Posted in Clean Read Romance, Clean Wholesome Romance, Historical Fiction

A Captain for Caroline Gray (2021): A Blog Tour

About the Book

BookA Captain for Caroline Gray

Author: Julie Wright

Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Inspirational Fiction

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Regency London

Caroline Gray’s third season in London society ends as badly as her first two—no marriage proposal, no suitor, not even a glimmer of an interested prospect. She suspects it’s because she is far too quick to speak her mind to men who are put off by her forthright opinions, her eager intellect backed by a formal education, and her unconventional ideas about the future. She is far more daring than demure to suit the taste of her class. Besides, Caroline thinks there will always be next season to find a husband.

However, her family’s dwindling income leaves Caroline with only one choice to secure her future: a one-way ticket to sail with the Fishing Fleet to India, where the son of a family friend waits. If the match doesn’t work, Caroline cannot return home.

Captain Thomas Scott loves the thrill of the open sea, and as commander of one of the ships of the Fishing Fleet, he ferries scores of young English girls to the shores of India to find husbands. The voyages pay well, but he struggles to understand why families would allow young women to be matched with total strangers so far away.

The trips have always been routine and uneventful—until this trip’s first night’s dinner with one Miss Caroline Gray. She engages in a lively political conversation, presenting opposing viewpoints to the conventionally opinionated gentlemen at her table. Captain Scott is secretly amused and delighted at her boldness, not to mention quite drawn to her beauty.

The rest of the passengers are shocked by her behavior and Caroline finds herself an outcast, suffering harsh judgments from the other passengers. However, she finds an unlikely ally in Captain Scott which quickly draws them closer.

Both know an arranged marriage awaits Caroline at the end of their voyage, yet the attraction between them is undeniable. Caroline will have to decide if she will honor her mother’s wishes and marry a man in India whom she has never met, thus securing a future for her and her mother, or be brave enough to throw convention to the wind and commit to love a sea captain. He may be enchanted by her bold and unconventional ways, but will his love and admiration last?

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP|

DESERET BOOK | GOODREADS

About the Author

Julie Wright wrote her first book when she was fifteen and has written over twenty novels since then. She is a Whitney Awards winner for best romance with her books Cross My Heart and Lies Jane Austen Told Me, and she is a Crown Heart recipient for the novel The Fortune Café.

She has one husband, three kids, one dog, and a varying amount of fish, frogs, and salamanders (depending on attrition). She loves writing, reading, hiking, playing with her kids, and watching her husband make dinner.

She hates mayonnaise.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM| BOOKBUBGOODREADS

Praise for A Captain for Caroline Gray


“A charming historical romance in which smarts and sass are vindicated.”— Foreword Reviews

“…a delightful, not exactly traditional Regency romance. Teen readers will enjoy this adventurous journey with its proactive heroine and exotic settings.”— Booklist, starred review

“An unconventional woman finds herself at home at sea in this stirring Regency from Julie Wright…This adventure is sure to entice fans of historical romance.”— Publishers Weekly

My Review

I absolutely LOVED A Captain for Caroline Gray by Julie Wright. What a fun and highly engaging read. Personally, I found this story unputdownable from page one. My favorite aspect of this novel is the characters. They’re well-written, highly endearing, and quite relatable. I loved Captain Scott’s crewmates, especially Peterson, Abramson, and Tom. The camaraderie amongst the crew of the Persistence is well developed and very believable. My favorite character is Caroline. She is AMAZING! She is SO smart, quick-witted, compassionate, and capable. She is not afraid to act even when Society tells her that her only place is to be nothing more than a quiet, pretty thing. What I love the most about Caroline is that she stands up for herself and she always stands for what is right. Regardless of mean words and judgmental glances, Caroline does what needs to be done and kowtows to no one. She is a truly remarkable heroine, and I loved seeing how she maneuvered through her strict, stifling social world.

I am an individual and I highly value individualism. I do not believe in group-think. I do not believe society is the boss of anyone. I do think friends and family are super important and bring necessary love and vitality and helpful criticism to our lives, BUT we are all unique individuals and it’s totally OK to act that way. Society, unfortunately, does not agree with me. It thinks it has the right to tell me what to think, what to say, what to call myself, what to believe, and whom I should love. Society today is exhausting, and I do all I can to ignore it. Caroline, however, lives during a time and within a class setting where she is not afforded the luxury of ignoring her seriously stifling and tedious British society. Personally, her society would have killed my very soul. What I enjoyed so much was watching HOW Caroline kept her individuality all while navigating the sharks and dictates of her class. I love how she sees all humans as valuable including those her class would say are beneath her. I love that she is willing to risk her life to save another. And, I love how she enjoys learning new things and is always willing to speak her mind. Caroline, to me, is the best kind of heroine, and she is my favorite part of this wonderful story!

A Captain for Caroline Gray is a wonderful, enjoyable Historical Romance and I highly recommend this read. If you are a fan of engaging, well-written Historical Romances, then you are definitely going to want to check this book out ASAP!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishers, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


BLOG TOUR

Join the virtual blog tour of A CAPTAIN FOR CAROLINE GRAY (Proper Romance Regency), Julie Wright’s highly acclaimed historical romance novel March 1 – 28, 2021. Over forty popular blogs specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will join in the celebration of its release with excerpts, spotlights, and reviews of this new Regency-era novel set aboard an English ship bound for India.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

March 01 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)

March 01 Austenprose — A Jane Austen Blog (Review)

March 02 Storeybook Reviews (Review)

March 02 Lu Reviews Books (Review)

March 02 Bookworm Lisa (Review)

March 03 Probably at the Library (Excerpt)

March 03 Our Book Confessions (Review)

March 03 Lady with a Quill (Review)

March 04 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Review)

March 04 Fire & Ice (Review)

March 05 Literary Time Out (Review)

March 05 Among the Reads (Review)

March 06 Books and Socks Rock (Review)

March 07 Encouraging Words (Excerpt)

March 08 So Little Time… (Review)

March 09 For Where Your Treasure Is (Review)

March 10 Laura’s Reviews (Review)

