Saving Miss Everly – Review

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by Sally Britton

Series: Inglewood (Book 3)
Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: Blue Water Books (October 30, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1947005197
ISBN-13: 978-1947005198

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Pretending she’s her twin gets complicated when Hope is shipwrecked with a handsome castaway. When rescue comes, will she risk her heart to confess the truth or will they part forever?

Pretending to be her sister, Hope Everly finds an adventure at last. The Caribbean’s warm waters and tropical islands fulfill nearly all her dreams. When an excursion to visit another island with a naturalist expedition is interrupted by a storm, Hope is stranded on a desert island where she and her fellow castaways are dependent on a handsome stranger for their survival.

Alejandro Córdoba, trapped and alone on the island long enough to give up all dreams of rescue, knows nothing of what has become of his war-torn homeland or his family. When he finds the beautiful Miss Everly washed up on the shore, along with her companions, he does not know if their arrival is a blessing or a curse.

Hope’s behavior, acting one way with Alejandro and another with her friends, further confuses things when they begin to fall in love. If rescue ever comes, will telling Alejandro the truth mean losing him forever?


Alejandro Córdoba has been alone and stranded on an island. He believes that his dream has come true when an “angel” washes up on the shore. However, this angel is not alone.

Hope Everly is torn between pretending to be her twin sister in front of her friends and wanting to be herself with Alejandro.

I loved the character of Alejandro, and he was so perfect for Hope. Hope has spent her entire life being compared to her sister and found wanting. Alejandro sees her for who she really is.

I liked that there were a number of challenges and everything didn’t wrap up neatly. I also found Grace’s first meeting with Alejandro very funny.

I have never read a book about people being shipwrecked during this time period. It was an interesting take on the concept.

Returning to this little club of friends from previous books felt so familiar. I am looking forward to reading Isaac’s story.

Misleading Miss Verity – Review

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by Carolyn Miller

Series: Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley (Book 3)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (November 26, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825445914
ISBN-13: 978-0825445910

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Verity Hatherleigh has a mind of her own—but her actions do not impress her viscount papa. When she gets into one scrape too many, he sends her off to the wilds of Scotland to rethink her headstrong ways.

Anthony Jardine relished his role as curate, but his new duties as laird of Dungally aren’t always to his liking. Though he thought his new inheritance would be a blessing, somehow he’s finding nothing but trouble on these estates. And the intelligent, compassionate, feisty lass who was sent to rusticate in his territory is one of the biggest problems. He’s falling in love with her, but she doesn’t share the faith that’s his foundation—not to mention he’s been lying to her about who he really is. For the truth-loving Verity, that may be unforgivable.

The tangled web these two have woven may spell disaster for their happiness—and for the tenants of Dungally.


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Verity Hatherleigh is a hoyden who doesn’t believe in God.  She was raised by unbelieving parents and thinks of the Bible as a fairy tale. While Verity is intelligent and helpful to others, she is always getting into trouble and not living up to her mother’s expectations.

Anthony Jardine is a former curate who feels called to bring the gospel to those abroad. However, he is forced to return to Scotland and take on a new title after his cousin’s death. Anthony has a soft heart and he truly wants to help others.

“Despite his upbringing, despite the wretched condition of so many, he had come to renewed awareness that there truly was no difference between men, neither convict nor free, English nor native, that all men were considered equal in the sight of God, that all were loved by God.”

Verity and Anthony share a similar sense of humor, and they both hide who they really are.  They each want to be known for who they are instead of what they are. While I had some issues with Verity and Anthony’s “hopeful” truth, it shows they really are perfect for each other.

“I have found that those without a sense of humor invariably fail to understand those fortunate enough to possess one.”

Verity believes that she is a mistake because her parents wanted her to be a boy.  While Verity always seems bold and outspoken, she becomes incredibly vulnerable when she thinks about not being lovable.

“If God did see her heart, then He would see how cracked it was, fractured with disillusionment, disappointment, and rejection. She was a fool, a failure, a mistake, unloved by her parents, unloved by the only man she ever cared for. Ergo, Verity Hatherleigh was unlovable.”

