7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Xanthakos Family Trilogy by Susan F. Craft, Reviewed by Tina Rice

Xanthakos Family Trilogy by Susan F. Craft

 The Chamomile book 1 Xanthakos Family Trilogy by Susan F. Craft

What does a sister do when her brother, Andrew, is captured by the British and placed aboard a notorious prison ship? There is only one answer for Lilyan Cameron, join the Patriot spies and rescue him. Having a plan is one thing, carrying out that plan is another thing all together. Nicholas Xanthakos leads the rescue mission and ultimately captures Lilyan's heart. But Lilyan's struggles and challenges don't stop there. She faces dangers that she never dreamed of and fought for her family in ways she never imagined. I loved her strong character, faith and devotion to her family and friends...even to the point of placing her own life in danger. Nicholas is another character that captured my heart. I loved his strength, moral character, faith and dedication to his beliefs...even if it leads to danger and possibly death. Angus McCallum, a hot tempered Scot and self-appointed guardian to Lilyan and Andrew after their father died, soon became a favorite too. He had a tender heart but didn't want anyone to know it.

The Chamomile is a story that I will long remember. It is filled with historical details of the British-occupied 1870's Charlestown, South Carolina in such a way that I could envision the area as if I was there among them. I got caught up in the lives of the characters, the dangers and challenges they faced which kept me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath and tears at times. There is joy, laughter and love woven through their war-torn lives that gives us a taste of all they faced. A fantastic, gripping story that is well worth staying up late into the night to see what comes next. This is now one of my favorite books.

Susan F. Craft’s novel The Chamomile won the SIBA Okra Pick and is a Christy Award nominee.

Laurel book 2 Xanthakos Family Trilogy by Susan F. Craft

Lilyan and Nicholas (Nikki) Xanthakos are desperately searching for their kidnapped—soon to be one year old—daughter, Laurel. Their search takes them hundreds of miles from their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains, NC of 1783 to Baltimore, MD. They are not alone in their search, good friends search with them and at locations along the way. They do not rely solely on their own strength, their strong faith and trust in God empowers them on their quest. Each clue brings hope and then disappointments, even tragedy. While at Lilyan's old home in Charleston, she is arrested and thrown into prison for the murder of a British officer during the Revolutionary War. Now facing trial and possible hanging, Lilyan digs deeper into her faith for strength...and yes, hope.

This story captured my interest from the first page to the last. I found myself holding my breath at certain times in the story. I really liked the unique blessing/prayer Lilyan and Nikki said together before they began their search for their daughter. Even in prison, God used Lilyan as she witnessed to some of the women there. Their journey was an arduous one, full of unknown dangers, unexpected situations, tragedies, pain, heartbreak, joy, humor, a terrible storm at sea and shipwreck, forgiveness, love and strong faith. There are many of the characters that I enjoyed reading about and hope to see more about them in another book. The life-style of the 1780's was a hard one, calling for hard-working, strong, brave and God fearing people to settle the land, which is clearly shown in this story. Unexpected twists and turns in the story line that kept me guessing to the end. One line really spoke to me, “...one can survive the terrible, unspeakable pain—God will sustain us if we let Him...”  Even though I have not read the first book, Chamomile—yet, I could follow along with the characters. I do plan to read Chamomile soon.

Cassia book 3 Xanthakos Family Trilogy by Susan F. Craft

Cassia is the third book following Lilyan and Nikki Xanthakos' family. April 1799, Lilyan and Nikki have taken their family—sons, Paul and Marion and daughter, Laurel—on a voyage from their South Carolina home. Lilyan hopes this voyage is uneventful, however her hopes were dashed when they were marooned on a deserted island along North Carolina's Outer Banks. Lilyan, Paul and Laurel are captured by pirates and taken to a secret island hideout of the evil Captain Galeo (the Shark). How can she save her children? Will Nikki and Marion find them before it's too late?

This is a story full of adventure, suspenseful—tense situations, and evil pirates that keep you on the edge of your seat. I like the way Lilyan and Nikki's strong family love and devotion, along with their strong enduring faith impacts their family and those around them. One thing I love, that has been included in each book, is the unique blessing Lilyan and Nikki have. Lilyan's determination to survive is felt as she prays for guidance and forms plans to escape. There are some humorous parts of the story that had me chuckling—like when Marion said, “I am book-ended by weeping, happy women”. The budding romance is sweet to watch even in the mist of fear and possible death. Susan Craft weaves history throughout the story in great detail making this a fantastic story.

Susan F. Craft’s novel Cassia is a Christy Award nominee.

Reviewer Tina Rice is a lovely new addition to the Colonial Quills blog! She lives in historic Maryland and is an avid reader of Christian fiction. Tina is Beta reader for many Christian fiction authors and is active in social media. You can find her reviews here, monthly, on Colonial Quills blog.


  1. Great reviews. I'll have to make some time to do some reading. :)

    1. Thank you Angela. Hope you find the time to read these amazing books.
      Blessings, Tina

  2. Great reviews, Tina. I have read Laurel, but not the others. I do believe I must find a way to get my hands on them :)

    1. Thank you Betti. Hope you do too, they are fantastic books.
      Blessings, Tina

  3. Thanks for sharing with us, Tina! Great reviews!

    1. Thank you sweet Carrie. Thank you for posting them.
      blessings, Tina


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