Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book Review: The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen is a favorite author of mine. Her Christian historical fiction novels are full of suspense and rich detail, and are among some of my favorites. I was excited to get an opportunity to read and review her newest novel The Painter's Daughter. Sophie Dupont assists her father in his art studio on the north Devon coast. Artists regularly come to these shores to paint. Sophie gets involved with one of these artists, Wesley Overtree, and finds herself in "trouble". Before she has an opportunity to share her news with Wesley, he leaves for Italy. In the meantime, Wesley's brother, Captain Stephen Overtree arrives looking for Wesley, and when he realizes her predicament, he behaves honorably to her and proposes marriage. The remainder of the novel navigates their complicated relationship which basically continues to be a bit of a love triangle. There are a number of plot twists throughout the novel as well.

While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't my favorite from this author. It was less mysterious and suspenseful and focused a great deal more on the relationships among the characters. Because of the way the story started and then continued with Sophie's situation and arranged marriage, there was quite a bit of focus on physical intimacy. While everything was extremely tactful, this component did play a significant role in the plot. I was also a bit disappointed in Sophie's character; I felt it took awhile for her to develop and see the truth about some of the characters in the book. I also would have loved to see her painting play a larger role in the story.

In spite of these negatives, I feel Julie Klassen is a wonderful storyteller. The book was interesting to read and held my attention throughout its pages. I definitely recommend her books to fans of historical fiction.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review: Amish Christmas at North Star

When I saw the release of Amish Christmas at North Star, I knew it would be a book I wanted to read. The book is comprised of four Amish novellas by authors Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark, Emily Clark, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert. The book opens with the story of events that took place on November 30, 1990. On that evening, an Amish midwife delivered four babies in North Star, Pennsylvania. The babies were named "Rebekah's Babies" when the story appeared in local media. The novellas are Christmas stories that tell what happened to the babies: Elle, Eden, Kore, and Andy.

I think novellas are always very nice to read. They are typically short, easy, pleasant reads. This book was no exception. Each story was a lovely, cozy tale for the Christmas season. The only thing I disliked about the book was that many of the stories ended a bit quickly or abruptly. I think that is a potential drawback of novellas in general because they are so short. It's hard to fully develop a plot or characters. I did like how the book contained an epilogue (set one year later) that helps to extend the stories and tie up some loose ends. These stories include a bit of mystery, plus lots of what you would expect from Amish fiction - family, traditions, and food. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction and/or any of the authors that are part of this collection.

 I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.

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