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Review & Giveaway: Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

WAIT FOR ME

Montana Rescue Series, Book 6

by

Susan May Warren

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Action / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: November 6, 2018

Number of Pages: 336

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Pete Brooks can’t believe he’s waited an entire year for Jess Tagg to return to Montana, only to have her break his heart by getting engaged to her ex-fiancé. Worse, a series of mistakes on the job have cost lives, and Pete isn’t sure he wants to continue to work in Search and Rescue. Maybe if he can just get over Jess, he can figure out how to move forward.

EMT Jess Tagg has returned to Montana to finally give her heart to Pete, but it seems he’s no longer interested. When a terrible fight between them sparks an impulsive decision, she finds herself crashed on the side of a highway along with Esme Shaw. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get any worse, she and Esme are taken captive and into the untamed Montana wilderness—with murderous intent.

Now Pete and the other PEAK Rescue Team members are in a race against time, the elements, and the actions of a vengeful man. Pete will have to use everything he’s learned to find Jess and Esme—and pray that his past mistakes don’t cost him the life of the woman he can’t stop loving.

Praise for the Montana Rescue Series

“Warren’s stalwart characters and engaging story lines make her Montana Rescue series a must-read.”Booklist

“Faith, action, romantic tension, humor, and emotional depth.” Publishers Weekly

“Warren excels at creating flawed characters the reader cares about, as well as building a suspenseful adventure.” Christian Library Journal

 

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review

I remembered bits and pieces from a previous Montana Rescue book that I had reviewed a while back, but it bugged me that I couldn’t remember most of the characters in this latest installment. After reading that old review, I realized that most of the characters in Wait for Me were actually peripheral characters in A Matter of Trust.

 

Warren creates these deep, complicated characters that you can’t help but become invested in. And I love that she explores the relationships and inner workings of each person over the course of this series. How many times have I read a book where I wished that the author would take the time to share more about a particular character or let me explore another locale that was lightly brushed upon briefly? Either Warren knew that her readers would want more, or she, too, wasn’t ready to let go of this world that she has created.

 

I didn’t properly articulate this in my review of Book 3, but I am still very impressed with Warren’s knowledge of wilderness survival, medical conditions, and EMT skills. Although if my memory serves me right, I think this book has more injuries in it. From the moment that the tense, emotional atmosphere is shattered by physical violence, the danger advances on our characters like an avalanche. Who really loves whom takes a backseat as lives are at stake.

 

But still I had trouble wrapping my brain around why Jess seemed to be stringing Pete along. Without having read the four other books in the series, I’m hazarding a guess that Warren enjoys writing complicated love shapes. I say shapes because this book and Book 3 both have love squares instead of triangles. Geometry aside, you can see why Jess has trouble choosing which man/life to commit herself to. Warren makes it hard for the reader to choose too. Why must all the men in this book be attractive and have such great attributes? Bad guys aside, of course.

 

Faith and God are handled well in this book. It is when a character has hit rock bottom and can’t give an ounce more that someone else will remind them that there is someone bigger than them that can lift them up and love them no matter what. It didn’t feel forced and I liked that even the person on the receiving end of this message was skeptical. I think that the genuine introduction and reaction of the subject will open up readers who feel skeptical about God as well.

 

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, intricate love story and/or suspenseful, survivalist read. Kind of opposite spectrums, huh? But this book really has it all. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me, A Matter of Trust, Troubled Waters, and Storm Front. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She makes her home in Minnesota.

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Review & Giveaway: In Too Deep by Lynn H. Blackburn

IN TOO DEEP
Dive Team Investigations
Book Two
by
Lynn H. Blackburn
Genre: Suspense / Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: November 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 352

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When the dive team is called in to recover a body from a submerged car, they aren’t prepared to find an encrypted laptop—or an unsettling connection between investigator Adam Campbell and the dead accountant. 

