"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Books

Dear John by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- After an accident claims their parents' lives, Marin struggles to care for her mentally-challenged brother, John.

Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell -- a tale from the Puritan era; the story of Susannah Phillips with a bit of Small Hope's (that's the name her awful father gave her) thoughts and actions interwoven.  This book disturbed me for some reason, but I really appreciated the message of God's grace instead of our having to work for salvation and measure up to some outrageous religious ideal in order to merit God's favor. 

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond -- While in Nicaragua for work (in coffee), Ellie Enderlin crosses paths with the man accused of murdering her sister twenty years prior.  Though the evidence was flimsy, Peter McConnell was accused by a man on a mission to publish his first book. Which was a great success!  After speaking to Peter, Ellie questions her assumption of his guilt.

The Pursuit of Mary Bennett: a Pride & Prejudice Novel by Pamela Mingle -- A rather fun read focusing on Mary, but quite a bit still about her four sisters - Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, and Kitty.   More from Goodreads. 

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell -- When her twin brother leaves his Quaker faith to join the rebel cause (fighting for the colonials against Britain) and gets thrown into jail, Hannah has to decide whether or not she'll defy her religion's orders and ignore her brother or find someway to bring relief to him.  Jeremiah is looking for a way to pass messages to a prisoner inside the jail.  Will this Quaker girl do it for him?

A Walk for Sunshine by Jeff Alt -- "a 2,160-mile expedition for charity on the Appalachian Trail" ; we bought this book at the visitor's center at Clingman's Dome about a month ago since we enjoy reading accounts of people walking the AT.

The Jewel of Gresham Green by Lawana Blackwell --  a fun follow-up book of the Gresham gang about 8 or so years after the last in the earlier series; Of course it introduces new characters such as Jewel and her four-year-old daughter, Becky, and the squire's nephew, Donald, who is just waiting for his uncle to die so he can inherit the family fortune! 

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot -- book one in the Cimarron Creek Trilogy; Lydia travels from Syracuse, New York, to join her friend Edgar whom she'd promised to marry. But he's no where to be found, and she discovers some secrets about Edgar and this new town in Texas.  A good if predictable story with a hint of mystery to it. 

The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us by Bruce Feiler -- I saw this book on the new books shelf at the local library. I have enjoyed Feiler's book over the years, and this one was good though it wasn't my favorite.  The author speaks of "why Adam and Eve still matter," how they "invented love," creation, being parents, and so forth.  

White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick -- When Arcie's parents die in a car crash when she was 11 years old, she went to live with her grandfather, Sam.  This book skips through much of her years with him until she is a young adult having issues with rejection and competition especially as it relates to her older cousin Quinn and Aunt Tiffany.  A rather mediocre book, but an easy read for a drive to the mountains. 

Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love -- a fictional biography about the wife of Robert E. Lee and an enslaved woman, Selina Norris Gray.  Such an interesting book!  I was constantly googling people mentioned in order to see pictures and read more about their histories. 

Passing Strangers by Angela Hunt -- three people from various walks of life book train tickets to take the Southern Tour, and end up becoming friends.  Andie is on a forced vacation, and is determined to keep her famous past in the past.  Matthew is recently-widowed (well, one year ago), and taking his young children on the trip - with hopes that his mother in Savannah will agree to keep the children until he can figure out how to balance his demanding career as a D.C. lawyer with fatherhood, and Janette is escaping home life in Arkansas. 

Monticello: A Daughter and Her Father by Sally Cabot Gunning -- a novel about Martha Jefferson Randolph, daughter of Thomas Jefferson; I enjoyed this, and again I was googling people and places!

Hot Tropics & Cold Feet by Diann Hunt -- a rather silly, light book that was an easy read for me while we were at the beach this weekend.  Maggie and her Latte Club friends - Lily, Jill, and Louise - leave their families in Indiana for two weeks in Florida.  Not bad; friendly characters. 

Emma Brown: A novel from the unfinished manuscript by Charlotte BrontĂ« by Clare Boylan -- This is the story about Matilda who was dropped off for school by a gentleman who never came back to pay her fees or answer regarding Christmas vacation.  Is Matilda an heiress as the Wilcox sisters were lead to believe upon accepting her into their school?  This is also the story about Isabel Chalfont and her friend Mr. Ellin. A rather nice story overall.

