Sunday, March 31, 2013


Of the 3 Orphan Train West books I have read so far, I think this might have been my favorite.  The theme verse for this story is "Trust in the Lord, wait on him and he will bring it to pass.  Trust him and he will give thee the secret desires of they heart."  That was the verse orphan Laurel clung to as she was growing up in Dr. and Mrs. Woodward's home.

Laurel finds herself being placed in Greystone Orphanage at an early age when her mother is sick and must put her there to enter a sanitarium (where she will die).  Laurel finds herself on a train headed west with her two best friends at the orphanage, Kit and Toddy.  She is adopted by the doctor and his wife and you will find yourself watching Laurel grow up and the struggles she has to deal with as she enters her adult years.  She wants to finds her true identity and must leave those she loves and travels to Boston.  There she finds more than she was ever expecting.

These orphan train series of books did a great job of helping you to realize what these little children went through as they were uprooted, sent West and had no choice in the homes they were placed into.  Jane Peart does a good job of grabbing your attention and holding it all the way through the story.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


This was another story in the "Orphan Train West" series.  You could easily read it as a stand alone book, but I found myself wanting to know what happened to the other girls on the orphan train that are mentioned in this book.  It was a well written story, set in the late 1800's and tells the story of one of the girls who goes West in the hopes of being adopted and the life she lived in her new home.  It looks into the life of these young girls and shares their thoughts and feelings.

Toddy finds herself leaving Greystone Orphanage with her two good friends and heading on an adventure on a train that will take them West to hopefully be adopted.  Toddy finds herself in the home of Octavia Hale, a wealthy widow who is seeking a companion for her invalid grand-daughter, Helene.  Toddy and Helene will become the best of friends, "sisters", and will bring great joy into the household, but will Toddy ever find real joy in her life?  Although there was romance in this story, it wasn't the "center stage" of the story, but rather the life of Toddy and her seeking heart, trying to find a place she can truly call "home".

Monday, March 25, 2013


This story begins around 1890, but it will take you through the years as you follow Kit, who is a little girl who is sent West on the Orphan Train.  It gives you a real feel for what some of these little boys and girls must have gone through in this time in history. Not everyone got chosen into a good and loving home, and Kit is one of those "unlucky" ones.  But she will thrive regardless of her circumstances and her loyalty to her "adopted" mother is quite rare.  You will follow Kit through to her young adulthood, where you will see that Kit's "dreams of a longing heart" really will come true.

This story is one of three books in this trilogy.  I started out reading book 2 first, and I know from reading this story who the other 2 girls are from the orphan train that stayed friends with Kit as they were growing up.  I don't feel like I missed anything by reading book 2 first, but I am looking forward to going back and reading book one next, which is "Homeward the Seeking Heart".   Although this story did have some romance in it, to me it was a story of the life of one young girl and how she made something of herself and didn't let her circumstances control her destiny.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

GONE WEST by Kathleen Karr

If you want a good story on a wagon train going West and the hardships and trials they faced, then you will like this book.  It takes place in the mid 1800s and centers around Johnny and Meg Stuart, with their adopted little boy, Jamie and their new baby girl Charlotte.  They start off on their adventure to Oregon and have their good times and bad times.  Johnny has such an adventurous spirit, which is why they are taking this trip across the country.  Meg is a lady who has a heart for people, who loves her family and is willing to endure alot of hard times without complaint (wish I could be more like her sometimes).  As in all wagon trains you have your folks who are easy to get along with and those who don't seem to like anybody.  You have the Indians to deal with, along with the weather and everything in between.  I thought it was a realistic look at how it was to travel by wagon across this great country.  It held my attention all the way through and I will look forward to reading more of this family's adventures in other stories in this series.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

ARIEL CUSTER by Grace Livingston Hill

A classic Grace Livingston Hill story about  a young girl, Ariel Custer, who finds herself alone in the world.  She arrives in a small town of Glenside with no friends or family or job or place to live.  But God intervenes and brings into her life a young man, Judson Granniss, who becomes a true friend and who will soon become the love of her life.  But when a woman mysteriously disappears murder begins to be believed and Ariel and Judson become the prime suspects.  They must once again learn to trust in their God to see them through.

I enjoyed the story and the little twist near the end that I wasn't expecting.  A little mystery, a little romance and alot of faith and trust in a sovereign God and you have a classic Grace Livingston Hill novel.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

THE SISTER WIFE by Diane Noble

This was a well written story that dealt with the early days of the Mormon church.  A story of one woman's struggle to deal with her love for her family and learning to accept those things of her religion that she knows in her heart are not right.  Mary Rose finds herself thrust into the sect known as the "Saints" when her and her grandfather set sail for the Americas.  On board she meets and falls in love with and marries Gabe and together they both start out as new members of this sect, seeking to obey its leaders.  On board Mary Rose also meets and becomes best friends with Bronwyn and her husband and child.

