Promised – Review

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by Leah Garriott

Series: Proper Romance
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (February 18, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629726141
ISBN-13: 978-1629726144

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Margaret Brinton keeps her promises, and the one she is most determined to keep is the promise to protect her heart…
Warwickshire, England, 1812
Fooled by love once before, Margaret vows never to be played the fool again. To keep her vow, she attends a notorious match-making party intent on securing the perfect marital match:  a union of convenience to someone who could never affect her heart. She discovers a man who exceeds all her hopes in the handsome and obliging rake, Mr. Northam.
There’s only one problem. His meddling cousin, Lord Williams, won’t leave Margaret alone. Condescending and high-handed, Lord Williams lectures and insults her. When she refuses to give heed to his counsel, he single-handedly ruins Margaret’s chances for making a good match–to his cousin or anyone else. With no reason to remain at the party, Margaret returns home to discover her father has promised her hand in marriage–to Lord Williams.
Under no conditions will Margaret consent to marrying such an odious man. Yet as Lord Williams inserts himself into her everyday life, interrupting her family games and following her on morning walks, winning the good opinion of her siblings and proving himself intelligent and even kind, Margaret is forced to realize that Lord Williams is exactly the man she’d hoped to marry before she’d learned how much love hurt. When paths diverge and her time with Lord Williams ends, Margaret is faced with her ultimate choice: keep the promises that protect her or break free of them for one more chance at love. Either way, she fears her heart will lose.

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Leah Garriott’s debut novel really drew me in, and I read it all in one day. Every time I even thought about putting it down something else pulled me back into the story, and I needed to finish it.

At first I didn’t really care for Margaret because she seemed like a whiny brat who made foolish decisions. However, through the first person point of view we are given the thoughts and reasons behind these decisions and I understood where she was coming from and felt for her.

When Lord Williams lets down his guard I really liked him. What I didn’t like was his aloof facade. I will never understand how it was so common during that time to pretend not to care.

My favorite scenes were with Margaret and Lord Williams as well as scenes about a certain donkey that I won’t leave spoilers for.

While some situations in the story-line have been done before, they were done really well.  This book was well written and extremely interesting.

5 stars to Promised and a spot on my favorites shelf!

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.

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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The Thief of Lanwyn Manor – Review

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by Sarah E. Ladd

Series: The Cornwall Novels (Book 2)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 7, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0785223185
ISBN-13: 978-0785223184

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In Regency England an advantageous match could set up a lady for life. Julia knows Matthew Blake, copper mine owner and very eligible bachelor, is the gentleman she should set her eyes upon. But why can’t she steal her gaze away from his younger brother, Isaac?

Cornwall, England, 1818

Julia Twethewey needs a diversion to mend her broken heart, so when her cousin invites her to Lanwyn Manor, Julia eagerly accepts. The manor is located at the heart of Cornwall’s mining industry, and as a guest Julia is swept into its intricate world. It’s not long, though, before she realizes something dark lurks within the home’s ancient halls.

As a respected mine owner’s younger son, Isaac Blake is determined to keep his late father’s legacy alive through the family business, despite his brother’s careless attitude. In order to save their livelihood—and that of the people around them—the brothers approach the master of Lanwyn Manor with plans to bolster the floundering local industry. Isaac can’t deny his attraction to the man’s charming niece, but his brother has made clear his intentions to court the lovely visitor. And Isaac knows his place.

When tragedy strikes, mysteries arise, and valuables go missing, Julia and Isaac find they are pulled together in a swirl of strange circumstances, but despite their best efforts to bow to social expectations, their hearts aren’t so keen to surrender.


Sarah E. Ladd puts a lot of research into her books before she ever puts pen to paper and it shows. It brings the reader into that world, and her characters always make you feel so emotionally invested in them.

I like that Isaac Blake is a different kind of hero. While his twin brother Matthew is richer and more charming, Isaac is quiet, loyal, and caring.

Julia Twethewey just wants to find where she belongs. She tries to help people but is turned away numerous times and is even threatened.

This book has a gothic feel, and I love the mystery throughout it. It is the second in The Cornwall Novels series but can be read as a stand-alone.

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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The Major’s Daughter – Review

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by Regina Jennings

Series: The Fort Reno Series (Book 3)
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (December 3, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764218956
ISBN-13: 978-0764218958

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She Staked a Claim on His Land,
So He Decided to Stake a Claim on Her Heart

Caroline Adams returns to Indian Territory after tiring of confining society life. She wants adventure, and when she and her friend Amber come across swaggering outlaw Frisco Smith, his dreams for the new territory are very persuasive. With the much-anticipated land run about to happen, she may just join the rush.

Growing up an orphan, all Frisco Smith wanted was a place to call his own. It’s no wonder he fought to open the Unassigned Lands to people with the same longing. After years of sneaking across the border, he’s even managed to build a dugout house on a hidden piece of property he’s poised to claim.

But when the gun sounds, everyone’s best plans are thrown out the window in the chaos of the run. Caroline and Frisco find themselves battling over a claim–and both dig in their heels. Settling the rightful ownership will bring these two closer than they ever expected and change their ideas of what a true home looks like.


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Frisco Smith is intelligent and seems tough on the outside. On the inside, however, he is still the scared little abandoned boy. Not only is he still grieving, but he believes that people don’t ever stick around. He wants to build his own town so that he is surrounded by people that won’t leave.

Caroline Adams wants to make a mark of her own as more than just the major’s daughter. She thinks a boarding house on her own 160 acres will do that.

When Caroline claims Frisco’s land, he is torn between wanting her to go and hoping she never leaves.

“Of course you’ve changed. That girl I admired, I don’t know her anymore. Instead of a beautiful wild vine, all I see now is another potted plant, trimmed and pruned to look like every other one out there. One that will only survive when handled delicately.”

There is so much meaning in the traveling case that Frisco carries around. He has never unpacked it because he only wants to unpack it when he has found his home. A place to belong. This really stuck with me throughout the story.

“He came back and found his traveling case. He paused after he opened the latches. The bag hadn’t been completely emptied since he was a child, and then someone else had packed it for him. He’d learned to keep his things ready for the unexpected, ready for heartache, and ready to be uprooted, but no longer.”

Frisco’s relationship with the other foundlings was special. It was heartbreaking how they tried to make their own little family but were torn apart from each other. Yet each one was trying to make their own way.

This book can easily be read as a standalone. However characters from previous books are in it. I love that this is also the continuation of Bradley and Amber’s story. I adored Bound and Determined but wanted to hear more of their adventures.

“He fell in love with you in August. In Oklahoma Territory, any two people who can tolerate each other in August are in love. Otherwise the heat would make them too cranky to bear.”

Jennings’ characters, story lines, and knowledge of history are all exceptional in this series. These books are both funny and tender. Even in the first chapter alone I had laughed multiple times, and Bucky the goat was a cute little sidekick.

This part of history has always interested me. I’ve read a lot about the homesteading on the 160 acres but the setting up of a town was fairly new to me. Reading the author’s note, it was amazing to find out how many things in this book actually happened.

The Major’s Daughter is exactly why I like the historical fiction genre. Not only does it have the interesting history, it also has romance, laughter, and extremely touching moments.

“He wanted a home, a family to belong to. She understood and was willing to join him, but he had to believe it would last. She couldn’t stake her future on someone who wasn’t sure he had one.”