Wrapping Up a Trilogy – Review of The Midwife’s Dilemma

midwifesdilemmaBook information – The Midwife’s Dilemma

Author – Delia Parr

Publication Information – Bethany House (April 2016, $9.99 digital, $5.52 print)

Reading Challenge book? No.

As readers of this blog may know, I enjoyed the previous two books in Delia Parr’s At Home in Trinity trilogy, set in 1830s Pennsylvania.  The heroine, Martha Cade, is a widow with grown children and I have enjoyed seeing her navigate the challenges of faith and life as a midwife in what can sometimes be difficult circumstances.

Throughout the series, we have seen Martha’s evolving relationship with her grown daughter as she moves into adulthood, and we have also seen the evolution of an old friendship with a local widower turn into romantic love. These themes continue throughout this book and eventually get resolved.

I enjoyed seeing how Martha’s sometimes difficult relationship with her daughter unfolded. The shift from child to adult for Victoria brought some strain with Martha, and I was happy to see the two of them learn how to deal with this evolving relationship. My main issues with the book sprang from the relationship between Martha and her (perhaps) intended.

It was obvious that this gentleman loved Martha and wished to marry her, but Martha kept finding reasons to put off making a decision.  I have to admit that I found her protracted dithering quite exasperating.  I could understand that she would not want to marry and leave her community completely devoid of a midwife. However, I felt like she used this as an excuse rather than facing any real hesitations she might have.

Things do eventually get resolved – on all the plotline fronts – though the ending did feel a tad rushed.  Aside from my quibbles with Martha’s treatment of the man courting her, I still enjoyed the book, though I’m not sure I’ll reread it. Rating: 3 stars

*Note: A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.*

A Bit of a Thrill Ride – Review of Under Duress

underduress Book InformationUnder Duress
Author – Meghan Carver
Publication Information – Love Inspired Suspense(February 2016, $5.99 print, $4.99 digital)

Reading Challenge Book? No.

I enjoyed Meghan Carver’s blogging about life, faith, and homeschooling even before she got her publishing contract with Love Inspired. Though I’m at a different point in my journey, I’m also a lawyer turned mom at home and I’ve appreciated her wisdom more than once.

When I learned that Carver had a novel coming, I knew I had to read it. I enjoy mysteries, and this tale of a woman on the run from kidnappers sounded interesting.  And it mostly is.

The author drops us right into the middle of the action as attorney Samantha Callahan goes to pick up her ward, Lily, from school. She arrives just in time to foil a kidnapping in progress.  Neither she nor ten-year-old Lily has any idea why armed thugs would want them, but Samantha instinctively flees the danger. Continue reading

Interesting Ideas – Review of How the West Won

westwon Book InformationHow the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity

Author – Rodney Stark

Publisher  – Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI Books) (2014, $9.99 digital, $14.00 paperback)

Reading Challenge Book? Yes! Clocking in at 432 pages, this is my “Book With More than 400 Pages”.  For more on the reading challenge, there’s a Goodreads group going here.

I’ve not read Rodney Stark before, though I have heard his name mentioned. Stark is a prolific author and serves as Co-Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. His background is in sociology rather than history, a piece of information I found helpful as I read this work. Stark appears to write more as an observer of human progress and societal developments rather than as a conventional political historian. When trying to understand patterns in history, this perspective is useful.

I did learn a fair amount from this book and I’m glad I read it, though I did find myself disappointed sometimes.  Why is this?  Well, Stark’s subject had much potential to it, but some of his arguments just did not get the full development they deserved.  The book is a little over 400 pages, but the vast sweep of history covered within could easily (and perhaps should have) filled multiple volumes. Continue reading

The Good, the Bad and the Everything – Review of Wild in the Hollow

wildhollow Book InformationWild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home
Author: Amber C. Haines
Publisher: Revell (August 2015, $16.99 hardcover, $9.72 digital)

I’ve been curious about this book ever since I heard about it. I’ve read Amber C. Haines’ blog off and on from back when her site was just called The RunaMuck. Some of the content I enjoyed back then looks like it’s been pruned away, but there are still good new blog pieces to be had there from time to time.

One of the things I enjoy most about Haines’ writing is that she tends to be very real with her readers. If you’ve read her blog for any length of time, you know she’s not perfect and doesn’t pretend to be. I suspect that we might differ in the particulars of our theology, but she captures the wonders of God’s grace in imagery that rekindles my joy in Him. Continue reading

Pure Melodrama – Reviewing A Heart’s Disguise

heartsdisguiseBook InformationA Heart’s Disguise

Author – Colleen Coble

Publisher – Thomas Nelson (March 2015, $6.99)

I’m more familiar with Colleen Coble via her books with contemporary settings, but I was aware that she had written historicals. When I read that she planned to re-release two early works that had been out of print for many years, I got curious. And when I saw that the release of the books would take place over several monthly installments, I felt more curious still.

Given the chance to pick up the first part of Journey of the Heart, I pounced. How would this Victorian-style reading experience go? After all, I grew up hearing how readers of Charles Dickens eagerly clamored at stores for the release of the newest part of each of his novels.

Continue reading

Review – Heart Sisters: Be The Friend You Want to Have

heartsistersBook InformationHeart Sisters: Be The Friend You Want to Have

Author – Natalie Chambers Snapp

Publisher Information – Abingdon Press (2015, $8.63 digital, $15.99 print)

When I saw this book on a listing of upcoming Christian books, my interest was piqued.  It sounded like just the sort of book I would enjoy and find helpful  After all, who doesn’t want to be a good friend? I don’t have any blood sisters of my own, but good friendships do form a sisterhood of sorts.

There are some good nuggets of information in Snapp’s book. For instance, she reminds us that we cannot expect any person to fill all the holes in our lives. Friendships are important, but God comes first. If we are not in a right relationship with God, we cannot expect friends, no matter how wonderful, to take His place in our lives. In a world where the dominant culture urges us into misplaced priorities, this is a valuable reminder. Continue reading