Category Archives: 2011 Releases

A Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes

 Magnificent blend of a Regency romance and the intriguing mystery with plausible Christian themes!

A Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes
The Daughters of Bainbridge House #1
Revell, October 2011
Book is of my personal collection
Burton Book Review Rating:LOVED this!

When young widow Lady Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreamed he would turn up in her parlor. But just as the London Season is getting under way, there he is, along with a few other questionable personages. While she should be focused on helping her headstrong younger sister prepare for her entrance at her debutante ba ll.Readers will enjoy being drawn into this world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades. Author Laurie Alice Eakes whisks readers through the drawing rooms of London amid the sound of rustling gowns on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past and let love guide the future.

A Necessary Deception is book one of the Daughters of Bainbridge series and I wanted to read this before I read book two, Flight of Fancy, which I will review for the Historical Novel Society. I am so glad I had this one to read, it was so much fun and a pleasurable read that I gulped down in a day or two. I had read one of the author’s previous works as well, and her writing is smooth, flawless and captivating.

This novel features the eldest of the three Bainbridge sisters, Lydia, who is still wearing widow’s weeds after three years. She is chaperoning her sisters in Regency London and finds herself smack in the middle of the political intrigues of the time as she helps a Frenchman out of the goodness of her heart. The man was an associate of her late husband’s and she feels she owes him a debt even if her actions would portray her as a traitor to England. France and England seem to always be at odds, and the people of this book display their hatred for each other quite well. I loved the intrigues, and the blooming of romance between the two.

There was a lot going on in this inspirational romance, and the plot summary would be long indeed if I spelled it out for you. But let me cut that short by saying this is a great story for those who enjoy some Christian thoughts intermixed with their historical romances.. an entertaining Regency that has me tempted to rush right into book two which features another of the Bainbridge sisters. Laurie Alice Eakes is moving up on my fave authors list.

I do want to add that while some of the recent Christian Historical Fiction I have reviewed here have been light on the Christian factor, this one wrapped itself around it quite a bit. Even though I loved it and appreciated it, there are some readers who do not like the Christian nuances and if that describes yourself then you may not enjoy this read.



Filed under #histnov, 2011 Releases, 2012 Review, Christian Fiction, Laurie Alice Eakes

Guest Post (Giveaway) Karleen Koen: Before Versailles

A favorite read of mine for 2011 was Karleen Koen’s Before Versailles (review) and it is now available in paperback from Sourcebooks. (See below for instructions on how to enter the giveaway courtesy of Sourcebooks!)

Before Versailles
September 2012 paperback from Sourcebooks

Louis XIV is one of the best-known monarchs ever to grace the French throne. But what was he like as a young man—the man before Versailles?

After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He’s still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get—including his brother’s wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love.

But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleau: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king’s finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, has proven to be more powerful than Louis ever thought—a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe . . .

Meticulously researched and vividly brought to life by the gorgeous prose of Karleen Koen, Before Versailles dares to explore the forces that shaped an iconic king and determined the fate of an empire.
Please welcome author Karleen Koen to Burton Book Review, as I asked Karleen to share her thoughts on one of her favorite or most inspiring characters from Before Versailles, asking which one spoke to her the most and who was the most fun to write scenes for:

