Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon Jr., and Cindy Kelley (Mercy Medallion #1)

landon_jr_tracesFrom the director and screenwriters who brought Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly to life comes this exciting, original series set in Reconstruction-era St. Louis. Christened “Mercy” after the medallion she was found wearing, a young woman awakens from a bad accident with no memory of her true name or her past, only a yearning to discover the truth. Mercy begins to build a new life for herself as a local bachelor pursues her. Mercy is hesitant to commit lest any dark secrets emerge from a past she’s forgotten. A chance encounter with a stranger from her old life now threatens to unravel all of her dreams.

More than a name, mercy is the underlying theme, with examples of times when we show kindness to those in need to the rarer occasions when we must show mercy to our enemies. Mother Helena is a wonderful Christ-like example in the book. Her wisdom and daily reliance on God are a costly perfume that permeates the lives of those around her and provides an absentee parental role in Mercy’s life. Anyone who loves Christian fiction, westerns or a post-Civil War historical read will enjoy this new book from writing team Landon and Kelley.

This review first appeared in the November 2013 issue of Historical Novel Review. I was provided with a copy of this book for the purposes of a review.

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Anything But Civil by Anna Loan-Wilsey (Hattie Davish Mystery #2)

loan-wilsey_anythingThirty years have passed since the Civil War erupted, and feelings still run deep in the town of Galena, Illinois, where Hattie Davish, a traveling secretary, is assisting Sir Arthur Windom-Greene, her wealthy employer, in the research of a biography. General Cornelius Starrett is the subject, and his quiet Christmas is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of his son, Henry. Henry stirs up long-buried memories of the war, and when he’s found dead, Hattie’s budding Pinkerton-like traits are put to work to uncover the killer. Readers of A Lack of Temperance will appreciate callbacks to Hattie’s previous adventures in Eureka Springs and the reappearance of Dr. Walter Grice. Like the men in Hattie’s life, the reader will find her keen intelligence insightful and her naiveté endearing. Hattie has a plethora of colorful suspects to consider before Christmas Eve, making this a perfectly cozy murder mystery read, just in time for the holidays.

This review first appeared in the November 2013 issue of Historical Novel Review. I was provided with a copy of this book for the purposes of a review.

A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano (Ladies of Distinction #1)

turano_fortuneThis week I’m looking at debut novelist Jen Turano’s A Change of Fortune, the first book in her “Ladies of Distinction” series. This title was originally released last November by Bethany House and although I received a pre-release copy, it’s been sitting around for FAR too long, waiting to be read and reviewed (ahem).

This is a book you go into knowing nothing seriously bad is going to happen to your hero. Sure, there will be the embarrassing slapstick moments that offer a chuckle, the awkward verbal moments, but overall you know exactly where this story is going from about page 15 (I double-checked!). So why pick this up? Because it’s fun in a ‘wholesome, flirty, girls in over their head have to get rescued’ kind of way. In that sense, Turano achieves what she promises, a ‘rollicking historical romance’. You will be amused by the disguises, law-breaking, prodding and orchestrating to bring Lady Eliza together with her own hero.

Turano leaves plenty of room for future romances to bloom in the sequel.  The book also features discussion questions which could be great if you are part of a book club. This breezy 200-page novel is light-hearted enough to be a fun beach read and thin enough to pack in your beach bag.

What did you think of this read? Grab a cuppa and let’s chat!