Blog Tour and Review: Solving Sophronia

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Sophronia by Jennifer Moore

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (May 4, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 152441235X
ISBN-13: 978-1524412357

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Lady Sophronia Bremerton is a far cry from the typical debutante, but she’s the toast of London’s upper class for one simple reason: she’s a society columnist for the London Illustrated News, and the gentry loves seeing their exploits printed in the gossip pages. But Sophie has bigger plans she aspires to be an investigative reporter. When a stuffy ballroom at yet another Season proves to be nothing more than the usual rumor mill, Sophie seeks respite in the library alongside four other young women who, for their own reasons, are also looking for escape. As the conversation turns to their secret ambitions, the women form a sisterhood and a bold plan: they will make their dreams a reality, no matter the obstacles. Thus begins the Blue Orchid Society.

Hearing of a murder in a London rookery, Sophie seizes the opportunity to prove her skills. Detective Jonathan Graham doesn’t believe a civilian, a noblewoman at that, should be anywhere near a murder investigation, but Sophie insists on helping bring the killer to justice. Her investigative prowess doesn’t go unnoticed by the police, especially Jonathan, who can’t decide whether this intrepid reporter is a thorn in his side or the woman of his dreams. But as the case grows more complicated and dangerous, their very lives and their hearts may be at risk.


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I liked the intro chapter and I look forward to learning more about each of the women in the Blue Orchid Society. They don’t fit in to the constraints of the current society but they are all unique and form a lasting friendship.

“I wish to be known for more than just to whom I was born”

I enjoyed the character development of Sophie and Jonathan. The mystery itself took a little to get into. There was a touch too many crime scene details for my taste. After a little bit the mystery picked up for me and I really looked forward to seeing how it would play out.

“One cannot control matters of the heart”

I liked that this was a different kind of Victorian novel and following along throughout the inter workings of an entire police investigation was interesting aside from the crime scene itself.

“A gentleman needs to be rescued by a lady every now and then.”

Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read and I liked reading about the different groups of people during this time period.

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Read the prequel Emmeline for free!

 

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As Arthur Bremerton, Lord Mather, hurries to the opening session of Parliament, he is incensed to find his way blocked by a boisterous group protesting for women’s rights. But his annoyance turns to mortification when he finds his own cousin among their ranks, alongside a beautiful suffragette who engages him in a fierce battle of words and wills.

Emmeline’s fight for equality is just one facet of her wide-ranging interests. At the moment, her most pressing concern is how she and her mother, an eccentric Baroness, are to begin again after the family’s fortune was squandered following her father’s death. After her heated disagreement with Lord Mather, the only thought she gives the infuriating man is the hope that they will never meet again. But alas, this hope is in vain: unbeknownst to them, both Emmeline and Arthur are to be guests at a three-week house party, and fate seems determined to throw them together at every opportunity.

Get your free copy of Emmeline here!

Blog Tour and Review: A Proper Charade

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by Esther Hatch

Paperback
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: The Noble Smuggler

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by Sian Ann Bessey

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (April 1, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524412279
ISBN-13: 978-1524412272

Despite living at her father’s inn her entire life, Elizabeth Doyle has always managed to avoid involvement with the smugglers who frequently gather there. Until now. When a handsome smuggler is brought to her with dire injuries, Elizabeth risks everything to hide him—completely unaware that the wounded man is not who he appears to be.

When an opportunity arises to infiltrate the notorious smuggling gang he believes caused his father’s death, Jonas Ainsworth, the Viscount Langton, pretends to be one of them. But when he is wounded midcharade, Jonas’s life is placed in the hands of an unlikely savior: a smuggler’s daughter. Forced to flee before his wounds have fully healed, he does not think he will ever see her again—until she appears on his doorstep, seeking safe haven. Divided by their social standings yet united in their mutual desire to expose the leader of the smuggling ring, Jonas and Elizabeth are undeniably drawn to each other. Neither realizes, however, that they are dangerously close to uncovering explosive secrets from the past—secrets that will alter the course of their lives forever.


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The Noble Smuggler is a book packed full of adventure, mystery, and romance which you won’t want to put down!

This was my first time reading a novel by Sian Ann Bessey. I have read a number of books on smuggling but this one took a different approach than any I have read before.

Both the main characters intrigued me. Elizabeth Doyle is trapped living with her father even though she knows staying quiet about his struggling is wrong, yet she seems to have a strong and independent side. Jonas Ainsworth had uncommon relationships with his mother and sister. I also liked his friendship with his servant and former childhood friend. They had some interesting scenes together.

