Friday, May 13, 2022

Book Review and Giveaway - The Sweetheart Locket by Jen Gilroy


My Review

In San Francisco in 2019, Willow and her mother Millie take a DNA test that has baffling news. Willow travels to England to learn more about her grandmother's past, and the story of Maggie Wyndham starts to unfold. During World War II, Maggie fell in love with one man, and then another ... and did secret war work that put her life in danger. As Willow unfolds the story of Maggie's life, she finds her own life changing too ... with new purpose, new work, and even a new romance.

I wanted to read The Sweetheart Locket because of the World War II setting. I love novels from this time period.

This is a historical novel with a dual storyline. There is the story of Willow and her mother Millie in 2019, in both San Francisco (their home) and England (where Millie was born). There is also the story of Maggie, Millie's mother, beginning in 1939 in England. It is a complex story with lots of movement back and forth in time. Readers meet the three generations of women in the family and also Maggie's friends, and the men who are central to their lives.

I loved this book from the start -- both Maggie and Willow, the central characters, are so likable and have such interesting lives.  Maggie's life is actually extraordinary, with Resistance work and a tangled personal life.

The Sweetheart Locket is an engrossing book - I barely put it down during the time I was reading it, and I planned my time around more reading! I really felt like I got to know the characters because they were so well drawn. The historical details were also beautifully told. I loved the way little haunting details from World War II would show up unexpectedly in present day life as well. Maggie's story - and the secrets of her life - was unveiled slowly through the course of the book.

I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. It is one of my favorite reads this year, and I plan to look for more books by this author.  

Book Synopsis

What if the key to your present lies in the past?

London, 1939

On the eve of the Second World War, Canadian Maggie Wyndham defies her family and stays in England to do her bit for the war effort. Torn between two countries, two men and living a life of lies working for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), Maggie’s RAF sweetheart locket is part of who she is…and who she isn’t.

San Francisco, 2019

Over twenty years after Maggie’s death, her daughter Millie and granddaughter Willow take a DNA test that’s supposed to be a bit of fun but instead yields unexpected results. Willow has always treasured her grandmother’s sweetheart locket, both family heirloom and a symbol of her grandparents’ love story. But now she doesn’t know what to believe. She embarks on a search for the truth, one she doesn’t know will reveal far more about herself…

A gripping and heart-breaking dual timeline novel about love, loss and buried secrets, The Sweetheart Locket is perfect for fans of Lorna Cook, Rachel Hore and Suzanne Kelman.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Author Bio

Jen Gilroy writes sweet contemporary romance and dual timeline historical women’s fiction—warm, feel-good stories to bring readers’ hearts home.

A Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist and shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon award, Amazon named her third book, ‘Back Home at Firefly Lake,’ a ‘Best Book of the Month: Romance’ in December 2017.

A dual British-Canadian citizen, Jen lived in England for many years and earned a doctorate (with a focus on British cultural studies and social history) from University College London. Returning to where her Irish family roots run deep, she now lives with her husband, teenage daughter and floppy-eared rescue hound in small-town Eastern Ontario, Canada.

When not writing, she enjoys reading, ice cream, ballet and paddling her purple kayak.

Visit Jen online at www.jengilroy.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BookBub, and Goodreads.

Giveaway

Enter to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card! 

The giveaway is open to the US, UK, and Canada, and ends on May 20th. Embed Code: 

The Sweetheart Locket

 


 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Book Review and Giveaway - The Viscount's Lady Novelist by Alissa Baxter


My Review

The Viscount's Lady Novelist is a Regency era historical novel.  It features Harriet Linfield, who plans to have a life as a writer and set her estate up as an orphanage for children in need. These plans are thwarted when she is courted by Oliver, Viscount Wentford, who wants to marry her and mine coal on the estate. Sparks fly despite this, and despite the differences in Harriet's creative temperament and Oliver as a man of science. Will a romance work between them?

I wanted to read this novel because it is the second in the Linfield Ladies Series. I absolutely loved the first book in the series, The Earl's Lady Geologist. This novel is similar in tone and structure, and it was a fun continuation of the series.

