Category Archives: Christian Fiction

Fired Up (Trouble in Texas #2) by Mary Connealy

Romance and charm in this fun novel!

Fired Up (Trouble in Texas #2) by Mary Connealy
Bethany House, September 2013
Review copy provided by the publisher
Burton Book Review Rating:Four and a Half Stars

Dare Riker is a doctor who saves lives, but someone seems determined to end his. It may have something to do with the traitors he dealt with during the Civil War, or it might be related to the recent incident with Flint Greer and the ranch. Whoever the culprit is, he or she seems really fired up, and Dare can’t let his guard down for a moment, which is a challenge, since right now he’s trying to win the heart of the recently widowed Glynna.
Glynna Greer came west as a mail-order bride and ended up in a bad situation. Now her husband, Flint, is dead, and she’s determined to care for her son and daughter on her own. She wants to believe Dare Riker is as decent as he seems, but she’s terrified to lock herself into another marriage. She plans to support her small family by opening a diner—never mind that cooking is not her greatest talent. The men in Broken Wheel, Texas, are so desperate for home cooking that they seem willing to overlook dried-out beef and blackened biscuits.
Glynna can’t help but notice that danger follows Dare wherever he goes. There’s the avalanche. And then the fire. But things really get out of hand when someone plunges a knife from Glynna’s diner into Dare’s back. Are Flint’s cronies still plotting revenge? Is Glynna’s son engaged in a misguided attempt to protect his mother? Is a shadowy outsider still enraged over past injustices? And can Dare survive long enough to convince Glynna to take another chance on love?

Dare Riker is a stubborn man who thinks he shouldn’t doctor anymore due to ethical reasons, yet he is the best doctor in town. Glynna Greer has a troubled past but if she and the doctor could find their ways into each other’s hearts there could be a happy ending. But her son had enough of dirty rotten men who do harm to his family, and he just might take matters into his own hands if the doc and his mom start to show signs of love. Things start heading south and there are a few suspects.. but could Glynna’s own son truly have a murderous streak? After their hard life, it wouldn’t be that hard to believe.

I really enjoyed the first book in the Trouble in Texas series (Swept Away), and it was no different with this new installment. It is a bit of a western romance but told with light hearted wit that is charming. While the storyline could have used a bit more oomph behind the ‘suspense’ factor, the rest of it seemed to flow well and is an enjoyable Christian based romance. Mary Connealy’s regular readers will enjoy this novel as well with its unique set of characters and story. Even though this is a series novel, this is one where I believe it could be a stand alone novel but the characters do carry through so if you read the series out of order you will be spoiling it for yourself.

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Filed under 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Bethany House, Christian Fiction

Love At Any Cost by Julie Lessman

or at the cost of faith..

Love At Any Cost (The Heart of San Francisco #1) by Julie Lessman
Christian Historical Romance
Revell, April 1 2013
Review copy provided by the publisher for review in the August 2013 Historical Novel Society magazine
Burton Book Review Rating:


From the author: “My intent was actually to underscore the Scripture “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” —Matthew 6:20–21. 
The hero has to learn to “love at any cost,” which in his case, costs him his will, laying it down to do things God’s way. But there’s also a double Spiritual meaning which I hint at in the dedication of the book that reads as follows:
To the Lover of my Soul,
Who taught me about ‘love at any cost’
two thousand years ago on a hill outside of Jerusalem.
I will love You and worship You
all the days of my life.

*(the HNR review differs because I fail at reviewing books within a limited amount of words; I write better when I feel less restrained).

Favored Christian historical author Julie Lessman starts off her third series with Texas sized sass and spirit. Cassie is a cowgirl who knows what she wants and it ain’t no pretty boy! Yet, when she travels to San Francisco to get away from heartbreaking pretty boys, she bumps into one with Jamie McKenna. Turns out he is a close friend of her Aunt Cait, and Cassie is forced to put up with him during her stay in San Francisco with her McClare cousins.

