Blog Tour and Review: A Proper Charade

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by Esther Hatch

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Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (May 1, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524412317
ISBN-13: 978-1524412319

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Lady Patience Kendrick was born to a life of privilege, and with the London Season looming, she finds herself facing unprecedented pressure to adhere to the rules of society. Unfortunately, the free-spirited young woman is anything but proper. Patience’s elder brother, a former military man, bemoans his sister’s antics—but when he accuses her of incurable frivolity, it is simply more than she can bear. Determined to prove her brother wrong, Patience undertakes a drastic experiment: she will disguise herself as a maid and demonstrate her ability to work as hard as anyone.

Taken on as household staff by her brother’s former general, Patience soon learns that willingness and ability are two very different things. While her plan sounded promising in theory, the reality is that she is out of her depth—and the irresistibly charming son of the house isn’t helping matters. Patience soon finds herself embroiled in a charade far more complicated than she imagined. With both her pride and her heart at stake, she is determined to prove her brother wrong—even as her plans spiral delightfully out of control.


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I can always count on Esther Hatch to write a story where I will become completely immersed in her world. Her story-lines draw me in and I love her writing style. I also feel connected to her characters and hate when the time comes to leave them behind.

Patience just wants to feel useful and needed. She never had an opportunity to prove herself like her brother did, so she goes about trying to in a really unusual way.

Anthony has always wanted to make his father proud. Since he promised his mother he wouldn’t join the army, he has to find another way. Anthony is always stiff and serious and all about duty, but he knows how to make some legendary lists. Patience grew up living a carefree life and wants to learn responsibility. Together they will learn what is most important.

Lord Bryant stood out to me in A Proper Scandal and I loved seeing even more of his real self in this book. I can’t wait to read his story.

I have read A Proper Charade twice so far and even the second time I had a hard time putting it down. When I looked at the clock after I finished reading, it was 8am and I had read through the night and turned off my alarm while reading.

There are always scenes that stay with me long after I finish reading. I don’t think I could ever look at a duck’s “smile” the same way again, and who knew that a simple desk and lighting a fireplace could be so interesting. There were so many great moments. You won’t regret reading this book and entering into Hatch’s world.

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Blog Tour and Review: Rakes and Roses

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cover by Josi S. Kilpack

Series: Proper Romance Regency (Book 3)
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (May 5, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629727350
ISBN-13: 978-1629727356

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A Mayfield Family Romance

Lady Sabrina endured an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, and early widowhood to emerge as a smart, successful, confident woman who found a way to make her mark in a man’s world. She has friends and purpose, but cannot hide from the emptiness she feels when the parties are over and the friends have gone home to families she will never have.

Harry Stillman may be charming and handsome, but he’s a gambler and a rake who has made a mockery of his privileges. He turns to the mysterious Lord Damion for financial relief from his debts, but still ends up beaten nearly senseless by thugs and left in an alley.

When Lady Sabrina comes upon Harry after the attack, she remembers the kindness Harry once showed to her six years ago and brings him to her estate to heal. Though their relationship begins on rocky footing, it soon mellows into friendship, then trust. But Lady Sabrina needs to keep Harry at a distance, even if he is becoming the kind of man worthy of her heart. After all, she is keeping a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything she’s so carefully built.


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While we see a glimpse in the prologue of the caring man that Harry Stillman could be, we are introduced to him in chapter one when he is at the lowest of the lows that is of his own making through drinking and gambling. Lady Sabrina is introduced to us as a battered wife who is hiding in a rose bush in fear of her brutal husband.

As a 32 year old widow, I like that Sabrina is an older more mature heroine. While she has had many benefits in her upbringing, she is very much aware of what her life could have been like as the illegitimate daughter of a Duke. She now wants to use her position for something good.

Even if we cannot personally identify with Harry’s struggles of drunkenness and gambling, there are a number of things we can learn from it in this book.

Whether positive or negative, the words that we say can greatly affect another person. Harry’s father’s words tore him down but Sabrina’s words helped lift him up.

We also have to be careful not to become an enabler for other people. Feeding in to their vices is not helping them in any way.

I usually have a hard time liking a rake. Especially one who has put themselves so far into the gutter because of things they did. I liked that this story showed what could happen if someone believed in them and extended them mercy and grace. No matter what we have done, we all need this in our life.

*This book includes topics of drinking, gambling, domestic abuse, and the loss of a child. All of this happening in the very first chapter.


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Josi S. Kilpack is the bestselling author of several Proper Romance and Proper Romance Historical series and a Cozy Culinary Mystery series. Her books, A Heart Revealed and Lord Fenton's Folly; were Publishers Weekly Best Romance Books of the Year. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children.

Blog Tour and Review: Lakeshire Park

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by Megan Walker

Series: Proper Romance Regency
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (April 7, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629727342
ISBN-13: 978-1629727349

Brighton, England 1820

Amelia Moore wants only one thing–to secure the future happiness of her younger sister, Clara. With their stepfather’s looming death, the two sisters will soon be on their own–without family, a home, or a penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia grasps at the chance. If she can encourage a match between Clara and their host, Sir Ronald, then at least her sister will be taken care of.

