Category Archives: Bethany House Publishers

Review: Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman

finding meTitle: Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Fiction
Length: 337 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


What would you do if you learned your life was a lie?

All her life, Kelli Huddleston has been told the story of a fire–a fire that killed her mother and two siblings when she was an infant. After her father’s death though, she uncovers evidence of a different story, including clippings about a boat accident that killed a young father and his infant daughter. And Kelli quietly realizes the story of her life has been a fiction.

How far would you go to discover the truth?

Armed with only a few pictures of what she thinks might be her family, Kelli crosses the country to Tennessee, determined to uncover the truth about what happened over twenty years ago in a small southern town. When the trip threatens to open doors to the past better left shut, and her plans for the future are jeopardized, Kelli is faced with an agonizing choice that will change her life forever.


Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman is a bittersweet novel that is also quite thought-provoking. This lovely story of faith, love, friendship and family also has a slight element of intrigue. Redemption, atonement and forgiveness are underlying themes as well.

Kelli Huddleston is still deeply grieving the loss of her stepmother and beloved father when she discovers information that casts doubt on her entire past. Led to believe her mother and siblings died in a fire in Louisiana, she is stunned to uncover evidence that her father faked both of their deaths and abandoned the rest of their family. Desperate to understand why her father would make such an inexplicable decision, Kelli returns to her birthplace in search of answers.

Kelli’s growing disillusionment with her father quickly turns to anger after she meets her mom, sister and his business partner. Learning more about the circumstances of the time leading up to his disappearance just increases her confusion and when she discovers the financial straits he left them in, she realizes that she really did not her father as well as she thought. Kelli wants to make amends for her dad’s misdeeds, but will her involvement cause more pain in the long run? Will admitting the truth about her identity cost her the relationships she is beginning to treasure?

Kelli remains conflicted for much of the story as she tries to reconcile the devoted father she knew with the man who callously deserts the rest of their family to begin a new life. She keeps her true identity hidden but her new friends sense something is not quite right about her reasons for coming to town. Kelli wants to get to know her mother and sister, but she is afraid that revealing the truth will cause more harm than good. As she becomes more and more involved with their lives, she begins to have serious doubts about maintaining a relationship with them once she returns to her regular life. An added complication is an unexpected romance and Kelli decides to run away from her problems instead of facing them head on.

Finding Me is an engrossing novel that has a gentle undercurrent of faith. The storyline is fresh and the conflict feels very real.  The characters are three-dimensional and their reactions to the various situations ring true. Kathryn Cushman brings this moving story to a heartfelt conclusion is realistic and emotionally satisfying.

1 Comment

Filed under Bethany House Publishers, Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Finding Me, Kathryn Cushman, Rated B, Review

Review: A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings

most inconvenientTitle: A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings
Ozark Mountain Romance Book One
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Historical, Christian, Romance
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Abigail Stuart Thought She was Jeremiah Calhoun’s Widow.
But Jeremiah Calhoun Is Very Handsome, Very Alive, and Very Perplexed.
Most Inconvenient Indeed.

With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he’s gone–a practical solution for both of them.

After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain–until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail’s story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she’s never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn’t trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?

The Review:

A Most Inconvenient Marriage is a heartfelt and entertaining historical romance by Regina Jennings. It is an engaging story of love and healing and while it is mostly a light-hearted read, it is also very realistic depiction of the aftereffects of the Civil War.

With no home to return to after the war’s end, Abigail Stuart accepts a dying soldier’s offer of marriage and agrees to care for his mother and ailing sister.   Following Jeremiah Calhoun’s death, Abigail journeys to his family farm in the Ozark mountains where she eagerly accepted into the family by his mother. Abigail is slowly making a new life for herself when the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up expecting to pick up his life where he left it before joining the war.

Abigail is a strong, no nonsense woman who made the most of her life following a family betrayal and she is not willing to give up her new life without a fight. Her nursing skills come in handy in the mountain community, but it is not easy for her to overcome the suspicions and hostility from some her new neighbors.

Jeremiah’s kind and caring heart takes a while to see since he is so distrusting of Abigail when he first returns home. Once the mystery of who Abigail married is cleared up, the two enter into an uneasy agreement as he tries to resume his old life. But Jeremiah must contend with the fact that life went on in his absence and that the changes wrought by the passage of time might make it impossible for him to honor his previous commitments.

