I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Secrets by the Sea: a Recommendation for Lady in the Mist

Love, secrets, and suspense weave together in Laurie Alice Eakes’ latest release, Lady in the Mist. This inspirational historical romance is set in 1809, Virginia, a turbulent time between America and England.

Preceding the War of 1812, relations between Americans and English were mistrustful at best. One problem for those living in coastal areas was the impression of American men -- when British sailors kidnapped Americans to serve in their navy – and understandably, Americans’ anger and fear grew as the prospect of war loomed in the future.

The heroine of Lady in the Mist, Tabitha Eckles, has personal reason to loathe the English: she lost her fiancé to impression – a fate he might have avoided if he hadn’t abandoned her in the first place. Alone in the world, Tabitha has her work as the community’s midwife and healer to sustain her. Still, she yearns for a family of her own. Losing her fiancé and family within a few years robbed her of love, and she turned away from God.

As a midwife, Tabitha is the keeper of dangerous secrets, and someone puts a knife on her throat to remind her to hold her tongue. Her physical safety isn’t the greatest of her worries, however, not since meeting an indentured servant, Dominick Cherrett, on the beach. Looking into Dominick’s eyes, she is stunned to find her heart stirred for the first time since her fiancé left. If only Dominick weren’t an enemy Englishman who may be personally responsible for stealing Virginians off American soil.

Dominick is an enjoyable hero, rich in humor and conviction (although, for most of the book, it isn’t precisely clear where Dominick’s convictions lie). His affability and sweet disposition make him easy to like, but the injustices he’s survived give him depth. He struggles with the church just as Tabitha does, and their spiritual struggles reminded me that God is ever-present, waiting to receive his children with open arms no matter how far we stray from him.

Numerous obstacles stand between Dominick and Tabitha, not the least is his status as an indentured servant (and spy). The secrets Tabitha holds might be her undoing, but when her fiancé returns, her heart battles her head as she chooses between two men with secrets and clandestine agendas of their own.

Eakes is well-regarded for her historical research, and she’s woven time and place into the novel with expert care. Her use of sensory detail is so gracefully plaited into the scenes that it’s delightfully easy to imagine one’s self breathing sea air, hearing gulls, or smelling strawberry jam. Her skill is admirable, and as a writer, I’ve taken notes.

Lady in the Mist is the first in Eakes' trilogy, The Midwives. I look forward to reading subsequent novels in this series, and heartily recommend Lady in the Mist to any lover of inspirational, historical-set fiction. Suspense and a sweet love story combine to make a delightful read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of review.
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

On the Journey, and a Giveaway!

Victorian Valentine's Day CardImage via Wikipedia Happy Valentine's Day!

This is a big day around my house. We're celebrating with conversation hearts, heart-shaped pizza, Star Wars Valentines, and hopefully chocolate. A lot of chocolate.

But I have something else to celebrate today. I was interviewed for Romance Writers on the Journey, Keli Gwyn's blog showcasing new and yet-to-be-published romance novelists. Many of the authors who've appeared on this site have inspired, encouraged, and challenged me, so you can imagine how honored and humbled I was when Keli asked to interview me. And on Valentine's Day, no less!

To celebrate, I'm offering two giveaways. Over on Romance Writers on the Journey (click here), you can read the interview and enter to win a Starbucks gift card. And if you win, you and your sweetie (or friend, or just YOU!) can enjoy some coffee, tea, and a bakery treat or two.

And if you leave a comment here on Tea and A Good Book by Thursday, Feb. 17, you'll be entered into a drawing for the January/February issue of Tea Time magazine! Tea Time is a delightful publication, chock full of recipes, articles, and gorgeous photos. This particular issue celebrates the season with segments on chocolate, Girl's Day Out, Chinese New Year, and red velvet scones. It's a fun issue, but I'll be honest: I love the ads just as much as the articles. In fact, I grow downright covetous looking at all the gorgeous china.

To visit Tea Time's website, click here.

And may you and your sweeties have a delightful Valentine's Day!

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