March 10 My Bookish Bliss (Review)

March 11 Heidi Reads (Review)

March 12 Reading with Emily (Review)

March 13 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review)

March 14 Silver Petticoat Reviews (Excerpt)

March 15 Austenesque Reviews (Review)

March 16 The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)

March 16 Greenish Bookself (Review)

March 17 Inkwell Inspirations (Review)

March 18 A Darn Good Read (Review)

March 19 Relz Reviewz (Review)

March 20 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

March 20 Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review)

March 21 Jorie Loves a Story (Review)

March 22 From Pemberley to Milton (Review)

March 23 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)

March 23 Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review)

March 24 Captivated Reading (Review)

March 24 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Excerpt)

March 25 Roseanne E. Lortz (Review)

March 26 Cup of Tea with that Book, Please (Review)

March 26 Randi Loves 2 Read (Review)

March 27 Library of Clean Reads (Review)

March 28 The Bibliophile Files (Review)

Posted in Celebrate Lit Tour, Clean Wholesome Romance, Giveaways, Historical Fiction

Beauty Among Ruins (2021) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Beauty Among Ruins

Author: J’nell Ciesielski

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 12, 2021

American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.

Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light.

Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the INSPY and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

More From J’nell

Inspiration for Beauty Among Ruins

Once again, blame it on Downton Abbey. This time on Lady Rose. She was impulsive, spoiled, a free spirit, yet with a good heart. I knew I wanted to take on the challenge of writing a heroine like her. A character who starts off one way and by the end of the book has completely charmed you over. So I started writing and everything was going great until … it wasn’t. The plot just stopped on me. No matter how hard I tried the story refused to reveal itself to me which is incredibly frustrating for someone who doesn’t like to give up once they’ve started something. But I had to. In the end, I had to put the story, affectionately titled Love on the Limp, away for several months while I wrote The Socialite. Then one day the story clicked. It was meant to be a WWI telling on the classic Beauty and the Beast story. Everything fell into place and the story and characters burst onto the page in glorious technicolor.

Lily and Alec took me by surprised with how much I fell in love with them. Bubbly Lily and brooding Alec. Never had two more opposites been so perfect for one another (at least in my writing experience). They had so many obstacles to overcome, many of them self-imposed, that I often found myself in tears over their heartaches, but golly gumdrops when they came together, boy o boy were there fireworks!

You may have also noticed that the story is set in Scotland because I happen to believe that every good story is set there. I had the privilege of staring at pictures of this breathtaking landscape for months so I could imagine the characters strolling among the heather and watching the river twist through the green moors. To me, nothing rivals the awe inspiring beauty of a certain place, and hopefully readers will feel that through these pages.

My Thoughts

I 1000% loved every minute of Beauty Among Ruins by J’nell Ciesielski. This is one of those novels where the reader escapes his/her world for something magical and romantic. Beauty Among Ruins is a little bit The Secret Garden meets Beauty and the Beast. But it is also a story completely all its own. Set amidst the backdrop of WWI, Beauty Among Ruins takes the reader to a Gothic Scottish castle that’s barely holding up. The landscape, however, is AMAZING. I adore Ciesielski’s prose as her words took me from the high desert of California (where I live) to the lush, vibrant, wild wilderness of Scotland. I truly did get lost (in a good way) in the storytelling and hated when I had to put this book down. My favorite aspect of this beautiful story is the heady romance. The relationship between Alex and Lily begins slightly rough but develops into the most heart-warming, passionate, and swoony wildfire ever. I love the chemistry between the two — they are like long-lost soul mates and it was so awesome getting to watch these two characters find their way to one another.

It is the characters whom I fell for completely. The secondary characters are unique and endearing. They all manage to worm their way into the reader’s heart. Characters like Guthrie, Matron Strom, Bertie, and the many WWI soldiers convalescing at Alec’s castle add so much life and energy to the plot. They are characters I won’t soon forget. Alec makes for one superb hero. He is handsome and he does have quite a closed-off, brooding manner, but what makes him stand out is his innate need to protect Lily, his family, and his home and his ability to see the finer details. I love how he sees Lily for who she is and whom he knows she can become. And Lily is outstanding. She is a ball of sunshine and her heart is as big as Texas. When she sees a problem she does whatever it takes to fix it. She runs headfirst into life and it is so refreshing! Truly, the best part about this lovely story is the wonderful cast of characters.

I could go on and on gushing over how good Beauty Among Ruins is. To me, it’s the perfect storyline. This is a novel I highly recommend. For sure, Beauty Among Ruins is going on my “Forever Keep” pile cause this is a book I want to come back to time and time again.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, J’nell Ciesielski, via Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a paperback copy of the book and audiobook copy of The Socialite!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter.

PromoSimple Link


BLOG STOPS

Through the Fire Blogs, January 27

Fiction Aficionado, January 27

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 27

Wishful Endings, January 28

Genesis 5020, January 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 29

lakesidelivingsite, January 29

Reflections From my Bookshelves, January 29

Connect in Fiction, January 30

Connie’s History Classroom, January 30

CarpeDiem, January 30

Artistic Nobody, January 31 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 31

Rachael’s Inkwell, January 31

Where Faith and Books Meet, February 1

Rebecca Tews, February 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 1

Texas Book-aholic, February 2

As He Leads is Joy, February 2

Robin’s Nest, February 2

Older & Smarter?, February 3

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 3

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 4

Remembrancy, February 4

Inklings and notions, February 4

Mia Reads, February 5

Joanne Markey, February 5

Splashes of Joy, February 5

Mary Hake, February 5

Betti Mace, February 6

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 6

For Him and My Family, February 6

She Lives to Read, February 7

deb’s Book Review, February 7

The Write Escape, February 7

Simple Harvest Reads, February 8 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Novels Corner, February 8

To Everything There Is A Season, February 8

Blossoms and Blessings, February 9

Pause for Tales, February 9

Lis Loves Reading, February 9

Posted in Clean Read Romance, Clean Wholesome Romance, Historical Fiction, Inspirational

Georgana’s Secret (2021): A Blog Tour + an Excerpt

About the Book

BookGeorgana’s Secret

Author: Arlem Hawks

Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Inspirational Fiction

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

Release Date: January 12, 2021

A Regency romance on the high seas. Two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, “George.”

