Category Archives: Inspirational

One Perfect Life by John MacArthur

One Perfect Life: The Complete Story of the Lord Jesus by John MacArthur
Thomas Nelson Publishers, March 5, 2013
Hardcover 480 pages
Review copy provided via publisher/Booksneeze
Burton Book Review Rating:4.5 stars

Read the best news the world has ever been given about the most significant life in all history—Jesus Christ. In One Perfect Life, Dr. John MacArthur shares with us the complete story of the Eternal Christ from Genesis to Revelation. Using Matthew as the base text, Dr. MacArthur blends the gospels and other biblical material about Jesus into one continuous story that will help you better understand Scripture and grow stronger in your faith. No other harmony of the Gospels includes such extensive study notes to help you unpack the meaning of each verse.

The moment I saw this book, claiming the complete story of Jesus Christ, I knew this would be a great companion to reading the gospels. I was especially pleased that it takes the scriptures from my version of choice, the New King James version. This book studies the gospels chronologically – taking the exact text from the bible and puts them in an easy to read format with no extra narrative provided by the author besides the notes, which range from not too explanatory to a small bit of depth. As I was beginning the book, I was a little taken aback at the structure as I was learning how it flowed, but just a few chapters in I felt I was settled and could organize my thoughts alongside this presentation of the gospels.

Example of topics from Table of Contents, which were also separated into parts

I say easy to read only because the text is separated my mini-topics, sometimes leaving blank spaces where the text would be and at the bottom are the notes. So while the 480 pages as a whole might look like a lot, taking into account much of the blank space throughout the book it reads swiftly. Because of the many references if you are flipping line by line back and forth it is not going to read ‘easy’, but if you overlook that  hindrance, overall the book is worthwhile. It is not adding any new information then what is already provided in the bible, but it is the portrayal of the bible verses that makes this different.

Sample page, notes shown beneath the line

I loved how the text incorporated the verses from across the gospels to create the harmony of the story, and that is what the book is all about: a look at Jesus and his ministry WITHOUT adding an author’s take or interpretation of the bible. The entire book is a blending of the bible (from Matthew to Luke for instance) in the same paragraph, but using their words from the New King James version to create a cohesive look at a particular event or teaching of Jesus. For example, with the topic of The Transfiguration of Christ (Chapter 88) the text incorporates the biblical verses from Matthew, Luke and Peter.

For those readers looking for a narrative on Jesus in story format, this is not it. This is a study bible focused on Jesus’s ministry which puts together all the gospels in one page when portraying a particular event.
One Perfect Life succeeded in its task to present the life of Jesus using the Scriptures as its beginning and end, and it should be an inspiring tool for those readers who have read the bible but wanted to focus their bible studies on a more central theme of Jesus and his ministry. Because of the format, I also think it is a book that can be referred to over and over so the reader can highlight the passages that are important to their journey of faith and use One Perfect Life as an excellent companion to their bible.

I review for BookSneeze®
 Thank you to BookSneeze for providing me a complimentary of One Perfect Life in exchange for this honest review.

*I am aware that there are ‘religious topics’ out there that show John MacArthur vs. Joel Osteen, as well as MacArthur being a prominent figurehead of his religious views; this review in no way reflects that reality. I feel that this work from John MacArthur presents an unbiased account of Jesus using the bible.


Leave a comment

Filed under 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Inspirational, Thomas Nelson

Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge By Mark Batterson

Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge By Mark Batterson
Published by Zondervan, December 2012
240 pages Paperback, available on Kindle
Free Review copy provided via booksneeze
Burton Book Review Rating:Life and prayer lessons to remember!

Do you pray as often and as boldly as you want to? There is a way to experience a deeper, more passionate, persistent, and intimate prayer life.

Drawing from forty days of true stories, Mark Batterson applies the principles of his New York Times bestselling book The Circle Maker to teach us a new way to pray. As thousands of readers quickly became many tens of thousands, true stories of miraculous and inspiring answers to prayer began to pour in, and as those stories were shared, others were bolstered in their faith to pray with even more boldness.

In Draw the Circle, through forty true, faith-building stories of God’s answers to prayer, daily scriptures and prayer prompts, Batterson inspires you to pray and keep praying like never before. Begin a lifetime of watching God work. Believe in the God who can do all things. Experience the power of bold prayer and even bolder faith in Draw the Circle.

