Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen December 15, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:30 pm
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About:

Set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers, Laura Callaway now lives with her uncle and his disapproving wife in North Cornwall. There she feels like a castaway, always viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong.

While wreckers search for valuables along the windswept Cornwall coast–known for its many shipwrecks but few survivors–Laura searches for clues to the lives lost so she can write letters to next of kin and return keepsakes to rightful owners. When a man is washed ashore after a wreck, Laura acts quickly to protect him from a local smuggler determined to destroy him.

As Laura and a neighbor care for the survivor, they discover he has curious wounds and, although he speaks in careful, educated English, his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Despite the evidence against him, the mysterious man might provide her only chance to discover the truth about her parents’ fate. With danger pursuing them from every side, and an unexpected attraction growing between them, will Laura ever find the answers she seeks?

My thoughts:

An excellent book by Julie. This story is told with rich character development and vivid narration.

I could identify with Laura and how she felt like an outsider at times and like she didn’t belong. Alex seems to bring her connection.

I enjoyed all of the characters in this book and I like the ending and a bit of surprise we get, although I can’t share it here.

If you enjoy historical romance with a flare for the sea you will love this book.

Visit Julie here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

 

Review and Giveaway: An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen December 7, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 8:11 am
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an ivy hill banner (2)

About the Book

Book: An Ivy Hill Christmas

Author: Julie Klassen

Genre: Christmas Historical Romance

Release Date: September, 2020

Ivy Hill Christmas

Richard Brockwell, the younger son of Ivy Hill’s most prominent family, hasn’t been home for Christmas in years. He prefers to live in the London townhouse, far away from Brockwell Court, the old family secret that haunts him, and the shadows of his past mistakes. But then his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life–unless he comes home for Christmas. Out of options, he sets out for Ivy Hill, planning to be back on a coach bound for London and his unencumbered bachelor life as soon as the festivities are over.

But Christmas in the country presents many surprises, including encounters with an orphaned apprentice, the first love he disappointed years ago, and Arabella Awdry, a young lady who is far more appealing than he recalled–and determined to have nothing to do with him.

Will Christmastime in Ivy Hill, with its village charm, kissing boughs, and joyous songs, change his heart . . . and hers as well?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Klassen Julie

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for 16 years and now writes full-time. Her novels have sold over 1 million copies, and three of her books, The Silent GovernessThe Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and a Christian Retailing‘s Best Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

More from Julie

My fascination with England began as a girl when I read The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre, and watched A Christmas Carol. I have now been to Great Britain several times, and my affection for the place has only grown. I love the country villages with their stone buildings and thatched roofs, the narrow, winding roads (though not driving on them), the ancient churches, friendly people, plummy accents, and history. Writing fifteen novels set there has been a real pleasure.

An Ivy Hill Christmas includes all the elements of an idyllic Olde English yuletide: A charming village setting, snowfall, mistletoe, caroling, gifts for less fortunate neighbors, and festive gatherings of friends and family. I thoroughly enjoyed researching 19th century Christmas traditions and weaving them into this novella.

In the story, a confirmed bachelor is determined to remain aloof from the celebrations going on around him—and from his mother’s matchmaking schemes. But divine hope, friendship, and unexpected romance change his heart…and his mind.  I love a transformation story; don’t you?

If you’ve read the TALES FROM IVY HILL series, you will enjoy returning to the village and spending time with favorite characters. But rest assured, the novella is a standalone, meaning you can enjoy it whether or not you’ve read the other books, as these reviews attest:

“[A] standalone novella that not only beautifully captures the kindness, hope, love, and faith of Christmas but also skillfully evokes the period holiday atmosphere of Regency England.”  —Booklist

“This feel-good tale of love and redemption will delight Klassen’s fans and new readers alike.” Publishers Weekly

And if you like the novella, I think you will like the other books as well. An Ivy Hill Christmas would also make a lovely gift for a reading friend.

Finally, if you want to add a British flair to your own modern-day celebrations, buy (or make) mince tarts or Christmas pudding, place Christmas “crackers” (pull-apart gift tubes) on your table and wear the included paper crowns. Refer to Father Christmas instead of Santa; and instead of “Merry,” wish everyone a hearty, “Happy Christmas.”

Happy Christmas!

Blog Stops

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 30

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 30

Christian Bookaholic, November 30

Andrea Christenson, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 1

KarenSueHadley, December 1

Robin’s Nest, December 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 1

Blessed & Bookish, December 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 2

Mia Reads, December 2

Wishful Endings, December 3

lakesidelivingsite, December 3

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3

For Him and My Family, December 3

Just Your Average reviews, December 3

She Lives To Read, December 4

Remembrancy, December 4

deb’s Book Review, December 4

Writing from the Heart Land, December 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 5

Quiet Workings, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Spoken from the Heart, December 5

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 6

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 6

Connect in Fiction, December 6

Artistic Nobody, December 6 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Worthy2Read, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 7

