An incurably romantic bookworm from Appalachia wins a contest and travels to England and the Holy Land in search of the perfect romantic hero. Set in 1877.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Brandy Vallance fell in love with the Victorian time period at a young age, adoring the customs, manners, and especially the intricate rules of love. Since time travel is theoretically impossible, she lives in the nineteenth century vicariously through her novels. Brandy’s fondness for tea can only be paralleled by her love of BBC period dramas, deep conversations, and a good book.
Read an Excerpt
The Covered Deep
By Brandy Vallance
WORTHY PUBLISHINGCopyright © 2014 Brandy Vallance
All rights reserved.
Southern Ohio, 1877
At seventeen, most ladies of fashion expect to receive proposals. If they do not marry within a few years, they have a mortified sense of having lost time. Inevitably, they become an object of sympathy. The next few years are often a period of subdued vexation. During this time, the sweetness and contentment of the lady's original character is impaired. As the unwholesome state of spinsterhood approaches, a lady finds herself soon to be restricted in social pleasures and more.
I am inclined to believe that with good temper, pleasing manners, and respectable connections, a lady need not despair. Herein are the facts: Between the ages of twenty to twenty-four, a lady has a 52 percent chance of marrying. Between the ages of twenty-five to thirty, her chances are 18 percent.
The book slipped from Bianca's hands, the pages fainting on her bedroom desk. Words. Reminding her of all the ways she'd never fit in. She collapsed in the chair, her cotton dress limp against her. "When the sun rises tomorrow, my chances of marrying will drop thirty-four percent." She breathed, in and out, slowly. "Spin—" The word felt like cod liver oil on her tongue.
"It doesn't matter that my twenty-fifth birthday's tomorrow." She slid her hand underneath the desk and pressed the small, metal button. The secret slot popped open, sending a spray of dust over her sleeve. "When going into battle, planning is often the most important thing." Saying the words calmed her, as did the feel of the hidden paper. She unfolded it and scanned the first few lines.
Soul mate must be
(1) a true believer in Jesus Christ
(2) devastatingly handsome, with a slightly wild look in his eyes
(3) brilliant and humorous like Mark Twain
(4) a foreigner, possibly a disgruntled duke
(5) able to quote Bible verses and Shakespeare
(6) a more than capable kisser
(7) adore me completely.
"Yes, well." She drew her eyebrows together as she considered. "Perfectly reasonable I thin—"
"Bianca! You'd better be lacin' up your boots." Mama's voice was a crescendo crack, the kind of noise one hears when alone in the woods and a big tree falls. "Girl, don't you make me late."
Bianca shoved the list back into its hiding place, but the secret door wouldn't shut. She pushed harder. Nothing.
"Are you ready to go or not?" Mama rapped her knuckles on the door, like the battle march of a soldier's drum.
"Coming." Bianca stood and put her weight against the warped side of the drawer. "Just a moment."
Mama jiggled the door handle. "I told Mr. Rutherford we'd be there by four o'clock. It is now precisely 3:09."
A hairpin came loose, and a piece of Bianca's dark auburn hair fell over her eyes. "Guts griping harpy!" The drawer slammed shut. The large bottle of ink tipped. A waterfall of black spread over her books, seeping into the pages like hungry poison.
"What is going on in there? Open this door."
"I'll be out momentarily." Bianca fought to level her voice. "I'm just tidying things up." Papers flew off the desk. Pens hit the floor.
She sent up a whispered prayer. "Oh, please, not my new books. Lord, don't let all the pages be ruined." She flipped though Inquire Within: Things Worth Knowing. The pages were soggy clumps and witching-hour black.
The floorboards in the hall groaned. Bianca heard the sound of a drawer opening. Mama was going for the keys.
The lock turned. The door hit the baseboard.
"What have you done to your hands?" Anger rippled in Mama's blue eyes, as cold and distant as Pike Lake. "Child, look at the floor."
Bianca dropped her gaze to the polished oak floor and then back to the ruined books. "I was clumsy ... Daddy went all the way to Cincinnati for these books. My early birthday presents."
