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Saturday, June 17, 2023
About the Book
Book: A Not So Peaceful Journey
Author: Sandra Merville Hart
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release date: June 13, 2023
Dreams of adventure send him across the country. She prefers to keep her feet firmly planted in Ohio.
Rennie Hill has no illusions about the hardships in life, which is why it’s so important her beau, John Welch, keeps his secure job with the newspaper. Though he hopes to write fiction, the unsteady pay would mean an end to their plans, wouldn’t it?
John Welch dreams of adventure worthy of storybooks, like Mark Twain, and when two of his short stories are published, he sees it as a sign of future success. But while he’s dreaming big with his head in the clouds, his girl has her feet firmly planted, and he can’t help wondering if she really believes in him.
When Rennie must escort a little girl to her parents’ home in San Francisco, John is forced to alter his plans to travel across the country with them. But the journey proves far more adventurous than either of them expect.
Sandra Merville Hart, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author of inspirational historical romances, loves to discover little-known yet fascinating facts from American history to include in her stories. Her desire is to transport her readers back in time. She is also a blogger, speaker, and conference teacher. Connect with Sandra on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.
More from Sandra
It was fun to invite readers on this book’s journey!
To those who lived in the 1880s, venturing into this newly-settled and largely-unsettled West had become much safer—though not without danger—with the system of railroads already in place. I enjoyed taking readers to Chicago, Omaha, Oakland, Ogden, and Sacramento, as well as frontier towns along the journey such as Cheyenne.
Our heroine is a telegraph operator. She temporarily leaves her job to escort a little girl to her ailing mother in San Francisco.
My research about telegraph jobs taught me quite a bit of terminology.
For example, a clatter arises when another operator “calls.” The call begins with something like “B m—X n”, which means the B m is the station receiving the call and X n is the caller.
B m must signal a reply that she’s ready to receive the call.
The Sounder receives sounds of the alphabet in dots and dashes. Some operators sent messages too rapidly to understand. When this occurs, the receiving operating asks for it again with a Break (she opens her “key” to break the circuit) and interrupts with “Please repeat.”
“G.A. the—” means “Go ahead” and “the” was the last word she understood.
Operators end every message with his/her own private “call” as well as the office’s call and “O.K.” at the end of each message.
Wired Love, which was written by telegraph operator Ella Cheever Thayer in 1879, provided many insights about the job’s daily tasks.
One of them was the lack of privacy on the lines. She can hear the messages sent to other wires but only offices on the same wire. In Wired Love, operators heard messages sent to and from twenty offices.
By the way, the public grew so fascinated with the role of women in telegraphy that it became the topic of romance novels and short stories, creating a new genre called “telegraphic romance” in the latter 1800s. That’s a little-known fun fact for you!
I enjoyed writing this series. I invite you to read the whole “Second Chances” series beginning with A Not So Convenient Marriage, Book 1, A Not So Persistent Suitor, Book 2, and A Not So Peaceful Journey, Book 3.
This is a fun story where we follow our heroine Rennie on a train ride to California. I can’t imagine the rocking back and forth and the smell of coal as travelers did their best to not complain while traveling down the tracks. Rennie has a long journey and is responsible for getting young Livie home to see her ill mother. Tagging along is Rennie’s sister and beau John. Now I had misgivings about Rennie because she is so negative about her beau’s dreams of being an author. He gets excited about his future plans but she doesn’t encourage him and makes him feel let down. She better be careful of her attitude. He may get tired of feeling unsure of himself and want to break ties with her.
The trip is long and I didn’t expect the little entertainment John supplied on the train. He tells people stories which keeps them entertained and even gets paid for it. It is a boost for his ego until Rennie starts to make him doubt himself once again. An unexpected turn of events places everyone in danger when money is stolen and robbers enter the train. There is a couple from the train that was a little shady. We find out more about them but I won’t spoil it for the readers.
The historic details in the book are very well written and help bring the story to life. It is easy to feel like you have been transported back in time as the author delivers a story rich in how trains work. I loved the ending and how it illustrates to never give up on your dream.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling
Release date: May 2, 2023
Hollywood legend Kent Selwood isn’t happy sharing the limelight with rising star Stella Sanders. Tired of Stella’s drama, Kent makes it clear—he wants Stella gone.
