Blog Tour: After Our Castle by Kellyn Roth (Alice and Ivy #6) | Spotlight, Review, and Giveaway

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About the Book

After Our Castle Image

Book: After Our Castle
Author: Kellyn Roth
Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction
Release date: October 2022

A year into a blissfully happy marriage, Violet Angel admits to a dose of skepticism. She’s not married, granted—but as the closest friend of the bride and groom, she feels she has a perspective no one but the people directly involved could have. There’s no such thing as a happy ending, and it’s only a matter of time before the castle in the sky plummets to earth. If only Violet were always wrong instead of just mostly wrong. Ivy McAllen doesn’t believe she and her new husband are out of the honeymoon period—if they are, she isn’t going to admit it to herself—but there are certainly areas of adjustment that she hadn’t expected. Changes at the village of Keefmore and in Ivy’s life lead to complications, and Violet spirals further and further from reality. When a castle in the sky turns to be more cloud than stronghold, finding a foothold proves to be more than a little difficult.  

Amazon || GoodReads

My Review:

Similar Reviews:

tw // child loss/miscarriage/infertility/conception, a mention of a suicide attempt

This is the third book from the perspective of Ivy and I really liked it! I don’t think this book was my favorite overall, but it kept me engaged and I looked forward to seeing how the story would progress.

Like always, this book deals with a lot of gritty topics: a lot of hard hitting, real life, adult topics. In particular, this book navigates the first few years of marriage, and the adjustment between courting and marriage. It deals with a lot about wanting/waiting for children, so if that is a topic that you are sensitive towards, this may be a book to skip.

In addition, this book seemed more preachy than the previous ones. There were a lot of takes that I really didn’t agree with, including discussions about children before marriage may lead to “temptation,” anything less than 100% transparency between a married couple is fully adultery, and the “it takes a village” adage is unreliable and that a family unit should be self sufficient (which is not only just bad advice, it’s actively unbiblical). Characters would occasionally go into monologues about their beliefs and what to do to live a Christian life, some of which I agreed with, and some of which I didn’t, but they happened a little too frequently in my opinion.

I did like seeing the inclusion of more of Violet Angel in this book: while she isn’t exactly a reliable narrator, it was cool to see her growth and development as she navigates the world. Her character arc was really cool to see, and I also liked seeing flashbacks to her experience at the McHale house where she and Ivy met. I also liked Alice a lot more in this book than previously: she seems to have mellowed and matured ad lot since the previous book. She provides a lot of wisdom and comfort to Ivy that I really liked seeing, especially with all that happened to her in the previous book.

This book was very slice-of-life, where it narrated a lot of Ivy’s day to day and her life living in the village, which was really fun to read. Overall though, I think this book was weaker than some of the previous books in the series, and while I did enjoy it, it got a little too preachy at points for me to truly enjoy it.

My Rating

3/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author

Kellyn Roth

Kellyn Roth is a historical romance & women’s fiction author who writes about the empty places where hope has the most room to grow. Her novels include the inspirational Victorian family saga, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, and the Kees & Colliers series, which follows a broken family in the tumultuous years of the first half of the 20th century. Kellyn is a student of the Author Conservatory and a writing coach. When not building her author career, she is likely getting lost somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with her friends, watching period dramas and facetious comedies, or spending time with her husband.  

Giveaway

After Our Castle Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kellyn is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 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.

Enter Here.

For more information about this blog tour, and exclusive content from the author about After Our Castle, as well as more stops from the blog tour, click here.

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Blog Tour: A Prayer Unanswered by Kellyn Roth (Alice and Ivy #5) || Spotlight and Book Review

Beyond Her Calling

About the Book-

When her world is set adrift, she grasps for the strength to hold on …

As Alice Strauss enters her first year of marriage—full of optimism and determination—she finds herself wholly unprepared for reality. In a new country, with a new family, she struggles to find her footing. Difficult relationships and situations batter her, but she is determined to establish a perfect life with the man she loves.

Unfortunately, perfection seems just beyond her reach. An unexpected tragedy flings Alice out of control, and she struggles to rise from the ruins. Her world is full of spinning variables and agony beyond anything she has ever experienced.

However, there is hope—in a God who loves her and a future established for her since before time began. Yet the devastation of Alice’s life seems beyond even the touch of grace.