"More books you don't need." She scowled at the ink-stained covers of Ancient Society and The Wreck of the Grosvenor: An Account of the Mutiny of the Crew and the Loss of the Ship When Trying to Make the Bermudas. "More money wasted on your fancies." Mama took her by the shoulders. "You will see Mr. Rutherford today."
Bianca tried to pull away. "Little good it will do. I won't marry someone who has the imagination of a butter churn. If he's anything like his sermons, I'd die of boredom."
The lines around Mama's eyes deepened. "Your Aunt Sally says he can just look at a person and tell if they're right with the Lord. Wouldn't you want a man who has that kind of power?"
"No, I wouldn't," Bianca said matter-of-factly. "That's not something anyone can tell simply by looking at a person." She waited for a reaction Mama didn't give—a common ground they'd never had. "'Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.'"
Mama threw up her hands. "All your friends are married. Some have two babies by now. Either the man's too dull or his profession is." She looked her up and down. "As if you had a lot to offer." Her gaze went to the many scattered books. "You'd rather read than do anything useful. Those men you read about in those novels of yours, there's a reason they call it fiction."
Bianca's gaze went to the secret drawer in her desk. "I haven't found my soul mate yet." Her voice faltered, as if she'd said the words too many times. "I will not marry just because."
"Soul mate." Mama's lips pinched. "Marriage is hard work. I've told you that before. It's not some unending fairy tale where a man fulfills your every dream. It involves a great deal of will." She chopped at the air with her hand. "You find a man who you can build a life with. Love comes later, after sacrifice has made it grow."
"Is that what you and Daddy have? Is that why you're both so ... happy?" She knew she shouldn't have said such things, but she let the words hang, suspended in the air like an ugly decoration that everyone ignored.
Mama's forehead creased ever so slightly, then she walked to Bianca's brass bed. "You really shouldn't fold your quilt down like this. Always up, that's what I say."
"What's wrong with the way I fold it?" Bianca's voice rose, as did her ink-stained hands. "King Louis the sixteenth had his bed made this way at Versailles."
"Oh, did he now?" Mama tucked the quilt under the mattress like she was killing something. "The only Versailles I know about is the one across the river in Kentucky. Your father continues to fill your head with such strange notions and strange people." She punched down the feather pillows and made them flat. "I told him all them books would make you restless. Make you long for things you shouldn't have."
Bianca focused on the gray hair that painted Mama's temples and alternated through the strands of red. Sadness washed over her, and all she could do was pity Mama. For the limited way that she thought. And the romance Daddy would have given her, if she'd been different. "I'm very thankful for the life I have here. It's just that ... I'm not so sure I'm meant to be here forever." Bianca bit the corner of her lip. "Is it so wrong to want to see the world that God created? Is it so wrong to want to marry someone outside of this little town?"
"You ought to be content." Mama opened the dresser and rearranged Bianca's nightdresses. "You've always got to be different. Always got to be fancy." She narrowed her eyes and seemed to have a revelation. "You're a selfish girl, not proud of your heritage." She shoved the dresser drawer. The bottles of honeysuckle wash clanked together. "You come from plain, good people. There is safety here, Bianca."
"Do you know how much history is in Europe? Can you even comprehend how much I could learn? All those museums—"
"Are nothing but a collection of idols. Dens of sin glorifying the heathen nations."
Bianca winced as if Mama had slapped her. "Do you know where your traveling preacher, Mr. Rutherford, gets his theology?"
"From God Almighty."
"He's affiliated with Victoria Woodhull. Remember when she ran for presidentess of the United States five years ago?" Bianca lowered her voice. "That woman has no respect for the marriage bed."
Shock splashed over Mama's features. "How dare you speak about such—"
"During the War of Rebellion she worked as a clairvoyant—a professional charlatan. She knew exactly what to say to get people's money." Bianca stepped across the faded rug, anger swelling like muddy water in the rain. "Who knows, maybe she even swindled our Ash—"
"Don't say his name. Don't you ever say that name."
The air changed—a pulsing heat, suffocating. Bianca turned to the window.
Mama moved behind her, a constant shadow. "Every man I've chosen for you, you've turned away. You're too high and mighty, that's what you are."
Bianca focused on the oak tree outside and the branches straining against the wind. The tree swing drifted backward and the seat lifted—as if a ghost child sat there, enthralled with the way the dust swirled and mingled with the clouds.
