Monday, June 22, 2020

At Love’s Command by Karen Witemeyer


At Love's Command by Karen Witemeyer

Let’s begin with the summary:

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger’s Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they’re the ones in need of saving.

Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she’s not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew Hanger’s dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine’s respect, and when she hears of her brother’s abduction, Matthew becomes her only hope for rescue.

Matt has stared down ruthless outlaws, betrayal, and injury, but when a bossy lady doctor crawls under his skin, his heart is tempted to surrender. And when she is caught in the crossfire, he may have to sacrifice everything—even his team—to save her.

And now, my review:

The story begins with back-to-back battles. I almost set the book aside. So glad I didn’t because soon, we meet the doctor heroine. She’s knowledgeable and I loved the medical aspect of her expertise, which we see in her POV. She’s selfless and no-nonsense, but she’s also compassionate and strong. Determined.

It was refreshing to read of a female doctor in a historical, and especially fun to see her scientific mind tackle mysteries like falling in love or physical attraction. So fun.

I liked the hero’s intense loyalty to his fellow soldiers. Matt is sacrificial, often putting other’s lives above his own. He’s wise, prudent, protective, and noble. His men follow him because they respect him, but also know he’d die for them. He’s earned their trust.

Karen’s writes strong prose, and her pacing kept me reading. She’s excellent at penning romantic scenes, weaving them in during otherwise simple moments. I highlighted several lines while I read the e-book.

Just when you think things are settling down, she layers in another adventure. Readers will enjoy this historical from a true pro.

Monday, June 15, 2020

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

woman with earrings, India
A Mosaic of Wings

A respected, fellow writer and friend recommended I check out this book, and I’m so glad I did!

Let’s begin with the summary:

It's 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she's graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father's footsteps by getting her master's degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father's legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn't what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India
and of Owenfall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices
between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she's always thought she wanted and the man she's come to love.

And now, my review:

I appreciated Kimberly’s approach to this historical. She addressed timely themes, like the value of women—our intellect, our dreams/aspirations, our purpose, our careers, our lives and life choices.

Entomology is an interesting choice for the heroine’s/main character’s field of study. We never stray from her POV, and sometimes it’s rather buggy. But very interesting. From the author’s letter we learn her daughter inspired her choice of writing about the study of bugs, and that the author had to overcome some creepy-crawlies in order to make her heroine’s passion come to life. That aspect is very well done, without being graphic. She draws readers into the fascination.

The author includes humor, and I chuckled a few times. Her prose sang in several places, though I did find the dreaded “couldn’t help but” a few times. The romance is well done, but that thread doesn't overpower this heroine's growth, career path, and calling pursuit.

Oh, this heroine! So strong and outspoken—one of my favorite MCs in a long time. She understands, thanks to the love of her father, how valuable she is as God’s creation, as a person with her own calling and interests. She’s a thinker first, so she’s not stereotypical. I loved her snappy comebacks and her well-thought-through arguments. My favorite lines:

"She held herself erect, secure in the knowledge that she was Nora Beatrice Shipley and deserved (this man's) respect. He might not be willing to give it. But she wouldn't settle for anything less than what her father had demanded for her." (page 105)

I liked that she risked her career and her life to help someone in desperate need. Her courage, intelligence, and sacrifice, coupled with her flaws and growth, made her a well-drawn character whom readers will long remember.

Great research! We visited India in the story—exotic and intriguing. Well done!

And so many bugs, mostly butterflies, so I wasn’t too creeped out. 😉

Overall, an insightful, delicious read. A standout this year!

Highly recommended.