Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green

Thanks to Kelly and Meggy of Love Books Tours for the opportunity to read and review this historical fiction book. Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy of the book to read and review.

Synopsis:

Headstrong Johanna Berglund, a linguistics student at the University of Minnesota, has very definite plans for her future . . . plans that do not include returning to her hometown and the secrets and heartaches she left behind there. But the US Army wants her to work as a translator at a nearby camp for German POWs.

Johanna arrives to find the once-sleepy town exploding with hostility. Most patriotic citizens want nothing to do with German soldiers laboring in their fields, and they’re not afraid to criticize those who work at the camp as well. When Johanna describes the trouble to her friend Peter Ito, a language instructor at a school for military intelligence officers, he encourages her to give the town that rejected her a second chance.

As Johanna interacts with the men of the camp and censors their letters home, she begins to see the prisoners in a more sympathetic light. But advocating for better treatment makes her enemies in the community, especially when charismatic German spokesman Stefan Werner begins to show interest in Johanna and her work. The longer Johanna wages her home-front battle, the more the lines between compassion and treason become blurred–and it’s no longer clear whom she can trust

Purchase link for Amazon https://amzn.to/2MudGFq

My thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction debut novel set in the USA during World War 2. We start to find out about Johanna through a series of letters, many written by Johanna or written to Johanna, or between some of the other main characters, mostly based in the small town of Ironside Lake.

Johanna had escaped from her small town to study at University, but finds herself back in town to be the translator at the POW Camp in her home town. Initially the townspeople aren’t happy to have a POW camp in the area, but Johanna helps educate the locals whilst educating the POW’s. One of the officers, Stefan Werner, makes Johanna feel uncomfortable despite being polite and helpful.

Some of the letters are between Johanna and her University friend Peter, who is the son of immigrants from Japan, who is now at war with the USA. Peter is now working for the US military but has spent a few years studying in Japan – is he going to be patriotic or a traitor?

As we read the letters, we can see that some of the letters are being used in a court case. But who will be heading for court?

As I said before I enjoyed this story. This is an excellent mix of history, mystery and intrigue, wrapped up in so many letters and subplots that I didn’t know who had done what until the very end. I’m pleased I had the opportunity to read this book and I look forward to reading more by Amy Lynn Green in the future.

Author Bio:

Amy Lynn Green is a publicist by day and a freelance writer on nights and weekends. She was the 2014 winner of the Family Fiction short story contest, and her articles have been featured in Crosswalk, Focus on the Family magazines, and other faith-based publications over the past 10 years. This is her first novel. Learn more at www.amygreenbooks.com.

Ivy Hill Christmas: A Tales from Ivy Hill Novella by Julie Klassen @Julie_Klassen @Bethany_House @BPGUK @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Thank you to Love Book Tours for the invitation to join the blog tour for this festive historical fiction novella. Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book, my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Richard Brockwell, the younger son of Ivy Hill’s most prominent family, hasn’t been home for Christmas in years. He prefers to live in the London townhouse, far away from Brockwell Court, the old family secret that haunts him, and the shadows of his past mistakes. But then his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life–unless he comes home for Christmas. Out of options, he sets out for Ivy Hill, planning to be back on a coach bound for London and his unencumbered bachelor life as soon as the festivities are over.

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/2UZEkH6

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Julie Klassen so I haven’t read the previous books in the Ivy Hill series yet. However I’m pleased to say that it didn’t cause any issues with reading this book.

I’ve read a few festive novels this year (primarily to escape the news about the global pandemic) but this is the first one that took me back in time almost 200 years. I enjoyed my trip back in time, to a world very different today.

I enjoyed reading about Richard, what had driven him to leave his family home (Brockwell Court) and why he had avoided going home. This Christmas is his opportunity to face up to the past and to make plans for the future, and to share his worries with his brother too.

Richard appears to be a very self centred young man, who Arabella wisely avoids, but slowly we start to understand what happened to make him struggle to trust people and see what happens when he starts to think about others first.

An enjoyable read that I’m happy to recommend.

Author Bio:

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Silent GovernessThe Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. She blogs at http://www.inspiredbylifeandfiction.com.
Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright @jaimejowright @bethany_house @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

I’m pleased to be sharing my review today as part of the blog tour organised by Love Book Tours. Thank you to the publisher for a digital proof copy, my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

1928

The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day

The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

My thoughts:

This is an interesting time slip story, set in the USA, full of mystery, murder and ghosts. Pippa in 1928 has been adopted by the circus owners, the Ripley family, but doesn’t feel as if she belongs. Chandler, in the present day, is a single mum, trying to prove to her family that she can carry on working as before despite her current health issues.

The book covers a wide range of topics, from women demanding more independence, to the mistreatment of zoo animals to the impact stress has on someone with an auto-immune disorder. These are all wrapped up in a serial killer murder mystery story spanning a century and linked to the Bonaventure Circus. Pippa and Chandler both have to decide who they can trust, and it may be someone they trust the most who turns out to not be worthy of that trust.

I enjoyed the story (despite struggling with the formatting of the proof copy – to be honest, if I hadn’t enjoyed the story so much the I would probably not have persevered) and look forward to reading more by Jaime Jo Wright in the future.

Author Bio

Jaime Jo Wright is the author of five novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She’s also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo, her husband Cap’n Hook, and their littles, Peter Pan, and CoCo. To learn more, visit www.jaimewrightbooks.com

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/3bzX8UU