Bianca took a deep breath to try to alleviate the crushing weight in her chest. "I'm sorry you think that about me, Mama."
"I think I'll go see Mr. Rutherford by myself today." Mama licked her finger and rubbed the ink smudge on Bianca's cheek. "I'm sure he's going to give me some very good advice. And regardless of what you think, he would make you a good husband."
Bianca kept her gaze on the tree swing.
"There, now." Mama ran her hand down Bianca's back. "I hope you'll be more agreeable when I return."
And then Mama was gone.
Bianca didn't know how long she stood by the window. The old clock on the bookshelf ticked on, not caring that her marriage prospects were slipping away as quickly as the fading afternoon light. "Help me, God. Forgive me for the way I spoke to Mama. I believe You gave me these desires. Make something of them or take them away."
A movement caught her eye from outside. Daddy crouched alongside the bushes by the potato shoots in the garden.
Relief flooded her. She opened the window.
Daddy held up his thumb and Bianca returned the sign. "Mama's about to go to town," she whispered. "For a while, I think."
"Good." Daddy gave her a grin full of conspiracy, hiked his leg over the windowsill, and climbed into the room. "Because I know she wouldn't approve, as usual." He shook a folded newspaper between them and then sat. His mustache turned upward, just as his lips did, but then it fell. "Here, now, have you been crying?"
"It doesn't matter." Bianca tried to give him a convincing smile. "What do you have?"
"What happened at your desk?" He scanned the puddles of ink. "Reenacting the ink massacre of sixty-three?"
"Your enthusiasm for reading is incomparable, daughter. Perhaps next time a less cataclysmic approach? Now, to the point." He slapped the newspaper. "I've been waiting for this advertisement for a long time."
"Have you?" Bianca reached for it, but he snatched it away. "What's it about?"
"Guess." He wiggled his thick, brown eyebrows. "This advertisement happens to come from a very old place."
"Old?" She felt her smile growing.
"Yes. This country has a large affinity for tea and a certain queen whose name starts with the letter V."
Bianca widened her eyes. "Surely not. England?"
"Ah, you've guessed it. Clever girl. But I suppose I made it too easy for you? No matter." He tapped the edge of the newspaper on her mason jar of foreign coins. "It's time to acknowledge the corn."
"You're giving up? Just like that?" Bianca placed her hand on her hip. "You normally have me guessing for a straight fifteen minutes, at least."
"Yes, well ... You've had me catawamptiously chawed up of late." He twisted the corner of his mustache. "Ever since your theory on the moving stones in the old Shawnee Forest. I'll place your triumph there."
Bianca curtsied, hand over heart. Her voice took on the tone of a seasoned actress. "Thank you."
"I may be able to redeem myself soon, have no fear." He handed her the newspaper.
Sir Adrian Hartwith, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Brazen Crown; Attached to Societies Musical, Societies Medical, Societies Philosophical, Societies Sociological, and Societies General Benevolent throughout Europe, wishes to announce a contest of the most venerable kind.
Being a seeker himself, Sir Adrian wishes for those who seek to join him on an expedition to the Holy Land. Four personages will be chosen to walk where the Lord walked, stand on the exact spot where He was crucified, and hear the music of almost nineteen hundred years ago.
If chosen, all expenses will be paid. Furthermore, £300 will be awarded to the contestants who complete the journey.
To be considered, compose an essay highlighting your interests, personal goals, religious beliefs, and a regret from your past. Begin the first sentence by choosing words for this acronym: T F S L A H B T T H S E B T I S.
The winners will be notified by post on or before the 1st of June. If applicable, tickets for transportation to London will be included. The fortunate party will depart London the 5th of August by ship.
"Three hundred pounds!" Bianca looked over the advertisement again. "Daddy, how much is that in American currency?"
"Close to five hundred dollars, I'd say."
Bianca's mouth gaped open. "With such money, you wouldn't have to work at the shoe factory anymore." Excitement wove through her body like the beginnings of a summer storm. "We could traipse around the world like gypsies. Drink chocolate in Paris. See the ruins of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus and afterward, walk where the Great Apostle proclaimed the Living God."