I had seen this book mentioned quite a few times so I was eager to snap up a copy of my own. There are times when I’m wanting to “be” or “feel” closer to God, and just reading the bible sometimes doesn’t cut it. I wanted to try out a devotional, and learn how to feel like I am accomplishing something when I am praying to God. The first sentence sold me on the book, and the other rave reviews helped seal the deal.

And so my first experience with a ‘Prayer Devotional’ shall begin with Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle. What I expect from the book is a bit of guidance on getting organized with my prayer requests, and to learn how to formulate a prayer request in my mind without stumbling over my words. Based on the synopsis, I should draw inspiration from 40 stories that will inspire me to be more bold in my prayers.

The book reads swiftly, with mini-anecdotes to illustrate the point of each chapter. Most memorable are when he writes of hitting his knees in the airport, something that I turned into an easy to remember ‘stop, drop and pray’ mantra. When is it okay to pray? Obviously, whenever, and however you can manage it. It’s a reminder that hey, God is everywhere, and He is listening.

Topics covered include persistence in prayer, and having the ability to act on your prayer. Sometimes just waiting for God to answer your prayers isn’t good enough, God wants to see you want to work for it, too. And what if you are very persistent, and you are praying, and yet there is nothing fulfilling? Maybe you are looking at it the wrong way. Maybe you need to do it differently.

Think of George Washington Carver, and peanuts, and then UNICEF and peanut based nutrients for the impoverished of the world, as not such a good idea as it is a God-idea. And a seed.. that single seed and how much life it holds in its tiny existence, yet so full of promise: Day 12: Sowing a Seed made me cry. Perhaps you will find a different chapter that will be your spark of recognition for God’s love for you, but this book will help you find some solace. And it will bring new meaning to your prayers, when you pray and how you feel about it.

 Thank you to Zondervan and Booksneeze for my free review copy, for which I am still reading and will use it as an inspirational tool in the future as well..
  I review for BookSneeze®


Filed under 2012 Releases, 2013 Review, Inspirational

Skip Rock Shallows by Jan Watson

A character-rich tale of life in a mining town

Skip Rock Shallows by Jan Watson
Tyndale, June 1, 2012
Paperback 384 pages 9780764209901
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine, August 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:3.5 Stars

Lilly Gray Corbett has just graduated from medical school and decided to accept an internship in the coal camp of Skip Rock, Kentucky. Her beau, Paul, is doing his residency in Boston and can’t understand why Lilly would choose to work in a backwater town. But having grown up in the mountains, Lilly is drawn to the stubborn, superstitious people she encounters in Skip Rock–a town where people live hard and die harder and where women know their place. Lilly soon learns she has a lot to overcome, but after saving the life of a young miner, she begins to earn the residents’ trust.As Lilly becomes torn between joining Paul in Boston and her love for the people of Skip Rock, she crosses paths with a handsome miner–one who seems oddly familiar. Her attraction for him grows, even as she wrestles with her feelings and wonders what he’s hiding.

Dr. Lilly Corbett is sent to a coal-mining town of Kentucky where folks have an issue with women being anything more than hard working wives. Lilly struggles to get the residents to accept her and only illness can force the issue. As successive tragedies strike the mining town, both Lilly’s medical abilities and tender nature endear her to the residents of Skip Rock. In turn, Lilly finds herself becoming attached to the folks in Skip Rock which disrupts her plans to marry the worthy Dr. Paul back in Boston. Meanwhile, a drifter at the mine turns out to have more in common with Lilly than she expected, and a relationship blossoms despite undercurrents of treachery and foul play. 

The plot is fairly simple, yet this is a well-written character driven novel.  Characters such as a young lady Armina who doesn’t hesitate to tell you what’s what, and Cousin Ned who works so hard you would never knew he had a peg leg; these are all characters who will stay with you after the end of the book. As the plot drifts towards the mine’s endeavors and shady dealings, each of the romance and inspirational themes provide a subtle touch to complement Lilly’s own relationships and character development. Readers will get a dose of medical procedures with this telling, as well as welcome details of the way of life of the families of the miners in early 1900’s. Although part of a series, the novel stands alone, as only a small thread ties it to Jan Watson’s previous works.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Christian Fiction, Inspirational

The Shadow on The Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Can there be hope and rebirth after betrayal?