Life of Literature, December 7

For the Love of Literature, December 8

Connie’s History Classroom, December 8

Batya’s Bits, December 8

Labor Not in Vain, December 8

Hallie Reads, December 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

Older & Smarter?, December 9

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 9

Betti Mace, December 9

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Faery Tales Are Real, December 10

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 10

Mary Hake, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bigreadersite, December 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 11

Splashes of Joy, December 11

Vicky Sluiter, December 12

To Everything There Is A Season, December 12

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 12

Blossoms and Blessings, December 12

The Write Escape, December 12

A Baker’s Perspective, December 13

Bizwings Blog, December 13

Simple Harvest Reads, December 13 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, December 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Julie is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of An Ivy Hill Christmas and the other three books in the Ivy Hill series, plus the winner’s choice of Bingley’s Tea!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/103f5/an-ivy-hill-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. I loved Christmastime in England and all of the traditions the reader gets to observe. I also enjoyed watching Richard change into more of a gentleman. However, I will say I found humor in his snarky remarks and even made me lol a couple of times.

This is also a quick read but with a lot of depth. I didn’t feel like the author was rushing through the story to make it shorter. It was very well done.

If you have read the other books in this series you will enjoy seeing some of the previous characters and what is going on in there lives as well. But if you haven’t read the other books you will not feel the least bit lost, I think I was easy to follow.

Visit Julie here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own.

 

The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen January 8, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:56 am
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About:

After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn’t satisfied with Bow Street’s efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect–a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But should he trust her?

On Belle Island, Isabelle feels safe and leads a productive life, but fear keeps her trapped there. When Mr. Booker arrives with news of her trustee’s murder in London, Isabelle is stunned. She has not left the island, yet she has a recurring dream about the man’s death. Or is it a memory? She had been furious with him, but she never intended . . . this.

When a second person dies and evidence shockingly points to her, Isabelle doesn’t know who to trust: the attractive lawyer or the admirer and friends who assemble on the island, each with grudges against the victim. Can she even trust her own mind? While they search for the truth, secrets come to light and danger comes calling.

My thoughts:

This is the Julie Klassen style I really enjoy. A strong sense of mystery makes this book a romantic suspense more than just a historical romance.

Something strange was definitely going on.  Questions about the dreams Isabelle had and something connected to the orange wine what was made on the island had a strong thread throughout.

There were many suspicious characters that will have you guessing at who killed Uncle Percy.  I felt I had a good idea in the beginning but that seemed too obvious so I had to keep reading to see if I was right or not.

Overall a very good read, I have missed this type of book from Julie.

Visit Julie here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own. 

 

The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen January 10, 2019

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 6:47 pm
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About:

Come home to Ivy Hill, where friendship endures, romance triumphs,
and mysteries are revealed in this eagerly anticipated conclusion. . . .

Spring is in the air . . . and change is too. Mercy Grove has lost her girls’ school and is resigned to life as a spinster, especially as the man she admires is out of reach. She contemplates leaving Ivy Cottage to become a governess–a decision with consequences she never imagined.

Meanwhile, her friend Jane Bell is facing a difficult decision of her own. Should she accept Gabriel Locke even if it means giving up her inn and destining another man to a childless marriage?

When a secretive new dressmaker arrives in the village, Mercy, Jane, and the other ladies of Ivy Hill attempt to befriend her, but they soon suspect she isn’t who she claims to be.

Together, the women of Ivy Hill look forward to one wedding, but surprises lie in store and dearly held dreams may yet come true.

My thoughts:

This is a satisfying conclusion to the series.

I will say I think to fully appreciate this book you should read the other two first. I don’t think this is a book you can just jump into without reading the others and find that interesting. But because I have read the other two I enjoyed meeting up with these characters again and seeing what was going on and their lives continue to develop.

I look forward to reading more of Julie’s work in the future.

Visit Julie here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

 

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen January 15, 2018

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 8:44 pm
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About:

Return to Ivy Hill as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold . . .

A gentlewoman in reduced circumstances, Miss Rachel Ashford lives as a guest in Ivy Cottage. With her meager funds rapidly depleting, she is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. Her friend Jane Bell and the other village women encourage her to open a circulating library with the many books she’s inherited from her father. As villagers donate additional books and Rachel begins sorting through the volumes, she discovers mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but both find more than they bargained for.

Rachel’s hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and finds fulfillment in managing her girls school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what–or whom–has captured each man’s attention? The truth may surprise them all.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed the first book a lot. I loved the setting and I felt like I was really there. So I liked going to back and visiting again. It took me a while to remember all of the characters and who they were. But once I got there I easily fell back into the story.

We get to catch up with the characters we met in the first book and get a deeper look into there lives.

And there was all these potential romances going on, it kept it very interesting.

I think I liked this book even more than first because of the deeper  aspect into each character and getting to know them even more. I do think you need to read the first book in the series to fully appreciate this one.

Visit Julie here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

 

Review and Giveaway: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen January 6, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:27 pm
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the-innkeeper

About:

Welcome to the English village of Ivy Hill, where friendships thrive, romance blossoms, and mysteries await. . . .