"Indeed." He looked at her poignantly. "Such a thing could be accomplished."
All the conversations they'd had over the years echoed like bells. "Do you think it's a genuine offer?"
"Of course it is," he said without reservation. "This advertisement cost Sir Adrian a fortune. Why would he go to such lengths for a farce?"
Bianca touched the indentation of the black, printed words and furrowed her brow. So many dreams had been lost already. So many times Daddy had tried to make things different for them and failed. "How did you know to expect this advertisement? This is the Columbus Dispatch."
Daddy cleared his throat. "A gentleman I associate with delivered it to me."
Bianca narrowed her eyes. "Daddy, did you go up to Raven Rock again?"
Daddy sat straighter in the chair and crossed his arms. "My dear, the Brotherhood of the Shrouded Tree can hardly meet in your mama's parlor."
"If Mama found out ..." She shook her finger at him. "You're going to get yourself killed. The path up that hill isn't safe."
"Ah, but Bianca, the view." Daddy smiled, that old, winsome smile. The one he saved for summers that slipped away too soon. The one he smiled when he sat on their porch and he was lonely, always just before she joined him to listen to the pound of the rain and watch the white streams of water falling from the tin eaves.
Bianca knew what words would come next, so she said them for him. "You like to see the river winding like a silver snake through the hills. To be in the place where Daniel Boone escaped the Indians by taking a daring leap from the rock, into the mist and onto a tree."
Daddy nodded as if she'd said the truest thing in the world. "In such a place, a man believes he might be more. Troubles can be hung on the limbs and left there for the golden eagles to carry away."
Bianca closed her eyes and could almost see it—Daddy and his deep-thinking friends sitting high above Portsmouth as the sun set, the steamboats looking like toys slipping away on the white sliver of river.
Daddy's voice was gentle, the timbres of all their tomorrows. "When I first got wind of this contest, it sounded perfect for you, but of course I was leery. After all, how could I send my only daughter across the perilous sea?"
Bianca studied the intensity in his eyes. "Me? You want me to make an attempt?"
"I've thought about this quite a lot, Bianca. And I've prayed. Every time I get the same answer—you ought to try." His expression was conflicted, as if he couldn't believe the words he'd just spoken. "For months I've been writing letters, checking references, and asking questions about Sir Adrian. I have a stack of replies hidden in the smokehouse. Would you like to see them?"
Excerpted from The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance. Copyright © 2014 Brandy Vallance. Excerpted by permission of WORTHY PUBLISHING.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an award winning book and I wanted to like it, but I didn't. Bianca turns 25 and her chances of marrying supposedly drop to 18 percent. She's desperate. After she wins a contest (which turns out to have been fixed) and heads to London to join a group to the Holy Land, she looks at every man wondering if he's the one who'll satisfy her list of husbandly requirements. She meets fellow traveler Paul Emerson and begins to think he's the one. When he admits to a personal failure two years ago, before he found Christ, she becomes judgmental and unforgiving, acting like she's been wronged. So much description is given at the British Museum and in the Holy Land that the story tends to get lost in a travelogue. The contest sponsor is an evil man who's manipulating Bianca and Paul for his own experiment. The other contest winners were selected to be thorns in their lives. I didn't like Bianca. Paul is appealing. The more I learned of the three other main characters, the less I liked them. As a romance, The Covered Deep has its requisite happy ending, but it didn’t leave me with a feel-good impression.
