A Bound Heart By Laura Frantz

Scotland and its history is not something I am familiar with. I recently found out through DNA testing that a large part of my ancestors are from there! Lark McDougall and Magnus McLeish were raised together as children, on equal footing as nobility. Lark’s father lost his title through false accusations. Lark and her grandmother were left in desperate poverty.
Lark had the job of maintaining the gardens and bees, also formulating herbal remedies for the castle. She loved her doing it and being in touch with nature. Magnus becomes Laird of Kerrera Island. He is a loving and kind ruler that truly cares about the people. Both have always been in love with each other but due to Larks’ family scandal, never married. Magnus married a whimpering, selfish, sickly woman whom desires to produce an heir. When his wife dies suddenly, Lark is accused. Magnus attempts to protect her and they both end up on prison. As their punishment they are sent to Virginia and Jamaica as indentured servants! Talk about bad going to worse!
The story is fast paced and exciting, with lots of surprises. I enjoyed this book on many levels. Ms. Frantz’s picturesque description of the island painted breathtaking pictures in my mind. I almost felt the wind blowing in my hair and I could smell the sea! I saw Lark’s and Granny’s poverty, seeing the desolation of their small home. There were times I found myself standing there looking around and observing.
The author’s remarkable accounts of the prison and slave ship were incredible! It is hard to fathom that thousands of people really experienced such horrid conditions and treatment! They were ripped from their families and homes, probably never to see them again. How frightening to face an appalling voyage and if you survived only to find yourself in a severely abusive living situation to where there was no escape!
What shone even brighter in all of this tragedy was Lark and Magnus’s solid faith in God and reliance upon Him. Their desire to follow Him no matter what the situation or cost was inspiring! They trusted the Lord explicitly. What a great read!

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River to Redemption By Ann H. Gabhart

Have you ever thought about if an epidemic spread through your town and most of the residents died or were left to die because there was no one well enough to care for them? That is what happened in 1833 in Springfield, Kentucky. Cholera swept across like a ranging forest fire leaving most of the men, women and children dead in a short time. There was no hospital or special medications to heal or relieve suffering.
Adria Starr was only 7 years old when her entire family died right before her eyes. She was so sick; she can do nothing but remain in the house with her deceased loved ones. Louis, a slave left alone to care for his master’s home and business is somehow immune to the disease. He tirelessly cares for the sick and buries the dead. His faith in God is strong and deep. He finds Adria and takes her back to the hotel where he and Tilda an elderly slave were nursing the sick alone. Ruth Harmon and Pastor Will Robertson have had their faith shaken after both lost their spouses in spite of their belief and endless prayers. Where was God? Tragedy will bring all their lives together in an unexpected way.
This book was an eye-opening historically. We take so much for granted in our time and our how fortunate we are with modern medicine. The character that had the biggest impact on me was Louis. Oh to have faith in God as he did! Christ was his only focus otherwise he would not have blessed and saved 100’s of lives. I want to be like him! Not matter what the situation he found himself in, his only thought was what the Lord wanted. He could have fled and gained his freedom but he chose to remain. His and Tilda’s sayings and attitude toward hardship were incredible! I wanted to write them all down and remember them. (I may still do it!) Will and Ruth were faced with continuing on while struggling to understand why God had allowed this. Ms. Gabhart beautifully creates a beautiful story of true faith and how God can bring beauty from ashes.