Mistaken

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Title: Mistaken
Author: Karen Barnett
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Published: July 2, 2013
Pages: 384

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Laurie Burke’s family has been criminals because of alcohol and the Prohibition and because of that she resolves to find at least one honorable man to fill her life. Even though she tries to find an honest man, she is a criminal magnet. Her bad run with men seems to be over when she meets federal agent Samuel Brown, because a man of the law can’t be a criminal, right?

Daniel Shepherd moved from Seattle to his hometown to help run his grandfather’s drugstore and to run away from his past. He’s interested in Laurie, but unbeknownst to him, she believes he’s rum-running with her brother and isn’t interested in getting involved with another criminal. He’s trying to win her over but with missteps and misunderstandings running abound it’s hard to get her to like him.

With Laurie showing an interest in Samuel Brown, Daniel must try and show her that he might not be who she thinks he is and show her that he might be worth her attention. As they grow closer Laurie tries to hide her brother’s illegal smuggling and her father’s drunken ways, and Daniel’s past begins to close in on him. Neither feel worthy of love but maybe God has other plans.

Can Laurie finally find one honorable man or will she spend her life surrounded by criminals? Can Daniel show her that he’s not a rum-runner or will she always think the worst? How will Laurie react when she finds out about Daniel’s past? Is Samuel Brown who he says he is or is there a lot more about him then he appears? Can Laurie and Daniel’s budding relationship survive the prohibition or will it be crushed under the weight of the secrets they carry?
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Karen Barnett is a new author for me, but I must say that I’m glad I found her. I was first drawn to this book because of the cover and the era in which it was set. Once I found out what it was about I was all in and ready to read this book. My expectations when starting this book were pretty high and I so excited to see how this book turned out. This book not only met but exceeded my expectations and blew them out of the water.

This author’s true talent lies in her impeccable characters. All of her characters are fallible and misguided in some area and all, well most, are lovable and easy to relate to. I couldn’t believe how well each character was formed or how deep each characters feelings went. I found myself feeling along with the character and that is a rare thing for me. I loved absolutely every second of watching these characters try and get out of the mess they had gotten themselves into.

Her storyline is also incredible. It has just the right amount of suspense, romance, and secrets. I never expected to be ripped into the storyline so quickly or fully and I enjoyed it so much I actually finished this book in one night. I actually stayed up late trying to finish this one and see how it would end. It was a real joy to see the story progress with a wonderful pace, incredible characters, and a beautiful love story. I think this story is my favorite of the year so far.

Even the romance in this book is awesome. I got the perfect mixture of emotional connection as well as physical. Daniel is willing to do almost anything for Laurie and she can’t seem to stay out of trouble. I loved the whole set up an result and I loved to see their love in action throughout the book. Needless to say that I was impressed with the way this romance evolved and I don’t think I’ll forget it any time soon.

The topic is set in history, during the Prohibition era, but I think there’s a lesson in there for all of us. Not only does this book show that God is better than anyone or anything and is always willing to forgive, but I also think it shows that alcohol can be a dangerous thing to tangle with. I also think the author did an amazing job depicting so accurately what alcoholism is, how it starts, and how to cure it. Her colorful and accurate depiction of an alcoholic made this story come alive and held me until the end.

If I were this author, I would be so excited and proud of this book. This book not only is an amazing story and romance but it’s also and incredibly accurate depiction of alcoholism and I can’t imagine how many lives this might save or change. This book was so fantastic that this author and book just skyrocketed up to the top of my “favorites” list and aren’t coming down. This book comes very highly recommended.

Overall, absolutely amazing book. I loved it so much I have not complaints. This book perfect for those who want a romance set in the Prohibition era and want a but of suspense as well. I think this book is good for adults and possibly teens. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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Where the Trail Ends

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Title: Where The Trail Ends
Series: An American Tapestry
Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Summerside
Published: October 1, 2012
Pages: 336

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Samantha Waldron and her family must overcome tremendous challenges getting to the Willamette Valley before winter, a place over two thousand miles away. Samantha is anxious to start her new life in an untamed land, but trial after trial makes her question the wisdom and safety of such a long trek. Surviving extreme hunger, thirst, and unpredictability of this new land isn’t easy, but Samantha’s determined to make it to the end despite every roadblock thrown in her way. Until their canoe capsizes and they’re thrown on the mercy of a man who can’t stand the American’s presence in this new land.

