Non-Fiction Books

The Struggle is Real

The Struggle Is Real
Getting Better at Life, Stronger in Faith, and

Free from the Stuff Keeping You Stuck

Nicole Unice

Life is hard to live and easy to speak. This is a statement that I have heard over and over. Reality is this is true. We struggle with everyday issues, sometimes those struggles end quickly and other times they last for a season. We all believe that life shouldn’t be this hard. Life should be easy.

When I picked up a copy of Nicole Unice’s new book The Struggle is Real, I knew this book was written with me in my mind. I am constantly saying, “The Struggle is Real.” Why? My life seems like it is a constant struggle to live. This book opens your eyes to see how you can turn from the victim mindset to the victor mindset.

Life is what you make out of it, your faith is as strong as you want it to be, and if we let go of the things that are keeping us stuck, we will be free. No our lives will not be perfect but it will be close. All it takes is to practice gratitude, make godly choices and live our lives with confidence and contentment. God needs to be our main focus, by choosing God first we will see things change. When we let go of things we can’t control, our lives will be more manageable. It all starts with change. We have to step back, be ready for a change and let go and let God.

If you are struggling this book is for you!!

I received a copy of this book for free, a favorable review was not required. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Devotionals

Always Enough, Never Too Much

Always Enough, Never Too Much

100 Devotions to Quit Comparing, Stop Hiding, and

Start Living Wild and Free

Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan

Do you often feel like you are not enough for God? That you don’t deserve His love? I have so many times and I still do. When I was given the opportunity to review the devotional Always Enough, Never Too Much, I was elated. I knew this book would help me in so many ways.

This isn’t your ordinary devotional, this is a unique flip-book, yes you read correctly a flip-book. One side, the devotionals are based on Always Enough, flip the book over and you will find the devotionals for Never Too Much. This concept is different and it works. It gives you the opportunity to choose which side you want to read from. One day you may feel like you are not enough and other days you feel like your too much.

Using scripture along with the devotions you will find the tools you need to help you. Put a stake in the ground and take back your life, live for Christ, learn that you are enough. No matter where you are in life, this devotional is for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for free, a favorable review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

Bibles

CSB Study Bible for Women

CSB Study Bible for Women

My Review:

You can never have too many Bibles, Right? That is what I believe. When I seen that B&H/Lifeway was releasing a CSB Study Bible for Women, I knew I needed it. I love my study Bibles, I love the Christian Standard Translation!! Where do I begin about this Bible. The one I have is the hardcover that is covered in a beautiful light turquoise/sand cloth. The features are everything you could want in a study Bible. Study notes, 500 word studies, 25 full-color maps and reconstructions, introductions to each book of the Bible, a comprehensive concordance that includes every woman and reference to women in the Bible (my favorite), and threads of specialized study woven throughout, pointing to God’s larger story such as: Biblical Womanhood articles, Answers to “hard questions,” character profiles, doctrinal notes, and “written on my heart” applications.

This is one of the best study Bible’s for women that I own. The time spent putting this Bible together has paid off! Edited by two women who have been in ministry for a long time, Dorothy Patterson and Rhonda Kelley, this Bible will equip any woman who is ready to dive deeper into God’s word and mentor other women.

I highly recommend this Bible to all women, young and old. Perfect gift for that special woman in your life.

I received a copy of this Bible for free. A favorable review was not required, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

 

About this Bible:

The most comprehensive study Bible ever prepared for women and by women, the CSB Study Bible for Women invites you to explore the riches of God’s Word. Follow God’s grand story across the Bible, guided by threads of specialized study that explain essential doctrines, answer hard questions, discuss biblical womanhood, and apply truth to our hearts and lives.

The CSB Study Bible for Women is edited by Dr. Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Dr. Rhonda Harrington Kelley, both long-time women’s ministry leaders, authors and seminary professors at two of the nation’s most respected seminaries. As you learn from these women extensively educated in Biblical studies and languages and passionate about God’s Word, you will be equipped in turn to mentor others in the truth and hope found in Scripture.

Features include:

  • 6,490 extensive study notes
  • Over 500 word studies, 25 full-color maps and reconstructions, and 95 charts
  • Introductions to each book of the Bible
  • A comprehensive concordance including every woman and reference to women in the Bible
  • Threads of specialized study woven throughout, pointing to God’s larger story:
    • Biblical Womanhood articles
    • Answers to “Hard Questions”
    • Character profiles
    • Doctrinal notes
    • “Written on My Heart” applications
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Two-column text in 8-point type

The CSB Study Bible for Women features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture’s life-transforming message and to share it with others.

