Tag Archive | FAMILY

MY REVIEW

OF

THE DAUGHTER OF HIGHLAND HALL

(Edwardian Brides Series Book II)

BY

CARRIE TURANSKY

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ABOUT THE BOOK…….What if the title, the estate, the life of security and splendor… what if it isn’t enough?

Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite.
 
When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love—and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served. 

…….MY REVIEW…….

5 STARS

What can I say that has not already been said in prior reviews regarding Carrie Turansky’s captivating story about Kathryn, The Daughter of Highland Hall?  How can Ms. Turansky always be at her best with each novel that she writes?  I really adored this book!  It has been quite a while since I read the first book in this series, and I had double the fun of re-reading parts of The Governess of Highland Hall – about William and Julia to refresh my mind and it picked up right where this book left off.

 

It is now April 1912 in London, England and the young teenager Katherine Ramsey is preparing for her presentation before the King and Queen of England, followed by her debut.  Where Katherine behaved as a bratty kid in the previous novel, it appears that she and Julia have come to a new understanding of congeniality.  Of course, when a woman like Lady Louisa Gatewood, Katherine’s aunt, insists that every well-bred young lady must be made ready for her debut into English society and ready for marriage – frustration sets in with all the curtsy practice involved.  Lady Gatewood aided Katherine in creating a list of qualifications for her future husband.  He would need to be a man of wealth and title. 

 

Let us refer to Katherine as Kate from here on.  Before coming to London from Berkshire, England – a bit of family history.  Kate would have inherited Highland Hall, but lost control of her inheritance upon her father’s death.  Her second cousin William Ramsey had taken her father’s title as baronet and became the master of Highland Hall as well as her guardian until she married.  Highland Hall in Berkshire had been partially destroyed by fire necessitating a move to Ramsey House in London.  Much of this story concentrates on Julia Foster and her family.  Jonathan Foster, her brother, was a medical student intending to return to India to continue the mission his family had begun.  Jon was employed by Dr. Pittsford who had moved his practice to the East End of London, a slum full of danger.  Jon lived in William’s home in London.  A wedding for William and Julia was in the future.  There was already strife between William and his brother David.

 

A nervous Kate had made a big faux pas at her presentation before royalty.  Imagine the uproar from Aunt Louisa!  Jon’s shoulder was available for Kate’s commiseration.  More trouble abounds when Kate’s lady’s maid learns her unmarried sister Helen is pregnant and in an abusive situation.  However at her debut, she met Edward Wellington who met every detail of her list.  Could this be her future husband?  Edward asked to court her, but was strongly influenced by his parents.  Then, emanated the big scandal involving Williams brother David.  Edward dropped out of the picture and Jon and Kate began to fall in love.

 

All of this and more creates a novel reminiscent of Downton Abbey….and I am fond of that series.  Ms. Turansky weaves together fascinating facts, mystery, humor, and faith in God and well developed characters with accurately researched Edwardian etiquette.  I am not at all certain how Carrie Turansky gives such a great pen to her ideas, but I am glad she is an expert doing so.  I am in awe of her writing – naturally making it all about God’s answers.  If you haven’t read The Governess of Highland Hall, I suggest you do before you read The Daughter of Highland Hall.  Both are stand-alone novels – that go together.  I am certainly looking forward to the third book, A Refuge at Highland Hall.  Might Ms.Turansky bring war and the wounded into this novel?  We won’t know unless we read it!

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group for my review.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…….

Born and raised in Oregon, my heart longs for tall evergreens, the rugged Oregon Coast, and the pristine Cascade Mountains. . . but I presently live in beautiful, but very flat, central New Jersey. This is the Garden State, so we enjoy shopping at our local farmers’ market for sweet corn and juicy tomatoes or picking strawberries, blueberries, and peaches at local farms. We are close to Princeton University, Philadelphia, and New York City, so we sometimes take day trips in and enjoy museums, plays, and touring around.

I am married to Scott and we have five great kids, two lovely daughters-in-law, a wonderful son-in-law, and four adorable grandchildren. My roles of wife, mother, and grandma are very rewarding and fulfilling for me. Scott and I partner in ministry at Calvary Chapel Living Hope, a church we helped plant along with a team of hardworking, Jesus-following friends. Our ministry at Calvary has been very gratifying and exciting for us. We feel blessed to have the privilege of serving the Lord with these dear frineds. If you would like to know more about Calvary Chapel Living Hope you may visit our website at http://www.takejesushome.com.

My husband is the author of several great parenting books filled with practical insight and godly wisdom. We invite you to visit our ministry website for parenting tips, articles, resources and much more. That web site is www.biblicalparenting.org.

I have been writing since 1999 and have published several articles, short stories, devotions, and essays. Writing fiction is my passion, and I thank the Lord for all the creative ideas and characters He puts in my mind and heart. I am very thankful for friends and family who have believed in me and encouraged me on my writing journey.

When I’m not writing you will find me enjoying time with my family, working outside in my flower gardens, cooking healthy meals for family and friends, or walking around the lake near our home.

http://carrieturansky.com

carrie.turansky.3@facebook.com

MY REVIEW OF

JOYFUL: RETURN TO SUGARCREEK

by

SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY

5 STARS

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BOOK DESCRIPTION……..

A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.

Joyful includes a P.S. section with a letter from the author, discussion questions, and a teaser from her next book.

MY REVIEW

When I realized this was the third book in this series, I was surprised that I did not know about the first two in the series.  Shelley Shepard Gray is an exceptional writer.  Her stories are easy to follow and she eloquently expresses the feelings of the characters whether negative or positive. 

