Tuesday, June 26, 2012

For Sophia's Heart, A Novella by Lyn Cote

5.0 out of 5 stars Message for Lyn Cote! Thank you for this beautiful story!!, June 26, 2012
Kathleen -Amazon Verified Purchase -
This review is from: For Sophia's Heart, A Novella (Kindle Edition)
I just finished reading For Sophia's Heart, A Novella. Thank you so much. It is so pure and good. I cried in two places, it was so endearing. (I know, you want to know where!) I would need to look back to it, but possibly it wouldn't be in the same place twice. Such a beautiful story and heritage. I just wanted to tell you thank you and I feel this would be a beautiful full length novel. Kathleen

You don't want to miss this wonderful story. From beginning to end it touches the frailty and fragileness of man. It is wartime and poverty dividing the haves from the have-nots. The story opens with two people on a train; strangers who help each other. I am a book-in-hand person, so to read this in eBook form was a stretch for me. I am so glad I did! It was riveting. I was right there alongside them as their story unveiled. It is beautiful. One thing that stuck out to me was our apprehension to be known when we are uncertain of the actions of another. The sad part is that by holding back, so does the other person, not wanting to offend or be offended. What do we set aside because of vain imaginations; what have we lost because we haven't been ourselves, true to our heart? I am not saying, carrying my heart on my sleeve, but rather true to who we are. Being a lighthouse for others to see by. So good. I loved this Novella and would love to see it rewritten to include a future and a hope in greater detail and longevity! Very excellent.

This is a Historical Fiction story based on the remembrance of an ancestor. This story fits in any generation ~*~ generosity ~*~ of ourselves.


I know who this is! But... I am making him the hero!

... And his real-life bride would be our heroine.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hurry before all the copies of The Irish Healer are sold!

Sunday, June 24, 2012
Debut Historical Fiction Author: Nancy Herriman! The Irish Healer, c2012.
This is the book for me!

p 21
"James, what is this?" Sophia's attention perked like a hound on a scent.
"The worst," he replied. "It seems the woman I've hired to assist in packing the library and office has gotten lost."
"You've brought a woman from Ireland to help with your collections?" she asked, her voice rising, latching onto the piece of information that troubled her most. The possibility Miss Dunne had drowned in the Irish Sea or been accosted off the boat didn't concern her.
"I have tried to bring a woman from Ireland to help, yes."
Sophia swept her arms to point at the bookshelves. "But these books are valuable. They're to pass to Amelia, and I've been told some have been in your family for generations. How do you know this Irish creature won't steal some and sell them for profit?"

*On the way with you! Get back to that dock and pick up our protagonist. How tired she must be waiting by that wharf with the smells and tainted occupants! Hmmf.*

pp 23-49
Oh, my. Miss Dunne is half-Irish too, and is to log the extensive library! We already have a bit in common! I am inventorying the books at our local library. I hope she likes laughter, because I do! And adventure...

This story is beautifully written, with similes potent as a parable with their everyday reference.

p 192
He attempted to gather his thoughts, but they kept slipping away from him, like he was trying to cup grains of wheat in his hands only to have them trickle through his fingers.

Rachel Dunne, leaves her Emerald Isle after being accused of murdering a patient she is tending. Innocent by trial, local gossip conjures up stories. The position secured for her in the London home of Dr. James Edmunds, is assisting the move to his inherited boyhood home. Disillusioned by the death of his wife and others under his care, he has decided to become a gentleman farmer.

p 205
...She could not keep tending to people. Why does this continue to happen to me?

As hard as she tries to hide it, Miss Dunne keeps getting called upon to assist with her medicinal knowledge. She automatically renders service to those in need. The Asiatic cholera epidemic spreads to London in 1832. The characters will be forced to choose their part.

I liked this story very much. Miss Dunne is very caring and attentive to others. The doctor shows growth and determination as his foibles are revealed. It is very well written. The story does not lag but is very fluid. I especially like historical fiction and found this story to be interesting with the word pictures of sights and smells vivid.

I received this novel from Worthy Publishing to read and review in my own words.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Debut Historical Fiction Author: Nancy Herriman! The Irish Healer, c2012.

This story is beautifully written, with similes potent as a parable with their everyday reference; page 192:
He attempted to gather his thoughts, but they kept slipping away from him, like he was trying to cup grains of wheat in his hands only to have them trickle through his fingers.
Page 205
…She could not keep tending to people. Why does this continue to happen to me?

Do you have a calling, a mission in life that you are ignoring?
The Irish Healer is the story of a young woman, Rachel Dunne, who leaves her  Emerald Isle to travel to London after being accused of murder when a patient she is tending dies. She is deemed innocent by trial, but local gossip conjures up stories. Have we ever taken on guilt that is not our own? Nothing that we could have prevented?

She is unaware the position her cousin has secured for her in London is in the home of Dr. James Edmunds. She is hired to assist in the preparation of the household move to his inherited boyhood home. He is disillusioned by the death of his wife, he was helpless to save, and other patients who succumbed under his care. He has decided to become a gentleman farmer and leave the medical field.
She is about to be found out!!
As hard as she tries to hide it, Rachel Dunne keeps getting called upon to assist with her medicinal knowledge that is a part of her. She automatically renders service to those in need. And then the unthinkable happens; the Asiatic cholera epidemic spreading to London in 1832. This is historical fiction at its best. In this first published novel by Nancy Herriman, she has placed her characters within this setting which will force them to choose their part.
Author, Nancy Herriman
The Irish Healer
Beginning of Chapter 1
At sea, 1832
"My name is Rachel Dunne,
 I am not a murderer."
Rachel tightened her grip on the ship's wooden rail, as if she might choke into silence the echo of her own voice. Better to focus on the receding sight of Ireland's blue-green hills, seek to memorize every bounding stream, every wisp of misty fog, every rubble-walled farmer's field, than to remember. For who knew how long--if ever--it would be before she saw her beloved homeland again?
    "Oh, Mother," she murmured over the slap of the paddle wheels and the hiss of the steam, the scree of persistent seagulls skimming the boat's wake. "How did it come to this?"
    This parting, this going. Deoraicht. This exile.
    Mother was not there to answer Rachel's question; they could only afford ship's passage for one, and Rachel was the one who had to leave. Mother and the rest had stayed behind in Carlow to mend the damage Rachel had never meant to cause. Restore the honor of the Dunne name in a town already prone to dislike them for their English ways. Once Rachel had been a healer, but she could not heal the scar upon her family. No more than she had been able to heal poor Mary Ferguson, who also died so quickly and so quietly even Rachel had been at a loss to explain the how and why. 
    I would never harm the ill. I am a banaltradh ...
    A healer. If the thought didn't hurt so much, Rachel might laugh. She had vowed to never let herself be a healer again. 
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
I liked this story very much and the similarities I found with Rachel. I had a full scholarship to nurses training and did not attend. She is very caring and attentive to others. Dr. James showed growth and determination as his foibles were revealed as well.

