Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Undercurrents of Secrets ~ A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Undercurrent of Secrets

Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: September 2021

Two women, a century apart, are bound by a haunting secret aboard a legendary steamboat.

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

As wedding coordinator for the 100-year-old steamboat The Belle of Louisville, Devyn Asbury takes pride in seeing others’ dreams come true, even though her engagement had sunk like a diamond ring to the bottom of the Ohio River. When the Belle becomes a finalist in the Timeless Wedding Venue contest, Devyn endeavors to secure the prestigious title with hopes to reclaim some of her professional dreams. What she hadn’t planned on was Chase Jones showing up with a mysterious photo from the 1920s.

A century earlier, Hattie Louis is as untamable as the rivers that raised her. As the adopted daughter of a steamboat captain, her duties range from the entertainment to cook. When strange incidents occur aboard the boat, Hattie’s determined to discover the truth. Even if that means getting under First Mate Jack Marshall’s handsome skin.

Click here to get your copy!

As part of the Doors of the Past Series, this book continues an expectation of well-written books with well-developed characters. I tend to either love or not love dual timeline stories, and this one I loved. Devyn and Chase Jones occupy center-stage in the present-day portion of this story. She serves as wedding coordinator for The Belle of Louisville.

Having once dreamed of being a wedding coordinator myself, I loved that aspect of this book. Chase Jones shows up just as they are preparing the riverboat for the judge from the Timeless Wedding Venue contest. But with a mysterious photograph, what is his real purpose for being there? The chemistry between these two added quite a bit to the story.

In the past, Hattie Louis works aboard the riverboat as one of only two women on the ship. I love her no-nonsense approach. She knows how to take care of herself. When Jack shows up, it made me wonder why he was there? Again their storyline kept me interested.

I felt like the author handled the timeline transitions beautifully. I loved the twists and turns the storyline took. So if you enjoy dual timeline historical Christian stories, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. Rachel can be found online at http://www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms. Her work is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency. Rachel resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.

More from Rachel

A Century on the River

In 1914, America hadn’t joined WWI yet. Airplanes, or flying machines as they were called, were still a phenomenon. Radios weren’t a thing. Hawaii and Alaska weren’t part of the United States. The world as a whole looked different than the one we walk today. But one thing remains true as it had 100 years ago—The Belle of Louisville graced the waters. In fact, the century-old steamboat is like a floating time capsule.

First named the Idlewild, this boat was built in Pittsburgh, PA and was launched in October 1914. It began its days as a packet boat, hauling freight and ferrying passengers. During the ‘Roaring 20s’ there wasn’t much documentation for her travels. But it’s believed the Idlewild spent the decade tramping—a steamboat term for going up and down the river, stopping at various towns and taking passengers for excursions. Which worked perfectly for Undercurrent of Secrets.

The boat was then sold to New Orleans where it continued to ferry passengers. In 1931, The Idlewild spent a season in Louisville running trips to Rose Island and Fontaine Ferry amusement parks. It then spent the next several years coursing the waterways from Canada to New Orleans, living upon the Mississippi and Ohio river systems until WWII. The second world war brought a lot of action to the Idlewild which was then outfitted with special equipment to push oil barges along the river. She also served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River.

In 1947, she was sold and renamed the Avalon. For the next two decades the legendary lady spent her days along the rivers, hosting excursions, bringing adventure to the hearts of many Americans. But all those years and miles eventually caught up to her and she fell in disrepair. In 1962, she was put up for auction in Cincinnati where she was purchased by Jefferson County Judge Executive Marlow Cook for $34,000. She then received her third name, The Belle of Louisville.

The restoration of the boat was supervised by marine architect Alan L. Bates (later Captain Bates). Capt. Bates’ books, Str. Belle of Louisville, and Moonlight at 8:30, were a huge help to me while researching the history of the boat and the crews who worked on her. The reno crew worked tirelessly rebuilding the Belle and on April 30th, she tested the waters again by racing against the Delta Queen in the first Great Steamboat Race. The Belle has been wharfed in Louisville ever since. This century-old steamboat has stood the test of time, surviving decades, sinkings, storms, weathering all the trials with grit and grace. If you ever find yourself in Louisville, you could book a cruise on the Belle and experience history.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 25

Rachael’s Inkwell, September 25

Texas Book-aholic, September 26

Christian Bookaholic, September 26

Where Faith and Books Meet, September 27

Inklings and notions, September 27

Genesis 5020, September 27

For Him and My Family, September 28

Life of Literature, September 28

deb’s Book Review, September 29

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 29

Remembrancy, September 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 30

She Lives to Read, October 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 1

Older & Smarter?, October 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 2

Mary Hake, October 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 3

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bizwings Blog, October 3

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 4

For the Love of Literature, October 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 5

Through the fire blogs, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Pause for Tales, October 6

Artistic Nobody, October 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Just Your Average reviews, October 7

Splashes of Joy, October 8

Labor Not in Vain, October 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11b61/undercurrent-of-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

The Petticoat Spy ~ A Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Petticoat Spy

Author: Elva Cobb Martin

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: October 5, 2021

A Charles Town belle and a blockade runner ignite fireworks in more ways than one during the American Revolution.

To Anna Grace Laurens, the war is like a distant bad dream until her family’s Charles Town plantation is burned and her parents murdered by those loyal to the king. She flees on horseback and leaps into the Cooper River to escape her pursuers.

