Category Archives: Historical Romance

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.

Duchess-KindleFireGiveaway300

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

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

 Aristocrat finds himself in love with a widowed farmer..

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund
Bethany House, April 2013
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:4.5 stars
Read my review of Jody’s previous novel, Unending Devotion

Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can’t prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

This was another enjoyable story from Jody Hedlund that is perfect for Christian historical romance fans. It tells the story of Annalisa and her toils with her land, and on the flip side we are treated to Carl von Reichart, a German nobleman on the run who finds himself in rural Michigan. Annalisa’s extended German family take him in so that he can help Annalisa run the farm, but they really have no idea who he is. He is known as Carl Richards to them, and they all begin to appreciate him even though it is apparent he didn’t grow up farming!

Annalisa was a wonderful character who was easy to root for after she had gone through so much. She was not a timid person, but she was forced to let the men make her choices because that’s just the way things were with her German family. It was a way of life, and a bit of stark reality – until Carl Richards slowly begins to display traits that make Annalisa wonder if it would be possible to actually have a loving marriage full of mutual attraction. And could Carl be that man?

Carl has other places to be.. and there is another groom on the way for Annalisa! What odds does this pair have, especially being so many worlds apart? With a pleasantly evocative (and sometimes suspenseful) story line we watch their love story unfold through the author’s swiftly paced story telling. The history of the German immigrants was an intriguing theme along with the harsh differences between the noble and the working classes set in Michigan during the 1880’s. I loved how so much historical information, faith values and drama came together so easily in this story as Jody Hedlund is definitely proving to be a formidable name in her market. This was one of those reads that I had to force myself to put down in order to go to sleep at midnight!

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Filed under 19th century, 2013 Releases, 2013 Review, Bethany House, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Jody Hedlund, Uncategorized

William Marshal series by Mary Pershall

Thanks to inka for sharing this on Goodreads
I had recently acquired some Mary Pershall titles that are out of print but looking like a lot of fun for reading by the beach type of thing, so I wanted to share with you. If this is deja vu, it is because I had posted a few of the titles in a mailbox post a few years ago. I’ve received a new shinier set now, with the addition of the last title and these copies are in a lot better shape. Has anyone read any of these? I would love to know if they merit the steamy covers, but I’d venture to say there are some romantic scenes.. and would make for a great buddy read/read along/book club discussion, perhaps. A little birdie told me the heroine of the first one was TSTL. I had to ask what that meant, and the answer is Too Stupid To Live. Definitely beach reads, eh? In my case, by the pool with a margarita or two.
Information is hard to find on the author. It seems she also writes children’s books with her daughter and has another pen name of Susan Shelley.
My pretty  maids all in a row..
1984
Lady Eve MacMurrough, fairest of Erin’s fair flowers, her flashing emerald eyes held secrets no man could resist. Defiant daughter of one king and willful ward of another, she would bring the purity of true love to her marriage bed.

Sir Richard FiztGilbert deClare, sitting astride his great black war horse Taran, no English knight was bolder. To the tempestuous Lady Eve he had pledged his troth, but he longed to posses in timeless ecstasy her wild, resisting heart.
Born in a fierce, feudal world as cruel as it was courtly, theirs was the rapturous love destined to change the face of the Irish nation forever.

1985

Isabel de Clare. Her tawny beauty was a King’s prize, to be locked within a brooding castle until she exchanged its gray walls for a husband’s tyranny…

William Marshal. The towering knight armed with a will of steel, he conquered Isabel’s senses in a single blazing night.

Lovers bound by destiny. His power matched her pride. Their passion was a battlefield with no quarter given – and none asked. And with every battle they gambled what they held most dear…the tenderest of loves, in the heat of ceaseless challenge so dearly gained, and so easily lost…

1986

Eleanor Plantagenet. The raven-haired princess of the roses, betrothed as a child, betrayed as a woman- an innocent flower waiting to be plucked by the stranger she must call her lord.. her master.. her husband. William Fitzwilliam Marshal {fictional son of William Marshal}.
The powerful Earl of Pembroke, his castle was a possession defended by his mighty sword; his bride was a royal prize granted by his king… Their destiny was desire. His passion demanded her surrender. Her pride refused to yield even as her body submitted to a traitorous pleasure in his arms. Theirs was a fierce battle of hearts, where looks could wound, where words could kill, where wanton desire drover her into rapture’s flames… but kindled a war that could destroy all they cherished – or inspire the triumph of glorious love eternal…

1987

Roanna Royston. The beautiful tavern wench from the lusty London docks whom fortune made a lady…she was as bold and rebellious as the wild mane of hair that tumbled ’round her shoulders – until one man’s savage passions possessed her.

