The Midwife’s Tale By Delia Parr

Martha Cade is a practicing midwife in the 1830’s. Widowed for ten years, she has learned to be a strong independent woman. Her livelihood depends on her practice. She does have some family support in the way of her brother and sister-in-law who allow her to live in a room in their tavern.
While she is out of town caring for a new mother for a long period of time, she learns that her 17 year old daughter, Victoria, has run away to be a traveling performer. It was Martha’s dream she become a midwife as was her grandmother before her. For 3 months she travel’s looking for her daughter, but returns empty handed. She is ashamed of her daughter’s poor choice, and dreads facing her patients and the townspeople. Her heart is broken and as any mother would, she begins to blame herself and look at where she might have been at fault. Concerns for her child’s safety, whereabouts, and return are always on her mind, but she must go on.
Her disappointing return isn’t the only challenge she is facing. Immediately upon arriving home, she is called to a delivery only to find a new doctor has moved to town and plans to take over all future births. Martha is faced with the possibility of having to leave to make a living elsewhere. To add to her already stirring emotions, an old suitor returns who is recently widowed.
I love Martha’s character. She is very mature in dealing with conflict and opposition. Her humility and soft answer do nothing to lessen her strength to stand up for what is right. This does not mean she doesn’t feel the rejection and judgement from the town gossips and busybodies. While they might bother her, it does not change her determination. Even fictional characters can encourage us, and I was so by Martha’s unfailing faith in God and her integrity.
I was fascinated by the details of the practice of midwifery during this era. It is mind boggling to think of all the people born between now and modern medicine. I find it unbelievable when I think of the mothers, with few resources to alleviate their suffering or medical help as we know it in case of an emergency. The midwives were truly amazingly skilled women with what little they had to work with. The “modern medicine” of the time, on the other hand, was rather barbaric and the practices not always beneficial. While I completely every aspect of the book, the historical medical parts were my favorite!
This book definitely had an impact on me from a spiritual point. In looking at Martha’s Christian walk, I look at many spiritual lessons I could apply to my own life. It is a rare book that can bring you pleasure in reading it and scriptural truth at the same time!

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

A Harvest of Hope By Lauraine Snelling

Miriam Hastings is training as a nurse in Chicago in 1905. Her desire to be a nurse goes further than loving the vocation. She wants to be able to support her sick, widowed mother and young siblings that are forced to live in poverty. She finds herself with the opportunity of a lifetime: to train in a small hospital in Blessing, North Dakota. After just a few weeks, she is called back home as her mother has taken a turn for the worst. Although she wants to remain in Chicago, she is forced to return and finish out her year of training.
On the other hand, she finds herself unable to suppress her growing feelings for Trygve Knutson. He and his family, the Bjorklunds, are back bone and leaders of the fast growing, predominately Norwegian town. His family wraps her in love an acceptance. Her heart is torn between a life with Trygve in a town she adores and her family whom she loves so much. No matter what she does, she realizes she must make a choice and both will cause heartache.
I felt I was a part of Blessings, and through reading the book dreamed about how wonderful it would be to live in such a place. Life is simple but filled with hard fulfilling work. Whatever crisis might be faced, everyone rallies to shoulder the burden and help. I felt a part of the family’s closeness and interactions. Even though it was just a story, it gave me feelings of warmth and happiness.
I appreciated that the story was not a gushy portrayal a blissful life. The author showed the other side of misunderstandings, losses, grief, heartache, and problems. What makes it special is how each character works through these real life dilemmas based on their strong faith in God, biblical wisdom, and constant prayer. An uplifting story that you will find a “blessing” to read!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Where Trust Lies By Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Beth Thatcher returns home for a summer vacation from her teaching job in the improvised mining town of Coal Valley. She loves her job, the people, and the children, but looks forward to rest and quite time with her family. She also has growing affections for a Mountie serving in the area name Jarrick Thorton. Was he the “one”? They agree to keep in touch during the summer, getting to know each other better.
She hasn’t even unpacked when it becomes apparent there will be no rest or quite time! Her family wants to whisk her off on a 6 week cruise stopping at all the big cities from Canada to the U.S., ending in New York City! She wants to decline but her family won’t hear of it. Her father promises to relay mail or telegrams from Jarrick and the school about her teaching position the coming year.
She does look forward to reconnecting with her family, especially her younger sister Julie. This requires Beth to tag along on the many activities youthful Julie enjoys. As if that isn’t exhausting enough, her sister becomes involved with some “modern” friends on the trip. Beth has reservations but doesn’t want to be judgmental. Julie is too stubborn to listens to her sister’s concerns, so Beth makes sure she keeps an eye on her. The trip is anything but dull! The family is confronted with numerous surprises and even tragedy.
The book was fun and enjoyable to read. I learned a great deal about travel during that era, especially by ship. To me there was much hardship in spite of the fact that the Thatchers were wealthy and had first class accommodations. I had stark realization of the hardship dealing with emergencies when away from home without our modern day technology! I was on pins and needles!
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book of the Return to the Canadian West Series, Where Courage Calls. You will want to read the first book, but this can be read as a standalone. A very enjoyable book, but of course you can never go wrong with Janet Oke! I am looking forward to the next one!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.

