Saturday, 9 March 2019

Review + Competition A Family Saga in Bear Lake books 1-5 by Linda Weaver Clarke (Historical Romance, Romance, 10E/10E)

Summaries from Linda's website
Book 1: Melinda and the Wild West
I reviewed it already here 
In 1896, Melinda Gamble, a very elegant, very naïve young woman from Boston, decides to give up her life of monotonous comfort for the turbulent uncertainty of the still untamed Wild West. Driven by her intense desire to make a difference in the world, Melinda takes a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho, where she comes face-to-face with a frightening bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and an intense blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it is a ruggedly handsome and very mysterious stranger who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared: love.
Book 2: Edith and the Mysterious Stranger 
With mysterious letters, cattle rustlers, a spunky woman, Halloween, and young love, there is always something happening. Edith, a nurse, moves to Idaho to care for her cousin Melinda who is having a difficult pregnancy. She has wonderful qualities but never gives a man a second chance because her expectations are so high. However, all that changes when a mysterious stranger starts writing to her. For the first time, she gets to know a man's inner soul before making any harsh judgments. Whoever he is, this man is a mystery and the best thing that has ever happened to her. The question that puzzles her is whether or not he's as wonderful in person as he is in his letters. 

Book 3: Jenny's Dream
Jenny Roberts has a dream to escape her small hometown to become a writer. She develops a friendship with a young farmer who is new to the area and has secretly fallen in love with her. After she realizes that her friend means more to her than she thought, she must now choose between a career and romance. Which dream should she pursue? The only thing standing in her way is an unpleasant memory, which has haunted her since childhood. She must learn to forgive before she can choose which dream to follow. Meanwhile, a legendary ten-foot grizzly is seen in the area and its boldness has frightened the community.

Book 4: Sarah's Special Gift
Sarah is a beautiful and successful dance teacher. She is deaf, but this does not stop her from living life to its fullest. While visiting the Roberts family, David finds himself entranced with this very special lady and ends up defending her honor several times. He finds that Sarah has gone through many trials as she teaches him the importance of not dwelling on the past and how to love life. Meanwhile, David learns about the legend of the Bear Lake Monster and wonders why the community believes in such a thing. He is determined to prove there is no Bear Lake Monster. 

Book 5: Elena Woman of Courage
The "Roaring Twenties" was a time of great change, when women raised their hemlines and bobbed their hair. The language of the era was also new and different. Watch a young love blossom in this sweet romance. When Elena Yeates settles into a small western town as the newest doctor, a few problems arise. The town is not ready for a female doctor, let alone one so strong and independent. She must struggle against the prejudice to establish her new practice. As she fights to prove herself, the town's most eligible bachelor finds it a challenge to see if he can win her heart. 

Nayu's thoughts 
Naturally there is a tiny bit of bias when I review books for authors whose work I already love, but I promise this series is genuinely awesome. Initially I had declined to read it, as I couldn't get into Linda's other historical romance series which starts with Rebels of Cordovia. For some reason which I don't know because I had read and enjoyed Melinda and the Wild West which is the first book in the Family Saga in Bear Lake series, I didn't think about reviewing the rest. I blame it on being tired all the time, which doesn't encourage straight thinking! 

Thankfully I eventually saw sense and have worked my way through books 2 to 5, relistening to Melinda's tale which I'm glad about because it starts the saga off. There is something pleasurable in reading more about characters I already know. It was delightful to watch Melinda's children grow up once I'd heard her main life journey, they are quite different in their adult life to their childhood ones. The introduction of new main characters was smooth and I felt like I'd known them for much longer than I had. There is plenty of intrigue, and oh my words characters can be very stubborn at times which makes for a great if slightly frustrating read, because I wanted to bop their heads together so they could see sense. 

This series reminded me so much of the Amish books I enjoy reading, so much so that whenever there's a display of romance in the Bear Lake series I sat there thinking 'they can't do that!' because of the Amish culture. Linda's characters aren't Amish, but they have wholesome values for the most part, strive to be the best they can be, to do good in the world and be true to themselves. There's plenty of danger, both large and small, and ever so many moments that had me smiling at how lovely the individual stories turned out. I got a real sense for the times the stories were set in, for what life was like for women and why all the female characters have great inner strength despite some social norms that affected their lives. 

Fangirl time: I really can't fault Linda's writing. I love the first series I read, the Amelia Moore cozy mystery series that I've reviewed here: I didn't like the other series that's been mentioned, but I eventually loved the Bear Lake saga. For a cozy read you can't go wrong with any of her books, which can be read out of order because back story is introduced in a way that makes it unimportant if you haven't read any previous ones. Carolyn Kashner, the narrator for books 2-5 and now I believe book 1 will have you caught up in the Bear Lake world, and, as Linda has already said in a guest blog post about this series, Carolyn does have a fine singing voice too, which fit well with the stories. 

Find out more on Linda's website

Competition to win a copy of both book 1 & 5 in the Bear Lake Family Saga

Now you've heard me talk about how great this series is, one of you will win a copy of both book 1, Melinda and the Wild West and book 5 Elena Woman of Couragein the Bear Lake Family saga. I chose book 5 because it's the most recent book, and book 1 so you can see where it all started. While it helps to know the back story before reading book 5, you can read it on it's own without knowing any of the characters because their story is woven in so you don't feel like you're missing out.  All you have to do is fill in the rafflecopter form below! It ends on 30th March at midnight, since it is an ebook it is an international competition so no matter where you live you can enter! ( technically it ends on on 27th March, I think. I couldn't change the times on Rafflecopter without paying for a subscription, so it's 00.00 of 1st April,, not an April's fool!).

No comments: