Saturday, October 26, 2019

Book Review: The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron


About the Book

Book: The Painted Castle
Author: Kristy Cambron
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: October 15, 2019


Bestselling author Kristy Cambron concludes the Lost Castle novels with this sweeping tale of art and secrets long buried in England.

It was supposed to be a one-week job: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mysteries surrounding the old English manor and the enigmatic art thief who’s employed her stir more questions than answers. Then, Kiera finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin-a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria.

Set in three time periods-the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day-The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith, family, and stories that are generations in the making.

Click here to grab your copy.

My Review

Again, author Kristy Cambron has brought history to life for historical and contemporary fiction lovers.   Three intertwined stories are told throughout the book, and each one is exciting.  Cambron clearly labeled the setting of each chapter, but many times a chapter would end in a cliff-hanger, demanding that the pages be turned to discover the resolve.

The three stories, all tied together by artists and their paintings and the castle grounds, were all different enough to keep the reader interested.  It was fun to connect the dots between the three stories through minor characters, objects, and events.  The author reveals in a final note the actual events and her personal connection to them.  What made this story wonderful was the palpable emotion conveyed in so many scenes.  From the heartache and grief of loss to the giddiness of new-found love, all the emotions were there, and were felt by this reader.

Fans of historical and contemporary romance, the World War II era, and England will all find a connection to this book.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

KRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She’s a Women’s Ministry Leader at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

More from Kristy

About The Painted Castle

A war-torn estate holding its secrets close. A lost library bricked off from the world. And a portrait-maker’s unknown masterpiece of a Queen named Victoria… What stories do they long to tell?

It was supposed to be a one-week snatch-and-grab: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mystery of an old English manor, a crumbling beekeeper’s cottage, and a library that had long ago been sealed off brick by brick, all stir more questions than answers. What begins as a novice assignment instead peels back layers, lulling Keira into the depths of the estate’s long-forgotten history.

Despite questions swirling around the enigmatic, rumored art thief who’s employed her, Keira finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin—a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria…

1842— In order to salvage what’s left of her family’s shaky circumstances, artist Elizabeth Meade knows her duty must be to marry well. But she hopes looks can be deceiving enough to hide her true motives behind a congenial smile and gain entry into the ballrooms of England’s noble elite. Instead of husband-hunting, Elizabeth searches for the one thing that’s seared to her memory—the eyes of her father’s killer, whom she unwittingly sketched one snowy night in Piccadilly ten years before. She never expects to find answers tucked away in the countryside at Parham Hill, in the form of a portrait-maker who could help her artist dreams come true, if only she could forget the highwayman she’s hunted for the last decade—the estate-owner who unwittingly selects her as his betrothed…

1942—When the 390th Bomb Group arrives at Amelia Woods’ Parham Hill Estate, the American flyboys bring playing cards, B-17 “flying fortresses”, and enough bravado to believe they can triumph over Hitler just by staring him down. Amelia isn’t certain, and she’s unwilling to compromise the safety and security in a carefully-crafted world she’s built for the dozens of London-evacuated children left in her charge. But with Anderson shelters buried in the gardens and an Allied airfield a stone’s throw away, Amelia may have no choice but to wait out the war under blackouts and bombs, and accept help from the captain who offers it—even if it means risking all she has left of her late husband’s memory…

From the streets of Piccadilly and the lavish halls of Buckingham Palace to the countryside surrounding Framlingham Castle, a warn-torn estate, a hidden library, and the lost portrait of a queen come together to write the final chapter in the Lost Castle series. Set in three time periods—the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day—The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith and the family we fight for, of risk and reward, and the artful crafting of a story that can be generations in the making… yet still change everything about a single life.



Blog Stops

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15
The Power of Words, October 15
A Baker’s Perspective, October 15
The Avid Reader, October 16
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 16
Betti Mace, October 16
Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 17
Fiction Aficionado, October 17
Through the Fire Blogs, October 17
Inklings and notions , October 18
AndreaChristenson, October 18
She Lives to Read, October 18
Bloging With Carol, October 18
The Christian Fiction Girl, October 19
Back Porch Reads , October 19
Christian Bookaholic , October 19
KarenSueHadley, October 20
Livin’ Lit, October 20
A Reader’s Brain, October 20
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 20
Genesis 5020, October 21
Worthy2Read, October 21
Life of Literature, October 21
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 22
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 22
janicesbookreviews, October 22
For Him and My Family, October 22
Older & Smarter?, October 23
Mia Reads Blog, October 23
The Becca Files, October 23
Daysong Reflections, October 24
Connect in Fiction, October 24
Texas Book-aholic, October 24
Just the Write Escape, October 24
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 25
Moments, October 25
Simple Harvest Reads, October 25
Pause for Tales, October 26
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26
Lis Loves Reading, October 26
Hallie Reads, October 26
Living Life Free In Christ, October 27
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 27
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 27
Soutgern Gal Loves to Read, October 28
Remembrancy, October 28
Batya’s Bits, October 28
Leona J. Atkinson, October 28

Friday, October 11, 2019

Book Review: King's Shadow by Angela Hunt

About the Book

Two women occupy a place in Herod's court. The first, Salome, is the king's only sister, a resentful woman who has been told she is from an inferior race, a people God will never accept or approve.

The second woman, Zara, is a lowly handmaid who serves Salome, but where Salome spies conspiracies and treachery, Zara sees hurting people in need of understanding and compassion.

Powerful and powerless, Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless--both women struggle to reach their goals and survive in Herod the Great's tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review

Angela Hunt has not written anything I have not fully enjoyed, and this book is no exception.  She took a tumultuous time in history, filled with power-hungry politicians, and made sense of it to the reader, even garnering compassion for some characters.

This fourth book of The Silent Years series gives insight as to what it would be like to live under King Herod's reign as a citizen of Jerusalem, and especially his court.  I had heard that he was a madman, and Hunt brought to life the horror, uncertainty, and dread associated with being close to the king.

Much of the time I liked Salome, the king's sister.  She was a rock for Herod to depend on.  She was smart, and fiercely loyal to her family.  The story is chronicled in the first person, from Salome's perspective, and also from that of her handmaid, Zara.  Although Zara served Salome each day and lived in the palace, she remained connected to her Jewish heritage and faith in Adonai.

Fans of historical and Biblical fiction will certainly want to read this book.  It gives insight into the political and religious climate at the time of Jesus' birth.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With over five million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 180 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to novels.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Book review: The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

About the Book

Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it's too late.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

My Review

I had no idea what to expect as I began reading, but this was a book I thoroughly enjoyed.  The many characters were so unique, and I loved all the surprising twists and nuggets of history throughout the book.  It took place in 1900, and Gray had been a child during the Civil War.  His perception was clearly influenced by abuses his family suffered during that time.  The plot and the characters had many layers, which was what made this book so interesting.

International spice trade, food processing, D. C. politics, and agriculture are among the many topics about which readers will be enlightened as they read this book.  I recommend it.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Elizabeth Camden is best known for her historical novels set in gilded age America featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.