Little does she know that another guest, the arrogant and overconfident Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his own sister. Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter–and eventually playing by his rules–makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim: her heart.


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Lakeshire Park is such a beautiful story of two people falling in love, and there are a number of really beautiful moments throughout the book.

Amelia Moore is a self sacrificing person whose heart is drawn to naturally put others first, especially her sister Clara. I think it is more about being naive but Clara comes off as selfish. There is no way she doesn’t know about Amelia and Peter spending time together yet she never asks Amelia about it and only cares about her own comfort.

As the story is told in first person we don’t know Peter Wood’s inner dialogue but I still feel like the reader is given a true connection to him. He thinks of himself as selfish but he puts his sister first as long as things are done in a fair way.

The first meeting between Peter and Amelia was a little strange to me. Peter clearly had the gloves first and Amelia was so put out for so long because he wouldn’t give them to her. Why did she deserve what he had first? And why was he crawling out from under the table?

I found the story very interesting and it moved along at the perfect pace. I also liked the characters and found them very realistic.

I would love a sequel with Georgiana and Pendleton and we could see a little of what Peter and Amelia are up to. I’m not ready to leave these characters.

Favorite quotes:

“You never know who you are hurting by denying kindness.”

“Before he died, he told me to remember that some things aren’t worth being angry over, but plenty of things are worth fighting for. It is a motto I try to live by.”

“I don’t mind the trouble. As long as I’m with you.”

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Megan Walker was raised on a berry farm in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where her imagination took her to times past and worlds away. While earning her degree in Early Childhood Education, she married her one true love and started a family. But her imaginings of Regency England wouldn’t leave her alone, so she picked up a pen and wrote her first novella, A Beautiful Love: A Regency Fairy Tale Retelling which was published in 2019. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and three children. Lakeshire Park is her debut novel.

Blog Tour and Review: His Lady in Hiding

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by Jen Geigle Johnson

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (April 1, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524410454
ISBN-13: 978-1524410452

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Lady Elizabeth Davenport is desperate. Her hand in marriage has been offered to the highest bidder, a distressing proposition in and of itself but made all the more repulsive when she meets her father’s first choice for her hand—Lord Pinweather. When her parents refuse to hear her pleas, Liz is forced to take drastic measures—she will impersonate her maid and begin anew in America on her own terms.

Once on board the ship to America, another passenger, Lord Barton, discovers her true status as a noble almost immediately. After listening to Liz’s highly modified version of her life and her plans to begin again, Barton has compassion on her, teaching her to abandon her noble mannerisms. Upon disembarking, however, Barton’s generous spirit quickly dampens when he discovers Liz has indeed found work—as his own head housekeeper. Suddenly the tender feelings they hid from one another on the ship are inescapable—but their difference in station makes romance impossible. As misunderstandings abound and a shocking character from Liz’s past looms, she knows she can’t hide her true identity forever. But as her deception begins to unravel, will her charade cost her the man she loves?


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Lady Elizabeth Davenport is happy living her spoiled existence until her father auctions her off to the highest bidder – a cringe worthy Lord Pinweather. Then she runs, which quickly becomes a habit for her.

Elizabeth meets Lord Anthony Barton on the ship to America while she is pretending to be a maid. They have instant chemistry that starts as more of a friendship between them that builds. They also have a relationship with witty banter that gets very entertaining.

“Her life was full of mystery and adventure, full of promise, and full of the unknown.”

I haven’t read a lot about the English nobility that wanted to make a life for themselves in America. I really appreciated Anthony’s dream of making a name for himself through his own hard work instead of just getting by on his title.

“Discovering your housekeeper outranks you in every way is a bit disconcerting for a chap, I’ll admit.”

There is also an interesting look behind the scenes at servant’s life that I always enjoy in Johnson’s books. This book has more of a lighter side than some of her other books but still touches on some very important topics. I also appreciated the amount of research that went in to the writing of this book.

I enjoyed that so much of the story was unpredictable. Although I did want to smack Anthony a number of times.

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Author Interview, Blog Tour and Review: Secrets and Suitors

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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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Blog Tour and Review: A Lady’s Maid

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by Jen Geigle Johnson

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications (August 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 152440845X
ISBN-13: 978-1524408459

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Molly O’Malley, lady’s maid to the progressive Lady Amanda Halloway, is determined to continue the life’s work of her lost love, killed in the Peterloo Massacre. But when her efforts and a trip to Lady Halloway’s charitable orphanage culminate in her own abduction, Molly’s eyes are opened to the horrifying crimes transpiring in the city’s slums. Despite the risks, she broadens her mission and is drawn ever closer to the peril all around them.

Thomas Flaherty, a footman in the Halloway household, has been with Molly from the beginning, but he fears she will never trust him with her heart. Even though her cause and happiness are of foremost importance to him, his loyal patience is tested by the fears that keep her at a distance. But with their safety on the line, Thomas is resolved to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves.