Series: The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, Book 5 (Alice #3)
Release Date: July 10, 2022
Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction
Amazon || Goodreads

My Review-

Similar Reviews:

This is the 5th book in the Alice and Ivy series by Kellyn Roth, which is a series that I have been following over the past few years and really enjoyed.

tw // child loss/miscarriage/infertility, alcohol use, postpartum depression/depressive episodes, suicidal idealization/attempt, minor mentions of being drunk and someone being conceived in rape/out of wedlock

This book was from Alice’s perspective, which hasn’t been my favorite. Alice is flighty, with a strong head for doing what is “right,” and stubborn to the point of being foolhardy. To this end, she ends up making mistakes, withdrawing, and succumbing to a deep depression. She pulls away from her husband, who is trying his best to support her, and she relies on herself to the point where she feels like she cannot go on.

This book was HEAVY. There was a LOT of mature content that was covered. It is marketed as women’s fiction, and discusses many adult topics including marital intimacy, and pregnancy/miscarriages. Everything was spoken about in a deeply moral sense, including mentions of being intimate in a marriage without being “unbiblical [. . .] that allow God the possibility to work if He so pleases” and a couple scenes where one of the married characters asks their spouse to “be with them” that night. There was a very vivid scene of a miscarriage, and a pretty graphically (but one room over) childbirth. There were multiple passages describing someone in a deep depression, to the point where they did not leave their room for weeks to months on end. There were definitely scenes that were a little too graphic and were a bit triggering for me, and I had to skim through some sections.

One thing that frustrated me about this book was that Alice and her husband, Peter, did not communicate to each other as efficiently as that could have. Part of it was due to Alice feeling like she had to be “proper,” and not divulge “womanly secrets” about her period, but part of it was just due to propriety. If you are married, there should no longer be any secrets between you and your spouse: if you have been made one, there is no point in keeping secrets, especially about things as heavy and deep as Alice did. At the same time, Peter also made decisions without referring to Alice, and this was presented as “Alice obeying Peter” but at the same time, marriage is a partnership, and moving across states is definitely a “talk with your partner” decision, not a “listen to your husband” decision. This communication barrier was pretty frustrating at times, but it did eventually start to get resolved as the book went on.

As for the plotline of the series, some pretty big things happen in this book. Ivy and Jordy get married (and their marriage seems a lot more wholesome and sustainable than Alice and Peter’s, I must say), and Nettie reveals a secret to Alice that I think should have been revealed a while ago.

There was A LOT of talk about being “moral” in this book, whether in a marriage, or just in daily living. There were several pretty deep discussions about whether or not something was Biblical, and while I appreciate that, it got to be a bit overbearing at times. It seems like the author is injecting a lot of her personal opinion into this book (and series), some of which I agreed with, and some of which I did not. There were some disparaging things said about women, along the lines of “don’t mess up her kitchen, you know how a woman gets when you mess up her kitchen,” which left a pretty nasty taste in my mouth. There are some pretty dark things said about miscarriages and what that means about a person’s character that I really disagreed with. [spoiler in the next paragraph, highlight to read]

Alice alludes several times that her miscarriage was her fault, and that her husband would never forgive her for not giving him a child. She has a really unhealthy relationship with having children, and said that the people she knew who had miscarriages were “aligned with God, and it was some strange, ill fortune that she had experienced miscarriages,” while her own was unforgivable. I was expecting someone, such as Peter, to come in and tell her that miscarriages are something that occur because of a fallen world, and it was not her fault, but that never happened. It seems as though the author does at least subconsciously believe that miscarriages can be controlled and are somehow inherently sinful, which is really sad.

Overall this book was certainly the heaviest out of this series to date: the author said that this was the climax to the generations-long drama and relationships, but it was a little too heavy for my liking. If you are looking for a heavily moral adult women’s fiction book, this is the book for you. I’m looking forwards to reading book 6, from Ivy’s perspective!

My Rating-

3/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Beyond Her Calling by Kellyn Roth (Alice and Ivy #4)

Beyond Her Calling

About this Book-

Ivy Knight feels that her life may never start. Though her loving family assures her that her place in the world is close to home, she still feels a push to move out of her comfort zone. Hoping against hope, she travels to her old friends at McCale House, seeking a purpose.