One of the things I love about reading historical fiction is learning things about each time period. The author seamlessly works in descriptions of the fashions and furnishings during the late 1700s as well as historic events.

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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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Blog Tour and Review: Where the Stars Meet the Sea

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by Heidi Kimball

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (March 2, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524410411
ISBN-13: 978-1524410414

A broken man. A fiery young woman. Neither one’s heart will come away unscathed.

Juliet Graham fervently counts the days until her twenty-first birthday, when she can claim the inheritance that will grant her the freedom she has always craved and the guardianship of her younger brother. Until then, she is trapped under her aunt Agnes’s domineering will. When forced to accompany the family to a house party at Shaldorn Castle, Juliet’s only objective is to keep to herself. That is, until a chance encounter with a boorish stranger stirs up an unexpected whirlwind of emotions in her. Thrown off-balance, Juliet does the unthinkable: loses her temper and insults the man—who turns out to be her unwilling host, the Duke of Halstead. Fully expecting to be sent away, Juliet is surprised when the brusque and callous duke instead takes an interest in her.

Drawn to the duke in unguarded moments, Juliet finds herself more and more intrigued by the man who shuns Society’s rules as completely as she does, and over the next few weeks, their unlikely friendship deepens into a connection neither expected.

But even as Juliet comes to recognize her true feelings, her scheming aunt issues an ultimatum that threatens the future she was just beginning to hope for. Juliet must choose: either break the promise she made to herself years ago, or lose the man who has captured her heart and soul.


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I love when a story pulls you right in, and even in just the first chapter I already feel extremely interested in the main characters.

“Sometimes it is nice to be reminded how insignificant we are.”

The Duke of Halstead vows to never marry and Juliet Graham never wants to marry outside her station like her parents did. She is, however, fascinated with finding out what the Duke is really like and why she is so affected by him.

“I was the daughter of a sailor, and no matter how fancy my borrowed ball gown, I would never belong in a setting like this—in Halstead’s world.”

They are both grieving and need each other to work through it. Juliet is still grieving for her father and Halstead is grieving for what he lost in the accident and trying to figure out his new normal.

Halstead scrubbed a hand along his clenched jaw. “Did you ever stop to think, even for a moment, that I push you away for a reason? There’s a chasm inside of me so deep and dark I sometimes think it will swallow me whole.” He paused, breathing heavily. “And I fear if I give you even the smallest glimpse, I will frighten you away.”

Halstead’s struggles resonate with me. His body is constantly in pain and he tries to mask his emotions so no one can see how bad it is. Though along with masking that pain, he is masking so many other things and building up walls around himself. I think that someone who has not walked through this situation might have a harder time understanding it on the same level.

I loved Halstead and Juliet’s moments alone together, and I selfishly wanted more.

This book was well written with characters you will pull for as they struggle to find their happy ending. The minor characters were just as strong as the major ones. I loved Hugh and the Duke’s sister but I found Robert needy and annoying. Halstead’s grandmother had an overbearing personality but she was a sassy old lady.

“If you had known Halstead before his accident . . . well, he was a man with every door open to him. He possessed political power, wealth, good looks, the latter of which he of course got from me.”

The Guarded Heart is one of my all time favorite books, and I really enjoyed this book as well. I can’t wait to read more from Heidi Kimball.

“I try not to hope. Better to face the reality of what is.”

“I can’t decide if that is admirable or troubling. Perhaps both.”

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Blog Tour and Review: The Masked Baron

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by Anneka R. Walker

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (March 2, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524412236
ISBN-13: 978-1524412234

Andalin is accustomed to her father’s frequent travels—and to being left behind. So when he returns home and instructs her to pack her belongings, she is bewildered—but there is no time for questions as she is whisked away on a mysterious journey under the cover of night.

When their tense flight leads them into the forbidding Black Forest, the pair quickly finds themselves in great peril. With little hope of escape, father and daughter are spared when rescue appears in the form of the mysterious Dark Rider, a notorious deadly highwayman feared by all he meets. But his assistance does not come without a price: he is taking Andalin with him. Now her fate rests in the hands of the enigmatic masked man whose secrets are inescapably tied to the beautiful young woman now in his charge.


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The Masked Baron was a unique take on a retelling of Beauty and the Beast during the Regency era with a mystery weaved throughout that I really enjoyed.

At the beginning of the story, Andalin seemed a little spoiled to me. She understood why certain security measures were necessary, yet she spent a whole lot of time complaining about them to people who were only ever nice to her. While it took me a bit to warm up to Andalin due to her childish behaviour, I did end up liking her and her curious, forthright, spunky personality.