As Verity shows, there are all matter of ways that people are drawn to God and finally accept Him into their lives. Some find God in the eye opening experiences and others come to Him in the quiet moments.

As humans, Verity and Anthony are both flawed.  Anthony knows that God looks at the outside, but he has a number of shallow outward thoughts about people that he has to work on.  Even after coming to God, Verity still struggles with honoring her parents while also obeying God.

“She possessed fire and spunk that Grandmama might applaud but so many others openly deplored. God couldn’t want her, too. Could He?”

The side characters were as well developed as the main characters and the story line was a unique one.

Readers don’t often get to see a story that includes South Wales during this time period.  I also liked reading more about Scotland during this time. Clearly Miller puts a lot of research into her books. The author’s note at the end is interesting and mentions the history that went into this book.

Misleading Miss Verity was the perfect conclusion to the Daughters of Aynsley series.

Serving Up Love: A Harvey House Brides Collection – Review

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by Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (November 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 076423269X
ISBN-13: 978-0764232695

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Bestselling novelist Tracie Peterson joins Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano in this collection of four novellas, each featuring a Harvey Girl heroine. From Kansas to Texas, the Grand Canyon to New Mexico, the stories cross the country with tales of sweet romance and entertaining history.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “More Than a Pretty Face,” a young woman works her hardest to escape poor choices from her youth. Tracie Peterson offers “A Flood of Love,” where reuniting with an old flame after more than a decade offers unexpected results. Regina Jennings’s “Intrigue a la Mode” delights with a tale of a young woman determined to help support her family, despite warnings of danger nearby. And Jen Turano’s “Grand Encounters” heads to the Grand Canyon with a tale of a society belle intent on finding a new life for herself.


Serving Up Love is a collection of tales of adventure and love as the Harvey Girls are able to explore the country as well as discover more about themselves.

A Flood of Love by Tracie Peterson

A Flood of Love was packed with historical details. I love that this was based on true stories and events.

Timing seems to be everything for Gretchen and Dirk. They have only ever loved each other but have been pulled apart. If only communication in those days had been easier.

Katiann is adorable. She seemed to know everything about everyone and is so curious about the world around her. I’m surprised her nannies had such a hard time handling her. I loved that when someone compliments her she says, “I know” instead of “thank you”.

Tracie Peterson is the only author I haven’t read, though I have a number of her books on my TBR list. Now I know why she was so often recommended to me.

More Than A Pretty Face by Karen Witemeyer

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I’m glad that Rosalind from More Than Words Can Say gets her own story. The title of this novella was perfect for her.

She made a bad choice in her past, and she is trying to hide from it. Unfortunately she is transferred back to her home state of Texas and is right back where she started. No matter where she goes now, she cannot hide from her past mistakes. Even after someone repents, our sins can still follow us from the past and have consequences.

After none of his charms had been working, Caleb tried to spark Rosalind’s interest by using a Pigpen cipher. As someone who solves cipher puzzles for fun, I can’t say how much I loved that Caleb and Rosalind wrote to each other in secret code.

“How on earth was she supposed to resist a man who left her a note penned in secret code.”

While Caleb knew of Rosalind for awhile, I think he fell in love with her before he knew her personally. I wish there had been a little more personal conversations before the declarations of love.

“You snuck up on me. Luring my heart little by little with your ciphers and outings, your kindness to old ladies and adolescent dishwashers, until it became fully yours.” “My heart belongs to you for as long as you desire it.”

This story seems a little more serious than a lot of Witemeyer’s other books, but with some of the topics it has to be.

Intrigue a la Mode by Regina Jennings

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I immediately liked Graham and Willow and found their story very engaging. I also liked the historical details and descriptions about the Harvey Girls.

The pace was perfect and the story seemed well developed for a novella. Though it felt complete, I would love to know more about Calista’s adventures and their legendary family tree.

Graham’s secret way in to the depot was funny. He also had some other funny lines.

Grand Encounters by Jen Turano

It seemed like Jack was so smitten with Myrtle before he had even had one conversation with her. Then after months of being awkward with her and only offering one random word, it’s like the floodgates were opened. I did find many of the characters shallow and physically assaulting someone is not a form of humor.