 

It was easy to understand Elizabeth’s confusion as to Randall’s feelings toward her.  She had far more maturity than Randall.  Randall seemed to be short sighted, which is comprehensible in the way he felt so much responsibility for his siblings.  He believed he did not have time for romance and dropped Elizabeth without being able to explain with honesty his purpose in doing so.  In my estimation, he made thoughtless decisions in many areas as well as being insensitive toward Elizabeth as well as his siblings.  Elizabeth put her whole heart into caring for her grandmother.  Since her mother had remarried after her father’s death, she seemed to leave Elizabeth to her own devices to earn money enough to care for herself and her grandmother.  Randall’s brothers devised a plan to bring Randall and Elizabeth together, hopefully reuniting them and help Elizabeth earn money.  Elizabeth’s patience with Randall and willingness to do her finest job is to be marveled.  Frankly, I lost patience several times with Randall and wondered what Elizabeth saw in him in the first place.

 

The two sub-plots were interesting, but I felt a bit frustrated whenever we were drawn away from Elizabeth’s story.  Although I could identify with Judith and Ben wanting to adopt James as their own child – I have three adopted children and could never give either of them up – I had empathy for James’s mother as well.  Pippa’s story was sweet and not long, but there was more I would have liked to learn about her and Bud’s story.  Perhaps Ms. Gray has in mind another story for her in the future.

 

Overall, I liked this story very much.  There are a lot of surprises and definitely much soul searching.  Ms. Gray’s imagination proved lively as she added fun and on again, off again chances for romance between Elizabeth and Randall.  You will need to read this story for yourself to find out all the answers you want to know.  You will fall in love with Elizabeth’s grandmother and her expressions of wisdom.   Particularly interesting are the discussion questions at the end of the book.   Even though I had not read the first two books in this series – Joyful is a stand-alone story.  Is there real joy in the end?  That’s for you to find out.  I am so thankful that God gives writers such splendid inspirations to write about.  You will never be bored with a book written by Shelley Shepard Gray!

 

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…….

Shelley GrayShelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

SHELLEY SAYS……

I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.

Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.

I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.

Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.

http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray/timeline.

 

HOW TO BE A GROOVY WORK-AT-HOME MOM

READ

TRICIA GOYER’S

BALANCED 

 

FINDING CENTER AS A WORK-AT-HOME MOM

 

Tricia Goyer

AUTHOR TRICIA GOYER

How can a work-at-home mom raise kids, juggle a career and take care of family responsibilities with only 24-hour days? Working at home while raising kids and juggling a career and family responsibilities is no easy feat. Author and homeschooling mom Tricia Goyer shares her tips for finding balance among all your many hats as a mom. Balancing is a process and a journey, one that Tricia herself has yet to perfect. But between writing more than forty books, raising and homeschooling six kids, being a wife, and being active in her community, she has amassed valuable tips she shares in “Balanced.” 
The book includes tips on: 
—how to create focus themes for your family 
—how to prioritize your schedule 
—how to utilize your job so it also benefits your kids 
—how to keep yourself out of the comparison game 
—how to make working at home work for you 
—and much more!

 

 

 MY REVIEW

5 STARSFIVE STARS

 

When the invitation to read and review Balanced by Tricia Goyer arrived, I almost decided not to read it.  After all, I’m 75 and a great-grandmother, my children have been raised and have grandchildren themselves.  However, being acquainted with Ms. Goyer’s writings and the mutual fact that we both have adopted children……well…I thought I would give it a look over.

 

As we read on the book cover some of the tips included in the book, I knew it would be a worthwhile read.  Finding balance in our lives attends many situations in today’s busy world.  Tricia speaks to busy work at home moms who struggle with family schedules and duties; but she easily speaks to those having careers outside the home.  I raised my children when women were taking additional roles at the same time, which was difficult.  Coming to mind often is an old commercial where an elegantly coiffured woman in a sleek business suit is singing a song about how she does all these things as a liberated woman and “brings home the bacon” as well, while holding up a skillet.   Ms. Goyer puts all that into proper perspective in this thoughtful conversation she shares.  She is to be respected for finding the centering of what God has given her.  She is a true Proverbs 31 woman, in that she cares for her family and her marriage through cherishing truths of tradition without denying any presumptuous concepts that she is doing it perfectly.  One can’t do it all – all the time – without being overwhelmed.  However Tricia Goyer admits that God is her guidance counselor.  I like that about Ms. Goyer and what she reveals about herself within the unique wisdom she conveys about balancing the odds and evens of her life.

 

Balanced might not be a large novel in size, it doesn’t take long to read.  Like that old adage of good things come in small packages, Ms. Goyer has certainly proven what a groovy gift she is to her family and her readers.  She is a beautiful encourager, as it is written in the Bible – “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things.” (Rom 10:15)      I’m glad now that I did not overlook this book – it could become a family heirloom to be handed down for generations.  Hopefully my words will inspire you to read the good news Tricia Goyer shares.

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.

 

MEET TRICIA GOYER…..

 

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of one, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published thirty-three books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com. Tricia is also on the blogging team at MomLifeToday.com, TheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites.

In addition to her roles as mom, wife and author, Tricia volunteers around her community and mentors teen moms. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, AR. Tricia, along with a group of friends, recently launched http://www.NotQuiteAmishLiving.com, sharing ideas about simplifying life. She also hosts the weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. Learn more about Tricia at http://www.triciagoyer.com.

 

Learn more about Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com.