Giles fitzWilliam. The bastard son of one of England’s noblest families, the stableboy who became a knight….he longed for the fiery tempered Roanna, had always wanted her, would never stop wanting her…

Destined for Danger, Desire, and Triumph.
While all of England writhed in the flames of rebellion they loved and fought with a passion that could never be conquered. Surrounded by treachery, accused of treason, forced into captivity, neither would surrender…until a final ravishing climax brought the lady and the knight together on the peaks of burning love..

I also found this image on goodreads for the last title:

*whew, off I go to fan myself*

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Filed under Historical Romance, Mary Pershall, William Marshal

The Plantagenet Series by Juliet Dymoke

The Synopses of The Plantagenet Series by Juliet Dymoke

©BurtonBookReview
I was very lucky to be put in touch with someone selling some of their out of print historicals, and this lot of Juliet Dymoke titles is exactly what made me want to buy the whole box of books, even though there were some duplicates within. I had these Juliet Dymoke books on my wish list forever but I was only able to find the USA version of Lady of the Garter once in my local used bookstore. The ones shown above are the UK editions, from ‘New England Library’ (London based) which are now happily part of my personal library. Some of the novels may be found via Amazon, I linked their titles above directly to their Amazon pages in case you want to buy them for yourself.
I hadn’t been able to find much information online about them regarding their plot points etc., so I wanted to share the descriptions from back covers with you, keeping in mind I kept those words which are UK spellings:
A Pride of Kings
The first king whom William Marshal met had nearly hanged him. That was Stephen of Blois. Years later William Marshal, the landless, penniless younger son who earned his living with his sword on the tourney fields of Europe, and rose to the highest office in the land under the crown, served five kings of the great Plantagenet line. One died in his arms, one accused him without cause, one raised him to high honours, another turned against him.
Throughout it all, William Marshal never swerved in his loyalty to the quarrelsome, unpredictable, charming and autocratic brood of Henry II, founder of the Plantagenet dynasty.
A Pride of Kings is the first of a series of novels which tell the story of the Plantagenet monarchs through the eyes of the men and women who served them, loved them or betrayed them.
The Royal Griffin
The love story of Princess Eleanor, proud daughter of the Plantagenet dynasty, and Simon de Montfort who though not a commoner was no more than the younger son of a Norman baron, is one of the great romances of the thirteenth century.
His own qualities as much as his kinship to the royal house raised Simon to a position of importance in England, but his friendship with the vain weathercock king soon changed to bitter enmity. Simon became the champion of all those, from barons to peasants, who wanted a curb put on the king’s power. Inevitably, he grew too powerful himself, and came to blows with both Henry III and his son the Lord Edward.
Throughout a lifetime of conflict and divided loyalties, Eleanor never lost sight of her royal heritage as the king’s sister, but until the final disaster she remained Simon’s devoted wife.
The Royal Griffin continues the fascinating story of the Plantagenet family, which began in A Pride of Kings.
The Lion of Mortimer
All the ability, strength and charm of the Plantagenets reached their peak in the person of Edward I, and Simon de Montacute was proud that his own son William should in his turn serve the old King’s heir.
Though the second Edward was weak and frivolous, and his passion for Piers Gaveston roused his barons against him, he retained and repaid William’s loyalty, and William shared the King’s growing hatred for Roger Mortimer as that grasping baron rose to power and too great an influence over Edward’s slighted Queen. It was left to young Will de Montecute, friend and close companion of Prince Edward, to play a part in  Mortimer’s downfall and the resurgence of the royal Plantagenet line.
Following A Pride of Kings and The Royal Griffin, The Lion of Mortimer continues the turbulent story of the Plantagenet dynasty, their faithful friends and their bitter enemies.
Lady of The Garter
Overshadowed by her brilliant husband and then by her wayward and ill-fated son, the Princess Joan might have been remembered only as the Black Prince’s wife, Richard II’s widowed mother.
But Joan’s life had its fill of drama and romance. Despite a secret betrothal in girlhood, she was married to another man. The King took her as his mistress; the common folk loved her for her kindliness and beauty.
For of all the Plantagenet women, Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, was perhaps the most beautiful. Her passionate love story was lived against the background of such great events as the victories of Crecy and Poitiers, at the brilliant court of Edward III and among his sons and daughters who had their full share of Plantagenet pride and ambition.
Lady of the Garter is the fourth is this series of novels retelling the magnificent story of the Plantagenets.
{The US edition is the same, except for “at the brilliant court of Edward III, and among his proud and ambitious sons and daughters…. a series of historical novels which tell the story of the Plantagenet monarchs through the eyes of the men and women who served them, loved them, or betrayed them, and in so doing, helped shape the events of English history.}
The Lord of Greenwich
Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, wrested the throne from his cousin Richard II and sowed the seeds of conflict between York and Lancaster. Now Henry V must keep what his father had won.
So Henry turned to his brothers for support and Humfrey of Gloucester gave in unstintingly, though he later tried to wield power during the minority of his nephew, Henry VI. And there was another side to Humfrey’s character. A genuine scholar, he loved books in an age when learning was for cloisterman, not courtiers.
But Humfrey inherited not only the Plantagenet charm and energy, but also their talent for stirring up trouble. He quarrelled bitterly with the staider members of the family over his marriages and love affairs, for Humfrey’s wild passions could always attract women,
Soldier, scholar and lover, Duke Humfrey embodied the best and the worst qualities of the Plantagenet dynasty, whose earlier story is told in {the names of the aforementioned books}.
The Sun in Splendour
The throne of England, seized by Henry IV, is disputed by the heirs of York and Lancaster. Edward IV, brilliant and handsome in the Plantagenet mould, rules a land split by rival factions, and his secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville has alienated many of his supporters.
Experiencing the excitement of court life, anxious months in hiding while the Lancastrian party control England, Edward’s final victory and her own personal griefs, Bess Bourchier {Elizabeth Tilney} shares tragedy and triumph with her friend the Queen, and with the King whom she idolizes. Later as she tries to make the best of a loveless second marriage, Bess sees the inevitable decline of Plantagenet greatness which will revive only briefly under Richard III, last of the dynasty.
The Sun in Splendour is the sixth and final novel in a series which traces the fortunes of the Plantagenet monarch through nearly four hundred years.

