Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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    • Weekly Winners
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. And before we announce our winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:Kelly Irvin who offered her Amish Romance The Bishop's Son. June Bliss who offered her Women’s Fiction Starfis […]
    • Winners of Books
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. And before we announce our winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:J.M. Downey who offered her Political Suspense Privileged. Ann Allen who offered her Non-fiction Out of the Darknes […]
    • Are You This Week's Winner?
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. And before we announce our winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:Rick Barry who offered his Suspense:  The Methuselah Project. Candee Fick who offered her Contemporary Romance:  Ca […]
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    • To the Victor Goes the Crown: Congrats to River Rest & Susan Page Davis
      Congratulations to Susan Page Davis and her novelRiver Restfor taking home this month's Clash crown!PURCHASE AmazonAbout the book:Unable to depend on her father to heal the crumbling family, Judith is afraid to trust the mysterious neighbor, Ben, who lives with his own grief. In rural Maine in 1918, Judith Chadbourne gives up her teaching job after her […]
    • Summer's Sizzlin' Which of These Do You Want Sittin' Next to Your Glass of Iced Tea?
      Summer's Sizzlin'Scroll through these THREE new reads and vote below for which you'd pick up first to read while sippin' iced tea.It'll be a tough choice! But somebody's gotta do it. May as well be you!Almost Like Being in Love by Beth K. VogtShe’s won an all-expenses-paid, luxurious wedding — all she needs now is the groom! Win […]
    • Featuring the 2016 Laurel Award Winner
      2016LAUREL AWARD WINNER!This year, At First Sight took home Clash of the Titles's sixth annual Laurel Award. Over the course of six weeks, the novel's first chapters were read and judged by avid readers of Christian fiction who determined At First Sight to be the worthiest to receive the 2016 Laurel Award.Clash of the Titles extends a heartfelt con […]
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    • What's With the Jumpsuits?
      I've been shopping for new clothes. Having lost about 40 lbs I'm in desperate need of new clothes. This spring there seems to be a 'new' fashion statement. Jumpsuits and rompers. I can understand pre-toilet trained children wearing these things but adult women? Nope.There's an intrinsic problem with them. They are a pain to go to the […]
    • Something New
      So, Simple Thoughts on Philippians is now available in Kindle and Print formats. It's free for all Kindle Unlimited subscribers and only $2.99 for Kindle purchase and $6.99 for print. I get about the same royalty for either type of purchase so I'd recommend the Kindle version. It's cheaper. Please remember to post a review once you've rea […]
    • Good News and Bad News
      So, in my life there is good news and bad news. The good news is that Simple Thoughts on Philippians is available on Amazon in Kindle and print format. I will be formatting for large print very soon.The Kindle version is $2.99 or if you have Kindle Unlimited it is free to read. The print version is $6.99. As of today, 02/21, it's only available at the C […]
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    • Mystery Review of Carole Brown and Knight in Shining Apron
      I introduced Carole Brown's newest book, the second in the Appleton, West Virginia Romantic Mysteries series here.Print:11.99Ebook: 2.99Buy on AmazonAs promised, here's my review.Hints of an abusive relationship between restauranteur Starli and her late husband are the focus of this romantic intrigue. When first introduced, it seemed Starli had a h […]
    • The Scarlet Cord biblical fiction book review
      The Scarlet CordBy Carlene Havel and Sharon FaucheuxPrism Book Group, September 2014Biblical FictionISBN 978-1940099699Print $13.99Ebook $3.99Buy on Amazon About the Book:Rahab, a resourceful beauty, struggles to survive in the pagan culture of ancient Jericho. As years of harsh labor begin to lift her and her family from poverty, a foreign army threatens th […]
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      *Summer's Sizzlin'Vote for your Fave! Scroll through these THREE new reads and vote below for which you'd pick up first to read while sippin' iced tea.It'll be a tough choice! But somebody's gotta do it. May as well be you!Almost Like Being in Love by Beth K. VogtShe’s won an all-expenses-paid, luxurious wedding — all she needs […]
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    • The Color of the Season by Julianne MacLean
      NOTE:  Due to a serious need to cut back on my workload, this will be my last official book review on this blog.It doesn’t seem possible that the evening can get any worse for police officer Josh Wallace after he is dumped by the girlfriend he planned to propose to, but it does.  Josh and his partner are shot while chasing a carjacking suspect. While on the […]
    • Book Review: Swept Away (Trouble in texas Book 1) by Mary Connealy
      Ruthy MacNeil is rescued by Luke Stone after she nearly drowns fording a flooded river with a wagon train. Her step family doesn’t survive and she is finally free of their mistreatment. Luke surived the horrific ordeal as a prisoner of war in notorious Anderson prison during the civil war, only to learn that his father has been killed and the family ranch st […]
    • Book Review of Everything She Ever Wanted by Ann Rule
      When Pat Taylor wed Tom Allanson he had no way of knowing it would destroy his life in just a matter of weeksIn fact, Pat destroyed a lot of people’s lives. The attractive Southern belle was spoiled by her mother and she expected to live a lavish lifestyle at any cost. Nobody crosses Pat who was fascinated with Scarlett O’Hara. Pat could pour on the charm, b […]

