The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy Book #1) by Sarah Sundin

My Review

The Sea Before Us is Sarah Sundin’s first book in her new series, Sunrise at Normandy. The story focuses on Dorothy Fairfax, a WREN (The Women’s Royal Naval Service-WRNS, known as WREN/S), and Lt. Wyatt Paxton.

First, I have to say, that the research and authenticity of the story is astounding. The time-frame is from January through June of 1944. There are so very many historical (and very sad) tidbits of information highlighting the time leading up to and including D-Day.

As you read, you are transported back to a different era and three different countries, England, France and Scotland. It’s not hard to picture yourself right in the middle of everything going on-from the urgency of preparing for a military invasion to the freneticism of trying to squeeze the last drop of normalcy from a life that seems as if it will never be normal again.

Both Dorothy and Wyatt have some significant issues in their lives and need to learn to rely more fully on the Lord. The spiritual thread is woven seamlessly into the book, with most of the truths applicable to anyone’s life.

I have always loved historical fiction, and The Sea Before Us doesn’t disappoint.

I received this book from Library Thing. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

(Release date February 6, 2018)

Publisher’s Summary

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “WREN” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin’s practiced pen with this powerful new series.

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Bygone Christmas Brides by Ginny Aiken, Carla Gade,‎ Pamela Griffin, Tamela Hancock Murray,‎ Jill Stengl and Gina Welborn

My Review

Take a trip back not only to the 1800’s but also to the countries of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England and America in Bygone Christmas Brides.

Each of the stories features messages of faith, with different morals such as trust, forgiveness, honesty and grace, to name a few. Some are touching in various ways, heart-warming, sometimes magical and also informative. Naturally, each one includes generous doses of romance!  Of course, each story is about Christmas, too!

I enjoyed learning more about traditions of the times and of the different countries’ traditions, some of which continue through today. Plus, there are recipes at the end of several of the stories, something I really enjoy and invariably look forward to trying out.

The Bygone Christmas Brides only had two new to me authors. I always enjoy reading stories by new authors, and I wasn’t disappointed.

At one time I did not care for novellas. However, I have begun to enjoy them more and more as time goes on. I fall in love with the characters, enjoy the different styles of each author and especially like that that I can read as few or as many as I want at one sitting.

Bygone Christmas Brides is a perfect book to curl up with a blanket in your favorite chair, on the couch or in your bed and let the stories transport you back in time. At the same time, they will help you slow down during this frenetic season, and you are sure to enjoy them.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Light a candle in the window and sit down to a slice of fruitcake as you delight in six 19th Century romances that welcome love at Christmastide. Many traditions held dear today have their roots in the British Isles and have been practiced for over a hundred years. In these six delightful historical stories, romance is nurtured amidst baking Scottish shortbread and English mince pies, burning the yule log, and hanging kissing boughs. But each couple is also plagued by worries of the day. As Christmastide draws to a close, will faith and love endure for future celebrations?

The Steeplechase by Carrie Fancett Pagels

The Steeplechase

Publisher’s Summary

In Regency-era America, a beautiful young woman determined to enter a steeplechase and a handsome horse breeder may have a British enemy — or two. Fall 1810 in Virginia was a wonderful time for a long carriage ride, or perhaps a race on horseback. The Commonwealth was still young, but thriving. Unfortunately, there still were those who sympathized with the British. Martha Osborne’s stepmother has again traveled to England, her very young son in an academy. Equestrian Phillip Paulson is sympathetic to Martha’s desire to have her half-brother returned home. As Martha and Phillip’s relationship blossoms, danger looms. Will the steeplechase end it all?

My Review

Martha Osborne has a little step-brother, Johnny, whom she worries about because he was sent to a boarding school at such a young age. Her step-mother seems more concerned about trips back to England than she does her children, leaving Martha frustrated and concerned.

Phillip Paulson, an equestrian at the boarding school, takes an interest in little Johnny, which helps to allay some of Martha’s fears. That is, until new more ominous ones appear.

Each main character has engaging traits Johnny is an appealing child; Martha is determined and loyal, while Phillip is protective. The villains (I won’t give any spoilers!) are truly villainous!

Carrie Fancett Pagels has written another outstanding historical novella, focusing on Williamsburg and Yorktown, Virginia, just prior to the War of 1812. She gives such detailed portrayals of settings and events that you feel you are there, too.  The imagery she evokes, the attention to detail and the historical accuracy are just a few of the reasons I enjoy her books so much.

I enjoy historical fiction, otherwise, history just seems to be a dry dusting of dates you no doubt memorized in school. Miss Pagels’ stories truly bring the events to life.