Charlotte Wright has had enough. All of her friends have now married, leaving her the lone writer of the Spinster Chronicles who is still a true spinster. So she’s decided it is time for her to join the ranks and get married, groom to be determined. She’s an heiress, after all. How difficult could it be to find a husband?
Michael Sandford has been there by Charlotte’s side from the very beginning, loving her all the while even when she turned down his proposal. When she tells him of her plans to marry and marry soon, he begins to make plans himself. He cannot stand by and watch her marry someone else, so he’s decided to distance himself from Charlotte entirely while she hunts for a husband… one that is not him.
And Charlotte doesn’t like that one bit.
Charlotte has always been a darling of society with a bevy of beaux. She has been proposed to multiple times but has never seriously considered anyone.
“I say I will marry, if and only if I can find a love that pales all other loves to persuade me out of what is sure to be a most glorious spinsterhood.”
Michael has been in love with Charlotte for years. Even after a rejected proposal, he continues to follow her around like a lapdog. Only after Charlotte decides to truly pursue finding love does Michael realize that he lost himself while in Charlotte’s shadow.
“Charlotte had never tried to find the love she’d always claimed she was after. She’d simply expected the thing to fall into her lap like so many of the buffoons that had paid homage to her.”
Charlotte is fortunate to have understanding parents who support her and don’t pressure her. However, Charlotte can come off as superficial and spoiled. It was nice to see the developments she made throughout the book while staying true to herself.
Charlotte has the classic case of you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Michael has always been there for her, and she has taken advantage of him. She doesn’t even notice what is right in front of her.
“I always knew if I stayed by you, one day you’d see me.”
This story reminded me of Emma by Jane Austen. There were a lot of parallels, but I don’t want to spoil anything.
The Wright family scenes are so classic. I love how the siblings act with each other and how the parents react.
One of my favorite parts of the book was the epilogue. To see the transition of Michael as a lapdog and Michael at the end of the story was gold.
I don’t want to say goodbye to the Spinsters. I hope we see them again.
*This book is clean, however, it does have some cursing.
Constantly stifled by the rules of Society, spirited Rebecca Rowley enjoys finding ways to quietly or not so quietly rebel. But riding bareback and avoiding nosy neighbors are nothing compared to the thrilling secret she is keeping from her family.
When Rebecca’s quick thinking saves the life of a young girl, she unwittingly attracts the attention of the child’s dashing brother, Lieutenant Nicholas Avery. As that attention turns flirtatious, Rebecca is forced to tell him the truth: she is secretly engaged to the one man her family would never approve of. Fortunately, Lieutenant Avery is a navy man with no wish to marry, or so they both assume as they enter into a friendship. Rebecca hopes to change her family’s mind about her betrothed, but the more she comes to know the handsome lieutenant, the more she wonders if she promised her hand too hastily.
After all her carefully laid plans are shattered during a family crisis, Rebecca must force her heart to decide. Should she stay true to the promise she made or fight for the future she’s only just begun to imagine?
This book is just so pretty! I love the design and the color palette they chose. It definitely stands out as a favorite design.
Although this book can be read as a standalone, I liked that characters I loved from The Truth about Miss Ashbourne are in this book.
There were certain things I expected to happen, but I was pleasantly surprised that I did not see some things coming. There is also a family mystery in this story, and I love a good mystery.
Barker always creates the best characters; that’s why it was even better to catch up with them. While I loved the characters, I had a harder time watching them fall in love when one of them was in a committed relationship with someone else.
One of my biggest problems is when people are not honest about things. A number of characters in this story keep major secrets from each other. However, I loved to see how they grew from the situations.
I’m really, really hoping that Olivia will be getting her own story.
Rules of the Secret Society of Young Widows: Rule 1: Be a widow. Rule 2: Have an impeccable reputation. Rule 3: Don’t fall in love again.
AN HEIR TO SPARE by Rebecca Connolly Widowhood has changed much for Anna—Lady Lyndham—but an unconventional heir to the estate was not something she had anticipated. Nor had she anticipated that he would have no intention of forcing her out, although he has every right to. And she certainly did not anticipate finding him handsome, charming, and unfailingly generous. But Ned Richards, the new Lord Lyndham, has a world of surprises in store for her, and not anticipating them will become quite the adventure.
THE WIDOW OF LAVENDER COTTAGE by Jen Geigle Johnson As a widow, Lillian Hunter has never been in love and plans to never marry again, so the rules of the Secret Society of Young Widows suit her just fine. Her days are spent attempting to transform her newly inherited Lavender Cottage into a livable space until Oliver Wentworth shows up, asking for her late husband. Anxious to establish himself as a landed gentry in Somerset, Oliver is none too pleased to discover that a widow lives alone in a tiny run down cottage bordering his new property. The fact that she’s young and attractive only adds frustration to his sense of responsibility over her. And confound her, she challenges his every attempt to help manage her affairs.