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Posts Tagged ‘historical fiction’

Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour with Elaine Marie Cooper

Posted by elainemcooper on November 12, 2012

Merry Christmas, dear readers! I am thrilled to be a part of the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour, where we promote the books that we hope will bless you.

This blog post will tell you about my Deer Run Saga, a historical romance series that focuses on two generations of a family in New England, beginning in the American Revolution. The first two books in this series have received numerous awards, including the nomination of The Road to Deer Run as Finalist in the 2011 Grace Awards contest. I am delighted and honored to introduce you to my three books:

The Road to Deer Run (Book 1)
British soldier Daniel Lowe has been captured after being wounded at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. He escapes from his captors and hides in the woods to die, only to be rescued by Mary Thomsen, an American farmwoman.

As his festering wound heals, his gratitude to the woman who saved him transforms into love. But as an enemy soldier, he is endangering Mary, as well as her widowed mother and little sister.

As he desperately tries to hide his identity, he is faced with numerous obstacles: exposure by the local Patriots, an attack by a British deserter intent on assaulting Mary; and his worst nemesis, the American soldier who loves Mary and figures out who Daniel really is.

The Road to Deer Run won Honorable Mention in Romance at the 2011 Los Angeles Book Festival, Finalist in Religious Fiction at the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and won Best Romantic Excerpt in the online contest, Clash of the Titles.

What makes The Road to Deer Run perfect for Christmas reading and gifting?
For readers looking for well-researched historical fiction, they should consider this novel filled with romance as well as action and adventure. As the first book of the saga, it sets the scene for the series, which readers repeatedly tell me keeps them up late at night with the intensity of the plot. And the love story amidst the spiritual growth in the characters will draw readers into the tale of Daniel and Mary. A perfect read while cuddling with your Christmas sweetheart—or dreaming of finding a sweetheart under your tree!

The Promise of Deer Run (Book 2)

America’s war for freedom from England has been over for seven years, but the wounds of that conflict still plague the minds and hearts of the residents of Deer Run.

Young American veteran Nathaniel Stearns, suffering from the memories of war that haunt him in the night, has withdrawn to a life of isolation. He still awaits his father who never returned from the war—a mystery that haunts him.

He is brought out of his self-imposed exile by a near-tragedy in the woods that brings him face-to-face with nineteen-year-old Sarah Thomsen, someone he had long admired but he assumed had eyes for another. This chance encounter opens a crack into the door of his heart as mutual affection quickly blooms.

But slander and lies soon mar the budding romance, rendering both Sarah and Nathaniel wounded and untrusting as their faith in both their God and each other is shattered. Set in 1790 and filled with rich detail of the era, this book continues the story of the Thomsen and Lowe families as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of the war that birthed the United States.

The Promise of Deer Run won Best Romance at the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival, and was a Finalist in Religious Fiction for the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year contest.

What makes The Promise of Deer Run perfect for Christmas reading and gifting?
This is the perfect book for anyone that has a loved one that suffers from war-related post-traumatic stress. The healing and spiritual growth that occurs in the characters of Nathaniel and Sarah will bring inspiration to those seeking hope when the world seems dark. And the romance? It will set the heart fluttering! There is a surprise Christmas story in this book as well. Be sure to have your tissues handy.:)

The Legacy of Deer Run (Book 3)

In the year 1800, Danny Lowe makes weapons for the defense of America, still a fledgling nation. He also protects his heart from the allure of Susannah, a young woman who seems so far above his station in life that he cannot win her.

She fights her own war against loneliness and grief. Despite her finery and airs, Susannah is drawn to the young armory worker, who is distant yet disarming.

