The Making of Mrs. Hale – Review

halecoverby Carolyn Miller

Series: Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope (Book 3)
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (November 27, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825445353
ISBN-13: 978-0825445354

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Marry in haste, repent in leisure–Mrs. Hale is about to find out how painful that repentance can truly be.

Julia Hale ran off to be married in Gretna Green, following romance instead of common sense. But her tale isn’t turning into a happily ever after. Her new husband is gone and she doesn’t know where–or if he’s ever coming back. Julia has no option but to head home to the family she betrayed by eloping and to hope they’ll forgive her. Especially now that she might be carrying a baby from her brief marriage.


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The Making of Mrs Hale is the third in the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope Series. Julia appears in the first book, Winning Miss Winthrop. I suggest reading that and Miss Serena’s Secret before reading this book. There are a number of characters that have appeared in previous books. Some characters are even from Carolyn Miller’s other series Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace. I loved The Elusive Miss Ellison and really enjoyed seeing those characters again.

This book is more raw and serious than most books I tend to read. This is a story about forgiving others and forgiving yourself. And most importantly we need to seek forgiveness from God.

I often have a hard time sympathizing with heroes in the rake to redemption story-lines. Especially if they continue to struggle with their problems. While reading this story I was wishing that Julia’s brother Jon would have a talk with his friend Nicholas to get a better perspective. I understand Jon wanting to protect his sister, but he really needed to adjust his attitude to be more Christian like. This reminded me that I needed to work on my attitude on forgiving people as well.

I liked seeing the different stages of Christianity. Nicholas seemed to be very strong in his faith and able to help others. Julia and Thomas were still learning their way. Thomas’ father had a mindset that turned people away from God. He was a preacher yet he was always telling people what they did wrong in a very unloving way and telling them that they would never be good enough.

Sections of the book switched between the present and the past. There were a lot of unexpected elements and I liked that I didn’t know what was coming next. Though it did seem like everyone wanted to kick Thomas while he was down.

There are often stories that involve a character running off to get married at Gretna Green but we don’t often get to hear what happens after the marriage. While I enjoy reading a light-hearted funny story, I think it is also important to read stories like this. I feel that by reading about the person behind the sin it helps us to be more forgiving and understanding.

The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love through the Generations – Review

heirloomcoverby Kristi Ann Hunter, Karen Witemeyer, Sarah Loudin Thomas, and Becky Wade

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 2, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780764230783
ISBN-13: 978-0764230783

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In Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson, a man far above her station.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart,” widow Ruth Fulbright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local businessman. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas’s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.

In Becky Wade’s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?


I love the idea behind this book of an heirloom because passed through the generations. And what better time than Christmas? 🙂

 
Legacy of Love by Kristi Ann Hunter

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Having read all of Kristi Ann Hunter’s published works, I had a feeling I would love this one as well. She writes such interesting, unique, imperfect characters. Not only are they more realistic, but you really want to root for them to get their happy endings.

Randall Everard is a third son.  I never really considered a third son’s life during this time period. He is neither the heir nor the spare, and he is just trying to find his place.  There is no set path for him, which has both positives and negatives.

Sarah Gooding is seen before in the Haven Manor series. I love when stories are interconnected, though this book can be read as a stand alone.

I loved how much Christmas was in this story and how it fit together so well. I also loved the message that you should be able to live your life no matter what age you are.

The scene with Sarah playing the piano was hilarious and one of my favorites.

Though I would love to spend more time with the characters, it has the feel of a full length novel and doesn’t feel rushed.

 
Gift of the Heart by Karen Witemeyer

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Like Hunter, Witemeyer is another one of my favorite authors. As a member of her “Posse”, I love that she dedicated the story to us!

Karen Witemeyer also 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.

 
A Shot at Love by Sarah Loudin Thomas

It took me awhile to get into this story.  The beginning was inundated with hunting and gun talk. While I don’t have a problem with hunting for need, I don’t like the “sport” or bragging that was involved.  The second half of the book was a lot more enjoyable for me.

