Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith & Family Set in 19th Century America

Tag: Starving Hearts

Book Review: Never Past Hope

About the Book


Title: Never Past Hope

Series Info: Triangular Trade Trilogy, Book #2

Author: Janine Mendenhall

Genre & Book Info: Inspirational Regency Romance, 308 pages, Beacon Heritage Publishing

Back Cover Blurb

Miss Mary Hope Adsley always considered herself to be the sensible one. But now, her sensibilities are unraveling around a man she thought she knew. After he attempted to marry her best friend—for money, no less—authorities charge Sir Steven Likebridge with masquerading as a gentleman and abduction. With his execution days away, Mary Hope desperately seeks to learn the truth about the man she loves. 

Will the truth turn out to be worse than his lies? 


My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed the second installment of the Triangular Trade Trilogy. Once again, Mendenhall weaves amazing historical details into her story. If you’ve read my other reviews, you know I can be quite harsh on authors who do not do their research. I found the vivid, though horrid details of prison life in Stanley Tower Prison especially riveting as well as hints of social and prison reform movements.

If you have read the first book in the series, Starving Hearts (see my review, here), you’ll be delighted to see Peter, Annette and Turtle’s stories progress in the pages of Never Past Hope. I thought Annette to be a less impetuous and more a proper lady than in the first book, but after all she experienced, I can see her transformation as realistic. Peter struggles a bit to take the reigns of leadership of the property he has now inherited and still longs for the quieter pastor’s life he had once sought. Turtle is a truly a delightful character that made me chuckle in just about every scene in which he appeared.

My only complaint was that I felt the story started a bit slow and dealt with a great deal of character inner thoughts and reflection primarily on events that happened both on and off the pages of the last book. I found that a bit confusing and hard to follow and I had just finished Starving Hearts. I do not recommend Never Past Hope as a stand alone read for that reason. However, once I got past the initial chapters the story flowed beautifully and I was once again swept away in the Regency world Mendenhall creates for us.



Spiritual Takeaway

I loved Mendenhall’s theme of forgiveness and second chances. If anyone needs a second chance, it’s Mendenhall’s unlikely hero, Sir Steven Likebridge. And who better to lead him to that place of brokenness and redemption before God, than the very person he wronged the most, Peter Adsley. I truly treasured Mary. What a strong woman of faith. Her enduring belief that God can forgive anyone who is contrite was inspiring to me, personally.

I was provided a free copy of Never Past Hope by Lighthouse Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Links for purchase

Amazon Barnes & Noble

Other Books in the Series

Starving Hearts, Triangular Trade Book #1

BPlagued by nightmares, Annette yearns to find her anonymous rescuer — the man who saved her life from a near deadly assault. Deep inside she is starving for companionship and a mutually respectful relationship. When Mr. Peter Adsley, an abolitionist pastor dealing with his own emotional baggage, agrees to a clandestine meeting, the event appears providential. But self-doubt, deception, and the schemes of a mutual enemy threaten to keep the pair apart. A phantom adversary will stop at nothing to win Annette’s dowry for himself, even if it means killing Peter.

Carol Award Finalist & Selah Award Finalist

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble



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Book Review– Starving Hearts

Book Review

Starving Hearts

by Janine Mendenhall

My Rating: 4 stars

 

About the Book


Series: Triangular Trade Trilogy
Genre: historical romance, suspense, Regency Era
Publisher: Heritage Beacon Fiction
Publication date: May 16, 2016
Number of pages: 300

Blurb


Plagued by nightmares, Annette yearns to find her anonymous rescuer — the man who saved her life from a near deadly assault. Deep inside she is starving for companionship and a mutually respectful relationship. When Mr. Peter Adsley, an abolitionist pastor dealing with his own emotional baggage, agrees to a clandestine meeting, the event appears providential. But self-doubt, deception, and the schemes of a mutual enemy threaten to keep the pair apart. A phantom adversary will stop at nothing to win Annette’s dowry for himself, even if it means killing Peter.

My Thoughts


I thoroughly enjoyed Starving Hearts. I found the lead characters to be compelling and engaging. I enjoyed the author’s ability to balance the duality of reserve common to the Regency era with the hero and heroine’s determination not to let the rules of society direct the course of their lives. Both Annette & Peter experience very deep losses that make you wonder how a person could manage to keep on going. I found Peter to be especially likeable. He was a very godly man who showed no weakness in the face of unspeakable evil and never let dire circumstances unravel his strong faith in God.

I especially enjoyed the villain, Slike. He is a terrible wretch that was fun to dislike as the story built to a surprising climax as the author did manage to build a bit of sympathy for this character which I wasn’t expecting. I did find Captain Bledsoe’s “pirate” dialect to be a bit off-putting and cliche, especially since before he’d been forced into life at sea he was a proficient pianist and music tutor.

Mendenhall did an excellent job portraying historical details of the Regency era as well, something I can be quite harsh on if not done well. I felt immersed in Regency England from the believable dialogue, to the balls and the constant reminder of the rigid social etiquette of the era.

Starving Hearts wrestles with some disturbing issues that may upset some readers including detailed yet historically accurate depictions of the slave trade including life on the slave ship Terona. As a historical romance author myself, I applaud the author for addressing these issues. In fact, the way the hero is affected by life on the Terona is so real, my heart ached for the abolitionist preacher who learns that his family’s wealth and his inheritance has been built on the backs of slaves.

Spiritual Takeaway


While some of the subject matter and scenes depicted in Starving Hearts can be dark at times, overall, I found the book to be uplifting as evil is punished and good vindicated. The author doesn’t shy away from testing the faith and strength of her characters. I think trusting in God even when situations seem impossible to overcome is the key spiritual lesson that Annette and Peter learn throughout the story. Peter frequently reminds Annette of Romans 8:28 “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”

Praise for Starving Hearts


Carol Award Finalist

Selah Award Finalist

“Not only is this a delightful regency romance but it is also suspense filled mystery of the very best kind.” ~ Amazon review

“The author did a great job, maybe too great a job, describing the slave scenes. Spine tingling and suspenseful. I was biting my nails throughout much of this book.” ~ Amazon review

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About the Author


Janine MendenhallAfter thirty-eight years of living in Los Angeles, I’ve landed in western NC where I’m amazed by colored trees, four seasons, and the awesome opportunity to write.

When I’m not grading papers, writing, or researching, I help my husband and our two golden retrievers manage our five children and two lap cats.

 


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed above are my own.

 

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