The Polygamist’s Daughter By Ann LeBaron

I cannot even imagine the courage it took for Ms. LeBaron to write this book, and I thank her for it. My only ideas of polygamy were seen on television depicting large families by multiple wives all living in separate homes being fed and cared for. Not that I agreed with it or thought such conditions were ideal for the children. I was obviously grossly uninformed because I never dreamed such horrific circumstances existed.
The author’s mother was the wife of self-proclaimed prophet Ervil LeBaron. I couldn’t help but notice that only one letter kept his name from being “Evil” which after reading her story I find much more appropriate. She had 49 siblings! She was only 9 years old when she begins her story. There are no dolls, games, or spending time being held and snuggled. Her life was one of unimaginable neglect, abuse constant fear and hideous poverty. These were considered the norm not only for the adults but for the children. My heart broke for her and her siblings. They were treated more like animals than children! Being taken to other countries and left in the same poverty with people she did not know and who did not care for her. She never felt loved or safe. It hurt to read about how she was always seeking and craving that tender relationship of a parent and child. All this she endured until her teens when she remarkably escaped from the cult. Another great act of courage for one so young!
I find it even more incredible after enduring all this that she has become the beautiful well-adjusted woman she is today. As sad as the book may sound (and it is), hope, love and forgiveness are what stands out. How the love of God can heal all wounds and bring beauty from ashes.
I received this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

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How to Overcome Worry: Experiencing the Peace of God in Every Situation By Dr. Winfred Neely

I love small power packed books like this! I will confess I have always been a worrier and I know it isn’t good. Times of trouble only escalate it, making things even harder. Worry is hard work; it drains you emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. It robs you of the peace and joy God has for you. Most of all, it is sin because it is unbelief and reveals we do not trust the Lord or His promises to care for us.
Dr. Neely takes a close look at Philippians 4:6-7. A familiar verse to Christians has the remedy but one most worriers forget to apply. If anyone had a reason to worry and have anxiety it was Paul! He was imprisoned and would stand before the sadistic, cruel, Emperor Nero! What’s amazing is that he didn’t worry! Paul gives us God’s simple cure: giving everything to Him in prayer! The choice is ours, and believe me it is a choice. He is the only one that can take care of our problems and has the answer!
This book puts “handles on your wheelbarrow” so to speak and shows you how to conquer worry once and for all. The illustrations helped me put concepts on a personal level. The entire book is firmly grounded in scripture and lots of them; something very important to me. I also liked that Dr. Neely helps one distinguish between concern and worry which is often a confusing, fine line for a habitually anxious person. There is a section on how to put those prayers into action. Included are scriptures to overcome worry and question to reflect on.
This little book is all meat and no fluff, a real asset to read over and over again, and for reference. High five to Dr. Neely for a truly helpful book!
This book was provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Whispering of the Willows By Tonya Jewel Blessing

The Ashby family lived in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1920’s. This was an area and time of great hardships but the Ashby family had more than most. Their fun loving, happy father that made so many wonderful memories came back from the war a changed man. He was injured in battle and confined to a wheelchair, but the greatest damage was done to his spirit and heart. He had become an angry, bitter and abusive man. Unable to support his family financially, the family cut corners and did all they could. Being a large family there wasn’t a lot to go around.
The story centers around one family member, Emerald age 15. She finished the 8th grade and according to tradition that is the end of her education and her father will choose her spouse. His choice brings harm to his daughter’s life and future. She is victim of horrific violence.
She flees to Aunt Ada, not a relative by blood but by love. Supported by Aunt Ada and her lifelong friend, Ernie, she begins to heal and build a future for herself. I don’t want to say anymore because the book is full of so many surprises and I don’t want to spoil it for the readers.
The superstitions and folklore were fascinating! I loved reading about their simple ways and especially their resourcefulness. The people had so little but never hesitated to help or share with those that had even less. No matter how serious their problems were they were always put aside to reach out to others. What a testimony! Strong Christian faith was predominate and total trust in God was constantly in the forefront of their hearts, no matter how bad the situation. Aunt Ada’s solid biblical advice and sweet spirit made her one of my favorite characters.
Ernie sang hymns when he was found himself in despair or pain. What a wonderful idea rather than wallowing in despair and hopelessness! I found the book inspiring spiritually and very uplifting.
I applaud the author for the delicate way she handled the subjects of death, physical and sexual abuse, showing that through God we can overcome anything! A book you want to read!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Bookcrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

