Showing posts with label Historical fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Historical fiction. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review of A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund

I love expanding my horizons by reading a genre not typically my preferred choice.
I've read a few YA novels in the past year that were quite enjoyable, 
so when one of my favorite authors decided to branch out, of course I followed.

Jody Hedlund’s first foray into the YA world began in January of last year with The Vow: Prequel to An Uncertain Choice, a novella ebook. It was followed in March by An Uncertain Choice, which introduced us to three charming knights. 

My Goodreads reviews: 
I was thrilled to learn Hedlund’s latest YA release, A Daring Sacrifice, follows up with the knights from An Uncertain Choice, although the story-line is entirely different. I enjoyed the previous books a lot, but this one is my favorite. I would recommend reading them in order to appreciate the relationships, but this is a stand-alone story.

I immediately fell in love with the heroine! Born of nobility that was wrongfully taken from her, Juliana has taken on the task of providing for the peasants that were driven from their homes by the same horrid uncle that left her an orphan. The pureness of her heart makes her compassionate to the point of turning to thievery to help support the needy peasants she lives with in the forest. She despises the wealthy—even Lord Collin, heir to the neighboring land who only wants to help.
Juliana has spunk and a stubborn streak! She is one of my favorite characters from Hedlund's books.

As expected, Hedlund’s descriptive writing has the reader feeling the dryness of mud-caked skin and the silkiness of satin gowns. Even the most minor characters—from the handmaiden to the trusted servant—have distinct personalities. The plot is well developed and moves along at a perfect pace. This YA novel is truly a page-turner. It’s clear to see why Hedlund’s books receive high ratings.

If you love a fairy-tale, a knight in shining armor, a fair maiden in distress, a story of courage in the midst of trouble, you will love this book.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review of Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund

Hedlund triumphs again with Undaunted Hope,
the third book in the Beacons of Hope series. 

Who doesn’t love lighthouses? The history behind the lights and their keepers along the shores of Michigan makes for great settings in this series of historical romances. 

Hoping to escape a tainted reputation from her past mistakes, Tessa Taylor arrives in a remote area of upper Michigan as the new teacher to the children of copper miners. From the moment she arrives in Eagle Harbor, she needs rescuing—time and again—by the handsome assistant lightkeeper. Tessa is drawn to Alex Bjorklund, but as a teacher, is under obligation to remain a single woman. Besides, she could never involve herself with a lightkeeper; she wants nothing to do with the lake or a lighthouse ever again.

The town of Eagle Harbor is being held hostage by the corrupt chief clerk of Cole Mine—the town’s source of income and supplies. The workers and their families refrain from standing up to the abusive boss for fear of retribution. Will Tessa be able to stand up against the evil Mr. Updegraff?

As always, Hedlund’s characters have terrific depth. They are faced with choices that cause them to rely on God’s guidance to discover their own strengths and weaknesses.

This page-turner’s plot is full of twists and turns. Just when you think there’s a resolution, another snare is tossed into the story.

This series has a common thread besides light houses—a wooden cross and a letter. Although this book is perfectly fine as a stand-alone, readers of the series will enjoy how the story of the cross and letter resolve in this volume.

My favorite part of all Jody's books comes after that last page, in the Author's Note. That is where she reveals the real people and real stories that influenced the novel. I only wish my high school History class had been so interesting! 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it for readers of inspirational, historical and light romance.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion

Today is release day for Jody Hedlund's 10th book!

I patiently awaited my ARC of Martin and Katharina Luther's love story, and it did not disappoint. This is by far Jody Hedlund's best yet and my favorite from this author.

"Time to jump."

From these first three words, the pace of this story swept me away. At almost 400 pages, Hedlund's version of this historical love story sped along. Her attention to descriptive detail will sink you deep into the era of 16th century Germany and the turmoil surrounding the Reformation. As we have come to expect from Hedlund, this story is full of twists and turns, her characters are rich and wonderful.

Hedlund's in-depth research into the life and times of this important Christian leader shows in the details. Instead of her typical 'based on' story-lines, this book includes actual events of Luther's and Katharina's lives, woven into an intricate story of rebellion, allegiance, love and faith.

Some readers may be off-put by the detailed violence and straight-forward telling of horrendous acts--both by and against the church--but the story remains true to the times and events. Hedlund does not sugar-coat the ugliness of this part of church history. I would suggest this story is for a mature reader--perhaps not young teens. Although, this book would be a perfect lead-in to nurture desire in more mature teens to learn about Martin Luther, and the importance of his brave teachings.

I would truly call this book a work of art worthy of a place on your TBR list. If you would like a free copy of Luther and Katharina, check out Jody's blog for her daily trivia giveaways!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Answers to Everything!

For those of us that just can't  get enough of best-selling author Jody Hedlund, I am posting the answers to the questions you left for her in your recent comments. Some of the questions you asked were addressed by Jody in her interview  with me back in August. In order to save a busy author/mother-of-five a bit of time, I have reposted her answers to those questions. Jody revealed quite a bit about herself in that interview as well as her 'secrets' post. I encourage you to go back and read these to get to know her better. Also, Jody has spent the past month visiting many blogs, sharing other secrets you'll want to know! Please visit her website to find links to these posts under BLOG TOUR for Unending Devotion.

