Catching the Wind / by Melanie Dobson. 4.19.2018

Tyndale House ISBN 9781496417282

Adult Rating: *5

Dietmar and Brigitte, young friends in Germany during WWII, make a daring escape from Nazi soldiers in Catching the Wind. Now 77 years later, Dietmar, who changed his name to Daniel Knight following the war, urgently longs to find out what happened to Brigette. He last saw her when they arrived in England, and a couple took her in for the duration of the war. After multiple investigators over his lifetime fail to find Brigitte, Daniel feels perhaps Quenby Vaughn–a young journalist whose articles reflect her passion to dig out stories and help others–can help in his quest. Quenby and Lucas Hough, Daniel’s very handsome solicitor, team up on an impossibly cold case which just happens to coincide with Quenby’s research for an article about a prominent family in WWII England and their possible involvement with Nazis during the war.

Melanie Dobson’s intriguing plot is filled with tension as modern day Quenby attempts to piece together the puzzle of what happened to Brigitte, and then Dobson shows what is happening to Brigitte during WWII. In addition to the tension of the investigation, and the tension of Brigitte’s life, sparks fly between Quenby and Lucas as they team up for the search. Daniel Knight is a knight in the truest sense of the word, searching for Brigitte and wishing he could have better protected her. Both Brigitte and Quenby undergo transformations throughout the book, and their stories provide wonderful themes for life. “She couldn’t change her past…but it didn’t define who she was today…She had the power to write a new story from this moment forward. Her story….A new story filled with…a heart open to trusting God…A heart willing to forgive.” (p. 374)

Kristina Wolcott, CLJ

Let There Be Science: Why God Loves Science and Science Needs God / by Tom McLeish and David Hutchings. 4.17.2018

Lion Books ISBN 9780745968636

Adult (YA) Rating: 4

In Let There Be Science: Why God Loves Science and Science Needs God, physics teacher David Hutchings and physics professor Tom McLeish lay out a discussion of the relatedness–and even inseparable relationship–between God and science. The authors propose that “science flows naturally from the Christian worldview, and that it always has” (p. 10). In order to support this claim, Hutchings and McLeish set forth an initial explanation of science as a way of thinking, rather than a specific body of knowledge or modern technological advances. Each chapter then tackles a broader, typically theologically-related topic by presenting historical narratives of scientific discoveries, then analyzing or comparing these narratives within an openly Christian framework.

Hutchings and McLeish do a fabulous job of creating an understandable and relatable text. The authors use biblical texts and narratives from the history of scientific discovery as their main tools. In so doing, the authors constantly remind the reader that science is something that is innately human. Although “science” sometimes seems unapproachable or a field only for a certain group of people, Hutchings and McLeish superbly explain each topic, as well as show the humanness or relatability of the process of scientific discovery and the individuals involved. Each chapter then concludes with a summary section that helps to clarify connections or implications within individual chapters and chapters up to that point.

By the end of the book, the reader has heard the stories of numerous scientists, from ancient to modern, and the biblical analysis that best explains the continued progression of science no matter the circumstance. From biblical invitation to study the universe, to the knowableness of nature, to the order found in chaos, to perseverance in the face of hardship, Hutchings and McLeish present a thought-provoking argument for the unavoidable relatedness of God and science.

Elisabeth A. Orr, CLJ

Jo Oliver Thriller series / by Catherine Finger 4.5.2018

Cleansed by death / by Catherine Finger (A Jo Oliver Thriller, 1)
Anchored Productions ISBN 9780007991901

Shattered by death / by Catherine Finger (A Jo Oliver Thriller, 2)
Anchored Productions ISBN 9780997991994

Anchored by death / by Catherine Finger (A Jo Oliver Thriller, 3)
Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781946638304

Adult Rating: 3

In Catherine Finger’s Cleansed by Death, Police Chief Jo Oliver is tracking a serial killer, one who has her in his sights. The Mentor Sister Serial Killer always first takes a young girl in anticipation of an adult woman in her life. The child is not fatally harmed but brings the adult to his door, an adult he does unspeakable things to before taking her life.

Jo has desperately wanted to adopt Samantha, but her cruel and abusive husband would not allow it. Now on the brink of divorce from Del, she is determined to make that adoption a reality. But can she save Sam from the kidnapping that is intended to bring about her own death?

