Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: The Governess of Highland Hall

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall. Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help?

Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents' financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn't sure what to make of the estate's preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.

Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin's two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from financial ruin. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families--common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julia's steadfast heart over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall's future?

This book was very predictable and full of cliches. It had a good storyline and the potential of being a great book but the author chose a safe route. Hardly anything was original about it, and the characters, especially William, seemed one dimensional with hardly any personality or individuality. Also the ending seemed to come too soon and it left several loose ends.
It was well written though (aside from the characters) and there were some things I liked about it, like how it focused on both the family and the servants, and I could picture all of the scenery pretty vividly in my mind. Not a terrible book but not all that good either.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review: Twilight's Serenade

Twilight's Serenade (Song of Alaska #3) by Tracie Peterson

Britta Lindquist left Sitka six years ago in an attempt to distance herself from the love of her life, Yuri Belikov. Upon her return, she finds Yuri absent and his wife about to deliver a child. When tragedy strikes, Britta suddenly finds herself caring for Yuri's children---and her life intertwining with the man she's tried so hard to forget.

But Britta's other great love is for the violin, and her talent is recognized by Brenton Maltese, a conductor from England. The coveted first-chair position in his orchestra could be hers... but what is the cry of her heart?

At a crossroads, Britta must determine
               what her heart truly longs for---and
                                          if she's willing to fight for it.

I finished this book several weeks ago and kept forgetting to write a review for it. This was the third book in a series and I have read the first two books before it. It's not super fresh in  my mind but it was pretty good and I did enjoy it, though if I remember correctly I don't think it was quite as good as the other two books in the series. Britta wasn't the typical heroine of these type of books and I liked that, and the book did take some turns that I wasn't expecting. However, the series is supposed to be music oriented (being called Song of Alaska) but I don't think there was a single part in it where Britta played her violin. They did talk about her trip she went on where she played in some orchestras but that happened before the beginning of the book, and I kept expecting there to be a scene where she finally gets out her violin and plays again, but if I remember correctly that never happened. Still, it was a cute love story and a good ending to the series. I have read several books by Tracie Peterson and I will read more. She's one of my favorite authors.