Thank you to Worthy Publishing for this review copy I received to read and review in my own words. Nancy Herriman! I hope you are writing, writing, writing! I am looking forward to reading your next book!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Psalm 139 by Mary (Sidney) Herbert, Countess of Pembroke

Psalm 139
by Mary (Sidney) Herbert,
Countess of Pembroke

O LORD, O Lord, in me there lieth nought
    But to thy search revealed lies,
            For when I sit
            Thou markest it;
    No less thou notest when I rise;
Yea, closest closet of my thought
    Hath open windows to thine eyes.

Thou walkest with me when I walk;
    When to my bed for rest I go,
            I find thee there,
            And everywhere:
    Not youngest thought in me doth grow,
No, not one word I cast to talk
    But yet unuttered thou dost know.

If forth I march, thou goest before,
    If back I turn, thou com'st behind:
            So forth nor back
            Thy guard I lack,
    Nay on me too, thy hand I find.
Well I thy wisdom may adore,
    But never reach with earthy mind.

To shun thy notice, leave thine eye,
    O whither might I take my way?
            To starry sphere?
            Thy throne is there.
    To dead men's undelightsome stay?
There is thy walk, and there to lie
    Unknown, in vain I should assay.

O sun, whom light nor flight can match,
    Suppose thy lightful flightful wings
            Thou lend to me,
            And I could flee
    As far as thee the evening brings:
Even led to west he would me catch,
    Nor should I lurk with western things.

Do thou thy best, O secret night,
    In sable veil to cover me:
            Thy sable veil
            Shall vainly fail;
    With day unmasked my night shall be,
For night is day, and darkness light,
    O father of all lights, to thee.

Each inmost piece in me is thine:
    While yet I in my mother dwelt,
            All that me clad
            From thee I had.
    Thou in my frame hast strangely dealt:
Needs in my praise thy works must shine
    So inly them my thoughts have felt.

Thou, how my back was beam-wise laid,
    And raft'ring of my ribs, dost know;
            Know'st every point
            Of bone and joint,
    How to this whole these parts did grow,
In brave embroid'ry fair arrayed,
    Though wrought in shop both dark and low.

Nay fashionless, ere form I took,
    Thy all and more beholding eye
            My shapeless shape
            Could not escape:
    All these time framed successively
Ere one had being, in the book
    Of thy foresight enrolled did lie.

My God, how I these studies prize,
    That do thy hidden workings show!
            Whose sum is such
            No sum so much,
    Nay, summed as sand they sumless grow.
I lie to sleep, from sleep I rise,
    Yet still in thought with thee I go.

My God, if thou but one wouldst kill,
    Then straigh would leave my further chase
            This cursed brood
            Inured to blood,
    Whose graceless taunts at thy disgrace
Have aimed oft; and hating still
    Would with proud lies thy truth outface.

Hate not I them, who thee do hate?
    Thine, Lord, I will the censure be.
            Detest I not
            The cankered knot
    Whom I against thee banded see?
O Lord, thou know'st in highest rate
    I hate them all as foes to me.

Search me, my God, and prove my heart,
    Examine me, and try my thought;
            And mark in me
            If ought there be
    That hath with cause their anger wrought.
If not (as not) my life's each part,
    Lord, safely guide from danger brought.
(Wr. probably before 1599; pub. 1823)

Text source:
The New Oxford Book of Sixteenth Century Verse. Emrys Jones, Ed.
New York: Oxford Univ Press, 1992. 475-477.

Nancy Herriman's The Irish Healer: A Novel, c2012

I believe Miss Dunne must know my Irish Healer!

In receipt of a book of poetry she declares she has read Mary Herbert's psalms, and the good doctor requests she read her favorite.

p 134
Her smile faltered. "Surely you are too busy to listen to me recite poetry."

   He was busy, but he didn't care. He'd gotten her to accept the book, and he wanted to steal a few moments with her and forget the pile of work waiting on his office desk.

And! Guess what her favorite Psalm is!! The same as mine!

   "It's another hour before I'm expecting a patient. Plenty of time."

   "In that case ..." She flipped through the pages and found the poem. "Here is one. Psalm 139."

   "Miss Dunne cleared her throat and began to read aloud:
O Lord, O Lord, in me there lieth naught
But thy search revealed lies,
For when i sit
Thou markest it;
No less thou notest when I rise;
Yea, closest closet of my thought
Hath open windows to thine eyes.

Thou walkest with me when I walk;
When to my bed for rest I go,
I find thee there,
And everywhere:
Not youngest thought in me doth grow,
No, not one word I cast to talk
But yet unuttered though dost know ...

The very first time I read this psalm I was in a Bible study. It answered all of my questions from God. My mother had died at age 41, a month before my sixth birthday. The Lord was with me all of the days of my life; before I was even born he knew me. Too marvelous for words!

Miss Dunne, perhaps you would like my other favorite psalm:
Psalm 119:111
Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

Another similarity... she goes for a job interview, a position I held with special needs children for 12 years.

