Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren Review



In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.

Although it flies against all the conventions for women of the time, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, proper gender roles are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined–and that’s just the start of
what their eyes are opened to in this unfamiliar world.

Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.

Set on keeping her family together and saving her father’s once-great plantation, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

My Thoughts:

This story was very interesting. I had very little knowledge of the sugar plantations in the past and this story really allowed the reader to experience the culture and challenges of that time period and place.

The story does not gloss over the ugliness of slavery or the terrible way these people were treated…there were some very difficult scenes to read but I appreciated that they were historically accurate. I also found that the author portrayed how women were viewed by men very well…it was not an easy time for women.

The author describes everything very vividly…the scenes on the boat and the island were almost like watching a movie.

I loved the sisters in the story…Keturah, Verity, and Selah each had distinct personalities but supported each other through difficult times and had some great “sisterly” moments.

Overall, this was a great story that moved at a good pace and left me eager to read the next installment.

My Rating: 4 stars


I received this book from Baker Publishing Group to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Soul’s Prisoner by Cara Luecht Review and Giveaway


About the Book


Book Title: Soul’s Prisoner

Author: Cara Luecht

Genre: Historical fiction with some suspense and romance

Release Date: December 15, 2015

Chicago, Winter, 1891

Rachel is in danger. She’s seen too much.

She creeps along the cement walls through the dank underbelly of the asylum. She’d never planned to leave her quiet farm life, never thought she’d find a place in the city, never imagined she’d be in the kind of danger that would have her cowering in Dunning’s cold, labyrinthine basement.

Jenny has finally found her place. After a childhood of abuse, she has friends, a real job, and her only wish is to give her adopted son the kind of life she never had.

A life of stability, without the risk and uncertainty of a father.

But when Jeremy, Rachel’s brother, stumbles into their warehouse, asking for help to find his missing sister, Jenny’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts:

In this book, the reader experiences what life was like for a patient in an insane asylum in the 1800s. This book had many disturbing scenes, but were based on historical facts, which is heartbreaking. Nothing was too graphic but the author described everything in a way that made the setting and the experience feel extremely real. It also had a creepy, gothic feel that I enjoyed (it was a nice change from all the contemporaries I’ve been reading lately).

The subject of asylums is fascinating to me because of how they were permitted to abuse and treat people in such an inhumane way for such a long period of time. I’ve read several books that focus on asylums and this was by far, my favorite.

The writing is very clean and I appreciated the diversity that was found in the book. I also loved all the fashion descriptions found in the book, that was a fun addition.

I flew through the story and was sad to see it end. It is the second book in a series but works as a standalone (although I’m planning on buying the rest of the books in the series!) This is one of my favorite books of the year so far, I highly recommend it!

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from the author/ publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author


Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Guest Post from Cara Luecht

The Setting for Soul’s Prisoner: Dunning Asylum for the Insane

Dunning Asylum for the Insane was built in the 1850s and housed psychiatric patients until the early 1900s. It has since been demolished, and a small park currently stands as the only remaining testament to the people who lived and died on the grounds.

The original plot of land also included a poor farm and a cemetery. A railroad used to connect the grounds to Minneapolis, Chicago, and Milwaukee. It was nicknamed the “Crazy Train”—a phrase that still survives in our language today. Those buried in the cemetery include Civil War Veterans, victims of the Chicago fire of 1871, orphans, paupers, and the residents of the asylum for the insane. Most estimates agree that nearly forty thousand people were buried on the grounds.

There is no doubt that mental illness is hard on families, but in the 1800s, having a family member who struggled with mental illness was an embarrassment. With little understanding of mental health in general, and even less compassion for those who suffered, examples of this tragic response to the threat of mental illness can be seen in the numerous inmates who were there simply due to addiction or depression. There are even cases where women were committed because their families were humiliated by their giving birth outside the bonds of marriage. Often times, challenges with mental health were synonymous with the notion of moral failure or vice. Because of this, even many charities looked the other way when corruption or abuse was exposed. Reporters sometimes wrote about the horrors of the institutions, but once the sensational story was out, and the initial outrage worn away, few worried about the people who suffered on a daily basis. And because of the moral implication of mental illness, families commonly turned over their suffering members to the county, and later simply explained to friends that the person had died.

