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 You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.


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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 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





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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 You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


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The Lady Tempts an Heir