Some Of My Favorite Diverse Reads (Part 2)

Happy Wednesday again, friends!

Today, I’m picking up where I left off last week in my spotlight of several of my favorite diverse reads, specifically with ethnically diverse characters & blended cultures.

Set against the stunning landscape of Kenya, the multi-generational From Kenya, With Love series by Rula Sinara is a feast for the senses.

every serengeti sunrise

In This Courageous Journey by Misty M. Beller, we meet Daniel, a complex character wrestling with the many dimensions & nuances of his heritage.

this courageous journey

Sydney Tooman Betts’ People of the Book series will make God’s Word come alive for you in fresh ways, seeing His Story from the Native American’s perspective with new eyes.

a river too deep

Terri J. Haynes’ “Legacy of Love” in The Runaway Brides Collection is a sweet romance & also gives insight into a different perspective on the Reconstruction era than what we’re normally taught in history class.

The Runaway Brides story collection

Speaking of history not really taught in schools, the Creek Country Saga from April Gardner is powerful and emotional as it highlights a period of history we don’t often read about

The Red Feather by April W. Gardner

In Camy Tang’s Protection for Hire series, we get well-defined & layered (sometimes hilarious) characters, romance, humor, faith, cultural diversity & smartly-plotted suspense (with martial arts!)

protection for hire

Randy Alcorn’s Safely Home, a compelling inside look at the underground Chinese church, quite simply changed my life.

safely home

Pick up any book by Lori Benton for an emotional and compelling story of blended cultures that will linger long in your heart

the woods edge

Pick up the Secrets of Rios Azules suspense series by Alexa Verde and meet a diverse group of friends & multicultural relationships

color of danger

I love the biracial characters – and relationships – in Ruth Logan Herne’s Shepherd’s Crossing series from Love Inspired

her cowboy reunion

The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser is a multicultural, multi-continent story that will open your eyes

the long highway home

What about you? Have you read any of these diverse reads yet?

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Book Review: “Legacy of Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Friday! Who else is looking forward to it finally feeling like Fall outside?!?

Today, I’m excited to bring you a review of “Legacy of Love” by Terri J. Haynes. It’s one of the novellas in The Runaway Brides Collection from Barbour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Runaway Brides story collection

What is a woman of the 1800s to do when she feels powerless to choose her own spouse and marry for love—run!

Amy’s home is at stake if she doesn’t marry her neighbor. Delia’s father wants her to marry into a political family. Georgiana is posing as a wealthy man’s wife in order to hide from her groom. Callie is fleeing one wedding and racing to marry a stranger. Emily flees her wedding with the help of a mysterious coachman. Josey’s best friend leaves a letter proposing marriage unanswered in order to elope. Bernadine becomes the ward and pawn of her evil uncle. Where will each turn when they have only God to trust?

Seven women facing the marriage altar make the decision to flee, but who can they now trust?

Legacy of Love by Terri J. Haynes

1877, Kentucky

Delia McClure longs to create a family legacy like her father, a former slave, who now owns a general store in a black community outside Lexington. But can Delia consent to her father’s choice of a husband for her when she has come to love another?

BUY THIS BOOK: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Barbour


MY THOUGHTS

Haynes is quickly becoming one of my fave Barbour collection authors – both novellas of hers that I’ve read to date have been engaging and romantic, both touching and really fun to read.

In “Legacy of Love”, part of The Runaway Brides Collection, we have one of my very favorite tropes – friends who fall in love. Josiah and Delia live in very different economic situations – Delia, the daughter of a former slave turned wealthy merchant & Josiah, a hard worker who promised his dying parents he would take of his little sister Grace. The two have become good friends, however, in spite of their societal differences – and beneath the surface some deeper feelings are simmering. That first kiss? Whew! Mercy, it’s the stuff of swoons and weak knees and husky voices. The emotion behind it – and the realizations it prompts – leaves it in ‘memorable kisses’ territory for sure.

