Archive for the ‘romance’ Tag

Review of Out of Embers by Amanda Cabot   Leave a comment

 

Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.

***

 

A haunted orphan on the run, a desperate killer willing to murder whoever stands in his way, and a charming rancher who wants to follow his own dreams but stays to take care of his family. Sounded good to me, and something that set it apart from the usual Western romance. The beginning started out strong enough. Evelyn has always felt like a watcher has been monitoring her movements. When the orphanage she’s been living at for 10 years is mysteriously burned down and all its inhabitants with it, she knows her past has finally caught up with her. She flees with Polly, the only orphan to escape the carnage because she was with her. They travel to the quaint town of Mesquite Springs where during a thunderstorm, they are found by a handsome rancher, Wyatt Clark.

For me, I kept looking for the story to pick up in some way. If not with the plot, at least some more interesting character interaction. But it’s very brief and any character conflicts are swiftly resolved. We had an interesting one going with Sam, a lawyer who is Wyatt’s friend, and determined to have his own way no matter what. After building up on this, though, things are swiftly resolved within a page and a half, roughly. Once we finish meandering through the rest of the story, the author decides to throw in a hasty confrontation with the villain and poof! All done, and you’re left feeling like you missed something.

For characters, they’re solid, no complaints there. Polly, Evelyn’s six year old companion, I confess annoyed me tremendously. I’ve always thought that if you’re an orphan and someone is going out of their way to take care of you, show a little respect. This one shows zero, and alternates between being a cute girl to a spoiled little runt you just want to squash (I know that sounds violent :P).

The romance is bland, and the standard insta-attraction that morphs into love. Nothing memorable, or what would tug at my heartstrings.
For the moral message, I was a little bit disgusted with how it was portrayed. One of the themes at the beginning is to abstain from lying. Evelyn, however, in a strange town and believing that the person who murdered her parents just destroyed an orphanage with a bunch of innocent children, decides to change her last name and lie about her past to avoid drawing attention and alerting whoever might be stalking her. This is somehow still wrong.

I appreciated the scene where the characters pray for healing and God answers. But what deflated it for me was “well God, we know you don’t heal everyone, so if it be your will…” Wow, that’s a load of faith. I was almost shocked the prayer even got answered.

So personal feelings aside on some of the scenes, the story is charming enough on its own. If you’re looking for a lighthearted romance with just a touch of suspense, you won’t be disappointed. As for something truly moving, or even eliciting that warm feeling inside that you get when you read some books, I can’t say you’ll get that with this book. At least I didn’t, anyway.

Verdict: Pass, unless you’re looking for a slow read.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author from the blogging program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

 

Advertisement

Review of The Heart of a King: The Loves of Solomon by Jill Eileen Smith   Leave a comment

 

King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could–and did–have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all his wisdom, did he or the women in his life ever find what they searched for all of their lives?

In this engrossing novel, you’ll find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you’ll meet Solomon and four of the women he loved: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and the eyes of these women, you’ll ask yourself the ultimate question: Did Solomon’s wisdom ultimately benefit him and those he loved . . . or did it betray them?

***

At last, my collection of Biblical fiction from Jill Eileen Smith on the shelf is about complete. I’m happy now. 😀 I’m a huge fan of her work, having collected all of her Daughters of the Promised Land, Wives of King David, and Wives of the Patriarchs series. So I was happy to get her collection of the loves of Solomon, which before was only available as an ebook.

So for the story itself. It focuses on Solomon, of course and 4 women (out of a thousand) who loved him. Naamah, the Ammorite who has come to accept God; Abishag the Shulamite who is first wife to King David and then his son and entrances Solomon with her passion for songs and poetry; Siti, the spoiled Eygptian princess whose intelligence and desire to challenge his belief in God; and lastly Nicaula, the great queen of Sheba who alone he felt to truly be his equal in life.

What I have always liked with Jill Smith’s work is how she manages to portray the people we read about in the Bible and in my opinion, captures their essence perfectly. Solomon’s life was filled with abundance and love, his wisdom unmatched with any. But with all that he had, it was never enough, and Solomon could never find true peace. Even the gift of wisdom he so desired felt like a burden.

