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Five historical romances inspired by a messaged passed down through time.
Join the journey as one word etched in Latin on an ancient bronze bottle travels through the centuries to reach five young women who are struggling to maintain their faith in God and love. An Irish princess, a Scottish story weaver, a Post-Colonial nurse, a cotton mill worker, and a maid who nearly drowned each receive a message from the bottle just when they need their hope restored. But will the bottle also bring them each to a man whose love will endure?
The Distant Tide by Heather Day Gilbert
1170: County Kerry, Ireland
When a Viking bent on revenge mistakenly raids the castle of a bookish Irish princess, will she cast her fears aside to befriend the enemy, finally realizing God’s plan for her life?
A Song in the Night by Amanda Dykes
1717: Scotland and England
When a Scottish story-weaver loses her family in a clan war, she finds herself aided by a handsome, secretive bagpiper in a race against time to reunite with someone she never dared hope she'd see again.
The Forgotten Hope by Maureen Lang
1798: New York
As a champion of the sick, a young New Yorker never doubted her worth until a new doctor arrives to work with her father, one who believes her to be nothing more than a social butterfly. Can she gain his respect—and his love?
A River Between Us by Jocelyn Green
1864: Roswell, Georgia
When a Georgian cotton mill worker is arrested and sent North, the Union officer who tries to protect her is the last person she wants to forgive—and the only man who can bring hope and healing to her heart.
The Swelling Sea by Joanne Bischof
1890: Coronado Island, California
After washing ashore on the California coastline, a young woman’s yearning to discover her past leads her to the courageous oarsman who helps her find the key.
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Joanne Bischof has a deep passion for Appalachian culture and writing stories that shine light on God’s grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, folk music, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. She is a Christy Award-finalist and author of Be Still My Soul, Though My Heart is Torn, and My Hope is Found (WaterBrook Multnomah). www.joannebischof.com.
Amanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, dweller of Truth, and spinner of hope-filled tales. She spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family, who love a good blanket fort and a stack of read-alouds. Give her a rainy day, a candle to read by, and an obscure corner of history to dig in, and she’ll be happy for hours. She’s awed by the strong thread of God’s grace and provision woven through every era, and hopes her stories reflect that grace. A former English teacher with a B.A. in English Education, she is the author of the critically acclaimed Bespoke: a Tiny Christmas Tale, and enjoys connecting with her readers at www.AmandaDykes.com.
HEATHER DAY GILBERT writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. Heather is a graduate of Bob Jones University and is married to her college sweetheart. Having recently returned to her roots, she and her husband are raising their three children in the same home in which Heather grew up. Heather's Viking historical novel, God's Daughter, is an Amazon Norse Bestseller. She is also the author of the bestselling A Murder in the Mountains mystery series, and the Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher.
Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the author of more than ten books to date, including The Mark of the King, and the award-winning Heroines Behind the War Civil War series, which includes Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg; Yankee in Atlanta; and Spy of Richmond. She also co-authored The 5 Love Languages Military Edition with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.
Maureen Lang writes stories inspired by a love of history and romance. An avid reader herself, she’s figured out a way to write the stories she feels like reading. Maureen’s inspirationals have earned various writing distinctions including the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, a HOLT Medallion, and the Selah Award, as well as being a finalist for the Rita, Christy, and Carol Awards. In addition to investigating various eras in history (such as Victorian England, First World War, and America’s Gilded Age), Maureen loves taking research trips to get a feel for the settings of her novels. She lives in the Chicago area with her family and has been blessed to be the primary caregiver to her adult disabled son.
Read an Excerpt
The Message in a Bottle
By Joanne Bischof, Amanda Dykes, Heather Day Gilbert, Jocelyn Green, Maureen Lang
Barbour Publishing, IncCopyright © 2017 Amanda Dykes
All rights reserved.
Ciar's Kingdom, Ireland 1170 AD
The skies were as unsettled as her own future.
Swirling mountain breezes billowed through Britta's narrow castle window, carrying with them the unmistakable tang of a storm. The sunshine of the morning had given way to glowering clouds this evening. Springtime in Ireland could be fickle.
She swiped at another errant tear. Refocusing on her favorite book, her finger traced the Latin words on the ancient vellum page.
A sharp rap sounded, and her nursemaid, Florie, entered her room in her usual way, without waiting for permission. She bustled toward Britta's chair, her brass-blond hair escaping her kerchief. Her round face was flushed from walking up the tight circular stairs.
"I've been shoutin' for you, Princess. There's no one to come and fetch you, since your father took my servants with him on his journey to see the high king. It's time for our evening meal."
Florie was bolder than any other servant in the castle, but for good reason. After Britta's mother had died young from the fever, Florie had stepped in to care for the toddler princess. Britta couldn't recall one day when her loyal Florie hadn't come rushing when she needed her.
The woman leaned closer, the smell of cooked meat wafting from her clothing. She cupped Britta's quivering chin with her rough hand then pushed black strands of hair off Britta's face. "You've been crying. What worries could be weighing on you, safe and healthy as you are?"
That was just the problem. She was perfectly safe here in the castle — so comfortable, she never had to leave this place. And the largest part of her didn't want to leave. Generations ago, the O'Shea family had settled in this lush pocket of Ireland. This beloved castle and land held her close, as tightly as if she were shackled.
She tried to explain. "You know I've always wanted to share my faith with those who have never heard of Christ, and even to those who still hold to druidry."
Florie nodded, thoughtful. A smile broke across her face. "Perhaps your father will make your dream possible with this journey. You are of marriageable age now, and I have heard the high king has four handsome sons —"
Britta gasped at the suggestion. Surely her father had traveled to discuss kingdom business with the high king, as he did every year. "I can't leave you, Florie. Nor could I leave Father, although he might not miss the opinions I so freely offer him."
"True, I shouldn't like to see you leave, Princess. I doubt your father would, either." Florie's light eyes crinkled. "Perhaps God has another suitor for you, closer to home."
Britta sighed. She didn't want to think about suitors yet. She wanted to understand how to use her talents for God — whatever those talents were. She was a proficient reader. She also enjoyed talking to Father about decisions for the kingdom, but every time she shared her thoughts, it was as though she was talking into the wind. Father listened to his right-hand man, Ronan. Not to her.
The psalmist said she should ask for the desires of her heart, but the two strongest desires were irreconcilable. There was no way to spread the Word without leaving the kingdom she cared so deeply about.
Florie patted her hand. "Come on down to eat. You'll feel better with something in your stomach, and then I can prepare a bath for you." She rustled down the stairs without waiting for Britta's response.
Not even vaguely mollified, Britta glanced out the window. The low gray clouds obscured her view of the nearby mountain. Because its crowning rock formation was shaped like a crow's beak, many viewed the monument as an annoyance, an obstruction to the clean line of rolling green hills that swept to the ocean. But to her, it felt like a protective ally, solid and reliable. Even though it was simply called Crow Mountain, she liked to imagine more poetic names for it, like Eagle Aerie or Piney Bluff.
If only God would make His plans for her as obvious as that mountain.
* * *
When Britta reluctantly trailed downstairs, she caught Ronan and Florie attempting to move the tabletop onto the trestle in the great hall. To save space, the table was always taken apart after meals and moved into a corner.
The tabletop was a dense plank of cherrywood, and it would be impossible for two people to manage it, even given Ronan's considerable strength. The guards her father had left behind were already camped at their posts for the evening.
"Let me help." She grabbed a beveled corner, ignoring their black looks. They didn't want the princess to sully her hands with menial labor. But she was the princess, wasn't she? Even though Ronan had been left in charge, she could still do as she pleased.
After considerable effort, they successfully maneuvered the tabletop into position. Cringing to think of repeating the task before each meal, Britta declared, "We will leave the tabletop where it is for the duration of my father's absence."
Florie murmured her approval of this plan then scurried off to the kitchen to retrieve the food.
Ronan, too, nodded in agreement. He removed his mace from his belt and propped it against the wall, near his shield and sword.
As always, Britta felt a wave of thanks that her father had left his best warrior behind to protect her. Ronan's family had lived near the castle all her life, and he had battled alongside her father many times. His loyalty was unquestionable.
Glancing at his mace, a shudder passed from head to toe as she imagined the damage the heavy spiked weapon could inflict. A nervous giggle escaped as she tried to picture such a gentle-spirited man wielding such a deadly weapon, although his build was undeniably powerful and she knew he would not hesitate to protect her life with his own.
He glanced up, his dark eyes softening. "Is something amusing?"
Before she could explain, Florie emerged with a large pot of onion soup. She served it up, accompanied by a hunk of white cheese and slightly scorched oatcakes. Finally, she took her seat, waiting for a look from Britta.
Nodding, Britta sipped her soup, the cue that others could eat. She took an oatcake from the pewter dish then cast a furtive look down the table.
Florie started to wipe her mouth on her sleeve then instead used her linen napkin. "Pray tell, what d'you need, Princess?"
"Have you any of the bog butter? I find it gives my oatcakes incomparable flavor."
"I surely do, and I don't know how I forgot to set it out." Florie hastened into the larder, returning with a greeny-black butter ball.
"Thank you. I know Father says it's uncouth, but I've found nothing matches its taste."
As she finished slathering a thick layer of butter on the oatcake, Ronan spoke. "I shall be riding over to Brennan's castle to trade horses in the morning. Would you care to accompany me?"
It seemed a careless question, a discussion to pass the time, until Britta raised her eyes and met Ronan's dark ones. His completely unguarded gaze struck her like the lightning that had finally loosed outside.
She took in his intense look, his half-quirked smile. He was so expectant, so ... fixed on what she would answer. Realization dawned. Ronan found her desirable. Had her giggling led him to think she was admiring him?
Or had he felt this ardor for some time? If so, how had she missed it?
An embarrassed flush covered her cheeks. She tried to invent an excuse. "My stomach ... perhaps I need to ..." Unable to continue, she stood and rushed from the great hall. She heard Ronan shove his chair back to stand, and Florie's anxious voice trailed after her, but she could not stop.
Bolting into her room, she threw herself on her bed, thoughts fluttering about like doves' wings.