But the other thing I loved about this story is the compelling history that frames it. Along with the layered diverse characters Haynes has created, the perspective that she brings to the Reconstruction period is one I was, sadly, unfamiliar with. The tidbits about the Exodusters & the black migration to the West (specifically in this case to Kansas) is something that was never covered in my American history classes in school, nor in the citizenship materials I used to teach international adults in more recent years. Yet, it should have been, because the courage shown and the sacrifices made by those who left behind the familiar for the unknown deserve to be remembered and honored.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri J. HaynesTerri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Book Review: “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Friday! I hope you’re finding some place cool to read in this summer heat! Is it Fall yet???

Today, I’m excited to bring you a review of “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes. It’s one of the novellas in The Underground Railroad Brides Collection from Barbour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Underground Railroad Brides collectionLove Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

Free to Love by Terri J. Haynes

East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

BUY THIS BOOK: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Barbour

MY THOUGHTS

“Love had never been as valuable as strength and freedom. Until now.”

I absolutely loved this story!

Despite being limited to a short novella-length word count, the author has packed the riveting plot with heart-in-your-throat moments of life or death… and a sweet romance that lightens the emotion a bit when needed. Layered and well-defined characters will quickly settle in your heart, and you’ll be rooting for them every step of the way.

Additionally, the author’s writing style is very engaging as well as entertaining. Every page makes you eager to read the next one & I would love to see a follow-up novel with these characters – specifically related to the escaped slaves’ stories Winnie has recorded in her notebook.

Winnie’s revelation about her owners will also linger with me for a while – how many similar things in modern times have we passed off as well-meaning or kind when in fact it’s sin? And once we realize that, what are we willing to do about it?

A sobering but simultaneously encouraging story of the power of love and the pull of freedom – and the people who risked their lives to give others the chance at both. Perfect for your weekend reading list. I’m off to catch up on the author’s backlist 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri J. HaynesTerri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Book Spotlight: Love, Lies & Consequences series

Hi, reader friends! We aren’t promised an easy road in this life. Sometimes hardships are the result of our own choices or the choices of others. Check out the Love, Lies & Consequences series by Natasha D. Frazier!


About the Books

Book 1: Love, Lies & Consequences

Raegan made a promise to herself—no more sex until marriage! Then Raegan meets Rico, a handsome, smooth talker who presents himself as a God-fearing, church-going, praying man. He tells her everything that he thinks she wants and needs to hear—including his desire to marry her! Rico’s smooth manner challenges Raegan’s character and puts to the test what she says she believes. Just when she thinks that Rico could be the one, Caleb, her old college love, returns to her life. And now that he’s back, he has no intent on being without her. Raegan gets caught up in a whirlwind romance, filled with Love, Lies & Consequences that will turn her world upside down.

Meanwhile, Raegan’s good friend Tammy has choices of her own to make. Tammy filed for legal separation from Joshua, NBA rookie, who was sure to have a promising career, only one year after they got married. Joshua loved basketball and Tammy felt like there was no room in his life for both her and his career. Life has now given them a second chance to reunite. Has she matured beyond her selfish ways? Is Joshua ready to pursue both basketball and his wife? It just may take a brush with death to remind them that it is high time to become the husband and wife they vowed to be.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book 2: Through Thick & Thin

Engaged, pregnant, and unsure of her baby’s father, Raegan’s troubles have multiplied. In the sequel to the award-winning title, Love, Lies & Consequences, Raegan learns what it feels like to be loved completely. In turn, she must learn to forgive and return that same love that was given to her. Forgiveness and understanding won’t come easily. 

Caleb has promised to stay by her side–but will her guilt push him away? 

When Caleb’s past catches up to him, will Raegan remain by his side as he promised to stick by hers? 

Or does she hold him to a different standard? 

Will Raegan choose Caleb over her need to be in control of everything? 

Will they stick with each other Through Thick & Thin . . . or will the consequences of their past sins be too much to bear?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book 3: Shattered Vows

Rico gambled with his marriage when he cheated on Chloe. Breaking his vows and risking everything for temporary pleasure, he lost his wife’s respect and trust.

