Being the history dork I am, I often think of eras I would like to have lived in (even though the grand ol year of 1982 and E.T. is legit). Am I the only one who does this? If I am, just ignore the previous statement.
But if you are like me, then awesome – it’s good to know I’m not riding solo. Take the Civil War for example. How exciting and scary would it have been to be a nurse or lead people through the underground railroad? Or even during World War II, imagining doing my part (Rosie the Riverter style) in a war that was fighting for something with meaning.
Then there’s the days of American history when settlements popped up in the 1800s all over the West (and died just as quickly). While I heart my running water and world wide web, what an adventure it must have been to start something new, be in a small town and know everyone. It’s against this backdrop that Robin Lee Hatcher takes us through in Belonging. She paints a beautiful picture of the late 1880s Idaho in the small town of Frenchman’s Bluff.
I love her characters. There are ones with depth, ones you really want to punch and Hatcher’s development is superb. Like I want to be Felicia’s (the main character) friend. The characters are like anyone today. Some have painful pasts they’re trying to move forward from, some are just mean and you definitely root for the ones trying to find love. It’s a great story!
The next book in the series Betrayal is now out and I’m looking forward to grabbing a copy of that one!
Robin Lee Hatcher is a name I've seen around Christian fiction for a while but had never taken the opportunity to try out. I'm glad I finally took the chance with her "Where the Heart Lives" series.
In the beginning of Belonging, we are introduced to Hugh, Felicia, and Diana Brennan, siblings living in a Chicago tenement in the late 1800s. After the death of their mother, they come under the care of Dr. Cray's Asylum for Little Wanderers and are each sent to different families out west to begin new lives. They reach adulthood without seeing each other again.
Belonging is Felicia's story as she leaves a home in Wyoming where she knew no real love and begins her life in Idaho as a teacher. Betrayal begins with Hugh traveling from Chicago (where he returned in his teen years) to reunite with Felicia in Idaho. Both their lives take unexpected turns as they find much more than they dared hope for.
Both stories were a delight to read. I was drawn into the characters' lives immediately and felt that I was right there with them as they found their places in new surroundings. These are comfortable, feel-good stories with very real people who struggle through day-to-day challenges and draw their strength and wisdom from their relationships with God.
My only negative comment is this: Beloved, Diana's story is not available yet. Now I have to impatiently wait for the conclusion!
(By the way, am I the only one who sees Jane Seymour as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, in the model on the cover of Belonging?)
Thanks to Zondervan for providing these books free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
In book one of Robin Lee Hatcher’s “Where the Heart Lives” series, the town of Frenchman’s Bluff in the high desert of Idaho is in need of a new school teacher. Felicia Kristoffersen is in need of a teaching position, one that will take her to a new place with the promise of new beginnings that will help her forget her painful past. She arrives in Frenchman’s Bluff with a desire to prove herself in this position; but unbeknownst to her, there are those who never wanted her to come in the first place.
Colin Murphy, a local merchant cares most about his motherless daughter Charity. While he knows the town needs a teacher, he believes a single, inexperienced lady teacher will not provide the educational advantages he wants his daughter and the other students of Frenchman’s Bluff to have. Experience has told him they just don’t stick with the job for long. He is about to learn that Felicia is not your average teacher.
They both are about to find that God is “working all things together for good” in spite of their past sorrows and disappointments to give them the love, joy, and guidance they so desperately desire and in ways they least expect.
I found this book to be a wonderful read; one I had difficulty putting down. (By guest reviewer J.LaTour)
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher was provided by Zondervan on behalf of the author to facilitate an honest review with obligation for positive remarks.
Very good read! My first from Ms Hatcher Lee and she certainly knows how to craft a good story that will hook readers right from the very first word!
Some passages are SO lovely and you'll enjoy watching as the love between two couples (yes 2!) blossoms in this novel. The faith is also a good aspect, I didn't like it was 'forced' in there it just flowed naturally with the story.
However, just one thing. I would have appreciated having a physical description of the hero. I just couldn't picture him.
This is a predictable story BUT boy is it worth adding to your TBR pile, historical romance fans because it is mostly hard to put down!
As a girl, Felicia had asked God why her adoptive parents couldn't love her. Why had they taken her into their home if they hadn't really wanted her? She would never know the answer to that question, not in her lifetime anyway. But it was time to let go of the wound it had left on her heart. Now as Felicia Brennan Kristoffersen prepares to leave one life behind and begin another, she knows God will be by her side the whole way.
Boise, Idaho - 1887
Felicia's newest venture in life after leaving behind the life of caring for her adoptive parents, Britta and Lars Kristofferson who died hours within each other in their older years, is moving to Wyoming and taking on the job as the new school teacher for Frenchman's Bluff. It hadn't been an easy decision to make ever since learning that the only reason the Kristofferson's adopted her was because they had been childless, in their 60's and were looking for an older girl to help Britta in the kitchen with chores and to be a comfort to them in their old age.
After Felicia's mother died when she was a young girl and their father left them, she and her younger sister and older brother were placed in Dr. Clay's Asylum for Little Wanderers until they were each adopted and went their own separate ways. Now with the Kristofferson's deaths, Felicia is finally able to begin a path in her own life that doesn't have anyone telling her what to do. Her only desire is to pour forth her passion into teaching and forget all about love and romance.
Colin Murphy, proprietor of Murphy's Mercantile in Frenchman's Bluff isn't looking forward to the towns new teacher. He was one of two that voted against hiring Felicia Kristofferson and instead wanted a man to come and teach. The past teachers had been more concerned with finding husbands that they were in the welfare of the children they were teaching. Now he finds just caring for his young daughter, Charity and running the store will keep him from ever searching for love again. His wife Margaret died at an early age of 26 when Charity was only 3, so she really never knew her mother, but Colin couldn't forget her. But will God have different plans for Colin and Felicia?
I really enjoyed this story and read it quickly. There were a lot of things to like about it. First, there were Scriptures quoted by the heroine, Felicia, and her random thoughts about the Bible. This fit her personality so well that it seemed like a natural way for her to think. Sometimes in Christian novels the faith element feels a bit contrived or forced, but not so in this book. I loved the scene where the hero caught her praying. I could feel her joy and his wonder at the sight of her communing with God. I also felt his indignation when the town's busybody tried to insinuate things were less than pure in their relationship.
The hero, Colin, was amazing and hard not to fall for. I felt his pride when he was learning to read through his daughter's lessons. Also, the fact that the secondary character, Kathleen, had an occasional point of view helped me understand the other perspectives. I wanted to give Kathleen a high-five every time she stood up to her mother-in-law, and the same for Colin. It was hard not to root for Felicia's friendships because she'd finally found people who truly cared for the first time since she was orphaned.
Felicia was a very sympathetic character and precious in the way she interacted with people and the way she saw the world. Having met the author before, in some ways Felicia's personality reminds me of Robin's. She is genuine, caring, and sweet-spirited. It's hard not to admire someone like that. Felicia wanted to belong and she wanted to love the children in the town and teach them. It was impossible not to want that for her as a reader. I feel like we became friends as I read the story and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
This was a sweet romance, but I felt the love developing between them and it was beautiful and emotionally moving to see the love slowly blossoming in their hearts for each other. When he finally kissed her...well, it left me a bit breathless. That was the most romantic scene in the book, and one of the most romantic scenes I've read in a long time. Sigh. Very emotionally satisfying story and I was sad when it ended. But there is another book coming out in the series, and I'm excited about it!
I really enjoyed this book alot! I really enjoyed the story and I loved Charity's personality! She always made me laugh! Also I really liked that the main character was a teacher since that is what I am currently getting my degree in! I look forward to more by Mrs. Hatcher!
After recently discovering Robin Lee Hatcher, I was eager to dive into another of her historical fiction novels. Belonging, the first in the Where the Heart Lives series, is a sweet story of friendship, community, and love.
While this is a "romance" novel, I really felt that the best and deepest relationship in the book was between Felicia and Kathleen, a woman who befriends Felicia when she first comes to town. They were true friends to one another, and I loved seeing that relationship grow stronger throughout the book. As far as romance, once Colin and Felicia finally (!) started talking to each other, their relationship progressed along rapidly and was so sweet!
