The people of Azure Springs, Iowa find a young lady dying from a gunshot wound, and they save her life. Sheriff Caleb Reynolds tries to get to the bottom of Em’s story, but she knows little and she’s reluctant to share what she does know. Seven years before, Em and had come to Iowa on an orphan train and been taken in by a recluse who neglected her, and she’s desperate to find the little sister who was adopted in another town. At first, Caleb doesn’t think much of Em, who is thin and plain and odd. But as they work together to find the men who shot her and killed the recluse – and are committing other crimes – a friendship develops that surprises them both.
The Hope of Azure Springs is a delightful debut novel. Rachel Fordham draws a sympathetic character in Em, who grows – and also causes growth in those who come to know her. Caleb is a wonderful hero, strong but flawed, and the romance between Caleb and Em is unique and intriguing. What sets this novel apart is the refreshing message – what is true beauty and how do we perceive it? I highly recommend this novel and look forward to more from this author!
Rachel Fordham has graciously offered to give away a copy of The Hope of Azure Springs! To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below. US mailing addresses only, please. Giveaway ends Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 11 pm Pacific Time. I’ll post the winner here on this blog on Friday, August 24, 2018 and will email the winner.
German tanks taking hill near Belgorod, Russia, 13 Aug 1943 (German Federal Archive: Bild 146-1975-080-22)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 20, 1943: In battle near Kharkov, Ukraine, Germans defeat Soviets and destroy 184 tanks.
WASP C-47 flight crew: Pilot Joanna Trebtoske (Jenks), left, and Copilot Marjorie Logan (Rolle) at Romulus Army Air Field, MI (US Air Force photo)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 19, 1943: Australians take Mt. Tambu and Komiatum Ridge, New Guinea after a month of fighting.
First Wasps (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) are assigned to US Troop Carrier Command.
Barrage balloon, Parris Island, SC, May 1942 (Source: US Library of Congress)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 18, 1943: Luftwaffe chief of staff Hans Jeschonnek commits suicide after previous day’s RAF raid on Peenemünde and US Eighth Air Force raids on Schweinfurt and Regensburg.
Army Air Force barrage balloon battalions are inactivated in US.
B-17 Flying Fortress bombers of the US Eighth Air Force over Schweinfurt, Germany, 17 August 1943 (USAF photo)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 17, 1943: US Seventh Army takes Messina, and Allies secure Sicily, taking 160,000 POWs.
US Eighth Air Force sends 376 B-17 & B-24 bombers to Schweinfurt and Regensburg in Germany; 60 bombers are lost.
RAF sends 596 bombers to Peenemünde, Germany, bombing rocket installations for the first time.
Messina, Sicily, WWII (US Army Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 16, 1943: As US and British forces converge on Messina, Sicily, US artillery first fires at Italian mainland.
US B-17 Flying Fortress bombers fly final mission in Southwest Pacific; US P-47 Thunderbolt fighters fly first mission in Southwest Pacific.
Canadian soldier inspecting a captured Japanese machine gun, Kiska, Aleutian Islands, 16 Aug 1943 (Source: US Library of Congress)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 15, 1943: First island-hopping: US Army & Marines land on Vella Lavella in the Solomons, bypassing Kolombangara.
US and Canadian forces land on Kiska in the Aleutians and find the Japanese had left 2 weeks before.
Franklin Roosevelt, the Earl of Athlone, Mackenzie King, and Winston Churchill on the terrace at the Citadelle, Québec, Canada, Aug 1943 (Source: Imperial War Museum: TR 1347)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 14, 1943: Quadrant Conference opens in Québec: Roosevelt and Churchill commit to landings in Normandy in 1944.
Under Eisenhower’s orders, Gen. George Patton apologizes to the soldiers he slapped.
US changes insignia for military aircraft: border of bars switched from red to dark blue.
“Big Inch” pipeline is completed, transporting crude oil from Texas to northeast states.
US national insignia for aircraft, August 1943-January 1947
The “Bridge in the Sky” hung by US Army 10th Engineer Battalion, Cape Calava, Sicily, 13 Aug 1943 (US Army Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 13, 1943: US Army 10th Engineer Battalion builds “bridge in the sky” along a steep seaside cliff at Cape Calava, Sicily.
Future evangelist and recent Wheaton College graduate Billy Graham marries Ruth Bell.
Movie premiere of This Is the Army, Warner’s Earle Theater, Washington, DC, 12 Aug 1943 (US National Archives)
75 Years Ago—Aug. 12, 1943: Movie premiere of Irving Berlin’s This Is the Army at Warner’s Earle Theater, Washington, DC, starring George Murphy, Joan Leslie & Ronald Reagan.