Surprisingly, the character in Before Versailles who was easiest to write scenes for was Louis XIV. I didn’t expect that. I expected that character to be either Princess Henriette or Louise de la Baume le Blanc (one of whom I thought would run the story). But as I imagined Louis and the very real problems he faced when he was 22, and what he might have been feeling, I found I could sink into a young man who was gallant and honorable and a bit idealistic–and I found that I really, really liked the sinking. 
It takes some mind maneuvering to move from all the known facts about an actual historical character and make that character real, particularly an icon like Louis XIV. Before Versailles is likely the only book I’ll ever write where the main character actually existed. There’s much more room to breathe when characters are completely fictional, and I usually surround fictional characters with ones who actually existed, but the actuals are on the second level of the story. But Louis really was ardent, gallant, brave, and disciplined, and he faced enormous challenges. At 22, he was the prince in the fairy tales, and that was fun to realize, imagine, and write.
Other characters who came easily to me were Choisy, the cross dresser (actually existed) and the Comte de Guiche, who also actually existed. I envisioned Guiche as flip and cool and cruel. I love any scene Guiche is in. Oddly enough, my little heroine, Louise, was the hardest one to write because historically, she is the most unnuanced. She’s almost too good to be true. Her quest for the boy in the iron mask helped me define her, but it was only in the last edits–novel bought, to be published, working with an editor’s input–that I finally felt able to define her. 
Other characters for whom the writing just slipped out without much effort on my part were the old Duchess de Chevreuse, a key player in the times of Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu,  and the musketeer, Cinq Mars, completely fictional, a crusty, indomitable old soldier for whom I felt enormous empathy. I don’t know why the guys held my imagination so strongly in Before Versailles, but they did
Karleen Koen ( is the New York Times bestselling author of Through a Glass Darkly, Now Face to Face, and Dark Angels, an Indie Next List bestseller and a BookSense pick. She lives in Houston, Texas.  Before Versailles is available in bookstores and online.
Courtesy of the publisher Sourcebooks, they are giving away Before Versailles!!

To enter, please comment here with your email address, and let me know what Louis XIV or French Revolution reads you have enjoyed! Followers of Burton Book Review in US & Canada only please. Giveaway ends September 13th 2012.


Filed under 2011 Releases, Author Post, Karleen Koen, Louis XIV

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

A haunted house, memories of loved ones, and how War tears apart families

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner
WaterBrook Multnomah October 2011
Contemporary/Historical/Christian/Romance (a light blend of all)
Paperback 336 pages
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:three stars

A house shrouded in time.
A line of women with a heritage of loss.

As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past. When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there. With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak— and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love. 

It took me quite a while to get into this book as it begins with contemporary characters Marielle and Carson as they move into Holly Oak, an old house that has withstood the test of time and war. The novel focuses on the house and its inhabitants, with the house of Holly Oak being a central theme that is strong enough to be a character in itself. As we slowly unwind the past via the contemporary newlyweds Marielle and Carson, we meet a few of the past inhabitants of Holly Oak. Many of the characters of the book were long gone by the time Marielle arrives at Holly Oak, but in order for Marielle and Carson to move onwards in life they have to untie the threads of the past that are holding them to Holly Oak .. and to Adelaide.

It is the story of the events of the Civil War that had intrigued me about this novel, and I was not disappointed with the story the novel finally creates surrounding this important period in American history. However, it took a very long time to come to that point in the past which was my main interest in the novel, and is why it only earned three stars in my book. It took me twelve days to read, when I would normally finish a book of this size within four days.

I prefer historical fiction because I like to immerse myself in another time, when I can learn about a different era and have instant empathy for characters who have to work hard for their daily bread. None of this should have any bearing on the current read.. but since it took so long for me to become invested in this novel, I felt an explanation was in order. I have found that I have an unconscious distaste for contemporary themes, no matter how hard I try to like the book, most often the main characters are shallow and wishy-washy and spoiled in the books I come across. I didn’t like Marielle or Carson in this story, though I did like Adelaide when she was not acting superstitious even though she said she wasn’t.

Holly Oak is hundreds of years old, and with a history that creates superstitions and possible ghosts as horrors of the Civil War were witnessed by the house. As Marielle moves into Holly Oak, its elderly matriarch is clinging to the past but stubbornly does not let its secrets unveil themselves to the reader. It turns out Adelaide’s great grandmother was known as a Union Spy during the fight of the Confederacy in Virginia, and this ghost of Susannah has all of Fredericksburg talking about it to this day. It is Adelaide’s estranged daughter who holds all the clues, but she has been MIA for many years, but when she does appear the novel is given new life.