Adam turns to his friend Dr. Sabrina Fleming—a professor at the local university with unparalleled computer security and forensics skills—to recover the files from the laptop. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier the investigation becomes. When evidence uncovers a human trafficking ring and implicates members of Adam’s own family, he and Sabrina will have to risk everything to solve the case.
The truth could set hundreds free—but someone is willing to do whatever it takes to silence anyone who threatens to reveal their secrets. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn invites readers back to Carrington, North Carolina, where everything is not as it seems, and sinister elements lurk behind the idyllic façade.

PRAISE FOR BENEATH THE SURFACE, BOOK ONE IN THE DIVE TEAM INVESTIGATIONS SERIES:

“Fans of Dani Pettrey’s “Alaskan Courage” thrillers will enjoy this nail-biter of a series opener, which will also be appreciated by romantic and psychological suspense fans.” Library Journal
 
“Just when you think you can relax, Blackburn brings you back to the edge of your seat in this riveting, high-tension suspense story.” 
Patricia Bradley, author of Justice Delayed 
“Blackburn’s Beneath the Surface is completely engaging from the very first page. Dive Team Investigations is bound to be a new favorite series for readers everywhere.” Christian Market
 
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review

For a book with a cover that shows an underwater scene and a punny title like “In Too Deep,” I predicted that at least 50% of the novel would take place in or around the water. It turns out, evidence and clues were disposed of in the water, and we end up only spending about 5-10% of the time in the deep dark. I was hoping to read more about the technical side of crime scene diving, but perhaps Blackburn does that more in Book 1 of the Dive Team Investigations. At any rate, I found this book to be suspenseful and well plotted. I had an inkling of whodunit, but I couldn’t figure out how they could possibly walk away with what they wanted.

Characters make or break a story for me, and it’s difficult to find fault with Adam and Sabrina. When I realized that I’m 10 years older than Sabrina, I started to question how much I have accomplished in my life. I loved how cerebral and logical she was – practically an AI in human skin. I was frustrated by how clueless she was about Adam’s affections, but then again remembered being that age and misreading guys all the time. The drama of their romance proved to be unfounded and was a little anticlimactic for me, but I found their interactions to be cute. I think my favorite relationships and interactions involved the friends and fellow police officers who kept watch over the two as the bad guy(s) kept coming after them.

The underlying, terrible criminal activity that is unearthed in this novel is completely relevant and morbidly fascinating. If you live in the Houston area as I do, you’ve heard your share of stories with similar situations. I hope that books like this one build awareness and encourage people to take notice and take action. Sorry for being so elusive, but I don’t want to ruin the story for you.

I feel bad for saying this, but the Christian bits in this novel took me out of the story a little. I really wish they didn’t, but they did for some reason. However, don’t feel like you need to avoid this book if you’re adverse to religious or Christian novels.

This book is first and foremost a mystery. Don’t miss out on a great story that sheds light on a very ugly and real problem that we have in our country. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery and the satisfaction of justice served.

Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Hidden Legacy (Love Inspired, June 2017) and Covert Justice, winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.
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Character Interview & Giveaway: A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

A RUMORED FORTUNE
BY
JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO
  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 31, 2018
Number of Pages: 416
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Welcome to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England
Tressa Harlowe’s father kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Now Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. 
It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune—before someone else finds it first.

PRAISE FOR A RUMORED FORTUNE: 

“Everyone loves a treasure hunt—pair it with a heroine you can’t help but love, a hero you can’t help but swoon over, and a family mystery that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, and you end up with A Rumored Fortune. This book is a treasure in itself and one you won’t be able to put down!”
— Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of the Ladies of the Manor series and Shadows Over England series
“Politano combines romance and mystery with great skill to create plot twists that will keep readers captivated until the very end.”— Publishers Weekly

“The author has done a great job, offering up a plot filled with wit, charm, action, and a lot of female strength.”— Suspense Magazine


