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Apr 7, 2013


The Sunday   
Visit Svea's blog at The Muse in The Fog Book Review to start linking up your Sunday posts; Suddenly Sunday is a weekly event hosted by Svea whose purpose is to share all the exciting events that have occurred on your blog throughout the week.

WHAT a MONTH March was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you March for finally leaving this universe, till we meet again, you wicked one...(I'll have a year to prepare for you, so watch out!)
Oliver and Morgan, Baptism + Communion weekend

But, I did have a bit of triumph as March got washed away with our rains on Easter.. my kiddos are officially  ready for Jesus as they were both baptized on Saturday night's Easter Vigil and my daughter also received her first Holy Communion on Easter Sunday. It was a fabulous weekend minus the downpour and the flooded living room.

Now, WHERE'S SPRING?!?! As you can tell from the morning of Easter picture above, here in Texas it's not exactly always sunny and bright. That makes me grumpy. But even though it was a soggy mess later on, the sun did shine bright when we got home from the services.

Myself and Morgan

I have not been able to read as much of my historical novels as I would normally have, since I have been diligently preparing my family for that weekend of hope and faith, but I am now looking forward to a bit of normalcy in my reading schedule. The Plaidy Goodreads group is planning to read The Bastard King (book 1 in the Norman Trilogy) and you are welcome to join us. The start date is May 1 so you  have plenty of time to find a copy from a used book source online.

Mailbox Monday is a meme originally from Marcia's Mailbox and is being hosted by Mari @ MariReads for this month. The Story Siren also hosts IMM, so we can find some cool YA titles there as well.

In the Mail:

Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd
A masterpiece that is breathtaking in its scope, SARUM is an epic novel that traces the entire turbulent course of English history. This rich tapesty weaves a compelling saga of five families who preserve their own particular characteristics over the centuries, and offer a fascinating glimpse into the future.

The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd
A sprawling tome that combines fact with fiction and covers 900 years in the history of New Forest, a 100,000-acre woodland in southern England . . . Rutherfurd sketches the histories of six fictional families, ranging from aristocrats to peasants, who have lived in the forest for generations. . . . But the real success is in how Rutherfurd paints his picture of the wooded enclave with images of treachery and violence, as well as magic and beauty.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man's devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt a passionate man with his own dark secrets has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways. (I still haven't decided if I want to take this path, but we'll see if I am in the mood for a creepy novel).

And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander
From gifted new writer Tasha Alexander comes a stunning novel of historical suspense set in Victorian England, meticulously researched and with a twisty plot that involves stolen antiquities, betrayal, and murder. For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to escape her overbearing mother, who was set on a grand society match. So when Emily's dashing husband died on safari soon after their wedding, she felt little grief. After all, she barely knew him. Now, nearly two years later, she discovers that Philip was a far different man from the one she had married so cavalierly. His journals reveal him to have been a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector who, to her surprise, was deeply in love with his wife. Emily becomes fascinated with this new image of her dead husband and she immerses herself in all things ancient and begins to study Greek. Emily's intellectual pursuits and her desire to learn more about Philip take her to the quiet corridors of the British Museum, one of her husband's favorite places. There, amid priceless ancient statues, she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret involving stolen artifacts from the Greco-Roman galleries. And to complicate matters, she's juggling two very prominent and wealthy suitors, one of whose intentions may go beyond the marrying kind. As she sets out to solve the crime, her search leads to more surprises about Philip and causes her to question the role in Victorian society to which she, as a woman, is relegated.

Lady's Maid by Margaret Forster
Young and timid but full of sturdy good sense and awakening sophistication, Lily Wilson arrives in London in 1844, becoming a lady’s maid to the fragile, housebound Elizabeth Barrett. Lily is quickly drawn to her mistress’s gaiety and sharp intelligence, the power of her poetry, and her deep emotional need. It is a strange intimacy that will last sixteen years.
It is Lily who smuggles Miss Barrett out of the gloomy Wimpole Street house, witnesses her secret wedding to Robert Browning in an empty church, and flees with them to threadbare lodgings and the heat, light, and colors of Italy. As housekeeper, nursemaid, companion, and confidante, Lily is with Elizabeth in every crisis–birth, bereavement, travel, literary triumph. As her devotion turns almost to obsession, Lily forgets her own fleeting loneliness. But when Lily’s own affairs take a dramatic turn, she comes to expect the loyalty from Elizabeth that she herself has always given

Blood and Silk by Carol McKay (isn't it odd that I have had two Mary Magdalene books two weeks in a row?)
Blood and Silk: The Hidden Love Story of Mary of Magdala and Jesus of Nazareth is author Carol McKay's gift to everyone fascinated by the life of Mary of Magdala-Mary Magdalene-and her often misunderstood relationship to Jesus of Nazareth. In this beautifully crafted historical novel, the reader is guided through a time rich with art and architecture, and fraught with change and controversy. Mary's narration introduces us to first-century Judea, when the atmosphere crackled with fear, and determination of friend or foe was often difficult, if not impossible. As much as theologians paint the story about Mary and Jesus as straightforward and even simple in nature, the author reminds us that theirs was a love weighed down and complicated by the politics of the day. The story of Mary, and then Mary and Jesus, is intricate and often as perilous as the times in which they lived. Founded on historical accuracy and an eye for a well-told story, this is a novel that will fascinate and delight.