In the end, we realize along with Adelaide the truth of the house, and the truth of her ancestors and their involvement with the Civil War. But, it is only through letters of Susannah herself (my favorite part of the novel, surprisingly) that the whole truth reveals itself, and that Holly Oak can figuratively rest in peace.

The epic conclusion was just what the book needed to make it worthwhile; the emotions of the characters as they discover the past were well portrayed, and everything came together in a very satisfying way. Although I wish the quickened pace had started a bit earlier, the novel as a whole was very enjoyable with writing that flowed easily with intriguingly flawed characters and I recommend it to those interested in how Southern life was affected by the Civil War. This intriguing story is a mix of light romance, an almost non-existent Christian nuance, and a good mix of contemporary and historical Virginians.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this honest review.


Filed under 2011 Releases, 2012 Review, Christian Fiction, Civil War, Susan Meissner

A Lasting Impression (Belmont Mansion Series #1) by Tamera Alexander

Loved this iridescent cover, to match its captivating storyline!
CBA and ECPA Bestseller
2012 Christy Award Nominee

A Lasting Impression (Belmont Mansion Series #1) by Tamera Alexander
Bethany House, November 2011
Christian Historical Fiction
Paperback 432 pages 0764206222

Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
A shortened review was originally created for Historical Novels Review, May 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:Really Liked it!

To create something that will last is Claire Laurent’s most fervent desire as an artist. It’s also her greatest weakness. When her fraud of a father deals her an unexpected hand, Claire is forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville, only a year after the War Between the States has ended. Claire’s path collides with that of Sutton Monroe, and she considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But when they meet again and he refuses to come to her aid, she realizes she’s sorely misjudged the man. Trading an unwanted destiny for an unknown future, Claire finds herself in the middle of Nashville’s elite society and believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art may finally be within reach.All that Sutton Monroe holds dear lies in ruin. He’s determined to reclaim his heritage and to make the men who murdered his father pay. But what he discovers on his quest for vengeance reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined.Set at Nashville’s historical Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America in the 1860s, A Lasting Impression showcases the deep, poignant, unforgettable characters that set Tamera’s stories apart and provides an inspiring love story that will capture readers’ hearts and leave them eager for more.

Historic Belmont Mansion leaves a lasting impression indeed with this start of Tamera Alexander’s newest historical series. Featuring the courageous Civil War figure Adelicia Acklen, the series begins with the risky romance between Adelicia’s newest personal secretary Claire Laurent and Adelicia’s lawyer Sutton Monroe.

Claire is so gifted in oil painting that her father’s business was dependent upon Claire’s forgeries, and it wasn’t until the gallery was robbed and her father killed that Claire could find a way out of her thankless job. Working for Adelicia has its rewards, but the truth of her past could land her in jail and lose the man of her dreams. Keeping Adelicia’s best interests at the top of his list, Sutton has a hunch that Claire may be hiding something, yet he also starts to fall in love with her.

Claire does a fabulous job at ingratiating herself with the demanding Adelicia, which makes her feel even guiltier about her past. Claire could soon become the belle of the ball at the magnificent Belmont Mansion, but the art forgery case that Sutton Monroe is investigating threatens her future and their budding romance. It is through Claire’s faith in God that she finally begins the healing process and allows her to move forward in her journey, and the author takes her time with this development. A thorough historical novel with menacing characters from Claire’s past mingling with Tennessee’s finest folks and the inspiring Belmont Mansion, A Lasting Impression is a compelling story that doesn’t let go once it takes hold.


Filed under 2011 Releases, 2012 Review, Bethany House, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Tamera Alexander

Come a Little Closer by Dorothy Garlock

A bit of chilly suspense and sparkly romance in this quick read.

