Let’s Talk Rereads!


Let’s talk about rereading favorite books! I’m going to ramble on about books for a bit, then ask YOUR opinion on rereading habits…..

I have several books I’d like to reread, but so many NEW books I want to read, too! #bookproblems

SO, I rarely reread a book, though I often enjoy them even more upon a second reading. Knowing certain surprises or twists are coming just makes me pay closer attention to the writing craft with foreshadowing, parallels, etc. I can count my complete rereads of books from the last couple years on 1 hand. They include: The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann, Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz, The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall, and the 3 book “Price of Privilege” series by Jessica Dotta.

Sometimes I partially reread a book to refresh my memory. It’s helpful in continuing a series. Many times it starts when I sit down to reread a favorite scene and I end up skimming through a lot of the story again. Ha! This often happens when a Top Ten Tuesday topic needs a little research or quote. Or, when I just need to revisit a sweet moment, quote, or recipe from a fav author. (I’m talking about you all, Hillary Manton Lodge, Dawn Crandall, Pepper Basham, Rachel McMillan, and Katherine Reay.)

This past week, I reread an all-time favorite: The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton. After her newest novel, Many Sparrows, referenced and provided the backstory for some of the characters in TPOTL, I just had to pick it back up and continue with those characters. I had forgotten more details of that story than I realized, so rereading it was a treat once again! This time, I noticed the writing style and world-building (because as Lori says, historical settings do involve some major world building) in a different way, enjoying the scenery and the growth of Tamsen and Jesse all over again.

This brings me to my questions for YOU: Do you reread favorite books? What makes a book worthy of a reread? What have you reread recently?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I’ve Read This Year

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird


Top Ten Books I’ve Read This Year

I have a feeling this should be called the top ones I’ve read SO FAR this year, because there are some awesome books set to release soon. Also, there are a few others I really want to include, but I can’t, because they are INSPY nominations I’m judging. Alas, I can’t discuss them until the winners are announced. But, these books I’ve included are each wonderful in their own right. It’s just so hard to pick 10!

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 I've Read This Year

Here’s my list of this year’s top favorites, in no particular order:

It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren (review here)

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton (review here)

Dancing With Fireflies by Denise Hunter (review here)

The Sentinels of Andersonville (review here)

George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger (review here)

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander (review here)

A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley (review here)

The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd (review here)

Healer of Carthage by Lynne Gentry (review here)

Divergent by Veronica Roth (mini review here)


What are YOUR favorites from this year???



Review: “The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn” by Lori Benton

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton is such an epic, beautiful, and breathtaking story, I feel that my meager review cannot do it justice. But, alas, I shall attempt it.

Tamsen Littlejohn finds herself subject to the schemes of Hezekiah Parrish, her stepfather. He plans for her advantageous marriageThe Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton in post-Revolutionary North Carolina. Paired with his ill treatment of her mother, Tamsen at first attempts to placate the situation with her agreement to consider marrying wealthy Ambrose Kincaid.

As Tamsen begins to suspect there is more to her stepfather’s agreement than she knows, she becomes caught up in some chaotic events. (I don’t want to reveal more!) Unexpectedly finding an ally in the mysterious frontier man Jesse Bird, she takes the opportunity to flee with him to the west through the wild Blue Ridge Mountains. Forced to rely on the kindness of a stranger, Tamsen is guided by Jesse as they make their way through rough country. They must skirt hostile Indians, suspicious settlers, endure the harsh change of seasons in the mountains, and evade Parrish and Kincaid, who are pursuing them vehemently.

Through this journey, Tamsen learns more of the considerate man who’s come to her aid. Jesse Bird, a white man raised by the Shawnee (and now friends to the Cherokee), shows the simplicity of mountain living to Tamsen. As they realize God’s provision and the potential of their relationship, the mystery of Jesse’s past and Tamsen’s pursuers threaten to converge with frontier conflicts in the area, testing the faith and endurance of all involved.

Lori has written an action-packed story, complete with quiet, restful moments that expose the beauty of the wild, untamed – and unsettled – land. Tamsen and Jesse’s journey is an epic story that transports the readers to the mountainous settings of North Carolina and Tennessee. Having family in that region myself, I can attest to unique and often treacherous terrain Lori vividly describes. Her flowing writing style really immerses the reader in the story.

Lori’s inclusion of a piece of forgotten history, the almost 14th State of Franklin, adds an interesting backdrop to Tamsen and Jesse’s stories. In this region, two states were claiming the land, residents — and any applicable taxes– as their own: North Carolina and Franklin. This political unrest combined with the threat of hostile Indians added action, excitement, and tension to the story. And trust me, there already WAS tension with the pursuit of Parrish and Kincaid! Also, some minor historical details add to the story, such as the issue and discussion of slavery, Indian traditions, the displacement of Native Americans, and the expansion of the frontier.

In addition to an “Overmountain” journey, the characters of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn travel on an inward journey, making startling discoveries about their heritages and true desires for the future. It’s delightful to see Tamsen and Jesse’s relationship evolve. What they first thought would be a convenient and comfortable friendship slowly develops into  serious feelings of attraction and love. Also, the mystery surrounding several of the characters’ early lives was cleverly woven throughout the story.

A fitting sentiment conveyed with this story is that the past does have some bearing on our identity, but God’s direction and our decisions determine who we are now, in the present, with the people around us. It’s important that we live in the present, looking toward the future God has for us – and His plans for our good.

I would really love to see this novel as a miniseries. I think it would be FABULOUS! Just seeing Lori Benton’s Pinterest board for the novel has me ready to volunteer as a crew member in the miniseries (are you listening, Hallmark Channel?). I’ve read in friends’ reviews and comments that this novel reminded them of “The Last of the Mohicans” or “Courting Morrow Little” by Laura Frantz (one of my personal faves). I have to agree, in part. But The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn perfectly fits in its own niche among Native-American-influenced-heroes-rescuing-ladies-in-the-wilderness stories. It is certainly one of my new favorites in the historical romance genre!

You can find all kinds of fun extras on Lori’s website, like a link to read the first two chapters of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn and where to find out more about the history behind the State of Franklin. Also, connect with her on her Facebook page here.


“Trust in the Almighty, in His love for you, and you’ll have no need to dread anything He allows to befall you. For with a test, a trial, He gives an equal measure of grace to bear it and the comfort of His fellowship as He strengthens us.” –Lori Benton, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

Note: Thank you to the publisher for a complimentary copy in exchange for a review! I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Do you have a favorite historical romance novel? Is it set in the same era?