In this book Jo herself has mentors who gently lead her to Christ, a decision she makes before the book’s ending. She does have a friend named Nick with whom there is a definite attraction and sexual tension. They do not act on this, and Jo gives as her reason the fact that she is still married.

The second book in the series is Shattered by Death. On the brink of a very costly divorce and having once said she would be glad to see her ex-husband and his girlfriend both dead, when Del and his paramour are found brutally murdered, Josie Oliver is the key suspect. One by one, her worst enemies are being killed. Who is behind this, who hates Oliver enough to want to make her a prime target?

Once again, Jo is concerned about Sam and how this will affect the adoption. Her newfound faith is present and active but her doubts abound, too.

Anchored by Death takes Police Chief Oliver off to Wisconsin for some much-needed R & R where, of course, she once more becomes embroiled in a case, hoping to catch the Bow Tie Killer. Dealing with a psychopath is one thing but the long-held romantic feelings for Nick Vitarello only add fuel to the fire of Jo’s crazy life, searching for a serial killer and trying to either rein in her feelings or give in to her love for Nick.

And always, in the back of her mind is Samantha, the young girl she is determined to adopt and create a family with. Jo Oliver loves the Lord, rather newly-found in her life, and His presence is felt throughout Anchored by Death.

Ceil Carey, CLJ

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage / by Julie Klassen. (Tales from Ivy Hill, 2) 4.2.2018

Bethany House ISBN 9780764218156

Adult Rating: 5

Award-winning author Julie Klassen continues her Regency series set in the English village of Ivy Hill.

In The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, Rachel Ashford is Mercy and Matilda Grove’s guest at the Ivy Cottage. Rachel is a gentlewoman who seeks to make a living as her funds are dwindling. Her friend Jane Bell, the innkeeper of Ivy Hill, and Mercy, manager of the local school for girls, encourage her to start a circulating library with books she inherited from her father, as well as with donations. As she sorts through the villagers’ donations, she uncovers a mystery hidden within one of the books that she tries to solve.

Meanwhile, Mercy fills her days at the school, having given up the thought of marriage. When several men begin taking an interest in the ladies of Ivy Cottage, she assumes Rachel is the attraction, but what if she is wrong? Will the ladies solve the mysteries of the past and find hope for the future?

Klassen is known for her excellent character development in her inspirational Regency novels, which are filled with love and redemption, and family relationships. The faith elements are light-handed. Readers will appreciate the nod to Jane Austen, as well as the depth of the historical details. Discussion questions are also included.

 Recommended for public and high school libraries. Her novels should appeal to adults and high school readers alike. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah E. Ladd, Carrie Turansky, and other historical fiction fans will be delighted to read this series. Watch for the next book in this series, The Bride of Ivy Green, coming in December 2018.

Carol R. Gehringer,

Earlier Series Titles Reviewed by CLJ: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Jan/Feb/Mar 2017).

Imperfect Justice / by Cara Putman. 3.30.2018

Thomas Nelson ISBN 9780718083489

Adult Rating: 4

Award-winning author Cara Putman pens another contemporary legal thriller featuring strong women.

In Imperfect Justice, attorney Emilie Wesley’s client Kaylene Adams is accused of killing one daughter and seriously wounding another. Emilie doesn’t believe it, because Kaylene was about to leave an abusive relationship to protect her daughters. Kaylene’s brother Reid Billings discovers a letter from Kaylene, pleading for his help in protecting her girls from their abusive father, telling him to consult Emilie for her assistance. Emilie and Reid work together to track down the truth about Kaylene’s husband and protect her surviving daughter.

Domestic violence is a central theme in this novel. Only two people believe that Kaylene didn’t do it–her attorney and her brother. The police killed Kaylene in the process of trying to arrest her, thinking she had killed her first daughter and wounded her second one. Who was the real killer, and why didn’t others see what was really going on? Legal proceedings and custody battles ensue for Reid and Emilie as they try to uncover the truth and protect Kaylene youngest daughter.

Putman is well-acquainted with the legal scene–she holds a law degree and teaches law. Author of legal thrillers, historical romances, and romantic suspense, Putman excels at the development of a twisting plot and sensitivity for an important topic: domestic violence and custody battles. Putman knows the ins and outs of the law, and creates a believeable scenario in her stories. Faith elements are clearly present as is a clean romance.

Recommended for public libraries and fans of contemporary suspense novels.

