You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reviews of The Chamomile

An inspirational Revolutionary War romantic suspense

A gem of a historical!
By Laura Frantz (Port Angeles, WA)
This review is from: The Chamomile (Paperback)
     I rarely write reviews and am not yet finished with the novel but am so delighted by this book I couldn't wait to share here. Rich with historical detail about the 18th century in general and South Carolina in particular, this novel offers a pleasing mix of romance and suspense that keeps you turning pages. I was smitten from the first paragraph. An ambitious plot, well drawn characters, a strong yet elegant voice and much more takes you back in time so thoroughly you won't want the book to end. Destined for your keeper shelf, surely, as well as mine. I only hope the author has more historicals in the works. I'm a fan and I don't say that lightly! Highly recommended!

A Treasure Trove and Must Read!!!
By C. "Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D." (Yorktown, VA, United States) –
This review is from: The Chamomile (Kindle Edition)
The Chamomile by Susan Craft
     I am going to gush. I just finished reading Susan Craft's book. It is not a CBA book, but this is an amazing inspirational book. It is a historical with strong romantic elements, not a historical romance. Susan has a command of South Carolina history that is remarkable and it shows on every page. This book is like a treasure trove of American Revolution and colonial history relevant to South Carolina and unlike anything I have ever read. The closest thing might be The Frontiersman's Daughter, Laura Frantz's labor of love which is set in Kentucke. Laura spent years researching The Frontiersman's Daughter as did Susan in her research for The Chamomile. You simply must read it and if you have not read The Frontiersman's Daughter you need to read that, too.
I was thinking that Susan might be the Liz Curtis Higgs of SC historical (American Revolution) fiction - she gives that much attention to detail. Just a treasure trove of information along with a tight story and excellent charactertization. Loved it and did not want to finish this book.
Bravo Susan!!!

Tenacity Rules
By Jim Duggins, Ph.D
This review is from: The Chamomile (Paperback)
It is the intriguing and engaging plot that saves the day in Susan F. Croft's novel, "The Chamomile". Set in the period of America's Revolution, this story clearly depicts the fear and confusion, the chaos and hatred that spring up among neighbors at war.
"The Chamomile," tells the story of Lilyan, a young woman, a talented artist and designer in Charleston, South Carolina at the time of the first British attacks on the independence-seeking American colonies. The reader sees in these opening pages, the closeness of nuclear families and communities abruptly torn apart by "patriot" vs. "crown" allegiances. In this case, too, Lilyan's brother, Andrew, a patriot guerilla, is being held on a British prison ship off the coast.
Next, introduce Elizabeth, a Cherokee woman, best-friend, companion, maid to Lilyan. In a series of scuffles with the enemy, Elizabeth and Lilyan are alternately ill, injured and care for one another until Elizabeth is killed. Lilyan, for her part, mixes it up with the enemy, killing one and saving the life of another. In the final chapters of this multi-adventured tale, it is Elizabeth's Cherokee people who save the lives of both Lilyan and her brother, Andrew.
"The Chamomile," the title and icon of this particular sect of partisan patriots is a great summer read of the beach book variety. I found the plot engaging and believable albeit a trifle ambitious for a relatively short historical novel. Deeper character development would have relieved the often expected cardboard role playing of the protagonists. Still, "The Chamomile" was a good read with insights into aspects of our early history that are not often uncovered.

New Revolutionary War Heroine Emerges in a Can't Put It Down Read
By John Ford (Franklin, TN, United States) –
This review is from: The Chamomile (Paperback)
Ms. Craft has produced a powerful story of love -- love of country, love of God, love of friends, and love between a noble man and a strong woman. Fair warning: expect to find yourself teary-eyed as the story unfolds.
Her cleverly crafted characters gain wholeness as the exciting and inciting plot propels the reader toward the next conflict -- all occurring in an epic period of American history when being a Patriot took great courage. The heroine, Lilyan, spies on the British, plans the rescue of her brother, plots the death of an English officer, saves the life of another, hides from bounty hunters, and finds true love with the man of her dreams.
Ms. Craft's suspenseful novel displays her engaging writing style, vivid imagination, precise word choice, realistic dialogue, attention to meaningful detail and description, ideal setting, deft handling of the pace and plot of the story and the obvious diligent research. These attributes are all individual flavors of Ms. Craft's creation. Each flavor is a delicious snack separately; collectively, they intermingle, drawing strength and subtlety from each other, yielding a scrumptious, inspiring, and heart-melting literary meal!
Read this story; then, as do I, you will eagerly await the sequel!

