Caryl McAdoo’s Silent Harmony is set in her beloved Red River Valley, North Texas. Occurring after Civil War around the year 1867, the story revolves around the three Parker sisters. The eldest, Lucinda (Lucy), is a war widow with a deaf and dumb four year old daughter named Harmony. Next in line comes the outspoken, often snarky, tight-wad, middle sister, Servilia, nicknamed Vili. But is she really a villain? The youngest of the three sisters, sweet natured Melody (Mel), constantly finds herself at odds with Villi.
Since Silent Harmony by Caryl McAdoo is an historical novel with romantic threads, the question becomes, will romance find these three very different sisters? This reviewer will never tell, but will hint.
Lucy finds a very helpful neighbor, Earl Draper, frequently at her barn doing chores and otherwise being helpful. She scarcely notices him since she has Harmony to look after, but he comes so often to help her, the reader begins to wonder if something will come of this friendship.
This worries Vili to no end. What will become of her if Lucy marries him and moves to his farm? True, they’ll be neighbors, but . . .
When the new teacher at the school for the deaf, the Reverend Ezekiel (Zeke) Sheffield arrives in church one Sunday, he stutters so badly that he must communicate using sign cards. Seems his disability is why he learned sign language. Thus he becomes the teacher of the local school for the deaf. A truly extraordinary hero, what he lacks in language skills, he more than makes up for in good looks. Youngest sister, Mel, finds herself instantly smitten in spite of his disability. Likewise, she draws his eye, yet the reader wonders what chance these two have for a future given his disability?
With Lucy’s romance well under way, and sweet Mel drawing the teacher’s attention, that leaves snarky Servilia to wonder if she will ever find a beau. Seems Zeke has a bachelor cousin, Professor Rupert Sheffield, University of Chicago math professor. But what good will come of writing him letters do, if he continues to live so far away from Texas? How will they ever meet? Not to mention, can a true relationship be forged through the U.S. Mail?
These are such cute stories about three very different sisters. This reviewer loves the Parker sister’s interactions, their equally unique beaux, and little four year old Harmony. What a cutie! The author, Caryl McAdoo, really drew her well. Likewise, this reviewer loves the flawed hero Zeke. (Very few authors have heroes who are differently gifted.)
Many plot lines in Silent Harmony by Caryl McAdoo capture the reviewer’s attention. The initial scene plunges the reader straight into the story. Zeke’s disability ties nicely into Harmony’s deaf mute troubles. The three sisters need for stability and their desires for lasting relationships also provide the reader with many remarkable scenes.
Caryl McAdoo’s writing itself contains many sonorous, almost poetic bits. Permit this reviewer to indulge the reader with a couple of quotes. “Like molasses on a frosty morn, seemed to Zeke, Sunday took twice the normal time to pour from its jar onto his slice of life.” Also, “A round of amens accompanied by various and sundry blessings rose then fell like a wave rushing onto the shore before returning to the deep waters.” This reader also loves plays on words such as “A good long hug accompanied by a few tears ensued, but as sweet as it was, it couldn’t mend the tear in her heart.”
Truly this delightful novella provides the reader with an engrossing day flipping pages to see what comes next. There’s only one major down side. It is way too short! But then, it is a novella. That’s this reviewer’s two cents. I remain, Cass Wessel
What a good read! Loved this book. Although listed as general fiction, A Refuge Assured takes place in the late 1790s making it an historical novel in this reviewer's opinion. It's also a novel for the Christian market, but that doesn't mean it's boring or scrubbed squeaky clean of violence. After all, civil wars, uprisings, and historical rebellions tended to be as bloody in the past as they are in our current era. This novel isn't for the squeamish, faint of heart, or those with impressionable minds. That said, A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green is a not to be missed read for 2018. Links to booksellers, where pre-orders for this book can be placed, are found at Jocelyn Green's website, http://www.jocelyngreen.com/books/fiction/a-refuge-assured.
From The Back Cover
Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia but finds the same dangers lurking in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers threaten the life of a young boy left in her care, who some suspect to be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement, Azilum, offer permanent refuge?
Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate the land of his hard-won farm near Azilum, but soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they will be drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.
"Marigold Devlin hadn’t planned on spending more than one year as a governess. Much as she loves the Chambers children, she’s looking forward to her own marriage and family—until the children are tragically orphaned.
By the time her letters catch up to the girls’ globetrotting uncle, her contract is long expired, and her impatient fiancé has broken their engagement. She tries to hide her disappointment behind cool, even frosty respect for her new employer, when he finally arrives. But his haunted eyes thaw her heart a few cautious degrees. And she burns with guilt for her uncharitable thoughts.
Gordon Chambers doesn’t plan to stay in Cape May long enough for any painful memories to take hold—until he realizes there’s a thriving boat business to sell, two charming nieces who tug at his heart, and a flame-haired governess who seems determined to go above and beyond for everyone except herself.
