Cover Image: Across the Blue

Across the Blue

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I seldom call a book enthralling, but this book earned that title. Set in a timeframe that I enjoy, Edwardian Egland, Turansky takes us on a riveting tale of bravery, adventure, and so much more. The messages in this book are worked into in a very natural way and the focus on forgiveness and letting go, and opening up to what God has in store for you wasn't lost on me. From the scenery to Belle's search for the right husband in her third season, I didn't want this book to end. I loved the aviation, something I became fond of because of my own spouse. This is a fantastic read.

My copy came from Celebrate Lit. This review is my own, filled with my thoughts and opinions. I leave this review of my own free choosing.
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Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky is a novel set in Edwardian England.  This is the first book that I have read by this author and I look forward to reading many more after this one.  The author has an amazing ability to bring a historical setting alive and this book will make you marvel at airplane travel like you were really experiencing it for the first time.  This book is set in the time when the Wright brothers were introducing the world to air travel.  In particular, this book highlights the race to be the first person to cross the English Channel by plane.  I highly recommend this book!  I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher.  These opinions are entirely my own.
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I did enjoy this book, overall. I liked the original premise, based on the early history of aviation and the race to make the first solo flight across the channel. It’s amazing, in a way, that so things had developed so much less than a decade after the first powered flight. As you can probably guess, I don’t know much about the period, or the subject matter in question, which made the story more interesting.  
I liked James Drake, the hero and his unusual ‘family’ the Professor, and their cook Hannah. In fact, I think I liked them best. James seemed like an honest, and down to earth chap for the most part., doing an important job without much recognition. I also liked Isabella’s father, the newspaper magnate, and the details about that subject which his profession allowed for the exploration of. I also though the faith elements was worked well into the story which explored important themes. 

It's hard to put my finger on exactly what I didn’t like about this story, though. There were a few minor things. First off, I never really warmed to Isabella as much as  I should have done. I felt she lacked depth. She didn’t seem to have any flaws or much to her except her ambition to be a journalist and her insistence that she only wanted to marry for love, not position, rank or status- which I fear is becoming something of a cliché. This took up all her time and emotional energy for the entire book: that and her relationship with James, apart from the odd lackluster arguments with her parents when they said something she did not agree with or threatened to disrupt her plans. I don’t know, to me she just did not seem real enough. Just a conduit for modern opinions and a love interest.

Also, towards the end, I felt the story started to lag a little. There was still the aviation plotline, and that carried along, but there was more emphasis on romance, and as another said, it came over a little cheesy. The flitting and sudden changes in decisions and attitudes of characters in that part got to me. Although the ending was satisfactory, I think everything came together too easily, and maybe its just me, but it seems God’s will lines up a little too conveniently with the character’s desires in some books like this. 

Another thing which bothered me was James’ attitude to his background, and especially his grandfather. James regarded him as cruel and selfish for expecting his mother to go to Ireland when she became pregnant with him, and then give him up. 
That was the normal practice for young women from genteel families who got pregnant before marriage. His expectation that his grandfather should have allowed her to stay at home and raise him was unrealistic: it would have ruined her reputation, her chances of future marriage and security, and subjected both him and his mother to shame and scorn from their peers. 
He forgives his father but stated he would never forgive his grandfather for the supposed ‘wrong’ he did to his mother. The storyline with his grandfather was never concluded and just left ‘in the air’ so the speak. 

Furthermore, and this is a problem I have with this genre, and not this novel specifically, what is so wrong with the idea of maintaining a good reputation? 
We always see characters railing against this, and against ‘repressive’ social norms and expectations: yet they are still expected to adhere to Christian teachings. So, no sex before marriage, no adultery, etc. If, as we are told love is the most important thing, and characters who reject repressive social norms are good and brave, why don’t we have gay heroes or single mothers with four children by different fathers? Just something to think on. Perhaps the social norms of the past were not so inconsistent with Biblical values after all. 

So overall, this was an enjoyable story, but I think I liked the previous book Shine Like the Dawn better. 
I would certainly read more by this author though and would recommend this one to lovers of historical and Edwardian Fiction. 

