Bergers Book Reviews

Ours for a Season


Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Amish fiction
ISBN: 978-0-7352-9008-2
Pages: 352
Price: $14.99

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Marty Hirschler is devastated that she and Anthony will never have children. Bitterness and misery fill her days, as she watches the women in her community raising their own families. So when her best friend, Brooke, offers her and Anthony the chance to get away for a while, she is anxious to go.

Anthony doesn’t know what to do to help Marty heal from her pain. His construction business is booming, causing him to spend weeks away from her, and their marriage is suffering. When Brooke asks him to work on a special project for her, and Marty wants to go, Anthony accepts.

Brooke was not raised Mennonite, but she developed a lasting friendship with Marty when they were children, despite their differences. Now Brooke is involved in one of her biggest business deals ever, while also battling a serious medical condition. She needs Marty more than ever.

Ours for a Season brings them all together as they work toward completing this building project as a team. And as the work progresses, their plans for the project – and their own lives – are transformed. I highly recommend this wonderfully well-written and moving novel.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Amish fiction, romance | Leave a comment

The Christmas Remedy


Author: Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Amish fiction / Romance
ISBN: 978-0-7352-9104-1
Pages: 208
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Holly Zook is not a traditional Amish girl. She’s determined to bring better health care to her Amish community, after seeing how their neglect has affected the quality of their lives. But this choice might cause her to sacrifice her own happiness in the process. Rather than choosing marriage and family, she’s pursuing a nursing degree. And now, the pharmacy Holly works for that caters to the Amish community is threatened.

Joshua Smucker was captivated by Holly’s charm when they met many years ago, but Holly abruptly ended any attempt he might have made to court her. After meeting her once again at the pharmacy, he understands why Holly chose the path she followed, but was this her only choice? If her bishop was enlightened enough to let her get her degree, might he also be willing to let her work once she married?

This delightful Amish romance-mystery takes place during the Christmas season, but could easily be read at any time of the year. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Amish fiction, holiday, romance | Leave a comment

A Holiday by Gaslight


Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Victorian Romance
ISBN: 978-0-9990364-7-1
Pages: 172
Price: $8.99

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Sophie Appersett needs to marry well in order to help her family. When the affluent merchant, Edward “Ned” Sharpe, chooses to court her, she readily agrees, despite the difference in their class. But their courtship leaves much to be desired.

After making a decision she comes to regret, Sophie finally speaks frankly to Ned. Giving him one last chance, she tells him what she needs in a relationship, and hopes he’ll see the light. And as her family hosts their traditional Christmas gathering, wonderful surprises await them all.

A Holiday by Gaslight is a delightful Victorian holiday romance. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 20, 2018 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon)


Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Victorian Romance
ISBN: 978-0-9990364-5-7
Pages: 386
Price: $16.46

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Helena Reynolds is running from a dark secret when she answers the matrimonial advertisement. Seeking to be married as quickly as possible, she hopes to find sanctuary with Justin Thornhill.

Justin has given up on the idea of a happy marriage, and is simply looking for a pleasant companion who is willing to share the cold, dark nights together. When Helena shows up, he’s stunned. Why would an obviously well-bred, beautiful woman answer such an unusual advertisement? But once they’re married, Helena’s secrets come back to threaten the happiness they’re beginning to find together. Is Justin willing to be the knight in shining armor that Helena needs so desperately?

Mimi Matthews has done it again, in giving us such a strong and spunky heroine. Although Helena initially appears weak, her transformation by the end of this story is so enjoyable to watch. And Justin is every woman’s dream man, as he stands by his wife. I loved The Matrimonial Advertisement and I’m looking forward to reading the next books in this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 30, 2018 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

The Summer of New Beginnings


Author: Bette Lee Crosby
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Women’s fiction
ISBN: 978-1503901247
Pages: 284
Price: $14.95

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Meghan Briggs is running the family business after her father’s death. Always the responsible one, she stepped in immediately, putting her own dreams on hold. When Meghan rescues a puppy, she tries hard not to fall in love, expecting his owner to show up any moment to claim him. But she’s not as wary when she meets the handsome new vet.

Tracy Briggs followed her heart, making a disastrous romantic decision. When she returns home as a single mother, Meghan and their mom are there to help her pick up the pieces. Her son, Lucas, will need special attention, and the family bonds in the process of helping him.

While this story is full of romance, it’s more about family and the ways they work together. All three of the ladies in this book struggles with something from their past, but now they’re making a new beginning. The Summer of New Beginnings is an enjoyable “warm and fuzzy” read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 17, 2018 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

As the Tide Comes In


Authors: Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Christian Romance
ISBN: 978-0-7352-9101-0
Pages: 352
Price: $14.99

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Tara Abbott has helped raise her two half-brothers, and how she’s looking forward to the vacation they’ve planned for her. When tragedy strikes, she makes the trip to St. Simons Island anyway. Dazed and confused, she has no idea where she is or what she’s doing there, but she searches relentlessly for answers.

