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Friday, November 10, 2023
About the Book
Book: Estelle’s Endeavor
Author: Linda Shenton Matchett
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: September 26, 2023
Will a world at war destroy a second chance at love?
Estelle Johnson promises to wait for Aubry DeLuca to return from war, but then she receives word of his debilitating injuries. Does she have the strength to stand by him during his hour of need?
Aubry DeLuca storms the beaches of Normandy, then wakes up in a hospital, his eyes heavily bandaged. Will the only woman he’s ever loved welcome him home or is he destined to go through life blind and alone?
Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry (of Star-Spangled Banner fame) and has lived in historical places all her life. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a former trustee for her local public library. She now lives in central New Hampshire where she explores the history of this great state and immerses herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.
More from Linda
Dear lovely readers,
I was thrilled to be asked to participate in Thanksgiving Books & Blessing Collection Five because Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. When I was growing up, no matter where we lived (and we lived a lot of places thanks to my dad’s job!), my parents would bundle all of us into the car and we’d make the trip to my maternal grandparent’s house in Maryland; the tiny town of Burtonsville to be exact. Cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, with the occasional “honorary family member” (anyone who had nowhere to spend the holiday) would gather.
The adults ate at a HUGE table in the dining room, and the kids were relegated to card tables in the living room. My grandmother and great aunt must have prepared for days. After dinner, we kids were responsible for washing the dishes (and with 20-30 people, there were tons!). I have countless happy memories from those days. Our Thanksgiving celebrations are much smaller now, but no less joyous.
In Estelle’s Endeavor, I wanted to explore the holiday and the concept of thankfulness in light of a world at war. Could people find it in their hearts to be thankful in spite of their circumstances not because of them? Additional themes emerged as the story unfolded, and I hope you are encouraged by the characters’ journey.
Linda Shenton Matchett
This story touches on what happens to someone who was injured while fighting in Normandy. We have read of how difficult the war was but I don’t think I’ve read one like this. The focus here is about a man who comes home from the war with an injuries that changed him. His thoughts wander from, is he good enough to stay with the woman he loves, or should he break it off. He doesn’t want to be a burden to anyone so his decision becomes difficult for him.
Aubry is a man who commanded many during the war. He was brave and was in control when needed to be during his duty of watching over his troop. He now faces a life where he is angry, and not sure he can trust again. Aubry shares his doubts with Mitch who was such a great person to speak truth into his life . He needs to stop feeling sorry for himself and give Estelle a chance to show him that she is not going to leave him.
Estelle has her hands full working at the library. One particular employee does not care for her and tries to get under her skin. I like how Estelle handles herself in situations where angry words could be used. However she shows grace when stating facts when she catches two women gossiping about Aubry. I loved how she stood up to them and stopped their unkind and untrue words. We all can learn a lesson from Estelle. When we hear gossip, take no part in it. Let the ones gossiping know that you will not participate in it and will give them a chance to apologize to the one they were saying hurtful things about.
It is a good story where prayer is a powerful weapon to help those who are struggling. We can’t do anything on our own, but when we pray, God is there and hears our cries. Aubry will learn that he is not alone when he decides to give his bitterness to God. I loved how the author used different characters to share their faith with Aubry and Estelle as they struggled in their relationship. Showing kindness when it was hard, forgiving so you can be set free and giving God all your trust makes this story very special.
“We shouldn’t be surprised when terrible things happen to us, but God is bigger than this war. He’s in charge. Never forget that.”
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Rebounding from a failed relationship, Author Timothy Hayes escapes to the beautiful Amana Colonies to begin a new life. Smalltown Iowa, during the 2020 pandemic, proves lax with social distancing. Social awkwardness, however, is at an all-time high as a host of quirky neighbors crowd Tim’s personal space. Tim’s pug must go for walks which opens the door for adorable children, annoying neighbor men, old ladies who want to tell their life story, and a matchmaker set on “fixing Tim up.” Several attractive young women emerge as contenders for Tim’s heart. A woman twice his age infatuates him with her magical gift of storytelling. Remain True is a dual timeline. Tim’s life in 2020 becomes interwoven with the storyteller’s history, resulting in a surprising singular conclusion. No matter what happens in life, God will Remain True.
Thomas Nye, author of the beloved Amish Horses Series, writes romance novels with an Historical flare and a touch of humor. He and his wife live on an acreage her grandparents bought in 1918. They have five grown children, nine grandchildren, and a team of draft horses. Their home is situated between an Amish community and the Amana Colonies, a perfect location to inspire his writing.
More from Thomas
Most of us have experienced some dark episodes in this life. How do we find our way back into hope and sunshine? My wife and I have been married for almost 43 years, but about halfway through we were separated for 4 months. The storyline of Remain True has almost nothing in common with the details of my dark time. The difficult emotions and subsequent hopefulness of God’s graceful intervention led me to write this novel.
For Timothy Hayes, life has become incredibly dark. In the opening scene we find him reluctantly removing his wedding band and placing it in a miniature, coffin-like box. To make matters worse, Tim’s personal struggle coincides with the heaviness of the Coronavirus outbreak. His will to live is shrinking. Tim visited the Amana Colonies ten years earlier and thought of the villages as a hauntingly beautiful getaway where he could sulk.
God has another plan.
Small town Iowa is not the place to isolate, even during Covid, as it proves an epic failure in social distancing. Social awkwardness, however, is at an all-time high as a host of quirky neighbors invade Tim’s personal space and refuse to allow him any opportunity to submerge into depression.
I hope those who read Remain True will be able to relate with Tim’s struggle enough to rejoice with him as God provides a ray of sunshine during his darkest hour.
My wife and I found hope and restoration and are looking forward to our 43rd anniversary. We thoroughly enjoy grandparenting our 9 grandchildren (and counting) together. God is good!
The story starts off during 2020 when COVID ran rampant and many lives were lost. I never thought I would witness a pandemic where masks were mandatory and places were closed down. The lockdown in many states caused people to become isolated and feeling alone.
Timothy is our lead character who has moved to a small town in Iowa during the pandemic. He faces the loss of a relationship and hopes to start over in this new place. The people he meets are quirky, friendly or sometimes mysterious. His dog is a hit with everyone which draws people to Timothy.
I loved that this is a dual time line story as the author transports readers back to a place where a simpler way of live existed. I loved how the author is very descriptive as I could see the story unfold of who used to live in Timothy’s home. I didn’t expect to be emotional right away as an unexpected tragedy occurred. We learn of the Amanda traditions such as when someone dies, the relatives walk behind the horse and wagon where the body has been placed . It seemed like forever as the procession went on for a long time.
I adored the older woman who told Timothy the story of the history of his home. It was like walking back in time as we heard a gentle voice direct us to each new part of the story. Oma has a sweet spirit around her and I began to become invested in Blondie as she grieved the loss of her baby sister.
There are many interesting characters that make this story nice to read. Chuckles is funny and would be someone I would love to meet. He is one of those people who never met a stranger. He has a bigger than life personality and a big heart. Oh my Blondie is definitely my favorite character. Her contagious curiosity gets her into adventures and I loved being a shadow in her life. The joy of being a child was so perfectly portrayed by the author. I can’t wait to see where her story would go.
I did think it was a great idea for Tim to use Blondie’s story to make into a book. The problem is I don’t think everyone was excited about his manuscript. The lessons from Blondie’s story is emotional at times. I liked when Tim asked Oma why she was telling him about a romance between two eight year olds. Her response was, “ Children’s emotions are every bit as real as adults.” I wonder how many times we have ignored the feeling a child expresses?” That rejection can have some unsettling consequences if we don’t acknowledge that they are important and we understand how they feel.