Love is the not the only entanglement. The nation’s enemies are afoot. They creep within the very walls where America’s defenses are being forged. Who are they? When will they strike? Who will survive their terrorism?

Intrigue of the heart and intrigue of the times are only part of this compelling story. This series finale is a gripping mix of romance and deception, faith and forgiveness, transgression and trial.

Janet Perez Eckles, author of Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta, says, “Each scene and episode sings with heart-tugging emotion, thought-provoking insights and lasting messages of hardship and pain turned to healing, forgiveness and triumph.”

What makes The Legacy of Deer Run perfect for Christmas reading and gifting? This novel focusing on the next generation of the Lowe family is the perfect conclusion for the series. But don’t assume that only romance is found in between these pages. This tale is filled with intrigue and tension, as well as unresolved situations in the Lowe family that lead to unexpected events for the family. This story is filled with forgiveness and redemption when it seems that none can be found. And my readers describe the romance as “sizzling!” I hope that this entire series can find it’s way to your Christmas wish list as you learn so much about the early days of America.

* * * * *

The Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour runs through to December 22nd. Don’t forget to check out all the other authors on the tour. Below is a link telling you who all the authors on the tour are and what dates they will be on their own blog sharing about their novels.

Praying for a blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all my readers!!!

Elaine Marie Cooper is a writer of historical fiction as well as devotions and freelance stories for magazines. You can read one of her devotions in Edie Melson’s Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home. Look for her upcoming historical romance story called “The Tea Set” in I Choose You, a Christmas anthology releasing in Dec. 2012 through OakTara Publishers.

Posted in Author Marketing, History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Author Rita Gerlach’s New Release, “Beside Two Rivers”

Posted by elainemcooper on September 28, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper


Book 2 in the ‘Daughters of the Potomac Series’ published by Abingdon Press, October 2012.
The sequel to Before the Scarlet Dawn.

From the banks of the Potomac to the misty moors of England comes a tale of love won and love lost, and the faith to find it again.

I am delighted to interview my friend and fellow member of Colonial American Christian Writers, Rita Gerlach. This week we are celebrating her latest release, Beside Two Rivers. She has graciously consented to answer a few questions that I believe will offer you a unique glimpse into the mind and heart of a very special author. Welcome, Rita!

Tell us a little about your writing journey.

Since I was old enough to hold a book in my hands, I wanted to tell stories. I first knew I wanted to write novels as a career back in the early 90s. Something sparked within me, something ignited, when my cousin, a famous romance writer, gave me one of her books at a family reunion. I first wrote a novella. I had a lot to learn about the craft and worked at it for several years.

The most significant thing in my journey to publication was learning to be patient and persistent. I had to get to the place where I trusted God implicitly with my work, whatever His plan. I wrote about my journey and the miracle it was the day I contacted Barbara Scott, then acquisitions editor at Abingdon Press. For writers that are struggling and feel discouraged, and for readers who are curious, please read Perseverance, Patience, and Humility under the link ‘For Writers’.

How did you choose your genre?

Beginning in childhood, I would be riveted to old black and white movies when they would come on television. Some of the films that influenced me were Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, Frenchman’s Creek, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, and Jamaica Inn. Later on Masterpiece Theater stirred my passion for historicals with Poldark, and everything Jane Austen. I read all these novels and so the seeds were sown into my heart at an early age. In all these novels I saw faith, but they went deeper into the human heart, into the hardships people faced no matter how high or low they were.

If you could visit one era in history, which one would it be?

Such a hard decision. I would love to visit the Hope Valley, Derbyshire England, during the Regency period. I would also love to see the Potomac River in the Colonial era. It would be amazing to see how it looked in a time when there were not paved roads, cars, airplanes, or trains. However, I think I would find life a little easier in England than in the wilderness of Maryland where life was a fight for survival.

Who would you say has been the most influential in your writing and why?

Authors that have influenced me are Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Winston Graham, and American novelist Mary Johnston. For some, their writing is old fashioned. That’s what I love about their books. Their stories have ‘meat on the bones’ and go deep into the hearts of their characters.

How has your faith influenced your writing?

I came to the conclusion a few years ago that I had to put my writing career into God’s hands and accept whatever plan He had for my life. It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had roadblocks along the way. Rejection is one thing writers have to grow a tough skin against, and we all know how rejection can discourage and immobilize people. I finally came to the place where I looked at rejections as stepping stones leading to the right door. I am thankful, oh so thankful, for what God has done for me, including the doors that closed. I tell people, no matter what their calling in life is, let go and let God. That way you will be at peace, and when rejections come you’ll take a step forward, not backward.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I hope readers will enjoy this series, and find a little respite in them from our crazy world. I would like them to know that the series is more like a trilogy.

