Cover Image: Love's Fortress

Love's Fortress

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A dual timeline, rich in historical detail which taught me a few things.  I love that in my books. The absorbing narrative manages to feel authentically Southern and descriptive of the St. Augustine area in 1875. 
Many thanks to Barbour Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I liked this book. I liked that it was a dual timeline story. I liked how the people in the present were trying to figure out the story of the past. I liked how as the characters learned about what happened in the past, it helped them in their present. I thought the author did a good job of researching the history behind the native americans being moved to the fort in Florida. I thought it was a good glimpse into the past and I learned something while reading it.

I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.
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Probably my favorite book in this series so far!  I may be a little biased because it hit close to heart for both my work and one of my favorite types of fiction - children involved in the court system and con man stories - but truly, the story was so well put-together, and well researched.  I found myself equally invested in both the present-day and historical timelines.
Dani has spent her whole life with a very concrete picture of her con-artist father.  His death and unexpected bequests to her in his will are forcing her to come to terms with her past, while God seems to be challenging her expectations for the future at every turn. 
Meanwhile, Brad's life seems to be spinning out of control.  His brother and sister-in-law are in trouble again, only this time, they've dragged his young niece into the mix.  Brad is determined to focus all of his energy and attention on caring for his niece and trying to make a home for her.  But God has other plans.
Matty Joie, long-time friend of Dani's dad doesn't believe in coincidences.  When Brad and Dani are both simultaneously drawn into his sphere of influence through a piece of art found among Dani's dad's effects, Matty tries to convince both Brad and Dani to look past their current circumstances and trust God's leading, no matter how unexpected and unorthodox it may seem.  
On the historical timeline, Sally Jo deals with her own paternal struggles, and also having to look past preconceived notions to see God's plan for her life.  Sally and her beau Luke have longed to find a place in the foreign mission field but have faced rejection after rejection.  When an opportunity to minister closer to home brings unexpected friendships, and its own hardships, loyalties are tested and patience to wait for God's plan is a struggle.  
Both sides of the story are well-written, and obviously well-researched.  I enjoyed the characters and the settings, and most of all the impact of family and friendship bonds on the characters' faith as an addition to the romantic aspect of the stories.  This is a wonderful series that does not need to be read in order.  Each book is written by a different author, and the common theme is dual timeline stories with mysteries tying them together along with a romantic storyline in one or both timelines, and the characters' faith as an integral part of their development through the story.  The romance is completely clean, and there is no graphic content whatsoever.   I highly recommend the entire series, but especially this book, to any lovers of historical fiction, Christian fiction, or sweet romance stories.
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What a heart wrenching yet heartwarming dual timeline story…

I was caught up in both timeline stories. My heart ached for each set of characters. When you are reading and can feel the pain the characters are feeling it makes for a personal connection. 

I feel Jennifer Uhlarik created a wonderful story. Full of many meaningful moments. I have not read a book by her until now. I will be looking for other books she has written.

On a personal note being 1/4 Native American it breaks my heart when I read stories that include history of Native Americans torn from their land and forced to conform to “civilized” life. I also could relate to the current day story and issues with a father. Again, this story was told in a way that was not offensive in anyway and tugged at my heart.

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from NetGalley on behalf of the Publisher and was under no obligation to post a favorable review.
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This is a great addition to this series. Each book is a stand alone book but they have all been very good. I believe this is the second book I have read by Jennifer. I really like the first one and this one lived up to that one.

I loved the strong faith message throughout, she didn’t shy from that, which I appreciated it.

Dani and Brad are brought together through some coincidental circumstances that was fun to see play out. Brynn is a sweetie and a wonderful addition to the story. Not to mention Matty, the gentle giant.

The story in the past is also interesting and had me wondering how much of this really happened?