The Shadow on The Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson
Christian Fiction/Historical Romance
Barbour Books, September 1, 2012
Paperback 320 pages
eBook copy provided via NetGalley
Burton Book Review Rating:four stars for this inspirational romance

Juliana Sutton’s life looks perfect—from the outside. Until her husband’s untimely death reveals a devastating truth. . . . Cass Gregory is carrying his own dark secrets and feels unworthy to offer comfort to a woman of Juliana’s standing. When circumstances force them together, both Juliana and Cass are wounded and afraid to trust. Will the shadow of her dead husband’s name stand between Juliana and Cass, or will Juliana choose a love she never thought possible?

Stephanie Grace Whitson’s first Quilt Chronicles novel, The Key on The Quilt was an inspiring and enjoyable read for me (see review) and I knew book number two would not disappoint. The Shadow on the Quilt is a stand alone novel featuring new characters, with the main protagonist Juliana struggling with the knowledge that her recently deceased husband was cheating on her. As she dons her widow’s weeds, Juliana is forced to deal with her grief but also the betrayal of her husband while everyone around her only sees her husband as a loving, doting man and a great loss to their town.

Juliana is left with the pieces of her life and she admiringly comes to terms with the legacy that was left to her. The ostentatious house that Sterling was building for them is not something she desires, and with the help of Sterling’s family they are able to find a good use for the building. Overseeing the construction is Cass Gregory, and they develop a good working relationship with each other.

Sterling’s mistress Jenny comes on the scene as an intriguing subplot, and things don’t work out as beneficially for Jenny as she hoped for. As a fallen woman, there is little hope for her survival unless the community can come together and offer a lending hand. This subplot and the slow romance budding between Juliana and Cass offer a quaint story of forgiveness and hope that leaves a mark on the reader’s heart, especially with the biblical quotes interspersed throughout.

These messages of lost sheep, the Good Shepherd and repenting sinners are well portrayed in this gracefully told story which offers both tears and joy throughout the telling. Although this inspirational novel follows a bit of a predictable slant, the supporting cast of characters are vast and on a whole this offers a satisfying inspirational love story set amidst a turn of the century setting of Nebraska.


Filed under 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Barbour Publishing, Christian Fiction, Inspirational

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

An unlikely pair team up during the British Occupation in America

 The Messenger by Siri Mitchell
Bethany House, March 2012
384 pages Paperback
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine, August 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:4 Stars

Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith…until her twin brother joined the Colonial cause and ended up in jail. She longs to bring some measure of comfort to him in the squalid prison, but her faith forbids it. The Friends believe they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. She is not allowed to visit him, even if she were able to secure a pass.

Jeremiah Jones, a Colonial spy, needs access to the jail to help rescue me important to the cause. Upon meeting Hannah, a plan begins to develop. Who would suspect a pious Quaker visiting a loved one?

But Jeremiah is unprepared for Hannah, for her determination to do right, to not lie. How can one be a spy and not lie? Hannah, in turn, is surprised by Jeremiah…for the way he forces her to confront her own beliefs, for the sensitivity and concern he shows her despite the wounds he still carries.

In a time of war, can two unlikely heroes find the courage to act?

The Messenger tells the story of an unlikely pair: war veteran Jeremiah Jones and young Quaker Hannah Sunderland. With meticulous historical details of the turbulent times during the British Occupation of Philadelphia circa 1778, key themes are faith, familial loyalty and deception.

As a Quaker, Hannah is forbidden to choose a political side, be it Loyalist or Rebel, but when her twin brother joins the Rebels, Hannah is torn between faith and justice. Hannah reluctantly decides to team up with Jeremiah Jones and his spy network, despite their many differences of opinion, in efforts to free prisoners and to expose war atrocities.

The alternating first person narrative brings the emotions of the duo to the forefront, and the intrigues of the Colonials versus the Redcoats were well plotted as we learned of Jeremiah’s own story as he was maimed during one of the many battles. In an example of opposites attract, it seems that not everyone or everything would be as it appears. Hannah struggles with the pacifist ideals of her faith, and Jeremiah is not as rough as his appearance. With a convincing supporting cast, this is a compelling Christian historical set during a very important time for America.