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall -- after running away with her husband's slaves to escape her increasingly-abusive husband, Iris is declared legally insane and shipped to a remote Florida island where Dr. Cowell works at an insane asylum.  Iris meets an assortment of people, and this book is rather different, but pretty good. 

The Queen of Subtleties: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Suzannah Dunn -- Chapters told from the perspective of Anne Boleyn as she writes a letter to her daughter prior to Anne's death; every other chapter tells the story of Mrs. Lucy Cornwallis, King Henry's confectioner.  An interesting way to learn more about this story. I was googling people again while reading this. 

Longbourn by Jo Baker -- ever wondered about some of the servants mentioned in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice? The author used these characters to create a story about what goes on below-stairs.  A fairly good book, but I had trouble following some aspects of the story so it wasn't a favorite.

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell -- I'd read most other books that our libraries have from this author so I read this one as well. It's about Lucy and Charlie, and their fathers' respective candy factories - and the competition between the two.   This was an easy read, but became a bit tiresome about midway through because it just wasn't that interesting. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Books

First Dawn by Judith Miller -- the first in the Freedom's Path series; this book starts with a group of "coloreds" from Kentucky heading towards Nicodemus, Kansas, which hopes to be the first black settlement in the west.   Unfortunately, Nicodemus isn't the small town they were promised, but just a prairie with no shelter.  What will the people do to survive in this unfamiliar territory?

The Homeplace by Gilbert Morris -- book one in the Singing River series; Life was going along pretty well when tragedy struck the Freeman household not once, but twice.  Lanie, the oldest of five, seeks to keep the family together and not lose the family home.  This book was just ok. Maybe even OK minus. 

A Life Intercepted by Charles Martin -- I think some people would not enjoy all the football this book contains, but I really enjoyed the story, and didn't mind all the football talk.  Such a decent book, too!

A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell -- Three young Italian immigrants work together in a dress shop in Boston.  The stories of Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana.  A nice book; I'd read more from this author. 

The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger -- A separated couple writes letters to each other as each deals with the loss of their son.  Sam goes to Alaska to see where the plane crashed while Hadley paints from an island in Maine.

Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt -- I found this paperback at a free little library, and read the story of Izzy who went out with a high school senior and her life was forever changed. He drove drunk and she lost half her leg.  This book deals with her time in the hospital, dealing with her doctors and therapists, her family members, friends and so forth. 

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen -- book one in Tales from Ivy Hill, her first ever series!  I discovered her books a few months ago, and they are so good!  I had this book on hold for weeks, and finally had a chance to read it.  Reminds me quite a bit of the Gresham Chronicles which I loved. This is the story of a widow, Jane, who was left her husband's coaching inn.  Her mother in law, Thora, and brother in law, Patrick, are there to help run it although it's not turning a profit and in danger of being foreclosed upon!  I enjoyed the characters, humor, the story.  Great book! 

Morning Sky by Judith Miller -- more in the Freedom's Path series: this book has Nicodemus and Hill City a few years down the road and bigger and more prosperous.  Jarena's Aunt Lilly visits from New Orleans, and adds quite a bit of excitement to the family's lives.  Truth heads to New York to assist Macia Boyle back home after Macia's extended illness at school.  

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck -- A great book about three very different German women who meet up after World War II:  Marianne, Benita, and Ania and their children.  I'd heard this book mentioned on NPR, and had it on reserve at the library.  

In the Company of Secrets by Judith Miller -- book one in Postcards from Pullman series; This book begins with Olivia and Lady Charlotte fleeing their home in England for Illinois, each escaping and hoping to begin new lives.  Due to the circumstances of Charlotte's departure, they weave a story of Charlotte's widowhood and so forth.  A pretty good story.

Bears In the Streets: Three Journeys Across a Changing Russia by Lisa Dickey -- The author describes her times in several Russian cities during trips in 1995, 2005, and 2015.  She does her best to meet up with people she met in that initial trip. I so enjoy books like this, and it did not disappoint!  I especially enjoyed the political talk - their (mostly) love for Putin, Russians who spoke up about the US.  Not that it was flattering or pleasant (not at all), but it was interesting to me. 

