Archive | October 2017

The Broken Road by Amanda Johnston

I have read this novel three times now and still have no idea how to express how much I enjoyed reading it.  The first time I read The Broken Road in 2012, I was simply reading for pleasure and out of curiosity because I know the author.  After I started writing book reviews, I decided to read it again and write a review, but the draft sat there for months, maybe even a year.  I decided to read it again in June of this year and began another review as soon as I finished reading, but obviously I never finished that review either.  

The Broken Road is Amanda Johnston’s debut novel, but she has been writing stories for many years, so this beautiful work of historical fiction reads like the work of a seasoned author.  I am impressed with the amount of research she did to make sure she accurately portrayed life in Colorado in 1882.  Johnston included the correct kitchen items, tools, etc., but she also captured the language and manners of the area and time period.  Her fictional town and boarding school are the perfect backdrop for the story that unfolds.  

The information from the back cover offers a good summary, so I won’t attempt to write my own. 

In 1882 Colorado, Lydia Ghering has successfully kept her boarding school open during the year following her husband’s unexpected death. Self-reliant and determined, Lydia takes pride in her ability to carry on, but her resilience comes at a price. Ethan McKinley is journeying across the country to fulfill his life’s ambition of captaining a ship when he finds himself stranded in the Colorado foothills after a train wreck. His arrival at Lydia’s doorstep looking for temporary work kindles a friendship that causes him to question the destiny he has always pursued. As their friendship deepens, Lydia must confront secrets from her past, while Ethan must decide his future. Both must seek their answers from the one who offers all they need.

I don’t want to share any more of Lydia’s or Ethan’s stories because I want you to read it yourself.  The Broken Road is a moving novel of love and loss, devastation and determination.  While reading this inspirational romance, I was moved to tears, but I also laughed several times.  The dialogue between the characters is fascinating and made me smile frequently.  The characters are well-developed and relatable because their struggles are similar to ours today.  I know I haven’t done justice to Johnston’s grand tale, but believe me when I say it’s a wonderful story that will move you beyond words. 

I must warn you that The Broken Road ends in suspense.  Johnston has written a sequel to her epic debut novel, but it has not been published yet.  I am eagerly waiting to read more of Lydia’s and Ethan’s stories.  

Advertisements

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Have you ever not wanted to finish a book because you were enjoying it so much?  I seriously put off reading the last 25 pages of this emotionally-charged, romantic comedy because I did not want the story to end.  Fortunately, this novel is part of a series, so the characters will continue to make appearances in the remaining books. 

Like Never Before is Melissa Tagg’s second installment in her Walker Family series, which is set in a small town in her native Iowa.  Over two years ago, I read Tagg’s first Walker Family novel From the Start and the novella Three Little Words that serves as a prequel to the series.  The only reason I hadn’t read any of the other books in this series is my local public library has none of Tagg’s books.  (I read way too many books to buy them—75 already this year!)  I brought this to the attention of a librarian and requested that they order some of Tagg’s books.  The librarian wrote it down and offered to look into it, but she then suggested that I try an interlibrary loan, which I had never done before.  (Interestingly enough, an interlibrary loan is mentioned in the book.)  About a week later, I received an email that this book was ready for me to check out.  I was in the middle of another book, but I started reading Like Never Before as soon as I finished Persuasion.  I was somewhat disappointed with the ending of Jane Austen’s classic because I wanted more details, more emotions.  After the long, drawn out narrative leading up to the climax, the ending seemed rushed.  I felt Tagg provided just the right amount of details and emotional responses in closing Logan Walker’s story.  

If you haven’t read any of Melissa Tagg’s novels, I highly recommend them.  They are delightful, funny, and inspiring. 

Sarah Loudin Thomas

Sarah Loudin Thomas is a relatively new author.  Her first novel was released in 2014 shortly after her novella that serves as a prequel to her Appalachian Blessings series.  (The prequel is available for free on Kindle.)  Thomas followed her debut novel with an equally well-written novel the next year and ended the series in 2016 with A Tapestry of Secrets.  

Now Thomas has a new book set to be released next month, and I am looking forward to reading it.  You can read my reviews of her first three works by clicking on the links above.  I encourage you to try this new author.  You won’t be disappointed!