I’ve been asked to categorize my fiction. My books are not formula romances. They are what I like to call Inspirational Historical Dramas. You will find romance, but you will also find stories about relationships between people, stories about forgiveness, redemption, faith, and loyalty. Each character has good points, but they are also flawed human beings that make mistakes and fall hard, and at some point struggle through the adversity, dust themselves off and move on.

While writing the Daughters of the Potomac Series, I realized forgiving and being forgiven can change lives for the better, and how much harm can come out of a heart that refuses to forgive. There are so many people walking around today with that weight on their shoulders. Perhaps someone reading this interview has this burden. My prayer for them is that they cast it upon Him that is able to carry it.

Thank you, Rita! You are a blessing and an awesome writer!

What are reviewers saying about Beside Two Rivers?

Beside Two Rivers is much more than the sequel to Rita Gerlach’s popular Before the Scarlet Dawn. It’s the heart-rending story of true love threatened by secrets and deceit, of family torn apart by tragedy, and most of all, of the redeeming power of love and faith. Filled with vivid descriptions of life along the Potomac and rural England during the late 18th century, this is a story that will linger in readers’ memories.” – Amanda Cabot, author of Summer of Promise and Christmas Roses

Beside Two Rivers stirred me like no other book has. Rita Gerlach has an epic style to her writing that is guaranteed to sweep you away to another place and time. With a deeply emotional storyline, characters of uncommon depth, heart-throbbing romance, and the boundless love of family lost and regained, this is truly a magnificent novel!” – MaryLu Tyndall, author of the Surrender to Destiny Series and Veil of Pearls

“What do you get when you combine authentic history, picturesque settings, dynamic characters and a feels-like-you’re-there storyline? You get a Rita Gerlach novel, and in Beside Two Rivers, book two in her Daughters of the Potomac series, she delivers all that and more. My advice to readers: Make room for this one on your “keepers shelf.” My advice to Rita: save space on your “awards wall,” because this tale is sure to earn a bunch!” – Loree Lough, best-selling author of more than 85 award-winning books, including Honor Redeemed, book two in the First Responders series

Author Bio

Rita Gerlach writes inspirational historical fiction with a romantic bent, with unique settings in both America and England. She lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland.

Beginning February 1, 2012, her series ‘Daughters of the Potomac’ was released. Titles are:

Before the Scarlet Dawn

Beside Two Rivers

Beyond the Valley

Her other titles are,

Surrender the Wind

The Rebel’s Pledge

Thorns In Eden & The Everlasting Mountains (to be reissued ~ Spring 2013)


Barnes & Noble:

Christianbooks :

In buy books 1 & 2 in a set.

Side Note: Book 3 in the series, ‘Beyond the Valley’, will be released February, 2013, and is available for preorder.

Rita’s Website:

Posted in Author Spotlight, History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The Sunday Book Review with guest Teena Stewart

Posted by Lisa Lickel on April 29, 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell is set in colonial times just prior to the revolutionary war. Hannah Sunderland is a good Quaker girl who adheres to the strict Quaker values of simplicity and pacifism. But it’s getting harder and harder to be impassive as the British soldiers take what they want from the Colonials, often mistreating them and holding over them an air of superiority with no regard for their well being.   When her brother ends up jailed after standing up for an injustice and then joining the colonial cause, she chooses to disregard her parent’s command not to visit him. The conditions of the jail and prisoners is horrific. They are without food, water or warm clothing or blankets and the officials who oversee the jail are corrupt.

Hannah ends up collaborating with Jeremiah Jones, a Colonial spy, who was disabled when he lost an arm during battle at Devil’s hole.  Bitter and stand offish Jeremiah is the owner of a local tavern. He’s the last person Hannah could possibly relate to. But when Jeremiah needs to get important messages to the prisoners in the jail who are planning an escape and Hannah needs a pass to get in, they must come to rely on each other.

As the story progresses Hannah comes to question the rigid rules of her own faith and develops a tenderness toward Jeremiah who has been ostracized partially due to his injury. At the heart of this story is the question, “Is following rules and regulations set by religion the right thing to do especially when they cause us to disregard important commands by Christ to care for the poor, hungry and needy. It also asks the question as to whether being a pacifist is the right thing when great wrongs are being done to humanity.

I felt that at times the story bounces back and forth between Jeremiah and Hannah without much action taking place. There are many visits to the jail but almost the same thing happening each time. I also felt that the chemistry between the two characters could have been a bit stronger. However, the overall story is good and based on true accounts, according to Mitchell. I don’t want to ruin it by giving away all the secrets.

♦♦♦ I give this book a rating of 3 out of 5 reflections.

ISBN: 978-0764207969

April, 2012, Bethany House

$14.99 print

Teena Stewart is a published author, an accomplished artist, and an experienced ministry leader.   Her newest book (Working Title) Mothers and Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship is due out via Beacon Hill in summer 2012.   Teena is a contributing writer to DreamBuilder’s Ministry in Motion and has served in ministry leadership for years. Currently, she and her husband Jeff are the key visionaries and managers of Java Journey an innovative market place ministry in Hickory, North Carolina (

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Sunday Book Review: Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato

Posted by elainemcooper on April 22, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Captain Brogan Talvis, veteran of the War of 1812, returns home to search for his son. Before he had gone to war, his spiteful wife sent his child away, breaking the devoted father’s heart. Now that his wife has died during his absence at sea, all he can focus on is finding his son and becoming the parent that he longs to be.

Returning to the mainland, his search takes him to the family of Nathaniel Huntley, a wealthy ship builder, whose daughter Lorena has become the boy’s adopted mother. Brogan devises a plan to obtain a new ship from Huntley. At the same time, the war veteran plots to abduct his child that is his only living relation.

But Brogan has not taken into account the love the surrogate mother and the now five-year-old have for each other. Nor does the desperate captain realize the attraction that he would feel for Lorena. Could he consider the consequences of breaking her heart as well as his son’s, while satisfying his own desire to get his son back?

An unexpected turn of events forces him to reconsider his quest when Lorena is in danger and Mr. Huntley begs him for help. Brogan must decide if he will help the very man standing in the way of reuniting with his precious son.

Reading Prize of My Heart was an uplifting spiritual journey of a man tormented by his past. A victim of childhood abuse and of destitution, Talvis has risen to the rank of a successful captain of his own ship. But the nightmares of his youthful traumas continue to haunt him. They drive him to reclaim his only child that he fears could suffer his own painful upbringing if he leaves him in someone else’s hands.

Talvis is a man consumed with both fear and yet faithfulness to those that he loves. But in the end, it is his realization of God’s love for him that becomes his source of healing and fulfillment.

Author Lisa Norato’s research is impeccable and the romance sweet.

A satisfying read for lovers of historical romance with a strong thread of faith woven throughout.

I give Prize of My Heart: 4 Reflections

Author Bio

Lisa Norato first discovered a love of writing when assigned to write and illustrate a children’s book at the art college she attended. She also enjoys walks with her Yorkie-poo, the New England seacoast and changing seasons, good friends, Italian food, historical dramas, and British comedy. A lifelong New Englander, Lisa lives in a historic village with homes and churches dating as far back as the eighteenth century. Currently she works as a legal assistant in the corporate department of a Rhode Island law firm. Lisa is also a member of Colonial American Christian Writers.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Book Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Sunday Book Review: Daughter of Liberty by J.M. Hochstetler

Posted by elainemcooper on April 1, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

As a lover of historical inspirational romance, Daughter of Liberty held me captive with its charming characters and daring adventures. And as a lover of the history of the American Revolution, this same book thoroughly swept me away. The author, J. M. Hochstetler, is an expert in every detail of the era. She describes in depth the events leading up to the start of the Revolution and she well portrayed the pain of families and friends divided in their loyalties between following the laws of the King of England vs. the outcry of the Patriots demanding freedom from oppression.

It is a heart-rending time as seen through the eyes of a young Patriot woman acting as a spy for the rebel cause. In her intrigue, she is suddenly caught in a personal dilemma she had never anticipated: Being attracted to a British officer who thinks she is loyal to England. Events begin to spin out of control—as do the young woman’s emotions—as she is torn between betraying the British and betraying her heart.

The characters are endearing and realistic, but it is the events of the era that take center stage in this highly dramatic novel that will leave you turning each page with anticipation.