How long had Ronan found her attractive? For so many years, they had wandered the land together, discussing everything from hawks to laws to books. Had the storm-charged air, coupled with her father's absence, released his hidden feelings?
A sudden thought wormed its way to the forefront. What if this unexpected option was the simple solution to her future, a way to ensure that she could stay in her castle for life? Surely her father would be pleased if she married his right-hand man — the one he would doubtless leave his castle to, since he had no male heirs.
This time, no books could assuage the pounding of her heart. Outside, thunder pounded and rain swept across the moors, spraying mist into her open windows. She jumped from her bed, slamming the shutters together and drawing the iron bar across them for good measure. She wished she could lock her thoughts away so easily, but it was impossible now that Ronan's face had betrayed his true feelings. Was this an answer to her prayers?
* * *
This would be a surprise attack. Ari Thorvaldsson cast a lingering glance at his family's chain-mail shirt, which he would leave behind to enable more stealth. His closest friend, Sigfrid, gave him a meaningful stare with his one functioning eye.
"What was the real purpose of this voyage, Ari?"
What sort of question was that? The entire crew understood his motivation to avenge his brother's blood, spilled in this deceptively green place — Ireland, some called it. The clan responsible for Egil's death must feel the wrath of the Northmen, as had so many others on this fair isle.
Feeling weighted by the heavy, humid air, Ari chose his weapon carefully and did not answer. He was most comfortable with his sword, its name carved in the blade: Peacebreaker. Surely it was an apt name, since peace had been stolen from him with Egil's untimely death. His brother had only been sixteen when he fell in a raid on this very castle.
Sigfrid pressed him again. "Are you certain you want to attack?"
A sudden twinge of doubt reared its head. He had only been ten himself when his brother was slain. His father forced him to stay with his mother on the longship, waiting for the outcome of the struggle. Although he could barely remember the castle his family had raided, he could still close his eyes and smell the pungent blood that had spread across Egil's chest that day.
His eyes fixed on the odd mountain backing this castle, its point similar to the beak of one of Odin's ravens. Strange that he could not recall it from his youth.
Sigfrid had not been with his family during that raid, so he could not confirm Ari's memory. But he had followed the course his father had mentioned, and the lines of the castle looked so familiar. This was the one.
Blond strands of hair escaped their leather binding as Ari nodded forcefully. "Of course we must attack. We did not sail here to trade or explore. We came for vengeance."
Sigfrid nodded. "Then take care as you scout for us."
Thunder boomed, and he sheathed Peacebreaker, taking his shorter knife in hand. This sharp angled seax would serve him well in close quarters. He hoped to gain access to the castle grounds before anyone could send up an alarm.
The men had set up camp last night and would soon lose the benefit of surprise. Ari knew they were still exhausted from the long voyage to this Irish inlet. He had to move now that twilight was falling.
He gave a nod to his men. No words were necessary. If they heard his battle cry, no force on earth could stop them, no matter how exhausted they were. Like a wave of heat and hatred, Vikings would sweep the offensive castle clean.
* * *
The rain moved in heavy sheets, forming deep puddles and loosening Ari's footing. Creeping cautiously among the wet tangle of berry vines inside the walled garden, he hoped the tightly stitched seams of his leather boots would keep his feet dry. There was nothing he hated more than cold, soaked feet. At home, when he checked traps in the deep snows, there had been several times he'd feared frostbite would take his toes.
He glanced back at the circuitous route he'd taken to creep up to the rear of the castle. Clambering the stone wall hadn't been easy in the near dark, but it was surprisingly low. Perhaps the Irish were prepared for shorter invaders, or perhaps they anticipated attacks only on the castle gate in the front. He had spied but a single guard stationed there.
It was possible that he had timed his attack well, when the castle wasn't fully manned. And the crashing storm had provided effortless concealment. It was a sign: the gods smiled upon this raid.
He clenched his jaw. Who was he fooling? The gods hadn't protected his brother. They hadn't given him any happiness in the years he had tried to please his father, stepping into the position of heir. They had never even brought him a woman interesting enough to marry.
He fingered the ancient bronze bottle he kept belted inside his tunic. It was unwieldy, but it was his heritage, and he didn't want to die without it. It was a trophy from his ancestor, who had bravely sailed west, to this very country, and plundered the holy men who lived here. This bottle and its story had passed to each Thorvaldsson heir. Ari stomached the thought that Egil should have inherited it and pushed on.
Candlelight flickered in the window then disappeared. This was his chance. He gripped his seax, ready to slash at anyone inside. For Egil, he told himself. For Egil he would bring this castle to its knees.CHAPTER 2
Spinning her mother's amber ring on her finger, Britta closed her eyes, picturing Ronan's intense gaze and how his sleek dark hair matched his neatly trimmed beard. Why had she never thought of him as a suitor? He was surely handsome, turning women's heads wherever he went.
Maybe it was because he talked to her as a friend — almost as one of the men. When he spoke with her father about taking animals to trade or building onto the castle, he had a way of pulling her into the conversation. Ronan took her opinions seriously; she was sure of that.
Florie rapped and opened the door, once again interrupting her musings. She stood just inside the room, awkwardly shifting on her feet. "Apologies if the oatcakes did not please."
