First Line Friday: Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander

Which camp are you in? The decorate/celebrate/listen to Christmas music early camp or the wait until after Thanksgiving is over camp? I’m in the first one (but my tree isn’t up yet. Maybe this weekend, though). My reasoning is that one month just isn’t enough to enjoy the season.

So this week I’m introducing my first Christmas book of the season into First Line Friday (and this impatient person **points finger and myself** read this book over a month ago, so I’ve done well to hold off this long). 

This one is double special for me because Carnton Plantation is one of my favorite places to visit. The guides who take you through the home are wonderful story tellers and you can imagine the members of the household as a battle raged outside. But you don’t have to make a trip to Franklin, Tennessee to experience the beauty and wonder of Carnton. Tamera Alexander places it right in your hands in Christmas at Carnton.

Check out the first line below then drop by the Hoarding Books Blog to read the other first lines and perhaps find your next read.

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Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris (Review)

Vanishing Point Lisa HarrisDuring Garrett Addison’s first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She’s the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common–a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies–number six–Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn’t have what it takes to be an agent. What he’ll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him–or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki’s sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.

Amazon // Goodreads

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Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander (Review)

Christmas at Carnton Tamera AlexanderA novella to launch a brand new three-book series . . .

In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son. About to be evicted, she sees an advertisement for the Ladies Aid Society Auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity. And friendship. But can she trust him? Is Jake Winston the man he appears to be? Having lost everything once, Aletta is determined to guard not only her own heart, but also her son’s.

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffers a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Ladies Aid Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.

Set against the backdrop of the real history of Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored . . . at Christmas.

Amazon / Goodreads

 

I’ve lived in Franklin, TN for several years. Twice every Sunday morning, I drive past the turnoff to the Carnton Plantation. I’ve visited once—last year when my brother and his family were in town. Walking through the home, hearing the stories as you travel from room to room, gives visitors an idea of the family and people who once resided there

Tamera Alexander takes it a step further and invites readers into the home, inviting them to join in the day-to-day life of the household. History is brought to life through her stories.

Christmas at Carnton is the perfect introduction to her new series as we meet the McGavock family.

When Aletta Prescott loses her job and is about to lose her help, she makes a trip to the Carnton home in hopes of securing temporary employment. On her way out, she encounters Jake Winston, a wounded Confederate soldier sent to help Mrs. McGavock and the Ladies Relief Society. The last place Jake wants to be is in the midst of a bunch of females, but one in particular just might change his mind.

Christmas at Carnton Tamera Alexander

 

This is a reminder of how God can take the worst of circumstances and not only turn them around, but give us more than we can imagine or know to ask for. Set during the Christmas season—a time that reminds us of what God gave up for us—this novella embraces the reader with heart and hope.

I’m looking forward to seeing where Alexander takes her readers next.

My Rating:

If you’d like to learn more about the history of Carnton, click here.

 

I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including 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. 

Pursued (Nikki Boyd #3) by Lisa Harris

My Review

Nikki Boyd is back and what an entrance she makes!

From the first pages, I was drawn into this story. At the end of Missing, readers were left with the question of what would happen between Nikki and Tyler. And we’re still wondering about it as Nikki’s plane heads toward Nashville—and Tyler. But what is supposed to be a tender homecoming quickly turns into a case when the woman who was sitting next to Nikki on the plane disappears.

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Healing and Hope

This past September, I had the privilege of sitting in a day-long class with authors Rachel Hauck and Susan May Warren in which they talked about a story equation. Hauck actually mentioned her story question for her newest book, The Wedding Chapel: What if a wedding chapel had set empty for sixty years, never having hosted a wedding?

wedding chapel cover

Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook spent years building his wedding chapel in the small town of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, by hand for the woman he loved. But time, war and circumstances tore his beloved Collette Greer away from him. For sixty years, the wedding chapel has sat empty, a monument to love.

Former Heart’s Bend resident, Taylor Branson now lives in New York with a new husband. After eloping with Jack Forester, another former resident of the small town, Taylor questions whether she rushed into the marriage after a whirlwind elopement. She loves Jack, but her family doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to lasting marriages.

Meanwhile, Jack’s success as an advertising executive stems from his desire to belong. His childhood left a lot to be desired and he struggles to express his love to his new wife.

These four people are brought together when Taylor takes an assignment to photograph the wedding chapel in her hometown. Through conversations, flashbacks, and letters, the truth of Collette’s and Jimmy’s relationship comes to light.

While many parts of the plot were predictable, Rachel Hauck once again draws readers into the story, making them feel welcome and a part of the community. As a resident of Nashville, I have visited many a small town exactly like Heart’s Bend. The Wedding Chapel is a story of forgiveness and hope. A story that expresses that some dreams are worth waiting a lifetime for.

***Zondervan Fiction and Booklook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.