Sunday, January 13, 2013

Through Rushing Water

Summary: When the life she planned for herself is snatched away, Sophia's eyes open to the life God has planned for her.

Sophia Makinoff is sure that 1876 is the year she's going to become the wife of an up-and-coming congressman. But when the congressman humiliates her by proposing to her mousy roommate,
Sophia wants nothing more than to disappear and avoid the wedding plans. She grasps at her first opportunity for escape and signs up for the Board of Foreign Missions.

She thinks she'll be going to China . . . but even running away doesn't go as planned when she's instead sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the Dakota Territory. It's an abysmal, primitive place for a lady of society, but as she gets to know the people, she discovers she can't abandon them. The motives that led her there were anything but pure, but she finds a new purpose in trying to protect "the least of these."

The water rushes around her—literally and figuratively—as Sophia learns that the only way to fulfill her purpose is to ignore the distractions and focus on God's leading.

My take:

One of the things I enjoyed so much about this book was how easy it was to relate to the charachters. Sophia starts off a little proud and overly sure of herself and what her life will hold. Working with the Indians makes her feel . . . small and insignificant. She sees so much need and doesn't know how she can make a dent in the problems.

Many of us can relate to these feelings. Ignoring the rushing water is a concept I hope I never forget.

The conditions for the Indians made my heart break. The fascinating thing was how positive they were most of the time -- and how grateful for every small thing they were given. Instead of sitting around and complaining, they worked to try and make their situation better, take care of each other, and preserve their culture while still learning new things to better cope in their changed world.

This was a very inspirational book and I want to thank the publisher for providing my copy. It in no way influenced my review.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

All Things New

Sorry, I couldn't get the picture to load for some reason - but I can still post the summary and review.


In the aftermath of the Civil War, Josephine Weatherly and her mother, Eugenia, struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives when they return to their Virginia plantation. But the bitter realities of life after the war cannot be denied: their home and land are but shells of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken. The privileged childhood Josephine enjoyed now seems like a long-ago dream. And the God who failed to answer any of her prayers during the war is lost to her as well.

Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival--and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine's mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak... but a bitter hatred fuels her.

With skill and emotion, Lynn Austin brings to life the difficult years of the Reconstruction era by interweaving the stories of three women--daughter, mother, and freed slave--in a riveting tale.

My Take:

I'm a huge fan of Lynn Austin - and normally a book by her automatically makes my favorites list. This one should get 3 1/2 stars. I just didn't connect as much with the characters with this one.

Usually I feel immersed into the setting and feel like I'm almost part of the story. This time I felt at a distance from what was happening.

That doesn't mean this is a bad book. It has a touching story revealing the struggles of the South after the Civil War. Sometimes it was difficult to read what the people thought of their ex-slaves and how they were treated.

I want to thank Bethany House for providing my copy. It did not influence my review.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013



What if it were possible to live two very different lives in two separate worlds? What if the dreams we awaken from are the fading memories of that second life? What if one day we woke up in the wrong world?

Every night, a woman on a black warhorse gallops through the mist in Chris Redston's dreams. Every night, she begs him not to come to her. Every night, she aims her rifle at his head and fires. The last thing Chris expects—or wants—is for this nightmare to be real. But when he wakes up in the world of his dreams, he has to choose between the likelihood that he’s gone spectacularly bonkers or the possibility that he’s just been let in on the secret of the ages.

Only one person in a generation may cross the worlds. These chosen few are the Gifted, called from Earth into Lael to shape the epochs of history—and Chris is one of them. But before he figures that out, he accidentally endangers both worlds by resurrecting a vengeful prince intent on claiming the powers of the Gifted for himself. Together with a suspicious princess and a guilt-ridden Cherazii warrior, Chris must hurl himself into a battle to save a country from war, two worlds from annihilation, and himself from a dream come way too true.

My Take:

This is one of those books that you can actually see and feel unfolding before you. I was drawn into the story and really pulled for the characters. The flaws made them -- and their choices -- even more compelling.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was the contrast between our modern world and the dream world. I went from a world I'm very familiar with and comfortable in - to one where the landscape, houses, government and weapons were all very different and unique.

Putting all of that aside, you still meet people (on both sides) that are afraid of, struggle with, and want -- the same things we do.

She's designed a plot that will keep you guessing (and surprising you) right up until the end. This one makes the faves list! :o)