Seamstress Bonnie Roseland is practically invisible to everyone at the studio, except for slick actor, Jerry Jackson. He’s the one man she wishes would leave her alone. Her deep-rooted faith helps her see beyond the glitz and glamor to the broken realities and dysfunctional atmosphere at the studio. She sometimes wonder if God has a purpose for her there or if she should just move on.
When the studio receives blackmail letters, Kent’s attitude makes him the prime suspect, and he’s swiftly banished from the lot, despite insisting that he’s been framed. Only Bonnie believes him, and she’s confident she knows who the real culprit is.
But when a ransom note arrives after Stella goes missing and evidence is discovered that clearly implicates Kent, will Bonnie help him uncover the truth in time to save his career… and Stella’s life?
Edwina Kiernan is the Christian author of the Amazon bestseller, Ruby’s Redemption. Her Inspirational Regency romance series, Gems of Grace, explores how God’s grace can heal hurts, establish faith and renew hope.
An enthusiast of classic novels and history, Edwina combines her faith, imagination and research in hope-infused tales set in times past. A lifelong word admirer, with Welsh and Irish heritage, she started writing stories early in childhood, and is never too far from a pen and paper.
When she’s not writing, Edwina loves spending time with her dashing husband and lively little son, reading and studying the Bible, getting lost in a captivating novel and drinking more types of tea than most people realize even exist.
Visit her website at EdwinaKiernan.com for more information, and to join her mailing list for free gifts, updates and lots of classic and historical fiction goodness.
More from Edwina
Glitz and glamor, sunshine and smiles — is that what you first think of when you hear the word, ‘Hollywood’? It seems like a whole other world, full of sparkle and shimmer.
But what’s beneath the surface?
In A Vanishing Act, Bonnie Roseland is about to find out…
Every book I write has a key verse from the Bible. A verse that anchors the message or theme of the story. A Vanishing Act’s verse is 1 Samuel 16:7: “…man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of judging people on their appearances. And there’s a lot of that going on in the book. But there’s also a lot of revelation, of realization, and of redemption.
It’s my prayer that as you read A Vanishing Act, you’ll enjoy the twists and turns of the tale, but that you’ll also embrace the truth of Bonnie’s words to Kent: “I know Hollywood seems like a place where God isn’t welcome, but He’s here, too. And He loves you.”
So grab your copy and join Kent, Bonnie and a cast of varied characters as they work hard, take risks and solve a dangerous mystery.
And remember… Things aren’t always what they seem.
I like the take the author took on a classic fairy tale. With a setting of Hollywood in the 1940s we see how cutthroat it can be when a famous star starts to unravel. His leading lady disappears and letters start coming to the studio that cause everyone to be alarmed. Kent has this dislike for Stella and makes it clear that he doesn’t want to work with her. Guess maybe he should have kept those thoughts to himself. He may be famous and handsome but he becomes a major suspect and sees his career start to crumble before his eyes.
Bonnie is a very gifted seamstress and hears the rumors going around about Kent. She can’t believe he had anything to do with Stella’s disappearance and sets out to help him. I loved how she was direct with him about his attitude and shared God with him. He starts to see how he how sinned and questions Bonnie about Heaven and Hell. Sharing with Kent how to be saved is very emotional and I applaud Bonnie for reaching out to him. He has lost his way and needs someone to believe in him.
I liked watching Kent transform before our eyes as Bonnie’s words open up his heart and at that moment there was no denying that Kent was a new man. Now he must prove his innocence and trust God. Just when I thought I figured out the mystery, the author throws a curve ball.
If you love going back to the 1940s when Hollywood was becoming the place to be seen, a mystery that has deceit and bitterness nestled in with a good characters and redemption, this book is for you.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
When Teagan Parsons discovers that the Amber Alert on a celebrity couple’s child is actually her daughter, she’s determined to rescue the daughter she relinquished years ago. If she’d only realized the emotions her mission would rekindle…
Having a cousin in the FBI gets her closer to the case than she could have dreamed, but instead of listening to the lead FBI agent’s warnings to “leave the job to the professionals” Teagan begins following everyone she suspects. That old saying, “Don’t quit your day job,” has never been truer, but she’ll do whatever it takes to bring her daughter home safe.
Mitch McCartney has enough trouble on his hands without dealing with a guilt-ridden, biological mother bent on making up for past sins. Teagan seems to have developed a talent for getting things wrong and putting herself in danger. Oh… and she’s adding theft to her rap sheet—theft of his heart, anyway.
Then Teagan goes missing.