Three of you had questions about the research required for writing historical novels: Writing about three different eras would take a lot of research! How much time do you spend researching for each book? What are your resources for your search? How long does it take to do the research on a book before you start writing it?  Here is the question I posed to her about research for writing historical fiction, followed by Jody's answer. 

I've mentioned in my past posts that, thanks to your book The Preacher's Bride, I am now a fan of Historical Fiction.  What draws you to write Historical Romance?  Are you a history buff, or do you just drown yourself in research for the books?
I’ve always loved reading historical romances and losing myself in past eras. And yes, I'm a big history buff, but I also have to immerse myself into the research specific to each book. I usually take a couple of months to read biographies, books on the time period, and everything that pertains to the story. Before I start writing the first draft, I have to feel like I could walk into the setting of my book and be mostly comfortable with that time period.

 I sent the rest of the questions to Jody, and here are those questions, with her responses.

Where do you get the ideas for your books?

 I usually get the ideas for my books from researching and reading. Whether I'm reading biographies or time-period related books, I usually keep a running list of ideas that interest me or that I could use in a story. Then when it comes time to start writing the first draft, I narrow down my brainstormed list and pick the most original, interesting, or provocative ideas to use in the story.

Do people in real life inspire you to write about them as historical characters?

Generally, I base most of my main characters on people that I've read about in biographies. But I do draw character traits from real life people. Usually I don't imitate one particular person, but pick unusual or stand-out traits to attempt to replicate in my characters.
When I'm at my desk, I have to have iced tea and most of the time a small bag of peanut M & M's. What are your must haves when you are writing?
My must-have is a hot beverage. In the mornings, I drink coffee. And then in the afternoon I usually switch to hot herbal tea. There's just something about having a hot mug in my hands that is inspiring and comforting!

From what I've gathered, it can be very difficult to have your first novel published. How did you go about seeking the publication of The Preacher's Bride?
Like most aspiring writers, once I was ready for publication, I began to query agents. The Preacher's Bride was rejected by every agent that I sent it to, except for one. Only one agent requested to see a full manuscript. With great excitement, I sent the manuscript to this agent. But then I didn't hear back from her for months!
In the meantime, I wrote another book and entered a national fiction writers contest for unpublished writers. I was fortunate to have both of my books final in that contest. After that I contacted the agent who still had my manuscript to let her know about the contest final. Three days later she offered me representation. Three months later she was able to sell my books!
What makes this "Christian" fiction? That's definitely not a section of bookstores here in Spain and I'm curious!
Unending Devotion, like all of my books, has a spiritual message woven throughout the story. In the characters' struggles to grow, they have to work through faith issues. For example, in Unending Devotion, the hero, Connell must learn that he's been complacent about the social ills that run rampant around him. Throughout the book, he changes from a man who turns his back on evil, to being a man willing to stand up for what's right.
Your first three books are set in three very different time periods. If you were an era, which one would you be?
Oh that would be really tough! I personally prefer the comfort of my modern conveniences! :-) But if I could go back in a time machine just to visit, I'd love to go back to the 1600's since it would be the most different from our time. I'd love the chance to experience the sounds, scents, foods, homes, and everything first hand.
How many more novels do you have in the works?
 I have two more completed novels that will be releasing next year in 2013. A Noble Groom releases in April (and is already available for preorder!). And then I'll have another book releasing in September of 2013. We're just now deciding on the name for it and starting to develop the cover. I'm currently writing the book that will release in 2014.
 Are you staying with historical fiction or will you be doing any contemporary fiction in the future?
I'm definitely a historical fiction girl! I can't see myself branching into contemporary fiction anytime soon. If anything, I'd love to go back even further in time and try a story set in the Middle Ages 1400's or 1500's during the time of castles and knights.
Did you come up with the title "Unending Devotion"? If not, what was the title you had in mind while writing the novel?
I can't remember exactly who came up with the title. Usually for each title, I come up with a list of possibilities that I give my publisher. And they put together a list as well. Then they narrow down their top choices and run them by me. In the end, they have the final choice, but I do get quite a bit of input in the process.
In what era is your next book set?
A Noble Groom is set in the 1880's in Michigan very similar to Unending Devotion.

Thank you again, Jody, for taking the time to answer our questions. I know I enjoyed getting a glance into your writing habits and life.  And thank you, readers, for participating in this interview with Jody. I loved the questions you thought up!  Of course, most of you only left those questions because it gave you an extra entry into my give-away for Jody's newest release Unending Devotion.  (I don't blame you. It's a really good book!)

I promised you that today I would reveal the winner of the signed copy of Unending Devotion.

So now...
     the moment you've all been waiting for...

Congratulations, WINNER! I will be contacting you for your mailing address, and you're signed copy of Unending Devotion will be on it's way to you. I know you will enjoy this book!

More on the winner next post...