Oh, my. May your life be blessed! I must read on to discover your play-out of Jeremiah 29:11! (Do you take to talking to your protagonist??)

I must go off now and search for the remainder of this beautiful Psalm. (I found it! I will print it out on another blog page.)

Back to Miss Dunne in Nancy Herriman's novel, The Irish Healer.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

You may get your own first copy and read it before I finish!

Book Description

April 3, 2012
Accused of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal while vowing to never sit at another sickbed. She no longer trusts in her abilities-or God's mercy--though when a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, she feels compelled to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. James Edmunds, wearied by the deaths of too many patients, has his own doubts about God's grace. Together, they will have to face their darkest fears . . . and learn what it means to have real faith.

From back cover of book:
1830s London is rich with promise. And fraught with peril. Rachel Dunne and James Edmunds are about to discover that love is too.

Rachel Dunne has always been a healer ... until she's accused of causing the death of a child under her care. Acquitted but shunned, she flees Ireland in search of a new life, convinced that she'll be fine so long as no one in London learns of her disgrace--or forces her to ever sit at another sickbed.

Physician James Edmunds has endured the loss of too many patients--the death of his wife the greatest blow of all. Deep in his grief, and no longer certain that God can be trusted, he decides the time has come to abandon his practice and run his family's small farm. Alone. Though when he's drawn to the intriguing Irish woman who has recently joined his household, he begins to reconsider his well-laid plans.

Then cholera sweeps through London, and the life of James's young daughter hangs in the balance. Can Rachel and James overcome their innermost fears and regain their faith? Or is it too late for trust and love to heal their hearts?
The Irish Healer
"Click to look inside!" To search inside this book to take a sneak peek, the first chapter and chapter 2 to page 6, to whet your appetite!.

More later.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Irish Healer review notes

pp - 23-49
Oh, my. Miss Dunne is half-Irish, as am I. She is to log the extensive library, as am I! We already have a bit in common! I am inventorying the books at our local library all day on Fridays. I hope she likes laughter, because I do! And adventure...

As I read on.

The Irish Healer: A Novel by Nancy Herriman, c2012

This is the book for me! I am reading page 21 ~
   Knuckles rapped on the library door, and Molly stuck her head through the opening, "Sir, I'm ever so sorry for disturbing you, but there's been a problem with Miss Dunne. It seems, well, it seems Joe couldn't find her at the docks."
   James struck a knee against the desk in his haste to stand. A jolt of pain shot through his leg, making him flinch. The day was going from bad to worse. "What do you mean, he couldn't find her?"
   Behind Molly, Joe shuffled his feet and twisted his scruffy wool cap in his hands as if he hoped to strangle it. "Sorry, sir, but there weren't an older Irish lady come off the boat. Well, there were one, but she 'ad a ride an' all and didn't 'ave reddish hair. Our Miss Dunne's gone missin'."
   "James, what is this?" Sophia's attention perked like a hound on a scent.
   "The worst," he replied. "It seems the woman I've hired to assist in packing the library and office has gotten lost."
   "You've brought a woman from Ireland to help with your collections?" she asked, her voice rising, latching onto the piece of information that troubled her most. The possibility Miss Dunne had drowned in the Irish Sea or been accosted off the boat didn't concern her.
   "I have tried to bring a woman from Ireland to help, yes."
   Sophia swept her arms to point at the bookshelves. "But these books are valuable. They're to pass to Amelia, and I've been told some have been in your family for generations. How do you know this Irish creature won't steal some and sell them for profit?"

On the way with you! Get back to that dock and pick up our protagonist. How tired she must be waiting by that wharf with the smells and tainted occupants! Hmmf.

Reviled by her Irish community after being accused in the death of a child, Rachel Dunne flees to London, abandoning her gifts and calling as a healer. Thankfully, her English cousin Claire has secured her a temporary position in the home of James Edmunds, a widowed physician who has decided to leave his medical practice to become a gentleman farmer. Dr. Edmunds has no knowledge of Rachel's past and, hired to catalog the books in his library, Rachel vows to never pass herself off as a healer again.
Every time James loses a patient he is reminded of his biggest failure — the loss of his wife. Even when he knows he has done everything within his power to save a patient, the feeling cuts a deeper wound into his soul. A compassionate and gifted physician, James has lost heart in the practice of medicine, but his heart is strangely drawn to the young Irishwoman cataloging books in his library.
Rachel knows her position is temporary, but if she can manage to keep her past hidden long enough to secure a position as a teacher she'll be able to make a way for her family to join her in England, away from the scandal that weighs them down in Rachel's name. Of all the possible positions Claire could have found for her, being employed by a physician seems to be just another cruel joke God has played on her — especially when that physician is a handsome, compassionate gentleman for whom she has no business harboring romantic feelings.
When a spiteful member of the household staff discovers a letter with sketchy details about Rachel's trial in Ireland, both Rachel's job and the feelings growing between her and Dr. Edmunds are at risk. Can she keep the truth hidden? Or will her necessary deceptions cause everything around her to unravel?
As the threat of cholera begins to spread panic through London, both Rachel and James must decide if they can trust God enough with their secrets and their gifts to allow a deeper healing to take place within their hearts … and afford them a chance at love.

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Covenant Child by Terri Blackstock ~ A Story of Promises Kept

 Covenant Child by Author Terri Blackstock

A stand-alone novel by Terri Blackstock, Covenant Child has been repackaged with a new chapter, author note and interview, and reading group guide. It is available in paperback, eBook, and audio formats.