Jordy McAllen has just returned to Scotland after his education in London. He fears that what everyone has always said about him may be true: he can’t be a good doctor, let alone a good man. Determined to prove himself, Jordy snatches up the opportunity to become the doctor in the village of Keefmore near his parents’ farm.

When an old friend decides to travel to Keefmore and visit a relative, Ivy follows. She soon finds herself drawn to Jordy, but as their attraction grows, they both face doubts. A relationship between the two of them feels improbable—and might just require a step of impossible faith.

Amazon ||  Goodreads

My Review-

Other reviews from this series:

I have been following Kellyn Roth’s Alice and Ivy series since it started being republished, and naturally, I had to read and review this one!

The main storyline in this book is following Ivy, the less accomplished twin, and her romance with Jordy McAllen, a doctor and Ivy’s friend. In book 2, Ivy Introspective, she develops a friendship with Jordy and they have grown together over the course of that book and this book, and in this one, they build their relationship and fall in love.

Ivy and Jordy have much more chemistry than Alice and her husband have, and I really liked reading their journey as they fell in love. Their discoveries about life, God, and each other are insightful and well done, and their development throughout the course of this book was really good to see.

Having read 2 books from each Alice and Ivy’s perspectives, I think now that I much prefer the books when they are written from Ivy’s perspective. They are more fun and have more interest as the story progresses. Maybe this will change in book 5, but Alice’s perspective seems more bland and uninteresting, whereas Ivy is still going through so much character development and growth that her books are inherently more interesting.

In addition to the story arc from just Ivy’s perspective, there is also a series-wide arc. In this book, there are some pretty big developments that are revealed and they were SO interesting! Due to spoilers, I can’t reveal what they are, but there were some big surprises that I hadn’t previously expected that changes the way I think about a lot of the characters, and I am so interested to see more! A lot of the information from the previous books were revealed, and it makes me more excited to see what that will mean for the characters in the future.

tw // child loss/miscarriage, alcohol use, gambling, depression/depressive episodes

As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews for this series, this is women’s fiction, which means that there is a lot of discussion of mature content that is not suitable for younger readers. In particular, the content includes (and is not limited to) drinking alcohol/getting drunk, premarital sex (with a heavy emphasis on purity), infant loss/miscarriage, depression, and consent (in regard to kisses). There is a heavy emphasis on Christian morals and change/sin/forgiveness, but there are a lot of heavier adult topics talked about, and sensitive readers should be aware of that.

One more thing to note is that Jordy has a Scottish accent, and all of his dialogue is written with a Scottish accent, which forced me to have to sound it out in my head while I was reading, so if that’s not how you read, it might be annoying/difficult.

Overall, I really liked this book, especially when compared to the previous book in the series, At Her Fingertips. If you are looking for a solid Christian adult novel with hearty dose of morals and teaching, this series would be a good one to pickup.

My Rating-

4/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: To Disguise the Truth by Jen Turano (The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency #3)

To Disguise the Truth

About this Book-

When a man arrives at the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, anxious to hire them to find a missing heiress, Eunice Holbrooke realizes her past has finally caught up with her . . . and that she may no longer be able to hide under the disguise that has kept her safe for so long.

Arthur Livingston’s goal in life is to make his mark on the world as a mining industrialist, but after the man who could help him achieve his goal is murdered, Arthur feels compelled to seek justice for the family–but he’s left with more questions than answers after the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency refuses to take on his case.

Desperate to conceal her real identity and avoid the irritatingly handsome Arthur, Eunice takes on a different case that requires her to go deep undercover and entangles her in one troublesome situation after another. When other secrets come to light, Eunice has no choice but to confront her past, hopeful that it will set her free but knowing it could very well place her life–and the lives of those she loves–in jeopardy.

My Review-

Similar reviews:

I’ve read a great many Jen Turano books in my time, and I’ve really quite enjoyed most of them. Her writing style and the ridiculous situations her characters put themselves in. While this one wasn’t my favorite out of all the ones I’ve read, I did enjoy some of the tropes from this book and I thought it was really fun overall!

