Friday, December 2, 2022

Review: The Best Intentions by Sarah M. Eden


Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Best Intentions by Sarah M. Eden, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


My rating: 



Synopsis

In the eyes of London Society, Gillian Phelps is suitable enough. Though the ton whispers about her change of residence, any speculation remains just that: ballroom gossip. No one―not even the other Huntresses, the group of ladies she calls her dearest friends―knows that she is harboring a devastating family secret. Gillian has become adept at hiding the reality of her circumstances, but the close quarters of a house party will test her ability to conceal the crushing truth. And with so many people to deceive, the late arrival of another guest is a most unwelcome surprise.

Despite his standing as a gentleman of the ton, in truth, Scott Sarvol possesses little more than two debt-riddled estates. When an opportunity arises to survey one of his properties, he travels north, only to find himself an unwitting guest at Artemis Jonquil’s house party. He is warmly welcomed by all―except the aloof Miss Gillian Phelps. But when Scott proves himself unexpectedly helpful in a crisis, his acquaintance with Gillian shifts from wariness to something warmer.

As both her charade and her feelings for Scott deepen, Gillian realizes that the truth could spell not only a devastating fall from Society but also a shattered heart.


My Review

I adore this group of young women and the bond they share! They are highly protective of each other in a society that could often be cruel. Gillian is more wary than the others since she has a secret to hide about her family. She has quite a journey as she learns to risk and trust. Scott also has baggage from the abusive uncle he inherited debt-ridden properties from. I loved the affection and comfort Mater gives him as he tries to navigate the difficult and seemingly impossible circumstances of making his estates solvent. Gillian and Scott started on rocky ground because of her wariness, but the sweet relationship they develop naturally grows in romantic chemistry. The other characters brought so much to the story and I’m always happy to revisit the Jonquils and Lancasters. Loving this new series!

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

Don't miss these books connected to The Huntresses series . . .



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today bestselling author of multiple historical romances, including AML's "2013 Novel of the Year" and Foreword Review’s 2013 “IndieFab Book of the Year” gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, and the Whitney Award's "2014 Novel of the Year," Longing for Home: Hope Springs. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a Bachelor's degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski.

Connect with Sarah by visiting sarahmeden.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a signed copy of book, $25 Amazon gift card, bookmark, stickers, and button.

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 28, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 5, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours







Thursday, December 1, 2022

Book Tour & Excerpt: Under the Veiled Moon by Karen Odden





Synopsis

In the tradition of C. S. Harris and Anne Perry, a fatal disaster on the Thames and a roiling political conflict set the stage for Karen Odden’s second Inspector Corravan historical mystery.

September 1878. One night, as the pleasure boat the Princess Alice makes her daily trip up the Thames, she collides with the Bywell Castle, a huge iron-hulled collier. The Princess Alice shears apart, throwing all 600 passengers into the river; only 130 survive. It is the worst maritime disaster London has ever seen, and early clues point to sabotage by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who believe violence is the path to restoring Irish Home Rule.

For Scotland Yard Inspector Michael Corravan, born in Ireland and adopted by the Irish Doyle family, the case presents a challenge. Accused by the Home Office of willfully disregarding the obvious conclusion and berated by his Irish friends for bowing to prejudice, Corravan doggedly pursues the truth, knowing that if the Princess Alice disaster is pinned on the IRB, hopes for Home Rule could be dashed forever.

Corrovan’s dilemma is compounded by Colin, the youngest Doyle, who has joined James McCabe’s Irish gang. As violence in Whitechapel rises, Corravan strikes a deal with McCabe to get Colin out of harm’s way. But unbeknownst to Corravan, Colin bears longstanding resentments against his adopted brother and scorns his help.

As the newspapers link the IRB to further accidents, London threatens to devolve into terror and chaos. With the help of his young colleague, the loyal Mr. Stiles, and his friend Belinda Gale, Corravan uncovers the harrowing truth—one that will shake his faith in his countrymen, the law, and himself.
 
 
Excerpt


As I reached the bottom step, a shadow emerged from the alley,

and I felt someone approach from behind. My right hand was on my truncheon even before I turned.