There’s a question that haunts me in the blackest hours of night, when wasted moments crowd my dreams and mock the life I know. The question is this: How could a child born of privilege and promise grow up with nothing?
   I was Somebody when I was born. Lizzie, my twin, says we were heiresses all along. “Our grandfather was a billionaire,” she says. “Just think of it, Kara!” There were newspaper articles about us when we were three. They called us the “Billion Dollar Babies.”
   But these Billion Dollar Babies wore Goodwill hand-me-downs. We ate dry cereal most nights for supper, right out of the box, picking out the raisins to save for our school lunches the next day. In my memory, we never observed a birthday, because no one around us considered that day


Covenant Child

worthy of celebration. We were worthless no accounts to most of the people in town.
   But all along we had an inheritance that no one told us was ours.
   I sometimes try to remember back to the days before we were three, but my memories are tainted with the lies I’ve been taught and the pictures I’ve seen. I can’t quite sift out real recollections from my faulty assumptions, but I do know that the things I’ve laid out here are true. Not because I remember them, but because I’ve studied all the sides, heard all the tales, read all the reports … and a few things have emerged with absolute clarity.
   The first thing is that my father, Jack Holbrooke, was the son of the Paul Holbrooke, who did something with microchips and processors, things I can’t begin to understand, and amassed a fortune before he was thirty. My father, Jack, got religion in his teens and decided he didn’t want to play the part of the rich son. He became a pilot instead, bought a plane, and began flying charter flights and giving lessons. He disowned himself from the Holbrooke money and told his father that, instead of leaving any of it to him in his will, he preferred that he donate it to several evangelical organizations who provided relief and shared the gospel to people all over the world.
   My grandfather tolerated his zeal and noted his requests, then promptly ignored them.
   My mother, Sherry, was a teen runaway, who left Barton, Mississippi, at fifteen to strike out on her own. She wound up living with a kind family in Jackson, and she got religion, too.


Terri Blackstock

She met my father in Jackson, when he put an ad in the paper for some office help at his hangar, and they fell in love around the time she was nineteen or so. They got married and had Lizzie and me less than a year later.
   She was killed in a car wreck when we were just weeks old. Our father raised us himself for the next three years. I’ve seen pictures of him, and he looks like a kind, gentle man who laughed a lot. There are snapshots of him kissing us, dunking us like basketballs in his father’s pool, chasing us across the lawn of the little house we lived in, reading us books, tucking us in. There are three birthday photos of our father lying on the floor with two cake-smeared redheads tearing into boxes of Barbies and Cabbage Patch dolls.
   Sometimes I close my eyes and think hard, trying to bring back those moments, and for a while I convince myself that they are not just images frozen on paper, but they’re live events in my head somewhere. I even think I can smell that cake and feel my father’s stubbled face against mine. I can hear his laughter shaking through me and feel his arms holding me close.
   But in truth, my memories don’t reach that far back.
   I don’t even think I remember Amanda. Lizzie says she has more impressions of her than memories, that the snapshots just bring those impressions into clearer focus. I guess that’s true with me, too.
   But I wish I could remember when she met our father and us, how she wound up being his wife, how she was widowed and robbed of her children, and how she spent her life trying to keep a promise she had made to him … and to us.


Covenant Child

   But, according to Lizzie, truth is truth, whether it lies in your memory banks or not. So I’ll start with Amanda’s story, the way it was told to me, because it is very much the beginning of mine.


Back Cover:
 Amanda's heart broke as she watched them drive her beloved twins away. She resolved to hope ... and to fight for them to her last breath.

Kara and Lizzie are heiresses to one of the largest fortunes in the country. But when their father dies suddenly, the toddlers are taken from the arms of Amanda, their loving stepmother, and given to relatives who only want the children's fortune for themselves.
   Kara and Lizzie grow up questioning their worth ... until the day when they learn the truth.
   Intensely involving, emotionally charged, and infused with hope, Covenant Child is an inspiring story that challenges us to embrace the life God holds out to us.

My Review:

Covenant Child is a page-turner. It is a journey. A journey from despair to hope. From neglect to life. Covenant Child is a story for all to discover we are not alone. We have a Rescuer.

Reissued in May 2012, Covenant Child is copyrighted ten years ago, 2002. It is a story for all times. It will never lose its appeal, its discovery. No matter the generation, this story will live. For it is our story. Each one of us. A choice to receive the Love offered to us. We are each worthy. Nothing can separate us for we will not be refused. Read Covenant Child and find the destiny of our heart. Our cry for wholeness. "There is more, so much much more and I don't know what it is," was the cry of my heart. I rejoice that there is still more! Come and join me and others who have become fully a Covenant Child.

This story is told in first person, recounting to the best of her memory and the aid of her sister, their 15-year travel to emancipation. Can you truly be freed from lies, free to trust again? To have the truth revealed and recognize it, or remain in "comfort" regardless of the pain? Kara and Lizzie have had to live in survival mode for so long, when they become of age they must remove the filter that has hampered their lives. The struggle is related as they each must decide. Separating from each other will they find a story of promises kept?

As Kara tells the story, she can only know her side. She observes Lizzie and tries to keep it all together the best way she knows. Will it be enough to draw her to love? She has some harrowing experiences. Author Terri Blackstock has written a very connected, fast-paced story. I read it very quickly as the story was very smooth flowing without distractions. Not predetermined how it will end.

Visit TerriBlackstock.com

I received this book from BookSneeze for free in exchange for an honest review on my blog.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

EXTRA! EXTRA! Taste of Pinecraft by Sherry Gore out-of-print June 2012.

Cover of Taste of Pinecraft

It's official:

"Good morning Kathleen,
I contacted Sherry and she said you may blog about Taste of Pinecraft being out of print by the end of the month."

+ $3.99 shipping ($1.50 for each add'l book)
All orders include delivery confirmation. Thank you.
Taste of Pinecraft

 Not your typical cookbook: Taste of Pinecraft is comprised of nearly seven hundred various recipes including traditional dishes like Sweet Potato Sweet Mash, Pan-fried Chicken, and Mrs. Byler's Glazed Donuts, from Amish and Mennonite women across the country. It's also chock full of new, refreshing recipes, such as Sunshine Baked Eggs and Strawberry Mango Smoothies. You'll also find Florida favorites, including Fried Alligator Nuggets and Grilled Lime Fish Fillets.

So, don't tarry. Go on over to Sherry Gore's Book webpage above and order the Taste of Pinecraft Cookbook. You will be glad you did!


