Lillie Beth in Summer by Eva Marie Everson

A Southern Season: Four Stories from a Front Porch Swing

Allensville, Georgia, 1968

Lillie Beth McCall adores Granny—well, she’s not really her Granny, but her husband, David’s. Yet Granny had loved her more than her own Mama, right from the start. They grieved David’s death as a soldier in Vietnam together.  Lillie Beth, still a teenager, has known hard times all her life.

Then she meets the young widower, Dr. James Gillespie. Could he be the one Granny’s been praying for?

A story of grace, told with grace. I fell in love with the characters who gently invited me into their story.

Masterfully written. Highly recommend.

-Sandra Merville Hart





Deadly Guardian by Deborah Sprinkle

Chemistry teacher Madison Long’s plans for the summer break quickly take a bad turn. Long walks with her dog beside the lake leave her looking over her shoulder. She’s being watched though she never spots the guy.

Detective Nate Zuberi helps her out of a sticky situation with an ex-boyfriend only to find the man dead hours later. Is Madison guilty of murder? Despite Nate’s growing feelings for her, he has to consider the possibility.

Danger mounts as someone continues to stalk Madison. Who is after her? And why is Nate in danger?

Readers are given no time to relax as Madison goes from one danger to the next. This intricately-woven suspense is Sprinkle’s debut novel. The author has written a spell-binding romantic suspense. I couldn’t put it down! I had to know what happened next.

I recommend this book for readers of romantic suspense. A page-turner!

-Sandra Merville Hart


Libby’s Cuppa Joe by Rebecca Waters

Sonja Parker’s dreams are about to come true. She’s purchased a vacant coffee shop in a small Wisconsin town. There’s a lot about the coffee business she’ll need to learn before the shop reopens. Libby, the first owner, has passed away and her husband, Joe, lives nearby.

Libby’s Cuppa Joe, which has a great reputation in the community with yearly summer visitors, requires a lot of repairs. Since her new business requires so much of her time, she doesn’t find a church home in the area. God hasn’t had a big place in her life for some time.

She takes a job out of state in a friend’s coffee shop and becomes an experienced barista. She also meets Damon Evans, a ski instructor, and falls in love with him.

With lovable, believable characters—and at least one that readers will love to hate—a sweet coffee shop, and a lovable community, this book is an enjoyable read. I got caught up in the story early on.

There are several twists and turns in the story that I didn’t see coming. Each one added another layer. There are a few threads and they captured my interest.

I will look for other books by this author. Recommend!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Libby’s Cuppa Joe by Rebecca Waters

Gift of the Heart by Karen Witemeyer

From The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love Through the Generations

Hope Springs, Texas October 1890

Ruth Fulbright and seven-year-old daughter, Naomi, are coming to Hope Springs to accept a job as cook at a café. The widow must make this new job work. She sold her wedding ring to pay for travel expenses.

Bo Azlin shuns the company of others because of a childhood injury. He owns most of the town’s businesses including the resort, yet the folks don’t know him. Hoping to hide his useless right arm, he avoids the townspeople … until Ruth insists on meeting him directly.

Her plight raises his compassion. Dare he dream the pretty widow and her daughter can learn to love him?

A heart-warming story that snatched my attention immediately. Before long, I was pulling for their relationship to blossom.

Lovable, strong characters add to the charm of this story. Recommend!

-Sandra Merville Hart

When Love Returns by Beth Wiseman

An Amish Homecoming: Four Amish Stories

 Sarah and her five-year-old daughter, Miriam, lose everything they own in a hurricane. Now they have no choice but to return to Sarah’s parents’ Lancaster County home. She hasn’t seen them since leaving at seventeen.

Sarah’s father welcomes her with open arms. No hug from her mother—typical. They had trouble getting along in her teenaged years.

But there’s someone else she needs to see—Abram, her ex-fiancé.  She’d left him without a word, too.

This is a multi-layered story. Each character inspired varying levels of sympathy as a I read it. Each character is believable and so are the emotions they battle.

A great read. Recommend!