My favorite thing about this novel (and the series in general) is the strength and intelligence of the protagonist. She wants far more out of life than a woman in the Regency period expects.  I also enjoyed the interplay between Harriet and Oliver, who connect but also who are very different people.

The Viscount's Lady Novelist started a bit slowly for me but quickly picked up speed, and I enjoyed the read.  I recommend this novel for fans of historical fiction, historical romance, and anyone who enjoys a Regency setting.

Book Synopsis

Harriet Linfield is a lady novelist who has been disillusioned by love. She sets out to write more realistic tales about the emotion when she returns home to Linfield Court for the summer. Vowing to avoid any romantic entanglements along the way, she focuses instead on her writing and her plan to turn the estate she inherited from her uncle into a refuge for orphans.

Oliver, Viscount Wentford, is determined to restore his family fortunes. But his plans for the estate he inherited are in direct opposition to the wishes of Harriet, his new neighbour. Upon meeting her, Oliver is amused when, in response to his provocative comments, she informs him that she intends to make him the villain of her next book. But his amusement swiftly turns to dismay when circumstances align to show him in that exact light.

When an enemy comes back into Harriet’s life, she sees that love isn’t as clear-cut as the romantic tales she pens. But will the viscount manage to discard his villainous mantle to become Harriet’s real-life hero?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Author Bio

Alissa Baxter was born in a small town in South Africa and grew up with her nose in a book on a poultry and cattle farm. At the age of eleven, she discovered her mother’s collection of Georgette Heyer novels. The first Heyer novel she ever read was Sylvester and she was hooked on Georgette Heyer after that. She read and reread her novels, and fell totally in love with the Regency period and Heyer’s grey-eyed heroes!

After university, where she majored in Political Science and French, she began writing her first Regency novel, before moving to England, which gave her further inspiration for her historical romances.

Alissa has lived in Durban and Cape Town but she eventually settled in Johannesburg where she lives with her husband and two sons. Alissa is the author of two chick-lit novels, Send and Receive and The Blog Affair, which have been re-released as The Truth About Series: The Truth about Clicking Send and Receive and The Truth About Cats and Bees.

Alissa’s Linfield Ladies Series features women in trend-setting roles in the Regency period who fall in love with men who embrace their trailblazing ways… at least eventually. The Viscount’s Lady Novelist is the second book in this series, following on from The Earl’s Lady Geologist.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a $30 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.  

The Viscount's Lady Novelist


 

 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Book Review and Giveaway - Secrets of Rosenli Manor by Heidi Eljarbo


My Review

In 1898 Lilly Larsen learns that her Great-Aunt Agatha has passed away and she has inherited her large estate. As she moves into Rosenli Manor, she discovers a mystery about her own past and starts to look for answers.  At the same time she struggles to be taken seriously as an educated woman, and also finds romance.

I wanted to read Secrets of Rosenli Manor because I love historical fiction, am interested in the time period, and was intrigued by the Norwegian setting.

This is a short novel with a dreamy, fairytale-like tone. It was so unique and charming. This is the first book in the Mystery of the Modern Ladies Society series, and I certainly look forward to future reads.

Lilly is a likable protagonist who has a head for business in a time period when women were expected to be wives and stay at home. I admire her intelligence and courage as she faces unexpected danger while settling in at Rosenli Manor.

Her romantic interest, Paul, is a bit more enigmatic, but I hope there is more information about him in future books in the series.

Rosenli itself is almost another character in the series. I especially loved the details about the manor and the upstairs-downstairs life there.

I recommend this charming novel for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone interested in the turn-of-the-century time period. 

Book Synopsis

Betrayal and trust go hand in hand in the first book of Heidi Eljarbo’s new turn-of-the-century series.

It’s 1898, and Lilly has spent most of her life motherless and living with a father who never looks for a silver lining. When her great-aunt Agatha passes, Lilly’s existence takes a drastic turn. She packs her few belongings and moves into the old lady’s magnificent estate, Rosenli Manor.

