Look to the East by Maureen Lang {book review}


Look to the East by Maureen Lang {book review} is the first book in the Great War Series, followed by Whisper on the Wind and Springtime of the Spirit.

Summary:  

At the dawn of the First World War, the French provincial village of Briecourt is isolated from the battles, but the century-old feud between the Toussaints and the de Colvilles still rages in the streets.

When the German army sweeps in to occupy the town, families on both sides of the feud must work together to protect stragglers caught behind enemy lines.

Julitte Toussaint may have been adopted from a faraway island, but she feels the scorn of the de Colvilles as much as anyone born a Toussaint.

So when she falls in love with one of the stragglers—a wealthy and handsome Belgian entrepreneur—she knows she’s playing with fire.

Charles Lassone hides in the cellar of the Briecourt church, safe from the Germans for the moment. But if he’s discovered, it will bring danger to the entire village and could cost Charles his life. First in a three-book series.

My Reaction:

Public library copy. Book one in a series of three.

World War I, mostly in France. Wow! This is a terrific book. I’m so impressed by this author’s ability to cover the historical story while weaving a strong character story, and, as if that weren’t enough, weaving an inseparable story of the Almighty God through it all. This book is a perfect example of strength in each of these aspects.

I have to confess, I had a hard time with Julitte’s name, because I tend to ‘say’ names aloud in my head, and I wanted to call her Juliette. Had no bearing whatever on the story, or Julitte’s character.

I absolutely love a book which portrays romance with minimal use of the physical. This book does that beautifully. The depth of character portrayed by both Julitte and Charles, is amazing. While most of the book hinges on the physical circumstances of the war, which are beyond their control, the focus of each of them individually is unbroken. Which, in my eyes, points all the more to our Sovereign God.

The horrors of war, while not gory in description, are in the story, and they are very realistic. The level of suspense grows near the end of the book, keeping the reader on the edge of her seat. There is nothing preachy or fairytale-like or magical about the story or the characters. They are all real. But so is their God, even to those who do not profess to believe.

There is a lot more going on in this story than meets the eye. This would be a great book to read in a group and discuss.

I highly recommend this book to all readers interested in human relationships within families, villages, and in romance; those interested in history, particularly WWI and that period of time, particularly in rural France. I’m looking forward to reading the next two in the series.

My Rating:  5 stars

This review is on Goodreads.

View all my Goodreads reviews.

About the Author:  

Maureen Lang has always had a passion for writing. She wrote her first novel longhand around the age of 10, put the pages into a notebook she had covered with soft deerskin (nothing but the best!), then passed it around the neighborhood to rave reviews. It was so much fun she’s been writing ever since.

Most of her books are historical, with an emphasis on faith and romance.

Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband, her two sons, and their much-loved dog, Susie. Visit her Web site at www.maureenlang.com.

The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang {book review}


The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang {book review} is the first in the series by the same name, The Oak Leaves, followed by On Sparrow Hill.

The Summary:  

Two time periods—Victorian England and contemporary Chicago—are woven together when Talie Ingram finds an old journal belonging to her great-great-great grandmother, Cosima Escott. Through Cosima’s entries, Talie learns that her family was once considered cursed with feebleminded offspring, the result of a genetic disorder (Fragile-X) that may have been passed down to Talie and her sister. Unwilling to face the implications their discovery might have on her own life, Talie tucks the journal back into secrecy, until she begins to see signs of developmental delay in her son.

My Reaction:

It was in my collection, has been recycled. Adult Christian fiction.
Present and past generation, Fragile X baby. Good theology. Writing could have been tighter. Overall good book.

This is my first read of this author. Either her subsequent books improved greatly, or her writing grew on me, because she is now one of my favorite Christian fiction authors. I am considering a re-read of this book, since others reviewed it so favorably.

My Rating: 3 stars

About the Author:

Maureen Lang has always had a passion for writing. She wrote her first novel longhand around the age of 10, put the pages into a notebook she had covered with soft deerskin (nothing but the best!), then passed it around the neighborhood to rave reviews. It was so much fun she’s been writing ever since.

Most of her books are historical, with an emphasis on faith and romance.

Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband, her two sons, and their much-loved dog, Susie. Visit her Web site at www.maureenlang.com.

On Sparrow Hill by Maureen Lang {book review}


On Sparrow Hill by Maureen Lang {book review} is the sequel to The Oak Leaves

Summary:  Two time periods—Victorian Ireland and contemporary England—are again woven together in this sequel to “The Oak Leaves.”

Rebecca Seabrooke is a commercial manager for Quentin Hollinworth’s family manor and is focused on two things: running the best historical home in the country and forgetting about the childhood crush she’s had on Quentin ever since her father worked as the valet for his family. They don’t, after all, run in the same social circles.

When Quentin’s distant cousin Dana Martin Walker comes to visit the Hollinworth estate, Rebecca realizes she must confront some of her preconceived ideas about herself . . . and about Quentin. Dana wants to learn more about her ancestors—especially about Berrie Hamilton, who in 1852 decided to fulfill her sister-in-law’s dream of opening a school for the mentally challenged.

Dana also discovers that, despite their precautions, she and her husband are expecting, and their unborn child may turn out to be like many of Berrie’s students. It will take reading Berrie’s letters—written a century ago—for Dana and Rebecca to learn the importance of serving others and to realize that ultimately, even our best-laid plans are not always God’s plans.

My Reaction:

Library copy.

This book picks up the thread of The Oak Leaves. It’s been awhile since I read it, but I know they are both about the Fragile X babies. Both books are multigenerational stories, in the present day and from family history. I love the way the author weaves it all together.

That aside, it is just one more well-written story on so many levels. Maureen Lang is one of my favorite authors, because she uses several elements with equal strength in her stories. I love the history, the strong value in knowing family history; her characters are believable, strong, and growing; the faith element is strong, naturally flowing in the story, not tacked on; and, of course, the Fragile X piece is the core of the story, but not overwhelmingly so.

If I had one suggestion, it would be to use the children more. I love the descriptions of them, and wish there were a few more scenes which captured children.

I highly recommend this book to any reader. It is squeaky clean, wholesome, with wonderful relationships and characters who deal with real life difficulties realistically, including their relationship with God. No spoilers, but there is a strong theme of servanthood, as well as motherhood, in the story.

Thank you, Maureen, for writing about real life in a creative way, from which there is much to learn!

My Rating:  5 stars

About the Author:

 Maureen Lang has always had a passion for writing. She wrote her first novel longhand around the age of 10, put the pages into a notebook she had covered with soft deerskin (nothing but the best!), then passed it around the neighborhood to rave reviews. It was so much fun she’s been writing ever since.

Most of her books are historical, with an emphasis on faith and romance.

Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband, her two sons, and their much-loved dog, Susie. Visit her Web site at www.maureenlang.com.