Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Grab Bag Blog Tour from Waterbrook

Recently I was asked to participate to the First Brag Bag Blog Tour. A Grab Bag tour is where the publisher – Waterbrook Multnomah in this case – randomly select two of the eight historical full-length novels and send them to the blogger for his/her review. So below are the two books I received and my thoughts about them.

A promise for Breanna – book 1 of Angel of Mercy series
By Al Lacy
Published at Waterbrook

About this Book
The Angel of Mercy series follows the adventures of certified medical nurse Breanna Baylor as she seeks to serve her fellow man and restore her relationship with her true love-John

Stranger of the Journeys of the Stranger series-in the post-Civil War West. A Promise for Breanna finds the heroine face to face with Frank Miller, the man who once broke her heart and led her to mistrust men, sabotaging her relationship with John Stranger. Suspense, danger, romance, and spiritual truth each play a part in this compelling story that draws readers into the life of an angel of mercy.

Who is Al Lacy?
Al Lacy has written more than ninety novels, including the Angel of Mercy, Battles of Destiny, and Journeys of the Stranger series. He and his wife, JoAnna Lacy, are coauthors of the Mail Order Bride, Hannah of Fort Bridger, and Shadow of Liberty series. The Lacys make their home in the Colorado Rockies.

My Thoughts
Even though this novel is a sequel of the life of Breanna Baylor from the Journeys of the Stranger series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone. Originally published in 1995, this novel has been revamped with a new cover.

The story starts with a dream and finishes with the dream becoming a reality. But it also finishes with leaving you wanting for more. I assume that there will be more books from the Angel of Mercy series and after checking on a popular Christian bookstore website that there is indeed more books in this series.

I discovered wonderful characters while reading A Promise for Breanna and lots of adventure. After serving as a nurse in a village with no doctor, she embarks on a new adventure partly because she is needed in a wagon train. While riding toward California more events come to them and you wonder how they will come out of these unhurt.

In a time where many were not following hygiene rules, Breanna strongly suggest to follow God’s rules from the Old Testament to avoid terrible sickness while travelling. It makes so much sense and I wonder how many people would have lived if such rules had been applied for the settlers of the west.

A Promise for Breanna is a wonderful read for the summer and I recommend it to anyone who would love to experience the life on the road while being on a wagon train.

A Promise for Breanna is available everywhere even at and
A Gathering of Finches
By Jane Kirkpatrick
Published at Waterbrook.

About this Book
Based on historical characters and events, A Gathering of Finches tells the story of a turn-of-the-century Oregon coastal couple and the consequences of their choices, as seen through the eyes of the wife, her sister, and her Indian maid. Along the way, the reader will discover reasons to trust that money and possessions can't buy happiness or forgiveness, nor permit us to escape the consequences of our choices. The story emphasizes the message that real meaning is found in the relationships we nurture and in living our lives in obedience to God.

Who is Jane Kirkpatrick?
Jane Kirkpatrick is an Oregon author whose work includes the three novels Love to Water My Soul, A Sweetness to the Soul, and Homestead. A Sweetness to the Soul earned the author and publisher the Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center as the "Outstanding Western Novel of 1995." Her award-winning essays have appeared in over fifty magazines and newspapers across the country. She is a clinical social worker, speaker, and teacher. Jane and her husband, Jerry, live on a remote ranch in Eastern Oregon. A Gathering of Finches is the third book in her compelling historical novel series.

My Thoughts
I was excited to have received the book from Jane Kirkpatrick. I’ve discovered her about two years ago when I borrowed a book from my sister-in-law. I was hooked by her way of writing and her research on historic events. So I was half-hoping to get to review this one when I got the request from Waterbrook. Well, I was pleased to see that it was one of the selection send to me.

This book is once again based on the history. This time the story will be developed in Oregon. But before leaving on the train to go there, the novel debuts in New York where an untimely event in the life of the Hendrick family happens. The main character of this novel is Cassie Hendrick who will soon become Mrs. Stearns thanks to the offer of Josiah Stearns. However, it’s a marriage of convenience and soon you can realize that it wasn’t for the best of worlds. Eventually, Cassie falls in love with Louis Simpson and leaves her husband and child to be with this man.

Right there, I think I lost the passion of finishing the book… I must confess that I am uncertain how the book finishes and the conclusion of it. Maybe someday I will pick it up again and conclude the story. I can understand that the marriage wasn’t perfect but honestly I don’t believe in separation and/or divorce. Learning that the main character leaves her home and family to follow her heart is appalling to me. Maybe it’s because myself is a child of divorce – even though I was in my 20s when it happened – I don’t know. I understand that this book tells the story of a real person who lived in the past and that’s how it happened. The Simpson family left a wonderful garden in Oregon and all this was Cassie’s creation.

Jane Kirkpatrick uses an interesting style while writing this novel. It is as though Cassie herself is speaking to us while we read. I like this because I feel as though I have some sort of relationship with the character.

If you want to know more about the life of Cassie Hendrick Stearns Simpson, you should read this book. It is based on her life and the events surrounding it. You would learn quite a lot about her for sure.

A gathering of Finches is available in every bookstore as well as on and

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reviewing this novel of mine. It was a difficult subject as I began thinking it was a wonderful love story only to discover that it wasn't. But I felt the need to be true to the story and in the process to explore this woman's sad life for having left her child and husband and how she had to come to terms with the consequences of her do we all. Her sister's faith, her brother-in-law, the man she chose to live with, all expressed a hope one day that she would seek forgiveness and make amends. I hope one day you do finish the book as I've had many people tell me that having read it, they changed the way they were living their lives. Thanks for still finding some good thing to say about the book. I appreciate that so much. Sincerely, Jane Kirkpatrick