Britta walked to her side, pulling her into a hug. She could never be angry with such a loyal friend.
"The oatcakes were tasty. Perhaps I used too much butter. My stomach has settled considerably."
Britta continued. "I wondered — has Ronan ever spoken to you about me?"
The nursemaid's freckled cheeks flooded with sudden color. "Well, now. I am not certain what you mean."
She was blunt. "Does he care for me, as more than just a friend?"
Florie hedged. "To be sure, he's never said a peep to me along those lines." She shot her a shrewd look. "But I've noticed he lets you win at the table games, which is contrary to his competitive nature. He also dashes outside the moment you announce you're taking a walk. And you remember the spring festival? There were so many eligible clansmen there, practically swarmin' around you. Ronan stayed right by your side, do you recall?"
She did. She had thought nothing of it at the time, because Ronan knew she was uncomfortable in large crowds and she'd assumed he was trying to set her at ease. Yet the way Florie described it, he had been protecting her from the advances of other men.
Abruptly, Florie moved toward the clattering shutters, giving a futile tug at the iron bar, which was already secure. "Listen to that driving rain! I'd better feed the guards now. They'll be soaked to the bone." She hurried from the room.
Florie's observations and her nervous behavior confirmed Britta's suspicions. Ronan did care for her. And what was wrong with that? He could read Latin. He loved God, as she did. He was well regarded by her father. Indeed, life with Ronan would be comfortable. But was it a comfortable life that God had called her to?
* * *
Stooping, Ari silently rushed the side entry door. The dimming light of an oil lamp on the scullery wall indicated that someone had been here recently. He crept forward, thankful he hadn't worn the clinking chain mail.
A sense of echoing spaciousness met him as he passed through the next door. Embers died in a square hearth by the wall, casting long shadows. This must be the great hall. But where were the residents?
He sensed a movement to his right, but before he could turn to see if someone was there, a dull thud slammed into his stomach. A muffled cry jolted from his lips. Furious, Ari stabbed into the dark, in the direction of the attacker. Another blow fell, this time crushing his foot. Even as he tried to plunge farther, hot pain stabbed at his toes, driving him to the stone floor.
Not far away, a woman gave a horrified shout, filling the vaulted space. Ari tried to drag himself back to the doorway, but his long, large limbs would not respond. It was as if his crushed foot pinned his entire body to the ground.
Excerpted from The Message in a Bottle by Joanne Bischof, Amanda Dykes, Heather Day Gilbert, Jocelyn Green, Maureen Lang. Copyright © 2017 Amanda Dykes. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
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.
Table of Contents
The Distant Tide,
A Song in the Night,
The Forgotten Hope,
A River between Us,
The Swelling Sea,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection by Joanne Bischof, Amanda Dykes, Heather Day Gilbert, Jocelyn Green, and Maureen Lang is unlike any book I have ever read! Consisting of a prologue, five novellas, and an epilogue, this book follows the path of a bronze bottle from an Irish monastery as its Latin engraving and the contents inside impact five couples throughout history. The reader journeys through Medieval era Ireland, Georgian era Scotland, New Nation era New York, Civil War era Georgia, and Industrial era California. I was captivated by every part of this book! Even though it is a collection of different authors’ works, the stories flowed seamlessly as the bronze bottle connected the five novellas. I was always at the edge of my seat, curious to see when and how the bronze bottle would appear in the story! In addition, I was enthralled by the disparate heroes and heroines from each novella as they embodied the experiences of the people from that era! Their love stories touched my heart, and I connected with so many of the characters! Best of all, I loved the faith-based messages from the book! While each novella had its own unique message about God, they each seemed to impact me just as much as they influenced the characters! I highly recommend this book! It is such a unique treasure in my library, and I have to admit, I really wish the bronze bottle would make its way into my life!
This was an amazing idea, to weave five stories around one bottle with an inspirational message. I wans’t ever interested in any books related to Vikings, as the first in this collection is. But when your favorite author writes it, you have to at least try it, and I was glad that I did. I’m afriad I was prejudiced; when I heard the word “Viking,” I would think of huge, cruel people fighting. I don’t know where I got that false idea, but her story was great. She does such a nice job of blending faith into love stories. I wish that all of her books were available on Nook. My ratings on individual stories in this book: The Distant Tide - 5 stars A Song in the Night - 3.5 stars The Forgotten Hope.- 4 starB A River Between Us- 4 stars. Based on what I know of historical facts about the Civil War as fought in Georgia, this book did a good job of presenting conditions for both sides. Nicely balanced. realistic views of conditions of CW Soldiers The Swelling Sea 3 stars All of the authors did a nice job of weaving faith into the tales, without being preachy.