And that is exactly what the mentally ill would do in the institution. Live there until they died, forgotten.

And that’s how the story played out at Dunning, until late in the 1900s when developers began to dig the roads and foundations for a new neighborhood on the grounds of what was once the Asylum. At that time, Dunning, and the people who had resided there, were still within living memory, so when bones were unearthed, it was no mystery how they ended up on that patch of land. What had slipped from memory was the magnitude of the collective stories of suffering and hardship.

For this novel, the people and events are fictitious. However, when examining old news stories from an institution known for corruption, it is not hard to imagine situations like the ones in the novel. The details that are true are the nearly one thousand inmates, no hot water, little to no heat in the winter, bad food, and the general feeling of living ghosts, intentionally forgotten, and doomed to never leave the grounds.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, March 8


Multifarious, March 9

Remembrancy, March 9

Connie’s History Classroom, March 10

History, Mystery & Faith, March 11

Reading is My Superpower, March 11

amandainpa, March 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 12

Texas Book-aholic, March 13

Carpe Diem, March 14

Maureen’s Musings, March 15

Blogging With Carol, March 16

Two Points of Interest, March 16

proud to be an autism mom, March 17

A Greater Yes, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 18

Janices book reviews, March 19

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 19

Simple Harvest Reads, March 20 (Guest Post from Mindy)

Pursuing Stacie, March 20

For The Love of Books, March 21

Bigreadersite, March 21



To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of Soul’s Prisoner and sketching art supplies!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!


Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett Review


Synopsis: Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford fashioned her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the choice of becoming a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark helps open Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas– a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.

My Thoughts: I loved the first book in this series, The Road to Paradise, so I was eager to pick this one up! Set in Yosemite National Park, this story follows Olivia, an artist with a lot of secrets, commissioned to paint scenery from Yosemite and Clark, a trail guide who works at Yosemite and is dealing with issues from his past.

Karen Barnett is extremely gifted at setting the scene…I’ve never visited Yosemite but her descriptions make me feel like I almost have. In this book, the reader sees many different sights and locations in the park.

There is a lot of adventure and some mystery to the story, which was my favorite aspect. I wasn’t as fond of the romance as it seemed a bit forced and unrealistic at times (plus I’m usually not a romance reader).

I will say that I enjoyed the first book more but this one was still fun and worth picking up. I can’t wait for the next one!

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher Review


Synopsis: Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she’s doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a “minder” on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man whom she loathes.

Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary’s journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe’s shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way–just in time.

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.

My Thoughts: I expected to like this book but I didn’t expect to love it (which I did). This story focuses on the island of Nantucket, taking place in two time periods. The reader gets a glimpse into Mary Coffin’s life, who was the daughter of one of the original settlers on Nantucket. The story also follows Phoebe Starbuck, Mary’s great granddaughter, a Quaker who lives on Nantucket.

I loved learning about the rift between the Puritans and the Quakers as well as the origins of Nantucket and how it was settled. There is also a lot of talk of the whaling industry, which was extremely interesting. The story is very atmospheric…there are many scenes on a ship and I could almost feel the waves and smell the salty air.

The author is a very gifted writer…I flew through the story and never felt that it dragged. I loved the characters, although there were a few times I wished that one of them would wise up. I also liked that this story was light on the romance…there is a bit of romance but it’s never the main focus of the story. (I’m not a romance reader).

The story was open ended and I’m eagerly awaiting the next release in the series! This is one of my favorite books of the year so far, highly recommended!

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron Review


Synopsis: Launching a brand-new series, Kristy Cambron explores the collision of past and present as she discovers the ruins of a French castle, long lost to history.

A thirteenth century castle, Chateau de Doux Reves, has been forgotten for generations, left to ruin in a storybook forest nestled deep in France’s picturesque Loire Valley. It survived a sacking in the French Revolution, was brought back to life and fashioned into a storybook chateau in the Gilded Age, and was eventually felled and deserted after a disastrous fire in the 1930s.

