Category Archives: Romance

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen

Series: Tales from Ivy Hill, Book 2

Publication Date: December 2017

Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

ARC Copy from Netgalley.com and Bethany House

The fall of 1820 finds Rachel Ashford, the impoverished daughter from Thornvale Manor in Ivy Hill, teaching etiquette at her friend, Mercy Groves’ school for girls at Ivy Cottage. Dependent upon Mercy and her aunt Matilda for a home, Rachel tries to make herself useful. However, she soon finds out that teaching is not her calling.   The Ladies Tea and Knitting Society, a group of enterprising business women from the village, brainstorm the idea of a circulating library for the village utilizing Rachel’s inheritance of her father’s library. Thus begins Rachel’s career as a librarian.

The story encompasses so many of the village characters, each with their own unique personality and history. We meet Jane Bell, Rachel’s and Mercy’s good friend; James Drake, the gentlemen who is building a new inn in the area; Sir Timothy Brockwell, an upstanding young man who resides in the area and past beau of Rachel. Everyone has a story and some of the stories have a bit of intrigue and mystery tucked into them.

This second book picks up life in the village with all its quirkiness and charm just where it left off in the first story. I really enjoy the townspeople of Ivy Hill and the ladies of Ivy Cottage are unique and special in their own way. Some interesting themes such as the high price of being honest, the cost of accepting charity and grace, and the surrender of one’s dreams run through the novel giving it depth in addition to its entertainment value.

A charming Regency read that still leaves plenty of events to occur and characters to be developed with time! Looking forward to book three!

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Historical Fiction, Regency, Romance

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

Publication Date: August 2017

Publisher: Zondervan

ARC Copy from The Fiction Guild and Zondervan

 

“No matter where you’re going, God is already there. He’s already on the train. He’s already waiting for us at the first stop in Cincinnati. There is nowhere we can go—by carriage, wagon, ship, or train—where he is not already there, holding us in the palm of his hand.”

                                                                        –Words of wisdom from Ella’s mom

Tamera Alexander once again transports us back in time to Nashville during the year 1871. A wonderful blend of true historical facts mingled with a fiction storyline runs through this outstanding novel highlighting Alexandra Jamison’s heartfelt battle for independence to follow her heart’s calling as an educator.

Alexandra must first break free of a domineering father and the expectations of society in order to fulfill her dream. Getting hired by the Fisk University, a freedmen’s university, is only the start of a life changing course of events for Alexandra. Her choice to teach at the university leaves her without a home, money, or family. However, during the course of events, Alexandra meets Sylas Rutledge, a mine owner from Colorado trying to bid on a railroad near the Belle Meade Plantation. The story follows Alexandra and Sy as they each pursue their dreams and struggle to find out if they can surmount a past that stands between them and build a future in spite of their differences.

The historical detail encompasses railroads, Fisk University and its Jubilee Singers, and touches once again on Belle Meade Plantation, in addition to the struggles for the general recovery of the South following the Civil War. The characters feel like real people that will touch your heart with their stories, struggles, and efforts.  The themes running through the novel are many; forgiveness, acceptance, family, prejudice, and realization of fulfilling dreams in different ways.

A great read! I highly recommend this novel for anyone with an interest in historical inspirational fiction. An engrossing story that will hold your attention!

This ARC copy was received from Zondervan and The Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction, Romance

Jane of Austin by Hilary Manton Lodge

Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Bethany House Publishers

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Waterbrook Multnomah

 

 

“It’s good to have dreams. But sometimes dreams change, or take different forms, or you go down a path and realize that while it’s not the beach, you really like the forest.”

-Jane

 A delightful read for the summer! This unique variation of Sense and Sensibility set in modern day Austin, Texas is a fun, light read. The lives of three sisters, Celia, Jane, and Margo, takes another intriguing turn when necessity forces a change of residence from their native San Francisco to Austin. The city of Austin, lights years different in terms of culture and lifestyle, offers the girls an opportunity for a new start.

Join this intriguing trio of sisters as they set out for Austin and try to move their tea business, plants and all, along with them. The older two, Celia and Jane, each have their own love issues with which to contend, in addition to raising their teenage sister. The girls have character, charisma, and charm.

The book is a poignant story full of family, romance, and the meaning of sisters. If you’ve read Sense and Sensibility, you’ll see the similarities. As a bonus, some wonderful recipes for the amazing baked goods discussed in the story are sprinkled throughout the book. Don’t miss this fun summer read!

This copy was received from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Clean, Contemporary, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

Hauck, Rachel The Writing Desk
Publication Date: July 10, 2017
Publisher: Zondervan Publications

 

 

 

“Her old typewriter perched on its well-worn grooves, waiting for her to type again. But her story had been told.”

And what a story Birdie Shehorn had lived and told! The book weaves the stories of Birdie Shehorn and Tenley Roth together in an intriguing read that covers two distinctly different periods in history. Tenley, a young promising author, lives in present day New York engaged to a pretentious young man from a well to do family, the Van Cliffs. Birdie Shehorn, a struggling young want-to-be author, lives in New York in the year 1902 and becomes engaged to Alfonse Van Cliff, a flirtatious charming young man. The similarities begin.