A PROMISE FORGOTTEN by Heather B. Moore Charlotte Ashford never thought she’d marry a vicar, and she never thought she’d find herself widowed with a young child to care for on her own. She certainly never thought she’d return to Somerset to live with her mother again, and Charlotte never thought she’d see him again. But Lord Wilshore has never forgotten her, and he has never forgotten their promise made long ago. Charlotte would love nothing more than for Lord Wilshore to forgive her, but too much heartache and too much time might make that impossible. Friendship is all she can hope for, but that hope may be dashed as well.
I love how the Timeless collections always have such great authors. The theme this time was young widows who all joined a society that had to follow certain rules. One of those rules was not to let falling in love rule over your mind.
An Heir to Spare by Rebecca Connolly
I’m a fan of Rebecca Connolly, and this was a cute story. Anna was married to a man who was entirely apathetic. She felt like she lost her identity during that marriage and has no desire to marry again.
Ned inherits from the late Lord Lyndham. He has lived as a clergyman the last few years and is very down to earth. He also loves to get his hands dirty and help his neighbors.
The Widow of Lavender Cottage by Jen Geigle Johnson
Lillian was married off to a much older man and finds herself widowed and the owner of a run down house. She is loving her independent life and never wants to lose it.
When Oliver realizes his dream of becoming a property owner, he feels obligated to take care of the widow next door. What starts as feeling protective of the young widow quickly turns to more.
In other stories I have often seen widows described as very needy and weak or overly free with their favors. It was nice to see Lillian be such a different character. She was very lucky that she was left provisions to survive, but she was also a character who wanted to thrive. She wanted to learn everything she could and even step in and do things herself.
Both characters were very different from most people of their social standings.
A Promise Forgotten by Heather B. Moore
This story had so many things I liked in it. I always love when characters knew each other from the past and then come together again. This is especially true in novellas, because they don’t fall in love too fast. I also loved the inclusion of little Emily. I felt connected to these characters right away. They both had gone through so much, and I wanted to see their happy ending.
Kindle the spirit of the season as four of your favorite storytellers weave tales of love and hope in this charming yuletide collection.
Lord Blakely’s Gift
When Miss Ivy Hunt and Lord Curtis Blakely establish a secret acquaintance, neither can deny that their feelings extend beyond friendship. But as the children of bitter rivals, it will take a Christmas miracle for this star-crossed pair to reach their happily ever after.
A Season of Hope
Following the death of her father, Amelia knows Christmas will be lean. But when circumstances become dire, it is the unexpected arrival of a childhood friend that renews Amelia’s hope both for the future and for love.
Christmas by the Sea
After two years at sea with the Royal Navy, surgeon Joshua Crenshaw longs for a quiet Christmas with his family. But when unrest at home threatens to ruin the holidays, it takes the kindly intervention of a mysterious house sitter to remind them of the true meaning of the season.
Expectations at Canterwood
Marina Rowley is a spinster, Richard Stanhope a war-weary military man. A case of mistaken identity throws them together, but the unexpected stirrings of their hearts lead to an unforgettable holiday romance.
I love reading Christmas books and watching Christmas movies year round. This book is especially fun because it takes place during the Regency Era. The four stories are all very different. They have characters with different social classes, some characters have just met, some are reunited, and some have been married for years. All the stories will have you wanting to grab a blanket and some hot cocoa and immerse yourself in a Regency Christmas.
Lord Blakely’s Gift by Anneka R. Walker
This is a story of a forbidden romance between two feuding families who are brought together at Christmas time by helping others.
Ivy is giving and makes sure that people are cared for. Curtis doesn’t think he can live up to the man his father was, so he really doesn’t even try.
Curtis also seems to think that throwing around money is the best way to help people. I loved that Ivy makes him a better person.
A small disagreement not only tore two families of friends apart, but it also separated a family. In their bitterness, Ivy’s father no longer saw his own mother. He comes off as very petty.
“To be worthy of you must be the greatest endeavor a man could seek.”
A Season Of Hope by Sian Ann Bessey As a child, Amelia would follow her brother and his friend Philip around hoping to join their adventures. Further adventures take the boys away to the West Indies. When Philip returns after five years, he finds his neighborhood greatly changed… as well as his little neighbor Amelia who was now grown up.
I loved the feeling of Christmas in this story. I also loved the characters. Oftentimes novellas feel underdeveloped but this story was very well done.
Christmas By The Sea by Carla Kelly Surgeon William Crenshaw has just returned from two years at sea to his loving wife and children. Instead of having a peaceful Christmas together, he must deal with the mess his siblings have put him in.
I love that this is a story of a couple who has been married for years, with Will gone during many of them, and they still love each other. The conversation Will had with his son Timothy on what love is was very sweet.
Expectations At Canterwood by Krista Lynne Jensen Jensen brings us back to Canterwood in her story. While this story can be read as a standalone, it’s always fun to read a continuity story. The first time I read about Canterwood was in the anthology Christmas Grace, and the vicar and his wife make a reappearance in this book.