In the days that follow, Lilly tries to understand who Agatha really was, and hidden secrets slowly rise to the surface. Her great-aunt’s glamorous legacy is not quite what Lilly had imagined. She must trust in newly forged friendships, and to her surprise, she discovers what it means to truly fall in love. But not everyone is happy about the new mistress of Rosenli.

Intrigue, mystery, and a touch of romance in the Norwegian countryside fill the pages of Secrets of Rosenli Manor.

Available on Amazon 


Author Bio

Heidi Eljarbo writes historical fiction. She grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as a freelance writer, magazine journalist, and painter.

After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.

Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.

Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.

If you would like to know more, please visit Heidi’s website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Secrets of Rosenli Manor & Of Darkness and Light by Heidi Eljarbo!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on April 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Rosenli Manor


 

 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Book Review - Her Country Gentleman: Timeless Georgian Collection (Book 1), by Sian Ann Bessey, Sarah M. Eden, and Rebecca Connolly


My Review

Her Country Gentleman is a collection of historical romances set during the Georgian era. All are set in the British countryside.  "Spring in Tribbley Hall" is about Charlotte, who visits family friends in the countryside and finds romance with William Cheston as they work to solve the mystery of some missing sheep. "Love of My Heart" is about the adventures of Cordelia Wakefield who finds romantic sparks with a farmer when her family goes to stay in Scotland. "Miss Smith Goes to Wiltshire" is about Martha Smith, who is sent by her mother to stay with country cousins after she declares she wants to marry for love. In the countryside she meets Benjamin Steele, who is working on a dilapidated estate.

I wanted to read this book because I love historical fiction. I read a lot of Regency era fiction and was intrigued by the Georgian setting of these stories.

I listened to the Audible version of this book, which was narrated by Kim Bretton. She has a wonderful voice and expressive delivery. She acted out the stories by changing voices for each character. I actually found this a bit distracting, and think I would have enjoyed a more traditional narration (without the voices and drama).

The stories are all well written with likable protagonists, sweet romances, and charming countryside settings. I love that there were animals featured in the stories and especially enjoyed the sheep in "Spring at Tribbley Hall."  

The romantic element of all three stories was very well done. I particularly liked the story of Cordelia and Sebastian in "Love of My Heart." They had a fun first meeting and developed a strong friendship - with romantic sparks - afterward.

The historical details were wonderful and the authors all evoked time and place so well. I especially liked the setting of "Miss Smith Goes to Wiltshire."

I enjoyed Her Country Gentleman and would recommend it for fans of historical romance, and especially for anyone who is interested in the Georgian period.

Book Synopsis

London is not the only place to find love....

'Spring at Tribbley Hall'
by Sian Ann Bessey

When Charlotte's grandmother invites her to accompany her to Norfolk, Charlotte jumps at the chance to visit the sea and escape the fuss surrounding her sister's wedding preparations in London. Lord William Cheston, on the other hand, is most unhappy when his mother informs him that her old friend and a granddaughter are coming to stay. Not only is it lambing season, but he's also dealing with the mysterious loss of several sheep. The last thing he needs is a child underfoot.

When Charlotte and William first meet, he does not realize that the lovely young lady is the granddaughter in question, and she assumes that the man dressed in work clothes in the barn is a servant. A dinner party at the house introduces Charlotte to some of the gentry living nearby but cannot compare to her experience the next evening, when she and William battle to save the life of a newborn lamb.

Soon afterward, Charlotte stumbles upon a clue to William's sheep's disappearance. And when her life is placed in jeopardy, William is forced to choose between saving Charlotte and catching the thief.

'Love of My Heart'
by Sarah M. Eden

Cordelia Wakefield has never lived anywhere but London and is not overly happy when her family is forced to retrench to a small estate near Teviotbrae, Scotland. An ill-fated game of battledore and shuttlecock brings her face-to-racquet with Sebastian, who runs the home farm at nearby Teviot Castle. What begins as a clash of personalities, expectations, and preferences, soon leads to a friendship neither had expected. 


As the magic of Teviotbrae weaves its spell, the possibility of something more than friendship begins to blossom. But what future is there for a lowly farmer and a London lady?

