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Rated: E · Review · Reviewing · #2209874
March and April reviews for the bi-monthly Reading Challenge
Reviews of the following books

Colonial Courtships

This is a collection of four short historical romances written by different authors set in Conneticut in the years between 1753 and 1762 that features each of the four Ingersoll brothers. Each story covers between 80 to 100 pages, the first one being the longest of the four. The brothers are sons of their widowed mother who runs an inn and each is successful in his chosen trade. They are comfortably well-off but neither wealthy nor part of the aristocracy.

Carving a Future by Carla Olsen Gade features the oldest Ingersoll brother, Nathaniel, a ship carver. He rescues Constance from an unscrupulous captain who had abducted her from England with the intention of selling her as a bondservant in the American colonies. The obstacles in the relationship between Nathaniel and Constance were small and easily overcome. I was left unimpressed by Constance who seemed weak and weepy.

Trading Hearts by Amber Stockton features Jonathon, the second Ingersoll brother, a merchant captain. Clara, the heroine in the second story is much more capable and assertive than Constance. She is a hardworking young woman who with a spirit and wit. She demonstrated wisdom, patience and determination in defense of Jonathon against her bitter and suspicious brother. Yet she forgave Samuel when he repented despite her natural initial reluctance to do so.

Over a Barrel by Laura Alice Eakes features Micajah, the third Ingersoll brother, a baker. This story provides far more suspense and mystery than the first two stories combined. Laura does a great job of portraying Micah’s combined traits of tenderness and stubborn suspicion of Sara who hid her daughter in an empty flour barrel in the cellar of his bakery.

Impressed by Love by Lisa Karon Richardson features the youngest Ingersoll brother, a physician and Phoebe, the recently orphaned niece of a Royal Navy captain who was mortally injured in battle with the French. Thoughtless of the consequence to Alden and determined to save her uncle’s life, Phoebe’s instructions to crew members results in Alden being forcibly impressed into the Royal Navy. Lisa shows Phoebe’s growth in self-awareness and humility by her repentance and what follows her decision to help Alden at any cost.

Q&A Guide to Mental Prayer

Although this book has a strong Catholic focus, relying heavily on the wisdom of the saints, it can benefit any Christian who is serious about developing a deep prayer life. As the title indicates, this book is in a Q&A format. You don’t need to read it in sequence since there are cross-references in various answers to other questions dealt with in the book. Mental prayer is a prayer of the heart, not saying words written by someone else. It is fed by spiritual reading, particularly the Gospels where we encounter the person of Christ and let Him speak to our hearts through slow and prayerful reading. Connie covers the following topics, among others:
*Bullet* Conditions for prayer
*Bullet* Listening to God in prayer
*Bullet* The experience of mental prayer
*Bullet* How Christian prayer is different from Eastern methods, which should be avoided
*Bullet* What is the difference between vocal prayer, mental prayer and contemplation
*Bullet* How to handle distractions in prayer
*Bullet* The nine grades of prayer
*Bullet* The four waters of prayer described by St. Teresa of Avila

Green Fairy Book

This is one of Andrew Lang’s 25 volumes of fairy tales collected from all over the world. This volume contains over 40 tales of varying length. If you read a few of these books, you’ll notice a bit of repetition but there are quite a few tales I’d never encountered in childhood. They make for a quick relaxing read. It makes absolutely no difference in which order you read these books. Although available on Amazon, several of the volumes are also available to download for free at Project Gutenberg since they are in the public domain.

Her Brother’s Keeper by Beth Wiseman

I was intrigued by the back cover of this book outlining the story about a young woman seeking answers about her brother’s suicide in an Amish community. I’m not into mysteries and if it weren’t for the Amish angle, I doubt I would have purchased it. Though empathizing with her tragic loss, I didn’t like Charlotte at the beginning of the novel but she grew on me as I followed her character transformation. She starts off as a deceiver, impersonating a distant cousin in order to be welcomed in the home of her brother’s Amish fiancé. Initially she suspected Hannah had a great deal to do with her brother’s decision. As events unfold, her heart changed and Hannah went from being aloof to being a friend. The reader comes to understand what shaped Charlotte and her brother. I enjoyed the story but not enough to read it a second time.

Freedom’s Promise/b} by Suzanne D. Hellman

Tabitha is a courageous heroine who lives according to her convictions under circumstances when it would be tempting to take the much easier path offered to her. All of the characters in the story are multi-faceted and some evoke more sympathy from the reader. The storyline is less predictable than most I’ve read in this historical romance genre. Tabitha moves from England to a small town in the general vicinity of Chicago at a time when people were debating about slavery and predicting a civil war.

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