Two hands came up in a gesture of surrender. “It’s just me.” Colin’s voice picked over the syllables in a way that told me he was two or three drinks along, but not so far gone that he didn’t care that it showed. His boots scuffed the dirt as he came near, and he lowered his hands and thrust them into his coat pockets. The night breeze, ripe with the scent of smoke and meat from the nearby butchery, blew Colin’s brown curls off his forehead.

He must’ve been lurking in that alley, waiting for me. All that Ma said, all her worry, made me temper my voice. “Why’d you run off, Col?” I asked. “I’d have liked a proper visit with you.”

“Ach.” His shoulders twitched as if avoiding a weight. “Elsie’s always harping at me like a bloody shrew.” His voice slurred over the last word. “But I stayed ’cause of a message I have for ye.”

My guess was Elsie wasn’t shrewish so much as she was worried, same as Ma, but she had a different way of showing it. Smelling the whiskey on Colin’s breath and observing the surly set to his jaw, I was beginning to understand their concern.

I shifted my feet to maneuver him into a position where the light from the window of the nearby pub would fall on his face. I hadn’t been looking at him closely enough of late. My strongest memories were of him as a young boy of six or so, slender and light-haired, his eyes sparkling with interest as I taught him how to whittle a whistle or tie a stopper knot that wouldn’t slip.

Colin’s eyes were as brilliantly blue now as they’d been then, just like his older brother Pat’s, although Pat had never looked at me so warily. “Don’t bark at me, all right?” Colin asked.

I replied evenly, “Am I likely to?”
He pulled a face.

“All right, I won’t,” I promised. “What sort of message?”
“It’s from O’Hagan.”
I stared. O’Hagan.

Those three syllables were all it took to bring me back to thirteen years ago, when I’d been one of O’Hagan’s regular boxers, in a bare-knuckles hall underground, no more than a sweaty pen at the bottom of a ladder, where the dirt wasn’t thick enough to absorb all the blood and cheap rotgut whiskey that fell. I’d boxed for O’Hagan until the night he’d asked me to throw a match, and I’d done something bloody stupid that ended with me fleeing Whitechapel, sleeping rough until I found my feet.

“Why’d he send you, instead of coming to me himself?” I let him see my disgust at O’Hagan’s cowardice.

Colin glanced back toward the house. “He knows you used to live with us. Mebbe he thought you’d listen if I was the one asking.” He sniffed. “Instead of payin’ him no mind like you well might.”

I frowned. O’Hagan and I had declared a truce of sorts years ago. I had never come after him for keeping illegal boxing halls and a fleet of bookmakers, and in return, I’d been able to move about Whitechapel unmolested. I certainly harbored no affection for O’Hagan, but I wondered why Colin assumed I’d ignore him. However, it wasn’t worth asking, with Colin in this state.

“He just wants to meet you,” Colin said. “To talk.”

Guesses about why ran through my head with the speed of a fast current, but I asked merely, “About what?”

Colin’s eyes veered away, and he shrugged. “Might have something to do with the Cobbwallers.”

The muscles across my upper back tightened.

O’Hagan belonged to the Cobbwallers now? I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me that James McCabe’s gang was running boxing halls as well as everything else. But like all London gang leaders, McCabe demanded absolute loyalty and discretion from his members. I couldn’t imagine a circumstance that would cause O’Hagan to discuss anything about the Cobbwallers with me, a policeman.

“Go on,” I said.

“Two Cobbwaller men are dead.” Colin peered at me aslant. “Murdered.”

My stomach lurched. In the wake of the Clerkenwell bombing, police had sought out and killed Cobbwallers. That was a decade ago, but it was a black mark in our history, and no doubt O’Hagan and McCabe remembered it. “Are they blaming police?”

“Dunno.”

His evasive look sparked hot fear along my nerves. “Colin, you’re not mixed up with the Cobbwallers, are you?”

There was the briefest pause before he drew his head back as if in surprise and shook it dismissively. “Nae.”

That hesitation made me long to press him further, but it was almost as if I felt Belinda’s hand, gentle on my sleeve, counseling patience. There would be time to ask again when Colin was sober.

Besides, if I did as Colin asked, he might confide in me more readily.

