Posted in Book Reviews

SPRING HAS COME!!: Christian Fiction Recommendations

8Maybe it’s the flowers in bloom. Or maybe it’s my upcoming birthday. Or maybe it’s the warmer weather. Whatever the reason, Spring has always been my favorite season. Today, I’m going to bring to you a vast collection of recommendations using the letters from “Spring has come.” I’m not even positive Spring Has Come is proper English but since it’s all about the book recommendations, I’m going roll with it. ; ) 
*All links will take you to Goodreads.

S: Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Payson Prentiss: This is one of those classics that’s just a gem all the way around. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like so few people have grabbed a copy of this book. But please do. For me, it was a beautiful example of service within the family unit. This is on my re-read list. *First published in 1880

P: The Perfect Arrangement by Katie Ganshert: I simply adore this novella. I’ve already read it twice and listened to it a third time. And I’m not tired of it yet. It’s Katie’s remake of You’ve Got Mail and it’s as charming as any of the other versions of the romantic comedy.

R: A Reluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin: This is a beautiful story on forgiveness and grace. I loved it. And there’s novella that goes before this that’s equally loveable.

I: In the Company of Secrets by Judith McCoy Miller: This is the first book of the Postcards from Pullman series. This entire series is on my re-read list and I’m hoping to slow down enough to get to it soonish. There’s a lot of history as well as drama in Olivia’s years of Pullman service.

N: Nightingale by Susan May Warren: Here is one fine WWII novel! I loved this one, but it was the ending that has stood out to me the most as powerful and unpredictable.

G: The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson: Here’s something specifically for the fairy tale fan. The Golden Braid is the 6th book of a line of fairy tale retellings from Dickerson.

H: The Holy War by John Bunyan: You may have heard of The Pilgrim’s Progress, but have you heard of The Holy War? Personally, this is my favorite of the two. It’s a must-read for the Christian, especially those who appreciate the classics. *First published in 1682

A: The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen: Klassen is always a must-have for your TBR list and The Apothecary’s Daughter is one of my favorites. I love her ability to keep the reader guessing. I hope to re-read this one sometime.

S: Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer: This is the 2nd book in the Archer Brothers series. I loved this one. It was fun, flirty, and evangelically focused.

C: Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin: This is the first book of the Refiner’s Fire series and it happens to be one of my favorite Civil War series ever. You’ll want to read this series in order. The way the characters overlap is remarkably creative and well done.

O: On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin: This is the 2nd book of the Wings of the Nightingale series and it’s another WWII favorite. You should read this series in order too. But if you love war fiction, you’re going to enjoy anything Sundin writes.

M: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis: If you haven’t read the Chronicles of Narnia yet, then you’re really missing out. It may have been written for children but adults have been enjoying them for decades. I’ve read this at least twice and plan to read it again someday.

E: Emma by Jane Austen: Another beloved classic must-read. I’ve read it twice and will read it again and again.
*First published in 1815

Did I list any of your favorites? Did you find any to add to or bump up on your TBR list?

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron

199Broken-down walls and crumbling stones seemed to possess a secret language all their own.

What stories would they tell, if she finally listened?

Ellie Carver arrives at her grandmother’s bedside expecting to find her silently slipping away. Instead, the beloved woman begins speaking. Of a secret past and castle ruins forgotten by time. Of a hidden chapel that served as a rendezvous for the French Resistance in World War II. Of lost love and deep regret . . .

Each piece that unlocks the story seems to unlock part of Ellie too—where she came from and who she is becoming. But her grandmother is quickly disappearing into the shadows of Alzheimer’s and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history. Drawn by the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty—a castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale—Ellie embarks on a journey to France’s Loire Valley in hopes that she can unearth its secrets before time silences them forever.

Bridging the past to the present in three time periods—the French Revolution, World War II, and present day—The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged in the hearts of men, and of an enchanted castle that stood witness to it all, inspiring a legacy of faith through the generations.