'Miss Smith Goes to Wiltshire'
by Rebecca Connolly

Martha Smith wants to marry for love, and will not be persuaded otherwise. She is highly sought after in Society for her beauty and status, but refuses to consider any suitor whose only claim is that his prospects meet with her mother's approval. Her widowed mother has had enough of Martha's romantic sensibilities, and is sending her to stay with unfortunate cousins in Wiltshire to show her that marrying for love is a risk that is too great.

Benjamin Steele, Lord Hillier, is working on his new and dilapidated estate when he first catches sight of the striking Martha Smith. Becoming Lord Hillier has only brought him a house that needs significant repairs, tenant farms that had been abandoned, and only the money he'd already possessed. He wants meaning in his life, and he's more than willing to work for it. Though worlds apart in all else, on this point they can agree: a life of meaning would change everything.

Author Bios


Sian Ann Bessey

Born in Cambridge, England, but grew up on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales, Sian left her homeland to attend university in the U.S. and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in English.

She began her writing career as a student, publishing several magazine articles while still in college. Since then, she has published historical romance and romantic suspense novels, along with a variety of children’s books. She is a USA Today bestselling author, a Foreward Reviews Book of the Year finalist, and a Whitney Award finalist.

She loves to travel and experience other cultures, but when she’s home, her favorite activities are spending time with her family, cooking, and reading.

 

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

 

Sarah M. Eden

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today bestselling author of multiple historical romances, including AML’s “2013 Novel of the Year” and Foreword Review’s 2013 “IndieFab Book of the Year” gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, and the Whitney Award’s “2014 Novel of the Year,” Longing for Home: Hope Springs. 

Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

Rebecca Connolly

Rebecca Connolly is the author of more than two dozen novels. She calls herself a Midwest girl, having lived in Ohio and Indiana. She’s always been a bookworm, and her grandma would send her books almost every month so she would never run out. Book Fairs were her carnival, and libraries are her happy place. 

She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She received a master’s degree from West Virginia University, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Book Review - Secrets from the Heart by Sean D. Young


My Review

Secrets from the Heart is a small town romance set in Clover Creek, Tennessee, which is near Nashville. Kira Davis is running her family's historic inn, the Red Rose Inn. She hires Franklin Bennett to work for three months as manager. The problem? Kira and Franklin's family have a longstanding feud based on the mysterious death of Kira's aunt years before.  As they get closer, they also work to solve the family mystery.

I wanted to read this book because I enjoy small town settings, and I liked the synopsis.

Secrets from the Heart is a charming read.  I really liked both Kira and Franklin; they are kind, decent people who want to make the inn a success, put the family feud to rest, and move forward with their new relationship.

The small town southern setting is delightful!  The author even includes two of the characters' family recipes:  The Davis Family Lemon Velvet Cake and The Bennett Family Lemon Supreme Cake.

This is the second book in the Clover Creek series. I have not read the first book, but had no problem reading and enjoying this book as a standalone. I would also enjoy reading the other books in this series, after enjoying this one.

I recommend Secrets from the Heart for fans of small town romance. It is a sweet story and would make a great Hallmark movie -- perfect for a relaxing weekend read!

Book Synopsis

In this charming small-town romance, it’ll take a miracle to dissolve the decades-old feud between the Bennett and Davis families. But as Franklin Bennett and Kira Davis uncover shocking family secrets, it might just take the love growing between them to set things right.

Author Bio

Sean Young has always been an avid reader. This Gary, Indiana native joined her first book club at the age of seven. A lover of the happily ever after, Sean uses her vivid imagination to craft heartwarming and passionate family love stories that deal with forgiveness, promise, romance and redemption. A certified wedding planner by trade, Sean continues to help brides plan the wedding of their dreams.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Book Review and Giveaway - Lady Odelia's Secret by Jane Steen


My Review

In 1880's England, Lady Helena Whitcombe is entering her second year of widowhood, managing a grand home, and spending time with her family. When her older sister Odelia suggests that a noted artist paint a specially commissioned fairy tale inspired work for her home, Lady Helena finds herself involved in another mystery.