“All right.” I stepped forward and put my arm around his shoulder, tugged him close for a second. “Tell O’Hagan I’ll meet him.” As I released him, his eyes betrayed a flash of relief. …

I watched him stride away. He’d been a lively child, impulsive and mouthy and at times reckless of his own safety. Sometimes I’d catch him imitating Pat and me, in the way we’d carry ourselves, or wear our caps or hold a knife. It annoyed Pat to no end, and he’d shoo Colin off, but I didn’t mind. When I was one of the youngest members of Simms’s thieving gang, I’d watch the older boys swaggering and try it for myself later as I walked down a quiet street alone. So I’d give Colin a wink, and he’d give me a roguish smile back. …

Just how close were O’Hagan and his ilk brushing up against these people I loved?

The thought put a thick knot in the soft place underneath my ribs.

Chapter 2, pp.17-21; From Under a Veiled Moon © 2022, Karen Odden, published by Crooked Lane Books

 
 
Advance Praise


“[An] exceptional sequel . . . Fans of Lyndsay Faye’s Gods of Gotham trilogy will be enthralled.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Victorian skulduggery with a heaping side of Irish troubles.” —Kirkus Reviews 

“Charismatic police superintendent Michael Corravan is back in a gripping sequel about the mysterious sinking of the Princess Alice. Odden deftly weaves together English and Irish history, along with her detective's own story, in a way that will keep readers flipping pages long into the night.” —Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author of Mother Daughter Traitor Spy and the Maggie Hope series.

 
 
About the Author
 
Karen Odden earned her Ph.D. in English from New York University and subsequently taught literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has contributed essays to numerous books and journals, written introductions for Victorian novels in the Barnes & Noble classics series and edited for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge UP). Her previous novels, also set in 1870s London, have won awards for historical fiction and mystery. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and the recipient of a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Karen lives in Arizona with her family and her rescue beagle Rosy.




Read an exclusive interview with author Karen Odden at austenprose.com




Friday, November 18, 2022

Blog Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: Matters of the Heart by Heidi Gray McGill

Matters of the Heart JustRead Blog + Review Blitz 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Blitz for Matters of the Heart by Heidi Gray McGill, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 
Matters of the Heart Title: Matters of the Heart 
Series: Discerning God's Best #3 
Author: Heidi Gray McGill 
Publisher: Heidi Gray McGill Books LLC 
Release Date: July 26, 2022 
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Romance

She determines to champion the needs of others, no matter the fallout.

He’s determined to be his own man and make his own way. 

Will stubbornness keep them from discovering God’s best? 

Unconventional Katie empathizes with the widows and orphans of the Civil War who are searching for a place to call home in Shumard Oak Bend. But with no one to help her, she’ll need to do it secretly, a challenge she readily accepts. Katie’s taken charge before, and she’ll do it again, no matter whom she has to outwit to get the job done. 

Hans vows to stop doing everyone else’s bidding. But he follows orders when a pair of emerald green eyes, blazing red hair, and freckles that dance on the bridge of a pert nose conscript him to duty. Be his own man. Who is he kidding? Skunks don’t change their stripes. They leave disasters in their wake wherever they go, just like him. 

Overcoming personal obstacles and finding your true self doesn’t mean going it alone. Yet the answer isn’t always in the one you seek. 

True Christian Fiction. Relatable Characters. Life-changing stories.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

 

EXCERPT


“So, you’re settling in Shumard Oak Bend?”

He hadn’t considered it until now, but the thought gave him peace. “Yes, I believe it’s as good a town as any.” He stared off into the distance, seeing red hair bouncing in the wind.

“You are still welcome to build here.”

Hans shook his head. “Thank you, but I think I have a future in Shumard Oak Bend.”

“Might there be a lady there?”

He jerked his gaze to his brother, and the muscle in his neck ached at the quick movement. He rubbed the spot.

Deep, throaty laughter filled the air as Johann’s hand came to rest on Hans’s shoulder. The familiar touch crumpled his resolve.

“Yes,” Hans said.

“Does she have a name?”

“Katie. Kathleen Orla Murphy.”

“I see. And what color are her eyes?”

“Green with little golden flecks.” Hans stopped, and his eyes went wide. He slapped his brother in the chest. “That wasn’t fair.”

