Underestimating Miss Cecilia (Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley #2) – Review

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by Carolyn Miller

Series: Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley (Book 2)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: KREGE (July 23, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825445906
ISBN-13: 978-0825445903

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Shy, sweet Cecilia Hatherleigh has always been in love with Edward Amherst, the boy next door. Yet he’s never seen her as anything but the quiet girl in the background as he flirts with the other vivacious women of the ton.

When a near tragedy brings Edward’s attention to his family duties, this prodigal son decides he needs to settle down with a proper wife. Cecilia hopes to convince him to choose her—but God may want her to forget the wayward nobleman and put her future in His hands alone.

These two try to find their way toward happiness, but prejudice, political riots, and the changing face of England’s societal structures begin to block them at every turn. Can their struggles turn to triumph—or will their paths permanently diverge?


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Carolyn Miller brings us a story about what happens when the Prodigal Son comes home.

Cecilia Hatherleigh has always held a candle for Edward who not only does not love her, but has said some unkind things about her.

Before dedicating his life to God, Edward Amherst lived a sinful life. He is now trying to turn his life around and redeem his past by using his background in law to help gypsies, the Irish, and orphans.

Cecy is also trying to help those that need it by writing anonymously to the papers. She is having a hard time living with her non-believing parents who belittle her faith.

Having two sisters with strong personalities, Cecy is often talked over and has chosen instead to remain quiet, which often means she is overlooked.

She has never liked what many women talk about in those days like fashion and the weather. Women were expected to be more simple, and bluestockings were looked down on. Cecy wanted to not only know about important news, but she wanted to help people.

I really appreciated the research the author did in learning of the historical events during this conflicted time period and weaving them into the story. I had not known a lot of the gypsy history during this time or the pagan rituals.

Those who enjoyed The Weaver’s Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd are sure to love Underestimating Miss Cecilia. They are both very eye-opening into the working man’s life during this time period.

Ned and Cecy grew up right next to each other, yet they really didn’t know one another. While it is very realistic, I wish that it hadn’t taken jealousy for Ned to finally notice Cecy. I also found that the part with Ned and Cecy after the major event in the book seemed rushed.

I have often read the story of the prodigal son in the Bible and wondered what happened to everyone after his return. Underestimating Miss Cecilia is a very interesting take on the concept.

This is the second book in the Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley series, however, it can easily be read as a standalone. I am looking forward to youngest sister Verity’s story next in Misleading Miss Verity.

The Heart of a Vicar (The Jonquil Brothers #6) – Review

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by Sarah M. Eden

Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications (June 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524408611
ISBN-13: 978-1524408619

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Young love is all too fleeting, as Harold Jonquil painfully discovered years ago when Sarah Sarvol, the niece of a neighboring landowner, captured his heart. After an idyllic few weeks in the throes of blossoming love, reality intervened. They could have no future. Following their disastrous parting, Harold attempted to push aside thoughts of love and regret, but Sarah has never left his heart. Now, years later, he has achieved his lifelong aspiration of becoming the local vicar. However, the role proves more difficult than he imagined. He feels hollow and uninspired—until the most important person in his past returns, challenging him as no one ever has.

When Sarah’s ailing uncle summons her back to the family estate in England, there is only one person from her past she is reluctant to see again: Harold Jonquil, the only man who has ever claimed her heart. But when she comes face-to-face with her former beau, she hardly recognizes the aloof and dull man before her. She is determined to help Harold rediscover the passion he once felt toward his chosen profession. Soon, despite their exasperation with each other, they cannot deny the stirring of feelings long buried—but is it too late for second chances?


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In true Sarah M. Eden fashion, we have complex characters that we really care about (how could we not love the Jonquils!) and beautiful moments as well as funny ones. This book has everything you could ask for.

Sarah Sarvol has left America and returned with her brother Scott to England. Having spent time in the area as a child, she is returning to her uncle’s house so her brother can learn his duties as the heir. Her uncle has no use for females and considers her a poor relation. She is forced to live in the governess quarters and not socialize with others. Even through her trials, Sarah believes you make your own happiness and is a very outgoing and optimistic person.

Harold Jonquil has spent his life knowing that he would be a vicar, and he has been ridiculed by his brothers for it. They love calling him “Holy Harry” and using the term pious as an insult.

Harold has always looked up to his father and considered him exemplary. His goal is to emulate him and follow his advice. “Act well your part; there all the honor lies.” He believes that this means he must always be serious and hide all of his “strange” tendencies like climbing things like a monkey and singing songs about drinking.

Harold and Sarah were once sweet on each other until something happened that left them both heartbroken; and Harold soaking wet. Years later they are reunited and drawn together by a challenge.