 Come a Little Closer by Dorothy Garlock
Grand Central Publishing, November 2011
ISBN 0446540161
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine
Burton Book Review Rating:3.5 Stars

America’s Heartland, 1946. World War II has ended, and everyone is pursuing peacetime’s bright promise with fresh energy and hope. Newly-arrived in a small Wisconsin town, Christina Tucker now dares to chase her long-cherished dreams: put her wartime nursing skills to use and reconnect with country life. But helping a shell-shocked veteran recover soon tests her determination and disturbs town memories best left buried. She has no choice but to turn to her patient’s seemingly-irresponsible brother, Tyler Sutter. A restless ex-soldier, Tyler can’t believe this pretty ladylike nurse can heal his family. Yet as Christina begins to understand Tyler’s own fears, the two grow close, then closer still-as a terrible secret sparks one man’s violent, vengeful spree. With both the guilty and innocent alike in harm’s way, Tyler and Christina must face all their fears . . . or never live to see the future.

Author Dorothy Garlock is known for her novels set among America’s Heartland, just as this novel continues a series with the Tucker sisters (the previous novel focusing on Charlotte in Keep A Little Secret), this novel focuses on Christina Tucker. The set-up and plot are easy to follow as a stand-alone, as Garlock creates a new storyline following Christina’s path as a nurse in a new town.

Christina meets the nephews of her employer, and right away we know that there will be a love triangle that dominates the book. Tyler and Holden Sutter each take a liking to Christina and she has feelings for both of them for which she must deal with. Each of the boys has their own issues after returning from WWII, and Christina tries to help both without getting hurt in the emotional crossfire between the brothers. Instead of straight romance, though, there is a thriller side to it when Christina becomes subjected to the contemptible folks of her new town, as Christina becomes a prime target for revenge on those she becomes close to. The main characters could have used a bit more dimension and spark, although there was enough insanity amongst the two murderers in Christina’s midst. A quick and light read, there was a bit of predictability of the events but this is still good escapist fiction.

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Filed under 2011 Releases, 2012 Review, Historical Romance, Inspirational, WWII

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist

I love this cover! It was perfect for the book!

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist
Bethany House Publishers, October 2011
Paperback 368 pages 0764204098
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine
Burton Book Review Rating:4 Stars

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man’s world … which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He’s a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.

Loaded with intrigue, birds and historical context this is a well-written story of telephone switchboard operator Georgie Gail and Texas Ranger Lucious Landrum in 1903. The Ranger goes undercover as a telephone salesman to catch a criminal in Brenham, Texas, and he soon finds himself in love with the bird-loving Georgie. If he blows his cover with Georgie, he could risk his law career and lose the trail of the notorious Comer Gang.

Georgie is ferociously protective of birds, and a large part of this story is Georgie’s stance against the use of bird parts as decorative accessories on clothing, and in the spirit of Nellie Bly she educates the townsfolk on her favorite pastime of bird watching. Meanwhile, it is the very townsfolk who are members of the Comer Gang that the Ranger is tracking, and Georgie finds herself immersed in the Ranger’s plans to trap the men. If the two survive the Comer Gang, can they allow themselves to love each other when the stubborn and strong-willed Georgie learns who her telephone salesman really is? A fast-paced, humorous and well researched story with many intriguing characters that offers a little bit of everything, Love on the Line is the perfect historical romance to curl up with on a long weekend.

2012 RITA Finalist for Inspirational Romance! Also note that for those readers who enjoy Julie Klassen’s work, she is one of the editors for this novel.


Filed under 2011 Releases, 2012 Review, Bethany House, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Post Civil War

For the LOVE of Reading! Extra Special Giveaway!