Your New Identity: A Transforming Union with God by Neil T. Anderson

Neil Anderson has long been one of my favorite nonfiction writers. He is biblically solid and backs all his writing with scripture. When a person accepts Christ as their Savior, scripture tells us “. . . , he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
This raises many questions we usually don’t ask, “How do I become new? What is passed away? What else becomes new?” Believers can go through their entire life without really knowing these answers. This book searches deep into finding out. Six chapters cover exactly what is “new” in our lives according to the Bible with 5 lessons for study.
This isn’t a read through it and be done book but a work through and learn one. It is filled with lots of scripture references, charts, and questions. I have been a believer for 35 years and it opened my eyes to “new” blessings I did not even consider. You can set your own pace. This would a wonderful personal or group study. It would also make a great book for churches to give their new converts.
I received this book free from Bethany Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Hiding in the Light By Rifqa Bary

This is the most powerful and incredible book I have ever read about a person’s fight to accept Christ and follow Him, no matter what the cost! I remembered reading about her plight in 2009 and following the news. It wasn’t until I was further into the book that I realized it was her. It was one thing to watch it on the news but to actually read the details of what went on is a real eye-opener.
Rifqa was raised in a strict Muslim home. She puts herself at risk even before she becomes a Christian to learn more about Christ. When she did accept Him that was when her sole focus and desire to serve the Lord 100%.
We sit in our churches; enjoy our Bibles and freedom, never once thinking about the privilege and honor we possess, taking it all for granted. I do not see how anyone can read Rifqa’s story and walk away unchanged.
She puts most Christians to shame with her thirst to know Him, her passion to worship Him freely, and her willingness to forsake everything she has ever known to follow Him. She gave up her home, family, and put her life in danger, even now to make Jesus the Lord of her life. Too many believers won’t stand for God because they are afraid they will be criticized or it might involve a small sacrifice concerning their comfort.
She was in a seemingly impossible situation but woven throughout her story was the testimony of God’s hand in guiding and protecting her. Each time it seemed she was at the end of her rope; there would be exactly what she needed to continue. So many Christians stepped out of their comfort zones and put themselves in peril just to help Rifqa. Most of them did not even know her before that moment. They are yet another living example of true, unwavering faith. I was humbled, and amazed by this young woman’s story. You will want to read this book!
I received this book free from Bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I expressed are my own.

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The Undertaker’s Wife: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Laughter in the Unlikeliest of Places By Dee Oliver

If I hadn’t read it myself I would not have believed a book could have combined humor, grief, and hardship into one amazing, entertaining story! I laughed, I cried and my heart ached with Ms. Oliver. Best of all this is a true story! Who doesn’t love one of those!?
I related to the book on several levels. I am a recent widow and dealing with my loss on all levels. I can understand her shock, heartache, and all the realities in losing the love of your life. Next, we lived in a funeral home while in college. My husband was an apprenticed embalmer. It brought back so many memories of the business: Crazy hours, grieving with the families, and the uniqueness of dealing with death on a daily basis.
Helping others during their time of bereavement does absolutely nothing to prepare you for the death of your loved ones. I appreciated the author’s honesty, not only about her marriage, but also about the roller coaster of emotions and unexpected challenges she faced in continuing life as a widow. She was an inspiration to me! Yes was spunky and relied on God to get her through, but she was not without fear and doubt as she did. Her sense of humor and frankness makes this book not only delightful to read but also very powerful in its message to those who have lost spouses. You can go on and God will be with you!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Mistress of Tall Acre By Laura Frantz

This is a “stay up all night, can’t put it down, oh no it’s 3 a.m.,” novel! With the help of Ms. Frantz, I stepped back into the time after the American Revolution. As with the end of any war, there is confusion, upheaval, missing loved ones and division. Political allegiances were not as simple today with simply a cutting remark on Facebook. Those who supported the Tories and their extended families were viewed as traitors and endanger for the lives and properties.
Such was the position of Sophie. Her Tory father had fled to Scotland and she awaited news on whether her soldier brother was dead or alive. Times were hard and worked hard at barely surviving in her family home, Three Chimneys.
Adjoining her land was the wealthy estate of Tall Acre. Home to the highly acclaimed war hero and widower, Seamus Ogilvy. His child Lily Cate, wanders onto her land. Hungry for a mother’s love the little girl becomes obsessively attached to Sophie and Sophie to her. Riddled with guilt over his wife’s death while he was at war, Seamus finds his beautiful neighbor a welcome part of their lives. Here the seeds are planted for the beginning of a beautiful but complicated love story.
The author’s skillful and descriptive writing of life during this time, gave me more than an historical view. I believe I could actually draw the pictures in my mind that she painted with words! The story is more than that, much more! Unexpected surprises and turns are so shocking that you might even audibly gasp! All this combined makes for a story you will not forget.
I received this book free from Revell Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I stated are my own.

