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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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: 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

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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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