My Thoughts: The story inside is just as lovely as the cover, and that’s really saying something! There are three different stories taking place in three vastly different eras. The only complaint I have is that is was confusing in the first 100 pages as you were getting established within 3 different stories while all three stories bounced to a past and present moment in the heroine’s timeline. Once I became grounded and could understand the flow of the story, I was able to fully enjoy it.
Cambron touched upon eras and settings that I rarely get to read: The French Revolution, WWII in France, and a present-day French vacation. Each one was enjoyable and even though they took place in the same locations, they felt vastly different. The setting was easy to visualize through Cambron’s vibrant descriptions.
All three plots carried their own purpose, spunky heroine, romance, and one had a thicker mystery while the other two had higher threat levels.
Overall, this was a delightful novel and I’m looking forward to the Irish adventure Cambron is preparing for us.

Rating and recommendation: I’m giving The Lost Castle 5 stars and recommending it for those who enjoy historical fiction, war fiction, and multi-timeline stories.

~ I received a copy from Net Galley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Posted in Christian

Nothing New Under the Sun: Salvation

I’m resurrecting an older post with a timeless message. I pray it blesses your heart. 

92I had the pleasure of reading Growing up in the 1850s: The Journal of Agnes Lee. You may not be familiar with Agnes, but surely you’ve heard of her father, Robert E. Lee. The journal was an interesting blend of daily activities, family, and faith. But I was most surprised to read Agnes’s testimony… especially when it brought back memories of my own. I came to understand what Solomon concluded, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” You can read my personal testimony here

Before we pick apart Agnes’s testimony, let’s read it in her own words:

Staunton Thursday 9th April ’57
My precious Father,
I have something to tell you which I know will make you very happy. It is, I believe both of your daughters are Christians. I am sure Annie is, and O Papa I am resolved to doubt no longer that there has been a great and blessed change wrought in my wicked heart. That though I see now I am far more vile and desperately sinful than I ever had the smallest idea of, from this very knowledge I feel the insupportable weight of sin and the desire and the necessity of casting my burden at my Savior’s feet and finding rest and peace where alone it can be found. I often feel a sweet peace stealing over me making me so very happy, calming my angry passions, and stilling my complaining tongue, a feeling of deep gratitude to my Father in Heaven who made me so wretched for some time to make me turn to Him, and to my Savior whose blessed promises of pardon and mercy to all who seek Him have raised me to hope and strive while before I was in despair at the awfulness of my sins. At first the struggle was dreadful. We had been studying McIIvain’s “evidences of Christianity.” Its beautiful style and interesting matter attracted me immediately. I did not then know, but soon found out, what momentous truths were most unquestionably proved it, and that he or she was worse than an idiot who could doubt the reality of religion. It set me to thinking, when I heard Bishop Johns was to confirm those disposed Easter. One Sunday when I had spent a most unprofitable day – at night I went into a room where two girls were weeping for their sins, then at once Mine stared me in the face in such awful magnitude – from that hour I had no rest. I wrote to Mamma she sent me a sweet confirming letter advising me to be confirmed if I had a single desire from henceforth to please God….. my tastes, my hopes, my pleasures, are very different from what they were, I have determined to lead a new life by God’s help. The tempter puts so many dreadful thoughts in my mind which I have much difficulty in putting down. The first and oh! a powerful one was that I was so young – to put it off and enjoy myself until I had become weary of the pleasures of this world then it would be very well, but now it would make me deny myself so many anticipated gratifications, that Christians were so gloomy and so criticized I never could expect to pass as one in the estimation of others. Then he would make me believe my repentance was not sincere, that it was just an uneasy fancy which would leave me as before, so I must ask for no advice – tell no one. O these and numerous other temptations have best me, dear Papa, and how can I thank God sufficiently that He has thus far kept me from falling back and has led me to strive on. I am sure I have always had your prayers and dear Mamma’s. O  I pity the human being who has never known a christian Father and Mother! Grandma sowed good seed in my young heart and often have her hold instructions come to me when I most needed them, O may her sainted spirit know how I thank her!… He told us of the cause of our Savior’s dreadful sufferings. There He stood driving back the overwhelming wrath of an avenging God from a helpless guilty people! But my feeble pen is a mockery of his speaking language….Though I much fear it will soon pass away from the minds of many I feel sure there are some, may they not be few, where the Spirit has found an eternal abiding place….I have not yet thanked you for your last two letters, prized as usual. I am very grateful for your prompt long answers but, dear Papa, you must not deny yourself of needful slumber even though it deprive me of great pleasure but I can stand it better than you…I must stop or your eyes will be fatigued…Yours ever

What a beautiful and powerful testimony! Now, let us look back through it and glean what we can. Together, we’ll examine the basics of conversion. 