(3.5) The best kind of book surprises are the ones that take you on an adventure you didn’t expect. When it’s a Victorian era novel and the Holy lands, well that fits the bill! This book was fabulous in that it took you on an exotic adventure through the Holy Lands and I could picture the sights and almost smell the spices and dusty adventures they explored. Our heroine fell fast and hard for her love interest, which at first I thought was going to be a bit much, but thinking of Bianca’s personality and experiences (or rather lack thereof) in relationships it made sense and worked well in the story line. Plus, some of her inner hopeless romantic monologue had me chuckling. As much of variety in scenery, so was our cast of characters. There’s scheming, there’s overcoming, there’s faith and love. Things I’m a fan of in books. Overall, I enjoyed the novel, the destinations and now I want to go on an exotic adventure. Any one with me? What’s a recent book surprise you’ve read? Originally posted at: http://booksandbeverages.org/2015/09/17/the-covered-deep-by-brandy-vallance-book-review
Not your typical boy-meets-girl story! There is a lot packed into this book, which starts out innocently enough with a fairly sheltered young woman named Bianca, from a small town in 1870's Ohio, who wins a trip to England and the Holy Land. She naively thinks she will find a perfect man along the way, who matches her list of criteria for whom she will marry. It seems to be a trip made for romance starting with a cruise through the beautiful Mediterranean, headed to Palestine, with all expenses paid and interesting companions. Things are revealed however, that unravel her fairytale spin on romance, and ultimately test her faith. Full of wonderful descriptions and historical details of the sights along the way made for an informative read. The more that is revealed about the characters, however, and how they react to events--past and present-- is what made the story really interesting. It read like mystery in some parts, had me looking for clues to secrets, and kept me guessing at motives. The prevalant theme of everyone's need for forgiveness, redemption, acceptance and love added depth to the story and made me think about it long after I finished. Not a quick read by any means at nearly 400 pages, but definitely a worthy one. Recommend to fans of Christian historical romance fiction. (If you liked Lisa Bergren's Grand Tour series, you will love this.) 4.5 stars
This book is an adventure novel in the lines of Indiana Jones or Romancing the Stone. Bianca, the heroine, is selected by a British lord to participate in an adventure to Israel. The four people he's selected are on the trip as an experiment. As they race around the globe, Bianca is attracted to a man who captures her heart, but there are so many roadblocks in the way it appears impossible for them to come together. I loved this book. It is perfect for readers who love late 18th century novels that are filled with travel, adventure and romance. There's also a rich spiritual thread as Bianca confronts her fears and her biases. This book has it all.
If you love reading about mysterious adventures, fascinating history, and romantic souls, then The Covered Deep is one story you must read. It is full of intriguing secrets and far off places that will sweep you away in time and place. And talk about a complicated love story. This one smolders! The plot in this book travels a rather epic journey. I’ve never read a story like this that took you to places such as the Garden of Gethsemane or the Sea of Galilee. Wow! The historical details and facts dispersed amidst the story were gripping. Our girl, Bianca, travels a long way from her home in Ohio to find love, but along the way she discovers much more than she bargained for. I will confess I had a hard time getting into this story at first. I got a little lost in the initial details and struggled a bit with Bianca’s immediate affections for Paul. Not that I don’t believe in love at first. ;) I can even understand Bianca’s longing for a husband. It was just a little hard for me to keep up with how quickly her feelings jumped to love upon meeting him. But that’s just me. As I read on, I will say, I believed their love for each other and was bound more to every page I turned. By the end of the story, if you’re not entirely captivated by the handsome and mysterious historian, Paul – as much as Bianca – and if you’re not completely drawn to the uncovered truths of the Holy Lands, then there’s something wrong with you. ;) The Covered Deep is a unique love story about forgiveness and faith that I know will entertain and thrill many readers. Oh, and one more thing. I loved how the novel’s title revealed itself in the story. Read it, think about, and treasure it. Okay, now I’m done. ;) This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the author and publisher for my copy.
The Covered Deep is a debut novel but it does not read like one. Brandy Vallance has created a tale that reads like a work of fiction written in the Austen era. There is an indulgent father and an overbearing mother. The daughter, Bianca, is an incurable romantic. All she needs to do is find her perfect man. She's thought this through and has come up with a list of qualifications that she is refusing to compromise on, much to her mother's dismay. Bianca is quickly approaching the dreaded label of spinster. Her father stumbles upon a solution in the form of a contest that will allow her to travel to the Holy Land. She enters and is declared one of four winners. That is when the Austenesque novel begins to veer towards the Bronte sisters style taking on a more sinister tone. From the first encounters with Sir Adrain and the other three contestants you know that something other than what is apparent is going on. The sense of danger seems to increase with each stop on their journey. Paul Emerson is the epitome of all that Bianca has longed for in a husband, but there is something that she can't quite put her finger on that holds her back from wholeheartedly giving herself to him. Her other two traveling companions, Madeline and Mr. Tabor, also have an aura of mystery about them that leads to unsettling feelings. The way that Brandy has woven the gospel through this intriguing story is very moving. The overall theme is that of forgiveness and redemption. The paths that are taken towards that end are both inspirational and heartrending. I look forward to reading more from this talented new author. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
This is the best book I have read in a long time. I like clean romance books that are for adults. This book drew me in and made me feel like I was traveling with the characters. I could feel what Bianca was feeling. I recommend this book for any reader that enjoys romance, mystery, history and travel. It will be enjoyed by young and old. I look forward to the author's next book.
