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review 2020-01-27 04:00
Frontier Dualities
An Uncommon Woman - Frantz, Laura

2020 is already shaping up to be a spectacular year for Christian fiction. There are so many exciting new releases scheduled for the months ahead, and those published in this first month of the year have set a high standard. It is such a joy to see favorite authors, as well as debuts, writing books that somehow surpass their previous titles while continuing to explore deep spiritual truths. Last year I read my first Laura Frantz novel, “A Bound Heart”, and was moved by the love and heartache in the story. Because I enjoy early American settings and particularly the Colonial period, I knew that I had to read “An Uncommon Woman.”

Laura Frantz has a unique way of telling a story, not relying on the archetypal pleasurable plotline. Fittingly, such is the case with “An Uncommon Woman.” The narrative maintains a somber tone, yet faith and relationships keep it from becoming lugubrious. While we often do read fiction to escape from the vagaries of life, it also helps us to feel less alone in our own struggles and can instruct us. Frantz does not romanticize life on the western Virginia frontier in 1770 but rather writes of it in its volatile actuality. The tensions between not only the settlers and the Native American tribes but also between the tribes themselves results in living “on the razor’s edge of peril.” For “[h]ere on the savage border, things changed in a heartbeat, a breath. Life was lived in the shadow of lasts.” I was surprised to learn about how vulnerable those living outside a city (“overmountain” in this book) were on a continual basis.  Truthfully, this is one of the reasons that I love this book so much; this unflinching approach gives me a renewed respect for the settlers and inspires me by their sheer tenacity.


Conflict with and between the Native Americans is a key element in this story, as is diversity. Colonel Clayton Tygart, kidnapped by Lenape Indians as a boy and a hero of the Seven Years’ War, is “the white Indian, a so-called redeemed savage brought back from the brink of heathenism in the nick of time.” As such, he straddles both worlds, which makes his character all the more intriguing, and the fact that he has heterochromia symbolically underscores his duality. Likewise, Keturah Braam inhabits this mediate position after living half of her life as a captive and must try to reconcile both identities. Two periphery characters who captured my interest are Jude and Maddie, former slaves, because they are respected by the central characters, which is a pleasant surprise given the time period. As for Tessa Swan, I expected her to be the titular character, but I think that it refers more to Keturah, although both are unconventional. Tessa is a fascinating heroine who is accustomed to but weary of life on the frontier because “[a]ll her life had been spent looking over her shoulder. Such unceasing, ingrained guardedness wore a body down.” Nevertheless, she never shirks her duty, and most importantly, she remains steadfast in her faith in God: “She wasn’t fancy, but she had the Bible to bolster her. She would be a woman of strength and honor, however humble.” When trials arise, this faith is the necessary element that sustains her, as it should be ours. As Joshua 1:9 affirms, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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review 2019-11-19 10:00
Marisol: Spanish Rose Review and GIVEAWAY!


About the Book

Book: Marisol Spanish Rose

Author: Elva Cobb Martin

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: November 8, 2019

Escaping to the New World is her only option…Rescuing her will wrap the chains of the Inquisition around his neck.

Marisol Valentin flees Spain after murdering the nobleman who molested her. She ends up for sale on the indentured servants’ block at Charles Town harbor—dirty, angry, and with child. Her hopes are shattered, but she must find a refuge for herself and the child she carries. Can this new land offer her the grace, love, and security she craves? Or must she escape again to her only living relative in Cartagena?

Captain Ethan Becket, once a Charles Town minister, now sails the seas as a privateer, grieving his deceased wife. But when he takes captive a ship full of indentured servants, he’s intrigued by the woman whose manners seem much more refined than the average Spanish serving girl. Perfect to become governess for his young son. But when he sets out on a quest to find his captured sister, said to be in Cartagena, little does he expect his new Spanish governess to stow away on his ship with her six-month-old son. Yet her offer of help to free his sister is too tempting to pass up. And her beauty, both inside and out, is too attractive for his heart to protect itself against—until he learns she is a wanted murderess.

As their paths intertwine on a journey filled with danger, intrigue, and romance, only love and the grace of God can overcome the past and ignite a new beginning for Marisol and Ethan.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author



Elva Cobb Martin is a wife, mother, and grandmother who lives in South Carolina with her husband and a mini-dachshund. A life-long student of history, her favorite city, Charleston, inspires her stories of romance and adventure. Her love of writing grew out of a desire to share exciting stories of courageous characters and communicate truths of the Christian faith to bring hope and encouragement. Connect with her on her web site at http://www.elvamartin.com.  