Rico returns to God, searching for a quick fix to win Chloe’s heart back, but his heart is the one that is changed. He is a self-proclaimed changed man, willing to go the extra mile to restore his marriage, but he just may be too late.

Has Chloe given up on him? She has forgiven him before, but this is different. “I’m sorry” isn’t enough when vows have been shattered. With the law and the Word of the Lord on her side, she finally gathers enough courage to walk away.

But then tragedy strikes. Is it enough to make Chloe stay, or will she start a new chapter in her life?

goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book 4: Out of the Shadows releases August 20, 2019 

Amazon PREORDER

 

About the Author

Natasha’s first book, The Life Your Spirit Craves won the Readers’ Choice Award in 2013 at the Christian Literary Awards. Her second book, Not Without You: 365 Days in the Lord’s Presence was nominated for the Henri Award. Love, Lies and Consequences was nominated for the Henri Award as well and won the Readers’ Choice Award in 2015 at the Christian Literary Awards.

Natasha writes to inspire readers to become all they were created to be and encourage them in their daily walk with God. Whether devotional or fictional, she desires to leave a legacy to inspire readers to take their lives to the next level.

Born and raised in Greenville, MS, Natasha graduated magna cum laude from Jackson State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting and from Texas A&M University with a Masters of Science in Accounting. Natasha has since earned her CPA license and worked in both public accounting and the federal government. Natasha is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Houston Area Alumni Chapter of Jackson State University.

Natasha resides in Houston, TX with her husband, Eddie and their three children: Eden, Ethan, and Emilyn. For book releases, contests and events, please join her mailing list via her website or connect with Natasha on Facebook or Twitter!

 

What do you say, reader friends?
Are you adding the Love, Lies & Consequences series to your tbr?

 

POST CREATED BY BETH ERIN

Book Spotlight: Grown Zone series

Hi, reader friends! Fans of women’s fiction will want to check out the Grown Zone series by Chandra Sparks Splond and its sweet & sassy covers!


About the Books

Book 1: It’s Like That

After suffering a tragic loss ten years ago, twenty-six-year-old Jasmine Richardson has traded her love of lyrics for writing legal briefs. It only takes one encounter with the microphone for Jasmine to realize the music is still in her heart—if only it could pay the bills.

After making some bad decisions, Jasmine is thrown into a tailspin. She is forced to consider taking a case that could make her legal career from someone from her past.

Suddenly, Jasmine finds herself questioning her future.

When the music is still in your heart, sometimes life forces you to make some tough decisions. Sometimes…it’s like that.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book 2: Through the Fire

News reporter Vanessa Johnson has spent her entire professional career in the public eye, so the last thing she wants is for her private life to be televised for the entire world to see.

After dealing with heartbreaking devastation unlike anything she’s experienced in her twenty-four years, Vanessa takes a job in her hometown where everybody and their momma know her business—and have her back.

As the hits keep coming, can she make it through the fire and get back to the life she once loved?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book 3: Pass It On

In the third book of the Grown Zone series, it’s been a long time since Reese Williams can remember things being good.

After getting pregnant her senior year of high school, Reese abandoned her dreams of going to college in order to take care of her baby. Now, years later, she’s starting to wonder if life has more to offer.

After making a difficult decision, Reese finds herself at rock bottom and considers doing things she never thought she’d do—like returning to her trifling ex.

What’s a single momma to do when she wants to pass on the gift of a great life to her daughter?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

About the Author

Chandra Sparks Splond is an editor, speaker and award-winning author and blogger.

Her young adult novel Make It Work was named Alabama’s Great Read 2017, Spin It Like That was chosen as a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and The Pledge was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Black Pearls Magazine honored Splond as a Legends & Leaders for 2017 for her blog, Book of Splond (formerly known as Magic City Momma).