CLICK TO PURCHASE

Character Interview
Interview with Margaret Waithe, the housekeeper of Trevelyan Castle, in A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano
Mrs. Waithe, you must know something about this mysterious fortune said to be hidden at Trevelyan. Can you tell us if the rumors are true?
If you’re looking to fortune hunt, there’s a line forming behind the house, starting with all the relatives who think they’re owed a piece of it. You’ll have to fight your way through them, and then face the master’s daughter besides. I’m not sure which’ll give you worse trouble, but you can have your go of it. I’ll warn you, though, the old master was an odd one, and you’re not likely to guess where he’s hidden the fortune unless you understand the man himself.
Who do you think will find the old man’s fortune?
If anyone was smart enough, it would be his Tressa. No one could truly know old Josiah Harlowe, but she came closer than most. She was the only one who tried. Everyone else is busy digging through the castle walls for hidden crevices and entries while Tressa is smart enough to dig through her father’s notes and learn about the man who hid it in the first place. None are smart enough, or more deserving, of the man’s inheritance than his daughter.
You mean to say he didn’t even tell his own family where he put his money? How did he expect them to survive his possible demise one day?

I’m sure the man didn’t plan on drowning out there in the channel. He’s lived here so long, we never expected it, either. And him, being in the prime of health like that. No one could have predicted such an early demise. He did plan on telling his family where he’d put it before he died—I heard him telling his Tressa that years ago when she was begging for the secret.
It seems there’s far more to the story here, isn’t there?
More to the man’s sudden death? More to how he came by his fortune? More to every single creature who parades themselves through these doors to “grieve?” Yes, to all of them. Every last one. With Josiah Harlowe, there is always more to the story, no matter what the story is.
What do you think of that new vineyard manager, Mr. Donegan Vance?
(pause) Can’t say just yet, sir. He’s an unusual one just like the master, full of secrets and contradictions. He certainly isn’t finding much favor with the ladies of Trevelyan, that’s for sure. Now the town-folk, that’s a different story. You know how some people are full of smooth talk and fancy promises, but their actions never live up? Well this man’s the opposite. He’s a bit jarring with his words, since he doesn’t bother to pretty them up or smooth them over with all the expected niceties, but no matter how gruff his words, his actions are astounding. That man makes kindness a lifestyle and no one is below his help or attention. I’ve never seen the like around here, and I’ve opened these doors to plenty of respectable gentleman. Somehow, he’s even more respectable than them, if you actually watch the man to see what he does. He’s had his eye on Miss Tressa, and I rather hope she opens her eyes to him. Perhaps I’ll help.

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her
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Review & Giveaway: The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck

THE THEORY OF
HAPPILY EVER AFTER
by
KRISTIN BILLERBECK
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: May 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 288
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According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious—serious science, that is. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies, like why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream–fueled chick flick binge.
Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.
Filled with unforgettable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile—because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

PRAISE FOR THE THEORY OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER: 

“. . .the sweet will-they-or-won’t-they of Sam and Maggie’s courtship will please readers. . .”
                        —Publishers Weekly
“Billerbeck returns with a light Christian chick-lit novel just in time for the summer beach-read season, taking on stereotypes of femininity, intellect, and worth within an exciting cruise-ship setting with plenty of sunshine and gelato.”
                        —Booklist
“Billerbeck’s latest is full of memorable characters and witty dialogue. . . .The overall story reminds the reader that sometimes happiness will find you, no matter what you may do to avoid it.”
RT Book Reviews  Four Star Review
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review

Right away I could tell that I would have trouble putting this book down. So I approached reading it the way any other rational person would: I cleared my day of all commitments so that I could read without any interruptions. To be completely honest, there were interruptions despite my best intentions. I would guffaw at something, my husband would look at me questioningly, and then I had no choice but to read some choice lines aloud to him.

One of my favorite lines that I spent 5 minutes flipping through the book to find, so you have no choice but to read it: “There’s little doubt that Jake’s soaring, Lycra-wearing Tinkerbell sprinkled pixie dust in her wake and left him feeling as if he too could fly, while a scientific downer like me spread nothing but Spock-like facts and despair — covering a room with a dark, dingy feeling similar to volcanic ash.” [pp. 37-38]. So many references and imagery in one funny sentence! And the book is chock full of gems like this. Many quick, one-liners, but even some fun paragraph-long inner (and outer) dialogue full of quirks. I found myself hoping to find a friend as witty as the author one day.