I liked that Fleeta was a different kind of character.  She wasn’t “girly” and she liked the same jobs and hobbies that were usually only thought of for men.

Jack the bird was a fun little character and I liked the cousins.

I have read a novella by this author that I enjoyed and I own a few other books that are on my TBR list that I look forward to reading.

 

 
Because of You by Becky Wade

I want to start out by saying that I read over 200 books a year and out of those 200, less than 5 are contemporary. And those contemporary ones are usually by favorite authors of mine.  I just tend to find issues with a lot of contemporary books.

In the first few pages, I began to be turned off by the usage of some “trendy” modern words but was still very open-minded. Then there was the character Maddie. Maddie has been pining for Leo for years, including the time he was married to her friend. She didn’t seem to find anything wrong with that.  Then after his wife dies and he is interested in Maddie, she suddenly feels like she is betraying her friend.

Maddie spends a lot of time taking pictures for her Instagram. That in and of itself didn’t bother me. It was the fact that she would be in the middle of a conversation involving charity and she would have to stand up and take 50 shots trying to get the perfect photo of her salad and chips. Seriously? And I know some people like to look at food pictures for some reason, but a salad and chips? Then when Leo doesn’t understand, she calls him “quaint”.

There are a few conversations with Maddie and her grandmother Fleeta. Comparing Fleeta from the previous story, who is a strong, independent woman, with Maddie makes Maddie’s personality even more surprising. Maddie’s mother, Laura, also seems flaky. And it was sad how a sentimental heirloom that has been passed down since the 1700s was treated.

There were some positives.  I liked Leo.  He was sweet and adorably awkward but was also loyal to his wife and a good father. I like that adoption was included in the book but the fact that the girls had been adopted wasn’t dwelled upon. And I loved that Charlie picked out a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Because of You wasn’t for me. As I mentioned though, contemporary fiction isn’t really my favorite genre.

Miss Serena’s Secret (Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope #2) – Review

serenacoverby Carolyn Miller

Series: Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope (Book 2)

Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (July 24, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825445345
ISBN-13: 978-0825445347

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With devastating scars in her past, Serena Winthrop is sure no man can be trusted–especially not a man like the too-smooth Viscount Carmichael. His reputation as a flirt and a gambler is everything she despises. And the young artist makes sure that this disreputable heir to an earldom knows of her deep disapproval whenever they encounter one another.

Henry, Lord Carmichael, is perfectly aware of his charms. He’s gambled with plenty of ladies’ hearts as easily as he has with their husbands’ money. But lately he’s wondered if there’s more to life–and if his actions might prove unworthy of an admirable wife such as his friends have found.

When Serena’s guardian asks his best friend to protect his young ward, Henry promises to be on his best behavior and not to woo her. But the more he learns of her, the more he realizes she might be his best reason for changing his character.

Then the lady’s painting leads her to London infamy. Now Henry must choose between the life mapped out for him as the earl apparent and the love of his life. And Serena’s secret may mean the end of his titled family line.


If only I could function without sleep…

It was four in the morning before I finally forced myself to put the book down and the next day I was quick to pick it up and finish it.

This book was filled with an entire range of emotional moments that were: funny, romantic, tense, joyous… There were raw emotions, whether it was a child born into the world or a beloved character called home. I held my breath though a scene which is so unlike me and during another scene I literally dropped my jaw.  I was so glad no one was watching me while reading this book!

Carolyn Miller always has such interesting, dynamic characters. I love how she describes the scenery, and I can vividly picture it. As a landscape photographer I can relate with Serena seeing God’s work in His glorious creation and trying to capture it.

The parts with the children were some of my favorites. Like when Serena was trying to paint the bouncy children and they were asking her questions about Uncle Henry. I also liked the way Henry interacted with the children. Those scenes were so precious.