The message in a Bottle is a book of love (where you have a Viking who is taken prisoner but is kept taken lovingly care of by an Irish princess.), romance ( Abigail wanting to fall in love and marry a man that would let practice medicine), adventurous(General Sherman had tons of Southern mill workers were displaced what did they do?)., boundless (the stories of geography and time period), enlightening (the superstitions and ideas that the people had for medicine and for their beliefs in each of their time periods.) and all of it floating in a bronze bottle going from Scotland, New York, Georgia, and California. Starting in 1715-1890. This book is awesome and each story is better than the last. It is so worth it. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection is a great compilation of five love stories that begin with a brass bottle created in a monastery and tossed into the sea. The bottle travels from century to century and continent to continent and then city to city. Always with the same message of hope to those who find it. An Irish princess, a Scottish lass, a New York healer, a Southern mill worker and a hotel maid in California each find the truth of God's Word in her life. Revenge, restoration, and romance. Sorrows, sadness and yet through it all the solace of Hope. Each of the five authors has created characters of strength and tenderness, characters that are realistic and touch the reader's heart. The various settings are vividly described and add so much to the drama of each story. I enjoy these books that are collections of related stories from different authors as it allows the reader to enjoy favorite authors and be introduced to new authors. And this collection brings a message of hope...even if the vessel is battered and scarred hope can still live within. I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a review and the opinions are my own.
A bronze bottle featuring the word Spero (hope) is featured in each of these five stories spanning the centuries from 1170 to 1890. Each story was unique and it is hard to pick a favorite! The main characters in each story were well-written. Each female protagonist was an exceptionally strong woman. I recommend this romance collection to others. I received my copy of The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection from the authors. This is my honest opinion.
Oh my gosh I loved this book! I give it 10 stars. I read a lot, and I put this on my top ten list for keepers. It opens in Ancient Ireland with a Monk under attack - trying to save manuscripts, putting a message in a bottle. Beginning in Ireland is a great way in itself to hook me - then each tale is so very well written. They all have a strong Christian message and although they share the same bottle with a message (added to along the way), each is unique with journey of its own. I would love to read a continuing story of each one. There is a big gap between the timelines and we don’t know how the bottle got from person to person. It’s not a short read so you’re given lots to get lost in. This was one that I did not want to end! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Barbour Publishing - Netgalley book review bloggers 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.”
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection, © 2017 You are in for a treat when you begin reading the stories of hope traveling in the different time periods. A sprinkling of hope that ignites hearts to believe again ~ beyond their limited scope. How narrowly do we keep our boundaries? A new voice seemed to penetrate his heart––a truthful voice that seemed older than time itself. The voice said only one word, but he heard it very clearly: hope. The Distant Tide, 41. 1170: County Kerry, Ireland Join Princess Britta as she finds a foe is a person who is not a threat to her ~ only to his memory of past confrontation with her kingdom home. * Long days have maneuvered between what was and what is today... And there––just in the very depths of her eyes––he saw it. A flicker of hope––distant and elusive as a will-o'-the-wisp light upon the loch. If she could dare to believe... A Song in the Night, 115. 1715: Scotland and England Could it be all that her heart desired? Meg MacNaughton sought a touch of home, strength enough to bolster courage. Longingly, the messenger. "I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search." Ps 77:6 Peace to renew strength. * Miss Abigail Van de Klerk has been sent to the home of her friend by her father for the summer season to entertain proper decorum away from his medical practice. "Age is only important as it relates to experience." The Forgotten Hope, 187. 1798: New York It is so important to be who we are, and not to emulate another for societal expectations. Frivolity does not match solidity in character when misrepresented, especially on first impressions. For in being ourselves we find out who we truly are intended to be. Beloved. * Miss Cora Mae Stewart had a decision to make to be able to continue care for her mama: By settling for her pap's parting request, now including care for young June, herself needing a mama. Or... upturned by war, the dispatch of Union soldiers removing her from her Southern mill work drawing patterns for Confederate uniforms. This second decision wasn't hers to make. Hearing her talk had been like looking at his own reflection, the recognition so complete, it was like coming home. The woman he captured just this morning was now seizing his heart instead. A River between Us, 293-4. 1864: Roswell, Georgia Following orders does not cover the courage of a longing to care for another protectively. Dreams, faith, and hope, not lost amid uncertain travel to destiny as it seemed. Dare to imagine a different life than the one you got used to expecting. Ibid., 296. So beautiful! "Hope is on the inside. Even if the vessel is battered and scarred. Hope can still live within." Ibid., 322. You will indeed cry with this story!! * "I write things down that I mean not to forget. Notes for remembrance." --The Swelling Sea, 379. 1890: Coronado Island, California Rosie Graham meets Jonas McIntosh on the beach as he frees a bottle from the salt-laden sand near the edge of the water. Insistent that it is hers, she attempts to have it. A story of encouragement, understanding, and a hope without boundaries. These stories are interwoven with a single word on a bottle that is cherished and sent forth to a further generation who will realize its message at just the right time. Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. Ps 139:10 Authors' gift. Review in own words.