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. While trying to adjust to a new crew, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the “boy” under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy’s secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband are quickly slipping away.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | INDIEBOUND | DESERET BOOK | GOODREADS

About the Author

Arlem Hawks began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the Western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they have to tell. With her travels came an interest in history, especially the history of her English heritage. When she isn’t writing, Arlem is baking her characters’ favorite foods, sewing Regency dresses, learning how to play the tin whistle, and water coloring. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two children. Having previously published four historical romance novellas, Georgana’s Secret is her debut novel.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM

 | BOOKBUBYOUTUBE | GOODREADS

Praise for Georgana’s Secret

Fans of sweet love stories as well as readers who fondly remember those marvelous old traditional Signet Regencies will quickly succumb to the siren song of Hawk’s expertly crafted novel, which delivers the perfect blend of Jane Austen-smart romance and Patrick O’Brian flavored seafaring adventure. Teen romance readers will cheer on the plucky heroine as she finds the courage to forge her own path in life and love.”— Booklist, starred review

“Hawks crafts a spellbinding tale featuring rich characters and raw emotions set against the atmospheric backdrop of sea life in all its danger and beauty. Georgana is a tough protagonist holding her own in a world dominated by men, while Peyton’s charm and sensitivity marks him as a true gentleman. A hidden identity, flirtation, and treachery make for a rousing tale to captivate lovers of historical romances.”— Publishers Weekly

Arlem Hawks wove a magnificent tale of adventure and deception and delivered a happy ever after that was as unconventional as the rest of the story. With so many stories of romance out there, it is refreshing when one comes along that is very different than the stories that I am used to. A little adventure always livens things up fabulously.”— Emily Flynn, Reading with Emily

“This tale felt sweepingly cinematic at times and was both action-packed and heart-wrenching with an immersive narrative.”— Katie Jackson, RegencyProofreading.com

My Review

Click HERE to read my thoughts on this excellent story!

An Excerpt

Georgana sat at one of the windows, letting the light of the full moon flood the paper in her lap. The ship’s creaking seemed louder in the stillness of night, interrupting her father’s quiet snores. He’d drawn the curtains around his hanging cot to block out the soft light. It was a rare moment of solitude.

She skimmed her pencil across the blank page, outlining the crest of a wave.

Grandmother had never let her draw the sea. Or people. She said it kept them wallowing in their past. Now Georgana drew only the sea. Wave after wave washed over pages in her sketchbook. Something about the sea compelled her to draw it night after night. Was it the delicate foam that adorned a gentle crest, or the strength of a surge as it crashed against the hull? The sea could be whatever it wanted. It never had to ask permission.

She sketched so many pictures, she’d started discarding them out the window when her father wasn’t looking. The drawings weren’t particularly beautiful, so it wasn’t a loss to watch them melt into the sea. Grandmother had never let her forget what a poor artist she was, and Georgana still heard the woman’s critiques hissing in her ear as she drew.

Georgana set down her pencil and placed her hand against a cool windowpane. Moonlight skipped across the ocean’s black surface. Lanterns, tiny dots poking through the darkness, twinkled to mark the position of the merchant ships.

A laugh drifted down from the quarterdeck, disrupting the quiet. Georgana grasped the handle on the window and cracked it open. The laugh sounded too jovial for Jarvis and too deep to be Moyle. Must be Lieutenant Peyton.

She listened as she continued her drawing. She couldn’t make out words, but the cheerful hum of conversation soothed her.

The lieutenant hadn’t stopped giving her attention, something Fitz and the other ship’s boys added to their list of grievances against her. Though they kept quiet in his presence, they harassed her more frequently now. She rubbed her knee, still sore from the confrontation a week ago. Lieutenant Peyton was harming more than helping, but he didn’t see that. Just like her father hadn’t.

Georgana squeezed her eyes shut and tugged at the back of her hair. Father had done what he thought was best, stealing her away to be a cabin boy. On board, Grandmother couldn’t reach her. She couldn’t even find her.

Flashes of memory shot through Georgana’s mind. Blood on her hands. Tears rushing from her swollen eyes. Grandmother standing over her with the poker.

The scar running across her palm had faded, but a little ridge that ran from wrist to fingertip still pressed against her pencil as she drew. Her grandmother’s anger over Georgana’s mourning for her mother had come to a blazing head that night. Perhaps Georgana’s display of emotions had run her patience too thin. The beating that ensued had been the worst of Georgana’s life.

And Papa, nearly mad with grief, stole her away that very night. They told Grandmother she’d gone to a school in York. A lie. In the heat of her pain and his outrage, the deception had seemed the best plan. With Georgana on board, Papa would know she was safe.

But sailing the seas with her father had not been what she’d imagined. Though she insisted he not fret his decision, after three years, she worried as much as he did of the damage to her reputation should she be discovered. Grandmother might have let her out in Society by now. She could be married and settled far away from the woman. Many girls were by eighteen.

Lieutenant Peyton laughed again, and Georgana leaned in toward the window. Her ear rested against the crack, reaching for the carefree joy of the sound. For all the trouble he was causing, she wasn’t sorry he’d joined the crew, if only because of the sound of his laughter and his easy smile.

Her eyelids grew heavy, and her head sank against the windowsill. She dozed, ears filled with the gentle lapping of waves and the new lieutenant’s pleasant voice.

Excerpt taken from Georgana’s Secret by Arlem Hawks, pages 23-25.

BLOG TOUR

Join the virtual blog tour of GEORGANA’S SECRET (Proper Romance Regency), Arlem Hawks’ highly acclaimed debut historical romance novel January 11 – February 14, 2021. Over forty-five popular blogs specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will join in the celebration of its release with excerpts, spotlights, and reviews of this new Regency-era novel set aboard a Royal Naval ship.