Taste of Pinecraft will be out-of-print by the end of the month, June, 2012. Order yours now at 

Monday, June 18, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Annie's Truth by Beth Shriver, c2012

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


Beth Shriver received a degree in social work and psychology from the University of Nebraska. She worked as a caseworker for Boulder County Department of Social Services before starting a family. Beth and her husband of twenty years and her two children live in Texas after moving from their first home in Colorado. She freelances for the local papers in her area and writes columns, devotionals for magazines, and novels in a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction.

Visit the author's website.


Annie Bieler sets out on a journey of the spirit when she discovers she was adopted after being found as an abandoned newborn. Her father is strongly against her decision to go as it could mean Meidung, or excommunication from the community and even her family. But Annie knows she must find “the path that has her heart.” Her search also takes her away from John, the young man who is courting her.

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161638607X
ISBN-13: 978-1616386078


  This was an in-depth search of the heart to seek the unrevealed Touch of Grace. Annie's Truth is the first book in this trilogy of touches of grace. God's grace overshadows any pain or suffering if we will but let Him.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.” - Romans 8:19
  Hidden truth. Does it hamper or help? Is it protection or fear? Perfect love casts out fear. God's love. Annie's decision to step out and search her unknown does affect all of her family and choices they make to receive her. Will it open up hidden hearts?

  This is a journey of a family. Life continues while Annie expects things to stay the same. She is surprised by those who back her and those who don't.

  Who makes us an outsider? Do we, or those we look to? Annie's travels take her to unsuspecting places and happenings she must wait for. By being herself, she triumphs.


The dinner Bell rang just as one of the milk cows slapped Annie’s kapp with its tail. Now she was late for the evening meal. She pulled the black kapp off her head. When Maggie swatted Annie, the pins were knocked loose. She wiped off the dirt and cow manure then hastily twisted up her hair into a bun and pulled the kapp over her mess of hair.
  “Need some help?” John Yoder’s dark eyes smiled at her.
  She jumped at the sight of him looking down at her with a grin. “Nee, I can finish up.”
  Her mamm would scold her for her tardiness and her unruly hair, so she quickly grabbed two containers of milk, clutching them to her chest. When she turned around, John was removing the cups from the Guernsey’s udders.
  “Danke. The boys must have missed a couple.” The cover of one of the containers lifted, causing milk to spill out onto her black dress. Annie wiped her hand on her white apron. Frustration bubbled up and burst out in an irritated groan.
  “Now what?” John opened the barn door and shut it behind them.
  Annie pointed to the milk stain and slowed her walk so he could catch up. Her mamm wouldn’t be as upset with her if she saw Annie with John.
  “I spilled on myself, my hair’s a mess, and I’m late.” She juggled the containers to keep them in place as she walked.
  John’s smile never left, just tipped to the side while she listed her worries. “You’re never late.”
“You will be too if you keep talking to me.” The milk sloshed


Beth Shriver

around in the containers as she adjusted them again. “Taking the long way home?”
  “Jah, thought I’d come by to say hallo.” He took one from her then reached for the other.
  She turned slightly so he couldn’t reach the second bottle. “I’ve got this one.”
  “Suit yourself.” He shrugged as his grin widened.
  They walked together toward their houses, which were down the path from one another, divided by a dozen trees. John was three the day Annie was born and had been a part of her life more than her own brothers were at times. His brown hair brushed his collar as he walked with her, holding back to keep in step with Annie.
  “Aren’t you late to help with cooking?” He nodded toward her white clapboard house. A birdfeeder was hung at the far end of the porch, which had a peaked black roof, and daisies filled her mamm’s flower garden in front of the house. Mamm created a colorful greeting of flora for every season.
  She shook her head. “Nee, Eli’s helping the Lapps, so I’m helping the boys with milking. What were you doing, cutting tobacco?”
  He nodded. “Nice day for it too. The sun was bright, but there was a breeze that kept us cool.” He lifted his strong, handsome face toward the sunshine and took in a deep breath.
  He was just trying to irritate her, so she ignored his jab. John knew she preferred being outdoors and that she would trade places with him in an instant. When the time was right she would help with the tobacco harvesting and, along with many others, would then prepare the meal after the task was done.
  “It looked warm outside to me.” She took the milk from him and kept walking. The last of the warm summer days were coming to an end, and soon it would be time for fall harvesting.
  They reached the trail that led to John’s home on the far side of a stand of tall oak trees. “Not as hot as in the kitchen.” He


Annie’s Truth

snapped his suspenders and turned onto the trail leading away from her.
  “John Yoder . . . ” was all she could say this close to her daed’s ears. She watched him continue on down the roughed-out dirt lane thinking of what she would have said if she could. Her gaze took in the many acres of barley, corn, and oat crops and then moved to the Virginia mountainside beyond, where the promise of fall peeked out between the sea of green.
  Annie walked up the wooden stairs and into the kitchen. The room was simple and white, uncluttered. A long table and chairs took over the middle of the large room, and rag rugs of blue and emerald added color and softness. For a unique moment it was silent.
  “Annie?” Her mamm’s voice made her worry again about being late, with a soiled dress and unkempt hair.
  Her tall, slender mamm stopped picking up the biscuits from a baking pan and placed both hands on the counter. She let out a breath when Annie came into the kitchen. “Ach, good, you brought the milk.” Mamm’s tired gaze fell on Annie.
  “I was talking with John.” She opened the cooler door and placed the milk on the shelf.
  Her mamm’s smile told Annie she wasn’t late after all, so she continued. “He said it was a good day for baling.”
  Hanna and her brother strolled in, and he grabbed a biscuit, creating a distraction that allowed Annie time to twist her hair up and curl it into a tight bun. A tap from their mamm’s hand made her son drop the biscuit back into the basket with the rest.
  “I’m so hungry.” Thomas’s dark freckles on his pudgy face contrasted to his light hair and skin, so unlike Annie’s olive-colored complexion, which was more like their daed’s.
  She tousled his hair. “You are always the first one to dinner and the last one to leave.”
  “I’m a growing child. Right, Mamm?” Thomas took the basket of biscuits to the table and set them next to his plate.
  “That you are. Now go sit down and wait for the others.”


