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.


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.




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.


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.



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.


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