Georgana’s Secret — A PROPER ROMANCE BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Jan 11 My Jane Austen Book Club Excerpt

Jan 11 Austenprose — A Jane Austen Blog Review 

Jan 12 Wishful Endings Review

Jan 12 Lu Reviews Books Review 

Jan 13 Lady with a Quill Review

Jan 13 Timeless Novels Review 

Jan 14 Reading is My Superpower Review

Jan 14 The Bibliophile Files Review 

Jan 15 Randi Loves 2 Read Review

Jan 16 The Christian Fiction Girl Excerpt

Jan 17 Nurse Bookie Review

Jan 18 The Silver Petticoat Review Review

Jan 18 Heidi Reads Review 

Jan 19 Bookfoolery Review

Jan 20 Captivated Reading Review

Jan 21 Greenish Bookshelf Review 

Jan 21 Bookworm Lisa Review

Jan 22 Among the Reads Review 

Jan 23 Gwedalyn’s Books Review 

Jan 24 My Bookish Bliss Review 

Jan 25 Wishful Endings Excerpt

Jan 25 Christian Chick’s Thoughts Review 

Jan 26 Relz Reviewz Review 

Jan 27 The Lit Bitch Review 

Jan 28 Reading with Emily Review 

Jan 29 Books, Teacups & Reviews Review 

Jan 30 A Darn Good Read Review 

Jan 31 From Pemberley to Milton Spotlight

Jan 31 Impressions in Ink Review 

Feb 01 Austenesque Reviews Review 

Feb 02 Laura’s Reviews Review 

Feb 03 Literary Time Out Review 

Feb 04 Chicks, Rogues & Scandals Excerpt

Feb 05 The Bluestocking Review 

Feb 05 Library of Clean Reads Review 

Feb 06 The Caffeinated Bibliophile Spotlight

Feb 07 So Little Time… Spotlight

Feb 08 The Readathon Review

Feb 09 The Book Diva Reads Excerpt

Feb 09 Books and Socks Rock Review 

Feb 10 Our Book Confessions Review

Feb 10 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen Spotlight

Feb 11 Rosanne E. Lortz Review 

Feb 11 Jorie Loves a Story Review

Feb 12 Fire & Ice Excerpt

Feb 13 Cup of Tea with that Book, Please Review

Feb 14 Book Confessions of an Ex-ballerina Review

Posted in Clean Read Romance, Historical Fiction

The Best-Laid Plans (2021): A Mini-Review

About the Book

BookThe Best-Laid Plans

Author: Sarah M. Eden

Release Date: January 1, 2021

Newton Hughes has long dreamed of pursuing a career in law, an acceptable choice for a gentleman of status and wealth. His parents, however, disapprove of his ambition, urging him instead to take his rightful place as a gentleman of leisure—with a suitable wife of their choosing, of course.

Ellie Napper would like nothing more than for her parents to abandon their incessant efforts to marry her off to the greatest possible advantage. Her lack of matrimonial enthusiasm drives her family mad, but she refuses to feign frivolity in order to make herself more palatable to potential suitors.

When Ellie and Newton are introduced through their mutual acquaintance, Charlie Jonquil, they commiserate over their shared plight. In desperation, they hatch a plan: Ellie and Newton will feign an interest in each other—enough to convince their parents not to push them toward unwanted matches but not enough to cause whispers or expectations. Their plot quickly spirals out of control, but the greatest complication is the one they didn’t see coming: their plan never included falling in love.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I admit wholeheartedly that I purchased The Best-Laid Plans by Sarah M. Eden because of its beautiful cover. It draws the reader in and makes her want to know the young woman’s story. I am so glad I purchased a copy of this novel because I found it to be quite an outstanding escape. It’s only a little more than 100 pages, but The Best-Laid Plans packs quite the punch! I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative and hated those moments when I had to put the book down (stinkin’ chores!). I found the cast of characters to be well crafted; Artemis and Ellie are my favorites. I love how their acquaintance grows quickly and deeply into a best friendship, and I found they made quite a team. Newton is an adorable hero and I appreciate his character growth over the course of the story. He does make an excellent beau for Ellie! Ellie’s parents and older sister are absolutely awful humans — so self-focused and mean — and I loved how Ellie is able to escape them. It is a sad fact that more often than not, it seems, humans have to redefine what family looks like because biological families can be so hurtful and disappointing. I have never been as happy for a fictional character to escape her home life as I was for Ellie. Ellie is a great character and I loved her growth. She goes from a cowed young woman to one who is more than capable of standing on her own two feet. And, lastly, I loved the sweet romance that grows between Ellie and Newton. It was a lot of fun watching the two figure out that their “fake” relationship is actually quite more. The Best-Laid Plans is a highly engaging novella I recommend ardently. If you love a good Regency Romance then The Best-Laid Plans is the book for you!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on January 1, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christmas Lit, Clean Wholesome Romance, Historical Fiction, Inspirational, TBR Challenge

Thawing the Viscount’s Heart (2020)

About the Book

BookThawing the Viscount’s Heart

SeriesBelles of Christmas: Frost Fair, #3

Author: Mindy Burbidge Strunk

Release Date: November 7, 2020

Genre: Sweet Regency Romance, Christmas Lit

Spending Christmastide with her was the last thing he wanted.

After the death of her father, Gabriella Babineaux, left France to live under the protection of a family friend in England. The Frost Fair on the Thames seems the perfect place to begin her introduction into English Society, but when she bumps into a gentleman on the ice and he dismisses her merely for being French, she worries she will be a dismal failure at the upcoming Season. How will she ever find love if she cannot even fit in?

Aaron Campbell returned from the Napoleonic wars to assume a family title that was never meant to be his. A fact his mother never fails to point out to him. Hoping to escape his responsibilities for a few hours, Aaron attends the Frost Fair where he bumps into a French girl whose voice triggers unpleasant memories of betrayal. Now he cannot seem to push the voice from the past out of his mind. When Aaron returns to his country estate for Christmastide, the last thing he expects is to spend the holiday with the woman from the fair—the woman who reminds him of all he’s tried to forget.