My main complaint about this book is its length: it’s just under 350 pages, but it felt like it took forever to read. The storytelling seemed really slow and stilted, and jumped from one plot point to another without seeming to progress the plotline all that much. There  was also a LOT of background and a lot of characters (some of whom were from previous books, some of whom were not), so the first half of the book was a lot of information to take in. In that regard, I didn’t enjoy the book as much, just because there were sections that were so dense.

There were a lot of tropes in this book that I really enjoyed: hidden identity, familial secrets, and previous romance were all in this book, and they were really fun to read. I didn’t feel particularly connected to either of the main characters, but I don’t really think they were meant to be relatable characters, but rather, more caricatures of characters.

This book had more . . . sexual content than I’d seen in other Jen Turano books? There was a mention of a lady marrying a man 20 years her junior because he was “virile” despite her never having experienced him in bed, even upon their marriage, with the connotation being that he was sleeping with other women. Whether Eunice was a child out of wedlock was in question, and there was also a mention of a man with a woman secretary/assistant that he seemed to pay more than was appropriate. There was also a mention of a man having a serious accident whereupon he was no longer able to be intimate. I am really unsure as to why there was all this more sexual content, but in my mind it seemed quite unnecessary, at least to go into that level of detail.

All in all, I feel like this book could be significantly shorter than it was, which would have made it much more enjoyable. I liked seeing the end of the series wrap up and a lot of the previous characters come back into play and where they’ve ended up, and the story was interesting overall. The twists and turns of the story made it really fun to follow, and Eunice’s journey was super non-conventional and unique. All in all, if you are a fan of Jen Turano’s writing style, stories, and characters, this would be a great book for you!

My Rating-

5/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna M. White (The Secrets of the Isles #2)

About This Book-

1906

Beth Tremayne has always been drawn to adventure. During her childhood, she fed that desire by exploring every inch of the Isles of Scilly. Now, after stumbling across an old collection of letters and a map buried on her family’s property, she’s found more adventure than she ever anticipated in the hunt for pirate treasure. But in order to discover where the clues lead, she must search alongside Lord Sheridan, a man she finds insufferable.

Sheridan has spent years pursuing whatever archaeological interests pique his imagination. And when he discovers that Beth’s search connects with one of his far-removed pirate ancestors, he can’t help getting involved. Plus, he finds her irresistible, even though she insists he stole a prized possession of hers.

As they work together following different clues and drawing closer to danger, they start to piece together a story of tragic love and piratical adventure. But which treasure will bring the greatest surprise–the one they find in each other or the one just out of their reach?

My Review-

Similar Reviews-

One of my favorite things about Roseanna M. White’s books is how unique the settings and plots always are, and this book was no exception! This book was super unique: we were introduced to life on the Sicilian Isles, but this book delves deeper into that setting.

This book follows Beth, who has been looking for pirate treasure that has been rumored to exist around the island for years. It becomes more and more obvious that people are looking for this treasure and that she is on the right track, but no one is sure if the treasure even exists at all! At the same time, Sheridan is also invested in finding this treasure, but he is just pursuing it because of his own interest. Beth doesn’t trust Sheridan, but their research interests are so similar that they end up working together very closely, and they eventually fall in love.

My main gripe with this book is that it is utterly unmemorable: I distinctly remember enjoying the story while I was reading it, but I have truly no memory of what my favorite parts of it were, nor do I remember most of the plot points. I really liked the setting, and the background characters were really lovely: Mamm-wynn and Emily and Ainsley.

Beth was a really nice character and had a really nice personality, as well as a character arc that was interesting to follow. I really liked the enemies-to-lovers relationship she had with Sheridan, and their banter was very witty and very fun. I really liked Sheridan as a character: he had some struggles with his faith, but he stated the reasons why he doubted clearly and honestly. He never stopped pursuing his faith, and–my favorite part–called out Christians for making Christianity uninteresting and unappealing. His insistent pursuit of Beth left a bit of a nasty taste in my mouth, but aside from that, I really liked his character.

The secondary character arc, regarding Senara and her being taken advantage of by a man, was much heavier and I appreciated the discussion. I think there could have been a bit more nuanced discussion, but it was overall handled tactfully and Biblically.

Overall, I enjoyed this book! There weren’t any parts that particularly stuck out to me, but it was a pleasant read.