Following a devastating series of misfortunes, Lady Aribella Bardsley has bravely shouldered the responsibilities of her household. But just as the bleakness of her situation threatens to overwhelm her, a summons arrives from the Queen with a providential offer: Aribella’s presence is requested as a lady-in-waiting at the palace.
Prince Layton Wilhelm’s family has clung to their neutrality in the war for far too long. As the youngest of the King of Oldenburg’s eight sons, Layton is determined to prove his worth and is unwilling to turn a blind eye to Napoleon’s encroaching privateers. When Layton embarks on a journey to England, it is for one purpose: to petition the British navy for aid. But when he becomes acquainted with the lovely Lady Aribella, he cannot deny their powerful connection. Amid the intrigues and schemes within the walls of the palace, Layton and Aribella know a future together is impossible—but torn between loyalty and love, will they risk everything to follow their hearts?
Lady Aribella Bardsley and Prince Layton Wilhelm of Oldenburg are often thrown together at the Palace. Lady Aribella knows that the Queen wants her daughter to marry Prince Layton. As the Queen’s lady in waiting, she must always follow orders. Aribella and Layton must decide whether their hearts or duty will win out in the end.
I hadn’t known much about English ladies in waiting or their court in general and found so much of this fascinating. People often look at royalty and think they just live a life of luxury (Prince George certainly did) but this book will feel like a behind the scenes raw look into their real lives.
Aribella and Layton seemed a little over infatuated with each other upon first meeting, and their relationship came off as superficial. While this can be realistic, it is not my preference. I did like them together once they got to know each other.
Jen Geigle Johnson’s books are known to have a lot of rich historical information. While this is a fictional story, a number of the characters were based on the real royal family. I knew about some of their situations going into the story, but seeing the types of things they had to go through made them even more real to me.
He only wanted a duchess for a day–but she’s determined to make it a marriage for life
When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she’s meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life–as a secret agent for the Crown.
But his bride has other ideas. She’s determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society–the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she’d remain in the background as he ordered.
Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?
“He supposed that someday he would have to forgive the child for being a girl.”
From the first line of the book, I was drawn right in.
Marcus Haverly never wanted to be the next Duke of Haverly. He is coerced into marriage and the chosen bride is Lady Charlotte Tiptree. Charlotte is not one to simper in the background and soon she is completely changing Marcus’ life.
I loved that the heroine is described as plain. So many books have the heroine be unbelievably gorgeous. I also love that she has a brain. Marcus and Charlotte have so much in common and can have intelligent conversations.
Fans of Rebecca Connolly’s London League Series and Kristi Ann Hunter’s Haven Manor Series will love The Gentleman Spy.
Between the characters, the mystery, and the pace of a good plot, it kept me from wanting to put the book down.
When Phoebe starts receiving anonymous letters, she never once thinks the most irresponsible man in London is her correspondent. Or that she will fall in love with him.
Phoebe Kimball grew up believing in love, but after failing to find a gentleman capable of capturing her heart, she has turned more practical than romantic. She is determined to find a husband in London this Season. If only the annoying Mr. Fenwick would stop appearing every time she sets her cap at someone! When an anonymous letter arrives warning her that her current target is unsuitable marital material, Phoebe begins a relationship with the letter writer that promises something more than a practical alliance.
Griffin Fenwick does not usually care for women on the hunt for a husband, but Miss Kimball’s quick wit and refusal to admit she enjoys his company intrigues him. When he realizes the gentlemen on her list of eligible bachelors is full with scoundrels, he warns her the only way he can – through a letter. As he comes to know Phoebe better, he soon realizes he wishes to put his own name on her list. If only she liked Griffin as much as she liked her anonymous correspondent.
When Phoebe realizes its been Griffin writing her all along, will she put aside practicality for love, or spurn Griffin for even trying to woo her?
Letters for Phoebe is the first in a series of books about five friends. The next four novellas will be written by authors Joanna Barker, Megan Walker, Heidi Kimball, and Arlem Hawks.
The Promise of Forever After collection of stories is about five girls who attended school together and feel the bonds of sisterhood. A beautiful bracelet is passed around the group, and it is expected to bring them good luck and help tie each of them together.
When she was younger Phoebe Kimball always liked to go on adventures and often got herself into trouble. As she grows up and has to face serious issues she becomes more somber and loses her more daring side. Griffin Fenwick lives for fun. He loves to make people laugh and distract them from any issues they are facing.
Phoebe and Griffin meet while he is participating in a dual using dough. This certainly was a unique and funny way to bring the reader into the story.
Phoebe wants to marry someone her equal and when she pursues a relationship with a man that Griffin considers problematic, he takes it upon himself to secretly warn her through letters.
Letters for Phoebe is a Regency take on The Shop Around the Corner (You’ve Got Mail) and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I loved this story and I look forward to reading about the bracelet passing on to the other friends.