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This book caught me off-guard. I was expecting a historical tale about a family that lived on the Mississippi River. What I discovered was the devastating story of Georgia Tann’s Tennessee Children’s Home Society and the baby/child trafficking that was so long hidden from the public.

The part about Georgia Tann and her baby business is true. The story itself is a riveting revelation of the terror and helplessness these children could have gone through as they were betrayed into Georgia Tann’s clutches.

The story of the family at the center of the book moves from freedom and happiness to fear, horror and separation. It’s a page-turner in a dark world, and to me, the realization that similar horrors happened to hundreds of children, made it even darker.

I followed up this audio book with an internet search of Georgia Tann and her infamous life, and was stunned by the facts. Some evils take a long time to be uncovered and stopped.

Kudos to Lisa Wingate for finding this story, digging up the facts, and passing them along to fiction readers. A chilling but fascinating read.

Lisa Wingate

 

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I listened to this audio book in December and loved it. A truly entertaining Christian fiction.

Alison Monaghan’s world is rocked by her husband’s murder. Their difficult marriage has been a burden for a very long time, but Alison is stunned by the depth of deceit her husband has stooped to.

She is even more shocked by evidence that he regretted his lifestyle and made a change for the better—for faith in Christ—shortly before his demise.

One of the more fascinating aspects of this story, for me, was the mystery attached to the nearby Weathersby Historic Park, an antebellum estate that has more secrets than she or anyone else ever imagined. And these secrets prove life-threatening as Alison tries to uncover the truth about her deceased husband’s involvement with Weathersby.

When homicide detective Mike Barefoot shows up to investigate the murder, romantic tension ratchets up, against the expectations of both Alison and Mike.

The story includes strong characters, fascinating settings, strong values, and a sweet love story. What’s not to like?

Lisa Carter

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Savannah Harris has been an excellent investigative reporter, but after the shocking death of her family, regret plagues her for neglecting her husband and child in favor of her work., and she turns her back on her past life.

Except that things keep happening in the area where she’s chosen to hide away. Her best friend may not be who she says she is, and the guy living in one of the outbuildings has a lot of secrets.

Who can she trust? All she wants is to hide away from everything and everyone, but for some reason, she is the only one who can bring truth and justice to play for the migrant workers in the nearby fields and settlements. She’s long given up on God too, but her faith keeps showing up. How is she to keep out of the fray when she’s the one the people are counting on?

This well-written mystery kept my attention because of the characters as well as the plot. I wanted Savannah to come back from her self-imposed exile, but I didn’t want her hurt again. The romantic subplot is a strong point of this novel, as is the faith angle.

I also appreciate a plot that is unpredictable. It keeps me turning the pages. I was happy to discover that this book is the first of three in the Cape Thomas series. I will look for the others.

Christy Barritt

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Oh yay! Another cozy mystery series.

I purchased this book because of a review by fellow author, Janet Sketchley, and I’m glad I did. It’s the story of Nicole Fitzhenry-Dawes who finds herself in a quaint Northern Michigan town as new owner of a maple syrup business. Nicole is a lawyer, but she’s not happy about it. Her parents, also lawyers, demand perfection, and she is far from perfect. In fact, she’s klutzy. I love that about her. She’s a big city girl in a small town, trying to figure out who murdered her favorite uncle, the only one who ever understood her or took time for her.

The mood of the book is lightened by humor, but the plot is intense, as cozy mysteries go, and carries the reader on to the very end when the mystery is finally solved.

One of the best things about this book/series is that it’s a clean read. Thanks, Emily James. I look forward to the next books in this series.

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I’ve long been a follower of C.S. Lakin’s excellent writing blog: livewritethrive.com, which includes tips, ideas and training pertaining to writing and the writing life.

This is where I heard about The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction. As a plotter, I love techniques that add framework to my writing process.

12 Key Pillars does just that. It helps the writer pre-think the most important facets/aspects of a novel before launching into the actual writing. The four main pillars—the four corners that hold it up—are as follows:

  1. concept with a kicker
  2. conflict with high stakes
  3. protagonist with a goal
  4. theme with a heart

Add to that keys 5 through 12, a downloadable worksheet for each chapter, and some time, and we have an exceptional resource for planning a novel. Lakin offers lots of examples of books and movies that use the concepts she outlines. She also uses analogies: just as we need a solid base on which to construct a house, so a novel requires structure and strength to ensure quality. As a visual learner, I found these word pictures very helpful.

Once we know the basics, have thought them through and dug deep to answer the questions C.S. Lakin sets out, we are free to write the first draft with a lot more purpose and direction than we may have had previous to reading this book.

I have read and studied this book, and filled out the worksheets, and I personally recommend it to anyone who is seeking excellence in novel structure.

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End of the Spear is an amazing true account of how the sacrifice of five men’s lives changed a savage people group, and touched the hearts of all who heard about it.

Author, Steve Saint, grew up as a missionary kid among Ecuador’s Auca Indians (Auca means “violent ones” or “savage killers.” Their tribal name is Waodani.) When Steve was five, his father, Nate, and four other missionary men were brutally murdered by the people they were trying to reach for the Lord. That dreadful tragedy made the way for Christ to become known to this isolated Stone Age tribe.

Having been raised with the Waodani, Steve loved their culture and felt part of it. He became close friends with Mincaye, the man who had speared his father, and other Waodani who had been transformed by the love of Jesus. In the mid-1990s, Steve Saint and his wife and children went to live with the Waodani for a year and a half, to encourage them to take ownership of an airstrip and a new village, in order to survive as a people and not be controlled or dependent on outsiders. The teenage Saint children bonded with the tribal people during their time there, especially with Mincaye, who became known to them as Grandfather.

Mincaye and Steve

I was deeply impressed by how the love of Jesus transforms hearts, no matter what their background, language or level of education. But it wasn’t just the story of how Jesus changed the Waodani; He also changed the Saints and others who heard their story. This book is a solid reminder that God’s love changes lives.

Another fascinating part of this story is the visit of Mincaye and another Waodani Christian to the States, and also overseas, where they spoke to thousands of people about the life-changing love of God. It was also interesting to note Mincaye’s observation once in America: They also kill one another for no reason here in this country (paraphrase).

This is not a new book (published 2005) but it is powerful. It includes photos of Steve and his family with the Waodani people. A movie of the same name has also been made.

 

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The Rescuing Day is a lovely children’s storybook, reminding me of the wholesom

e, uplifting reads of my childhood. No wild magic rides, no goblins or fairies, just good storytelling that a child can connect with. This is a great read-aloud book for parents, or an early reader’s chapter book for a child

Experience a day with Megan and her favourite doll Callista, as they interact with friends and family, and deal with major and minor catastrophes. This story touches on a number of themes, among them obedience and truthfulness, courage (Callista’s) and kindness

This book is set up in eight short chapters with easily readable font and intriguing pencil sketches by illustrator, Wendy Siemens. Siemens also designed the inviting bright-red cover

Author Christine Goodnough writes many forms of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as regular blogs at christinegoodnough.com and christinecomposes.com. You may also contact her at christinevanceg@gmail.com

This little book makes a great gift.

Canadians should order directly from the author, or they can order through the Prairie View Press website, with Credit Card. (Paypal is set up only in US funds).

 

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