Deb recently read a couple of books that she suggests to readers who like to experience history while reading about people who are on a journey of faith.
Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers
Rivers is a favorite author of mine and she does not disappoint with this tale about a woman named Marta who grows up in Switzerland, then travels through Germany, France, England, and Canada before finally ending up in the United States. Marta takes such a journey because she grew up in a household run by a domineering father whose plan for her life was to keep her under his control, either working in his tailor shop or as a maidservant, since in his view no man would ever want to marry her. When Marta gets the opportunity to escape his control, she takes the advice of her mother and flies away like a little bird. She dreams of owning her own boarding house or hotel, but she knows she must learn different languages and recipes if she is to successful. Marta is full of determination and passion, and I heartily enjoyed following this strong woman and seeing the lessons she learned–sometimes humbling–as she travelled across Europe and North America during the years that preceded World War I. In the second part of the book the reader gets to hear from Hildegard, Marta’s daughter, who is born with a much more timid personality–but who still takes her own journey that teaches her to be strong, with the help of her faith. Rivers continues the story in Her Daughter’s Dream. By the way, I listened to the audio book, which is narrated by Stina Nielson who does an outstanding job of bringing all of the characters to life.
Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
Camden is a new author to me, she came to my attention after winning both a Christy and RITA award for this book–and after reading it I can certainly see why. This book transported me to Boston in the late 1800′s as I followed the life of Lydia Pallas. Lydia is orphaned as a young child but uses her gift for languages to get a job working for the U.S. Navy’s research wing. She loves having her own apartment away from the slums, but she is fearful that she may lose her living quarters when new owners decide to sell it. When Alexander Banebridge, a mysterious friend of the Admiral that she works for, offers her extra translating work she is grateful for the money but suspicious of his motives. As the plot unfolds Lydia learns a lot about herself and discovers inner strength and her need for love–and faith. Unfortunately, she also learns that a innocuous syrup that she has been taking since she was a child contains opium and that she is addicted to it. For fans of romances with a historical setting and a bit of adventure, this book fits the bill. I also found it intriguing to learn how opium was such a commonly used drug at the time, often included in “soothing syrups” which did not mention it (or morphine) as an ingredient and were even recommended for use with children. I’ll be watching for more from this talented author!
If you like these types of reads, I would also recommend the books of Julie Klassen, particularly if you like romances set in England during the Regency period (similar to Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer, with an Inspirational slant).