The Love Note – Review

by Joanna Davidson Politano

Paperback : 400 pages
ISBN-10 : 0800736893
ISBN-13 : 978-0800736897
Publisher : Revell (October 20, 2020)

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A forgotten letter. A secret love. A vast estate.
Can one determined woman put the pieces together?

Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings–mostly negative ones–about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa’s search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words. 

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.


The Love Note is a book packed with mysteries and secrets. The lost letter weaves its way through a family, and it shows you just how powerful words can be.

The majority of the story is told as first person from the perspective of Willa, the doctor’s daughter, who dreams of being a doctor herself. However, other chapters are written as third person and focus on other characters. There are a lot of characters in this story and instead of being confusing, it brings more to the story and makes it richer.

I found myself connecting to so many characters and wanting to know what would happen to them. Nothing in this story is predictable, and it will keep you wanting to read more.

Willa Duvall had woven herself into his life as thoroughly as a golden thread running through a tapestry, never to be removed without a thorough unraveling.

Blog Tour and Review: Solving Sophronia

SolvingSophroniaBlogBanner

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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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.

The Lady and the Highwayman – Review

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by Sarah M. Eden

Series: Proper Romance Victorian
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (September 3, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629726052
ISBN-13: 978-1629726052

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Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls’ school in 1865 Victorian London. She is also a well-respected author of “silver-fork” novels, stories written both for and about the upper-class ladies of Victorian society. But by night, she writes very different kinds of stories—the Penny Dreadfuls that are all the rage among the working-class men. Under the pseudonym Mr. King, Elizabeth has written about dashing heroes fighting supernatural threats, intelligent detectives solving grisly murders, and dangerous outlaws romancing helpless women. They contain all the adventure and mystery that her real life lacks.

Fletcher Walker began life as a street urchin, but is now the most successful author in the Penny Dreadful market, that is until Mr. King started taking all of his readers. No one knows who King is, including Fletcher’s fellow members of the Dread Penny Society, a fraternity of  authors dedicated to secretly fighting for the social and political causes of their working-class readers. The group knows King could be an asset with his obvious monetary success, or he could be the group’s undoing as King’s readership continues to cut into their profits.

Determined to find the elusive Mr. King, Fletcher approaches Miss Black. As a fellow-author, she is well-known among the high-class writers; perhaps she could be persuaded to make some inquiries as to Mr. King’s whereabouts? Elizabeth agrees to help Fletcher, if only to insure her secret identity is never discovered. What neither author anticipated was the instant attraction, even though their social positions dictate the impossibility of a relationship.

For the first time Elizabeth experiences the thrill of a cat-and-mouse adventure reminiscent of one of her own novels as she tries to throw Fletcher off her scent. But the more time they spend together, the more she loses her heart. Its upper-class against working-class, author against author where readers, reputations, and romance are all on the line.


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The excellent first line drew me right in!

Fletcher Walker has crawled his way up from the gutter with just his swagger. He goes wherever he wants, acting like he belongs, and no one questions him. Fletcher is a different kind of a hero who is very vulnerable. Now that he is successful writing Penny Dreadfuls, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from, and he gives back to those who need it.

Elizabeth Black is all prim and proper in order to keep people interested in her school. However, that is just a facade for her adventurous spirit.

Fletcher and Elizabeth both write Penny Dreadfuls and the chapters switch between their points of view as well as the Penny Dreadful stories themselves.

I’ve never been in to over the top, exaggerated novels, but Elizabeth’s story was fun and interesting. Fletcher’s was interesting as well, but it was sad, and real, and raw. Especially because it came from a place he knew from growing up in the slums. I liked how the Penny Dreadfuls intertwined with the overall story.

Even with their success, Fletcher and Elizabeth are drawn together with their desire to educate those who are often overlooked like females and the poor.

Historical fiction is my favorite, and I love learning new and interesting things during different time periods. I love that Eden drew inspiration from real life author Elizabeth Caroline Grey who was rumored to write Penny Dreadfuls and Silver Fork novels.

There was an overall mystery throughout the book that I really enjoyed. The ending is very cute, but I still wish I had answers to some questions.

I have read almost all of Sarah M. Eden’s books, and she is one of my favorite authors. This book seemed a different style than others I have read from her, but I really liked it and completely recommend it.