Jamie McKenna has been working hard all of his life to provide for his impoverished family and has his mind made up that he wants to marry an heiress to provide a costly surgery for his invalid sister. He sees Cassie as his ticket to wealth and courts her as passionately as he can despite her resistance.

At the heart of this burning (slightly uncomfortable in a Christian novel) romance is the prerequisite of Aunt Cait for Cassie to only love a man who loves God first. These ladies aren’t taking no for an answer and the journey towards faith for Jamie is not an easy one, forcing Jamie to make difficult decisions which do little to endear the reader to him. Overall, if the reader can get past the multiple references to slanting, tipping or flat smiles, the interesting blend of romance with spiritual tones make up for the bumpy start. The supporting characters helped flesh out the story while also providing for a strong start to this faith based historical series.

I wanted to really love this book, a first Lessman read for me though I have already collected her previous six books based on other blogger’s recommendations. As a reader of inspirational historical fiction for the past few years, this novel blurred the lines a bit for me as it was somewhere between ‘clean’ and ‘jaw-dropping’ in the romance department. And the first few days of reading this I only managed to get about fifty pages in because I could not help but notice the thin lips, the flat lips, the tilted smile, the curving smile, the wilting smile, the crooked smile, the zagged smile, and my favorite: the rebounding smile. So when a lazy Saturday came along I made it my goal in life to get through the book, and once I dug in and got past the lips and smiles the novel did develop into a worthwhile story with intriguing plot lines which surprised even me. Taking these few warnings in mind, you would have to decide for yourself if this is a read for you, as the majority of the reviews on Goodreads are five stars.

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Filed under 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Christian Fiction, Julie Lessman, Revell

Dark Road Home by Elizabeth Ludwig

Enchanting historical mystery 
Dark Road Home by Elizabeth Ludwig
Bethany House, 2013
Historical Romantic Suspense/Christian Fiction
Review copy via publisher
Burton Book Review Rating:Four and a Half Stars
Synopsis:


Ana Kavanagh’s only memories of home are of fire and pain. As a girl she was the only survivor of a terrible blaze, and years later she still struggles with her anger at God for letting it happen.At a nearby parish she meets and finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who is struggling with his own anger–his sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with one of his enemies. Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan longs to rejoin the Fenians, a shadowy organization pushing for change back in Ireland. But gaining their trust requires doing some favors–all of which seem to lead back to Ana. Who is she and who is searching for her? As dark secrets from Ana’s past begin to come to light, Eoghan must choose which road to follow–and where to finally place his trust.

I had really enjoyed this author’s previous title in the Edge of Freedom series and was excited to get the chance to review this next installment. While this novel introduces new characters, I personally would recommend reading the first book, No Safe Harbor, since that book sets up the relationships and includes important events that bring us to book two. Set in New York, it features Irish immigrants who are still not far enough away from the violent political factions that were wreaking havoc in Ireland, as well as a murderous uncle who threatens the heroine’s life.
Ana is the estranged niece who tried to find a new life in a new country but her uncle wants to make sure she stays out of his way. Ana meets up with Eoghan (from the previous book) and they form a sweet relationship with each other. They find themselves in danger and the story sets up a plausible and entertaining suspense story while the romance takes us on a slow stroll. The writing is fast paced and evocative of the turbulent 19th century era and will not disappoint Ludwig’s fans of the first book in the series. 
This is a novel from Christian fiction publisher Bethany House, and would not be for those who do not enjoy the genre as there are trials and tribulations of the main characters’ questions of faith that are a theme to the story along with their struggles to find the truth about who to trust.

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Filed under 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Bethany House, Christian Fiction

Trouble In Store by Carol Cox

Wild West Rogues In Disguise

Trouble In Store by Carol Cox
Christian Historical Fiction
Bethany House, June 1 2013
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:3 stars

Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he’s not about to let some obstinate woman with newfangled ideas mess up all he’s worked for. He’s determined to get Melanie married off as soon as possible, and luckily there are plenty of single men in town quite interested in taking her off his hands. The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn’t want her to marry up with any of them. He’s drawn to Melanie more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store unexpectedly offer positive results.
But someone doesn’t want the store to succeed, and what used to be just threatening words has escalated into deliberate destruction and lurkers in the night. When a body shows up on the mercantile steps–and the man obviously didn’t die from natural causes–things really get dangerous. Can Melanie and Caleb’s business–and romance–survive the trouble that’s about to come their way?

