Friday Reviews

Candle in the Darkness (Refiner's Fire Book, #1)Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Caroline Fletcher lives in the city of Richmond, Virginia with wealthy parents. Her father owns slaves and as Caroline begins to question the morality of owning them her mother dies after yet another still birth. Her aunt from Philadelphia takes her back home with her and Caroline stays with her for two years. While in the north, she meets Robert who is quickly taken with Caroline. He takes her to abolitionist lectures which increase her desire to do something for the slaves.

After returning to Richmond she meets Charles, they fall in love and plan their wedding. Three weeks before their wedding the Civil War begins. She is torn between her belief that owning slaves is immoral and her home in the south. She and Charles don’t see the war the same way. Five years after her engagement, the war ends. Charles cannot accept the things she has done throughout the war, even though she has nursed him back to health. His family and he dismiss her from their lives leaving Caroline alone with only her slaves who have only ever showed her love.

This is a story about love and hate, slavery and freedom, faith in God and the choices that must be made during this terrible time in our history. I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction.

Out of a Dream (Sandy Cove #1)Out of a Dream by Rosemary Hines

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book in the Sandy Cove series by Rosemary Hines. Michelle and Steve have moved into their first home in Portland. Steve is working many hours at the law office he is a junior partner in. Michelle feels alone and isolated having left her family and friends in Southern California. She meets Monica at yoga, and they become friends. The yoga instructor introduces them to tarot cards and then to an owner of a bookstore. Michelle and Monica sign up for a class taught by the very handsome and charismatic Trevor who sets his sights on Michelle. She attends a seminar with him deluding herself that they are just friends. She definitely feels this attraction to him. She is lonely with Steve working so hard, but she loves her husband. Trevor makes his move and kisses Michelle. Michelle pulls away and from that point it is never spoken about again.

Michelle’s father has attempted suicide. He is unsuccessful, and winds up in the ICU with multiple brain injuries. Michelle goes to the hospital with the rest of the family and it is there that she sees that the New Age spirituality that she has been studying does not give her the strength she gets from God. I enjoyed this book very much.

Butterfly GardenButterfly Garden by Annette Blair

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sara is a midwife in and Ohio Amish community. She is called to her friend Abby’s home to deliver her fourth baby. When she arrives Adam, Abby’s husband is waiting for her on the front porch. He gives her a hard time when she tells him he is killing his wife having babies so close together. He finally lets her in to go to Abby, and discovers Abby is dead and the baby is wrapped up and in the cradle by the bed. Sara lifts the sheets and discovers that Abby had bled to death.

Adam is filled with demons from his abusive childhood and tells Sara she must take his children. She fights him on this, but relents. She falls in love with the girls. The time for her to return the girls to their father is pushed back until the time when Adam falls from a tree and injures himself. Sara moves into his house to nurse him back to health. Adam begins to fall in love with Sara, but he denies what he is feeling. The Bishop gets involved and the outcome of their hearing is that they must marry. They fall madly in love with each other and Adam learns that he can love without being abusive like his father.

I enjoyed this book, however, there are some scenes which are more adult that most of the book.

Life in the Iron MillsLife in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a short story about one man’s life in the iron mill town in Virginia. It’s a little difficult to read, but I found it interesting and it gives the reader much to think about.

15th Affair15th Affair by James Patterson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lindsay, Cindy, Claire and Yuki, the Women’s Murder Club,  find themselves involved in solving the murder of four people at the Four Seasons Hotel. Lindsay’s husband Joe disappears. While doing surveillance on one of the murdered man’s house, Lindsay sees her husband go past the same house and is caught on the video recording. A 777 was hit by a missile when approaching the airport and it exploded killing everyone in the plane and two people on the ground and traumatizing all the kids in the schools in the explosion site.

This is not just about the murders at the Four Seasons, it’s bigger. CIA is involved and Lindsay discovers that Joe has been working for the CIA since the time their daughter was born. Lindsay is devastated that Joe has been lying to her. The spies are from the Chinese government and one of the CIA agents is changing sides. In the end she is caught and dealt with. Joe sends Lindsay home and he goes back to the CIA headquarters. When he goes home to see Lindsay and Julie, he is not asked to stay.

I really liked the book, but there isn’t much that James Patterson writes that I don’t like. I give it 4.5 stars.

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