 

About the Authors:

Rhonda Harrington Kelley is the President’s Wife at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. Rhonda was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and was raised in New Orleans. She is married to Dr. Chuck Kelley of Beaumont, Texas who became President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1996. She received two college degrees from Baylor University and her doctorate in Special Education/Speech Pathology from the University of New Orleans, Louisiana. Rhonda served as Director of Speech Pathology at Ochsner Medical Institutions in New Orleans for 15 years. She is now in full-time ministry–writing, speaking, and teaching.

Rhonda Kelley currently serves as Director of the Ministry Wife Program and Adjunct Professor of Women’s Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as well as Associate Director of Innovative Evangelism. She is the author of several books including The Devotional for Women, Talking is a Gift, Life Lessons from Women of the Bible, the Woman’s Guide Bible Study series, Divine Discipline, and Raising Moms: Daughters Loving Their Mothers in the Later Years. She was the managing editor for The Study Bible for Women as well as the Old Testament and New Testament Commentaries for Women published by Broadman & Holman. She has been called to minister to women through the local church.

The First Lady Dorothy Kelley Patterson serves as professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The wife of President Paige Patterson, the mother of Armour and Carmen, and the doting grandmother of Abigail and Rebekah, she finds her duties as the First Lady of Southwestern to be challenging and fulfilling. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hardin-Simmons University, a Masters of Theology (Th.M.) from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) from Luther Rice Seminary, and a Doctor of Theology (D.Theol.) from the University of South Africa. She and her husband have traveled in ministry to more than 135 countries.

Non-Fiction Books

If You Only Knew

If You Only Knew

Jamie Ivey

 

About the Book:

What if you knew all the moments of my past that I am not proud of? What if you really knew me, the messy parts that I’ve hoped to forget and worked hard to conceal? For so long, my greatest fear was what you might think of me if you only knew the whole story.

It’s exhausting, this guarding of our stories and struggles. Fear of being found out had caused me to hide—but I wasn’t just covering my flaws, I was unintentionally blocking the beauty of God’s grace. My journey to real freedom began when I quit running from my mess and started trusting Jesus to make something beautiful of it.

This book is that story. It’s stepping out of shame and insecurity into gospel freedom. It’s  letting God turn our failures and frailties into testimonies of His faithfulness. I’ve discovered that when we quit hiding, God gets the glory and we are able to fully embrace not only our relationship with Him, but also with one another.

Transparency brings freedom, and in every moment, we’ll find that God can absolutely be trusted.

 

About the Author:

Jamie Ivey believes in women and wants big things for them. She wants them to know and believe their worth in this world and to the Father. Through her podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, she uses a raw and intimate approach to connect with her audience. Jamie’s prayer and hope is for God to use her words to encourage and show others that they are not alone, while constantly pointing them to Jesus.

Jamie and her husband, Aaron, worship pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, live in Austin, Texas with their four kids and two dogs.

 

 

My Review:

We all have moments in our lives that we are not proud of. Times where we made the wrong choices, times where we felt less than worthy of God’s love. These are the things that we don’t want anyone to find out about. We fear what would think of us if we told them every little secret we had.

In If You Only Knew, Jamie Ivey tells us her story of becoming free. Free from those exact fears of her past becoming known to everyone. Her story of failures and coming out of hiding, to have a true and rewarding relationship with Jesus Christ and with others.

I love how her story is helping others to break the walls down and come out of hiding. She tells us that when we quit hiding, God gets all the glory and we can have an honest, true relationship with Him. The relationship that you’ve been longing for.

This is a great book, one that I highly recommend to anyone that is hiding and feels like they are the only one suffering with this issue. Break down the wall, come out of hiding and embrace the relationships we are meant to have.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for free. A favorable review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

Uncategorized

The Innkeeper’s Daughter

My Review:

The Innkeeper’s Daughter is set in 1808 Dover, England and tells the story of a London officer who goes undercover to expose a plot against the crown. During this time, he meets Johanna Langley who is trying to keep her family’s inn afloat. She doesn’t know what is going to happen when the rent and the hearth payment is due at the same time.

This was a great book! I love reading historical fiction. Life seemed more simplistic then but the struggles were the same as the struggles we face now. The research that was put into writing this book was impeccable. Reading about a spring holiday that I’ve never heard of, Oak Apple Day, made me want to research and learn more about this day. The Innkeeper’s Daughter is a great book.

