Posts Tagged With: Jill Eileen Smith

New Historical Fiction for February

It’s the first week of February, so let’s take a look at some of the historical fiction titles that will be hitting the shelves sometime this month.

From authors who are part of American Christian Fiction Writers:

ProphetessThe Prophetess: Deborah’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith — Outspoken and fearless, Deborah has faith in God but struggles to see the potential her own life holds. As an Israelite woman, she’ll marry, have a family, and seek to teach her children about Adonai – and those tasks seem to be more than enough to occupy her time. But God has another plan for her. Israel has been under the near constant terror of Canaan’s armies for twenty years, and now God has called Deborah to deliver her people from this oppression. Will her family understand? Will her people even believe God’s calling on her life? And can the menace of Canaan be stopped? (Biblical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Love Is Patient Romance Collection by Janet Lee Barton, Frances Devine, Lena Nelson Dooley, Vickie McDonough, Darlene Franklin, Jill Stengl, Connie Stevens, and Erica Vetsch — Enjoy the slow dance through the courtship of nine historical couples in the American west, including the territories of Arizona and Wyoming. Just at a time in life when they have nearly given up on finding love, romance enters their lives. But will it be true love, and will it be worth the wait? Find out in this delightful collection written by eight bestselling authors of inspirational romances. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Sweet MisfortuneA Sweet Misfortune by Maggie Brendan — Rachel Matthews isn’t one to rely on others to take care of her. Destitute and alone, she still wants to make her own way and her own money – even if she’s forced into the life of a dance hall girl. Horrified by her circumstances, Rachel’s brother sends a friend – the widely admired cattle baron John McIntyre – to rescue her, then sets off to earn enough money to buy back the family ranch. But when months pass without her brother’s return, Rachel isn’t sure she can take one more day in John McIntyre’s home – especially once she discovers that he’s the one who holds the deed to her family’s ranch. (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Spy DevotionA Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson — Langdon returns home to heal from a battlefield injury — and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary. At a ball hosted by the powerful Whilhelm family, Langdon meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Honoring propriety, he keeps his distance — until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England – and the man she is falling in love with – need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press, an imprint of Amazon Publishing)

The Express Rider’s Lady by Stacy Henrie — Delsie Radford’s father may have kept her and her sister apart, but Delsie refuses to miss her sister’s wedding – even with only 18 days to get there. And she’s found the perfect escort in Pony Express rider Myles Patton. Myles can’t believe it when a pretty socialite hires him to take her cross-country through dangerous territory. He’s sure she’ll give up soon, but the longer they ride together, the more Myles notices the toughness and kindness beneath Delsie’s refined exterior. And though they may be worlds apart…they might just be perfect for each other. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Northern LightThe Texan’s Engagement Agreement by Noelle Marchand — It’s been five years since Adelaide Harper broke Chris Johansen’s heart and their long-distance engagement. But when she steps off a train in Peppin, Texas, and strolls back into Chris’s life, he can’t help but panic. To avoid his parents’ plan to arrange a marriage for him, he’s let his family believe he and Adelaide are still engaged. Adelaide is facing her own troubles with a matchmaking mama and a parade of aggravating suitors. So pretending to let Chris court her could help them both. Surely after five years, there’s no need to worry their time together could reignite a long-buried love…is there? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Northern Light by Annette O’Hare — The Yankees took her fiancé’s life, but when a wounded Union soldier washes ashore, needing her help, will she learn to love again or will hate cost him his life? (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])


Moonlit GardenA few from authors in the general market:

Rush-Oh by Shirley Barrett (Virago) – When Mary Davidson, the eldest daughter of a whaling family in New South Wales, sets out to chronicle the particularly difficult season of 1908, the story she tells is poignant and hilarious, filled with drama and misadventure.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby (Pan) – Mrs. Hudson and Mary Watson take on a case rejected by Sherlock Holmes.

The Ironsmith by Nicholas Guild (Forge) – The behind-the-scenes political plots to kill Jesus of Nazareth, and one man’s attempt to save his life.

The Farmer’s Daughter by Mary Nichols (Allison & Busby) – A WWII Suffolk girl managing her sick father’s farm enlists the help of a German POW and they fall in love, to local disapproval.

The Moonlit Garden by Corina Bomann – A widowed antique shop worker digs into history to learn the story and secrets of a violin brought to her. As she unravels the mystery of the previous owner’s story, she comes to see her own life in a new light.

Your turn: What sounds good to you? I know several will be added to my to-read list! Share what you think about these or if you’ve heard of another new release that the rest of us might enjoy.

Happy reading!

Categories: Christian fiction, historical fiction, New releases | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Book Review: Abigail

One of the books on Wednesday’s “new release” list was Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith. Jill and I both post over at the Favorite PASTimes blog, which I’ll admit is part of the reason I read her first book last year (Michal). But I’ve also always loved the story of David and was intrigued by the idea of showing his world through his wives’ eyes. And I can promise you I wasn’t disappointed — I started reading Abigail over the weekend, finished it a couple of days later, and loved every page along the way.

It’s hard to write a good first novel, and even harder to write a good sequel or series. Fortunately, Michal and Abigail both deliver exactly what I’d hoped.

Abigail is the second book in the Wives of King David series; I really enjoyed Michal (otherwise, I wouldn’t have wanted to read Abigail). The good news is, I enjoyed Abigail even more.

Smith has grown as a writer from one book to the next. The descriptions seemed more vivid, the story seemed to move along even quicker (which is something I need to work on in my own stories). But what I loved most is how the characters came to life.

Abigail is one of those people from Scripture who we don’t know much about because only a few verses mention her. We know that she had a cruel husband named Nabal who did something foolish and angered David. We know that Abigail used her head and literally stopped David on his way to exact retribution and appeased him. We know that later, after Nabal died, Abigail became David’s wife.

Author Jill Eileen Smith

Some Biblical fiction tells stories of made-up characters and situations. Those are enjoyable, but I love how this series lifts real people from the pages of Scripture and breathes new life into them. They’re not just figures in a Sunday school story anymore – they’re people with emotions and goals and personalities of their own. And although we’ll never know all the details of their lives, Abigail and the other characters were very real and believable to me. Smith portrays Abigail as a strong, intelligent, practical woman who loved God and did her best to follow His ways. But she wasn’t perfect by any means – she sometimes had trouble curbing her tongue, she struggled with guilt over several things in the story, and she had to learn to be content in the circumstances of both her marriages (first in an overbearing, abusive relationship with Nabal and then as a woman passionately in love who had to share David with his other wives).

I could relate to Abigail on many levels – there are just some things about being a woman that cross time and distance with ease. There are just enough details to make things realistic without burdening you with research; there’s enough drama and angst to keep things interesting. The book swept me right into Abigail’s world and by the time I finished reading I felt like I’d been privy to the ins and outs of ancient Jewish society.

If you want to learn more, check out Jill Eileen Smith’s blog and the website for her Wives of King David series. Or, even better, hop over to get your own copy. (If you do read Abigail, I’d love to hear from you – come back and leave a comment about what you thought. Or if you’ve read some other great Biblical fiction lately, let me know about that too!)

Happy reading!

Categories: Book reviews, Christian fiction, Fun Friday | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
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