How strange were regrets. So many things she hated, yet without them, things she loved would never have been.

My Rating-

3/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: To Write a Wrong by Jen Turano (The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency #2)

About the Book-

Miss Daphne Beekman is a mystery writer by day, inquiry agent by night. Known for her ability to puzzle out plots, she prefers working behind the scenes for the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, staying well away from danger. However, Daphne soon finds herself in the thick of an attempted murder case she’s determined to solve.

Mr. Herman Henderson is also a mystery writer, but unlike the dashing heroes he pens, he lives a quiet life, determined to avoid the fate of his adventurous parents, who perished on an expedition when he was a child. But when he experiences numerous attempts on his life, he seeks out the services of the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to uncover the culprit. All too soon, Herman finds himself stepping out of the safe haven of his world and into an adventure he never imagined.

As the list of suspects grows and sinister plots are directed Daphne’s way as well, Herman and Daphne must determine who they can trust and if they can risk the greatest adventure of all: love.

My Review-

Similar Reviews:

tw // attempted assault, pedophilia, anxiety attacks, PTSD

I was really looking forwards to this book! Since reading To Steal a Heart, book 1 in this series, I had been looking forwards to seeing Daphne’s perspective & love story on the page. She was such an interesting character and I was really looking forwards to seeing her point of view!

Unfortunately, those expectations fell a little flat. While Daphne was a really interesting character, she wasn’t as well rounded as I had expected, from the glimpses that was seen of her from the first book. Her romance with Herman was really lacking in chemistry (similar to the relationship in the first book). I didn’t get as much as a look into her head as I would have liked, and Herman was honestly a really flat character.

There wasn’t really an established backstory about Herman, nor was there any motivation behind any of the characters, both protagonist and antagonist. Herman in particular was the most nondescript man I have read in a while. His only character trait seemed to be that he was a big man. While he was a writer, he didn’t seem to have any inclinations towards writing: he never mentioned writing, he never had to spend time writing, or thinking about stories, or anything of the sort. While the story was partially told from his perspective, he didn’t contribute any interesting thoughts at all.

The story was interesting, though it was REALLY slow and felt pretty pointless. The premise was really interesting: a group of famous novel writers at a big house in the city, with someone who was trying to kill the host. However, the story was executed really poorly. The story revolved very little around the writers and the stories and the publishing content but way more about what their daily life was, but with very sparse details. It was really boring and I had to push to get through the middle third/40% of the book.

There was way less talk about the Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency than I would have liked as well: in the previous book I really enjoyed seeing the dynamics of the agency and having it come together. In addition, the dialogue was really stilted and unrealistic, and while Jen Turano’s books always require a certain level of suspension of disbelief, the dialogue in this book was unrealistic to an awkward degree.

The only part of this book that really held my attention was the discussion of the heavier topics: both Daphne and Herman’s grandmother suffer from anxiety, the grandmother to a greater degree. Daphne was sexually harassed when she was younger, and the man returns further on the book to harass her some more. In addition, (spoilers ahead in white, highlight to read, aforementioned trigger warnings)

One of the antagonists corners Daphne in the hallway and says that she has been enticing him by “flipping her hair” and “curling her hair around her finger” starting from when she was 12 or 13, and attempts to assaults her. Nothing too graphic, but he does grab her and corner her in a room. It later then comes out that he also tried to sexually assault her when she was 13 (he didn’t do it, and only ended up kissing her non consensually), causing Daphne to have lasting PTSD.

While nothing really was described very closely, it did span several pages and occupy a pretty good chunk of conversation, so if you’re sensitive to topics like that, this might not be a good book for you. With that said, these topics were handled well, and with a pretty feminist bent, and I liked how they were discussed.

Overall, I was disappointed by this book: from what was teased of it from the previous book I was expecting this book to be much more interesting than it was, but it ended up being a lot of mundane discussion instead of drama. Most of the main characters were not very well developed and the dialogue and plot were not well-thought-through. There were some pretty heavy topics discussed, and I liked how they were done, but otherwise I unfortunately didn’t really enjoy this book very much.

My Rating-

2/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: At Her Fingertips by Kellyn Roth (Alice and Ivy #3)

About the Book-

Title: At Her Fingertips
Series: The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, Book #3
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women’s Fiction
Era: Late Victorian (1880)
Release Date: July 17th, 2021
Amazon || GoodReads

She’s willing to do anything to follow her plan.