As their time together passes, Aaron begins to see differences between the woman in his house and the one who betrayed him. But can he allow himself to overlook her heritage and instead see her as the woman he loves?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Thawing the Viscount’s Heart by Mindy Burbidge Strunk is a lovely Historical Romance. The plot is engaging and kept me turning pages well into the night. The characters are unique and endearing. I found Aaron and Gabby to be well-developed protagonists, and I loved getting to see each character’s unique perspectives throughout the story. The chemistry between Aaron and Gabby is spectacular. Electric sparks fly whenever they’re in the same room, which made the swoony moments seriously breathtaking. Overall, Thawing the Viscount’s Heart is a wonderful read that got me into quite a happy, smiley, Christmas mood!

One aspect to this story that really made me take note is how Gabby is treated by others. Gabby is French, born and raised, but is in Britain awaiting her first London Season. Her guardian is a British Lord who brought her from France to England so she could find herself a husband. At the time of this story, Britain is at war with France so tensions run high as soon as Gabby opens her mouth to speak. Because she is French and cannot hide her accent very well, many of the British people she comes into contact with spurn her immediately. Many refuse to see Gabby as Gabby and choose to see her as France. Painted with a broad stroke, Gabby is THE enemy on Britain’s soil. My heart hurt for Gabby. Of course, once people get to know her they mostly love her, but it’s the hate she always encounters, the ugliness spewed at her, that hurt me deeply. What struck me the most is how some characters hate just to hate. What a horrific, dark, sad life to choose to live when one hates just because. Imagine all one is missing out on. But Gabby is amazing. She never really lets anything get her down. She always extends an olive branch. When it is accepted, she is grateful and gives her whole heart to the relationship, but when it is not she just moves on. In this, I found Gabby to be quite a remarkable heroine!

Thawing the Viscount’s Heart is a really sweet read that I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend. If you are looking for a well-written, heartfelt Regency Romance that will also get you into a holiday spirit then Thawing the Viscount’s Heart is the book for you.

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on November 6, 2020, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christmas Lit, Clean Wholesome Romance, Historical Fiction, Inspirational, TBR Challenge

All is Mary and Bright (2020)

About the Book

BookAll is Mary and Bright

SeriesBelles of Christmas: Frost Fair, #2

Author: Kasey Stockton

Release Date: October 24, 2020

Genre: Sweet Regency Romance, Christmas Lit

He’s found the woman he wants to marry—it’s a shame she is already engaged to someone else.

Mary Hatcher traveled to London to procure a trousseau for her upcoming marriage. When she attends the Frost Fair and meets a different man that ignites her interest, she tamps down the unwelcome feelings. But when her host’s son arrives at dinner and she learns he is the man she met at the Frost Fair, she has a new challenge: she must spend the Christmas Season in the same house as him without falling in love. 

Andrew Bright, the Earl of Sanders can never live up to his father’s legacy, so why bother trying? When he runs into a charming woman at the Frost Fair and later learns she is his mother’s guest, he is overjoyed. At least, until he learns of her engagement. But friendship with her is better than nothing, until she threatens to push him into doing what he has long avoided—stepping into his father’s shoes.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Kasey Stockton has become my new favorite author. I discovered her excellent writing when I read The Jewels of Halstead Manor. I knew after that read I had to get my hands on more of her novels. When I saw she had a Regency Christmas novel releasing, I rushed to pre-order it immediately. Am I glad I did! All is Mary and Bright is an excellent read. I loved every minute of this story. The storyline is highly engaging, sweet, and satisfying. The characters are well-crafted, realistic, and unique. And the romance is perfect. It begins as a sweet attraction but slowly blossoms into something much more. This story had me smiling from ear to ear and it definitely helped me get into the Christmas spirit.

Andrew Bright is the best part of this story. He is tall, dark, and handsome. He is commanding and powerful when he needs to be, but he is also genuinely sweet and thoughtful. What makes Andrew the best hero is manyfold. First, he may be handsome and commanding as the Earl of Sanders, but he is truly just a book nerd at heart! Yes, I find this particularly swoony … and so does Mary, the heroine of our story. Andrew loves novels, loves visiting bookstores, and longs for a woman he can share his book thoughts with. How perfect is that?! Second, Andrew actually longs to do well by others. He wants to make the lives of others better. He wants to be like his father, whom he believes is the paragon of what it means to be a man. At first, Andrew feels like a failure in comparison to his deceased father, but comes to realize that what really matters is a heart that longs to serve. So, he begins to serve others to the best of his abilities and chooses not to be held back by what he thinks are his shortcomings. Finally, what makes Andrew an excellent hero is his attention to detail. Andrew is a man who watches, who sees things where others might not, and then he acts based on the information he has gathered. The best is how he grows to anticipate Mary and her feelings and needs. He really does become one of the sweetest heroes I’ve ever read. In my humble opinion, Andrew makes this novel a real winner!

There really is so much to love about All is Mary and Bright. This book packs a real punch in just under 250 pages. It’s a well-done Regency Romance that will keep the reader turning pages well into the night and will help get them into the holiday spirit. I highly recommend this wonderful story and look forward to reading more novels by Kasey Stockton.

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on October 23, 2020, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Wholesome Romance, Historical Fiction

The Gentleman and the Thief (2020): A Blog Tour + My Thoughts

About the Book

BookThe Gentleman and the Thief

Author: Sarah M. Eden

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

Release Date: April 7, 2020

A standalone novel in The Dread Penny Society set in 1865 London brimming with secrets, scandal, suspense, and romance.

From the moment Hollis Darby meets Ana Newport, he’s smitten. Even though he’s from a wealthy, established family and she isn’t, he wishes he could have a life with her by his side. But Hollis has a secret: the deep coffers that have kept his family afloat for generations are bare, so he supports himself by writing penny dreadfuls under a pseudonym. If not for the income from his novels, he would be broke.

Ana Newport also has a secret. Though she once had a place in society thanks to her father’s successful business, bankruptcy and scandal reduced his fortune to nothing more than a crumbling town house. So Ana teaches music during the day, and at night she assumes the identity of the “Phantom Fox.” She breaks into the homes of the wealthy to reclaim trinkets and treasures she feels were unjustly stolen from her family when they were struggling.