Beth Shriver

Mamm placed a handful of biscuits in the breadbox and brushed her hands off on her white apron.
  While they waited for the others to wash up, she addressed Annie. “John walked you out this morning and walked you home?”
  “Like he has most every day of my life.” Annie’s voice almost reached the edge into sarcasm, but she smiled to make light of it. Didn’t her mamm know that her obvious nudging turned Annie away from John, not toward him?
  Hanna had been quiet, listening, and walked over to Annie. “Should we ask Mamm if we can look in our chests in the attic?”
  Annie peered over Hanna’s shoulder at Mamm. “Jah, but let’s wait until after supper.”
  Her mamm’s brow lifted just as the buzz of her family coming into the room sidetracked her attention from Annie and Hanna. The younger ones were restless with hunger, and the older siblings talked amongst themselves. Frieda, Hanna, Augustus, Eli, Thomas, and Samuel all sat in the same chairs they were always in, and Annie took her assigned seat with the rest.
  Her daed sat at the head of the table and waited with watchful eyes until everyone was quiet. When Amos folded his hands, all followed suit, and they all said silent grace.
  Geef ons heden ons dagelijks brood. Give us this day our daily bread. Amen. Annie thought the words then kept her eyes closed until she heard movement from the others.
  Amos passed the food to his right until it made a full circle back to him.
  “We’ve almost finished with the Lapps’s tobacco field,” Annie’s oldest brother, Eli, informed Amos. He and Hanna had Mamm’s silky blond hair and blue eyes, but Hanna didn’t have her disposition.
  Amos nodded and lifted a bite of chicken to his mouth.
  Eli leaned toward Amos. “I can then tend to our barley day after tomorrow.”
  Amos spoke without looking at his son. “You will work the Lapps’s land until they say you are finished. Not before.”


Annie’s Truth

  The gleam in Eli’s dark eyes faded as he took up his fork. “Jah, Daed.”
  Mamm spoke then. “It’s an honor you are able to help them while their daed recovers.” She shifted her attention to her husband. “Have you heard how Ephraim is healing?”
  Amos continued to eat as he spoke to her mamm. “His back is mending. It’s his worrisome wife that keeps him laid up.”
  “Ach, I’d probably do the same if it were you.” Mamm waited a moment until Daed’s mouth lifted into a half smile.
  He gave the table a smack to stop Frieda from tempting Thomas with another biscuit. “The boy can help himself without your teasing him.”
  She set their hands in her lap. “Jah, Daed.”
  He nodded for them to eat again. Conversation was uncommon during meals, so Annie let her mind wander. Harvest season was approaching, and the excitement of upcoming weddings was on everyone’s mind. Although the courtship was to be kept quiet, most knew which couples would most likely be married in the coming months.
  Annie’s mind went to John, the one she knew her parents, as well as his, would expect her to be with. Although she had feelings for him, she wished her spouse would not be chosen for her. It had changed her relationship with him just knowing what their expectations were. He had been her best friend, but she now kept him at bay, hoping for more time before the pressure became too great and they were forced to marry.
  She put the palm of her hand to her forehead, resting there with thoughts of who else she could possibly be with from their community. Names went through her mind, but not one appealed to her in the same way John did.
  Hanna nudged Annie as everyone began to clear the table. Annie’s mind rushed back to the present. She knew why Hanna wanted her attention. She was thinking about the upcoming nuptials too. Their wedding chests gave them promise for their own special day.


Beth Shriver

  “Let’s ask Mamm.” Hanna’s eyes shone with excitement. Annie felt a lift in her spirits at the thought of having the privilege to rummage through their special treasures. She looked at her mamm laughing at her brother’s story of his britches getting caught on the Lapps’s fence. Her smile faded when he showed her the hole the wire made, which she would be mending that evening.
  “You ask her,” Annie urged.
  Hanna was the closest to Annie’s age and her confidante, as she was Hanna’s. “After dinner.” Hanna got up from her chair to help.
  Frieda started the hand pump as the others gathered the dishes and put away the extra food. Once the dishes were cleaned and dried, Hanna and Annie went to their mamm, who stacked plates in the cupboard as the girls walked over to her.
  “What do you want to ask me?” Mamm continued with the dishes until the last plate was put away.
  Hanna and Annie looked at one another. Annie furrowed her brows to make Hanna talk.
  “We’d like to see our hope chests.”
  “It’s a long while from any weddings being published.” Mamm placed a hand on the counter and studied them. “Okay, then. But after your lessons are done.”
  Hanna grabbed Annie’s hand, and they walked quickly from the kitchen. “Jah, Mamm,” they said in unison. Annie hadn’t looked through her chest since she’d given up the doll her mamm had made for her. Since it was her first, Annie had chosen to store it after receiving another from her aunt.
  Hanna urged Annie to stop doing homework after she completed hers, but Annie wouldn’t go until she’d finished her story. Finally the girls ran up the wooden stairs to the attic. Hanna grabbed the metal doorknob and pushed on the door to open it. The door creaked in the darkness, and Annie held the kerosene lamp up to examine the room before entering. It looked exactly
the same as the last time she’d been there.


