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REVIEW: Never Forget by Jody Hedlund

Rose Island Lighthouse off the coast or Rhode Island is the setting for this story of Abbie Watson and her grandfather, Hosea, who is lighthouse keeper. Memory problems plague Abbie and her no-go husband Nate is missing. The lighthouse job is in jeopardy and Abbie is desperate to keep Gramps in one spot AND Abbie is a capable lighthouse keeper in her own right. Unfortunately the lighthouse board doesn’t consider her a suitable candidate and Abbie needs a miracle.

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Onto shore washes a stranger, Nathaniel, who is led into believing he is the long-missing Nate. The story ensues with Abbie and the Nathaniel forming a friendship and young love based on falsehood. It’s just three week of deception, thinks Abbie, that’s all worth it for the chance to stay on Rose Island with her grandfather.

Jody’s portrayal of the related issues of dementia were well done.  Abbie and Nathaniel realized that routine was important for Hosea’s day.

In this book author Hedlund reintroduces Nathaniel Winthrop who we met in book 4 as the suitor to Victoria Cole. Nathaniel needs to mend his ways, though, before he can have a meaningful relationship with a good-hearted woman. It is not necessary to have read book 4 (or the prior series books) to enjoy this one. I found this to be a great addition to the series. Though, I’ll bet Jody Hedlund has more lighthouse stories in her imagination. Thanks to Hedlund and Northern Lights Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

 

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REVIEW: The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer

Evie Bennett is entering an empty nest period as her 20-something son has married and moved across town.  Widowed, Evie finds her time quite empty and she’s searching for what comes next.  She works at the church in women’s ministry and that fills a fair bit of her time.  She also has a support system of friends in town.  She’s had a tough time of moving on since her husband died.  However that was years ago and Evie is still a young widow.  Enter Jack Vale who has come to Bannister Falls to take care of his brother’s family.
As you might expect, Jack and Evie are drawn together.  But the complications from Jack’s troubled family post a wedge between the Jack and Evie.

The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer

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REVIEW: Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund

Tessa Taylor is running from her past and trying to make a new start in a northern Michigan mining town.  The mining town boss, unscrupulous Percival Updegraff, makes that tricky for Tessa.  She finds an ally in brothers Alex and Michael Bjorklund who are two of few people in town NOT employed by Percival.

Undaunted-Hope

Tessa made some mistakes in her youth (from Jody’s book Hearts Made Whole) and she is bound and determined to change her course with her teaching career in the mining town.

I thought Tessa was a well-developed character.  Though I encountered her in the aforementioned Hearts Made Whole, it wasn’t necessary to know that story to read this story.

Jody always does a great job with the development of the time period of which she writes. In addition to weaving an enjoyable story about Tessa and her experiences, the reader also learns about life in northern Michigan in 1871.

Thanks to Jody and Bethany House for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.  I really enjoyed the book.

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REVIEW: Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

Luther and Katharina

Luther and Katharina

Engaging and informative, Luther and Katharina brings the 1500s to live. This is the time of the Protestant Reformations throughout Europe. The rising protestant groups were at great odds with the Catholic Church which is THE POWER behind the Holy Roman Empire in this time period. Imagine the power behind that force; and, how challenging to be Martinus Luther, the organizer and key developer of the movement. I thought the scenes were vivid throughout the story.

Katharina, a noble woman by birth, was dumped it a convent as a child. At the beginning of the story, she organizes an escape for several nuns. In her mid-20s she despairs of her future beyond the convent but trusts in God to provide her path. Other minor characters lend more depth to the story of the nuns’ escape and difficulties finding new places in society.

Martinus Luther a/k/a Martin Luther, has left the priesthood himself as he finds the church corrupt and misleading to the people. In his mission, given by God, he needs to reform the church with the help of supporters across many classes and countries. He has to find a way to peace between the princes and the peasant class in a time period when station of life was extremely important. With a bounty on his head, Luther is not interested in marriage and a family. He realizes the great risk and possible distraction that such a life could bring.

I appreciated Author Jody Hedlund’s attention to detail within the story. At the end of the book, she shares the fact and fiction parts of the story. Thankfully she was true to as many facts as possible. This book is a love story and a survival story. It’s a book where God is first and man’s wishes are second. Fabulous read!

Thanks to Waterbrook Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: The Girl from the Train by Irma Joubert

The main characters are Gretl, a German girl with Jewish roots, and Jacob, a Polish, Catholic young man.  Gretl is the sole survivor in her family of a WWII train loaded with passengers, headed to a prison camp.  Her grandmother and mother make she and her sister jump from the train before it reaches it destination.  She’s about 10 years old when this happens.  The story follows her through the next 12 or so years as she grows up and bounces around from place to place and country to country.  It is certainly a survival story.  It shows the fortitude and courage of some of the youngest WWII, displaced persons.  The places Gretl goes are amazing to me.  The story revealed yet another side of WWII and its prejudices across the world.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with an ARC for a review in my own words.

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