Trouble In Store is a story of a young woman forced to make her own future when she finds herself without an income and without friends. The last place she had any family was many miles away, yet she decides to take her chances and seek them out as a last resort. Her welcome to Arizona is not as expected, but since she has nowhere else to go she is determined to make the best of her situation. Melanie decides to help Caleb run a mercantile store and strange events occurring around them spell danger for them both.

This novel was a quick read and based on other reviews I was expecting a little more power behind the story   but instead it seemed to be a bit too cookie cutter for me. The faith feature that I expect from this publisher also seemed to be toned down; there were no characters that were struggling with their faith and I didn’t grasp an underlying Christian theme other than an occasional meeting with the preacher in public.

One of the main difficulties I had with trying to immerse myself in the story were the characters themselves. The author forgot to describe these two main protagonists and so we only got to learn about them through their conversations and mannerisms. If the author portrayed Caleb as a handsome merchant using her eloquent and descriptive prose, perhaps I would have cared a little more instead of imagining the blank faces of Melanie and Caleb. Instead, it was 66% of the way through that I finally learned that Caleb had ‘soft, sand-colored waves’ of hair. And that’s it.

Otherwise, the plot read well: dilemma, quaint romance, mystery, murder, lynch mobs and then a happy romance in the middle of a small western town in 1885. Dusty, wide open spaces and simple living was an easy setting to portray for the author which she did well. Running the mercantile store was a theme to the story and a helpful tool for the author to introduce several interesting characters along with details of the items for sale from days gone by. I have to mention that there were a few instances where I was guilty of  ‘smack of my head’ moments due to the implausible actions of our protagonists which didn’t help endear me to the story, but since this was a fairly standard Christian historical, if you imagine a young Brad Pitt going in perhaps you’ll love this one as much as some of the other reviewers did.

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Filed under 19th century, 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Bethany House, Christian Fiction

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Ready for a gush fest? LOVED LOVED LOVED!

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer
Bethany House; June 1, 2013
Christian Historical Fiction
Review copy provided for free from Litfuse in exchange for this honest review
Burton Book Review Rating:Totally Awesome!

Purchase a copy here

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he’s forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man’s daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he’s haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind–a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the person is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna’s outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?

Stealing the Preacher is book two in Karen Witemeyer’s Archer brothers series, the previous novel being Short-Straw Bride (review) which I loved and gave 4.5 stars. This one gets 5 stars! I absolutely LOVE Bethany House Publishers allowing the faith theme to be so majorly prevalent in their Christian historicals, and it was so strong in this novel that I spiritually latched on to Brother Archer very quickly, but I knew I would since I loved him in Short-Straw Bride. And he sure wasn’t that hard to read about either, the way Joanna gets all pink in the face around him -whew- throw that girl a towel!!

Crockett Archer had no idea he was about to meet Joanna, the love of his life, when her father abducted him from a train. Crockett had other places to be and other people to meet, but God had other things in mind and that was Joanna and her goal for restoring faith for her father.

From rebuilding a church and nursing an injured man, Crockett Archer has all the right moves, and he has moved right into Joanna’s path who cannot get enough of the man. Turns out the socialite Holly wants Crockett too, so there’s a little not so nice competition going on. Luckily, Crockett sees through Holly’s ways but can he reform her before someone gets hurt? A dash of intrigue, a great bit of romance and full on unabashed faith keeps this story going in page turning fashion from start to finish. I absolutely loved this story -perhaps I was in the need of a preacher man – but those who don’t revel in God’s glory probably would feel too consumed by the verses being recited throughout. I cannot wait to see what is next from Karen Witemeyer and I am definitely going to get to reading her previous novels sooner rather than later. Stealing the Preacher was just what this reader wanted: a sexy Christian cowboy and a fantastic romance that offers unforgettable characters rewarded with redemption, it’s going on my Best of 2013 list without a doubt.