When Hollis’s brother needs to hire a music tutor for his daughter, Hollis recommends Ana, giving him a chance to spend time with her. Ana needs the income and is eager for the opportunity to get to know the enigmatic gentleman. What neither of them expects is how difficult it will be to keep their respective secrets from each other.

When a spree of robberies rocks the city, Ana and Hollis join forces to solve the crimes, discovering that working together deepens the affection between them. After all, who better to save the day than a gentleman and a thief?

Purchase Links

AmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryBookshopBookbubGoodreads

About the Author

Sarah M. Eden

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2019’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, The Lady and the Highwayman, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts. She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep 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.

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Advanced Praise

  • “The real joy in Eden’s follow-up to The Lady and the Highwayman (2019) is the furthering of the overarching crime story and the work of the Dread Penny Society as Hollis and Ana pursue a chaste romance. Eden excels at exploring the realities of Victorian life and class differences. Once again, chapters of penny dreadfuls written by the characters are interspersed throughout, with Hollis’ story about a school for ghosts offering particular delight. Fans of Eden’s smart series will be thrilled and impatient for the next installment.”— Booklist, starred review
  • “Every time I thought my racing heart just couldn’t take the suspense anymore, I’d turn the page and smile.”— Bookconfessions
  • “Eden writes it well, so thoroughly researched that you’re transported and in Victoria England. Great suspense and romance.”— Leslie, Books and Socks Rock
  • “Undeniably clever, suspenseful, well-researched, and deftly written…”— Katie Jackson, RegencyProofreading.com
  • “Charming, suggestive, and featuring rich historical details, The Gentleman and the Thief has the elements of a gritty, juicy penny dreadful.”— Foreword Reviews

My Thoughts

The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M. Eden is a great read. I enjoyed every minute of this fun story and very much appreciated the escape it afforded me this week. The characters in this novel are the best! From upper-crust elites to devastatingly poor street urchins, and those with hearts of gold willing to do whatever it takes to save the lives of those less fortunate to those who relish belonging to the seedy underbelly of London society, this novel truly portrays a unique and well-crafted cast of characters sure to delight any reader. Hollis and Ana, our hero and heroine, clearly have chemistry very early on but are hesitant to declare their feelings because both are keeping some BIG secrets. But as they spend more time with one another, as they grow more comfortable in each other’s company, their relationship blossoms into something genuinely sweet and realistic. In addition to the excellent characters, I was thrilled to read more penny dreadful serials. In this novel readers are treated to two new installments — one a delightful romantic mystery and the other a super fun ghost story. I found myself as excited and engaged in these serials as I was in the main story.

Hollis is an excellent hero with a relatable issue. He is a full-fledged member of the Penny Dreadful Society, but because he’s not originally from the mean streets as the other members are he often feels like the outsider. And, it doesn’t help matters that his fellow PDS members only see him as a socialite. But what’s really frustrating to Hollis is that he doesn’t really belong to the upper-crust set either as his family coffers are basically empty. Hollis is a man without a place and he just doesn’t feel like he fits in anywhere — that is until he meets Ana. What I appreciate about Hollis is his need to be seen for who he truly is. Too often we judge others by what we see or hear, or by first impressions only, and we never really get to know the true person. What a shame this is! How many friendships might we be missing out on because we judge too hastily?

The Gentleman and the Thief is a fantastic Historical Romance/Suspense novel I highly recommend. It’s engaging, it’s fast-paced, and it’s so much fun. Purchase yourself a copy today — you won’t be disappointed that you did!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishing, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


BLOG TOUR INFO

Join the virtual online blog tour of THE GENTLEMAN AND THE THIEF, Sarah M. Eden’s highly acclaimed second novel in The Dread Penny Society series, November 2 through November 29, 2020. Forty popular blogs specializing in historical mystery/suspense, historical romance, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of its release with exclusive excerpts, spotlights, or reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in London, England.

BLOG TOUR STOPS

Nov 02 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review) 

Nov 02 The Lit Bitch (Excerpt) 

Nov 03 Getting Your Read On (Review)

Nov 03 Literary Time Out (Review)

Nov 03 Storybook Reviews (Review)

Nov 04 Heidi Reads (Review) 

Nov 04 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Spotlight)

Nov 05 Library of Clean Reads (Review) 

Nov 06 Relz Reviewz (Review) 

Nov 07 Probably at the Library (Spotlight)

Nov 08 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review) 

Nov 09 So Little Time… (Spotlight)

Nov 09 Captivated Reading (Review) 

Nov 10 Among the Reads (Review) 

Nov 10 Bookworm Lisa (Review) 

Nov 11 For Where Your Treasure Is (Spotlight)

Nov 11 Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review) 

Nov 12 Books, Teacups & Reviews (Spotlight)

Nov 12 Fiction Aficionado (Review) 

Nov 13 Randi Loves 2 Read (Spotlight)

Nov 14 The Book Diva’s Reads (Spotlight)

Nov 15 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)

Nov 16 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)

Nov 17 Book Bustle (Review) 

Nov 18 Jorie Loves a Story (Review)

Nov 18 An Historian About Town (Review) 

Nov 19 Lu’s Reviews (Review) 

Nov 20 Reading with Emily (Review)

Nov 20 Books and Socks Rock (Review)

Nov 21 Bringing Up Books (Review)

Nov 21 Bookish Rantings (Review) 

Nov 22 The Bibliophile Files (Review)

Nov 23 Impressions in Ink (Review)

Nov 23 A Bookish Way of Life (Review) 

Nov 24 Bookfoolery (Review)

Nov 24 Wishful Endings (Excerpt)

Nov 25 Chicks, Rogues and Scandals (Review) 

Nov 25 Joy of Reading (Review) 

Nov 26 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)

Nov 27 Fire and Ice (Review)

Nov 27 Austenesque Reviews (Review)

Nov 28 Impressions in Ink (Review)

Nov 28 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

Nov 29 Laura’s Reviews (Review)

Posted in Christmas Lit, Clean Wholesome Romance, Historical Fiction, TBR Challenge

Her Silent Knight (2020)

About the Book

BookHer Silent Knight

Series: Belles of Christmas: Frost Fair, #1

Author: Ashtyn Newbold

Release Date: October 10, 2020

Genre: Sweet Regency Romance, Christmas Lit

For Selina Ellis, a crowded fair held on the frozen surface of the Thames is the perfect opportunity to meet with her secret suitor—the son of her family’s solicitor—without being caught. But when an acquaintance from her childhood, Sir Edmund, discovers their courtship, a bargain is struck. In order for Edmund to keep her secret, she must convince her mother to allow him to stay in their home for Christmastide, where he will be close enough to keep watch on her and her secret suitor…a man of whom he strongly disapproves.