Splond is the owner of West End Publishing, LLC, and Live Life Creations, a personalized gift and party boutique. In addition to working for Kensington Publishing as the consulting editor for Arabesque romance, Splond has also done work for Random House, Moody Publishers, Kimani Press (formerly known as BET Books), and Hyperion. She has edited books for several New York Times, USA Today and Essence bestselling authors.

Splond has interviewed New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Eric Jerome Dickey and actress Meagan Good. She has also worked for Good Housekeeping, Black and Married with Kids, Brides Noir, Weddingpages, Newsday, The Morning Call and Romantic Times. 

Of all the titles she has held, Splond’s most important remain child of God, wife and mommy.

Splond graduated from Ramsay High School in Birmingham, Alabama and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa with a degree in journalism. She received her master of science in education degree with a focus on instructional design and technology from Samford University. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and resides in Birmingham with her family. They are members of Forty-fifth Street Baptist Church.

Visit her website or connect with Chandra on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest!

 

I adore these covers! What do you say, reader friends?
Are you adding the Grown Zone series to your tbr?

 

POST CREATED BY BETH ERIN

Book Review: Risking Love by Toni Shiloh

Happy Friday, everyone!!

I have loved every Toni Shiloh book I’ve ever read, and I especially love the Maple Run series… so I’m excited to share my review of her newest book in the series – Risking Love

ABOUT THE BOOK

risking loveNikki Gordon lives with a perfect trifecta of noes. No guys. No dates. No way.

The past holds her bound with ropes made of fear-infused steel, and she’s determined that no one will ever cut through them. If only her heart would cooperate whenever Shorty comes around. Things go from complicated to confusing when he appears at The Maple Pit in the company of another woman—a drop-dead gorgeous one at that.

With everything to lose and to gain, Nikki steps out in faith and prays for the courage to let him in… before it’s too late.

Gregory “Shorty” Smalls finally has the chance to take his burgeoning business to the next level. Then maybe, Nikki will quit seeing him as a goof-off and give him a real chance.

Finding out he isn’t the problem? The best and worst news possible.

Just how much healing has to take place before he has a chance to move from friend zone to love of her life?

And does he even have a chance?

OTHER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES: Buying Love | Finding Love | Enduring Love


MY THOUGHTS

“I have no wisdom or insight but I know that God is good.”

I have been waiting for Shorty & Nikki’s story since I first met them both in Book #1 of the series. And while I have loved all the stories in between, there is just something really special about Risking Love.

Most of that can be attributed, I believe, to Shorty (and of course the author who created him). He has been oh-so-patient and steadfast in his gentle pursuit of Nikki, a touching picture of our Savior’s pursuit of our hearts. Nikki has been through a traumatic and life-changing assault, and she struggles with everyone else’s timeline for her grief. Yet, Shorty is there, waiting for her, even though he doesn’t yet know why she’s so hesitant to start a relationship. Once he does know, he becomes even more patient, more tender, and you’ll fall in love with him right along with Nikki. In Shorty, the author has created a beautiful portrait of the 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. No, he’s not perfect – he is flawed just like the rest of us, but that just makes him more relatable.

Despite Nikki’s pain that she’s working through, Risking Love isn’t a heavy story. The easy camaraderie among all the secondary characters (most of whom were previously main characters in preceding books of the series) as well as between Shorty and Nikki keeps the tone light when it needs to be while also addressing the tougher issues with grace and truth. The author has achieved just the right balance for this story and these characters, and it’s well worth the wait!

Bottom Line: Risking Love is everything I hoped Shorty & Nikki’s story would be – and more. It’s tender and fun and heart-warming, and the author approaches Nikki’s past trauma in the healthiest way possible. Shorty is the kind of hero our hearts crave in great romance because he’s an example of the way our Savior pursues us. Nikki is genuine and likable, and your heart will ache and rejoice right along with her. This is Toni Shiloh at her best!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Review first appeared on ReadingIsMySuperPower

PURCHASE A COPY:  GOODREADS | AMAZON


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

toni-1-683x1024Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys in northern Virginia. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Virginia Chapter. You can find more information at http://tonishiloh.com.