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The Memory Weaver By Jane Kirkpatrick

When a new book comes out by Jane Kirkpatrick, I am on pins and needles until I can get a copy and read it! This one is yet another 5 star book by her! She is the best at blending historical facts with fiction. With much detailed research on written accounts and records Jane brings to life Spaulding family; missionaries to the Nez Perce Indians and the rich history of the Oregon Territory where they served.
Tirelessly and with their whole hearts, Eliza’s mother and father taught and ministered to the tribe. At age ten, the mission suffered a fierce attack by the Cayuse Indians. Several people were killed and Eliza, only 10 years old, was taken captive, and had a front row seat to all the horrors that took place. This event had a massive affect upon her the rest of her life.
She suffered from what we now call PTS. Sounds or sights would trigger flashbacks and painful memories. This combined with experiencing the trauma at such a young age left Eliza confused about what actually happened. There were no counselors or medications as there is now so she developed her own ways of dealing with the problem. She leaned on her faith in God, and pure determination and grit. This haunted her even after she married and had children of her own.
The chapters alternate between her mother’s diary from that time and Eliza’s life. Between the two I could see discrepancies of her mother’s description what happened and what Eliza remembered. She is forced to face her past and her present when her husband and children move back to the very place of the tragedy. Her journey is one of healing, especially in the area of finding the truth. She comes to understand that painful memories are not always accurate, especially filtered through the eyes of a child.
This is a story of courage and suffering, from which for a time there was no escape. It is one woman’s search for peace of heart and mind. As always, through her characters, Ms. Kirkpatrick, strong messages of biblical and life wisdom. I found many I could apply to my life. This is a book you want to read!
I received this book free from Revell publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Bible Stories Gone Crazy! By Josh Edwards; Illustrated by Emiliano Migliardo

This book is a keeper! I haven’t seen another one like it! It is recommended for ages 5-7 years but I would stretch it both ways and make it ages 3-10 years! So many things I like about this book. On the practical side, it is a little bit bigger than an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. Usually I prefer books for children to be smaller so they can hold them, but in this case I appreciate the larger size. The book will probably be laying on a flat surface while the children look over the pictures! The whole book is super sturdy, but I was impressed with the thickness and glossiness of the pages. Crayon would not mark on them, and regular markers just beaded up and wiped off. (Yes I tested it!)
There are 7 Old Testament Stories and 2 New Testament. Each story is one illustration across two pages. At the top of the page are 3 or 4 sentences summarizing the Bible story.
These are similar to Where’s Waldo but made for little eyes to hunt and find. I found there are just enough pictures to make it interesting and challenging but not so many that they would become overwhelmed. The illustrations are comical and in super bright colors. Around the edge of the pages are pictures of characters for them to locate and funny questions. In teaching young children for the past 41 years, I have found obviously silly questions get their attention and make them think about what they are learning. It also helps them gain confidence in being able know the right answer. In addition it also adds to the fun!
A scripture reference is included near the bottom of the page, so you can read the actual biblical account. I plan to read the scripture then do then do the activity. For very young children you might want to read the from a Bible Story book. A book you will want to own!
I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I stated are my own.

The Heart’s Lonely Secret By Jane Peart

This book is part of an Orphan Train series. While recommended for teen readers, it is a great book for adults too. It is well written and was hard for me to put town. A beautiful story with a strong lesson.
The setting is 1887. Ivy Austin’s father dies suddenly in the line of duty as a firefighter. Not long after her mother dies and she is sent to the Greystone orphanage. She hates the drabness, severe discipline, and lack of affection. One day she is called into the matron’s office and finds she is to be adopted by Mr. Tarantino. Dark, sulking, harsh, and angry, he is nothing like the father she had hoped for. She quickly finds out his only purpose in adopting her was to replace trick horse riders in his circus that had quit. Tragedy strikes and the circus family she thought loved her, moves on, leaving her behind.
Ivy finds herself on an orphan train and becomes friend with a girl a few years younger than her. Allison was shy, soft spoken, and sweet. On the last stop, Ivy convinces Allison to trade dresses with her. She knew Allison pretty and would be chosen no matter what she wore. Unbeknownst to the girls, Allison was already promised to the Mayor and his wife. Weary from the long journey, the children’s chaperon only remembered the dress and pushed Ivy forward in Allison’s place.
It was a dream come true for Ivy, wealth, prestige, and beautiful parents. Guilt riddled her and she wondered how Allison’s new home was. She meets her at school and finds she has been adopted by an older spinster with meager financial means. The woman loves her very much and Allison is happy.
The two remain best friends as they grow up and become adults. Her conscience continues to bother her, especially with great discrepancy between her privileged life and Allison’s simple one. As their life plays out she finds that wealth and positon do not guarantee a happy life. She knows someday she must find the courage to share her ugly secret with. It was a story that touched me and I know I will read again.
The publication date is 1994, but copies are easily found online.