Though he hadn’t planned on staying in London longer than his grandmother’s funeral, Sir Edmund cannot leave an innocent young woman like Selina in the grip of a man as manipulative as Mr. Skinner. Loyal to his new purpose, he sets out to thwart Selina’s efforts to marry Skinner, unleashing a rivalry between himself and Selina. When she matches his subterfuge with ease, and Skinner threatens to destroy all he has, Edmund must take a new approach—one with more risks than it’s worth.

As Selina’s feelings for Edmund shift from enmity to friendship, her uncertainty grows. She must choose whether love is worth sacrificing her pride. And Edmund must choose whether the price of his silence is worth losing his heart.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Her Silent Knight by Ashtyn Newbold is the first story I’ve read by this author but it will not be the last. This Regency Romance is a great read and fully put me in a holiday mood. I was so thoroughly engaged in the narrative that I read it in under 24 hours. I found the characters to be well-written, unique, and relatable. The romance between Selina and Edmund is sweet and grows naturally and realistically over the course of the story. I especially LOVE the witty banter between the hero and heroine. I have to admit I laughed out loud a couple of times! And, I appreciate the historical details. I have never heard of London’s Frost Fair, but it sounds like it was a once-in-a-lifetime historical event. I can only imagine the trepidation one felt walking on the frozen Thames. Personally, knowing my luck, I would have been the person to step on the one crack that would send me into the depths of the river. LOL!

Edmund is an excellent hero and my favorite character in this story. He is tall, dark, and handsome. He is literally a knight who will rescue Selina from certain peril! Edmund is a planner. He is aware that Selina has unknowingly found herself in a romantic predicament and so he makes a plan to save the day. But that plan doesn’t work the way he wants or in the best interest of Selina, so he takes a step back and plans better. I love this! It was fun to see Edmund’s brain in action and it was awesome to see him re-work his plan to better help the woman he comes to love. I also really appreciate Edmund’s sacrificial nature. Early in the story, we see that Edmund is trapped in blackmail. This blackmail involves Selina. Of course, it’s a seriously frustrating scenario for Edmund. How do you help someone when helping directly leads to you getting hurt? This is the question Edmund has to wrestle with in this sweet story. I will not spoil a single second of his journey through this pickle; however, I will say that Edmund truly is a knight in shining armor and it’s really fun to watch him save his fair maiden from a very persistent dragon.

Her Silent Knight by Ashtyn Newbold is a highly engaging, fast-paced, Regency Romance that I highly recommend. I had so much fun reading this story and can’t wait to read book 2, All is Mary and Bright. If you are in the mood for a lovely Regency Romance that will get you into the holiday spirit then Her Silent Knight is the book for you!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on October 9, 2020, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Wholesome Romance, Historical Fiction, TBR Challenge

The Lady and the Highwayman (2019)

About the Book

BookThe Lady and the Highwayman

Series: Proper Romance Victorian, #1

Author: Sarah M. Eden

Release Date: September 2, 2019

Genre: Victorian-era Romance

Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls’ school in 1830s Victorian London. She is also a well-respected author of ”silver-fork” novels, stories written both for and about the upper-class ladies of Victorian society. But by night, she writes very different kinds of stories–the Penny Dreadfuls that are all the rage among the working-class men. Under the pseudonym Charles King, Elizabeth has written about dashing heroes fighting supernatural threats, intelligent detectives solving grisly murders, and dangerous outlaws romancing helpless women. They contain all the adventure and mystery that her real life lacks.

Fletcher Walker began life as a street urchin, but is now the most successful author in the Penny Dreadful market, that is until Charles King started taking all of his readers. No one knows who King is, including Fletcher’s fellow members of the Dread Penny Society, a fraternity of authors dedicated to secretly fighting for the social and political causes of their working-class readers. The group knows King could be an asset with his obvious monetary success, or he could be the group’s undoing as King’s readership continues to cut into their profits.

Determined to find the elusive Mr. King, Fletcher approaches Miss Black. As a fellow-author, she is well-known among the high-class writers; perhaps she could be persuaded to make some inquiries as to Mr. King’s whereabouts? Elizabeth agrees to help Fletcher, if only to insure her secret identity is never discovered. What neither author anticipated was the instant attraction, even though their social positions dictate the impossibility of a relationship.

For the first time Elizabeth experiences the thrill of a cat-and-mouse adventure reminiscent of one of her own novels as she tries to throw Fletcher off her scent. But the more time they spend together, the more she loses her heart. Its upper-class against working-class, author against author where readers, reputations, and romance are all on the line.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

What a fun read! In The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden the reader is actually treated to three books in one. The main narrative follows Fletcher Walker and Elizabeth Black, both notable authors in their own right. By day, Fletcher is a popular penny dreadful author who pens tales about street urchins and the ugly, sinister monsters out to get them. Pulling from his own childhood, Fletcher is never without a good yarn to tell. By night, however, Fletcher and his noble Penny Dreadful Society members do all they can to right the wrongs against the most vulnerable populations in London — the very poor, the very orphaned, and the very downtrodden. Over on the better side of the tracks, Miss Elizabeth Black is headmistress of a school for middle-class girls. Her goal is to give her students the opportunity to succeed in a world where they really don’t fit in — they aren’t quite poor enough to be considered urchins, but they certainly aren’t wealthy enough to be part of the elite. Elizabeth, however, is willing to do all she can to keep her students and her school afloat. While her students are all tucked into bed fast asleep, Elizabeth stays up late into the night penning penny dreadfuls herself, loving every minute of it and praying no one discovers her secret. Because if anyone in Society ever found out she wrote such lowbrow literature her school would be done quicker than you could say, “kill the canary!”