I wanted to read this novel because I enjoyed Lady Helena Investigates, the first book in the Scott-De Quincy mysteries series. I like the Victorian setting, and enjoy historical mysteries.

Lady Helena is an interesting protagonist - a well-born woman who is interested in being more than a wife and grand lady during the Victorian era. I enjoyed her work as an amateur detective. 

This is a leisurely paced novel with a great many characters. (A "cast of characters" page would be helpful.) It has been a while since the first mystery, so it took me a bit to remember some of the details of that story that pertained to this novel. 

I once again loved Jane Steen's nuanced writing, her strong characterizations, and the beautiful period descriptions. I was also intrigued by the descriptions of paintings in this book, and the inspiration of fairy tales (especially The Nightengale) for art.

I particularly enjoyed Guttridge, Lady Helena's maid, and her interactions with Helena. I also liked Fortier, the physician who is Lady Helena's love interest. Their relationship moves slowly because of the conventions of the time. The details about mourning in this book are also interesting.

I would recommend Lady Odelia's Secret for fans of historical mysteries, and especially for anyone who enjoys a Victorian setting.  

Book Synopsis

Do you ever really know your family?

In the 1880s a sixth daughter learns not to ask for much, even if she’s the daughter of an earl. Even if she married the richest man in her corner of Sussex. Even if she’s now a widow with a splendid Georgian mansion.

Lady Helena Whitcombe is still trying to adjust to widowhood and reconcile her family loyalties with her desires when her artist sister Odelia makes a startling suggestion. Why not make her mark on the house that’s now all hers, by commissioning a magnificent work of art from one of London’s most celebrated painters?

Lady Odelia invites Helena into the seductive world of medieval fantasies and fairy tales she has inhabited since Helena was a child. But when a shocking series of events exposes the destructive reality of a great artist’s unusual lifestyle, Helena and her lady’s maid Guttridge are called on to help—or is it to interfere?

Looming danger, the risk of scandal, and competing loyalties force Helena to re-evaluate her relationship with the sister she’s always loved the most.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble


Author Bio

Jane Steen writes series set in the late Victorian period, with an unputdownable blend of mystery, family saga, romance, and the real-life issues facing women of the era. She is an indie author who began her career while living in Illinois, later moving with her American husband to her native England. When not working, she can be found walking through the green and muddy Sussex countryside, getting her cobwebs blown away on the nearby beaches, lovingly tending her garden, or sticking her nose into yet another book.

For more information, please visit Jane Steen’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Giveaway

9 winners will receive an eBook of Lady Odelia's Secret and the main prize winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift card & eBook of Lady Odelia's Secret.

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on April 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Lady Odelia's Secret


 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Book Review and Giveaway - Counterfeit Love by Crystal Caudill


My Review

Counterfeit Love is set during the Gilded Age, 1883, in Cincinnati. Theresa Plane has been raised by her grandfather, but they are both in danger now because he is accused of being a counterfeiter.  She is engaged to marry a wealthy man, Edward Greystone, and yet she finds her old beau, Broderick Cosgrove, a Secret Service operative, is the one person who can keep her safe.

I wanted to read this novel because I love historical fiction and I'm interested in the Gilded Age.

Counterfeit Love is the first book in a new series - Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age. It starts off with a chase at a cemetery. It took me a couple of chapters to catch up with the action because so much was happening so quickly. After Theresa met Broderick, her old love, again, things became very interesting ... and I wanted to see how she would get out of the danger she found herself in.

This is such a densely packed, exciting book with a counterfeiting storyline, well realized characters, and a swoony romance. I loved Theresa and Broderick's story.

The period details in this book are fascinating and I found myself looking up details several times because I wanted to know more -- for example the Mount Auburn Incline, an Incline system that was in Cincinnati during this time period.

Theresa is a wonderful, brave protagonist, an artist, an animal rescuer (some sweet stories there!), and someone to really pull for.

Counterfeit Love was an engrossing read, and I wholeheartedly recommend this novel for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone interested in the Gilded Age. I look forward to reading future books in this series!

Book Synopsis

Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves--or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he's been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name--and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors' threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn't all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home--and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiance is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career--but that's better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there's no question they're both still keeping secrets--and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.