Now what should Mary Rose do when her best friends husband has died and your husband is told to take another wife, your best friend.  Can Mary Rose really be married to a man she loves with all her heart, and have her best friend also married to this same man?  The battle and conflicts she faces are very real to her, but I must say that this story angered me and left me just shaking my head at how sad these people are and how deceptive people can be.  The author did a great job of making these folks seem like real people who are trying their hardest to stay true to their sect.  The men that led this group of people will some day have to give an account to a holy and righteous God on how they distorted God's holy word and tried to be as important as God to these people.  It was so sad to read this story, but so well done that I had a hard time putting it down; I kept hoping that Mary Rose would leave these people.  There are more books in this series, but I will be honest with you, I don't know if I can read more of this family without getting really mad at the foolishness of accepting a lifestyle that is wrong for so many reasons.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

HIGH DESERT HAVEN by Lynnette Bonner

This was just a good western romance, set in the late 1800s, where the bad guys are picking on a lovely widow and they want her land, and along comes the good guy, who helps her save the ranch.  Although you might figure out how it will end, it will nevertheless hold your attention as you watch it all unfold.

Nikki is a lady who doesn't scare easily.  She and her small son find themselves alone when their husband dies suddenly in a freak accident.  Her ranch is about to be turned over to the bank unless she can find some money and quickly.  Jason Jordan, who you might remember from book one in this series,  finds himself answering Nikki's advertisement for a foreman at her ranch.  There is an instant attraction between these two, but someone else has an interest in Nikki and sets out to make Jason look bad.  In the end, good will prevail, but you have to go through some rough situations before the end happens.  So saddle up and hit the trail for an enjoyable romantic western.

Monday, March 18, 2013

DMZ by Jeanette Windle

Another realistic story by Jeanette Windle that leaves you thinking that this could truly happen.  It is a story of deep intrigue in the heart of Columbia, South America in the heart of the jungle.  The quote on the back of the book and in the story is one that sticks out in my mind as I finish this story, "Those who are not willing to bleed and die for what they hold dear will always be held hostage by those who are."  

When strange things start happening deep in the Colombian demilitarized zone, especially the strange deaths of 3 Americans, there is a contingent of politicians and media that are sent down to investigate.  Julie Baker, who grew up in Columbia with her missionary parents, finds herself returning to her birth place as one of the media people.  She hasn't been back since her parents died down there, helping the people they went there to serve.  Julie is eventually taken hostage by the guerrillas who think she is an American spy.  The real American spy must blow his cover down there and help Julie escape.  They must survive in the jungle and try to figure out what is scaring the tribal people and killing them and who is out to do harm to America.  

This story read like a true story to me, although I know it is a work of fiction, sadly the hatred that some people have for America though is sadly true.  I especially appreciated the author's keen insight into how far off base some of these environmentalist people are when it comes to wanting to save  the tribal people from the "outside world".  This was a book that will keep you thinking about it long after you read it.  I have read alot by this author and have never been disappointed by any of her work.  Another great job!

Monday, March 11, 2013



Amy Mitchell has waited nine years for Wade Stone to come back into her life.  Wade has stayed away from Dry Creek, Montana ever since his Mom went to prison for supposedly killing her abusive husband.  Now Wade and his Mom are back in town and trying to "start fresh".  Can Amy and Wade rekindle what they had 9 years ago?

I enjoyed this romantic story, but also enjoyed the fact that there was a slight twist in the story that took me by surprise.  A little mystery, alot of forgiveness and throw in some trust and alot of love and tenderness and you have an enjoyable read as you snuggle up on a cold Winter day and enjoy this story.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


                          Description of the story from the back of the book (they did a great job of summarizing this story): "The Montana territory was supposed to be the land of dreams for Elizabeth O'Brien.  But when influenza claims her husband and baby, Elizabeth doesn't know if she can go on.  Then a stranger approaches her with a plea she can't ignore.  Jake Hargrove is desperate.  His brother's death left him in charge of his two part-Sioux nieces - one an infant.  Jake knows the baby can't survive the harsh western winter without a wet nurse.  A Marriage of convenience with this grieving mother seems to be the only answer."

I enjoyed the story line and getting to watch Jake and Elizabeth get to know and appreciate one another and stand up for one another during difficult situations.  You know this marriage of convenience will end up as a marriage with love in it, but it was a pleasure watching how it all came together.


            This was a refreshing and delightful story.  A story that shows how two older people who have lost their spouses can find true love again.  Maggie O’Brien is a spunky 62 year old widow who has traveled to Mason Spring, New Mexico.  It is where she and her late husband had spent their honeymoon 39 years ago and a place where she wants to find closure and a time to move on with her life.  Carson Jennings is a 65 year old former district judge who has lost his wife to cancer after 35 years of marriage.  These two people had good marriages, loved and loved well and weren't looking or expecting to meet anyone to spend the rest of the lives with again, but God works in wonderful and mysterious ways.

Maggie finds herself roller blading and falling and finding Carson there to help her up.  There is so much though that goes into this scenario before that happens and it was fun to listen to their thought processes and see how this humble beginning turns into a delightful relationship that results in a great story.    Maggie has a lot of quick whit about her and Carson had good comebacks to her every time and you could just see they were a good fit for each other.  This book hit a special place in my heart.  You don’t often read romantic stories where the two main characters are in their retirement years, and maybe since I am close to that stage in my own life is meant more to me, but I would like to think anyone of any age could enjoy this story and find a real blessing in reading it.  The other people that Maggie and Carson come to meet while in Mason Spring, New Mexico were also a blessing and the way they all came together at the end was a joy.  There was humor, tenderness, joy and sorrow all wrapped up in a lovely story that was a blessing to read.

Some of may favorite lines; when asked how Maggie made her marriage work for 39 years, she said, “A lot of understanding on my part and whole lot of patience on his.”  (How true that is in all good marriages.) And when a good friend asked Maggie if she missed her late husband I loved her response, “I do miss him, very much.  But I take comfort in knowing he is in a place where he’s wanted to be all his life.  Walking in the garden with Jesus.”  Maggie loved thinking of her late husband talking face to face with the person he had committed his whole life to serving.  I just appreciated the spiritual refreshment this book was to me.  Great job Ann Patrick!

Monday, March 4, 2013

AMY'S PROMISE by Doris Christian-Bernhardt

All I can say is fasten your seat belts when you start this book, because you are in for a ride where the twists and turns never stop until you finish the final page. You will travel from Montana to Maryland, from England to Ireland and back.  There is so much happening in this story that I couldn't begin cover it all in my book description.

Amy Moss is the main character in this story and what she goes through in her young life would seem unreal, but the author paints the picture of her life in a very realistic way.  Amy starts out in Montana where she finds herself alone after the tragic death of her husband.  Her parents disowned her when she married "beneath her" and Amy must learn to survive on her own.  With the help of friends in Montana her life goes on, but she is suddenly called home to Virginia when her sister sends word her father has died.  From there Amy will continue to have her ups and downs and continue to find people who will love her and take care of her.  But it seems every step of the way Amy will face tragedy and heartache.  Through the tragedy and uncertainties you will see that God can and will work in her and through her and give her what is best as she fully trusts Him.

This was a book that kept you wondering what could possibly happen next.  I can't begin to explain all that went on inside the covers of this book.  The author did an excellent job of keeping this fast paced story easy to follow and to read.  Amy was a joy to know; a strong young woman who was a survivor, yet a tender woman who was easy to fall in love with, as many men did in this story.  Although I thought at one time I knew how this story would end, the author surprised me with how and who Amy would give her heart to.  Get ready for a wild ride!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

STUPID CUPID by Lisa J. Crane

A lighthearted novella that is easy and quick to read and leaves you feeling good after having read it.  This is my first book by Lisa Crane and I like her style of writing and will be reading more of her work.  You know exactly how this story will end, but it sure is fun to watch how it all happens.

Casey is a teacher, and when one of her students, Hunter, isn't picked up after school, Casey takes Hunter to his house.  She finds Blake Sullivan, Hunter's uncle,  passed out on the couch.  Hunter's little brother, Toby is crying on the floor and the house is a mess.  Casey's first impressions aren't good, but when she realizes Blake is sick and running a high fever, she helps him to bed, cleans up around the house and takes care of the two adorable kids.  When Blake wakes up he isn't exactly pleasant to Casey and their relationship is off to a rocky start.  Blake and Casey both come to terms; neither one of them are interested in the other, but for the sake of the kids, agree to be friends.  It is fun watching this "friendship" grow.  Casey has a good friend AJ and  I really liked how these two had a great friendship and could tease each other; and  Blake's Mom was also a great lady.  This is just a sweet romantic short story that leaves you closing the book with a smile on your face.


This was a story that took me to many places and had many twists and turns that kept me intrigued throughout the whole story.  You begin in England during the Regency-era, and find yourself traveling by boat to young America.  You will meet two characters that are as different as night and day (or are they really??) and you will enjoy the deep love these two people will have for one another.  The cover of this book I thought was "right on" and went with the story perfectly.

Drake Weston, who is Duke of Northumberland, finds himself written completely out of his father's will when his father suddenly dies.  I won't spoil it for you, but Drake's idea of how to still be heir to the wealth, prestige, and power is quite ruthless.  His plan though seems to fall apart quickly and he finds himself catching a boat for the Americas as an indentured servant.  Getting sick on the boat and delirious when he lands, he is taken to the home of a Quaker family.  There he is nursed back to health by Serena Winter and an instant attraction is felt between the two of them.  How it all works out from there you will have to read the book and find out, but the twists and turns will definitely keep you reading till the very end.  I enjoyed myself very much reading this book.  There was always something going on, traveling to do and characters to love.  It was a delightful story and one I could see myself reading again.