“Oh, that was fair and telling.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heidi Gray McGill

Whether historical or contemporary, you will find Heidi Gray McGill's works to be true Christian Fiction, full of God’s redeeming love. Everything Heidi writes is purposeful. She believes in bringing a reader into the awareness of who God is to them and how He interacts with them on a personal level. She does this by crafting characters so relatable you feel part of who they are. Heidi reaches deep into the reader’s heart through masterfully written words and offers ways toward healing by seamlessly applying God’s Word throughout her stories.

Connect with Heidi by visiting her website to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive an Amazon Fire 7 tablet.

Matters of the Heart JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 16, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 23, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours





Thursday, November 17, 2022

Review: Cowboy Christmas Homecoming by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman, Anna Schmidt



My rating: 3 stars / I liked it



Synopsis

Glad tidings, hearts binding.

They’ve weathered a lot worse than winter. For widow June Harper, another cold front is about to hit. Most call him Hugh. She’d call him Scrooge, except as the man ensures her needs are met, June can’t help but wonder how to meet the needs of his heart.

Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. Some hired help over the holidays doesn’t change that. And even if Roy does take care of her, that doesn’t mean he cares for her or that he’ll stay past Christmas.

Pastor Colton McCabe is having the opposite problem. He’s not sure he’ll make it through the holidays with his new housekeeper. Grace can’t seem to do anything right but love. Perhaps being a homekeeper will earn her a permanent residence in his heart.

And no one longs for a home more than Connie Lancaster. She’s determined to return to St. Louis, and no cowboy can change her mind. But if Isaac can change her heart, maybe Connie will see the homecoming she’s been waiting for isn’t to a place but a person.


My Review

This is a sweet collection of heart-warming stories set in the West during the holiday season. Each author's writing style is distinct yet complements the others. I enjoyed reading about the characters and the struggles they have, the relationships they develop, the faith they practice or grow in, and the way they celebrate Christmas. I especially loved the idea of having the nativity pieces start a ways away from the manger, then slowly journey through the room as it gets closer to Christmas where they are united and Jesus appears. The romance is very sweet and gentle- not very many kisses if any at all which is my only complaint ;)

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.


Blog Tour, Author Interview & Giveaway: Reclaiming Hope in Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne

Reclaiming Hope JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Reclaiming Hope in Wishing Bridge by Ruth Logan Herne, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 
Reclaiming Hope in Wishing Bridge Title: Reclaiming Hope in Wishing Bridge 
Series: Wishing Bridge #5 
Author: Ruth Logan Herne 
Publisher: Independently Published 
Release Date: October 22, 2022 
Genre: Women's Fiction with romantic elements (clean) 

She swore she'd never come back to Wishing Bridge. 

She needed nothing. No family. No links to a past that broke her heart. Heather Johnstone was successful in her own right, by her own actions. She'd built a pristine life and gave no one the right or opportunity to disrupt it, but then her father called... the one person who'd loved her. Who'd cared. 

And there was no other choice, it seemed. 

She'd go back and face a past that was now tragically changed and fairly unimportant, but that's the thing about growing up. You don't always know what's important until it's too late. 

Hank Reynolds had spent over a decade trying to inspire change. Change in a shrinking town adjacent to Wishing Bridge, and a school district that serviced several towns. Hank took his teaching and coaching seriously. Seriously enough to help no small number of kids find their way to success, but when a tragic flood takes a major toll on the little town of Hopewell, the aftermath stuns the surrounding communities with the loss of life and livelihood. Who can help? Who can help them re-establish the good old days in a place that had lost their grip on good a long time ago? 

Hank knows what the school needs the minute he sees Heather. Northeast Wyoming Central needs an administrator that puts kids first, all the time. Not just when it looks good for a photo op. And when his phone calls bring back more of their high school football teammates, Hank knows something else is happening... Coming back to Wishing Bridge isn't just good for the town and the schools... It's good for the prodigals. 

Because whoever said you can't go home again was wrong and Hank Reynolds intends to prove it, but when Heather's life takes a sudden turn, he realizes something else: sacrificial love means putting others first. Even if it's the person you love more than anyone else on the planet. 

Grab a cup of coffee, a Coke or a spot of tea and join the folks of Wishing Bridge, NY as they gather folks in to help, to love, to fix, to nurture... Welcome back to Wishing Bridge... where prayers and wishes mingle to make dreams come true.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon

 

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR RUTH LOGAN HERNE


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am absolutely living my dream of being a mom and grandmother, writing great stories as a USA Today bestselling author and running a pumpkin farm with my husband and several members of my delightful family. Our lives are hectic, busy and mostly fun, but the reward is seeing readers laugh, cry and sigh over my books and having crowds of happy fall shoppers fill our yard with smiles, wagons filled with pumpkins and happy children!


What do you do besides writing?

So many things! We are blessed to live in a historic farmhouse (always in need of fixing!) with 50 acres that we turned into a retirement dream of a pumpkin farm that is riotously fun!


What was your favorite part of researching for this book?

I love that the Wishing Bridge series, originally contracted with Waterfall Books (Amazon) have taken on a life of their own. Readers love them, share them, talk about them, so when we talk about research for a Wishing Bridge book, it depends on what we’re looking at. The pastoral setting and the great, embracing town is wonderful but the emotions of the humans involved, their paths, their pasts are often hard… and gripping. Writing the guts of the story, the emotions that draw the readers in and leave them remembering the story long after the last page is turned, is my favorite part because I love connecting with readers on that level. Uplifting and empowering women to overcome and be strong is always my end game.


Do you have images you can share that come close to how you picture your characters? Do you like to find visual inspiration for your characters before or during your writing process?

What a great question but gosh… I don’t do any of that… I envision the characters based on certain physical characteristics but that’s not how I see them. I see them through the lens of their journey, their lives, their mistakes. Hard to picture that accurately because photos are two-dimensional and great characters just go deeper. 

(I love that response Ruthie! I feel like that's the way I experience characters in my mind as well but never knew how to describe it like you just did!)
 

What are some songs that you listened to or inspired you while writing your book?

Strike #2!!!! When I’m writing Christmas novels or novellas out of season I use things like Breath of Heaven (Amy Grant) and “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” (Casting Crowns) to keep my brain in sync with the story, but not for Wishing Bridge. 


What message would you like readers to ultimately take away from the book?

I want readers to see and feel the grace and beauty of God’s timing… and to embrace the opportunities that God sends their way, even if they come disguised. He’s there. He’s got this… we just can’t always see around the bends in the road.


What can we look forward to coming from you in the future?

Great question! I have two brand new Guideposts mysteries that have just been released. “Love’s a Mystery in Sleepy Hollow, NY” and “Love’s a Mystery in Cut and Shoot, Texas”, two wonderful 2-in-1s where I wrote the contemporary stories and Gabe Meyer and Janice Thompson wrote the historical segments…. We had such a fun time working together!

And for 2023 there will be a new mystery series “Whistle Stop CafĂ© Mysteries” coming from Guideposts Fiction, “The Lawman’s Second Chance” coming in January, “Kindling Christmas in Wishing Bridge” scheduled for fall of 2023! I am so blessed to be working regularly… God has truly blessed me!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ruth Logan Herne

Multi-published, award-winning and bestselling inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne has worked with multiple publishers and has published over seventy novels and novellas: Basically, Ruthy is living her dream of being a published author and having a great deal of fun doing it! With words to warm the heart and ease the soul, Ruthy takes her readers on the journeys of some unforgettable characters and situations, but in the spirit of being a true Pollyanna at heart, she loves a happy ending! She has a heart for women as overcomers and that spirit of faith and strength shines through every one of her stories. A mother of six with a seventh "daughter of her heart", Ruthy has fourteen grandkids, runs a busy big pumpkin farm with her husband Farmer Dave, and has an absolute love for God, Jesus, her family, country, dogs, chocolate and coffee....

Connect with Ruth by visiting ruthloganherne.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

 

(1) winner will receive a lovely book bundle from Ruthy including several books, chocolate, and a $20 Amazon Gift Card... cozy just got a little bit better.

Reclaiming Hope in Wishing Bridge JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 14, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 21, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours





Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Review: To Capture His Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen




My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it



Synopsis

Seaside, England, 1886

Eva Caldwell is an accomplished and well-known photographer who often works with the local constabulary to assist in documenting crime scenes, which means she also often works alongside the handsome and charming detective, Nathan Winston. She appreciates his intellect and how he treats her like an equal, but Eva’s heart is still healing from a past relationship, so, for now, she decides to keep her feelings for Nathan a secret.