Author Bio

Crystal Caudill is the author of "dangerously good historical romance," with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW.

She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

Learn more at crystalcaudill.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

Giveaway

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Friday, March 11, 2022

Book Review - Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin


My Review

Until Leaves Fall in Paris is a historical novel set in 1940's Paris.  It the story of Lucie Girard, a former ballet dancer who now manages a small English language bookstore;  she purchased the store so the original owners, her dear friends who are a Jewish couple, could escape France. The bookstore becomes a place where Resistance workers pass messages in the form of notes tucked into books.  When Lucie meets Paul Aubrey, she is convinced he is designing vehicles for the Germans.  As she learns the truth about his bravery and decency, she also gets to know him romantically - and becomes attached to his young daughter Josie as well. When things become more dangerous, they want to leave France - but is this still possible?

I wanted to read this novel because I love Sarah Sundin's books. She is one of my favorite historical fiction authors and I try to read all her novels when they are first published. I am particularly interested in the World War II time period, and also love books set in Paris.

This is such an engrossing novel! I read in every spare minute for a couple of days because I didn't want to put this book down. Lucie is a wonderful protagonist, likable and enormously brave. I loved the way she got to know Paul reluctantly at first, but then wholeheartedly once she realized they were working on the same side. Lucie and Paul's love story is one of my favorite from recent reads.

This is, as always with Sarah Sundin's books, a beautifully written novel, rich with nuance and 1940's period detail. I always feel like I live in her books while I am reading them - they are so vividly drawn.

Until Leaves Fall in Paris will certainly be one of my top 10 books this year, and I cannot recommend it highly enough for other readers. It will be of special interest for anyone who loves historical fiction set in the 1940's.

Book Synopsis

Paris, 1940

When the Nazis march toward Paris, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. The Germans make it difficult for her to keep Green Leaf Books afloat. And she must keep the store open if she is to continue aiding the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.

Widower Paul Aubrey wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. But in order to carry out his mission, he must appear to support the occupation--which does not win him any sympathy when he meets Lucie in the bookstore.

In a world turned upside down, will love or duty prevail?


Author Bio

Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of When Twilight Breaks and several popular WWII series, including Sunrise at Normandy, Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory. She is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award winner, and her novels have received starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, and have appeared on Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." Sarah lives in Northern California. Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.

 

Book Review and Giveaway - Front Page Murder (A Homefront News Mystery) by Joyce St. Anthony


My Review

Front Page Murder is the first book in a new historical mystery series called A Homefront News Mystery. During World War II, Irene Ingram is working as editor in chief on her father's newspaper in the small town of Progress, Pennsylvania, while her father is a correspondent overseas. When her coworker, Moe Brauer, is discovered dead on his cellar stairs, she suspects murder. She sets out to uncover the truth along with her friend Peggy.

I wanted to read this mystery because I love cozy mysteries and historical fiction.  The 1940's is my favorite historical setting.

This was a well written and compelling mystery. It involves not just the mysterious death of Irene's coworker, but also the scary robbery of a local Jewish store owner.

Irene is a smart, determined amateur detective. I enjoyed watching her work to solve the crime as well as working at the newspaper and dealing with her family and friends. 

The chapters have a nice framework, beginning with a news item from the time and the date that this occurred - i.e. "U-Boat Sinks 4 British Ships in Same Night— The Progress Herald, May 13, 1942" (eBook location 750).

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and look forward to reading more books in the series!  I recommend Front Page Murder for fans of historical mysteries, and especially for anyone who loves a World War II setting.

Book Synopsis

In this World War II-era historical mystery series debut by Joyce St. Anthony, small-town editor Irene Ingram has a nose for news and an eye for clues. 

Irene Ingram has written for her father’s newspaper, the Progress Herald, ever since she could grasp a pencil. Now she’s editor in chief, which doesn’t sit well with the men in the newsroom. But proving her journalistic bona fides is the least of Irene’s worries when crime reporter Moe Bauer, on the heels of a hot tip, turns up dead at the foot of his cellar stairs. 