I received an eBook from the Publishers, via NetGalley and Celebrate Lit Bloggers for review. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own.
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The first thing that caught my attention was the historical setting. It completely came to life in this book. I felt immersed and invested as if I were living out Downton Abbey 
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How many of you dreamt that you could fly when you were a child? I remember dreaming one night that I had on a cape and was standing at the edge of a cliff. I took off and suddenly I was flying. The wind grazed my face as I flew through the air. I glanced down and saw trees that looked like little plants. When I woke up all I could think of was how wonderful it was to feel free. We all have dreams and this story reminds us to never up on your dream.

The story of the Wright Brothers is very famous and the author does an incredible job of explaining about flying machines in the 1900s. I absolutely adored Bella right away. She is a very determined young woman. She comes from a very wealthy family who owns several newspapers. Her parents are determined to see their daughter marry into a prestigious family. I loved how Bella had other ideas. Her dream is to become a journalist. Oh my Bella what a dreamer you are. Has anyone told her that women can't be journalists? Her interest in aviation is refreshing and I loved how she was so supportive of this new adventure of flying machines. Will her father believe in her and allow her to write for the paper?

James is a very skilled pilot and is determined that nothing will stop him from being the first to fly across the English Channel. He sure has his work cut out for him when his flying machine crashes on Bella's family estate. At that moment I felt a connection between the two characters. They each have a dream and decide to support each other to achieve what is so important to them. What dream have you had that others supported? Did you give up or continue to pursue the dream? Will James be the first to fly across the English Channel?

What I loved about the story is how the author makes readers feel like they have traveled back in time and are witnessing James as he prepares to follow after his dream. Each time he took the flying machine up in the air, I could visualize how he must have felt. He never gave up and with Bella supporting him his confidence became stronger. There were times my heart bear a little faster as he tried to keep the flying machine in the air. Mixed in the story is a bit of mystery about James. What secrets about his childhood have been hidden from him? The relationship between Bella and James is sweet and has a few bumps that they need to work out. Thank you for writing a story that is filled with hope, faith, forgiveness and dreams. It is a beautiful story that not only highlights the start of aviation everywhere but reminds us that dreams do come true with determination and faith.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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This story takes place in England when aviation was just getting started. The Wright brothers had just made their historic flight in Paris and inspired others to try their skills at making their own plane and flying. It also inspired their onlookers and made investors of some. And pointed out a country's vulnerabilities to planes being able to fly over.

Bella's father is a wealthy self-made newspaper man looking for prestige in society to go with his wealth. She of course is expected to marry a man with a title to bring that social connection to the family. But she is like her father and likes to write and be in the middle of current affairs.  And Bela and her father share a fascination for aviation.

Jack happens to crash land his plane on the Grayson's field as they're touring their new estate. His mother wasn't married and he doesn't know who his father is. He's in the running to design airplanes and fly across the channel and has captured the attention of Grayson and his daughter. With only these facts he wouldn’t be in the running as a suitor for Bella – unless he wins perhaps, and captures the prize money and fame.

It's not unusual for any of us to examine our self-worth and standing with others we live around. It's easy to let others conception of who or what we are to limit us. It's just so satisfying to watch people break out, stand tall and prove to themselves and others what they really are capable of. In this story it applies to both Jack and Bella, standing on both sides of high society lines. Each has to follow their own plan that God has for them in order to excel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free – from the WaterBrook & Multnomah Publishers - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Isabella Grayson wants to be a journalist for the Daily Mail in 1909 in England. She gets an opportunity to write for the paper because her father owns it, but only if she will agree to encourage suitors and get engaged by the end of the year. Soon she begins to write a series on aviation and the men preparing to be the first to fly across the English Channel. One of those men is James Drake, who just happens to crash land in the Graysons' field one day. Gradually, Isabella gets to know James and the Professor helping him. James is also trying to find out about his family, and Isabella agrees to help him. In spite of circumstances, Isabella and James fall in love, but the Graysons don't approve. Will James find out about his family? Who will be the first to fly across the Channel? Will Isabella and James get a happy ending?
I really enjoyed this book! There aren't many books written about this period in history, and I thought it was so interesting to read about the beginning of aviation. More people should write about this fascinating time in history. The characters seemed realistic to me, and I couldn't wait to find out what happened to them. I thought the plot moved along pretty well and I was satisfied with the ending. This book is a clean read and acceptable for all ages. I'm going to have to go back and read Carrie Turansky's other books because I definitely liked this one. Highly recommended!
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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“Now was the time for men to break free from the bounds of earth and fly unhindered.”

Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky is full of fascinating history and great characters, as well as a riveting plot that reminds us to trust God’s dreams for us.

Bella and James are an endearing pair of characters who quickly carve out space in your heart. Their daring dreams – James, to be the first person to fly across the English Channel in an airplane and Bella, to be one of few female journalists for the time. You will be cheering them on every step of the way, and I must confess that I held my breath more than once while following James’ air adventures. Their shared interest in aviation establishes a friendship that eventually develops into something even sweeter, and Turansky does a great job of building their relationship as the story progresses. It’s a gentle romance, but there’s also a bonus romance or two brewing in the background and I admit that one of those background romances was my favorite relationship in the story!

The setting of Across the Blue puts us right at the center of all the buzz and anticipation surrounding air travel by plane. What a thrilling time in history that must have been, to witness such a great advancement in transportation! There are ups and downs in the progress (quite parallel, in fact, to the actual flights lol) and Turansky nicely captures that crackle of excitement in the air! (No pun intended) From the race to see who will be first to cross the Channel successfully to the competitions at the air meet in Rheims, France – the atmosphere hums with tension and expectation.

Bottom Line: Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky keeps readers engaged in the characters’ lives as well as the excitement of the time period. While it gets a little bogged down in details at the beginning, it evens out into a sweet story of putting our dreams in perspective with God’s dreams for us – and how His are so much better than we imagine. The characters feel like dear friends and settle into our hearts, and the setting comes alive with sights and sounds and experiences. Perfect for history enthusiasts, particularly of  the Edwardian-era, and fans of Turansky’s other books!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
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Across the Blue is a wonderfully, adventurous story!  Set amongst the lives of the rich in the year 1909, two people attempt to defy the norm of society to set their own course and fulfill their dreams.  Isabella Grayson is drawn in to the world of journalism and desires to write articles for her father's newspaper. James Drake is an aviator hoping to be the first to fly across the English Channel.  Their stories collide and draw them together as they help each other see what their deepest desires truly are.

This story is beautifully written.  Filled with history, a sweet, sweet love story, acceptance and the love of a father, and the theme of forgiveness and acceptance of the love of our Heavenly Father!  I really loved everything about this book and look forward to reading more from Carrie Turansky!
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I enjoyed this peek into the Edwardian period when aviation was just taking off (pun intended). The title fits the story well. Flight pioneers hope to launch into the wild blue yonder, and they are in a race to be the first to fly across the English Channel. This story focuses on James Drake, a pilot, and the wealthy Bella Grayson. Her parents want her to marry well and take her place in British society. She longs to write for her father’s newspaper. What will happen when these two determined young people pursue their dreams? And could these dreams include each other? The characters seemed true-to-life and history to come to life as this drama unfolded. I liked the suspense included in the tale, which added a great subplot. I wish the characters could continue. Perhaps a story about Bella’s sister could continue the saga. Hop aboard for adventure, intrigue, and some tense moments. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.
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Carrie Turansky has written a wonderful book set in the Edwardian period.  I really like how she blended fiction with historical creating a story you wont want to put down. This story takes place in England during the time when airplanes were beginning to show up on the scene. I enjoyed learning about  how airplanes were being built and the first flight attempts.  I thought James and Bella's character's were fun to get to know. Carrie Turanksy developed her character's well.  I liked most of them. I found the story to be engaging and interesting. The character Bella's dream was to be a jouranlist. It was fascinating to read about her attempts to be a reporter in a strictly man's profession. I liked how Carrie weaved the Lord's truth Hope, forgiveness and second chances  throughout the story.  I think the reader can learn valuable truth along with the character.

I recommend this book to my family and friends.

I received this book from the publisher to read and give my honest review.
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What a wonderful story!  It was so fascinating learning more about aviation at the turn of the century. The challenges faced by those aviation pioneers are a little staggering to think about, especially their courage in persisting despite the perils they faced.  We think so little of a short flight across the English Channel, yet, as I learned from this story, it was anything but simple.

James was by far my favorite character in the book.  I loved the way he had to overcome his poor perception of himself and enjoyed the way the author helped him to see that his worth does not come from his parentage or his accomplishments but from God.  Oh, for all of us to be able to come to that realization!

Ms. Turansky did a fantastic job in imparting a lot of information about early aviation and social mores at the time without it sounding like a lesson in history.  The facts were beautifully woven into the story.

You can read Carrie's guest post at

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I am grateful to Celebrate Lit for giving me a copy of this book. The fact I received this book for free does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Isabella has always wanted to be a journalist - but it's not a job for women. James has always wanted to fly, but it's taken years to even get close. When James' plane crashes into a field on Isabella's father's new estate, new opportunities open out for each of them, separately and together. Will Isabella ever get her parents' permission to write for her father's paper? Will James be the first to fly across the English Channel and win the prize Isabella's father's paper has offered? And will he ever discover the truth about his parents? Most importantly, will the illegitimate son of unknown parents ever be permitted to marry the daughter of a rich man who wants her to marry into Society?

The book pictures a world I know little of but enjoyed learning more about - society life in England before the first world war, and the development of the first planes capable of flying reliably enough to tackle the English Channel. The writing is good - very few mistakes, and flows well. While I wouldn't call this a fast-paced read, I didn't find that a bad thing - the pace was good, I could (mostly) put the book down when necessary but still looked forward to reading more. This is not the sort of book for those looking for heaps of action, but it had enough going on to keep me interested. Again, it's not the sort of book for those who want lengthy descriptions of kisses, bedroom scenes etc, but describes a growing romance between the two that survived disagreements and problems. Frankly, it felt at times like the romance took more of a back seat to the planes and journalism, but I actually really enjoyed that.

Overall, this was a book to come back and read again later, because it actually had substance to it.

Plot: good, with historical interest (and including a useful historical note)
Content: clean
Language/writing style: good writing, with no bad language
Characters: felt realistic, good development
Overall rating: 5 stars
Message: some discussion of God, not overdone, scattered throughout

Note that I received a free copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and this is my considered opinion of the book.
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This is the story of Isabella Grayson, the wealthy daughter of a newspaper mogul, who dreams of being a journalist like her father and James Drake an impoverished young aviator during the early beginnings of aviation.  It blends a touch of romance, a smidgen of  mystery, and a fascinating look  at the history of early aviation blended together with a good faith thread to make for a wonderful read.  

I loved the glimpse into the life of the early 1900's where young ladies were only supposed to be preparing for marriage and their main job was to find a wealthy young man of good breeding to continue their family line.  But Bella wasn't ready to settle for that role and had an independent streak that set her on the course of determining her own future.  But the bargain she made to gain her goal turned out to cause unexpected problems yet also led her to a closer relationship with her father. 
 James obsession with his past and his feeling of worthlessness hindered his being all that he could be and being as appreciative as he should have been of his adopted father.  Professor Steed and Mrs. Shelby were a delightful old couple and I loved seeing them reconnect after many years of not seeing each other.    The  interaction between all of characters was well developed as each of them grew and changed.  

This was a captivating novel and Turansky's love of English shines throughout.  

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley through Multnomah Publishing to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.  I was not compensated for this review.
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Isabella Grayson, the heroine of Across the Blue, hails from the nouveau riche class. Her father, owner of three successful London newspapers, has purchased a country estate, Broadlands, from Sir Richard. Although Bella loves her new home (which comes complete with ornate furnishings, artwork, and a house full of servants), she longs for a simpler time when her parents seemed happy.

The social strain of moving from upper-middle class to social elite has put a huge strain on Bella's mother, sister, and herself. Her parents expect her to marry into nobility now, and despite spending two Seasons in London, Bella has yet to find her soulmate. She yearns for a marriage of equal partners, not just a rung to climb a social ladder. Bella doesn't feel ready to marry-after all, she has yet to explore her desire to work as a journalist.

Above all, she longs for her father's approval and affection. Charles Grayson, a proper product of the Victorian Era, sees no reason for his daughter to do anything other than settle down and fulfill her roles of wife and mother. The only interest he'll share with Bella, though, is a love for the newfangled airplanes.