The awaited book arrived! Like a treasure to be discovered it sat on the table enticing me to begin reading. The book is a feast for the eyes. The page edges are “torn” which gives the book a very warm feeling. Inside the cover is a beautiful scene that makes one feel at peace. The prologue began with the scripture “You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.” Job 11:16 NIV This was very encouraging at this time in my life! What a journey this book takes the reader on. Starting in the year 1170 in County Kerry, Ireland to 1715 in Scotland, England to 1798 in New York to 1864 in Roswell, Georgia to 1890 in Coronado Island, California. The message of hope and a bronze bottle winds its way from start to finish. It is so interesting to see how each author weaves this bottle in each individual story. The authors Heather Day Gilbert, Amanda Dykes, Maureen Lang, Jocelyn Green, and Joanne Bischof so carefully wove their stories together yet each story stands on its own and has its own flavor and style. Maureen Lang is one of my favorite authors and she did not disappoint me. I had not read the other authors previous to this book. It is always fun to learn about other great authors!!!! Everyone needs hope. It is a timeless need throughout the ages. Put this book on your “to read “ list and be encouraged!
What a wonderful collection of authors and stories! I've enjoyed the works of the individual authors so I was pretty sure that I was going to have an interesting read before me. I was right! The prologue begins in a monastery in Northern Ireland in the year 834 AD. That is where the bronze bottle first appears and the stage is set for a wild adventure involving that mysterious bottle. Each of the stories that follow take us through time and travel. While the individual stories are unrelated the bronze bottle appears in each.The epilogue was a fun ending in present-day California and it neatly tied the whole thing together. I really like that the stories were stand-alone titles. It's hard to keep a continuity of character traits and voice when different authors are writing for the same characters. By changing stories completely it made the book a delightful collection that could be read over several afternoons. With five different novellas the book as a whole is quite hefty but the layout makes it reader friendly. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite story. I liked each one of them in different ways. Each of the stories had a strong message of faith. Due to the talent of each of the authors the characters really came alive. I was left wondering about what happened after the story ended. How did they live out their happily ever after? That's a nice feeling at the end of a good book. The genres in this book are a mixed bag. Romance winds through each of them but there is history and mystery mixed in as well. I believe it would appeal to a wide audience. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
I had highly anticipated this collection since it contained novellas by two inspirational authors whom I've followed for several years now, and it did not disappoint! Historical novels are my second favorite (behind mystery novels), and this book features several settings that are near and dear to my heart as well as some less familiar. Each character's story is tied loosely together by the theme of Hope introduced through an ancient bronze bottle. Over the past several years, I've discovered that reading novella collections is one of the best ways to introduce myself to new authors and new settings. The shorter story lengths also fit well into my busy lifestyle. I highly recommend this particular collection for its beauty both in story and in message. The book itself features a gorgeous cover and textured-edge pages. The love stories are graciously presented and appropriate for a variety of ages. I believe that The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection would be a very good choice to gift to your favorite bookworm. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
Spero - a Latin word encircling the neck of a bottle covered in beautiful ironwork. Words in a bottle and on that bottle that inspired five fabulous stories spanning years and nations. Written by a monk in 834 A.D. in North Ireland, placed in a bottle, sealed with the 'Hope' that they would mean as much to others as they did to him and thrown into the sea before his life was taken. This 'Hope' travelled through Scotland with its warring clans to New York, on to Georgia and eventually to Calaifornia. Each person who came in contact with this bottle was blessed and received hope through the word Spero or as they read the notes inside the bottle. Don't miss the opportunity to learn more history through these wonderful authors and glean hope from what you read! I received this book from the authors with the expectation of an honest review.
Five talented authors have created beautifully crafted and original novellas of diverse characters and time frames. They share the quest for hope in difficult times. The lives of the characters in each of the books contained in The Message in a Bottle are complex and diverse. Each tale is told from the perspective of different time periods throughout the book. Well researched and creative, each story holds secrets and questions regarding their respective positions. The commonality that each tale holds is the discovery of a bronze bottle, beaten and scarred, engraved with the Latin word meaning "hope." As diverse as these novellas are, there are common basic needs that rises to the surface. I thoroughly enjoyed each of these novellas that make up the entirety of The Message in a Bottle. There are a couple of stories that really impressed me and touched my heart in different ways, but the complete book is very impressive and worth reading. I highly recommend this interesting and mystifying book. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a gift, and was not required to write a positive review. All expressed opinions are my own.
I adore these kinds of collections because they are quicker reads. The ones with stories that tie together are just fabulous! This whole collection is now one of my favorites - come on, who wouldn't love a message in a bottle with a twist! I won't go into each story - but just need to say that from the very first page (and that was the prologue!) I was sucked into the drama and danger and couldn't wait to see where the bottle would end up and how it was used. The ending was beautiful and so satisfying! Each talented author put their heart into the stories and you feel that as you read them. There wasn't a slow one in the bunch - each one snagged my attention immediately and kept me turning pages. Here is a snippet of my feelings on the first story: The Distant Tide The gritty detail in this story sucked me in and made me wish I was there watching the interactions between all the characters. I can just picture Ari and feel his struggle with his emotions and fight his feelings. Britta is a beautifully strong yet gentle character who knows she wants to follow God’s calling! Lovely details and emotions in this moving tale! All in all you will not be one bit sorry for making this a bookshelf keeper! I am so happy these women got together for such a unique and intriguing story line. Very gifted writers and lovely merging of details. I was given the book. These opinions are completely my own.
