Historical Fiction, Review

The Message in a Bottle romance collection

please read disclosures & policies

purchases via affiliate links offset the cost of this website. thank you!

Five historical romances inspired by a message passed down through time.

The Message in a Bottle Romance CollectionJoin the journey as one word etched in Latin on an ancient bronze bottle travels through the centuries to reach five young women who are struggling to maintain their faith in God and love. An Irish princess, a Scottish story weaver, a Post-Colonial nurse, a cotton mill worker, and a maid who nearly drowned each receive a message from the bottle just when they need their hope restored. But will the bottle also bring them each to a man whose love will endure?

The Distant Tide by Heather Day Gilbert
1170: County Kerry, Ireland
When a Viking bent on revenge mistakenly raids the castle of a bookish Irish princess, will she cast her fears aside to befriend the enemy, finally realizing God’s plan for her life?

A Song in the Night by Amanda Dykes
1717: Scotland and England
When a Scottish story-weaver loses her family in a clan war, she finds herself aided by a handsome, secretive bagpiper in a race against time to reunite with someone she never dared hope she’d see again.

The Forgotten Hope by Maureen Lang
1798: New York
As a champion of the sick, a young New Yorker never doubted her worth until a new doctor arrives to work with her father, one who believes her to be nothing more than a social butterfly. Can she gain his respect—and his love?

A River Between Us by Jocelyn Green
1864: Roswell, Georgia
When a Georgian cotton mill worker is arrested and sent North, the Union officer who tries to protect her is the last person she wants to forgive—and the only man who can bring hope and healing to her heart.

The Swelling Sea by Joanne Bischof
1890: Coronado Island, California
After washing ashore on the California coastline, a young woman’s yearning to discover her past leads her to the courageous oarsman who helps her find the key.

goodreads | amazon


My Thoughts

Y’all, I am digging deep into my reader heart to #swoof (squeeze words out of feelings) and create a review worthy of the experience held between the covers of this book. Multi-author collections can be difficult to rate and review since different authors often appeal to different readers BUT this collection is top-notch fabulous across the board. Here is a brief review of each story which is, as always, spoiler free:

The Distant Tide

This story has great culture clash and faith aspects. When it comes to stories, I am an Irish fan and Vikings are definitely a weakness of mine (especially since I had the pleasure of reading God’s Daughter and Forest Child). This medieval tale is full of action and heart!

A Song in the Night

I have to admit I’m rather fond of stories with a strapping Scotsman or a bonny lass. As you might assume from the title and presence of a bagpiper, music is intricately woven throughout this young woman’s story. Vivid characters experience the tragedy and turmoil of clan wars.

The Forgotten Hope

The young New Yorker in this story is intelligent, hard working, and tenacious! She is a devoted daughter, skilled caregiver, and all around admirable woman. As readers peek into the medical practices of the time period, this story honors the timeless compassion and sacrifice of medical professionals.

A River Between Us

This story is an intriguing glimpse into the living conditions and reduced circumstances of mill workers and soldiers during the Civil War. Our young heroine is thrust into one precarious situation after another but she continually puts the needs of others above her own. I admire her spunk and determination!

The Swelling Sea

An atmosphere of searching, seeking, and striving saturates this coastal California tale. I adore the vivid descriptions of the many moods of the sea. The young woman has an endearing innocence and determination that draws readers in. Her experiences and unique perspective have a profound influence on those around her.

The prologue and epilogue are powerful mini-stories in their own right yet the journey of the bottle weaves them and the five stories together into one inspiring adventure. This book consistently summoned blissful sighs, book hugs, and happy tears which eventually evolved into a blubbering book hangover at the end. I will be telling everyone about this book and the timeless message etched on that bottle! Bravo, ladies! BRAVO!

I requested the opportunity to read and review this title through the authors and NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.


About the Authors

Joanne Bischof

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference.

Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. To Get to You, her 2015 release, was the second. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from Romantic Times Book Reviews among other critical acclaim.

She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children.

website | facebook | twitter


Amanda Dykes

Amanda DykesAmanda Dykes is the author of Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale, the critically-acclaimed bicycle story that invited readers together to fund bicycles for missionaries in Asia. A former English teacher, she has a soft spot for classic literature and happy endings.

She is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of hope-filled tales, grateful for the grace of a God who loves extravagantly.

website | facebook | twitter


Heather Day Gilbert

Heather Day GilbertHeather Day Gilbert, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood.

Heather writes Viking historicals and Appalachian mystery/suspense. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

website | facebook | twitter


Jocelyn Green

Jocelyn GreenJocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman.

She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She is an active member of the Christian Authors Network, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Military Writers Society of America. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio.

Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two small children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

website | facebook | twitter


Maureen Lang

Maureen LangMaureen Lang writes stories that celebrate a mix of God’s love, history and romance. She’s happily married, a mother of three, and is the caregiver to her adult son with Fragile X Syndrome.

Her favorite foods include nearly anything with sugar but particularly cookies so long as they don’t have coconut. As she’s getting older she’s trying to adopt a more easy going philosophy of life: “However it turns out, that’s how we like it.” Ever since finding her work niche, Maureen counts Monday as her favorite day since it’s the start of another week of writing.

website | facebookpinterest



Even though the giveaway has ended, check out all the fantastic behind the scenes fun on The Message in a Bottle blog hop

7 thoughts on “The Message in a Bottle romance collection”

  1. I’ve been reading and enjoying this, too, Beth! I don’t want it to end, and I’m going to have a hard time *swoofing* also. Your review is lovely, and I agree that this is one to recommend highly! I’m in love with the cover and the deckled edges of the pages. The stories are wonderful, and the authors did such a great job interweaving the stories and tying them together!


  2. It’s that time of year! =D The stories sound great. The summaries for The Distant Tide and A Song in the Night instantly captured my attention – Most anything Ireland does that, you see. I’ll put ’em on my TBR list. 😉

    I also thought it was cool that you posted about this story collection because I just watched/reviewed a Hayley Mills movie where the plot revolved around – get this – a message in a bottle! Gotta love the timing.

    Happy Wednesday!
    Meg =)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s