I was a little surprised that this book wasn’t tagged as Christian (although Booklist did identify it as light Christian chick-lit) because there are definite references here and there that a Bible studier would catch. When faith and Christianity are discussed head on, it makes a little more sense that the story lacks the typical debauchery and maybe even a little premarital activity that you would expect to occur on a cruise ship full of singles, especially in a romance novel.

The way that Billerbeck pokes fun at her heroine’s obsession with the Hallmark channel and storybook romances makes this surprisingly chaste read anything but boring. As much as Maggie tries to paint herself as this dry, data driven nerd with librarian fashion sense (I sort of resent that!), you get a sense that she suffers from some sort of body and soul dysmorphia. Despite being flanked by two gorgeous and confident friends, she manages to take her pick of the only two charming and good-looking men on the ship. Oh, if only that were really the case in real life. Am I right, ladies?

You know me, I don’t ruin books for y’all. The after taste of this one sort of reminded of a Bridget Jones’s Diary – probably because the main character is self deprecating, yet is caught in a great love triangle, and has colorful friends. Also, even though everyone is from California or Texas, a few of the characters seem to have a slip of nationality and use words like “bin” and … ugh, I knew I should have made a list.

Either way, this is the perfect beach read. But to be honest, I can see myself cozying up with a cup of hot tea as well. It’s a feel good book whose chapter intros even include mantras from Maggie’s fictional book, The Science of Bliss. I will leave you with this particular quote that feels like equal parts Namaste, fortune cookie wisdom, and just plain common sense: “Savor the good times in life. Studies tell us people who savor happy experiences in life are more likely to be optimistic about their past outcomes and their future.” [p. 150].

Kristin Billerbeck is the author of more than thirty novels, including What a Girl Wants and the Ashley Stockingdale and Spa Girls series. She is a fourth-generation Californian who loves her state and the writing fodder it provides.
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Review & Giveaway: Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings

HOLDING THE FORT
The Fort Reno Series, Book 1
by
REGINA JENNINGS
  Genre: Historical Western Christian Romance
Date of Publication: December 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 353

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With Miss Bell as the Teacher, Everyone’s Bound to Learn an Interesting Lesson

Dance hall singer Louisa Bell has always lived one step from destitution. When she loses her job at the Cat-Eye Saloon, she has nowhere else to go but to her brother, a cavalry soldier stationed in Indian Territory. But he’s run afoul of his commanding officer. Unsure what she can do to help him and desperate for a job, she doesn’t protest when she’s mistaken for a governess at the fort. How hard can teaching really be?


Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno, especially raising two adolescent daughters alone. If this new governess doesn’t work out, his mother-in-law insists she’ll raise the girls herself–far away from the fort. Miss Bell bears little resemblance to Daniel’s notion of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he finds himself turning a blind eye to her unconventional methods. Louisa has never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough to help her brother and to secure the respectable future she’s sought for so long?

PRAISE FOR HOLDING THE FORT & THE FORT RENO SERIES:
“The first book in Jennings’ new Fort Reno series is a delightful read that helps solidify what a wonderful and imaginative writer Jennings is. She manages to create unique stories with interesting and well-developed characters while combining humor, mystery and a sprinkle of faith.”
–RT Book Reviews

“In this character-driven series launch, Jennings offers a powerful lesson on the freedom of truth and forgiveness wrapped in a delightful story of love against the odds.”
Publishers Weekly

“This series launch is a charming historical romance set in 1880s Fort Reno, OK. . . . Jennings kicks off a new series with a light and enjoyable tale that will delight her fans as well as lovers of historical romance.”
Library Journal