As Gordon works through an ever-shifting list of priorities, Marigold sparks a tender longing for something more than his solitary existence. But when he learns someone has once again betrayed his trust, the pain threatens to send him back into shadows too dark for love to reach."
Laurie Alice Eakes' latest book, The Newcomer, grabs the reader from the first word. A delightfully gentle story about misplaced intentions and consequences, love and constancy, hasty decisions and erroneous conclusions, Laurie Alice Eakes weaves a tale to fill the hours with pleasant reading. This reviewer heartily recommends this book. Loved it.
Pursuing Gold: A Novel of the Civil War by Cynthia L. Simmons contains echoes of "Gone With the Wind" but is no tome. Easily read within a weekend, it's a good book for rainy days. This historical novel mixes Romance within the classic mystery format to drag the reader through a plot that interweaves suspense, humor, and faith. Will Mary Beth Roper and Peter Chandler have their happily ever after? Will the C&R bank survive villainous attempts by counterfeiters to bankrupt it? Will Union forces overrun Chattanooga? Will the bad actors succeed in taking out the hero and heroine? Will evil, greedy people win over good, honest citizens? I'll never tell. You'll have to buy the book to find out.
Dan Walsh has done it again, told a touching story to span the generations from Jr. High through Grandma leaning on her cane. Although one of the primary characters is a nerdy boy of middle-school age, the story grabs the reader and hangs on. Throughout the ups and downs of the boy Russell, the cop Ned, the dog Parker, and Kim, the Humane Society worker, the reader pulls for them and hopes for a good outcome. Will they get it? You'll have to buy the book to find out
To the Moon and Back is a captivating look at dementia from inside the sufferer's mind, as well as its impact upon the family. Kathi Macias has captured the experience of dementia with sensitivity and accuracy. Alzheimer's disease ravages more than the mind and body of the afflicted, it severely impacts their family and friends. It's truly heartbreaking as our family has experienced first hand with my brother's descent into confusion and physical degeneration culminating in his early death. This reviewer heartily recommends this book to anyone who would like to gain a deeper understanding of dementia
This reviewer gives five stars for suspense. Five for humor. Five for Western flavor. Five for historical accuracy. Five for grabbing the reader's attention. Five for holding it. Five for three really good stories. Five for truly stupid, evil villains. Five for fallible, loveable heroes and heroines. But each story could be improved with more thorough proofreading, a weakness in all the Kindle editions I've read, not just these books.
for Crossing Oceans! What an utterly amazing book this is! Read it in one day because I couldn't put it down. No cheesy, feel good romance, Crossing Oceans deals with the grittiness of life's most difficult events. Incredibly well written and crafted, this book catapults Gina Holmes into the ranks of premier novelists. What a thought provoking, heart stirring book this is. It belongs right up there with the best of novels.
The coming of age story, Son of Promise, by Caryl McAdoo, grabbed this reviewer from the very first sentence. Mrs. McAdoo does have a way with words. Her writing enables the reader to dive into the waving grasslands of Texas and lose themselves in the story.
Travis “Buck” Buckmeyer and his wife Emma Lee remain childless after years of trying. Out of the blue, Travis’ past catches up with him when he discovers his son from a one night stand needs a home. Only one problem, Buck hasn’t shared that bit of his story with his wife Emma. Although her arms ache for a baby, she goes along with Travis like every good wife should, but with uncertainty. Will this work out? After all, Travis’ "blow-by" boy is twelve years old and likely emotionally scarred.
Cody Wigglesworth sits in a holding area waiting for his “where-have-you-been-all-my-life” father to pick him up and give him a home. His no account, drunken slut of a mother dumped him leaving the lad bitter and suspicious. Will these two people accept him? Did he even care? Maybe he will give it a try, then head out if he doesn’t like the arrangement.
Do Emma Lee and Travis have a clue what they’re letting themselves in for? This was bound to be one tough, rough ride for them, but they’ve got one huge advantage. God’s embedded in their hearts and lives so they meet the challenge head on—with kindness and overflowing familial love. Exactly what love starved Cody needs.
Son of Promise is definitely a Christian novel laced with Scripture passages, prayers, visions, and other gifts of the Holy Spirit giving this book a decidedly Christian and Pentecostal flavor. This book has no on scene intimacies or cursing. It's not sanitized in that it's characters are tempted, fail, then repent learning from the experience. It’s a story of redemption, and conquering familial love; of truth, and lies; and of moral choices resulting in consequences. It contrasts life lived by instinct with a life lived by faith tracing the progress of a throw away kid to a responsible teenager oozing integrity. Cody’s character migrates from a resentful teen, to a cherished Son of Promise, who in the process has gained eyes for a lovely girl, Cindy, but that’s another story.
Son of Promise kept this reviewer awake far past her bedtime. Son of Promise is a thoughtful, well written, insightful novel of loss, overcoming, hope, and familial love. Buy it, you’ll not be sorry. Here's the pre-order link.
Blessings, Cass Wessel