I felt both annoyed and sorry for him. Honestly, you can’t help feeling at least a little disgusted how he reuses the same lines of mushy poetry you read in the Song of Solomon on each woman he comes across. But reading on, you can see how in his own way, in those moments he really did love the woman he was with, but his heart was never content.

In this you can’t help but feel for him. For how many times have we made “things” in our own life more important than the One who made them and allowed us to have them? And in so doing, we feel nothing but emptiness inside, only able to feel some spark for the briefest of moments before seeking some new pleasure to try to awaken it back in us again.

Jill portrays that accurately with Solomon, a man who had it all and sought to have so much. He became so enamored with his own wisdom and power he forgot to honor and seek the One who gave it to him. And so nothing in his life satisfied him. Not even love.

Of the women who loved him, Siti was probably my least favorite because she was so whiny and spoiled. But I did like in the end how she started to question her belief in the Egyptian gods and was beginning to make an effort to understand the one God. Naamah was a like a promise that went unfulfilled. She loved Solomon since they first met as children, and marrying him was like a dream come true, even though she knew he would take other wives. In the end, she had to stand off to the side and watch as he went with woman after woman, and ended up forgetting her.
And poor Abishag. She had a lot of love to give, and was probably the most understanding woman ever. She knew what her fate was, but didn’t complain. Even though her moments with Solomon were few, she was happy for them. Because of her gentle nature, she ended up even befriending Naamah, who before was seeing her as just another rival.

And then there is Nicaula. She is beautiful and intelligent, with enormous wealth and power. But she longs for the one things denied her: love. When she hears the tales of Solomon’s wisdom she sets forth to not only see if the tales are true, but find the answers to the burning questions in her soul.

While the story lagged a bit in spots and some moments lost their impact because they were chopped short, Heart of a King is a great read that shows how empty life can be when pursuing things and ignoring God. Because without Him, everything truly is meaningless.

Verdict: Buy

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author from the blogging program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

 

Review of the Refuge by Ann Gabhart   Leave a comment

When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It’s meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique–and lonely–position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

***

Darcie and William are fleeing a cholera epidemic and hope to escape the dreadful disease by taking shelter with the Shakers. When William is killed in an accident, Darcy is left alone in a community that forbids marriage and worse, is now pregnant—a visible sign as to the consequences of the ultimate “sin”. With nowhere to go and little money, she sees no other options left to her other than to stay with the Shakers and hope they have mercy on her.

Flynn Keller is still grieving for his wife and struggling to manage his headstrong daughter Leatrice who seems fixed on getting into mischief. After losing his wife because of that same impulsive behavior, he’s determined not to have his daughter killed because of some reckless act on her part. But he needs to give both of them a decent home to stay in and Leatrice needs to learn how to read and write. He doesn’t like it, but the Shakers are looking like the only people he can go to for help.

Honestly, the story turned out better than I expected. It was interesting to read about the Shaker community, even if you were left scratching your head as to how they could have accepted some weird thinking.
The characters Ann Gabhart introduced us to were solid and real. I liked the Shaker women who befriended Darcy, and it was wonderful to read how the birth and taking care of Darcy’s baby brought them even closer and softened the hearts of even the hardest person. A major point of the story is learning not to worry, to take each day as it comes and trust God to work it out, despite what the circumstances look like.

My only quibble is with the romance between the two main characters. I already suspected the author was going to rush it at the end when I reached the three-quarter mark in the book and there was still nothing going on. And then close to the end, a Shazam! is pulled. And you can guess the rest. 😛

While something more natural would have been preferred, this was still a great story to read and one I recommend if you’re looking for solid characters and writing, with a good plot that will keep you turning the pages.

Verdict: Definite buy.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author from the blogging program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

 

Review of A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson   Leave a comment

 

 

Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan’s great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins’ palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie’s great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . .

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.

***

Hello, folks! I know, look who’s back. 😛 And with another book review. 😀

As those of who have been following my blog know, I like to occasionally go outside my preferred genre of fantasy and Biblical fiction to try something different and experience a new setting. When I saw Liz Johnson’s work “A Sparkle of Silver” advertised as a comfy mystery romance, I thought to myself “why not?” and decided to give it a try.