The story has a great faith thread and I loved when this was said; “You must always be true to who you are and what you believe, no matter what others do to you or what they say.” This is such a powerful statement that I had to write it down in my journal. We need to stop worrying about what others think of us, and turn to God and trust Him with everything.
There is so much I want to share but I need to stop here. Readers, this story is one that touches on some sensitive subjects, but the author does it in a way where God is there to comfort and redeem those who need it. The ending is wonderful and reminds us that, “God made a way to bring restoration and healing.”
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
A wounded lieutenant, a woman fierce enough to protect her family, and an American Revolution with everything at stake.
Red-haired, freckle-faced and almost six feet tall, Jenny White has resigned herself to fame over love. Possessing the courage and wits to guard her younger siblings against nature, natives, and loyalists in Georgia’s “Hornet’s Nest” gives life meaning until she meets scout, Caylan McIntosh.
From the time Jenny nurses the young lieutenant back to health after the Battle of Kettle Creek, she can’t deny her attraction to the vexing Highlander, who seems determined to dismantle her emotional armor. But when Georgia falls to the British and Caylan returns toguide Jenny’s family on a harrowing exodus into the North Carolina mountains, will his secrets prove stronger than his devotion? Or will their love be courageous enough to carry them through the battles ahead.
North Georgia native Denise Weimer has authored over a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas—historical and contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and time slip. As a freelance editor and Acquisitions & Editorial Liaison for Wild Heart Books, she’s helped other authors reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.
More from Denise
Welcome to the Hornet’s Nest…the setting for A Courageous Betrothal. In my Scouts of the Georgia Frontier Series, we started with my September release, A Counterfeit Betrothal, in 1813. We’ve moved backward in time to middle Georgia, where the conflict between Patriots, Loyalists, and Native Americans became so intense during the American Revolution the area was dubbed “the Hornet’s Nest.” Little is known about this portion of the war, but it’s not just the setting that makes A Courageous Betrothal unique.
If the story sounds faintly familiar, that’s because it was originally Across Three Autumns of Barbour’s Backcountry Brides (2018). That’s why it’s a short novella instead of a full-length novel. The story became a free agent just in time to join my Scouts of the Georgia Frontier. It was a perfect fit not only because of the subject matter but also because some of the real people and places show up in this story as well as the novels of the series.
Another thing that sets A Courageous Betrothalapart is its heroine. As authors, we occasionally create characters who take on life and burst off the page. That’s Jenny White. Maybe because she was based on a real person, Nancy Hart. Six feet tall, red-haired, pock-marked, and a crack shot, Nancy was called “Wahatche” or “War Woman” by local Indians. She spied for Colonel Elijah Clark and captured Loyalists and British soldiers on more than one occasion. Her exploits are echoed in Jenny’s.
So are her insecurities, which make her relatable. Jenny’s given up on the notion of finding love. Men always prefer women like her dainty younger sister. And then she meets Caylan McIntosh, a scout for Colonel Clark whose Highland heritage makes him an ardent admirer of Jenny’s strength. Her doubts—along with the shorter word count and the time needed for love to grow between wartime encounters—are a reason I chose to write the novella solely from Jenny’s POV.
By no means does Jenny outshine Caylan. He’s still probably the most swoon-worthy hero I’ve written. Here’s a little snippet of him persuading Jenny to dance.
The unseen fiddler took his cue. The notes anchored themselves inside Jenny’s chest, with invisible strings tugging her toward the sound. Caylan and presumably several other Scots started a jig. From his fancy footwork and agile leaps, the lieutenant appeared dead sober. She found herself propping the pitchfork against a wall and drifting closer in the shadows, her mother’s previous warning drowned out in the waterfall of lilting notes.
When the musician warbled into “Soldier’s Joy,” a woman faced off with her husband. As they greeted and turned, two frontiersmen leapt up to join them. Caylan looked around as though searching for a partner and noticed Jenny standing just outside the circle of light. He came toward her, hand outstretched.