Debutante Alice Knight is ready for her first social season in London. She’s determined to impress society and her mother with an affluent match, at last escaping her past and embracing a future of her own making.

Peter Strauss, an American reporter visiting England, isn’t exactly what Alice had in mind. However, his friendship proves invaluable as Alice faces the challenges of her debut. Almost immediately, she attracts the attention of a well-born gentleman—perfect save for the simple fact that he’s not a Christian.

The life she longs for is finally at her fingertips, but between her own heart and the convictions of her faith, she isn’t sure she ought to grasp it.

My Review-

Similar Reviews:

This is book 3 in Kellyn Roth’s Alice and Ivy series, and I was looking forwards to reading it! While books 1 and 2 were set fairly close together, this book was set quite a ways after, when Alice and Ivy are 18. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the earlier ones, but I still enjoyed being immersed in their world and following along their stories!

This book was once again told from Alice’s point of view, as in The Dressmaker’s Secret (book 1). In this book Alice felt really immature and shallow, and while she goes through a lot of character development, overall, I still felt like the character from book 1 that I so related to and enjoyed following was gone. Instead in her place was a little brat who didn’t really seem to consult God in her life, unlike the Alice from book 1. She was going through her first Season in London, and the entire time she was obsessed with getting married and starting a family, and all but disregarded wise input from trusted people in her life.

The pacing of this story was much slower than the other two books: it was too long in my opinion, and I had to force myself to push through it. While there were interesting segments, much of the book was spent in introspection and conversation, and it really wasn’t interesting to me. The love story also didn’t really make sense to me–while I understand the point of who Alice ended up marrying, I don’t think that it was the best fit, and there wasn’t any chemistry between her and her partner. I also really didn’t like the dehumanizing way that she treated Ivy: while Ivy might have been “slower,” there was no reason to baby her and insult her.

There were a lot of minor characters from previous books that didn’t make a reappearance, which I was really sad about! Mrs. Chattoway never showed back up, and Alice and Ivy’s parents weren’t in the book as much as I expected. Alice and Ivy have since added several younger siblings to their family, and Nettie’s growing family was also there, so it was lively, though the children weren’t really in the book much either. Since the previous book, a lot of the perspective of children seems to have been lifted, which was one of my favorite parts about the previous books, so I was a little sad to not have that, although I understand that the main characters are older now and that childhood innocence is no longer there.

This book is presented as women’s fiction, and is not for younger readers: there are some very heavy topics discussed that are not suitable for younger readers. There were a lot of hard topics discussed, which has been the part that has most impressed me about this series. In this book, miscarriage is the one mostly discussed, but also domestic abuse, rape, and the role of a family/marriage in a Christian perspective. However, in this book, some topics felt really preachy, particularly the one regarding marrying a Christian. While yes, it is important to pursue godly relationships and honor Christ in a relationship, having the “uneven yoke” discussion FOUR TIMES in a book is really too much.

There was a lot of talk about not marrying a Christian, so much so that some sections seemed repetitive. In addition, there was a segment at a masquerade ball where one of the characters spoke a lot about masks being “dehumanizing” and “a removal of personhood” and “taking away individuality,” clearly a reflection on the use of masks in the pandemic. While I am all for the inclusion of the author’s perspectives in a book, this inclusion was unnecessary in my opinion.

The Gospel message was not quite as clearly presented in this book as the others, which was a little disappointing, though I expect that readers of this book are almost guaranteed to be Christian, considering how heavy the “you have to marry a Christian” talk is.

Overall, I did enjoy being in the setting again, though this book wasn’t my favorite out of the series. I’ll continue to read the rest of the books Kellyn Roth puts out, because I am invested in these characters now, but I think that books 1 and 2 are looking to be my favorite out of the series.

My Rating-

5/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author-

Kellyn Roth is a Christian historical women’s fiction & romance author from North-Eastern Oregon who has independently published multiple novels, the most notable being The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series. You should definitely call her Kell.