I want to first admit that I did not expect such a beautiful emotionally telling story! I knew that the story was centered on romance, but I thought it would be just another typical romance novel. However it is so much more! It truly is a love story of how God can take two people with broken emotions/pasts and bring them together for His good as well as how a person can experience forgiveness that forgives AND forgets. My absolute favorite though is how it brings hope to readers to NEVER give up on the idea that God does indeed bring soul mates together and not to lower the standards God has placed upon our hearts concerning our future spouse. I enjoyed all the history that was woven throughout “The Covered Deep” and was greatly impressed by the research Brandy did. I learned quite a few different tidbits of history and was absolutely amazed at the beauty of the Holy Land she describes through Bianca’s eyes. One thing I will mention is that this is not an easy novel even despite if the beginning seems like it will be about another hopeless romantic with unrealistic ideals. As the story progresses if becomes clear that this is a story of personal growth (spiritually and emotionally) and a realization that God needs to be the one our heart desires/lives are ultimately centered around. In the words spoken by Bianca: "No man could fulfill the aching, deep need within a woman’s heart. That intimacy was for God. And God alone.” I do recommend this novel to anyone who wants to see the real definition of love and faith that endures through every circumstance even if it’s extremely hard. That doesn't mean we won't make mistakes, but it does mean God will always be with us. *(I received this novel from the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.)*
copy from Worthy Publishing for an honest review. This was my first tie reading Brandy Vallance so I was not sure what to expect. I'm glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The heroine Bianca Marshal was a great character. She is ready to take life into her hands and not let anyone or anything get in her way. I loved reading about her adventures throughout London and the Holy Land. Once I started reading I was gripped with the story and the heroines courage. I highly enjoyed and recommend this fantastic story.
This was a well written and interesting story. It was definitely different than what I expected. I was not sure at first who I really wanted Bianca to fall in love with on her adventure but I was glad for the wAy it turned out. The characters were all very interesting. Each character had many secrets they did not want told. I received a copy of this from worthy publishing first look blog tour for a fair and honest opinion.
An incredible debut novel! The premise for this story caught my attention immediately. The development of the plot did not let me down. The main character, Bianca Marshal, is beautifully presented. She has a high standard set for the man she will marry. Will she truly find someone to meet those standards or will she have to relax them? There are a number of other characters who are just as well developed. Some are masters at manipulation, while others are open and forthright. I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions between them all. I was intrigued by the buildup and revelation of the motivation behind the planning of the trip and the contest to see who would be going on it. The bottom line for this story, as I see it, is that there is always the need to forgive others. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
I just finished reading The Covered Deep. I received it from Worthy in exchange for my honest opinion, and here it is: I could not put it down. The word that stayed with me was intrigue. Right from the start, the story pulled me in. I absolutely love a good romance, and this book provided exactly that, but with many twists and turns that kept me guessing. Well done. Can't wait for the next from this author!
