Roots of Wood and Stone

Roots of Wood and Stone

Houses have a magical quality, especially if you grew up there. Or your parents or grandparents lived there. Always interested in genealogy, I’ve trekked around southeast Michigan looking up my parents’ and other ancestors’ homes in Stevensville, Sparta, Ionia, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. My pulse increases as I hone in...

All That We Carried

All That We Carried

Whenever I go camping, Murphy’s Law goes into effect. Immediately. For example: My first camping trip was in high school at Minnesota’s Boundary Waters with diehard campers, canoeing and traversing portages. It rained 3 solid days in a row—the novelty got me through.Years later in Wisconsin, our tents leaked at night. My...

A Promise for Faith

A Promise for Faith

Several years ago, I took a summer road trip with three of my kids to visit my oldest daughter in Tennessee. On the way, we watched a show in Pigeon Forge, spotted bears while meandering through the Smoky Mountains, and took a rafting trip on the Ocoee River. What a blast!  After hours on the river, we drove to...

Friends & Enemies

Friends & Enemies

Just as The Storm Breaks Forth  (reviewed last time) offers a unique view of World War I through a German American’s perspective in Milwaukee, Terri Wangard’s World War II novels each provide a unique setting from which to experience other aspects of the war.  Her Promise for Tomorrow series consists of: Friends...

The Storm Breaks Forth

The Storm Breaks Forth

For many years I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a city chock full of German heritage—swarming with first, second, third, and fourth generation Germans. Enough for Milwaukee to be considered the “Midwest Munich” back in the day. I even had German neighbors who’d immigrated in the 1940s. But unfortunately, I’d never...

A Picture of Hope

A Picture of Hope

World War II wrought unspeakable atrocities as well as heroes to fight the odds and overcome them. Here’s a sampling of both: — Marianne Cohn (1922 - 1944), underground activist for the Resistance. Marianne helped to smuggle groups of Jewish children over the Nazi-occupied French border into Switzerland. She was arrested...

The Maggie Bright

The Maggie Bright

“The world is always looking for a good story. The novel matters because it supplies society with needed diversion, needed respite, and needed truth that may not come when it’s served up cold. If we’re really lucky, truth may come through a kid named Huckleberry, a ghost named Marley, a hobbit named Frodo, or a place due...

My Dearest Dietrich

My Dearest Dietrich

Are you ever tempted to read the Author’s Notes at the end of the book before you’re done with the novel? Particularly with historical fiction. I certainly am. I want to separate fact from fiction.  I really had to resist the urge while reading Amanda Barratt’s My Dearest Dietrich, based on the life of German...

The Stones of My Accusers

The Stones of My Accusers

When I picked up The Stones of my Accusers, I had no idea it was the second story in a series of two. But it reads as a standalone—which I discovered firsthand. However, I still recommend reading The Brother’s Keeper first (reviewed last time). The title grabbed me, bringing to mind the New Testament story in John 8 where...

The Brother’s Keeper

The Brother’s Keeper

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to grow up in Nazareth with Jesus as your older brother? Does anyone ever want a "perfect" sibling? Most people can relate to situations where so-and-so can do no wrong, where goody-two-shoes conquers all with his self-righteousness. In families, that usually leads to more...

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery 

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery 

Have you ever entered a house, store, or other building and felt like you were stepping back in time? I’ve had that experience. Once was during college years ago, when my education professor took a group of students to southern Appalachia. We visited the Yancey County Country Store in Burnsville, North Carolina. With its...

The Finder of Forgotten Things 

The Finder of Forgotten Things 

What would you say is the worst tragedy in United States history? Looking over my past reviews, I noted that several revolve around U.S. disasters: All Manner of Things — by Susie Finkbeiner — the Vietnam WarUnder a Cloudless Sky—by Chris Fabry — the poor treatment of coal minersThe Pink Bonnet — by Liz Tolsma — the...

If It Rains

If It Rains

“All you need is confidence in yourself.  There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger.  True courage is facing danger when you are afraid,  and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”  –The Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz In If It Rains, Jennifer L. Wright’s debut novel, this...

Lioness

Lioness

Did you know that before 1974, all women in the United States—single, widowed, or divorced—were required to have a man cosign credit applications? The first legislation that required equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, was in 1963. Suffragists in the 1800s had an uphill battle, but having no voting rights was...

Defending David

Defending David

One of Scripture’s recurring themes is this: God’s spiritual economy completely turns our expectations upside down.  He uses the weak of the world to confound the strong, such as the battle of Jericho, Elijah on Mt. Carmel, or David defeating Goliath. He uses the least likely people—scoundrels like Jacob, prostitutes...

Annie’s Stories

Annie’s Stories

“A wanderer is only at home in the hearts of those who love him.” This line from Annie’s Stories by Cindy Thomson is what Annie’s Irish father used to say before he passed away in early 1900. Annie remembers him fondly. As do others. For her father Marty Gallagher was an Irish seanchaí (shan-a-key). The seanchaithe...

Under the Tulip Tree

Under the Tulip Tree

I’ve always been drawn to older generations, even in my twenties. Long ago, I asked my grandmas for their stories and was mesmerized by their tales about the olden days. Unfortunately, my grandfathers both died while I was young, so I never heard theirs. Later, I primed the pump for my parents’ memories, too. Last year, I...

Afraid of the Light

Afraid of the Light

Who really wants to read about other people’s messes?  Sure, we like to live vicariously through fictional adventures and death-defying actions that overcome the bad guy. We identify with the flawed heroine who has enough gumption and integrity to still be likable. But what about people with real internal messes?...

The Pink Bonnet

The Pink Bonnet

I’m guessing you know what it’s like to lose sleep when you can’t stop reading and you need to know what happens next to your hero or heroine. You can’t possibly wait till the next day to find out. Imagine waiting six weeks! When I first got the Kindle version of The Pink Bonnet,   I didn’t realize it was a sample,...

The Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon

In rural southern Appalachia, there’s plenty of friction from distrust of outsiders and city folk. Author Pepper Basham brought some of that to life in Laurel’s Dream, reviewed on December 7. But regardless of outsiders, family feuds sizzle within many communities. One of those feuds led to the 1912 Hillsville...

Coming soon: A Hundred Magical Reasons, a novel

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