/end gush fest.

Even though this could be a stand-alone, I highly recommend you read Short-Straw Bride first in order to understand the dynamic behind Crockett’s character.

Karen Witemeyer is “kindling” the excitement for Stealing the Preacher (Bethany House) with a Kindle Fire Giveaway and connecting with readers at her June 18th Facebook Author Chat Party!

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  One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer 

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at 4pm on June 18th. Winner will be announced at the Stealing the Preacher” Facebook Author Chat Party on June 18th. Connect with Karen for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Karen will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books and other fun prizes throughout the evening.


So grab your copy of Stealing the Preacher and join Karen on the evening of June 18th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

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Filed under #histnov, 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Best of 2013, Bethany House, Christian Fiction, Karen Witemeyer

Josiah’s Treasure by Nancy Herriman

There are many kinds of treasures..

Josiah’s Treasure by Nancy Herriman
Worthy Publishing, April 2013
Historical Romance/Somewhat inspirational
Review copy provided by the publisher for review in the May 2013 Historical Novel Society magazine
Burton Book Review Rating:

Read my review of Herriman’s previous novel, The Irish Healer

In 1882 Sarah Whittier dreams of opening an art studio run by immigrant women. She plans to use the house left to her by family friend Josiah Cady as collateral for her studio. But will all be lost when the inheritance is challenged by an angry man claiming to be Josiah’s son and legal heir? Rumor of gold nuggets hidden in the house place Sarah’s life in danger. Her future uncertain and her safety threatened, Sarah has nowhere to turn. That is, unless she can soften a vengeful man’s heart – and they both learn that love is finer than any gold.

Don’t let the amateurish cover image dissuade you from this inspirational romance from Nancy Herriman. Set in San Francisco in 1882 we are introduced to Sarah as she is coping with the loss of a close friend and benefactor. She is grateful for the inheritance that Josiah has left her, and has made plans with that money which goes towards securing her future as well as other young ladies. Unforeseen changes occur when Josiah’s long-lost son, Daniel, shows up from Chicago to claim Josiah’s purportedly hidden treasure of gold, along with claiming his rights as heir to Josiah’s estate.

Seedy sides of San Francisco lace the chilly atmosphere once the rumors of Josiah’s treasure circulate and put Sarah in danger. Readers watch the characters develop just as we are trying to find out both the history behind Josiah’s reasons for abandoning his family and discerning the past that Sarah has tried so hard to erase. Daniel and Sarah are admirable characters each trying to make their futures brighter for others as well as themselves, but they each need Josiah’s inheritance to achieve their goals. Herriman’s story weaves an unpredictable suspense factor in with the light romance, and there is just a small thread of the usual faith questions threaded throughout, making Herriman’s newest novel a gratifying reading experience.
Read the first chapter of Josiah’s Treasure here.

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Filed under #histnov, 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Christian Fiction

It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist

World’s Fair comes to life through Cullen and Della’s eyes

It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist
Christian (?) Historical Fiction
Howard Books April 30 2013
Paperback 432 pages
Review copy provided by LitFuse, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:4 stars

Purchase a copy here

(Read my Love On The Line review, her last release)

A transporting historical novel about a promising young inventor, his struggle with loss, and the attractive teacher who changes his life, all set against the razzle-dazzle of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Gambling everything, including the family farm, Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the Fair’s Machinery Palace makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.

Who could resist that gorgeous cover?! And that dress does actually make an appearance in the novel which adds an intriguing factor. If you have ever wondered what it was like to be at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair, look no further. Deeanne Gist masterfully recreates the atmosphere as we see the fair through Della and Cullen’s eyes, and we even get some pictures too! I loved that there were photos included from the fair, that was a really nice touch and added such authenticity to the story.

