Featured New Release of the Week: Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

This week, we’re looking at a summer romance that is actually a historical fiction that is marketed primarily at the Christian fiction crowd. This week, we’re looking at Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett.

This was a solid summer romance – it takes place over an extended summer mostly at Yellowstone Park in 1933 and includes a happily ever after, satisfying the Romance Writers of America crowd. Which makes it a historical fiction novel – literally, a fiction novel set at some real point in the past. And while its publisher primarily targets the Christian fiction market (and is well known within at least that sphere), the “Christian” parts of this book are not truly preachy at all and are just people living their faith – and living pretty believably for the time period. So the Christian crowd that looks for more preachy books might not like this one as much, but I’m not one of that crowd and I really appreciated the almost understated nature of the Christianity of this book.

I should also note that technically this is book 3 of a series where apparently Barnett takes a different national park over the course of (so far) 6 yrs or so and tells a completely independent story at each. As such, even though you may see “Book 3” marketing around it, it really is a perfectly find stand alone and entry to both this series and this author – as it was for me.

This was also only my second paper book this year, both ARCs from this same publisher, and paper has gotten rather… interesting… for me to read these days. I have to provide a light and manually flip the pages, which is a weird experience after so long with eReaders near exclusively. 😀

Excellent book, I’ll likely wind up going back to the other two in the series at some point. Good summer escapism, and very much recommended.

And as always, the Amazon/ Goodreads review:
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Featured New Release of the Week: Loving Liberty Levine by Colin Falconer

This week, we look at a multi-generational tale of a mother’s love from yet another new-to-me Lake Union author. This week, we look at Loving Liberty Levine by Colin Falconer.

This book was a bit structurally divergent from most other Lake Union books I’ve read – while also being longer than others at 442 pages, it divided those pages up into nearly 70 short-ish chapters rather than the more common 20-30 mid-length chapters. Since I was just having a discussion about such things in one of my Facebook book groups recently, it felt worthy of mentioning here.

Overall, the story is very nicely told, beginning circa 1912 or so in Russia and then moving to the US in 1913, where the majority of the rest of the story – save for the last couple of chapters – plays out primarily in New York City. The descriptions of life as an immigrant Jew seem accurate to my knowledge of the actual history and yet tell an excellent tale of a family doing whatever it takes to give their daughter the life they think she deserves. Along the way we encounter World War I – also a topic of two other recent Lake Union books -, the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the Depression, and finally, World War II, where we end. The story ultimately calls into question the lengths a mother is willing to go through for her child and the secrets she is willing to bear, but even goes deeper than many books that explore these issues and dares to go into infertility and what truly makes a mother. It is for these last two reasons in addition to simply great storytelling that this book rises above many others. Excellent book, yet another smash hit from Lake Union. Very much looking forward to seeing more work from this author.

And as always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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