A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

This historical romance is set in Stirling, Scotland, during Christmas of 1894.

Meg Campbell should never have come home for Christmas. She missed her parents, but her brother, Alan, always managed to poison her visits with his bitter remarks. On Christmas Eve, she couldn’t leave Stirling quickly enough.

Gordon Shaw’s business in Stirling had been accomplished without anyone recognizing him as the one who’d caused an accident a dozen years ago that crippled a boy, Alan Campbell. Gordon couldn’t leave Stirling quickly enough.

A chance meeting on a train might have ended there—except for the falling snow that created its own problems.

I loved this multi-layered story with relatable, wounded characters. Higgs reaches deeply to touch their hearts and, in doing so, touches the hearts of readers.

Well-written. Moving. This one will stay with you.


-Sandra Merville Hart




One Small Donkey by Dandi Daley Mackall

A Christmas story

One small donkey wishes he were big like the horses that pass by on the road near his home.

He is not fast.

Yet this little donkey has a very important job…

This Christmas book will appeal to young children from toddlers to early elementary grades.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Liar’s Winter by Cindy K. Sproles

Lochiel Ogle has a mark on her face. Her family hides her away in their mountain home so others won’t see the “mark of the Devil.” Her own mother is afraid of her. Her father is the only one who acts as if he cares for her. Then her brother, Gerald, tries to kill her.

When he finds out she did not die, he is determined to finish what he started.

Lochiel runs for her life and learns some secrets that Gerald had been keeping from her. Life-changing secrets.

This story snagged my interest from the beginning. I have a hard time reading stories with such a cruel character, but I stuck with it because the story compelled me to keep reading. I stayed up late to finish the book because I had to know what happened.

Sproles has crafted a book about so much more than events. Lochiel’s journey of fear is also a journey of discovery—about life, prejudice, superstition, and God’s love.

Well-written. Moving. This one will stay with you.


-Sandra Merville Hart



To Everything a Season by Lauraine Snelling

Song of Blessing Series – Book 1

The town of Blessing, North Dakota, experiences a growth spurt in 1905. The new hospital keeps its two doctors busy and they request student nurses from Chicago. The doctors will receive help; the nurses will receive training.

Miriam Hastings is in nursing school in Chicago. Her family relies on the little bit of money she can give them. Her younger brothers and sisters do whatever jobs they can to feed themselves and their ailing mother. Miriam can’t go to Blessing and leave the family who needs her. But she must.

Trygve Knutson quits his job leading a construction crew that often keeps him on the road. He falls in love with the new nurse and dreams of their future.

There are multiple story threads in this novel, written in multiple viewpoints. This is book one of a new series, yet it constantly references events that took place in other novels in earlier series. The characters in the huge Bjorklund family are lovable, yet for me, as a new reader to the whole series, I couldn’t keep the characters straight. Nor does there seem to be any one main character—unless she is Ingeborg Bjorklund.

I do believe that readers familiar with the series will catch on to the plot more quickly. There is a Bjorklund Family Tree in front of the book that shows names and family relationships.

Perhaps true to many series novels, it ends with a cliffhanger. It worked! I want to know what happens next …

-Sandra Merville Hart



Mist O’er the Voyageur by Naomi Musch

Brigitte Marchal disguises herself as a man to join Rene DuFour’s voyaguers on their journey west, the direction her father went. Brigitte faces danger if she remains in Montreal from a cruel suitor—she’d rather take her chances rowing the canoes on the dangerous rivers and lakes ahead, hoping to find her father.

Rene discovers her secret early in the journey and vows to protect her from the crew on the journey of months.

But the beautiful Brigitte captures the eye of many men in her search for her father—as the honorable Rene captures hers.

Musch has woven a mesmerizing tale that immerses readers into a dangerous adventure from the start. With believable and honest characters encountering situations true to the period, this suspenseful story captivated my attention and didn’t let go until the end.

Musch’s depth of research enabled her to transport readers back in time. I highly recommend this novel to lovers of historical romance.

