Friday, November 30, 2018

#FridayReads - Two Books from Heidi M. Thomas

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading two books by Heidi M. Thomas, and I enjoyed them both. They are part of the American Dream Series, and if you like history delivered in story-form, you should consider these books, as well as her Cowgirl Dreams Series.

Seeking the American Dream: Book One in the American Dream Series


BOOK BLURB:  As a nurse, Anna Schmidt deals with the aftermath of a war-torn Germany on a daily basis. The destruction and suffering of WWII frame her existence until she meets American GI, Neil Moser. His stories of ranch life in Montana, his quiet kindness and compassion, and the attraction that blossoms give her hope for a different life. Before their relationship develops, Neil is suddenly shipped out of Germany, and Anna is left with nothing but a yearning for what might have been.

Anna’s dreams are renewed when Neil writes to declare his love and propose that she join him in America as his wife. After two years of endless paperwork, she is finally on American soil. But will Anna be able to overcome the language barrier and harsh Montana ranch life, to gain acceptance from his parents, and form a family in a country that still considers a German the enemy?

REVIEW: It is a true gift when a writer has a story to tell that is part of her own history, and this telling of her mother's journey to America and the hardships she faced as a German at a time when German's were despised, is a gift back to her mother. Anna's dismay over not being accepted, even by Neil's parents for a number of years is painful, and representative of how "others" are too often perceived. Even others who had no part in what horrors occurred at the hands of their countrymen.

What always gives Anna hope, in this book and the next, is the love and dedication of Neil. While I did want him to sometimes stand up for Anna to his mother, I did understand that men of that era often didn't. They were torn between loyalty to both women.

This is a well-written book with wonderful descriptions of the Montana countryside such as: "The end of summer clung to September with shimmery waves of heat as a little dust devil picked up a stray Tumbleweed and blew it across the road."

Finding True Home: Book Two in the American Dream Series



BOOK BLURB: It’s been ten years since Anna Moser immigrated to Montana from Germany for love and hopes of a better life in the “land of milk and honey.” Instead, she’s found harsh winters and searing summers, sacrifice and back-breaking work. After all these years, she still perceives neighbors looking down their noses with distrust at this “foreign woman.” Did she make a mistake in following her heart to marry Neil and build a ranch and family with him? Yet, after her first visit back to Germany, she finds she no longer belongs there either.

In spite of hardships, loss, and near-death illness, will the love of Neil and her children help Anna find her true home?

 REVIEW: In this book, Anna and Neil have settled into their lives as parents, and Anna's concerns turn more toward the needs and problems of her children. The oldest girl is independent, and in her moving away, Anna is reminded of the pain her own mother must have felt when Anna left Germany. Then the second child, a boy, goes on what the Australians might call a walk-about, declining to go to college, or to stay home to work the farm. Then there's Lizzie, the youngest, who was a challenge as an infant, and continues to challenge far into her teens.

Any mother can relate to the joys and pains that Anna experienced while raising the children, and I certainly did. I loved the fact that she went face-to-face with the school principal to champion her oldest daughter over an article in the school newspaper. I also could appreciate the times when Anna knew she had to step back and let the children be; to find their own way to adulthood. That's what mothers do, love until it hurts, then let go.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana, riding and gathering cattle for branding and shipping. Her parents taught her a love of books, and her grandmother rode bucking stock in rodeos. She followed her dream of writing, with a journalism degree from the University of Montana. Heidi is the author of the award-winning “Cowgirl Dreams” novel series and Cowgirl Up: A History of Rodeo Women. To learn more about her and all her books, visit her on her website
Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. She won her first writing award at age twelve with a short story in the Detroit News Scholastic Writing Awards Contest and continues to garner recognition for her short stories, books, and screenplays. You can find out more about Maryann, her books, and her editing services on her Website and her Amazon Author Pageread her  Blog,  and follow her on Facebook and Twitter

6 comments :

  1. I purchased both of those books a month ago but haven't had time to read them. After your reviews reminded of why I bought them, I now need to sit down long enough to enjoy them. :-)

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  2. Wow, Maryann, thank you so much for this great presentation and review. You really caught the essence of the stories. It made my day to open my email and find this! And thank you, Linda, for your purchase. I hope you enjoy the books as well!

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  3. I have always been touched by stories of pioneers. It took courage, hope, and a willingness to face the unknown. After recently watching a series called Heartland, I am newly in love with ranch stories set in the Northwest. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  4. Thank you, Diana. I too am a Heartland "addict!" I love the show and am disappointed that I've watched all episode available up to now! Looking forward to more.

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  5. I'll add my name to the list of "Heartland" fans. I tire sometimes of the little dramas between characters that in my mind could easily be avoided with a little more communication and less walking away in a snit. LOL However, I keep watching for the horse training, the beautiful countryside, and the horses. Have I ever mentioned how much I love horses.

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  6. Wonderful reviews. I've read the first book in the series and have the 2nd in hand to read soon.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.