Looking forward to the sequel (Native Son which re-releases May 1, 2012)

(Daughter of Liberty is Book 1 in The American Patriot Series)

I give Daughter of Liberty: 5 out of 5 Reflections

An award-winning author and editor, J. M. Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers, a graduate of Indiana University, and a lifelong student of history. She is the author of the critically acclaimed American Patriot Series set during the American Revolution. Her contemporary novel One Holy Night was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year and finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Carol Award. She lives with her husband in the Nashville, Tennessee, area.;

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The Sunday Book Review, debut author Nancy Herriman’s The Irish Healer

Posted by Lisa Lickel on March 25, 2012

The Irish Healer by Nancy Herriman

 c. April 3, 2012

available for pre-order

Worthy Publishing

Historical Fiction

ISBN: 9781936034789


Although a debut novel, Herriman has racked up impressive recognition several years prior to publication, including the Daphne du Maurier award for best unpublished mystery/romantic suspense and runner up in the ACFW Genesis contest.

Rachel Dunne is a healer like her mother; in Ireland in the year of our Lord 1830, that often means hand-holding and praying as much as herbal remedies, light, air, and cleanliness. When Rachel stands trial for murder upon a child’s death, even acquittal won’t save her or her family’s reputation. Her escape to London is aided by a well-meaning cousin who vouches for her temporary position helping inventory a doctor’s home library. Being Irish, poor but refined, and lack of educational credentials limits Rachel’s choices of occupation. While she has vowed never to use her healing knowledge again, she is duty-bound to help the other household servants with their slight injuries and complaints – and the doctor when he faces an emergency situation.

The doctor, James Edmunds, is packing his home for a move out of London and the doctoring business. Struggling with a lifelong inability to please his father or his late wife, James lets the loss of any patient steal more of his soul. When his father dies, he is obligated to retire to the family estate. Doing a favor for a family friend by hiring her Irish cousin to help catalog his library seems a humane thing to do. He never counted on losing his heart in the process, or facing down his sister-in-law who maintains a powerful hold on him and his future.

A cholera epidemic showcases the worst side of life in the slums, doctors and townsfolk alike with little pity or remorse, the hospitals of death, and the horrific disease that has no mercy on the healthy, wealthy, or any age. Rachel and James face many challenges, the least of which is their growing admiration and love. Both struggle to regain a once-beloved faith in the Great Physician, mend the effects of their pride, and make the right decisions to help their families.

Told with faithful period detail, the author never goes overboard in description. Rachel is torn in so many directions and given a heart that cannot help but reach out to those in distress, no matter how much they malign her. James is a man of dignity in a social class for which he has little use and a gift for medicine he cannot deny. Herriman never hides the ugliness of the era in living condition or morals, yet allows the beauty of human kindness to shine. Each character is fresh in voice; each setting well-laid; each scene a new and important piece of the puzzle. Those who enjoy period medical-laced historical romances will find much to love about this new author and her debut novel. An advanced reader copy was provided by Title Trakk for review.

♦♦♦♦ Reflections

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Humbling Thing Happened…

Posted by elainemcooper on March 9, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

The notorious "Stinky Sweater"

I love to find humor in odd places and situations—such as, winning an award and traveling to receive it.

All packed and ready for my trip to Los Angeles to receive Best Romance award for my novel The Promise of Deer Run at the LA Book Festival, my wardrobe only lacked one item: My favorite cotton purple sweater. Now there’s a smart thing to wear in much-warmer Southern California. No problem—except I had left the sweater at a radio station where I had been interviewed months before.

Arranging for hubby to pick up the sweater the night before I left on his way home from work, I gratefully grabbed my garment and took a quick look. Appeared to be nice and clean. What I had forgotten was that my husband had taken the dog to the groomer in his car a few weeks prior. Apparently our Corgi was, shall we say, odorific.

Everything went pretty well, until I reached my connection in Minneapolis. Rushing from one end of the airport to another to catch my next flight, I sank gratefully into the chair, warmed all over by the quick pace. Suddenly I smelled something.

Did I forget my deodorant? I panicked. A quick run to the restroom assured me I had not. But a sniff test on the purple sweater told me the source. It stunk like a dog.

Doing my best to decrease my body heat—the warmer I was, the more it smelled—I smothered scented hand cream on my hands and arms.

Maybe that will cover it up.

It was time to board and the smiling airline rep that took my boarding pass heard a special sound on her machine. “Oh! You’ve been upgraded to First Class,” she said in her most cheerful voice.

Great. Now I get to stink up first class. “Thanks,” I replied, praying her nose might be temporarily plugged up.