Filed under 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, American Revolution, Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Siri Mitchell

Two Crosses (Book 1) & Two Testaments (Book 2) by Elizabeth Musser


(Elizabeth Musser)

A double review for the two books shown above which should be read back to back for three days straight, like I did. And I must say, I had received two incredibly huge daunting manuscript galleys for these, which scared me. I was not looking forward to reading these cumbersome things, and I kicked myself for choosing these books. My fears were unfounded.

My review was published in the August HNS Review magazine, as an Editor’s Choice.. which further proves the fact that these books are fantabulous. I have purchased another of this author’s work solely based on the merits of these two.

Two Crosses Book One in Secrets of the Cross Trilogy by Elizabeth Musser (464 pages) and
Two Testaments Book Two in Secrets of the Cross Trilogy (494 pages)
David C. Cook, June 2012, $14.99
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine, August 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:5 Inspiring Stars

Book One Blurb: The glimmering Huguenot cross she innocently wears leads her deep into the shadows. When Gabriella Madison arrives in France in 1961 to continue her university studies, she doesn’t anticipate being drawn into the secretive world behind the Algerian war for independence from France. The further she delves into the war efforts, the more her faith is challenged. The people who surround her bring a whirlwind of transforming forces—a wise nun involved in the smuggling, a little girl carrying secret information, and a man with unknown loyalties who captures her heart. When she discovers a long hidden secret from her past, it all leads to questions about trust, faith in action, and the power of forgiveness to move beyond the pain of the past

Two Crosses begins the unforgettable story that is the tapestry of several characters in this saga that stretches across opposite coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. Fighting for independence from France, the racism plaguing Algeria’s social classes creates a chasm in the early 1960’s that spins uncontrollably. Teacher and student David and Gabriella meet at a Franco American Exchange program where the nun Mother Griolet manages the operation along with an orphanage which doubles as a cover of a rescue mission in France. Gabriella helps David with dangerous operations of transporting orphaned children whose family were victims of the Algerian war. David’s own past reemerges as his daughter Ophélie arrives on Gabby’s doorstep, epitomizing the stolen innocence of the children due to the treachery of the Algerian war. Gabby and Ophélie bond immediately, as they each proudly wear their Huguenot cross close to their hearts which becomes symbolic and healing even as David tries to reconcile his own questions of faith with the horrors of the war he has witnessed. Gabby’s relationships with the women in the school and the orphanage are also an integral part of the story as she slowly realizes her calling in life.

Book two seamlessly picks up the story from book one, as there is no clear divide between the two. These books are definitely meant to be read in order as the characterizations and the consequences of the war are all splendidly portrayed in the first book. Two Testaments continues with the aftermath of the Algerian independence, as David befriends a Muslim friend and they question their faiths together. Although the war is supposed to be over, the people have been forced to split and choose sides. The pied-noirs were French citizens, but unwanted after being forced from Algeria; Harkis were Muslim soldiers who once fought alongside Arabs, but now found themselves unwelcome in the newly independent Algeria.

Two Testaments tells the story of the pied-noirs and the Harkis through several characters in a way that evokes tears because of the violence and tragedy. Yet, there was always hope, and victory for some; death for others, and insecurity for the rest. The plot is a well-written composition that teaches a little about life during tragic times, but moving and emotive as the characters reach for understanding through a higher power. At first there was a daunting set of names and places, but they were ultimately threaded together carefully throughout the story. Both of these novels explored deep themes such as prejudice, God, love, sacrifice and hope, but these words just skim the surface of its potential to touch the reader. Book three, Two Destinies {September 2012}, picks up the saga of these families thirty years later as war yet again becomes unavoidable.

These are going to be on the top of my favorites list of 2012.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Best of 2012, Christian Fiction, Elizabeth Musser, Inspirational

Westward Hearts by Melody A. Carlson

Oregon or BUST!

Westward Hearts (Homeward on the Oregon Trail #1) by Melody A. Carlson
Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2012)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0736948715
Review copy downloaded from NetGalley
Burton Book Review Rating:Intriguing story

Bestselling author Melody Carlson begins an inspiring new series of adventure and romance on the Oregon Trail.
Kentucky, 1854—Elizabeth Martin has mourned her husband’s death for three years, but now she feels ready to fulfill the dream they had shared—to take their two children west. The dream becomes reality when her middle-aged parents and bachelor brother surprise her with the news that they want to go as well.
After converting three of their best wagons to prairie schooners and thoroughly outfitting them, the little party travels from Kentucky to Kansas City, where they join a substantial wagon train. Elizabeth soon finds herself being drawn to the group’s handsome guide, Eli Kincade.
The long journey and deepening relationships challenge the travelers to their core, and Eli’s mysterious past leaves Elizabeth with more questions than answers. She knows there’s no turning back, but she wonders, What have I gotten myself into?

