Human Trafficking: What’s the Deal?

World Day logoIn 2013, the United Nations designated today, July 30, as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. The resolution declared that such a day was needed to raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion of their rights.

So, what IS human trafficking? Basically, it’s the exploitation of men, women, and children for purposes including forced labor and sex, and it happens all over the world. It doesn’t just happen in Africa, or Asia, or “somewhere else.” I recently read BBC reports about clothing factories in Leicester, England where migrants were forced to work in unsafe conditions, for much less than the legal minimum wage. Oh, and remember when New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, was caught up in a prostitution case in Florida? That was part of a human trafficking investigation. Continue reading

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Review: An Appalachian Summer, by Ann H. Gabhart

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Discover what happens when one intrepid young woman steps away from the past into a beautiful, wide-open future

In 1933 Louisville, Kentucky, even the ongoing economic depression cannot keep Piper Danson’s parents from insisting on a debut party. After all, their fortune came through the market crash intact, and they’ve picked out the perfect suitor for their daughter. Braxton Crandall can give her the kind of life she’s used to. The only problem? This is not the man–or the life–she really wants.

When Piper gets the opportunity to volunteer as a horseback Frontier Nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains for the summer, she jumps at the chance to be something other than a dutiful daughter or a kept wife in a loveless marriage. The work is taxing, the scenery is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the people she meets along the way open a whole new world to her. The longer she stays, the more an advantageous marriage slips from her grasp. But something much more precious–true love–is drawing ever closer.


Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the words and opinions below are my own.

Book covers have never grabbed my attention the way they do other people’s. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to finding books on a library shelf where they’re all lined up with the spine facing out, or from reading some of the old books my grandmother had which didn’t have illustrated covers. Who knows? But there’s something about the cover to An Appalachian Summer that grabs me, and I think it’s that sun peeking over the tree line. Is it rising or setting? I can’t tell, but I can feel its warmth. Continue reading

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Review: The Lions of Fifth Avenue, by Fiona Davis

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It’s 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn’t ask for more out of life—her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she is drawn to Greenwich Village’s new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club—a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women’s rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she’s forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process.

Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she’s wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie’s running begin disappearing from the library’s famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-adverse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage—truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library’s history.


Disclaimer: Although I received an uncorrected eBook file of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, the words and opinions below are my own.

Who remembers the librarian ghost in Ghostbusters? You know, the little old lady spirit that turned on the team after they ignored her “shhh” warnings? Before reading Fiona Davis’ newest novel, I could safely say that was ALL I knew about the New York Public Library. I didn’t even know that Andrew Carnegie had given a donation toward the founding of this library, although libraries are part of his legacy. And being able to live in a functioning library? That was new to me, but an idea that I find appealing! Continue reading

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Review: A Bride of Convenience, by Jody Hedlund

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There is nothing left to keep Zoe Hart in England. Unemployed and struggling with grief, she decides to leave her bleak life behind her and emigrate on a bride ship to British Columbia–the place her brother fled to when falsely accused of a drastic crime.

Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned native baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe–one of the newly arrived bride-ship women–to care for the orphan. When Abe is forced to choose between following the strict rules laid down by his bishop and listening to God’s nudges to care for his people, he is left at a crossroads.

Determined to find her brother and to give the baby a home, Zoe rashly accepts a marriage proposal from a man who promises both. But Abe knows the man’s unsavory reputation. Intent on protecting Zoe and wounded by his own failed engagement, Abe impulsively offers his own hand instead. They hastily marry, but both soon realize the marriage of convenience they imagined is not so convenient after all.


Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher and author, the words and opinions below are my own.

The Bride Ships trilogy concludes with a beautiful tale of a mill worker, a missionary and the small child that brings them together. Whereas the previous novels were set in the city of Victoria, A Bride of Convenience takes readers to a rough and ready community once known as “the wickedest little settlement in British Columbia,” where Pastor Abe makes his home among miners and madams. Continue reading

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Review: Line by Line, by Jennifer Delamere

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Can her dreams of independence withstand a dash of love?

Since she was young, Alice McNeil has seen a career as a telegrapher as the best use for her keen and curious mind. Years later, she doesn’t regret her freedom in foregoing marriage, especially when she acquires a coveted position at an important trading firm. But when the company’s ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined.

For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty. He’s now determined to marry into high society–a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past.

He immediately earns Alice’s respect by judging her based on her skills and not her gender, and a fast camaraderie forms. However, when Alice accidentally angers a jealous coworker and his revenge threatens both their reputations, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to see the future in a different light?


Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher and author, the words and opinions below are my own.

Jennifer Delamere returns to London with a new series set in the late 19th century with a focus on telegraphy. Both Alice and Douglas come from humble backgrounds and aspire to succeed in life, but they have different ideas on how to accomplish it. For Alice, it means remaining single even though it appears that both friends and family are disappointed in her decision. Douglas, however, places an emphasis on making connections wherever possible even if it means marrying someone for money and not for love. Sparks fly when they meet and the rest, as it is said, is history! Continue reading

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