So far, this is my Juliet Dymoke collection. I have since ordered two more of her novels, and will probably buy the rest as I find them.

Juliet Dymoke is a pen name for Juliet Dymoke de Schanschieff (1919-2001). Her work should appeal to readers of Sharon Kay Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick. There is a list of other novels by the author located here.

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Filed under #histnov, 13th Century, 14th Century, 15th Century, Historical Romance, Juliet Dymoke, Medieval Era, Plantagenets, William Marshal

The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad

The Ride of Her Life
A sweet romance with a roller coaster setting!
The Ride of Her Life (Manawa Summers #3) by Lorna Seilstad
Historical Inspirational Romance
Revell, May 1, 2012 
ISBN 9780800734473

Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine, November 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:3.5 Stars

The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws’ home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. However, her in-laws find that life utterly unsuitable for their grandson, and when a row ensues, a handsome stranger–who designs roller coasters, of all things–intercedes on her behalf. Still, Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky (though charismatic) gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life. Filled with delightful characters and the romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life is another supremely entertaining story from the witty Lorna Seilstad. Readers will laugh out loud and sigh contentedly as they spend the summer of 1906 in Lake Manawa.

It’s early 1900’s and Lilly Hart is struggling as a widowed mother in a small town of Iowa. Her in-laws are resorting to treachery to gain custody of her young son Levi, but thankfully Lilly has a friend in roller coaster builder Nick if only she would stop being too stubborn to accept his help. Lilly is determined to save enough money from her waitressing job to buy a house in Lake Manawa so that she can provide a stable home for Levi, but at what cost?
Her powerful father-in-law applies pressure from all angles against Lilly which includes harming Nick’s upcoming roller coaster debut, putting lives in danger as well as Nick’s livelihood. Throughout the story the reader knows what Lilly must do, and who she should and should not trust, which makes Lilly’s stubbornness tougher to tolerate as it slows the story down. The light hearted and fun spirited romance is rounded out with the suspense from the father-in-law’s shady dealings, and both Nick and Levi make extremely lovable characters.
The inspirational theme is quietly laced throughout as both Nick and Lilly work through the questions of their faith and how God fits in their lives, making this a breezy-sweet romance novel. Even though this is book three in the Lake Manawa series, it can be read as a stand alone; however to attain the best reading experience the series should be read in order since there are recurring characters throughout the novels.