1 Notice of Sin
Agnes: …there has been a great and blessed change wrought in my wicked heart. That though I see now I am far more vile and desperately sinful than I ever had the smallest idea of,…
Myself: I continued life with my filthy mouth, wicked thoughts, and sexual sins. I knew these actions were wrong, but it didn’t bother me enough to quit.
Bible: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight…” Psalm 51:3,4

2 Feeling Wretched
Agnes: …a feeling of deep gratitude to my Father in Heaven who made me so wretched for some time to make me turn to Him…
Myself: …These words echoed through my mind so often…
Bible: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Romans 7:24

3 Turning to Christ
Agnes: …from this very knowledge I feel the insupportable weight of sin and the desire and the necessity of casting my burden at my Savior’s feet and finding rest and peace where alone it can be found…
Myself: …I had finally come to grips with the truth and would finally turn my whole life over to Him…
Bible: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

4 The Lies of Satan
Agnes: …The tempter puts so many dreadful thoughts in my mind which I have much difficulty in putting down. The first and oh! a powerful one was that I was so young – to put it off and enjoy myself until I had become weary of the pleasures of this world then it would be very well, but now it would make me deny myself so many anticipated gratifications, that Christians were so gloomy and so criticized I never could expect to pass as one in the estimation of others. Then he would make me believe my repentance was not sincere, that it was just an uneasy fancy which would leave me as before…
Myself: …A few years later, the devil would attack my assurance. He would begin to plant doubts in my mind…
Bible:  “He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

5 The Lie of a Comfortable Silence
Agnes: …so I must ask for no advice – tell no one. O these and numerous other temptations have best me, dear Papa…
Myself: …Now that I was certain of my salvation, Satan then tried to keep me quiet about it. By twisting Scripture, he reminded me that “pride goes before a fall” and it would be best for me to enjoy my salvation, but just don’t tell anyone else about it. His reasoning was that if I stood up and announced that I had security, what if these doubts resurfaced further down the road and I was proven wrong next time? How embarrassing would that be?! I had to admit, he had a point. And being my enemy, he knew my weakness was my pride. I didn’t want to tell everyone what I had discovered, only to be wrong and have to renounce it. …
Bible: “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to Him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19, 20

6 The Faithfulness of Christ
Agnes: …and how can I thank God sufficiently that He has thus far kept me from falling back and has led me to strive on….
Myself: …I felt the Spirit speaking to my heart saying, “The same thing that proved you today will prove you tomorrow.” And at that moment Satan’s hold on me was finally shattered….
Bible: “I have not lost one of those You gave me.” John 18:9

7 Peace
Agnes: …I often feel a sweet peace stealing over me making me so very happy…
Myself: …I cannot tell you the amount of peace that flooded my heart from this moment on….
Bible: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Romans 5:1

8 Change
Agnes: …my tastes, my hopes, my pleasures, are very different from what they were, I have determined to lead a new life by God’s help…
Myself: …It’s the strangest thing, but the things that I used to love, I was growing to hate, and the things that I had once hated, I was growing to love. It was impossible for me to hate my sin while I lived in darkness, just like it was impossible for me to have the Spirit of God living inside of me and not change into His image. Although I have come a long way in my walk, I feel that I must clarify that I do and can still sin. But when I do, I no longer love it. When I sin, it literally grieves the Spirit within me. To put it plainly, it feels dirty; it feels wrong. Remember, sanctification is a life-long process. No one will reach the end until they reach Heaven…
Bible: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