CONNECT WITH TONI: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


Looking for a weekend read that will make you laugh, cry, swoon and fall in love with Jesus a bit more?
Risking Love is the book for you!

Book Spotlight: The Cowboy’s Faith

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m excited to bring you a spotlight on a new book from Danica Favorite! The paperback releases June 18th & the ebook releases on July 1st from Love Inspired.

ABOUT THE BOOK

the cowboy's faithHis secret past. His second chance.
Three Sisters Ranch could be his way home…

When inexperienced rancher Nicole Bell starts training her troubled mare, Fernando Montoya has just the expertise she needs.

But helping Nicole brings Fernando dangerously close to revealing the secret he’d rather keep hidden: he learned the skill in prison.

While the horse draws them together, can Fernando find a way to tell her the truth…and keep it from pulling them apart?

GOODREADS | AMAZON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

danica favoriteA self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado. Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.

website | Facebook | Twitter| Instagram

What about you?
What interests you most about this book?

Book Spotlight: The Marriage Bargain

Hi, reader friends! Today’s featured title is a sweet romance that brings the marriage of convenience trope up to modern day standards with two orphans and a ready-made family by a new-to-me author!


About the Book

Jules Sheehan will do anything to keep custody of the two orphaned girls in her care—including a marriage of convenience with their uncle.

Cam Quinn crosses the globe as a travel writer, but he’s ready to settle down.

Now tough, tender Jules is offering the home he’s secretly longed for.

Can this marriage in name only become a family of the heart?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook

 

About the Author

Award-winning author Stephanie Dees lives in small-town Alabama with her family, two spoiled dogs, and a very bossy cat. A Southern girl through and through, she loves sweet tea, SEC football, corn on the cob and air conditioning. Visit her website!

 

This series is on my wishlist! What do you say, reader friends?
Does this story sound appealing to you?

 

POST CREATED BY BETH ERIN

 

Book Review: A Cowboy in Shepherd’s Crossing

Happy Friday, dear readers!! Beth spotlighted today’s book on Wednesday – so you can already tell that we love it around here. And what’s not to love – with Ruth Logan Herne at the helm, a swoony cowboy, a sassy southern designer, and two adorable baby girls!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Cowboy in Shepherds Crossing by Ruth Logan HerneCowboy bachelor Jace Middleton was ready to leave Shepherd’s Crossing for good – until he learns his family’s unspoken secrets.

Now Jace finds himself not only caring for his twin baby nieces, but working with beautiful, strong-willed designer Melonie Fitzgerald to renovate his grandmother’s run-down estate.

Love wasn’t part of the plan… but Jace soon finds himself wishing Melonie could become part of his unexpected family.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook

review on Hope By The Book magazine website

MY THOUGHTS

First of all, kudos to Love Inspired for putting a hero of color on the cover – and kudos to Ruthy for writing one!

Jace Middleton is swoony and sweet, with a heart of gold and a spirit of integrity. He loves the small town of Shepherd’s Crossing, and family is the most important thing to him. Poor Jace is punched with a lot of life-changing revelations all at once, not the least of which is his attraction to career-minded city girl Melonie. (Melonie, for her part, has a much softer side to her than first appears and feels like a woman you’d want as your best friend.)

Herne has a way of capturing the beauty of diversity without making it a political issue or without seeming as though she’s just trying to make a point. Her warmth and genuine love for people from all walks of life and cultures shine through in her stories, and A Cowboy in Shepherd’s Crossing is no exception.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ruthyBest-selling, multi-published, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne is the author of nearly fifty novels and novellas through traditional publishers and her own independent works. She loves God, her family, country, coffee, chocolate and dogs, and wishes possums would leave the cat food on the side porch alone. And yet… they don’t. With over a million books in print, Ruthy is living her dream of touching hearts and souls by writing the kind of books she likes to read.