As John Cooper Vargas sails his sloop down the river, he spots a woman diving into the water. After firing on the Tory raiders chasing her, he rescues her and offers to take her with his parents to an island hideaway for the duration of the war. But she has other plans, including revenge for her parents’ deaths. She insists he drop her off in Charles Town, even with the British planning a massive attack by land and sea to retake the city, the Pearl of the South.

John employs his sailing skills for the patriots, risking capture and death, but he enjoys his skirmishes with the British navy blockade to bring goods from the islands to aid the cause. But when Charles Town falls to the British, he docks his ship in a secret cove and joins Francis Marion’s militia. This decision lands him wounded on a harbor prison ship where more men die than on the battlefield.

Anna Grace braves the deprivations, first of a city barricaded against the British, and then one surrendered and ruled by fists of iron under the English flag and injustice. Can she find a way to rescue John before it’s too late?

As both American and English armies gather near Yorktown, Virginia, for a pivotal battle, can John and Anna’s love for each other and their faith in God preserve them and help forge a new nation?

Click here to get your copy!

Set during the time of the Revolutionary War, this third installment of the Charleston Bride series chronicles the lives of Anna Grace Laurens, a Southern belle, along with John Cooper Vargas, a blockade runner. After discovering her parents had been murdered, her plantation home burned, and surviving them coming after her, she finds herself upon John Cooper Vargas along with his parents, servant, and his men upon his ship.

Anna finds herself drawn toward helping the patriots with her war efforts. Families find themselves on opposite sides of this battle. But the faith, grace, determination, and love shown in this book drew me into the story. I found myself unable to put it down.

Having read the other books in this series, I have to say this book lived up to my expectations. So if you enjoy reading historical Christian fiction, check out this book for yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Elva Cobb Martin is a wife, mother, and grandmother who lives in South Carolina with her husband and a mini-dachshund. A life-long student of history, her favorite city, Charleston, inspires her stories of romance and adventure. Her love of writing grew out of a desire to share exciting stories of courageous characters and communicate truths of the Christian faith to bring hope and encouragement. Connect with her on her web site at http://www.elvamartin.com.

More from Elva

I loved researching and writing this historical novel in a day when our nation’s true history is being threatened by political change agents. My faith in our godly heritage and the courage and faith of so many true Americans was confirmed as never before. Who can ever discount the wisdom, bravery, and escapades of Francis Marion, Andrew Pickens, and Thomas Sumter that helped save South Carolina after the British retook Charleston? Who can doubt the prayers and courage of George Washington and the Continental Army, and the many brave patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice, or who suffered privation and loss of property but who never gave up the dream of a free nation? We are the land of the free because of the brave.

In honor of the brave patriots, I placed quotes from leaders in this period at the head of each chapter. Here’s the quote I chose to introduce the book:

The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in the course of the war that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith. –George Washington, August 20, 1778.

Many interesting tidbits I found in my research surprised me. Francis Marion was dubbed the Swamp Fox by his British pursuers who could never catch him. His battle tactics gave him the distinction of being the father of modern guerilla warfare and the inspiration for Mel Gibson’s character in The Patriot. Also, Marion did not drink alcoholic beverages. The drink he prescribed for himself and required of anyone who joined his militia was the old Roman drink of water mixed with a little vinegar. Today we know this as a fortifying concoction, and it probably prevented scurvy and was a natural antibiotic for the militia.

Another surprising tidbit I learned was about George Washington. Barely into his second term as president (1793) the popular French Ambassador Genet stirred up a furor with a lot of the colonists. He wanted to force Washington to join France in their renewed war against England. Having just won our independence, the president refused to lead our fledgling nation back into war. Ten thousand people gathered in the streets of Philadelphia, the nation’s then capital, day after day, and threatened to drag Washington out of his house, raucously demanding that America take up France’s struggle for liberty as France had done for America. The peace and unity of the new nation seemed to be hanging by a thread.

Just when it seemed like the new nation would fall over the precipice into anarchy, America was ultimately saved, according to the later retired Vice President Adams, by an outbreak of Yellow Fever in the capital city. “The coolest and firmest minds,” he told Jefferson, “have given their opinions to me, that nothing but Yellow Fever…could have saved the United States from a total Revolution of government.”

The exploding epidemic sent those who could afford to, fleeing the city, and those who couldn’t, locked themselves up inside their homes.

I discovered this incident of heated colonial protest during the recent rioting and destruction of property that rocked our American cities in the summer and fall of 2020. It actually gave me hope for our nation. It seems there have always been hotheads in every generation who rise up against the rule of law and order. However, America and our wonderful Constitution have been preserved, and we give God the praise, and pray for His continued help.

The Petticoat Spy is, above all, Anna Grace Laurens and John Cooper Vargas’ love story. It’s also the story of the patriot dream and victory over an undefeated British military while also dealing with serious supply shortages and conspiring neighbors who hated the dreamers.

It is my prayer that both threads will inspire hope and encouragement to all my readers.

Elva Cobb Martin

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 5

Life, Love, Writing, October 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 6

Rebecca Tews, October 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 8

Texas Book-aholic, October 9

Joanna Bair, October 9

Inklings and notions, October 10

Betti Mace, October 11

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 11

For Him and My Family, October 12

deb’s Book Review, October 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 15

Connect in Fiction, October 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 16

Connie’s History Classroom, October 17

She Lives To Read, October 18

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Elva is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11dd3/the-petticoat-spy-celebration-tour-giveaway