I received a copy of this book for free however a favorable review was not required. I chose to write this review.

About the Book

Title: The Innkeeper’s Daughter

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release Date: March 1, 2018

A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown
Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue. . .until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit www.michellegriep.com.

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Celebrating Oak Apple Day

Spring is just around the corner, or maybe it’s in full bloom in your neck of the woods. Regardless, by this time of year, everyone is ready to celebrate. . .and nothing new is under the sun. For centuries people have been eager to welcome budding greenery and warmth.

In my recent release, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, I incorporated a spring holiday that’s been around for over 500 years in England, one you may never heard of.

Oak Apple Day.

This ancient celebration dates back to the year 1651. At the time, Charles II escaped the Roundhead army by taking cover in an oak tree. Everyone loved ol’ Charlie and was glad he lived, so in his honor, a new national holiday was born—one that in some parts of England is still celebrated today.

Another name for this annual event is Royal Oak Day and the festivities occur every May 29th. Celebration traditions vary from parades to the ringing of bells, but one thing that is standard is that it’s a day to pin an oak leaf on your lapel. If you fail to wear one, you could end up getting pinched.

The hero in my latest release is kind enough to remind the heroine that she forgot to pin on her leaf, thus saving her from untoward pinches. Interested in hearing more about this gallant fellow and the forgetful miss? Here’s a blurb about The Innkeeper’s Daughter

Tension is high with the threat of a Napoleonic attack in Regency England, but risk from abroad means nothing when there’s danger at home.

Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the crown—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue . . . until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

It’s a race against time for them both.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 15

Fiction Aficionado, March 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 15

The Morning Chapter, March 15

Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 16

Reading Is My SuperPower, March 16

Mommynificent, March 16

Blogging With Carol, March 16

Among the Reads, March 17

Connie’s History Classroom, March 17

Mary Hake, March 17

Blossoms and Blessings, March 17

Karen Sue Hadley, March 18

The Power of Words, March 18

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 18

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 18

Kathleen Denly, March 19

Faithfully Bookish, March 19

Captive Dreams Window, March 19

Red Headed Book Lady, March 19

The Fizzy Pop Collection, March 20

Remembrancy, March 20

Inklings and notions, March 20

Book by Book, March 20

Moments Dipped in Ink, March 21

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, March 21

Singing Librarian Books, March 21

To Everything a Season, March 21

Bookworm Mama, March 22

Two Points of Interest, March 22

Vicky Sluiter, March 22

Carpe Diem, March 22

Pause for Tales, March 23

Have A Wonderful Day, March 23

A Baker’s Perspective, March 23

margaret kazmierczak, March 23 (Interview)

proud to be an autism mom, March 24

Bibliophile Reviews, March 24

A Greater Yes, March 24

Texas Book-aholic, March 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 25

Janices book reviews, March 25

A Reader’s Brain, March 26

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 26

Simple Harvest Reads, March 26 (Mindy Houng Guest Post)

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, March 27

My Writer’s Life, March 27

Pursuing Stacie, March 27

Bigreadersite, March 27

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 28

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, March 28

Pink Granny’s Journey, March 28

The PhD Mamma, March 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of The Innkeeper’s Daughter and a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cb72

Fiction Books, Uncategorized

The Heart’s Appeal Blog Tour/Giveaway

My Review:

How many women do you know that are strong-minded, independent and know what they want out of life? When a women is determined to live out her dream, nothing or no-one will stop her. In Jennifer Delamere’s newest book, The Heart’s Appeal, you find this type of women.

The Heart’s Appeal is the second book in the London Beginnings series. Set in Victorian England during a time when becoming a doctor just opened up to women.  This is what Julia Bernay has come to London for. She is on her way to the London School of Medicine for Women. Julia witnesses a serious accident and her quick action saves the life of a young barrister, Michael Stephenson.

Michael Stephenson comes from a family who lost its status a long time ago. Family is everything to him. His latest case to put an end to Julia’s future as a doctor.

Ms. Delamere has did a great job on writing The Heart’s Appeal. She uses the life of Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and the school she co-founded as a backdrop to this book. By using real-life characters admits fictional ones, you have a novel that makes you want to keep reading and research what it was like for women during this time.

Between the relationship between Elizabeth and her husband, how Elizabeth is a mentor to Julia, to Julia and Michael’s relationship, there isn’t a dull moment in this novel. A great novel that will leave you wanting more.