One evening, Nathan arrives on her doorstep asking for a personal favor. Would Eva be available to photograph his mother’s legendary, week-long dinner party and matchmaking event? The catch is that Eva would also have to pretend they are courting in order for Nathan to avoid the many single women seeking his attention.

Though wary of the charade, Eva agrees. Spending a week with the two things she loves most—her detective and her camera—sounds simple enough. And if she wants to imagine that Nathan’s pretend courtship of her is real, well, what’s the harm in that?

But when a criminal from Nathan’s past threatens revenge on the detective, Nathan must be extra vigilant to keep his mother and the rest of the partygoers safe. He confides in Eva, and as the two work together to solve the mystery and apprehend the criminal, they find that they might capture more than they expected—each other’s heart.


My Review

I love a house party setting with a variety of characters! This one was a bit unique with Eva and Nathan already knowing each other through the case solved in the previous book, as well as her photography work. I loved the details about early photography and how she had a mobile darkroom that she brought to Nathan's estate. This is the second book in the series and I wish I had read the previous one first, since Eva and Nathan's friendship begins there and I missed out on that since this book moves right into a deeper relationship, even though there is a brief pretense of pretending. Nathan's skills as law enforcement and a detective helped him see that Eve might return his feelings, but also sensed her reservations, and I loved how patient he was with her. They have some special moments that are so romantic, and even though there is a suspenseful mystery developing that keeps them preoccupied, working together gives them the opportunity to grow closer. Nathan's mother and sisters as well as Eva's assistant Sammy all added to the story with their vibrant personalities, and the drama from the guests as well as the danger from the villain kept the pace of the story moving along from beginning to end.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

Don't miss the first book in the Matchmakers series . . .




Monday, November 14, 2022

Review: In the Shadow of a Queen by Heather B. Moore


My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing



Synopsis

Based on the true story of the free-spirited daughter of Queen Victoria.

Princess Louise’s life is upended after her father’s untimely death. Captive to the queen’s overwhelming mourning, Louise is forbidden to leave her mother’s tight circle of control and is eventually relegated to the position of personal secretary to her mother—the same position each of her sisters held until they were married.

Already an accomplished painter, Louise risks the queen’s wrath by exploring the art of sculpting, an activity viewed as unbefitting a woman. When Louise involves herself in the day’s political matters, including championing the career of a female doctor and communicating with suffragettes, the queen lays down the law to stop her and devotes her full energy to finding an acceptable match for her defiant daughter.

Louise is considered the most beautiful and talented daughter of Queen Victoria, but finding a match for the princess is no easy feat. Protocols are broken, and Louise exerts her own will as she tries to find an open-minded husband who will support her free spirit.

In the Shadow of a Queen is the story of a battle of wills between two women: a daughter determined to forge her own life beyond the shadow of her mother, and a queen resolved to keep the Crown’s reputation unsullied no matter the cost.


My Review

I don't read many books about royalty, fiction or non, so I didn't know what to expect when I read this book except that Heather B. Moore always draws me into the historical setting and the lives of the historical figures her books are based on. Sure enough, I felt immersed in the life that Louise lives over the span of her childhood and young adult years. We're shown the family dynamics through vignettes of daily life and excerpts from actual letters which begin each chapter. People that strongly influenced Louise as well as moments of great impact were touched on, and I felt like it prepared me for the majority of the book which focused on her young adult years of pursuing her interests as much as the queen would allow, as well as the hunt for her future husband. Political relationships were woven in but not aggressively, so I felt that they added to the greater picture rather than taking over. As an artist myself I loved the details of Louise's drawing and sculpture, and I hope to one day see some of her work in person. Of course I adore romance so the husband hunt was fascinating. Because Louise's older siblings married for connection, the queen was more lenient as the years went on as to who Louise could consider. The author explored the logistics of such a process, Louise's vulnerability, and eventually the gentle romance that developed, which was absolutely lovely. The overall theme of Louise's relationship with her mother was intriguing, with details and nuances that could only come from meticulous research, which I know this author excels at. This is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and would make an excellent book club pick.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.