A Note of Change – Review

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by Esther Hatch, Nichole Van, and Annette Lyon

File Size: 3098 KB
Print Length: 261 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Mirror Press (February 25, 2020)
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B083SS2P5Y

Can a single note change a life, start a romance, or drive two people apart?

Waiting for the Post by Esther Hatch
Now that Harrison Chase has finally made his fortune as a working man, he will risk it all to save his factory workers from starvation. In the middle of his charge to reverse the Corn Laws, his housekeeper helpfully mails a letter she finds languishing amongst his things. A six-year-old love letter. With no other choice, he rushes back to his childhood home on Christine Stone’s estate. If he can’t get his hands on that letter before she does, Christine will discover what a pitiful and pretentious fool he had been. The one thing he hadn’t counted on was the mail being delayed. Now Harrison must decide which is worse—waiting with Christine as he not-so-slowly falls back in love with her, or leaving, knowing once she reads his letter he can never return.

A Ring of Gold by Nichole Van
Viola Brodure longs for something more from her life. So when that something more arrives in the form of a letter from the renowned Highland Poet, Ethan Penn-Leith, she seizes her chance. After all, Mr. Penn-Leith merits every swoon-worthy adjective Viola can muster. What woman wouldn’t want to be in her shoes? But after journeying to Scotland and meeting the poet himself, Viola faces a difficult question: What happens if you don’t want the thing you thought you did?

A Rose by Any Other Name by Annette Lyon
As an orphan whose only home has been the Foundling Hospital, Rose is tasked to work in the fine houses of Bloomsbury. She knows her duty—take care of the family upstairs and never forget her place. But her traitorous heart won’t follow the rules, and she falls in love with Oliver Withey, a man far above her station. Though she feels like she’s found a home in Oliver’s arms, his mother has other plans for her oldest son—and marrying a servant isn’t one of them. She’ll do anything to keep Rose and Oliver apart, including making a devil’s bargain that ensures they’ll never see each other again. When a mysterious old woman appears, she seems to have answers to Rose’s past. Could those long-held secrets hold the key to the future with Oliver that Rose longs for?


Waiting for the Post by Esther Hatch

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Harrison Chase was the steward’s son who left to try to make something of himself. Christine Stone was the daughter of a wealthy landowner who lived a life of luxury. Six years later a stray letter brings them back together.

“Three days—that should be enough.”

He took three steps before asking. “Enough for what?”

“To make you smile at me again, before you have to go back to living your life for nails.”

Esther Hatch is a master at writing moments between characters. I always enjoy the funny moments but it is the sweet and tender moments that stand out even more. I feel like I hold my breath when I read through some of these beautifully written scenes.

“Behind his eyes was a dark storm of emotions that belied the carefree young man she had once known.”

A Ring of Gold by Nichole Van

I like that the hero is not the one you would expect from the beginning of the story, and I liked that the main characters were in their 30s.

I was afraid that Viola and Malcolm’s relationship would be superficial because of their intense first attraction to each other, but it was nice to see them really get to know each other and have a deeper connection.

Naming the dog Beowoof is hilarious! The scenes with Viola, Malcolm, and Beowoof were my favorites, and someone not liking dogs should be a huge red flag.

When I was reading the scene where Viola talks baby talk to Beowoof I wondered what person in their 30s actually did this. Later that day I noticed I was talking the same way to my poodle-mix. I’m in my 30s. Point taken.

 

A Rose by Any Other Name by Annette Lyon

I liked hearing about the foundling’s home and the contrast with Oliver’s “new money” family, but I wish I had felt more connection with the characters. Maybe if there had been some more scenes when Oliver and Rose were falling in love?

There were also parts of this story that seemed a little far fetched which made it hard to relate to.

 
Waiting for the Post was my favorite story in the book, and I also really enjoyed A Ring of Gold.

Blog Tour and Review: All Hearts Come Home for Christmas

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by Sarah M. Eden, Anita Stansfield, Esther Hatch, and Joanna Barker

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (September 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524411094
ISBN-13: 978-1524411091

Purchase from Amazon

Christmas at Falstone Castle by Sarah M. Eden

The Dowager Duchess of Kielder eagerly anticipates spending Christmas with her son and his family. Though their relationship has been strained, the duchess is determined to heal the chasm. Even with the help of the widowed local vicar, her plan will take a Christmas miracle. But during this magical season, anything is possible . . . even two second chances for love.

The Heart of Christmas by Anita Stansfield

When a chance meeting brings together a gentle seamstress and a widowed banker, each lonely soul finds a first hint of hope. As their lives become entwined, it will take Christmas spirit to guide a broken family to love and healing.

‘Tis the Season to Be Daring by Esther Hatch

Elizabeth Davenport has had quite enough of the London Season. Determined to evade a parade of unsuitable suitors, she seeks help from the one gentleman who has no regard for Society’s rules. All of Society knows Lord Hawthorne is not interested in marriage, yet he cannot deny Miss Davenport’s unique charm. And as the Christmas season works its magic, their charade begins to feel less like playacting and more like love.