What’s so important about picking apart Agnes’ testimony? Because she did an excellent job showing  what conversion actually looks like. I once talked with someone who described the moment of conversion as warm, peaceful, and loving. Please understand me, I don’t bring this up to poke fun at her or anyone else. I only bring it up to make it clear what genuine conversion really looks like. The hour that the Spirit battles with the flesh is anything but an hour of peace, warmth, and love. Peace comes after conversion, but not during it. Love is present in God’s mercy and grace, but in the midst of the battlefield, the focus isn’t a feeling of love. The truth is, sometimes love hurts. I’ve always loved C.S. Lewis’s example of conversion in the life of Eustace from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Eustace, who had turned into a dragon due to a greedy heart, had tried to cure himself. He washed and he scratched away his dragon skin, but it couldn’t get clean. He couldn’t get deep enough. Then Aslan pierced him with his nail, digging deep into the dragon flesh and cutting it away. Eustace talked about how it had hurt him at that moment but felt gloriously free just after. You see, when God works heart-deep it’s going to hurt. It feels like you’re being ripped apart as Eustice can clearly testify to.
If your testimony doesn’t include a recognition of sin, feeling wretched, a literal turning to Christ that resulted in peace, and a change of desires then you need to reexamine your salvation. Do not be alarmed to find Satan’s tricks and lies weaved into your experience, but hopefully you will also be able to proclaim Christ’s faithfulness to you both then and ever since then. 

If you have some concerns and wish to discuss these things further, please email me. I’d love to talk with you.
With love,
A.M. Heath

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: I Will Not Fear by Melba Pattillo Beals

220In 1957, Melba Beals was one of the nine African American students chosen to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. But her story of overcoming didn’t start–or end–there. While her white schoolmates were planning their senior prom, Melba was facing the business end of a double-barreled shotgun, being threatened with lynching by rope-carrying tormentors, and learning how to outrun white supremacists who were ready to kill her rather than sit beside her in a classroom. Only her faith in God sustained her during her darkest days and helped her become a civil rights warrior, an NBC television news reporter, a magazine writer, a professor, a wife, and a mother.

In I Will Not Fear, Beals takes readers on an unforgettable journey through terror, oppression, and persecution, highlighting the kind of faith needed to survive in a world full of heartbreak and anger. She shows how the deep faith we develop during our most difficult moments is the kind of faith that can change our families, our communities, and even the world. Encouraging and inspiring, Beals’s story offers readers hope that faith is the solution to the pervasive hopelessness of our current culture.

My Thoughts: This is a must-read. There are so many things to praise and unpack here. It’s hard to know where to begin.
First of all, the historical account: This is such a powerful look at our country decades ago. In light of racial conflicts being in the media so often today, I think it’s so important to see what was and what isn’t. Reading Melba’s first-person account was eye-opening for me. Being born in the 80s, segregation wasn’t a part of my history. It was equally eye-opening to see just how far we’ve come as a nation.
I found it humbling to walk along with Melba and hear of the extreme abuse she endured and to know how much we benefit from it today. While there are forms of racism still present today, it’s much improved compared to where we once were.
Spiritual content: This is a true gem. In many ways, it reminded me of Corrie Ten Boom’s story. The story isn’t just an account of what was or what happened, but of how God had carried her through it. How He created in her a heart willing and able to love and forgive those who had persecuted. It’s a beautiful story of forgiveness. But it’s equally a powerful testimony about leaning on Christ. For those being bullied today, Melba has some valuable lessons on how to deal with bullies.
From a writer’s point of view, my first impression was that the story was all over the place. But that’s the difference between a novel and a memoir. The flow of events are often grouped together by subject and not by chronological events. This tripped me up a bit in the first chapter, but once I wrapped my mind around the fact that this wasn’t supposed to read like a novel, I adjusted rather well and thoroughly enjoyed it.
When reading someone’s life story, you have to understand that you may or may not agree with everything they did. But this is THEIR story. While I wasn’t on board with her divorce or the reasons surrounding it, I realize it’s not my place to judge her or pick apart what she could have/should have done based on the partial information I’m given. Melba has graciously shown us intimate moments of her life and her failings in hopes of sharing the lessons she had gleaned along the way. She had certainly done that.

Rating and Recommendation: There are so many applicable lessons on faith, perseverance, forgiveness, and serving Christ on earth that I would highly recommend this book to any Christian or anyone curious to learn how a Christian walks through persecution. I’m giving it 5 stars.