Millie Sullivan is a girl who’s struggling to make it one day at a time and juggle finances to keep her grandmother, who is struggling with dementia, housed in a nursing home. Then she is faced with the horrible reality of her grandmother being evicted unless she can come up with the funds necessary to get her a better place. She has zero prospects of that happening until during one of Grandma Joy’s lucid moments, finds out from the woman about a lost diary from her great-grandmother that holds the clues to a lost treasure. Armed with this knowledge, she immediately seeks employment at the local Chateau where Grandma Joy believes it to be.

Ben Thornton is working 3 jobs, his position as a security guard at the Chateau being one of them, Trying to earn enough to pay back the numerous victims of his mother’s schemes. With name after name coming up and feeling powerless to make restitution for his mother’s sins, he despairs of ever being able to wipe the slate clean until he catches Millie snooping around in the Chateau’s library.
Despite his reservations, he agrees to team up with her and find the lost diary in exchange for half of the treasure found.

The first quarter or so of this book was a bit of a slog for me. While I enjoy comfy stories, I like them to go somewhere, not spend pages crammed with details on very simple scenes. It was like Millie’s mind in a way. Veering off into aimless wandering before snap! Back to the story. Wander again…snap!

Every now and then we are sent into the past to relive the days of Millie’s great-grandmother when she was a guest at the Chateau. The ironic thing is that the story there was more interesting and flowed better than the one set in present day. Gradually, though, things do pick up. The mystery, such as it is, never amounts to much, but the romance part between Millie and Ben improves.

Millie, to me, acted ridiculously immature for her age and the responsibilities she was supposed to have, which made it hard to really connect with her. She does grow through the story, but you never feel she truly reaches a mature state until the end. Ben, on the other hand, is a pretty solid character, as well as Grandma Joy, even though her scenes were few.

Overall, the story does improve the farther you go. While I wasn’t exactly treated to a warm and comfy mystery read, I did get a lighthearted story with the message that when you leave things in God’s hands and trust Him to provide for you instead of yourself doing it, things always work out.

Verdict: For those seeking a lighthearted read that takes its time, you’ll have no problem enjoying this story.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Posted October 31, 2018 by J.M. Christian in book reviews

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Review of Together Forever by Jody Hedlund   Leave a comment

 

Marianne Neumann has one goal in life: to find her lost younger sister, Sophie. When Marianne takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York, she not only hopes to give children a better life but seeks to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children–firm but tender and funny. Underneath his handsome charm, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden. As the two team up placing orphans amid small railroad towns in Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

***

 

Years ago I read another book by Jody Hedlund called Unending Devotion. The story impressed me so much that when I saw Together Forever available to review, I immediately grabbed it. Unfortunately, this latest installment I did not find to be as inspiring.

The story deals with the orphans of New York in the 1800s, and how the Children’s Aid Society endeavored to get them out of living on the streets and place them with families who would give them a start at a new life. It’s a great premise to explore, and Jody Hedlund explores a little the fears of children as they journey on the train to a new life, and how the endeavor was more like selling the children than anything else. But for the most part, these parts are small and glossed over in favor of focusing on the attraction between Marianne and Drew.

Marianne Neumann’s goal is finding her lost sister, Sophie. Joining the Children’s Aid Society not only allows her the chance to find out her sister’s whereabouts, but also to stand on her own two feet and make a difference in life.

Andrew Brady is a former teacher with a Southern charm and good looks to make any lady swoon. He’s got a talent with children, but carries a dark secret from the past that haunts him.

Both characters carry their own burdens and secrets, but are passionate about taking care of the children they are charged with placing in good homes. Most of the story is focused on riding the rails and going from town to town sending children to families and then watching Marianne go all fluttery because of Drew and vice-versa…

I enjoy a good romance just as much as the next person, and that’s something I like reading in books such as these. But honestly, the romance stinks because there really isn’t any. Just mooning over how darn good-lookin’ the other person is. Which can be overlooked, provided the characters are deep and compelling enough to hold your interest. These, sadly, are not. Marianne is just the doughty maid determined not to fall for the charming and smooth gentleman (but does anyway), and Drew, well, he can’t resist a challenge. When they end up getting trapped in an engagement together, I perked up, hoping the story might improve for them…but a murder mystery thrown into the mix for the heck of it spoils that. Which I might add, did not even have the fun of a good mystery.
Reinhold, like a couple reviews mentioned here, was probably the best developed character WITH the best story. It’s too bad his role was so brief. I would have liked to read more about him.

