Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

I enjoyed reading Together Forever, the second book in the Hedlund’s Orphan Train series. Created around the historical orphan trains that took children who were orphans from the streets of New York City, this story shows how they were relocated with families living in the rural Midwest. Through the strong character of Marianne, and her kind yet mysterious coworker Andrew, we follow a group of children from the city to new homes.

Written with grace, depth and meticulous historical accuracy, Jody Hedlund creates a poignant retelling of a truly complex historical happening in the United States. While some children found loving families to care for them, Hedlund shows how these good intentioned orphan trains sometimes created more heartache for the children they were meant to help. Through strong characters, authentic details, complex emotions and unexpected plot twists, Hedlund creates an unforgettable story about the orphan trains and their far reaching consequences. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of Together Forever by Jody Hedlund for my candid review.

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Road to Gretna Green: Timeless Regency Collection

In the newest release of a Timeless Regency Collection, authors Lucinda Brant, Julie Daines and Heather B. Moore share memorable short stories about finding love in Road to Gretna Green. Helen, Eliza and Bridget find themselves suddenly on the road to Gretna Green, a village on the Scotland England boarder famous for runaway weddings. In different circumstances but with expediency at their heels, these ladies must decide how to react to their fates.

From false pretense to unfortunate encounters to an unexpected miracle, Helen, Eliza and Bridget try to make the most of frustrating and unexpected situations. Full of great characters, unique plots, romance, and humor, Road to Gretna Green is a collection of charming tales about life taking unplanned routes to happily ever after. I received a complimentary copy of Road to Gretna Green: Timeless Regency Collection for my candid review.

Generous Love by Becky Kopitzke

I really enjoyed reading Becky Kopitzke’s new book Generous Love. Despite a busy schedule, I found myself truly enjoying Kopitzke’s conversational and personal way of describing what God’s love feels like and looks like in her life and how she sees other people sharing God’s love. By reminding us of how God blesses us so abundantly, Kopitzke suggests that we set up a blessing toolbox to better learn how to share the blessings we receive from God.

I appreciated the short chapters that allowed me to savor her thoughts and experiences in short bites. I loved her personal and forthcoming honesty as she shared hard and happy experiences about her experiences feeling generous love and sharing generous love with others. Her practical suggestions mixed with her humor and insight made the tone of her book feel encouraging and accessible.

I particularly appreciated Kopitzke’s focus on sharing our presence with others and being present as we do so as a powerful way of showing generous love to people we interact with in a world where people seem too busy and preoccupied. I loved reading Kopitzke’s well written, thought-provoking book. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of Generous Love by Becky Kopitzke for my candid review.

First Impressions by Debra White Smith

Cleverly written! First Impressions: A Contemporary Retelling of Pride and Prejudice is a clever retelling of a classic story many of us love. Author Debra Smith retells Pride and Prejudice with a modern twist. All the of the favorite and less favorite characters are present, names changed but still using the first letters of the names of the classic characters—a great way to orient readers to the new characters without burdening them with too much detail.

The idea of having the modern characters tell their stories as they prepare to perform Pride and Prejudice as a play is an ingenious way to infuse the book with witty and incisive words of Jane Austen throughout the novel. Smith deftly creates believable characters and unexpected plot twists in her retelling of the classic story.

While I loved most of the new characters and felt they reflected the original characters in authentic and fresh ways, the character of Linda (Lydia) was a turnoff with her drug and alcohol use and her promiscuous lifestyle. Linda’s character seemed over the top and incongruous when considering the original story as well as her older sisters’ reactions to her behavior which were too dismissive and accepting. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of First Impressions by Debra White Smith for my candid review.

A Highlander’s Hidden Heart by Julie Coulter Bellon

A Highlander’s Hidden Heart by Julie Coulter Bellon was a touching story of acceptance and courage. The latest Timeless Romance Single is intriguing and well written. Lady Elizabeth is everything the daughter of a duke should be except for her inability to speak flawlessly, especially when flustered. Alec is a Scotsman who must now learn how to become an Englishman as he inherits an unsolicited title. While trying to make the most of frustrating and unexpected situations, Alec and Lady Elizabeth find themselves unforeseen allies.

Bellon creates a story full of strong characters, false pretenses, and unexpected events to create an engaging story of love and hope. I received a complimentary copy of A Highlander’s Hidden Heart by Julie Coulter Bellon for my candid review.