-Sandra Merville Hart





Ice Melts in Spring by Linda Yezak

A Southern Season: Four Stories from a Front Porch Swing

 Kerry Graham has avoided the beach since her husband died in boating accident. If she didn’t need her job cataloging items for an author’s museum donations, she wouldn’t be here now.

Quinn Russell, her handsome yet nosy beach neighbor, seems nice but Kerry holds everyone at an arm’s length these days, including God. Especially God.

Compassionate, believable characters in this novella drew me right into the story.  The setting made me long for an extended beach vacation.

Well-written. Recommend.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories in the collection!

-Sandra Merville Hart


The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

The story begins with a wounded soldier, Hamilton. He seems near death yet he must retrieve a letter that is very important to him.

Hamilton is a Revolutionary War soldier, fighting for independence from England. Though Esther loves Hamilton, she and her father are Loyalists. Their story is interwoven with that of a modern couple.

Actress Chloe Daschle is desperate to play a part where her character doesn’t die. Playing the part of Esther in a movie by a new scriptwriter, Jesse Gates, will rescue her from that typecasted role.

Jesse Gates’ play, based on an ancestor’s letter, has more to do with a tragedy from his own life than he cares to admit. Though Chloe tugs at his heart, he’ll never heal from his past enough to love again.

Despite failures in past relationships, Chloe still believes in love. In marriage. Jesse captivates her yet he has put up walls between them.

The author has woven an intricate story, binding the past and the present in a way that kept me turning pages.

Believable, likeable characters all face their own internal battles in a dual story that will stay with readers.


-Sandra Merville Hart


Flowers from Afghanistan by Suzy Parish

A tragedy leaves a hole in Mac’s heart and a mountain of debt. He can’t stand the raw grief in Sophie’s eyes so he does the only thing he can do for his wife—sign up as a contractor in Afghanistan. The dangerous work pays well.

Guilt fights with grief as he travels across the world. The miles apart don’t heal his relationship with his wife. They both mourn Little Mac’s death in their own ways.

This story is told entirely from Mac’s point of view as he faces danger in Afghanistan and the turmoil of his heart. He meets other men battling their own issues in the Afghanistan heat.

Believable story. Believable, flawed characters that touched my heart.

An adventure and a page-turner. Recommend.

-Sandra Merville Hart





Northkill by Bob Hostetler & J.M. Hochstetler

Book One of Northkill Amish Series

Jakob Hochstetler and his wife Anna have fled persecution of the Amish in the Alsace region to live in the Pennsylvania wilderness. The novel begins in 1752. Readers experience the danger immediately. The warriors threatening the Hochstetlers were not from the Delaware tribe that the Amish families in the community had befriended.

Though the family survives that first hostile encounter, the event foreshadows the looming French and Indian War.

The story is told from several perspectives though nearly all of them are the Hochstetler men. Differing points of view build sympathy and compassion for each character. The story shows the escalating tension that leads to increasing violence in the midst of an Amish family called to peace.

A word of caution: the story contains violence. At that point, I was too engrossed in the drama to stop reading—I had to know what happened.

This is book one in a series.

This action-packed adventure will appeal to male readers and fans of American history.

An adventurous page-turner that kept me up too late!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Shadowed by a Spy by Marilyn Turk

Lexie Smithfield, a nursing student in Long Island, longs to ease the suffering of her country’s soldiers in this second World War. Four men on a train catch her attention when they seem to be going everywhere she’s going. Are they following her? Later she sees them again near Bellevue Hospital where she takes her training. One of them, Cal, becomes very friendly.

Russell Thompson, Lexie’s fiancé, works at a hotel near the hospital so he can be close to her. Four men check into the hotel but Russell is too busy to pay much notice. If not for his foot injury, he’d be serving his country as a soldier across the sea. As part of her training, some of Lexie’s patients are soldiers. She’s doing more for their country’s cause than he is able to do.

Then Russell receives the opportunity to join an army USO group that will take him far from Lexie when she needs him most.

Likeable characters in an intriguing and dangerous situation grabbed my attention early in this novel. Tension builds as the reader recognizes the danger before the characters do. The book was also an eye opener for the danger U.S. citizens at home were in during the war.

I read the first novel by this author and enjoyed spending time with the same characters again.

-Sandra Merville Hart

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