Swazi Sunrise by Donna Chapman Gilbert

Title: Swazi Sunrise

Author: Donna Chapman Gilbert

Genre: Christian Nonfiction/Biography (missionaries)

Era: early 1900s (1907 through the early 1920s)

Setting: New York, then Africa

Publisher: Donna Chapman Gilbert

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

Swazi Sunrise by Donna Chapman Gilbert

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19-year-old Lula is bookish and shy. She longs for a husband and children of her own, but gives up that dream to become a missionary. Lula never imagined the life of hair-raising adventure that awaits her. Nor does she expect to meet the most thrilling adventure of all in the form of a handsome young preacher.

Harmon leaves his home in Ohio with only goal in mind—converting Africans to Christ. No one is going to stand in his way. Not even a little brown-eyed slip of a girl with a sweet smile.

Young Emely lives in fear of the snake spirits and the witchdoctor who summons them. Then she encounters a pale man who tells her she can be free from fear. Will she find the courage to defy the witchdoctor and grab hold of that freedom?

Kosa loses his standing as a Swazi prince due to the conniving of his hateful younger brother. To regain his honor and his father’s respect, he trains hard to become a renowned fighter. But he discovers that fame and fortune do nothing to bring peace to his tortured soul.

Swazi Sunrise is a safari ride into early 20th century Africa. Its vivid depiction of life in Swaziland and the trials and triumphs of pioneer missionaries makes for a highly satisfying read.

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I have some confused thoughts on this book, and I’m going to try to get them all into some sort of a cognizant order, but don’t blame me if it’s a little confusing.*

Also, it has been a bit since I’ve read it, so take my opinions with a grain of salt. I had to think about this book a while before I could review it.

*I don’t know who you could possibly blame other than me, but oh well …

PLOT: 3/5

The plot was well-developed. As a nonfiction story, there were some limitations – the author had to abide to the real-life details, of course. I sometimes felt that it dragged, probably for that reason. It was pretty boring and a little annoying at times for that reason.

I myself don’t necessarily support the main characters’ choices. Lula Glatzel and Harmon Schmelzenbach may have felt guided to marry each other, but it sure did neither of them any good. They just suffered for it – them and the innocent children they pulled into it.

I may have totally misread the characters’ intentions, but I thought they were basing their relationship off attraction, maybe even lust, and on dreams they never got to finalize because of their decision to serve God. Maybe that was just me, though.

There were some parts that were very emotional and well-done. I won’t say more because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but … argggg these poor people!

CHARACTERS: 4/5

I feel that the author did a really good job portraying these real-life people. Emely was my personal favorite; she was quite sweet, and I felt so bad for her. I hate how the witch doctors or whatever used fear to rule!

I also liked Lula (and Harmon seemed like a good guy). I wasn’t too interested in Kosa, and there wasn’t as much a focus on him as the summary would lead you to believe, anyway. His whole story seemed underplayed, but I can’t complain as I didn’t find his story that interesting.

One thing: Women Shouldn’t Be Preachers. Not by themselves and not to men. Nope. Sorry. It’s Biblical, and I just can’t support it.

SETTING: 4/5

I loved the description and attention to native culture, etc., as well as to lots of details about the era. It was very well-done, in my opinion.

I remember a couple slips in historical accuracy, but I have lost my original notes (argggggggg!), so I won’t lower the rating for those. And I think all y’all should assume it was perfectly historically accurate. Maybe I was wrong.

CONTENT: 2/5

Language: n/a

Violence: I can’t remember specifically, but there was some fighting between tribes, etc. Never too gory, though. I remember an instance where a mob beat a missionary to death, few details. Illnesses and death from various wounds.

Sexual: lots of mentions and talk about childbirth, several scenes where children are born with mild details.

Other: scary demonness, witch doctors, all kinds of scary evil culture that the missionaries had to work through and fight.

Okay for most older teens. Younger teens cautioned. The main thing was the demonic and pagan culture, but that was correctly dealt with even if it was a little scary.

OVERALL: 4/5

A pretty decent book! I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about missionaries – nonfiction, anyway – so it was new for me.