A Truly GREAT Historical Fiction,
By Elaine Marie Cooper
This review is from: The Chamomile (Paperback)
     Where do I begin? I loved The Chamomile so much that it will likely be on my favorite list for all of my 2012 novel reading.
From the first chapter, I was totally caught up in the characters and their precarious situation as Patriots in British-occupied South Carolina in 1780. Author Susan Craft artfully wove an intense and realistic story filled with situations that left you breathless and characters that captured your heart. It takes an extremely well written story to move me to tears and I had to grab my tissues more than once.
Throughout the novel is a strong theme of trusting God in the midst of terrible circumstances. The maturing of faith in the characters is inspiring. And each character, whether major or minor, was so well portrayed that I felt I knew them.
Not only was this novel well written but the historical detail was enlightening and enriching. It was obvious that Ms. Craft spent years on her skillful research. She painted a picture of Colonial America that is still playing like a movie in my mind.
Even if you usually don't read historical fiction, I would still highly recommend this read. You will truly not want to put it down. I can only pray that Ms. Craft has a sequel in the works.
By Carol A. Brown 
This review is from: The Chamomile (Paperback)
I finished the book Chamomile over a week ago and have not written a review because life took one of those turns, you know, life happens! However, during that hiatus the characters kept popping into my mind and drawing me back to the time and places of the American Revolution--to Lilyan Cameron and Captain Nicholas Xanthakos and the Creeks and Cherokees who befriended them. Susan Craft has done a masterful job of taking us along with Lilyan and Nicholas as they were swept along with the current of the events of that revolution and deposited far from where they started.
Lilyan, the daughter of a patriot who was killed in action, sold her father's business and invested in a wallpaper business of her own. She made a living and supported a younger brother and Elizabeth, a young Cherokee woman Lilyan's father brought into the home to help raise his small children after his wife died. A strong and independent spirit, Lilyan too became a patriot, passing on vital information she picked up while doing business with the wives of officers.
A commission to do a mural on a plantation, miles from home, brought Lilyan, and crew to another pivotal time in life. A lecherous British officer attempted to rape Elizabeth. In her best friend's defense Lilyan picked up the first thing her hand could find--a stone statue, and brought it crashing down on the man's head--a fatal blow. Lilyan became a murderess, and a fugitive with a bounty on her head. A freed slave who stayed on the care for the elderly plantation owner secreted the party away until they could disappear into the swamps of the southern U.S. to join the band of Marion, the Swamp Fox.
Woven through the life and death situations is the growing love bond between Lilyan and Nicholas; finally, in the swamp the happy couple wed. The entire band worked to make the event special and to protect the place provided for a honeymoon. But all good things come to an end...sadly, the war intruded and Captain Xanthakos was called away; bounty hunters took Elizabeth's life; the Swamp Fox and company were on the run. Lilyan, her brother Andrew and Callum had to flee into the mountains to join Elizabeth's family where they stayed until word came that settlers' sentiments had turned against the Indians who remained loyal to the British. Once again our friends were on the run, once again a bounty hunter found Lilyan. Realizing unscrupulous men would be lured by the reward for as long as Lilyan was alive; it was decided to employ an extremely risky ruse to spread word that Lilyan was dead...
Through all the trials, their faith carries the main characters through. The story portrays the integral place that faith played in the early colonies. They are so like us, like me, with questions, fears and doubts. I like how Craft has woven faith throughout the story without ever lapsing into preaching. She has portrayed seamy characters without using offensive language--bravo!
A very well crafted book (pardon the pun), well paced; characters have depth of character; it was well researched and accurately portrayed that men of character were on both sides. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone, but especially history buffs, lovers of romance and those who enjoy action. This is not just a "chic" book! The romance does not overpower the action, adventure, or history--it is just an excellent, well balanced book!

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