At times the plot seemed like it either lagged or rushed ahead. For instance, I would have loved to see the relationship between Kathleen and her love interest develop at a more realistic pace rather than just happen over two days.
Overall, this was a really sweet story and I look forward to learning more about Felicia's family and hopefully meeting her brother and sister in future books. [3.5 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Zondervan via NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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Review 10 for Belonging - eBook
Great beginning to a new series
Date:January 4, 2012
This is an excellent book. The relationship between Felicia and Charity (daughter) is heartwarming. The relationship between Felicia and Colin develops realistically and with enough tension to keep a reader on their toes. Definitely recommend th is book.
I really enjoyed this romance. Belonging, by Robin Lee Hatcher, is set in Idaho in the late 1800’s. It is about a new teacher coming to town. As Felicia Brennan Kristoffersen steps off the stage she meets the families that change her life. The families that greet her are welcoming and that helps her want to start teaching the children right away. She is excited to have this job as the teacher. She is especially excited to be on her own. What is most surprising is her attraction to one of her students’ father. What makes it even harder is she is staying in the cottage in his back yard!
Colin Murphy is not that excited about this new teacher. He has found that the single teachers tend to only stay until they find a husband! He is worried his daughter, Charity, will become too attached to her as she will be living in the cottage behind their home. As time progresses and he spends time with Felicia he finds he is becoming attached to her just as much as Charity is. Since his wife passed away he has not wanted to fall in love but is finding himself thinking of the new teacher a lot!
Following their love story is an adventure. The characters feel like real people. Their emotions and words are believable. I liked how it flowed well and moved quickly. Overall it was a fun read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Christian historical romances.
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
Reading Christian Fiction , like any genre can become a bit tiresome as it all starts to blend in together and the overall feeling of formula fiction kicks in every time you read . However, amongst all those books , there are a few authors that will bring out an amazing novel and will re-inforce and remind you why you read that genre continuously. Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher , the first in a new series Where the Heart Lives was one of those books that remind you why you read as it was an excellent story from the pace of the novel and the ability to capture the reader's attention as you moved swiftly from one page to the next. Belonging features a young woman named Felicia whose adopted parents have just passed and now she has been given the option to either leave and strike out on her own or marry her cousin Gunther. However, as the story goes along we can see that they never really gave her an option as she starts to receive threatening letters . As a young woman ,we read the prejudices that Felicia has to overcome as a young, unmarried woman and teacher in a world where men seemed to rule. What I loved about Belonging is that Felicia's background of being an orphan and travelling on the orphan train is weaved throughout the novel and we also read as she searches for her siblings which I hope to read the next books in the series to see if she will be reunited with her brother Hugh and sister Diana. Belonging reminded me of the novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer - My Heart Remembers.
This one is quite possibly my favorite book by Ms. Hatcher so far. This book has it all, with an engaging, yet traditional story line that moves along swiftly and characters that move you, and easily draw one in.
Felicia is a schoolteacher in Idaho, during the late 1800's, determined to help her students learn. But there are some things--and people that stand in her way. What can she do to gain the trust of the town, and convince them to let her stay?
Well written, and very engaging, I loved this book from the get-go.
