When Peyton arrived at Calumet Castle for a summer job, she had only a vague idea of what to expect. She knew of her wealthy employers and that her progressive ideas and choice of career made her a target for the social circles but little else. It came as a huge shock to find herself working alongside her childhood best friend, Patrick, and in turn, they were both shocked at how much their three-year absence from each other had changed them. Rekindling her relationship with Patrick, navigating new feelings for him, rediscovering her faith, trying not to anger the staunchly old-fashioned housekeeper of the castle, and doing her actual job give Peyton a busy and conflicted summer to contend with.
Peyton’s Promise is the third novel by Susan Mathis in her Thousand Island Gilded Age Series. Set in the Thousand Islands, on the St. Lawrence river, these stories take the setting and make it a palpable part of the story being told. Peyton’s Promise is no exception, describing the sights and homes of the area with beautiful depth and recreating what it might have been like in the early years of the 20th century when the area was a popular destination for many of the wealthy elite in society.
Mathis is adept at weaving historical figures into her fiction and has done so in this story with the Emerys. Calumet Castle’s owners function as the mostly absent champions of Peyton’s work, an upholsterer beyond her apprenticeship. Mathis always includes a brief note to explain the real history she has included, with details about the families, their homes, and more about the area.
Peyton’s Promise has a similar feeling to the other Thousand Island stories. Readers will find enjoyment and take comfort in returning to the beloved landscape and having the experience of revisiting a favorite vacation location. The storyline moves quickly with an internally conflicted heroine, a love interest that seems too much at odds to ever succeed, and a rival antagonist that seems on the cusp of bringing disaster more than once. This book is truly wonderful and difficult to put down! The pacing has readers engaged from start to finish. Additionally, the amount of detail included about the Islands is just enough to encourage some further research. They are perfect for a light read for those that love a Christian historical romance novel.
Pages: 291 | ASIN : B09N6J5X6M
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, christian romance, ebook, fiction, goodreads, historical fiction, historical romance, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, Peyton's Promise, read, reader, reading, religious fiction, religious historical fiction, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing
Colleen is an orphan who has taken up a job as a laundress for the Clark family at the Comfort Island house. Colleen meets new people, some of whom are nice to her for what seems like the first time in her life. She dreams of becoming a wife and artist.
This eloquent story takes place in 1914, on the cusp of World War 1, where men run things and women are meant to support them. There is also a great divide between those who have and those who have naught. Jack Weiss is an Austrian immigrant who befriends Collen but is torn between his possible love for her or returning to Austria to fight in the war for his homeland. Will Colleen’s dream of being an artist come true, and will Jack finally woo the girl of his dreams?
At the beginning of this fascinating book, I felt that Colleen was a difficult character for me to root for. Yes, she had a horrible upbringing with abusive nuns and forced child labor, but she did not help me sympathize or empathize with her. Instead, she was continuously unfriendly to Jack and her roommate Tara. However, as the story progressed and Jack kept battering down her walls, I found myself really liking her character, and that slow evolution of her character was all the more enjoyable.
The author has done an excellent job at taking Colleen’s character through tremendous growth. She also created a fantastic villain that you love to hate, Mrs. Marshall. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Jack is trying to boost Colleen’s morale when he talks about how Colleen’s skill with art has nothing to do with being rich or poor that, in fact, being poor allows them “to be rich in what really matters.” As a result, they might be able to appreciate the little things more than those who have everything. I thought that that was the book’s central theme—the dichotomy between rich and poor.
Colleen’s Confession is a heartwarming novel of healing, hope, and forgiveness. With the time period set at the beginnings of WWI, there is a historical element to the storyline. The love story is sweet and keeps a Christian focus throughout. This is the perfect novel to read when you want a great period piece to sit down with.
Pages: 163 | ASIN : B09K4XKQXS
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Devyn’s Dilemma follows a young woman trying to escape her past and finds much more than a job at The Towers castle on Dark Island. How did the idea for this novel start and change as you wrote?
I took three trips to Singer Castle (The Towers) with the docent of the island. What a joy it was to envision Devyn walking and working there! Her story developed deeper with each trip to the island, and so did her backstory as her brother got meaner and meaner.
Devyn is a charming character that I loved following. What were some sources that informed her character development?
I love interweaving the real characters (the Bournes) and imaginary characters like Devyn and Brice, though sometimes it’s challenging. As Devyn’s relationship grows with the other characters, she developed quite naturally. But, I must admit, there were times when she decided to do something unusual and I had to question her motives. Smiles.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Hope is a theme woven throughout all of my books because it’s so needed in this day and age. But with Devyn, I wanted her to journey through healing from family abuse and a low self-esteem—and she did.
This is book two in your Thousand Islands Gilded Age Series. What can readers expect in book three?
I’m writing chapter twenty at present, and it’s contracted to release Spring 2022. I must admit, I’m having a blast with this one.
It’s called Peyton’s Promise, and here’s the idea: It’s the summer of 1902. Peyton Quinn is tasked to prepare the grand Calumet Castle ballroom for a spectacular 200-guest summer gala. But when her pyrotechnics father becomes ill, she takes over the plans for the fireworks display despite being socially ostracized.
