Top Ten Tuesday: True History in Fiction

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

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s topic is a “Back to School” Freebie! I’m taking a suggested idea of Books to Complement a History Lesson and turning it into a list of true history in fiction. I enjoy historical fiction — especially when I’m learning something new through story. I am allowing myself to go a *little* over 10 books (I’m listing 18 books in total). I hope you find a new era or event you’re interested in learning more about!

Wait, that’s a true story? True History in Fiction

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

1520s The early Protestant Reformation and the true-life romance between the prominent protestant reformation starter Martin Luther and former Catholic nun Katharina von Bora.

The Sound of Diamonds

The “Steadfast Love” series by Rachelle Rea Cobb

The Sound of Diamonds | The Sound of Silver | The Sound of Emeralds

1566 A Catholic girl’s changing perspective in Protestant Reformation-Era England.

the-mark-of-the-king-by-jocelyn-green

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

1719-22 Early French settlement of New Orleans and the Louisiana area.

Woods Edge

The “Pathfinders” duology by Lori Benton

The Wood’s Edge | A Flight of Arrows

1757-1777 New York settlement and Native American involvement in Revolutionary War.

screenshot_2017-01-06-15-25-44-1.png

A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz

1777 Kentucky wilderness during the early American frontier– plus a little of Daniel Boone’s personal influence on its settlement.

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

1787 The “State of Franklin” dispute in the Appalachians and western North Carolina.

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

1857 The “orphan train” era, including working conditions and an inside look at poverty in immigrant communities of NYC.

Sentinels-of-Andersonville

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

1864 Andersonville prison in Georgia and its conditions toward the end of the Civil War.

The Thorn Bearer

The “Penned in Time” series by Pepper D. Basham

The Thorn Bearer | The Thorn Keeper | The Thorn Healer

1910s WWI England and post-war America, including the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, events on the England homefront, and a German internment camp in the Appalachians.

High as the Heavens

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

1917 WWI Belgium, with secret spy networks and methods (the heroine was inspired by 3 different real women).

maggie bright

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

1940 England and Dunkirk, France during the WWII evacuation event.

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

1940s WWII Auschwitz and the role of Jewish musicians/artists in concentration camps.

With Love, Wherever You Are

With Love, Wherever You Are by Dandi Daley Mackall

1941-45 America and Europe, late WWII conditions from a nurse and doctor’s perspectives. Fun fact: The couple in this story is based on the real-life parents of the author and includes much of their real-life correspondence during the war.

As always, thank you for reading!

What did you pick for this back-to-school week? Have you read any of the books on my list? What is your favorite era/setting for historical fiction? Do share in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Novels with the Most Unique Settings

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

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

The official prompt is: Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books I’ve Read or a variation on “unique books”. This one was a little harder to decide on because what think is unique might not be to you. So, I’ve settled on unique settings because that’s a pretty concrete story element we might agree on.

Some of these are highly unique because of their geographical setting and some are more so because of the combination of setting + era. In no particular order……

Top Ten Tuesday 10 book cover graphic for unique settings.jpg

10 Novels with the Most Unique Settings


1. The Lady and the Lionheart
by Joanne Bischof

Setting: a circus in Victorian-era Virginia. Lions (and their amazing trainer) and elephants all traveling by wagon, oh my! (No surprise it’s on another TTT list. I could talk about this book all day.)


2. The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

Setting: A little bed-and-breakfast inn in modern Prince Edward Island, Canada. The first of two contemporary stories on my list this week, the setting is charming and picturesque while it makes its way into the heart of the heroine.


3. The Thorn Healer
by Pepper Basham

Setting: Hot Springs, NC that hosts a post-WWI German refugee camp. It’s a cultural wake-up call for the heroine as she learns to overcome prejudices in her little Appalachian community.


4. The Brontë Plot
by Katherine Reay

Setting: a good part comprises a literary tour of England, complete with London and a visit to the Brontës’ hometown, Haworth. This is the second contemporary story on the list!


5. The Measure of a Lady
by Deeanne Gist

Setting: Gold Rush San Francisco, CA (mid 1800s) with all its roughness and rugged coastal beauty — this is a place the heroine does not want to be, but the people there inexplicably draw her in…


6. The Captive Imposter
by Dawn Crandall

Setting: a wealthy family’s hotel in the mountains of Maine during the Gilded Age (early 1900s).


7. The Sentinels of Andersonville
by Tracy Groot

Setting: Andersonville prison in Andersonville, GA during the Civil War. This prison held Yankees, including one of the main characters.