~ I received a copy from Revell through Net Galley. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own. 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Innkeeper’s Daughter by Michelle Griep

221A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown
Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue. . .until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.
All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.
Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

My Thoughts:  I think I say this with every Griep book that I’ve read, but still she somehow manages to surprise me with her ability to craft memorable quirky characters. Lucius and Nixie are two that have stayed with me long after I put down the book, and I’m guessing that they’ll remain with me. Seriously, Griep gets a standing ovation from me on this point alone.
One of the highlights of the book is Griep’s sound message on trusting Christ and not your own efforts. I appreciated the way this thread was weaved in throughout the novel and brought to life.
I will say for more sensitive readers, that I felt like The Innkeeper’s Daughter took on a darker side in terms of violence. I don’t think it went outside the bounds of Christian fiction, but it was beyond what I normally find. For those who read more suspense or thriller novels, you’re not likely to be surprised. But for those who stick to romance, it’ll be a little more surprising.
There was something about Alex and Johanna that just didn’t jive with me. I’m not sure why I was never fully able to connect with them. But I was completely taken in by the way the plot continued to evolve. Griep had certainly crafted a full ride for the reader, especially within those last 100 pages.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving The Innkeeper’s Daughter 4 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction or those looking for an undercover novel.

~ I received a copy from the publisher. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Reviews: February’s Backlist: 2 in 1 Review

Alongside my usual new release reviews, I’m trying to squeeze in more books from my backlist. Here are the books I read this month. Have you read any of these books yet or are you planning?
*All links unless otherwise stated will take you to Goodreads

219A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears
Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early. But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn’t even in town when she finally arrives.

Axel’s business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend’s mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store–where she quickly proves she’s much more adept at business than he ever will be.

The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. However, their troubles are far from over when Axel finally returns, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they’re willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams–or if God has a new dream in store for them both.

My Review: I absolutely loved this one!!! The first one was good, but this one was my favorite of the series so far. I was surprised at the twists and turns the story took along the way.
Rating: 5 stars

222Pride and Prejudice in AUDIO

Pride and Prejudice is a beloved classic for a reason. You either love it, or you don’t, or you know you need to give it a try, so I’m not going to review the book. Suffice it to say that all things Austen rank highly with me. I enjoy the romance and the old-fashioned language. But I do want to share the audio version that I’m listening to and the great deal I had found.
If you’ve looked at the classics in audio, you would have found SEVERAL versions for a single book. Many reviews will point out that the more expensive versions are best. But I picked up this one dirt cheap and I’m loving every minute of it.
The original audible price is $14.95. But they had an option of buying the kindle version with it (which turned out to be free) THEN buying the audible version at a discount. My records show that I paid less than $2 for the audio. And I have I mentioned that I’m loving it?! I’d give this audio 5 stars but at this price, I’d give it 10 stars! 😉
Here are the two links I used when buying. Always, always, always preview the audio to make sure the narrator is pleasing to your ears. Be sure to double check prices before pushing any buttons because prices can change. And if you’re looking to pick up the audio at a discount, be sure to pick up the ebook version first and click on “add the audio.” Ebook and Audio

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

195When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson is abandoned by her fiancé and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

My Thoughts: You know when you pick up a Frantz novel that you’re about to be treated to something saturated in historical detail and a plot that twists and turns around every bend. The Lacemaker was certainly one of those novels. Although I struggled in the very beginning while being introduced to a great number of names and characters, I did fall into a groove and the story really took off for me. As a history lover, I really enjoyed getting a look at what was going in the months leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving The Lacemaker 4.5 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Historical Christian Fiction or Revolutionary War Fiction.

~ I received a copy from Revell through Net Galley. I was not compensated for my review. All thoughts are my own.

Posted in History

Getting Dressed: A Collection of Historical Dressing Videos

I enjoy learning about historical fashion and have taken you on tours in the past. But there is something that videos can teach us that simple text cannot. I thought it would be interesting and even handy to collect some videos together for your enjoyment.
I do not own any of these videos so refer to the video itself for ownership and credit.

First, we’re going to look at the late 1700s, also known as Georgian, American Colonial, or American Revolutionary War eras.

This video does the best job explaining the various pieces and shows more detail into how they were actually layered on. This is an example of a wealthy woman of the day.
**Be sure to watch this video. Some of the other videos on the page rush through many of the details, so this one becomes a sort of foundation that will allow you to fill in the gaps in the other videos.


And here is an example of a working woman of the same era. You’ll notice some differences in the clothing as well as the stays, which can be laced in front since she didn’t have a maid to assist her.


And here is an example of a soldier’s layering, also from the same era. Now we can imagine that while the average man wore different clothing, there’d be some similarities as well.