Lord Alex Clarke is at Fort Vancouver for one purpose, to oversee the production of furs that his uncle’s company sells. After five years of living in this untamed land he can’t help but dread going home to England, even if he does have a fiancé waiting for him back home. Armed with the opinion that the Americans are stupid to travel and try and tame this wild land, the last thing he expects to happen happens when he has to rescue a woman and child from drowning to death in the fast paced waters of the river outside Fort Vancouver. Now, he just can’t get her out of his head and doesn’t know why, he should be thinking about his fiancé not some woman he just met.

As their affection grows for each other, Samantha is bombarded by men wanting her hand in marriage but she doesn’t want them she wants Alex, but she can’t have him, and Alex is now dreading going home even more and getting married to someone he doesn’t love and hasn’t seen in five years. With the ship soon on its way to take Alex home to England, Samantha becomes even more determined to create a home for herself and her brother and to try and forget the man she loves even if it means she leaves a part of herself behind in the process.

Will Samantha and Alex be able to be together or will past arrangements and life tear them apart? Will Samantha and her brother ever make it to the Willamette Valley or will their dreams be torn from them on the Oregon Trail? Will Alex be able to stay in the land that he’s fallen in love with or will he be forced to go back to a land he no longer feels a part of? Will Alex marry the woman he’s engaged to or the woman he loves?
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Being a new fan to Melanie Dobson, I was excited when I got the opportunity to read this book. From the cover I could tell you that this book was going to be great and it didn’t disappoint. The beginning of this book focused on the challenges of the Oregon Trail and it really connected with me. I knew that they had it rough crossing over two thousand miles to Oregon but I had no idea it was as hard as it was until this book. It dragged me into the story from the first page and kept me there until the very end. The author’s impeccable description made me feel like I was crossing the Oregon Trail alongside the heroine and experiencing what many of our ancestors experienced as the traveled west for a better life.

I do have one disappointment in the book, though. I felt like the romance wasn’t the focal point of the novel, which is what I expected from a novel classified as a romance. For most of the book the main characters haven’t even met yet and when they do, the author spends most of that time delving into their lives as they live at Fort Vancouver. The parts that were romance were great, though, and done in classic Melanie Dobson form, simple and understated, yet completely satisfying. Despite the lack of romance in the novel, I still really enjoyed this novel and I think with a little more romance this book would’ve been a five out of five.

The descriptions in this book are subtle yet give visuals that are so vivid they make you want to jump on a plane and move to Oregon just to experience the beauty that this author describes. The descriptions this author does are one of the many reasons I’m such a fan of hers and why I believe I will be for a long time. She doesn’t waste time by going into long windy detail but somehow her point comes across in a vivid mental image that most authors only aspire to get from their readers. This definitely is her strong suit in writing and makes her stories in a class of their own.

The storyline of this book is a really nice idea and I feel like, minus the lackluster romance, it was executed flawlessly. I’ve read a few Oregon Trail novels, but most of them avoided the trial and tribulations of the Trail and instead candy-coated the struggles and left me feeling empty after the book was over. This author held no punches and wrote it like it happened and because of that I had a strong emotional connection to the heroine and their struggles. The history is throughout it as well, with little hardly known facts about the Oregon Trail, and it enhanced her novel to one that I will remember for a while.

This author made me a fan with Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan and kept me a fan with this novel. I’m now a really big fan and want to read every book she’s ever written. Her story telling is fantastic and her history is always correct and I can always expect a great story from her. She truly has a gift and I fully expect her to be around for a long time. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someday her books are on a lot of romance readers’ bookshelves, if they aren’t already. I highly recommend this author and am excited to see what else she’s going to come up with in the near future.

Overall, this is a fantastic book that lacks a satisfying romance but is still fantastic. I highly recommend this book for romance lovers, fans of Melanie Dobson, or people who like an understated romance. This book is perfect for adults, teens, even younger readers depending on maturity. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Christian Manifesto in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*