Friday, November 13, 2020

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Bulldog Who Loves Metal Bowls

Dear Friends,

Happy almost-weekend to you! I hope you had a good week. All is well here - it has been warmer than usual and I sure have enjoyed extra walks all week.

I have a fun little video for you today. It is about Theo the English Bulldog. Theo loves metal food bowls. They are his favorite thing in the whole world!  He loves to carry them around like a security blanket.  His dad knows how much Theo loves the bowls so he has about 50 bowls in the house for Theo to find and enjoy!  This story really makes me happy, and Theo is very cute.

Here is Theo with some of his favorite bowls:

Does your dog have a special toy or security blanket? I have a fuzzy puppy toy that belonged to my brother Barney.  I like to sleep with it.

Thanks for stopping by today! I look forward to visiting again here next week.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

My Review

The Love Note is a historical novel set in Victorian England. Willa Duvall is a doctor's daughter who longs to become a doctor herself. When she finds a mysterious love note in an old writing desk, she goes to Crestwicke Manor as a nurse in order to look for the story behind the letter. This move leads her back to her childhood sweetheart, Gabe Gresham, and his family. Willa misplaces the note and everyone who finds it imagines that it is for them, with many unexpected consequences. As Willa balances her affection for Gabe and her desire to become a doctor, she comes closer and closer to solving the mystery.

I wanted to read this novel because I have enjoyed earlier books by the author Joanna Davidson Politano. I love Victorian settings and found the idea of an old note found particularly appealing.

The Love Note started a bit slowly for me but once Willa found her way to Crestwicke it became impossible for me to put the book down! The setting of the old, almost gothic, manor was dramatically evoked and there is a large cast of characters who are touched by this letter and the mystery.

I love the juxtaposition between Willa's scientist's mind and her longing for Gabe, like this passage:

"Huddled over John Snow’s Infectious Diseases and Germ Theory in the dimming light that evening, I marked passages about microscopic pathogens on medical instruments and forced myself to concentrate. I glanced up at my patient, who silently stabbed at her cross-stitch project in an ornate striped chair by the hearth. When Gabe appeared in the yard below striding toward the stables, all concentration disintegrated. Moments later, his stallion burst from the doors and galloped toward the hill. I felt a tug on my heart. Meet me at the ruins." (Kindle location 770).

The Love Note was a wonderful read and will surely be on a list of my favorites for this year. I enjoyed Willa as a character and admired her intelligence and determination.  I loved Willa and Gabe as a romantic pairing.  (Gabe is one of my favorite recent book boyfriends!)  The setting is gothic perfection.  The Love Note is a must read for fans of historical fiction, gothic settings, inspirational fiction (handled with a light, deft touch), and historical romance.

Book Synopsis

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

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

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

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

Author Bio

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears, A Rumored Fortune, and Finding Lady Enderly. When she's not homeschooling her small children, she spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at

Book Review and Giveaway - The Tobacconist's Wife by AnneMarie Brear

My Review

The Tobacconist's Wife is a historical novel set in 1855 Yorkshire. Thea Goodson marries in haste after her father's passing. She thought that Ernie Goodson was a kind man but after their marriage she discovers that he is an abusive brute who is also involved in thievery.  She struggles to keep their tobacco shop running when Ernie suddenly goes away.  During this time she also discovers an unexpected connection with Adam Fitzwilliam, who sets up a custom furniture shop next door.  Thea longs to find peace and happiness in her life and a way forward.

I wanted to read The Tobacconist's Wife because I was intrigued by the Victorian setting and was particularly interested in the lives of shop owners during this time.

The period details in this book are fascinating! I especially found the tobacco shop and small Victorian town details interesting.  The author does a wonderful job at setting the scene with descriptions like:

"A large window looked out onto Coney Street, one of the busiest shopping streets in York, but it was the interior that easily drew her attention. On both sides of the shop were floor to ceiling shelves of glass and timber, showcasing boxes of imported cigars, snuff boxes and pipes. Leather chairs were placed in the corners of the shop, for customers to sit and ponder the selections. A highly polished timber floor and matching countertop gave a warm welcome to the discerning customer. Shelving ran the length of the back wall, behind Thea, and beneath the counter was a large glass display area full of everything a man might need to enjoy his tobacco: pipe cleaners, pipe stands, engraved silver cigar cutters, matches and flints, cigar cases, leather pipe cases, crystal ashtrays" (Kindle location 137).

The descriptions of Thea's abusive marriage were at times difficult to read. Ernie was a thoroughly horrible person;  I kept reading, pulling for Thea to find a way out to safety.

There were a number of twists and turns in this novel, and they kept me up reading long after my bedtime. I really liked Adam, who was seeking his dream to become a cabinetmaker in the midst of his own family issues. The scenes with Thea and Adam were my favorite in the book.

I would recommend The Tobacconist's Wife for fans of historical fiction, especially anyone who enjoys Victorian settings and stories of women overcoming - with some historical romance as well.

Book Synopsis

Having lost her father, Thea Goodson is alone in the world.

It is true she has a husband, but Ernie is a brutal man, more inclined to use his fists to keep Thea in line than to build on their marriage. And besides, Ernie Goodson has secrets – secrets that even his wife cannot share.

But in Victorian Yorkshire, appearances must be kept up, so Thea goes on powdering her bruises and forcing a smile as she toils in Ernie’s home and tobacco shop. There seems to be no other option.

That is, until a handsome and well-bred stranger arrives to set up shop next door…

Can Thea escape her misery and break from the conventions of society? Or will the clutches of her abusive husband confine her forever?

The Tobacconist’s Wife is the latest book from AnneMarie Brear, the highly acclaimed author of bestselling The Slum Angel. Perfect for fans of Catherine Cookson, Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin.

Available on Amazon

Author Bio

Amazon UK bestseller and award-winning Australian author, AnneMarie Brear has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, historical research for her novels, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order!

For more information please visit AnneMarie Brear’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 2 eBooks of The Tobacconist's Wife! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Tobacconist's Wife

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Murder in the Piazza: A Maggie White Mystery by Jen Collins Moore

Book Synopsis

Maggie White, a downsized American executive stuck in Rome on her husband’s expat assignment, is finding the dolce vita isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She’s taken a job offering painting instruction to well-heeled travelers and her boss-a rather unpleasant English lord-has turned up dead in his penthouse. Maggie’s left with a palazzo full of suspicious guests, a valuable painting her boss might have stolen, and a policeman who’s decided she’s the prime suspect. Now Maggie must keep the tour up and running while she tracks the killer and works to clear her name.

Author Bio

Jen Collins Moore is the author of the Maggie White Mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mystery Weekly, and she is the editor of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest newsletter. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, as well an established marketer and entrepreneur. A transplanted New Englander, she lives in Chicago with her husband and two boys.

Author Link:

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