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Filed under 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Revell

To Love and Cherish (Bridal Veil #2) by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller



Patience is a forgotten virtue..

To Love and Cherish (Bridal Veil Island #2) by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller
Bethany House, August 2012
Paperback 368 pages
Review copy provided for free from Bethany House, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:3.5 stars

When Melinda Colson’s employer announces they’ll be leaving Bridal Veil Island to return to their home in Cleveland, Melinda hopes her beau, Evan, will propose. But Evan isn’t prepared to make an offer of marriage until he knows he can support a wife and family. Evan works as the assistant gamekeeper on Bridal Veil but hopes to be promoted soon.

Letters strengthen their love, but Melinda remains frustrated at being apart from the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. Then she learns of a devastating hurricane in Bridal Veil and knows she must give up her position as a lady’s maid and make her way back to Evan.
The destruction on Bridal Veil is extensive, meaning every available person is needed to help with cleanup and repairs. Melinda finds a new job on the island, but Evan seems even busier than before, meaning she still never gets to see him. Has she given her heart to the wrong man?
And when Melinda overhears a vicious plot against President McKinley, who is scheduled to visit the island, is Evan the one she should turn to? Will Melinda and Evan ever get the chance to stand at the front of a church and promise “to love and cherish”?

After having read and enjoyed the first book in the Bridal Veil series (review), I was looking forward to book two to revisit this resort style town and its endearing characters. The biggest disappointment is that the characters from the first book were not in this one, as these were all new characters. This is good for readers looking for stand alone reads, and if they started with this one they would not be missing out on any key points except for the struggles of Bridal Veil that the Cunninghams faced in book one.

We are introduced to a maintenance worker/gamekeeper Evan who is hoping for a promotion, and a lady’s maid Melinda who wants nothing more than to marry Evan. Melinda sees things one way, and that is her way. Despite being offered sage advice from her elders, and ignoring Evan’s clues that he is not ready to settle down with anyone, Melinda throws caution to the wind and leaves her position behind to stay on full time at the resort to be near Evan. She is lucky that she is offered a job there, but she is upset that Evan does not have a lot of free time now that she is close by. The two manage to grow further apart once Melinda moves to Bridal Veil, and Melinda doesn’t like giving second chances when she sees Evan with another young lady.

I could empathize with Melinda to a point, remembering myself at her age believing that all we needed was love to survive. Evan had a smarter view of things, and wanted to be able to provide for a wife before obtaining one. Melinda grows impatient as each impediment to her plans causes a greater chasm. The story follows along this trajectory as we see how Bridal Veil runs itself, and some of the shady characters who visit along the way. It takes a climatic ending to get Melinda and Evan to work together while protecting President McKinley and Melinda and Evan finally reach an understanding. The supporting cast was an interesting one, and while I enjoyed the atmosphere and the plot twists, I felt like it had lost some of the zest and emotions that were present in book one. The major theme of  Melinda getting what she wants was just not that appealing after awhile. The Christian theme seemed a bit small to be marketed as such, but still To Love and To Cherish was a quick historical romance escapist read recommended for fans of these authors.

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

Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund



Unending Devotion
Fantastic storytelling with this action packed inspirational romance! 

 

Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund
Bethany House, September 1, 2012
Paperback 384 pages
Review copy provided by the author, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:5 stars

High-Stakes Drama Meets High-Tension Romance
 In 1883 Michigan, Lily Young is on a mission to save her lost sister, or die trying. Heedless of the danger, her searches of logging camps lead her to Harrison and into the sights of Connell McCormick, a man doing his best to add to the hard-earned fortunes of his lumber baron father.
Posing during the day as a photographer’s assistant, Lily can’t understand why any God-fearing citizen would allow evil to persist and why men like Connell McCormick turn a blind eye to the crime rampant in the town. But Connell is boss-man of three of his father’s lumber camps in the area, and like most of the other men, he’s interested in clearing the pine and earning a profit. He figures as long as he’s living an upright life, that’s what matters.
Lily challenges everything he thought he knew, and together they work not only to save her sister but to put an end to the corruption that’s dominated Harrison for so long.