A copy of this book was given to me through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.
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“Love’s Fortress” by Jennifer Uhlarik is book seven in Barbour’s “Doors to the Past” series, and in many ways, I find it to be the most compelling thus far. I also commend both the author and the publisher for taking on this controversial subject, especially at such a divisive time in our country. The treatment of Native Americans is a source of much bitterness and anger, and understandably so, and to approach this from a Christian viewpoint both historically and currently offers a healing lens that can serve well going forward. One of the advantages of fiction is that it allows for the exploration of how current ideas could have changed the outcome of historical situations, or how historical methods could influence contemporary issues.

Uhlarik skillfully articulates several of the main obstacles involved in the three-year incarceration of the seventy-three Native American men from various tribes at the Castillo de San Marcos (later renamed Fort Marion) in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1875. They were detained due to their roles in the conflicts in the American West. Through the characters of Lieutenant Richard Henry Pratt and Broken Bow, primarily, the challenges of forced assimilation become evident, as well as the impact of Christianity. Broken Bow’s character demonstrates how difficult it was for the Native Americans to understand the foundation of the Christian faith, and how important effective communication is, not only in ministering to others, but in establishing the trust necessary to earn another’s respect. If we want someone to listen to us regarding personal matters and beliefs, we first need to demonstrate our care for them; other approaches likely seem condemnatory, be that the intention or not. 

Relationships likewise constitute another major theme in “Love’s Fortress.” As a dual-timeline story set in 1875 and in the present day, generational trauma and moral tradition both inform the narrative through the characters’ actions and the resulting series of events. As surprising as some of the revelations were, they all serve as reminders to disregard rumors in favor of facts. So much tragedy stems from relying on the incorrect interpretation of another’s culture or lifestyle. As such, Matty Joie is an exemplary illustration of the joyful servants that the Lord calls us to be. Likewise, one observation by Sally Jo Harris particularly resonated with me: “Just as if they were on a mission field in some faraway country, she and the others must rely on God’s leading and His timing. If she and Luke would have made it to Liberia or another mission field, her experiences would have differed there too. And regardless of where they were called, no one held the power to bring true healing and change through their own wisdom. Only the Holy Spirit could break down those walls.” The mission field is often within our own communities, and sometimes all it takes is a wild goose chase to find the blessings God has planned for us!   

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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Love's Fortress is a time-split novel that really had my emotions all over the place, from 1875 to the present timeline. I was invested in both timelines as all of these characters have very complicated lives.

Present day- Dani Sango's father is dead. She did not know him, only about his conviction as an art forger. His friends she has met say he loved her and that he was a great guy. She can't get over her feelings of abandonment.

Brad Osgood did his best to raise his brother after their parents died. No matter his brother and sister-in-law have gotten themselves in major trouble, endangering their little girl Brynn in the process. Brad is bound and determined to protect his niece no matter what.

What brings Brad and Dani together is an old Native American journal with drawings that illustrates in story some happenings at an old Spanish Fort when the US military decided to take captive the Native American rebel leaders and teach them their ways.

In the past we meet missionaries Sally Jo and Luke, who are deeply in love and share the same mission. Their biggest obstacle is not even the military, but Sally Jo's father. Their life is further tossed in turmoil as vengeance and past revelations begin to come to life. But into their lives comes a very special friendship.

This story had my emotions really going. I liked how the author showed that no matter what time we live in, life, living, love, friendships, even troubles know no bounds. The historical notes were priceless.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
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Pictures from the past may be the key to uncover decades of family secrets in the present. 

Dani Sango has lived under the shadow of her father's reputation her whole life, and her journey to understand her father leads her to compelling discoveries. A present day mystery of sorts with roots in the past, I loved uncovering the secrets with Dani and Brad as they got to know each other through their struggles and their search. Belle is a sweet child, and I liked how Brad works hard to make sure that she feels safe in her new home. I also enjoyed Sally Jo and Luke's story set in 1875, their love for each other and dreams of sharing Christ with others. 

 There is a lot going on in this book and it took a while for me to start putting the pieces together, but it grew on me a lot as it built into a powerful and poignant conclusion. It was fun to learn the history of Native American ledger art, and see all the pieces of the story come together. 