The Christmas Dress by Joanna Barker

Seamstress Nell Addington is thrilled when her childhood friend Jacob Hammond commissions a dress for his sister. But when Nell realizes her feelings for Jacob run far deeper than friendship, an unexpected snowstorm—and some holiday cheer—may convince them both that love is worth fighting for.


Christmas at Falstone Castle by Sarah M. Eden

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Sarah M. Eden always pulls you right in from the very beginning. The first chapter with little Adam is so heartbreaking.

“Father had taught him to be a duke.

Adam fortified his seven-year-old heart. If Mother didn’t love him, he wouldn’t allow himself to love her or long for her or need her. The pain in his heart was so enormous he knew he wouldn’t be able to bear it if he couldn’t relieve it somehow.

He simply wouldn’t care. About her. About anyone. Not ever again.

I am a duke now. Dukes don’t cry. And dukes don’t need people.

Seeking Persephone is one of my favorite books from Sarah. I love the characters! It was so great to see them again, especially with the addition of little Oliver. Adam and Persephone have such a sweet relationship, and I love seeing the dangerous duke’s sweet side with his son. Adam has the best dry sense of humor, and Persephone is so perfect for him.

Coming into the story I viewed the dowager fairly negatively. She left her only child, and the few times she saw him she called him her poor boy while pointing out his flaws.

While this was a story about the Dowager Duchess of Kielder and Roswell Duncan the local vicar, my favorite parts were with Adam, Persephone, and Oliver.


The Heart of Christmas by Anita Stansfield

“Staring at the cracked hearts, Addie felt as if she were looking at a clear and undeniable representation of the three people who lived in this home, the people she’d been hired to care for, the people she’d grown to love. Their hearts were broken, and Addie wanted nothing more than to find a way to help mend the cracks so they could find new happiness in their lives and share life like a family instead of simply living completely separate lives beneath the same roof.”

Theo, his daughter Becky, and Aunt Marla have been living in the same house for almost ten years. They mostly live their lives separately, however. Theo is naturally shy and keeps his emotions to himself, and the aunt doesn’t like to talk about anything sad. Becky believes she is to blame for her mother’s death and chooses to act out like her friends as school. Though truth be told, she doesn’t seem to act out much for a child her age. She seems fairly normal.

Addie wants to do her job the best way she can, and in addition she really wants to help the people she works for come together as a family. She is often described as a kind person and hopes to improve the lives of others. I was a little confused with Addie’s opinion of Becky. Becky presents herself as a skeptical child, however, Addie describes as “peevish” and “cantankerous” after only a short first impression.

I had a hard time getting into this book. I think a large part was because the book is almost entirely written as descriptions with not a lot of dialogue. I prefer more of a combination between the two. The characters also didn’t seem to have much of a connection to each other, and I didn’t feel any connection to them.


’Tis the Season to Be Daring by Esther Hatch

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Elizabeth fears she lives a boring life only knitting and embroidering. She doesn’t know who she can truly be until she meets Charles.

I love the way Charles is with children. The scene with his niece was one of my favorites. It was sweet and funny and you see a whole other side to him than the moody one that avoids the matchmaking mamas in the ballrooms.

These two are so adorable together!

I sometimes have a harder time connecting to characters in shorter stories, but these characters were really well developed, and I loved them.

There was a nice combination between romance and comedy. Charles and Elizabeth were able to have serious conversations as well as be comfortable and joke with each other. I liked the joke about the booties and the 12 children.

“Our eyes met, and in the firelight his shone an almost iridescent blue. And in an instant I knew. Whoever was lucky enough to marry Lord Hawthorne would live this way. She would have laughter, love, entertainment, and belonging. There would be trust and conversation. Oh, the conversations—always on the verge of laughing, but never at the expense of others. I stepped back away from him as a fire in my chest grew to be more painful and hot than the bowl of brandy in front of us.

I wanted to be that woman. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Lord Hawthorne, not just the next few days. I had allowed myself to be too long in his company, and now it was too late. No matter how we left things, I would never be the same.”


The Christmas Dress by Joanna Barker

Jacob and Nell grew up together, though they did not socialize a lot with each other. Years later they are reunited in an awkward yet cute way.

They have now both lost their fathers. Nell lost her father years ago, but still fiercely misses him and remembers all the good times. Jacob just recently lost his father, but they didn’t get along, and Jacob hadn’t seen him in the five years before his death.

It seems a little harsh for Jacob to not see someone ever again because they did not get along. Especially because that someone was his father and in staying away, he was also staying away from his sister.

I had to laugh when Nell mentioned multiple times that Jacob’s sister Alice shouldn’t wear black, because she is pale and has dark hair. Alice and I share these features, and I often wear black.

Joanna Barker is a newer to me author. I have only read Beauty and the Baron. I enjoyed “The Christmas Dress” and look forward to reading her other books.

“He lifted her burdens without even seeming to be aware that he did it, so naturally kind and thoughtful was he.”

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


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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

Purchase from Amazon

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.