8. Duchess
by Susan May Warren

Setting: the “Golden Age” of Hollywood, CA, in the 1930s then Europe during crucial parts of political unrest just before WWII.


9. Saving Amelie
by Cathy Gohlke

Setting: a little village in hostile Germany during WWII.


10. A Moonbow Night
by Laura Frantz

Setting: a family lodge and way station of sorts in the wilderness of the Kentucky frontier in the mid-1700s. Think Daniel Boone!

What is one of the most unique settings you’ve read about? Did you participate in TTT this week? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books Set Outside the U.S.

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

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s topic sounded like a fun thing to talk about, especially for this native southerner. While I have traveled a bit within the US, I’ve never been out of the country. What better way to learn about another culture or experience another location (without actually going) than books? For today, let’s “pack” our suitcases and talk about books set outside the U.S. For fun, I’m splitting this list up into 2 types: books I’ve read and books on my TBR.

TTT 10 Books Set Outside the US

10 Books Set Outside the U.S.

Books I’ve Read

The Thorn Keeper by Pepper D. Basham

Derbyshire, England during WWII

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

Prince Edward Island, Canada

The Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea

Holland and England during the Protestant Reformation

Valley of Decision by Lynne Gentry

Carthage, Tunisia during the 3rd century

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

England and France during WWII

Soon-ish TBR

London Tides by Carla Laureano

London, England and probably a little Scotland because the hero is Scottish ❤

A Lesson in Love and Murder by Rachel McMillan

1910s Toronto, Canada (and Chicago). What could be next for these daring girls?

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

England (Bath and the countryside) during the Regency Era

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay (!!!!)

Italy (and Atlanta). It’s by Katherine, so I KNOW it will be good.

Can’t Help Falling by Kara Isaac

Oxford, England. This was first added to my TBR solely because of the cover. Since then, reviews of Kara’s work have completely convinced me I need to read it!

 

What places do YOU like to visit through the pages of a book? What are some of your favorite books set outside the US? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top {11} Book Quotes

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

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week is a FREEBIE topic for Top Ten Tuesday! So, looking back through past topics, I was inspired to share some favorite book quotes (originally a topic in 2010, I believe). While I have many favorite book quotes, I have chosen 11 to share here that hopefully make sense out of context. Narrowing it down was not easy!

Top {11} Book Quotes

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Taking a sip of tea, she felt immediately better. Tea was comfort. Tranquility. Civility. – Love’s Awakening by Laura Frantz

She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped. – Persuasion by Jane Austen

“You put new meaning to the word bookworm. More like a book… boa constrictor.” – Blake in Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

We said goodbye at the end of the day with the kind of reluctance usually reserved for small children leaving Disneyland. – A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge

“…one cannot turn one’s back on the truth. One cannot wish it away, or pray it away, or even live it away.” – Verity in Ross Poldark by Winston Graham

“I know it’s difficult to see right now, but if we trust Him, God can bring us through these dark places, through our fears and even what we think is impossible, to give us more. More of Him. Even more of ourselves, through Him. In fact, He can do more than you can ask or imagine if you let Him.”  – Grace in When I Fall In Love by Susan May Warren

“I wanted to see the place where Margaret grew to what she is, even at the worst time of all, when I had no hope of ever calling her mine.” – Mr. Thornton in North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

“Do you know-” her tone went musing- “belief does something marvelous to courage. Courage is something to be drummed up without it, but if you have belief, it does the drumming.” – Clare in Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

Not everything that happens to us in this life will bring us joy. …But in time God will work even the worst things men do to us for our lasting good. Eternal good. Trust in the Almighty, in His love for you, and you’ll have no need to dread anything He has 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. He is acquainted with suffering. – The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

Imagine how differently we’d treat people if at the beginning of an acquaintance we were given opportunity to know how that person would affect our life. – Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite book quotes?

Review: “Maggie Bright” by Tracy Groot Blog Tour

After my overwhelming love of The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot, I was very excited to get my hands on her latest book, Maggie Bright. While it was not as epic as Sentinels (I don’t think any book can top that in its genre!), it was very good!

maggie brightBook Summary: “England, 1940.” Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the “Maggie Bright”–a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.Across the Channel, Hitler’s “Blitzkrieg” has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows “Maggie Bright” must answer the call–piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

Tracy Groot skillfully writes vivid characters. From the first few pages of the book and glimpses of the characters, their unique personalities are established. Along with Clare, the story features American Murray Vance and Detective Inspector William Percy from Scotland Yard in England. While their story unfolds, a contrasting storyline of Private Jamie Elliot under siege, making his way to Dunkirk, France, immerses the reader in the action on the continent. The banter between the characters, particularly that of Clare and Detective William, was a fun and bright spot in the midst of drama.