The story is a sweet and slow romance, because Cullen is only at the fair to market his invention of a sprinkler system while he has left his betrothed at home. Cullen is going to be at the fair for six months and he and Della have come up with an arrangement so that he could learn to lip read which is something he is going to need to learn how to do soon because of his own hearing impairment. Della easily begins to fall for him – in spite of herself – but Cullen is a respectful young man who knows where his heart is supposed to be: at home.

The story blends the historical element with the romance in a slow atmospheric way that is hard to put down. Tragedy spurs the story forward and the future is not so easy to guess for Cullen and Della, and when girlfriend Wanda shows up, Cullen has to make a difficult choice once and for all. At first I was distracted by the way the author displayed the annunciation of the words that Cullen was hearing, but that dissipated after a while. Those readers who do not like a large dose of “Christian” in their reads would be fine with reading this one, as there are only a few moments that I noticed the christian theme, which I guess is the norm for the Howard Books imprint of Simon & Schuster. I do want to mention that there is palpable amount of lust going on that is implied and while some may not think that is appropriate I absolutely LOVED the romance especially at the end – it was tastefully done and yet so..warm and passionate. Perfect.

“Blood rushed through her veins. He was magnificent. As beautifully formed as any sculpture on the entire grounds of the fair. She squeezed the stair rail. Would his chest have the same texture as his arms? {….}Oh, she could see. She could see just fine.”

Deeanne Gist’s newest novel brings to life the Chicago World’s Fair through the eyes of these two very lovable characters. Her writing style flows easily and I found that even though I sometimes wish I could knock Cullen and Della over their heads when they were not explaining their feelings to each other, it was still a story that I will remember. I recommend it to any historical romance reader, and definitely to those who are interested in the history at the fair.

Incidentally, Goodreads is hosting a giveaway of the title till May 10, 2013.
Christian Bookshelf Reviews is offering a giveaway and a fabulous interview with the author here. There she offers a sneak peek at her next World’s Fair novel.

Deeanne Gist is celebrating the release of It Happened at the Fair with an iPad Mini Giveaway and a Live Author Chat Webcast event {5/22}!

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  One “fair” winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini
  • A $25 iTunes gift card

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 21st. Winner will be announced at the It Happened at the Fair” Live Webcast Event on May 22nd. Connect with Deeanne for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Deeanne will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of It Happened at the Fair and join Deeanne and friends on the evening of May 22nd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 22nd!


As always a warm thank you to Litfuse and their fabulous nesters for providing me a copy of this title for review. They are a fabulous group of ladies, always a pleasure to participate in their blog tours. 

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Filed under #histnov, 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Christian Fiction, Deeanne Gist, Howard Books

Swept Away (Trouble in Texas #1) by Mary Connealy

Wild West spitfire action

Swept Away by Mary Connealy
Bethany House March 1, 2013
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for this review
Burton Book Review Rating:Enjoyed it, had minor quirks


Laughter, Romance, and Action Abound in This New Series from Mary Connealy 


Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn’t all that upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they’ve ever done is work her to the bone. She prayed for a chance to get away, and then came the raging flood. Alive but disoriented, she’s rescued by Luke Stone…so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.
Luke is heading home to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men who killed his father are working hard to ensure Luke doesn’t make it alive. He has no choice but to keep moving. Still, he can’t just abandon Ruthy, so she’ll have to come along.
His friends–a ragtag group of former Civil War soldiers–take a fast interest in the pretty gal. Luke thinks that’s rather rude–he’s the one who found her. And the more time he spends around the hard-working young woman who is a mighty good cook, the more he finds himself thinking beyond revenge and toward a different future. For the first time in a long time, Luke is tempted to turn from his destructive path and be swept away by love.

Swept Away is a western romance complete with the wild west flair of gun fights and dirty sheriffs. The fast paced action centers around Luke and Ruthy as they meet up to regain Luke’s land in Texas. But the story starts out with a splash as Ruthy is tossed from a flooding river and it’s Luke who rescues her. The romance immediately kindles, and the evil posse who stole Luke’s ranch has no idea what hit them once little Ruthy unleashes her skills.