“Come, lass, will ye dance with me? Ye know this one.”
Indeed, she did. She had seen settlers perform the steps on the Yadkin River. Before Jenny had time to think, Caylan whirled her into the circle, and a man dancing a female part grabbed her for a ladies’ chain. She caught a brief glimpse of Gabriel’s alarmed face as she whizzed past.
Delighted with the actual women who joined them, the men paid courtly attention that caused Jenny’s face to flame. But none more than the sensation of Caylan’s eyes, warm amber in the firelight, fixed on her every time they met. The roughened strength of his large hand made hers feel small.
When the song changed, Jenny gave an awkward curtsy and tried to back away, but her partner caught her arm. “’Tis just a Cumberland Reel.”
“I know no Cumberland Reel. Remember, we do not dance.”
“Oh. I did forget that.” But Caylan’s smirk hinted otherwise. “Seems to me Wahatchee would not grow lily-livered at a wee promenade. See, ’tis only a skip step, toe to heel?”
Jenny turned her lips down. “Wahatchee has a mother.”
Caylan threw his head back and laughed. “What? That slip of a woman has a Highland princess like you all a’cower?”
“I am English, sir.” She clasped her hands behind her petticoats.
“Well, pardon me, my lady,” he retorted with mock offense, “but yer regal bearing and coloring beg otherwise. I wager some hint of Celtic besmears the White family past…far back in the recesses of time, no doubt.”
The “regal coloring” went up in flames. Jenny repeated what she’d heard her mother proudly state many times. “We come from pure English stock.”
“Well, then, I dare ye to prove a proper English lady has no fear of a Cumberland Reel.”
“Those are break teeth words, McIntosh. If I chose, I could dance until daybreak, and still be dancing long after you collapse.” So saying, Jenny stalked to the tail of the reel and waited for the laughing Scotsman to follow her.
Just like firing a gun, riding a horse, clearing brush, and swimming, dancing provided no challenge. Jenny did all physical things well and with endurance. What she had not expected, however, was the way Caylan’s obvious approval made her feel. It answered a craving deep inside that she had attempted to discredit for years. Not to mention the brush of his fingertips, the pressure of his hand on her waist, spread the bonfire to her bones.
From that moment to Jenny nursing Caylan back to health after the Battle of Kettle Creek, through the climactic, real-life exodus of civilians from Georgia to the mountains of North Carolina, Caylan fights for Jenny’s trust with as much determination as he fights the British. I hope you’ll be swept away by their romance amid the dangers of the Hornet’s Nest. And if you like Scottish characters, stay tuned for book three of the Scouts Series, coming in January and set in 1775 on the border of Georgia and South Carolina.
Taking a trip back during the Revolutionary War is filled with danger, adventure and a way of life where they were always on guard against attack. Even back then, people were fighting against laws that all did not believe in. Taxation was fiercely a hot topic as was the battle where many lives were lost.
Jenny is such a determined young woman. She is ready to go out there on the front lines to battle against their enemy . I love her determination and faith that God will protect her. I was not surprised at the developing relationship between Jenny and Caylan. Perhaps it seemed to move quick but since this is a short novella, the author had to make some things speed up.
The research the author does for this book is really what I liked the most. The characters were good and I enjoyed watching them overcome their struggles. But for me it was the details the author gives us that makes this story so realistic.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
New and old collide in SETTLERS & TOFFS as Ambrose Lee and Blaire build a hotel and a new life together with a remnant from the wagon train he captained in ’49. Settling in Auburn, California, they deal with the gold rush boom town’s growing pangs while the next Earl of Farnsworth, William Cromwell, voyages home to England with his intended Clara and her family. Though separated by a country and an ocean, troubles and trials plague them all. Revisit old friends from Book One WAGONS WEST and meet new ones in this second novel of the New Beginnings Family Saga! This story has been previously published on Kindle Vella with the same title as episodes for Season Two. Season Three, ANSWERING THE CALL episodes are now available at Kindle Vella now.
Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling tales—coming up on seventy titles now published—delight readers all around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen to those at her YouTube channel.
She loves working in the yard at The Peaceable, her home tucked away on twenty acres, mowing and planting flowers. She lives there with Ron, her high school sweetheart and husband of fifty-five years, five dogs, two dairy goats she milks daily, a flock of chickens, and a plethora of barn cats.
The couple shares four children and twenty-seven grandsugars, six are greats. Caryl and Ron love their quiet, country life in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas and wait expectantly for God to open the next door so they may do His will.
More from Caryl
I started writing “episodes” for Kindle Vella the first month they opened the new format with WAGONS WEST, season one in the New Beginnings Family Saga Season One. For those who don’t read at Kindle Vella, after the ”season” has been up thirty days, the author can create a book!
The episodes become chapters and WAGONS WEST debuted last November 2022! The SETTLERS & TOFFS story is “Season Two” and I’m tickled pink with it! Book One in the series was an epic wagon train story that ended when they got to the gold fields around Auburn California.
In Book Two, the characters spread out across the globe, and we follow them all. Some of those who arrived in covered wagons began to build the pioneer town of Auburn, making a new home for themselves. Some panning for gold and others building hotels and businesses the miners need.
Some travel to merry old England where one of the wagon train sojourners has been called home after his older brother’s death to be the future Earl of Farnsworth. Having fallen in love, he couldn’t bear to leave Clara behind, so arranges for her family to accompany him. So many of the main characters sail away cross the seas.
The third storyline in SETTLERS & TOFFS becomes another wagon train when the scout in book one decides with his wife to go and bring another group of settlers to the new land—a very lucrative business venture for the captains who knew the way.
There are plenty of characters who come in and out as the story progresses. I’ve come to love the primary ones. There are struggles at every turn. Trials and tribulations fill many of their days, but there are those joyous ones as well!
Through it all, the Lord—still on the throne and in control in 1850—helps His children overcome and blesses them beyond measure . . . just as He does today. He is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek him and obey His commandments—then and now.
My author’s motto is “Praying my story gives God glory!” I also pray that its readers will be drawn into a closer walk with the Almighty as they walk alongside these awesome, stalwart folks who settled the West! They had it rough, but God . . . PRAISE HIM!
They sure do! And so do I! BLESSINGS!
With this story you get a look at the gold rush that everyone was hoping would make them rich. Some moved their entire family just to be close to what they hoped would be their ticket to wealth. I kinda laughed because aren’t we all looking for that one thing that will give us peace with our finances? During this time period it was hard work with long hours and little provision that people faced. But as the characters go through one thing was constant. God is always there. I love that the author reminds us to look to Him for our needs and trust Him when we face difficult times.
The book may be hard to follow for those who have not read the first in this series. The great news is the author has provided a list of characters to help us out. I recommend reading the first book so you are familiar with the characters. We have repeat characters such as Ambrose Lee and Blaire. Their excitement over now being in California is contagious. Before their eyes is the dream of opening a hotel. Can you imagine starting from scratch building a hotel with just lumber and other hard to find materials? It is not like today where we have machines that can do the heavy lifting and many employees that get the job done quicker.
What I really liked about the story was we were also able to travel to England where William is about to marry Clara and become the Earl of Farnworth. This storyline provided quite an adventure and some drama. Will William marry Clara and become the Earl? What will they face together as they plan their future?
There are a few sensitive subjects in the story that may be triggers for some readers, such as assault on a young woman and talk of suicide. The author illustrates these two topics in a way that shows how we can feel hopeless when facing a traumatic event. She does always direct us to God and his unconditional love and forgiveness.
I liked the story and how it gives us a glimpse into the past where people faced tragedy, hurt, hope and a new beginning. As always I grow in my faith and develop a deeper relationship with God after reading a book by this author.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.