A secondary story arc centers around the unsavory aspects of the war’s end and adds a little suspense to the main storyline. Not all of the newcomers have honorable intentions and Abigail falls under suspicion when some neighbor’s livestock goes missing.

A Most Inconvenient Marriage is a well-written historical novel with an engaging cast of characters. The plot is well executed and realistic while the growth of the characters is believable. The romance between Jeremiah and Abigail is understated, but of the depth of their emotions always rings true. It is an absolutely beautiful story of faith and healing by Regina Jennings that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys inspirational love stories.

1 Comment

Filed under A Most Inconvenient Marriage, Bethany House Publishers, Christian, Historical, Ozark Mountain Romance, Rated B, Regina Jennings, Review, Romance

Review: Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade

meantTitle: Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade
Porter Family Series Book Two
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college–still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

The Review:

Meant to Be Mine is a heartfelt addition to Becky Wade’s appealing Porter Family series. In this outing, Ty Porter is in for the shock of his life when he decides to track down his long abandoned bride, Celia.

Celia’s teenage crush on Ty is still alive and well when she meets him again in Las Vegas several years after they have both gone their separate ways. Ty is now a champion bull rider who travels the rodeo circuit while she is finally beginning her career as a sous chef. They find themselves caught up in the bright lights of Vegas and Ty convinces Celia to marry him. However, the next morning, he breaks her heart when he has second thoughts about their nuptials. Unbeknownst to Ty, their one night marriage results in an unexpected pregnancy and Celia gives birth to their daughter, Addie. Five and a half years later, Ty meets with Celia to make amends before he ends their marriage. But when he learns about Addie, he is determined to be a part of her life but Celia is equally determined to protect both herself and Addie from future heartache.

Celia has willingly put all of her dreams on hold to raise Addie and although they are struggling financially, they are happy. She is strong and independent but sometimes these traits do not work in her favor as she stubbornly refuses Ty’s offers of assistance. She is a bit overprotective of Addie and very reluctant to share her with Ty. While her reasons for keeping him at arm’s length are understandable, Celia is guilty of using Addie as her excuse for keeping their relationship casual.

It would be very easy to dislike Ty based on how badly he dealt with his marriage, but his infamous charm really is impossible to resist. It also helps that he truly regrets how badly he hurt Celia and his need to express this remorse in person shows maturity. Ty is a good-hearted, stand-up guy and despite Celia’s fears to the contrary, he keeps his promise to stay involved with Addie despite the fact his his bull riding career keeps him on the road much of the time.

Ty and Celia’s relationship is quite flirtatious but their unresolved history is always hovering in the background. The underlying themes of trust and forgiveness are keenly felt, but it is not until the later part of the novel that they become the focus of the story. Celia clings tightly to her hurt and anger and even as she regains her faith, she has a difficult time letting go of past resentments. Ty finds it easy to forgive Celia but his reluctance to give up his plan to reconcile with a woman from his past plays a huge role in her inability to trust him. It is incredibly satisfying and heartwarming watching them find their way back to each other and God.

In Meant to Be Mine, Becky Wade puts a fresh spin on the popular secret baby plot device and the resulting story is a moving journey of faith, trust and love. The writing is superb writing, the characters are appealing, and the storyline is realistic. The conflict is believable and the novel’s resolution is delightfully unexpected. The intriguing glimpses of Jake, Ty’s taciturn brother, leave me hoping his story will be the next installment in the Porter Family series.

1 Comment

Filed under Becky Wade, Bethany House Publishers, Christian, Contemporary, Meant to Be Mine, Porter Family Series, Rated B, Review, Romance

Review: Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate

wildwoodTitle: Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate
Moses Lake Series Book Four
Publisher: Bethany House Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Fiction, Romance, Historical Elements
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


With love and loss tangled together, how was she to know where her life would lead?

Allie Kirkland has always heard the call of her father’s unfinished destiny. When she’s offered a production assistant’s job on a docudrama filming in the hills near Moses Lake, Texas, the dream of following in her director-father’s footsteps suddenly seems within reach. The reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step into the film industry. A summer on set in the wilderness is a small price to pay for a dream.

But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delavan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the region’s folk songs. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned.

When filming begins, strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, and everyone in Wildwood–including Blake Fulton, Allie’s handsome neighbor on the film set–seems to be hiding secrets. Allie doesn’t know whom she can trust. If she can’t find the answers in time, history may repeat itself…with the most unthinkable results.

The Review:

In Wildwood Creek, the fourth installment in the Moses Lake series, Lisa Wingate brilliantly blends the past and present into one fascinating story. A little different from her usual novels, it is none the less a captivating read with an intriguing mystery about long ago events and a sweet modern day romance.

Frontier life is fraught with danger as Bonnie Rose and her family quickly discover. Limited options force Bonnie Rose to accept a position as a school teacher and along with her sister, they begin the treacherous journey to Wildwood Creek. Bonnie is uneasy around the town’s founder Harland Delevan and when residents begin disappearing, rumors begin to swirl that Bonnie is somehow responsible. In the aftermath of unspeakable horror, the fate of Bonnie, her sister Maggie May, two slaves and Wildwood Creek remain a mystery for well over a century.

Allie Kirkland’s best friend Kim talks her into trying out for a role in an upcoming reality show based on a mysterious Texas town and its missing inhabitants. Meticulous research goes into recreating the 1861 town of Wildwood Creek and the actors completely immerse themselves in their roles, giving up all modern conveniences once filming begins. Allie begins as a production assistant and is soon cast in the role of Bonnie Rose, the young Irish immigrant with a tragic past who traveled to Wildwood Creek with her young sister to teach the town’s children. Allie is fascinated by Bonnie’s story and her efforts to uncover the truth about what happened to Bonnie lead to unexpected consequences.

Like many young adults, Allie is caught between following her dreams and living up to her family’s expectations. Deciding to join the reality show is her first real act of independence and provides her the opportunity to pursue her career goals. Filming the show poses challenges she is not sure she is equipped for but remembrances of her Grandma Rita’s sage wisdom guide her during the coming months. Equally helpful is charming but mysterious Blake Fulton. Blake is reluctant to reveal any personal information about himself but their close proximity leads to an easygoing friendship. With little to distract them, Blake and Allie spend quality time getting to know one another and their quiet moments together lead to deeper emotions.

The historical portion of the plot is richly detailed and rings with authenticity. Scrupulous attention is paid to speech patterns and I could literally hear the dialogue in my mind as I read the passages. The cultural differences between the German and Irish settlers figure heavily into the unfolding drama and adds another layer of interest to the overall storyline.

With a distinct and unique plot, Wildwood Creek vibrantly springs to life through its enthralling cast of incredible characters. Lisa Wingate beautifully incorporates a terrible time in America’s history into a deeply moving and compelling story of faith and love that is truly unforgettable.

1 Comment

Filed under Bethany House Publishers, Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Lisa Wingate, Moses Lake Series, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Wildwood Creek

Review: Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

Title: Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade
Porter Family Series Book One
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Winsome and Romantic–the Perfect Summer Read!

When Meg Cole’s father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted–more interested in art than in oil–she’s forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father’s empire.

The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father’s thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo’s determined to resent the woman who’s decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them–her wealth, his unworthiness, her family’s outrage–and earn the right to love her.

But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg’s past. Can their love–and their belief that God can work through every circumstance–survive?

The Review:

If you enjoy faith based fiction then you will want to pick up a copy of Becky Wade’s Undeniably Yours. This novel has a sweet love story, an eclectic cast of likable characters and a storyline that is quite compelling.

Meg Cole is an oil company heiress who is struggling to live up to family expectations of running her late father’s company. Meg has never felt comfortable with her family’s wealth and until her father’s death, she lived a simple low key life. She is uncomfortable and out of her depth with her new role in the family business and her growing unhappiness leads to a resurgence of her anxiety and panic attacks. Emotionally scarred by her past, Meg steers clears of romantic entanglements.

Bo Porter is on the verge of success with the thoroughbred racehorse farm and he fights to gain the time he needs to prove to Meg that the business can be self-sustaining. Bo is kind and caring with old fashioned values. Although Bo is fairly self-confident, the lack of a college degree and the difference in their social classes keep him from pursuing a more serious relationship with Meg.