Annie’s Truth

  A chest of drawers held baby clothes, and beside it stood a cabinet full of documents and paperwork Daed kept but never seemed to use. Special dresses and a bonnet hung on the far side of the room alongside a box of old toys her daed and Eli had made.
  The girls spotted the chests lined up next to one another, where they would remain until their owners were married. Amos had made each of his girls one in which to keep their sentimental belongings. One day, when they had their own homes, they would have a memory of their daed and the things they held dear during their childhood.
  Annie ran to the last one. Amos had lined them up according to age, so Hanna’s was right next to Annie’s. “You first,” Annie told Hanna.
  “Nee, you.” Hanna moved closer to Annie and watched her lift the heavy wooden lid. “I can’t wait.” Hanna went to her chest and opened it as well. “Ach, I’d forgotten.” Hanna reached for the doll Mamm had made for her.
  Annie grabbed hers, and they examined them together, just alike and equally worn. “I loved this doll! I had forgotten how much I played with it when I was a child.” The black bonnet was torn around the back, and the hay stuffing peeked out the back of the doll’s dress.
  “Mine is tattered as well. I’m glad we put them away when we did, or there would be nothing left of them.” Hanna glanced at Annie’s doll.
  Annie placed the doll in her lap and pulled out her wedding quilt, the one of many colors. Hanna’s was a box design, and Annie’s was circles within circles, resembling the circle of life. She ran her hand across the beautifully stitched material and admired her mamm’s handiwork. When she looked up, Hanna was doing the same.
  Their eyes met. “Hold yours up so I can see.” Hanna’s voice was soft and breathy. “It’s beautiful, Annie. You’re lucky to be closer to marrying than me.”


Beth Shriver

  Annie tilted her head and turned the quilt to face her. “I don’t feel ready.”
  Hanna’s brows drew together in question. “Why? You’ve always known you’ll be with John. And he is a handsome one.” She grinned. “I’ll take him off your hands.”
  Annie tried to force a smile. “Why has everyone chosen my spouse for me?”
  Hanna put her quilt back into the chest. “Don’t let your mind wander. Just be happy with the way things are.”
  Annie fell silent, in thought. “Questioning is how we find the truth.”
“The truth has already been found.” Hanna reached for her family Bible as she spoke.
  Annie nodded, humbled, and looked for her special Bible. She moved a carved toy Eli had made for her and a book her mamm had given to her. Finally, at the very bottom, she found a Bible the minister gave her. As she opened it up, she skimmed through the flimsy pages. She went to the very front of the book and smiled when she saw how she had written her name as a young girl. The letters were varied sizes and uneven.
  Her mamm’s and daed’s names were both written under hers, their dates of birth, and a list of her brothers and sisters under that. Births and other dates of additional relatives proceeded on to the next page, including the dates of their marriages. Annie flipped back to the first page and noticed the day of her birth was missing. Only the year was written; the day did not precede it, only the month.
  “Hanna, come look.” Annie handed her the Bible and searched her sister’s face for some sign that she knew the reason for the omission. Annie thought back to the days her family recognized her birthday—one in particular.
  Birthdays were often celebrated after church service on Sundays when everyone was already together and they wouldn’t take time away from daily chores during the week. This being
tradition, Annie didn’t think much of the exact date of her birth.


Annie’s Truth

Thoughts of self were discouraged. Everyone was treated equally so as to prevent pride.
  On Annie’s thirteenth birthday she had been surprised by her family and friends with a party. A cake with thirteen candles was brought out, and gifts were given. Her brother had made her a handmade wooden box, and her sister, a picture of flowers. Other useful gifts such as nonperishable food and fancy soaps made by her aunt in the shape of animals piled up on the picnic table next to a half-eaten cake.
  The best gift was from John. He had taken an orange crate and decorated it with his wood-burning tools. It was filled with small, flat wooden figures of every significant person in her life. The time and care he had put into the gift had touched Annie. She treated the present with such care she had thought it wise to store it in her hope chest. Now Annie wished she had enjoyed the box more.
  She searched for it now and found the pieces scattered throughout the bottom of the chest. She picked up the wooden figures one by one, examined them, and put them in the box. Although they all looked alike, as no graven images were permitted, she used her imagination to pick out each person. Frieda, Hanna, Augustus, Eli, Thomas, and Samuel were all accounted for, then Mamm and her daed, her mammi and dawdi—grandparents—then John and her. All of the boy figures looked the same as well except for their height, facial hair, and a hat her dawdi always wore.
  She’d envision John’s figure to be the exception. He had a thick head of black hair and always wore it a bit longer than he should. He could always get away with such things due to his charismatic personality. That was something not encouraged, so not often seen in their community.
  Annie ran a finger along the small wooden likeness of John and wondered if she shouldn’t dismiss him so readily. As a friend she adored him, but the thought of marrying him annoyed her.
But did that feeling come because of him, or was it her?


Beth Shriver

  Hanna’s sigh brought Annie back to the moment. Hanna looked from her Bible to Annie’s. “That’s odd, isn’t it?”
  Annie turned a crisp page and stared at the words again. “I wonder if Mamm simply didn’t remember to fill in the day.”
  Hanna frowned. “It’s not like Mamm to forget to do anything like this.”
  Annie didn’t want to believe that Mamm forgot, and Hanna was right in that their mamm never left anything undone, especially when it came to her children. “I’m sure there’s a reason.”
  “The only thing left to do is ask.” Hanna closed the Bible and handed it to Annie.
  Annie took the black book, its pages edged with light gold. “Don’t you want to?” Hanna grasped her hands together and set them on her knees.
  “Jah, I do.” Annie stroked the top of the golden pages with her finger. “And then I don’t.”
  Hanna grunted. “Well, that’s silly.”
  Annie stopped and took the Bible in both hands. “But I have a strange feeling.” Annie squeezed the Good Book. “Maybe it’s better if I don’t know.”


  This was an in-depth search of the heart to seek the unrevealed Touch of Grace. Annie's Truth is the first book in this trilogy of touches of grace. God's grace overshadows any pain or suffering if we will but let Him.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.” - Romans 8:19
  Hidden truth. Does it hamper or help? Is it protection or fear? Perfect love casts out fear. God's love. Annie's decision to step out and search her unknown does affect all of her family and choices they make to receive her. Will it open up hidden hearts?

  This is a journey of a family. Life continues while Annie expects things to stay the same. She is surprised by those who back her and those who don't.

