Riding the Range {Homeschool Review Crew}

Riding the Range

Homeschool Review Crew

Riding the range is something that captivates most young children.  They play cowboys and Indians and ride imaginary ponies across the yard.  My kids are no different.  They love to pretend and play like they’re on a big ranch.  Part of this play lately comes from reading the newest Andi books from Kregel Publications and Susan K Marlow.  These newest titles in the Circle C Stepping Stones series are Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top.  We received both of them through the Homeschool Review Crew so we could read and review!

 

Andi Under the Big Top
 

My children love to read!  Several of my kids have already devoured these two books and are ready for more.  Since we aren’t buying any new books right now they’ve gone back to read the other Andi book we have.  And any other horse and farm related books they can find!

We’ve read some of the older chapter books about Andi and now these two books.  My kids love Andi and her adventures riding the range.  They’re great read alouds or for kids to read on their own and discuss.  We highly recommend the Circle C books.

About the Books

The new series is intended to go between the beginner series and the longer chapter books for older children.  So the age range for this new series is 7-10.  At present there are six titles that are going to be in this series. Your kids will love riding the range with Andi and her horse Taffy.

Andi has a pretty Palomino horse that she loves to ride named Taffy.  Her older brother Justin is a lawyer.  Chad(another older brother) runs the ranch while her older sister Melinda cares more for her appearance than the ranch or her younger sister.  Mitch is another older brother who has a horse named Chase.  A Spanish cook completes the household.  Andi’s mother is described as being “very nice” while unfortunately her father has passed away.

 

Riding the Range

 

Andi Saddles Up

In Andi Saddles Up we find her celebrating her ninth birthday with a new saddle and bridle for Taffy.  It’s the first book in this new series.  Andi wants to learn to be a trick rider but her brother does not approve of that plan!  Instead she finds a new friend.  But this new friend is on the wrong side of a feud between her father and Andi’s brother Chad.  Can they still be friends?  What about this feud?  Can Sadie and Andi find a way to stop the feud?  104 pages of fun and excitement will help you find out!  At the end of the book there are two pages of fun history facts that relate to the story within.

Andi Under the Big Top

Andi Under the Big Top has a circus coming to town!  While you might get that from the title you won’t know that Andi again finds a new friend!  This young man is named Henry Jackson and he works for the circus selling treats.  As Andi gets to know Henry she finds out some sad news.  Henry ran away from home to join the circus.  He’d like to go home now but he can’t.  He’s trapped.  Andi wants to help him but how?  As Andi comes up with a plan will she be able to save Henry without suffering any losses of her own?  Great story line that not only helps your children have a fun read but opens up doors to talk about strangers and what to do if they ever get lost.  This book is 105 pages long.

 

Kregel Publications
 

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about Susan K Marlow and Kregel Publications plus their newest Circle C Stepping Stones titles please check out the main Homeschool Review Crew blog where all the reviews are linked up.  You can also find Kregel Publications on twitter and facebook as well as Susan K Marlow on twitter and facebook

 

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Pursuing Gold {Litfuse Review}

Pursuing Gold 

 
pursuing gold

 

About the book:

Pursuing Gold (Elk Lake, October 2016)

With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis.

With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner’s daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter’s forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue goldon behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2gCb1pb

 
About the author:
 

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over thirty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. She’s a columnist for Leading Hearts Magazine and she directs Atlanta Christian Writing Conference. Cyndi has a heart for encouraging women in today’s crazy, upside-down world. She loves history and peppers her speaking and teaching with fascinating vignettes from the past. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the Year. She co-founded Homeschool Answers and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio.

 
 
 
 
 
My thoughts:
 
I love historical fiction and so I knew I wanted to read Pursuing Gold.  It’s a great book about a “border” area during the war.  The journeys of one man and one woman are chronicled as they try to maintain true to what they believe without landing themselves in loads of trouble.  Plus add in the fact that her father makes him vow to marry her and it just gets better.  Oh and there might be a Confederate officer trying to get Peter to invest in a scheme while also trying to court Mary Beth.  It just gets better and better.
 
I wanted to comment on the cover as I’ve read some negative reviews about it turning people off on the book.  I’m here to say that if you like history you’re drawn to this cover.  Civil War buff here and this cover drew me in.  It’s a period piece and the way the cover is done reminds me of other works that are biographies or letters from the war.  i immediately knew I had to read this one!
 