These Healing Hills By Ann H. Gabhart

As I have mentioned in past reviews, I love historical fiction, medicine, midwifery, and the Appalachian people. This book checks all those boxes! To say the least I was excited to start reading it, but I had no idea incredible writing skills of Ms. Gabhart!
I had never heard of the Frontier Nursing Services before reading this book. The character Breckinridge was a real person and founder. The author read these midwife’s real first-person accounts of their services. This gave the book the realism and authenticity that allows the reader to experience the unique lifestyles of the Appalachian families and the experiences of the nurses.
I thoroughly enjoyed the unusual Appalachian words and sayings! I found them very clever and entertaining. Ms. Gabhart’s research not only made the people in the story come to life, but also gives a deep glimpse into the mind, personality, beliefs, and strength of these amazing people. After reading the book, the term “hillbillies” is such a derogatory term to assign to these incredible Appalachians.
After Fran hears the man she thought was to be her husband is coming home engaged to an English girl, all her plans go up in smoke. Her dreams of being a wife and mother are shattered. Her overbearing, critical mother isn’t very sympathetic.
When she hears of the midwife training in the hills of Kentucky she feels this is where she needs to be. She falls in love with the hills, the mountain people, and the many challenges of “catching babies” and tending to varied medical emergencies.
Ben belonged to the hills but had been away at war serving as medic. Much had changed in the years he had gone, most of all, his father’s death. Part of him wants to stay and the other wants to use the GI Bill to further his education. He meets Fran and his feelings for her only add to his confusion.
I liked the way I could see the mountains through Ben’s eyes, his appreciation and depth of having grown up there, but it was also a delight to see them through Fran’s. She observed everything with freshness, newness and innocence. It was her observations of both mind and heart that made me feel a part of the hardships, difficult weather and learning to live a totally new way of life.
I cannot pick a favorite character, they were all delightful. The book has romance, suspense, adventure, and humor. I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read more writings by Ms. Gabhart!
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

The Christmas Blessing By Melody Carlson

I am always excited when Ms. Carlson publishes and new book and cannot wait to read it. I love the way she captures the true Christmas spirit in so many different ways. All stories are different and filled with faith and surprises. All my other books including this one stays on my bookshelf. I do not even loan them out!
It’s 1944 and men are being shipped off to war at a moment’s notice. Caught up in whirlwind romances and knowing the possibility of being separated for years or forever, it wasn’t uncommon for young couples to give into temptation. This is what happened to Amelia when she fell in love with James. She gives birth to his son only to find out that he is reported dead.
She finds herself with no job and no money to provide for her child. She decides her only hope is to go to James’ parents for help. The problem is they have no clue that her and baby Jimmy even exist. Upon learning that his family is influential and wealthy she cringes at how they might react to her being an unwed mother? Would they believe her story? Will they reject her, and worse yet her son? Does she have any hope?
Bravely she leaves California and travels to his hometown in Montana. There she faces heart wrenching difficulties and serious problems for her and her baby. Things go from bad to worse but she still struggles to go to James’ family. Finally a life threatening situation causes her to make a desperate decision but one made from the depths of love.
My heart ached for Amelia as she struggled. I admired her true mother’s love and devotion, and sacrifices she made for her little boy. The story had many surprises and sudden turns. Ms. Carlson beautifully illustrated the true meaning of Christmas is an unusual and unexpected way. While Amelia was pregnant out of wedlock, her issue was in no way treated as acceptable or appropriate. Another 5 star book! Thank you Melody Carlson!
I received this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

There’s Always a Zacchaeus Up a Tree By Roger Campbell (Author), Timothy Campbell (Editor)

When I chose this book based on the cute title I did not even notice the author was Roger Campbell: the famous writer, broadcaster, columnist, pastor, father and husband! With such a life of variety, insight and experience I knew it was going to be a great book and I wasn’t wrong! It isn’t a big book, only 165 pages, but it would be 3 inches thick if it was measured by the treasures within. This is a simple read, but very inspirational and thought provoking.
Each devotional is a page long with a scripture at the end. I was impressed with how much truth and wisdom each simple story contained. He shares personal experiences, biblical truths and lessons learned from people in the past. Each page was engaging and captured my attention. No matter what the tone of the story; he always ends it on a note of hope
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, not only from the entertainment side but also from all the ways it gently opened my eyes and mind to looking at many spiritual matters in a different light. A book shared not only from a full life but also a full heart. Refreshing and different!
I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.