CLICK TO PURCHASE
Ok, I’ll admit it. I begged to review this book because of the cover. I could tell it was a period piece based on the backdrop and wardrobe. But it was the cute blonde in a pink dress with an armful of books that sold it to me.
It wouldn’t take much more to endear this book to me, but the main character, Louisa Bell, stole my heart. Anything could have happened and I would still love this book. A strong, independent woman who taught herself to sing beautifully, be still my heart. She could have easily settled by marrying or by taking on the oldest occupation, but she didn’t. No matter the hardships she has faced, she is still kind (but not a pushover!) and holds tight to people who are important to her.
We meet pretty much every character that existed in the West during Louisa’s journey: Native Americans, cowboys (more drunk than not), farmers, shopkeepers, religious folk, children, and military men. It’s great to see how she adapts to each situation. And while she never outright lies about anything, her talent for deception (or improvisation) finds her a comfortable living situation.
Only one situation in the novel felt heavy, as it was a political one. But it gave a nice inside look at the sort of dealings that took place during this time period. The atmosphere gets tense for a bit, but you never doubt that things will work out for the best. The same could be said for the romantic storyline as well. While Louisa is hiding very big secrets from the Major, you have a feeling that things will sort themselves out.
And that’s the only critique I have of this book. I would have liked something to knock me off balance and kept me flailing around for a bit. Other than that, I admire Jennings clean writing style and descriptions. The dialogue is delivered effortlessly and the characters are interesting and believable. I look forward to reading the next installment. I hope to see more of Caroline and Daisy in the coming books.
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.
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Video Guest Post & Giveaway: Loving Luther by Allison Pittman


LOVING LUTHER

by
ALLISON PITTMAN
  Genre: Christian Historical Romance 
Publisher: Tyndale House
Date of Publication: September 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 432
Scroll down for giveaway!
Germany, 1505
In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.
Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows–a choice more practical than pious–but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.



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Praise for Loving Luther:

[Pittman] pens an exquisite tale, capturing the emotions of a nun grappling with the faith she’s always known vs. a new and unfamiliar freedom in faith.  Simmering with tension of Katharina’s discontent and longings, the novel unveils a slow morphing that follows Katharina’s own personal transformation, from reverence to spirited determination in choosing her own way in the world. — Booklist
Loving Luther is a moving and rich historical romance based on Luther’s relationship with his wife Katharina.  In addition, it shows how their marriage was actually significant to the Lutheran faith.  Instead of dwelling on the couple’s courtship, the story goes deep into the roots of the Reformation.  Luther and Katharina interrogate their faith, living out their convictions in a way that is both inspiring and profoundly human.  Loving Luther has depth, and it is unexpectedly touching.  Katharina and Luther, in search of a happy ending, find one another.  Their love, Pittman shows, really did change the world. — Foreword Magazine
A historical novel with characters who are brave, strong and willing to take chances in times of persecution.  The plot is partially based on the teachings of Martin Luther and the many lives he changed, some for the better, some for the worse.  Pittman is a talented author who touches on topics that have been debated over the decades and are still being talked about today. — Romantic Times Reviews
video guest post
Author Allison Pittman tells us what women today can learn from Katharina Von Bora

 

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives near San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike.
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TEN SIGNED COPIES OF LOVING LUTHER
October 2-October 11, 2017

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Review & Giveaway: These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart

THESE HEALING HILLS

by

ANN GABHART

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: September 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 368

Scroll down for giveaway!

Bestselling Author Transports Readers to the Appalachian Mountains for Adventure and Healing

Packed with history, These Healing Hills by bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart introduces readers to the fascinating and difficult life of frontier nursing.

When the soldier Francine Howard planned to marry after WWII writes to tell her he is in love with a woman in England, Francine is devastated and in need of a change. She seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Services.

It is in these mountains that Francine crosses paths with Ben Locke, a soldier still very much suffering from the horrors of war. With his future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

While Francine and Ben find they are from completely different worlds and possess very different values, they both learn that things don’t always go the way we plan. Ann H. Gabhart invites readers to witness the healing power of love and step forward to tantalizing new possibilities. 