I received a copy of this book for free, a favorable review was not required, all opinions expressed here are my own.

About the Book

Book Title: The Heart’s Appeal

Author: Jennifer Delamere

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

Guest Post from Jennifer Delamere

Power couples?

Perhaps that’s not a concept that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Victorian England! And yet, they did exist. I love to include real people from history in my books, and in The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay meets two inspiring real-life couples who will make a positive impact in her life.

In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. She did this through a legal loophole, but soon the laws were changed to open the medical field to all women. In 1874, Dr. Anderson co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She remained involved in the school in various capacities for the rest of her life, even as she continued to run her own busy practice. In The Heart’s Appeal, she becomes a mentor for Julia, opening doors for her education and introducing Julia to people who can help her succeed in medical school.

Dr. Anderson’s husband, James Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line and also served on the boards of several organizations (including a children’s hospital). He was a handsome man, very much in love with his wife, and fervent in supporting her choice of a career.

In a letter he wrote to her while they were engaged, Jamie explained his vision for their future—how they could keep their professional and private lives separate, yet still give each other plenty of love and support:

“I think we had better lay it down once for all as a rule that I am under no circumstances to bring people ‘favorably under your notice’ or ‘exert any influence’ or anything of the sort. It will give people a wrong idea of you unless I take a decided line in this matter — and as I mean to be if I can a successful man of business, neither interfering with your pursuits nor being interfered with by you (but having our confidences on all feasible subjects at off times of the day and week and mutually advising and fortifying one another), I must let people know unmistakably not to come bothering me about your public affairs. Will you think about this, dearest?”

Who couldn’t love a man like that?

Jamie Anderson’s outlook on life comes into play later on in The Heart’s Appeal, when he provides advice and aid to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time.

Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent was married to a Member of Parliament and actively supported her husband’s career in many ways, including acting as a scribe for him since he was blind. She is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, a statue of her will be placed in Parliament Square in London this summer. She was not a militant suffragette, but rather campaigned for suffrage under the banner “Law-Abiding Suffragists.”

Both couples raised families, too, and their children’s successes in life show they were raised to have the same energetic and “can-do” attitudes that their parents had.

Julia initially believes she must remain single to achieve her life’s goals. But soon she finds her heart drawn to successful barrister Michael Stephenson, who admires Julia’s intelligence and ambition. She learns that love and the freedom to pursue her dreams do not have to be mutually exclusive. A meeting of minds to spark a true romance? Yes, please! I hope readers will agree this can be the most satisfying of all.

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, March 22

Inspiration Clothesline, March 22

Texas Book-aholic, March 22

A Greater Yes, March 23

Among the Reads, March 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 23

Splashes of Joy, March 23

Fiction Aficionado, March 24

History, Mystery & Faith, March 24

Red Headed Book Lady, March 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 24

The Power of Words, March 25

Mary Hake, March 25

Remembrancy, March 25

Janices book reviews, March 25

Cordially, Barbara, March 26

Genesis 5020, March 26

Moments Dipped in Ink, March 26

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 26

Kat’s Corner Books, March 27

The Fizzy Pop Collection, March 27

Maureen’s Musings, March 27

Carpe Diem, March 27

Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 28

Seasons of opportunities, March 28

Singing Librarian Books, March 28

A Baker’s Perspective, March 28

Baker Kella, March 29

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 29

Inklings and Notions, March 29

Simple Harvest Reads, March 29 (Guest post from Mindy)

Pause for Tales, March 30

Cafinated Reads, March 30

Have A Wonderful Day, March 30

Pursuing Stacie, March 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 31

Connie’s History Classroom, March 31

Book by Book, March 31

Bigreadersite, March 31

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 1

Neverending Stories, April 1

Ladybug Chronicles, April 1

Smiling Book Reviews, April 2

Two Points of Interest, April 2

Vicky Sluiter, April 2

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, April 3

proud to be an autism mom, April 3

Bibliophile Reviews, April 3

Karen Sue Hadley, April 4

Live Love Read, April 4

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, April 4

Faery Tales Are Real, April 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize package of that includes All four March Bethany House historical releases (The Heart’s Appeal, plus A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson) and a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cacd

Fiction Books

Soul’s Prisoner Blog Tour with Giveaway

My Review:

Soul’s Prisoner is set in 1891 Chicago during the winter. An Historical fiction novel that includes suspense as well as romance.