I so enjoyed these five books of hope. Each of these five novellas centers around hope. I read these at a good time because I wasn't feeling well myself. These center around a bronze bottle that a monk flings into the ocean in the year 834 AD. It begins in Ireland, then goes to Scotland, then New York, then Georgia and finally gets to California. In each novella the characters are well developed and I love each story. This book was very hard to put down. Each author wrote beautiful stories of hope. I received a copy of this book from the authors for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. “The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection: Hope Reaches Across the Centuries Through One Single Bottle, Inspiring Five Romances” begins in Ireland in 834 AD where a monk is fighting to hide a bronze bottle from invading Vikings. What is special about this bottle? It is filled with scripture and has a message in Latin engraved around the neck, “spero” which means hope. The bottle shows up throughout all five stories reminding the characters at their darkest hours to always have hope. First, an Irish princess encounters a Viking warrior bent on revenge and teaches him to love your enemies! The details of Viking warriors and their ways of life were intriguing! The second story, “A Song in the Night” is set in Scotland. One of the main characters was a bagpipe player. I would love to see that one made into a movie! Super scenery, music and characters. I could hear the bagpipes playing as I read! New York in 1798 is the setting for “The Forgotten Hope” by Maureen Lang is the story of a young lady who longs to continue to work beside her father as a doctor rather than become the doting wife that society deems she should be. The story follows her as she assists during a yellow fever outbreak remind us to always rely on God and to not distance yourself from others in an attempt to not be hurt by life’s tribulations. “A River Between Us” by Jocelyn Green is set in 1864 Georgia, during the Civil War. It is a sweet reminder to love your enemy! If you enjoy historical romances, check out her “Heroines behind the Civil War” series. “The Swelling Sea” by Joanne Bischoff is set in 1890 California at the lovely Hotel Del Coronado and reminds us to never give up. The Epilogue is also by Joanne Bischoff and ties all the stories up nicely. Very happy with the ending. If you enjoy uplifting, romantic short stories, I highly recommend this book. All five stories were well written and engaging. They all remind the reader that no matter how dark or troubling your life is, there is always hope in God and His word!
I do not read novella collections very often, but this is a MUST READ! Each author has managed to write a short story with lovely character development and a plot that does not feel rushed. I found the premise of a bottle finding it way through the centuries to bring the message of Hope to the right person at the right time to be intriguing. Each author has provided a story, rich in historical detail that is rarely found in shorter stories. I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite because each appealed/ touched me in different ways. The bottle travels from 9th and 12th centuries Ireland, Georgian Scotland, post- revolutionary war New York, Civil War era Georgia and finally the California coast of the Gilded Age. Each of the heroes and heroines display strength of character as they face the challenges life brings to them. Yet God manages to bring the bottle with its message of hope at the right time. While each novella tells the tale of love in the adversity of war or sickness, it is the realization that strength and hope can be found by trusting in God that gives each story depth of meaning. This is not a forced theme, but is masterfully woven to link each story together. I do not wonder how the bottle manages to travel between the centuries. It is left to the reader to imagine the lives the bottle has touched and the individual messages of hope, whether in the words of scripture or a well-loved hymn, that traversed in the ancient vessel. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
What a charming collection of novellas! Stories of someone finding a message in a bottle have always fascinated me, and the concept of one traced through centuriess makes a delightful read. From the opening set in a ninth-century monastery to the final modern-day resolution, these stories tie together by an ancient bronze bottle etched with a single word, Spero, and pointing the characters--and the reader--to the hope contained on the message within. I had not previously read any of the authors except Jocelyn Green, whose writing I highly esteem and who is the reason I eagerly read this book, and I enjoyed each of their stories and "meeting" new-to-me authors. Though varied in setting and time period, the overarching theme, as well as writing styles that intertwined seamlessly, smoothed the transition from one story to the next. While the end of each novella is a natural place to set aside the book for another day, it was difficult not to forge ahead into the next one! As spring weather warms, this is the perfect beach read. You might even find your own Message in a Bottle! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Barbour Books. I was not required to write a 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.”
I adored this extraordinary collection! As you open the pages of the book, you read of a precious message sealed in a bronze bottle. Traveling through time and across many waters, the message of hope contained in the vessel touches the lives of all who hold it dear. From medieval Ireland to the California coast, I reveled in the richness and vibrancy that resonates through each novella. All five stories are beautifully rendered, and I lost myself within their pages. Often in a collection such as this, I find myself favoring one or two stories above the others. However, each of these tender tales shines as brightly as the one before it. I loved the adventure and romance of The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection and was touched by its powerful message! I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
I enjoyed this novella collection so much! With an overarching theme of hope, each story drew me in and captured my heart as I watched various characters learn to embrace hope regardless of circumstances. I loved that these stories were all set in different time periods, with characters and situations that varied with each novella. Yet, even still, that theme of hope was woven through each story by way of a bronze bottle as it traveled through history. I enjoyed every single novella in this book. The prologue and epilogue both started and ended the collection nicely. I truly loved the variety in the different novellas! The fact that the stories covered such a wide range of history, from Viking times to late 1800’s America, made for a very enjoyable experience. If you enjoy historical fiction, I definitely recommend The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection! I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
An old bottle that keeps appearing to play a role in the lives of 5 different women’s stories? The message of Hope that spans across the ages? A prologue that sets the tone for the bottle’s significant message? An epilogue that brings closure to the different novellas? All this intrigued me and invited me to grab this book. It was, in a word, wonderful! Each of the five stories went beyond the scope of most novellas I have read. There was adventure, romance, intrigue and sacrificial love. Each of the five stories - so unique. I enjoyed the individual voice of each of the authors immensely and rate this collection as the finest I have read to date.