Bo and Meg’s relationship begins with friendship and their feelings for one another deepen over time. A romance between them seems impossible in the beginning. Meg has very real concerns about dating an employee while Bo worries that his motives for dating her will be misinterpreted. Well meaning interference from a relative and trust issues soon jeopardize their fragile relationship.

Undeniably Yours is a beautifully written romance with a well-developed cast of characters. The storyline is unique and realistic. Although there is strong religious content, it is never preachy. This delightful first installment of the Porter Family series is a wonderfully angst-free novel that old and new fans of Becky Wade are sure to enjoy.


Filed under Becky Wade, Bethany House Publishers, Christian, Contemporary, Porter Family Series, Rated B, Review, Romance, Undeniably Yours

Review: Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate

Title: Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate
Moses Lake Series Book Three
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Christian Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: A

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley



Mallory Hale’s life quickly veers off course when she falls hopelessly in love. After a whirlwind romance, Mallory finds herself leaving the bustle and action of Capitol Hill for the remote town of Moses Lake, Texas–with husband, stepson, and a U-Haul in tow.

A sweet, mishap-filled journey into marriage, motherhood, and ranch living ensues, and Mallory is filled with both the wonderment of love and the insecurities of change. But what she can’t shake is the unease she feels around her husband’s new boss, Jack West. Jack’s presence–and his mysterious past–set her on edge, and when hints of a scandal emerge, Mallory finds herself seeking answers… and comes to realize that the middle-of-nowhere home she wasn’t sure she wanted is the very place she’ll risk everything to save.

The Review:

Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate is a beautifully written novel about the romantic and sometimes stressful early months of marriage. It is also a wonderful story of self-discovery and making the best of what life brings. An intriguing mystery and a little bit of political intrigue provide added interest to this fast moving and compelling third installment of the fabulous Moses Lake series.

It is love at first sight for Mallory Hale and Daniel Everson, and they embark on a whirlwind courtship. When Daniel receives an offer for a job in the small and remote town of Moses Lake, they hastily marry and begin married life together. Mallory is a fish out of water as she begins her new life as a wife and stepmother. She is also ill-prepared for the challenges facing her in their isolated home. Adding to her unease are the rumors circulating about Daniel’s enigmatic boss, Jack West. When she comes across a secret that threatens her new life, Mallory discovers she is willing to risk everything to protect the town and people she has slowly begun to love.

Mallory is the kind of heroine I love-feisty, strong and willing to rise to the challenges facing her. That is not to say that she does not have her moments of self pity. She wrestles with self-doubt and insecurities but she is quick to jump in with both feet and take action when needed. Her new life becomes a journey of self-awareness as she uncovers hidden strengths and a newfound faith in God.

Mallory is also conflicted about her new role as a wife and stepmother. Her sense of identity is shaken when she is no longer a career woman. She is forced to re-define herself as she begins a new life. Mallory has to adapt to small town living and appreciate what the new community has to offer. The new people she meets and friendships she makes challenge some of her long held beliefs.

The romance portion of the storyline is understated but realistic. Like many newly married couples, Mallory and Daniel have a few adjustments to make for married life. Mallory is frustrated by Daniel’s new job and the amount of hours he works. Jack West is a difficult man to work for and Daniel is reluctant to voice any dissatisfaction. Daniel and Mallory have disagreements and arguments, but they also share many sweetly romantic moments.

They mystery subplot of Firefly Island is well executed. It is does not overpower the overall plot but it is quite interesting and believable. Ms. Wingate presents some fascinating insight and information into the inner workings of politics and political action committees.

Firefly Island is an engrossing and thought-provoking romance. Underlying themes of community, friendship, love, acceptance and God are interwoven throughout the story. Lisa Wingate always provides her readers with valuable reflections about appreciating life and the importance of slowing down and enjoying what you have.

Although it is the third novel in the Moses Lake series, Firefly Island can be read as a standalone story. This is my favorite book of the series, but I highly recommend Larkspur Cove and Blue Moon Bay as well.


Filed under Bethany House Publishers, Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Firely Island, Lisa Wingate, Moses Lake Series, Rated A, Review, Romance