Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review of "Dark Road Home"

Rating: 4 Stars
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Review: "Dark Road Home" is the exciting second novel in Elizabeth Ludwig's "Edge of Freedom" series. Ludwig takes readers back to the bustling streets of historic New York City and builds upon the plot of "No Safe Harbor."  There are many characters and plot intricacies that continue from the first novel and are essential to following the continuing story. I definitely recommend reading the two novels in order.  It has been several months since I read "No Safe Harbor," and I had some trouble recalling the motives of certain characters and the dynamics of several relationships (both good and bad).

An air of mystery and lurking danger wafts through the pages of "Dark Road Home" and creates an engaging plot.  Most of the climatic action occurs near the end of the novel, but mysterious and threatening encounters add the right amount of suspense for my taste.  Once again, Ludwig offers a well-rounded view of the plot, telling the story from the perspectives of the two main characters as well as one of the antagonists.  She also incorporates tenderness and messages of faith to lighten the "dark road."  Some of my favorite, more tender scenes of the novel occur at the Catholic Church's shelter where Ana and Eoghan find love, healing, and faith.

Just when a happy and peaceful ending seems imminent for Ana, Eoghan, Cara, and Rourke, Ludwig throws in a new twist that shows the danger that has been lurking since the beginning of the series is far from over.  The conclusion of "Dark Road Home" gives the impression that the stakes are being raised and more lives will be on the line in book three.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Summary from Bethany House: The nightmares of her past have found Ana Kavanagh an ocean away.

Ana Kavanagh's memories of Ireland are mostly of fire and pain. As a girl she survived a blaze that left her an orphan, left her scarred, and left her angry at God. Now in New York, Ana finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who's struggling with his own anger. His twin sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with his enemy.

Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan hopes to rejoin the Fenians, an organization pushing for change back in Ireland, by securing information against Rourke, the man his sister married. Ana, Cara's friend, may be his best source, and despite the attraction he feels, Eoghan determines to use the girl's sweet nature to his advantage.

Adding to the danger is a specter from Eoghan's own past, one whose thirst for vengeance knows no bounds. Eoghan must choose which road to follow--bitterness or forgiveness--and where to finally place his trust.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Review of "Stealing the Preacher"

Rating: 4 Stars
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Review: Karen Witemeyer offers an irresistible combination of fun and faith in her latest novel, "Stealing the Preacher."  The plot is not completely realistic, but it is enjoyable and reminds me of the books that initially drew me to the Christian fiction genre. Witemeyer strikes a pleasing balance between lighthearted events and more serious issues and emotions.  The novel begins with a train hold-up, which is much more comical than suspenseful.  Despite the humor surrounding the hold-up and subsequent kidnapping, it is clear that there are hidden motives behind the event, which will add depth and interest to the story.  Thus the scene is set for "Stealing the Preacher."

Joanna and Crockett are brought together through unlikely circumstances, which makes their love story even sweeter.  Joanna faces personal insecurities despite her strong faith, which makes her a connectable character. Witemeyer creates enough hesitancy and conflict in Joanna's and Crockett's relationship to make their love story more interesting.  Their relationship is not all about romance, however.  They unite to bring a message of faith and salvation to Joanna's ex-outlaw father.  

Although the story progresses with predictability, the relative absence of the unexpected is outweighed by the feel-good nature of the book.  I was in the mood for a fun read, and "Stealing the Preacher" delivered just what I needed with a pleasing historical romance with Texas-twang that left me with a smile and a light heart.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from LitFise through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Summary: A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his mind.
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape-which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.

For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?

With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart.
Purchase a copy here:

Meet Karen:

Two-time RITA finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at


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