As Ellie Carver sits by her grandmother’s bedside, she hears stories of a castle . . . of lost love and a hidden chapel that played host to a secret fight in the World War II French resistance. But her grandmother is quickly slipping into the locked-down world of Alzheimer’s, and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history.

Sparked by the discovery of a long forgotten family heirloom, Ellie embarks on a journey to French wine country to uncover the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty–the castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale–and unearth its secrets before they’re finally silenced by time.

Set in three different time periods–the French Revolution, World War II, and present day–The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged, and an enchanted castle that inspired the epic fairy tales time left behind.

My Thoughts: Based on the synopsis, I wasn’t sure if this was a book I would enjoy but because I’ve read 2 books by Kristy Cambron and loved them, I decided to give this a try….I’m very glad I did.

This story follows 3 women in 3 different time periods and centers on a castle in France. I enjoyed the storyline of Avaline, who lived in the 1700s the best. Each character was very developed and their stories were woven together beautifully at the end.

The setting is very atmospheric, so much so, that when I would pick up my book to read, I would tell my family, “I’m going to France!” Kristy Cambron’s writing is beautiful and descriptive, I can see her becoming one of my favorite auto-buy authors.

The story did slow down a bit in the middle but for the most part was very engaging and interesting. I highly recommend it!

My Rating: 4.5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Beneath A Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer Review


Synopsis: Estelle Brantley grew up in affluence and knows exactly how to behave in high society. But when she is cast from the social registers due to her father’s illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in the subjects of manners and morals so they can “marry up” with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose father was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he’s put off by the snooty airs and fastidious behavior of the “little city gal” in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out to the teacher who tries so diligently to smooth the rough edges from the down-to-earth men. How can he teach her that perfection won’t bring happiness?

Learn More and Purchase HERE

My Thoughts: This is the third book that I’ve read by Kim Vogel Sawyer and I can confidently say that she is becoming one of my favorite authors. I am not particularly a fan of historical fiction because I often find that it’s a bit predictable and cliched but Sawyer’s historical books do not fit into that mold.

I expected one thing when starting the book based on the synopsis and got something much different (in a good way).

The author is very gifted at character development…each character had their own voice and was very easy to picture. I found myself chuckling several times at the scenes of these “rascally” men who were very unrefined and just wanted to get some wives (the sooner the better). The contrast of these men to the uppity and snooty Abigail was very fun to read about.

This story took several very unexpected turns that surprised me. There was depth to this story that I’ve found in all of Sawyer’s books, which really adds to the enjoyment and makes them more memorable.

I also appreciated that although there was romance, it began as a friendship and was very slow burning and sweet.

My only wish was that there was an epilogue to see where these characters were in the future. A sequel would be even better!

All in all, this was a very enjoyable story that I could see myself rereading in the future. I definitely recommend Kim Vogel Sawyer’s books…I plan to purchase many more to read.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from the author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse Review


Synopsis: A New Series Begins for Lovers of History, Adventure, Romance, and Ancestry 
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

Mary Chapman boards the Speedwell in 1620 as a Separatist seeking a better life in the New World. William Lytton embarks on the Mayflower as a carpenter looking for opportunities to succeed—and he may have found one when a man from the Virginia Company offers William a hefty sum to keep a stealth eye on company interests in the new colony. The season is far too late for good sailing and storms rage, but reaching land is no better as food is scarce and the people are weak. Will Mary survive to face the spring planting and unknown natives? Will William be branded a traitor and expelled?

My Thoughts: First of all, the cover of this book is beautiful. I was also very intrigued by the premise…the story follows Mary Chapman, who is travelling to the New World from Holland. I have never read a book about this time period so I was looking forward to this story.

The author does a great job at capturing the emotions that the Mayflower passengers experienced during their long journey. The story really made me reflect on the apprehension and fear that these people felt.

The story includes both fictional characters and true passengers from the Mayflower. I learned a lot about the voyage and enjoyed the atmospheric quality of the story. I could easily picture the sights and smells that the author so vividly described throughout the story.

At times I felt that the story was a bit slow moving but overall it was very interesting and atmospheric. I will definitely pick up the other books in the series.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.