Hello! On my old blog, Spreading His Grace, I had been known to post tons of book reviews, all sharing my thoughts about what I had been reading and whether or not I recommended them for my readers to check out for themselves. Now that I have moved over to So I Write and have been thinking about new ways of doing things, I have decided to just share smaller reviews of everything I have read over the course of a month all in one post, that way I’m not posting anywhere from three to seven reviews every month and this blog does not get filled with book reviews and nothing else.
So, here is my first go at that! I only read three books over the course of April, as it was a fairly busy month for me, but I was fortunate enough to really enjoy every book that I did read. Here are some of my thoughts on what I found between the pages of all three stories, and my recommendation for all of them because each one was fantastic. I hope you like this new way of doing things, and that you are able to find some new books to read as I share what I’ve been reading every month!
The Sea Keeper’s Daughter by Lisa Wingate
Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything?
The Sea Keeper’s Daughter is the third book in Lisa Wingate’s Carolina Heirlooms series, coming after The Prayer Box and The Story Keeper. I read The Prayer Box quite a while ago and really enjoyed it, and I am so glad I finally got around to reading the rest of the story! The way Lisa weaves together a new story with an old one is just so perfect, and I love getting to read both the contemporary and the historical parts, and then eventually finding out how the two come together. Then, when I found that The Sea Keeper’s Daughter was tied to The Story Keeper in ways that I never expected, that made this novel even more wonderful than it already was.
Whitney’s story, her pain, and the way she always runs, completely captivated me, and I just could not get enough of reading about the way the Excelsior changed her and everything she had ever known. There was just such a picture of racial prejudice, ignorance and misunderstanding, and eventually redemption that made this a heartwarming read, and I honestly think it might be my favorite of the series. Though I loved The Story Keeper equally as much, so I cannot say that for sure. Either way, this has become one of my favorite books of all-time, and has made me even more of an avid fan of Lisa’s. I highly recommend it, and everything else she writes, as they are very touching, life-changing reads that you will never forget.
My Bookshelf: A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter
When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamourous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.
After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and to raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. But as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, the risk of revealing the truth may come at too high a price for those she loves.
A Defense of Honor is the first book in Kristi Ann Hunter’s Haven Manor series. I am a huge fan of Kristi’s, and have been for quite some time, so I have been waiting to read this novel forever. Because of budget issues, I wasn’t able to purchase it when it came out, but as soon as I had a little bit of extra money this novel was the first thing I thought of. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. As soon as I learned about the premise behind the Haven Manor series, I knew that I was going to love it, but that did not prepare me for the wonderful story that I found between the pages of this book. Everything Kit and her friends did for those “children caught in the crossfire” was so selfless, so pure, so inspiring, and I could not help but fall in love with them and the whole purpose behind Haven Manor at the same time as I was falling in love with the adorable children that lived there.
Even though I did not think it possible, Kristi’s books just keep getting better and better with every one that she releases. Every single book she has published is on my all-time favorites list, and I do not think that is going to change any time soon. I highly recommend this story, the entire Haven Manor series, and everything else that Kristi writes, because they are well worth reading, will touch your heart, and give you the perfect balance of romance and the real life issues of people in the 19th century.
A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong.
Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.
If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?
A Broken Kind of Beautiful is the first book I have ever read by Katie Ganshert, but I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed. This book absolutely floored me. The real, raw brokenness in Ivy Clark brought me to tears more than once, and I wanted nothing more than for her to find healing in Greenbrier. This story showed the reality of the modelling world, and what it does to someone whose life is in it. Add that to the brokenness of Ivy’s past, and you have a very hurting woman with nowhere to turn and no idea how to fix her heart, how to move on from all that she had experienced. The way Katie wove together real love, acceptance, redemption, and forgiveness in between the pages of this story was so beautiful, and I highly recommend reading this novel as much as possible. However, definitely put a box of tissues beside you, because you will not be able to read this book without having your heart touched by the true love of God.
Those are the books I read this past April! I highly recommend each one of them, and cannot wait to share with you what I have been reading now that it’s May! I hope you have been enjoying some fabulous novels too, and if you need a recommendation for what to read next you don’t have far to look!
All credit for the italicized synopses goes to each author and their respective publisher.
To see more of my reviews, check out my Goodreads “Read” shelf here.