The spiritual elements were okay. There is a theme about learning to forgive yourself and let go of guilt. And of course learning that when you love someone enough, love them to let them go if you have to. Nothing preachy, but I also felt the spiritual elements were not very deep either.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a gentle read, then I think most of you will like this story. If you want something memorable and more compelling, you will probably want to pass.

(I received a free copy of the book from the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review of A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason   Leave a comment

 

 

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl’s heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope–believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father’s demanding expectations.

At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan’s new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

***

 

Due to my mom choosing this, I ended up picking A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason to read. I believe it falls in the Regency romance section? Technically this is not a genre I’m fond of reading. In fact, the Regency genre on a whole I find to be boring (sorry Jane Austen fans). Sense and Sensibility I like, and Jane Eyre ranks as my favorite (in tv watching, not reading). My eagerness to read this book was next to nil, but seeing as how there was little else to pick from March’s catalog of books to blog on, I went with my mom’s suggestion (since I would be giving her the book anyway after I’m done).

This is my first book by Susan Anne Mason, and I’ll be completely honest and say that I was surprised to find myself genuinely enjoying the story. The plot, of course, is simple enough.

Nolan Price, a simple stable hand, has got everything settled for his life. He’s found the farm he intends to purchase once he quits his job at Stainsby Hall, and got the right woman, a kitchen maid named Hannah, to join in matrimony and spend the rest of his life with. Even better, he plans on taking his mother with him where she’ll be able to spend the rest of her remaining years in peace. Unfortunately, life refuses to stay that simple for him.

His mother falls ill, and before she dies, tells him the truth of his parentage: that he is really the son of the Earl of Stainsby. With that revelation, his hopes of leading a quiet life with the woman he loves goes up in smoke, as he won’t be able to marry beneath his station.

I really did enjoy reading about Nolan. It’s not often you find guys with enough backbone willing to fight for a woman. And Nolan did fight all the way, right down to sneakily eloping behind the Earl’s back, even after being forbidden to marry Hannah since she was a kitchen maid. Although I do have to be honest and say that it did get annoying him with him trying to please his father, who only kept behaving like an absolute moron.
Much of the story focused on the tension between Nolan and his father, with the Earl applying all the pressure he can to force his son to conform to his demands, and Nolan both fighting him and trying to please him as best he can. As for all the rigorous training Nolan must undergo for his new position, that is mostly kept in the background and never delved into. Which I didn’t mind, since the drama between the characters kept you turning the pages.

Hannah, the love of Nolan, is a sweet girl, innocent and very supportive of Nolan. She is Nolan’s anchor in the storm that sweeps over his life, but as time goes on and she is eventually forbidden to even meet with him per the instructions of the Earl, she eventually starts crumble, especially after she overhears a secret conversation. While I admired her willingness to sacrifice her happiness for Nolan and could empathize with her inner fears that she wasn’t worthy to be loved, it did get maddening watching her always taking off on Nolan, then fussing about how he must not want her anymore and will probably get swept away with the money and position. And of course Nolan didn’t help matters. You can’t try to please a demanding and thoroughly controlling father at the expense of your wife.

In the end, it isn’t so much the Earl of Stainsby who is the threat to their happiness, but themselves. Which brings us to the Earl himself. To say he was annoying would be an understatement. Obnoxious is closer to it. However, as the story progresses, he ends up meeting the Duchess of Hartford, who proves to be the one to deliver some common sense to the Earl with her unorthodox ways.

Faith content was minimal. But there were some good lessons, like Nolan learning to let go of his pride and Hannah her insecurities. And above all, learning to put God first in things and trusting Him to work everything out.

So all in all, the story was an enjoyable read, and one I think everyone will enjoy revisiting on rainy days and winter nights.