The Maggie Bright brings these characters together – sometimes with surprising revelations – and unites them with a courageous purpose. I enjoyed seeing how the different characters realized they could contribute to the war efforts and make sacrifices, no matter their age or abilities.

Tracy confronted a unique subject within this story. And, featured the rescue at Dunkirk – an aspect of WWII I was previously unaware of.  Within this story, the importance of belief in bolstering courage and faith in the power of prayer were highlighted and central to the story. I look forward to whatever is next from Tracy – I will be reading it!

One thing I love about reading historical fiction is that, while being entertaining, it often sheds light on interesting historical events or persons. Do you have any favorite examples of books like this? Have you heard of the rescue at Dunkirk?

Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: “The Sentinels of Andersonville” by Tracy Groot

Every once in a while, you come across an epic book whose story is so captivating that it impacts your outlook on life and your attitude toward others. What if your actions, even in a small way, could change someone’s world for the better? That is the question The Sentinels of Andersonville explores.

Sentinels-of-Andersonville

The Sentinels of Andersonville, the latest historical novel by Tracy Groot, is an exciting retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan through events surrounding Andersonville Prison toward the end of the Civil War.  A Confederate prison in Sumter County, Georgia, Andersonville Prison held tens of thousands of Union soldiers in appalling unsanitary conditions for several months.  Through the eyes of various characters, The Sentinels of Andersonville sheds light on the conditions of the prison and its captives while emphasizing the importance of caring for your neighbor.

Confederate Corporal Emery Jones captures and leads Union soldier Lew Gann to Andersonville Prison. Through days of travel, Lew and Emery form a camaraderie and bond of friendship which transcends their Union and Confederate heritages. Upon seeing the state of the prison and its prisoners, Emery vows to help Lew escape and return to his wife and children – even if it costs him his life. Meanwhile, Lew struggles to survive the destitute conditions of the prison and maintain a stable frame of mind.

Dance Pickett, educated at the University of Georgia, is posted as a Confederate sentry guarding the stockade wall of Andersonville. Dance witnesses the desperate circumstances of the captives but is powerless to help them. His prestigious lawyer father has connections to the Georgia Governor, but his attempts to contact him and plead for assistance have failed thus far.  With the arrival Corporal Emery Jones, Dance becomes involved in events which could mean new hope for the destitute prisoners.

The Stiles family lives in nearby Americus, Georgia. Dr. Norton Stiles is no stranger to the conditions of Andersonville, 10 miles away. He helps each week at the prison infirmary and has done his part to obtain help for the prisoners and smuggle them food. Violet Stiles, oldest of the Stiles daughters, has long been shielded from the mayhem of Andersonville Prison by her father. She reacts with shock and concern after glimpsing the prison conditions. Her ensuing campaigns to assist the prisoners and collect food for them cause doubts and rumors to spread of her family’s Union sympathies. As Emery, Dance, and Violet join forces to fight for the atrocious conditions of the prison to be remedied, they encounter resistance and turmoil within their own community of Americus. Murmurs of the Stiles and their friends being traitors or spies circulate the community and catch the attention of detectives and the Prison General. This sets off a chain of events which cannot be reversed.

The story flows seamlessly while multiple characters’ viewpoints are expressed to enrich the story. The characters experience the reluctance and doubt of their own neighbors in Americus, though a few citizens are sympathetic. They turn to the Scriptures for reassurance and guidance in helping those in need. Each character strives to find his or her own place in society and role in the world.

The themes of the novel include the true meaning of sacrifice and the difference one person can make when he or she decides to take action. Through skilled storytelling and prose, Tracy Groot weaves accurate historical details and events with fictional characters to create a captivating novel which encourages the reader to consider the plights of his or her neighbors.

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot releases February 1 from Tyndale House Publishers.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a complementary advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

Empty Shelf #2: The Sentinels of Andersonville

I finished my second read for the Empty Shelf Challenge over the weekend. It was an advance copy of “The Sentinels of Andersonville” by Tracy Groot. A captivating, fast-paced retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “The Sentinels of Andersonville” is in a league all its own set during the Civil War period. Saying “I loved it” is putting it mildly – I think it’s going to be one of my favorites of 2014!

It releases 2/1/14 ~ review to come soon!

Empty Shelf #2: The Sentinels of Andersonville