Five wows.....didn't want this one to end. I love the way each story was connected and how the prologue drew you end and had you sitting on the edge of your seat to see...what next....where is the bottle going to turn up next. The Distant Tide by Heather Day Gilbert finds us in Ireland with a Princess and Vikings. This is exceptionally well written and takes you on a beautiful journey of mistaken identification and setting wrongs to right. A Song In The Night by Amanda Dykes weaves a lovely tale in Scotland. You can hear the bagpipes in this vivid tale. The Forgotten Hope by Maureen Lang is a story that takes place in the midst of a yellow fever outbreak in New York. Descriptive words make you feel like you are there. A River Between Us by Jocelyn Green is exceptional, as you can expect from this gifted author. This tale takes place during the Civil War and has you riveted to your seat. I found this story to be breathtaking. The Swelling Sea by Joanne Bischof takes place on Coronado Island in California. Two classes collide in this story of unexpected love. You want to know the stories that shape these characters and can't read fast enough. The epilogue is present day and left me in tears. Each story has believable characters searching for Hope that they find in a Bottle that restores their Faith. I loved the Faith that is shown in each tale and how love can stretch across cultures, classes, and distance. Jeremiah 29:11 comes to mind for me...that God had a plan for these characters and if we but HOPE it finds us. Exceptional book that should be on your must read list. I received a complimentary copy. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
I was absolutely enthralled with this book for so very many reasons! The five highly talented Christian authors who corroborated on this collection brilliantly combined their efforts to tell the story of a ancient bottle from the Ballyfir Monastery in the North of Ireland in 834AD that was tossed into the sea by a monk who gave his life so that The Living Word would endure. Through each authors' imagination I was immersed in stories of true faith and inspiration that engaged every single one of my emotions and embraced my joy of reading by taking me to places that I had never traveled to through my books before. To Ireland amongst revenge seeking Vikings, to Scotland's shores amid feuding clans, to New York City after the American Revolution, the Civil War and then to present day California. Each story has interesting and inspiring characters who act selflessly time and again to change their fate while teaching me about the true meaning of faith and the strength that faith employs. My favorite story, by far, was A River Between Us by Jocelyn Green because I have always been fascinated by the history of the Civil War though I never could have anticipated how harrowing the lives of her characters could become. With every page of this collection I was engrossed in these stories featuring everyday people in extraordinary circumstances who find love and the empowerment of hope. It's a journey that I will never forget. I read a complimentary copy of this book and all opinions expressed in my voluntary review are completely my own.
The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection: Hope Reaches Across the Centuries Through One Single Bottle, Inspiring Five Romances is a wonderful collection. This collection includes the following stories: Prologue by Heather Day Gilbert The Distant Tide by Heather Day Gilbert A Song in the Night by Amanda Dykes The Forgotten Hope by Maureen Lang A River between Us by Jocelyn Green The Swelling Sea by Joanne Bischof Epilogue by Joanne Bischof I enjoyed all of these sweet stories. There were a wide variety of settings and time periods in history. From 1170-1890 and in Ireland, Scotland, New York, Georgia, and California. If U had to choose a favorite of the five, I would definitely go with Joanne Bischof's The Swelling Sea. She is a favorite author of mine and this story is just another reason why. Highly recommended. 5 plus stars.
The Message in a Bottle collection was a wonderful collection of novellas written by five great authors. Each story is not connected to each other. The bottle travels through generations bringing hope to different couples which brings about love. The stories in this book are fraught with danger, war, adventure, strength, endurance, romance, excitement, and most importantly Spero - Hope! I did have two favorite stories in this collection, which personally touched my life. There where a few quotes I found quite impacting. Here a couple I really enjoyed: Real love is not so easily tossed aside.” -Heather Day Gilbert “It’s that getting up again and pressing onward. It’s that swell that always follows. Always.” -Joanne Bischof The only thing I missed and was confused about, was what happened to the contents of the bottle when it traveled through the generations. What happened to them? I'm assuming they were lost throughout the years. I was also curious how the bottle ended up in the hands of the person who had it before it was given to another person. Despite these questions, this book was well-worth the five stars! All the authors did an amazing job writing this collection. I'm sure it was not easy keeping everything straight! Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, in Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
These novella collections are perfect reads for folks who don't have a lot of time to commit to a full length book. Of course, I do have time to commit, but I enjoy novellas, too. The premise centers on a bottle tossed out to sea by a monk in Ireland in the 9th century and continues to the present day. Fascinating premise. One of the stories is set in 12th century Scotland, a country and time I love especially. My favorites in this collection are the novellas penned by Heather Gilbert and Joanne Bischof, but all have charm for the reader. *I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via Net Galley. My opinion is my own and honest.