The Space Between Words September 5
The story grabs the reader from the prologue, where we learn about Adeline Baillard, a French Huguenot in the 17th century France whose life hangs in the balance.
Fast-forward more than three hundred years to the eve of the Paris attacks, where we meet Jessica, an American tourist. She and her housemate Vonda have come to visit their other housemate, Patrick, who has taken time from his business to attend art classes. Things go terribly wrong the night before they leave Paris for a week of flea market shopping for Patrick’s store.
Phoenix masterfully weaves the two stories together in ways that will surprise the reader. I don’t want to spoil anything by saying more about the story. I can assure you that Jessica and Adeline’s stories will make you question what you know about grief, recovery, relationships, friendships, and loyalty.
This is one of my favorite books of the year. The haunting stories will linger long after you turn the last pages.Hands down my favorite book of the year. Don't miss this poignant story by @frenchphoenix. #amreading Click To Tweet
An Inconvenient Beauty September 5
Kristi Ann Hunter
The fourth and final installment of the Hawthorne House series tells Griffith, Duke of Riverton’s story. After watching his siblings’ tumultuous tumbles into love, Griffith determines to find and fall in love with a proper young lady in a logical way. After extensive research, Griffith determines that Frederica St. Claire would make the ideal duchess.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem interested in his courtship. To make matters worse, he keeps running into Miss St. Claire’s stunning cousin (beauty was not on his list of attributes—too much competition), Isabella Breckenridge.
Meanwhile, Isabella starts to wonder at the choices she made to save her family. By agreeing to her uncle’s plot, she finds herself drifting away from God with each lie she lives. But since God hasn’t saved her, why shouldn’t she intervene on her family’s behalf?
Readers will love the entire Hawthorne family (even if they have never read the other books in the series). Hunter does a masterful job of bringing Regency England to life. The dialogue between characters sparkles, and the well-rounded characters keep the reader entertained from beginning to end.Don't miss the final installment of the #HawthorneHouse series by @KristiAnnHunter! I LOVED it. #amreading Click To Tweet
A Dangerous Engagement September 12
Meet Felicity Mayson, friend to Julia and Leorah (heroines of Dickerson’s first two books in the Spies of London series), one of five daughters, and without a large dowry. Which in Regency London, equaled a sentence of spinsterhood or marrying someone equally impoverished.
When Lady Blackstone, a distant relative, invites Felicity to her country estate mid-way through the London Season, Felicity reluctantly agrees to go, even though she doesn’t know her hostess well. Anything beats getting snubbed during the social season. Her aunt Agnes Appleby agrees to accompany her, and Felicity heads to the country for a welcome reprieve.
Things seem strange when she arrives at the house party. Too many men, and Lady Blackstone seems overly determined to match her up with Mr. Ratley. In fact, in what seems like a whirlwind romance (Mr. Ratley doesn’t mind her tiny dowry), Felicity finds herself engaged.
It doesn’t take long to figure out that she may have engaged herself to a man involved in a nefarious plot against king and country. She wonders who she can trust in a house full of treason. And then Philip McDowell shows up and Felicity falls further into danger. She doesn’t know how far her fiancé and Lady Blackstone will go to ensure her cooperation. And she questions her feelings for the mysterious Philip.
Without a doubt, her dangerous engagement threatens the lives of those she loves, and her tumultuous feelings for Philip confuse the situation even further.
Dickerson does a beautiful job of drawing the reader in to the life of Regency England during a time of political and social turmoil. Neither the heroine nor the hero have a silver spoon—which allows them to question the status quo and analyze society during that era.
Teenage girls will love this series.Don't miss the final book in @melanieauthor #SpiesofLondon series! Teenage girls will swoon over Philip and Felicity! #amreading Click To Tweet
A Time to Stand September 12
I hesitated to read a book about a black woman written by a white man, but I must say that Whitlow did a good job of researching his subjects and preventing them from being either shallow or stereotypical.
When a white police officer shoots a young black man in a small town near Atlanta, GA, the townspeople, the victim’s family, and the police officer must make sense of what happened. One side automatically assumes that the police officer fired his gun simply because the color of the young man’s skin. The police officer denies any racial prejudice and claims he simply followed proper police protocol.
The waters seem even murkier when Adisa Johnson, a black lawyer, comes home to take care of the aunt who raised her—and ends up involved in the case. Will the black community cause her problems because of her choice?
Whitlow gives a balanced presentation of each side of the complex issue of race relations—although it seems more likely that the story took place in Washington State rather than Georgia because none of the whites in the book seem to have any real issues with blacks (which I find hardly credible based on my experiences in small towns in the south) other than the white police officer thinking that a black lawyer would be secretly working against him. While I understand that the focus of the book is specifically what happens when a police officer shoots an unarmed young black man, the author could have delved deeper into the actual roots of racism in the South and how Christians should examine their own prejudices and work towards eliminating them.
I’ve read other books by Whitlow, all based in the South, so I’m guessing that he is a southern writer—one who is uniquely capable of calling out racism and racist beliefs in Christians. Which I feel he didn’t accomplish in this novel.
For example, I would have loved to have had the protagonist (or her romantic interest, Reverend Reggie) explain to a white character exactly HOW they feel diminished and put down by whites.
As a white Christian, I would like to think that I don’t disrespect anyone. But maybe I do and I don’t even realize it. I would love to have a brother or sister of a different race point out to me ways that I make them feel diminished or disrespected.
Maybe what we need to really understand the complexity of race relations lies in honest conversations between races. I would love to hear someone else’s opinion of this book. Please let me know if you read it and what you think.
I thought A Time to Stand provided an excellent start in the dialogue, but I would have loved more depth.
Coming Next Week
I just got advanced copies of two books from NetGalley, and realized that they come out in September, as well. I’ll try to have reviews for An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter and Crown of Souls by Roni Kendig up on the blog as soon as I finish reading them!
Don’t forget to visit the other #InspireMeMonday hostess over at Blessed (but Stressed)!