Carol R. Gehringer,

Deadly Proof / by Rachel Dylan. (Atlanta Justice, 1) 3.26.2018

Bethany House ISBN 9780764219801

Adult Rating: 4

Rachel Dylan pens a legal thriller in a new contemporary romantic suspense series set in Atlanta.

In Deadly Proof, lawyer Kate Sullivan goes after a pharmaceutical company when a whistleblower dies, refusing to put her ethics aside as she fights for justice. Every step she takes to uncover the truth in the corporate cover-up puts her life in more danger. Her opposing counsel is a friend from law school, providing drama and tension in the courtroom battle. Former Army Ranger Landon James works as a private investigator for Kate in tracking down the whistleblower’s allegations.

The more time they spend together on the case, the more their relationship grows. The attraction between Landon and Kate moves very slowly, then quite rapidly. At the same time, the danger grows as they face an enemy who will go to any length to stop the lawsuit, even murder. Will they get justice for those affected by the pharmaceutical company’s dangerous drug before one of them is gravely injured?

Dylan pens a fast-paced legal thriller that grabs the reader early and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat until the final page. Forgiveness is a central theme. Landon lives a life filled with regret–he gave up on God. Kate, having gained her own forgiveness for her past, prays for him and encourages him to forgive himself. While the book is part of the Atlanta Justice series, there is little in the book that reflects its Atlanta or southern setting.

Recommended for public libraries and for fans of romantic suspense novels by Dani Pettrey, Irene Hannon, Lynette Eason, and DiAnn Mills. Book 2, Lone Witness, is expected in May 2018.

Carol R. Gehringer,

Regency Brides series / by Carolyn Miller. 3.21.2018

The Captivating Lady Charlotte / by Carolyn Miller. (Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace, 2)

Kregel     ISBN 9780825444517

The Dishonorable Miss Delancey / by Carolyn Miller. (Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace, 3)

Kregel ISBN 9780825444524

Adult Rating: 4

Carolyn Miller continues her Regency series, set in England.

In The Captivating Lady Charlotte, Lady Charlotte Featherington, the beautiful daughter of a marquess, expected to receive a marriage proposal during her Season. She falls in love with a dashing suitor, but her father intends for her to marry Duke William Hartwell, a man who does not captivate her. Being a dutiful daughter, Charlotte will probably marry Hartwell. She has captured his heart, but can he capture hers? His wealth and title will not win her over, but will his patient courtship? Will they find a love match beyond their expectations?

In The Dishonorable Miss Delancey, Clara Delancey leaves London after a scandal caused by her unreal expectations of a gentleman’s attentions, her mother’s attempts to force a marriage upon said gentleman, and her brother’s financial affairs. Relocating to Brighton, she makes the acquaintance of an injured naval captain’s sisters. Captain Benjamin Kemsley also befriends Clara and seeks to lift her from the despair that threatens her. A friendship ensues, much to the disdain of Clara’s mother. Can they find a future together without financial and family support?

Miller writes a wholesome Regency series with features that her fans have come to expect: a courtly romance suitable for adults and older teens, with historical detail and excellent characterization. Her characters face real problems in terms of finances, others’ expectations, faith issues, and finding one’s place, permitting the reader to more easily identify with them. Appearances of characters from earlier books are a welcome surprise for Miller fans. The faith element in these books is light but evident.

Recommended for high school and public libraries. Fans of Julie Klassen, Jane Austen, and Regency romances will enjoy this series. The author’s next series comes out in spring 2018.

Carol R. Gehringer,

Earlier Series Titles Reviewed by CLJ The Elusive Miss Ellison (Oct/Nov/Dec 2017)

Oath of Honor / by Lynette Eason. (Blue Justice, 1) 3.15.2017

Revell ISBN 9780800727215

Adult Rating: 5

Bestselling author Lynette Eason pens a new romantic suspense series about a law enforcement family.

In Oath of Honor, police officer Isabella (“Izzy”) St. John comes from a close-knit, law enforcement family, a family who supports one another when trouble comes. Her partner’s homicide detective brother Ryan assists her as she investigates her partner’s murder. When her investigation leads to a criminal organization and possibly “dirty” cops, maybe even someone from her family, can she trust Ryan? Can she find justice for her partner Kevin when it could mean a family member is guilty?