This was such a fantastic story full of the sweet beginnings of romance with lots of danger involved, too! Lily is deadset on finding her younger sister who has strayed off of God’s path and straight into a brothel run by the town’s meanest and most evil businessman, James Carr. Eighteen year old Lily and her darling gruff guardian Oren travel to the Northern Hotel in Michigan and meet Connell, the handsome man who is leading the laborers at a lumber camp.
Connell knows the evil that James Carr creates, but is satisfied to look the other way in order to keep the peace. James Carr has his finger on everyone in the town, and he employs gangster techniques to maintain his powerful hold on the community. When Lily gallops in, she has no idea of the murderous lengths that James Carr goes through in order to terrorize the community, and she ends up getting Connell involved in her schemes to rescue the women enslaved into prostitution. Along the way, there are many characters to keep the story moving along with one mishap after the other that kept me turning the pages. There are several themes and storylines running concurrently, so there is a lot going on at once which was refreshing for an inspirational fiction piece, and I loved how I was entertained throughout the entire novel.
Especially refreshing was the outcome of Unending Devotion, and how not everything was a happily ever after ending. Lily was a young woman to be reckoned with, and even though she was not completely fearless she was willing to fight for her beliefs. It was very realistically told, and these characters were so alive and vivid that I missed them once I finished the book. A fabulous tale of romance, loyalty and adventure that I recommend to any historical romance fan.

I have Jody Hedlund’s previous novels that are autographed which I won in a charity auction, and I am so eager to read those now that I see the stellar writing talent of the author! And I am so pleased to be able to offer you a giveaway via the guest post that Jody will provide for us tomorrow, so be sure to come back and visit tomorrow’s post!

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Filed under 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Jody Hedlund

It’s Mailbox Monday! What are you reading?

What are you Reading?
This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.

Mailbox Monday is a meme originally from Marcia’s Mailbox and is being hosted in September at  Book N Around.

Hey bloggy folks! It’s been a little while since I have had a chance to breathe and sit down and compose a thoughtful post, so bear with me as I squeeze it all in here! Instead of doing a Sunday Salon and a Monday Bookish post I am smushing it all in here. Things have been topsy turvy in real life and I am ready to settle into some sort of symbiotic existence, but God has other plans for me I suppose. Egads. And yes, I am posting this post a tad early because there is a Guest Post and Giveaway upcoming tomorrow for Karleen Koen’s Before Versailles, which was a fabulous novel now being released in paperback.

In public service announcement land.. I wanted to mention that those bloggers on blogspot platform that use Captcha, I cannot get it to work on my IE browser. I enter the letters over and over and over and it doesn’t work. PLEASE consider removing captcha! I understand your need to keep spam out, but I’ve had captcha removed on my blogspot blog for a very long time and I receive minimal comments that I would go and delete. It is a much better trade off: NOT annoy my followers (especially those with an astigmatism like myself) and I go and delete the spam comments that I may receive once a month or so. And the other thing is, there is something weird going on with the captcha that is making it not work properly and you are losing comments (from me!) Here is how to remove it!

In book world, I still have that review noose about my neck, and I am still not getting far into that TBR pile as I had hoped. Wasn’t summer just the pits?! So much hope.. so much lost..


by Philippa Gregory
The Cousin’s War #4

In my Mailbox, I received The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory! I am looking forward to more Wars of the Roses fiction, and Gregory loves to stir it up. Folks love to bash her, but I just like to read her because of her entertaining and quick reads on a subject that I absolutely love. AND whenever I get around to reading and reviewing it, there will be a giveaway for you followers also! Stay tuned!
Sourcebooks reissues
I also received some great Georgette Heyer’s this week to add to my ever growing collection (& TBR Pile!!).. I have at least 35 of her titles now, and many of the vintage and the new ones, and I only need about eight more of the fiction titles that would be available from the vintage presses or Sourcebooks. There were some of her early works that Heyer herself suppressed.. or “buried” that she wasn’t fond of, so those we won’t be able to find anyway.
Added this week to my Heyer collection are the Sourcebooks reissues of: 
The Unknown Ajax