When they did finally have conversations with each other, I liked them as a couple. I also liked Jack and Myrtle’s hobbies of hiking and reading.

Turano has written a number of books about New York Heiresses during this time, and it was interesting to see what would happen if one of them left their high class society to become a Harvey Girl.

A Pursuit of Home – Review

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by Kristi Ann Hunter

Series: Haven Manor (Book 3)
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (November 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764230778
ISBN-13: 978-0764230776

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In early 1800s England, Jess Beauchene has spent most of her life in hiding and always on the move in an effort to leave her past far behind her. But when she learns the family she thought had died just might be alive and in danger, she knows her secrets can only stay buried for so long.

Derek Thornbury loves the past, which has led him to become an expert in history and artifacts. He knows Jess has never liked him, but when she requests his help deciphering the clues laid out in an old family diary, he can’t resist the urge to solve the puzzle.

As Jess and Derek race to find the hidden artifact before her family’s enemies, they learn as much about each other as they do about the past. But can their search to uncover the truth and set history right lead to a future together?


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The reader is immediately drawn into A Pursuit of Home by a story from Jess Beuchene’s past in the intense prologue.

Throughout the book there is an important mystery that must be solved. It will lead Jess Beuchene and Derek Thornbury on a journey together where they must rely on each other.

Jess and Derek are so different. He is book smart and her intelligence comes from her unique life experiences.

“He always seemed perfectly happy to be his odd self.”

He is so awkward and could spend every moment discussing paintings or telling someone a random fact.

“At least he was moving toward the carriage, even if he couldn’t stop himself from reciting every obscure fact about the smallest thing that no one in his vicinity even knew about, much less cared for.”

Even when Derek thinks of his attraction for Jess, he thinks of it from a painting’s perspective. Jess sees people and their actions and motives. She doesn’t want to get close to people because of what she has lost, and she doesn’t want to be emotional.

“Anyone who insisted on foisting their romantic notions on her could find themselves with ipecac in their tea.”

Although they are so opposite and even argue with each other in multiple languages, they are still perfect together. This is especially true when they are able to open up, like the really sweet scene when Derek is teaching Jess how to knit.

“This was different from attraction, different from friendship, different from anything she’d ever known. This made her feel vulnerable. This was terrifying.”

My favorite book by Hunter is A Noble Masquerade and I absolutely love that Ryland and Miranda return in Jess’ story. While there are returning characters from the Hawthorne House series and others from the earlier books in the Haven Manor series, any of these books can be enjoyed on their own.

A Pursuit of Home is a story of mystery, adventure, and love that will keep you guessing what will happen next.

An Old-Fashioned Texas Christmas – Review

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by Karen Witemeyer

File Size: 5485 KB
Print Length: 165 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2019)
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B07YCVH1G4

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Celebrate the joy and warmth of the holidays with two historical romance novellas from Karen Witemeyer, including a brand-new story that provides a glimpse into what the Archer clan has been up to.

“An Archer Family Christmas”
It’s Christmas Eve, 1893, and the entire family has gathered to celebrate the holiday. This day is always bittersweet for Jim and Cassie, who lost a child on Christmas Eve three years earlier. Cassie has devoted herself to being the favorite aunt of the Archer children, whisking her nieces away to a nearby schoolhouse to create decorations for the Christmas tree that the men and oldest boys are venturing out to chop down.

When an unexpected knock at the schoolhouse door reveals a desperate pregnant woman on the run from a dangerous outlaw, it’ll take a Christmas miracle–and the entire Archer clan–to make sure no danger befalls the child born on this beloved holiday.

“The Gift of the Heart”
A widow and her young daughter move to Hope Springs for a fresh start, but with no money to secure a home, Ruth must convince a wealthy resort owner to accept her heirloom brooch as collateral. Will the pin that brought love to three generations soften the heart of a wounded recluse and give Ruth a second chance at love as the holidays draw near?


An Archer Family Christmas

Before you pick up this book, make sure you have plenty of time because you will not want to put it down. Also, be prepared for “all the feels”. This book will make you very emotional.