-Sandra Merville Hart


The Army of Tennessee by Stanley F. Horn

A Military History

This nonfiction resource book traces the history of the Confederate Army of Tennessee from the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 to its ending in 1865.

When Tennessee voted to secede from the Union on June 1, 1861, volunteer military organizations were already in training. Drums and fifes played in the streets. Bands played Dixie and Bonnie Blue Flag.

This excellent book, published in 1941, provided many fascinating details not easily found in later publications.

For instance, I loved learning more about Sherman’s takeover of Atlanta. When he expelled the citizens from the city, the Army of Tennessee assisted the exiles as much as possible.

Excellent book for Civil War research and history lovers.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Fort Donelson’s Legacy by Benjamin Franklin Cooling

War and Society in Kentucky and Tennessee, 1862-1863

This nonfiction resource book begins with the Confederate surrenders of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in February, 1862. A few days later, the Confederates moved from Nashville to Murfreesboro.

Citizens in the middle section of Tennessee learned of this with sinking hearts. They knew tough times lay ahead. They could not have foreseen just how difficult those bad times would become.

After the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) Union General Grant stopped ordering his troops to protect private property regardless of owner loyalty.

This book shows what Tennessee citizens endured in 1862-1863, and how their circumstances grew progressively worse.

Excellent book for Civil War research and history lovers.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Eyewitnesses at the Battle of Franklin

Compiled and Edited by David R. Logsdon

What a great way to really dig into the history of a Civil War battle!

This historical resource book is skillfully arranged in chronological order for events before, during, and after the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee.

Quotes from officers and soldiers, both Union and Confederate, show what was happening at either side at the same time, giving valuable insight to many perspectives.

Quotes from townspeople and Franklin visitors present during the battle are also included, providing emotional details and popular opinions of the time.

Love this book! Reading it increased my understanding of what soldiers and townsfolk endured as part of my research for A Musket in My Hands, my Civil War romance that includes this battle.

Recommend this book for those interested in Civil War history, American history, and Tennessee history.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Short Stories in Ohio Collection

From the Lake to the River: The Buckeye Christian Fiction Authors 2018 Anthology

Ohio Authors writing Stories and Novellas set in Ohio

Published by Mt. Zion Ridge Press


Short stories don’t often receive reviews because reviewers shouldn’t give the story away. Here are snippets about short stories in this collection. No spoilers. All so different—recommend!

Fred’s Gift by Bettie Boswell

Heartwarming story about loss and gain, set in Ohio’s heartland at Christmastime.


Evie’s Letter by Cindy Thomson

The War between the States is past. Putting aside their differences is difficult for folks in Cardington even though General Ulysses S. Grant is now President Grant. Excellent!


Debt to Pay by JPC Allen

Two brothers find someone in the woods—and suddenly their lives are in danger, too. Suspenseful—a page-turner!


Christmas Angels by Carole Brown

A young Cincinnati wife and mother misses her husband, off at war, but why hasn’t he sent her money for two months? Heartwarming!

-Sandra Merville Hart


Woodlands by Robin Jones Gunn

Book 7 in The Glenbrooke Series

This is the first book I’ve read in this series and I’m already hooked. I love the small town feel where “everyone knows everyone.”

Leah has resigned herself that no man will ever want to marry her. The guys in high school dated and married her classmates. She’s not like her older sisters, who married and moved away from Glenbrooke. Leah stayed to take care of her aging parents, despite the continuing negative comments from her dad who wished she’d been his only son instead of his last daughter.

Her parents had passed, but Leah is still taking care of everyone. Then she meets Seth.

Seth’s family has ties to the town. His uncle is a descendant of the town’s first resident. Seth is interested in the beautiful Leah from the start, though she holds him at an arm’s length. But Seth has reasons of his own for coming to Glenbrooke …

The characters captured my heart right away, though some of their choices frustrated me. I kept returning to the story to discover what happened next. A page turner!

And the townsfolk captivated me, too. I will look for other books in this series and by this author.

-Sandra Merville Hart