Whispers Along the Rail by Judith Miller -- book two in Postcards from Pullman series; this continues the stories of Olivia and Charlotte and their acquaintances whom we met in the first book. Olivia is pressured to ride the rails to spy for the Pullman company whereas Charlotte is found in Chicago living in a house for women who have fallen upon hard times

The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice -- a good story about Julia and Roberto who meet when Julia travels to Malibu to house sit for her uncle.  Roberto oversees the lemon orchard, and the two quickly realize they have a tragedy in common: both lost daughters five years ago.  A good look at Mexican immigrants coming across the border.

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck -- Haley and Cole; Cora and Birch and how an old run-down wedding shop ties the generations together

A Table By the Window by Lawana Blackwell -- This book begins with Carley teaching in a rich-kid prep school in California, but soon Carley travels to Mississippi where she cleans out her grandmother's house and prepares to put it on the market.  After going back to California, she realizes she wants the chance to start a new life in a small town -- of course she has to adjust to Southernisms, bless her heart.   I enjoyed this book so much! 

An Uncertain Dream by Judith Miller -- book three in Postcards from Pullman series; This was probably my least favorite book in this trilogy.  I just started getting bored with the subject of unions, and capitalists, but I wanted to finish the story of Olivia and Charlotte, and the strike and boycott of Pullman train cars. 

Daylight Comes by Judith Miller -- the final book in the Freedom's Path series; this follows-up on the families in Nicodemus and Hill City, Kansas

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell -- a fun read, not sure why since it's basically about a young lady who is making her debut into society in order to marry the heir, but it was told in an interesting way so I liked this story about Clara Carter and her best friend Lizzie Barnes as they competed for the affections of Franklin De Vries.

Schadenfreude, A Love Story by Rebecca Schuman -- "Me, the Germans and 20 years of attempted transformations, unfortunate miscommunications, and humiliating situations that only they have words for" ; eh, just not my style  (TMI at points)

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller -- Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace -- I saw this book listed on the library website in their new books so I put it on hold.  Nothing spectacular, but decent enough for a few hours of light reading about Lavinia and the Earl of Hawkesbury. 

Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love -- a Hickory Ridge Romance; Ada leaves Boston after the death of her father and takes a position as a lady's companion in Tennessee not too long after the War Between the States. This book tells about her time there with Lillian, Wyatt, and other folks in the community. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sophie's 1st Haircut

Sophie got her first haircut today.  I think maybe she had 2 inches off. I am curious if it will curl up more once it's washed.  She looks to have survived her first cut MUCH better than her brother Zach did. Granted, he was younger when he had his first haircut, but he struggled with haircuts for a while. He never cared for things buzzing around his head.  Sophie probably only had to deal with scissors. 

Zach happy it's not his turn for a haircut

Telling the lady about her trip to Disney

These are pictures my brother posted on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Books

The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice -- a new author for me; a story about a widow traveling from Ohio to Rhode Island to begin a new job, and have a new start after her husband drowned and her oldest child ran away. The story of Maura, Travis, Carrie, and Beck.  And people they meet in Rhode Island - J.D., Pell, Lucy and so forth.  Good book

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson -- another new author for me; An English woman studying art in Paris takes a job as a companion for a man and his young sister.  But things aren't quite as first told, and Maud finds herself accused of theft, opium addiction, and is nearly drowned! 

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist -- Texas Ranger Lucious Landrum goes undercover as a telephone troubleman in order to bring down Frank Comer's train-robbing gang.  He meets and works with a rural switchboard operator, Georgie Gail, and this book is about their time in a small Texas town.

No Place for a Lady by Gill Paul -- I got this book at a little free library while at the beach recently. Two English sisters end up in Crimea when their country sends troops to help the Turks during the Crimean War.  Lucy heads there as an officer's wife, while Dorothea is a nurse.