Risking their lives and their love, Molly and Thomas and a team of nobles on their side will stop at nothing to empower the powerless, no matter the personal cost.


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Molly O’Malley is a lady’s maid. She tragically lost the love of her life ten years ago. She wants to love again, but she is afraid of what she stands to lose. Thomas Flaherty is a footman in the same household. He loves Molly and has patiently waited for her, but he worries she will never be ready to let him in.

I liked hearing from the working class of Thomas and Molly. Though Molly has a very unusual relationship with her employer, because it is so friendly and casual. I loved hearing more about the orphanage and the children.

The summary on the back of the book gave no hint that there would be two other major characters and many chapters would be told from the point of view of Lord Annesley and Lady Chloe. Chloe is shy, but she finds her voice fighting for women’s suffrage. Due to his father’s poor choices, Annesley is forced to act like a puppet for the villain of the story, Theo. The longer he follows Theo, the more he is pulled away from Chloe.

As a side-note, I found it funny that it seemed like every character in the book winked. A lot.

During this period of history, there were positives like the fight for a woman’s right to vote. There were also the devastating events like the Peterloo Massacre, child slaves, and brothels.

“If it was important enough for him to die for, then it is important enough for me to live for.”

Molly, Thomas, Lord Annesley and Lady Chloe came from different social classes but all came together to fight for what they believed in.

“Suffrage was the great unifying topic.”

Historical fiction is my favorite genre. I enjoy when authors research an era and weave historical events into their book in an interesting way. Some speeches in the book during the suffrage rally were direct quotes from those who really fought for women’s right to vote. Coughing during the political speeches was so juvenile. I was surprised to find out that people actually did that.

To read more about the fight for the freedom of the lower classes, you can find Lady Amanda and Lord Nathaniel’s story in The Nobleman’s Daughter.

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


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Blog Tour and Review: The Redgrave Murders

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by A. L. Sowards

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (July 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524409456
ISBN-13: 978-1524409456

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When her father is murdered, Evie must prove her boyfriend innocent and find the real criminal before he kills again.
Loss is inevitable, as Evie Hampton knows all too well. But despite losing her mother to cancer and her older brother to a war, she knows she’s one of the lucky ones. After all, she still has her father, a distinguished professor of medieval history. And she has Gary Redhawk, the man she loves despite the emotional scars he carries from the Second World War–and despite her father’s opposition to their relationship.

When Evie’s car suddenly careens off the road, she chalks it up to poor maintenance or sheer bad luck making another appearance in her life. Little does she know a host of hardships is just beginning–the car was her father’s, and the brake lines were deliberately cut. Someone wants them dead–but why? All fingers point to Gary, a man with a troubled past and no solid alibi, but Evie is unwilling to believe he’s involved. Determined to uncover the truth, she begins to piece together a startling picture of deception and vice. But as she closes in on the truth, it is clear that someone is determined to silence her–and the next attempt on her life may be a deadly success.


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The Redgrave Murders is listed as a romance and suspense story which peaked my interest. I read almost all historical fiction, but haven’t read a lot from this time period.

Knowing the summary of the book, the first chapter did not immediately draw me in, but I became interested soon after. I am not used to stories being written in the first person, and I think it threw me off a little at first.

While the story is about the solving of murders, the characters all seem realistic and raw. My favorite character was Gary Redhawk.

Gary makes you immediately feel protective of him. Being in the Indian reform school, and then being a POW must have really been traumatic for him. Of course, this would not make him innocent of the issues that arise against him, but there is something that seems innocent and vulnerable about him from the very beginning. You slowly get to learn more about his history, and I felt even more of a connection to him.

Gary felt that he was broken after the war. He still had nightmares every night, and he worried about hurting others. My favorite scenes were when Evie was trying to break down Gary’s walls and show him he could still be loved. Everyone is broken. We are just broken in different ways.

Since the book is written in first person, I felt that I didn’t learn as much about Evie Hampton’s past. The letters from her brother at the beginning of each chapter helped some.

Evie’s father is a history professor, and I loved hearing about the decor of their house. My favorite was the suit of arms that they named. I would love to know what happened to it.

There are a lot of intense issues in this book. PTSD is a major theme. There is also a minor character who is a pedophile and continues to be non-repentant. The PTSD was especially interesting to me. During this time, many men returning from war were written off as having psychological issues if they displayed any symptoms at all. Yet there was no real help for them.

The main characters are in an interracial relationship which causes a lot of conflict with others. Gary has been through so much, and I loved the lighthearted comment he made after someone made a derogatory comment about him.

I liked the pace of the book. There were a lot of things happening, but it didn’t feel rushed. I also liked that things didn’t feel predictable. It felt like I was trying to solve the case right alongside Evie.

If you enjoy an excellent blend of romance, action and mystery, be sure to checkout The Redgrave Murders.

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


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