My favorite aspect to this story is the character of both Fletcher and Elizabeth. To say they are both brave would be an understatement. Fletcher was born and raised on the mean streets of London. His number one goal in life is to produce enough money through his penny dreadfuls so he can take care of the many children who find themselves in situations that he luckily absconded from. Fletcher’s entire life is dedicated to saving young street boys and girls from beatings, starvation, misuse, homelessness, and prostitution. Elizabeth’s character is quite the same. Although she did not grow up in a situation like Fletcher’s, she knows what it is to lose social standing. Elizabeth is not afraid of hard work and sacrifice, and she does just that in this story. What I love the most about Elizabeth is her ability to sacrifice her safety and security for the sake of one destitute and abused child. She doesn’t need the boy’s backstory. Knowing that a child is in danger and in need of her help is enough to throw Elizabeth into action. The world would be a much better and safer place if there were more Elizabeths and Fletchers in it.

As I said above, readers are treated to three stories in one in The Lady and the Highwayman. Book two and three in this novel are actually the penny dreadful serials by Fletcher and Elizabeth. I won’t go into detail in regards to these two story lines because they are delightful and I don’t want to ruin a thing about them. But, I will say that I am incredibly impressed. I can only imagine how intense it is to write one novel, but to write three unique plots in one book is quite the feat! I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Vampire’s Tower” and “The Lady and the Highwayman.” I found both stories to be unique, engaging, suspenseful, and fun. And, I love how each serial shows a little bit more into the hearts and character of both Fletcher and Elizabeth.

The Lady and the Highwayman is a fun story and I’m really sad my time with Fletcher and Elizabeth is up for now. I definitely look forward to book two in this series, The Gentleman and the Thief, due to release on November 3. If you are a fan of penny dreadfuls, Victorian Romances, and/or just plain good storytelling then The Lady and the Highwayman is the book for you!

I purchased an eBook copy of this novel from Amazon.com on September 2, 2019, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Read Romance, Clean Wholesome Romance, Historical Fiction

The Jewels of Halstead Manor (2020)

About the Book

Book:  The Jewels of Halstead Manor

Series: Ladies of Devon #1

Author: Kasey Stockton

Genre: Sweet Regency Romance

Release Date: March 22, 2020

She can only stay as long as the invalid needs her… so he makes it his business to need her forever.

When a cryptic invitation brings Giulia Pepper to her uncle’s remote estate in Devon, she arrives in dire need of a benefactor, only to discover that her uncle never sent her any invitation—nor does he want her there. Forced into a corner, Giulia must contrive a way to convince him to allow her to remain, just long enough to figure out where to go next.

Nicholas never asked for an earldom, but when an aged lord arrives at his door and tells Nicholas that he is next in line for the title, he willingly goes to Halstead Manor to learn the role. But someone isn’t pleased with the heir, and after a gunshot wound in the arm, Nicholas must discover who is out to get him.

When Giulia stumbles—literally—over a fallen man on the lane to Halstead, she has her answer: she can stay at Halstead and nurse her uncle’s heir back to health. But as mystery builds and danger mounts, will Giulia and Nicholas be able to solve the puzzle before the Earl forces Giulia to leave for good? And furthermore, can they manage to work together without losing their hearts in the process?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I have just discovered a new-to-me writer and I must voraciously read all her books! For all those interested, the author is Kasey Stockton. If you have not heard of her, I HIGHLY recommend checking out all of her novels. The other night I just happened to see an ad for The Lady of Larkspur Vale on one of my social media platforms. The cover intrigued me so I immediately went to Goodreads to check it out. The premise sounds pretty good, but I saw it is book 2 in a series. Naturally, I had to check out book 1, The Jewels of Halstead Manor, because I cannot knowingly begin a series in the middle. That just doesn’t work for me. The Jewels of Halstead Manor sounded so good to me that I bought it right then and there from Amazon and devoured the story in three days. If it were not for my full-time job there is a good possibility I would have had this book finished in one 24-hour period, it’s that excellent a read!

There really is so much to love about The Jewels of Halstead Manor. It’s a Sweet Regency Romance, which means the reader gets to escape into a unique historical time period and the romance is swoony and filled with passion, but there is none of that bedroom stuff happening. I’m all for realism in my books, but I am definitely not into voyeurism. I found the characters well crafted. I adore Guilia’s character. She is independent, strong-willed, and highly intelligent, but she is also incredibly self-aware and can be vulnerable when she needs to be. Nicholas is one of my favorite types of heroes and he pairs very well with Guila’s wit, verve, and sense of adventure. Nicholas is handsome, charming, and intelligent, but what I love the most about his character is his ability to truly see Guilia. He pays attention, he listens, and he isn’t afraid to ask her the probing questions she needs to answer for herself. In addition to the hero and heroine, The Jewels of Halstead Manor boasts a lively cast of secondary characters who bring spunk or friendship or mystery to the storyline, and make the story all the more rich. I also appreciate the topic of self-reliance. Guilia is beholden to no one. She is a woman who can stand on her own two feet. She asks when she needs help, but she never takes advantage. And when life brings her surprises that scare her a little, she runs to no man. She stands tall and takes the next right step. This illustration of self-reliance is my most favorite aspect to this superb Regency Romance.

I could go on and on about The Jewels of Halstead Manor, there really is that much to love about this book. It’s highly engaging and hard to put down. If you are a fan of well-written Sweet Regency Romances then I highly recommend The Jewels of Halstead Manor. For now, I’m going to go check out all of Ms. Stockton’s novels and may purchase one or two or all of them! LOL!

I purchased a review copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon on August 13, 2020, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.