Cover Image: A Mark of Grace

A Mark of Grace

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I gave this 3.5 stars on Good reads. A good finish to a series, with the first book being my favorite!!

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Recovering from a mauling by a mountain lion, Harvey Girl Ruth wants to hide away. Although she longs to return to her head waitress, public-facing management job at the restaurant, she is reluctant to be seen as less than whole. She no longer believes she is beautiful and it bothers her. Her long-time friend, Frank, stands by her through the 2-3 years of the story. He supports her and never seems to find the opening to let her know how special she is to him. She shuts down that type of conversation, every time.
A scandal is brewing at El Tovar at the Grand Canyon National Park. Both Ruth and Frank are assisting Mr. Owens in finding out the truth of the hotel's accounts. There is something nefarious going on and they need to get to the bottom of it, before it is too late for the hotel to survive.

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I really enjoyed this one. I still haven’t managed to read book one, but books two and three are solid! I really enjoyed the character growth. That’s one thing I’ve learned this author does well. The characters aren’t perfect, and they go through believable growth throughout the book.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise.

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This book is part of a wonderful series, “Secrets of the Canyon”, by author Kimberley Woodhouse. The time period for this story is 1907-1909, and the setting is the El Tovar Hotel near the Grand Canyon. The main character is Ruth Anniston, the head Harvey Girl at this flagship hotel. Ruth takes pride in what she’s accomplished as a Harvey Girl and has always tried to set a stellar, inspiring example for the other Harvey Girls she supervises at the hotel. However, Ruth suffers a tragedy that leaves her recovering from injuries and scars. Ruth finds herself struggling not only with her marred image as a Harvey Girl, but also with her trust in God’s goodness in her life.

The author takes us through a series of mysterious happenings at the hotel that kept me turning pages to see what would happen next. But in the middle of this intriguing story, there’s an explanation of God’s grace in our lives that elevates this book above just being an entertaining story—it has much to say to us about the amazing grace that He extends to all of us. Ruth’s journey is a wonderful example of this, and I’m glad for the spiritual encouragement I received as I read this book.

If you haven’t read the rest of the series, don’t hesitate to begin with this book. But I think once you’ve read this one, you’ll want to go back and read the others. This book is a perfect example of what Christian fiction should be.

I voluntarily received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions are my own.

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I enjoyed reading this historical fiction book. It had drama and intrigue as the main characters Frank, Ruth and general manager Mr Owens try to determine who is ruining the El Tovars reputation.

I liked reading about Ruth and her job as a “Harvey Girl” since I had read another historical fiction book recently who also had the same job in another state. It must have been a popular job for women in the early 1900s.

I mostly enjoyed the characters and their adventures; but I often found myself frustrated with Ruth and her vainness about her skin and injuries after her serious accident. It seemed all she cared about was her outward appearance and how perfect and beautiful she needed to look; instead of being grateful that she was alive, had a job, people who loved her, etc. It took the entire book for her to see her self worth and to stop whining. Her friend Frank was so patient and kind to her despite her faults.

Despite that, I still liked the story line, steady pace and the beautiful Grand Canyon/Arizona story setting. We are reminded often in this book about God’s grace and his love for us.

I received a copy of this book complimentary for blog and social media review. All opinions are my own.

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A Mark of Grace by Kimberley Woodhouse is the third book in her Secrets of the Canyon historical romance series.

I’ve been looking forward to reading Ruth and Frank’s story, especially with the way book two ended. Ruth has a lot to work through and I could appreciate her struggle. I enjoyed getting to know Frank better, too, especially how constant he is. The mystery was great, too. I loved the twist at the end.

I you love historical romance with a mystery theme, then grab a copy of A Mark of Grace. You don’t need to read the first two books, but if you do, you’ll already love Ruth and be extra excited to read her story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.
I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.

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My thoughts: MARK OF GRACE is the third book in this riveting series by talented author Kimberly Woodhouse. I enjoyed every book in this series and highly recommend them read in order as some previous characters and events are mentioned. I enjoyed getting to know Frank and Ruth better and hoped they'd figure out who was behind the crimes at the Harvey House they both work at. There is a strong faith message. Woodhouse is one of my favorite historical authors. Highly recommended. I was given a copy free and all opinions are my own.

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Ruth has survived a battle with more internal scars than physical ones. Two years later, she is having a difficult time moving forward with her life with a scar on her face and a limp. She isn’t able to move on. It causes her to be blind to Frank’s attention and friendship as she is only focused on the scars. Will she be able to move on from this point in her life?

I had been waiting for this book in the series, especially for Ruth to have her own story. The book contains suspense and romance with a good balance of the two. Ruth’s struggle with her bitterness towards God was a huge part of the story. There were a few places that I highlighted to reference back to later. I love when I read fiction stories that speak to my heart like that!

I would definitely recommend this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review.

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A Mark of Grace, by Kimberly Woodhouse is book three in the Secrets of the Canyon series. This story does contain characters from the earlier books in the series, so it is best to read them in order. In this story we get to know Ruth and Frank better. Ruth is struggling with scars and pain from an incident with a wild cat 2 years earlier. No matter how Frank tries to tell her she is beautiful, she doesn’t believe him. Ruth was the head waitress at El Tovar Grand Canyon Hotel, with her physical limitations, she is now in charge of the dining room. Frank gets promoted to head chef when the previous chef leaves quickly. When financial discrepancies show up, they work to help the hotel manager, Mr. Owens find the answer.

This is a well-written, easy to read Christian historical fiction story that is filled with suspense. While the author writes in the reason for Charles Goodall’s actions, the story is filled with the steps he goes through to accomplish his goal.

I enjoyed the deep friendship between Frank and Ruth and appreciate the struggles Ruth has with her pain and not wanting to spend time with others. I appreciate how dedicated they both are to their jobs and how they work extra hours to catch the person responsible. I enjoyed the friendships of the girls and how they cared for each other.

I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this book, this is my honest review.

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I love this series set at the Grand Canyon, with the personal stories of compelling characters woven in with the exciting drama and danger. This intriguing third novel in the series can stand on its own, but the books are better read in order since the same characters people the pages and we view their growth as the saga progresses. This final novel elicits plenty of reaction and emotion as we read of all the troubles endured by the staff at the El Tovar Hotel. So much criminal activity and peril in a wonderful setting. It made me mad at the perpetrators—how can people treat others so awfully! The author does a great job crafting the suspenseful plot, which keeps throwing trials at the main characters. I also love the faith element, which fits seamlessly within the tale and dialogue. I hope no one ever has to face such difficulties, but it makes for great reading. I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. #NetGalley #AMarkOfGrace

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A story of finding and keeping faith even when it seems impossible. I love how the author took Ruth on a journey of self-discovery. Ruth struggled. She failed. And she got back up and kept going. These things shone through the story that was interspersed with a plot to bring down the Harvey empire and destroy all the things that Ruth loved. It's easy to say "trust God" when things are going our way. It's not so easy when everything goes wrong and we hardly know which way is up. Ruth deals with a lot through this book, and her self-pity delved deep into how she viewed herself now that she was no longer the perfectly pretty girl. But we are not one of us perfect, and seeing Ruth discover that God sees her no matter what, was a great moment that brought this story full circle. I received a copy of this book from the author through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Third in her series Secrets of the Canyon, Kimberley Woodhouse creates a masterpiece for A Mark of Grace. I would suggest reading all three books in sequence.

Taking place in 1907 at the El Tovar, a Harvey House hotel and restaurant at the brink of the Grand Canyon, this is head waitress Ruth Anniston’s story. A tragic accident has changed the trajectory of Ruth’s life and causes her to retreat from everyone close to her. At the same time, nefarious plans are afoot at the El Tovar. Will Ruth and her friends wait on God and His timing, or lean upon only themselves?

I cannot say how much I love this novel. Woodhouse hits home on several fronts. How often do we say we trust God… until the going gets rough?

How often do we look for our value in something tangible? We often say we find our value in Christ, but when something valuable is taken away, we often feel worthless and “less-than.”

I love that several of Ruth’s relationships are highlighted:her special friendship with Frank, her love for her parents, her friends like Emma Grace, Julia, Charlotte, and Tessa. These relational elements realistically presented against the backdrop of the beautiful canyon weave together with a strong faith component to create a truly memorable and inspirational novel. Being able to relate to one of the tragic issues in the novel, I loved how Woodhouse’s character finds the strength to deal well with it. That was such an encouragement to me.

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Lord, give me strength to handle whatever comes. The prayer grew frailer with each repeat.”

“When would she see how valuable and cherished she was?”

“She’d been pouring out her heart to the Lord for so long. Time was always the word that came to her. Time and wait.”

“Grace. Plus. Nothing.”

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This book starts off with a young twenty-year-old Ruth Anniston convincing her parents of her dreams. To one day wed and have children, but first to have a little adventure first. So, she sets off to the west and becomes a Harvey girl. Which she is quite successful with. Until one fateful day thirteen years later, she is attacked by a mountain lion scarring her both on the outside and inside. A few years later her scars have faded, though she wears makeup to cover them up on her face, she still has a very weak leg that she walks with a limp. Will she ever be normal again? And what about marriage and children? Who would ever want her now, and if they did it would only be out of pity. So, she keeps telling herself.

Frank Henderson now the head chef at the El Tovar, at the Grand Canyon, has cared and loved Ruth even before her accident. He has just been waiting for the right moment to tell her. But they always seemed interrupted. Either in the moment or in life. Now they both have been tasked with finding out why the El Tovar's accounts don't add up. Little do either of them know that there is one who is set on vengeance against the Harvey empire and will stop at nothing, including harming others, to see that vengeance fulfilled.

I found this story resonating with me as how often, like Ruth, do we want things to go back to normal when life's disruptions happen or when pandemics take place. Many times. But I think normal is only in our viewpoints. What may be normal to us may not have been normal to someone else. Both Ruth and Frank were fighting unknown outside forces, and inside known ones. Both were questioning who they were and where they belonged. Were they good enough, able to be loved? And that is where grace comes in, God's grace to see us through our trials.

I was provided 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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There are some books that have the ability to reach deep into your soul and allow you to feel everything a character is going through. This is one of those books. Ruth has been physically scarred but emotionally I think it reaches much deeper. Her accident was one where she sacrificed herself in order to save a friend. She carries those scars everyday and holds back from allowing God to heal her. I could feel every moment she shed tears as she realizes she may never look the same again. What she doesn’t see is the beauty that God sees. Those scars are not there to remind her of her accident but to help her see how God was there to protect her as she was being attacked. I wanted her to look at herself like Jesus does and know that she has been covered in grace.

The story goes into the story of Job and how much he suffered. He still worshipped God even though he lost so much. Ruth starts to understand that her faith has slipped away. What an amazing journey she takes as she rediscovers who has always loved her unconditionally. Do we carry scars emotionally that keep us from trusting God? I loved this sentence from the story which says, “Grace plus nothing.” We need to rely on only God ! We may never get every question answered that we want but we will always have Jesus by our side.

The story does take a look at the Harvey girls and how much they are respected. I am fascinated by how hard they worked and the pristine service they gave to each person. Ruth has moved up the ranks working as a Harvey girl, but she still holds a little bitterness because she now works behind the scenes since her accident. I adored Frank and how he is a constant in Ruth’s life. It is obvious to everyone but Ruth that he loves her. His compassion for her well being is special and he never gives up on showing her that her scars don’t define her. Frank is an important person in the story as he gently reminds Ruth that grace is what saved her. I loved how he was patient, kind and always reminded Ruth that her beauty is not just on the outside.

There is a bit of a mystery in the story as someone is trying to sabotage the hotel that Frank and Ruth work out. The Harvey Empire is on the line and greed and jealousy is trying to destroy the hard work that has been put into the Harvey name. How sad that someone will do whatever it takes to get revenge. I loved how the author kept readers on their toes as the mystery starts to unravel. Will they find out who is behind the plot to destroy the hotel?

