, vulnerable age taking her away from all she knew and wiping away her memory.

Ms. Paley’s marvelous way with words and unique storytelling has the reader in the throes of the story right from the beginning. Heart pumping—running away from the tiger to the very end and resolution for Katie this book is hard to put down. I highly recommend it and believe it is one of my favorites by this author, although it is hard to choose from her array of well-written fiction.