Lynette Eason kicks off a new series guaranteed to grab the reader’s attention from the first page and keep it engaged until the last page is read. Eason creates a fast-paced story with an ensemble of complex characters, a romance between longtime friends, and enough suspense to make the reader stay up all night trying to figure out the answers. Not only is there a murder of Izzy’s partner (who is Ryan’s brother), but there are ties to gangs, the local mafia, and even a psychotic ex-boyfriend/stalker to complicate the plot.

Having most of her family in law enforcement make the bonds between them even stronger. What happens when the evidence points to one of them? Eason does a masterful job wrapping up loose ends as the clues are revealed and the groundwork is laid for the next book in the series.

Highly recommended for public libraries and romantic suspense fans of DiAnn Mills, Dani Pettrey, Irene Hannon, and Dee Henderson. Look for additional books about the St. John family coming soon!

Carol R. Gehringer,

The Regency Spies of London series / by Melanie Dickerson. 3.9.2018

A Viscount’s Proposal/ by Melanie Dickerson. (The Regency Spies of London, 2)

Waterfall Press ISBN 9781503938649

A Dangerous Engagement / by Melanie Dickerson. (The Regency Spies of London, 3)

Waterfall Press ISBN 9781503938656

Adult Rating: 4

Prolific author Melanie Dickerson pens additional novels in her Regency Spies trilogy.

In A Viscount’s Proposal, instead of settling for a loveless marriage like her parents, Leorah Langdon is determined to marry for love. When a carriage accident forces her to spend the night unchaperoned with Edward, Viscount Withinghall, she is determined to turn down his proposal, despite the damage to her reputation. Edward, on the other hand, has political ambitions and wants to avoid scandal at all costs. Can they work together to save her reputation and his career by uncovering the villain behind the “accident”?

In A Dangerous Engagement, Felicity Mayson receives an invitation to Lady Blackstone’s country manor, Doverton Hall. She is flattered by the proposal of wealthy Oliver Ratley. She doesn’t realize the political undercurrents among the guests until she meets Government agent Philip McDowell who is undercover. Lady Blackstone and Oliver are the leaders of a group of revolutionaries and Felicity is their pawn. Philip convinces Felicity to maintain his cover. Both are risking their lives to uncover the conspiracy before their government is overthrown.

The plot is typical of a Regency romance, but Dickerson weaves in plot twists and turns. The romance is wholesome, and the faith element is clear but not preachy, making this is a good choice for teen and adult readers. A Dangerous Engagement has a stronger suspense plot than A Viscount’s Proposal. A Viscount’s Proposal lacks the tension, mystery, and intrigue found in romantic suspense novels.

Recommended for young adults and adults who are young at heart. Fans of Georgette Heyer will enjoy this series.

Carol R. Gehringer,

Earlier Series Titles Reviewed by CLJA Spy’s Devotion (Mar/Apr/May/June 2016).

Dangerous Illusions / by Irene Hannon. (Code of Honor series, 1) 3.6.2018

Revell ISBN 9780800727673

Adult Rating: 5

Award-winning author Irene Hannon pens a new contemporary suspense series featuring a group of childhood friends.

In Dangerous Illusions, art teacher Trish Bailey cares for her ailing mother after the car accident that claimed her father’s life two years earlier. Accountant Matt Parker befriends Trish after the accident by handling the finances of their family’s charitable foundation.

When her mother dies, the police start to suspect Trish might have played a role in her mother’s death. Matt supports her through the investigation, but he has been acting strangely since his own recent car accident. Detective Colin Flynn isn’t sure whether Trish made a mistake in administering her mother’s medication or if her mother’s tragic death was the result of a deliberate act. Together they try to uncover the puzzle pieces behind her mother’s death, only to find a deadly plot in play.

Hannon captures the reader’s attention from the first page and holds it until the final page. She pens believable characters, a well-written plot with plenty of twist and turns, just enough romance to make things interesting, and subtle faith elements in the story. Things are never what they appear to be on the surface.

Hannon weaves the intrigue throughout the fast-paced story, distributing clues a little at a time, making the reader wonder if they missed something earlier in the story. Hannon’s latest novel is a page-turner that will keep the reader up late at night, trying to finish the book and uncover the truth.

Highly recommended for all high school and public libraries. Fans of DiAnn Mills, Dani Pettrey, and Dee Henderson will enjoy this new series.

Carol R. Gehringer,