God Made It All! By Ruthie Godfrey

I consulted to of my “professional” listeners before doing this review: my grandsons ages 4 years and 2 years.  I know what I liked about the book but more important what did they think!

Children love learning about opposites.  Ms. Godfrey’s book made it fun and also puts God front and center, the One who created opposites!

I was impressed with the beautiful, colorful illustrations that fill every inch of every page.  Each opposite is composed of 2 pages of artwork.  I liked that each was only 1 sentence; this keeps the “little’s” attention and doesn’t overwhelm them.  Yet our reading was not fast as they took much time scanning the pictures and pointing out details.  If I am not mistaken I counted 21 different examples of opposites.  I was pleased with this as it introduced the boys to way more than you would usually think of!

I asked them which their favorite was and to my surprise it was the one about food, “sweet and sour, messy and neat”.  This will definitely be reread, again, again and again. . .   Once they like a book it must be read several times a day for quite a while.

Yes the book teaches opposites but first and foremost it teaches these precious children that God is the Creator of ALL THINGS.

The Lady of Galway Manor By Jennifer Deibel

Annabeth DeLacy had led a sheltered, privileged life of the upper classes in England.  That quickly changed when her father, Lord Delacy was appointed landlord of a parish in Galway City, Ireland. It was 1920 The Irish War of Independence was looming on the horizon and there was much unrest. 

The only information she had about the Irish people was from her father’s prejudices; they were an uneducated, coarse, lazy and dishonest people, incapable of ruling themselves. While this did not color her attitude toward them, it did leave an impression.

She was not enamored with the genteel life and had no desire to stay tucked away in the mansion and play socialite.  She is surprised when her father agrees to her apprenticing to a local jewelry artesian Stephen Jennings. His family’s linage is from the creators of the famous Claddagh ring.  Stephen is a closed up bitter young man who had no clue his father had made the arrangement.  The daughter of an English Lord is the very last person he would want in his shop.  Unlike her class, Annabeth is down to earth, sympathetic and caring of others.  The mix of these two unlikely coworkers and people makes for some very interesting events that unfold.

I loved Annabeth’s innocence and sincerity.  Seeing the true condition of the poor Irish through the eyes by someone who had only known wealth was moving.  I could feel the shock, awe and compassion that touched her heart.  I also admired her character as no matter how distant or hateful Stephen was she always responded humbly and in kindness.

I think my favorite character was Stephen’s elderly father.  His joyfulness (in spite of any situation) sincere love and warmth toward everyone jumped off the pages and captured my heart.  I wanted to give him a hug!

I found Annabeth’s father and mother’s prideful arrogance aggravating.  How could they have raised such a sweet daughter?  It was easy to see the wealth and position they so valued was empty. 

Most of all I was fascinated by the Claddagh ring and its history! I had never heard of it until I read this book.  I immediately went to the internet to see what one looked like.  So beautiful!  It made me want one of course!

A strong faith is God is the golden thread that runs through this incredible story.  Once again Ms. Deibel paints a vivid picture of not only the characters, but the era and the struggles of those living in that time. An extraordinary book!   I can’t wait for her next one!

Never Leave Me By Jody Hedlund

I was very excited to read this second book of the “Water of Time” series.  I enjoyed the first one very much!  You can read it as a standalone, but I believe you would be missing a lot.

Ellen is young, beautiful and dying of the same rare fatal disease that took her mother’s life.  As she grows weaker, she is resigned to her death and tries to enjoy life as much as possible. She knows her time is short.  She is staying with Harrison, a wealthy, longtime family friend.  He had worked with her father on a cure for Ellen’s disease.  Her father did find a cure in the discovery of an ancient holy water.  The problem it is extremely rare and almost nonexistent in this day and time.   Ellen refuses to take one of the 2 flasks that Harrison has acquired through great effort and expense.  She believes it killed her father and her sister. To convince her, Harrison, a paraplegic, drinks one of the bottles.  There is no denying its power.  Seeking more water, she drinks the vial and transports back into England during the late 1300’s, where her sister had been living for a year.  There is so much unknown about the time travel and things do not go as planned.  In fact they go horribly wrong. 

This book was even more suspenseful and exciting than the last one! Ellen’s perception of the era was very different than her sister’s had been.  She was naïve about the complications that were created by bringing her 21st century point of view and mannerisms into the past. 

Once again Ms. Hedlund descriptiveness of the era was rich and detailed.  I loved that she was able to see what Harrison’s mansion and estate was like over 600 years ago!  Sort of a like a medieval version of “if walls could talk”. She also captured the thinking, reasoning and understanding of those living then.  That was an eye opener!  I loved peeping back in time with my 21st century lifestyle and knowledge while experiencing 14th century thinking. The plot is a gripping, on the edge of your seat race against time in a world they knew little about!  It is one thing to read history, totally another to live it! Through the characters in the book was fulfilled two situations we can only dream about: being healed of an incurable disease and meeting with those that we have lost.  I found this very satisfying and comforting.  Once again Ms. Hedlund kept God as a focus of strength and trust for the characters to overcome the obstacles they faced.

I read the book quickly as I could not put it down.  This amounted to some nights of very little sleep as I am a bedtime reader!  It was worth it!

I received this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.