She lives on a pumpkin farm in Western New York where they grow all kinds of cool things for fall from sumptuous squashes and veggies to gorgeous stacking pumpkins. Ruthy’s farm is quickly becoming the place to be every September and October!

website | Facebook | Twitter

Book Review: The Plum Blooms In Winter

Happy Friday! Today we’re looking at a debut novel from Mountain Brook Ink that looks at both sides of The Doolittle Raid in 1942 (a US air raid on the Greater Tokyo area during WW2) – the pilots and the victims.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Thompson-1PlumBloomsSMALLA Prostitute Seeks Her Revenge–In 1942, Miyako Matsuura cradled her little brother as he died on the sidewalk, a victim of the first U.S. bombing raid on Japan. By 1948, the war has reduced her to a street-hardened prostitute consumed by her shame.

A WWII Hero Finds His True Mission–Dave Delham makes military aviation history piloting a B-25 in the audacious Doolittle Raid. Forced to bail out over occupied China, he and his crew are captured by the Japanese and survive a harrowing P.O.W. ordeal. In 1948, he returns to Japan as a Christian missionary, determined to showcase Christ’s forgiveness.

Convinced that Delham was responsible for the bomb that snuffed out her brother’s life, Miyako resolves to restore her honor by avenging him–even if it costs her own life. But the huntress soon becomes hunted in Osaka’s treacherous underworld. Miyako must outmaneuver a ruthless brothel owner, outwit gangs with competing plans to profit by her, and overcome betrayal by family and friends–only to confront a decision that will change everything.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

MY THOUGHTS

The Plum Blooms in Winter is the kind of novel that isn’t easy to read because it shines a light on some of the darkest, most evil shadows of humanity. It exposes what fear, desperation, and bitterness will drive people to do to one another. The circumstances in which both Dave and Miyako find themselves, respectively, are brutal and raw and you may be tempted to look away at times to leave them a bit of dignity.

Yet at the same time it celebrates the power of God’s grace to begin the work of redemption and restoration. Hope shines brighter than the darkness – in a thousand little ways and a few really big ones. Though neither Dave nor Miyako acknowledge God right away, His hand is nevertheless obvious to readers who do know Him.

The author mentions at the beginning of the novel that she made the choice to include common derogatory terms of the day toward the Japanese as an accurate representation of the history she was portraying. And while these are difficult to read, they are used as sparingly as possible and do drive home the appalling attitudes of the time period. This disparity – between the debasing words and the God-given high value of the people being spoken of – is seen so clearly as Miyako is first met as a school girl racing to protect her little brother from the air raid and then as a young woman who sacrifices all she has left to afford her father’s medical care yet is still so dearly loved by her Heavenly Father.

Note: I did wince at the author’s choice to write some English words phonetically as the Japanese would have said them. To me, this negated some of the value & honor she had given back to the Japanese citizens (as opposed to military personnel) in her portrayal of them.

Overall though this is an extremely powerful novel of the extremes that war, prejudice, fear, and desperation can lead to. The compelling and emotional story shows that, deep inside, our hearts all beat the same – no matter what our race or ethnicity – and that God’s grace follows us into the deepest pit whether we’ve dug it ourselves or it’s been dug for us.

I VOLUNTARILY REVIEWED A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF THIS BOOK.
ALL VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE ONLY MY HONEST OPINION.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

linda thompsonLinda Thompson stepped back from a corporate career that spanned continents to write what she loves-stories of unstoppable faith. Her debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, is an A.C.F.W. Genesis award winner. Linda writes from the sun-drenched Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, a third-generation airline pilot who doubles as her Chief Military Research Officer, two mostly-grown-up kids, and a small platoon of housecats. When Linda isn’t writing, you’ll find her rollerblading-yes, that does make her a throwback-taking in a majestic desert moonrise, or dreaming of an upcoming trip. She and her husband recently returned from a tour of Israel and Jordan. Next up: Wales.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER