Saturday, May 2, 2020

Two AZURE SPRINGS novels from Rachel Fordham, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

The Hope of Azure Springs is the debut novel by Rachel Fordham.
(Revell Publishing, July 2018)
It is the account of a hopeless waif, Em Cooper, who is found injured and taken to Azure Springs to recover. There her story of hardship unfolds. She rooms with a loving, god fearing family who has lost two boys from sickness. She makes friends with the Sheriff, Caleb Reynolds, who does his best to find out who shot her guardian and left her for dead. While working at a boardinghouse, she is befriended and mentored by the landlady. Em, in turn, voices hope to the people who took her in. Can she recover enough to find her long lost sister, who she last saw on an orphan train seven years ago? Em doesn’t give up hope but finds it in Azure Springs.

While visiting his parents, Caleb’s father gives him some advice: “Beauty is something we get to define. We may not see it right away, but when we do, we have trouble even remembering the other definition. We wonder how we were ever so misled. All we can see is the one person who defines it for us.”, essentially telling him that a person is beautiful by what he does, what’s in his heart and not outward appearance.

The journey to self discovery is long for not only Em but several others as well. They learn to rely on God for the outcome and then they can really live. The story is told in a simple, relatable style that has interesting twists and turns but teaches a lesson of hope and purpose.

Em may be weak in body at the beginning but she is strong in character and relates well to all ages. I like the fairytales that Em tells to Milly and Mae, seven year old twins and how Caleb uses the stories to woo Em.  4 stars
*I won this book. All opinions are my own.*

BackCover Blurb:Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won't be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He's determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn't expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.

Debut author Rachel Fordham invites historical romance readers to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where the people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love. 

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy The Hope of Azure Springs at Amazon
Buy The Hope of Azure Springs at

Yours Truly, Thomas 
(Revell Publishing, July 2019)
Welcome back to Azure Springs, the setting for the first book by Ms. Fordham. In this second book we revisit familiar characters. After starting out in Washington DC at the dead letter office, the story moves Penny to Azure Springs, Iowa.

This is a unique story that tugs at the heartstrings. And the author showed the characters emotions and backstory in a unique way- through letters. The cancellation mark at the beginning of each chapter was a nice touch.

We get reacquainted with landlady, Margaret and the precocious twins, Milly and Mae. What drew me in was the way the dead letter office operated and that clerks could track down intended recipients of mislaid postage.

The hero, Thomas, was flawed but tried to grow in his faith and heal. He writes letters to a girl and they end up in the dead letter office. Penny is so touched by his letters that she takes action. In her journey, the author shows a strong woman who is in some ways insecure. Landlady Margaret may be meddlesome at times but gives encouragement : “When I hear the sound of the violin, I think of my late husband, Wyatt. I think God knows we need reminders from time to time. He wraps up a little blessing in a sound or smell. A testament of His love. That smell, that memory is a gift just for you.”

Penny and Thomas have secrets and fear that if revealed, they will jeopardize their relationship. But they take the leap to honesty. Things are not all serious. Put an unruly, longhaired dog near a creek and you get a muddy mess- more than once! What a way to meet a beau.

The author gives us lots to ponder within an enjoyable story. Makes you want to start writing letters again! 5 Stars,*Strong Faith Message
*I won this book in the Summer Book Bash, July 4, 2019. All opinions are my own.*

BackCover Blurb:
For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people's mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more--a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.

Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn't expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.

When Penny's undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring--perhaps too much--for the one who wrote it.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy Yours Truly, Thomas at Amazon
Buy Yours Truly, Thomas at


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3.  I liked Hope of Azure Springs and loved Yours Truly, Thomas. Ms. Fordham is an excellent writer who made me really care about her characters. At a certain scene in the first book, I was absolutely sobbing. I have never cried so hard over a book. It took me a while to get over it. That is how much I came to care for Em and the other characters. And oh, Yours Truly, Thomas. It's not often I enjoy a second book more than the first. I love books with letters in them, especially when they are an important part of the story.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Monica! Your comment is a super seller for this book! Compelling characters who touch you so deeply are the most important reason to read!

  4. This is certainly a beloved series from Rachel! And there's a new historical coming in August of 2020! Thanks so much for reminding us of this series, Paula!


Share This Post

How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.