Gavin Burnside is attempting to solve the family’s financial difficulties after his dad passed away. With his mom and the rest of the “Glynn Girls” to help, they hope to have everything resolved shortly. Finding Tara, lost and alone on the island, isn’t part of his plan. But who is Tara, and what is she really doing on St. Simons Island? And how is her future intertwined with his own?

Watching Tara cope with such a devastating loss is heart-breaking, and at times I wondered how she would ever recover. But with her loving friends, the Glynn Girls, and Gavin to support her, she starts to make peace with the past. As the Tide Comes In is a moving picture of God’s grace in unimaginable circumstances. I highly recommend this beautiful story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Christian, romance | Leave a comment

The Austen Escape


Author: Katherine Reay
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Women’s fiction
ISBN: 978-0-7180-7809-6
Pages: 320
Price: $15.99

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Mary Davies has a nice job at an engineering firm that she joined as a startup. But recent management changes have made work difficult, and the presence of a certain handsome consultant has jumbled her feelings. When her former best friend, Isabel, offers her a two-week paid vacation in England, she reluctantly agrees. Maybe the time away will help her figure out what to do.

Isabel is an Austen expert determined to finish her doctoral thesis, so this vacation will involve period costumes in a historic mansion. But when Isabel loses her memory and believes she’s actually living in the past, Mary’s stay becomes complicated. Isabel’s secrets suddenly all come to light, making Mary realize how little she really knows her friend. And when they involve the man she’s come to regard as important in her life, she doesn’t know what to think.

Those who are unfamiliar with Jane Austen’s works may find some of the role-playing conversations a bit confusing, but since these are not the basis for the story, they won’t interfere with the reader’s enjoyment. In fact, this book might trigger an interest in picking up one of the Austen classics mentioned. I highly recommend The Austen Escape as a pleasant and engaging read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 21, 2018 Posted by | literary, romance | Leave a comment

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter


Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Victorian Romance
ISBN: 978-0-9990364-3-3
Pages: 224
Price: $8.99

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Valentine March has been forced to find employment after her father’s death. As a lady’s companion required to dress in drab clothes, she accompanies her employer to a notorious house party. She has no intention of encountering any of the eligible bachelors there, so she’s surprised when a gentleman finds her alone in the quiet place she’s managed to escape to, and converses with her.

Tristan Sinclair, Viscount St. Ashton, has never had any interest in a long-term relationship with the ladies who’ve come and gone in his life. Although somewhat reformed from his younger days, he is skeptical of marriage and reluctant to settle down. But when he encounters Valentine, something stirs within him.

One moment of indiscretion changes everything, and now they must consider how they will handle their newfound relationship. Can Tristan show her that he’s not the scoundrel she thinks he is? And will Valentine allow him to be a part of her life, knowing she has secrets of her own that may come to light?

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter is a delightfully clean romance. As both parties face their pasts, they attempt to trust and allow each other into their lives. I enjoyed seeing these two interesting characters grow in their relationship together. Highly recommended!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 11, 2018 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

The Lost Letter


Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Victorian Romance
ISBN: 978-0-9990364-1-9
Pages: 206
Price: $2.99 (Kindle)

Author’s website
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Sylvia Stafford has accepted her reduced circumstances and enjoys her new position as a governess. Life has dealt the society beauty some cruel blows, but she’s a strong woman and has chosen to make the best of things.

Colonel Sebastian Conrad is Sylvia’s one true love, but circumstances drove them apart years ago. Now he’s injured and living alone, convinced that Sylvia spurned his attentions. When his meddling sister insists Sylvia visit the home to cheer him up, he’s not at all pleased.

The Lost Letter is a sweet Victorian romance with a delightful array of twists. Unlike the simpering Victorian heroines of the past, Sylvia is spunky, with a mind of her own and the daring to take matters into her own hands. And Sebastian is the kind of hero who can melt a woman’s heart. I really enjoyed this novel and I look forward to seeing many more Victorian romances from this talented author.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 16, 2017 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment

Mennonite on the Edge


Author: Cynthia Yoder
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-1523398898
Pages: 232
Price: $10.95

Author’s website
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MaryJo is recently married and has just moved to New York City with her new husband, Adam. Although she seems to be settled in their tiny Manhattan apartment, she finds herself growing restless and wondering about her existence there. And when she hears upsetting news from home, her confusion grows.

Leaving her Mennonite life behind in Lancaster has suddenly taken on new importance in MaryJo’s eyes, and Adam doesn’t know what to make of it. Why is MaryJo questioning everything? Is she suddenly unhappy with him, and can their marriage survive her concerns about their fast-paced New York lifestyle?

Mennonite on the Edge is an interesting exploration of the abrupt geographical and spiritual changes this Mennonite couple experiences in uprooting themselves from their homes and families in Lancaster and moving to the big city. Unlike the traditional romance, this story begins with the courtship already completed, and now MaryJo and Adam have to learn to live with each other and find a common ground in their marriage. I really enjoyed watching them both grow through these struggles and find out what truly makes them happy.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 17, 2017 Posted by | romance | Leave a comment