Minding Molly by Leslie Gould  -- book three in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; This one finds us going on a camping trip with the ever-organized Molly

Becoming Bea by Leslie Gould -- the final book it Courtships series; this one about Molly's younger sister Bea who helps as a mother's helper to a lady with triplets (whew!)

The Courtship of the Vicar's Daughter by Lawana Blackwell -- this is book two in The Gresham Chronicles. I read the first one early last month, but waited until the kids' visit was over to start book 2.  It took a bit longer as well because someone else had this book checked out of the library.  That someone else being my mom since I recommended the series to her.  Anyway, I finally got it from her when I returned my dad's truck on Saturday, and, oh, it was a good book indeed.  Just something about it, I really enjoyed. It's about so much more than the title, too. So many fun, interesting, colorful characters there in Gresham!

 A Framework for Understanding Poverty - by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D.  -- a few weeks ago, I was discussing Hillbilly Elegy with a teacher friend from Ohio who had lived a few years in the North Carolina mountains.  She mentioned this book by Dr. Payne, and I told her I would put it on my Amazon Wishlist.  I received it for my birthday, and read through it in a few days.  The author compiled her research into this book after being asked several times to present her knowledge on the subject of "the mindsets of poverty, middle class, and wealth."  I found much of it interesting especially dealing with the matriarchal power in households of poverty, and the different forms and roles of language (formal, casual register, frozen, and so forth) and story.  The chapter on Discipline and the parent/child/adult voices.  I told my friend that the book made me sad, though. I found it interesting later when I read the conclusion and it mentioned grieving. 

The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark by Lawana Blackwell -- book three in The Gresham Chronicles; I enjoyed this series and the cast of characters! 

The Amish Blacksmith by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner -- book two in The Men of Lancaster County series; I read book one awhile back, and had to wait and wait for book two to be available.  This is the story of Jake, the few-months-older uncle of Tyler (the main character in book 1).  Jake returned from blacksmithing and farrier school, and is completing an internship with his friend, Amos.  I enjoyed learning more about horses while reading this book. Made me consider FIL's horse, Flash, a bit as I can see her from my backyard while reading.  

The Amish Clockmaker by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner -- book three in The Men of Lancaster County series -- a good book about Matthew Zook's search for the man who lived in his room as a boy.  Clayton Raber left town in shame decades earlier after being accused of murdering his wife.  Matthew needs to find Clayton about a property dispute, but who knows where this excommunicated Amish man lives - or if he's even still alive!  I enjoyed learning about Clayton and Miriam's story - the middle part of this book.

The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen  -- I read this years ago, but it was worth a re-read.  A great book about Lilly and her season in London and then her return to her small village to help her dad's apothecary shop.

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth -- a novel about Anna, a thirty-eight year old who has early-onset Alzheimer's.  Anna is put into a residential treatment center where she meets Luke who also has some form of early dementia.  A good story!

The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy -- After a pastor is forced to leave his church, his family runs a bakery. One foggy morning, the baker's wife, Audrey, hits a scooter and is soon blamed for the disappearance of a police detective's wife.  Kind of a weird story, but it did teach some good lessons about involving yourself in others' lives and reaching out with compassion.

Mothers & Daughters by Rae Meadows -- the stories of Violet, Iris, and Sam, three generations with glimpses of Violet's life in New York City with a mom addicted to opium, Iris' plan to take her own life on her seventy-second birthday, and Samantha juggling motherhood and her memories of her mom and grandmother

Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson -- first book in the Heart of the Frontier series; a book about Grace, Hope, and Faith, sisters who traveled west to the Whitman Mission; an ok book

Legacy of Love by Joanna Trollope writing as Caroline Harvey -- this is what the cover says anyway.  I got this book in Wrightsville Beach at one of those little free libraries.  I am out of library books presently so I'm reading a few books I keep on hand for when I run out of library books.  This one is about three generations (or more) of women: Charlotte and Emily who follow Charlotte's soldier husband on an adventure in Afghanistan;  Alexandra, Charlotte's granddaughter, who finally leaves her rural home in Scotland for her Great-aunt's home where Emily tries to make Alexandra into a proper lady; and Cara, Charlotte's namesake and Alexandra's daughter, as she deals with staying home to care for the family and farm instead of being able to go on an adventure when England fights Hitler. 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi  --   a friend sent this to me for my birthday; She had read it, and thought I'd enjoy it too. I read most of it last evening. Paul was a young neurosurgeon completing his training when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at age 35. You read this book knowing he died while writing it, but are still amazed at the way he processes things, how he sees now what it's like to be on the other side: the patient with a scary illness.  What an amazing man, and a great book that he left for us to ponder. 