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Miss Serena’s Secret is not a story where things go perfectly, and that is one of the reasons why I recommend it. While it’s nice to read a story that is happy and positive all the time, it’s not very realistic. This book’s realistic scenarios remind us of how we all should live. Love endures all things. Bad things will happen but we must continue to love God and love others and see the good He provides us with.

At the end of Miss Serena’s Secret it shows a preview of Carolyn’s next book in the series The Making of Mrs. Hale. I am very much looking forward to it even more after reading that preview.

A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor #1) – Review

honorcoverby Kristi Ann Hunter

Series: Haven Manor (Book 1)

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 5, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764230751
ISBN-13: 978-0764230752

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When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn’t worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.


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A Defense of Honor is a standalone book and can be read as such. However, the prequel A Search for Refuge really helps set the stage and it is free on Amazon.

This book had a unique and interesting plot, especially for the time period.  I have read a lot of stories set during this era and have never read anything like this.

It had a mix of very serious topics along with some funny moments. I loved the ongoing joke of how Kit FitzGilbert and Lord Graham Wharton met and their love of dancing with plants.

While this book is largely about the aristocracy it stills has a raw realness to it with feelings and situations that are seen today.

One of the themes of this book was learning to follow God’s will.  Also, needing to realize how blessed you are and that to be a good person you must help those who are less fortunate.

“A good man sees what he’s been given and does the best he can to earn it.”

I really enjoyed that this book was not predictable, had an interesting storyline, and there were a number of characters I want to know even more about in future books.

More Than Meets the Eye (Patchwork Family #1) – Review

eyecover

by Karen Witemeyer

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 5, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764212834
ISBN-13: 978-0764212833

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Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?


As a fan of Karen Witemeyer, I knew right away that I wanted to read More Than Meets the Eye. She is a master of dialogue and descriptions and her characters are always interesting and unique.

This book wasn’t just about Logan and Evangeline. It was about an entire patched together family and I felt invested in each character.

The prologue immediately pulls you in and is so incredibly emotional. I had heard it was a “tear jerker” and I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t! It was that moving.

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This was one of my favorite quotes from the book and really pulled the characters and the entire story together.

Evangeline spent her entire life being judged for her different colored eyes. It was sad when she was a little four year old being bullied. It was even worse when “Christians” at her congregation judged her and were superstitious.

Logan is not only outwardly scarred, but he holds the scars of his past in his heart. He is intent on taking revenge on someone he feels wronged his family.

“Vengeance doesn’t heal pain, Logan. Love heals pain.”

Zach is a complex character who has a wide range of emotions. He is vulnerable and fiercely protective of his family, yet he puts on a hard exterior. I would love to see what his future holds after this book concludes.

Seth is asthmatic and Christie is deaf and was abused in her past. However, they find a kindred spirit in each other and have such a sweet relationship.

They are great characters on their own but even better when they are together as a family.

There was action and a mystery surrounding Christie that was interesting to follow throughout the book. There were also secrets between Evangeline and Logan. A lot of times secrets do not come out until the end of a book. I liked that they came out earlier and were addressed.

I also liked the lighthearted moments in the book. Evangeline had a unique pet named Hezekiah that made for some funny scenes. Logan also named his pet, Shamgar, a Biblical name.

More Than Meets the Eye had action, mystery, some comedic moments and a lot of heart. I highly recommend this book.

Some other favorite quotes:

“Go peddle your pessimism somewhere else, mister, I’m not buying.”

“I want honesty, even when the truth is less than palatable.”

“Love stayed. Even when things became messy and unpleasant, love stayed.”

The Mail-Order Brides Collection: 9 Historical Stories of Marriage that Precedes Love – Review

mobcoverby Kathleen Y’Barbo, Megan Besing, Noelle Marchand, Donna Schlachter, Sherri Shackelford, Michelle Shocklee, Ann Shorey, Liz Tolsma, Jennifer Uhlarik

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (February 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1683224442
ISBN-13: 978-1683224440

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What kind of woman would answer an advertisement and marry a stranger?

Escape into the history of the American West along with nine couples whose relationships begin with advertisements for mail-order brides. Placing their dreams for new beginnings in the hands of a stranger, will each bride be disappointed, or will some find true love?

Perfect for the Preacher by Megan Besing
1897, Indiana
Fresh from seminary, Amos Lowry believes marriage will prove to his skeptical congregation that he’s mature. If only his mail-order bride wasn’t an ex-saloon girl, and worse, pregnant.

The Outlaw’s Inconvenient Bride by Noelle Marchand
1881, Wyoming
After a gang of outlaws uses a mail-order bride advertisement to trick an innocent woman into servitude, an undercover lawman must claim the bride—even if it puts his mission in jeopardy.

Train Ride to Heartbreak by Donna Schlachter
1895, Train to California
John Stewart needs a wife. Mary Johannson needs a home. On her way west, Mary falls in love with another. Now both must choose between commitment and true love.

Mail-Order Proxy by Sherri Shackelford
1885, Montana
A mail-order marriage by proxy goes wrong when a clerical error leads to the proxies actually being married instead of the siblings they were standing in for. In their quest to correct the mistake, the two discover outlaws, adventure, and even love.

To Heal Thy Heart by Michelle Shocklee
1866, New Mexico
When Phoebe Wagner answers a mail-order bride ad that states Confederate widows need not apply, she worries what Dr. Luke Preston will do when he learns her fiancé died wearing gray.

Miss-Delivered Mail by Ann Shorey
1884, Washington
Helena Erickson impulsively decides to take advantage of her brother’s deception and travels to Washington Territory in response to a proposal of marriage intended for someone else. How will Daniel McNabb respond when Helena is nothing like he expected?

A Fairy-Tale Bride by Liz Tolsma
1867, Texas
Nora Green doesn’t feel much like Cinderella when her mail-order groom stands her up. But could the mysterious jester from the town’s play be her Prince Charming?

The Brigand and the Bride by Jennifer Uhlarik
1876, Arizona
Jolie Hilliard weds a stranger to flee her outlaw family but discovers her groom is an escaped prisoner. Will she ever find happiness on the right side of the law?

The Mail-Order Mistake by Kathleen Y’Barbo
1855, Texas
Pinkerton detective Jeremiah Bingham is investigating a mail-order bride scam bankrupting potential grooms. When unsuspecting orphan May Conrad answers his false ad, she becomes the prime suspect in the case.


The Mail-Order Brides Collection brings us nine historical stories of women who choose to marry a stranger for convenience rather than to marry for love.

Perfect for the Preacher by Megan Besing
-This story is about someone who has trials that she had to go through and how she became more faithful through it.
-There is a lot of judging other people and forming prejudices but then knowing that God’s forgiveness is for all and we are all sinners.
-One of my favorite movies is While You Were Sleeping. There is a scene in the movie that reminds me of the way Margaret kept jumping topics during dinner.

The Outlaw’s Inconvenient Bride by Noelle Marchand
-Mariah tried to leave a life of crime behind and yet she ended up right in the middle of it.
-It has the message of trusting God and trusting those you love
-I liked the action and adventure in this story.

Train Ride to Heartbreak by Donna Schlachte
-There is a message in this story of finding joy even in bad circumstances.
-I liked the plot and the characters. I especially liked that the characters weren’t perfect.
-The children in the train were a little unbelievably resilient in tragic circumstances.
-I found it odd that John can fall in love and propose even without knowing her last name.

Mail-Order Proxy by Sherri Shackelford
-There is a struggle of trying to prove yourself to others and is it really worth it?
-I loved this story and it was one of my favorites in the collection.
-There were lots of funny moments and I loved the banter, characters and storylines.
-Some quotes:
“They each wanted to feel as though they mattered.”
“Would you rather have your life matter to a thousand people or to one person?”

To Heal Thy Heart by Michelle Shocklee
-This story is about a Yankee doctor who doesn’t want a mail order bride who is a southern sympathizer but Phoebe Wagner hides her beliefs and marries Dr. Luke Preston anyway.
-I liked most of the story but the confession and forgiveness would have been better if it had been expanded.
-Phoebe was completely wrong for being married to one man but still in love with another even though he had died.
-Luke was a very likable character except for his flaw in not loving all people.

Miss-Delivered Mail by Ann Shorey
-This was about looking for something better and taking a chance but not asking God to lead you.
-I liked the other family but wish there was more interaction between Daniel and Helena.
-There was also a lot of wasted money on tickets.
-One of my favorite scenes was the one where Helena received a letter from her brother and Daniel recognized the handwriting.

A Fairy-Tale Bride by Liz Tolsma
-This story was another one of my favorites. The characters were well developed and the story didn’t seem rushed, which is often the case with novellas.
-I really enjoyed this story. It was a sweet and different version of Cinderella. It was a clever take on Cinderella using the play instead of the ball.
-I liked the play and the jester scenes as well as their interactions at Maude’s house.
-I have known people like Maude and I feel for those kids.

The Brigand and the Bride by Jennifer Uhlarik
-Jolie is a strong female character, but she put up with too much abuse from her brother.
-I liked that there was lots of action and adventure and the story was filled with details.
-Jolie and Del had a great connection.
-I didn’t actually see a twist coming in the story which made for a nice surprise.

The Mail-Order Mistake by Kathleen Y’Barbo
-I liked the details about the different locations throughout this story.
-I also liked the mystery.
-Things really did seem to fall into Pinkerton detective Jeremiah Bingham’s lap. I would have liked to see more detective work.

The Bartered Bride Romance Collection: 9 Historical Stories of Arranged Marriages – Review

barteredby Cathy Marie Hake, JoAnn A. Grote, Kelly Eileen Hake, Amy Rognlie, Janelle Burnham Schneider, Pamela Kaye Tracy, Lynette Sowell

File Size: 3540 KB
Print Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (May 1, 2018)
Publication Date: April 15, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B078WKSTV9

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Treasure this beautiful collection packed with all the angst of romance founded upon practical arrangements. Four sisters travel in answer to an ad before even corresponding with potential husbands. Two women bend to the will of their parents in taking husbands. A widow commits to a stranger in name only. And two women on the Oregon Trail hitch their lives to men they’ve just met. Will love blossom for convenience sake?


Barbour Books has put together another enjoyable collection of historical romances. This set of stories spans a number of time periods and locations and focuses on arranged marriages.

Joie De Vivre by Lynette Sowell

When Josée Broussard turned 18, she thought if she had to marry someone it would be her childhood friend. Instead, his parents have arranged for her to marry their reclusive oldest son, Edouard LeBlanc.

-I like when there are troubles and a character has to go through a hard time; unlike Edouard’s brother who wasn’t responsible and lived a charmed life.

-I found Josée too fickle and she and Edouard fell in love too fast.

-I enjoyed learning about the culture, especially during this time period.

 

Button Strong Bride by Cathy Marie Hake

Charity Davis loses her parents along the grueling Oregon Trail. She combines wagons with widower Ethan Cole so he can help her and she can take care of his children. When a potentially embarrassing situation happens they must turn to God and follow his will.

-This was one of my favorites in the collection! There were lots of interesting details and I liked the characters, plots and time period. I really liked learning about the traditions like the button string.

 

The Wedding Wagon by Cathy Marie Hake

Bethany Handley grew up without a family. After meeting her friend’s brother, Joshua Rogers, at Christmas and exchanging letters they decide to marry before hitting the Oregon Trail. While learning more about each other, they must also learn to put each other before others.

-I liked a lot about this story. The time period, historical details, and characters were excellent. I also liked the real life relationship issues and the fact that they were struggling to put their spouse first. There were so many true to life situations.

-The ending seemed abrupt and I wish it could have been extended with more details.

 

From Halter to Alter by Cathy Marie Hake

James Collingswood sends a request for horse bridles and instead receives 4 mail order brides. Despite his every intention, will he lose his heart?

-I really enjoyed this one. This was such an interesting and funny concept for a story! For a short story, I was surprised at how much depth each character had.

-This story, along with the next 3, really fit with the book title because the brother in law was bartering for the women and treating them like chattel.

-I stayed up late finishing this one then realized the next one was a continuation. I was excited that the story would continue, yet sad I would have to wait to read it. 🙂

 

From Carriage to Marriage by Janelle Burnham Schneider

The story continues with Luke Collingswood and Corrine who is a recent widow and in the family way. While Luke feels protective of all the sisters, he begins to fall in love with Corrine. If he rushes things, will he lose any chance with her?

-This was an adorable continuation of “From Halter to Alter”.

-Luke was my favorite character in this story. I love how he acted with all the sisters as well as the children.

-Even though the story will continue in “From Pride to Bride”, I still wish the last scene in this story would have been a little longer.

 

From Pride to Bride by JoAnne A. Grote

The “bridle” sister stories continue with Bess and Bertie moving into town and running a baking business. “Bossy Bess” pushes her way into saloon owner Gideon’s life by taking over his saloon for a church and a school. Will she also be able to take over his heart and lead it back to God?

-Like the previous ones, I loved this continuation.

-The message in this story that God wants us to help all souls was a great one. I also like that the hero wasn’t “perfect” and that Bess could see his hurting heart and the reasons he made the choices he did.

-Like the other sister stories, I would have loved for this story to be longer.

 

From Alarming to Charming by Pamela Kaye Tracy

Tomboy Bertie Craig meets Thomas Hardin and wishes that she was more mature, feminine and no longer a squirt. Thomas comes back years after he and his father had been run out of town on charges of cattle rustling. Will Thomas be able to get over his past? And will Bertie always be seen as a squirt?

-The series continues with interesting characters and good storylines. However, this book definitely could have benefited from being longer. The shorter length did not do it justice.

-Though I appreciate seeing more on the characters, I am not a fan of epilogues with so many new characters in such a condensed space. It seemed more like a listing of names.

-Overall, this story was a good wrap-up to the series.

 

A Vow Unbroke by Amy Rognlie

Through letters, James and Caroline agreed to marry. Instead of his fiancée, James is greeted with Caroline’s pregnant widowed niece, Abby, who arrived in her place. James instantly falls in love but Abby has made a vow to God that she will never love again.

-Unfortunately, this was my least favorite story in the collection.

-It was dishonest of elderly Aunt Caroline to correspond with James and agree to marry him when she had no intention of doing so. She also most likely misrepresented herself.

-I didn’t like that James fell instantly in love, even though he admits he doesn’t even know Abby.

-Throughout this story, I was wondering how this situation could possibly resolve itself successfully. I don’t think it ever did. James agreed that his marriage would be one of convenience and knew that Abby didn’t want a real marriage but he expected to change her mind and would get angry when she didn’t agree. This wasn’t just about a small issue, Abby made a vow to God.

Numbers 30:2 – If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

Deuteronomy 23:21 – When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.

 

Finishing Touches by Kelly Eileen Hake

Right before Gregory’s wedding, his future bride Tabitha runs away and elopes with another man. Due to pride and a financial arrangement, he is forced to marry Tabitha’s sister Libby who has secretly had feelings for him. Will Gregory be able to forget Tabitha and love Libby for who she is?

-I liked most of this story, however, the way Gregory’s heart started to turn seemed superficial.

-Gregory’s actions bothered me at times. While I can understand the emotions he was going through, he reacted to them in a negative, though entirely human, way. Libby was a strong, faithful character. There were many times she could have hidden herself away but she strived to do God’s will and be the best wife she could be.

-This story was a nice ending to this collection.