Friday, October 13, 2017

Blog Tour/Review: All That Makes Life Bright by Josi S. Kilpack

All That Makes Life Bright, by Josi S. Kilpack
2017, 336p, Historical Proper Romance
My Rating=4.5 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way

When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet's sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed-being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman's life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband's heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.

Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.

Can their love endure, especially after "I do"? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?

All I knew about Harriet Beecher Stowe before reading this book was that she was the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. It was interesting to learn more about her and her marriage to Calvin Stowe.

This story starts with them getting married and the challenges they both faced as they dealt with unfulfilled expectations, Calvin leaving on a long European business trip, and Harriet's quick pregnancy. There was plenty of tension and it was interesting to see, over time, how they were able to figure things out.

This is a slow moving book but it did hold my interest the entire time. It's an emotional read and there were parts that made me cry. I enjoyed getting to know Harriet Beecher Stowe better and it made me reflect on what life would have been like at that time for women who struggled with the domestic side of marriage. She's easy to relate to as some of her struggles were no different than what women face today.

I love that Josi Kilpack includes chapter notes at the end so you know what is fact and what parts she took liberty with to make an interesting story. She has also included a timeline which is helpful to see what happened after the story ended. This is another well-written and well-researched book by Josi Kilpack and will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading clean historical romance!

Josi S. Kilpack has written twenty-five novels, a cookbook, and several novellas. She is a four-time Whitney award winner, including Best Novel 2015 for "Lord Fenton's Folly, and has been a Best of State winner for Fiction. Josi loves to bake, sleep, eat, read, travel, and watch TV--none of which she gets to do as much as she would like. She hates to talk on the phone, learn how to do new things, and sweep--all of which she gets to do a lot :-)

Josi and her husband, Lee, have four children and live in Northern Utah.


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