I made it my goal for the year to focus on squeezing in some great books from the backlist. It’s not that easy to do when there are so many new releases to try to keep up with. But here are the ones I’ve read over June and July.
*All links will lead you to Goodreads unless otherwise stated.
Letter Perfect by Cathy Marie Hake:
Laugh-Out-Loud Historical Fiction!
Ruth Caldwell has always tried to live up to her mother’s expectations of what a lady should be…often with less-than-impressive results. But when she’s forced to journey west to meet the father she’s never seen, Ruth hopes that this might be the place she’ll finally fit in.
But her arrival brings about more mayhem than even Ruth is used to. She soon meets Josh McCain, the son of her father’s business partner, but discovers some startling news: Her father passed away years ago. And though Josh urges Ruth to claim her inheritance, he grows suspicious of something more sinister at hand when her “accidents” seem to go beyond Ruth’s normal bumbling ways and leave her very life in danger.
My Review: Entertaining and God-focused. Here’s a book where the Christian character walks the walk and talks the talk, and I found it refreshing. Hake kept the reader grounded with the themes of loving yourself the way God created you, how to have a healthy marriage, and waiting for the right spouse. She also kept the reader entertained with the silly antics of Ruth. I was a bit disconnected with the ending, but overall it was a fun western read.
I give it 5 stars!
Bittersweet by Cathy Marie Hake:
Laney McCain has unabashedly had her sights set on Galen O’Sullivan for years. And though Galen has treated her as nothing more than his best friend’s pesky tag-along sister, Laney dares hope that now is the time he will open his eyes and truly recognize the woman she’s become.
But the arrival of Ishmael and Ivy Grubb, squatters on the O’Sullivans’ land, diverts Galen’s attention. Though the Grubbs are crass and uneducated, Galen shows mercy and allows them to stay in exchange for help around the farm. But it becomes a decision he lives to regret….
Sometimes the Journey to Love Is Truly Bittersweet
My Review: The story matches the title, and, yet, I couldn’t put it down. I will say that I felt like the lead characters lacked chemistry together and this was a hindrance for me. But by the end of the novel, the example of genuine Christian faith, true surrender, and sacrificial love far outweighed anything I thought might have been lacking. I truly believe the Lord was honored here.
Hake is someone I plan to read more from as often as I can.
I give it 4 stars.
Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen:
Even a proper vicar’s daughter can make a mistake…and now Charlotte Lamb must pay a high price for her fall. To avoid the prying eyes of all who know her, she hides herself away in London’s forbidding “Milkweed Manor,” a place of mystery and lore, of old secrets and new birth.
But once there, she comes face-to-face with a suitor from her past—a man who now hides secrets of his own. Both are determined, with God’s help, to protect those they love. But neither can imagine the depth of sacrifice that will be required.
Sprinkled with fascinating details about the lives of women in Regency England, Lady of Milkweed Manor is a moving romantic drama about the redemption of past failings and the beauty of sacrificial love.
My Review: If you’ve been a fan of Klassen, then I can simply tell you that this was a typical Klassen novel. If you’ve never read her, you should know that she has such a style with Regency fiction. The setting comes to life. The plot keeps evolving. And the characters are endearing.
I will warn more conservative readers that this one centers on more adult topics. There was one scene about nursing a baby that was a bit graphic for my tastes, but all else was handled nicely.
I was able to listen to the bulk of this one in audio and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I give the novel and audio version 5 stars.