I started this blog a few years ago when I was on a one way street to Tudorville. Anne Boleyn, King Henry and his other wives, and the Wars of the Roses OH MY! I just could not stop myself. A few years later I am finally branching out and getting into some more “comfort” reads which are (for me) novels that read faster and yet still offer satisfaction when I am through with them…stories that have themes of character development, perhaps some suspense, and always a historical element.
The genre of Inspirational Fiction has a fine line between Historical Christian Fiction and even historical romance .. and these are all sub-genres that I may have raised an eyebrow at a few years ago. I didn’t realize how interesting and emotive these reads could be! I only have the Historical Novel Society to thank for opening up this world to me. Authors like Julie Klassen, Tamera Alexander, Tracie Peterson, Anne Mateer, Deanne Gist, Sarah Sundin, Amanda Cabot and Laurie Alice Eakes have all been introduced to me by the Historical Novels Review magazine for which I review for. I am so eager to share with you these stories! Most of the reviews for these books will be published when the next magazine comes out in May.. but the ones I have reviewed for the March magazine are posting now pretty much on a weekly basis.The reviews that have been posted on the blog I have linked to.
I realize I have gathered the followers that I have via my love for the Tudor era, so I would like to get the word out in the streets of the blogosphere that I will be reviewing all sorts of historical reads.. like the Historical Christian and Inspirational Fiction reads. I also want to let you know that the novels that I have read thus far are not pushy on the faith aspect, so if you are on the fence because of fear of being preached to, please don’t shy away. Give it a try. If you want some stories that incorporate a bit of love, romance and a historic atmosphere, try some of these out.
I’ll need some help getting some new lovers of Historical Christian Fiction/inspirational historical romance this way.. so here are some giveaways to throw out there.. these are gently read used books I received for review for the Historical Novel Society Review magazine.

This is a Spread the Love Follower giveaway.. the more followers I get, the more giveaways I will hand out!


At the time of this post, I have 466 Followers…
If I get to 480 followers:
Giveaway Prize One for one lucky follower:

Love on the Line by Deanne Gist

Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart
Heart’s Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

If I get to 500 followers:
Giveaway Prize Two for a second lucky follower:

Where Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey
Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

Get the word out about the giveaway, and don’t forget to follow via Google Friend Connect!

The only mandatory entries are a blog post comment with your email address, and follow.
Ends 3/24, open to USA. My wallet can only handle so much with the shipping fees.
BUT of course extra entries are available (my very first RaffleCopter Giveaway!!)

If you don’t see the rafflecopter form, hit the READ MORE link below to enter for more entries via Rafflecopter
/*{literal}{/literal}*/ a Rafflecopter giveaway


Filed under 2011 Releases, 2012 Releases, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational

Review: Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin (Wings of Glory Book #3)

Can be read as a stand-alone, makes me want to read the others!

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin (Wings of Glory Book #3)
Revell, August 2011
427 pages, paperback
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine
Burton Book Review Rating:3.5 stars

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Filled with daring and romance, Blue Skies Tomorrow will capture readers’ hearts.

Helen Carlisle is almost the merry widow, until secrets of her heroic husband who died in WWII start coming back to haunt her. Helen was always happiest doing volunteer work, yet she worked for a paycheck which became commandeered by her in-laws. Wanting to leave the stressful situation behind, Helen strives to better herself and her situation. Ray Novak, older brother to the Novak brothers featured in previous Wings of Glory books, is happiest being a pastor. With a war going on, Ray feels obligated to face his fears of combat and signs on for combat duty where things take a drastic turn.

What could have been a wonderful relationship developing between Helen and Ray becomes close to impossible given all the obstacles that continually worked against each of them. As a woman in the forties, Helen faced issues of the times such as the plights of women and black people, while Ray ended up fighting for his life in his enemy’s hands. Sundin’s writing is fluent and natural, with a story of many facets that is entertaining and emotive. World War II enthusiasts would learn a bit from Ray’s experiences, while the romantic reader will enjoy the journey of Helen and Ray. Enjoyable enough to make me want to look up the first two novels in the series.

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Filed under 2011 Releases, 2012 Review, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Revell, WWII

Review: Wings of A Dream by Anne Mateer

Wings of A Dream by Anne Mateer
Bethany House, September 2011
Ppbk 319 pages
ISBN 0764209035
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally written for Historical Novels Review Magazine
Burton Book Review Rating:Fabulous read!

Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family’s farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promised adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he’s the man she’s meant to marry. While she waits for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother’s sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur’s training camp as God’s approval of her plans.

But the Spanish flu epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt’s death, Arthur’s indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebeka is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she’s always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.

This impressive debut novel is an inspiring and descriptive story with a heroine who manages to captivate from the start. Rebekah takes a short trip to Texas to help her ailing aunt, where immediately she is thrust into the lives of four young lovable children as the Spanish flu epidemic takes a hold of the small community. She cares for the children and becomes instantly devoted to them as she is the sole caretaker for them while their father Frank is away during World War I, known as the Great War at that time. Told in first person, we experience Rebekah’s fears and dreams, making the story more endearing and powerful as death and faith intertwine.

Rebekah enjoys her life with the children for the time being, but has always told herself there were more options for her. She clings to the dream of the unknown, and shuns the everyday life she is unknowingly carved out for. When Frank finally comes home to claim his spot as head of household, Rebekah has to choose which path is best for her. Could it be impetuous Arthur, or the kindly Sheriff, who always knows when Rebekah needs a helping hand, or should she just go on back home to her parents in Oklahoma? I really enjoyed this Christian historical and the supporting cast of characters. I especially enjoyed it when I recognized the scenery, as it was set in East Texas where I live.


Filed under 2011 Releases, 2012 Review, Bethany House, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance

Review: To Have and To Hold by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller (Bridal Veil Island Book #1)

To Have and To Hold by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller (Bridal Veil Island Book #1)
Bethany House Publishers, September 2011
Christian Fiction/Historical Romance
Ppbk 352 pages
ISBN 0764208861
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted for Historical Novels Review Magazine, February 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:Three and a Half Stars

When Audrey Cunningham’s father proposes that they move to Bridal Veil Island, where he grew up, she agrees, thinking this will help keep him sober and close to God. But they arrive to find wealthy investors buying up land to build a grand resort on the secluded island—and they want the Cunninghams’ acreage.

Contractor Marshall Graham can’t imagine why the former drinking buddy of his deceased father would beckon him to Bridal Veil Island. And when Boyd Cunningham asks him to watch over Audrey, Marshall is even more confused. He has no desire to be saddled with caring for this fiery young woman who is openly hostile toward him. But when Audrey seems to be falling for another man—one who has two little girls Audrey adores—Marshall realizes she holds more of his heart than he realized. Which man will Audrey choose? And can she hold on to her ancestral property in the face of overwhelming odds?

A popular writing duo returns to historical romance with this formulaic novel focusing on faith, tragedy and hopeful triumph. After conquering alcoholism, Boyd has found God but not in time to save his ancestral home. He faces hard times while his daughter Audrey feels the burden of his mistakes during her struggle to secure her own future.

Struggling with her faith in God, Audrey is forced to deal with her family’s changing circumstances of both financial hardship and the loss of loved ones. Bridal Veil Island is to become a resort town, and Audrey has to help see this plan come to fruition. As host to contractors and investors, forcing a Southern welcome so soon after the Northern Aggression is hard on Audrey’s family. When Marshall Graham arrives at Bridal Veil Island, Audrey is quick to judge and oblivious to Marshall’s admirable qualities.

What is left for Audrey when the construction is over is up to her, but will she be able to see past her resentfulness and skepticism? Written in a slow fashion with a few twists, the reader follows along as Audrey battles obstacles and interacts with shady characters; those who don’t love Audrey’s stubbornness won’t love the novel. Audrey could come off as unreasonably righteous and stereotypical while she tried to determine what path to take, and as the main protagonist this was difficult to ignore. Aunt Thora and her shotgun was an amusing element, and I wouldn’t mind hearing more of her own story. I would be interested to see what comes next in the Bridal Veil series.

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Filed under 2011 Releases, 2012 Review, Bethany House, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Post Civil War