Well, I have something rather special to share with you today—and something rather unusual for me! It’s a blog tour, but the first one (I think) that I’ve participated in for an author outside the United States. I’m particularly excited about this, though, because the book, Jayne’s Endeavour (don’t you love the British spelling?!) is set in 18th century Australia, and it has a very strong Christian theme to it. How often do you come across a book like that?
I’ve lived in New Zealand for ten years now, and even in that time, have come across very few set in this part of the world, even in historical fiction, and even less that are Christian stories. So I’m excited about this story, and am glad I can share it with you.
But a little disclaimer before we start . . . I haven’t actually read this book yet! Reading has not been a priority of mine these past few weeks, so that hasn’t happened. I’ll try to share a little of what I’ve been up to lately sometime soon, but for now, I’d love to introduce this story to you, because I’m sure it will be great (the first chapter is interesting, anyway!):
I was given a free ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest review, although I haven’t actually read the book yet! (Review coming soon, hopefully.) Also, links in this post may be affiliate links, which earn me a small commission at no additional expense to you. Thanks!
About the Book
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction
Page Count: 276
Age Range: 12-18
Series: Book 1 of The JOY Series
Mysterious strangers, a Scripture verse, and a threat.
“Reids never give up.” The words once held so much truth. But at eighteen, Jayne Reid is beginning to wonder if she can live up to that standard.
When puzzling strangers appear and odd things start to happen, Jayne and her two younger sisters must find a solution—or lose everything.
What mystery lurks in the shadows of the Australian bush? Who is the man in town who thinks he can buy and bully anyone he wishes? And is it all somehow connected to their new farmhand?
Journey with Jayne as she struggles to change fear into boldness and boldness into a trusting relationship with her Heavenly Father. What adventure lies ahead?
What a delightful story! Jayne’s Endeavour wasn’t the book I was expecting to read in the end—much better in some ways, I think, and perhaps not quite as good in other ways, but overall, I really enjoyed this read!
The history, of course, would be one of my biggest reasons for reading this story. There’s little enough Australian literature out there, and an Aussie story from a Christian perspective? Well nigh impossible to find! At least, I haven’t really seen any—and none written by an Australian themselves, if I remember right. The historical setting for this book was well done, I thought. It could have done with a bit more description, but the story was fine as it is. I didn’t get the same “immersed” feeling I’ve gotten reading other historical fiction books, but I suspect the author, in this case, was trying to stick as closely to known history as possible, and I applaud her for that.
I loved watching the sibling relationships in this story. It seemed very realistic, even though the characters weren’t quite as well-rounded as I hope to see in stories. Some parts of the way they acted felt a little forced or manipulated (especially the grieving process), but I feel like I can’t say much, because I don’t know how I would write it differently! But yes—this book is all about siblings, in a way, as there are three sisters and a brother and sister featured in here. I loved both their loyalty and determination to support each other no matter what—and no matter what it would take to help out everyone.
There are many pieces of Jayne’s Endeavor that I really enjoyed. Not everything was wrapped up in this first story, either—there’s a bit of mystery that will hopefully be solved in the next book (please, please?). In all, this was a fairly quick, fun read. As a debut novel, I think it shows good promise for more good stories to come. There were a few stylistic things that I wish were stronger (the setting and description weren’t as deep as I would have liked, and the characters didn’t feel as vivacious as they should have been), but I’m looking forward to seeing where this author goes in the future. If you’re looking for clean Christian historical fiction without romance, this is a great book to read. Recommended for middle-grade readers on up.
I requested a free review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
And now, from author Lauren Compton . . .
Australia was settled by a diverse range of social classes—convicts, assisted immigrants, and free settlers. As well as a diverse range of cultures—English, Irish, Scottish, Chinese, and the list goes on! So a lot of what makes up our culture has its roots in other countries. 😀
All the immigrants came holding dear their own traditions, dress, language, and even recipes. And so it is in Jayne’s Endeavour! Though it’s an Australian novel, Jayne’s family immigrated from Ireland when she was just seven years old.
During the writing of this novel, I had fun experimenting with some Irish fare! This was definitely a fun (and tasty) part of my research! 😀 And the recipe I’m about to share was particularly scrumptious! In fact, I’m going to have to make it again sometime soon!
Yvonne undid Jayne’s braid, and began to run the brush through her sister’s matted hair. Jayne felt her muscles relax. Despite her best efforts, her eyes started to shut. Her head slumped forward, and the brush caught in her hair tugging it at the roots. Her senses reawakened, Jayne sniffed deeply. “Something smells good.” She motioned to the pot hanging near the edge of the fire. “Is it Colcannon?”–Chapter 3, Jayne’s Endeavour
Colcannon (Cabbage and Potatoes) is an Irish dish that is simplistic, yet homely. It’s a fine example of making do with what you have in a tasty and filling way!
1 kg (2 lb) potatoes
boiling salted water
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup warm milk
500g (1 lb) cabbage, finely shredded
1 tablespoon butter
6 shallots or spring onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley (optional)
Method: Peel and chop potatoes. Cook in boiling salted water until tender. Drain, return to pot, and shake over heat to dry. Mash potatoes with a potato masher. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and stir in half of the warm milk. If necessary, add more milk until you have reached a good consistency (not too stiff or dry and not too runny!).
Place chopped cabbage in a separate saucepan and cover with boiling water. Cook until tender. Drain thoroughly in a colander. Melt butter in the saucepan, add cabbage, and mix well over heat.
Stir the cabbage into the potato mixture, add shallots (or spring onions), salt, and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a sprinkle of parsley, if desired.
Recipe Notes: This makes a good side-dish, as well as a hearty and filling meal in its own right!
Do you like trying new recipes from different countries!? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to know some of your favorite dishes! 😀 (From Esther: I’ve always loved trying out different cuisine! We have a favorite family dish that originated as a Hungarian recipe!)
About the Author
Lauren Compton lives in Australia on a sheep farm—surrounded by mountains and plenty of Aussie wildlife! From a young age she has loved books and writing-related things (yep, that includes spending ages in the writing supplies department!). Now she has embarked on a mission to write books that both entertain AND encourage. Her desire is to weave stories that point readers to her Heavenly Father while at the same time being a whole lot of fun!
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