  Who makes us an outsider? Do we, or those we look to? Annie's travels take her to unsuspecting places and happenings she must wait for. By being herself, she triumphs.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jan Watson's Skip Rock Shallows, c2012

Coal Miners c1908

I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.
Jonah 2:6

Skip Rock Shallows

Lilly Gray Corbett has just graduated from medical school and decided to accept an internship in the coal camp of Skip Rock, Kentucky. Her beau, Paul, is doing his residency in Boston and can’t understand why Lilly would choose to work in a backwater town. But having grown up in the mountains, Lilly is drawn to the stubborn, superstitious people she encounters in Skip Rock—a town where people live hard and die harder and where women know their place. Lilly soon learns she has a lot to overcome, but after saving the life of a young miner, she begins to earn the residents’ trust.
As Lilly becomes torn between joining Paul in Boston and her love for the people of Skip Rock, she crosses paths with a handsome miner—one who seems oddly familiar. Her attraction for him grows, even as she wrestles with her feelings and wonders what he’s hiding.
My Review:
I have read all of Jan Watson's novels, except one which I have and will be going back to read. I first saw her books at our local library when I was reshelving sections being moved to other shelves. The one that caught my eye? Willow Springs. Just happens to be the new community we had just moved to... in Missouri.

I like Jan Watson's style of writing very much. As I was reading, I felt like I was looking in alongside the daily activity and thoughts of each one as they lived it. I feel this is a great accomplishment in a story separate from the telling.

Lilly's love of the people beyond their acceptance of her, charts her course as a surprise connection is unintentionally mentioned in conversation. She feels right at home, although missing her Troublesome Creek home. How will she be able to move to Boston and leave her heart behind? Her medical internship is turning into an unexpected adventure. I have a missing part here! Here are the books before Skip Rock Shallows. Still House Pond is the novel I will be going back to read! I ordered and received it just before Skip Rock Shallows came. I need to find out how Lilly felt about her time with her Aunt Alice in the city and how she chose to go to Skip Rock when she was newly engaged.

Still House Pond

Lilly Gray Corbett loves living on Troublesome Creek, but she would much rather play with her best friend than watch her little brother and the twins. Her mama, Copper, is often gone helping to birth babies, and Lilly has to stay home. When Aunt Alice sends a note inviting her to visit in the city, Lilly is excited to go, and Copper reluctantly agrees to let her. Later, when they hear the news that the train crashed, Copper and her husband, John, rush to find out if their daughter is injured . . . or even alive.

Sweetwater Run: In 1891 in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, two young women stand at a crossroads. Both are protégées of the same mentor, Copper Brown, yet they couldn't be more different. Darcy Whitt falls in love with the town's handsome yet unscrupulous attorney who plots to take not only Darcy's land but that of her sister as well.
Meanwhile, her beautiful sister-in-law, Cara Whitt, suddenly finds herself alone and afraid, living in a rickety cabin on the backside of nowhere. As they struggle with the realities of life, both women learn to rely on their faith above all else.


Torrent Falls: The year is 1888; Copper is a young widow with a baby trying to make a go of the ramshackle farm she received from her father in Troublesome Creek. Copper's life seems as dilapidated as the farm as she struggles to come to terms with her shattered world. Desperate to rekindle the easy faith she had as a child, she searches for peace and God's direction in the serenity of the Kentucky mountains. Further complicating her life is a budding romance with John Pelfrey, Copper's long ago sweetheart. Once sure she could never love again, Copper gives her heart to John only to face betrayal. A skilled midwife, Copper is challenged in many ways as she ministers to the women of eastern Kentucky. Always a believer, Copper still has much to learn as she grows in wisdom and in faith.


Willow Springs: The year is 1883 and following a whirlwind courtship, seventeen-year-old Copper Brown finds herself living in the bustling city of Lexington, KY, far away from her beloved mountain home, newly married to a man she barely knows. Having been raised to put her trust in God, Copper sets out to find a purpose for this new life that she’d never imagined.


Troublesome Creek: A charming historical novel set in the late 1800s. Born and raised in the hills of Kentucky, Laura “Copper” Grace loves the wilderness of her home in Troublesome Creek. But when her stepmother threatens to send her away to boarding school to become a lady, Copper faces the possibility of losing everything that is precious to her. Copper must come to terms with her family and discover the true meaning of home. Nothing can drag her off the mountain, until the day she realizes that God has other plans for her life.

Each of Jan Watson's novels are like walking alongside. I look forward to reading more of them!

Jan’s award winning historical novels, are uniquely set in the Appalachian Mountains. In all her books, she artfully draws on the folklore and culture of times long past to create colorful characters living their faith in a world that offers comfort and peril in equal measure. Jan lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

I received this copy of Skip Rock Shallows from Tyndale in exchange for this review in my own words! Thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gooseberry patch cookbook giveaway: The Harvest Table

Look what I found this morning! A delicious recipe for breakfast muffins or for any time during the day!

Brown Sugar Muffins

1 c. quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 egg, beaten
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (we left those out)
2 t. baking powder
Mix oats, milk and brown sugar in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes.  Add butter and egg; blend well.  Stir in remaining ingredients just until moistened.  Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes one dozen. Added suggestion:
"...add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg.  And I'll use cupcake liners.  I greased the muffin tins like I always do and they still stuck.  I think it was all the brown sugar in them that caramelized and caused them to stick."--oldhousekitchen  
Leave a comment at the above posting at www.oldhousekitchen.com:

One blessed reader will win a copy of The Harvest Table!
*Giveaway starts now and ends Sunday, June 10th at midnight EST *
(winner will be announced on Monday, June 11th)

~*~ ~*~ 

And... my fall reminiscence:
Jumping in the leaves piled up or walking in them and hearing the crunch under my feet. When I was a little girl, my dad would stack up brush and make a bonfire. I would get to ride on the tail of the broken limbs across the yard to his pile. But the very favorite? The potatoes he would place underneath. So, so yummy in their hard shell casing. That was the best with dripping butter!

Posted: 04 Jun 2012 05:47 AM PDT

Check out this cookbook giveaway
Deadline June 10th