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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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About the Book

Book: Phoebe’s SecretPhoebes secret
Author: Sydney Tooman Betts
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Mystery
Release Date: June 20, 2020
In April of 1843, Phoebe’s family hears about a murder while they are traveling to their new home in the Shenandoah Valley. They arrive to learn the victim attended the church her father has agreed to pastor and the crime took place on a leading church member’s plantation.
Eager to make new friends, Phoebe forms a unique relationship that propels her into the middle of the mystery, and she begins to question several acquaintances’ motives. Will she uncover their secrets before the plantation owner’s charming son discovers hers?

Click here to get your copy today!
I enjoy reading books by this author because they always have a faith element that compliments her stories. This story is set in 1843 where slaves were still being mistreated. Phoebe and her family are new to the town and it doesn’t take long for a mystery to take over. I really liked Phoebe and how thoughtful she was. Being a preacher’s kid she has sometimes been treated differently by people. Overall the family is welcomed and I liked how the people made them feel at home. 
I have to say how much I adored Augie. He is full of energy and quite inquisitive. Phoebe has her hands full looking after him while her mother is away. I liked how Phoebe took her chores seriously and helped run the house without her father having to worry about anything. The story flows very nicely and we get to meet several characters that enhance the story. There is one particular character that I kept trying to figure out how  they fit in the story. 
The mystery that flows throughout is good and I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to do some of the things Phoebe does. Her compassion for a mysterious person in the woods bring up the question of slavery. I liked how the author used scriptures to point out how wrong it was to own slaves and gave them a voice in the story of their plight. 
The story unravels two mysterious murders while placing Phoebe in danger. Her calmness was very impressive.  I did like the part at the end where the author talks about slaves and how they used particular quilts to warn slaves of danger. I didn’t know about this interesting information and was glad the author included it in her notes to readers. I look forward to the next book in this series.
 I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

About the Author

Sydney BettsSydney Tooman Betts resides with her husband near the extensive cavern system that inspired the setting for several chapters in her series The People of the Book.
While single, Ms. Betts (B.S. Bible/Missiology, M.Ed) took part in a variety of cross-cultural adventures in North and Central America. After marrying, she and her husband lived in Europe and the Middle East where he served in various mission-support capacities. Her teaching experiences span preschool to guest lecturing at the graduate level.
Before penning her first novel, A River too Deep, she ghost-wrote several stories for an adult literacy program.

More from Sydney

Proverbs 25:11 says, “Words spoken fitly are like apples of gold in settings of silver.” I was not a great reader as a child, but I loved stories. We remember stories, whether told through movies, good sermon illustrations, parables, or simple  novels.
Think of something you’ve read in the Bible. Did an instructional verse, a narrative, or a parable leap to mind? Stories have power because we can relate to them. We see ourselves in the shoes of the main character and ask what we might do in the situation. Mysteries, a new genre for me to write, are a little different. You are in the puzzle with the main character, working out the solution as you both come across the clues. I hope you will enjoy joining Phoebe in her first mystery as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Sally Lunn Bread
1 cup water
1 cup milk
¼ pound unsalted butter
8 cups of high-gluten or bread flour
⅔ cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
¼ cup yeast
6 eggs
In a saucepan, combine water, milk and butter. Heat until the butter is very soft.
In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients with half the flour. Add the warm liquid, and mix well to form a smooth batter.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Add another cup of the flour, and mix well. Add the second 3 eggs, one at a time. Add the remaining flour, and mix until the flour has been incorporated and the batter has formed a smooth ball. The dough should be less firm than bread and more firm than a batter.
Put the dough in a clear bowl with a little oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Proof until double in volume. Divide the dough between two bund pans or two loaf pans, or one of each. Proof again until risen and doubled in volume.  Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. Makes 20 servings.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 29
deb’s Book Review, September 30
Mary Hake, October 4
Artistic Nobody, October 6 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Pause for Tales, October 6
Sara Jane Jacobs, October 9
Splashes of Joy, October 10
Lighthouse Academy Blog, October 10 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Betti Mace, October 11
Maureen’s Musings, October 12


To celebrate her tour, Sydney is giving away the grand prize package of $25 Amazon gift card and a softback copy of Phoebe’s Secret!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. Congratulations on your release and thanks for sharing your great book.

  2. Btw, Deana, Phoebe's Secret is on sale for only 99cents in honor of the tour. The sequel, Phoebe's Secret, will release October 23rd and is available for pre-order

  3. Good review, I would like to read the book!

    1. If you have a Kindle, Phoebe's Secret is currently on sale for 99 cents. Happy reading!

  4. I liked the review. Sounds like a great book.

  5. I enjoyed your review, thank you for sharing

  6. Wonderful review, Deana! Sounds like one not to miss. Thank you for sharing.

  7. This sounds really good. I am looking forward to reading it.

  8. This story seems full of secrets. Sound like a good one! Vivian Furbay jtandviv (at) q (dot) com

  9. This sounds like a very interesting story!

  10. I'm intrigued by the bread recipe. I haven't heard of it before. This is also a new-to-me author. Thanks for your recommendation.

  11. I SO appreciate the time and care you took in this review, Deana <3

  12. Historical fiction is my favorite genre nowadays. As a child, I loved mysteries. Put them together in the Christian genre, and I am very interested. Phoebe's Secret fulfills all requirements. Thank you.

  13. Looks like a great read Thanks for sharing this book & book tour with us