Do you book club? I’m relatively new to it myself. For the past 2 summers I’ve hosted an online book club for the women’s ministry at my church. Then this March I joined an established book club composed of church ladies. We meet in each other’s homes or in our town’s new library. Our book club reads Christian fiction, biblical fiction, historical fiction, biographies, and literary classics. In addition to this traditional book club, I was also selected to be a member of the first ever Harvest House Book Club. Readers in this club are provided titles from the publisher and we meet in a closed Facebook group to discuss the titles. I enjoy both book club formats.
Church Ladies Book Club (Traditional Book Club)
It was my turn to suggest a title to the Church Ladies Book Club. My first thought was to read something patriotic, which immediately made me think of Jocelyn Green since I’ve already read two books from her Heroines Behind the Lines Series. Capturing on the idea, I contacted the author through Twitter and let her know we were considering book 1 in the series and asked her if she would be willing to FaceTime with our group. She responded promptly, “I certainly could do that! If they want a read that’s patriotic and focused in the month of July, they could read Widow of Gettysburg rather than Wedded, since the battle of Gettysburg was July 1-3.” Thus Widow of Gettysburg became our July selection.
As the newest member of my book club I felt added pressure to suggest a good title for the group to read and discuss. However, knowing that all the members of our group enjoy historical fiction I had confidence in suggesting a title by Jocelyn Green. Time and again Green has delighted me with well-researched, well-written, and flawlessly delivered Civil War era novels. Widow of Gettysburg was no exception.
In Widow of Gettysburg, Green assembles a diverse group of characters: a seminary school drop-out, news reporter, former slave, and a young Union widow. The manner in which their stories overlap and intertwine makes for a compelling read. I was always looking forward to what would happen next and wondering how their struggles would eventually play out. A major theme was our propensity to judge others based on outward appearances instead of right judgement (John 7:24). This played out in many ways in this story based on gender, the color of a person’s skin, and the color of one’s uniform. These prejudices along with the ample amount of factual history within these pages will provide plenty of fodder for our book club discussion.
I’ve read 3 titles from the Heroines Behind the Lines Series, but not in sequential order (#3, #4, #2). This indicates how strong each title is, and how well they each can stand on their own. I highly recommend this series to both history buffs, and book clubs!
Add Widow of Gettysburg to your Goodreads list.
Follow the Author Jocelyn Green
Harvest House Book Club (Online Book Club)
In May Harvest House announced it would be organizing their first ever Harvest House Book Club. Anyone could apply, but only 25 fiction lovers were selected to read My Sister’s Prayer before its release and chat with the authors! We were also given a copy of My Brother’s Crown (Cousins of the Dove, Book 1) to read while we wait for our pre-release copies of My Sister’s Prayer to arrive. Below are my thoughts on book 1.
My Brother’s Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould is a split-time-period historical fiction novel. The way the authors bounced between 1685 and the present day really kept me on my toes. I especially enjoyed how the events in both Catherine and Renee’s stories would vacillate between foreshadowing each other and filling in the gaps in the other’s narrative. While the character Renee and I share a remarkable number of personality traits (uncanny), in time I became more engrossed in the historical storyline. It served as my introduction to Huguenots, which surprised me since just 4 years ago my husband and I visited Paris and Versailles. During our trip we heard a lot about Louis XIV, but nothing at all of the Huguenots. If we were to go back again I would seek out this portion France’s history.
Clark and Gould spin a web of mystery and intrigue within both eras. For me, Catherine’s story had a definite ending with an uncertain, yet hopeful nod to the future. Renee’s, however, was a can of worms that had just been opened. I’m hooked! The release of My Sister’s Prayer (Cousins of the Dove, Book 2) cannot come soon enough.
Add My Bother’s Crown to your Goodreads list.
Follow author Mindy Starnes Clark
and author Leslie Gould
I received My Brother’s Crown free as a member of the Harvest House Book Club. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”