Skulking down the ramp toward my jet, I devised a plan. I would take off the outer sweater and stash it. Seeing my poor row partner already seated I smiled and very carefully removed my outer sweater. Did I imagine it or was he plastered as far to the side as was possible without climbing out the six-inch by nine-inch window?

As I removed the sweater, I realized I now had another problem. My turtleneck was far shorter than I desired. If it slid up an inch or so, my residual “muffin” of fat above my jeans—still clinging to life even after a month on the elliptical—would likely frighten to death this First Class bunch on their way to Liposuction Land.

Oh well. It’s easier to close one’s eyes than one’s nose.

I sighed. I figured at least I knew revival skills from my nursing days if anyone passed out.

Finally arriving in Southern California, I made arrangements with my daughter-in-law to wash my sweater “forthwith” as they would say in Colonial America.

But this was not the end of humility. Finally arriving at the award ceremony in Hollywood on Saturday evening, I was handed the program listing all the winners, runners up, and honorable mentions. Although my book won first place, it was listed in the program as “Runner Up.” I suddenly felt like the Miss America second best that was hoping for the crown, but saw it placed on someone else’s head. Sigh.

I approached the event coordinator and pointed out the error. He assured me he would set it straight during the announcement—which he did. And the award itself said, “Winner.”

I had to laugh. I felt God poking me in the ribs ever so gently with His humorous touch, reminding me of my place in this universe.

* * *

My favorite “humility story” since receiving this honor was a conversation with my elderly, hard-of-hearing Mom on the phone the day after the announcement. It went something like this:

Me: Mom, I won first place for my book, The Promise of Deer Run! I get to go to LA!
Mom: Which book?
Me: The Promise of Deer Run
Mom: The second one?
Me: Yes!
Mom: And you won third place? That’s great.
Me: No, Mom, I won First Place.
Mom: You won third place. Well that is pretty good!

SIGH Nothing like a mom to keep one humble!

* * *

But the best part is knowing that third place or first place or NO place, what is important in life is not the awards given to us, but the people that we love who are there for us, no matter the kudos from others. They are always rooting for us. These treasured folks are what makes life worthwhile. And I am the most grateful for these precious loved ones in my life.

They’ll even love me in a stinky sweater.:-)

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The Sunday Book Review: Medieval Fairy Tale

Posted by Lisa Lickel on January 22, 2012

The Merchant’s Daughter

By Melanie Dickerson

ISBN: 9780310727613

c. November 2011


Genre: YA


Who’s right, who’s wrong, the good guys and the bad guys jumble together like bees and honey.

A new lord has taken over the quaint English village, and the old ways of bribery and favoritism have come to an end. Where the old lord visited seldom and looked the other way, leaving the rude Bailiff Tom to run things, the new lord has come to stay.

More’s the pity for the Chapman family—widow of the merchant of the title, privileged sons and monkish daughter, who can no longer pay the fee for shirking their field duties. When the Widow Chapman is ordered to pay the fine or give service to the Lord for three years, and daughter Annabel refuses to marry the repulsive Bailiff Tom, the family is in a spot. Annabel is determined to sacrifice herself she leaves home early one morning to offer herself to the new lord, Ranulf le Wyse, son of the old lord, who is rumored to be scarred and bestial, hoping that he will grant her deepest desire afterward.

Annabel receives a surprisingly warm welcome from the sweet household manager, but an equally gruff one from the lord. Put to work immediately, Annabel proves her delicacy in hard labor but handiness about the house when the manager takes Annabel in hand. Having to share dorm quarters with the rest of the female servants, Annabel learns all kinds of whispers and secrets from the girls, some of whom find the new lord an object of desire. Since Annabel has longed to enter a convent and there put to use her unusual habit of reading and writing, she is distressed at the conversation. A midnight revelation of her lord’s pain and an accidental discovery of his secret talent both confuse her and move her to pity.

Lord Ranulf keeps his dark secrets while his castle is under construction. The new village girl, Annabel, only seems to bring out his worst side. All women are liars and cheats, especially the beautiful ones. So why is his heart drawn to this girl? When he learns of her special gifts, and her desires, he softens further.

The thwarted Bailiff Tom leads a revolt which forces both villagers, vassals, and people of faith to choose sides. Will they support their new lord or return to their old ways?

Dickerson spins another sweetly romantic fairy tale with chilling, sweet, dynamic characters and lovely true historical fact, for which I am everlastingly grateful. Readers of medieval historical fiction will find much to love and savor in this book.