A stellar debut, The Covered Deep possesses such incredible passion and prose that I couldn’t peel myself away from the pages. Brandy Vallance easily clenches a “Best of 2014” in the category of Christian Romance. Through a thrilling and often harrowing expedition to the Holy Land, love is tested, secrets revealed, and deceptions lurk. The Covered Deep boasts unexpected plot twists, diverse and compelling characters, as well as playfully witty humor. From her quiet hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio, Bianca sets off on an adventure to find true love in a foreign land. Armed with a list of attributes, she is convinced that she will recognize her future husband the moment she lays eyes on him. Oh he’s out there, but will she be willing to accept all of him and not just the parts that fit her mold. While treading upon sacred ground her faith will be tested, passions inflamed, and limits of forgiveness tested. The Covered Deep’s many endearing qualities will win the hearts of readers. I thoroughly enjoyed how Bianca’s naïveté and her humorous euphemisms contrasted with London’s aristocracy. The importance of public perceptions and modesty are oft mentioned throughout the book and perhaps it’s because these ideals have fallen so drastically, I find myself craving books that include them. Beyond an embrace or an impassioned kiss you will not find any lustful drivel within these pages. What you will find is the searching, testing, and the resilience of the characters’ faith in Christ. Woven throughout the story are prayers and scriptures from which the main characters draw strength. A perfect selection for Christian romance and history buffs alike, The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance captures 5 out of 5 stars. Get your copy October 14th, 2014 when it releases from Worthy Publishing. **I received this book free as a member of Worthy Publishing's FIRST LOOK review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
The Covered Deep is a story that touches the heart and mind of both men and women alike. Loved it!
If you were expecting another semi-boring, safe, syrupy Christian fiction romance of a historical nature in The Covered Deep, you are in for a big let-down. What you get instead is a well researched, tightly written, delightful piece of period fiction written from a Christian world view. Brandy Vallance is on the cutting edge of the new wave of Christian fiction writers. She writes great stories from the heart of a good woman with Christian beliefs. There is nothing formulaic in this book. There is nothing syrupy in this book. There is a lot of good plotting, splendid dialogue, and believable characters. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a solid reading experience that is friendly to Christian audiences. I would also recommend it to anyone who likes a darned good story. You don't have to be a fan of Christian books to fall in love with Brandy's style and skill. I am looking forward to her next book more than you can possibly imagine. She is in a class all by herself, and since she's leading the way for the next generation of writers in her genre I have nothing but great expectations. I received an ARC of this book for review purposes. I also was a finalist in the competition and couldn't have lost to a more worthy winner.
Brandy Vallance's debut novel, "The Covered Deep," is rich with details and veiled in secrets. Faith and forgiveness are predominant themes throughout the novel. Vallance describes the Holy Land with vivid realism and gives a two-fold historical view of the area - the area's actual biblical history and the area as it would have been in the late 1870s. The setting of the novel was definitely one of the highlights for me. I love the opportunity to "see" places from different perspectives, especially when that perspective is from a bygone era. "The Covered Deep" reminded me of Lisa T. Bergren's Grand Tour series with its expedition to far off lands and a dashing guide to share his knowledge. Bianca goes on the trip searching for love, and finds herself instantly attracted to the historian, Paul. Although I am usually bothered by the two lead characters developing a romantic interest early in the novel, there are enough hindrances to their love to keep it from blossoming too soon. My opinion of both Paul and Bianca fluctuated throughout the book. I took me a few chapters to warm up to Paul's character. Although he seemed gentlemanly, I wasn't sure if he was playing a role in Sir Adrian's underlying scheme. Paul's character took on more depth as the plot progressed and more of his point-of-view was revealed. I began to empathize with him, and then found myself perplexed by Bianca. In the opening chapter, Bianca appeared as an innocent dreamer and book lover with an adventurous side yearning to see the world beyond her Kentucky home. Her personality seemed to change midway through the novel, and some of her endearing qualities became less obvious. It was frustrating to watch Bianca preaching forgiveness numerous times, but failing to show forgiveness. There were times that I was quite put off by her behavior, but it ultimately brought the central themes together. The message of "The Covered Deep" is a powerful one that gives the title true meaning. There are a few references throughout to past sins being "covered deep" and forgiven. Vallance shows that it isn't always easy for us to practice forgiveness, whether it's forgiving ourselves or others. There is a air of mystery that lends emotional tension to the novel. When Bianca first meets her travel group in New York City, it is clear that the organizer, Sir Adrian, has an agenda and her travel mates have guarded secrets. As the story unfolds, layers of deceit and mistakes are revealed. I finished the novel feeling a disconnect with Bianca and some of the other characters, but learning their motives and connections kept me interested. Two definite highlights were the solid lesson of faith and the well-researched and well-presented history. "The Covered Deep" is a promising debut and an interesting read for those who enjoy historical romances. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Worthy Publishing through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.