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The Most Wonderful Time of The Year {Litfuse Review}

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

About the book:

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Abingdon, October 2016)

Celebrate 31 days of a Christ-filled Christmas season.

For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

From December to New Year‘s Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas.

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2frWQG8

 
About the author:
 
 
Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children’s works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas.
 
 
My thoughts:
 
I really liked how positive this book was.  It’s full of positive uplifting stories to help us celebrate and remember the true meaning of this most glorious time of year.  I’ve enjoyed reading this book outloud as a family.  My youngest children don’t understand or glean a lot from some of the stories, but the older ones do.  It’s a great thing to read aloud during a meal and then encourage discussion about. 
 
I highly recommend using this as an alternative to Advent or alongside Advent for a new tradition.  Growing up I did not do Advent but I’ve enjoyed learning about it with my children and watching them learn and grow during this season.  This book shall remain on my shelf to be used over and over again.
 
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Trust My Heart {Litfuse Review}

Trust My Heart

 
Trust My Heart
 
 
About the book:

Trust My Heart (Waterfall Press, October 2016)

Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible.

The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.

After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.

The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home…

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2fg7WKG

 
About the author:
 
 

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special-events decorating company, Carol J. Post’srésumé reads as if she hasn’t yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love of writing. She started as a child composing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles for religious and children’s publications. Now she pens fun, fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book award and selected as an RT Top Pick. When Carol isn’t writing, she enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. She also plays the piano and sings with her music-minister husband. Their two grown daughters and their grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all her nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.

 
 
My thoughts:
 
I really enjoyed this book.  I wasn’t sure at the beginning whether I would or not.  The cover is nice but nothing really caught my eye.  But then, I began reading and I didn’t want to stop!
 
Jami has finally got a job she wants. She’s convinced her lukewarm boyfriend that she won’t marry him(now if she could just convince everyone else she’s not planning a wedding).  Finally she’s getting a great article to write.  Only problem is her subject wants nothing to do with a journalist and really doesn’t like them in general.
 
The characters are so fun and lovable.  You become their friend(or really don’t like them) and cannot wait to find out what happens next.  Or at least, that’s what happened to me!  I loved this book and couldn’t wait to read the next page and the next.  Also the adopting of two dogs.  Swoon.  Who doesn’t love dogs?  And rescuing is amazing.  That’s how we’ve gotten all of ours!  Nothing not to like about this book.
 
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Christian’s Hope {Litfuse Review}

Christian’s Hope

Christian's HopeChristian's Hope
 
About the book:

Christian’s Hope (Herald Press, October 2016)

When Christian Hochstetler returns to the Amish after seven years in captivity, he finds that many things have shifted.

Captured as a child during the French and Indian War, Christian has spent much of his life among Native Americans, who cared for him and taught him their ways. Now that Christian is home, his father wants him to settle back into their predictable Amish life of farming, and Christian’s budding friendship with Orpha Rupp beckons him to stay as well.

Yet Christian feels restless, and he misses his adoptive Native American family—who raised him as their own son. When faced with a life-altering decision, will Christian choose the Amish identity that his father desires for him? Or will he depart from his family and faith community yet again?

Christian’s Hope tells the story of the younger brother of Joseph and son of Jacob, whom readers have come to love in the first two books in the Return to Northkill series. Based on actual events and written by a descendant of the Hochstetler family,Christian’s Hope brings the sweeping epic of the Return to Northkill series to a soul-stirring end.

 
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2eAZmVi

 
 
About the author:
 
Ervin R. Stutzman is author of Jacob’s Choice,Joseph’s Dilemma, Tobias of the Amish, and Emma,A Widow Among the Amish. Born into an Amish home in Kalona, Iowa, Stutzman based the Return to Northkill series on the life of his ancestor, Jacob Hochstetler. He has been featured on TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are?
 
 
 
 
 
My thoughts
 
This book.  I almost don’t know what to say.  It’s an amazing piece of literature.  I’ve not read anything quite like it.  Based on real facts and events but with a spin all it’s own this book is truly a work of historical fiction but centered around the Amish of days gone by.  
 
You’ve got a boy captured by Indians when he was very young and raised as one of them.  But then he’s told he must go back to where he was captured from and become a white man again.  Not just any white man, but an Amish white man.  Those two lives are about as different as they come.  Christian struggles with who he is and where to make his place in this world of his.  He has an ally of sorts in his older brother who was captured with him but his father and step mother still perplex him.
 
Will he come to terms with who he is or will he forever be a part of two worlds?
 
