Cover Reveal and Giveaway!: The Thorn Keeper by Pepper Basham

Dear reader friends,

Today is a day I am especially excited to be here with you sharing the wonder of books. It is a day long awaited because my joy that comes with sharing the elements of this book’s creation is doubled in knowing we are also celebrating this day with a good author friend of mine. Pepper D. Basham, author, speech language pathologist, pastor’s wife, and mother of five children is simply a wonderful person. With an Appalachian accent and strong faith in God’s goodness, Pepper’s talent for crafting stories of redemption shines through beautiful writing infused with wit, humor, history, and romance.

http://www.pepperdbasham.com

Pepper’s debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, debuted in May 2015 from Vinspire Publishing. I love this book–so much that it is one of my favorites of 2015–but rather than re-tell you my praises for this novel for this 5-star novel, I’ll just point you to my review.

Now you can see why I am thrilled to share with you the cover and back-cover-blurb of Pepper’s second Penned in Time series novel, The Thorn Keeper, set to debut from Vinspire Publishing in February 2016.

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Isn’t this cover just gorgeous?! So much about the story of The Thorn Keeper is conveyed in this cover, and yet mystery remains–who is the heroine? How does the war impact the characters? How will God change their lives?

I want to delve into The Thorn Keeper after viewing this cover, but since we have to wait until February 2016 for the book to be released, I’ll share with you the back-cover-blurb. Keep reading to learn more about   the novel and find a chance to win a digital ARC of The Thorn Keeper!

About The Thorn Keeper:

With her past in shambles, how can she fashion a future of hope?

Catherine Dougall’s past of manipulation has left her future in threads. With a new faith, she longs to take the remnants of her life and make something beautiful, but shame, societies’ judgments, and the natural consequences of an unplanned pregnancy test her newfound hope. Dr. David Ross doesn’t help either. His kindness, sacrifice, and tenderness tempt her to impossible dreams. A fallen woman doesn’t merit a fairytale.

David Ross has made every effort to keep his life above reproach. His passion for the sick pump fresh purpose through his choices, but without financial support to maintain his war hospital, all is lost. When his notorious aunt offers an easy solution, David is tempted to give in to her demands, but his growing affection for the reformed flirt, Catherine Dougall, unwinds the careful wall around his heart and offers an unexpected choice.

When the worst of war tears them apart, can love renew the memory of what was lost or will tragedy steal away their hope forever.

From the beautiful Derbyshire countryside to the trenches of World War One, Catherine and David must learn to trust in a God who designs a masterpiece out of brokenness and fashions hope in the most unlikely places.

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Giveaway:

Leave a comment (answer the question below) for your chance to win a digital advanced review copy of The Thorn Keeper, which will be sent to the winners near the end of November. Giveaway will close Saturday 10/24 after 9 PM.

What’s one thing you like about this cover? Or, if you read The Thorn Bearer, what was one thing you enjoyed about Pepper’s debut?

After you’ve commented here, head over to Pepper’s website to find more chances to win! There are eight of us participating in this cover launch, so your chances to win are high.

I hope you’ll come to love the Penned in Time series as much as I have. Be sure to add The Thorn Keeper to your to-read list,  follow Pepper on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

Giveaway! A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Dear reader friends,

Ahh, Wednesday, the day when we can officially begin counting down to the weekend. Isn’t that a lovely thought? Those mornings when don’t have to wake up to an alarm clock; those afternoons we can lazily while away the hours reading a good book or watching a movie? Well, I don’t have any movie suggestions for you at the moment, but I do a books–lots and lots of books, including one of my favorites of 2015 that I am so excited to share with you!

A Refuge at Highland Hall

A Refuge at Highland HallIn this third and final book in the Edwardian Brides Series, you’ll be swept away to England and France in 1915 as the Ramsey family and their staff and friends face the dramatic challenges and losses of World War One, yet they also experience the hope and triumph that comes as they put their trust in God to carry them through. Penny Ramsey helps the family welcome a group of orphaned children to Highland Hall, but she soon discovers caring for them is more difficult than she’d expected. She writes to Alex Goodwin, a daring British pilot, who chases German zeppelins across the sky over the Front Line in France, and longs for the day she will see him again. You’ll be delighted by two pure and heartwarming romances: Penny and Alex, and Lydia Chambers and Marius Ritter, a lady’s maid and a prisoner of war. But most of all I hope you’ll be inspired by the characters’ examples of trusting God through the trials they face.