I was aurprisedd at how much I liked all three of the main characters, because often I only like one or none of them, but this time I loved them all! Each of the main characters was well written, with their own unique backstory. I was intrigued and drawn in by every single one of them. though if I had to choose which one I liked best I'm going to say that I really liked Kathleen and her story alot :) The side character were also amazing, though, of course I had to dislike the villian :)
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, it was exactily what I wanted out of this sweet romance. The plot was excellent as were the characters. The plot moved steadily, even to the point of keeping me up late! For me it was the perfect book at the perfect time and I enjoyed it immensely, and will most certainly be recommending this book :)
I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review, which I have done my best to express here. Thanks :)
Robin Lee Hatcher is sharing another wonderful story with us! She has gifted us with some wonderful characters that we can be absorbed into. The Tale is set in Idaho in the late 1800's, Felicia Kistofferson has arrived in Frenchman's Bluff to become the Teacher. Her life hasn't been easy, she became an orphan, when her Mom died. Put into an orphanage in Chicago, she was put on the Orphan Train, and taken by a couple, that wanted a Housekeeper. She was under the impression that the Kristofferson's had adopted her, but sadly when they passed, she found out the truth! Colin Murphy has been raising his daughter on his own, since his wife passed 5 years prior. He doesn't like the idea of a teacher with no experience, and figures she won't last. The town, like most small towns has a busy body that rules!! You wonder if things will work out the way the one who rules wants, or the way God wants? There is a lot warm fuzzy feelings in this book, loved how when things go wrong there is someone there to help. Makes you wish you lived there! Throughout the whole story I Loved the deepening relationships with God! Included at the end of the book is an Epilogue...yes how I love that. You get to glimpse the future!
I received this book from Netgalley and the Publisher Zondervan, and was not required to give a positive review.
Following the death of her parents, Felicia Kristoffersen chooses to embrace the opportunity she had to sacrifice in order to help the aging couple who once took her into their family. She starts over as the new schoolmarm in Frenchman's Bluff, Idaho. She's determined to make an impression upon those who didn't want her as the schoolmarm--especially Colin Murphy. Colin Murphy voted against Miss Kristofferesen as the new schoolmarm. After all, the other single schoolmarms up and left after finding a husband and marrying, leaving behind school children who felt that loss--including his own daughter, Charity. He doesn't want to see his daughter hurt when this schoolmarm does the same thing. As he gets to know Felicia, he realizes he just may be wrong about her motives for taking the position . . .and his own feelings toward her start to change. . .so much so that he can no longer avoid the very thing he was once against . . .taking away the town's schoolmarm.
Belonging will keep you hanging on every word. I couldn't put it down. This novel is filled with sophisticated prose and writing, as well as outstanding characters and a compelling plot.
I have to admit the writing style and tone in this novel appears to be different from any of Robin Lee Hatcher's previous works--which is both enjoyable and refreshing. While I've enjoyed Robin Lee Hatcher's other stories, I took to the style of writing, and the story itself, more than her others.
I loved seeing the use of historical idiomatic phrases this story. If you aren't familiar with historical idiomatic phrases, some of them might have you scratching your head for half-a-second, but most--if not all--are fairly easy to figure out.
I wish the trouble maker in this story had been a little more fleshed out, as far as motive goes. While I can understand what drove her despicable actions, I'm not sure what drove the motive for her actions. The one given to us didn't seem entirely too realistic. With that said, this trouble maker accomplished getting under my skin. I even found myself wishing she weren't a fictional character so I could give her a piece of my own mind.
All in all, this has to be one of my favorites by Robin Lee Hatcher. I definitely recommend it. Fans of schoolmarm stories, will absolutely love Belonging.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan Publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her stories that combine faith, hope and love. Her latest novel, Belonging, continues the timeless message of “love conquers all” that seems to be a common thread in many of Robin’s books. I appreciate that while Robin knows how to tell a good love story, she keeps her books clean and wholesome.
In Belonging, readers meet up with Felicia Kristoffersen and Colin Murphy, both who carry deep wounds from their past. When Felicia arrives in Frenchman’s Bluff, Idaho as the town’s new schoolteacher, Colin thinks she’s like all the rest; simply biding her time while looking for a husband. Colin quickly discovers, a husband is the last thing Felicia has in mind. She sees Colin as nothing more than her landlord and plans to keep their relationship strictly professional. Both characters are pretty soured on life and I couldn’t help but hope they would eventually realize what they had right in front of them, and be able to move forward.
I saw another review of Belonging that labeled it “too preachy”. I completely disagree! Granted, there are quite a few scripture references woven into the dialogue and thoughts of the characters, but I wasn’t surprised since this title is published as “Christian Fiction”. This story was encouraging and inspirational and no doubt, a reflection of the author’s goal to point readers toward placing their hope in God when circumstances seem impossible.
Another great title from Robin that I highly recommend!