These characters were fun to watch in action, although it was a bit of a predictable story, several of the side characters helped round out an intriguing plot line. Battered wife Glynna becomes someone that Luke and Ruthy have to save, and it turns out it is Glynna’s story that we will see in the next installment in the Trouble in Texas series. What I found interesting about this Christian novel was there was not a ton of the faith element here at all, but actually a bit more of the witty remarks. So even though the situation was dire amongst gunfire and violence, the slant towards a romantic comedy was evident, making this a fun and light read, indicative of author Mary Connealy.

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Filed under 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Bethany House, Christian Fiction

Duchess (Daughters of Fortune Book #3) by Susan May Warren

A poignant conclusion that ties up the series with dramatic zeal

Duchess (Daughters of Fortune Book #3) by Susan May Warren
Christian Historical Romance
Summerside Press, March 1 2013
Paperback 352 pages
Review Copy provided by the publisher, via LitFuse
Burton Book Review Rating:4.5 stars

Read my previous reviews of these Susan May Warren titles:
Heiress (book 1)
Baroness (book 2)
Buy Duchess here!

Follow Susan’s tour here 

The golden age of Hollywood is in the business of creating stars. Rosie Worth, now starlet Roxy Price, has found everything she’s wanted in the glamour of the silver screen. With adoring fans and a studio-mogul husband, she’s finally silenced the voices—and grief—of the past. Her future shines bright…until the fated Black Friday when it all comes crashing down. When Roxy loses everything, she finds herself disgraced and penniless. Her only hope is to join forces with Belgian duke Rolfe Van Horne, a longtime film investor. But Rolfe is not who he seems, and he has other plans for Roxy and her movies—plans to support a growing unrest in Europe, plans that could break her heart and endanger her life.
When her country needs her, will she have the courage to surrender her glittering world and her one true love?

The Daughters of Fortune series follows the females of the Worth/Price families and this last novel of the trilogy features Rosie Worth. I’ve said in previous reviews that the books need to be read in order, and that holds true again. The characters change generations from the first to the last books and it would definitely heighten your enjoyment if you knew the background of the current story (obvious spoilers will be provided in book three if you start the series here).

Duchess focuses on Rosie, the daughter of Jinx, who desires to be a movie star. She gets her wish and yet she slowly begins to realize that living the life of the rich and famous can also be empty and full of heartache. She struggles to find her path and even though good friends encourage her, she still rejects God and the notion that faith in Him could fill her up. She seeks love in the wrong places and when she does find a worthy love she can’t find a way to hang on to it. Through all of her bad choices we still root for her because her heart is pure – and we know that there has to be a happy ending, right?

Turns out there is a war brewing in Europe in 1938, and the German Jewish are being persecuted. Rosie finds herself in the middle of it with Rolfe Van Horne and just like a blond starlet she has no idea what is going on around her. Alongside this growing tension, Rosie learns to accept the biblical phrase, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” How Rosie finally embraces this is our ultimate journey, and with this faith theme alongside a bit of intrigue this series is much like a soap opera, though with classy style. The Nazi plot line doesn’t take precedence until the last section of the book, so don’t buy this thinking you’re getting a full look at the impending war. Most of the novel focuses on Rosie’s relationships and the people she connects with, which eventually will bring us to the climax of the Nazi theme. Meanwhile, we’ll just have to sit back and enjoy the movies and the glitzy ride that Rosie brings us on.

Previous threads of untied story lines do get a chance to be resolved in this conclusion, and since I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this Daughters of Fortune journey I am sad to see it end. I absolutely loved reading the author’s note, as the biblical themes all came together with a huge dose of redemption, but I don’t want to spoil it and clue you in. Duchess is a very well plotted story that totally had me crying at the end! I really wish the editing were a little bit more polished, as I spotted at least two errors. Still, with the dramatic writing style of Susan May Warren, I am wondering if I could step out of my comfort zone of historical themes and read one of her many contemporary novels. Definitely something worth looking into.