An accident? That’s what Police Chief Walt Turner thinks, and Irene is inclined to agree until she finds the note Moe discreetly left on her desk. He was on to a big story, he wrote. The robbery she’d assigned him to cover at Markowicz Hardware turned out to be something far more devious. A Jewish store owner in a small, provincial town, Sam Markowicz received a terrifying message from a stranger. Moe suspected that Sam is being threatened not only for who he is…but for what he knows.  

Tenacious Irene senses there’s more to the Markowicz story, which she is all but certain led to Moe’s murder. When she’s not filling up column inches with the usual small-town fare—locals in uniform, victory gardens, and scrap drives—she and her best friend, scrappy secretary Peggy Reardon, search for clues. If they can find the killer, it’ll be a scoop to stop the presses. But if they can’t, Irene and Peggy may face an all-too-literal deadline.


Author Bio

Joyce was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. As Joyce St. Anthony, she is the author of the Homefront News Mysteries. The first in the series, Front Page Murder, will be (or was, depending on the blog date) released on March 8, 2022. Under her own name–Joyce Tremel–she wrote the award winning Brewing Trouble cozy mystery series. She is a native Pittsburgher and lives in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with her husband and two cats–Hops and Lager.

Author Links

Website  http://www.joycetremel.com

Website http://www.joycestanthony.com

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/JoyceTremel

Twitter https://twitter.com/JoyceTremel

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 


Friday, March 4, 2022

Book Review and Giveaway - The Lady Tempts an Heir by Harper St. George


My Review

The Lady Tempts an Heir is the third book in The Gilded Age Heiresses series. This book, which begins in London, 1875, tells the story of Lady Helena March.  Helena is a young widow who has found great meaning in helping orphans and unwed mothers - a scandalous charitable pursuit in Victorian England. When wealthy American Maxwell Crenshaw proposes a pretend engagement for the benefit of both their interests (her charity and the business he runs with his sister, Helena's friend), she accepts ... and sparks begin to fly.

I wanted to read this novel because I have loved the earlier books in this series. I am interested in the Gilded Age and Harper St. George does such a wonderful job at capturing the time period. It is a pleasure to visit the Gilded Age in this book series.

Helena is my favorite protagonist in this entire series. She is such a strong and admirable woman who has experienced great personal loss but found a way to help others in a meaningful way. I enjoyed her relationship with Maxwell, and appreciate that he admires her strength, determination, and intelligence. Also - what romantic sparks between the two!  

Each chapter starts with a short, meaningful quote, i.e. "It takes two flints to make a fire" (Louisa May Alcott).

The descriptions in this book (and the series!) are fabulous, rich and detailed, and the dialogue is so smartly written that it moves the book along. I read this novel in just over two days because I could not put it down.

I highly recommend The Lady Tempts an Heir -- and the Gilded Age Heiresses series -- for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone who is interested in the Gilded Age.

Book Synopsis

A fake engagement brings together a lady with bold and daring dreams, and the heir whose heart she captured—perfect for fans of Bridgerton!

Tall, dark, and brooding—to say that American Maxwell Crenshaw stood out in the glittering ballrooms of London is an understatement. He vowed never to set foot in England again, but when a summons from his father along with an ultimatum to secure his legacy has him crossing the Atlantic for the last time, reuniting him with the delectable Lady Helena March, he can’t deny the temptation she presents. Or the ideas she inspires…

Lady Helena March is flirting with scandal. Instead of spending her time at teas and balls in search of another husband, as is expected of a young widow, Helena pours her energy into The London Home for Young Women. But Society gives no quarter to unmarried radicals who associate with illegitimate children and fallen women, and Helena’s funding is almost run out. So when the sinfully seductive Crenshaw heir suggests a fake engagement to save them both—him from an unwanted marriage and her from scorn and financial ruin—Helena finds herself too fascinated to refuse the sexy American.