For Review:
The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd (reading this now! I'm almost done so it's fantastic stuff!)

Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?
Darbury, England, 1814
Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.
Tragedy strikes when the child vanishes with little more than a sketchy ransom note hinting to her whereabouts. Fear for the child’s safety drives Amelia and Graham to test the boundaries of their love for this infant.
Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.
Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.
Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them.

Duchess (Daughters of Fortune Book #3) by Susan May Warren (It was this series that got me started on Christian Historical fiction!)

The golden age of Hollywood is in the business of creating stars. Rosie Worth, now starlet Roxy Price, has found everything she’s wanted in the glamour of the silver screen. With adoring fans and a studio-mogul husband, she’s finally silenced the voices—and grief—of the past. Her future shines bright…until the fated Black Friday when it all comes crashing down. When Roxy loses everything, she finds herself disgraced and penniless. Her only hope is to join forces with Belgian duke Rolfe Van Horne, a longtime film investor. But Rolfe is not who he seems, and he has other plans for Roxy and her movies—plans to support a growing unrest in Europe, plans that could break her heart and endanger her life.
When her country needs her, will she have the courage to surrender her glittering world and her one true love?

Featured eBook Download:

Set Sail My Heart: A Novella by Colleen Coble
Miranda Leyton has just been dismissed as governess by an unreasonable mistress when she receives an amazing letter from her brother containing money for her passage to Australia. There’s also a cryptic message about being careful with some documents he’s sent. The gruff ship’s doctor Philip Jackson gets her back up immediately, but when he asks for help in the infirmary, she agrees. When a wealthy gentleman begins to show his interest in Miranda, she’s flattered, but she finds herself watching the doctor more than she intends. But which man actually sees and cares about the real woman? And which one is after the precious treasure she carries?

The What Are You Reading meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This past week I finished A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund, it was the perfect read during a busy time for me as it really helped de-stress me. Read the review here.

Then I picked up Duchess (shown at top with the mailbox goodies) by Susan May Warren... and as expected, I devoured that one. I am sad the series is coming to an end actually, but I'm glad I've kept these books so I can reread them later. The series is perfect for a bit of a fun soap-opera type novel, with great historical settings. My review is coming in a few weeks for Duchess! This author has many contemporary novels out, and I wonder if I should take the plunge. If you've read any Susan May Warren books, I'd love for you to tell me where to start!

Shown above is The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd and I started that when I was done with Duchess, it is one of those stories full of page turning dilemmas that made me stay up too late last night reading. What a fantastic debut novel it is! It also makes me rethink my opinion that I should have been born in the Regency era -- women do not get to have a lot of say in the matter of their lives

I also started reading One Perfect Life by John MacArthur, and even though it is not exactly what I expected I am still enjoying it now that I've gotten used to the format. It blends biblical text to create a focused look on the life of Jesus's ministry.

I am also still reading for the readalong on Goodreads, The Miracle at St. Bruno's by Philippa Carr. If I didn't have other review reads to complete first, I would have been long done with this one. It reads so well, I love the writing style. And it has a great gothicky feel even though it's set against the horrors of Henry VIII's hang 'em all reign. This is book one of TWENTY... not sure how far we'll take this read along, lol!

I really want to sneak in Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman, so it'll be that one and then probably start on my first Mary Connealy book, Swept Away:

Laughter, Romance, and Action Abound in This New Series from Mary Connealy 

Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't all that upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. She prayed for a chance to get away, and then came the raging flood. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.
Luke is heading home to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men who killed his father are working hard to ensure Luke doesn't make it alive. He has no choice but to keep moving. Still, he can't just abandon Ruthy, so she'll have to come along.
His friends--a ragtag group of former Civil War soldiers--take a fast interest in the pretty gal. Luke thinks that's rather rude--he's the one who found her. And the more time he spends around the hard-working young woman who is a mighty good cook, the more he finds himself thinking beyond revenge and toward a different future. For the first time in a long time, Luke is tempted to turn from his destructive path and be swept away by love.

Hope your April reads are good ones and that Spring is really coming in your neck of the woods!