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?

My thoughts and giveaway:

What an engaging book and I’m so excited for this series and the chance to spend more time in Ivy Hill and with these characters. I can’t wait to see what Julie will cook up next.

It seems like each chapter just added another layer of tension and unease to the book. I kept wondering who Jane would fall in love with and who she could really trust.

Even though Jane didn’t like her mother-in-law I could see the good in her. Of course that came because she was a point-of-view character and we knew she didn’t want anything bad to happen.

However, someone does, but how exactly? That is the questions. And what did Jane’s husband do with all that money he borrowed. So many questions.

A wonderful read that I am sure fans of historical fiction readers will eat up.

Visit Julie here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

Leave a comment by Jan. 20th for your chance to win a copy. One winner will be chosen by random.org. (U.S. addresses only. I will not replace books lost or damaged in the mail.)

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

 

The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen January 19, 2016

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:32 am
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the painters

About:

Sophie Dupont assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. In private, she paints the picturesque north Devon coast, popular with artists–including handsome Wesley Overtree, who seems more interested in Sophie than the landscape.

Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother Wesley’s responsibilities. Near the end of his leave, he is sent to find his brother and bring him home. Upon reaching Devonshire, however, Stephen is stunned to learn Wesley has sailed for Italy and left his host’s daughter in serious trouble.

Stephen feels duty-bound to act, and strangely protective of the young lady, who somehow seems familiar. Wanting to make some recompense for his own past failings as well as his brother’s, Stephen proposes to Miss Dupont. He does not offer love, but marriage “in name only” to save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he fears, she will at least be a respectable widow.

Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie finds herself torn between her first love and this brooding man she barely knows. Dare she wait for Wesley to return? Or should she elope with the captain and pray she doesn’t come to regret it?

My thoughts:

Oh my, this book is amazing.  Julie Klassen has written another fabulous book.

I don’t even know where to begin. The plot is just great and will have you guessing and wondering what will happen. I have to admit, I was so concerned about the characters that I had to peek at the last page. I  couldn’t wait to see what would happen (that’s bad, I know).

Then I was up way past my bedtime because I didn’t want to stop reading and had to see what would happen.

Sophie is a wonderful young woman who made a mistake and struggles with feelings from her past. I can definitely relate to that.

Stephen reminded me very much of my husband, strong and willing to do whatever he has to for those he loves.

Truly, one of the best books I have read in a while. If you like Julie’s books, or if you haven’t read anything by her, this is a must read.

Visit Julie here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer.

An e-copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen December 29, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:41 pm
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julie klassen

About:

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll’s house left mid-play…

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor’s past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail’s attention. Hoping to restore her family’s finances–and her dowry–Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn’t the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?

My thoughts:

Wow. This book was amazing. This was a book that had me hooked from the first couple of pages. I felt the tension rise up in me and it continued until the last page. As I was reading I had to remind myself it will all work out in the end but I had doubts.

Abigail is a very likeable character. She is the good, sensible daughter, the one that does what is expected and lets her younger sister receive all the attention. At times I thought she too nice and I wanted to tell her to speak her mind.

Julie did such a masterful job with this book. William is a curate (basically a pastor) and I loved how she had him do some bold, un-pastor-like things. That’s what made him even more intriguing and a great hero.

The mystery in this book was wonderfully built. Small hints given throughout, just enough to keep you coming back for more.

As the story wrapped up I had to remind myself of all the plots going on and what needed to be resolved. Julie resolved each and every plot line beautifully and with great satisfaction.

This is a book I was thinking about even when I wasn’t reading it. I couldn’t wait to get back to it and get to the end, even though I was sad to say good-bye to this wonderful cast of characters. I highly recommend this one. If you like romance and mystery (that does get a bit creepy at times but not too much) then this is a book I think you will definitely enjoy 🙂

Visit Julie here.

Grab you copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

An e-copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen January 13, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:47 am
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dancing master

The Dancing Master

by

Julie Klassen

From the back cover:

Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch’s daughter. Though he’s initially wary of Julie Midwinter’s reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul—and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master—a man her mother would never approve of—but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec’s help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village . . . and to her mother’s tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance,  The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a “good match” in Regency England.

My thoughts:

This book totally reminded me of a historical version of Footloose 🙂 Guy who likes dancing comes to town. The girl who captures his interest isn’t allowed to dance.

This was a nice read but moved a bit slow for me. I would’ve like to seen things happen a bit more quickly.

Julia is tough to like at first, but I see this as part of her wounds, so I totally get that. Alec is definitely handsome and charming but not a really strong hero in the sense of getting his hands dirty. I guess I struggle with that because my own husband is such a hands on kind of guy and can do just about everything.

I like the touch of mystery and the untold family history. That kept me guessing and wanting to know how that was going to all play out.

If you enjoy historical romance this might be a book you would enjoy. It has gotten good reviews, just a bit slow for my taste.

Grab your copy at your local book store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

Visit Julie’s website here.

An ebook copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.