Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CBN Europe Devotional

Check out my new devotional, Steadfast Relationship, that was published today on CBN Europe's website.  
Here is the link for the article:

Here is the article:

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

Relationships are a precious gift in life. We need others to help and encourage us as we deal with the challenges that each day brings. I have been so blessed to have certain people in my life, who were there to pray and care for me when moments became tough, especially when I thought I had no strength left to give. The love I received from these individuals is immeasurable, and my life would not be where it is today without them. Mostly, I am talking about my parents. They have been the steady rock I needed so many times throughout the years, and I thank God for giving them to me.  

Everyone faces valleys and mountains in life, and it is in these times when others become so vitally important. When a person drops everything in their life in order to care for you, this is an incredible type of love. And sometimes all you need is to know they are there fighting your struggles with you.  Other times, it is imperative for that individual to talk with you about your fears, hopes, and dreams.  And there are even occasions, when words are not needed, because a friend or family member’s presence is all that is necessary.

My parents have given so much of themselves in order to be there for me.  During every challenge and joy, my mom and dad have been there to cry with me or to celebrate my achievements. When I graduated from college, they were there in the stands watching me walk across the stage as I received my diploma. And when I have been sick in the hospital, they were there standing by my bed asking the doctors questions regarding what could be done to make me well again. Whatever the event, my relationship with my parents is one I depend upon, because I know they will always be there for me.

Is there someone you know who will always be there for you, even when times get tough? God is always there for you! He is a Father to the fatherless, and He cares about every part of your life (Psalm 68:5). He will defend you in times of trouble, and He will rejoice with you during moments of triumph. Christ desires to have this type of relationship with you, because He loves you (1 Peter 5:7). What an awesome and humbling thought to know that the God of the universe wants to have a relationship with us. And He is the best person we could ever know.

by: Heather Snyder, M.A. 

Thank you so much for your support!  Happy reading! 

Friday, February 24, 2017

First Line Fridays

Happy Friday!  I hope everyone had a lovely week.  How is the weather where you live?  Are you facing a tropical heatwave?  The weather where I live has been crazy.  Technically, it is still supposed to be winter; however, spring seems to have sprung early.  I love the warmer weather, but it would have been nice to wear sweaters and boots a bit longer.  What season do you prefer--winter or summer?

It's time for another first line, and this week I chose to look at the novel An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund.  This is the first book I have read by this author, and I chose it because it takes place during the Medieval Period--a time when lords, ladies, and knights abounded in the land.  These types of books are so interesting to read, because you can literally travel back to another place in history.  There is so much learn about these centuries, and I love learning more about the people who lived there through the eyes of various characters.  As always, please be sure to check out the book lines from these other amazing bloggers too:   

Sydney from Singing Librarian
Rachel from Bookworm Mama
Andie from Radiant Light
Katie from Fiction Aficionado
Kathleen from Kathleen Denly
Lauraine from Lauraine's Notes 

 And I want to welcome Amanda to the First Line Fridays fun! 

  Amanda from With a Joyful Noise

 Click the links above to be taken to their posts and...
If you would like to join us, send Carrie a message and let her know!

​Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from:

An Uncertain Choice 
by Jody Hedlund 

And the first line is...

Montfort Castle, Ashby 
In the year of our Lord 1390

"My slippered feet slapped the dirt road, and my heart hammered aginst my chest like a battering ram." 

Happy reading and Happy Friday!

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Mark of the King - My Review

Jocelyn Green's novel The Mark of the King is set during the early 1700's in the new province of New Orleans.  After being wrongly accused in Paris, Julianne Chevalier is shipped to a new continent in order to start over and to procreate the new land in the name of France.  This new direction is not something Julianne saw for her life nor was it one she particularly chose.  Yet she finds herself embarking on a new chapter with a stranger by her side.  What will this new life look like, and will she ever find happiness?  Throughout the twists and bends in the journey, Julianne beings to wonder if her life has been cursed, because sorrow seems to surround every part of her existence.  And she wonders if peace will every come. 

Julianne's one goal for her life was to become a midwife.  And even though she believes her skills are good, there is still regret that taunts her.  Past mistakes hit her at the most inconvenient times, which causes others to mistrust her abilities.  People even go so far as to mock her and belittle her role in life.  Eventually, she will meet women who will come to depend upon her and who will help her to see how precious she is in the Lord's eyes.  No matter what men may think of her, Julianne must press on and prevail in this new wilderness home of hers. 

As a soldier in the king's army, Marc-Paul Girard knows how to handle his men.  He wants to do what is right regarding this new territory; however, there are many individuals who are only concerned about their own personal gain.  When it comes to treating others with respect, there are so few who actually step up to the task of being honorable.  And there are even some who play both sides.  How can one ever decipher the truth behind a man's heart?  Marc-Paul must make some very serious decisions when it comes to the men who serve beside him, the Indians he must trust with his life, and the woman he comes to love.  How can he serve all of them faithfully?  Does he have what it takes? 

This book was wonderful and quite a long story, which is great if enjoy thicker books like myself.  Even though the characters had stretches of struggles, I was happy that the author also took the time to write about the joys each character felt or encountered.  Sometimes books tend to stay on the negative aspects of a person's life, and the character never gets a chance to breathe.  In turn, the reader never gets to breathe either and begins to wonder if hope and redemption will ever occur for that character. 

I am happy to report that is not the case with this novel.  Even though there are definite bits of heartache that touch each individual, it is truly a tale of the human spirit.  Life is not perfect, and Julianne and Marc-Paul definitely experience the truth of this statement as they try to live out their days in the rugged landscape of New Orleans.  They must learn who they can trust, and they must deal with those who abandon certain morals.  As a reader, shocking events do come, and it interesting to see how the characters deal with the aftermath.  I highly recommend reading about Julianne in order to see where her path takes her in life.  It shows that whatever turmoil you may face in life, God is always by your side, and He will rescue you from the places that seem to be too far from His reach.  As you remember, that nothing is too great or too small for Him to handle.    

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for my copy. 

About The Book 
*After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict. 

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on? 

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

*Synopsis is from the back cover of the novel.

About The Author 

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including "Wedded to War," a Christy Award finalist in 2013; "Widow of Gettysburg"; "Yankee in Atlanta"; and "The 5 Love Languages Military Edition," which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa. 

Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com. 

Check Out My New Post!

Check out my new post on the Daily Megaphone and learn about some wonderful classic literature that focuses on the literary theme of love.  As always, happy reading!  

Literary Love 
by Heather Snyder  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Books from Love Inspired Historical - February Releases

*When a riding accident strands socialite Caroline Turner overnight with the new stable manager, she gets the one thing she never wanted—a husband! Marrying the infuriatingly stubborn Duncan McKenna wouldn't have been her first choice, but with her reputation damaged, it's her only option. Still, there's something about the brash, rugged Scotsman that fascinates Caroline.

If Duncan wanted to wed a society girl, he would have stayed in Boston with his family and his fortune. He expects Caroline to balk at her new modest lifestyle, but instead the strong-willed beauty seems determined to prove him wrong, making her all the more irksome…and irresistible. The marriage of convenience isn't what Caroline and Duncan planned, but could they be a perfect match? 

*When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she's rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her…

Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he'd be. 

*Bounty hunter Thomas Beaufort has no problem handling outlaws, but when he's left with a criminal's baby to care for, he's in over his head. And the only person he can think of to ask for help is Esther Jensen, the woman whose heart he broke when he left town. But can he convince her to put aside the past until he tracks down the baby's outlaw father?