About This Series: The Homeward on the Oregon Trail series brings to life the challenges a young widow faces as she journeys west, settles her family in the Pacific Northwest, and helps create a new community among strong-willed and diverse pioneers.

The first half of the story is given away in the synopsis, as the plot line progresses around Elizabeth and her life as a widow and a mother. It isn’t until nearly halfway through the book that the family embark on the adventure towards Oregon, and it is then that we meet the others who along on the wagon trail with Elizabeth’s family.

Elizabeth Martin and her parents the Dawsons are good Christians who help others on the trail, even those of “ill repute” along the trail with them. Elizabeth ignores the gossipy and self-righteous woman Gertrude and both befriends and defends the riders who seem to have a seedy past. There are an interesting mix of characters on the trail, some missionaries who are all hellfire and brimstone, and Bostonians ill-prepared for the rugged trip. And of course there are a few handsome men to make things interesting for Elizabeth, who has finally after four years stowed away her widow’s weeds.

Elizabeth’s family are an admirable close-knit group whom I found myself rooting for along the way, through the myriads of problems from rivers, Indians, tornadoes and the other folks on the trail. The detail to life along the Oregon trail was impeccably displayed, with fun facts woven in such as needing to have beans soak overnight, only traveling half-days on the Sabbath day, and when and where to buy supplies for the trip. The trip itself was expected to take six months, however we don’t know what happens past Fort Laramie as the book abruptly ended. At a family celebration, Elizabeth is happily dancing with a dashing fellow and there the story ends. I was not prepared for that, and it turns out there is going to be another book that follows the Dawson and the Martin family and perhaps by the end of that book they will actually settle somewhere close to Oregon.

I found the writing to be smooth, and the intriguing mix of characters to be entertaining. I felt like I learned a lot of the history against the backdrop of mid 1850’s and the passion to go forth and follow in Lewis and Clark’s footsteps. I am definitely eager to read the next in the Homeward on the Oregon Trail series to see how the love interest develops for Elizabeth after the romantic dance.


Filed under 19th century, 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Oregon Trail

Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart

Heart pumping drama that keeps you reading these fun characters!
Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart
Revell, February 2012
Historical Romance/Christian Fiction
368 pages, paperback 9780800720452
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine, May 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:4.5 Stars

Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father’s newspaper offices. She can’t imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855. Then Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over failing competitor the Herald, and the battle for readers gets fierce.

When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit tea, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune’s future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story–and the girl. Can he do both before it’s too late?

Set against the volatile backdrop of political and civil unrest in 1850s Louisville, this exciting story of love and loyalty will hold readers in its grip until the very last page. Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart once again delivers an enthralling and enduring tale for her loyal and ever-expanding fan base.

Adriane is a woman born ahead of her time, lacking the need for being socially acceptable in her prim and proper society. Instead, she finds herself intrigued by the unrest of the 1850’s and the political causes of the day. Adriane is at risk of being her father’s assistant at his newspaper for the rest of her days, and she wouldn’t mind that fate. Unfortunately, her father has other plans as she learns her future becomes the star of a shady business deal with the major political force of Louisville. Marrying Stan against her will and meeting the dashingly handsome Blake Garrett at the same time is a conundrum for Adriane, and she explores her faith in God while seeking answers to her dilemma.
As luck would have it, Blake is the editor for a rival newspaper and therefore her family’s arch enemy. The stars align when these two meet, and we can’t wait to see the fireworks when they admit their mutual attraction.
Adriane is a strong heroine and her inspiring story is complemented by great characters and the wicked suspense lurking in the background. The novel boasts a fiery plot rich with historical nuance that is indicative of Gabhart’s writing skill.

1 Comment

Filed under 19th century, 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Ann H. Gabhart, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Revell

Where Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey

A stubborn character, will she ever see the light?

Where Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey

Revell, January 1, 2012
 336 pages paperback 
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine, May 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:3.5 Stars

The War Between the States stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg– as well as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry. With only her grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri, and traveling west to Oregon to start a new life, away from the memories that haunt her. But first she must convince her grandfather to sell the family’s mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for generations.

When Royal Baxter suddenly returns to town, Faith allows herself to hope that her dreams might come true. Does he truly love her? Or could another man claim her heart? Will she find that following her dreams may not mean leaving home after all?

The characters in Where Wildflowers Bloom jump off the page and into the reader’s heart. Author Ann Shorey infuses her characters with the virtues and quirks that bring them fully alive as they search for contentment and love.

Faith has little faith in herself, and her aging grandfather. They are both struggling to overcome the losses of the War Between the States, and Faith dreams of the wildflowers of Oregon. Even though Grandpa has the same painful memories of family long gone, he wants to stay in Missouri and have Faith run his mercantile store even though a woman running a business is frowned upon.

The story unfolds as Faith tries to force her wayward dream into reality, but we hope that love blooms between Curt and Faith which would hold Faith in Missouri where she belongs. However, Royal Baxter, a childhood fancy of Faith’s, returns from the war and offers Faith her childish dreams. The author meanders through this love triangle with some mystery and plenty of historical ambiances, along with Faith’s eye rolling moments. Where Faith’s character is stubborn, willful and determined, she is foolish in many of her decisions. Faith’s friend Rosemary is the wise and rational counterpart to Faith, and is shunned for being a nurse during the war. Reading of these two ladies and their struggles was engaging, and I do hope to see these characters in the next installment of the Sisters At Heart series, even if it’s just to see if Faith had matured some!

Edit to add that I just learned the next novel in the series, tentatively titled When the Heart Heals, features Faith’s friend Rosemary Saxon. Ann Shorey’s fiction debut was in 2009 with The Edge of Light, Book One in the At Home in Beldon Grove series.


Filed under 19th century, 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Post Civil War, Revell

Heart’s Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

The best nautical adventure you can find for Christian Fiction!

Heart’s Safe Passage, The Midwives Series #2 by Laurie Alice Eakes
Revell, February 2012
400 pages, Paperback
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine, May 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:4 Stars

It’s 1813 and all Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. When Belinda, her pregnant sister-in-law, presses Phoebe to accompany her onto a British privateer in order to cross the Atlantic and save her husband from an English prison, Phoebe tries to refuse, then finds herself kidnapped. Captain Rafe Docherty is a man in search of revenge. His ship is no place for women, but he needs Belinda in order to obtain information about the man who destroyed his family and his life. Between Belinda’s whining and Phoebe’s hostility, Rafe can’t help but wonder if he made the right choice.
When it becomes apparent there is an enemy among them on the ship, the stakes are raised. Will they reach the English shore in time? Can love and forgiveness overcome vengeance?

Seeking God’s guidance is a strong theme in this second installment of The Midwives series, and sailing through dangerous waters during the War of 1812 is another. Throughout the stand-alone novel, Phoebe is sailing with Captain Rafe Docherty, her captor, who is hell bent on seeking revenge against James Brock. Captain Rafe’s wife was murdered by James Brock, and is using Phoebe and her family to find him. As Phoebe learns more about the captain, her common sense tells her to run from him, but her heart pulls her straight into Captain Rafe’s arms. Amongst the plot twists, our heroine Phoebe is determined to share her faith in God just as much as she tries to stop Captain Rafe’s quest for revenge.

Supporting characters are well drawn out, details of life on a brig are abundant, and the action and suspense are well plotted. The voyage across the Atlantic is complete with a scampering dog, an endearing child, expecting mother and swashbuckling pirates, offering a clever love story with a charming Scottish accent. I enjoyed this novel a great deal, and already bought Eakes’ first book in the series.

And just for kicks, I found this quick summary regarding the War of 1812 here. Americans and Britain were at odds again, and the site points out it was pretty much a stalemate although it was a sort of confirmation that the USA was to be treated as an independent country. We fought Canadians and the native nations in the War of 1812, which ultimately resulted in the Treaty of Ghent. We are near the two hundredth anniversary: on June 18, 1812, the war began.


Filed under 19th century, 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Laurie Alice Eakes, Revell, War of 1812