Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Reviews

A Gown of Spanish Lace (Women of the West)
A Gown of Spanish Lace
By Janette Oke
{Review By Bethany}

Publisher :: Bethany House
Number of Pages :: 251
Source :: Purchased a t a garage sale for 25 cents. ;D
Publication Date :: 1995
My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars

A heritage so very different from her own, but one profound connection - — Ariana loves her life her parents, her little town, her job as the town's schoolteacher, her students. But one evening after classes are done and she prepares to hurry home before a blizzard hits, her whole life changes in an instant. — The two rough-looking men who abduct her and take her far from home and family make no response to her frantic questions "Why me? What are you going to do? Where are you taking me?" Held hostage in a camp of bandits, Ariana's emotions swing between terror and boredom as days stretch into weeks.
And then the boss's son appears in the doorway of her cabin. Does this mean she will never see her mother and father again, the two who had so lovingly adopted her as an infant and raised her as their own? Will she ever wear the wedding dress so carefully saved for her her one link with her birth parents, now long dead?

Pros :: One of the best things about this book is how much God is incorporated in the story. Often times people say certain books are "Christian" just because they mention God a few times. But with this book, I felt like God was the main focus of it...just like it should be! The main character Ariana, often prayed and looked for His help in her circumstances. She often memorized and meditated on Scripture and trusted in God for her every need, even when her life looked uncertain. She was a wonderful role model. I loved how much God was a part of this story. 
I also enjoyed how suspenseful it was! It if definitely a page-turner and will have you guessing wildly at what will happen next. I loved the perfect ending and I certainly didn't see it coming so it was completly unexpected the way it turned out. Anyone who enjoys suspense and interesting books will be sure to love this interesting read.
Another thing I liked was that there was a bit of romance, yet not too much. Janette did a great job balancing it out and making it interesting yet not overly-done.

Cons :: To be honest, I didn't really find anything negative in this book. I loved every bit of it! I would highly recommend it!

The Irish Healer: A NovelThe Irish Healer
By Nancy Herriman
{Review By Bethany}

Publisher :: Worthy Publishing

Number of Pages :: 320
Source :: Library
Publication Date :: 2012
My Rating :: 3 out of 5 stars

During the deadly 1832 cholera epidemic in London, a heartsick Irish healer must find the strength to overcome her most fearsome obstacles.
Accused of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal while vowing to never sit at another sickbed. She no longer trusts in her abilities-or God's mercy. When a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, she feels compelled to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. James Edmunds, wearied by the deaths of too many patients, has his own doubts about God's grace. Can they face their darkest fears? Or is it too late to learn that trust and love just might heal their hearts?

Pros :: I liked how the author made you feel as if you were there. Her writing is very descriptive and flows well. It was a great story, but I found there was too much romance for my type. And while good writingdescriptive words, etc. can be good when you have a book, if you've made a high level of romance involved then the two together may be a bit much. 

Cons :: Well to start, I didn't even finish this book. I read up until the 22nd or so out of 30 chapters and decided to stop reading it for several reasons. For one the Lord's name was used in vain several times and He was sort of rejected, the characters acted as if He'd left them so they leave Him out of their life. There was also a unplanned pregnancy with the main characters employee's maid and then when she attempts to abort the baby with potions, she ends up sick and died. {And she was found to have been at a bar in pone part of the book, but other than this there is not further detail with the pregnancy, but still it's there and didn't really need to be, the book would have been fine without it.} I also didn't feel very comfortable with the level of romance. At first I though it wouldn't get any higher, but it did. I'd only recommend this book to those who are used to reading books with romance the center of the book and the main focus, but if you are trying to stay away from romantic notions, you'll probably want to ship this book.