As their arrangement of convenience melts oh so deliciously into nights of passion, their deception starts to become real. But if Max knew the true reason Helena can never remarry, he wouldn’t look at her with such heat in his eyes. Or might the Crenshaw heir be willing to do whatever it takes to win the one woman he’s never been able to forget…

Amazon | B & N | Books-a-Million | Bookshop | Hudson Booksellers | IndieBound | Powell’s | Target | Walmart


Author Bio

Harper St. George was raised in rural Alabama and along the tranquil coast of northwest Florida. It was a setting filled with stories of the old days that instilled in her a love of history, romance, and adventure. By high school, she had discovered the historical romance novel which combined all of those elements into one perfect package. She has been hooked ever since.

She lives in the Atlanta area with her husband and two children. When not writing, she can be found devouring her husband’s amazing cooking and reading. She would love to hear from you. Please visit her website at www.harperstgeorge.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Giveaway

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on March 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter. 

The Lady Tempts an Heir


 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Book Spotlight and Excerpt - The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery


Book Synopsis

One woman discovers the beauty in chaos in this poignant and heartwarming story about the threads that hold family together from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery.

With her divorce settlement about to run out and a mortgage she can’t afford, Robyn Caldwell needs a plan for her future. She nurtured her family and neglected herself.

But how’s she supposed to think when her daughter has become the most demanding bride ever, her son won’t even consider college, her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster and her ex is making a monumentally bad decision that could bring everything crashing down on Robyn’s head?

So when her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara for the summer, Robyn hops on the first plane.

But it’s hard to run away when you’re the heart of the family. One by one, everyone she left behind follows her across the country. Somehow, their baggage doesn’t feel as heavy in the sun-drenched, mishmash mansion.

The more time Robyn spends with free-spirited Lillian, the more she sees the appeal in taking chances—on dreams, on love, on family. Life is meant to be lived on purpose. All she has to do is muster the courage to take a chance on herself.


Author Bio

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives: family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

Excerpt

She left him to his meal and walked through the house to the master suite. After changing into cropped yoga pants and a tank top, she grabbed her rolled mat and went out through the French doors off the sitting area.

The heat hit her the second she stepped outside. The temperature was in the high eighties, and the humidity was about the same. She unrolled her yoga mat in the shade on her patio. After drawing in several deep breaths, she began the simple routine she practiced nearly every afternoon. The slow movements relaxed her and kept her flexible. Plus the rhythm of the routine helped her clear her mind.

Austin’s announcement relieved her. At least he knew he wasn’t ready to “adult,” as he’d called it. She would miss him while he was gone, but she appreciated knowing he would be back in the fall. Of course, that was a slight complication when it came to selling the house. In the back of her mind, she’d thought maybe, when she listed the house, Jase would invite her to move in. They hadn’t talked about it, but they’d been dating a year now, and…

Okay, she didn’t know what the “and” was, but they’d been together a while. Moving in together was the next logical step. But if Austin was still living with her, that wasn’t an option. Jase’s two preteen girls stayed with him every other weekend. His house didn’t have a bedroom for Austin, and she wasn’t going to tell her son he wasn’t welcome. The obvious solution was for her to find a smaller place of her own.

She looked out at the gorgeous pool, the hot tub and the waterfall. This and the kitchen were her favorite parts of the house. The rest was too big and too perfect for her taste. She’d never felt comfortable here, and once she and Cord had divorced, she’d been eager to sell.

But Austin had only been fourteen, and she’d figured he’d been dealing with enough without adding a move to the mix. Harlow had also been a consideration, still coming home regularly from college. Now Austin was out of high school, and Harlow was engaged and living with her fiancĂ©. Moving made sense for the kids and for her financially. She was tired of the large mortgage payment that chewed up so much of her monthly income.

She sat on the mat. She would need to get a place big enough for her and Austin—something with a pretty outdoor space and relatively close to where she lived now. If the backyard was nice enough, maybe Harlow wouldn’t throw a fit about not being able to be married in this one.  For reasons not clear to Robyn, Harlow had become fixated on a backyard wedding.

Robyn wanted something a lot less showy than this place. Smaller and cozier, with a few modern touches. Later she would check out local inventory online. If she saw something she liked, she would view it. As for Harlow and the wedding, it wasn’t anything she had to deal with right now. One crisis at a time. And in less than two hours, the current one was going be ringing her doorbell.