Penhallow
Charity Girl
I only got halfway through the Wolf Hall read along as once prepping for the kids’ school started I lost my focus on books and fell behind in my review schedule. The kids are both enjoying school so that’s a plus. Kindergarten doesn’t seem as fun as daycare was, but I think once he gets used to the routine he’ll be good. But, as far as Wolf Hall goes.. I’m not sure when I’ll get back to it. It was getting kind of tedious for me, and this is one you really have to be in the mood for. And since it’s not a for-review read, it has to go to the back burner.
By Elizabeth Chadwick
Recently, I posted a review and giveaway (Congrats to our winner Audra!!) for A Place Beyond Courage and if you love medieval historical fiction or want to start reading it I would definitely recommend Elizabeth Chadwick’s work. She is a star in the genre. 
By Stephanie Grace Whitson
I then reviewed A Shadow on the Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson, which is an inspirational historical romance featuring a strong heroine dealing with the conflicts created from the death of a husband who betrayed her. There were several plot points to this one, and I enjoyed the journey. This was my second from the author in her Quilt Chronicles series, and won’t be my last! You can read these as stand alones, as they feature different characters, so jump in any time!
by Regina Jennings
Next up was another historical romance, a review for Sixy Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings. I had read this months ago, but had to hold my review until it posted in the Historical Novel Society August mailing. This was a very entertaining novel with an intriguing main premise and setting. I loved the cover of this one, and the main protogonists were awesome. If you know the Bible story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz you will see strong similarities with a Texan spin!

by Jody Hedlund
Giveaway coming 9/20!
I just finished reading Jody Hedlund’s Unending Devotion, and if you enjoy drama, love and murderous villains, this is the story for you!! My review will post next week, and be sure to be on the lookout for a guest post from the author which will also host a giveaway for a signed copy of the book! You really need to put this one on your wishlist, this was a fast paced read for me which I truly devoured!
by Sarah Sundin

And FINALLY… what I am reading now is With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin, my second from this author. Another inspirational romance, this one is set during World War II and features the alternating point of view from a man and a woman writing each other anonymous letters during the midst of the war. It tackles subjects of shyness, fear, and the effects of losing a parent. So far, so good!

That’s it for this Monday’s post, whew!! What are you reading? Which of these titles caught your eye? Happy reading!

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Filed under #histnov, #IMWAYR, 2012 Releases, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Mailbox Monday, Medieval Era, Philippa Gregory

Sixty Acres and A Bride by Regina Jennings

Fabulous debut novel with stunning cover to match!

Sixty Acres and A Bride by Regina Jennings
Bethany House February 1 2012
Paperback 371 pages
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted in Historical Novels Review Magazine, August 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:4.5 Shiny Texas Lone Stars

With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to Texas and the family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have only three months to pay.

Though facing eviction, Rosa can’t keep herself from falling in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. Learning the American customs is not easy, however, and this beautiful young widow can’t help but catch wandering eyes. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, to what lengths will Rosa go to save her future?

This vibrant debut novel blends two cultures of the 1870’s as two widowers go back to family in Texas after tragedy befalls them in Mexico. The young and beautiful Rosa Garner accompanies her mother-in-law, both needing a fresh start, only to find that the old home has accumulated a huge sum of property taxes. Touching on biblical references, the family welcomes the two widowers with open arms and helps them achieve security.
Weston Garner is intrigued by his new cousin Rosa, but he is not willing to let go of his guilt over his wife’s death and believes he wouldn’t deserve to love again. Rosa and Weston strike up an unorthodox agreement even as they each battle their own fears and wariness, yet the entire community support them in spite of their own resistance. The entertaining characters were fleshed out and convincing while the plot explores many themes such as heritage, honor, customs, abuse and insecurity. Rosa’s intelligent and witty character was easy to root for, as she was a stranger among friends and refused to take anything for granted. A journey of faith, friendship and love, this historical romance will please lovers of the Western themed novel.
*I cannot wait to see what’s up next for author Regina Jennings! And this cover was absolutely perfect for the main protagonist, Rosa. The author says the sequel is with the editors! (HAPPY DANCE!) Bethany House Publishers have not failed me yet with their supply of fresh voices in Christian historical fiction.

Buy at Barnes & Noble
Buy at Christianbook.com
Buy at Amazon

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Filed under 19th century, 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Bethany House, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance