Monday, 17 September 2012

We've Gone all Historical

No not hysterical, Historical. Although I suppose you could say we are hysterical about history. This week we are going to do a little time travel and go back to places and events which we often hear about. The authors in this weeks four fabulous books, will transport you back to a time you can only imagine. We are going to spend time in The American Revolution, Victorian England and post WW2 Germany. What no Scotland? That I will have to address soon I feel :-) We have Murder Mystery, Romantic Suspense and Romance/Family Drama. Surely something for everyone in this weeks offerings.

We are going to start our trip through time in America during the Revolutionfor no other reason that it is first on our timeline. The first 2 Books are by author Rita Gerlach who I interviewed in last weeks Blog post. This is the first two books in her daughters of the Potomac Trilogy.

The first in the Trilogy is Before the Scarlet Dawn. This is the story of   feisty heroine Eliza, who after losing both her father and brother in the same day, marries Hayward and moves out to the colonies with him. I loved Eliza and the way she fights for what she believes.On the other hand, I was in two minds about her husband Hayward, who displayed as many unlikeable traits, as likeable. It is, however, apparent that he loves his wife. Haywards, story is part of the story and gives it a richness it would otherwise lack. It is good to have real and honest characters in a novel, ensuring a balance that is often missing in so many books these days. . The story is extremely well written, you really get the sense of America at the time, and how the civil war impacted on ordinary people. You also get to know a lot about the English class system, which seemed to continue free and unfettered in America.

I was fortunate to be given an advance copy of the second book in the trilogy  Beside Two Rivers  by the publishers. I loved this book but I am going to be honest and say I am struggling to know what to say about it. This is not because I don't have a lot to say, but I don't want to give too much away about the plot of  the first book. We are once again on the banks of the Potomac River, following the story of another feisty yet loving and kind young woman called Darcy. It is also the story of Ethan, with whom Darcy falls in love. There are a lot of elements and strands to this book but Rita pulls them together beautifully, weaving a tale which draws you completely into the story. I found myself reading long into the night to finish. About half way through the book the plot moves once more to England, bringing in characters from the first book getting to know more about them, and changing the way you feel about them. It is an emotional book and the characterisation is outstanding. I felt I knew every single person personally, and really cared about their lives. This book will be released in the UK on 01 October 2012. Unfortunately the next book in the trilogy Beyond the Valley will not be released until February 2013. How can I wait that long for the conclusion to this :-( Oh well, it will be all the better when it arrives :-)

Both of these are faith based books and the Christian ethos is strong. However, this does not at any point overwhelm and the books could be read by Christians and non-Christians alike.

Back into our time capsule as we are now moving forward in time to Dickensian London with a book title based on the graveyard in one of Dickens books.

Again, I was fortunate to be given a review copy of Tom All Alone's by Waterstones Bookshops and the book can be bought from them here. However, I realise this is a British bookshop so not accessible to my international readers so I will point out it can also be bought from Amazon in whichever country you reside. It is based on Charles Dickens novel bleak house, bringing it up to date for the modern reader. and is extremely well done. I could actually believe I was reading a Dickens novel and was back in Victorian London. The opening prologue is atmospheric and sets the scene well. I thought the characters were well written and I found I could empathise with them and picture them well. The descriptions of Victorian London are spot on and at times very graphic. The main character Charles Maddox is a likeable chap and I really loved his uncle who is just like many old men of his age. His character made me chuckle. I liked the ending and despite having read Bleak House some number of years ago I was taken completely by surprise. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but a couple of times I found it a little bit slow. I am also a lover of Dickens novels so was comfortable with the writing style, but some people may struggle a little to start with. If you do not like Dickens then this would not be the book for you.

This is not a Christian book, but again it is a book which could be read by anyone. When I say that some of the descriptions are graphic I mean the descriptions of Victorian London rather than sex, swearing and murder.

Once again it's back to our time capsule to finish our little stroll through history, in post WW2 Germany. Having served in Germany during my time in the Military this was particularly interesting to me. I have seen modern Germany, so it was interesting to see what the towns and Cities were like prior to all the rebuilding which went on after the war.

Just in case you think I am only reviewing books I receive free for reviewing I paid good money for Songbird Under a German Moon and it was worth every penny.  This is the Story of Betty, a young American girl who goes out to Germany just after WW2 to sing for the troops who remain there. On the way she meets a US Army "Photographer" Frank, who has a double role as an agent. Other people say this is somewhat implausible, but I do not find this implausible at all., and if you do, it's a novel and some level of poetic licence has to come into play. The story is well written and both mystery and romance are there in equal measure. Although I started to guess who the protagonist was near the end I still feel the suspense built up well and had me enthralled. The ending was excellent and came as a complete surprise to me. This is a Christian book, written by a Christian author, but this is not overwhelming and fits into the story well. If you like this genre then I could highly recommend this book, as a light ready for a rainy afternoon. Tricia Goyer is an excellent author, who has written a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction and I would highly recommend her as an author.

I know I was given a couple of these books to review, so I need to add that these were fair and honest reviews based on my thoughts on the books. I was not asked by the publishers to give favourable reviews and if I had not liked the books I would have said so.

Well ladies and gentlemen that concludes our trip today. I hope you had a safe an pleasant journey, and enjoyed reading the reviews. I hope you find some books you like amongst them, and you enjoy reading them. I'm now wondering what I could read out of my vast library for my next Blog. All will be revealed next week. Until then, keep reading



  1. These sound like awesome book! Beside Two Rivers looks especially interesting. Thanks so much for sharing your reviews and for sharing what look to be good reads.

  2. You are welcome Rhonda. If you like the look of two rivers I should add that you need to read Before the Scarlet Dawn first or you wont understand a lot of Beside 2 rivers. Should have put that in my review. Sorry