Those who have read others in the series will enjoy the return of their beloved Archer family and new readers will fall in love with Jim and Cassie.

There is such a love and loyalty in the Archer family.

“They didn’t need words. Their hearts could read each other perfectly.”

 

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Karen Witemeyer creates characters who are not perfect. She has the ability to make her characters strong while also being incredibly vulnerable.

I loved the Biblical connection to the Ruth and Boaz story. Besides the names, there were so many little connections as well.

Beauregard “Bo” Azlin was one of those characters you feel an instant connection to. The back story of Bo’s childhood where his mother considered him damaged goods is heart breaking. Bo tried to be fair to everyone and not give special treatment but he also helped protect those in need. I liked the scene where Bo is holding the heirloom and vowing to keep it safe for Ruth. It was also sweet how he liked to keep the heirloom near his heart.

Witemeyer’s books always contain some funny moments. When Bo calls the stray cat a miscreant, little Naomi mistakenly believes that the cat’s name is Miss Creant. Bo and Naomi have a number of sweet and funny conversations.

While this felt like a very complete story, I want it to continue. I’m not ready to leave these characters.

Author Interview, Blog Tour and Review: Secrets and Suitors

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secretscover

by Joanna Barker

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (October 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524411728
ISBN-13: 978-1524411725

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Reluctantly returning to London for yet another Season, shy Nora Hamilton has nearly given up hope that she will ever find the love match she longs for. After all, the one man she does harbor feelings for—her closest friend, James—has made it perfectly clear he views her as just that: a friend. With James traveling half a world away and Nora’s father pressuring her to marry for wealth and status, Nora is forced to set aside her desire for love and accept the future she has always dreaded.

Until James returns unexpectedly and Nora’s feelings once again rush unbearably close to the surface. Determined to save what is left of their friendship, Nora ignores her own heart and allows herself to be swept up in the London Season, soon finding herself the object of two very different gentlemen’s affections. Though she should be thrilled, both men come with a glaring fault: neither is the one man who holds her heart.

But there is much more at stake than heartbreak. When long-kept secrets are laid bare, Nora must face the fears that have plagued her all her life and decide what true love is worth.

*Secrets and Suitors has received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly.*


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Nora always wanted to be in the background at social events and after two seasons in London she still hadn’t had a serious suitor. After receiving pressure from her father, she makes a bargain with him that she will marry Mr. Weston (a man she barely knows) if her two younger siblings are allowed to join her for the season in London. She also makes her father agree that she can continue being friends with her childhood neighbor James.

After time away at his family plantation, James is suddenly back in Nora’s life. He wants to still be her friend, but there is often a seriousness about him.

“A fancy could be forgotten, and I was determined to forget it.”

While back for a third season, Nora is torn between her feelings for James, a new acquaintanceship forming with Lord Worthington, and a commitment to Mr. Weston.

“James was my best friend, yes, but my heart yearned for so much more. He was the one who understood me best, who made me laugh, who listened to me.”

Nora has a completely different relationship with each of her three suitors. She and Mr. Weston are practically engaged, and she doesn’t even know his first name.

“He had run halfway across the world the last time I had given signs of having feelings for him. What would he do now if I were to give the slightest hint that he still held a piece of my heart?”

When Nora and James are together it feels like the air in the room changes. They are comfortable with each other because of being best friends growing up, but now there is tension and secrets between them.

“I would pay dearly for such a skill right now, to peer into his mind and discover all his tightly held opinions and secrets.”

This book is told in the first person, so we only know Nora’s point of view. When I first started reading it, I wished it also told James’ point of view. I was often wondering what was going on in his head. As it turns out, I loved that there were things I didn’t see coming. I was truly surprised by some of the secrets, and I liked that I didn’t know what would happen next.

I liked that it was not just about the romance, it was also about a broken family trying to find their way.

Besides the strong main characters, there were some lovable side characters like Ralph. He was absolutely adorable. Ralph’s relationship with Nora reminds us that we have to be careful with the promises we make, and his relationship with James made them both even more endearing.