I have been looking forward to reading Harold’s story. I knew there had to be a reason for him being so serious and proper all the time. This was not the story I expected. While the reasons behind Harold’s mask were similar to what I anticipated, I never expected the real Harold hiding underneath! He has some unusual and really fun quirks, and I loved seeing his relationship with Sarah. There is such a sweet tenderness with those two that is like calm in all the chaos.

Harold is so lonely and vulnerable. He is an introvert and has problems socializing with others. His belief of how the perfect vicar is to behave causes him to be even further separated from people, and he keeps his true self hidden. He is such a fun person when he is in personal settings and allowed to be himself. I loved his relationship with his housekeeper.

None of the Jonquil relationships are easy. They deeply love each other and grow closer together as they go through emotional and even heartbreaking times.

The Heart of a Vicar is the sixth book in the The Jonquil Brothers Series. So many beloved characters from previous books come back and even play large roles in the story. Philip and Sorrel have been such a special couple to me since the first book, and it is heartbreaking to see what they have to go through. Layton, another one of my favorite characters from a previous book, is still going through a lot of emotional turmoil as is his daughter. Just as in real life, things do not always wrap up easily. While this book can be read as a standalone, I love how many story-lines continue with previous characters. This book makes me want to binge read this entire series again.

More Than Words Can Say (Patchwork Family #2) – Review

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by Karen Witemeyer

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 4, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764232193
ISBN-13: 978-0764232190

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After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free. No family entanglements. No disappointing those around him. Just the quiet bachelor existence he’s always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away when the baker of his favorite breakfast bun is railroaded by the city council. Despite not wanting to get involved, he can’t turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.

Abigail Kemp needs a man’s name on her bakery’s deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. That person definitely isn’t the stoic lumberman who oozes silent confidence whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can’t even control her pulse when she’s around him.
When vows are spoken, Abigail’s troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, and darker dangers hound her sister. Can she put ever more trust in Zach without losing her dreams of independence?


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In More Than Words Can Say, Karen Witemeyer brings us a story about forgiveness.  We need to bring it to God,  forgive others, and forgive ourselves.  As Zach stated, we also need to make sure we are not going in circles by keeping one foot in the past. Furthermore, it is a story about learning to always put God first in our life.

Zacharias Hamilton grew up as an orphan and at thirteen made a patchwork family with fellow orphans Evangeline and Seth. After Evangeline and Seth each find their spouses, Zach sets out on his own.  Zach is known to communicate in nods and grunts and never share his emotions.   However, he is an incredible listener, and when he knows that someone is upset he wants to talk it out before the sun goes down.  I love how he wants to make the most of his marriage and how fiercely protective he is of his family. Zach being terrified of crying women is hilarious. Though it’s sweet that he actually stays to talk even when he is scared.

Abigail Kemp grew up learning to be a baker under her father.  After his death, the city council informs her that only a man is allowed to own a business. She is afraid of someone else having control over her bakery, so she looks for a marriage of convenience.

Abigail works hard, and she doesn’t complain. She is very practical and just does what needs to be done. While she may have a negative thought about someone, she tries to see the best in them.

Zach is good for Abigail. While Abby is a hard worker, she really lacks self confidence. Zach helps her really she who she is on the inside and out.

As a Martha myself,  I found the biblical talk on Martha very interesting. While God’s word must always come first, practicality is very important.

While Zach and Abby are confessing their pasts, there is also a powerful speech about not living life as a hypocrite.

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  However, while Zach’s take on the “benefits” conversation was lighthearted and funny, there was too much talk about the physical side of marriage.  There were thoughts by both characters that were repeated too often.

The cover is cute with some traditional Witemeyer quirkiness to it, but the cover is missing a lot of Abigail’s correct characteristics.

More Than Words Can Say is the sequel to Evangeline Hamilton’s story in More Than Meets the Eye. I highly suggest reading them in order to know more about Zach’s history. And the prologue in More Than Meets the Eye is not to be missed!

Rescuing Lord Inglewood (Inglewood #1) – Review

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by Sally Britton

File Size: 1636 KB
Print Length: 329 pages
Publication Date: May 23, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B07PP7BLXH

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All he wants is someone he can trust. All she wants is to belong. But when compromising circumstances force them together, do they have a chance at finding love?

Silas Riley, Earl of Inglewood, is known among his peers in Parliament as the man made of stone. As a wealthy peer, there are few he trusts with his friendship. He guards his heart and his honor with vigilance, and when an accident nearly takes his life, he’s faced with a situation which threatens his standing in society.

Growing up in the shadow of her older brother, Esther Fox’s acceptance in his circle has been indifferent at best. So when she ends up in a compromising situation as she saves the life of her brother’s dearest friend, the Earl of Inglewood, she is forced to marry him to save her own reputation. Once again, she finds herself accepted only because of the situation, and not because she is truly wanted.

Neither are prepared for a loss which further complicates their new relationship. With such a difficult beginning, can they ever hope to understand one another, let alone find love?


This is one of those can’t put down – read in one day – kind of books!

Esther was the unwanted little sister who always tried to follow her brother and his friends around. After gossip surrounding her reputation, she is forced to marry one of those friends but still feels like the unwanted little sister.

Silas is the stone faced Earl who tries to hide his emotions and only cares about doing his duty.  He does a lot of things because he feels he is protecting someone, yet he never explains his reasons. As an Earl, he is also used to giving commands and expects to be obeyed.

Silas and Esther both make a lot of mistakes along the way, and they don’t do a great job of communicating with each other. They both have very real feelings and emotions, and I enjoyed seeing them learn more about each other.

There were some predicable things in the book which I will not spoil, but it was still a great book.

I am fairly new to the author Sally Britton. I found that I really liked her complex characters and her style of writing. I look forward to reading more from her.

Grace Everly’s story is next. Discovering Grace comes out in August, and I already have it on preorder. 🙂

Daisies and Devotion (Mayfield Family #2) – Review

daisiescover by Josi S. Kilpack

Series: Mayfield Family (Book 2)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (May 14, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629725528
ISBN-13: 978-1629725529

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Timothy Mayfield is ready to marry for love, but, since his personal finances are thinner than he’d like, he knows he’ll also need to find a wife with wealth. After receiving an unexpected inheritance, Timothy’s circumstances change, and he is free to pursue his “perfect woman”—one with blonde hair, blue eyes, a light laugh, arched eyebrows, elegant fingers, and a dazzling smile, among nearly twenty other characteristics.

Maryann Morrington doesn’t match anything on Timothy’s list—except for wealth. An heiress in her own right, she is tired of men pursuing her only for her money. But at nearly twenty-two years old, and not a particularly stunning beauty, she can’t be as picky as her friend Timothy is.

The two friends end up playing matchmaker for each other. Timothy will find a decent gentleman for Maryann, and Maryann will prove to Timothy that his “perfect woman” doesn’t exist.

Until Miss Shaw comes to London.

Now, with Timothy’s heart captivated by the blonde, blue-eyed beauty, Maryann must decide if she should risk her heart and reveal her true feelings for her friend, or if she should settle for someone else. It’s an up-and-down game of “he loves me, he loves me not” with both hearts and friendship on the line.


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I found myself not liking Timothy at first. He is shallow and clueless and hurts people; though unintentionally. But he is also so real. He has a lot to learn and I enjoyed being on that journey with him.

Maryann is a far more forgiving person than I am, especially when it comes to her potential suitors. While she does not have a chipper personality by nature, she does not hold on to people’s mistakes and truly wants those she loves to be happy. I hurt for Maryann for some of the things that were said to her and the way she was treated.

I liked that this book had a realistic feel. Everything wasn’t all tied up in a neat bow. People had real and raw feelings and there were consequences to them.

Timothy and Maryann’s relationship reminded me of a quote from Jane Austen’s Emma

“Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another”

This was the second book in the Mayfield Family series. While we do get to see Peter and Julia again from Promises and Primroses, each book can be read as a standalone.

A Proper Scandal – Review

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by Esther Hatch

Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications (May 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524409375
ISBN-13: 978-1524409371

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Grace Sinclair has been callously cast out of her home. And though taken in as an orphaned child by the vicar and his wife, her unsurpassed beauty makes it impossible for her to remain in the vicar’s household—with two daughters of their own about to enter Society, the vicar and his wife see Grace as nothing but competition. Thankfully, Grace’s estranged Aunt Bell has agreed to take her in to her home in London. But Grace soon learns her situation has just gotten much worse.

It takes only a moment’s acquaintance for Grace to ascertain that her aunt has married a detestable rake. And Aunt Bell, recognizing the danger of having her lovely niece too near her husband, gives Grace an ultimatum: the young woman has two weeks to find a man to marry, after which she will be turned out. With no experience in the art of attracting a husband, Grace quickly realizes that a worthy suitor might not be so easy to ensnare.


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I have read The Roses of Feldstone by Esther Hatch and knew I wanted to read her second book, A Proper Scandal, as soon as I heard about it. I went into reading A Proper Scandal with high hopes, and I was not disappointed! I even stayed up until 5am reading it, and then I had to tell myself to stop thinking about the book so I could get some sleep.