Verdict: While not the most inspiring, A Most Noble Heir is a story with well-developed characters and good pacing that will please most lovers of historical fiction, so a buy is recommended. (And on a side-note, my mom also gives this her seal of approval. 😉 )

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Review of Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings   Leave a comment

 

Louisa Bell never wanted to be a dance-hall singer, but dire circumstances force her hand. With a little help from her brother in the cavalry, she’s able to make ends meet, but lately he’s run afoul of his commanding officer, so she undertakes a visit to straighten him out.

Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno. He can barely control his rowdy troops, much less his two adolescent daughters. If Daniel doesn’t find someone respectable to guide his children, his mother-in-law insists she’ll take them.

When Louisa arrives with some reading materials, she’s mistaken for the governess who never appeared. Major Adams is skeptical. She bears little resemblance to his idea of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he’s left without recourse. His mother-in-law must be satisfied, which leaves him turning a blind eye to his unconventional governess’s methods. Louisa’s never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough?

***

 

I originally requested this as something for my mom to read. Originally, I was thinking about going for the sequel to Harbingers, which I reviewed a few months back. But upon reading the premise, what little enthusiasm I had quickly evaporated. So I asked my mom to choose the book she liked the most that would appeal to her, and I’d give it to her to read after I was done. This was her top choice.

My expectations going into this read were low. I don’t particularly like stories set in the old west, and after my last read, I held little hope of even the romance element being worthwhile. Imagine my surprise when I ended up enjoying the story!

As far as pace goes, it doesn’t lag. Everything is kept moving, without the boring spots you sometimes encounter with historical romance fiction. And the characters themselves are ones with heart and personality that keep you turning the pages to see what happens next.

Louise is a spunky strong woman, with a passion for singing and a heart that’s devoted to those she cares for. With her parents dead and her brother serving in the army, singing in saloons is the only thing that has stood between her and the street. When she’s faced with unexpected unemployment and then news of her brother in trouble with his commanding officer, she makes the decision to go seek a new life for herself and straighten out her brother. Her hope is that the US Calvary is in need of some wholesome entertainment. But after promising to make a simple delivery of books, she is mistaken for the governess Major Daniel Adams requested to help rein in his unruly girls. Though she has little book learning, she goes along with the assumption, figuring it will give her the chance to aid her brother.

Major Adams is great at running a fort, but he struggles with raising two girls. Caught between the two, he’s forced to always be at his best with little time for engaging in any silliness. Allowing himself to try out a stunt ends up with him injuring himself right in front of Louise. When she doesn’t reveal his secret, he feels obligated to give her a chance as the governess for his children, despite his suspicions.

I really enjoyed Louise and watching her use her wits to maintain her facade as a refined and educated woman. Even though she feels completely overwhelmed and fearful of the moment when she is found out, she doesn’t back down. She gives the performance of a confident governess her best shot, and during her free hours when she is alone, struggles to learn the subjects she needs to stay ahead of the girls she is tutoring. What also adds to the character is that she has always been judged by the church ladies of her hometown and scorned by them without ever being given the chance to prove herself or that the accusations against her are false. As a result, she doesn’t see God as a loving God, and doubts her self-worth.

Major Daniel Adams, as far as male leads go, wasn’t bad. While I wouldn’t call him a favorite, he worked well in the story. He’s a typical stiff military man, but with Louise, that’s when more personality and feeling breaks free. Though he’s suspicious of Louise’s story and background, he opts to give her a chance. His attraction to her grows, especially when he sees how well she and his children get along.

What I really liked about Major Adams was that he went by Louise’s heart and stuck by her. Even when given the opportunity to find evidence that would provide him with the truth about Louise, he refused to take it, choosing instead to trust her and what he felt in his own heart about her.

Personally, I feel there should have been another character to help with leading Louise and Daniel in having a relationship with God, or a stronger one in Daniel’s case, since he was already a Christian. It felt awkward when he would go talking about God and how Jesus is there for all, since it felt like he was a little lost too and needed guidance himself, but it doesn’t detract from the story. The romance is good, and you’ll be rewarded by a sweet ending that makes you eager for the next book in the series.

Verdict: A definite buy!

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Review of A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden   Leave a comment

 

Lucy Drake’s mastery of Morse code has made her a valuable asset to the American news agencies as a telegrapher. But the sudden arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith at rival British news agency Reuters puts her hard-earned livelihood at risk. Newly arrived from London, Colin is talented, handsome, and insufferably charming.

Despite their rivalry, Lucy realizes Colin’s connections could be just what her family needs to turn the tide of their long legal battle over the fortune they were swindled out of forty years ago. When she negotiates an unlikely alliance with him, neither of them realizes how far the web of treachery they’re wading into will take them.

I usually enjoy historical romance fiction, so I decided to give this a try. One thing is for certain. Elizabeth Camden will definitely not be getting added to my favorite authors’ list.

Our main characters are Lucy Drake, a skilled telegraph operator at the AP news agency and Sir Colin Beckwith, head of the rival agency, Reuters. Lucy and her brother have been embroiled in a bitter court battle with their dastardly uncle who managed to cheat their family of a special plumbing valve their father invented. With all their time and money being spent to keep their Uncle Thomas at bay, they have no time to actually live. Lucy keeps them going by reminding herself that once they win the fight, the valve can be offered at cheaper prices so everyone can have running water in New York.

Sir Colin Beckwith is heir to a title, but with no wealth to match it. While he loves his job at Reuters, he feels the weight of his ancestral duty pressing down on him. His only hope for restoring his home in England and taking care of the tenants who live on the estate is to marry a wealthy heiress.

Despite resisting a romance with Lucy, he soon becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding her family.

The time period is 1903 and Elizabeth Camden does a good job portraying the excitement of the telegraph and the way news could be received over it. Plus other historical facts from this time, like plumbing, homing pigeons, journalism.

Unfortunately, it saturates the very beginning, practically the first quarter of the book. And as one reviewer already mention, there was a lot of repetitive writing. From details of why Lucy and her brother were still fighting, to the telegraph itself.

The plot meandered, and I fought to get through it. Finally reaching the halfway mark, things started to pick up, and the plot finally perked my interest. The ending was so-so. I liked where it left the characters, but the resolution of the fight with Uncle Thomas was weak and chopped short. In fact, it was like a passing breeze.

What I like: Honestly, Colin is the character who makes this book shine. His British snobbery and belief that Americans knew zero of culture was hilarious. Even Lucy’s brother Nick proved to be a pretty strong character. I really liked also when Lucy discovered just how much of her life that had been so devoted to the lawsuit with her Uncle, she’d never really taken the time to live.

What I didn’t like: Lucy’s character was just annoying. I won’t go into specifics to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say that I wish Colin had someone else to go for.
As for the romance, it was okay, but I’ve read better. Same goes for the spiritual content, which was downright sparse and then shoved in there for the sake of being a Christian novel.

So final conclusion? It’s a comfortable read for the most part, if you’re looking for light reading material. But it’s not really compelling in the characters, romance, or spiritual aspects. I should add that I passed this book on to my mom, thinking this would be something she would enjoy more than I did. Unfortunately, she did not. She actually got so bored trying to press through the beginning that she gave up.

Verdict: Pass

(Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and 
author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

 

Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

Saeger art

art and comics, tips and tools by Saeger Ryman

Morgan L. Busse

In Darkness there is Light

Audra's Book Blabbing

Let's Talk About Books!

The Godly Chic Diaries

BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

Heather Tabata

Heather Tabata's homepage for Christian fiction writing and author information.

What do you mean?

“Every human life contains a potential. It that potential is not fulfilled, that life was wasted.” ― C.G. Jung

Kat Devitt

Turning tragedy into timeless romance.

Book Wolf

Devouring Books

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

THE CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

READING INTO THE PAST .....

Haden Clark

Better conversations toward a better tomorrow.

Sarah Doughty

Novelist, Poet, Wordsmith

Your grace is enough...

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

ChristforAllLivesMinistry (C.A.L.M.)

Let's build a Nation of good faith, solely dedicated to God and Jesus, helping each other to overcome evil! May God Bless you with the fullness of his Shalom!

The Cat's Write

Milly Schmidt

The Critiquing Chemist

Literary Analysis derived from an Analytical Chemist

Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop tutorials for beginners to experts. Learn tips and tricks on how to use Photoshop for photo editing, manipulations, designs, and more.