The Thorn, Rose Trilogy Series #1The Thorn
{The Rose Trilogy, Book 1}
By Beverly Lewis
{Review By Bethany}

Publisher :: Bethany House Publishing
Number of Pages :: 352
Source :: Library
Publication Date :: 2010
My Rating :: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Rose Kauffman, a spirited young woman, has a close friendship with the bishop's foster son. Nick dresses Plain and works hard but stirs up plenty of trouble too. Rose's sister cautions her against becoming too involved, but Rose is being courted by a good, Amish fellow, so dismisses the warnings. Meanwhile, Rose keeps house for an English widower but is startled when he forbids her to ever go upstairs. What is the man hiding? Rose's older sister, Hen, knows more than she should about falling for the wrong man. Unable to abandon her Amish ways, Hen is soon separated from her very modern husband. Mattie, their young daughter, must visit her father regularly, but Hen demands she wear Amish attire--and speak Pennsylvania Dutch, despite her husband's wishes. Will Hen be able to reestablish her place among the People she abandoned? And will she be able to convince Rose to steer clear of rogue neighbor Nick? {Description From ChristianBook.com}

Pros :: I loved this book! I love all Amish fiction books, by previously I'd found most Amish fiction to have way to much romance for my standards. But I was very pleased with the level of romance in this book. Grant it, there was a bit, but it didn't go overboard so it was nice having a bit of romance without too much. I loved the story and it was very exciting and interesting. Several times events turned when I least expected it and it made it all the more enjoyable. It was a wonderful story plot and I was very interested in continue to read the series. I loved how it went back and forth between the two sisters, so it's like you get two adventures in one. In one chapter you have a bit about one sister and her current case, and the next moves to the other sister. It was fun to see how their two different lives intertwined. I was also pleased with the writing style as well. You know how sometimes when there are multiple important characters, how it can sometimes be confusion who's who and all? Well this book had many characters, but I loved how easy it was to read, and it wasn't confusing at all! Totally loved it! This series is probably my favorite Amish fiction book/s I've read so far!

Cons :: Through this series, a portion of the book is about Hen who is Rose's sister who married an Englisher and was no longer a part of the Amish community. Once she had a daughter, she and her husband don't see eye to eye on how she should be raised. For example, do we or do we not allow TV in the home due to the influence? How should we punish bad behavior? Do we punish or just let it slip? Hen went behind her husbands back and took a job that he had made clear he didn't want her to take. And eventually this makes a problem between their marriage. But I won't spoil anymore of it for you. I did, however not appreciate how she didn't honor her husband, but I did appreciate how she was trying her best to stay with him and not divorce and for that I'm glad she was trying to make it through the tough times.

The Judgment, The Rose Trilogy #2
The Judgment
{The Rose Trilogy, Book 2}
By Beverly Lewis
{Review By Bethany}

Publisher :: Bethany House Publishing
Number of Pages :: 352
Source :: Library
Publication Date :: 2011
My Rating :: 4 out of 5 stars

Rose Kauffman is engaged to Silas Good, a well-liked Amish fellow, so why does she still pine for Nick Franco, the former foster son of the bishop? Especially now that Nick has left the Amish community under a cloud of suspicion after the death of the bishop's biological son? Will Rose marry Silas, even while struggling with romantic feelings for Nick?
Meanwhile, Rose's older sister, Hen, has returned to live at her parents' farm with her young daughter. Hen and her modern husband, Brandon, are separated by mutual agreement, although he is threatening to sue for custody of their daughter if Hen does not return soon. Will the judge rule in Brandon's favor? Is there any way Hen can reestablish her place among the People without sacrificing her marriage? {Description from ChristianBook.com}

Pros :: I also enjoyed this book, almost as much as I enjoyed the last one. I loved how the story continued from the last book as far as making it interesting and exciting. I again was captivated by the wonderful life of the Amish and was realizing that though the Amish are often known for their simplistic lives, most Amish fiction is anything but simple when it comes to the story lines! This book was no exception, but I did like it that way with so much guessing what would happen next, and feeling as if I were besides the characters as they go through trials and joys alike.

Cons :: One thing I didn't appreciate about this book is there was a lot of marital conflict between Hen and her husband. There was never any fighting and Hen was obviously trying her best to keep calm and peaceful even though Brandon was forcing lots of uncomfortable things on her. At this point in the series they were living separated and Brandon was forcing a divorce and complete custody of their daughter. The end of this book was a bit sad but hopefully it will all turn out right in the third book. ;D

Book number 3, The Mercy by Beverly Lewis, review to come in May's book review post!

1 Words of Grace:

Bekah said...

I really enjoyed "A Gown of Spanish Lace", but all of Janette Oke's books are well worth reading!

I was curious about "The Irish Healer", so thanks for reviewing it! :)