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Mary's Blessing by Lena Nelson Dooley
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Mary's Blessing
by Lena Nelson Dooley

In the second book of her McKenna's Daughters series, Mary's Blessing, Mrs Dooley introduces us to Mary Lenora. Mary is one of the two triplets adopted to separate families at birth; the third was raised by their birth father. Mary captured my heart from the first few pages. We join the story when Mary is 17 and is saddled with the responsibility of a home and her three siblings. Her mom and two older sisters died when Mary was 11. Mary's father is so grief stricken he scarcely speaks to her unless something is needed. When the three children become very ill and Mary is close to collapse the ladies from church intervene giving her relief and in doing so access the situation in the home.
Mrs. Dooley is a story teller who can weave romance, family relationships, scriptural truths and suspense all the while keeping you on the edge of your seat. Her development of Mary's character was splendid. As she looks into the very heart of a courageous, loyal and morally strong young woman we see one who is seeking love and validation. She give us a spectrum of male characters. In the father we see a man whose heart is ruled by life's events and we see the consequences. We see in a young man's heart the need for spiritual guidance and understanding. A mature Christian challenges a young man in his faith with the concept of servanthood.
I love how she uses everyday life, troubles and trials, sin, repentance, and changed lives to challenge the reader. None of her characters are perfect. Life is not portrayed as easy and without any challenges.
I loved Mary's Blessings. The pace, the style of writing all flowed so well it was a delight to read. ( )
  Books4Nana | Jul 13, 2014 |
Mary Lenora Murray grew up knowing she was adopted. In fact, her mother said she was 'A blessing from God'. But she hasn't felt like a blessing since her mother passed away. Her father has become bitter and distant. He's left her with the responsibility of caring for the home and her siblings. Then Daniel Winthrop, a childhood friend, begins to court Mary. She's thrilled at the possibility of a future with him and all that he could provide. Daniel treats her very well. But a disagreement between him and Mary sends Daniel running and Mary is left to handle things on her own. Will Daniel figure out what the Lord wants for him and Mary? Will Mary welcome him back or shut him out forever?

Mary's Blessing was a really enjoyable story. This author has an easy writing style that makes reading her stories a pleasure. Her descriptions made me feel like I was at the Murray farm and experiencing all the hardships along with them. One thing I really liked was all the interaction between Daniel and Mary. Daniel was a really great character but boy was I mad at him when he up and left Mary! Mary was a complex character, full of emotion and spunk. You could easily understand and relate to her feelings, emotions and reactions. Her father was someone I didn't really like very much but it certainly showed how prolonged bitterness can affect you and those around you. I also appreciated the example of how much of an impact a church family can have, in the life of another member, by helping them in their time of need. This is book 2 in the McKenna's Daughters Series and one I would recommend to those who enjoy a good historical romance. I'm looking forward to Catherine's Pursuit!
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 201
ISBN-10: 1616386177
ISBN-13: 978-1616386177

*This complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review* ( )
  love2readnovels | Sep 3, 2012 |
Mary Lenora Murray has spent her whole life it seems trying to figure out just who she is. She learned early on that she was adopted and currently living with her father, Kenneth Murray and her three siblings. Her mother passed away along with her three sisters leaving her in the role as caretaker and mother at only 13. Looking at her life, she wishes her father, would step up and take on the responsibility at helping her care for her brothers, George and Bobby along with her sister Frances. But all he seems to do is poor himself into taking care of their farm and then coming in exhausted at the end of the evening with nothing but an appetite left for her. Mary knows that this will be her burden until the children are grown up enough to take on more of the responsibility and before that happens, she'll be too old to finally have a life for herself.

Daniel Winthrop has been Mary's childhood friend and as they both have grown, Daniel realizes he has more than just friendly feelings for Mary. He sees how hard she works carrying for her family and knows she would make the perfect wife for him. By marrying her, he could give her the life of luxury so she wouldn't have to work so hard any longer, he could provide her with servants to take care of the house, and fill their lives with love and a family of their very own. Now if he can only convince Mary of their future together.

When Mary learns of Daniels interest in being more than just her friend, she wonders if it's possible to begin a life for herself or will she always have to care for her family's needs before her own?

In the latest novel from Lena Nelson Dooley, Mary's Blessing is the second book in the McKenna's Daughters series and picks up perfectly with a brief introduction from book 1, which I loved. At first, I thought I had read this book before, but LOVED how Lena captured the beginnings of Mary's birth so that the reader can truly pick this one up as a stand alone and love it just as much as the first book.

In this one, we get to see how Mary is growing up after being adopted along the Oregon Trail by her mother, Melody and father, Kenneth. Now that Mary has lost her mother, she feels burdened and worn out by all that she has to do while trying to care for the house, the children and try to find a life for herself in there as well. She dreams of a day when she can begin a life for herself, but may soon realize that God has bigger plans for her than what she could ever believe is possible. Now she struggles at trying to find a way to make a relationship with Daniel work when difficulties keep on piling up on her shoulders and she soon learns that Daniel may not be the man she thinks he is.

I received Mary's Blessing compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and LOVED this one. Being a huge fan of the first book, I couldn't wait to see what happened to the little baby that the Murray's adopted. The reader will even get a sneak peek at the next book in the series as Mary learns more about the real family she was a part of along the Oregon Trail. This is a beautiful book about learning how to be a servant of Christ and more importantly how to maintain a love for doing it without being resentful. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait to read Catherine's Pursuit coming in 2013. ( )
  ReviewsFromTheHeart | Jun 16, 2012 |
Mary Murray has had a very hard life, especially since her Mother and older Sisters died when she was eleven. Her father had depended on her to raise her younger sister and two younger brothers. A lot of responsibility for a child, while father then looses himself in his grief.
Daniel has know Mary all his life and becomes smitten with her, ah you will think now someone is going to rescue her. Not quite that easy. There is a lot more tragedy and heartbreak on the way. There will be some questions answered and others still to be revealed.
This is such an enjoyable and quick read, that you don't want it to end....can't wait until next year when hopefully all will be revealed. In the meantime, enjoy this book, it is well worth it.

I received this book from First Wildcard Tours and the Publisher Realms, and was not required to give a positive review. ( )
  alekee | May 31, 2012 |
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When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers and sisters. Can love help her to shoulder the burden?

Mary Lenora Caine knows she is adopted. As she was growing up, her mother called her “God’s blessing.” But now that she’s gone, Mary no longer feels like any kind of blessing. Her father, in his grief, has cut himself off from the family, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.

As she nears her eighteenth birthday, Mary can’t see anything in her future but drudgery. Then her childhood friend Daniel begins to court her, promising her a life of riches and ease. But her fairy-tale dreams turn to dust when her family becomes too much for Daniel, and he abandons her in her time of deepest need.

Will Daniel come to grips with God’s plan for him? And if he does return, can Mary trust that this time he will really follow through?
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When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers and sisters. Can love help her to shoulder the burden?

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