More from Elva


A couple of things inspired me to write Marisol ~ Spanish Rose, in addition to my love of historical romance fiction set in the colonial/pirate era of Charles Town and the Spanish Main.
I ran across a teaching of how people often let the one terrible moment of their lives define them and their future. Know anyone like this?

I envisioned a heroine in the 1700’s who let her “terrible moment”—being molested and accidentally killing the Spanish nobleman who attacks her—define her and her future destiny.
My premise for this idea and novel is: Love, forgiveness, and determination can overcome the most horrifying experiences and poor choices when we invite God into the equation.
Loving horses, particularly the white Lipizzaners, I named my heroine Marisol and set the attack on her father’s Andalusian Stud Farm in Cadiz, Spain in 1740. Andalusians are the Spanish horses in the ancestry of the Lipizzaners. And they can be trained to do dancing steps with a dancing maiden called the Flamenco, which my heroine can do well. Click here for a video of a flamenco dancer. https://youtu.be/lSQWQl0u_Ow
Marisol’s exciting Flamenco plays a pivotal part in the novel.
All this story idea needed now was an exciting, handsome Charles Town privateer—sometimes pirate—who will cross paths with my heroine when she flees Spain after killing the Spanish nobleman who molested her.
Captain Ethan Becket, backslidden former Charles Town minister, has returned to the sea, grieving the loss of his wife and child.

By the time these two get together at the indentured block in Charles Town, Marisol has discovered she is with child. Thanks for stopping by! May you have an exciting, romantic adventure on the high seas with Captain Ethan and Marisol.


My Review


Several things drew me to this book. It is the first in Elva Cobb Martin’s new Charleston Brides series, and when possible, I like to start at the beginning of a series. It is also set during the Colonial era, which I always enjoy reading about, and the book summary sounded interesting. Had I not been given the opportunity to review it, I probably would not have picked this one up, and as I have mentioned before, this is one of the best parts of being a book reviewer. I try to challenge myself to read outside my standard categories and hopefully learn something and discover new (to me, at least) Christian authors. This book delivered on all counts.

“She’d killed him, but she’d had no choice.”

Immediately, Martin seizes the reader’s attention with the opening scene of “Marisol: Spanish Rose”. Sexual assault and a murder force 18-year-old Marisol Valentin to flee her native Spain, although her plans go awry and she finds herself bound in indentured servitude to Captain Ethan Becket in Charles Town, South Carolina. Becket, a former Presbyterian minister and native of England, now makes his living as a privateer. Haunted by the death of his wife, he hopes to rescue his captured sister, following up on a lead that she is in Cartagena. As Marisol’s and Ethan’s courses become increasingly intertwined, the stakes rise higher and they realize that they need each other’s help, but even more so, they need God’s.

Overall, my impressions of this book are positive. Martin crafts a redemptive story that is different from any Christian fiction I have previously read because of the setting and characters. The tension between Catholicism and Protestantism is clear, and it was interesting to see how this plays out in America, England, and Spain, with the Spanish Inquisition also factoring in here. Add to that seemingly antithetical main characters, with Marisol being Catholic and Ethan a Lutheran convert, both of whom have wavered in their faith, and the action never ceases. This latter point is, however, the issue that I had with the narrative. The beginning chapters seem rushed, with gaps in time and events mentioned after the fact without much, if any, detail. Although I hoped that this was would change after the first few chapters, it continued throughout the book. I understand not writing a Dickensian description, but I did feel jarred at many of the time lapses and was disappointed at the lack of details for some of the events that transpire. Nevertheless, “Marisol: Spanish Rose” is a stimulating read that explores the consequences of polarization, particularly among Christians, and reminds us of the one true God and the undying power of His forgiveness and love.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops


Bigreadersite , November 15

Emily Yager, November 15

Connect in Fiction, November 16

Rebecca Tews , November 16

Moments, November 17

For Him and My Family, November 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 18

Genesis 5020, November 18

For the Love of Literature, November 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 19

Betti Mace, November 20

mpbooks, November 20

Back Porch Reads, November 21

Maureen’s Musings, November 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Pause for Tales , November 23

Batya’s Bits, November 23

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 25

Inklings and notions , November 26

janicesbookreviews, November 26

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27

A Reader’s Brain, November 28




To celebrate her tour, Elva is giving away a vintage nautical writing journal and a $20 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


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review 2019-03-06 14:00
Bring Me Near Review and GIVEAWAY!



About the Book

Title: Bring Me Near
Author: Marguerite Martin Gray
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release date: February, 2019
Publisher: Celebrate Lit Publishing

Louis Lestarjette enters a world of secrets and questionable actions for the Patriot cause.
Charles Town, South Carolina, 1775—Louis Lestarjette ventures beyond the confines of family life as patriotic duty compels him to enter the world of secrecy and clandestine maneuvers. When he leaves Charles Town for Philadelphia, he experiences first-hand the drastic demands of time and finances, and possibly his life. He must keep Elizabeth and his daughter safe while remaining faithful to this cause of liberty. One wrong decision might cost him all he has worked for over the last three years.
A new generation of children in Elizabeth Lestarjette’s life demands the successful and safe fulfillment of her role as a Patriot. She wonders if her husband understands her desire to do her part as an active Daughter of Liberty. Although Louis is willing to move the family to the country, the decision falls to Elizabeth regarding whether to remain in Charles Town or escape its borders.  
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author 

Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close, Surround Me, and Bring Me Near– Revolutionary Faith Books One, Two and Three. She enjoys studying history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches high school Spanish and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, Daughters of the American Revolution, South Carolina Historical Society, and Preservation Society of Charleston. She currently lives in North Louisiana with her husband.

More from Marguerite


I am very excited about the release of Bring Me Near. Thank you for joining me in its debut.
My writing journey began with reading as a child in elementary school. I lived in England for a few years where I bought and read loads of books on horses, history, and mystery. While in that unique environment, my parents took us to explore castles, old houses, churches, and cemeteries. The love of history sprouted and grew (I blame it all on my father)!
My love of reading never diminished, but it continued to expand my world. I still devour books (much to my husband’s and my bookcases’ chagrin), mostly historical Christian fiction, though I have some favorite contemporary novels and authors.
In my Revolutionary Faith Series, I combine my love of travel, research, history, and writing. I researched my family history originating in Charleston, South Carolina and walked in the footsteps of my 1770s ancestors (I even found my ancestors’ house for sale!) I asked questions about what they would have done during the American Revolution? What did they eat and wear? Were they fearful? Faithful? Courageous? Where did they worship?
My motto in writing is Entertain. Educate. Encourage. I entertain through the elements of fiction by making the characters in my imagination come alive on the page. I educate by presenting an historical period and event after countless hours of research. I encourage by giving a Christian world view where the characters grow and develop through their challenges.
Please join me on this journey by following me at www.margueritemartingray.blog.

My Review


"Now, more than ever, she had to find courage to support her words and beliefs.”

 Book three in the Revolutionary Faith series, Marguerite Martin Gray’s “Bring Me Near” proves to be even more captivating than its predecessors. The amount of research done by the author clearly bears fruit throughout the narrative as readers find themselves immediately submerged in the Colonial era and able to see the various conflicts from multiple perspectives. Despite being historical fiction, the novel has a strong factual background and is appropriate for teens and up who are looking to increase their knowledge of the time period. Through Louis’ vantage point, we evidence the growing discontent among the partisans and the emergence of revolutionary leaders in Charles Town, including how everyday townspeople have to put their lives on the line as rebels against the Crown. The process culminating in outright war develops by degrees, as attempts at reconciliation are dismissed, and the impact on the citizens of Charles Town follows a similar pattern.

Elizabeth’s experiences drive home the conflict’s effect on ordinary families. The fears and uncertainties of the immediate future resonate strongly today, too, and I wonder how many of us would be as willing as the Lestarjettes to sacrifice for their country. The women suddenly must learn how to defend themselves as the war draws closer and calls away their husbands and sons. Faith in God was essential for the colonists as they faced seemingly overwhelming odds, and that same faith is just as necessary today. I find myself wondering if I would have the strength and courage that Elizabeth demonstrates if I endured so many trials. I also appreciated that the Loyalists’ dilemma is given some thought: losing possessions and respected positions and sometimes causing schisms among families, not to mention neighbors. Although obvious antagonists, George and Victoria nonetheless evoke sympathy because of their misguided actions, and my heart aches for them both. I eagerly look forward to continuing Louis and Elizabeth’s journey and hope that more books will follow in this absorbing series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.


Blog Stops





To celebrate her tour, Marguerite is giving away
Grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card 1st place winner will receive eBooks of the entire series
2nd – 4th place winners will receive an eBook copy of Bring Me Near!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de7c/bring-me-near-celebration-tour-giveaway


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review 2011-11-18 22:08
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War - Nathaniel Philbrick Really interesting book and analysis of the first Thanksgiving. I learned a lot of interesting facts I didn't know or didn't study in American history class.
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review 2011-10-12 17:56
In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692
In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 - Mary Beth Norton Well worth reading, such a strange, horrible story.
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