Fans of “Downton Abbey” will find many of the same elements in this series: A wealthy, aristocratic family living on a large English country estate with romance, conflicts, and family drama; and loyal servants with troubles and heartaches of their own.

A Refuge at Highland Hall is one of my top-rated books of the year, with an average rating of 5 stars on Goodreads. Read my review to find out why this third novel in the Edwardian Brides series is one of my favorites of 2015.

Giveaway:

WaterBrook Multnomah has graciously given me two copies of Carrie Turansky’s A Refuge at Highland Hall, and I want share them with you. For the purpose of this giveaway, please tell me why you enjoy historical fiction, especially stories set in Edwardian England. If you’ve never read historical fiction set during this time, tell me why you would like to read A Refuge at Highland Hall. Be sure to leave your name and email address so I can get in touch with you. This giveaway will run until Monday, October 19th, on which day I will email the winners. Good luck!

Novel Review: Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund + Giveaway

Luther and KatharinaLuther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund (Waterbrook Multnomah, October 2015)

Katharina von Bora has seen nothing but the inside of cloister walls since she was five. In a daring escape, Katharina finds refuge with Martin Luther and seeks his help to pair her with the noble, wealthy husband she desires.

As class tensions and religious conflicts escalate toward the brink of war, Martin Luther believes that each day could be his last and determines he will never take a wife.

As the horrors of the bloody Peasant War break out around them, the proud Katharina and headstrong Martin Luther fight their own battle for true love, in one of the greatest love stories of history.

REVIEW: 

Jody Hedlund’s Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion is one of those books that sheds light on the differences between the Catholic and Protestant faiths–always a plus for me since I love to learn about the Christian faith. I found Hedlund’s first historical a compelling and intriguing read because the author, who well known for her talent in infusing historical research into her novels, blended so many elements into her prose that I fell seamlessly into the story. From the emotionally driven Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora, to the tension and pain of the German people, to the politically charged reasoning of the princes and peasants, Hedlund covered every aspect of the story to make it come alive.

Each time I read one of Hedlund’s novels I am more impressed with her talent at the craft of writing; with Luther and Katharina my admiration grew tenfold because this period of Protestant Reformation in Germany was dark, dangerous, and filled with perilous situations ended in death or destruction. The sixteenth century at times is not easy to read about, and I’m sure it is not always easy for authors to fictionally create, as well. Hedlund covers these aspects of Luther and Katharina with grace. Physical and emotional pain are not glossed over, but the subjects are not glorified either. There is a realism to this novel that brought me into the story because Hedlund was honest in her portrayal of Luther and Katharina’s situations.

Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora are challenging and engaging characters in Hedlund’s novel. Both are stubborn, proud, tenacious, and determined. These traits in one person around enough to frustrate another; blend them into two people, and it is no wonder Luther and Katharina’s love story is one for the books. Despite the historical significance of their relationship to the Protestant Reformation, I never warmed to either character, which accounted for my average (compared to my usual quick) reading time of this book.

I admit that Luther had his share of unfortunate situations in life, and in no way am I delineating his physical and emotional burdens in leading the Reformation. However, the burdens he carried, in my opinion, never accounted for his behavior towards Katharina, so I just could not justify his actions at any time in the book. As for his nun-turned-wife, I felt slightly better about her point of views towards Luther, especially as the story moved farther along. Katharina dealt with quite a lot throughout her life; while I never really liked her as a character, I saw a growth and maturation in her mindset and her behavior that made it easier to empathize and sympathize with her.

Please note when considering my rating and review of this book that my opinions of the characters have very little to do with the author’s ability to create compelling characters. Since Hedlund based both Luther and Katharina on their real-life counterparts, she had little room to maneuver their likability.

Jody Hedlund’s Luther and Katharina is an inspired first historical. While this novel is not my favorite of hers (that remains Hearts Made Whole), I am definitely glad to have read Luther and Katharina for a lesson in Protestant Reformation history. This author truly has a gift for crafting well-written historical fiction. I am looking forward to her future historicals that will undoubtedly continue to bring women in history to life.

RATING: 3.5 stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jody HedlundJody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances for both adults and teens.

As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she’s not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.

She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.

 

GIVEAWAY!

WaterBrook Mulnomah is graciously giving away two copies of Luther and Katharina to visitors of my blog. Tell me why you’d like to read this book and why you think you’ll enjoy Luther and Katharina. The winner will be chosen on Monday, October 12th, 10:00AM EST. Please leave your name and email address, along with your answer, in a comment below. I will email you if you have been chosen as a winner. Good luck!