Esther is ready to run Thomas off her Texas ranch—until she spies the abandoned newborn in his arms. Soon, working together to care for the precious babe stirs old hopes of a family. With trouble heading to their door, they could overcome it together—if she'll entrust her wary heart to this sweet, second-chance family… 

*Getting taken hostage by a gang of train robbers wasn't in dime novelist Essie Vanderfair's plans, but interviewing these men could make her career soar. Especially since the gang includes legendary outlaw Tex Beckett, better known as the Texas Titan. Tex is famed for his protection of women and children, so she'll be fine…right?

Keeping the gang in line was hard enough before a stubborn, beautiful writer interfered. Now Tex is scrambling to keep Essie safe, to gather evidence against the gang and most of all to hide his dangerous secrets. First, that he's a detective working undercover. And second, that he's not the Texas Titan at all, but Tex's twin brother, Tate Beckett. 

*Each synopsis is from the back cover of each novel.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New Books from Bethany House Publishers

*A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are "far too fragile and frail" for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah's hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor--determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music--bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah's new employer, agrees with him.

Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville's new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse--and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head--he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city's new opera hall. But far more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music--his father, who is dying. As Tate's ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman's trust when you've robbed her of her dream?

As music moves us to tears yet makes our hearts soar, A Note Yet Unsung captures the splendor of classical music at a time when women's hard-won strides in cultural issues changed not only world history--but the hearts of men.

*Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime-scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime-scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit for which her friend modeled. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found, and so Avery immediately calls Parker for help.

As Avery, Parker, and their friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

*At the urgent request of an old school friend, Drew and Madeline Farthering come to Bloodworth Park Lodge in the midst of the Yorkshire moors, a place as moody and mysterious as a Brontë hero. There have been several worrisome incidents around those lonesome rolling hills--property desecrated, fires started, sheep and cattle scattered. Worst of all, the vicar has been found dead on the steps of the church, a crime for which Drew can discern no motive at all.

Few in the town of Bunting's Nest seem like suspects, and Drew can't keep his suspicions from falling on his friend's new bride. Do her affections lie more with her husband's money and estate, while her romantic interests stray to their fiery Welsh gamekeeper? As the danger grows ever closer, it's up to Drew to look past his own prejudices, determine what's really going on, and find the killer before it's too late.

*The Five Realms have been destroyed. The remnants of the population who escaped now find themselves confined only to several hundred ships adrift at sea. Guided by hope, rumor, and a promise, they sail north into the unknown, desperate to find land that might become their new home.

As the king's illness worsens, Sâr Wilek takes authority over the expedition and struggles to rule the disjointed people, while assassination attempts, vicious serpents, dangerous storms, and dark magic endanger his life and the survival of his people.

One prophecy has come to pass, but another looms dauntingly in the future. Who is this promised Deliverer? And if the Magonians have him, what might that mean for the realm of Armania?

*Each synopsis is from the back cover of each novel.

Friday, February 17, 2017

First Line Fridays

Happy Friday!  How was everyone's Valentine's Day?  I hope that you received lots of love and ate lots of chocolate.  :)  This week's first line comes from another book I will be reviewing in March.  I am almost finished reading The Mark of the King, so I will have a review posted on my blog for that book this month.

I love books that are set in England, so I was happy to receive The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller in the mail.  It is also set during the Regency era, so it will be equally lovely in my opinion.  So I cannot wait to start reading this novel.

Besides the First Line Friday books, what other books have you been ordering and reading lately?  Let me know in the comments below.  I always love ordering new books!  In fact, I just ordered a new book entitled Murder Wears White that Bree recommend.  And as always, please be sure to check out the book lines from these other amazing bloggers too:  

Sydney from Singing Librarian
Rachel from Bookworm Mama
Andie from Radiant Light
Katie from Fiction Aficionado
Kathleen from Kathleen Denly

 And I want to welcome Lauraine to the First Line Fridays fun!  

Lauraine from Lauraine's Notes 

 Click the links above to be taken to their posts and...
If you would like to join us, send Carrie a message and let her know!

​Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

The Elusive Miss Ellison  
by Carolyn Miller

And the first line is...

St. Hampton Heather 
Gloucestershire, England 
June 1813

"'Why, Livvie!  Whatever are you doing?'  Lavina Ellison placed down her gardening trowel, swiped perspiration from her brow, and smiled up at her friend.  'Good Morning, Sophy.'" 

Happy reading and happy Friday!  

Friday, February 10, 2017

First Line Fridays

Happy Friday!  I hope everyone is having a lovely February.  Thus far, I am doing well with my 2017 Goodreads reading challenge--I have already read six books!  And I am about to start another novel, which is the first line I am highlighting today.  Jocelyn Green's book, The Mark of the King, is set during the 18th century, and the reader finds Julianne Chevalier facing perilous times in the new land of Louisiana.  I love historical fiction, so I cannot wait to finish this story, and I will post a review on my blog for this text soon.  As always, please be sure to check out the book lines from these other amazing bloggers too: 

Sydney from Singing Librarian
Rachel from Bookworm Mama
Andi from Radiant Light
Katie from Fiction Aficionado
Bree from Bibliophile Reviews

And I want to welcome Kathleen to the First Line Fridays fun!  
Kathleen from Kathleen Denly

Click the links above to be taken to their posts and...
If you would like to join us, send Carrie a message and let her know!

​Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from:
The Mark of the King 
by Jocelyn Green

 And the first line is...

Paris, France
September 1719

"There it was again.  Suddenly wide awake, Julianne covered her ears.  Straw crunched beneather her, needling her skin through the ticking as she inched away from the dank stone wall and closer to the warm body beside her."

Happy reading and happy Friday!  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Newcomer - My Review

Suzanne Woods Fisher's book The Newcomer is the second novel in the Amish Beginnings series.  After reading this story, I am excited to go back and read the first novel, Anna's Crossing.  The setting for this book is the New World.  Men and women have traveled by ship through the perilous waters of the Atlantic in the hopes of finding a better life in this beginning land.  Coming from Germany, there is so much to learn about the strange terrain they will encounter, because it is so different from anything they have ever known.  And they will have to learn English; however, there are several individuals who believe it will not be necessary, because they expect to live and work only amongst their people.  Yet, Bairn and Anna know it will be incredible difficult to communicate with anyone unless they understand this language.  After all, they must learn to interact with those in the town in order to live, eat, and survive in the days ahead. 

Anna knew it would be difficult.  After saying goodbye to her grandparents, she takes a leap of faith as she boards the Charming Nancy to enter an unknown journey.  Hopeful that the days ahead will be less difficult than her life in Germany, the people around her are leaving their homes in search of religious freedom.  So much happens throughout their time together though and Anna begins to wonder if peace will ever enter their church family again.  Why is God allowing so many terrible things to happen to them?  After leaving the ship, it seems her church faces one traumatic event after another.  And when a strange man enters their midst, his positive outlook seems to give all the answers regarding each and every moment of their days.  Does this man really believe all he says?  And why did he decide to join their church?  His character puzzles Anna, because she does not completely understand his thinking.  Nevertheless, more confusion occurs when she starts to realize the stranger is falling in love with her.

Bairn's life has not gone according to plan for many years now.  His childhood was not what it should have been, and he has spent so much time trying to heal from its physical and mental scars, and also the anger he has towards his father.  Being at sea helps him to deal with the past, yet he will soon learn that you cannot run away from your problems.  His love for Anna causes him to want to protect her; however, sometimes his decisions regarding the life he wants to give to her, does not leave Anna in the best place.  It leaves her alone and quite vulnerable to those in her company.  Despite his mistakes, Bairn wants to do what is honorable, yet time is always involved when a person needs to grow.  And Bairn needs to work though his own pain in order to realize what he has gained in life. 