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Amish Style Christmas {Litfuse Review}

Join me for an Amish Style Christmas

Join me in an Amish Style Christmas through two great new Amish fiction books.  You’re going to love them as much as I do!

Amish Style Christmas

 
About the book: 
 
An Amish Family Christmas (Avon Inspire, October 2016)

In Shelley Shepard Gray’s fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles—and love.

Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.

But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true . . .

Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually . . . perhaps even sharing her life with him.

Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together . . . in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.

 
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2dYRwqr
 
About the author:
 

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

 
 
 
 

My thoughts:

I have loved this series(book three below) and love this family.  I really enjoyed this book and taking a step into an Amish family Christmas.  The sense of family that follows this group of young people around and their love and care for each other are real.   Well to me at least!  They are my friends and I love how this author weaves her stories with just the right amount of mystery and suspense.  Her characters are real with real problems that they have to overcome.  In overcoming their problems they grow and become even more lovable.  Definitely recommend this book and the entire series.

 

And the second book that is part of this set!  It’s actually book 3 in the series and I did read it before An Amish Family Christmas but it seemed a bit more appropriate to place it in the second slot as we gear up for the holidays.

 

 

Amish Style Christmas

About the book:

A Sister‘s Wish (Avon Inspire, September 2016)

In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.

Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get . . . but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.

Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past . . . unless it pertains to Amelia.

He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.

But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love . . . but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.

Purchase a copy:http://bit.ly/2e2XBTQ
 
My thoughts:
 
This third book in the Charmed Amish Life series is just as good as the other two(and the Christmas book).  I have loved getting to know the family and their ins and outs of fears and insecurities.  Poor Amelia feels she’s been smothered and babied and protected long enough.  It’s time for her to make decisions on her own.  But will her older brother ever let her?  Will the man she loves let her decide that he is worthy of her love?
 
Great read!  I loved this one and how quickly it read.  I fell in love with the characters all over again.  They are like family and as such I wanted to knock a few of their heads a time or two but all in all I love how it turned out and hope we’re not bidding them farewell for good.
 
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God Bless Us Every One {Litfuse Review}

God Bless Us Every One

Litfuse Book Review

God Bless Us Every One {Litfuse Review}
 
About the book God Bless Us Every One:

Charlene Dixon—called Charlie by family and friends—is devastated at the recent loss of her job. 
 
For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the headmistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up her dreams and returns to her grandmother, Sis, who raised Charlie as her own in the mountains of North Carolina.

When Charlie arrives—broken and confused—Sis immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school’s Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. Charlie prickles at working with Dustin Kennedy, the drama teacher and her old crush from schooldays, but is even more put out at that the choice of the Dickens’ classic for the holiday performance. When she discovers her estranged father’s involvement her world turns on its head once more. But when Sis and Dustin encourage her to take a deeper look at the story behind A Christmas Carol, Charlie learns about trust, faith, and forgiveness and the needs of people in their own community.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2bUfaqD

 
About the author:
 
 
Eva Marie Everson is an award-winning speaker and author of The Road to Testament, Things Left Unspoken, This Fine Life, Chasing Sunsets, Waiting for Sunrise, Slow Moon Rising, and The Potluck Club series (with Linda Evans Shepherd). She is the president of Word Weavers International, Inc., a member of AWSA, ACFW, RWA, the director of Florida Christian Writer’s Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. She and her husband make their home in Casselberry, Florida.
 
 

My Thoughts:

 
This book is amazing.  It read quickly but still kept me interested.  It’s a light read.  Nothing too dramatic, nothing too mysterious or suspenseful.  We simply find a daughter who felt she was abandoned by her parents when they chose drugs and drug running over her and found themselves in prison.  She went to live with her grandmother and from there lived a wonderful life.
 
That is, she had a wonderful life until her father suddenly reappears.  Not to mention she lost her job because she doesn’t like classical anything.  She doesn’t want to do anything from the past.  Which probably isn’t a good thing when she’s a drama/music teacher.  Back at grandma’s or Sis as she calls her, she has to find out who she is and confront her past so she can embrace her future.
 
Can she forgive her dad and come to terms with their past together?  Can she truly believe him and accept that he’s changed?  Maybe she does have some Tiny Tim in her after all!
 
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Delightful Heart Gift Pack Giveaway

Delightful Heart Gift Pack Giveaway

Litfuse Book Giveaway

Will Annette’s search for love and acceptance replace the loss and hurt in her heart? Find out in Janine Mendenhall’s book one, Starving Hearts, of the Triangular Trade Trilogy. Since her assault, Miss Annette Chetwynd has been plagued by nightmares and worries about an arranged marriage. But she yearns to find her anonymous rescuer. Unfortunately, her health and intellect prevent it. Both repel suitors and cause Annette to doubt God’s existence, at least until He answers her prayers in an unusual way. . . .  Make sure to get a copy of the book and enter to win in the Delightful Heart Gift Pack Giveaway!

Join in the search for love and acceptance with Janine and Starving Hearts by entering to win the Delightful Heart Gift Pack Giveaway.

starving hearts - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:

starving hearts - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on September 12. The winner will be announced September 13 on Janine’s blog.

starving hearts - enterbanner
 
 

Starving Hearts {Litfuse Review}

Starving Hearts

Litfuse Book Review

Starving Hearts {Litfuse Review}
 
About the book Starving Hearts:

Starving Hearts (Heritage Beacon Fiction, May 2016)

About Starving Hearts: Since her assault, Miss Annette Chetwynd has been plagued by nightmares and worries about an arranged marriage.

She yearns to find her anonymous rescuer. Unfortunately, her health and intellect prevent it. Both repel suitors and cause Annette to doubt God’s existence, at least until He answers her prayers in an unusual way. . . .

Mr. Peter Adsley is joining the clergy, and he desires a godly wife by his side. After a failed attempt to obtain one, he engages in a clandestine meeting with the bewitching young woman who keeps crossing his path. But she is so unsettling.

Destined for disappointments, Peter and Annette both endure disgraceful situations. Will Peter’s faith sustain him through overwhelming setbacks? Can Annette overcome her doubts? Or will their starving hearts yield to the machinations of a mad man?

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/28OtflH

 
About the author:
 
 

Janine Mendenhall teaches teens English, of all things! Sometimes she sleeps, but most nights she reads, writes, or watches movies like Pride and Prejudice and claims she’s researching her next book. Splickety Love and Splickety Prime have published her flash fiction. She and her husband, Tom, live in North Carolina where they and their two golden retrievers help gratify the needs of their five children and two cats.

 
 
My thoughts:
 
This book.  Wow.  I’d never read anything by Janine Mendenhall before and really wasn’t sure what to think of the book before beginning.  Now, I want to find more.  I want this story to continue on.  It’s amazing!  Seriously.  
 
Annette is a lovely young woman who is also not the image of all the other young women her age.  She loves to read and talk politics plus the slave trade.  Being allowed to have her own thoughts and opinions has let her develop her own person and thoughts and ideas.  Can she keep this independence?  Can she be true to herself and what she believes?  Will she ever find love?
 
After being accosted Annette draws the man who saves her, over and over she draws him.  Finally the man she draws becomes the real man who saved her.  She finds him and falls in love.  But as circumstances spiral out of their control and into the control on one bent on revenge and destruction, can they hold onto each other and their very lives?
 
Get a copy of this book.  Get a copy for all your friends and family as well.  Make sure all the local libraries get a copy too!
 
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The Loyal Heart {Litfuse}

The Loyal Heart

A Litfuse Book Review

The Loyal Heart {Litfuse}

 
 
About the book The Loyal Heart:

The Loyal Heart (Zondervan, July 2016)

Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn’t expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.

Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda’s home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip’s name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He’s mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.
He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn’t prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of theman she thought she knew so well.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2ae3eOX

 
About the author:
 
 

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

 
 
 

My thoughts on The Loyal Heart:

 
I have greatly enjoyed all the other books by Shelley Shepard Grey that I have read.  The Civil War holds a special place in my heart and I was ecstatic to see this new book out by her.  It doesn’t focus a lot on the actual war but rather some on a group of soldiers in a prisoner of war camp.  Mostly the book focuses on a widow of one of these prisoners and the struggles she faces after the war.
 
The setting is in Texas after the war.  A widow of a brave soldier faces harsh accusations and lewd rude men.  Why?  All because someone is spreading nasty rumors about her husband.  He died fighting for the South.  He should be revered as a hero.  Instead, he’s being labelled a traitor.  It’s up to some of his old battle mates to protect his wife and give her a reason to keep living.
 
I loved this book.  Amazing.  Truly amazing.  I highly recommend it and can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful the book is.  Please go find a copy to read and make sure to request it from your library as well!
 
 
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