“Fear is natural. But ye shouldn’t dwell on it. It can be consuming. It’s better to look for solutions, for peace, for answers. Ye seem like someone who would want answers.”

Ellison is the dark brooding mystery man that everyone wants to know more about. The stories about him as the masked rider continue to grow more elaborate, but how much of it is really true?

“Do not let the bitterness of the past leave no room for reconciliation.”

This book shows us the consequences when people spread stories about other people that aren’t true and how important it is to get to know people for who they really are.

“The only person you will hurt by not forgiving is yourself”

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Author Interview, Blog Tour and Review: Adoring Abigail

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by Chalon Linton

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (February 3, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524411515
ISBN-13: 978-1524411510

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Captain Robert Wilkins has never aspired to grandeur. So when the returned war hero unexpectedly inherits the vast estate of Cattersley from his great-aunt, he feels woefully inadequate in his new role. Out of place in his lavish surroundings, his first glimmer of hope comes when he happens upon a lovely trespasser in his gardens.

Words have never come easily for Abigail Rutherford, and she prefers the solitude of exploring the gardens at the neighboring country estate to engaging in uncomfortable conversation. But when she unexpectedly encounters Captain Robert Wilkins in her place of solace, she is surprised at the immediate ease she feels in his presence. Soon her brightest moments are those spent with the captain. But even as their friendship grows into something more, outside forces have other plans for the two. Mr. Mead, the handsome vicar, has also taken a liking to the quiet and timid Abigail and he will stop at nothing to ensure she becomes his wife.


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Abigail Rutherford has a speech impediment and her entire life has been defined by it by first her mother and then her grandmother.

“Silence was demanded by my mother, so when I was told or expected to speak, my mouth could not immediately form the words. But once they came, they came in a deluge, a tidal wave of nonsense pouring out.”

Her grandmother calls her dumb because of it and separates her from society. Trying not to be an embarrassment, those few times she was allowed to be amoung them she struggled. Having difficulties and going through challenges in life makes the characters more real and I immediately feel more protective of them.

“Grandmother thought only of the benefit to herself, not the joy I felt to be wanted as a friend. Such feelings of inclusion were entirely new to me.”

Robert Wilkins still acts as if he is Captain in the army. He views every situation as needing to have a strategy and getting ready for battle. With his new inheritance he is thrown in to situations he has problems dealing with.

“I turned around to admire Cattersley from afar. There was an enormity to the place that I could not measure and, with it, a new front. I’d chosen to be a soldier so I could defend my family, my freedom. I had no direction in this new battle, no orders from a superior commander.”

From the beginning, the vicar Mr. Mead stands out as being a good Christian example while some others in the congregation outwardly shun Abigail or say rude comments about her. People shame Abigail for her speech imperfections but then say that at least she is beautiful as if they are complimenting her. The vicar appears to be a fine upstanding Christian but he is just better at hiding his hypocrisy. His only reason for helping Abigail when she was being taunted was because he was interested in her. Then he mocks her himself. Mr. Mead is super creepy. He is hypocritical, possessive, and he gets even worse throughout the story.

“Mr. Mead, with his authoritarian posture and presumptuous expectations, had inserted himself and chased the sun away, demeaning me at every turn”

While I liked the characters and themes, I would have liked a little more of a connection between Abigail and Robert.

Adoring Abigail is told from the first person point of view and the chapters switch between Abigail and Robert’s perspectives.

This book tells of the difficulties of being a woman during this time. Abigail has someone try to force them-self on her and Hazel is expected to do whatever her brother John requests of her.

This was also a thought provoking look at people who prey on others who are considered less than normal due to physical or developmental conditions and they are often deemed weaker, less intelligent, and undeserving. This is especially bad when the person is supposed to be an example and above reproach.

“The hypocrisy of the treatment I received from those who sat within the walls of the chapel was especially brutal. How could one spew offenses while claiming to worship a deity who forbids mockery? Hypocrisy had surrounded me for as long as I could remember. It was a companion to judgment, another of the very things the Lord warned against.”

One of my favorite scenes was the beginning of the picnic. I would have loved to have seen it, and it sounded very unique.

Robert was originally in the book An Inconvenient Romance but that book does not need to be read to enjoy this one.

Some other favorite quotes:

“I had learned that some battles needed to be fought with weapons while other campaigns could be won with a little ingenuity.”

“Hope is a blessing. It provides strength in the darkest of times.”

“Truth proved to be a funny thing; it could be altered and manipulated to fit a scheme.”

“With him I had the freedom to say the things I held back. Permission to smile and laugh and live. It was all there in the oasis of his eyes. The oasis that was him.”