The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton -- Fiona, a librarian in New York, answers a newspaper ad about traveling with a bookmobile to semi-nomadic peoples in Kenya.  This novel gives perspectives from a local teacher, his wife, the American, and several others. Some are in favor of these books while others denounce them as intruding on the old ways. 

The Pleasure Was Mine by Tommy Hays -- just like the book above, I got this one recently at a free little library. I realized soon that I'd read this one before, but it had been long enough that I enjoyed it again. This is the account of Prate Marshbanks, a 70-something, who had to put his wife into a nursing home after she lost her memory.  Prate visits Irene with their grandson Jackson who is staying with Prate for a few weeks while the boy's dad paints. 

Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring by Bassem Youssef -- I remember seeing articles about this Egyptian comedian/satirist a few years ago; he's the "Jon Stewart of Egypt" apparently.  A friend sent this book for my birthday, and I enjoyed reading about the revolution and coup in Egypt's more recent years.  He confirmed things I had heard about the Muslim Brotherhood and the military rulers. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sophie and Zach at Disney!

Zach and Sophie are at Disney World in Florida right now with their grandparents.  I enjoyed these pictures their Nana shared on Facebook.

They were really more thrilled than Sophie appears here.   Linda said they hardly ate anything at brunch because they were looking around for Mickey and Minnie.  Also, she said Sophie kept on giggling.  Awwww.

I love her watching Goofy here.

And hugging Mickey.


Linda said Zach wore these Mickey hands about all day.  Good thing the weather is a cool 97 degrees, eh? 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

April Books

The Widow of Larkspur Inn by Lawana Blackwell -- The first book in the Gresham Chronicles; a nice tale of Julia Hollis and her children who leave London after the death of their husband/father who left them in debt.  Julia opens an inn in the country - a place for lodgers to stay and rest in a peaceful place.  The story describes life there with the villagers and the lodgers.  

Elementary, My Dear Watkins by Mindy Starns Clark -- another book about Jo Tulip and her friend Danny.  In this book Jo's life is in danger, and they have to find out why.  Also, Danny is in Paris for a photo shoot as he follows his dreams.

The Amish Nanny by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould -- book two in The Women of Lancaster County series; This one follows the story of Ada who found out her parentage is not as she grew up thinking.  In this story, Ada gets the chance to travel to Switzerland to see places important to her Amish/Anabaptist faith.

The Amish Bride by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould  -- book three follows the story of Ella as she leaves Lancaster County to learn baking in Indiana; also she tries to help her grandmother solve a mystery in a book their ancestor left 

The Amish Seamstress by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould  -- the final book in this series, this one is about Izzy, the young Amish caretaker and seamstress, and about Zed, Ella's film-making brother; a pretty good series over all

Bryson City Secrets by Walt Larimore, M.D. -- a follow-up book to an earlier book I read about this young doctor living in a small town in western NC; he reveals why his family left this charming mountain town

Adoring Addie by Leslie Gould -- book two in The Courtships of Lancaster County series; This follows Cate's cousin Addie's story - the only girl in a houseful of brothers.  Pretty good, but I liked Cate's story much more.

The Amish Groom by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner -- part of The Men of Lancaster County series. I figured since I read the Women series, I'd give this a try.  Tyler's mother was raised Amish, but left her faith community to marry a career military man. When she died suddenly, Tyler, age 6,  went to live with his Amish grandparents while his dad went overseas.  In this book Tyler, now 23, feels a restlessness. He's not sure if he should join the Amish church or join the "Englisch" world where he started life and where his father, stepmother, and brother live.

A Daughter's Inheritance by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller -- book one in The Broadmoor Legacy; three cousins, this book focused on Fanny, who was orphaned when her mother died in childbirth and her father took his life.  I wasn't sure if I'd like this book, but enjoyed it better than I thought.  When Fanny was named in her grandfather's will, her greedy Uncle Jonas does his best to make her inheritance his own.  

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay  -- a great way to learn more about the rounding up of mostly women and children in July 1942; this story follows the stories of Sarah, the ten year old Jewish girl, who was taken by the French police, and Julia, a journalist in 2002 trying to find out more about this terrible moment in history

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kids by Bill Bryson -- a memoir about his life in Des Moines, Iowa 

An Unexpected Love by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller -- book two in The Broadmoor Legacy; this book focused more on Sophie although the other cousins were mentioned; good story

A Surrendered Heart by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller -- book three in The Broadmoor Legacy;  this book focused more on Amanda as she had to make a choice about saving the family fortune and so forth

The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis -- an Amish lady goes to Cape May, New Jersey, for eight weeks one summer as a nanny for an English family.  Will she go back to her Old Order Amish ways or follow the freedom of the non-Amish world?

Friday, March 31, 2017

March Books

Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray  -- this is a follow-up book from the book I read last month; It takes place during the Chicago World's Fair, and features Eloisa Carstairs and her friendship with the Irish police officer Sean Ryan, as Detective Ryan seeks to find out who has been preying upon high-society women. 

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance -- I saw this book listed online and put it on hold with my library.  After several weeks - months even - it was my turn to read it.  And it was an interesting read about Appalachia.  I could relate to some of it regarding people I know.  It made me sad in many ways, but grateful, too, that people like J.D. were offered hope through positive role models.  It challenged me to be a good role model for others because that's more important than I might have thought. 

The Promise of Palm Grove by Shelley Shepard Gray -- I read this book one in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series, and hoped it would get better, but it never really did.  Just a very predictable, rather silly and boring account of Leona and her friends traveling from cold, snowy Ohio to a warm winter destination.  Leona leaves behind a fiancĂ© who doesn't take her thoughts into account, and she meets caring, thoughtful Zack.  End of story.

Bringing Jesus To The Desert by Bradley Nassif -- another colorful, informative book in this series; This one focused on Middle Eastern saints like Anthony of Egypt, Moses the Ethiopian, Makarios of Egypt, Pachomius, Melania, John the Little, and Simeon the Stylite.  The author is from a Lebanese family (though he grew up in Wichita, Kansas), and he gives examples from his own family. I'm also glad he included a few family pictures in this small book. 

A Texan's Promise by Shelley Gray -- Book 1 of The Heart of a Hero Series; eh, it was better than the last book I read of hers, but nothing special.  Since I had it here, I went ahead and read it before returning it to the library. 

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen -- another delightful book, and this one was a bit of a mystery.  Abigail moves to the Pembrooke manor after a solicitor contacts her nearly bankrupt father about a distant relative wanting his family to move there.  I enjoyed reading much of this while enjoying a lovely day or two outside.

Among the Fair Magnolias -- four short (~80 pages) stories from Tamera Alexander (the best of these four), Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser -- not my favorite stories by far

Bryson City Seasons: More Tales of a Doctor's Practice in the Smoky Mountains by Walt Larimore, M.D. -- My mom read this book years ago. I remember her telling me about these doctor stories from WNC, and I found this book the other day while browsing.  I enjoyed this because Bryson City is a charming place and it was so interesting reading about it back in the 1980s. Also, doctor tales are interesting to me. 

The Road to Somewhere: Travels with a Young Boy Through the Old World by James Dodson -- apparently this guy is famous in the golf-writing world, and he does look a bit familiar, but I got this book at a book exchange (I think), and finally got around to reading about the summer he and his 10 year old son, Jack traveled to various European destinations. I enjoyed the account especially to places I've been (Ghent, Paris) and places I'd love to go (all the rest of them!) At the time of this writing James lives in Maine, but I looked him up now and see that he and his wife live in North Carolina presently.  I wonder what happened to Jack (who'd be about 27 now..wow.).

Softly & Tenderly by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck -- This is book two in a series that I never started so some of Jade's story was reviewed in its pages.  It was fair, and a quick read. 

In the Shadow of Denali by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse -- first in the Heart of Alaska series;  Allan Brennan travels to Curry, Alaska, to get information on why his father died six years ago on a mountain-climbing trip. He meets the guide who took his father up Denali.

Courting Cate by Leslie Gould -- first in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; a very cute book about Cate and her sister Betsey, and the stranger in town who is suddenly interested in Cate (whom no one else wants to court).  Is Pete being bribed to court her? 

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen -- Emma travels with her father to the estate of two former students so her father - a tutor - can privately teach the troublesome twins.  Another good book with some mystery to it. 

The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders -- This is a Laetitia Rodd Mystery which my mom passed along to me after she finished reading this library book. The lady reminded me of the Murder She Wrote lady - or I kept picturing her anyway - during this story.  A pretty good story.

Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist - this is actually a book that comes before the other book I read about Texas spinster Essie Spreckelmeyer.  Now I know the story of how book two came to be.  She's a pretty funny, likeable character!

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas -- I saw this book on my library's website and put it on hold. It's a new book in a new Lady of Sherlock series.  Charlotte Holmes' deliberate fall from grace means she has to support herself.  She becomes the female Sherlock, and solves mysteries.  Pretty interesting book!

Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist -- sometime after the American Civil War, women were brought to the PNW as brides for men. However, some of those "brides" didn't know they were going over to marry. They had contracts to be domestic helpers, nannies and so forth. This book explores one such situation in a rather humorous way.  Anna believes she is going to be a cook for a lumberjack, Joe, and his crew.  But Joe needs a wife in order to keep the 640 acres of land he's been working the last decade.

Lydia's Charm by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- an Amish book about a young widow and her son, Josh, who move to Charm, Ohio, to live with Lydia's mom and ailing grandfather

A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell -- When an aging London actress tries to come back to the stage, she falls apart and her estranged daughter checks her out of the hospital where she's recovering, and they live for a time in a small English village.  Thus is the setting for Charlotte and Rosalind's tale in this book.  I rather liked it!

The Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould -- Part of The Women of Lancaster County series; this book is about Lexie, a nurse-midwife, who travels from her home in Oregon to Pennsylvania to get answers about her adoption. She works with a Mennonite midwife who delivers babies for Amish women, among others. 

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen -- Unlike most of her books, this one seemed to equally focus on a male character, dancing and fencing master Alec Valcourt, recently of London, but now in a small village after something scandalous happens in his family.  In this village, he meets Julia Midwinter who seeks to leave this boring, small place where her mother keeps a way-too-watchful eye. 

Hidden Affections by Delia Parr --  Harrison and Annabelle were forced to marry after their stage coach was robbed and they were handcuffed together. Yeah, a likely scenario, but whatever.  As Harrison seeks an annulment, they have to put on appearances of being a young couple in love. 

How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler -- After recovering from a bad accident, Deena moves from Atlanta to Bryson City, North Carolina, where her grandpa left her his cabin - if she promises to teach a cooking class to children in a community center for six months. 

The Trouble With Tulip by Mindy Starns Clark -- Jo Tulip writes a newspaper column offering household tips. In this book, she and her best friend Danny are caught up in solving a mystery about their elderly neighbor's sudden death. Was it just an accident or was Edna Pratt murdered?

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth --  Three generations of midwives, Floss, Grace, and Neva tell parts of their stories and reveal secrets. 

All the News Unfit to Print by Eric Burns -- I found this at a book exchange or perhaps I bought it at the 25 cent sale, but I've had it way longer than Donald Trump has been President.  Yet, I felt it was something he would like to read because it talks about journalists and stories that have been made up or omitted or sensationalized or changed from centuries ago to not so long ago (copyright is 2009).   Some rather interesting stories. It had me googling certain people since I often like putting names and faces together. 

Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon -- book 1 in the Guardians of Justice series; U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor is assigned to protect a federal judge, Liz Michaels.

Blind Dates Can Be Murder by Mindy Starns Clark -- book two in the series about Jo Tulip; another mysterious death leads Jo and Danny on another adventure: this one involving some tough mafia-type guys and missing, stained money.