This past month was busy, readers! I finished the first draft of Twisted River, book 2 in the Hope or High Water series, which meant less time for reading. But the two novels I did finish were excellent, both historical romances set during two separate wars.
The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck
Inspirational Historical Fiction – American Revolution and Contemporary America
From the publisher: With the colonies at war and his country divided, Hamilton Lightfoot must choose sides: Fight for the British Crown or for the Independence of America. But after witnessing the death of his family at the hands of redcoats, he fears he’ll fight for revenge instead of honor. On the verge of a great battle, he pens a letter to Esther, the woman he loves. Esther Longfellow is in love with Hamilton, but her father is a loyalist, living in upcountry South Carolina and working for a wealthy British lord. When the Revolutionary War comes to her doorstep she is forced to choose between devotion to her father and her love for Hamilton.
Chloe Daschle is the daughter of Hollywood royalty—a great director and an Oscar-winning actress. Yet her career has taken an unexpected turn: She’s the queen of death scenes. Trying to break out, she accepts a supporting role in a revolutionary war film. But she longs for the perfect role and the perfect real-life romance. Does happily ever after only exist in the movies?After a life-changing tragedy, MIT graduate Jesse Gates decides to leave his life behind and move to LA to try his hand at acting and screenwriting. When he finds a page from one of his ancestor’s letters, he becomes consumed with the love he finds there. Determined to help his grandfather find happiness at the end of his life, Jesse writes and sells a screenplay based on the events surrounding the lost love of previous generations.
When Jesse meets the woman he has cast to play Esther Longfellow—his grandfather’s one true love—the stories of all four collide across time and space. The love letter from the past might have more power to affect the future than any of them could have imagined.
My take: I had been looking forward to Rachel Hauck’s new release since reading her novel, The Wedding Dress, in April of this year. My review of that book can be found here.
Taking place during the years of America’s Revolutionary War, this was the perfect novel to finish reading on July 4th, Independence Day. Similar to The Wedding Dress, it follows duel timelines (Modern day Chloe/Jesse and 18th century Hamilton/Esther) and manages to work the two together wonderfully. As someone who has researched my own family tree – and has several of my grandparents’ own love letters – I loved the idea of a secret letter binding two times together. While it was interesting to learn about a lesser-known Revolutionary war battle in CowPens, SC (yes, that is actually the name of the town), I quickly fell head over heels for the characters. All four characters brought some deep emotional baggage to the table, but through each other – and their steadfast or newfound faith in God – they found the power to conquer their pasts and hope for the future. Chloe and Jesse’s romance in particular made me smile, cheer, and consistently yell at their nonsensical overly dramatic behavior (I was a theatrical design major, so I know what I’m talking about). But it was dramatic in all the best ways.
Last but not least, just because this seems like a straightforward romance, don’t be assured that everything is as predictable as it may seem. Trust me, in the case of Rachel Hauck, a few twists are always a good thing.
For more information, visit: https://rachelhauck.com
The Deepest Sigh by Naomi Musch
Historical Fiction – World War I
From the publisher: Seventeen year old Marilla Eckert is in love with Langdon “Lang” Prescott, her family’s hired farm hand, unaware of his passionate feelings toward her older sister Delia. When Delia weds a longtime beau, Lang settles for Marilla instead, despite his continued longing and intent to someday win Delia away from her husband. Marilla soon realizes where Lang’s devotion truly lies, yet she presses on, giving everything she has to offer, convinced she can still gain his love.
Then America steps into the Great War. The men are sent a world away to fight, and Marilla’s cares, coupled with the lack of her husband’s favor, finally wear her thin. When heartache and disaster strikes on every front, and Marilla’s hour of need leads her elsewhere for comfort, will each of them wind up too broken to ever find their hearts’ true homes?
My take: Naomi Musch is a new author to me, one that I discovered on Twitter. It’s difficult for me to review The Deepest Sigh because I didn’t read it like a normal human being should, and yet I truly loved reading it. So let’s start at the beginning…
The Deepest Sigh starts strong. I was enticed from the beginning scene. I would call it more of an unconventional romance in that the girl gets the boy she wants, but the boy doesn’t want her. He wants her sister, who doesn’t want him because she’s married too. But the boy decides he can bide his time until he finds an opportunity as the home wrecker he longs to be. The perfect storyline for a dramatic movie. I was hooked.
Then around page 100, I started getting frustrated. I found myself not caring as much about the characters. Langdon was the world’s biggest jerk and I constantly yelled at Marilla for not seeing it enough. I didn’t see any happy endings on the horizon. So I skipped ahead another hundred pages and read everything involving World War I. Immediately, I was drawn back into the story, and the characters’ actions made sense! I finished the next hundred pages by reading some, then skipping back and reading a part I missed, then skipping forward and so on. And by reading in this nonsensical way, I completely adored this unconventional romance.
So read this novel. But maybe try reading it in order. Or don’t. Either way, give it a chance. I think it will surprise you.
For more information visit: https://naomimusch.com
Text Copyright © 2018 Kelsey Gietl. except for excerpts from external publishers.