And who wouldn’t want two libraries?

“The west library? Does it stand to reason there is an east library as well?” I asked. “Yes, sir. However, the west library is brighter”


Interview with Chalon Linton

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What do you like most about the Regency period? Is there anything interesting you discovered about it while doing research for your books?

I love the Regency period because the romance is both subtle and boisterous. Societies restrictions limited the number of dances and physical touch between men and women so interest had to be shown another way. Of course, there were rakes and rogues, but for polite society witty conversation and flirtatious glances were used to communicate deeper feelings. I think this builds sexual tension and ensures relationships are built on more than just lust.

Are any of your characters based off of someone you know?
I rarely create a character that is an exact image of someone I know. That could harm my personal relationships and several years ago I attended a keynote address by Orson Scott Card where he warned us not to do that. I’ve taken that advice to heart. I do tend to look at my family history and often use family names for characters.

What do you want the reader to take away from Adoring Abigail?
I would hope there reader would acknowledge that making Judgements is dangerous. Everyone has a story, a history, a background that defines them. We should get to know each other as unique individuals and work to uplift one another rather than try to pull them down.


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Blog Tour and Review – Kit and Elizabeth

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by Karen Tuft

Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (December 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524412015
ISBN-13: 978-1524412012

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Lady Elizabeth Spaulding’s world has fallen apart.

Despite living her entire life to please her demanding parents, the Duke and Duchess of Marwood, she has little to show for it. After Elizabeth’s second failed betrothal, her father’s debts and appalling acts of retaliation force him to flee the country, consigning Elizabeth and her bitter mother to a life of poverty and exile. But Elizabeth’s fortunes change one day when an elderly acquaintance makes her an offer she can’t refuse.

Lady Walmsley, widowed and childless, is in need of a lady’s companion—and who better than the lovely Lady Elizabeth? Determined to rescue Elizabeth from her dreary life in the country, Lady Walmsley secures the help of Kit, the dashing Earl of Cantwell, in her quest. But the young woman they find is a ghost of the charming girl they once knew. Taken in by Lady Walmsley, and with Kit’s enthusiastic encouragement, Elizabeth finds herself pushed further and further from her empty solitude as she discovers the joy of truly living. Now, for the first time in her life, she must decide for herself who she is and if she deserves to be loved.


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Kit and Elizabeth is the sequel to The Earl’s Betrothal. There are pros and cons to having read the previous book first. There are some scenes from The Earl’s Betrothal that are skimmed over in this book, like the scene about Amelia’s parentage at the ball. If you have read the first book it makes a lot more sense, and I feel that you will better be able to appreciate the characters. On the other hand, having read the previous book, some of the recap tends to drag a little.

This book took me a bit to get in to at first. The first three chapters of the book include Elizabeth’s point of view of what happened during the book The Earl’s Betrothal which I have read. Chapter four no longer includes recap and becomes the new story which I was quickly able to get in to as the story really got going.

Elizabeth’s parents had never treated her well and they had always wanted a son. While a son had been needed for an heir, they shouldn’t have taken it out on her. She was always treated like property, and they told her often of her failure in not marrying who they wanted her to. She had always tried to make her parents proud and act like the daughter of a duke. This has caused others to compare her with being made of stone. She is still grieving the loss of her betrothed Alex and doesn’t want to marry his brother Anthony which her father is demanding. When Anthony offers her a way out, she takes it.

“I have ever only been a disappointment and have been making amends for it since the day I was born.”

Elizabeth’s father is truly evil with no morals and no love for his wife or daughter.

It’s so crazy during this time period that if someone doesn’t produce an heir, their remaining family loses everything due to entailment. Someone could just show up and kick people out of their house, even while they are in mourning. It was also a little shocking to see how some of the servants treated their masters; especially right after a tragic event.

Lady Walmsley is loud and talkative and just what Elizabeth needs to keep her from hiding in her room and shutting down. She also needs Kit to challenge her and help her find the good in life. Kit also helps her to realize who she really is and what she really wants.

“That question had raised other similar questions. Did she enjoy playing the harp? Did she even like music? Did she like doing needlework? Or painting? Or drawing? She’d taken lessons as a girl in all of these things and in others as well and had always worked to improve her skills. It had been expected of her. But she’d never thought about whether she liked doing any of them. It had never crossed her mind.”

Some favorite quotes:

“She had little faith at the moment, but maybe, just maybe, there was the tiniest acorn of faith that hadn’t been entirely extinguished . . .”

“Kit thought he might rather stick a fork in his eye than listen to a woman cry.”

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