Overall, this was a well written book that blends the present day with the past in a beautiful and meaningful way, rich in history, with strong faith, and admirable characters that I could cheer for all the way through. Well worth the read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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The Doors to the Past Series has truly been an enjoyable one. This book is another great example of how great this series is. I love dual time lines so this was right up my alley. The characters were engaging and the historical key points were definitely interesting. The author weaves faith in a beautiful way. 

If you enjoy Christian Historical Fiction I definitely grab this one and the rest in the series. They don't have to be read in any order as they are written by different authors and do not relate to each other. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
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I thought I already had a favorite book in the Doors to the Past series, but Love's Fortress is running hard to take over that prize position. I loved the way the mystery of the ledger art wove through the timelines. As the reader, I had inklings of what might be coming next, but the writing skill and masterful storytelling kept me entranced to the last page. I found I constantly wanted to know more. I wanted more pages, more story. I needed every detail about the lives of the characters created and living in this story world. Dani, Matty, Brad, Broken Bow, Sally Jo, and Luke were part of something extraordinary, and this tale allowed me to see events from a historical time that I'd never heard of before. I love the theme I found winding its way through the pages. Even when all seems lost, God is there. If you have not read this book yet, I encourage you to do so. I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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This is a dual timeline historical fiction book that focused on an aspect of history of which I was not aware. It was interesting to learn about the Native Americans who were transported to St. Augustine, Florida. The author does a great job of allowing you to feel the angst and discomfort these individuals felt. As for the present day aspect of the book, I really enjoyed getting to know the characters … Dani, Brad, Matty Joie, and especially Brynn. This was an interesting read an a good addition to the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Fiction for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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Love’s Fortress is written by Jennifer Uhlarik. This is part of the Doors to the Past series which flashes back and forth between current day and a historical time period. The series is written by multiple authors and are all stand alone books. However, they are all amazing. 

Our main character in this book is Dani. Her father has passed away and she inherited his entire estate. There are several art pieces that she does not have any idea about, so she enlists a local curator, Brad to assist. At first, Brad is not thrilled to have to go through all of it. Then he becomes intrigued by Dani. The two of them start to uncover a story. They find the story of Broken Bow. He is a Plain Indian that was transported to Florida and incarcerated. He develops a friendship with Sally Jo who has been serving as a missionary. While the friendship grows they face a lot of obstacles. This was such a violent time period. It's post Civil War Reconstruction and the hatred for Indians/Native Americans is strong. 

Can Dani and Brad uncover the tie between Broken Bow and Sally Jo to why her father would have such artwork. The author has done some great research to bring this story to life. It's well written, and well portrayed. The dual timeline is woven together seamlessly. It's a beautiful Story. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and Celebrate Lit for allowing me to read a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
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I have been greatly enjoying the Doors to the Past series published by Barbour Books. This particular novel piqued my interest because although I read a lot of historical fiction, I have not yet read much of Native American struggles. This story does a great job of detailing some of the historical aspects of their culture while portraying the influence of white people, giving both the good and the bad of both sides. I appreciated the author’s note at the end as well. One of my favorite parts of split time fiction is the way the two timelines intersect and this novel does a great job of bringing them together by the end. I also really liked the way the spiritual truths are woven into the story. Overall, I enjoyed this novel and I am excited to read more in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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I enjoyed Jennifer Uhlarik’s contribution to the Doors to the Past series by Barbour. Each book is a stand-alone novel that presents as an intriguing dual-timeline. Love’s Fortress connects present-day Florida to St. Augustine, FL, in the 1870s.

Matty is my favorite character in the present-day scenarios. He is so big, tough, and scary looking, but he has a heart of gold. He loves Jesus and he loves those around him. He sees people without any discrimination. “Everyone’s welcome in God’s kingdom, darlin’. Doesn’t matter what you wear or how you fix your hair. It’s what’s in here.” He is loyal to a fault and can be surprisingly gentle.

Broken Bow is my favorite character in the historical sections. I love how Uhlarik shows the Native American’s probable way of thinking in keeping with their tribal customs. While there are some clashes between the Native Americans and the white peoples, Uhlarik tries to present the good and bad of both sides, never saying one is better than the other. My heart wanted to cry at the injustices that Broken Bow and others like him endured simply because he was not white.

Uhlarik includes historical notes and fact vs. fiction at the end, always a welcome addition to any book that draws a historical picture for us.
I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.

Notable Quotables:

Oh, sweet heavenly Father, thank You! You do have a plan!

“Me? I’m just a mixed-up little girl in a grown-up girl’s body.”

“We may never see the. . .impact we make when we follow God’s leading.”
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I loved this fabulous story! This dual timeline novel is a gift, with beautiful messages of faith and redemption woven throughout. Featuring historical and contemporary fiction that highlights events of certain Native Americans in the late 1800’s, we see tragedies and joys and how people face them with faith in the Lord. I was impressed with how well the author put herself in the position of the characters to see, hear, and smell their surroundings. This is particularly notable when the Native Americans tried to make sense of Fort Marion.

Dani knew little about her biological father except that he had been in prison for art forgery. He had not been in her life since she was two, and she believed he didn’t want her. She was contacted by his attorney when he died in an auto accident, and she learned he left her his house. Instead of Frank’s love, she had the key to his house while she awaited the reading of the will.

One of the items Dani found in the nondescript house was ledger art, an old ledger of pencil drawings by Native Americans, depicting various events. Dani got in touch with Brad, a museum curator her father had communicated with about the ledger, even as she wonders if Frank had forged that, also. Brad was trying to get emergency custody of Brynn, his four-year-old niece, whose parents were in jail facing serious charges. While awaiting their respective legal appointments, they became friends, and Dani was a big help with Brynn.

Dani met Matty, a long-time friend of her father, and their friends from church. She had a hard time believing Frank belonged to a church after what she had heard. She wasn’t raised around anyone who believed in God or attended church, so Matty and his friends were quite a surprise to her. Brad had been a believer but had been struggling for a while. Dani, Brad, and Brynn spent time with Matty, trying to make sense of what Matty and his friends learned from her father about the “wild goose chase”. Since reading about it in this novel, I am intrigued at the sound of it!

The more Brad and Dani read about ledger art, they became able to identify the artist of and events depicted in the ledger. The lives of the 73 Native Americans who were held at Fort Marion and the local people who came to teach them about the Lord and how to read and write in the 1870’s was fascinating. Despite the tragedies, I enjoyed that part of the novel even more than the present-day story. I appreciated seeing the points of view of the Native Americans, those who taught them, and “White Chief” Lt. Pratt.

There is much, much more to this novel than I can say. While I love historical portion more than the current events, I have been blessed and encouraged by the spiritual practices in the contemporary story. A couple things were somewhat predictable, but many things were complete surprises. I was stunned and saddened a few times by the way things worked out. I highly recommend this novel to women of all ages who appreciate Christian historical fiction and struggles of the Native Americans in the 1870’s, contemporary family drama, healing and forgiveness, and practicing a living, active faith in the Lord.

From a thankful heart: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
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Sometimes faith can be hard to find...

The Doors To The Past series has been one of the most interesting... Featuring diverse historical places around the USA, each of them with a mystery that spans decades and even centuries. Each story has been different and each of the storytellers have brought their own unique style to this series of dual timeline novels. Honestly, I look forward to each new Doors To The Past release with a great deal of anticipation and curiosity as to where I'll be 'going' next. 

The where was Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine as fascinated since I was a little kid reading about its 16th century founding decades before Jamestown, etc. Needless to say I was more than intrigued to learn about a part of the city's history that I was completely unfamiliar with.

The incarceration of  Native Americans at Fort Marion is a ticklish topic so when I started Love's Fortress it was with a mixed feeling or two. However, Jennifer Uhlarik pleasantly surprised me by her portrayal of the historical thread in her story. I really don't want to give anything away so I will simply say that there are caring people on both sides and there is well earned distrust on both sides. 