Review by Kellyn Roth of Reveries Reviews

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Cries of Grace by Angela Beach Silverthorne

Title: Cries of Grace

Author: Angela Beach Silverthorne

Series: Cries, Book 2

Genre: Christian Contemporary

Setting: United States

Publisher: Angela Beach Silverthorne

Source: from the author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 2/5 stars

Cries of Grace by Angela Beach Silverthorne

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The Haven has enjoyed five years of peace after a brutal demonic assault. The land has flourished. People have moved on, reaping a treasure house of blessings and getting comfortable and complacent.

Bren has been away for five years. Now she heads home with a Master’s degree in nursing, hoping to follow her grandmother’s passion as a midwife. Going home holds deep-rooted issues. She must face the death of her grandmother, her father’s involvement in demonic activity, and bitter disappointments.

Going home also means seeing Joseph. Through brief visits, phone calls, and letters, Bren has fallen in love with Joseph. She is indebted to him for helping restore The Haven to its former glory, but she wants more. She wants her love reciprocated to the fullest.
Going home might mean more hurt, more brokenness, but it also might mean love and passion, sharing a future with the man of her dreams.

Cries of Grace weaves a beautiful tale of romance, redemption, faith, and trust, but in the background things are shifting—mistrust, deceit, and corruption begin to slip in and insidiously corrode hope.

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Music of Her Heart by Sophie Dawson

Guess what … I’m reviewing a book today!

Okay, I guess it’s not all that surprising considering that’s just about all I do here, but … but …? YAY I ANNOUNCED IT! IT’S OFFICIAL!

Now, y’all know I obsess over like historical romances, particularly the Christian or Inspirational type … but it’s very rarely that they’re set in the Old West! And rarely to they involve kidnappings and bandits and all kinds of awesome, hilarious characters.

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As In Olden Days by Jesseca Wheaton

Title: As in Olden Days

Author: Jesseca Wheaton

Series: Questions of War, 0.5

Genre: Christian Historical Short Story (@Christmas)

Era: late 1940s

Setting: Kansas

Publisher: Jesseca Wheaton

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 stars

As in Olden Days by Jesseca Wheaton

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The short story prequel to the Questions of War series, As in Olden Days is an adorable Christmas story about all our favorite characters – Gil, David, Lily, Elaine, Rafe with an awesome peek into their pre-war life.

It is awesome in its awesomeness, and the cover is pretty. I love red on gray and white. It’s so striking. Kind of reminds me of blood on snow. Which I’ve seen a lot of because my brother gets bloody noses all the time. It looks cool.

(~summary by moi … which is why it’s … like it is)

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Isolated by Jordy Leigh

Title: Isolated

Author: Jordy Leigh

Series: War and Wilderness, #1

Genre: Christian Action/Adventure

Publisher: Jordy Leigh

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

ISOLATED BY JORDY LEIGH

Fourteen-year-old Louise Stella flees into the forest to escape an intruder who would take her hostage. But by the time she returns to her house, her country has broken out in war and her home island has become a military base. Sharing the land with enemy soldiers, Louise’s only goal is to stay alive one day at a time. Having no food or water, and little knowledge of how to survive in the forests of Quebec, her biggest adversary is “the Unknown”. Her pride crumbles and she realizes that she can’t sustain herself. She must depend on someone else… but Who?

Isolated is a Young Adult suspense novella with uncertainty lurking at every turn. It will have you asking the big questions about life and death. Will you come to the same conclusion as Louise?

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Dandelion Dust by Faith L. Potts

Title: Dandelion Dust

Author: Faith L. Potts

Genre: Christian Contemporary (with light romance)

Setting: United States

Publisher: Faith L. Potts

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

Dandelion Dust by Faith L. Potts

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Charity always had a dream. It was simple, really. Find a guy, fall in love, and get married.

The day she met Ryder, Charity knew he was the man God had chosen for her. But she never expected their relationship to be tested and tried through the fires of a freak accident. Suddenly, her world is thrown into chaos, and the bleak, white walls and sterile smells of a city hospital fill every spare minute. And then there comes the dreaded news. It was likely Ryder would never make it out of the hospital bed.

As her carefully laid plans for the future come crashing down around her and the sun seems to set on her dreams, can Charity still find hope in the dark of night?

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