Patrick Quinn, Calumet’s carpenter and Peyton’s childhood chum, hopes to win her heart, but her unconventional undertakings cause a rift. Peyton must ignore prejudices and persevere, or she could lose her cool, lose Patrick’s love and respect, and forever become the talk of local gossip if she fails.
Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books.
Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma, and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and book three, Peyton’s Promise, comes out Spring 2022. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise, and her newest, Reagan’s Reward, are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including two Illumination Book Awards, the American Fiction Award, the Indie Excellence Book Award, and two Literary Titan Book Award. Reagan’s Reward is also a finalist in the Selah Awards. Visit http://www.SusanGMathis.com for more.
Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, christian fantasy, christian fiction, christian romance, Devyn's Dilemma, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing
Devyn is full of uncertainty regarding her summer job at The Towers. From her lack of confidence in the ability to perform her duties, to the fear that someone might learn her dreaded secret, to the constant views of the river she hates, everything about it makes her nervous. However, she was given no choice, and soon Devyn is surprised to find how comfortable she’s becoming in the huge house. Her employers are generous, loving people who show her what a family can be, and almost all the rest of the staff do all they can to help as the days pass- especially Brice, the handsome Irishman that Deyvn can’t help but imagine a future with!
In Devyn’s Dilema by Susan Mathis, Devyn comes to Dark Island, and the grand castle known as The Towers, scared and uncomfortable. Her life at home with an emotionally abusive mother has taught her that she has little to offer to anyone and is mostly incapable of the simplest tasks, but since someone needs to earn money for the family, Deyvn is sent off for the summer. The characters we meet throughout this heartfelt novel are all unbelievably close and loving. But the cast of characters are peppered with intriguing characters that break up the stereotypes; the rough around the edges love interest that is almost out of reach, the villainous staff member hellbent on destroying the main character’s happiness with no apparent motive, and the group of friends who seamlessly accept that character as one of their own without question. Mathis nonetheless makes them all engaging, but what she is most masterful at is making The Towers seem like a character of its own. As Devyn explores all its nooks and crannies and secrets of The Towers it becomes a character that is central to everything else. It is something that is simultaneously safe and terrifying, a physical embodiment of how Deyvn views life.
Devyn’s Dilema is a dramatic Christian romance story that is ultimately about shaking off the past and embracing the future. For years, Devyn has been shackled by the guilt of what occurred the day her father died and it has prevented her from enjoying anything in life. As she comes to realize that guilt, lies, and secrets only succeed in creating more pain, she finally begins to grow as a person, seeing for the first time that she might deserve the happiness and joy she has always denied herself. The message to not be so hard on yourself is one that many readers could use.
Although the image of The Towers will stay in your mind long after any of the human characters, it was still exciting to follow them through the summer and see each of them get what they might deserve, for better or worse! Devyn’s Dilema is a touching historical fiction novel that will leave you entertained and smiling.
Pages: 279 | ASIN: B0817GQXSJ
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian fiction, christian romance, Devyn's Dilemma, ebook, fantasy, goodreads, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing
Reagan didn’t know what to expect when she accepted a job as governess to a pair of mischievous 8 year olds. As a Christian employed by an esteemed Jewish family, she was doubly unsure of how the summer might pass. Any misgivings she had, however, were greatly reduced by the splendid beauty of the Thousand Islands… and the easy charm of Daniel, another employee of the Bernheim family. As Reagan struggles to become accustomed to her new charges and downplaying her own faith in front of the Bernheims, she also has to deal with her growing feelings for Daniel, complicated by their own difference in religion.
Set in the summer of 1912, Reagan’s Reward, by Susan Mathis, is a heartfelt story about apprehension in the face of new experiences, and the struggles that so often occur between the heart and the head. While Reagan is sure of where she stands in her beliefs, finding out how those fit in the lives of the people around her becomes a challenge she isn’t used to facing. Her growing attraction to Daniel, and his obvious attraction toward her, brings about the jealous animosity from another staff member, which is yet again a new experience. Set in the picturesque region of the Thousand Islands, an area that straddles the US-Canada border, Mathis makes the scenery and atmosphere come alive as it must have been at the height of its popularity as a destination for the wealthy. Because of the novella length, there isn’t much time for heavy character development, and because of that, Reagan, Daniel, the twins, and each of the other characters are basic and the story seems rushed. However, the glorious depictions of the life and sights in the area make up for that fact, and the Thousand Islands are very nearly the main character themselves.
Faith is definitely the most prevalent theme in Reagan’s Reward, as it colors every thought and action in Reagan’s life. She relies on it when searching for patience with the twins, Jacob and Joseph, and understanding of her new circumstances. It is also the reason she is reluctant to initially admit her feelings for Daniel, as he proclaims he is Jewish, despite not actively practicing. Ultimately, too, it is a leap of faith that brings about the eventual resolution.
I enjoyed this book and Mathis skillfully crafted that time and place in such a way that it truly came alive. I wish the book was longer so that we could explore ideas and characters more. I liked Reagan and Daniel’s relationship, but I definitely wanted to see it explored in more depth. Reagan’s Reward is a compelling historical fiction romance novel that tells an emotional and heartfelt story that readers will enjoy.
Pages: 189 | ASIN: B08MDNM82L
Tags: alt history, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical, historical fiction, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Reagan's Reward, romance, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing