Monday, July 6, 2009
Book Tour: Tomorrow's Treasure by Linda Lee Chaikin & The Captain's Bride by Lisa Tawn Bergren
From the back cover:
"Raised by her aunt and uncle at the rectory in the small English village of Grimston Way, lovely Evy Varley remembers little of her parents and nothing of South Africa, the land where she was orphaned during the Zulu war of 1878. But when Sir Roger Chantry, the arrogant and handsome son of the local squire, accuses Evy's mother of stealing the infamous Kimberly Black Diamond, Evy sets out to prove the rogue wrong and clear her mother's name.
Secrets abound, however, from the diamond mines of South Africa to the halls of her own beloved rectory. A stunned Evy finds her own aunt and uncle may have concealed disturbing truths about her family, and the rakish Sir Rogan has his own reasons to seek the Black Diamond. Now, faced with a dangerous past and an uncertain future, Evy must draw upon her wits and her faith to pursue Tomorrow's Treasure."
My thoughts: This story has a lot going for it: from adventures in Capetown to a rural village in the Victorian era, luxurious living at the squire's manse to penurious rectory life, family secrets and a black sheep, stolen diamonds and a captivating love story. Phew, what more could you want for a perfect literary escape! I really enjoyed this book and want to extend a thank you to Staci at Waterbrook Press for a copy. 4****
About the author: Linda Lee Chaiken has written numerous top-selling books and series, including The Silk House series and For Whom The Stars Shine, a finalist for the prestigious christy Award. Two of her novels have been awarded the Silver Angel Angel Award for excellence. Linda is a graduate of Multnamah Biblical Seminary and taught neighborhood Bible classes for many years. She and her husband live in California.
My Thoughts: The story opens in Bergen, Norway in 1880 as we are introduced to the main characters: Elsa Anders and her fiance Peder Ramstadt, Elsa's younger sister Tora and Peder's best friend Karl. Along with these characters are newlyweds Kaatje and Soren. Elsa's and Peder's wedding occurs in Norway and then they are off to build a new life in Camden-by-the-Sea, Maine. Several others from Bergen are to sail with them. Peder is the Captain of the ship and he and his friend Karl will be building a new shipyard in Maine but Karl is harboring a secret that could destroy their life long friendship. After settling in their new home, Elsa becomes distraught that Peder does not want her to sail with him as he thinks it is too dangerous. This becomes a bone of contention in their marriage. You can just feel Elsa's frustration and Peder's obstinacy. Even though they have differences of opinons, their deep Christian beliefs keeps their love intact and helps them to overcome many problems. Bergren does such a wonderful job with these characters that they really come to life on the page. It is so easy to feel their anguish at leaving their families but also the excitement and sense of adventure in emigrating to America.
Some of the other Bergensers, including Kaatje and Soren travelled on to North Dakota to make a living out of farming. Unfortunately, Soren has an eye for other women. Despite his promises to Kaatje to be faithful only to her, Soren can not help dallying with others, even turning to the teenaged Tora while sailing to America. These actions are to have dire consequences to their young marriage. Tora, despite her young age of 16, is a woman who knows what she wants and will use any means to get it. Aspiring to marriage and family is definitely not on her agenda. She has set her sights to high society and wealth. After finally leaving Camden-by-the-Sea, she moves to Duluth to begin a career and a search for the perfect man who will keep her in style. All of the characters start out with big dreams for a new life in a new country where the possibilities seem endless. This book is the first in The Northern Lights trilogy. I got so engrossed in this wonderful saga that I finished it in two sittings. I had a really hard time coming out of the time frame and putting this one down. Bergren is a skilled writer who fleshes out her characters to perfection. Every nuance of the characters' emotions is clearly expressed leaving the reader to feel as if these characters are real. There are also plenty of adventures in this epic story. I liked the first one so much, I read the next two books in the series: Deep Harbor and Midnight Sun where the story continued. If you are a fan of romance, Christian fiction, adventure or family sagas, this is one story you will savor. Highly recommended. 4.5****
About the author: Lisa Tawn Bergren has authored more than thrity books, including Breathe and The Begotten. Visit her online here.
A huge thank you to Staci at Waterbrook/Random House for a copy of this riveting novel.