The present day thread was actually my favorite in Love's Fortress. That was where the past and present intertwined and the mystery elements got their chance to shine. Plus two of my favorite characters in the story were present day; the very unexpected Matty Joie and the adorable Brynn with her sidekick Peanut. But it was also here that Jennifer Uhlarik introduced a fascinating concept, the Goose Chase. That kind of trust and faith really appeals to me, though, I am still trying to wrap my mind around it. 

Whether you have read any of the Doors To The Past or are new to the series, Jennifer Uhlarik's contribution to it should not be skipped. Love's Fortress was an enjoyable, sometimes thought provoking, read and a good addition to the series...

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
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Love’s Fortress by author Jennifer Uhlarik is a Christian dual time romance novel. It is part of the Doors to the Past Series by Barbour Publishing. Each of these books are stand alone books, and I loved them!

This installment in the series was about historical characters Sally Jo Harris, Luke Worthington, and Broken Bow. Set in St. Augustine in 1875 it tells the heartbreaking story of some Native Americans who were captured and imprisoned. It also is about Dani Sango and Brad Osgood, the present day characters.

The author did a beautiful job weaving the two different time period stories into one heart-stirring novel. Her style of writing is inviting and easy to understand. I was invested in the characters and captivated by their moving stories. This was a page turner with some twists and surprises. I learned some things, too.

Author Uhlarik did a nice job presenting that both sides had good and bad things. She did not lift up on side over the other. For me, it was hard to read about the injustices that Broken Bow and others like him endured simply because of the color of their skin. 

This is a story of unconditional love, truth, hope, trust, prejudice, and serving others. The spiritual message is inspiring and well done. This book contains so many different things that anyone should enjoy it. It is historical and contemporary, mystery, adventure, Native American, Artwork, and Christian fiction. The author has interesting notes at the end. Reading groups would enjoy this as a selection and find much to discuss.

I highly recommend this fabulous book. It receives 5 out of 5 stars from me. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest words.
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This was a new to me author. I enjoyed the book. I liked that it was a dual-time story. The romance felt rushed which was a shame. It was a nice and easy read though.
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There is a lot to love about Love’s Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik. I love that this novel deals with a history we don’t see in Historical Romances — the Native American incarceration at Fort Marion in Florida. I wrote my master thesis on Native American images in Children’s picture books so the fact that Love’s Fortress showcases a part of American history that gets swept under the rug made me really excited to read this book. I was not disappointed. I found the historical detail to be spot on. In fact, the historical storyline is my favorite part of this excellent story. I very much loved all of the characters in this story. I appreciate how diverse and unique each character is. There’s a tough-looking biker giant with a heart the size of Texas, a sweet little girl in need of some serious help, a troubled young woman reeling from the unexpected death of her father, a strong-in-his-faith man who is a tad overwhelmed by some serious family dysfunction, a captive Native American who deals with a new life forced on him, a genuinely warm-hearted and conscientious hero with a speech-impediment, and a beautiful young woman who sees the heart of an individual and loves God with her whole heart. I love how Uhlarik crafts such uniquely wonderful and endearing characters who all feel relatable and realistic. And I really love the many timely and thought-provoking themes discussed in this story. My one and only complaint with this novel is that it ends. I really loved this story, and I am sad my time with these characters is over.

Love’s Fortress is a really well-written, highly engaging story that I highly recommend. If you are a fan of delightful Historical Romances steeped in historical detail and full of sweet romance and genuine friendships, then definitely check out Love’s Fortress today!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, Jennifer Uhlarik, via Celebrate Lit in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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I was first interested about this book due to the cover and the location.  I love St. Augustine and have visited the fort before.   So it made it easier to be part of the story as I could visually see the location.

The author wrote the book in two timelines.  I appreciated how she introduced the chapter so you knew when you were in the past or current time.  I was more of a fan of the 1800 storyline.  The story of Sally Jo and Broken Bow.

Dani Sago was ashamed of her past and was disappointed by her father.  Sally Jo was also very disappointed by her father's actions.  Could they get over their disappointment and move on?  

I was surprised at the ending.  Author Jennifer Uhlarik did a great job tying the  timelines together.

I received this ebook for free to review from Celebrate Lit.
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