Praise for These Healing Hills:

“Reading These Healing Hills is like wrapping up in a beloved quilt and stepping back in time. Ann H. Gabhart captures a fascinating slice of Appalachian history in this tale of a mountain midwife and a soldier, bringing it to life as only a native Kentuckian can. Poignant and romantic, witty and wise, with enduring spiritual truths, this is my favorite novel of hers to date.”

—Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

“What a wonderful story! Filled with true-to-life characters (including some four-footed ones) and fascinating historical details, These Healing Hills is a beautifully written, heartwarming story of life in the Appalachian Mountains at the end of the Second World War. Ann Gabhart combines vivid descriptions, meticulous research, and a deep understanding of the human heart to create a story that will linger in readers’ memories long after the last page is turned. This is a book to savor, not just once, but over and over. A true keeper.”

—Amanda Cabot, bestselling author of A Stolen Heart

“Ann H. Gabhart delivers a rich tale set in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains at the close of World War II. Francine buries the painful loss of the man she loves beneath the difficult work of a frontier nurse-midwife. The mountain people touch a place deep in her heart, and she gladly sacrifices the life she always wanted in order to serve them. But can she ever be truly happy among the hills and hollows where modern medicine often gives way to ancient folk cures? These Healing Hills is a fascinating and beautifully crafted story that I highly recommend.”

—Virginia Smith, bestselling author of The Amish Widower

“You are sure to enjoy this endearing story of love lost and found in the enchanting hills of Kentucky.”

—Jan Watson, author of the Troublesome Creek series

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300b2-review
I love reading historical fiction as an adult because history was one of my worst subjects in school growing up. Books like this teach me something about a time period, place, or people that my history classes either failed to cover or that my overstimulated teenage brain couldn’t comprehend at the time. How fascinating that a British woman would choose to start a midwivery school in America; in Kentucky of all places!
I imagine that the women who joined the Frontier Nursing Service were plucky and maybe even adventure junkies. Or perhaps they just wanted to save the poor and uneducated women and children from early deaths like FNS founder, Mary Breckinridge. At any rate, these women often left a life of comfort to rough it out among people who sometimes did not appreciate their assistance.
Gabhart’s use of dialect in the story is among the best I have set eyes on. With other books I’ve read, I often have to read passages aloud to decipher clunky dialect. But this was never the case with this book. The author’s writing style is natural, giving the characters an added dimension of authenticity.
There were times where I thought that the mountain people stereotypes were drilled in a bit much, but I think that Gabhart intended to drive home the stark contrast between outsiders and the mountain people. You know, just in case the reader is not aware of the conflicts that existed during that time in the Appalachian area. My only prior knowledge of these issues came from reading Christy by Catherine Marshall years ago. I like that Gabhart’s portrait of the mountain people is much kinder than Marshall’s.
Maybe because I’m a delayed launcher myself, I felt like this was sort of a coming of age book. After suppressing her true desires to please her mother and fill the void of her father’s absence, Francine finally goes out into the world alone to find out what she’s made of. Not to mention, she is finally free to do things that she has never been able to do before. The devastation of her broken engagement is reminiscent of that first heartbreak. Francine might be 23 years old, but Seth was her only boyfriend and high school sweetheart. I could also relate to the complicated mother-daughter dynamic.
I found this to be a really lovely book and it has been added to my collection of cozy books to be reread while drinking a nice cup of cocoa.

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels—The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted—as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. 

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Grand Prize:

Copy of These Healing Hills + The Kentucky Snack Basket (11 items including a Derby Pie Tart, Bourbon Pecan Brittle, Bourbon Chocolates, Spiced Pretzels, Modjeskas, Coffee, Snack Mix, Candy Bar, Caramel Corn, and a Horseshoe from Churchill Downs!)

First Runner-Up:

Copy of These Healing Hills + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

Second Runner-Up:

Copy of These Healing Hills + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

September 5 – 14, 2017

(U.S. Only)

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