This book is a wonderful read, because the story in so engaging.  One scene flows easily into the next, and I could not wait to hear what happened in each character's life.  Interestingly, there is an intense turn of events toward the end of the story that I did not see coming.  And with each turn of the page, the lives of this small Amish community become more and more challenging, which is why I cannot wait for book three in this series, The Return.  I am so happy Fisher is writing another saga to this amazing adventure.  If you enjoy stories of family, faith, love, and perseverance, then you will love this novel.  I highly recommend checking out this book and other books written by Suzanne Woods Fisher.  

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Revell Publishers for my copy. 

About The Book

*In 1737, Anna Konig staggers off a small wooden ship after teen weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier.  It's a time of new beginnings, and for Anna and Bairn's shipboard romance to blossom.  

But this perfect moment cannot last.  As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World, his enthusiasm evaporates.  When a ship captain offers him a first mate position, he grabs it.  Just one more crossing, he promises Anna.  But will she wait for him?  

As a newcomer joins the church, Anna is torn.  This man is everything Bairn is not--bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart.  And he is here.  Bairn is not.  

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves the lives of Bairn, Anna, and the newcomer together.  When the secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?  

 *Synopsis is from the back cover of the novel. 

About The Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including Anna's Crossing, The Bishop's Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish.  She lives in California.  Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.  

Saturday, February 4, 2017

New Books from Revell Publishers

*When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him--not just on the job but in his private life. He's the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father's accidental death. And he's the one--perhaps the only one--who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she's nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding-heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on--namely, nabbing the job of her dreams. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.

*When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don't show up for Quinn's birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy have vanished. And it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it's not long before she realizes she's in the clutches of a madman who exacts revenge through games--hunting games. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives and outwit their killer when their game begins.

Because if they don't win this game . . . they die.

*In 1737, Anna König staggers off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. It's a time of new beginnings, and for Anna and Bairn's shipboard romance to blossom.

But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World, his enthusiasm evaporates. When a ship captain offers him a first mate position, he grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?

As a newcomer joins the church, Anna is torn. This man is everything Bairn is not--bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And he is here. Bairn is not.

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves the lives of Bairn, Anna, and the newcomer together. When the secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

*When famine visits Bethlehem, some hold out hope for rain, while Naomi and her family make a long journey to Moab in search of greener pastures. The harvest there is plentiful, and for a time it appears the Lord is blessing them. But when calamities strike, one after another, Naomi is left alone in a foreign land with only her widowed daughters-in-law for comfort.

Downhearted and destitute, Naomi is determined to return to Bethlehem alone. But her daughter-in-law Ruth refuses to leave her side. Despite the fact that she and Naomi will almost certainly live out their days in widowhood and poverty, Ruth holds out hope for a better future . . . and maybe even a second chance at love. 

*Each synopsis is from the back cover of each novel.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Surround Me - My Review

Marguerite Martin Gray's book Surround Me is the second book in the Revolutionary Faith series.  The first book was titled Hold Me Close, and there is a review of that novel on my blog too if you would like to check that out.  I recommend reading these texts in order so that you can understand not only the chronology of historical content, but so that you can also grow with the hopes, dreams, and struggles of each character.  I thoroughly enjoyed each of these books, and I highly recommend reading both of them.  I love historical fiction, because it helps the reader understand another time period, as they come to see it through the eyes of various individuals in the text.  And hopefully it adds a level of appreciation and respect to those people who lived during such challenging times.

This book continues with the familiar characters that were introduced in the first book.  Louis Lestarjette is still battling with his thoughts and feelings when it comes to the present state of the colonies.  He continually considers his family in France knowing how much France wants to side with and help this new land.  Britain is still trying to tax the people, and many of them are beginning to rebel against the Crown.  The Sons of Liberty obtains more followers daily, while Louis listens to the preaching and predicaments of the people; however, he will soon realize they are his people, because his home is now in Charles Town.  Yet how will the present turmoil among the people affect his family business?  And what will perilous times suggest regarding his affections toward Elizabeth?  What could it mean for their future?

Elizabeth Elliot knows she loves Louis, but she has to convince those around her of his worthiness.  After all he is an outsider when it comes to her family--a Frenchman and a member of the Sons of Liberty.  What will it take to help her parents understand how much she wants to marry him?  Her father is still loyal to the Crown; therefore, he does not grasp why Elizabeth and her sister Anne have changed their loyalties.  As the ocean waters between the colonies and Great Britain begin to grow more hazardous, Elizabeth wonders what her future will look like.  All she has ever wanted is to enjoy the simple luxuries in life, but she knows she must stay informed with all that is happening in the world in order to take a stand with the Daughters of Liberty. 

It is so interesting to consider that several of the people Gray wrote about in these books did truly exist.  There really was a Louis Lestarjette and a Elizabeth Elliot.  And several of their friends, who they worked with on a daily basis, also lived in Charles Town during the late 1700's, including Elizabeth's sister and brother-in-law.  This makes these novels that much more enduring, because Gray took the time to travel to these places in order to learn more about them, as she researched these particular times in history.  And I am so happy to announce that she is working on book three in this series!  The title for the third book is Bring Me Near, and I cannot wait to read more about the joys and challenges surrounding Louis, Elizabeth, and the new colonies.  Happy reading!  

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Singing Librarian Books for my copy.

Series: Revolutionary Faith
Genre: Christian, Fiction, Historical
Publisher: WestBow Press (Author)
Publication date: September 27, 2016
Number of pages: 277

Set in 1773 Charles Town, Surround Me takes the reader into the lives of colonists confronting imminent change and unpredictable circumstances binding them together to become a formidable force.

Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close, Revolutionary Faith Book One and Surround Me: Revolutionary Faith Book Two. She enjoys studying history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity Univeristy in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, and Daughters of the American Revolution. Originally from Louisiana, she currently lives in Abilene with her husband.


1. I thoroughly enjoyed Hold Me Close--what prompted you to research this time period in history?

My father surrounded me with history from the old antebellum house where we lived, the stories he shared, and the travels he provided. My eight times great grandfather is Louis Lestarjette, the hero of the series. Although I have fictionalized him, he lived and breathed in Charleston and fought in the American Revolution. My interest revolved around how ordinary citizens faced the threat of a war at their front doors. Since my research, I have joined the Daughters of the American Revolution to continue to learn all that I can.

2. I love that you threaded fact with fiction--was it difficult to include so much historical detail into a fictional text?

I use historical characters to ground my work to a certain place and time. I do my best to stick with the real historical facts. My fictional characters including my ancestors act in a fictional world within an historical background. What I have found is that historical figures had to live, marry, eat, travel and work just like everyone else so I have them share their lives with my characters.

3. Historical works are some of my favorite to read--what advice would you give to new authors who want to explore this genre of writing?

Do the research. Read other authors—some of my favorites are Edward Rutherford, James A. Michener, and Jean Plaidy as well as all the wonderful Christian authors. Check your facts with at least two other sources. Historical Fiction does not have to be one hundred percent historical, but the main background and facts need to be consistent with history. Weave the fiction in with your characters’ dialogue and actions leaving the background to the historical facts.

Research for the series
Research was intense. I found books in Charleston and local bookstores that dealt with history, national characters, 1800s, the colonies, money, clothing, houses, and furniture. I read children’s books and biographies as well as young adult and adult fiction. Some of my unique research materials were cookbooks and paper dolls. In all I used 25 sources and listed some of them in my first book. Here are a few of my favorites: Patriots, Pistols, and Petticoats (Walter Fraser), Everyday Life in Colonial America (Dale Taylor), Christopher Gadsden and the American Revolution (Godbold and Woody), A Colonial Plantation Cookbook (Richard Hooker), The Huguenots of Colonial South Carolina (Arthur Hirsch), and Founders (Ray Raphael).