This has been a wonderful book filled with lessons on grief, hope, grace and trusting God. I loved the ending and how the author reminds us, “Man looks on the outward appearance while God looks on the heart.”

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

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This story was made even more interesting to me because I recently got to visit the Grand Canyon for my very first time. It takes place in a relatively short time span from May 1909-August 1909 for the main body of the book. The El Tovar Hotel is located right close to the rim of the Grand Canyon and has a stellar reputation. The staff includes the famous Harvey Girls (waitresses), a top notch chef and other attentive personnel. All is well until there appears a discrepancy in the bookkeeping. Other strange things begin to happen that puts the reputation of the hotel in danger. Frank, the head chef, and Ruth, the kitchen and dining room supervisor, are secretly put in charge of finding out who or what is causing the problems. Will they be able to before the hotel is “put in ruins”?
Most of these characters felt like friends of mine right at the start. I grew to care about them, root for them, and have heart palpitations whenever I sensed danger nearby. Revenge can do very harmful and dangerous things when money is involved.
Overall it was a slow start for me with all the background information but when the story started picking up, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and I lost sleep wanting to find out the outcome of the book. An interesting story with well researched historical information.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit but was not required to write a review positive or otherwise.

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I really loved this story filled with grace, hope and inspiration. I loved the characters of Ruth and Frank. I love learning about the Harvey girls and about the hotel at the Grand Canyon. I did not want to put the book down. I enjoyed the romance and the intrigue. I received a copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

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A Mark of Grace has central themes of finding healing, faith, and worth. It’s the third in the series, but I didn’t feel lost or as if I was missing anything. Nice as a standalone. And what a fitting title!

Wow. I feel for Ruth. She is scarred on the outside and inside. I empathize with her and connect with her on many levels. She feels trapped, scared, but through these difficulties, she develops a deeper faith and relationship with God. Frank is a gem. He is encouraging and caring, and I love it when he explains how Jesus bears scars.

This touching story is infused with history, mystery, and romance, woven together with threads of faith and grace.

#CoverLoverBookReview received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions are 100% mine.

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Kimberley Woodhouse did a fabulous job with A Mark of Grace. She demonstrated that the outward appearances is not what matters. What matters is the heart. We all at some point have been guilty of looking at the outward appearance, which is okay, but that doesn’t matter with eternity. Our hearts are where we should put our focus.

The characters, Ruth and Frank, really drew me in. I liked how they worked together to solve the mystery. Also the mystery drew me in. I made guesses, which turned out to be right, but there was a big reveal that I was not expecting. It was such a good mystery.

Ruth had to rely a lot on God. She also kept questioning Him, which is where Job is mentioned. Kimberley Woodhouse intertwines Ruth and Job’s suffering into this book. It makes you stop and think.

This book was so good from the beginning, and it left you wanting to continue reading until the end.

I requested and received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

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I have enjoyed this series by Kimberley Woodhouse. I have loved traveling to the Grand Canyon through these stories and seeing what a Harvey Girl’s life was like. I liked how in this book we saw how Ruth struggled with loving herself after she was disfigured by the mountain lion. I loved how Frank helped her to see that she was loved, not only by friends and family, but by God. I also loved that their was a mystery that needed to be solved and how Ruth and Frank were able to figure it out as they worked together. I really loved how Ruth learned that was still worthy of God’s love no matter what she looked like. I could relate to these characters and thought this was a well told story.

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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This is Book 3 of the Canyon Series and is specifically about Ruth Anniston. She was injured by a mountain lion in an earlier book and now she is struggling with rehab and her diminished mobility. She is getting older and wants a family of her own but she and Frank Henderson, the head chef, are struggling to solve a mystery of sabotage to the El Tovar Hotel where they work. It is the premier hotel in the Harvey House chain and is located by the Grand Canyon. A jealous rival is trying to bring down Harvey House's reputation for his own gain and satisfaction. This has been a wonderful series and puts a story to the already stellar accounts about the Harvey House's history that we have seen in the past.

I have voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All views expressed are only my own honest opinion.

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