Learning you can’t undo the past is a tough enough lesson without adding on more mistakes, but with Mitch’s help, Teagan may, with the Lord’s Guidance, forge a brighter future this time.
Susan K. Beatty is in her third career—from journalist to homeschool tech writer to her life-long dream of becoming a novelist. She is proof you can start a new writing career late in life. Susan released her first published fiction in September 2019, and now an awarding winner author, this is her third novel, with several novelettes and short stories to her credit. She is passionate about finding courage through faith and grit. Susan lives with her husband of forty-nine years in Southern California. Add children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to the mix and she has little time for her favorite hobbies of reading, watching classic movies, British crime dramas, and traveling.
More from Susan
The seeds of a story sometimes lay dormant in an author for years. Then they grow and grab the author, demanding to be told. Until eventually the author gives in.
In my case, I didn’t have to give in. I knew I would write some version of the story eventually.
It began in 1968, when I was young, unmarried, and pregnant. It continued through 1969 when I gave my child up for adoption. Of course, any birth mother will tell you the actual story doesn’t end there.
After I became a Christian in 1973, I grew into a better understanding of my journey. New emotions had to be dealt with when my daughter and I were reunited in 1988 when she was nineteen. We enjoyed getting to know each other despite our differences in faith, but those lost years could not be regained—another set of emotions to come to terms with.
I couldn’t write our story, but I wanted to write something that revealed the emotional dilemma birth mothers wrestle with: forgiveness, regret, accepting that one won’t take part in the baby’s childhood, and, if there is a reunion, accepting a new reality. This usually means discovering, despite a newfound relationship, the birth mother will never be that child’s mom.
But I also wanted to show God’s grace, healing, and a hope for a future (including the addition of light romance).
Not wanting the book to get weighed down in maudlin narrative, I tried to lift it above the muck and show the birth mother’s strength and courage. What better way to do that than throw her in the middle of a dangerous, life-threatening situation?
Note to birth mothers: If you have unresolved issues, there may be triggers in Relinquished. I urge you to spend time in prayer and allow the Lord to heal you regardless of whether you read the book. And, if you need it, there is no shame in getting counseling.
Note to adoptive mothers: I hope you get a glimpse into the other side of the story.
Note to all readers: Praying the Lord shines through Teagan’s story to illuminate your heart.
I liked the concept of this book because it gives us insight into a mother who has given up her baby only to discover that now the child is an Amber Alert. How many times has your phone gone off because of an Amber Alert?” Every time I hear one I start praying because I know it is something serious. For Teagan her nightmare is just starting.
Giving up her daughter as a baby was hard on her but she knew she had done the right thing. She wanted her daughter to have a stable and happy life. Over the years she has thought about her but never tried to communicate with the adoptive parents. All that changes when Teagan discovers that her daughter has been kidnapped. It was intriguing to see who the adoptive parents were. I couldn’t believe that Teagan would actually go to their house wanting to talk to them.
Teagan’s cousin is an FBI agent and has been assigned the case of the missing girl. I was a little unsure that I could believe this woman claiming to be the birth mother was allowed into the adoptive parents house. I sure wouldn’t let anyone I didn’t know welcomed when I was dealing with the kidnapping of my child. The author does give us glimpses into Teagan’s pain of giving up her daughter and seeing how she wanted to have a connection again with her. Will she get her chance?
Finding comfort in knowing that her daughter had asked Jesus int9 her heart. I like how Jillian and her husband have made sure their adoptive daughter was raised in a loving and faith filled home. They are wealthy and well known but I can tell that Jillian is down to earth and cares about her daughter more than her career. It was a little far fetched that the parents were not more involved and that the FBI ket Teagan know information that should have been confident.
I started to make a list of suspects as some things were not adding up. Why was Jillian’s agent so insistent about making a statement regarding a movie deal in the works? Did Jillian’s brother have anything to do with Gemma’s disappearance? I can’t leave out Wyatt who is upset about his daughter being kidnapped but he seems distracted about something else. The tension heats up as a lone gunman breaks through the barrier and starts shooting at the house. A news conference sheds nothing on the investigation except perhaps a small detail that should have not been revealed.
The ending is the best part of the book. It illustrates forgiveness and realizing that God is in control. Even though I thought parts of the book were not quite believable, the author leaves her readers with the knowledge that God is always near. He heals our broken hearts and helps us as we begin a new journey.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.