Kell lives on family-owned property outside an unmemorable but historical town with her parents, two little brothers, arbitrary cat, precious border collies, a dozen cows, and lots of chickens. She also possesses a classic, vintage aesthetic which does not at all speak to her country girl side, but such is life.

When not writing, Kell likes to blog, teach writing to her various students, have day jobs which allow her to keep her car properly insured, and spend lavish amounts of money on Dairy Queen french fries. She also likes to talk about Keira Knightley and her own books way too much.

Website || Blog || Newsletter || Instagram || Facebook || Twitter || GoodReads

Book Review: No Journey Too Far by Carrie Turansky (McAlister Family #2)

About the Book-

A family long divided, a mysterious trunk, and a desperate journey across the ocean—all in the name of love. The epic saga of the McAlisters continues in this riveting sequel to No Ocean Too Wide.

In 1909, Grace McAlister set sail for Canada as one of the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families and their homeland. Though she is fortunate enough to be adopted by wealthy parents, the secrets of her past are kept hidden for ten years until someone from her long-buried childhood arrives on her doorstep. With this new connection to her birth family, will she be brave enough to leave her sheltered life in Toronto and uncover the truth?

After enduring hardship as an indentured British Home Child, Garth McAlister left Canada to serve in World War I. His sweetheart, Emma Lafferty, promised to wait for his return, but after three long years apart, her letters suddenly stopped. When Garth arrives home from the war to unexpected news, he is determined to return to Canada once more on a daunting mission to find the two women he refuses to abandon—his long-lost sister and his mysteriously missing sweetheart.

My Review-

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This book was the sequel to No Ocean Too Wide, set 10 years after the first one. In that book, four siblings and their mother were separated; three of them were sent to Canada, having been mistaken as orphans. In that book, 2 of the children were reunited with their family, and in this one, the last child is finally reunited. I did not expect the large time gap between the two books, especially with the cliffhanger book 1 ended on, but I do think it was really well done.

The space between the stories allowed for there to have been a lot of changes in the book, and was realistic in that stories do not often intersect as easily in real life as in stories. There is a slight romance in this book: it is the love story between one of the children, Garth, and a girl he met while working in Canada, Emma. In addition, the book covers the story of Grace, the youngest child, being reunited with her family, as aforementioned. These three storylines intertwine over the course of this book, as well as all the adventures and mishaps that happen along the way.

The storytelling in this book wasn’t my favorite: it felt like the author really “told not showed,” which is generally bad writing form. It felt really passive, and I never really felt connected to any of the characters because all of their actions were described, and their thoughts were never really described. In addition, some of the writing was really stilted and it did not feel like there was enough proofreading done to make the story flow better.

I also felt like the backstory could have been established better: there were some aspects of Grace’s personality that did not really make sense, and some of her actions did not really align with what her character portrayed. (Spoiler: highlight to read-

she runs away from home because her parents didn’t believe Garth was her brother, but then the next time she talked to them they understood??? so WHY didn’t she just,,,talk to her parents earlier?)

Without knowing the motivation behind the characters, understanding them and the reasoning behind their actions was a little difficult and threw me off a lot. The characters also . . . never really worried about money? Laura’s husband (whose story was told in the first book) was really rich, and seemed to just pay for everything but . . . it kind of feels like traveling between England and Canada shouldn’t have been easy as it appeared in the book. That also affected how I felt about the realism of the book.

There was a lot of spiritual content in this book, which was really nice! The story is kicked off by Grace finding her Bible and rediscovering her faith. The characters all had strong faith and prayed and talked about their faith a lot. There was a lot of adult content as well though: there was one mention of a man trying to force himself on Emma while he was drunk, as well as other implications of men wanting to take advantage of women.

My last critique of this book is that it tied things together too well. I called each of the plot points before they happened, even the one that was supposed to be the plot twist: and the story wasn’t really engaging to read because the entire plot is predictable. The story seems to wrap up neatly with a bow, and the chances of each of those things individually happening was quite low, much less them all together. Because of that, it was difficult to believe the realism of this book.

Overall, I did enjoy this story. It was very inspirational, and highlighted some of the atrocities of history and discrimination. I recommend this book if you are looking for a lighthearted read with a historical background; in addition, I definitely recommend reading the two books in the duology in order (though maybe with a bit of time in between because of the time gap between the books).

My Rating-

3/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.