On their first day at Broadlands, an airplane crashes near their house and Bella's life changes forever. The pilot, James Drake, works with Professor Thaddeus Steed to create the first airplane worthy of a Channel crossing. 

The Unlikely Hero

James, an orphan with a questionable heritage, longs to know more about his parentage. The Professor has raised him-educating him, instilling values, and a desire to know God's will. Nevertheless, James struggles with the stain of his illegitimacy and longs to make his mark on the world in order to find acceptance.

As Bella and James become friends, their separate goals threaten to pull them apart. They each must learn to rely on their heavenly father and not rush into decisions on their own. 
Set amidst the glittering fashions of the Edwardian Era and the excitement of the birth of the airplane industry, readers will have a hard time putting the book down. Fans of Downton Abbey will love this new release by Carrie Turansky.
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Want history, romance, and an intriguing mystery all rolled up together? Carrie’s new book certainly has all of these things.   She never disappoints her readers.   

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book.
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Across The Blue by Carrie Turansky is a fabulous Christian historical romance. Set in 1909 on the south coast of England, it is the dawn of a new era, the beginning of modern Britain.
The novel's focus is the new interest in aviation - who will be the first to cross the English Channel? It is also about fame and a newspaper dynasty.
Women are coming to the forefront. No longer content to merely be homemakers, they want careers too. The leading lady is a very modern woman believing in love, not wealth and titles as a basis for marriage.
The old order is still reigning. Daughters still have a 'coming out' season, paraded to the highest bidder.
There is the theme of fathers. Earthly fathers may leave us. but our heavenly Father never will. "His father had abandoned him but... God had promised to... fill that role." Father figures step in to fill the gap left by blood fathers.
A search to belong and for one's roots is another focus. We all want to know our heritage.
Our parents sins should not be passed down to us. Each one of us should stand or fall by our own merit. "A man should not be judged by the choices his parents made, but by the way he lives his life."
Forgiveness is another theme. We need to forgive because we have been forgiven.
The characters are likable and well drawn. There are some very big hearts who put others first instead of pursuing their own self interests.
Across The Blue is a wonderful tale that will transport the reader to a bygone era. An era where chivalry is not dead but in contrast, the modern woman is emerging.
Absolutely fabulous.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
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Across the Blue is another captivating novel by a favorite author, Carrie Turansky. Her love of English history shines through in this story of James Drake, a young man who desperately wants to be the first pilot to fly over the English Channel. Fulfilling this dream means he can build a reputation for himself despite his unknown beginnings and perhaps win the hand of the girl he has come to love--Bella. Bella, a young woman from a wealthy family, whose aspirations for her include marrying a suitable and wealthy gentleman from a certain social circle that does not include James. Bella has her own dreams too and if she follows her parents' plans what will happen to her dream of becoming a journalist? Bella makes a promise to her parents that seems to backfire...will she be able to keep her word and still follow her path? There is lots of tension in the story as the plot unfolds as one wonders how each of the struggles will be resolved. The romance is sweet and yet not without its difficulties. The characters are strong and vibrant and presented with realism as they work through the obstacles that life has thrown their way. The author keeps interest high as she gives glimpses of the workings of a newspaper company, the beginnings of aviation in the early 1900s and the excitement of a debutante preparing for her ball and her presentation at court. Across the Blue is a compelling story of not only the dangers and excitement of early aviation but a powerful story of forgiveness, healing, and restoration. A story not to be missed!
I received an advance reader's copy and was not required to write a review. The opinions are my own.
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Across the Blue was a riveting read. I'm not too familiar with aviation history, so for me it was extra suspenseful as I didn't know who would cross the English Channel first.... 

Bella is a woman ahead of her time; she is interested in the aviation race and dreams of joining her father's newspaper as a journalist. But her traditional parents are hoping rather for a engagement soon. In dramatic fashion, their next door neighbor, James, crash lands his plane in their backyard. Obviously this meet cute moment means romance is in the offing, but their differing backgrounds may cause some concern, at least when it comes to Bella's society parents.

Overall an enjoyable read that kept me turning the pages. Readers who enjoy Christian romance with historical depth will definitely like this read!! 
Thank you WaterBrook & Multnomah and NetGalley for this eARC.
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