The Songbird and the Secret

Of Time and Eternity

Christian - Romance - Historical
387 Pages
Reviewed on 03/22/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Celena Marie Janton is the author of The Christian Fairytales series and has recently released The Songbird and the Secret, the first in an inspirational historical fiction series entitled Of Time and Eternity. Her debut book, Across the Ocean, placed as the #1 new release in Christian Fantasy Fiction throughout its first week on Amazon. Celena holds a degree in Education/Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and loves spending time with her friends and family. As much as she loves them, she loves her Jesus even more and hopes that each one of her books will draw the reader closer to Him.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Louanne Piccolo for Readers' Favorite

The Songbird and the Secret by Celena Marie Janton is a book about love, loyalty and second chances. Both historical and contemporary, this novel spans many generations with a central focus on two love stories – one in the past and the other in the present. While researching her family tree for a school project, Melissa Benjamin comes across her eleventh great-grandmother’s journal containing a tale of deceit. Melissa is captivated and comforted by the journal at a time when she has similar problems of her own in her personal life. She finds strength in the words of her ancestor, a staunch believer in God and the protection he offers his followers. But, is Melissa facing the simple ups and downs that life has to offer, or is she up against a force from the past that is both stronger and more dangerous than anything she could ever imagine?

A spell-binding story, The Songbird and the Secret is a fascinating read for people who enjoy Christian and historical fiction. This is the first book in a series which left me with a hankering to know what will happen next. The tone is nostalgic, taking readers on a journey back in time to a story that affects present events. Celena Marie Janton’s novel features strong romantic elements between characters and in the story itself, and is delightfully mysterious. The characters are relatable and courageous; Melissa has strong convictions and faces challenges with determination and faith in God. Quite the page-turner, and readers are drawn irresistibly into the story, leaving them dizzy from time travel and hungry for more.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Growing up on Bringewood Estate in Herefordshire, England, in the eighteenth century, Katharina led a somewhat charmed life. With two young lords of the manor vying for her affections, all she had to do, once she grew up, was choose. It didn’t matter which one, Daniel or Francis, inherited the estate. Katharina loves them both, but she chooses one over the other and that sets into motion a chain of events forged through jealousy and revenge. In the twenty-first century, American teenager Melissa Benjamin is researching her ancestry for a school project and digs a little too deep. It would appear that there remained missing heirs to Bringewood Estate, but who were they and who had the most rightful claim?

Celena Marie Janton’s historical novel, The Songbird and the Secret Of Time and Eternity, spans several centuries and several generations of family, holding fast a secret that could change lives, both in the past (the eighteenth century) and in the present day (the twenty-first century). The plot starts with a romance, a love triangle really, in England in the eighteenth century, the ideal perfect setting. Then it jumps to the future and a young girl, a descendant, doing her ancestry research. I loved it when Melissa finds her many times great-grandmother's diary and shares it with the reader. This makes the story personal and efficiently connects the two timelines. The characters and the setting in the multiple time frames are reasonably well developed and lead to a compelling and sometimes passionate plot. In spite of the multiple timelines, it is a good read with a well developed plot.

K.C. Finn

The Songbird and the Secret (Of Time and Eternity) is a sweeping work of romantic Christian fiction penned by author Celena Marie Janton. Combining events in the present with those of the 18th century, we find the young Melissa Benjamin working on a history project in the modern day. When she explores her ancestor Katharina Simeon’s past, she embarks on an incredible tale of a woman who makes a secret promise that changes her entire life. Through her reading, Melissa uncovers the secrets that connect her back to the life of 200 years past, in a way that helps her process her own emotions and reveals secrets of her own in contemporary times.

The plot of this novel is superbly well handled to produce a strong and revelatory narrative that is sure to keep readers enthralled and surprised from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed author Celena Marie Janton’s sense of place and period, making it clear with each transition which part of the world and which timescale we were facing. The distinctions in dialogue and culture are well researched and well presented, with a clever plot that never gives too much away until the right moment. I was thrilled to correctly predict some things and be surprised by others, and the novel really encourages you to bond with both lead women and follow them on their romantic adventures. Overall, I would highly recommend The Songbird and the Secret as a smooth and well written romance suitable for all types of readers.

Rabia Tanveer

When I think about describing The Songbird and the Secret: Of Time and Eternity by Celena Marie Janton, the word 'riveting' comes to mind. From the moment the story began, I was hooked and I wanted to read more and more. I wanted to know more about Katharina and Melissa; I wanted to know what happened in the past and how it would affect the present and the future. What captivated me was the way the story was written and how it was conveyed to the reader. It spoke to me, sparked my attention and made me hunger for more.

This is the story of a girl named Melissa who starts her senior genealogy project without realizing that it has the potential to turn her world upside down. She finds the journal of her 11th great-grandmother and what she discovers from inside those pages sets her on the path to unravel the secrets of centuries ago. With the help of Tom Berington, she is all set to find out the truth, even if it is centuries later. Can Melissa find out what her family has kept secret for generations?

What I loved the most about the writing style is that the author made sure she differentiated between the timelines appropriately. You can tell by the writing style if you are reading about Katharina or Melissa. I enjoyed how these two women contrasted yet were so similar. It seemed as if they told their own stories and drew the reader in. It felt as if they were speaking to me directly and telling me what happened in their lives. This book was a pleasure to read it! Absolutely brilliant.

Michelle Stanley

The Songbird and the Secret: Time and Eternity, Book 1 is a Christian historical romance by Celena M. Janton. In 1756 England, Katharina Simeon made a secret promise to her friend, Daniel Berington. However, that promise wasn’t fulfilled due to the selfish motives of another friend. It changes Katharina’s serene life but faith keeps her strong. Two hundred years later, her eleventh great- granddaughter, Melissa Benjamin, finds her journal during a history project that also changes the course of her life. Katharina’s poignant memoir inspires Melissa to locate her parents with the help of Thomas, a classmate. Her grandmother is reluctant to talk about them, and the only other person who can provide information is Anna, her teacher. But what she discovers only adds to her confusion, plus Thomas, who has secrets of his own soon, behaves suspiciously.

“The course of true love never did run smooth.” – Shakespeare. I agree after reading this beautiful, captivating story that transports you into 18th century England, pre-revolutionary America, and back to the present time at specific intervals. It’s not confusing to flip into the past events and return to another era based on the author’s writing expertise. It’s a very well developed, inspiring story with some fascinating characters and twists. If you like mysteries, then you’ll enjoy this. I didn’t want to take a break from reading it and felt anger and other emotions while turning the pages. Its Christian theme promotes forgiveness despite the person’s wrongful acts. Katharina was a remarkable woman who dealt with many harsh obstacles but still held the faith and forgave. A lot of things and events that occurred were unique and strengthened the suspense because the author always left me thinking, “What happens next?” The conclusion to the story continues in Book 2 and its excerpt seems just as alluring as this book by Celena M. Janton.