Monday, January 28, 2013

One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick

I am a total history nut.   Don't let that get back to my assorted History teachers from past years, the ones who listened to me complain on a daily basis about how much I hated their assignments.  It's different when you don't have to write a paper on it, people.  Anyway, before or shortly after I start a historical fiction novel, I go do a Google search about the topic. It's important to me to know the facts before I delve into the fiction.  It's with that knowledge that I applaud Author Jane Kirkpatrick for the incredible amount of research she must have done for her newest book "One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix".

"One Glorious Ambition" drew me right in. While I appreciated the writing style, and the flow of the narrative, it was the topic that I enjoyed the most.  After working for five years as a psychiatric nurse with the institutionalized mentally ill, I could definitely relate to Dorothea Dix and her crusade to bring "moral care" to the suffering masses.  I was unaware that it was Miss Dix who turned the system of mental health care upside down. One woman, traveling thousands of miles, stepping outside her "position" as a woman in 19th century society and opening doors to humane treatment for so many.

While I loved the book, I also found it exhausting. How one woman could experience so much pain and loss,  interspersed with long periods of devastating illness, and still travel around the world seeking to do God's will in her life wore me right out.  I almost couldn't finish reading.  It was as if I traveled with her.  Thank you, Author Jane Kirkpatrick, for a job well done.

"One Glorious Ambition" is due to be released on April 2, 2013. A pre-launch copy was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.  You can learn more about the author's goals in writing this book via a podcast at

Download Chapter 1, or pre-order at

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Wishing On Willows" by Katie Ganshert

Have you met Katie Ganshert? No? Then you should.  You don't have to meet her in person.  You'll find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and her blog, BUT even if you never visit social media, you will still find her.  Her personality and her love for her family and the Lord spill over into the pages of her books.  She has a real heart for the grieving.  I felt it in her first novel, and I can certainly reaffirm that from the second.

"Wishing On Willows" is Katie's second novel. It is due to be released March 19, 2013.  Her first, "Wildflowers From Winter", has since been deemed "my favorite read of 2012".   "Wishing On Willows" takes us back to the town of Peaks, a struggling riverbank community in Iowa.  "Single motherhood. A ministry to save. A struggling cafe. And a businessman all too eager to knock it down." (p.76) It's Robin's story.  A widowed mother, trying to navigate life through grief and fear.  Striving for the new, but unable to release the old.

The characters are people who you would expect to find in any small town.  They're your neighbors, your community workers, the businessmen passing through.  All with stories of their own.  All with their own griefs to bear.  They will find their way into your heart, and leave you with the desire to meet with them again.

You are invited to come and meet Robin by way of an excerpt available online. Go to and click on "books" then "Wishing On Willows". Read the sneak peak, and when you are done and are looking for more, click on the tab to pre-order.  When you pre-order, you will also receive a free set of devotionals also written by Katie Ganshert. These are ONLY available for pre-orders. You can also get information via podcast through Waterbrook Multnomah 
I'd love to have you join my Facebook event as well, at  Share the event and be entered to win a free copy of either of Katie's novels!  There will be a book signing in Davenport, Iowa, on March 23, 2013. If you're in the area, come and say "hello"!

Want some extras?  Go to the "Wishing On Willows" Pinterest page to meet the cast of characters and get recipes from the Willow Tree Cafe

"Wishing On Willows" was provided to me free of charge by Author, Katie Ganshert and Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Clearing In The Wild by Jane Kirkpatrick

Here in rural America, it's a big deal when the UPS truck pulls up out front. Which then leads to a dive for the front door to see who the package is for. "Boooook!", we yell. "We" being my fourteen year old daughter, and myself.  Never mind that it's "mine". If it has words and she beats me to it, I'm sunk. And so it was that said daughter got to read "A Clearing In The Wild" first.

Based on a true story, it follows the journey of young and spirited Emma Wagner as her life unfolds among the people of Bethel, Missouri.  Never one to "conform", Emma was the only woman in a party of ten sent out as a scout to find a new home for her communal society in the Oregon wilderness.  Very well researched, it sent me scurrying to the internet to learn more about who Emma Wagner Giesy was, and what happened later on in her life.

That was after my daughter had had her turn with the book. Which went something like this:  "ummm, I don't really like this book, she marries some old guy". "Then why are you reading it?".  "ummm, because I want to see what happens between her and the old guy"?

I enjoyed "A Clearing in the Wild", plus it made for a nice discussion between my daughter and I after we had both read it. I'm always encouraged to know that there are good books out there that are "clean" enough for me to share with my fourteen year old daughter. Bravo, Jane Kirkpatrick!

"A Clearing In The Wild" is available from
Read an excerpt at:

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.