Thank you so much to LitFuse to providing me with a copy of Duchess to review! This series is special to me, because it was book one that actually turned me on to the Christian historical genre in 2011, and I haven’t looked back since.

Susan May Warren is celebrating the release of Duchess with a Kindle Fire HD Giveaway.

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One “glam” winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire HD
  • Signed copies of Duchess, Baroness and Heiress

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 4th. Winner will be announced on 5/7/13 at Susan’s blog.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

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Filed under 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Susan May Warren

The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

Fantastic Regency era romance full of intrigue and faith values!

The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers on the Moors Book #1) by Sarah E. Ladd
Christian Historical Romance
Thomas Nelson; April 9, 2013
Paperback 320 pages
Review copy provided by publisher via LitFuse in exchange for this review, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:Totally Awesome!

Purchase your copy here
Follow along Sarah’s virtual tour here

I edited out some of the plot in the following synopsis….

Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?
Darbury, England, 1814
Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.
Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.
Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.
Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them.

I must say I devoured this one, I could NOT put it down. I am VERY glad I didn’t read the synopsis or back cover thoroughly, or I would have been anticipating what was a big twist in the story. (I HATE when marketing gives away the plot!) ..vent over..The above synopsis is safe for consumption since I deleted the middle.

The story is set during England’s Regency era where Amelia Barrett finds herself as a temporary guardian of an infant. Nine months later, the father of the infant comes back to retrieve her, and Amelia is willing to stop at nothing so that the baby can remain in her custody. Captain Graham Sterling is a neighbor to Amelia, but he has been away at sea for most of his life. Upon his return to his estate he finds his brother William has ran it into debt, and he is not worthy of caring for his daughter. Amelia is the best person for the job, but Amelia’s intended does not want anything to do with the Sterling baby.

Turns out this is really not just a romance – as there is more suspense and intrigue that you can shake a stick at!! Amelia realizes that her engagement to a shady Edward Littleton must not be acted upon, but it turns out that Littleton doesn’t really want Amelia anyway – he wants her estate and is ready to move heaven and earth to get it. In an era where a woman is bound to be loyal to a man and her family, Amelia has little hope of achieving her dreams of being a mother to her friend’s baby when scoundrels like Littleton stand in her way.

Many plot twists occur which have us losing breath as we try and keep up with Amelia’s headstrong ways as one disaster after the other happen at breakneck speed – which is why I could not put this novel down! I loved how the faith factor was skillfully inserted, both Amelia and Graham have to mend their ways and the novel shows how they approach their faith in order for them to have a happy outcome. The narrative seamlessly shifts from both of the main character’s point of views and we are eager to see them both succeed. The love story was achingly slow, as we knew these two are made for each other, but it was a nice backdrop to the fast paced intrigue. A fantastic debut for author Sarah Ladd, and I CANNOT wait to see what is next.. since this is book one of a series, I am guessing that the ill-fated cousin Helen will be featured in book two…. (no spoilers, so I’ll hush!!)

The journey towards absolute trust in God + idyllic setting + good vs. evil + sweet romance + a plethora of interesting characters = a new favorite novel and five star read!!

My Goodreads Reading Progress:

04/07 page 320
100.0% “Squeeeeeee.. Loved it!!!”
04/07 page 262
81.0% “I love this book – will be sad to see it end. But I can’t stop myself from reading it!”
04/06 page 135
42.0% “Methinks they shouldn’t leave Amelia unprotected tonight, after that shocking announcement!”
04/06 page 82
25.0% “Amelia is betrothed to a cad.”
04/05 page 1
0.0% “OOHH first lines: ‘Katherine was going to die. And Amelia could do nothing to prevent it

Sarah Ladd is celebrating the release of The Heiress of Winterwood with a Downton Abbey Kindle Prize Pack Giveaway!

Heiress-of-Winterwood-giveaway300

 One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Downton Abbey, seasons 1-3

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 30th. Winner will be announced on 5/2/13 {HERE}.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

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Filed under 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Sarah Ladd, Thomas Nelson