Secrets and Suitors is a sweet story that also has a lot of deeper meaning. This book earns a well deserved five stars.

While I received a complimentary copy of this book, I was not required to write a positive review.


Interview with Joanna Barker

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Do you have any future books in the works? I would love a story about Ralph!

I’m currently working on a sequel to my debut novel, The Truth about Miss Ashbourne. This new book features Rebecca Rowley, the sister to the hero of that story, and I am having so much fun with it! But one day I would so love to write a story for Ralph! He deserves his own happy ending, doesn’t he??

Was there something that inspired you to write Secrets and Suitors?

I wanted so badly to write a best friends love story, and I went through about eight different versions of this story before deciding on the plot. What finally helped me nail down the idea was hearing Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” on the radio and realizing it described so perfectly the story I wanted to write. This song brought to life James Allen’s character, and if you listen to it after reading Secrets and Suitors, you might see how the chorus inspired the garden party scene ?

Do you like writing novels or novellas better? And was it harder working with other authors when you were writing All Hearts Come Home for Christmas? 

It always seems like the grass is always greener for me! When I’m stuck in the murky middle of drafting a novel, I always wish I was writing a novella. But when I’m running out of words for a novella, I’m longing for the word count of a novel! But I think novels are my true love. There’s a depth that’s generally only possible through spending more time with the story and characters, and I love to dig in deep. Oh, and I am extremely wordy, so that might be part of it, haha! I actually loved working with the other authors so much! All three of them are incredibly talented and kind, and I just felt lucky to be a part of the project.

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Enter Here!

 

Miss Adeline’s Match – Review

adeline

by Joanna Barker

Paperback: 263 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications (April 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524408808
ISBN-13: 978-1524408800

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Miss Adeline Hayes is the perfect lady’s companion: pleasant, conversational, and unceasingly proper. But when her closest friend, Charity Edgeworth, breaks off her arranged marriage without explanation, even Adeline’s superior skills are put to the test. Charity’s father banishes the two young women to the country, sending Adeline with a charge to find Charity a husband or suffer dire consequences.

As Adeline takes on the role of reluctant matchmaker, she discovers more than one obstacle in her path. Not only does Charity prefer escaping in books to socializing, but Adeline soon finds her own attentions distracted by the standoffish–and irritatingly handsome–Mr. Evan Whitfield. Amidst an eventful foxhunt and the unexpected arrival of Charity’s former betrothed, Adeline simply doesn’t have time for a battle of wits with Evan. But the two are continually drawn together until Adeline begins to question her tightly guarded convictions about love and marriage.

However, when secrets are revealed and truths made known, Adeline must face her most fearsome obstacle yet: herself.


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Adeline Hayes is a companion who must always appear perfect and act properly.  She is put in a tough spot between her employer, her family, and her best friend.

Evan Whitfield comes off as brooding and standoffish, but he is hiding a deep hurt from his past and only wants to be a better and more worthy person.

Adeline and Evan both feel drawn to help people and that draws them together. Evan is older and already learned from his mistakes, while Adeline still has a lot of growing up to do.  Adeline reminded me of Jane Austen’s well-intentioned Emma who tried matchmaking but always ended up making things worse. Evan has Mr. Darcy’s brooding down, but he seems friendlier. 

Adeline’s best friend Charity is running from a broken engagement. I found the story-line between her and Henley very interesting and wondered if there was more to the story than she overheard. I also don’t know why she shared all her secrets with Adeline but it took her so long to tell her the one involving Henley.

Joanna Barker writes very realistic characters which means at times I’m not always happy with them. Addie makes a number of really poor choices. There are legitimate reasons why she made these decisions, but they were still wrong.  Barker’s books are also interesting and non-predictable. It always seemed like the worst timing when I had to put the book down to get something done.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“My heart belonged to no one, and I intended to keep it that way.”

“How little I felt then, caught up in my own world, in things that were not so very important.”

“There was nothing like a child’s honesty to keep one humble.”

“If I find a person who can move beyond the more frivolous topics of conversation, I find it worth my time to know them better.”