Both young women find their lives changed as a result of their writing and the men to whom they are engaged. They each take their destiny into their own hands after many difficult trials and choices. Their path toward finding themselves and fulfilling their writing careers is a complex one.

What starts out as a simple story quickly unfolds and becomes so much more! I really enjoyed this book and particularly loved the historical portion of the story. Readers of contemporary and historical fiction will enjoy this book. Read the story and find out how these young women turn their lives around and find happiness each in her own way.

This ARC copy was received from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Contemporary, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Romance

So Pure a Heart by Amber Lynn Perry

Series: Daughters of His Kingdom Series, Book 4

Publication Date:  July 2016

Publisher: Liberty Publishing

ARC copy from author

 

And you will surely be protected, my dear. For God cannot but shelter one with so pure a heart.

  -Willis Plains, Patriot

In this fourth novel in the series, Amber Lynn Perry continues her captivating tales set during the Revolutionary War. The war is under way in Plymouth, Massachusetts and weapons are in short supply for both sides thus making Ensign Young’s foundry a desirable place for the Patriots and Loyalists. Hannah Young, Ensign’s niece, is a lovely young woman who lives with her Uncle and late aunt as a result of a difficult home life.

The book follows the story of Hannah and Joseph Wythe, a young blacksmith, as they meet again for the first time in many years. Thrown together in a complex situation, Hannah and Joseph engage in a serious and deadly game of spying for the Patriots. Intrigue, politics, war, family relationships, and the cost of honesty are explored in this tale.

Many of my favorite characters have appeared again in this fourth novel, Nathaniel and Kitty from book two, as well as Anna and Henry from the last book. Their wonderful Patriot spirits shine through once again.

The historical detail in Ms. Perry’s novels always draws me deep into the time period. The accounts of Patriot spying are true to life and based on historical facts, even though the actual story is fiction. Faith, love, and a dedication to freedom are the pillars of the story set once again during a complex time in history.

A wonderful read for lovers of historical fiction, inspirational fiction, and romance! And if you are like me and are looking forward to the next one, So Bright a Hope, Book Five, appears to be in the works already.

I received this book free from Liberty Publishing and the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The above thoughts and opinions I have expressed are wholly my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Colonial Fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction, Romance

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

Hedlund, Jody With You Always

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

Series: Orphan Train, Book 1

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Publisher: Bethany House

 

In order to determine which of my sons is worthiest to inherit sole control over all my investments and companies, I am issuing a six-month challenge. The two conditions are as follows. First, each son must build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad. And second, each son must get married to a woman he loves.                                                                                              -From the will of Mr. Quincy

The stipulations in the will of Thornton and Bradford Quincy’s father set a chain of events into motion that will impact many lives other than their own. Elise Neumann, an extremely poor young immigrant woman, struggles to provide for herself and four younger children for whom she is responsible. Her path crosses with that of Thornton and Bradford Quincy when they begin hiring people for employment to move to the towns they are struggling to build in the wilds of Illinois territory in 1857.

Elise Neumann is forced like many others to take a job in the Midwest as there is no longer any work available in New York City at this time. She embarks on a train journey leaving her siblings behind until she can earn enough money to send for them. Women were at a distinct disadvantage at this time in history. Pay was not equal; accommodations were not equal; and life was significantly more complex if you were a female.

Elise Neumann finds her life entangled with Thornton Quincy in spite of their very different social classes. Faith, love, and spirits filled with integrity and honesty eventually bring Elise and Thornton to a place where they can pursue their dreams together.

This book is an excellent start to a new series. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and feel that is one of Jody Hedlund’s best books. The characters are engaging and dynamic. The plot pulls the reader right in from the very beginning and carries through to the end. Ms. Hedlund draws on real historical detail to provide depth to the story. Readers of historical inspirational fiction will love this appealing novel! Excitedly awaiting book two!

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 

 

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The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

Cambron, Kristy The Illusionist's Apprentice

Publication Date: 2017

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Copy from The Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers

 

“Everything about it causes me to doubt, but that’s just instinct. If you’re asking me personally, then I’d say it’s because my faith must always be stronger than what my eyes can see. However, if you’re asking Wren the illusionist, then I’d say that you once told me a showman must always make the crowd believe the story she tells.”

                                                                        -Wren Lockhart

 Kristy Cambron weaves yet another absorbing tale grounded in history and based on real people. The story of Wren Lockhart, a famed illusionist trained by Harry Houdini, begins in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the year 1926. Much to my dismay when I began reading, Houdini had been dead for two years. The story focuses entirely on Wren and a young FBI agent, Elliot Matthews.

As Elliot works to solve a mysterious death that occurs as part of a public performance by a well known medium, he draws Wren into the investigation. The case pulls the two together as Wren struggles to maintain her very private life and a few well kept secrets of her own. The more time they spend together, the more their interests intersect.

The story is filled with mystery, suspense, intrigue, faith, and romance. The story is based on a real apprentice who worked for Harry Houdini prior to his death, even though the story itself is fiction. A great job of weaving the threads of history with fiction! Readers who love historical fiction will definitely find this an excellent read.

This copy was received from The Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 

 

 

 

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