And next, we move on to Regency. In America, this would be around the War of 1812. This video is a little bit quicker and doesn’t explain things as nicely as that first one did. But after watching the first one, it’s easier to grasp what’s happening here.


And if you’re as curious as I am about how men wore their ties here’s a look at how it’s done. This video covers some of the simpler styles, which is great news for reenactors looking for a new look, as well as curious readers. 😉


The first half of this video is from the Civil War. The Civil War was in the 1860s. The bulk of the 18th century is often referred to as the Victorian Era.
Before the 1850’s women wore a layer of petticoats. Here we see the introduction of the hoop skirt.
This is a two in one video. She’ll also show us how to put on another style of dress. While we’re still in the Victorian Era, Americans often refer to the last half of the 1800s as the Gilded or Progressive Era, pending on the actual year. The biggest change in the style is that the hoop skirt is out and the bustle is in.


I hope you enjoyed this look at historical fashion. I’d love to hear from you!

Which part of the process surprised you the most? Which style do you like the best? Have you ever worn a gown like these before?



Posted in Christian

GIVEAWAY and Review: Whole Heart CD by Passion


About Album

• Info about Passion

• “Rooted out of the Passion movement, we are committed to leading people towards renewed intimacy with God and fresh encounters of worship. Passion is more than music. More than events. Passion is a generation living for His name.”

• WHOLE HEART is the new live album from Passion—captured at Passion Conference 2018 in Atlanta, GA.

• Passion Conference 2018 was a beautiful worship experience, and the live album captures each powerful moment, allowing those who were not in attendance to experience it.

• Featuring Passion Artists: Kristian Stanfill, Melodie Malone, Sean Curran, Matt Redman, Crowder.

Buy Link: *This will be updated and active on 2/23 when the digital album release

Rooted out of the Passion movement, Passion music is committed to leading people towards renewed intimacy with God and fresh encounters of worship. You can listen to Passion music here.

My Review: I often find myself loving a song on Pandora only to find out that it’s from a Passion cd, so when I had the opportunity to review a new Passion cd, I jumped on the chance. I must say, Whole Heart was everything I expected it to be. Plus it has one of my favorite songs, Great Are You Lord.
There’s a great melody is this collection of songs, making it easy for me to be swept away in the music. But more than a smooth tune is the truth they bring out. Here’s a sampling:

~ “You won’t share Your glory.” (Ever Almighty)

~ “If more of You means less of me, take everything.” (More Like Jesus)

~ “It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to You only.” (Great Are You Lord)

I highly recommend it to those who enjoy the praise and worship sound. Every song is designed to bring you back to your first love.
And it’s for that very reason that I decided to offer a giveaway on Valentine’s Day.

Giveaway Info: To enter, comment below with one of your favorite Bible verses featuring love. And don’t forget to add your email address. I’ll randomly select a winner on Monday morning (Feb. 19, 2018).

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification. *Continental U.S. residents only.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke

197For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing—spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends—has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she’s ever known.

Set in England’s lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the setting and historic angle Gohlke had for this novel. It was more than the beautiful town and descriptions. There was also the sprinkling of classic children literature. It brought a unique spin to the novel.
The Jewish refugees in England was another unique spin. I’ve read a lot of WWII fiction over the years, but this wasn’t a subject I’ve read about before. Gohlke really brings to life some of the hardships the children and their caretakers felt.
Sadly, I had some trouble connecting with the characters at times. The plot is spread over a long period of time and it caused me to lose touch with the characters since I sometimes felt like they were progressing without me.
Gohlke weaves all of this together with a sturdy message of faith and salvation. There is one point I feel obligated to make. She brought a lot of truth to the table, and I’m very grateful for that. But the actual moment of conversion was one that left me feeling uncomfortable. The character had enough knowledge beforehand to be saved, and she certainly showed fruit of conversion afterward. But the moment of surrender took place within a dream, and that’s the part that made me uncomfortable. That moment needs to be a conscious thought.
Overall, this is an enjoyable read that will likely send you to a new part of England with a new knowledge of the WWII home front.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving Until We Find Home 4 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy WWII fiction or Christian Historical Fiction.

~ I received a copy from Tyndale House. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.