Mental Illness is very common today but back in the 1890’s it wasn’t something people wanted everyone to know about. Families would have their loved ones put away for many reasons, such as a having a child out of wedlock, if they suffered from a mental illness, and many more reasons. In Chicago, the Dunning Asylum for the Insane was where families would commit their loved ones. This is the setting of Soul’s Prisoner. Even though its a fictional book, there are some things about the asylum that are true. Can you imagine spending winter without any heat and without hot water? That is how these people had to live.

This novel will send chills and will also have you feeling pain for what these people endured. I really enjoyed reading Soul’s Prisoner, Cara Luecht completed her research well upon writing this book. I highly recommend picking a copy of this book up today.

“I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.”

About the Book

Book Title: Soul’s Prisoner

Author: Cara Luecht

Genre: Historical fiction with some suspense and romance

Release Date: December 15, 2015

Chicago, Winter, 1891

Rachel is in danger. She’s seen too much.

She creeps along the cement walls through the dank underbelly of the asylum. She’d never planned to leave her quiet farm life, never thought she’d find a place in the city, never imagined she’d be in the kind of danger that would have her cowering in Dunning’s cold, labyrinthine basement.

Jenny has finally found her place. After a childhood of abuse, she has friends, a real job, and her only wish is to give her adopted son the kind of life she never had.

A life of stability, without the risk and uncertainty of a father.

But when Jeremy, Rachel’s brother, stumbles into their warehouse, asking for help to find his missing sister, Jenny’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Guest Post from Cara Luecht

The Setting for Soul’s Prisoner: Dunning Asylum for the Insane

Dunning Asylum for the Insane was built in the 1850s and housed psychiatric patients until the early 1900s. It has since been demolished, and a small park currently stands as the only remaining testament to the people who lived and died on the grounds.

The original plot of land also included a poor farm and a cemetery. A railroad used to connect the grounds to Minneapolis, Chicago, and Milwaukee. It was nicknamed the “Crazy Train”—a phrase that still survives in our language today. Those buried in the cemetery include Civil War Veterans, victims of the Chicago fire of 1871, orphans, paupers, and the residents of the asylum for the insane. Most estimates agree that nearly forty thousand people were buried on the grounds.

There is no doubt that mental illness is hard on families, but in the 1800s, having a family member who struggled with mental illness was an embarrassment. With little understanding of mental health in general, and even less compassion for those who suffered, examples of this tragic response to the threat of mental illness can be seen in the numerous inmates who were there simply due to addiction or depression. There are even cases where women were committed because their families were humiliated by their giving birth outside the bonds of marriage. Often times, challenges with mental health were synonymous with the notion of moral failure or vice. Because of this, even many charities looked the other way when corruption or abuse was exposed. Reporters sometimes wrote about the horrors of the institutions, but once the sensational story was out, and the initial outrage worn away, few worried about the people who suffered on a daily basis. And because of the moral implication of mental illness, families commonly turned over their suffering members to the county, and later simply explained to friends that the person had died.

And that is exactly what the mentally ill would do in the institution. Live there until they died, forgotten.

And that’s how the story played out at Dunning, until late in the 1900s when developers began to dig the roads and foundations for a new neighborhood on the grounds of what was once the Asylum. At that time, Dunning, and the people who had resided there, were still within living memory, so when bones were unearthed, it was no mystery how they ended up on that patch of land. What had slipped from memory was the magnitude of the collective stories of suffering and hardship.

For this novel, the people and events are fictitious. However, when examining old news stories from an institution known for corruption, it is not hard to imagine situations like the ones in the novel. The details that are true are the nearly one thousand inmates, no hot water, little to no heat in the winter, bad food, and the general feeling of living ghosts, intentionally forgotten, and doomed to never leave the grounds.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, March 8

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 8

Multifarious, March 9

Remembrancy, March 9

Connie’s History Classroom, March 10

History, Mystery & Faith, March 11

Reading is My Superpower, March 11

amandainpa, March 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 12

Texas Book-aholic, March 13

Carpe Diem, March 14

Maureen’s Musings, March 15

Blogging With Carol, March 16

Two Points of Interest, March 16

proud to be an autism mom, March 17

A Greater Yes, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 18

Janices book reviews, March 19

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 19

Simple Harvest Reads, March 20 (Guest Post from Mindy)

Pursuing Stacie, March 20

For The Love of Books, March 21

Bigreadersite, March 21


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of Soul’s Prisoner and sketching art supplies!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cb74