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 receives 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?
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**
Before I get into my brief thoughts on each individual story, I have to say this is certainly one of my favorite novella collections that I have come across. The stories in this book offer a variety of settings, both in location and time in history, but within each story is such a tale of hope that the book itself is just a blessing to read. Plus, I loved that the same brass bottle with spero (latin for hope) kept showing up. It was a moment that I anticipated and found so sweet. It was a unique way to tie together these five very different stories.
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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?
This was the first time I have read something by Gilbert (and I plan to read more in the future), and I quickly adored this story. Written in the fascinating era of Viking invasions, Gilbert transports readers to Ireland. Never once did I feel like this was a novella. The story was well-developed and hard to put down. There were twists and turns and altogether wonderful!
A Song in the Night by Amanda Dykes
1715: 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 her with someone she never dared hope she’d see again.
If any of these stories truly immersed you into another time and place, it was this one. Both in the dialect and customs, Amanda Dykes did a wonderful job of making me feel like I truly was in Scotland with these characters. Amanda Dykes was another “new to me” author and one that I’ll probably be looking for more books by her to read.
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?
This story was so charming! I loved this story of a woman pretending to be something she isn’t really. But loved experiencing this story unfold as characters realized how much they really need to learn who someone else is. In the collection, I felt like this one was a bit more of a faster read.
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.
Having read a number of novels by Jocelyn Green, this was one of the stories I was most looking forward to. And I was not disappointed! This story brought to life so much Civil War history. While this was certainly one of the more difficult stories to read, because war is hard and certainly not pleasant, the story was well worth it.
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.
What a story to end on! Joanne Bischof’s story was probably the hardest one for me to put down when I needed to take a small break from reading. The young woman in this story was so charming and she had me so intrigued about who she was. The simple relationship that grows between her and the oarsman was so sweet.
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Overall, from prologue to epilogue, I can’t say enough how wonderful this collection is. Each story offers so much, both in the entertainment of a well-written tale, but also in the message that each story has to share. If you are looking for a collection to pick up, I highly recommend this one.
For more information about this book, please visit the following links:
- Add The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection to Your GoodReads Library
- Check out The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection on Amazon