Source: Thomas Nelson

#BookReview
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
@pcalhenry @ThomasNelson

#BookReview Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan @pcalhenry @ThomasNelsonTitle: Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Author: Patti Callahan

Published by Thomas Nelson on October 2, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.


Review:

Vivid, compelling, and immersive!

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Joy Davidman, the American writer and poet who through a shared conviction of Christianity and love of writing became a close confidant, friend, and wife of the famous fantasy writer, C.S. Lewis until her untimely death from breast cancer in 1960.

It is a story about familial responsibilities, strength, friendship, kindness, encouragement, support, passion, desire, loss, and love.

Davidman was a strong, intelligent, forthright woman who not only found peace, contentment, and fulfillment through Christianity in midlife but also found her true self.

The prose is clear and precise. And the plot takes us back to the late 1940s to the early 1960s, from Ossining, NY to Oxford, England and tells the story of a life filled with loneliness, abuse, poverty, grace, riches, success, motherhood, and romance.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a well written, captivating, rich story by Callahan that does a remarkable job of highlighting her incredible knowledge and research into this complex, historical figure who is often unknown, forgotten or overlooked.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

About Patti Callahan

Patti Callahan, who also writes as Patti Callahan Henry, is a New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels, including this latest novel BECOMING MRS. LEWIS – The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. A finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, an Indie Next Pick, an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year, Patti is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs and women’s groups. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

#BookReview
The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron
@KCambronAuthor @ThomasNelson

#BookReview The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron @KCambronAuthor @ThomasNelsonTitle: The Illusionist's Apprentice

Author: Kristy Cambron

Published by Thomas Nelson on March 7, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Harry Houdni’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. 

Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.


Review:

This is a compelling tale about magic, jealousy, love, loss, greed, revenge, secrets and murder.

The story is set in Boston in the mid-to-late 1920s shortly after the death of the renowned Harry Houdini and at a time when variety entertainment, including defy-defying feats, tricks and illusions were all the rage.

There are two main memorable characters in this novel; Jenny “Wren”, a young Houdini protégé, famed in her own right and struggling with a dark past, an abundance of secrets, and a reluctance to trust; and Elliot, a FBI agent with a case to solve that not only involves a victim who momentarily comes back from the dead, but a list of suspects for whom deception is an art and a woman who may even steal his heart.

The writing is vivid and descriptive. The supporting characters are multi-layered, quirky and flawed. And the plot is unique and skillfully constructed with a good use of dialogue, banter and a past/present style that creates suspense and gives understanding and depth to the storyline.

Overall this is an extremely enjoyable, engaging read that does a remarkable job of interweaving historical facts, fiction, and mystery and I highly recommend it.

 

This novel is due to be published on March 7, 2017. 

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoBook DepositoryKoboB&N,

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kristy Cambron

KRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of Christian fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She is a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at ministry events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working in partnership with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

The most important thing? Jesus is everything— let her tell you about Him sometime.

#BookReview
Because You’re Mine by Colleen Coble
@colleencoble

#BookReview Because You’re Mine by Colleen Coble @colleencobleTitle: Because You're Mine

Author: Colleen Coble

Published by Thomas Nelson on January 10, 2017

Genres: Romantic Suspense, Christian Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley

Book Rating: 6.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Alanna has been plagued by tragedy. So it should come as no surprise that in the beauty that surrounds Charleston, all is not as it seems.

When her husband is killed by a car bomb while their band is on tour in Charleston, Alanna doesn’t know where to turn. Her father-in-law is threatening to take custody of the baby she carries, but the one thing she knows for sure is that she can’t lose the last piece of Liam she has left.

Their manager offers her a marriage of convenience to gain her U.S. citizenship and allow her to escape her father-in-law’s control. It seems like the perfect solution . . . but her doubts begin almost as soon as she arrives at Barry’s family home, a decaying mansion surrounded by swamp.

To make matters worse, Liam’s best friend survived the car bomb. She’s never really liked Jesse and now she can’t seem to get away from him. When he takes Liam’s place in their band, it’s almost more than she can bear.

But then things start happening. Things that could easily cost Alanna her life—or the life of her unborn child. Are they merely coincidences? Or is there something much more sinister at work?


Review:

Suspenseful, intriguing and romantic!

This story is told from two perspectives; Alanna, a young, pregnant, Irish singer who must quickly learn how to survive as a widow when her husband is suddenly taken from her; and Jesse, a womanizer who finds himself struggling to rediscover who he truly is after suffering a catastrophic event.

The story, for me, started off really well. The plot was interesting and intriguing, and the immediate action and suspense had me completely captivated and engaged. However, by the second half of the story I was a little less engrossed. The character development seemed a little flat, and the repetitive Irish dialogue consistently caused a disruption to the flow.

I have to admit that I was really looking forward to reading this novel as Colleen Coble is a well-known, successful author in this genre, and although this wasn’t my favourite novel, I enjoyed the overall message of the importance of love and I do look forward to reading future releases by her.

 

This book is due to be published on January 10, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Colleen Coble

Best-selling romantic suspense author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 4 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

#BookReview
A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay
@Katherine_Reay

#BookReview A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay @Katherine_ReayTitle: A Portrait of Emily Price

Author: Katherine Reay

Published by Thomas Nelson on November 1, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. But when Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family is another matter . . .

Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—dreams of having a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.

But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccollo. Soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.

Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. But instead of allowing the land, culture, and people of Monterello to transform her, Emily interferes with everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.

Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?


Review:

Warm, sentimental, and charmingly sweet!

This is a lighthearted contemporary romance story that touches on life, love, family dynamics, secrets, loss, guilt, art, and delicious food.

The characters are complex, genuine, and likeable. The writing is well done. And the plot takes us on an emotional, soul-searching journey from the restaurants and art galleries of Atlanta to the ancient villages and beautiful landmarks of the sprawling Italian countryside.

Overall, this is a nice, pleasant, easy read that will leave you daydreaming of Italian food, Italian art, not to mention Italian men.

 

This story is due to be published on November 1, 2016.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaBook Depository

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Katherine Reay

Katherine Reay is a writer, wife, mom, continually rehabbing runner, compulsive vacuumist and a horrific navigator…

She graduated from Northwestern University and earned an MS in Marketing from Northwestern as well. She then worked in marketing and development before returning to graduate school for a Masters of Theological Studies. Moves to Texas, England, Ireland and Washington left that degree unfinished as Katherine spent her time unpacking, raising kids, volunteering, writing, and exploring new storylines and new cities.

The Reay family (with a great sense of permanency) now resides outside Chicago, and Katherine pursues writing with more focus. She writes character-driven stories and non-fiction that focuses upon examining the past and how it influences our present experiences.

#BookReview
The Things We Knew by Catherine West

#BookReview The Things We Knew by Catherine WestTitle: The Things We Knew

Author: Catherine West

Published by Thomas Nelson on July 12, 2016

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother’s death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can’t remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother’s best friend and Lynette’s first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can’t.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn’t want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.


Review:

This is an intriguing story about the difficult challenges we face in life and how we each, independently, cope with them.

It is an engaging mystery that touches on the importance of familial relationships, secrets, loss, forgiveness, grace, and, ultimately, the power of truth.

It is well written. And the characters are well-developed, complex, interesting and flawed.

Overall, I found this novel to be a nice, heartwarming enjoyable read.

 

This book is due to be published on July 12, 2016.

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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