Although this book is coded for Young Adult readers, I recommend parental supervision for even mature middle and high school readers due to period-appropriate adult content and criminal behavior.

♦♦♦♦◊ Reflections

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Sunday Book Review: The Chamomile by Susan F. Craft

Posted by elainemcooper on January 15, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

Where do I begin? I loved The Chamomile so much that it will likely be on my favorite list for all of my 2012 novel reading.

From the first chapter, I was totally caught up in the characters and their precarious situation as Patriots in British-occupied South Carolina in 1780. Author Susan Craft artfully wove an intense and realistic story filled with situations that left you breathless and characters that captured your heart. It takes an extremely well written story to move me to tears and I had to grab my tissues more than once.

Throughout the novel is a strong theme of trusting God in the midst of terrible circumstances. The maturing of faith in the characters is inspiring. And each character, whether major or minor, was so well portrayed that I felt I knew them.

Not only was this novel well written but the historical detail was enlightening and enriching. It was obvious that Ms. Craft spent years on her skillful research. She painted a picture of Colonial America that is still playing like a movie in my mind.

Even if you usually don’t read historical fiction, I would still highly recommend this read. You will truly not want to put it down. I can only pray that Ms. Craft has a sequel in the works.

I give The Chamomile: 5 out of 5 Reflections

Back Cover: Lilyan joins Patriot spies in British-occupied Charlestown, SC, to rescue her brother from a notorious prison ship. She’ll lie, steal, kill, or be killed she promises Nicholas Xanthakos, a scout with Francis Marion’s partisans, who leads the mission. In Nicholas’ arms she discovers enduring love…a home. But that home is a long-time coming. Her journey requires she save the life of one British officer but kill another to protect her Cherokee friend, Elizabeth. In escaping bounty hunters, she treks miles of wilderness and very nearly loses everything before finally reuniting with her true love.

About the Author: After retiring from a 30-year career as a writer for public television and as a communications assistant director, Susan F. Craft worked six years for the University of South Carolina and currently works for the South Carolina Senate. She hosts a website on American history.

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Sunday Book Review: Warring Spirits by April Gardner

Posted by elainemcooper on December 4, 2011

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

The year is 1816 in the vast, unsettled, southern United States. Slavery is a way of life in the South and many of the Africans held in bondage on plantations have escaped below the border to a place called Negro Fort—their first taste of freedom from their masters. But the United States Army has been assigned to destroy the fort and recapture the slaves. It is here during this difficult military assignment that Major Phillip Bailey is forced to confront the painful memories of a previous war that have left him scarred both physically and emotionally. But his struggles extend to the war waging in his heart for love, as well as his growing conviction that slavery is an unjust web that entangles his military duty with his sense of morality.

This stirring sequel to Wounded Spirits leads the reader to the rugged landscape of 19th century Georgia, and follows again the lives and loves of Adela, Phillip, Totka and others as they struggle not just to survive, but find their place in a world of racial prejudice and alliances between nations that are as fragile and changing as the seasons. This gripping tale by April W. Gardner helps you fully understand the impact of that harsh time on the people in that era. Warring Spirits is an exciting and heart-wrenching story of hope, mercy, and love in a world of seeming despair. Wonderful historical fiction with an inspiring element of faith!

I give Warring Spirits: 5 Reflections out of 5

Summary of Warring Spirits:

In 1816 Georgia, escaped slaves control the land just beyond the American border in Las Floridas. Lost somewhere between white and black worlds, Milly follows hope to the only place that can offer her refuge—the place Georgians are calling Negro Fort. The first, sweet taste of freedom convinces Milly that surrender is not an option. Death would be more welcome.
Major Phillip Bailey has orders to subdue the uprising and return the runaways to their masters. Forced to fight alongside Creek warriors—the same who etched the scars into his mind and flesh—Phillip primes himself for battle. But inside, a war already rages—return for the woman he thought lost to him or concede her to the enemy she loves; follow orders or follow his heart.

Author Bio:

April W Gardner resides in Georgia with her USAF husband and two sweet kiddos. She is the author of the historical romance series, the Creek Country Saga (Warring Spirits, Wounded Spirits), as well as the children’s adventure series, the Channel Islands Resistance. She is the founder and senior editor of the fun literary website, Clash of the Titles ( In her free time, April enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

Warring Spirits is currently available in paperback at Amazon

Wounded Spirits is currently available on Kindle for $1.99

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