Grace Sinclair never wanted someone to be interested in her only for her beauty and dowry. She is forced to leave the home she grew up in, and she is taken in by her Aunt and Uncle Bell. Uncle Bell gave off a creepy vibe from the very beginning and only got worse. Grace has to choose between staying with her uncle who wants to take advantage of her or going against her morals by compromising someone into marriage.

The meet-cute between Grace and Nate was unusual and adorable. Before she is even properly introduced to Nate, she asks him the most random, inappropriate, and funny questions. Grace has no idea how to attract a man which leads to the most hilarious conversations. I will always think of these two when I have something in my eye.

A Proper Scandal is funny, sweet, and romantic and it has a large twist that I never saw coming. I really enjoy Esther Hatch’s writing style. I love her characters; even the side characters are interesting and well developed.

Speaking of side characters, I don’t usually like stories where the hero is a rake, but I would love a redeemed rake story for Lord Bryant. He seems like he has a great sense of humor and despite being a rake, I liked his character. He seems to have a good heart underneath it all.

I do not know what Esther Hatch’s next story will be about, but I do know that I look forward to reading it.

The Governess of Penwythe Hall (Cornwall #1) – Review

governesscover by Sarah E. Ladd

Series: The Cornwall Novels (Book 1)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 16, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0785223169
ISBN-13: 978-0785223160

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Cornwall was in her blood, and Delia feared she’d never escape its hold.

Cornwall, England, 1811

Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request for her to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she’s tried desperately to forget.

Jac Twethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced, he battles both grief at his brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess—and the mystery shrouding her past—proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

“Brimming with dangerous secrets, rich characters, and the hauntingly beautiful descriptions Sarah Ladd handles so well, 1800s Cornwall is brought vividly to life in this well-crafted tale that kept me glued to the pages. What a brilliant start to a new series!” —Abigail Wilson, author of In the Shadow of Croft Towers

The Governess of Penwythe Hall is a delightful and emotionally gripping tale that will tick all the boxes for any Regency lover: romance, history, and enough unpredictable intrigue to keep you up past your bedtime.” —Kristi Ann Hunter, author of A Defense of Honor

“Lovers of sweet and Christian romance alike will fall in love with Delia’s strength amid the haunting backdrop of her tragic past and the Cornish coast. Throw in a handsome leading man willing to turn his life upside down for the children in Delia’s charge, and you have a story you can’t put down.” —Josi S. Kilpack, Whiney Award–winning author of the Mayfield Family series


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Sarah E. Ladd is an author I can always depend on to provide me with excellent stories full of interesting plots and beloved characters. She has a strong voice in the Regency book world and Jane Austen fans will be drawn to her.

The Governess of Penwythe Hall brings us the story of Cordelia Greythorne and Jac Trethewey. They both carry secrets of the past that guard their hearts, but will opening up help them to heal?

Delia is governess to five children who have recently lost their father. Attached to these children, Delia follows them to their new guardian’s house in Cornwall. Cornwall holds the secrets of her past, and she has sworn to never return. Jac Trethewey is now in charge of his nieces and nephews. He has spent their lifetimes being estranged from their father.

Delia does not like to let many people in. She thinks that she has to rely on herself in order to hide from her past. Jac lost a lot from his fight with his brother and now he is trying to regain some of the missing years with his nieces and nephews.

I loved all the children. They all had such great personalities and you hurt for all of them while they grieved their loss. Jac was wonderful with the children. I like how he wanted them to not only have their formal education but he taught the boys estate business; even tasks that would normally be for the workers. Jac was often told he was spontaneous yet he wanted to get involved in all the tasks that the estate depended on in order to make it successful for many years to come. While he was spontaneous in some things, there was actually a lot of thoughts behind his plans.

While this book was full of tender relationships, it was also full of intrigue.  There were a lot of unanswered questions throughout the book, and I wanted to keep reading and not put the book down.

Ladd really has a way of describing things. There is the perfect amount of detail to picture things and feel fully immersed, yet you never feel like there is too much information. Her descriptions involve all the senses. Here is an example of her incredible writing skills that will not give away any spoilers:

“She retreated down the cliff, back the way she came. The winds that had come so strongly off the sea weakened as moorland gave way once again to orchards and then to the verdant lawn. The sea air’s salty tang was soon masked by the scent of apple trees and freshly cut grass, but the dormant memories had been revived by the familiar scene, and she doubted they would leave her in peace.”

While Regency fans will especially love The Governess of Penwythe Hall, fans of all eras will be able to appreciate this wonderful story on healing and what it means to be a family.